Aug 27, 2016
This week’s Soccer Insider is all about Minnesota United’s new rivalries in MLS. Kansas City will have the advantage of geography; Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, and Montreal have history; and Los Angeles is just annoying.
Aug 20, 2016
We learned last night, via a big fancy announcement at a (rainy) CHS Field in St. Paul, that Minnesota United FC will begin play in MLS in 2017. We sort of already knew that; it’s been widely assumed that the move would happen next year, to give Atlanta an expansion partner and keep an even number of teams in the league. The big announcement was probably that United would still be called United after all, not Minnesota FC or Minnesota SC or something like that, as everyone thought until about Thursday this week.
My Star Tribune column was about what MLS looks like, from a roster perspective. Much attention is given to salary caps in the NHL and NBA and NFL, and to the roster and waiver rules in baseball; MLS has all of that and more.
Aug 13, 2016
August 13 - My Premier League preview is betting on Liverpool and Chelsea, two teams that don’t have to play anywhere but England this year.
August 6 - The USWNT headed to the Olympics as the heavy, unbeatable favorites - but it’s hard to climb to the top of the mountain again. (This looked a little prescient the next week, when they lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals.)
July 30 - Chelsea and AC Milan played a friendly at U.S. Bank Stadium this week, and as part of the promotion, I got a chance to talk to Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic, who grew up in Edmonton. (I suspect his North American-accented English is why they had him do interviews.) Really nice guy!
July 23 - There’s more than one way to approach the tactical side of the game - as Minnesota United coaches Manny Lagos (former) and Carl Craig (current) have demonstrated.
July 16 - Christian Ramirez missed a penalty the previous week, so I talked to him about the mental side of the game. He basically brushed it off, so filled with confidence was he. Naturally, in that night’s game he took a penalty in the first ten minutes - and scored. (I covered that game for the Star Tribune, too!)
July 9 - With the transfer market in full swing, I felt duty-bound to try to explain this to Star Tribune readers.
July 2 - On the Great Baseball Road Trip, I heard people complaining about how soccer was so boring. It occurred to me that soccer’s made such great strides that I had no reason to argue with him.
Jun 25, 2016
Like a lot of people, I was genuinely thrilled when the USA made it to the semifinals of the Copa America. They haven’t exactly made it that far a lot - twice at the Confederations Cup and that’s about it, not counting the Gold Cup. This is the closest thing the USA gets to a non-World Cup major tournament, and so the excitement about making it that far was a real thing.
Then the USA played Argentina, and got absolutely dominated. That was about the end of the excitement, and instead, the same questions got thrown around. Depending on who you ask, the USA needs a better coach, or a better youth development system, or a better domestic league, to fix everything that ails America.
It’s not that easy. There are no easy answers. Over at Soccer Insider, I gave some examples of countries that have it all - and still can’t win it all.
Jun 18, 2016
First of all: Northern Pitch, once the home for Minnesota soccer coverage, is now FiftyFive.One. It’s a bit of an odd name - 55.1 is the average yearly temperature in St. Paul - but it’s a new start for all of us who write about soccer in Minnesota.
Second, now that we’ve gone all Acast, our Sportive site just points to our site at acast. We do that podcast every week. You should have no trouble finding us.
Now, some links to my Soccer Insider columns at the Star Tribune:
February 6 - As the European seasons heated up, I recapped them for the Star Tribune readers.
February 13 - Minneapolis City SC, which launched this week, is explicitly trying to become the old Minnesota Thunder, as the new version - Minnesota United - heads toward MLS.
February 20 - Minnesota United went out to the Simple Invitational in Portland, and I talked to Carl Craig ahead of the trip.
February 27 - There’s just too much complaining about schedules these days. Do you see Barcelona complaining about schedules? No, you don’t. They just keep winning.
March 5: MLS Preview time!
March 12 - On the fall of Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager that’s disappointed fans for a decade.
