April 20, 2014

We’re going to Brazil! The United States clinch a World Cup berth on the eve of the 12th anniversary of September 11

Soccer: World Cup Qualifier-Mexico at USA

Wednesday was September 11, 2013, the 12th anniversary of one of the most tragic days in our nation’s history. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, sports helped to remind the nation why we were stronger than any enemy. The NFL postponed one week of games, but when the league returned to action on September 23, it brought about a host of incredibly powerful images of patriotic pride and national unity. Citizens of all political persuasions watched President George W. Bush take the mound at Yankee Stadium before Game 1 of the World Series and fired what is surely, given the circumstances, the most impressive and important first pitch in baseball history. America watched these moments and began the slow healing process.

Two days ago, on the eve of that 12th anniversary, I stood in a cramped soccer stadium in Columbus and watched yet another example of how sports bind our nation together in common purpose. [Read more...]

USA shuts out Panama 2-0 in front of special Seattle crowd

USMNT_g_mp_576The United States Men’s National Team shut out Panama for a 2-0 win in front of an electric crowd in Seattle on Tuesday. The Yanks outclassed Panama for much of the 90 minutes, earning 3 points and bringing the US to the top of the standings at the midway point of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

Despite the complaints about the temporary playing surface, Century Link Field proved as good a home as any for the US Men’s National Team. The Seattle crowd of 40,000 plus sang from start to finish as the US controlled play for the majority of the game, getting goals from striker Jozy Altidore in the 36th minute and forward Eddie Johnson in the 79th.

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USA beats Jamaica in stoppage time, Cleveland ‘unites and strengthens’

American Outlaws in Jamaica

The American Outlaws cheer on the United States to a 2-1 win over Jamaica in Kingston.

The Yanks were playing their first World Cup qualifier in 2.5 months. They were trying to keep momentum from a 4-3 win over what was essentially a German “B” team that was missing 15 first team players and featured several young Germans earning their first cap. The friendly against Germany served as the second tune up for June’s world cup qualifiers with the first being back in Cleveland over a week and a half ago.

That night over a week and a half ago 27,000 sports fans flocked to downtown Cleveland to take in a world class sporting event. They weren’t headed to Progressive Field to watch the Tribe take on the Reds in “The Battle of Ohio”. Instead it was a rowdy group of soccer fans who packed the lower bowl and the open club sections of First Energy field to watch U.S. Men’s National Team take on the visitors of Belgium in an international friendly. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… The LeBron Years, “Interchangeable” Safties, and Loyalty in Sports

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

“With LeBron, the Cavs were back on the NBA map with sellouts and national TV games. The team won two division titles, made it past the first round five consecutive years, was the top seed in the East two years in a row, went to two Eastern Conference finals and one NBA final, and had the best five-year record in franchise history.

Along the way their games became events; one of the best feelings was looking at the upcoming schedule on a Sunday morning and, seeing back-to-back games on Tuesday/Wednesday and another game on Friday, knowing the week was set. Watching this team – especially the past two years – has been so much fun.

I know some will argue that the Daugherty/Price/Nance Cavs of the late-’80s/early ’90s were better, but they never accomplished what LeBron’s Cavs did, not by a long shot. No division titles, one conference final, first-round playoff losses.” [Red Right 88]

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Friday World Cup Quarterfinal Recap

So, many of us like the footy. A few don’t. Cool. Those of us who watched today, let’s discuss. There’s some video at the end for those who don’t like to read lots of words.

Brazil v. The Netherlands:

Brazil played a beautiful first half which displayed their fantastic footskills. While the lone goal occurred on a brilliant through ball to Robinho, the entire first half was a steady wave of Brazilian offense, occasionally broken up by a dive by a Dutch player. Going into the half, the Dutch looked broken. [Read more...]

What Should Bob Bradley’s Future Be?

Over the weekend, the United States was eliminated by Ghana from the World Cup.  It is always sad to lose, but when we look back on this experience later, I think most of us will appreciate how well the United States did.  They won their group despite some suspect officiating.  They scored a gift of a goal against England in the opener for a fortunate tie.  They should have won the second game against Slovenia if not for a disallowed goal that eventually saw the referee’s dismissal from further World Cup action.  Then they overcame another disallowed goal in beating Algeria to take the group over England.  It showed a lot of heart.  Finally, the United States was not able to beat Ghana on Saturday.  The United States survived another early goal to tie it up and take it into extra time, but the journey ended there.

