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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OT: The Soccer Thread: August 2012

Welcome to August! Notable Events:

Olympic Women’s Gold Medal Game: August 9
Olympic Men’s Gold Medal Game: August 11

(Both will be aired by NBC on or about August 15)

EPL Kick-Off: August 18
La Liga Kick-Off: August 19
Seria A Kick-Off: August 25

Let the excitement begin!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM | 1942 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business

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   301. Mattbert Posted: August 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4203691)
Thanks, Chef.

I agree with the Chelsea blogger, who basically said that method of calculating "possession" is a useful metric in and of itself but it's misleading to label it as possession %.

I have to think the technology is more than mature enough to have a computer go through the video feed of a match and automatically allocate possession time based on the ball going from one [color] shirt to another [same color] shirt. Where it's muddled, that time gets allocated to the "Neither" bucket. (I've always been uncomfortable with possession % adding up to 100 every time - there are lots of short periods in every match where possession is contested.) It should also be possible to differentiate between possession in/out of play and possession attributable to dead ball situations like corners, free kicks, etc.

My take is that possession is principally a defensive statistic. When I started thinking of it that way, it was similar to the epiphany of years and years ago when I started reading that what was important in baseball was not how many hits you got but rather how many outs you didn't make. Pundits like to bang on about how possession is only as important as what you do with it. I think that's at best half-true. Possession is important because of what your opponent can't do without it.
   302. zack Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4203725)
You guys have it good, in hockey we call shot differential 'possession'. We'd kill for passes. Or even zone time, which I've thought was the best way to measure dominance since I played NHLPA hockey '93 as an 11 year old. Anyway, passes are a pretty good proxy, how much meaningful possession can there be in top level soccer by just running around with the ball? And give-and-gos might be double-counted, but a successfull give-and-go is usually a pretty dangerous pass and should be weighted more heavily. I think the name is fine, but since there is widespread misunderstanding about it they should definitely be more up-front about what it is measuring.

Mattbert, I think you vastly overrate the state of computer vision if you think it could reliably pick out the ball, let alone assign possession of it. Unless you think we are soon to be blessed with FoxTrax 2.0. I'm an idiot, because I think sportvision might actually have this technology.
   303. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4203726)
What they call percent possession is actually percent of passes? I would never have imagined that. That's like, um, in the NFL if you were to say the team that made the most passes was the team with the most percent possession.
   304. Swedish Chef Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4203751)
   305. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 08, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4203840)
I'm a little surprised the pitch at NYS is set up from third base to first, rather than out to the outfield, like the American football field, but I guess that isn't wide enough. And as I type that, the announcers mention the pitch is only 60 feet wide.
   306. frannyzoo Posted: August 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4203868)
60 feet wide


I think I caught that it's 68 yards wide, but it's still real, real narrow. As for scoreline, it's 1-1 in the same way that it was "up for grabs" early morning on September 1, 1939 between Germany and Poland. Milan is an utter shell of itself, and I'm trying to figure where they'd end up in Serie A this year with this lineup. Or where they'd be in EPL or even La Liga. I know it's pre-season and all, but Milan is roughly somewhere between Getafe and Everton at this point.
   307. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM (#4203873)
I think I caught that it's 68 yards wide, but it's still real, real narrow.
Yes, obviously it isn't 60 feet wide, that was a misstatement that I managed to thoughtlessly repeat.
   308. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: August 08, 2012 at 10:13 PM (#4203910)
Mattbert, re: your 301 and the possession discussion in general, Serie A games on FSC occasionally flash a graphic that seemingly does exactly what you're looking for -- a stopwatch total for how much teams actually have the ball. Going off of memory here, I seem to remember that the totals do not add up to 90 minutes -- balls hoofed in the air, for example, or '50/50 scrums' (for lack of a better term), were simply discarded and not counted as possession for either team.
   309. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 08, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4203937)
Mattbert, re: your 301 and the possession discussion in general, Serie A games on FSC occasionally flash a graphic that seemingly does exactly what you're looking for -- a stopwatch total for how much teams actually have the ball. Going off of memory here, I seem to remember that the totals do not add up to 90 minutes -- balls hoofed in the air, for example, or '50/50 scrums' (for lack of a better term), were simply discarded and not counted as possession for either team.
Interestingly, I've always assumed that the possession was calculated with something like a speed clock in chess. Namely, the game kicks off, and (say) West Ham has the ball, you start their clock. Then they lose possession (inevitably) and the clock stops on them and starts on Spurs. So for the balls hoofed in the air or the 50/50s, it ends up being credited to the team that last had the ball, because ultimately that's an insignificant amount of play anyway.
   310. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:56 AM (#4204045)
Going off of memory here, I seem to remember that the totals do not add up to 90 minutes -- balls hoofed in the air, for example, or '50/50 scrums' (for lack of a better term), were simply discarded and not counted as possession for either team.

