Friday, July 29, 2011

Those Krafty Patriots are at it Again

It's good to finally be talking about football again. With the lockout over and teams in a mad dash to sign players it's been a wild couple of days. I want to focus on just one team's moves right now before I go off and get married tomorrow though. And that team is the New England Patriots. Yesterday New England not only acquired Albert Haynesworth from the Washington Redskins, but also Chad Ochocinco from the Bengals. So let's talk about this. First, Haynesworth.

Now as a Titans fan I'm more than familiar with what Albert Haynesworth CAN bring to the table. During his tenure in Tennessee from 2002-2008 we saw both the bad (stomping on Andre Gurode's head in a game against the Cowboys) and the great (8.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 2008 when the Titans went 13-3). His body of work in Tennessee got him a huge payday with the Washington Redskins, but the 6'6" 335 pound defensive tackle has not delivered since arriving in the nation's capital being limited to just 20 games over the past two seasons and registering just 6.5 sacks TOTAL. Still, he's only 30 years old and given the Patriots history with reclamation projects (see Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, etc.) this isn't a bad risk. Especially considering the potential tandem they'll now have in the middle of the defensive line with Haynesworth and the 6'2" 325 pound Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork. So now the Patriots should be extremely difficult to the run the ball against, at least up the middle. I don't know if the plan is to run out of 4-3 and have both of these guys on the line at the same time, or to keep them both fresh by using them as a tag team in a 3-4 scheme, but if Haynesworth can stay healthy and play at a high level (and not cause distractions which the Patriots veteran locker room should be able to handle), this is a great move for New England. And at a low cost too as they got him for like a 5th round draft pick.

And that brings us to Chad Ochocinco. Or Chad Johnson. Or whoever he is nowadays. At 33 years old the wideout isn't quite as explosive as he once was, but he's certainly worth a flyer for the 5th and 6th round picks that they gave up for him. Randy Moss's dismissal (trade, whatever) from the Patriots last year left a void in their wide receiving corps. Sure, they picked up Deion Branch who not only stepped off a plane but out of a time machine when he showed up from Seattle, and they still have slot machines Wes Welker and Julian Edelman to go along with youngster Brandon Tate, but none of those guys really qualify as GAME-BREAKERS yet. I don't know that Ochocinco fits that tag anymore either, but he still reeled in 67 catches for 831 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Bengals last year. And that was without Tom Brady throwing him the football. Adding a player like Ochocinco, who requires attention even though he isn't the weapon he once was, opens things up for other players on the field. And if we've learned anything over the years watching Brady and the Patriots, it's that he doesn't need much of an opening. Maybe the move pays off, maybe it doesn't, but for a couple late round draft picks, I think it's a great gamble.

So New England has made some noise this offseason, and I think in the early going they've done the most to improve their club. Potentially. We'll see how the moves pay off, but if history is any indication of what New England's been able to do with these types of distractions, the AFC could be in trouble.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thoughts on the Keppinger Trade

The Astros dealt fan-favorite Jeff Keppinger last week for a pair of minor league pitchers creating a bit of an uproar on the message boards. I've got to say, I was a bit troubled by this. First of all, I never like seeing any of our guys traded. I've never been one to give up on players or the team, always believing that our guys are going to turn it around, even in the worst of slumps. See Chris Burke, Jason Lane, Morgan Ensberg, Adam Everett, Richard Hidalgo, Jose Lima, etc. But Astros fan need to face reality: Houston is a bad, BAD team right now. Entering play tonight with a record of 33-70 they are on pace for the worst season in franchise history (prior to this season, they'd never lost more than 97 games in a season; just to match that at this point they'd need to finish 32-27). And due to the way the franchise has been handled in recent years, the farm system isn't exactly overflowing with prospects at the AA and AAA levels. The AAA team, the Oklahoma City Redhawks, are 46-58 and in last place in their division as well. Their roster is filled with names like Anderson Hernandez, Robinson Cancel and Nelson Figueroa. Only one player has more than ten home runs, Cancel is the only regular who is hitting better than .300, and their starting rotation boasts players with ERAs of 5.55 (Figueroa), 6.23 (ex-Mariner Ryan Rowland-Smith - now on the DL) and 8.84 (Giants castoff Brad Hennessey). Bottom line, the outlook is bleak. Which brings us back to the Keppinger deal. Kepp was one of the few bright spots for the Astros this year, batting .307 in 43 games after starting the year on the disabled list. This on the heels of a solid 2010 season that saw Kepp hit .288 with 34 doubles. So yeah, it sucks to lose a guy who was by all accounts, solid in the clubhouse and consistent on the field. He was one of those lunchpail guys who came to work every day and did his job. But here's what people are overlooking. Keppinger is a 31 year old utility infielder who crushes lefties, but he doesn't hit for power (30 career home runs in 1875 at bats), he isn't a great baserunner (11 for 18 career stealing bases), and while he doesn't strike out hardly ever, he doesn't walk a lot either (4 times in 163 at bats with the Astros this season). Keppinger is not a cornerstone of a winning franchise, at best he's a great piece to have on a winning team. When people got upset because we traded Jeff Keppinger, aka 'our best player', that speaks volumes about the state of the franchise right now. If Jeff Keppinger is your best player, you're in SERIOUS trouble as an organization. So when you can move a guy like Kepp at the deadline, sending him to a contender and actually getting a couple of prospects in return, this is the right move to make. Sure they weren't can't-miss guys, but what'd you think you were going to get for a utility infielder on the wrong side of 30? The Astros just need to add young talent right now and start building for the future. And the future I'm talking about isn't 2012. It's probably more like 2014. The two pitchers Houston got for Kepp are 22 year old Jason Stoffel and 25 year old Henry Sosa. Both are hard throwers and have a chance to someday crack a big league roster. Stoffel has struggled with control but has amassed 14 saves this season at the AA level with better than a strikeout an inning. Sosa meanwhile was once a top prospect in the Giants organization but has struggled with injuries. Still, he's not completely washed up as we've seen in two starts since joining the Astros AA team. Post trade he's thrown 14 innings without allowing an earned run and struck out a batter an inning while letting opposing hitters bat just .140. Will these guys pan out? Who knows? But these are the types of moves Houston HAS to make right now in order to save the future of the franchise. We can't keep picking up the Pedro Feliz's and Billy Hall's each winter and hoping we'll be contenders with a roster full of aging stars and short on top flight talent. Keppinger was performing, but his performance gave him VALUE. We were able to trade him BECAUSE he was doing well. Same goes for Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Wandy, Brett Myers, Clint Barmes. Their names are coming up because they are producing (some more than others). Nobody's talking about Chris Johnson and his 84:13 strikeout to walk ratio to go along with a .246 average and 6 home runs because he ISN'T producing. It's the whole buy low, sell high thing. Anyhow, it's time to blow up the Astros and rebuild from the ground up. It's not what I want to do, but I do want to see the Astros return to glory, and we're not going to do that without shaking things up a bit. It's time the rest of the fan base realize that as well.

