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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

OT Soccer Thread - Crowning Champions and Pro-Rel

Bundesliga final day: May 14
Women’s UCL Final: May 21
Ligue Un final day: May 21
Serie A, Premier League, La Liga final day: May 22
Men’s UCL Final: May 28

Promotion! Relegation! European spots! Champions! It’s all to play for in May! Or, actually, just some of it is to play for but you know what I mean.

The Marksist Posted: May 04, 2022 at 09:23 AM | 262 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   201. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:24 PM (#6078847)
Well they certainly blew that defensively. One chance and one goal, but it looked to be a clear offside. The Real Madrid player played it first and it deflected twice.
   202. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:27 PM (#6078848)
Not ultimately important, but I'm pretty sure the VAR check alone took over three minutes.
   203. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:28 PM (#6078849)
I actually thought the initial through ball to Benzema looked offside. But they never really showed a good angle of that.

Regardless, it should not take 3 mins to do a VAR check. If you can't figure it out in 40 seconds, play on.
   204. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:31 PM (#6078850)
That deflection gathered by Benzema was recorded as a shot, with the offside coming off the double deflection. So Real Madrid have an official shot finally.

More relevantly, it was a very good chance for Real Madrid. Overall though to me it's Real Madrid that needs to figure out something different for the second half.
   205. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6078851)
I think Madrid need to put on Camavinga for Kroos, or maybe Rodrygo and move Valverde back to an 8 role. They need more athleticism in the middle of the park to match Liverpool. I feel like that's a sub they've done with great success in their other CL ties.
   206. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:33 PM (#6078852)
Real Madrid are going to Real it up in the last 5 minutes, like they have like every round. I have no doubt.
   207. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:46 PM (#6078853)
Liverpool's odds of winning the trophy have gone down, but only slightly. As the better team, the more time that goes by the closer it gets to 50/50. Counteracting that a bit was the game was probably more a bit more of a mismatch in the first half than people were expecting.
   208. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:55 PM (#6078857)
Militao wrestles a player to the ground and gets a free kick. Good work if you can get it.
   209. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:55 PM (#6078858)
Real Madrid already wasting time. And yeah, if anything that was a foul the other way.

That's a tacit acknowledgment that Real Madrid is getting outplayed. They want to shorten the game and get lucky.

edit: gah. And now the time wasting will really start, and Liverpool will have to take some chance too. Could be exciting at least. Howe was he so wide open...
   210. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6078859)
They got lucky.
   211. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6078860)
Man that’s richly undeserved.
   212. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6078863)
Seemed like TAA should have had a closer watch on him there. There was little else for him to be doing on the play, and Liverpool had enough other guys back.
   213. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6078864)
Real shame that Origi isn’t an option because damn this is a situation for him to do his thing.
   214. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:06 PM (#6078867)
Guys can tell when you're shooting, and it's easy to turn off for a split second there as a defender when you know the guy is shooting vs passing. Diaz was really ineffective tonight.

Valverde's made some impressive runs here in the second half, which has been a lot more even.
   215. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:10 PM (#6078870)
I played fullback for years. It's a bad mistake by TAA. He had one primary job there with the coverage they had in the middle, and he blew it.
   216. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:15 PM (#6078872)
Ironic that the second best chance of the game for Real Madrid comes off a free kick, where there's no reason for Liverpool to be stretched at the back. Luckily Casemiro blew it.

Maybe shows a mental lack of concentration on defense since they know they have to score.
   217. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:15 PM (#6078873)
Gonna be squeaky bum time the next 15 minutes for Madrid.
   218. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:17 PM (#6078874)
Is it my imagination or are the Liverpool forwards not being aggressive enough on 50-50 balls in and around the box? Maybe it’s just Real being better at getting to them but Liverpool players seem too willing to pull out.
   219. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:19 PM (#6078875)
Courtois is so good.
   220. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:20 PM (#6078877)
The xG for this game is going to be something.
   221. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6078879)
Well that sucked. Real Madrid does it yet again, despite again being second best. Full credit to Courtois for an excellent game, and the rest of the Real Madrid players did just enough and rode their luck.
   222. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:34 PM (#6078880)
I can't believe the ref just let Madrid get away with that time wasting foul and boot of the ball and not allow the free kick. Almost certainly wouldn't have mattered, but that's stupid.

