Thursday, October 9, 2014

Landon, Unfiltered

Here's a partial transcript of the media questions for LD on Tuesday about his farewell international match. I didn't post them earlier because I didn't want to put out quotes that people needed to write their articles, but most of these have now been published. Landon talked for a while longer, so I might post that later. Landon is, as usual, very candid, which is why I tend to trust his honesty over people who dodge press questions. Incidentally, I did not ask any of these questions. I asked a few towards the end.  

What are your emotions before the game? 

Emotions? I'm excited. It's going to be different for me. I'm not going until Thursday, so it's not going to feel like a normal camp, but it's going to be really nice. This summer, obviously, was tough, not only for me, but for my family. So, then we'll all have a chance to enjoy a national team game again. It'll be nice. You don't want your last memory to be getting cut from a team and my family didn't, either. So this will be a nice way to hopefully put a ribbon on my career. I'm excited to have the chance to say goodbye to a lot of people who have been supportive of me. 

I don't believe US Soccer has ever done this before. 

I don't know. 

I mean, it says something about the magnitude of the honor. 

Sure. Obviously, I give Sunil a lot of credit for making the effort to make this happen. He made sure that this was something that was going to happen. I'm glad that he did. I was very unsure at first. He did a good job of making everything come together so that this could be possible.  I think it's going to be a terrific event and I'm very excited for it. 

Without him, does it not happen?

I don't know for sure, but I'd say that's a safe assumption. 

Have you heard from Jurgen? 

I have not. 

So, the first time you'll talk to him is when you show up on Thursday? 

Perhaps, yeah. 

Have you guys talked at all since Palo Alto? 


Are you disappointed that you haven't heard from him, leading up to this?

Disappointed? No. 





Happy? All of the above? 

I don't give it much thought, to be honest. 

What will you expect from this? 

Part of it is a little tricky because I've so far approached it as a nice event and a chance for me to say goodbye and a chance for the fans to say goodbye, but the reality is that it's a Class A international game that means a lot to a lot of people, so this week I've turned my focus to make sure that I don't just go and soak up everything - that I go and help the team any way I can. That's important, too. I owe that to everyone who is playing in the game. I want to make sure that I have that attitude. Other than that, I don't know what to expect. 

This is an old picture, but same dude, same field where interview took place.

What do you remember about your first game against Mexico in the Coliseum (Los Angeles)? 

I remember it was crazy. I remember there were a lot of Mexicans in the Coliseum. I remember not expecting to play. Within minutes, with Chris Henderson going down, just not having time to really think about going into the game. From there, obviously, it was a dream come true in every way. It's a game I'll never forget. 

Did Bruce tell you anything? 

Honestly, I don't remember. It was just surreal to be there, as a starting point. I didn't know any better. I was just too young and dumb to even know what was going on. I just ran around and it all worked out and it was great. 

Did you feel, "I'm a national team player now" after that?

For guys my age, we didn't grow up with MLS. The ultimate goal was to play for the national team. That's all you saw on on TV. Kids now think, "I'd love to play for the Galaxy. I mean, I want to play for the national team, but I also want to play for the Galaxy." For me, it was the only goal, because I didn't know anything different. So this was truly my dream come true. It was just - I didn't know if I'd ever play again. I was ecstatic to be there and play. 

And to do it at home made it more special. 

Yeah, my whole family got to be there. It could not have been more perfect in that way. 

A lot of people say that you, especially have been part of expanding that dream, where kids now have other dreams. 

I think a lot of us in this generation have and a lot in the generation before have. Sports are - it's a long process to make a sport popular. It's not five years or ten years or even twenty years. The NFL wasn't always what it is today. The NBA wasn't always what it is today. There's a lot of guys who played - and girls in women's sports, that paved the way to make things the way they are. We're doing our part. We sort of came in at a point where the sport was very much fluctuating between whether is it going to stay or not. It was an interesting time to be a part of it and I think we get a lot of praise for it, but the reality is, without the people that came before, we wouldn't have been there, either. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What's Cooking, Doc?

Andres Iniesta has always seemed to be one of the athletes who simply doesn't look much like an athlete. He could pass for a professor, doctor, or computer programmer, rather than one of the world's elite in his sport. 