New FIFA Rankings

New FIFA Rankings have come out following the conclusion of the Copa America and the Women's World Cup. Here's a quick look at the rankings. For the complete rankings, you can go to the FIFA website.


1. Spain
2. Netherlands
3. Germany
4. Brazil
5. Uruguay
6. England
7. Portugal
8. Italy
9. Croatia
10. Argentina
11. Chile
12. Norway
13. Greece
14. Ivory Coast
15. France
16. Japan
17. Montenegro
18. Russia
19. Sweden
20. Mexico
21. Denmark
22. Slovenia
23. Australia
24. Turkey
25. Peru

MEN'S CONCACAF RANKINGS (Overall Ranking in Parentheses)

1. Mexico (20)
2. United States (30)
3. Jamaica (44)
4. Honduras (51)
5. Costa Rica (56)
6. Panama (65)
7. El Salvador (78)
8. Trinidad & Tobago (88)
9. Cuba (99)
10. Canada (105)


1. United States
2. Germany
3. Brazil
4. Japan
5. Sweden
6. England
7. France
8. Canada
9. Australia
10. Norway
11. Italy
12. Korea DPR
13t. Denmark
13t. Netherlands
15. China PR
16. Korea Republic
17. Iceland
18. Spain
19. Finland
20. Russia
21. Ukraine
22. Mexico
23. Scotland
24. New Zealand
25. Czech Republic

Monday, July 25, 2011

Copa America Final Word

Paraguay's luck finally wore out as Uruguay cruised to a 3-0 win in the Copa America Finals to win the tournament for a record 15th time. Diego Forlan, who'd been scoreless since the World Cup, broke out of his mini-slump with a pair of goals, one on each side of halftime and Luis Suarez scored his 4th goal of the tournament to lead the way for the Champions. Forlan had gone 12 matches since his last goal, but the Atletico Madrid striker once again showed the form that led to his winning the Golden Ball at the World Cup. Suarez opened the scoring in the 11th minute when his shot deflected in off a defender and went just inside the back post. Forlan would then add to the lead 30 minutes later after a Paraguay turnover striking a rocket past a flat-footed Justo Villar to make it 2-0 before halftime. Forlan would cap off the scoring in the 90th minute, fittingly on a pass from Suarez. Suarez, the tournament's second leading scorer was named the MVP, while Uruguay's 20 year old center back Sebastián Coates was named the tournament's best young player. Paraguay's Villar was named the tournament's best goalkeeper having turned in 3 shutouts in the tournament. It was the first time that Uruguay had won the tournament since 1995.
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The third place game ended up being a blowout as well as the clock finally struck midnight for cinderella Venezuela as Peru took third place with a 4-1 win. William Chiroque opened the scoring in the 11th minute with his first ever international goal, but the game stayed tight for the rest of the half. The second half was a different story though as Venezuela's Tomas Rincon was sent off in the 58th minute giving Peru the man advantage. Then it became the Paolo Guerrero show. Guerrero, who scored all of Peru's goals during group play, tallied his 3rd goal of the tournament to make it 2-0, but Venezuela, despite playing a man down wouldn't go quietly. 31 year old Juan Arango cut the deficit in half in the 77th minute. Guerrero wasn't done though scoring in both the 89th and 90th minutes, giving him a tournament high 5 goals and clinching third place for Peru. The 27 year old Hamburger SV striker now has 15 international goals. Venezuela, despite the loss, still achieved their highest ever finish in the Copa America. 

Top Tens

Men's Tennis Rankings

1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - 13155 points
2. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - 11270 points
3. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 9530 points
4. Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 6855 points
5. Robin Soderling (Sweden) - 4325 points
6. David Ferrer (Spain) - 4210 points
7. Gael Monfils (France) - 2695 points
8. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - 2470 points
9. Mardy Fish (USA) - 2435 points
10. Nicolas Almagro (Spain) - 2165 points

Out: Andy Roddick (12)

Women's Tennis Rankings

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 9915 points
2. Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - 7625 points
3. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - 6695 points
4. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - 6465 points
5. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - 6141 points
6. Li Na (China) - 5855 points
7. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - 5437 points
8. Francesca Schiavone (Italy) - 4860 points
9. Marion Bartoli (France) - 4230 points
10. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 3405 points

FedEx Cup Points Leaders

1.Nick Watney 1798 (1)
2. Steve Stricker 1741 (2)
3. K.J. Choi 1561 (3)
4. Phil Mickelson 1531 (4)
5. Luke Donald 1507 (6)
6. Bubba Watson 1486 (5)
7. Mark Wilson 1365 (7)
8. Matt Kuchar 1306 (8)
9. Webb Simpson 1284 (9)
10. David Toms 1280 (10)

AL Leading Hitters (through Sunday)

1. Adrian Gonzalez BOS - .346 (139/402)
2. Jose Bautista TOR - .330 (106/321)
3. Michael Young TEX - .329 (131/398)
4. Casey Kotchman TB - .326 (93/285)
5. Jhonny Peralta DET - .322 (106/329)
6. Jacoby Ellsbury BOS - .320 (129/403)
7. Victor Martinez DET - .318 (101/318)
8. Miguel Cabrera DET - .312 (109/349)
9. Paul Konerko CHW - .307 (109/355)
10. Yunel Escobar TOR - .305 (109/357)

NL Leading Hitters (through Sunday)

1. Jose Reyes NYM - .353 (134/380)
2. Ryan Braun MIL - .321 (108/336)
3. Todd Helton COL - .319 (96/301)
4. Joey Votto CIN - .315 (117/372)
5. Michael Morse WAS - .313 (96/307)
6. Matt Kemp LAD - .310 (113/364)
7. Matt Holliday STL - .310 (84/271)
8. Hunter Pence HOU - .308 (119/386)
9. Daniel Murphy NYM - .306 (106/346)
10. Brian McCann ATL - .306 (100/327)

AL Home Run Leaders (through Sunday)

1. Jose Bautista TOR - 31
2. Curtis Granderson NYY - 27
3. Mark Teixeira NYY - 26

4. Paul Konerko CHW - 22
4. Nelson Cruz TEX - 22
6. Mark Reynolds BAL - 21
7. Adrian Beltre TEX - 20
7. Miguel Cabrera DET - 20
7. Carlos Quentin CHW - 20
10. David Ortiz BOS - 19

