The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz


MLS All Stars don’t seem to be much of a match against Serie A AS Roma


Well I had originally thought that, and judging from last years MLS game against Chelsea, the MLS All-Stars would be able to pull out an exciting victory over Serie A team AS Roma. AS Roma is not an AC Milan, Inter Milan or a team quite like that but they do hold their own over the last couple seasons and after this match appear to be making a push for higher positioning.

As soon as the game started you could tell that AS Roma was on a mission and judging from how the game ended it was kind of suprising to me that it didn't end 5-0 in favor of AS Roma. The Italian team just seemed bigger, faster, stronger and by far more technical then just about anybody on the MLS All Star squad. They were attacking the ball very well and maintaining possession of the ball with ease and scoring pretty early in the 4th minute. MLS was able to eventually settle down and maintain a little bit of possesion and get the ball down towards AS Roma's goal but couldn't ever quite get anything solid going and really pose a threat until later in the game and then were not able to net a goal until stoppage time in the second half but the damage from AS Roma had already been done as they had been able to score three goals to the MLS's lone goal.

All in all it was a fun and exciting game to watch even if it was quite the beat down at the hands of AS Roma, but I almost got the impression that they were not going to play lately and came out looking to do exactly what they did. The last couple of MLS All Star matches have been against Chelsea from the EPL and most people pretty much know how they will do each season but it could be interesting to see how this AS Roma team does in the upcoming season.


50/50 Friendly Ball: #SportingKC – #StokeCity 01Aug12


Alright this game was just a fun one to kind of watch as I don't think Stoke was taking the game very seriously and Sporting again put out mostly all reserve players. Stoke stepped it up towards the end of the game when the score was still nil-nil and was able to go up 1-0 very late in the game and you would think that would seal the deal, but but choice luck one of Sporting's newest players Kyle Miller just happen to be at the end of a weak clearance from Stoke City's goalkeeper and headed the ball back into the open goal to tie the game at 1-1 in the dying minutes of the game. Again this was just a fun match to watch that didn't mean anything except for maybe seeing what the Sporting reserve players have to offer later in the season, but that is and could possibly be very important to this Sporting club who should be pushing for a top seed for the playoffs.


50/50 Friendly Ball: #SportingKC – #Montpellier 24Jul12

Now this ended up being the type of match that most people would expect from an international friendly between a MLS club and any European club team that is in their top tier much like Montpellier is. Montpellier came out early dominating pretty much the entire match much like Sporting has against their MLS counterparts and got thumped 3-0. Now it must also be said that Sporting pretty much put all their reserve players out to the slaughter, but really that was probably a really good thing. I say it was a good thing because it got those guys great experience against a top flight team in Montpellier so here in the home stretch of the MLS regular season Sporting knows exactly what they possibly have on the bench. For Montpellier they seemed to be really working hard and most likely to keep that top status in their league. I don't know what the rest of the French league is like, but I would imaging that barring injury (maybe even if they do suffer a few minor injuries) that they are expected to be in the top of the table again.


Preview: #SportingKC – Stoke City


I know that I am way behind on reviews and I will get caught up eventually, but right now I need to focus on previews as well and here is another quick one for tonights match against EPL team Stoke City.

I look to see Sporting take this game a little bit more seriously then their match against Montpellier just a week ago that saw Sporting get thumped by the French team 3-0. Looking at the line up though for tonight it seems like Sporting is focusing on resting their main starters and will be starting all reserve players with a couple of the starters most likely just hanging out on the bench for the entire match.

Guess it is a good way to have the reserve players particpate in some more difficult matches so that they can be ready for some regular matches if need be in the near future, like possibly in their playoff push.


50/50 Ball: #USMNT – Scotland


USA Men's National Team is entering themselves as their head coach Jurgen Klinsmann a sort of a tournament to really push the team as they played Scotland in their first of five games in just a matter of about 15 days. This is sure to be a good test for them as they started off against Scotland. A game that at the beginning thought was going to be a good one, but something seemed to fall apart for Scotland as the USA Men's team beat up on Scotland 5-1 and looked pretty good doing it.

- Would like to point out that they did come to play and its not like they just rolled over and let USA beat them. They fought pretty hard through out the match but sometimes it just isn't your day and I firmly believe that this was one of those days for Scotland.