Now his generation of Barcelona players is fading a bit, and the dynamic pairing of Xavi and Iniesta in midfield isn't what it once was. Time does that. 

Apparently, Iniesta has interests off the field as well. Check out his cooking class! I would really watch this if it was a regular TV show, too. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ronaldinho Arrives In Mexico, Faces Racism

In a week in which Mexico had to confront racism in the homefront after local Queretaro politician Carlos Trevino called new signing Ronaldinho an “ape”, the performance of the players on the field became almost an afterthought. 

Queretaro, to the club’s credit, swiftly denounced Trevino’s churlish statements that he made on his Facebook page, posted partly because he was angry about the traffic caused by the presentation ceremony of the Brazilian star. Though the club called for Trevino to be punished for his prejudicial commentary on social media, all that appears to have happened so far is the removal of the original post and a rather tepid apology via Twitter.

Yet much like the banana thrown at Dani Alves back in April earlier this year, the Trevino incident provoked a reaction among the public. 

Unlike the Villarreal fan who was banned for life for throwing the banana at Alves, Trevino is clearly not a supporter of the sport in any way, so his racist action was not couched in any disguise of loyalty to another club. 

The outrage expressed by many at the insult to Ronaldinho, a legend in the game, does lead me to hope that all those who do love soccer will unite against any displays of racism in the future.

Regardless of if one dislikes a sport, people should be granted their human dignity. If one does appreciate the beautiful game, then those who perform well should be respected for their abilities on the field.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Final Landon Exclusion Comments, Parte Tres

Here is the translation of what LD said in Spanish today. 

Are you mad?

I’m not mad, I’m sad. Because I worked very hard to have this opportunity to play in the World Cup, just like the others. Sometimes decisions don’t go in your favor. Life is like that. But it’s still frustrating, and it hurts a lot.
What did Jurgen say to you, what were his reasons?
What we talked about is private, but he told me I wasn’t going. I told him that I respected his decision. If it was my choice, it would be different.

First reaction?
I couldn’t believe it. It was a little incredible for me. I felt like it might be a dream, but then it was just very sad.

Is this unjust?
After the ten days in Stanford, when I look in the mirror, I can say that I deserve to go to Brazil. Not only for what I’ve done in the past, but I’m in good form. I’m strong physically and I worked really hard in each training. I think my teammates wanted me there. It’s hard, but at times, decisions don’t go your way. Life is like that at times.

Landon's Final Words, Part II

Other names on list that were surprising?
There’s a lot of arguments that you can make for everybody. Decisions are tough. It’s a good thing that we have tough decisions to make. In past World Cups, you probably knew the 10 to 15 guys who were the best players and the other ones weren’t up to snuff, but now we have a good group of many, many players who are in their own way deserving of being there. So that’s a good sign for US soccer.
I’m disappointed. I’m sad. I’m human and I wanted to go. I really wanted to go. I’m at peace with it. I respect the decision. I just feel in my heart that I deserve to be there and that’s the pill that’s hard to swallow.
Random Becks question
Beckham’s going to the World Cup? There’s a lot of discrepancies between me and Beckham. I don’t know. I can’t speak to that.
Sabbatical affected choice - if you had it over?
I would absolutely do the same thing. My performances and my stats and the way I played since my sabbatical speak for themselves. I actually think I’ve been a much better player since I came back.
Motivation for MLS season?
I’ve never been a guy who has been motivated by the negative. I don’t operate that way. Some people do, but that’s not my way of doing things. I’m excited to be back here. I certainly didn’t want to be here under these circumstances or this soon, but I love these guys. These are my teammates, this is my home. I will not let this affect me going forward.

Landon's Final Words on Klinsmann Cutting Him from World Cup

Reporter questions here are shortened down, Landon Donovan's responses as close to exact as I could get transcribing. 