NL Home Run Leaders (through Sunday)

1. Lance Berkman STL - 27
2. Matt Kemp LAD - 24
3. Prince Fielder MIL - 22
3. Albert Pujols STL - 22
3. Mike Stanton FLA - 22
6. Jay Bruce CIN - 21
7. Carlos Pena CHC - 20
7. Ryan Braun MIL - 20
9. Rickie Weeks MIL - 19
9. Troy Tulowitzki COL - 19
9. Ryan Howard PHI - 19

AL ERA Leaders (through Sunday)

1. Jered Weaver LAA - 1.81 (13-4)
2. Josh Beckett BOS - 2.07 (9-3)
3. Justin Verlander DET - 2.24 (13-5)
4. James Shields TB - 2.53 (9-8)
5. Justin Masterson CLE - 2.57 (8-7)
6. CC Sabathia NYY - 2.63 (14-5)
7. Gio Gonzalez OAK - 2.67 (9-7)
8. Alexi Ogando TEX - 2.79 (10-4)
9. Scott Baker MIN - 2.88 (8-5)
10. C.J. Wilson TEX - 2.94 (10-4)

NL ERA Leaders (at All Star Break)

1. Ryan Vogelsong SF - 2.10 (8-1)
2. Jeff Karstens PIT - 2.28 (8-5)
3. Jair Jurrjens ATL - 2.44 (12-3)
4. Roy Halladay PHI - 2.55 (12-4)
5. Cole Hamels PHI - 2.62 (12-5)
6. Clayton Kershaw LAD - 2.72 (11-4)
7. Cliff Lee PHI - 2.83 (9-6)
8. Tim Lincecum SF - 2.90 (8-8)
9. Jordan Zimmerman WAS - 3.00 (6-8)
10. Jaime Garcia STL - 3.01 (10-4)


1. Sylvia Fowles - Chicago - 20.4 ppg
2. Diana Taurasi - Phoenix - 19.3 ppg
3. Tina Charles - Connecticut - 17.9 ppg
4. Crystal Langhorne - Washington - 17.8 ppg
5. Candace Parker - Los Angeles - 17.7 ppg
6. Cappie Pondexter - New York - 17.3 ppg
7. Swin Cash - Seattle - 16.4 ppg
8. Epiphanny Prince - Chicago - 16.2 ppg
9. Angel McCoughtry - Atlanta - 16.2 ppg
10. Becky Hammon - San Antonio - 16.2 ppg

Photos Courtesy (in order of appearance):

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Copa America Championship Preview


Uruguay goes for their record 15th Copa America title as they take on rival Paraguay in the championship match of the 43rd edition of the Copa America. Paraguay has won the title just twice, and not since 1979. Paraguay is in the finals despite drawing all five of their matches, being forced to win the last two in penalties. And three of those five matches didn't see a goal, largely in part of the strong play of keeper Justo Villar. Uruguay meanwhile has three draws of their own, opening the tournament with back to back 1-1 draws with Peru and Chile before finally dispatching Mexico 1-0 to round out Group Play. Uruguay then beat Argentina on penalties in the quarterfinals before beating Peru 2-0 in the semifinals giving them their 21st appearance in the Copa America Finals. 

The two sides split their matchups during 2010 World Cup Qualifying which each side winning at home, Uruguay by a score of 2-0, and Paraguay by a 1-0 margin. Considering Paraguay is coming off of back to back overtime matches, I have to think Uruguay has the edge here. That, and the fact that Paraguay has still yet to win a match. Uruguay has yet to be shutout in this tournament and while Paraguay's defense does have three shutouts, including two in a row, they have shown that they can be broken down as in group matches against Brazil where they conceded a pair of goals and Venezuela where they were beaten three times including twice in the final minutes. Prediction: Uruguay 1 Paraguay 0.

Here's some quick background info on some of the stars for both teams:


Justo Villar - The 34 year old Villar has been a part of Paraguay's last three World Cup teams starting out as Jose Chilavert's backup in 2002 and then being the starter in both 2006 and 2010. His 2006 tournament was cut short due to injury, however he led the 2010 squad all the way to the Quarterfinals conceding just 2 goals in 5 matches before eventually losing 1-0 to Spain in a match where he saved a penalty kick. He's spent the last few seasons playing in Spain for Valladolid. After his release in June, he signed a deal with Argentina's Estudiantes de La Plata. Villar has played every minute of the tournament in goal for Paraguay tallying three shutouts and winning a pair of shootouts.

Photo Credit:
Cristian Riveros - The 28 year old midfielder is on loan from Enlgand's Sunderland to Turkey's Kayserispor for the 2011-2012 season. He represented Paraguay at the World Cup in both 2006 and 2010 scoring against Slovakia last summer while helping lead Paraguay to the Quarterfinals. Riveros has started all 5 games in the tournament for Paraguay and had a goal in their 3-3 tie against Venezuela. Before joining Sunderland, he played for Cruz Azul in Mexico.

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Lucas Barrios -  A year 26 year old Borussia Dortmund striker from Argentina who became a Paraguayan national last year (his mother is from Paraguay) thereby renouncing his Argentinian citizenship. Barrios' citizenship came just in time for the 2010 World Cup and he was added to Paraguay's squad. Barrios has scored 35 goals in the Bundesliga the past two seasons for Dortmund and he already has six goals for Paraguay in just a little over a year. With star striker Roque Santa Cruz battling an injury, Barrios has served as Paraguay's main weapon up front in the tournament scoring against Venezuela in Group Play.

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Diego Lugano - The 30 year old center back plays for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Super League where he has tallied 26 goals in 5 seasons. Lugano captained the 2010 World Cup squad leading them to the semifinals and an eventual 4th place finish. The captain of the 2011 Copa America squad as well has scored 5 times for Uruguay in his international career with 4 of those goals coming in World Cup Qualifying. That includes a goal against Paraguay in Uruguay's 2-0 win in 2009. 
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Luis Suarez - The 24 year old Suarez made a name for himself at Ajax where he scored 81 goals in 3 1/2 seasons including 35 during the 2009-2010 season. Suarez continued his strong play at the 2010 World Cup where he scored 3 times, once against Mexico and twice against South Korea. Following the World Cup he was transferred to Liverpool where he scored 4 times in 13 appearances, and now he has 3 goals in the Copa America, including both goals in Uruguay's 2-0 against Peru in the semifinals.