I don't think you can't infer that they measure 50/50 situations, there is so much time when the ref has stopped play in the 90 minutes.
   311. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:38 AM (#4204066)
Alex Ferguson is angry.

He's angry goddammit! Excuse me while I wipe away my tears.

West Ham signed Alou Diarra.

Ally McCoist has confirmed Bedoya and Edu will be leaving Rangers but he's hoping Bocanegra will stay. I don't know, Boca is coming to the end of his career and I hope he doesn't waste it clawing up the nether regions of the Scottish pyramid. Come home, Carlos, come home!
   312. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:42 AM (#4204068)
Crap. I forgot to watch the Cup final last night! Congrats to Sporting KC. I was reading a book with my cat on my lap last night, sipping a little scotch and I fell straight to sleep. I know that makes me sound like an eighty year old "eccentric" Englishman, but there you go...At least I got to see the last half of the A's game.
   313. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:00 AM (#4204074)
One last bit of news...looks like Liverpool will get Joe Allen for 15 million. That makes 26 million for Allen and Borini combined. That seems like a lot to me, though they are both solid, young players. Still, I wonder if Rodgers isn't too fixated on players he's already had when as Liverpool manager the world should be his playground. Bellamy looks likely to got back to Cardiff, too, which I wonder about as Bellamy was fairly brilliant for them last year and they've already let Maxi go. What does the resident Liverpool BBTF contingent think? I'm guessing with Allen and Lucas back, Charlie Adam is toast. It also means Liverpool have a hell of a lot of midfielders who are at their best playing more centrally. I wonder what else Rodgers has up his sleeve.
   314. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:09 AM (#4204078)
That makes 26 million for Allen and Borini combined. That seems like a lot to me, though they are both solid, young players.
I can't shake this feeling that every decision Liverpool makes is--perhaps not consciously, but nonetheless--viewed through this lens of "Well, at least we aren't spending 35 million on some clown like Andy Carroll again, so this isn't so bad."
   315. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 08:18 AM (#4204080)
I can't shake this feeling that every decision Liverpool makes is--perhaps not consciously, but nonetheless--viewed through this lens of "Well, at least we aren't spending 35 million on some clown like Andy Carroll again, so this isn't so bad."

Careful, the porn brothers wanted to give him an 8 year, 90K a week contract!
   316. Randy Jones Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4204141)
Apparently John Henry wants to sell the naming rights to Anfield. That should increase his popularity among the fans.
   317. Mattbert Posted: August 09, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4204145)
Interestingly, I've always assumed that the possession was calculated with something like a speed clock in chess. Namely, the game kicks off, and (say) West Ham has the ball, you start their clock. Then they lose possession (inevitably) and the clock stops on them and starts on Spurs. So for the balls hoofed in the air or the 50/50s, it ends up being credited to the team that last had the ball, because ultimately that's an insignificant amount of play anyway.

Based on the Opta blog that Chef linked yesterday, that is in fact what Opta used to do and what at least some of their competitors probably still do:
There are several data providers out there in the UK and across the world monitoring games, from TV companies themselves for live games, to specialists like Opta.

Each has their own method of working out possession. Some use calculations based on the data, but most use a “chess clock” approach where each team has a button which is hit when they are in possession. Some do this in the broadcast truck, others have analysts who call it out and inputters who hit the buttons.

Opta used this method originally, but the problem we found with a chess clock approach for time is that you are reliant on the person logging the data remembering to hit the button and the person doing it usually has other tasks to perform and other data to log.

Missing a couple of switches obviously skews the possession figures and it’s impossible to go back and change it. It may not sound much but one minute where the clock is wrong can affect the possession figures by two to three percentage points.
   318. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4204170)
Apparently John Henry wants to sell the naming rights to Anfield. That should increase his popularity among the fans.

Unless there's a lengthier quote I haven't seen, it strikes me as strange that people took so much from this quote:

Does staying at Anfield impede a stadium rights naming deal? If costs can be offset with such a deal, this could give the club a clear FFP advantage too?