Liverpool played well, and I'd say they played better than Madrid, but I don't think they were dominant. They've played like a gassed team the last couple of months.
   223. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:35 PM (#6078881)
This is all Donnarumma's fault.
   224. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 29, 2022 at 12:32 PM (#6078938)
TAA made a mistake, but Liverpool didn't lose the game on the defensive end. It's rare to play a perfect game defensively. They lost because they couldn't convert any of their many chances. Part of that was Courtois, part of that was a bit of bad luck. It's pretty hard to even argue for poor finishing, because post-shot xG was supposedly even higher than xG--around 2.5 for Liverpool.
   225. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: May 29, 2022 at 12:55 PM (#6078942)
I think Forest have turned off their attack too soon. They've been on the defensive the whole 2nd half and Huddersfield isn't really pressing yet.

   226. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 29, 2022 at 01:30 PM (#6078945)
They held on though! Huddersfield had a few late chances, including a dive in the penalty box that probably could have been a penalty had the offensive player left his leg out longer so as to force the contact. The defender had already committed and missed the ball.

Forest will be favorites for the drop next year, but you never know. They at least were one of the three best teams in the Championship this year.
   227. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 29, 2022 at 01:31 PM (#6078946)
Congratulations to Forest. They clearly took it personally when I called them a good bad team to pick...
   228. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 30, 2022 at 04:48 PM (#6079080)
Looking at the replay again I think Huddersfield should have had a penalty in the 72nd minute. The Huddersfield player definitely was looking for the call and left his leg in, but the defender was committed. At first I didn't really see the contact much but I think on close review it's pretty clear. The Huddersfield player was ready to react to it, to throw his foot back once the challenge came, which it did. Couple interesting points to me--the Huddersfield player probably got more contact than he was actually anticipating, because when pulling his leg back to react to it, his foot crashed into his other leg, throwing him even more off balance than he was expecting. Also, I think he might have gotten the original call on the field if he hadn't been so theatrical about it. Instead of putting his leg down normally and almost certainly immediately falling over due to being off balance, as the foot was coming down he kicked it back up in a telltale diving motion that probably influenced the ref to call a dive. So, it's a case where a bad-looking dive probably hurt his chances to get the call for the very real contact.

Finally, if he had really been interested in scoring and not drawing a foul the whole play works out differently. There really was not that much contact and if the Huddersfield player had been looking to avoid it there would likely have been even less, maybe none at all. Also, while he maybe could have retained decent control of the ball absent falling over, with just minor or no contact at all, a chance for a penalty was the higher percentage play as there was still another defender in front of him. I don't for one second believe he wasn't looking for the penalty there.

Ultimately though the defender made a very bad play and made contact enough for a penalty. That's all that should matter and Huddersfield got the short end of it. All the rest is secondary.
   229. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 30, 2022 at 07:53 PM (#6079103)
The Athletic has a pretty good piece about the mess in Paris this weekend.. This early it’s not comprehensive but I think it’s a good contemporaneous report. Some of the videos in the piece are horrific.
   230. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 30, 2022 at 08:01 PM (#6079107)
Don't have an Athletic sub, so can't read it. But I assume we will just follow normal procedures for these situations. I.e. blame Liverpool fans for being abused by authorities.
   231. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 30, 2022 at 08:13 PM (#6079108)
One thing the article does pretty decisively is demonstrate why Liverpool fans are not to be blamed. From what I read this looks like the Paris police were a complete mess.
   232. Textbook Editor Posted: May 30, 2022 at 11:16 PM (#6079138)
The fact none of this nonsense happened to the Real Madrid fans tells me that basically the Euro 2020/2021 final at Wembley may have freaked out those who have to handle these events on the continent, such that their working assumption/bias appears to be "England's traveling fans are all hooligans again," and thus they basically treated all of Liverpool's fans accordingly. (The pitch invasions in England over the last couple weeks of the season likely didn't help either.)

I am NOT defending anything the Paris police did--what I've seen is horrific and honestly they're pretty damn lucky there were not casualties.