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Diego Forlan - The 32 year old striker won the Golden Ball at the 2010 World Cup where he scored 5 times including twice against hosts South Africa, and once against Ghana, the Netherlands in the semifinals and Germany in the Consolation Game. While he hasn't scored for Uruguay since the World Cup, his ability to strike from long range forces defenses to keep tabs on him wherever he goes. Forlan plays professionally for Atlético Madrid for whom he's scored 74 goals since joining the club in 2007. Forlan also has ties to Manchester United in the EPL where he played from 2001-2004.

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Copa America Semifinals - Venezuela vs Paraguay

PARAGUAY 0 VENEZUELA 0 - Paraguay wins 5-3 on penalty kicks

Paraguay finds themselves in the Copa America Final despite not having a single win through five matches. Paraguay tied all 3 of their games during Group Play and now is coming off back to back shootout wins over first Brazil and now Venezuela following a pair of 0-0 games. Goalie Justo Villar, the 34 year old Paraguayan Captain, has been the star and now he has his team in position to win the Copa America for the first time since 1979. Venezuela had their chances striking the post twice in extra time as shots by Nicolás Fedor and captain Juan Arango struck the woodwork, but they can still hold their heads high as despite the loss, they are already assured their best finish in the history of the tournament. The Venezuelans had been the only team in the South American football confederation that had never reached the semifinals. They will now battle Peru for 3rd Place. Paraguay meanwhile will take on Uruguay in Sunday's Championship Match.

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Copa America Semifinals - Uruguay vs Peru


Uruguay got the best of their rematch with Peru tonight thanks to a pair of second half goals from Luis Suarez. The 24 year old Liverpool striker has now scored 3 goals in the tournament, all of them coming against Peru. After a scoreless first half, Diego Forlan did as he's done so often lately for Uruguay, he made something happen. Forlan's long range shot was saved by Peru goalie Raul Fernandez, but the rebound fell to Suarez who converted easily to make it 1-0. Five minutes later Suarez got another opportunity as he got in behind the defense and dribbled around a charging Fernandez for the easy tap-in to make it 2-0. Any hopes Peru had of coming back ended abruptly in the 68th minute when Peru's captain Juan Manuel Vargas was sent off forcing them to go the rest of the way a man down. Peru, who was appearing in their first semifinal since 1997, will now play for Third Place against the loser of tomorrow's match between Paraguay and Venezuela. That Consolation Game will be played on Saturday while Uruguay will take on the winner on Sunday as they try for a record 15th Copa America Championship.

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Don't Sleep on the Texas Rangers

It's been easy to focus a lot of energy on the American League East this season. The Red Sox are playing at a ridiculous clip since snapping out of their early-April funk, the Yankees are the Yankees, and the Rays have been a nice feel-good story about a small-market team... But don't forget who represented the American League in the World Series last year. That would be the Texas Rangers. And even without Cliff Lee, who left via free agency, this is still a very good ball club. And unlike some of the good Ranger teams of the best, these Rangers don't just hit, they can also pitch. All 5 Ranger starters have double digit quality starts (6 innings or more, 3 earned runs or less) and at least 8 wins.

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Matt Harrison - 8-7, 14/18 QS, 2.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Alexi Ogando - 9-3, 12/17 QS, 2.92 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
C.J. Wilson - 10-3, 13/20 QS, 3.11 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Colby Lewis - 9-7, 12/19 QS, 4.07 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Derek Holland - 8-4, 10/19 QS, 4.32 ERA, 1.41 WHIP

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The bullpen has been a bit rocky at times, but they still have a dominant closer in Neftali Feliz, who despite struggling a bit with his control this season has a 2.97 ERA and has converted 20 of 24 saves, and veterans Arthur Rhodes, Darren Oliver and Mark Lowe. Oh and by the way, they still hit a ton. 6 starters have double digit home runs (Nelson Cruz 21, Adrian Beltre 19, Ian Kinsler 15, Mike Napoli 13, Mitch Moreland 12, Josh Hamilton 12) and that list doesn't include Michael Young (27 doubles) or speedy shortstop Elvis Andrus (27 steals). Their offense has scored more runs than every team not named the Red Sox or Yankees. And now, they're starting to get hot. The Rangers have quietly reeled off 11 consecutive wins including a 4 game sweep at Seattle where they outscored the M's 17-2, a 4 game sweep against the A's where they outscored Oakland 23-11 (and had 2 more shutouts) and a 3 game sweep against the O's where they scored 30 runs.

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Now they take on division rival Anaheim in a 3 game series where they'll catch both Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. The season series is currently tied at 3 games apiece and with the Rangers currently holding a 4 game lead in the division, this series has the potential to blow the race wide open or tighten it right up. Game 1 is tonight with Ogando taking on the Angels 21 year old rookie Tyler Chatwood. First pitch is at 10:05 Eastern.

The 2011 MLS All Stars

The 2011 MLS All Star team that will take on Manchester United on July 27th at Red Bull Arena has been announced. The 22 man roster features 4 players from the Houston Dynamo, and 3 apiece from the high profile L.A. Galaxy and New York Red Bulls. 7 of the 22 players are internationals with Colombia, England, France, Grenada, Jamaica and Mexico all getting representation. Here's some quick blurbs on the All Stars:


Tally Hall - Houston Dynamo - The 26 year old Hall was drafted by the Galaxy in 2007, but started his PRO career with Esbjerg in Denmark instead. After two years abroad he came back to the U.S. and joined the Dynamo. He's finally established himself as the starter in Houston after appearing in just 5 regular season games in 2009 and 2010. In 20 starts this year he is 5-6-9 allowing just 1.15 goals per game with 4 shutouts. The San Diego State alum is perhaps most famous for his Champions League goal against El Salvador's Isidro Metapán in 2009.

Faryd Mondragon - Philadelphia Union - The 40 year Colombian has been well traveled through his professional career playing in Turkey, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Spain, France and Germany. He was Colombia's starting goalkeeper during the 1998 World Cup and has 50 career appearances for the Colombian National Team. Mondragon joined the Union before the 2011 season and has 7 shutouts and 19 starts while allowing 1.58 goals per game this year while posting a record of 8-4-7.

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Corey Ashe - Houston Dynamo - The 25 year old former UNC Tar Heel was the 26th pick in the 2007 MLS Super Draft. Ashe has spent his entire 5 year with the Dynamo notching 1 goal and 11 assists in 117 career matches. He has 19 appearances including 17 starts in 2011, but the 5'4" back has yet to score a point. Ashe has experience playing for both the U-17 and U-23 U.S. National Teams.

Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City - The 24 year old former All American out of Notre Dame is in his 3rd year with Kansas City after being taken with the 8th pick in the 2009 MLS Super Draft. He has started 17 games for Sporting this year and scored his first MLS goal against the Fire on March 26th. Besler led the MLS in test-message votes received.

Geoff Cameron - Houston Dynamo - The 26 year old defender has started 19 games for the Dynamo this year tying a career high with 3 goals and adding 3 assists. Cameron has spent his entire 4 year MLS career with the Dynamo after being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 Super Draft. He made an appearance for the U.S. National team as a substitute in a friendly match against El Salvador in February of 2010.

Bobby Convey - San Jose Earthquakes - The 28 year old Convey started out in MLS at the age of 16 with D.C. United. After 5 seasons with D.C. he headed overseas to play for Reading in England. He appeared in 98 regular season games over 5 seasons for Reading before coming back to MLS as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes. He had a career high 10 assists for the Quakes last year, and has 1 goal and 2 assists for San Jose in 14 appearances in 2011. Convey has made 46 appearances for the U.S. National Team and scored a goal in the 2003 Gold Cup against El Salvador. Convey has played 157 career MLS matches scoring 11 goals and tallying 30 assists.

Sean Franklin - Los Angeles Galaxy - The 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year is in his 4th season with the Galaxy. Franklin has made 20 appearances including 18 starts for the Galaxy this year bringing him up to 85 career appearances and while he has 8 assists he's yet to score his first MLS goal. Franklin made his debut for the MLS Senior National Team in January against Chile.

Jamison Olave - Real Salt Lake - The 2010 MLS Defender of the Year is in his 4th year with Real Salt Lake. The 30 year old Colombian has made 13 starts for Salt Lake this year scoring 1 goal and notching his first career MLS assist. He has 9 career goals in 88 appearances since joining Salt Lake from Deportivo Cali.

 Photo Credit:

Heath Pearce - Chivas USA - The 26 year old Pearce is in his first season with Chivas USA after spending his first two MLS seasons with FC Dallas. Pearce started his professional career overseas in Denmark with Nordsjælland and from there he would transfer to German side Hansa Rostock. After a mutual falling out, he returned to the U.S. and was picked up by Dallas in September of 2009. Pearce has 32 career appearances with the U.S. National Team, and was one of the final 7 players cut from the 2010 World Cup team.

Tim Ream - New York Red Bulls - The 23 year old Ream has a bright future. As a rookie last year he started 30 games for the Red Bulls and his strong play earned him a call-up to the National Team following the World Cup. He's continued to play well in his second MLS season and recently appeared for the U.S. at the Gold Cup where he started a pair of matches in the back. He has scored one goal in 45 career matches with the Red Bulls.


Kyle Beckerman - Real Salt Lake - The 29 year old Beckerman is in his 12th MLS season having spent time with the Miami Fusion and Colorado Rapids before joining Real Salt Lake in 2007 and two years later he helped lead them to a surprising upset of the L.A. Galaxy in the championship. Beckerman has also seen time with the U.S. National Team notching 12 CAPs since 2007 including a spot on the 2009 Gold Cup roster. He scored his only international goal at the Gold Cup against Panama. In his career he has 22 goals and 28 assists in 257 career matches. This will be his 3rd All Star Game.

David Beckham - Los Angeles Galaxy - The 36 year old Beckham is in the midst of perhaps his best MLS season notching 2 goals and 8 assists in 16 appearances, 15 of them starts. The long time star for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England hasn't had the successful MLS career that many hoped he would, but he's certainly still able to impact a game. In 64 career regular season matches he has 11 goals and 24 assists.

Brad Davis - Houston Dynamo - The 29 year old Davis has 3 goals and a league high 9 assists for the Dynamo this year in 20 starts. Has been with the Dynamo franchise since they were still the Earthquakes starting with them back in 2005. Over his 10 year career he has 34 goals and 73 assists in 242 matches. He was a member of the U.S.'s 2005 Gold Cup team and he converted the clinching penalty kick in the Gold Cup Final against Panama.

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Jack Jewsbury - Portland Timbers - The 30 year old Jewsbury spent the last 8 seasons with Kansas City before joining the expansion Timbers this year. In 18 starts for Portland he has already set a career high in goals with 5 and chipped in 6 assists, one shy of his career high set in 2008. Over his 9 year career Jewsbury has scored 19 goals and added 26 assists in 213 matches.

Shalrie Joseph - New England Revolution - The 33 year old Grenadian was the 14th overall pick in the 2002 MLS Super Draft. He's spent his entire 9 year MLS career with the Revs tallying 33 goals and 31 assists in 228 career matches. He has 5 goals and an assist in 17 starts this year, but his best season was in 2009 when he finished with 8 goals and 8 assists. He has appeared 30 times for Grenada's National Team including during the 2009 Gold Cup and has scored 3 goals for them.

Nick LaBrocca - Chivas USA - Playing for his 3rd team in 3 years, the 26 year old LaBrocca is having the best season of his career. LaBrocca actually has more goals this year (6) than he did in his first four seasons combined (5). The Rutgers alum has played for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 teams, and while he has trained with the Senior National Team, he has never made an appearance.


Juan Agudelo - New York Red Bulls - The 18 year old striker has just 7 starts for New York this year, but already has 4 goals in his first full MLS season. That to go along with 2 goals for the National team in friendlies against South Africa and Argentina in the wake of the World Cup and he's quickly made a name for himself. Played extensively during the 2011 Gold Cup, especially following the injury to Jozy Altidore, and while he didn't score his high work rate was invaluable. U.S. fans are hopeful that Agudelo is the answer to our woes up front.

Omar Bravo - Sporting Kansas City - The 31 year old Mexican striker made an immediate impact in his first MLS season scoring a pair of goals in his debut against Chivas USA. Injuries have limited to just 13 appearances in 2011, but he has played well when healthy tallying 4 goals and 2 assists. Bravo was a long time member of Guadalajara for whom he scored over 100 goals in his career. Bravo also has 15 goals for the Mexican National Team including a pair of goals at the 2006 World Cup against Iran, and 3 goals at the 2007 Copa America in wins over Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Omar Cummings - Colorado Rapids - The 29 year old Jamaican striker had a breakout year for the MLS Champion rapids in 2010 scoring a career high 14 goals. Limited by injuries this year he has been able to start just 10 games scoring only twice and adding a pair of assists. In his 5 year career spent entirely with Colorado, Cummings has 32 goals and 21 assists in 107 games. Cummings has appeared 23 times for Jamaica's national team scoring 6 goals the most recent one coming in a friendly against El Salvador in March.

Landon Donovan - Los Angeles Galaxy - The face of Major League Soccer is enjoying another productive season with 9 goals (tied for the league lead) and an assist despite only playing 13 games. Donovan has 112 goals and 92 assists in his MLS career spent with San Jose and Los Angeles. He continues to star for the U.S. National Team as well scoring his 46th goal (most all-time) against Mexico in the Gold Cup Final. He is also the MLS all-time leader in postseason goals.

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Thierry Henry - New York Red Bulls - The 33 year old Frenchman is tied with Donovan for the scoring lead with 9 goals after scoring just 2 in 11 games a year ago. The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker also scored 51 goals for France over the years. He scored 226 goals for Arsenal in all competitions between 1997 and 2007.

Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes - The 28 year old Wondo broke out last year with 18 goals after scoring just 7 times in his first 5 MLS seasons. He hasn't been as prolific in 2011, but has still scored 6 times and earned a spot on the U.S.'s Gold Cup roster. He has a career high 2 assists this year for San Jose in 15 starts.

Inactive All Stars

Kasey Keller - Seattle Sounders - The 41 year old Keller will miss the All Star game due to conflicts with Seattle's CONCACAF Champions League schedule. Keller is 10-4-8 this year with 6 shutouts and has allowed just 23 goals in 22 matches.

Omar Gonzalez - Los Angeles Galazy - The 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year will miss the All Star Game due to injury. He's started 18 games for L.A. this season and scored his 4th career MLS regular season goal.

Rafa Marquez - New York Red Bulls - The 32 year old Mexican defender is in his second season with the Red Bulls. He was injured in the Gold Cup Final against the United States and will be forced to miss the All Star Game. He has made 9 starts for New York this season tallying one assist.

Brek Shea - FC Dallas - The 21 year Shea, like Keller, will miss the All Star game due to Champions League conflicts. Shea leads Dallas with a career high 8 goals this season in 19 starts.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Copa America Quarterfinal Recap

Some crazy stuff going on in Argentina and the hosts and powerhouse Brazil both saw their respective title runs end abruptly on penalties. Additionally, Venezuela continued their surprising run, as did Peru leaving a Final Four of Paraguay (who has yet to win a game in regulation), Venezuela (ranked 9th out of 10 in the region), Peru and Uruguay. Here's a quick recap of how it all went down this weekend:


Peru is in the Copa America semifinals for the first time since 1997 following a 2-0 overtime win against Colombia. Both sides were held scoreless in the first 90 minutes as Colombia failed to convert a golden opportunity in the second half when Alberto Rodriguez brought down striker Dayro Moreno in the box, but Radamel Falcao Garcia's penalty missed the target wide left. Peru finally broke through in the 101st minute when Colombian keeper Luis Enrique Martinez failed to control a long ball driven into the box and it deflected out to Carlos Lobaton who blistered a shot through several defenders and in for the 1-0 lead, his first career goal for Peru's national team. Captain Juan Manuel Vargas, who plays for Fiorentina in Italy's Serie A, ended any hope of a Colombian comeback when following a turnover by Martinez, he converted on a 2 on 1 to make the score 2-0 and all but assure Peru a ticket to the next round. It was a disappointing result for Colombia who did not concede a goal during Group Play. Peru now gets a second chance against Uruguay who they tied 1-1 back on July 4th in their tournament opener.

URUGUAY 1 ARGENTINA 1 - Uruguay wins 5-4 on penalty kicks

Argentina's drought without a major trophy continues as they fell to Uruguay on penalty kicks on Saturday night. Uruguay got on the board first in this one when Diego Perez knocked a rebound just across the goal line before it was cleared away by the Argentinian defense in the 5th minute. Argentina would come right back though with Lionel Messi lofting a perfectly weighted pass to Gonzalo Higuaín whose header tied the game at 1. Argentina had all kinds of chances the rest of the way outshooting Uruguay 18-8, but Lazio keeper Fernando Muslera just kept making stop after stop finishing the night with 9 saves. Uruguay even survived a 48 minute span in which they were forced to play down a man after the goal scorer Perez was sent off in the 38th minute with his second yellow card. Argentina's captain Javier Mascherano would letter be sent off himself following his second yellow in the 86th minute. Muslera's big night would continue when the match went to penalties as he denied Manchester City Forward Carlos Tévez in the third round while Uruguay's shooters never missed en route to the 5-4 victory. Uruguay now gets a shot at redemption against Peru who they tied in their opening match.

PARAGUAY 0 BRAZIL 0 - Paraguay wins 2-0 on penalty kicks

Paraguay hasn't won a game in regulation yet this tournament after drawing three times in Group Play and playing Brazil to a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes, but still have found their way to the Copa America semifinals. Brazil outshot Paraguay 16-4, but Justo Villar, the 34 year old keeper and team captain for Paraguay was up to the task making 8 saves. The round of PKs couldn't have gone any worse for Brazil as all four of their shooters failed to convert with Villar denying Thiago Silva and Elano, Andre Santos and Fred all missing the target. It's the first time in over two decades that Paraguay has reached the Copa America semifinals where they'll now take on Venezuela. Brazil, who won the previous two tournaments comes away disappointed having won just one match in the tournament and being shutout twice, once by the Venezuelans and once by Paraguay.


Venezuela's surprising run at the Copa America continues following their surprising 2-1 win over Chile. The only team in the South American confederation who has never played in a World Cup is now unbeaten in 4 matches defeating Chile despite being outshot 13-7. Venezuela managed to get only 3 shots on goal, but two of them found the back of the net. Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, the 27 year old defender, opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a header off a set piece but Chile would battle back hitting the post twice and having several other the balls cleared off the backline. Monterrey striker Humberto Suazo finally got Chile on the board when his short range blast deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and in to tie the game at 1. But Venezuela, despite being outplayed down the stretch took advantage of another set piece in the Chilean half when Claudio Bravo was unable to handle a shot and Gabriel Cichero knocked it home for the game winner. This will be the first time Venezuela has ever played in the Copa America semifinals and they'll take on Paraguay. The two sides played to a 3-3 draw in Group Play when Venezuela erased a 3-1 deficit with goals in the 89th and 90th minutes.

