International Friendlies

July 2, 2014 / / International Friendlies

Immense thanks to Allas for the Sanchez video.

Alexis Sanchez is ready.
Alexis Sanchez is a problem.
Neymar will be something if he ever learns how to play the Barça way.
Alex Song was a waste of money, and isn’t anything approximating Barça quality.

A quartet of interesting statements that raises a complex matter with its roots in a notion that some American sports sides (particularly NFL teams) subscribe to, which is to pick the best available athlete. The thinking is that you can train a player to play a position, but you can’t train ability and talent. So you draft a speedy cornerback, and figure you can train him to run pass routes and play wide receiver.

In the footballing world, are we seeing its contemporary in the “difficulties” that three players, Sanchez, Neymar and Song, are having in the blaugrana?
Read MoreThe “best available athlete” dilemma, aka “Hammering nails with a banana”

September 11, 2013 / / Guest Post
July 24, 2013 / / International Friendlies
"Adriano! Squirrel!"
“Adriano! Squirrel!”

This, even though it appears under my name, is a minute-by-minute rundown from Kari, who many of you no doubt remember as a journalistic delight and breath of fresh air. So suffice it to say, when she banged out this piece and offered it to me, I said “Yes” faster than Adriano hopping on the injury cart. So heeeere’s Kari! (@officialkari on Twitter)

FCB v FCB – a running diary

I only have my laptop and a lot of free time right now, so I’m going to amuse myself by writing a really crappy min-by-min.
Read MoreBayern Munich 2, Barça 0, aka “The return of a class favorite … Kari!”

June 11, 2012 / / International Friendlies
March 3, 2012 / / International Friendlies

You probably made a New Year’s resolution.

It’s probably already laying on the ash heap of intention, a fire caused by a collision between reality and that joyful way in which man always thinks the best of himself. “This year I will keep that resolution to loseweightbebettercleanupnotburnEEshirtsinmyHibachi.”

And once again, it’s March and you’re thinking, “You just wait ’til next year.”

Well, I kept my New Year’s resolution. Both of them, actually. The first was to not make a New Year’s resolution. The second was …. well …. to make one. To absolutely, thoroughly, with every fiber of my being, HATE the first match after an international friendly.
Read MoreResolutions and hatred

February 29, 2012 / / International Friendlies
October 13, 2011 / / International Friendlies
October 11, 2011 / / International Friendlies
August 10, 2011 / / International Friendlies
July 26, 2011 / / International Friendlies
November 17, 2010 / / International Friendlies
August 11, 2010 / / International Friendlies

Last night I attended the USA-Brazil international friendly at the New Meadowlands. Despite the absurdity that is New York Penn Station at rush hour and with tens of thousands of soccer fans adding to the mayhem, I got there on time and got to my seat just as the game kicked off.

There’s a certain glamor to watching a game in person that never gets old, even with the long waits to get there and then back home afterwards (how do people do it when the game ends at midnight?) and last night was no exception. There were fewer USA! chants than normal because of the massive Brazilian contingent that appears out of nowhere whenever the Seleção shows up. Seriously, I don’t see any Brazilians around here until some Brazilian superstar shows up, like Ronaldinho with Barça a couple of years ago, but during that day they’re everywhere in their yellow and hot hotness (possibly NSFW).

Read MoreAmerican Stadiums and Brazilian Footwork