   233. spivey Posted: May 31, 2022 at 09:08 AM (#6079162)
I also find it interesting the Real Madrid fans didn't seem to have issues, or the same level of issues.

Considering the Liverpool fans to be hooligans requiring special treatment would be a bit rich given some of the pitch invasions in France this year, which I feel like were way worse than anything in England. Pretty sure there was a match where a player was attacked, and then St. Etienne fans threw a ####### of flares at players and all over the pitch this weekend. That was after the CL, of course, but I think is the worst invasion I can recall this year.

But there's also the local element. It sounds like Saint Denis is really not a good suburb at all, and locals seem to be the ones jumping the gates, there was an account from a reporter that police were not outside after the match so attacks from locals on exiting fans was pretty high and that was a scary situation.

Between police forces and UEFA, there's just no accountability to be organized or actually do your job well. It seems like a failure in so many ways that you have to say they were not prepared to host the event.
   234. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 31, 2022 at 09:24 AM (#6079167)
From what I've seen this was more of a policing fail than a UEFA fail. I'm sure UEFA deserve some heat for any number of logistical errors but the police seem to have been the ones who escalated things. I've heard multiple reporters talking about the fact that early in the day the scanners weren't working for the press passes so the decision to immediately assume a fan with a ticket that didn't scan properly was counterfeit and then pepper spray that person (which I've seen one video of and read many descriptions of) is outrageous.
   235. The Marksist Posted: May 31, 2022 at 09:32 AM (#6079170)
I just wanted to drop in and say that this was an incredible season for Liverpool, and that my overwhelming takeaway is that this team is really good and (as a biased fan) really likable. It'll take some time to get over the disappointment of the last week, especially the CL final, but I'll remember this as a great year anyway. Knockout tournaments are too random to get all torn up over, and City are a juggernaut, but we ran them close, played some great games, and should be among the best teams in Europe again next year.

And if Mane really is moving on, I'll remember him as the player who set Liverpool on the path it is on now. He was the first meaningful signing of the Klopp era and has been crucial to nearly every single success the team has had. YNWA, Sadio.
   236. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 31, 2022 at 09:37 AM (#6079172)
235 - Yeah it's an amazing season. Obviously incredibly disappointing to lose out at the end there like they did but two trophies, in the race for the EPL title until the final 15 minutes of the season and going to the Champions League final and losing by one goal is a great season. And you're right, they are a pretty easy team to root for.
   237. spivey Posted: May 31, 2022 at 09:50 AM (#6079173)
Liverpool is making the right decision letting Mane go, I think. Their attacking line is very good, but it's not fearsome the way it was a few years ago. These guys aren't nearly as dynamic off the dribble and in open space as they used to be. Which makes sense, they're all getting older. But Salah is the only one who puts the fear of god in you now, and I don't think you want them all aging out at the same time. And I think Firmino's wage demands will be less, and he already seems comfortable being more of a rotational guy. It'll be interesting to see if they try to get another guy, and what level he is. Bringing in Jota and Diaz was really good business, but I don't know if they're quite "nailed on starters for a top 5 team in the world" level yet. I was expecting to see more from Diaz in the CL final. He couldn't really beat Carvajal consistently off the dribble, and Carvajal had problems defending in earlier CL rounds. But hard to say, these guys and Firmino have very good, well rounded advanced stats. Getting a guy a level above them would be very expensive, so it may need to be a post-prime star or young talent.

#234: I agree. But I also think UEFA should be taking a lot of responsibility for making sure the local authorities have proper organizational plans, contingency plans, etc.. I don't think you can just wash your hands of it and say "They won the bid, and that's it, we're not involved anymore."
   238. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 31, 2022 at 10:28 AM (#6079178)
Yeah, I'm probably (definitely) giving UEFA too much credit here. My sense is that it was more incompetence with UEFA while the Paris police were more malicious. But in the end, yeah UEFA fully deserve their criticisms.
   239. The Marksist Posted: May 31, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6079183)
#237: Diaz is raw and I don't think the movement patterns between him, Robertson, and whoever's in the middle are quite right yet. Preseason should help with that, and he's definitely got the tenacity to succeed in a Klopp system. In his first couple games, he was playing with Jota and Salah (I think) and the balance there looked really good, so that might be a path forward.