How do you move on from this disappointment?
To be honest, the support I have received has been really overwhelming, and I think it’s helped me understand the sort of impact that I've helped have. It’s been really nice and so at the end of the day, although it’s surprising and disappointing, this is my job and all the guys out here (indicating Galaxy players) are depending on me and I want to continue playing and enjoying myself, like I have been.
Did you have a feeling or indication of exclusion?
No, quite the opposite, actually. Based on my performances leading up to the camp, based on Based on my preparation for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was a part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to be starting. That’s why this has all been pretty disappointing.
What is your level of anger in this decision?
I’m not angry. I’m disappointed. I’ve spent most of my adult life and the majority of my life in general, dedicating myself to the sport in this country and representing my country. So, I was really looking forward to the opportunity to play in another World Cup and to help this team. Having been in camp for ten days, I really thought I was going to contribute in a big way, probably bigger than I had expected going in. From that standpoint, I think it’s disappointing. I think every one of my teammates would probably echo those same words.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Xolos - Cruz Azul: CONCACAF Champions League Semis

Let's go, let's go! Well, actually, there's a bit of time to go yet, because it's still the second half of Toluca - Alajuelense. I lived in Alajuela for six months, so sorry, Toluca, go Alajuelense! Anyway, it's scoreless in that match. 

Prediction for Xolos - Cruz Azul? I say 2-0, Joe Corona and Dario Benedetto score. Put any predictions you have in the comments. 
Alajuela - Jonathan MacDonald, misses a PK in the 65th minute. He fired over the top. Poor. 
And now Toluca makes them pay. 0:1 Da Silva pushed a header in. Everybody on the bench looks miserable. Costa Rican teams hate losing to Mexico, no matter if it happens often. 
We're in injury time now - five minutes worth. 

13 Cirilo Saucedo
2 Edgar Eduardo Castillo
3 Javier Gandolfi
4 Hernan Dario Pellerano
22 Juan Carlos Núñez
8 Fernando Arce
15 Joe Corona Crespin
16 Cristian Pellerano
42 Javier Güemez
10 Fidel Martínez
18 Dario Benedetto


1 Jose de Jesus Corona
4 Julio Domínguez Juárez
15 Gerardo Flores Zuñiga
55 David Stringel
57 Emmanuel Loeschbor
5 Alejandro Castro
6 Gerardo Torrado
7 Pablo Barrera
11 Joao Rojas
33 Mauro Formica
9 Mariano Pavone

1 - Kickoff! Tijuana are so strong at home, I actually expect a win for the Xolos. 
3 - Announcers discuss how Herrera and Klinsmann will probably both watch this match to evaluate players. 
5 - Tentative feeling out on the part of both teams so far. 
10 - Joe Benny Corona is playing well, though, so I have high hopes for my prediction. 
15 - Corona on the attack, but Jesus Corona, the goalkeeper, deals with it well. 

