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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cruz Azul - Sporting KC _ CONCACAF Champions League Running Blog

Ok, here we go, folks. I'm missing Jeopardy for this, so it had better be good. 
I have to confess that before I had to go journalistically objective, Cruz Azul was my favorite team in Mexico growing up. I mean, Cle Kooiman! Who wouldn't love that squad? He was a local hero.

 Sporting Kansas City: Kronberg, Ellis, Opara, Besler, Gardner, Rosell, Nagamura, Feilhaber, Zusi, Bieler y Peterson.
Cruz Azul: Corona, Flores, Domínguez, Perea, Nápoles, Torrado, Giménez, Fabián, Formica, Rojas y Pavone.

1 - They kick off! Both teams are in blue, which is a little confusing.
2 - OH, dude! GOAL! Cruz Azul scored - faster than the Xolos against the Galaxy? Close. 1-0 Cruz Azul (1-1)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Xolos - Galaxy CCL Quarterfinal, Running Blog

Tijuana XI: Saucedo; Nunez Castro Gandolfi Garza; H.Pellerano Guemez C.Pellerano Corona; Ayovi Benedetto
LA Galaxy XI: Penedo; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Riley; Zardes, Sarvas, Juninho, Donovan; Keane, Samuel

Ok, lineups are in, predictions? I say, 2-2, because I want an exciting game. Probably wishful thinking.

Pre-game quotes here. 

I'd say that this should be a pretty even game, given how the teams looked comparable in StubHub, but the truth is, the Xolos go into beast mode when playing in Estadio Caliente. They really own the place and their home record is no joke. Cesar Farias was almost nonchalant about losing the first game, because he knew the second one would be in TJ.
All that said, the mystique of Estadio Azteca eventually wore off, didn't it? So perhaps the Galaxy will break the spell here.
I'm watching the match on Galavision, so I'm getting the Spanish language perspective on things. Right this second, it means some telenovela is on where the women are crying and this guy with a mustache just grabbed a girl and kissed her. She screams, then her friend runs in and hits him over the head with a vase. And scene. 
Happy Xolos graphics of people running, scoring and falling on that evil turf. Shots of Xolos players getting off the bus. Herc may have said this isn't a rivalry yet, but the announcers are already calling it "Clasico de Baja California" so, well, maybe it is. Highlights are shown of the last match. For me, the best part is watching Robbie Keane's terrible acting job when he tries to pretend he planned that assist to Samuel.  
1 - And they kick off! Xolos lively moving the ball around in the early going, knowing how to handle the ball on that turf - and damn. They score. GOAL! Fittingly, Jaime Ayovi, who started the attack, finishes it. 0-1 Xolos. (1-1) 

Xolos - Galaxy Quote Clash

The second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal is here! Today the Galaxy and Tijuana Xolos face off in Estadio Caliente in TJ to see who moves on. In honor of the occasion, I'm posting here all the quotes from the first game in LA that I haven't already used in articles or posts

Tijuana Coach Cesar Faria
On the second leg
I think we can overturn the result in Tijuana.
Overview of game
In the first half, the Galaxy played with more energy, which we expected. We made a mistake that cost us a goal.  In general, the balance was very good. We had the chance to tie, and to score more than one goal.
Why didn't Benedetto start?
Dario didn’t start because he has an injury in his Achilles tendon, and if we don’t care for it, we’re going to lose him to that. He was very close to scoring. In the last game, he left because he was injured.
Worried about goal deficit?
This is not a 90 minute series. We’re going to play at home against the Galaxy, and we’re very confident at home.
Tijuana support from fans?
It was spectacular. It gave our players enthusiasm for 90 minutes. Now we have to finish things out in our house and we expect even more support there.
Joe Corona's performance
He’s an important player for us. He did everything we asked him to do. We took him out when he was a little tired. With a little bit more luck he would have had a goal.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Live-Blogging - Sorta - DWTS

I know, it's already played on the East Coast, and the soccer connection is tenuous at best - but hey, there's Drew Carey! Part owner of the Seattle Sounders in MLS. And I'm sick, watching on the couch, so might as well. 

