Archive for the ‘Recommended Reading’ Category

Writing for The USA 10 Kit

July 28, 2010 1 comment

As I alluded to yesterday, the folks at The USA 10 Kit are giving me a chance to join them.  I’m really excited about this opportunity and look forward to your continued support.

My first story, What Made Charlie Davies Great?, is up on the site now.  It is a comparison of Davies’ stats from the Confederations Cup and Robbie Findley’s stats from the World Cup.  If you have a chance, please check it out.


Corrupting the Beautiful, Incorrectly Called Game

June 27, 2010 2 comments

Woke up this morning just in time to see England’s equalizer not called because the linesman couldn’t get into the correct position.  And invariably because FIFA chose not to use goal-line technology in its balls because it likes a bit of controversy.  It’s “human error” and it’s part of the game.  That’s the message the AP received in preparing its recent article on officiating at the World Cup.  What many Americans may not realize — if they haven’t been following international soccer long enough — is that it’s not just “human error,” it’s corruption.  And even former FIFA presidents have alleged match-fixing occurred to help determine the champions of at least two World Cups: 1966 & 1974.

After the break is a partial litany of the forces involved in corrupting soccer.  But the point of it all is this:  if FIFA were really serious about stopping corruption that impacts the outcome of matches, it would not resist goal-line technology (microchips in balls that send alerts to a referee’s watch when the entire ball has crossed the goal line) and it would implement limited use of instant replay.  Referees can make game-changing decisions in an instant: a red card reduces a side to 10 men for an entire match.  A penalty kick awarded (or denied) can make a huge difference in games often settled by less than two goals.  Same with the failure to award a properly scored goal.  (Can it honestly be said that the England-Germany match today would have been the same if it was tied at the half, as it should have been?)

While there is a beauty to soccer’s current pace, behind the facade is an ugliness.  Just like a newly discovered flaw in a prized possession, once we know it is there and start looking for it, we are almost shocked at how obvious it appears.  And knowing that some players, coaches, and referees are resisting corruption at the cost of their health and perhaps lives should embolden us to fight to fix the beautiful game and give them the recognition and protection that they deserve. Read more…

An Alternate Take on the Final

June 28, 2009 2 comments

You do not come across them often, but I always find commentaries by former goalkeepers interesting.  So I was glad to happen upon “The Post” today, a blog by a former keeper that is yet another example of the quality of soccer blogging out there.  For example, check out his pre-tournament post on the U.S. left backs and his analysis of today’s Final.  When you’ve had your fill of statistics for the day and want some interesting perspective, I recommend checking out the site.

Categories: Recommended Reading

If you don’t know a 4-4-1-1 from a 4-4-2 . . .

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

The U.S. victory over Spain has brought new attention to the Men’s National Team (MNT).  For the uninitiated, fans’ discussions of 4-4-1-1 over 4-4-2 and the not-rare-enough 9-1 formations may not make sense.  If you count yourself in that group, check out this June 22 post about the development of the U.S. formation into the 4-4-2 that has worked so well against Egypt and Spain.  It provides a good, recent history of U.S. formations and throws some statistics in to boot.

And while you’re there, check out the rest of Match Fit USA.  I wish I had discovered it earlier.

Effects of Red Cards as Examined by Times Online

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

One of the goals of this blog is to bring attention to the statistical analysis others have performed on the beautiful game.  So, when we see an article like the January 17, 2009 “Red-card myths are dismissed by statistics,” we like to share it.

Now, the “myths” the author debunks are not necessarily myths.  And I am not sure that it was ever the prevailing opinion that a team that received a red card while in the lead would normally maintain that lead.  Or that a team that was losing when it received a red card would still score goals.  And it is a little disappointing that the author’s model apparently can evaluate how a red card’s impact varies depending upon how early into the match it is received, but that he does not go into that at all.

Still, red cards are on the minds of U.S. fans.  And even though the article only briefly describes the author’s findings, it is still worth checking out.

Categories: Recommended Reading