It was a great showing, but there were definitely some questionable decisions by coach Bob Bradley in the deciding match.  The man who almost single-handedly gave up the early goal, Ricardo Clark, was a controversial choice as starter.  Clark then compounded matters by getting a yellow card and was subsequently replaced at a very early 30 minute mark in the first half.  That used up one of the United States three allowed substitutions with a whole lot of time left on the clock.  Seeing as how the match went into extra time, it was even more.  Now, I can’t blame the loss on the coach.  At the same time, it left many wondering what the future of Bob Bradley should be with the next World Cup heading to Brazil in 2014. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting: LeBron’s Decision, John Simon, Midfield Woes, and Hardesty

While We’re Waiting is a place to sulk and recover from saddening/maddening losses. If you’ve got some linkage for us, pass it along. We certainly appreciate the help.

LeBron’s gonna decide for LeBron: “Has this process sometimes led to mistakes? Of course it has. But James has no qualms with his belief system. One of his favorite things to say is that he doesn’t have any regrets about his major decisions. If he stays true to himself, he won’t have any regrets about this huge decision, either. Because he’s going to be the one to make it.” [Windhorst, PD]

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United States’ World Cup Ends Against Ghana 2-1

It was a decent showing in the World Cup for the United States, but that is for analysis down the road.  Today, the taste of defeat is still just a little bit too bitter for that viewpoint.  The United States survived the referees and the early goals in the opening round.  The defensive issues proved too much of a deficiency for the United States to continue in the knockout stage, as they lost to Ghana on early goals.

In the 93rd minute (very early on in extra time) the United States’ sloppy play on defense haunted them again.  It was a great finish by Ghana’s Gyan through two U.S. defenders and Tim Howard.  A long ball bounced through, Gyan survived a couple of bumps and blasted a left footed rocket practically through Tim Howard.  The United States would have twenty-some more minutes to answer once to send it to penalty kicks, or twice to win the match outright. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting: Zone Blocking, End of an Era?, Footy Fun, and Burnin’ Stones

While We’re Waiting is where we chill every morning. If you guys see things that are proper chillin’ and want us to share, send them to our tips email address. If you want to proper chill with me today, I’ll be at the Pour House on Capitol Hill watching America go all America in Ghana’s faces. To the links!

Dawgs By Nature is running very thoroughly through Zone Run Blocking schemes for Joe Thomas et. al. I don’t know what it all means, but I like abstract art, and it resembles that. [Rufio, Dawgs By Nature]

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YES! United States Beats Algeria, Ref to Win Group

The United States scored a goal.  For real!  It wasn’t disallowed or anything.  It happened off the foot of Landon Donovan in 91st minute of the game.  It should have been the second goal the United States scored, but the first was disallowed.  If the United States had failed to advance, this entire World Cup would have been remembered for the United States getting cheated out of two game-winning goals in the first round of the World Cup.  After a flurry of action and Landon Donovan’s eventual goal, all the nightmares of the first round are completely erased as the United States won their group.  It wasn’t easy though. [Read more...]

United States Gets Cheated Against Slovenia, Ties 2-2

The United States treated their opening game tie versus England as a win.  The United States wasn’t favored in the game and England is considered the class of the opening round group.  Meanwhile, Slovenia won their first game to lead the group with three points after their victory over Algeria.  The plan for both England and the United States was for both of them to beat up on Slovenia and Algeria to advance out of group play.  At the same time, Slovenia is considered somewhat dangerous and would certainly have other ideas.  So, while the United States were favored today, it wasn’t totally inconceivable to have Slovenia score first early, which they did against a notoriously slow-starting United States team. [Read more...]

This Week In Sports: Furthering Our ADHD

Quite a week, yes? There were some Izzo-to-the-Cavs rumors. Stephen Strasburg made his first start, and now Carlos Santana has finally been called up. The MLB Draft occured. The NBA Finals are on, with a random role player from one of the two teams stepping up to help win every game. College football is looking to change significantly on the horizon. USC got hit extremely hard with sanctions by the NCAA. Somewhere in the footnotes of the week, you’ll see that Oregon’s starting quarterback was kicked off the team. Lord Stanley’s Cup was just awarded to the delegates from Chicago. Oh, and the World Cup kicked off this morning.

With all those things being listed, I’m gonna go all Buddy The Elf on you guys. What’s your favorite sports story of the week?

While We’re Waiting: Enabling LeBron, The Bulls’ New Coach, and Predicting the Tribe Firesale

While We’re Waiting is a page that sometimes I forget to write the header for, and when that happens you guys don’t realize it’s a place where we round up nifty net articles and present them to you for your use. If you see something you like on the net, send it our way.