Top Tens

Men's Tennis Rankings

1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - 13155 points
2. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - 11270 points
3. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 9230 points
4. Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 6855 points
5. Robin Soderling (Sweden) - 4325 points
6. David Ferrer (Spain) - 4150 points
7. Gael Monfils (France) - 2695 points
8. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - 2470 points
9. Mardy Fish (USA) - 2435 points
10. Andy Roddick (USA) - 2110 points

Women's Tennis Rankings

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 9915 points
2. Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - 7625 points
3. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - 6695 points
4. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - 6465 points
5. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - 6141 points
6. Li Na (China) - 5855 points
7. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - 5437 points
8. Francesca Schiavone (Italy) - 4860 points
9. Marion Bartoli (France) - 4230 points
10. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 3405 points

FedEx Cup Points Leaders

1.Nick Watney 1798 (1)
2. Steve Stricker 1741 (2)
3. K.J. Choi 1561 (3)
4. Phil Mickelson 1531 (9)
5. Bubba Watson 1486 (5)
6. Luke Donald 1455 (4)
7. Mark Wilson 1365 (6)
8. Matt Kuchar 1306 (7)
9. Webb Simpson 1284 (-)
10. David Toms 1280 (8)

OUT:  Gary Woodland (11)

AL Leading Hitters (through Sunday)

1. Adrian Gonzalez BOS - .342 (129/377)
2. Jose Bautista TOR - .336 (101/301)
3. Michael Young TEX - .321 (120/374)
4. Paul Konerko CHW - .318 (107/337)
5. Victor Martinez DET - .314 (92/293)
6. Jhonny Peralta DET - .314 (96/306)
7. Miguel Cabrera DET - .311 (101/325)
8. Jacoby Ellsbury BOS - .316 (114/361)
9. Adam Lind TOR - .300 (83/277)
10. Yunel Escobar TOR - .299 (100/335)

NL Leading Hitters (through Sunday)

1. Jose Reyes NYM - .354 (124/350)
2. Joey Votto CIN - .325 (114/351)
3. Todd Helton COL - .324 (92/284)
4. Hunter Pence HOU - .321 (117/364)
5. Ryan Braun MIL - .315 (100/317)
5. Daniel Murphy NYM - .315 (100/317)
7. Matt Kemp LAD - .314 (107/341)
8. Brian McCann ATL - .308 (93/302)
9. Shane Victorino PHI - .303 (81/267)
10. Starlin Castro CHC - .303 (120/396)

AL Home Run Leaders (through Sunday)

1. Jose Bautista TOR - 31
2. Mark Teixeira NYY - 25
2. Curtis Granderson NYY - 25
4. Paul Konerko CHW - 22
5. Nelson Cruz TEX - 21
6. Mark Reynolds BAL - 20
7. David Ortiz BOS - 19
7. Adrian Beltre TEX - 19
7. Miguel Cabrera DET - 19
10. Carlos Quentin CHW - 18
10. Mark Trumbo LAA - 18

NL Home Run Leaders (through Sunday)

1. Lance Berkman STL - 25
2. Matt Kemp LAD - 24
3. Prince Fielder MIL - 22
4. Jay Bruce CIN - 21
5. Albert Pujols STL - 20
5. Mike Stanton FLA - 20
7. Carlos Pena CHC - 19
8. Ryan Howard PHI - 18
8. Rickie Weeks MIL - 18
10. Troy Tulowitzki COL - 17
10. Danny Espinosa WSH - 17

AL ERA Leaders (through Sunday)

1. Jered Weaver LAA - 1.90 (12-4)
2. Josh Beckett BOS - 2.12 (8-3)
3. Justin Verlander DET - 2.29 (12-5)
4. Gio Gonzalez OAK - 2.33 (9-6)
4. James Shields TB - 2.60 (8-8)
6. CC Sabathia NYY - 2.64 (14-4)
7. Dan Haren LAA - 2.75 (10-6)
8. Justin Masterson CLE - 2.80 (8-6)
9. Matt Harrison TEX - 2.91 (8-7)
10. Alexi Ogando TEX - 2.92 (9-3)

NL ERA Leaders (at All Star Break)

1. Jair Jurrjens ATL - 2.26 (12-3)
2. Jeff Karstens PIT - 2.34 (8-4)
3. Roy Halladay PHI - 2.45 (11-3)
4. Jordan Zimmerman WAS - 2.66 (6-7)
5. Cole Hamels PHI - 2.71 (11-5)
6. Tommy Hanson ATL - 2.73 (10-5)
7. Cliff Lee PHI - 2.82 (9-6)
8. Clayton Kershaw LAD - 2.88 (10-4)
9. Tim Stauffer SD - 2.97 (5-6)
10. Tim Lincecum SF - 2.99 (8-7)


1. Sylvia Fowles - Chicago - 20.4 ppg
2. Diana Taurasi - Phoenix - 19.3 ppg
3. Tina Charles - Connecticut - 17.9 ppg
4. Crystal Langhorne - Washington - 17.8 ppg
5. Candace Parker - Los Angeles - 17.7 ppg
6. Cappie Pondexter - New York - 17.3 ppg
7. Danielle Adams - San Antonio - 16.4 ppg
8. Swin Cash - Seattle - 16.4 ppg
9. Epiphanny Prince - Chicago - 16.2 ppg
10. Angel McCoughtry - Atlanta - 16.2 ppg

Photos Courtesy (in order of appearance):

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Women's World Cup Consolation Game


In a battle between to European sides, it was the Swedes who emerged victorious in the consolation game at the Women's World Cup. It was the second time that Sweden had won the consolation game, and the first since 1991. They were also Runner Ups to Germany in 2003. Lotta Schelin got Sweden an early lead when she got on the end of Nilla Fischer ball in the 29th minute and flicked in past French keeper Berangere Sapowicz. Sapowicz was injured on the play and had to be removed for Celine Deville. France, as they've done the entire tournament though, responded in the second half. Élodie Thomis snuck a shot inside the near post for her 2nd goal of the tournament to tie the game up in the 56th minute. Then things got a little ugly. France's Sonia Bompastor and Sweden's Josefine Öqvist got tied up on the end line, and while it appeared that Bompastor initiated, Öqvist responded by kicking Bompastor in the chest and was subsequently sent off forcing Sweden to play a man short the rest of the way. It got worse for Sweden when Fischer was involved in a collision and couldn't continue. Still, the Swedes showed their resilience and were rewarded when following a corner 29 year old Marie Hammarström, the twin sister of Sweden's backup goalkeeper Marie, absolute hammered a left footed shot into the top corner for her first career international goal and what would serve to be the game winner.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Copa America Quarterfinal Matchups

A little history on your Quarterfinal Matchups at the Copa America:

#49 Peru (1-1-1) vs #54 Colombia (2-0-1)

2010 World Cup Qualifying
6/14/2008 Peru 1 Colombia 1
6/10/2009 Colombia 1 Peru 0

2006 World Cup Qualifying
3/31/2004 Colombia 2 Peru 0
4/06/2005 Colombia 5 Peru 0

Copa America
7/12/2004 Peru 2 Colombia 2

#10 Argentina (1-0-2) vs #18 Uruguay (1-0-2)