- Obviously you would like to think that they should of kept USA from scoring five goals through out the entire match up, but they just couldn't seem to do any thing to stop the USA. A good portion of the first half was pretty relaxed, but then the USA seemed to come out in the second half and just turn the afterburners on against Scotland.

- I seriously couldn't not believe they way the USA side seemed to be playing and they seriously looked like a really good squad and could be set for some really good things in the near future and we all can only hope that something like this continues.

- People would like to take this game seriously but it also appears that Scotland is one of the lowest ranking (depending on how you would like to look at the FIFA and ELO rankings as I know several people that think both are a complete waste of time) teams that the USA has played recently and the game looked just like that as well.

We will really see how serious this USMNT team is in their next match up as they play against Brazil who as everybody, even people that don't follow soccer know, is one of the top powerhouse teams in the world over the last several decades.


Women’s Soccer

Thanks to Thad Bell of the Backpost and Thad Bell Photography

Well this is another one of those blog post that I kind of kept putting off, but it wasn't really time sensitive and it seems like my procrastination worked out in my favor a little bit this time. The WPS or Women's Professional Soccer recently announced that they were going to suspend the 2012 season, which came as a shock to some people especially with the WPS fighting so hard to keep their USSF Sanctioning for at least another two years. It wasn't really a shock to a lot of people though at the same time.

Yes there is even an argument that most people don't even care about any women's sports let alone soccer. But I say this to you that women's soccer is probably the best possible sport for United States and even the world to possibly get behind. Why would I make a statement like that? Well really I think it is quite simple and that is that soccer or as the rest of the world calls it football is also called the worlds sport.

I am going to break away from what I was talking about to talk about something that I was fortunate to sit in on during my time at the NSCAA convention a few weeks ago and that was the WPS Draft. It seemed a bit silly to have a draft for a league that only has 5 teams, but I will tell you that it was taken completely serious and with a high degree of professionalism in my opinion. I was really looking forward to getting to the season to watch some of these new players that were suppose to come in and make a huge a big impact. I mean I wasn't expecting anything huge, but something to start making the league bigger and better, especially after dealing with the whole magic jack issue. Apparently the whole magic jack issue still hasn't been taken care of and the magic jack owner, who probably has the most money of all the other owners, is really starting to cause problems for the WPS as a whole.

Now back to what I was talking about and that was why I think that the women's soccer can become a popular sport in the United States even while Men's soccer isn't all that popular yet. The past two summers we have been able to watch the Men's World Cup and this past summer the Women's World Cup. I think there is an argument to be said that the US was more into watching the US women's team then the Men's team. Granted everybody tends to realize that the women's team tend to do better then the men's team has. Even with the competition getting so much better on the women's side of soccer for the rest of the world.

Most people probably don't realize that there is more then just the WPS league for women's soccer. there is also the W-League that you see some of the MLS teams supporting a women's side like Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United. I'm sure there are more teams, but I just recall those two right off. There is also the WPSL plus more leagues that are lower leveled then those but the WPSL is something that is starting to become considerably bigger in the United States, but if you were to look at a map of all the WPSL teams you will see a huge gaping hole in the middle of the country! More specifically in the KC area, who has a huge youth soccer following especially in the girl/women's side of soccer.

My self and a small group of other dedicated soccer followers are looking to rectify this problem and start forming our own Women's League and get some teams into the WPSL to hopefully give women's soccer a huge presence in the Kansas City area that would allow post High School women soccer players a chance to compete on a bigger level then having to try and go to college where there is a very slim chance that they even get picked up or forced to play in coed leagues where rules are starting to almost push any women players out more and more.

I know this seems weird for me to be dedicated to something like this when I don't even have a daughter but I do have other family members and friends that could greatly benefit from a league like this and a league like this could allow for more women to play on bigger levels of soccer in the future to include overseas in some of the European leagues that are starting to become bigger and bigger. Something like this could possibly result in even higher quality players starting to play for the United States like the recently drafted Sydney LaRoux has played in the WPSL and finding more players like this could possibly help ensure that the United States Women's National Team get back on top and stay on top of the Women's soccer world for a while again like they did before and almost did this past summer. If you happened to miss the Women's World Cup Final.


