Archive for the ‘Soccer’ Category

D.C. United at Maryland SoccerPlex

July 8, 2012

D.C. United plays its home games at old RFK Stadium in Washington, which shakes and teems with character and memories. But United plays a couple of games each season at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, which seats just a few thousand, but is an excellent venue for soccer. I went to a game about a month ago against the Philadelphia Union.

Here’s the article on Examiner.com.

Washington, D.C. is not just a Redskins town – it’s a great sports city

October 31, 2011

The Caps have been the most underachieving playoff team of all time in any major North American sport, yet the games are all sold out for the third year in a row. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Washington, D.C. may not be the best sports town in the country, but it deserves a lot more credit than it usually gets.  In fact, D.C. is an excellent sports town that supports more teams in more sports than just about any city in the U.S.

The Washington Post, a marketing machine that bores its tentacles further and further into the belly of local radio, TV, and the internet all the time, recently had the gall to call D.C. a “mediocre” sports town.

Don’t pay attention to such drivel, though, because the writers behind the series for the most part, namely Dan Steinberg and Mike Wise, have only been in town for a few years, and they overlook many of the aspects of D.C. sports fandom that make D.C. sports fans unique. Virtually none of the columnists who criticize D.C. as a sports town, many of whom live off the reputation of the once great Post, hail from the area.

D.C. sports fans shouldn’t be judged on their teams’ lack of recent championships or blamed because people want to live here. Examine the loyalty of fans through good times and bad, and you’ll find that D.C. stacks up well with almost any major city.  Washington hasn’t won a major pro sports championship in 20 years other than the four Major League Soccer trophies DC United took home between 1996 and 2004.  Yet D.C. fans are remarkably passionate in supporting their teams.

How many cities have the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, plus major college basketball and football? Not many.  We have the Redskins, Wizards, Caps, Nats, D.C. United, Maryland and Georgetown basketball, Terps football, and a whole lot more. Given what we’ve had to cheer for, D.C. has turned out to be a great sports city.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Abby Wambach’s goal vs. Brazil: greatest goal in U.S. women’s soccer history?

July 10, 2011

Abby Wambach just scored in the final seconds of extra time to tie the game between the U.S. and Brazil 2-2 in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Germany.  Megan Rapinoe set up the goal with a beautiful left footed cross, high in the air, and Wambach headed it in past the Brazilian goalie.  This was the greatest goal I’ve ever seen in women’s soccer considering the stakes – the U.S. would have been knocked out of the tournament with a loss.  I cried after that goal.

Then the U.S. won in a shootout.  After a controversial goal by Brazil, when the referee ordered the penalty kick to be redone – it’s still undetermined why – the U.S. played with 10 players the rest of the game.

DC United’s Jaime Moreno finishes career as all-time goals leader for MLS

October 28, 2010

DC United fans hold a banner of Jaime Moreno during his final game at RFK Stadium October 23. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

DC United legend Jaime Moreno, one of the best players in the history of MLS, scored in the final game of his career Saturday night at RFK Stadium, but United fell to Toronto FC, 3-2.

Moreno finished his illustrious career as MLS’ all-time leading scorer with 133 goals.  The Bolivian star is the only player in the history of the league with more than 100 goals and 100 assists.

Dusty old RFK rocked the entire game.  Redskins fans wish they had a stadium and an atmosphere like this.  The noise was loudest when Moreno scored on a penalty kick in the game’s 39th minute.  Moreno calmly jogged to the ball and placed it in the right corner of the goal, past goalie Milos Kocic.

For the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

DC United fans celebrated the final game of Jaime Moreno's illustrious career at RFK Stadium October 23. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Soccer drills for children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities should be easy, fun

July 4, 2010

With the U.S. soccer team advancing to the second round of the World Cup last month, soccer got a bump in interest in the U.S.

Though the U.S. is long gone from the tournament, the semifinals and finals coming up this week and next weekend present a good opportunity for children to watch the games on TV and get interested in the sport.

For children with autism and other disabilities, soccer is one of the best team sports to attempt, since it is fairly simple and doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

Playing soccer and other sports, exercising, and developing motor skills are areas that are often overlooked and under appreciated when it comes to therapy for children with autism. Sports and exercise can even improve social and cognitive skills for children with autism. Most importantly, soccer and other sports are fun.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

ESPN’s World Cup coverage has been great. Now they need to do the same for MLS.

