U.S. Wins the Milk Cup

July 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Congrats to the U.S. U-20 team on their 3-0 victory over Norther Ireland to win the Milk Cup.

A couple things you must check out.  First, Brent Latham does a very thorough job of looking into the futures of the U.S. team.  Second, watch Agudelo’s goal (it starts at about 1:10).

Finally, the stats for the match, from USSoccer.com:

  USA N. Ire.
Shots 13 7
Saves 4 4
Fouls 14 16
Corners 9 3
Offside 1 1
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Categories: U-20s

North Korean Players Reprimanded

July 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently, I wrote about the influences corrupting soccer to support my position that FIFA should take advantage of available technology.  One of those corrupting influences was the application of political power.  I mentioned specifically the rumor that North Korea might send its players and their families to work in the coal mines as punishment for their performances.  The Associated Press reported today that the men of North Korea’s World Cup squad were summoned to the capital sometime this month and reprimanded for their poor performance.  And they were instructed to reprimand their coach.

It has to be strange to play against a team like North Korea and know as you’re celebrating your goals the impact you may have had on the lives and families of the men who share the very same field for those 90 minutes.

Categories: General News

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.

Second-Guessing Nairn and Leroux

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

By now, everyone who actually cared about the US Women’s U-20 team knows that it was eliminated from the World Cup in a penalty shootout in which (a) Captain Christine Nairn’s left-footed shot slightly to the left of center was saved and (b) Sydney Leroux’s right-footed shot sailed high over the center of the cross bar.  The question now is whether their intended shot placements were logical.

The Evidence:

I could not compile a history of Women’s U-20 World Cup penalty shootout statistics.  However, prior to this year’s Men’s World Cup, ESPN The Magazine (Issue 13.12) presented a chart of every penalty shot taken during World Cup shootouts from 1978 through 2006.  I took the graphical representations they made and turned them into percentages that are easier to deal with.

I assumed that the empirical statistics reflected the chance that something might happen as the result of aiming for a particular area of the goal.  But of course that is not necessarily true;  e.g., there’s not a 0% chance of missing any shot.  But it gives us a sense of what happens based on shot placement.

The Results Read more…

Categories: Women's Teams

U-20 Women in the . . . plane home?

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

In an ugly match, Nigeria’s U-20 women sent the US women home:  a 1-1 draw settled by a shootout which saw the Americans’ captain, Christine Nairn (MF, Penn State), and its star striker Sydney Leroux fail to convert on their penalty kicks.

Sometimes the better team loses.  It happens in every sport, but perhaps more often in soccer where matches are often decided by the slimmest of margins.  Nigeria played rough: earning four yellow cards and committing 26 fouls (to the US’s zero yellow cards and five fouls committed).  Still, the US managed 13 shots on goal, but only scored once.  Allowed to remain in the match, Nigeria matched the US in shots on goal and goals.

A common soccer statistic is that roughly 75% of penalty kicks score (one in four).  This match was no exception: on eight total shots, six goals were scored.  Unfortunately, the misses weren’t divided equally among the teams.  Nairn’s shot was saved by the keeper who guessed corrected and didn’t have to travel far to get Nairn’s shot, just to the keeper’s right.  Leroux’s shot just missed high, right over the goalie’s head.

Read more…

Categories: Women's Teams

First Goals x 3 + 1

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Congratulations to Charlie Davies, who captained the Sochaux reserves to a 2-0 victory yesterday.  A couple of very important firsts for Charlie: his first full 90 and his first goal.  (And in case you’re wondering, there was no stanky leg.  Charlie is saving that one.)  If the video of the goal becomes available, we’ll add it.

On the subject of first goals, one of my favorite not recently active MNT players, Bobby Convey, scored his first of the MLS season tonight against LA.

Convey’s first will certainly be overshadowed by Thierry Henry’s first.  It wasn’t the most flashiest shot he’s ever taken, but it put the ball in the net and announced that he’s going to make the MLS an even better product.

Finally, I’m not sure whether I’m just missing my hometown or it really is that amazing of a goal, but while I’m linking to videos of goals, here is Brian Carroll’s recent one timer for the Columbus Crew for good measure.

Categories: MLS

All White Kit

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The Women’s U-20 World Cup catch your interest?  If so, do yourself a favor and check out All White Kit, the newest site on our list of links.  Jenna Pel has put together a comprehensive site that will tell you everything you need to know about the other(better?) half’s game.  So once you’re done watching Sydney Leroux highlights, check out Jenna’s site — you won’t find a better one on the topic.

Categories: Women's Teams