“Most of all, Gilbert had become the biggest enabler of LeBron James and his inner circle, and that only promises to get worse. Ferry never loved the players’ pregame skits, the hiring of James’ buddies, the associates’ riding on the team plane, but Gilbert seldom said no to anything. He behaved like the permissive parent who believed his kid would love him more if he spoiled him rotten. And it got the Cavs a superstar, James, who never respected anyone and a cast of associates who had the run of the place. Had James wanted Ferry to still be the GM, Gilbert would’ve backed down and Ferry would have a new contract.” [Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo]

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While We’re Waiting: North Royalton’s Champ, Chris Grant, Expansion, and Han Solo and Noel Gallagher

They said it could never be done, but the streak is broken. If it’s on ESPN, it’s a sport, yea? Right? National Spelling Bee champ is from North Royalton, and her first spoken words after the win were “Go Cavs!” Fun fact per Stienes: Last Cleveland spelling bee winner? 1964. I think this is a sign.[SI.com]

Danny Ferry on Chris Grant: “Our basketball staff was so intertwined, that this will be a natural transition for Chris,” Ferry said. “He’s done everything that a GM does at every level. Our players know that, our staff knows that and I’m extremely confident he’ll be a strong leader for this basketball team.”. [Brian Windhorst, Plain Dealer]

Coach John Wooden passed last night at the age of 99. Not Cleveland related per se, but certainly one of the most notable stories of the year. [LA Times] [Read more...]

U.S. World Cup Team Defeats Turkey 2-1

The United States Men’s National Team was in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday for a World Cup warmup “friendly” against Turkey.  It was one of the team’s last games before World Cup action starts on June 12th against England.  With lots of questions about the team, specifically their defense,the U.S. was looking to find some chemistry and potentially some momentum and confidence. After trailing early, the United States came back and defeated Turkey 2-1.

The United States trailed Turkey 1-0 after a first half of relatively uneven play.  When the U.S. was taking care of the ball, they created opportunities.  They were playing relatively wide open.  Counter-attacking was the story of the half.  When the U.S. drove deep into Turkey’s end, they were quickly barraged right back.  This was the case unfortunately for U.S. defenseman Jonathan Spector.  Spector got caught sleeping on the right side of the back line and nearly single-handedly gave up the lone goal. [Read more...]

WFNY World Cup Fantasy Pool

Based on the level of discussion on yesterday’s informal World Cup poll (and the request from a few folks) we’ve decided to make a World Cup pick’em pool. To sign up, head over to Yahoo (Link) and sign up.

A few things of note: Soccer matches can end in a draw. Therefore this is an option. There are rarely more than 5 goals total in a game. Use this information to your advantage while picking your teams. Also, YOU WILL ALL LOSE TO TEAM FERNANDO TORRES’ ARM TATTOO.

Group ID: 12636

Password: wfny

Remember, adults – If you don’t like soccer, you don’t have to tell everyone that you don’t like soccer. Watch the WC with an open mind, and you may just realize that it’s pretty chill.

World Cup on WFNY?

Last night when Rick and I were sitting in the Tribe Social Deck area of the Jake he made an off-hand comment about soccer.  It seems the world’s most popular sport isn’t good enough for at least one of the people who populate the pages here at WFNY.  I like soccer.  I love the World Cup.  I got to thinking about it and I was wondering if there would be any interest amongst our audience of sports fans.

Are you going to be watching it?  Are you all rooting for the U.S.A. or are you clinging to some other part of your heritage?  I grew up with lots of people with last names ending in vowels that preferred to root for Italy over the United States.   [Read more...]

U.S. Executes Improbable Comeback to Tie El Salvador

We don’t really talk soccer or futbol here much, but I happened to catch last night’s qualifier between the U.S. and El Salvador in an away match last night.  Like all games that the U.S. plays on the road, the environment is terrifying.  Think if you taught Oakland Raiders fans and the Dawg Pound how to coordinate cheers and had them both filling a stadium to root for the same team.  Now put them all in blue and have them screaming, chanting, throwing things, blowing whistles and sounding off police sirens.  That is what the U.S. faced last night in El Salvador.  Combine that with the historically well-known stories of blaring music, firecrackers, and pulled fire alarms at hotels where the U.S. team stays on road trips and you have yourself the daunting task of winning a soccer game.

To be fair, I don’t know if the U.S. had any of those excuses last night in their game against El Salvador.  I should hope that they do though, as the U.S. sleepwalked through the first three fourths of the game.  They seemed lethargic as their counterattacks fell flat and seemed toothless.  Meanwhile, El Salvador seemed to be playing at a different pace.  They were flying to the ball and clogging the midfield and counterattacking at every opportunity.  And it paid off.  They scored their first goal early in the game, and then in the 72nd minute they scored what seemed to be the icing on the cake for El Salvador.  They made the U.S. defense look silly as the left back gave up a run to the end line after getting juked out of his shorts.  A cross and a header later and the U.S. was down by two with about 17 minutes remaining plus or minus injury time.

But the U.S. caught a burst of energy. [Read more...]