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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

USMNT vs. Brazil May 30th, 8pm ET

Probable Lineups:
USA (4-3-3): Howard, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Johnson; Bradley, Edu, Jones;      Donovan, Altidore, Dempsey
Brazil (4-2-2-2): Jefferson; 

               Danilo, Silva, Juan Marcelo 
                     Sandro Romulo 
                      Lucas, Oscar 
                         Hulk, Neymar

The USMNT will face a stern test of there mettle when they face Brazil tomorrow May 30th at Fedex field.This comes on the back of a 5-1 win against Scotland, and Jurgen Klinsmann's band of red, white, and blue will have confidence pulsing through their veins. The Scots' and the Selecao pose very different threats, to which compensating measures may be taken by the German.

Against Scotland the US played free flowing football not seen from past US sides, and the midfield trio of Bradley, Edu, and Jones formed a formidable force in front of the back four. Terrance Boyd created space for the likes of Donovan and Torres to exploit. 

I hope that the US come out in this shape, and with this game plan...Attack. Though being tight defensively is a must against Brazil. US Fullbacks, Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson will have their hands full with the likes of Hulk and Neymar running at them. That's the key for me---stop Hulk.
You wont like me when I am ANGRY.
Here's what Jurgen and the boys' have to say ahead of the match:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MNT vs. Scotland: Field Level Highlights

I scrounged this little ditty up this morning, It's a field level look at the USMNT's comprehensive 5-1 win over Scotland, Saturday May 26th. Check the video below it's pretty rad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Master

The Master is the newest film by Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood, and on its October 2012 release date is expected to make a splash in Hollywood. The Master is A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as "The Master" whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man. Based loosely on the story of one L. Ron Hubbard and the founding of Scientology, thought the production company denies it, the film has received some shtick from the Church of Scientology for these reasons. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and these stars are all accompanied by a regular joe in the shape of me. This shape can be seen in the first official teaser released this week. View It Below...41 secs in.

Studying in Hawaii this summer a friend recommended that I join Hawaii's Actor Network, who cast extras for shows such as Hawaii Five-O and ABC's The River. Needless to say I did, and the first casting call I got was for a untitled film, set during WWII. I jumped and got one of the many extra spots to be filmed on a Oahu North Shore beach. They cut my hair to the style of 1950's Marine, and gave me a pair of Khaki shorts the sat at practically above the belly button.

I arrived at the set at about 6am to be dressed, styled and given direction. A group of 60 20 something guys where brought to a beach where we where supposed to act like a bunch of soldiers taking in some R&R. We drank fake beers, smoked cigarettes and through coconuts as though they were footballs. We where the background setting to Joaquin Phoenix who the camera focused on. The scene that is in the teaser where we crowd around wrestlers spawned one of the most hilarious things I have ever heard, not for what was said but for the context.  It was a bunch of extras, as I was, and a star, Joaquin. He said nothing all day. He looked like he had come off a two week bender, weighing maybe a buck 15 and hunched over like an elderly man. When the director was asking for wrestling volunteers, out of know where Joaquin screams, " Who the fuck here wants to wrestle fucking naked!" classic. 

It was a blast, getting paid to sit on a beach, and end up in a Hollywood film. I was surprised how much they used from the scene I was In, I was a afraid it might be cut but it made up the  content of the teaser. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Introducing The New Liverpool Home Kit

When Adidas announced that they would be ending their relationship of kit manufacture with Liverpool Football Club after what seems like eons, I was surprised. I was even more surprised when Liverpool announced that New England based Lacrosse gear manufacturer Warrior would make in charge of giving the Red their "Reds." Not all that surprising as John Henry and Fenway Sports Groups try to market the English club to the American public. This is Warrior's first time making a Football kit and If I may, it's Gorgeous. 

Their has already been strife over the new kit as Members of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign formed after the disaster in May 1989, that left 96 dead.  As The BBC Reports,     "The new shirt sees the club's logo, which featured an image of the Shankly Gates, replaced by the original Liver Bird crest that became synonymous with Liverpool's success in the 1970s and 80s. As a result the two Justice flames honouring the Hillsborough campaign have been moved to the back of the shirt." This is being seen as a disrespectful to the the 96 who lost their lives, saying "96 is more than a number."

I personally love the Home Kit, and kind of pisses me off that I bought Last season's- 2011/12 kit. The thing I love most about it is the more regal looking red, not so fiery and bright as the others. Also the fact that it does not have the ugly Adidas Stripes that dominate all of their uniforms. I am excited to see the release of the away kit, though I have heard rumors that it might be purple, and that doesn't particularly fly with me.

