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Monday, June 27, 2011

Perhaps the US Women can win back some respect

In any other country a 2-0 lead in soccer (football, fusbol etc) means game over, stick 10 men in the box and play d, perhaps get a freak corner kick or header but go home with the hardware 2-1 and let the paramedics sort out the bodies outside the stadium. Not here, not in the US, and NOT in So. Cal. Only here could we have over 100k at the Rose Bowl, the majority going the way of the tri-colors, take a 2-0 lead only to give up 4 consecutive goals without any form of reciprocity. Mexico tooled the US again in the Gold Cup Championship game 4-2 to take the trophy again, this time in our own house. This was worse than the 5-0 loss because it proved that even when we catch a break we’re not good enough to hold on. It shows that even getting spotted two touchdowns we can keep them out of the endzone. It shows exactly how much we have fallen behind the top countries of the world, and Mexico is not rated in the top five. It also is a harbinger that we’ve got three years to do something miraculous before we get embarrassed again at the world’s largest sporting event in Brazil next time around. Fortunately, the US Women’s Team will be attempting to capture the World Cup this month in Germany. One of the favorites with a very winnable group, the US Women, unlike the US Men, are a side no one wants to play and handle their business on the pitch against teams they should beat and rest assured if you fall down2-0 to the US Women, your will leave with stadium with an L. So perhaps it will again be the women that get the respect (and the mojo) back for US Soccer.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

US tries to change more than just Gold Cup history

The US grinded out a win over Panama 1-0, a side that previously beat them in the tournament, to advance to the finals of the Gold Cup on Saturday against Mexico. The Tri-Colors also struggled but scored twice in extra time to leave no doubt as they beat Honduras 2-0 for their path to the finals. The countries may share a border but to say that the US and Mexico are rivals in this tournament would be similar to comparing Ohio St. and Michigan football programs in recent years (although that may be subject to change) and the US hopes change their future as well. The U.S. and Mexico have played in the last two Gold Cup finals and split the two but the overall history has been one of domination as Mexico has outscored the US 14-1 en route to a 4-1 record. Additionally Mexico is undefeated in its last 11 Gold Cup games capped off by a 5-0 ownage of the States in last year’s final. To make matters worse the US will be without the services of Jose Altidore, the equivalent of their clean-up hitter, due to injury. So much like in the World Cup the US comes in as big dogs, but that seems to be when they do their best work and this is their first chance to make up for what many felt were failed expectations in South Africa after such a favorable draw. This would be an opportunity to take down a World Class opponent in a tournament they typically own and the type of statement that would build much needed momentum for the country’s program that has certainly lost its mojo after not reaching a lowered bar in 2010.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Rory’s dominance starts the Tiger talk

Two months at Augusta Rory McIlroy was the talk of the tournament, not because of how impressive he was in victory but how monumental was his collapse, would he ever be able to recover from the triple-bogey that gave up all of his lead, and would he ever be the same. Two months later McIlroy is the talk of the tournament again but this time because of his wire-to-wire dominating win at Congressional, and yes I think it would be safe to say he did recover but I would not say he will ever be the same. Now he’s the youngest since Tiger to win the Open, set a course record in the process, and at 22 is being compared to the greatest to ever play the game. After 1.5 great performances over the last two majors is this too much ‘street cred’ for the youngster? There is great potential there there’s no doubt about that but the comparisons to the heir apparent might be a little unjustified. Like Woods, McIlroy was a child golf prodigy and like Woods, he's off to an early majors start, but that’s where they should end until Rory can prove he’s not just a one-hit wonder or one year wonder. I saw this with Jim Courier in tennis, even in golf when Sergio Garcia took Tiger out at Little Big Horn in the showdown, people were talking about turning the reigns over and Sergio has yet to win a major. So before we send the crown across the pond let’s see how things play out a bit. However it does set up a great showdown / rivalry when the cat (Tiger) comes home. If we can’t get Mayweather vs. Pacquiao this will have to do.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Rory laps the field and leaves everyone else playing for 2nd

No Tiger? No Problem. Who said the PGA doesn’t have any other appealing players if TW can’t reduce the noise between his ears. Rory McIlroy is providing his own “Tigeresque” type of performance in the second round of the 2011 US Open. Even with a double-bogey 6 on No. 18 Friday, Rory McIlroy managed to shoot a 5-under 66 and set a new 36-hole U.S. Open record at 11-under 132 and has a huge lead at Congressional. Unfortunately, although we may recognize his brilliance and enjoy his play the ratings don’t show the nation has yet. Not only is Tiger sill hibernating but we can’t get a US player to step up and challenge the Irishman as the closest competitors are Robert Garrigus, Zach Johnson, and Brandt Snedeker all at -2 a full nine strokes behind the leader. I think the absence of Tiger reminds us how spoiled we were to always have that polarizing figure at the top of the leaderboard at every tournament. Weather you liked him and wanted to see him win, or hated him and wanted to see the challenger take him down it made for must see TV and suddenly golf was hip again. A Father’s Day without tiger, Lefty, or DL3 at the top will not bode well for NBC on Sunday, who didn’t do well with the NHL either, because although there isn’t much on, it will be hard take away from family day to watch when the only storyline will be if the kid finds a way to commit the worst collapse in the history of golf to come from ahead to lose. Well, maybe he will take two steps back and Yang two forward and then at least we’ve got something to go with the hot dogs. Is the US Open of any interest without the big names at the top or at least a competitive match? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

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