March 19 - MLS’s stupid salary structure is the main thing that’s holding the league back.
March 26 - A look at the eight Minnesotans that have reached the highest levels of soccer. Basically, “Here’s the #oneofus people to know.”
April 2 - Minnesota United Preview: The Loons, revamped in the offseason, will be failures if they don’t make the playoffs.
April 9 - MLS has survived for 20 years, which is good. But it’s so, so broken, which is bad.
April 16 - NWSL Preview: Seattle is looking strong for a third straight regular season title.
April 23 - I attempted to explain why the top teams in Spain continue to dominate European competition. The best explanation: their reserve players are playing in the second and third and fourth division, not fooling around in obscure reserve leagues.
April 30 - Leicester City was about to win the Premier League, and I tried to explain just why this was a miracle.
May 7 - This is my column from my visit to England. Arsenal 1, Norwich City 0. The entire day, trip, two weeks, and so on was an absolute dream come true.
May 21 - Here’s my attempt at ranking the world’s domestic leagues - and understanding where MLS fits.
May 28 - The Copa America is expanding to North America, becoming a true pan-American competition. More of this would be a good thing.
June 4 - As the Copa America kicks off, it’s worth remembering that the USA isn’t a world powerhouse, and we shouldn’t expect greatness.
June 11 - Euro 2016 Preview: The expanded Euros are going to make the first round kinda boring.
June 18 - With the USA reaching the Copa America semifinals, the men’s national team has a chance to exceed every previous performance.
Jan 30, 2016
Here’s two more weeks’ worth of posts.
Star Tribune - Soccer Insider
- January 23: MLS insiders can’t stop talking about Jürgen Klinsmann, and the reason is revealing.
- January 30: I talked to Minnesota native, and Montreal and US U-23 fullback, Eric Miller, who is in USMNT camp for the first time - but still looking forward to March.
- January 19: Minnesota United fans are going to stand anyway. The team’s new stadium design might as well make it safer - which would allow the team to pack more fans in, too.
- January 29: Back in the day, when I wrote for Twinkie Town, I used to take Fridays to do stupid joke posts. I may start doing the same at Northern Pitch. One of my first: National Sports Center executive Barclay Kruse announces “Barclay’s Premier League”
- #143: We weren’t too happy but tried to be positive. (We failed.)
- #144: I ranted for five consecutive minutes about a man who hasn’t coached Gopher football for almost a decade. All I can tell you is, when it was over, Brandon said, “I need a cigarette.”
Jan 17, 2016
So, I went awhile without an update. And made a technology change to the blog, about which more anon. That said, this has always been, as much as anything, a record of things I’ve written, so allow me a long list of posts:
Star Tribune Soccer Insider
- January 16: NASL vision needs professionalism and stability to compete with MLS
- January 9: Carl Craig gets set for the MLS Combine
- December 19: Abby Wambach isn’t easily replaced
- December 12: Why is Chelsea so bad?
- December 5: Columbus vs Portland is new vs. old in MLS Cup
- November 28: Leicester City surprises atop Premier League
- November 14: Stanford is holding Jordan Morris back
- November 7: Previewing Ottawa-Minnesota in the NASL playoffs
- October 31: Young players a good reason to watch MLS playoffs
- October 24: United’s move to MLS is a complex issue
- October 17: On Jürgen Klinsmann and the U.S. National Team
- October 10: USA-Mexico is the end of an era
- October 3: Rivalries are better with history, not geography
- September 26: It’s time for instant replay in soccer
- September 19: Loons seek to - finally - beat the Cosmos
- January 3: Previewing MLS’s Conference Alignment, post-Expansion I also appeared on episode 4 of the Soccer Bites podcast to talk about this.
- December 23: Happy Festivus! And now, the airing of grievances
- December 14: Jackson Yueill is a potential MLS target
- November 25: Local friend running out of ways to tell you he doesn’t like soccer
- November 17: How the end of the MLS expansion draft could benefit Minnesota
- November 3: United training notes (I actually covered something!)