Liverpool players model new 2012/13 Home Kit

(Video): Reina's thoughts on the his new Liverpool Home Kit.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Liver n' Onions: "Cech" The Replay Ref

The moment of ecstasy that would flush Andy Carroll's seasons woes down the drain, and perhaps being the moment that would justify Liverpool's sub-par season fizzled as quick as it came. Running away from the Chelsea goal in celebration after having thought he scored the tying goal in the FA Cup Final, a goal that would surely send it to extra time, was disallowed by the officials. It typified Liverpool's season in one second. A team that have hit the post more times  than any other, once again suffered from the curse of the wood work. This kept the game 2-1 in Chelsea's favor, after second half substitute Andy Carroll scored for the Reds, shifting momentum, and showing the watching world the potential he bares. He thought he did it again, a goal that would equalize the game, but a smart save from Petr Cech slapped Carroll's header off the bar and out. A huge cry from the Liverpool players, fans and Manager Kenny Dalglish pleading that the ball went over the line cascaded around Wembley, but this was waved away by the officials. I still believe the angles leave some ambiguity in it, but by the letter of the law, the whole ball must go over the line, and according to the cameras set up at Wembley, it didn't. 

On the whole the match was well fought by the Liverpool squad, looking for their domestic cup double, having knocked Chelsea out of the Carling Cup earlier this season on their way to winning silverware. It was a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde performance from the Reds, as they started the game as I suspected, not as I hoped, with Suarez the loan striker, Gerrard, Henderson and Spearing behind him. Downing and Bellamy operating on the wings, with Carroll on the bench. Liverpool were slow out the gates, allowing Chelsea to press upon them, as they sat deep and seemed to lack options when trying to break upfield. Downing and Jose Enrique on the right side both started off bag's of nerves, sloppy in passing and disconnected in their thinking. Their tempo was slow, much like Chelsea under Andre Villa Boas, with unnecessary passing in their own half, that ultimately lead to nothing. I didn't take long for the sloppy play to cost them as Ramieres capitalized on Enrique defending to tight, making it easy for the Brazilian to tun him, skin him for pace and crack a rocket shot off Pepe Reina and into his near post. Clever keeping by Reina backfired, as the Spaniard showed Ramieres his far post, only to have his momentum take him away from the shot at the near. It pains me to say that I was glad Liverpool conceded, but I knew now that they would have to open up and stick the game to the Blues. This is exactly what they did.

Towards the end of the half Liverpool enjoyed some promising forays forward, yet their talisman Luis Suarez remained anonymous. Coming out after the half the excitement and tension of Wembley harnessed itself in my back, and I wondered what changes in mentality and tactics Dalglish instilled at half time. Right from the off I knew more expansive football would be in the offing as a long searching ball was hit by Midfield maestro Gerrard, something non-existent in the first half. 

Hope sprung eternal, until a pocket opened up between Johnson and Skrtel in the back line, just wide enough for Lampard to slide a pass  to the Wembley specialist himself Drogba, whose one touch then smack trimmed the grass on its way into Reina's far-post, making it 2-0. Just like the first half Liverpool conceded early, but with 40 odd minutes left to play, the game was far from over. The introduction of Andy Carroll turned the game on it's head, and Liverpool grew some teeth in attack. So much criticism has been shot the  big Geordie striker this 
season, yet in this match he put all the critic's to rest. His hold up play, superb. Inspired by the presence of Drogba, Carroll won numerous headers against anything no slouches, Terry and Ivanovich. It was a loose ball that fell to his feet, and where some would smash it in a panic, Carroll shifted it onto his left and hammered it into the roof of the net past an outstretched Cech, personifying cool. 

His scream of joy said it all, knowing he just gave his side a way back into the game. It was his last minute header in the semi-final against Everton that got them to Wembley, and now he did it again. After this Chelsea started to crumble, and the urgency from Liverpool brought out their best stuff. If you look back on their play this season, the times  they looked a dangerous side always came when they were down by a goal. Even back to the Rafa Benitez days, Liverpool have always been a "do or die"  kind of club, often leaving it late to take their chances, and always a team for the big occasion. At first their play reflected a side unconfident in this match, but growing into it they looked much a better side, one capable of sustaining a challenge for a european place next season. It's no secret that the project didn't work this season, and I fully expect whole-sale changes this summer. 

Another goal for Liverpool looked inevitable, as Carroll threw his weight about, Downing started cutting in- and- out getting crosses into the box, and Suarez started to pull strings around the arch. It was Suarez who presented the chance that could have changed the outcome, when tidy work from right-back Glen Johnson put him past Ashley Cole, and into the box. The onrushing Suarez took over the ball, looked up and dinkted a cross to the back post where the poaching Carroll loomed with intent. A violent whip from his pony-tail shot the ball towards the net, where a quick reflexed Cech parried it off the cross bar and out. At first glance it looked to have crossed the line as the keeper arrived late. With Liverpool's No. 9 running away arms outstretched in celebration, the whistle blew and a shake of the head from match official Phil Dowd squashed the celebratory Carroll's exhalations instantaneously. If you look at the shot below, it's really any ones guess if it's a goal or not. It looks as though the ball is over the line, but you cannot tell  if all of it is or not. If it didn't, it really is a fantastic reflex save from Cech, who knew it to add, as he wagged his finger in denial at the onrushing Carroll. The debate for goal line technology will rage on, as Liverpool fans will feel argreaved that once again there team was denied by the post.