A naming rights deal at Anfield could occur, I suppose, if the partner were right. We haven’t pursued it.
   319. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4204172)
Unless there's a lengthier quote I haven't seen, it strikes me as strange that people took so much from this quote:

Sir, are you going to sit here and accuse the English media of twisting the meaning of quotes out of context and overreacting? I will not stand for it. I will not!
   320. Topher Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4204205)
Excuse me while I wipe away my tears.


I'm not shedding any tears but it's got to be frustrating to mostly be doing things the "right way" (not some new crazy rich owner) and to come up (almost) empty repeatedly in trying to get players to join the squad. I'm still not exactly sure what Ferguson would do with Van Persie, but I would imagine that his frustration is much less to do with that than it is losing Lucas after losing out on Hazard.

It seems a bit crazy that a club of United's stature is going to be counting on some combination of Kagawa, Carrick, Giggs, Scholes, Anderson, Clevery, and maybe Fletcher if they are lucky to control the center of the pitch. I might be too dismissive of both Kagawa and Carrick but I think each has question marks next to their names even if they aren't as large as the rest. United still look pretty amazing on the wings and the Rooney-Bebe combo on top is terrific. But I'm a bit amazed that Ferguson hasn't been able to do more to improve the center mids, although it is pretty obvious it isn't from a lack of trying.
   321. Randy Jones Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4204217)
and the Rooney-Bebe combo on top is terrific.

?

I might be too dismissive of both Kagawa and Carrick but I think each has question marks next to their names even if they aren't as large as the rest.

Cleverley is the one you are being too dismissive of. They do need another central midfielder, but they aren't going to pay £35M for one.

If they got Van Persie, I wouldn't be surprised to see Rooney playing a deeper role as almost an AM.
   322. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4204225)
Rooney-Bebe combo on top is terrific.

Bebe?
   323. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4204233)
Canada wins the bronze medal match on an injury-time goal by Diana Matheson. Didn't manage to watch the game, but I'll try to watch the replay at some point. From the stats, it seems that France did dominate the ball somewhat, which isn't a surprise.
   324. DA Baracus Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4204239)
Rooney-Bebe is great in the way that Deion Sanders-Anybody was a great cornerback duo.
   325. Topher Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4204242)
You guys missed the Sepp Blatter sarcasm yesterday and now you are missing the Bebe comment as well! Sigh. I don't expect United to play with two on top and when they do, they do have Chicharito (although that could probably use some improvement as well).

I might not be giving Cleverley enough credit, but from what little I've seen of him, isn't he more of an attacking midfielder? I'm just not sure how he fits into a squad that is probably likely going to have Giggs and/or Scholes that plays in an attacking role and also as Rooney who, as you note, likes to go deep to get the ball.

[edit] Anyway, my general point is that I'm just really surprised to see a United lineup that looks from my vantage point to be much less than the sum of the individual parts. And I'm not surprised Ferguson is crying about it. Any chance they don't make top 4?
   326. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4204245)
Bebe is an awesome symbol for corruption and graft in European soccer, maybe. There's still an untold story about that transfer.
   327. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4204250)
You guys missed the Sepp Blatter sarcasm yesterday and now you are missing the Bebe comment as well! Sigh.

Oh sure, it's us!

I don't think Man U have too many problems. If they got a Modric or someone it would just be unfair to the league.
   328. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4204251)
Welbeck is a pretty useful forward.
   329. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4204252)
I will not stand for it. I will not!

Tomorrow's Headline: Shooty disrespects Star-Spangled Banner

I might be too dismissive of both Kagawa and Carrick but I think each has question marks next to their names even if they aren't as large as the rest.

Kagawa is awesome. You sir, are a fool.

Although I fully expect his career to take the Rosicky path now.
   330. Randy Jones Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4204259)
Any chance they don't make top 4?


Rooney and Vidic both suffer season ending injuries in the first month or two and yeah, it's possible.
   331. Topher Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4204313)
I actually like Kagawa's chances of succeeding but I have a question or two more about him than if it were, say, Götze making the conversion to the Premiership.

Temporarily forgot about Welbeck. I just wanted to make a Bebe joke, but the overall point was that United should be ok up top.

But I think the defensive part of the midfield is a complete mess and on top of that I'm not sure how much better than that the centerbacks and fullbacks will be. De Gea is going to need to earn his salary.