June 27, 2010

ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup has been excellent.  Chris Fowler, Mike Tirico, and Bob Ley have done a great job of hosting pre-match, halftime, and post-match shows. Color commentators Alexi Lalas, Steve McManaman, Ruud Gullit, Roberto Martinez, Jurgen Klinsmann and Shaun Bartlett have been spot on. The questions asked by Fowler, Tirico, and Ley shows they have done their homework, and ESPN is treating the World Cup with great respect – of course they have the broadcast rights to it along with ABC.

“Show it and they will come” – just like “Build it and they will come.”

Now ESPN needs to cover MLS more.  There are hour long SportsCenters in which ESPN not only doesn’t show any MLS highlights, but they don’t even mention any scores. Hockey has grown in the U.S. in large part because ESPN covers it so much. They should do the same for soccer, and MLS should try to get a contract with ESPN. If hockey can make it in the U.S., soccer can. A lot more Americans have played soccer than hockey.

Most people under 50 played soccer when they were young.  So there are more people who have played soccer than ever before in the U.S. The sport may never overtake football and basketball in America, but it may overtake hockey and baseball within 30 years.

ESPN should pay more attention to soccer and treat it with respect like Fowler, Tirico, and Ley have. Some of the anchors still joke about it when they show highlights because they think it’s a stupid sport or they don’t like the fact that some of the names of players are foreign-sounding.

ESPN: just cover MLS. You don’t have to do it a lot, just a few minutes each show, and do the occasional feature.  Whoever thinks that a ratio of 20 minutes of baseball highlights to 6 minutes of golf highlights to 0 minutes of soccer is best for the network is flat out wrong.  How about a ratio of 18 minutes of baseball to 6 minutes of golf to 2 minutes of MLS.  At least that’s better than nothing.

U.S. soccer team wastes an opportunity in losing to Ghana

June 26, 2010

Overall it was a decent showing by the U.S. soccer team to make it to the knockout round in the World Cup but they wasted an opportunity in losing to Ghana. The U.S. played well in the second half but it wasn’t good enough. Jozy Altidore didn’t do much although he made a nice attempt on a goal with his left foot after he was tripped – that could have been called a penalty.

Robbie Findley made a weak shot right at the goalie, near the ground, and Michael Bradley did the same thing, though he had a great tournament.  It’s called not coming up big when it counts. I’m happy the shots didn’t go 100 yards over the goal like a lot of other shots at the World Cup did, but they could have made better efforts.  We’ll never know if the Americans’ defense would have been better if Oguchi Onyewu had played. Tim Howard had a bad angle on the goal too.

It was a failure, but there’s always 2014. The players should feel badly.  They may never get another chance like that again.  It’s just that both Ghana and Uruguay were beatable – the U.S. could have made it to the semis for the first time ever. At least now a team from Africa has made it to the final 8.

NBC’s Sports Report: no mention at all of U.S. World Cup soccer game? Disgraceful.

June 26, 2010

I just watched an NBC Sports Report during Wimbledon coverage at 1:55 p.m., five minutes before ABC’s coverage of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Ghana was about to begin.  Andrea Joyce first did a promo for the U.S. Track and Field Championships, then did a promo for some Mountain Dew extreme sports event.  Then she said, “Let’s start with baseball.” After doing baseball stories for a couple of minutes, she finished the “Sports Report” without even mentioning the soccer match.  Shame on NBC. Sure they have competing coverage of another sport, but they could have at least mentioned it – even in just one sentence.  That was disgraceful.

Great ending for U.S. soccer in the World Cup against Algeria

June 23, 2010

What a great result today from the U.S. with Landon Donovan’s goal on the rebound, after so many misses (Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey) earlier on.  To score a goal like that two minutes before the end of the game to beat Algeria and advance is remarkable and highly unlikely.  It was all started by a good save by goalie Tim Howard, and then he didn’t hesitate and threw the ball quickly upfield.  If the U.S. plays Serbia in the second round instead of Germany, they will have an excellent chance to move on to the quarterfinals.

World Cup soccer: Put it in the net, or at least close

June 23, 2010

Today in the 37th minute of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Algeria, Jozy Altidore had a point blank shot that went way, way, above the goal.  I realize the stakes are very high and there was some traffic in front of the net.  I said in an earlier blog entry that even though I’m not a good dribbler, have poor endurance, and no speed or quickness, if I had a point blank shot at the goal, I would either make the goalie make a play, or if I missed, at least the shot would be respectable. I wouldn’t shoot it 60 feet above, to the right, or to the left of the goal.  20 feet, maybe.  I know it sounds ridiculous, naive, arrogant to think that I could shoot better than some of these world class players, but I would not miss by a ton on easy shots.  I also wouldn’t do what Landon Donovan, one of the greatest soccer players in U.S. history, did in the MLS final last year, when he shot the ball above the goal during the shootout.


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