This decided the match, as Chelsea held on for the remainder and Liverpool lost the opportunity of a domestic cup double. The players can hold their heads high, as they made a valiant effort, but sometimes the luck is not with you, and it has been that way for the whole season. In a positive outlook, Carroll looked fantastic during his spell on the field, and when Liverpool face Chelsea in their next  league game on May 8th, he'll be a shoe-in to start. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Threads For You To Ogle

Here at the Spot Kick Journal I will bring you the newest in football fashion from teams around the globe and will continue to do so as new strips emerge over the summer. Kits add to the beautiful aesthetic associated with the beautiful game,  and I am always excited to see the new kits that emerge ahead the up coming year. The Google's definition of ogle is: to stare in a lecherous manner, and I did just that.

Stay tuned for more...

USA Home Kit
The new USA home kit combines heritage and patriotism in a bold new design that both the Men’s and Women’s teams will debut on the pitch this summer. The jersey utilizes the colors of the American flag with a blue crew neck collar and a body featuring red and white stripes.

I love this kit, represents the American spirt so much more than flat white home strip of yester-years.The proud nation that the USA is, we should certainly have a kit that boasts, and this one does.

AC Milan Home Kit

“We are a team of devils. Our colours are red as fire, and black, to invoke fear in our opponents”.

“Mia san mia” (meaning ‘We are who we are’) is embroidered in the collar.

New Chelsea Home Kit

Ahh pretty standard, nothing really special about this one. At least it doesn't magnify the Adidas stripes like this years did.

Perhaps my favorite of the lot, this classy almost pin striped kit is subtly yet flashy.

Liver n' Onions: The FA Cup Final aka Liverpudlian Redemption

The "shock" defeat at the hands of Fulham monday came as anything but a shock to me really. In all truth I half expected it. The heads of Liverpool  players already on the Wembley pitch ahead of their FA Cup final against Chelsea Saturday,  a game against Fulham was the l;east of their worries. Dalglish  said "  ease up against Fulham, and risk  your spot in the FA cup final." Easing into mediocrity is what the much changed Liverpool side did,  and an own goal by this seasons defensive stalwart Martin Skrtel, was the deciding factor in the game. It was the Londoners' first win at Anfield in their Premier League history, but it was far from being a classic. Ex Liverpool fullback John Arne Riise made that ol' familiar overlapping run, one familiar to the Anfield faithful, but this time it was the dagger that undid the Liverpool defense. Senior players Gerrard, Agger and Suarez where given the night off, as was keeper Pepe Reina, and the play lacked their creative spark. A result that thoroughly summed up the Reds season, as they look for retribution in this weekends cup clash. Having already won the Carling Cup, Dalglish looks to hit the domestic cup double with a FA cup win. 
Question is can they? 

They face a  resurgent Chelsea, who have booked  their Champions Final ticket after defeating the mighty Barcelona. Torres looks like he's back to his old shenanigans with a hat trick at the weekend, and all around the Chelsea camp confidence is high. For me this depends on the line-up set loose by Dalglish, for when set up right Liverpool maintain good width, and are cheeky when making forward runs. To add Liverpool have proved to be a bit of a bogey team for Chelsea this season winning 2-0 in the carling cup, and 1-0 when they faced Chelsea in the League earlier this season. The fact that win was away from home, and the fact the FA cup final is at Wembley, and not at Anfield makes me feel as though they have a chance of taking silverware.  Liverpool have secured a mere 24 points this season at Anfield compared to 40 last year, and 42 the year before. What balls drop off? Liverpool have always been a team for the big game, and they seem to falter against the mid to small level teams in the league. This said their clash with Chelsea this weekend is the biggest game the Reds will participate in this season. With the cards delt this is how the house will be set up.


Johnson Skrtel Agger  Enrique

Spearing   Gerrard 
Kuyt                           Downing

This in actual fact is more of a hopeful line-up as Jordan Henderson will probably start and Carroll will sit as Dalglish tries to keep it tight in midfield. This match up has story ties in abounty with most likely Torres lining up against Carroll, and the possibility of Raul Meireles starting against his old club Liverpool. 

In a perfect world both Torres and Carroll would find the net, twice, and the Gerrard vs. Lampard duel in midfield is one of the ages. What I want from Liverpool is to get the wing players involved and get crosses to Carroll if he plays, and to give Suarez the ball at every opportunity. His Fantastic hat-trick against Norwich last weekend will have the Uruguayan flying on jet fuel and the Reds need to harness it like an oar of uranium. 

This brings me to my next point of gaging success this season for Liverpool. Two words that sounds odd to put together, yet if they do come up trumps this weekend they will have walked away with two trophies this season. The gage for success has always come down to League standing, and the Champions League, yet a domestic cup double is nothing to shrug your shoulders at. If proven to be so, I call it a success. In the recent history Liverpool football club and fans have been used to seeing their club at the top of the EPL, and consistently reaching the latter stages of the Champions League. This is no longer the case, exceptions should change with reality and with I say hold these when you watch the Blues and the Reds march-out onto the Wembley pitch Saturday May 5th at 5:15.