Category Archives: Featured

A Moment of Brilliance: U.S. Women make the world stand still

By Kevin Koczwara

Abby Wambach never gave up. Neither did her teammates, the rest of the United States Women’s National Team. It seemed like fate was teasing and tormenting the USWNT and handing its skilled opponent, Brazil, all the breaks. But that didn’t stop Wambach or her teammates. Even when things looked dire, when Rachel Buehler was sent off with a straight red card and the Brazilians got two cracks at the ensuing penalty kick, the Yanks never gave in to fate.

The American spirit that the U.S. prides itself on, never left the side, and coach Pia Sundhage — a Swede — got a three course meal of American spirit, and it overwhelmed her. It ultimately helped the U.S. prevail despite being down 2-1 in in extra time with the whistle pursed between the refs lips, ready to blow.

“Getting the red card and going down in extra time is tough. It’s a tough hill to climb,” said Wambach afterwards. “But this team is willing to put their hearts on the line. This team is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and I think it showed tonight.”

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Worth the wait: The amazing USWNT

The hero, Abby Wambach. Wambach saved the U.S. from elimination from the 2011 Women's World Cupwith an amazing goal in extra time. (Courtesy, kate rw Flickr)

By Ryan Fleming

Sitting in my living room in the same chair where I watched the United States Men’s National Team defeat Algeria in what I thought, at the time, was the best sporting event I’ve seen in my 24 years, my opinion has now changed.

Admittedly, I was late in watching the game, coming back from a weekend away. On my drive home I followed the game through the numerous sports outlets I follow on Twitter (God save Twitter). I got home with about 15 minutes left in the game and couldn’t remove my eyes from the TV.

Something about the passion of USWNT forward Abby Wambach yelling, encouraging her teammates forward. The knowledge already of the red card that really wasn’t — sending off Yank Rachel Buehler in the 65th minute on her invisible foul that saw her and five-time World Player of The Year, Marta, collapse inside the box. The save that wasn’t – all to be taken away for an encroachment penalty, that is certainly correct by the book, but often gets overlooked.

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New England Revolution in sad state of affairs

Marko Perovic was the New England Revolution's one attacking bright spot last season. He was let go by the team after it chose not to renew his contract at the midpoint of the season. His season ending injury and subsiquent release have clouded an already dismal season for New England. (Courtesy the New England Revolution)

By Ryan Fleming

Folks, you are witnessing the lowest of the low when it comes to the New England Revolution. Monday night’s 3-3 tie to Real Salt Lake simply highlighted what the small crowds at Gillette turn up to see. Some say the players are half-hearted, yielding up to tackles, not finishing runs or just plain giving up. Whatever the reason is, the Revs (3-8-7, 16 pts. and last in the Eastern Conference) aren’t getting it done on the field.

A week after the “Fortgate” incident at Gillette, supporters will surely be up in arms again, but instead this time complaining that the product being tested, and often defeated on the field, just simply isn’t good enough. Even acquisition of Benny Feilhaber isn’t enough. Luck isn’t enough — last night’s early straight red card to Nate Borchers, a 2-0 lead and apparently going ahead two times to a team playing with 10 men wasn’t enough.

The Revs gave silly balls away, turning over possession to a RSL side that is nearly impossible to beat at home and not to mention the team got an extra lift as it was retiring manager Jason Kreis’s No. 9 jersey after the game. To be up a man, the Revs surely didn’t play like it, owning only 33 percent of possession, and continuously looking as awkward as a teenager on their first date.

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USMNT head to Gold Cup Quarterfinals

By Ryan Fleming

Sure, there is something that can be said that the United States Men’s National Team did indeed defeat Guadeloupe, 1-0; a team that isn’t even a member of FIFA (this competition is essentially their World Cup). You could also point to what it really means, not too much.

With the win the Yanks advance to the elimination round of the Gold Cup, taking on a Jamaica team that could very well provide an upset and the way Bob Bradley’s team is playing, I wouldn’t look past that possibility.

Tuesday night’s game started rather ominously, with Guadeloupe pressing early, providing for a rather heart-stopping moment when a ball from a corner kick found its way through the seemingly-sleeping defense all the way to Tim Howard. The ball was eventually cleared, but what could have been absolutely devastating for Bradley, who seems to be on the hot seat after every game, served, at least immediately, as a wake-up call.

US forward, Jozy Altidore, who surely didn’t spend a dime at the bar (indeed if he did go to one afterwards), put the Yanks up 1-0 with a rocket from outside the box — an area where the USMNT doesn’t strike from usually. As one of the most under-performing players in the last couple years, Altidore’s goal awoke deep, long forgotten memories of the promise he once had. What Bradley could use most is Altidore playing at his full potential — something that really, still even today, isn’t fully known.

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U.S. Men's National Team can't handle Spain

By Melissa Turtinen

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Spain played effortlessly. They moved the ball where they needed to and passes were perfect, and if they weren’t they recovered smoothly not giving the United States Men’s National Team a chance to gain control of the ball.

Spain defeated the USMNT, 4-0, on Saturday and with the chances they had it should have been more. Spain proved that they deserve to be called the best team in the world with their control and perfect ball placement throughout the match.

“Three times now we’ve had a chance to play them and every time, believe me, you walk away incredibly impressed with how good they are,” said Bob Bradley, USMNT manager. “How they’re able to move the ball so intelligently, so skillfully. Just as you’re trying to close them down, the ball is already off and somewhere else. There’s not that many teams in the world that can show you that.”