Ok, the intros are done! I already have high hopes for Drew, he was lively when he came out, not too stiff, like poor Billy Dee.

NeNe Leakes dances first with Tony Dovolonti. She's game, but awkward. She seems as if she'd rather stand in one place and shake it than do any steps. 
The judges are usually generous with the scoring in the early going. Len likes it, wants more hip action. Bruno wants to see more, commends energy, notes footwork was lacking, Carrie likes her personality - needs to dance bigger. I think she needs to use her core more, rather than just sticking her leg out for the steps.   
Anyway, her score is: 7 7 7 = 21 Pretty generous. 

Drew is next! I wonder if he will wear a Sounders jersey during the practice sessions. 

Will Chicharito ever start another game for Manchester United?

Or will David Moyes leave first? 

And I mean a Premier League game, too. 

Liga MX Roundup, March 17

Here's my roundup on the latest round of Liga MX games. 

Marco Fabian has gone a long way to answer his critics, but he has yet to earn Miguel Herrera's confidence. 

So, should Marco Fabian be called in for the USA-Mexico game?

Why or why not?

Venezuela Vino

My best friend is from Venezuela, and the news of unrest in that country has grown. I was curious if it affected Cesar Farias, the Venezuelan Xolos coach who previously coached the country's national team, known as the La Vinotino for their burgundy uniforms. 

I didn't get to ask Farias himself if he was following the protests, but I did ask Herculez Gomez if the coach seemed concerned or worried about the events in his home country. 

"No, he’s a pro about that. I don’t think he’s ever brought it up."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Paul's Perspective

Paul Arriola lives in Chula Vista and plays with the Tijuana Xolos. Despite the team losing to Cruz Azul on Saturday, he played the whole game and notched an assist, as well as a yellow card.

I talked to him on Wednesday when he was in LA, and included some of his quotes in my ESPN article. Here's what else he said.

On returning to LA, where he was once a Galaxy Academy player
I was really excited to come back. I pushed myself to be ready to come back to play, but unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to come back. I wish I would have been able to play, but hopefully, there will be more times in the future.

On how the CONCACAF Champions League ranks as priority:
This is our #1. We put out the strongest team we could have today. On the weekend, I think you’ll see a different team. I think we’re going to rest some of our key players, specifically for the next matchup.

On Liga MX vs MLS:
For me, being an American, I’d never been involved with the Mexican league before. It was a place I wanted to go to try to earn more minutes. I wanted to develop. If you look at all the youth Mexican teams, all those kids are through the ranks of their Mexican clubs. But it has nothing to do with if MLS is better than Liga MX. I think MLS is a great league. I would have loved to stay, but the circumstances weren’t in my favor at the time. I decided to go down south, stay at home and live a teenage dream, somewhat - in terms of living at home and playing professional soccer. I’ve enjoyed it so far and hope to gain more minutes and starting time.

Has Coach Farias indicated when Arriola may start again:
Not yet. I’m pushing to make the squad on Saturday. I’m looking to earn my spot back again by working hard in practice.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Media A-Changing

I may not have noticed if I wasn't sick and lying in bed surfing the Internet a lot, but my blog post on Herc's quotes got a lot of attention. 

I mean, I figured it might be on a message board somewhere, with a link to this blog and then people would discuss it here. But there isn't a single comment on that post on SV. The story on the MLS site has around a hundred (and counting!).

Maybe people didn't comment here on SV or even come over, though both the articles included the link, because the quotes used were so numerous and complete, they didn't feel they had to bother. 

Who knows. It's not that I'm mad, but it's more that I'm noting how things have changed. It used to be that soccer fans would check several places for bits of news and post them to other fans via message boards, but now regular websites have editors who search the web for those kind of stories. Whether it's an article written about what a soccer player posted on Twitter, or what a freelancer posts on her blog, they're on it to make a story out of it. 

Incidentally, some fans have really reacted to Herc about the quotes on Twitter, wishing for him to tear his ACL, even. Part of me thinks it's because of the way the stories were packaged. I put what Herc said on my blog without a lot of comment, but both articles presented it as "ooooooh! Look what "inciendiary" "calling out" Herc is doing".  That's teeing it up to provoke.