I think City and Chelsea are clearly 1-2 in some order. I really like what Arsenal has done and would place them 3rd.

I'm not sure what to make of Newcastle but they looked rather amazing last season and they are bringing the squad back. I think they are a couple of injuries away from not being in the conversation for Europe but if they stay healthy, I could see a top 4 finish. And if Spurs can get Leandro I'm not sure why they wouldn't be in the mix for top 4 as well.

United is getting quite old and they don't have replacements lined up at several spots. I think it's good (for the Glazers) that the stock is being sold now instead of this time next year.
   332. Randy Jones Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4204316)
But I think the defensive part of the midfield is a complete mess and on top of that I'm not sure how much better than that the centerbacks and fullbacks will be. De Gea is going to need to earn his salary.


You're crazy. If Vidic is healthy the CB's will be fine with him and some combination of Ferdinand and Jones. They could definitely use some help at FB, but aren't really hurting, especially if Smalling can come back from injury soon. This is the team that had the second fewest goals allowed playing Jonny Evans at CB in way, way too many games last year after Vidic went down.
   333. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4204317)
A couple of weeks until Serie A starts and BeIn sports is still not available on New York cable and I can't imagine it will be. Ridiculous. I don't know why Al Jazeera thought US cable companies would bend over backwards for soccer content after all the wars they've fought with major domestic networks and the NFL. They should have bought an existing channel and then supplied it with content and have been ready to go. I am not going to get Direct TV for this so I guess it's illegal streaming this year for me. Tough to go from foxsoccer.tv coverage of Serie A to illegal streaming, though. That is a MASSIVE step down.
   334. JuanGone..except1game Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4204320)
I think City and Chelsea are clearly 1-2 in some order. I really like what Arsenal has done and would place them 3rd.


I think that is probably about right and like you I'm worried about Arsenal. There are a lot of ifs, but f they can still pry Sahin from RM, Wilshire doesn't become Grady Sizemore and they keep RVP that squad attacking players might be unmatched in the Prem this year. As much as I love Chelsea's additions especially for the long-term, Sahin, Carzola and Giroud are ready to produce now and likely will.
   335. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4204326)
United is getting quite old

Chelsea is positively ancient by comparison, though.
   336. Topher Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4204336)
If Vidic is healthy the CB's will be fine with him and some combination of Ferdinand and Jones.


I think health is the key there. I think Vidic is likely to be ok but that's still a bit unknown. I expect Ferdinand to miss an awful lot of games (and even when he doesn't he's a year older). And in my mind Jones already has established that he's an injury waiting to happen. Smalling seems to have injury problems as well.

You do bring up a good point about doing well even with Evans playing as much as he did. Maybe he just had a bad Euros but Evra looked like he doesn't have a lot left to give and if he is getting beat on a regular basis, I think that defense is going to be tested a lot. If they are healthy, they should be ok. I just wouldn't bet they stay healthy.
   337. Topher Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4204342)
Chelsea is positively ancient by comparison, though.

I maybe shouldn't have said Chelsea is clearly in the top 2. That's based on assumption that some of the old guard is going to be shown to the substitute's bench this season. And also that Ashley Cole doesn't lose a step. I'm assuming that Mata and Hazard will be in the starting line up for all the big matches. But if that comes at the expense of Lampard, is Di Matteo willing to do that? I'm assuming he is, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised if he's not willing to yank Frank and the like from the starting 11.

[edit] Intentionally didn't mention Oscar because I'm not sure he will immediately be able to step in, but if he hits the ground running I really don't see how there is room for the old guard.
   338. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4204364)
While Chelsea's midfield looks sort of terrifying, do they have anyone other than Torres and Lukaku to play up front?
   339. Randy Jones Posted: August 09, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4204382)
Sturridge
   340. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4204388)
Ahhh Sturridge, forgot about him. You'd still think they wouldn't mind having one more to add to the rotation, as none of those three are exactly locks to produce on a consistent basis.
   341. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4204394)
Ahhh Sturridge, forgot about him. You'd still think they wouldn't mind having one more to add to the rotation, as none of those three are exactly locks to produce on a consistent basis.

