Saturday was rough. You could almost feel the sucker punch coming, and it still hurt. Bad. There were a few interesting moments in the game but I couldn’t stop thinking about the wind. It’s one of the identifying characteristics of footy that you play in basically any condition, and it affects the way you play, the way you think about playing, and, obviously the results.
For all its stripped down, no pads, anyone-can-play humanity, the NBA is sterile in this regard. Every court is exactly the same and predictable (unless you have a bad shooting night, then you can blame the stadium’s depth perception, or lighting problems). Football has to play in weather, but they ruin the fun by putting Super Bowls in safe weather cities. Baseball has to play in weather too, but they cancel games if anyone gets mud on their shoes.
No, soccer has to deal with the elements in every way, from bee attacks to snow to pitch problems to wind.
Saturday against Philly began as a perfect example. The wind was strong enough to blow the froth off your beer. I saw a garbage can at Toyota Park get blown over and almost tumble down an aisle. Meanwhile, Philly could hardly get the ball in the air, and when they did, the wind held it up like the perfect alley oop. Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba were able to measure the long balls up easily and win them consistently, even over Connor Casey.
But as the game developed, it was interesting because the wind didn’t seem to influence the game as much as it could have. It was irritating for the players (I’ve never seen Gonzalo Segares overhit so many crosses), and definitely a factor (it made Sean Johnson look like superman, I swear he could’ve kicked a goal kick into a bags game on the Party Deck in the first half if he wanted to), but it wasn’t the storyline.
Anibaba and Berry kept winning headers off goal kicks and clearances going both directions, and neither team were obviously playing out of the back on the ground the way teams do when they’re avoiding long balls into the wind. It seemed like a stalemate between the wind and the two sides. If only the wind could’ve pushed Patrick Nyarko's second half chance just an inch or two left, we’d be here sipping champagne joking about the wind, but we got sucker punched.
Let’s take the funny with the tragic, here. The Fire were clearly robbed of three points, and the good news is that there’s plenty of time to recover these lost points. The Rolfe/Nyarko partnership is promising, the weather’s getting better, and at the end of the season we’ll look back at plays like this one from Anibaba and laugh.
Our Team for the World partner Club America took a big step towards their first domestic title since 2005, defeating Pumas UNAM 2-1 in the second leg of the Liga MX Clasura quarterfinals on Saturday at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Heading into the match, America already held a 1-0 aggregate lead after Raul Jimenez struck in the 28th minute of the first leg on Wednesday.
Pumas pulled the series level by virtue of Robin Ramirez' classy one-time volley past Moises Munoz in the 21st minute.
Club America would re-take the lead as Ecuadorian international Christian Benitez finished from close range following a redirected shot in the 56th minute.
With the hosts already looking like they'd advance, Benitez put the final nail in the coffin deep into second half stoppage time, beating Pumas 'keeper Miguel Palacios inside the post to clinch a 3-1 aggregate victory.
With the win, Club America moves on to the Liga MX Clasura semifinals and will vist Montrerrey in Wednesday's first leg before welcoming los Rayados to the Azteca for leg two Saturday night.
The Chicago Fire face Club America in an international friendly on Saturday, July 10 at Toyota Park.
Instead of talking to him in 140 characters, why not join him live for a Google+ Hangout Friday afternoon?
Daniel will begin taking your questions at 12:15pm CT but you can begin asking him questions for the chance to win
- 2 FREE Premier tickets to Saturday's match vs. Philadelphia Union
- 2 FREE tickets to next Thursday's Art of Futbol event
- A team-signed Chicago Fire ball.
The soccer world was stopped in its tracks Wednesday as legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson announced this season would be his last.
“I actually heard this morning before training. I had a moment. Then I had a moment to think. It’s just sad. I know it’s the right time but sometimes as the speculation has kept on going you start to think it’s never going to happen. You think he’s going to be there until he dies.
“I guess he’s made his decision it’s just a tough one because he’s simply irreplaceable. He’s given the club so much and as he said he left the club in the best possible state.
"I’m curious to see who the next manager is going to be. I’m sure whoever it is he’ll take after Sir Alex. He can’t be him but he can follow the tradition and apply his philosophies to keep the club at a top-level.
“I’d absolutely be alright with the next guy being David Moyes. That guy’s demeanor and his success with Everton with a smaller budget make me feel he’d be successful at United. I think he’s a player’s coach, every player he’s had plays hard for him.