17 - Now Mariano Pavone on the run, but the ball ends up trickling through to Saucedo.
18 - Jesus Corona came out badly there, failing to secure the ball against Martinez - if Piojo saw that, he wants Ochoa now.
19 - Formica with a shot. Announcers agree game is heating up.
20 - Joao Rojas with a great run, but can't quite beat the last defender in the Xolos box.
25 - Formica is very active for los Cementeros, but so far, without a goal as payoff.
26 - I can't quite pin down who Saucedo reminds me of - Bjorn Borg, maybe?
27 - I don't like these announcers - they meander too much and don't call the game enough. Corona on the attack again, Benedetto misfires, though.
29 - Saucedo gets low to collect a shot with Pavone hovering for the rebound. Nothing doing.
31 - Announcers argue over why Cruz Azul is playing so well - coach or players? Um, both?
33 - Gandolfi and his precisely aligned facial hair limps off.
34 - Rojas, very clever, immediately attacks Gandolfi's side and earns a corner. Saucedo catches the corner kick, though, ending the threat.
35 - Castillo helps the Xolos earn a corner of their own.
36 - The matching suits and ties on the CA bench for the staff looks a little creepy. The announcer wants a red for Gandolfi's tackle just now on Rojas. But the thing is, gimpy Gandolfi did get to the ball first, although his follow upended Rojas.
37 - So a tough call becomes a no-call. Story of the life in soccer.
38 - Announcers philosophize about the tough row a striker must hoe.
39 - Arce with a weak shot that Jesus Corona collects just fine.
40 - Benedetto hits a pass way too far ahead of Castillo in the box, who turns with a look like, "Dude, I don't have wings."
41 - But it's really that gawd-awful turf that makes the ball run like that.
43 - A Cruz Azul gets called back - Formica used a bit too much of his arm to set the ball up for a long-distance shot. A beauty, but no goal.
45 - CA corner, but Saucedo has it.
Ok, I have to say, Cruz Azul looked closer to a goal in the first half than did the Xolos. But if their Galaxy match is anything to go by, they start off slow sometimes. I expect a more lively second half.
46 - And it is already! Cruz Azul charging into the Xolos box, until Saucedo pounces on the ball.
48 - FK for Xolos, but CA kill the attack.
52 - Corona calmly catches a ball that pops up high in the box.
53 - Benedetto crashes on top of Loeschbor as they tussle for a ball on the sidelines - after much writhing, Loeschbor seems fine.
55 - Pellerano lets loose with a shot - Jesus Corona has it, but takes the time to yell at his defenders for not putting foot in the way of that ball.
57 - Joe Corona looks to have slowed down a bit - or gone quiet.
58 - Jesus Corona out a catch a cross before it does damage.
62 - Back and forth, but Xolos getting their fair share of ball possession. Joe leads another attack into the box, but before Benedetto can poke the ball into goal, Jesus Corona scoops it up.
64 - Loeschbor takes down Castillo from behind - yellow and a free kick for Xolos.
65 - Free kick by Arce is too high.
66 - It wasn't even close, Jesus Corona was walking away from it while the ball was still in the air.
70 - Pavone's turn to fire a shot that was off- his was closer, though.
71 - Tena has a sub ready to come in. Joe-benny already left for Xolos - Ruiz is in.
73 - Penal! No? The ref swallowed his whistle on what looked like a clear call for the Xolos in the box.
77 - This game is crying out for a fluke goal and lots of post-game complaints about the ref.
78 - Penalty! This time it's called when Benedetto was merely stepped on his foot slightly. Makeup call.
79 - Benedetto buries it. I'll just say it - Ochoa would have saved that! Maybe.
80 - Ok, so the Xolos are pulling a Galaxy here, but it's doubtful one goal is enough to hold up on the return leg. Of course, if Tijuana prevents a goal, every goal they score in Estadio Azul counts for two (tiebreaker)
83 - Cruz Azul have a freekick and swarm into the Xolos box but fail to shoot on target. I'll just say it - Fabian would have scored that. Maybe.
86 - CA have certainly had chances here. Haven't made good, though.
87 - Herculez! He's into the match now. Subbing in for Benedetto.
88 - I think Cesar Farias just got reprimanded by the ref.
90 - FK for CA - could be a great chance again. It results in a corner. Saudedo catches that.
90+ Saucedo with another save - a shot from distance. Noot too tough, but nervy - since the game is almost over.  He takes his time with the goal kick.
And that's fulltime! My prediction was on for Xolos winning , but it's a rather puny advantage that Tijuana takes into the second leg. I'm not sure how much I'd bet on them keeping it and advancing to the final. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

DWTS - Second Night

Double elimination jeopardy! 