2010 World Cup Qualifying
10/11/2008 Argentina 2 Uruguay 1
10/14/2009 Argentina 1 Uruguay 0

2006 World Cup Qualifying
10/09/2004 Argentina 4 Uruguay 2
10/12/2005 Uruguay 1 Argentina 0

Copa America
7/13/2004 Argentina 4 Uruguay 2

#5 Brazil (1-0-2) vs #32 Paraguay (0-0-3)

2010 World Cup Qualifying
6/15/2008 Paraguay 2 Brazil 0
6/10/2009 Brazil 2 Paraguay 1

2006 World Cup Qualifying
3/31/2004 Brazil 0 Paraguay 0
6/05/2005 Brazil 4 Paraguay 1

Copa America
7/14/2004 Paraguay 2 Brazil 1
7/09/2011 Paraguay 2 Brazil 2

#27 Chile (2-0-1) vs #69 Venezuela (1-0-2)

2010 World Cup Qualifying
6/19/2008 Chile 3 Venezuela 2
9/05/2009 Chile 2 Venezuela 2

2006 World Cup Qualifying
6/01/2004 Chile 1 Venezuela 0
6/08/2005 Chile 2 Venezuela 1

Photo Credits in Order of Apperance:

Jozy Altidore to AZ Alkmaar

American striker Jozy Altidore is on the move once again. This team he'll be suiting up for the Dutch club AZ Alkmaar. When we last saw Altidore he had his Gold Cup prematurely ended do to a strained hamstring against Panama in the semifinals. The 21 year old scored against Canada and Guadeloupe in Group play giving him 12 international goals. After starting with the New York Red Bulls in 2006 he joined Villareal for the 2008-2009 season. He appeared in 6 games for the Yellow Submarine during the 2008-2009 season before going on loan to Xerex, then Hull City and finally Bursaspor. He appeared in 3 league games for Villareal last year and scored twice in the Copa del Rey against Poli Ejido.

 Photo Courtesy:

AZ Alkmaar finished 5th in the Dutch Eredivisie last year with a record of 17-9-8. Their leading scorer from last season, Icelandic International Kolbeinn Sigthórsson who had 15 goals, just accepted a transfer to Ajax, the reigning Dutch Champions. American fans can be hopeful that Altidore makes the most of his opportunity in the Netherlands and comes back strong as the U.S. gets ready for World Cup Qualifying.

Shiver me Timbers!!!

Don't look now, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place. The Pirates haven't had a winning season since winning the NL East back in 1992 in the days of Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, Jay Bell, Doug Drabek and Jim Leyland. 
Photo Courtesy:

Now they're led by the likes of Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker. It's quite a turnaround for a team that finished the 2010 season with a record of 57-105, coming in last in the NL Central for the 4th straight season. Can these guys hang in the Central against the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds down the stretch? Either way, they have a real shot of snapping their 18 year streak of losing seasons which will definitely make my buddy Cumbo happy. I don't feel too bad for him though since he has the Steelers to root for as well. Note the 30-63 Astros down there at the bottom of the division. They need to go 33-36 the rest of the way to avoid their first 100 loss season in franchise history. It's not looking good...

Photo Courtesy:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your WNBA All Star Game Starters

In case you didn't have it on your calendars, the WNBA All Star Game is set for July 23rd in San Antonio. The starters for the game were announced tonight with the reserves to be announced on Thursday. Here's a quick look at your starting lineups.


Tamika Catchings - Forward - Indiana Fever -Catchings led all players with 32,706 votes and is averaging 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the 10-3 Fever. She is currently ranked 9th in the league in rebounding, 10th in assists and she is 2nd in the league with 31 steals.

 Photo Courtesy:

Katie Douglas - Guard - Indiana Fever - Douglas leads the 10-3 Fever in scoring with 16.4 points a game. She's also chipping in 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while ranking second on the team with 18 steals. She is currently ranked 11th in the league in scoring.

 Photo Courtesy:

Angel McCoughtry - Forward - Atlanta Dream - McCoughtry leads the 3-9 Dream with 15.5 points a game which although good for 16th in the league, is over 5 points a game less than what she put up last year as the league's leading scorer. McCoughtry is also averaging 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game and is ranked 3rd in the league with 2.1 steals a game.

Photo Courtesy:

Tina Charles - Center - Connecticut Sun - Charles leads the 6-5 Sun with 18.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, as well as with 16 blocked shots. She ranks 3rd in the league in scoring behind only Chicago's Sylvia Fowles and Phoenix's Diana Taurasi and is one of only two players in the league averaging double digit rebounds. She also ranks 6th in the league in blocked shots.

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Cappie Pondexter - Guard - New York Liberty - Pondexter leads the 2nd place Liberty (8-5) in scoring with 17.8 points and 5.2 assists per game. She's also chipped in 24 steals and has connected on 38% of her 3-pointers. She ranks 4th in the league in scoring, 5th in assists and 5th in steals.

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Diana Taurasi - Guard - Phoenix Mercury - Taurasi is an all star starter for the 5th time and has helped the Mercury to the top of the Western Conference (9-4). She leads the team in scoring with 19.8 points per game and has also chipped in 3.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. She ranks second in the league in scoring and 14th in assists.

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Sue Bird - Guard - Seattle Storm - Bird was the second leading vote getter with 25,077 votes. She's helped Seattle to a 7-5 record and leads the team with 5.3 assists per game while being their second leading scorer coming in at 16.1 points per game. She is 4th in the league in assists and 14th in scoring.

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Swin Cash - Forward - Seattle Storm - Cash leads the 7-5 Storm in scoring at 16.7 points per game and also averages a team high 6.5 rebounds and is second behind Bird with 3.0 assists. She ranks 7th in scoring and 14th in the league in rebounding.

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Maya Moore - Forward - Minnesota Lynx - The league's number one draft pick has the Lynx at 7-4 and in third place in the Western Conference. She is the team's second leading scorer (14.5 points per game), third leading rebounder (4.5 per game) and she's averaging 2.6 assists. She ranks 19th in the league in scoring. She's the first rookie to be voted into the starting lineup since Bird and Catchings back in 2002. She finished with 21,379 votes.

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Candace Parker - Forward - Los Angeles Sparks - Parker has been limited to just 7 games with an injury, but when she's played she leads the Sparks with 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The is the league's 5th leading scorer and 3rd leading rebounder. The 5-6 Sparks are just 1-3 without Parker in the lineup.

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