They aren't allowed to do ####-all about the forward position until Spurs sign Damiao!
   342. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4204453)
Johnny Evans was great last year. Not sure where it came from and I doubt he can repeat it, but he was the only constant in a good defense with little protection from the midfield and some goalkeeping uncertainty. The rest of the defense all have serious concerns. Who knows if Vidic will be the same Vidic? Smalling and Jones have promise but still get caught out of position and have problems with physical players (thank Shanghai for no more Drogba). Plus they seem to be injury-prone. There is no depth on the oustide. Evra has been coasting/declining for years now. Rafael is their only true RB. Smalling and Jones can provide cover, but they use pure athleticism rather than skill. We all know Rio's issues.

Rooney is still a good player who as long as they use as the highest striker on the pitch, he is fine. If Rooney plays with Welbeck or Chicharito he is too undisciplined (positionally) to help out in the midfield any more.

Man U is still relying too much on Giggs and Scholes. I think M'Villa or Javi Martinez would be perfect to pair with Carrick. We've been waiting on Anderson for a couple years now. Without any new signings a 4-2-3-1 with Kagawa in the hole and Anderson/Carrick in the middle is their best lineup.

United fights with Arsenal for third, although if Spurs sign a real striker they could sneak in for fourth.

I maybe shouldn't have said Chelsea is clearly in the top 2. That's based on assumption that some of the old guard is going to be shown to the substitute's bench this season.


The old guard is basically down to Terry, Lampard and Cole. Despite his flaws, Terry is still pretty good. Lampard was sat a fair amount last year and Cole is still one of the better LB. After, AVB I think the team trusts DiMatteo enough and they can't argue with a Champions League title. The title will come down to Torres' ability to score but this team rivals City for talent.
   343. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4204469)
Athletic Bilbao just squeaked by Slaven in Europa. Llorente and Martinez both pushing for moves must have them in some serious flux since they can't just go out into the market place to replace them.

Dundee United were destroyed by Dinamo Moscow. With all the money in the Russian league, how close do you think they are pushing Ligue 1 to be the 5th best league in Europe?
   344. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4204477)
It appears that Shannon Boxx is going to be back for the final (if the pre-announcer guy isn't really confused), which is good news for both the overall cohesion and the defensive presence of the US team.
   345. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4204482)
It appears that Shannon Boxx is going to be back for the final (if the pre-announcer guy isn't really confused), which is good news for both the overall cohesion and the defensive presence of the US team.

She's not listed at ESPN.

EDIT: Yes she is. I'm a dope. So I guess she's playing!
   346. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4204490)
Time to avenge 2011!
   347. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4204493)
VIVA LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS!
   348. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4204494)
I just learned from post #337 that Eden Hazard went to Chelsea. There were so many worthless news articles speculating about him and what messages he might be sending by some offhand remark, that when the actual facts came out I must have ignored it.
   349. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4204511)
very pretty goal. Very fun start.
   350. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4204522)
That was really, really dangerous.
   351. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4204524)
Holy #### Japan is bringing it.
   352. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4204528)
US defense - still crappy.
   353. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4204536)
Holy #### Japan is bringing it.

They really want those business class tickets.
   354. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4204537)
US should have been called for a handball there.
   355. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4204539)
Definitely handball.
   356. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4204546)
Japan has looked far more the dangerous side since the first goal.
   357. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4204550)
US really pushed back - Wambach's playing much deeper than you want her to.
   358. Padgett Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4204556)
Dundee United were destroyed by Dinamo Moscow. With all the money in the Russian league, how close do you think they are pushing Ligue 1 to be the 5th best league in Europe?
Going by the coefficient table on Wikipedia, the Portuguese league has already knocked Ligue 1 out of the top five. Portugal's margin may increase after this year when the 2008-09 season (which was comparatively much better for French clubs) falls out of the rolling average. Russia's still a few spots back.
   359. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4204569)
Waste of a big mistake by Japan there.
   360. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4204573)
1-0 at the half!
   361. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4204582)
Hope Solo earning some of the hype in that first half. The US is unable to get any width at all. I'm not sure what Rapinoe is up to today--she's looked a shell of the player she was against Canada. Fatigue?
   362. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4204602)
Morgan is really, really good.
   363. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4204608)
Carli Lloyd is doing work today!
   364. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4204609)
Long climb back for Japan now. That was too easy a walk in the park for Lloyd!
   365. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4204610)
Downright American-like defense by Japan there, yikes.

Lloyd's having a really good game.
   366. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4204629)
####, you gotta clear that with more authority!
   367. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4204630)
Uh oh...
   368. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4204643)
If the US holds up, I imagine Pia Sundhage is going to dip into the Football Manager press conference book of cliches about why it's so important to get that second goal.