“To go to a bigger club like Manchester United, he’ll have a lot more flexibility and I think he’d be really successful. I’d vouch for him and I hope the United faithful would be behind him.”
“It’s a sad day. I woke up and checked my Twitter – that’s how I found out. You knew at some point it had to come to an end.
"It’s pretty sad but at the same time it’s great to celebrate what he’s achieved. I grew up a United fan and he’s the only manager I’ve known there.
“Sir Alex is such an iconic figure around Old Trafford and in the English game and he’ll forever be the greatest manager there. It’ll be pretty weird to see someone else sitting where he was – I don’t know if they’ll be chewing gum or not but it’ll be sad to see someone else step in.”
After a scoreless 120 minutes, the Fire’s Team for the World alliance partner Internacional (Brazil) needed a shoot-out to edge Juventude 4-3 on Sunday, May 5 to clinch the Rio Grande do Sul state championship.
Inter played the same starting 11 for the third straight match in the final as former Brazilian international and national team coach Dunga clinched his first title with the club.
As the winner of the first stage, the Piratini Cup, another tourney title in the Farroupilha Cup meant that they clinched the State championship. In the standard format the two winners face each other.
Internacional now moves on to open up the national Campeanato Brasileiro Saturday, May 25 against Vitoria.
The top four finishers from that competitoin qualify for the Copa Libertadores, the top club competition in South America.
Congratulations to Sport Club Internacional from the Chicago Fire!
UPDATE! The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass the the below resolution Tuesday morning.
The Chicago Fire today took part in hearings regarding a historic resolution regarding LGBT athletes to be introduced for passage by the Chicago City Council on Wednesday.
The Fire were represented at Tuesday’s hearings by Senior Director of Communications Dan Lobring who brought to light the club’s support for Robbie Rogers, participation with Equality Illinois in the 2012 Chicago LGBT Pride Parade and Section 8 Chicago’s “Our Diversity, Our Strength” tifo displayed prior to a game against the Houston Dynamo on April 15, 2012.
Sponsored in tandem by Alderman Joe Moore, the City Council’s Human Rights Committee and The Last Closet, should Wednesday’s resolution pass, Chicago would become the second city after San Francisco to declare its backing for LGBT athletes.
The end goal of the resolution is to ultimately get commissioners of all major North American sports leagues to state publicly their support for LGBT athletes, invite them to come out and pledge to make them safe and accepted.
For more information on Wednesday's resolution, please click here.
You could imagine my surprise when I saw the above headline on Grindtv.com...
I thought back to late February when I shot a viral video of an alligator watching the first team train at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. The video has over 40,000 views so of course I wondered what I did wrong...
As much as I like it when Section 8 Chicago sings "There's only one Jeff Crandall" at Fire reserve matches, I've come to terms with the fact that its probably not true.
I've also come to terms with the fact that I'm not the bravest Jeff Crandall in the world either...
From the article:
"A sheriff’s deputy didn’t bother to wait for a trained alligator trapper to deal with an unruly alligator that was snapping at cars near a dentist’s office in Oldsmar, Florida. Nope, Pinellas County Deputy Jeff Crandall decided to take action himself, since the animal was heading toward the roadway.
According to numerous reports, Crandall grabbed a rope from his trunk, lassoed the gator’s neck, jumped on its back and taped its huge mouth shut—exactly what wildlife officials tell you not to do."
I'd never have done that... In case you've forgotten, this is my closest encounter with a gator...
Select shots from the Fire's reserve league win over FC Dallas
Select shots from the Fire's international friendly vs. Club America on April 29, 2009
The month of May is one day away which means the U.S. Open Cup begins just a week from today.
The 68-team field for the 100th edition of the historic tournament is set, with the play-in round commencing next Tuesday with two matches.
Then every Tuesday throughout the month of May will be a U.S. Open Cup date, with the Fire and Major League Soccer sides entering in the tournament's third round on May 28.
Coming off a difficult extra time loss to the Michigan Bucks at the first hurdle last season, there's no doubt that the four-time tournament champions Chicago Fire are chomping at the bit to get back to Open Cup play.
Be sure to keep up with this year's tournament via the excellent coverage provided by Josh Hakala and his team at TheCup.us
A quick look back on the Fire's four U.S. Open Cup titles: