Oh, spring. The time of year when I have already given up on baseball except on the days when my team's improbable Cy Young candidate is pitching; when the Sabres have, not so improbably, retired for the off-season; when sports are a simple backdrop to thoughts of day drinking in the sun and cutting out of work as often as possible.
For the next three months or so, soccer will really be the only sport I care about, and that's just fine with me. While the Buffalo Bills tempt us into a familiar land of hopes and dreams, I'll be in the corner enjoying a sport that hasn't yet beaten me into submission with annual kicks to the nuts.
/looks at prior Liverpool season results
/kicks self in aforementioned nuts as penance for blatant lie
Of course, paying any attention to this sport flies in the face of certain opinions set forth by certain creepy sports journalists in Tuffalo, but I think it goes without saying that Mike Harrington is simply out of his element when he tries to talk about anything that doesn't fall within the following categories:
- the availability of Terry Pegula for sarcastic, caustic interviews;
- the quickest way to climb a tree outside an unsuspecting woman's window;
- tying knots;
- the best proportion of Miracle Whip and Fritos to put on a bologna sandwich;
- the fragrance of a minor league baseball locker room;
- buying bulk candy;
- Jerry Sullivan's jock; and
- LOL ROFL Doh! Thanx
So, when it comes to soccer, don't worry about this knuckledragger's opinion. When he hears "The Beautiful Game," his mind instantly shifts to family reunion Twister. He's gross.
On to the #Hot #Sports #Takes!!!
This one was a real treat, let me tell you. When Luis Suarez went down with a case of canthelpbutbiteaguyitis a few weeks back, I was legitimately concerned about the final fixtures of the season, not to mention the early matches next season. The guy who had accounted for about 175% of Liverpool's goals this year was out and a team with no real scoring touch elsewhere seemed poorly fit to get goals over Suarez's ten match ban.
Then Daniel Sturridge scored two and added an assist in the 6-0 rout of Newcastle, and followed up the disappointing scoreless draw against Everton with a three goal masterpiece at Fulham yesterday. Fucking hell, he was outstanding.
"I think we can have an exciting season next year. We're building towards that but we need some more [signings] this summer. If we can do that then we can look to make a serious sustainable challenge next season for the top four." - Brendan Rodgers
For some time now, every time I write a footy post, a commenter here, "cdr," finds the time to roll through and attempt to lay waste to my love for Liverpool. Frequent themes of his criticism include: (1) LFC fans are stuck in the past; (2) LFC isn't any good any more; (3) LFC fans have a distorted view of the Club's relevance; (4) Steven Gerrard is a goon; and (5) LFC isn't a respectable club.
cdr, if you will, just for funsies:
(1) You criticize us for being stuck in the past, but fail to appreciate how great that past was. Five European Cups. Eighteen time champions of England, with twelve years as runner-up. Seven FA Cups. Eight League Cups. Is it wrong to think good things about that past? I get that you simply don't understand, being a Fulham supporter with your scattered championships in the second and third tiers of the English game, and single years as runners-up in the FA Cup and Europa League, all despite being in existence since 1879, but you have to consider what it feels like to follow a Club that isn't roughly equivalent to the Buffalo Bills. It's fun. We like to like our nice things.
(3) As of a couple years ago, Liverpool still ranked towards the top of global shirt sales, so the facts suggest you're simply wrong there.
(4) Fuck you, Steven Gerrard is a saint.
(5) If you cared about respectability of a club, you wouldn't follow one owned by a man who idolizes a pedophile. Shit, I still bop my head to an MJ tune or two, but a statue at your ground? That's weird as hell.
Sir Alex retires and I find a new pair of shoes to dance on his grave
I'm not a fan of Alex Ferguson. He manages a Club I despise, he poaches players in a way envied by the New York Fucking Yankees, and his big red nose is annoying as hell. He complains about officiating in a league that bends to his will whenever it gets the chance and he's been so frustratingly successful that I can't help but simply continue to invent reasons to loathe him.
This has been a long time coming, I suppose, seeing as he has won enough hardware to count as impressive for a dozen managers' careers, but part of me was still surprised when the news hit the twitters. Still, the man had accomplished everything possible as a manager - 13 League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups and those 2 Champions League Titles. Motherfucker has led MUFC since 1986 which is simply bonkers.
The Club hired David Moyes to replace him and, frankly, I can't see there being too much of a drop-off in their quality. Moyes has been stellar at Everton, particularly with identifying great talent at a good cost, so it's crazy to think what he'll do with a relatively limitless transfer budget. The only upside, possibly, is that Everton has lost a great manager and may soon fall back to earth and take their rightful place in the Merseyside hierarchy If Moyes wants to take Marouane Fellaini and give him that taste of the Champions League, I wouldn't hate it.
In any event, happy trails to Fergie and that glorious nose of his.
God bless a sports team that, in the face of less-than-complete success, fires their manager or coach and continues to hope for near perfection. I yearn to follow teams like this. Alas....
Last year, Man City won the league and looked to be a rather dominant side in English football. This season, Man Utd was ABSURD, had a bajillion competent goal scorers, ran train all over the Premiership, and City is set to finish in 2nd and just played in the FA Cup final. Yet they're firing their manager despite the fact that they're still absurdly good and terrify the other 18 teams in the league.
To note: this is a team that only lost five league matches this season (and plays Reading and Norwich to finish, so that will likely remain the same), beat United at Old Trafford, and also beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup semi-finals.
To also note: their losses included matches against Sunderland (currently 17th) and Southampton (currently 14th), and they just lost to WIGAN at Wembley.
Facing relegation to the League Championship, Wigan. 19 losses in the EPL, Wigan. Got smoked by Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield and then 4-0 at DW Stadium, Wigan.
Yeah, I suppose it's time for him to go. But, seriously... SECOND in the league. I could do with those kinds of problems.
With the EPL winding down and little else other than the potential LFC signings to keep me interested this summer, the action in the MLS, and in particular with my Red Bulls, is getting pretty fun.
First point of order: New York will not win anything this year. I follow them, so there is that, but man they are still trying their best to keep me optimistic.
They currently sit in first place in the East, and have the league's most goals scored. Flip that coin, though, and they are tied for third most goals against in the league, and lead the East's second, third and fourth place teams by only a point with two, one and three games in hand over each of them, respectively. Their win against 4th place Montreal went a long way to helping their place in the standings, but following it up with a draw at 2-4-4 New England was, well, not great.
They will certainly disappoint me, in the end.
As for the rest of the league, the standings reflect an exciting parity in the league that pretty much includes everyone except New England, Toronto and Chivas USA, all of whom are terrible, always.
Consider the following basics:
- Last year's #2 seed in the east, DC United, now sits in 10th/last place.
- Montreal, an expansion team last year, is currently in 4th (and has the chops and games in hand to soon be in 1st) after finishing 7th last year.
- The Union, who finished 8th in the East last season, are currently part of the evolving playoff picture in 5th place.
- Chicago finished in 4th place last year, but are currently in 8th place with a record of 2-6-1.
- In the West, last year's #1 seed, San Jose, is currently in 6th.
- Seattle, who was a three seed last year, is now in 8th.
- Colorado and Portland, who last year finished in 7th and 8th, respectively, are now in 4th and 2nd respectively.
- And FC Dallas, who were in 6th and missed the playoffs last year, are 1st in the conference with a 7-1-3 record (!!!) and a full six points ahead of the second place Timbers.
A lot can be cited to explain the shift in fortunes, though, for example, when FC Dallas sold Brek Shea last year, did anyone actually expect them to get better? Sure, they signed former Red Bull and great striker Kenny Cooper, but really??
Apart from the general excitement that comes with a league with so many changes from last year, the two joys of the standings as they sit now are probably predictable.
First, fuck DC United. They're 1-8-1 and it's fucking great. I don't care that the one draw was a draw at Red Bull Arena and I was there and sad and got a little hamzoed and started taunting the skinhead hooligans in the last row of the Supporters' Section. DC has lost SEVEN straight since then, finally suggesting that there is, indeed, a God and s/he is a classy lady/dude.
Second great thing about the standings, putting aside my disdain for San Jose and joy at their struggles, is the surprising play of the Portland Timbers. Put simply, Portland stands, to me, as the best market in the game, with the best and most creative supporters, and the MLS will be a better league as soon as the Timbers win a championship and a national TV audience sees those hippies go ape. It needs to happen. I recognize that their points have come mostly from draws - six of them, to be exact - but that's ok for now. They've beaten both Houston and San Jose at home, which would be good enough if it wasn't also coupled with a more recent win on the road at SKC. That game was awesome. Sporting Park is a tough place to play and SKC has been incredibly successful there with a 24-7-12 record since it opened during the 2011 season. Portland is a solid side to get a win there.
Oh, and their fans just did this the other day which is rad as hell.
Football is a beautiful thing and even as a guy who likes to get loaded and mouth off about how difficult it must be for Chris Pontius to play so well with all those dicks in his mouth, this shit is beyond the pale. Let's all hope that the powers that be can find a way to make this game better.