I won’t actually list all of these out, but just link you to the podcast page. Suffice it to say that we’ve been keeping up with what’s going on.
Bringing this site back to life is going to be fun.
Sep 12, 2015
Here’s quite a lot of links to things I wrote or did over the past three weeks:
- August 23: Made it over to Elizabeth Lyle Robbie to cover Gopher soccer’s 0-0 draw with Kansas.
- August 27: Sportive Episode 120 was just a nice, normal episode. Kind of fun!
- August 27: I wrote a satirical post at Northern Pitch about the lack of news on the Minnesota United stadium. People thought it was great; I also got some insider blowback for it.
- August 28: Your soccer weekend. I’d like to think these preview posts live on beyond the weekend.
- August 29: Soccer Insider looks at New York City FC, where money can’t buy anything but failure.
- September 1: Sportive Episode 121 sees my brother Dave join us for Gopher football talk.
- September 2: I covered Minnesota United’s 1-0 win over Indy for the Star Tribune.
- September 5: Soccer Insider: When Minnesota United are gone from NASL, who will challenge the Cosmos?
- September 11: Sportive Episode 122 covers everything but the Vikings; recorded the same night, Sportive Episode 123 is our Vikings season preview.
- September 11: Your soccer weekend has your schedule lined up pretty good.
- September 12: Soccer Insider studies the hardest thing about the Champions League – playing well in both Europe and domestically.
Aug 22, 2015
Here’s everything I worked on this week:
- August 19: We got recognized at Legends while recording this week’s podcast, with special guest Liz Welle, and also got stared at by half of the patrons.
- August 21: Got some good feedback on my extended weekend soccer schedule at Northern Pitch. If nothing else, I wrote late at night and then laughed at myself twice while re-reading it the next morning.
- **August 22: **Soccer Insider covers Gopher soccer, which kicked off their regular season last night with a 3-0 win. They need more goals, and are leaning on the depth of some new freshman to get them. Plus: Chelsea’s early panic, USWNT beatdowns vs. the NWSL, Miguel Ibarra, and a (much shorter) weekend watch guide.
Aug 16, 2015
Free band name idea: pic.twitter.com/Z1UCxujNGa
— Stacey Burns (@WentRogue) August 15, 2015
It took one game to fall in love with the Bundesliga, and specifically with the nuttiness of Bayer Leverkeusen. With five minutes left in a game they’d eventually win 2-1, most teams would think defensively. Not Leverkeusen, who had eight players in the opposition penalty area, trying to score a third, and allowing Hoffenheim a chance going the other way. That’s the kind of hell-for-leather, poorly-thought-out strategy that we appreciate!
Here are links to an awful lot of things I’ve written or said over the past couple of weeks.
- July 27: Following the Gold Cup, I wrote at Northern Pitch about the curiously unjudgeable Jürgen Klinsmann.
- July 29: Patrick Donnelly joined the Sportive at Town Hall Brewery to talk Twins, and Jürgy.
- July 29: At Northern Pitch, I look at the birth of MLS, and how a bunch of inexperienced executives and owners did everything wrong and saw everything just work out fine.
- August 1: Three players are leading the charge for Minnesota United, and I wrote about them for Soccer Insider. Plus: notes, and watch guide.
- August 5: The podcast spent a heck of a lot more time on Prince vs. Michael Jackson than we did on sports, to be honest.
- August 9: A Soccer Insider Premier League preview – looking mostly at the exciting teams just below the top. The notes include my semi-insane league predictions; the watch guide includes two English games.
- August 12: Eric Durkee joined the podcast to talk about farting on people and soccer, though not necessarily at the same time.
- August 15: Soccer Insider covers the Bundesliga, which kicked off a week after the Premiership – and on broadly-available American TV for the first time in awhile.