Archive for February, 2010

Ready for Freddy?

February 19, 2010

I wrote an article this morning about Freddy Adu’s World Cup chances.

Check it out here.


Catching up

February 15, 2010

Now, truth be told, I spent most of my weekend watching my wife play Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3 on the Wii and playing in the snow with my son.

But I did get to watch some of the NBA All-Star Game and the Winter Olympics.

Here are my thoughts:

1. The NBA All-Star Game is the best of the major sports’ all-star events. It beats baseball because of the revolving door of pitchers and it smokes football, soccer and hockey for its intensity.

Sure, nobody’s playing any defense. But that makes it fun, right?

And here’s a memo for the NFL: Grab a tape of the halftime show, watch it and learn something.

Shakira and Alicia Keys were very good.

And easy on the eyes, too.

2. I always enjoy the Olympics, even if I have to listen to idiots like ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb decry it as a racist event.

He’s a muppet, by the way.

As for the Games, it was cool to watch Alex Bilodeau win Canada’s first gold medal on home soil in men’s moguls.

It was even cooler to listen to him describe his brother, dealing with Cerebral Palsy, as his hero and inspiration just minutes after his blistering run down the hill.

I know the feeling.

Champions League – Final 16

February 15, 2010

Champions League

I’m a big fan of the Champions League, and even though my favorite team (Fulham) is toiling away in the Europa League, I watch every match I can.

Here’s the schedule for the round of 16:

Tuesday, Feb. 16
(Home team is listed first, for the newbies…)
AC Milan vs. Manchester United, 2:45 p.m.
Lyon vs. Real Madrid, 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 17
Bayern Munich vs. Fiorentina, 2:45 p.m.
FC Porto vs. Arsenal, 2:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 23
Olympiakos vs. Bordeaux, 2:45 p.m.
VfB Stuttgart vs. Barcelona, 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 24
CSKA Moscow vs. Sevilla, 2:45 p.m.
Inter Milan vs. Chelsea, 2:45 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9
Arsenal vs. FC Porto, 2:45 p.m.
Fiorentina vs. Bayern Munich, 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10
Manchester United vs. AC Milan, 2:45 p.m.
Real Madrid vs. Lyon, 2:45 p.m.

Tuesday, March 16
Chelsea vs. Inter Milan, 2:45 p.m.
Sevilla vs. CSKA Moscow, 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, March 17
Barcelona vs. VfB Stuttgart, 2:45 p.m.
Bordeaux vs. Olympiakos, 2:45 p.m.

Best ties

I had to pick two. AC Milan/Manchester United and Chelsea/Inter Milan both offer juicy storylines.

David Beckham, despite the fact that he’s not seeing the field as often as he’d probably like, will make his return to Old Trafford wearing an AC Milan shirt. Expect a rousing ovation for the England winger, followed by a comfortable win for his old team.

And the special one, Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea as manager of Inter Milan. He led the Blues to a pair of Premier League titles and has since added a scudetto (Serie A trophy) to his resume.

He was, and still is, loved by the fans at Stamford Bridge. Expect another rousing ovation and a very interesting battle between him and Carlo Ancelotti.

Cake walk?

The Spanish sides have a fairly easy path to the quarterfinals. Real Madrid shouldn’t have much trouble with Lyon, which is struggling along in fourth place in France at the moment. And defending champion Barcelona is a heavy favorite against Stuttgart, which is mired in the middle of the Bundesliga table.

Worst road trip

Sevilla might struggle with CSKA Moscow in the first leg of that tie.

After all, it figures to be somewhere between 15 and 25 degrees for that match. Take that, and the always tricky turf, into account, and Sevilla might be in for a long night.

On the tube

Want to know when and where these games might be televised? Click here.

Tar Heels, Railhawks to meet in Southern Pines

February 11, 2010

Pinecrest coach Todd Abbey passed this along…

CARY – The Carolina RailHawks will travel to the Sandhills and face the North Carolina men’s soccer team in a preseason exhibition game on March 26 at 7 p.m. at John Williams Athletic Stadium on the campus of Pinecrest High School.

“We’re looking forward to playing North Carolina, one of the best college teams in the country, and we’re looking forward to showing new fans what we’re capable of,” said RailHawks coach Martin Rennie. “We expect that they will be impressed with our style of play and hope they will begin to follow us as our regular season gets underway.”

The RailHawks are preparing for a 2010 season that is sure to be an even better than last year, when they went 16-7-7 and finished second in the league while rewriting the club’s record books along the way. The Tar Heels were one of the top teams in the country last fall and are fresh off their second straight trip to the NCAA College Cup.

As a part of the visit to the Sandhills, RailHawks players and coaches will also host a soccer clinic on Thursday, March 25, from 6-8 p.m. at Pinecrest High School. The clinic is open to youths of all ages and skill levels. It will cost $25, and in addition to unparalleled instruction, participants will also receive a T-shirt and one ticket to the match the following night.

Click here to register for the clinic.

General admission tickets will cost $10 and are on sale now (click here to order). Tickets will also be on sale at the gate.

The RailHawks have partnered with the Sandhills Futbol Club in order to expose the region and its burgeoning soccer community to the RailHawks’ organization. Sandhills FC was founded in 2007 by Southern Pines’ own Todd Abbey, whose vision is to establish a soccer club predicated on tradition, pride, passion, concentration, confidence, inspiration, unity, leadership and control.

“It is exciting to have the interest in our area to be able to bring in a game like this,” said Abbey, the director of Sandhills FC. “With the success of the Carolina teams this year, at both the professional and collegiate levels, we are convinced this will be a great match. The growth of our sport in this area is gaining momentum, and with programs and organizations like the RailHawks and UNC being less than an hour away, it helps in the development of interest here, as well as the support of their fan base in the Triangle area.”

2010 Force Invitational

February 11, 2010

My friend Sean Brennan called the other day to tell me about the 2010 Force Invitational, slated for this Saturday and Sunday at Jordan Soccer Complex.

It features teams from around the region ranging from U11 to U16.

To learn more, visit their Web site.

Jozy’s first EPL goal

February 9, 2010

Jozy Altidore scored his second goal for Hull over the weekend, and it was his first in Premier League play.

Try to get over the poor video quality and cheesy background music…