USMNT – Venezuela


I have been terrible lately about watching some of the US Men's National Team game friendly matches, but I decided that I should probably be a little more invested in this as it had the possibility of having three Sporting KC players representing the US in the match. So it was really nice to see two Sporting player, Zusi and Bunbury, starting the match and later Sapong came on for Zusi. All of the Sporting players did exceptionally well and all of them had some sort of shot at the goal and definitely contributed to helping the team. But I digress because this isn't a Sporting KC blog post, which I could easily do, but instead a USMNT blog post. So lets get to it shall we?

- For the most part I thought that all the players did very well with players like Bunbury, Zusi, Jones, Feilhaber, Parkhurst, and a few more like Sapong and Shea helping out a lot as well. There were plenty of chances for the US side to take a lead but didn't see the ball hit the inside of the net till stoppage time of the second half, but it was enough to get them the victory over Venezuela.

- Should of scored more goals than the one that they did. Not to say that Venezuela's goalkeeper didn't do a great job, but if US want to be a better competitor then they are going to have to put sides like Venezuela away pretty handedly and they pretty much failed to do that. There is also a lot to be said that quite a few of these players were newer to representing the US, but there is also the argument that should help the US.

- The goalkeeper could of possibly one the man of the match for both teams stopping at least three if not more shots that could of easily made the US cruise to an easy victory, but at least the whole team fought, but just a bit less then probably some of the defenders and goal keeper did. Were able to hold the US to just a one goal games and were possibly less then a minute away from getting a nil-nil draw, which I'm sure they would of probably preferred.

- This game could of been really bad, I mean nothing like 14-0 bad as Venezuela were fighting back and could of just as easily had a couple goals themselves but really besides the couple chances that they took had no other game that ever really put the US team back on their heals and just let the US keep attacking at the goal. It is kind of a surprise that the score of the game wasn't any different. It also goes to show that maybe it is not a wise idea to try and get the scoreless draw especially after creating a huge stink about a simple foul that wasn't ever really a foul and US ended up getting the ball for a free kick anyway.


Jermaine Jones Suspended 8 Games


Today it was announced that Jermaine Jones, a german player that has been playing at midfielder for the US Men's National Soccer team because his father is American, would be suspended for 8 games due to him stomping and breaking an opposing players foot.

I recently watched the video and he clearly steps on the players foot, but it can be questioned as to if it really was intentional in my opinion. It seems to me though that it was taken as intentional because Jones has kind of become known as a bad boy imaged player in the league and was later even red-carded in the same game that he broke the other player's toe.

I tend to be a person that give other people the benefit of the doubt, but regardless 8 games seems to be a bit harsh and it seems that the Bundesliga is almost trying to set an example of him. That or could it be that the German league is going to be hard on him because he is considered American? That part I don't know for all I know he could be highly regarded over in Germany, but that also goes with out saying that he could possibly be hated, and has this attitude about him lately because everybody gives him a hard time? Neither thing would surprise me.

Even Jones coach said that 8 games seemed a bit harsh and that the team was going to appeal it, which I'm sure it will be reduced to something between 3-5 in which case he has already served part of it then it will seem like he is getting an extended break. That is unless it is 5 games, then it will just be a much longer break.

I think that he is looking to prove himself and is playing in the Bundesliga because it is a league that he knows that he can play in and is overseas thus keeping him from playing in the MLS and possibly being lumped in with a bunch of the other MLS players that most consider not to be of US team caliber, even though most of those people don't see the type of progress that MLS is making.

I kind of am not sure why I decided to write this post. I think it is partially because there is something about Jones that I really like and add that with the idea that I am really wanting to push this blog into new areas. Still seems weird to me though that I choose something like this to start really pushing myself more, but I guess you have to start somewhere right?


Veteran’s Day – 2011

Veteran's day is upon us and it is time for those to honor veterans whether they be young or old.

It has seem that people the last decade have really taken an appreciation for veterans and given them the respect that they deserve. It would seem like it should be that way but it hasn't always been that way for some reason. Yeah more then half the veterans might not of actually put their life on the line but 99% of people don't even serve in the armed forces, so take that into consideration when you might see someone who did serve but didn't do much and you jus blow them off or show them disrespect.