My biggest concern is actually the midfield balance and depth. With Elliot and Carvalho, there's lots of young potential, but it lacks the physicality and protection, especially with Henderson and Fabinho aging. And now there are rumors that Keita might be moving on, leaving things even thinner. It's a very interesting time from a squad perspective!
   240. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 02, 2022 at 02:14 AM (#6079474)
Ukraine got a lot closer to the WC today. A well-earned win from the parts I saw. They are a little under 50/50 to beat Wales, given that Wales has the HFA. Ukraine is a very decent team, and if eliminated would probably be the third best team out, after Italy and Colombia.

It would be satisfying to see them make the World Cup, and particularly moreso if the war is still going on by the end of the year, which unfortunately seems fairly likely now.
   241. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 05, 2022 at 05:53 PM (#6080000)
Ukraine outplayed Wales but lost anyway. Wales did have a number of good chances too, but Ukraine had more. Wales got lucky on a free kick that was put in for an own goal.

By betting odds, the US is still not favored to advance, as they are viewed as the third best team after Wales and Iran is viewed as decent as well (which they are). Even by betting odds though they are being given almost as much chance as Wales, and close to 50/50 to advance, so it's certainly there for them if they play well.
   242. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 05, 2022 at 06:04 PM (#6080002)
Yeah can't really argue with the way this shook out for the US. It's a group they can get through if they play well and that's all we can hope for. Fitness and form are going to be key.

Weird things have happened at untraditional World Cups. In 1994 Bulgaria and Sweden were semi-finalists, in 2002 Turkey joined hosts South Korea, 2010 wasn't particularly out there though Ghana were a penalty away from being the first African team in the semis. I won't be surprised if some strange things happen in Qatar. Both the location and the timing open itself up to some unpredictability. Apparently Landon Donovan was saying it might be a bit of a negative for the US as MLS players won't be ready but I think the opposite. I think MLS players on the US roster (and others) will be fresh and healthy while not so far removed from games as to be rusty. Of course a fair number of the key US players are European based also.
   243. spivey Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:35 PM (#6080037)
One thing I'm happy with the US on is that between Pulisic, Aaronson, Weah, and Reyna (and I guess to a lesser extent Ferreira) - there's a lot more attacking talent than there's been in the past. We're not entirely reliant on 1 or 2 guys to be healthy and in form.
   244. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 02:01 PM (#6081499)
Peru players win the anthem singing competition handily.
   245. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6081535)
Australia to the World Cup!
   246. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 13, 2022 at 06:09 PM (#6081544)
I only saw bits and pieces of the game. Peru was probably better but left enough chance for Australia to take it.

Peru outplayed Denmark and got badly shafted by the refs in the 2018 group that also featured France and Australia. They are also just a better team than Australia generally. That Group D, which also features Tunisia, will have two very strong favorites to advance this year, so should be the group where the second favored team (in this case Denmark) has the highest chance to advance.
   247. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 17, 2022 at 10:02 AM (#6082407)
Finally a break for the European men's leagues. On the other hand, soccer options are limited until August.

Revised WC group odds, and favorites:
         to advance    winner
Group A
Netherlands      88     64
Senegal          50     17
Ecuador          46     14
Qatar            16      5

Group B
England          89     69
Wales            46     14
USA              43     12
Iran             22      5

Group C
Argentina        90     66
Poland           50     16
Mexico           49     16
Saudi Arabia     11      2

Group D
France           93     69
Denmark          69     24
Tunisia          16      4
Australia        12      3

Group E
Spain            87     49
Germany          82     44
Japan            24      6
Costa Rica        7      1

Group F
Belgium          90     62
Croatia          56     25
Morocco          31      7
Canada           23      6

Group G
Brazil           90     69
Switzerland      50     14
Serbia           39     11
Cameroon         21      6

Group H
Portugal         86     57
Uruguay          65     28
South Korea      26      8
Ghana            23      7
   248. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 17, 2022 at 10:06 AM (#6082408)
No team outside of Europe or South America is favored to advance, except Senegal which is 50/50. The only teams from Europe or South America not favored to advance are Ecuador, at just under 50/50 behind Senegal, and Serbia, which is in a group with a better European team and also Brazil.
   249. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:44 PM (#6082483)
If the Dutch have their act together this is a real chance for them. I always like a Group A team in a tournament like this, that little extra rest seems beneficial, and in the temps of Qatar I suspect that will have even great importance. The same goes for England. Both those teams will have 27 days to play 7 possible games while Brazil (24) and Belgium and Spain (25) have a bit less.