Good effort by the US.

   369. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4204647)
"Christie Rampone turned into a right winger" That's because you're not covering your side, Tobin. How long until O'Reilly comes on?
also my feed keeps dying, NBC :(

EDIT: although have Cheney and Heath switched sides? it's almost like they're all playing in the middle.
DOUBLE EDIT: yeah, it seems they have, for some strange reason.
   370. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4204652)
A lot of the ol' Just F#cking Run Around a Bit going on for the Americans. Counting the seconds down...
   371. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4204655)
Wow, that was lucky, lucky, lucky. Japan sure is getting it's chances.
   372. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4204661)
Rachel Bueller is not a very skilled player.
   373. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4204664)
WHAT A SAVE! HOPE SOLO!
   374. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4204665)
Hope Solo! Holy Toledo!
   375. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4204673)
As terrible as Chastain is, she is 100% right about the US not trying to maintain possession. They keep going forward and have too many players in the offensive 1/3 of the field.

As much experience as Rampone has, she makes a lot of mistakes.
   376. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4204677)
2' stoppage time. C'MON USA!
   377. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4204680)
All over!
   378. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4204682)
congrats to the u.s. women

   379. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4204696)
In a great mood right now.
   380. JuanGone..except1game Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4204702)
As terrible as Chastain is


Why don't we just leave it at that. The fact that she didn't mention Hope Solo, who was bombarded today and put in an absolute class performance, in her remarks was unprofessional. It's not Hope's job to not make it personal, but it is Chastain's. Bush league move by her.
   381. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4204704)
I genuinely like this Japanese team a lot. They're really classy and seem to be made of personalities who are easy to support. They also look super excited with their silvers, which is really enjoyable to see.
   382. Padgett Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4204709)
A couple of weeks until Serie A starts and BeIn sports is still not available on New York cable and I can't imagine it will be.
I'm also not reassured by the extreme choppiness and variable quality of their live feed for Valencia–Spurs.
   383. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4204723)
Let's put this on the list of things I never want to hear again: Pia Sundhage covers Bruce Springsteen.
   384. DA Baracus Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4204742)
If the US holds up, I imagine Pia Sundhage is going to dip into the Football Manager press conference book of cliches about why it's so important to get that second goal.


It might be full of cliches but when it gave me the option to answer "I'm not a fan of Brian Ching" I literally laughed out loud at it's realism.
   385. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4204746)
Let's put this on the list of things I never want to hear again: Pia Sundhage covers Bruce Springsteen.


I missed this?!
   386. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4204771)
i don't know anything but given how in previous games chastain was so chatty in the last 20 minutes i caught i rarely heard her say anything. do you think someone sat her down and told her to rein it in?
   387. Kurt Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4204784)
i don't know anything but given how in previous games chastain was so chatty in the last 20 minutes i caught i rarely heard her say anything. do you think someone sat her down and told her to rein it in?

I didn't see the game, but (as suggested by JuanGone in #380) if Solo was standing on her head making save after save that might have been to Chastain what an opponent's walk-off HR is to Hawk Harrelson?
   388. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4204801)
I don't recall Chastain giving more than passing credit to Solo for her most impressive save, or going back later on to point out exactly how amazing that 1:1 save was. I could be misremembering but I'd agree it was bush league. Solo fulfilled the hype today, she made several excellent plays that saved the game for the US.
   389. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4204819)
United shares priced at $14, less than the $16-$20 range, good for a valuation of £1.5B or so. The poor Glaziers got $115M to console themselves with.
   390. Swedish Chef Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:34 AM (#4205049)
Conte is banned for 10 months in the match fixing scandal for not reporting the fixed games when he was at Siena. His assistant at both clubs, Angelo Alessio, got 8 months.

Interesting to see who they will parachute in if this stands. I guess they'll get a veteran coach content to step aside in a year if they want to keep Conte. I'm not saying they will or should get Redknapp, but wouldn't it be hilarious?
   391. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 10, 2012 at 07:59 AM (#4205064)
CL playoffs are set. For me, Spartak v Fenerbahce, Gladbach v Dynamo Kyiv and Lille v Copenhagen are the most interesting. The Europa draw comes a little later this morning. Anzhi is unseeded so I'd think they're the team none of the seeded teams want to draw--lots of talent and a long Thursday night trip to Dagestan...