Spain started the match in complete control. They had chances right away carrying the ball down the sides as the US attempted to clog the middle.

“You try and not let them come right through the center because they are so adept at opening up these little windows and getting people running through and playing balls. Yet, as you try to close that part away they’ve got plan B,” said Bradley.

Spain had a Plan B and it was successful. Spain moved the ball through the USMNT defense with ease. If the middle was crowded they took the ball down the flanks and crossed it in – the clogged middle seemed empty as Spain continuously moved the ball towards the goal.

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Fans encouraged to leave early or take train to USA-Spain

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Since traffic is anticipated to be heavy for the U.S. Men’s National Team friendly against Spain, Gillette Stadium officials are requesting assistance from local media in encouraging fans to leave early, carpool or take the MBTA commuter rail to the match today.

The parking lots at Gillette Stadium open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and gates to the stadium open at 2:30 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Fans are strongly encouraged to arrive at the stadium lots by 2:30 p.m. and enter the stadium gates by 3:45 p.m. to ensure entrance into the match prior to kickoff.

The largest, most accessible parking lots at Gillette Stadium are the P10 and P11 lots, located directly across Route 1 from Gillette Stadium. Access and egress to and from these stadium parking lots is much quicker if fans arriving on Route 1 from the north use the right lanes to access P10. Likewise, fans arriving from the south must use the left lanes to access P11 or P10.

Thanks to the efforts of the MBTA, a special train will be running directly to the Stadium from Boston for the match. The train will depart from South Station at 2 p.m. (with stops in Back Bay, Dedham and Norwood) and will arrive at Gillette Stadium at 3:05 p.m. The train will also depart Foxborough approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the match.

For more information about attending USA-Spain via MBTA, fans can visit the MBTA website at  or call the MBTA at 617-222-3200.

For more information about parking at Gillette Stadium, fans can visit http://www.gillettestadium.com and click on “Parking.”

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Spain arrives in Foxborough

By Kevin Koczwara

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=104087

Some photos from Spain’s practice yesterday, May 2, at the lower practice field at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.  Spain places the USMNT on Saturday, May 4.

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Emptying out the top-drawer; thoughts on soccer world March 2011

By Kevin Koczwara

This will be a monthly column, I hope, where I dump out the random thoughts I have accrued over the last month. These thoughts are the ones I’ve tried to write columns about and have failed to materialize into anything tangible or readable.

Let’s begin with Arsenal.

Arsenal boggle the mind. The Gunners lose to Birmingham City in the League Cup final on one of the year’s most laughable goals. Then they go on and smash Leyton Orient in what should have been an unneeded FA Cup replay, 5-0, and Nicklas Bendtner scores a hat-trick. Why is the thrashing of Orient a surprise? Well, Bendtner scored a hat-trick. That’s why. It’s an absolute shock he can put together three goals in one game at times. He fumbles over his feet, misplaces passes more often Jake Delhomme, and he isn’t very good int he air despite his height.

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From California to New England: A.J. Soares takes the next step

The New England Revolution selected 22-year-old center back A.J. Soares with the sixth pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. (Courtesy Major League Soccer)

By Kevin Koczwara

The New England Revolution allowed a league leading 50 goals in the 2010 Major League Soccer season, and had a minus-18 in goal differential. Injuries plagued the team, and Steve Nicol shifted the squad almost every game, trying to find the perfect fit. It proved especially difficult for a team without a true identity or a true goalscorer, and a battered and bruised bunch playing out of position because there just weren’t enough bodies left on the bench.

At 9-16-5 (31 points) the Revolution missed out on the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine years, and it became clear in the Revolution’s 3-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in the last game of the season that New England needed to make some big moves, starting with the MLS SuperDraft.

With the sixth pick in the draft, the Revolution selected A.J. Soares, a 22-year-old central defender from the University of California.

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Stuart Holden Interview: Holden making the best of his chances at Bolton

Stuart Holden established himself as one of the United State's best players while playing for Major League Soccer team the Houston Dynamo. Holden made the move to the English Premier League last January. Since his arrival at Bolton, Holden's solidified himself as a top-notch midfielder. (Courtesy Wikicommons/Longbomb)

By Kevin Koczwara

Owen Coyle saw something in Stuart Holden the rest of the English Premier League missed, and he signed the American international after Holden impressed the manager during a trial. Since, Holden hasn’t disappointed the Wanderers’ supporters.

In fact, the 25-year old has taken the Premier League by storm in his first full season in Bolton after playing out his contract with Major League Soccer and the Houston Dynamo. Holden was voted by the fans as the league’s best player for the first half of the season in The Guardian because of his stellar play. With his hard work, pace and skill, it isn’t hard to see why he’s become a fan favorite not only in Bolton, but also across England. Holden has been an integral part of Coyle’s side fighting for a European place next season.

In 28 appearances this season for the Wanderers, Holden’s scored two goals. His two goals sealed important wins for Bolton, but it was his second that established him as a Bolton favorite.

On Dec. 12, Holden ghosted into the Blackburn box in the 88th minute and put home a blistering shot, beating Rovers’ goalkeeper Paul Robinson. The goal sealed a 2-1 win for Bolton in a pivotal derby match despite being a man down after Mark Davies was sent off in the 56th minute, and sealed Holden’s fate in Wanderers fans’ hearts.

Holden took some time out of his busy schedule with Bolton’s winter schedule to speak with The Soccer Guys.

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