Is it easy to see how the draws could have been different from the US percentage wise?

Group A - US replaces Netherlands - Favorites or at least something on the order of co-favorites with Senegal? Probably an interesting group if not a very good one.
Group C - Mexico - Probably about the same as Mexico
Group D - Denmark - I assume we would be favored to advance though probably not as strongly as Denmark.
Group E/F - If we got into these groups all kinds of things change due to Costa Rica/Canada not being in them so I'm skipping this.
Group G - Switzerland - Not sure here. Would we behind Serbia? My guess is this group sets up with no true 2nd favorite as none of the three gets over 50% probability of getting through.
Group H - Uruguay - Similar to Group G, I think we bunch up heavily with SK and Ghana.
   250. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 17, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6082555)
We can make some guesses, anyway.

Group A - Already "not a very good one", and adding the US would certainly make it the Group of Life. My guess is the US would be close to even odds against Senegal, and a tad better than Ecuador. (My guess: 60% chance to advance.)

Group C - yes. Maybe the US a tad worse by expectation than Mexico. (My guess: 48% chance to advance.)

Group D -The US would definitely be favored to advance. And the US is not considered to be near as strong as Denmark. Denmark is the 10th most fancied team at the WC, ahead of Uruguay and Croatia and behind only the teams that would broadly be viewed as the favorites (here including Portugal, Belgium, and the Netherlands). (My guess: 57% chance to advance)

Group G - The US would be behind Serbia, and not a favorite to advance. The group would be a lot like the group the US is already in, but with Brazil an upgrade over England, and Serbia a slight upgrade over Wales. Serbia is generally considered a better team than Wales, both historically and even over the last few years. (My guess: 39% chance to advance)

Group H - This would be a much easier group than Group G--Brazil and Serbia are considered quite a bit better than Portugal and South Korea, and the US would be clear second favorite. (My guess: 55% to advance)
   251. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 17, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6082586)
Thanks for the feedback, it’s interesting. I wouldn’t have considered Serbia to be superior to South Korea so that’s good to know. Would the US grade out behind Mexico? I guess that makes sense as they finished ahead of the US but it certainly seemed throughout qualifying that they were seen as the lesser team. I had forgotten we finished behind them in the end.
   252. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 18, 2022 at 01:43 PM (#6082691)
It helps if you think of Serbia as the biggest part of Yugoslavia. Then it becomes not that difficult to see how they could put together a decent team. I know it can be hard for us non-Slavic people to keep all the '-ic's straight. But if you look at the club teams of their players, those are mostly really good teams, and some great ones. They also beat Portugal in their group, and didn't lose a single game in qualifying.
   253. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 18, 2022 at 05:45 PM (#6082721)
Would the US grade out behind Mexico? I guess that makes sense as they finished ahead of the US but it certainly seemed throughout qualifying that they were seen as the lesser team. I had forgotten we finished behind them in the end.
I think it's close right now, but probably, by a tad.

Mexico was the favorite going into the octagonal, and have been considered the better team over the last few years. I agree they weren't really any better, and maybe a little worse, than the US in the octagonal, but betting odds for sure looks beyond that.

Then, looking at the groups themselves, Poland and Wales are roughly equal, and England only has a slight edge on Argentina. Iran is a bit better than Saudi Arabia, but I don't think those are enough to make up the 6% betting odds gap between Mexico and the US. It should be close though.

Serbia is considered to be significantly better than South Korea. No Asian teams are highly rated at all--all 6, except potentially Japan, are considered to be in the bottom 10 teams in the tournament, along with Costa Rica, maybe Canada, and some of the African teams other than Senegal and Morocco.