Then people wonder why players don't want to say anything non-generic to the press. 

So folks, how do you like the media shift?  Thoughts? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Goal That Wasn't

Jaime Penedo had a pretty amazing game for the Galaxy versus the Xolos on Wednesday. 

I decided to combine the quotes about his goalkeeping here, since they didn't really fit the feature piece I wrote for ESPNFC.

Xolos coach Farias on Jaime

We had the sort of game today that I think deserved better luck for our side. We had two balls saved off the line.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena

A couple of dangerous plays, but for the most part, our backline held up well. To be able to come out with a clean sheet was a positive.

Jaime had a good night, came up with a couple of saves - I think a couple weren’t counted because they put the flag up.

We’re ahead. Jaime is coming into the prime of his career. We think he’s going to get better, at this point. I’d like to believe that the position is strong for us.

Galaxy defender AJ De La Garza on Jaime

Jaime saved us a couple of times and Marcelo saved one off the post. We weathered the storm and got out of here with a win.

He’s someone you can count on. The one ball he saved off the line, I thought that was in. I had stopped running already. I was nowhere close to it. But he came out of nowhere and slapped it away. He can make those plays. You count on a goalkeeper to make those saves that can keep you in a game and he did that tonight.

Jaime on that save

I too, thought the ball was going in, but my body didn’t want to accept that and was already running back to do whatever I could. Some might say, oh, I knew I was going to get there and save it, but I won’t lie. I knew I hadn’t hit the ball out far enough, and I was already moving there, and luckily I was able to save it.

I remember most Omar’s face, but what’s important is that the ball didn’t go in.

Xolos Left Over

I was at the Wednesday Xolos - Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League match. 

I am sick today. 

Possibly not related. I'm in the middle of finals week where I teach and everyone is tired and stressed. 

It was a nice game with lots of action despite the relatively modest goal total. Galaxy won 1-0. 
I wrote a feature for ESPN.FC that will hopefully be posted later today. 

I got a few good quotes on my ancient minirecorder that I will post here, though. One highlight was that Herculez Gomez came over to say hi and ask me how I was. It's always nice to be remembered. 

Herc had a lot to say, so here's some of what didn't make the article. 

On the number of TJ fans at match

I think it was disappointing for L.A. You can’t claim to be one of the best fanbases and the flagship team of the league and get shown up like this. I’m sure their players feel disappointed.
On if the support surprised him
No, I’m not surprised. I expected it. We’re really popular. People keep saying MLS should go to San Diego, but that’s maybe not such a good idea.

On the Galaxy/TJ rivalry: 
I’m sure if the ownership groups and the marketing had their way, it would  be huge. 
On the game atmosphere: 
A few thousand people shouting one way, a few thousand people another way, that’s not a good atmosphere.
On playing in Estadio Caliente:
That’s going to be a good atmosphere.
On the match: 
I thought we were lucky in the first half not to be down 3-0. I do feel we reacted well in the second half. We played with a great sense of urgency, but it was too little, too late, especially at this level.
On if TJ was unlucky not to score:
Absolutely, but that’s the way football goes. You have to give them credit for looking for it in the first half. Maybe in the second half they weren’t very proactive offensively, but they did enough to get the result. It’s maybe not the best result they would have hoped for, but it’s still a result.
On importance of tourney:
When I came to TJ., it was made very clear to me that they wanted to win trophies. They wanted to be an international team. They wanted to compete. They loved that I brought that experience, that I’ve been in this tournament before, that I’ve played at the Club World Cup. I immediately took to that and thought that’s something that I wanted to be a part of. I think that’s great. I relate to that.
Is chip on shoulder the key to scoring vs MLS teams in the CCC:
There’s a chip on my shoulder that I didn’t get more time today, that’s for sure. I think you should maybe know your players better. This is a tournament that I get up for. I’ve done a lot of things that have been positive in this tournament. I would have loved to have had more time. I was proactive, I was getting looks, it just wasn’t enough. I would have loved to have done more.
On happy LA memories:
Absolutely. I love LA. They gave me a chance and an opportunity when not many would. I still have a house here.