Basel Switzerland 1 Romania CFR Cluj 21–22 August 28–29 August
Helsingborg Sweden 2 Scotland Celtic 21–22 August 28–29 August
BATE Borisov Belarus 3 Israel Ironi Kiryat Shmona 21–22 August 28–29 August
AEL Limassol Cyprus 4 Belgium Anderlecht 21–22 August 28–29 August
Dinamo Zagreb Croatia 5 Slovenia Maribor 21–22 August 28–29 August
League Route
Braga Portugal 6 Italy Udinese 21–22 August 28–29 August
Spartak Moscow Russia 7 Turkey Fenerbahçe 21–22 August 28–29 August
Málaga Spain 8 Greece Panathinaikos 21–22 August 28–29 August
Borussia Mönchengladbach9 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv 21–22 August 28–29 August
Lille France 10 Denmark Copenhagen 21–22 August 28–29 August
   392. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 10, 2012 at 08:01 AM (#4205065)
I'm not saying they will or should get Redknapp, but wouldn't it be hilarious?

This would be perfect entertainment and, as a Torino fan, I think they should totally do this. Sadly, there always seem to be a couple of Italian savants sipping espressos with nothing else to do but wait for a call.

edit: You know, the only character more fun than Redknapp leading Juventus into the CL this year would be Maradonna. Come on Juventus! Redeem your bastardness a little by giving us the Argentine Quote Machine.
   393. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4205103)
And the Europa draw is set. Some highlights:

Liverpool against Hearts. Nice easy road trip for the Reds. Hearts get another crack at an English team after losing to Spurs last year.
AZ Alkmaar and Jozy Altidore get the short straw and will be heading to Dagestan.
Dinamo Moscow and Stuttgart could be a good matchup.
Levante will make their European debut against Motherwell.
Newcastle travel to Greece against Atromitos.
   394. Mattbert Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4205110)
CL playoffs are set. For me, Spartak v Fenerbahce, Gladbach v Dynamo Kyiv and Lille v Copenhagen are the most interesting.

Braga v Udinese should be pretty decent as well.
   395. Sean Forman Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4205124)
Could someone in the know run down the various outlets for the various leagues this season? What channels do I need to set on tivo to see Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, EPL, CL, MLS, etc?

Is there a source for this?

   396. Mattbert Posted: August 10, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4205130)
Sean: I use livesoccertv.com to check what's on.
   397. zack Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4205153)
Did any of you see the late-night wrap with the women's team? Wambach was so clearly a six-pack deep that it was the first thing Bob Costas mentioned. Awesome.

Also Hope Solo is the Alex Rodriguez of women's soccer.
   398. Spivey Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4205158)
I'd take City and United as the top 2 teams. City because of the talent, United because they're United. United was 2 stoppage time goals from winning another title last year. And in my off-the-cuff analysis of their team, it didn't seem like they had anyone playing out of their mind besides Rooney who was in form all season. But he's really good, so that's not a huge surprise. And Vidic was clearly their most important player from the year before and they did it without him, so even if he isn't 100% this year they've already shown they can compete without him.

United always seems to make things work, and it's not like this upcoming year is the first year they've had midfield questions.

As for Chelsea, they have a lot of talent, but I don't think that first half was just a product of AVB. They've got serious questions as well, primarily the fact that they struggle to score and just lost their best striker. There's a huge goal differential gap between what Chelsea did and what United did last year.

I've also reached the point where I will never expect Arsenal to finish above United. I want to see it happen first.
   399. Spivey Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4205159)
Also Hope Solo is the Alex Rodriguez of women's soccer.

I have no idea what this means, but the comparison seems very off. For starters, fans love her and she's way more outspoken.
   400. Mattbert Posted: August 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4205169)
As for Chelsea, they have a lot of talent, but I don't think that first half was just a product of AVB.

There's also the fact that they actually did worse in the league (on a points per game basis) after Villas-Boas got canned. You could argue that this was at least partly a result of the team being focused on the Champions League to the exclusion of just about all else (and I wouldn't object), but them's the facts.

They've got serious questions as well, primarily the fact that they struggle to score and just lost their best striker. There's a huge goal differential gap between what Chelsea did and what United did last year.

Chelsea's squad is loaded, but it's way heavy on attacking midfielders and light on center forwards who can hold the ball up bring those mids into the play. Di Matteo has his work cut out for him in figuring out how to get all those creative players to play together, I'd say.
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