When I was was younger it just always seemed like the only veterans I possibly knew we're my grandpa's age when in reality they are all over the place and as I get older I find that out more and more each year but a lot of them don't always go on and on about it. They figured they were just doing their job and why should they receive praise for that.

I am a lot like that. I personally served six plus year in the Marine Corps Reserves with a year of that being activated during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I didn't do hardly anything besides what was asked of me and I tend to not go out seeking rewards or praise for what I did. I most times don't really know what to do when somebody finds out I was a vet and thanks me for my service because as soon as they do my mind immediately goes to the men and women that actually gave their lives for our country.

Even people like my great uncle who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor when he was stationed on the U.S.S Oklahoma and was thrown from the ship during the attack as he was headed towards church service. He was also later involved in the Midway Conflict. he survived all that was just recently passed away this year.

It is people like him that all of us, even other veterans, that I think we should be celebrating and honoring the most. But that isn't the way things work and it is still a great honor to be recognized on days like this.


Two and Two: USA Women’s National Team – Canada Women’s National Team

Hope Solo - Photo by Thad Bell for Thad Bell Photography

USWNT GK Hope Solo putting the ball back into play. Photo taken by Thad Bell Photography

It has been a couple months since the Women's World Cup finished up with Japan defeating the USA in Penalty Kicks and a match up that a lot of North American fans would of liked to of seen was USA vs Canada. Well the soccer gods have smiled upon us and put these two teams up against each other for a two game series, the first of which was played Saturday September 17th at the newly opened LIVESTRONG Sporting Park which is were Sporting Kansas City plays all their home games. It is the newest state of the art soccer specific stadium and besides the pitch condition, which is being worked on, cannot be beaten in quality. This isn't a post about the stadium though and is a post about my recap of the US Women's National Team's 1-1 draw with Canada's Women's National Team

- Did pretty good for starting to use a new system. USA has decided to kind of switch up their system and try to play a more an even more attacking type system and force the other teams to have to play more defense. For the most part I think it worked pretty well and they forced Canada to make an error early on in the game that awarded the USA with a penalty kick that Abby Wambach took and made it look super easy. Most of the first half I would say was pretty much dominated by the USA with a couple great shots, but just kept missing by probably mere inches.

- Seemed to let Canada push just a little too much. I don't really think that it was letting Canada push, but it seems more like they might of had a very good counter-attack which is what a lot of teams thrive on and don't focus as much on just attacking. Regardless this could of also been an issue with just starting to learn a new system. Which in its self seems to be abnormal especially since the USA still have the same head coach in Pia that coached the team to the Women's World Cup. The only thing I can think of is that she is trying to stay well ahead of the curve and keep the rest on the countries on their toes, and not let them figure out USA. Seems like a very smart idea. Guess we will see how well it is executed in the upcoming months and year.

- Knew the USA team was good and would have to push back. I think I can honestly say that Canada was really into this game. They didn't seem to push forward as much as most attacking teams, but tried their hardest to make the pushes they did have good ones, and even good enough to get one past Hope Solo before the end of the first half. Second half is a different story, but it pretty much the same story for the USA in the second half in which was pretty uneventful and lot a lot of action from either side.

- Made some potentially bad plays, but USA couldn't capitalize. USA really probably should of won this game based off of Canada's errors in judgements or just not being completely ready to be back playing soccer, but got lucky to keep USA to scoring just one goal and that was from a PK early in the game when the USA were putting on a ton of pressure, and forced Canada to make a costly mistake. Canada made quite a few mistakes, but again the USA just couldn't seem to capitalize on them. If it wasn't for Alex Morgan seeming to shot it straight at the goal keeper the game again could of been even worse, because I don't want to say it was the Canada keeper fault. The two that played seemed primed and ready, but I don't think that anybody told Canada's defense that they were going to play a game until right before the game.

Well I guess we will see what adjustments will be made when these two teams square off again in just a couple days in Portland in their soccer specific stadium of Jeld-Wen Field, which from what I've seen looks like a great stadium as well, and shouldn't have the pitch problems. I should hopefully be able to get a review up about that game as well.

I normally try to keep these Two and Two post shorter, but I figured a little extra detail couldn't hurt for this game, with it being a little more special.

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