And Drew and Cheryl are safe right off the bat! Way to vote, Sounders fans! Oh, and they're dancing first this time. Ok, a short night of blogging for me. 
Drew is happy about not being eliminated. Cheryl is also cool with dancing first. Drew actually picks the jive first. Yikes. That's a fast dance for a not-young guy. He's frustrated in the dance rehearsals.
Drew jumps off the stage and tears his jacket off! Faster foot flicks, Drew. He gets off-beat a couple of times, too, but he's smiling and jiving through the dance.
Len congratulates the content, tells Drew to work on footwork and posture. Bruno calls Drew a "stage animal". He doesn't add that he means, "dancing bear". Adds that Drew covered the mistakes well.
Carrie Ann commends Drew's courage in tackling the jive. She's nicely telling him he shouldn't have done it, basically. Anyway, she also says that he might be "surprised" by the scoring. Drew looks slightly worried.
Erin in her interview comments how comfortable Drew is in front of live audiences. The judges score 7-7-7 = 21. Pretty generous, considering the mistakes.
Ok, Drew's done.
Billie Dee and Emma are safe? Really? Crazy. I thought for sure he was gone. Meryl and Max are safe. Good. Danica and Val are safe, too. They're dancing next.
In the practice reel, Val is unhappy with their 8 scores, since Candace got a nine. Danica's not so bent out of shape about it. Val is pushing her, though. She's nervous and upset. First tears. Val apologizes and tries to loosen up a bit.
Now the dance. Danica's all in gold - doesn't have the freewheeling attitude of a samba dancer, but she's trying. The nerves stiffen her up, though. She does show more confidence in certain parts. Tom B. calls her a "sexy mathmetician" Bruno calls out her lack of details on the transition elements. Carrie Ann uses the word "sexy" three times - also "flawless".  Len tells her to keep keeping on. Fantastico. Danica looks happy, but still nervous. Loosen up, lady. Erin uses the word, "sexy" in her commentary, too. 8-8-8 - 24 - Val looks a little miffed, but tries not to show it to Danica, who says she had "fun" with the dance.

Tom is doing his best, but this new trick of calling people out as safe or not throughout the program kind of interrupts stuff. I guess they want to keep the audience members on the edge of their seats.

Billie Dee's not buying Emma's logic of "the last shall be first". Billy is doing the tango and saying he is old. His back hurts. Emma is trying to keep his spirits up. Emma brings in extra ladies to the tango dance. Billy quotes William Earnest Henley "I am the master of my fate".

In the dance, he is playing a tango pimp. That's an original approach. It works, of course, because the original tango dancers were ladies of the night. It also allows Billy to do less dancing and more waving his arms about with style. I guess that's a type of dancing. Carrie Ann gives him pointers, but basically says more content was needed. Len needs less ivy, more attack. Bruno says, "Stylized, minimal approach", but agrees there needs to be more actual dance involved. Erin leans on Billy Dee (bad! he's got back and hip issues) 5-5-5 =15

Meryl and Maks! In the practice clips, Meryl chooses swing and says she isn't nervous. Maks, however, is nervous about the lifts. He isn't used to throwing - and it's taking a toll. He says he's old. Dude, talk to Billy Dee. Meryl is dancing to a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy classic - in a bra, basically. The skirt is cute, but really, a bra? She more than keeps up with the speed of the dance, which gets to Maks a little bit. Len, "that swing had wings". Bruno thought the level of difficulty was great, but noticed the timing was off at times. Maks take issue - Maks always gets onery. Carrie points out how hard Maks had to work, commends Meryl's athleticism. Maks grumps at Erin about the score, but 8-9-8 - Maks cheers up at Len's nine, wishes Val a happy birthday.

Amy and Derek are safe. Candace and Mark are, too. Diane and Henry are going home. They don't even get to dance. I didn't see her last week. She is very kind about the elimination, compliments her partner. She still gets to dance, though, and she wants to do so. Cha, cha. She is stiff, but she smiles a lot. Certainly more dancing there than Billy Dee. Tom calls her a "good sport" and she is.

Jeremy Miller politically says that he is rooting for both Candace and Danica. Candace is nervous about the rhumba with Mark - due to her religious beliefs, she wants to be sensual, not sexual. Semantics, Candace.

But they're dancing to "Say Something", which is just a sad song. So yeah, not too sexy. Total breakup song. Lots of back arching. Carrie Ann wanted to see more rhumba steps, less contemporary lifts and stuff. Maybe Candace should have let Mark take his shirt off. 7 -7-7 Fair.

Ok, that's all for me, night folks. Drew will dance another day! Remember to vote, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Xolos - Puebla, Liga MX Running Blog

This game is slightly delayed on the Azteca America channel I'm watching, but hey, I'll survive. 

1 - Benedetto and Pellerano attack, earn a Xolos corner, than another.
2 - Beasley is backed up by ref - too close to corner. Benedetto scores!
3 - Dude is a scoring machine. I think Arce sent the ball in. Benedetto scored via header near post.
4 - I think Orozco should have been marking Benedetto. Ooops.