Serbia is a decent European team, which makes them probably a top-20 team in the world right now.
   254. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 18, 2022 at 07:46 PM (#6082743)
Actually you can throw Morocco in there as well. Right now there's a (by betting odds expectation) bottom 12 in the tournament, which include Morocco and Japan. The 12 are: the 6 Asian teams, Canada and Costa Rica, and all the African teams except Senegal. Ecuador would very likely be favored over all of those, and the US, Mexico, and Senegal likely all favored over Ecuador. The rest of the teams are all Europe and South America, and the weakest of the bunch is probably Poland, who are by expectation likely no worse than level with the US, Mexico, and Senegal.

None of those 12 really expects to advance, whereas everyone else probably believes they should even if a few of them like the US are being given under 50/50.
   255. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 18, 2022 at 07:50 PM (#6082744)
Best 4 teams to miss out this year are probably Italy, Colombia, Peru, and Ukraine. Honorable mention to Czech Republic. That would be a very hard group. Not the best at the top end but certainly the best 3rd/4th team combination by a big margin.
   256. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 27, 2022 at 11:11 AM (#6084068)
It's impossible to really know what older stars will still be motivated to train hard and put in a lot of effort after coming to MLS. I wouldn't put my money on Bale though, at least not once the World Cup is over.
   257. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 27, 2022 at 11:33 AM (#6084071)
Am I nuts for thinking MLS is the perfect place to be for a lot of guys this year? Presumably you come here, get plenty of playing time but other than the two finalists everyone is done by October some time and you have a bit of time off before the WC. Not so much time as you get rusty but enough that any injuries should be healed.
   258. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: June 27, 2022 at 03:40 PM (#6084114)
I feel like MLS is missing the boat by not having a game on every night.
NFL: done
NBA: done
NHL: done
MLB: done (well, the boring stretch of the season)
All other soccer: done

Maybe I'm the only one missing my daily dose of soccer from ESPN+, but MLS is missing a huge opportunity for the next month and a half. This is the only year where they won't have Nations Leagues or Euros or a World Cup dominating June-July.

Get your product out there, even if it is Andy Najar swinging and missing from point blank range.
   259. Pirate Joe Posted: June 27, 2022 at 08:57 PM (#6084182)
I wouldn't put my money on Bale though, at least not once the World Cup is over.


Doesn't his base contract just run until the end of this MLS season, with an option to play again next year but at a much increased salary?

The most likely outcome is that he plays with LAFC through the end of this season, plays in the World Cup, and then retires to the nearest golf course.

   260. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 27, 2022 at 09:14 PM (#6084188)
There seems to be mixed reports about who has the option--LAFC or Bale. For LAFC's sake I hope they have it.

From Forbes (who may not be right about this):
So LAFC can probably count on the most focused and motivated version of Bale showing up for the remainder of the 2022 MLS season, which concludes just before the World Cup begins. But the reported structure of his contract — with an 18-month player option that would give Bale a substantial raise — could be timed in a way that it gets more expensive after the Black and Gold have gotten the best from their new star.
   261. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 27, 2022 at 10:55 PM (#6084217)
With so many conflicting reports it's hard to know what kind of option it is, but if the rest of the reporting is true, a pure team option makes no sense. Reportedly Bale is only getting $1.5 million this year. A pure team option would have negative value for Bale, meaning he'd be playing this year for nothing or maybe less than nothing.
   262. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: June 29, 2022 at 09:58 AM (#6084444)
With Russia getting the boot and Portugal taking their place, the women's Euros is entirely Western and Northern Europe. Only Western European nation of any size missing is Ireland. Wales and Scotland are also not there, but England and Northern Ireland are. All the Scandinavian teams are there.

Guess who the favorite is right now... Spain. Unthinkable just a few years ago they've risen through the ranks, with their flagship team Barcelona now rivaled only by Lyon as the best in the world. The roster is almost entirely Spanish as well, though they do have a few notably great players from elsewhere (including Hansen, Rolfo, and Bronze).

Five other teams also are being given a good chance to win: England, France, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden.

Spain has Germany and Denmark in the hardest group. England and France have much easier groups.
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