Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Six Pack

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Jozy Altidore snapped an 8-game goalless streak finding the back of the net in the 83rd minute against ADO Den Haag in AZ Alkmaar's 3-0 win. The goal is Altidore's 4th in Eredivisie play as his club AZ Alkmaar is now 10-1-1 and maintains a 6 point lead atop the table in Holland's top division. Altidore's continued strong play overseas has earned him a spot on Jurgen Klinsmann's Team USA roster for upcoming friendlies against France and Slovenia. He is one of 4 forwards on the USA squad as he'll be joined by DaMarcus Beasley, Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan. Altidore, who last scored for the U.S. in the Gold Cup back in June has 12 career goals for the National Team.

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After dispatching Sebastien Le Toux, Freddy Adu and the Philadelphia Union, the Houston Dynamo continued their run through the Eastern Conference today with a 2-0 win in the MLS Eastern Conference Finals. The Dynamo lost their star playmaker Brad Davis, thought to be a candidate for the league's MVP, to a quad injury in the first half, but his replacement, the seldom-used Jermaine Taylor, played a huge role in the Dynamo's first goal. Adam Moffat, taking the free kicks in place of Davis, found Taylor at the back post and while the Jamaican's header was denied by Jimmy Nielsen, the rebound deflected right to Andrew Hainault who tapped it in for what would serve as the game winner. Second half substitution Carlo Costly took a through-ball from Luiz Camargo late in the second half and drilled a shot past Nielsen, off the post and in for an insurance goal and Tally Hall turned away any and all of Kansas City's last ditch efforts finishing the night with 9 saves as the Dynamo advance to the MLS Cup for the first time since they won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.

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#1 LSU added Alabama to their list of conquests in 2011 defeating the Tide 9-6 in overtime on Saturday night and moving another step closer to a berth in the National Championship game. The Tigers benefited from 4 missed field goals by Alabama's pair of kickers - sophomore Cade Foster and junior Jeremy Shelley. Foster missed a 44 yarder on Alabama's opening drive, a 50 yarder on their second drive and a 52 yarder in overtime while Shelley had a 49 yarder blocked early in the second quarter. On the year, Alabama's kickers are now 14 for 22 on field goals and just 2 for 9 on field goals longer than 40 yards. This absolutely boggles my mind. How in the world does a program like Alabama not go out and recruit a decent kicker? The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns have a junior from Mississippi named Brett Baer who is 5 for 6 from 40+ and has hit from 47, 48 and 49 yards this season. They couldn't have recruited that guy? Florida State got Dustin Hopkins from Houston, Texas. He's perfect from 40-49 and has even hit from 53 yards this year. I just don't get it. How can you have National Championship aspirations and not have the ability when the game is on the line to send someone out there who can make a field goal? It makes no sense to me.

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For just the second time since David Beckham arrived in Southern California, the L.A. Galaxy are headed to the MLS Finals. Ironically they're headed there after beating the team that denied Beckham a championship in the 2009 MLS Cup Final, Real Salt Lake. There would be no denying the Galaxy tonight though. The big guns Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane both scored, but it was unheralded Mike Magee who headed in the game winner off a cross from Beckham in the 58th minute. The 27 year old from Illinois has scored in all three of the Galaxy's playoff games this postseason after scoring just 5 goals in 27 games during the regular season. The Galaxy now get set to play in their 7th MLS Cup Final, having only won it twice, their last title coming in 2005 when Guillermo Ramírez scored in overtime against the New England Revolution to give L.A. a 1-0 win.

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It looks like Devin Hester might have some company. Arizona rookie Patrick Peterson returned a punt 99 yards for a touchdown in overtime giving the Cardinals just their 2nd win of the season, 19-13 over the Rams. It was the third punt that the first year corner out of LSU has returned for a touchdown this season making him the first player in NFL history to have that many punt return touchdowns through his first 8 NFL games. It's a good thing he returned this punt for a touchdown because if he had gotten tackled at like his 2 yard line, his coach would have been PISSED. Kind of like that Dante Hall return back in 2003 where he practically ran it into his own end zone against the Broncos. Speaking of Hall, here's a clip of his 5 return TDs that season including the aforementioned ridiculous one against Denver.


The college kids are getting ready to kick of the 2011-12 season so even if the NBA players and owners fail to give us fans something to watch, at least we have this. Anyhow, as we get ready to kick off the season this week, let's take a look at the preseason All Americans:

Jared Sullinger - Ohio State - Forward
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The 6'9" 280 pound sophomore had a breakout freshman season where he scored 17.2 points per game and grabbed 10.2 rebounds while shooting 54.1% from the field. Sullinger was a First Team All American as a freshman last year and helped lead the Buckeyes to a 34-3 mark and the Sweet 16. Sullinger was the only unanimous selection to this year's preseason All-America team.

Terrence Jones - Kentucky - Forward
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Another sophomore, the 6'9" Jones helped lead Kentucky to the Final Four as a freshman and was an Honorable Mention to the All America Team. Jones averaged 15.7 points last year to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.

Jeremy Lamb - Connecticut - Guard/Forward
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The theme of this years team is sophomores. The 6'5" Lamb returns for his second season at UConn after helping the Huskies win a National Championship last year. Lamb averaged 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds as a freshman, but has some big shoes to fill following the departure of Kemba Walker.

Harrison Barnes - North Carolina - Forward
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The 6'8" Barnes is back on the preseason All-America team for a second straight year after becoming the first freshman ever to be named to the squad in 2010 (that's right, he's a sophomore too). Barnes turned in a solid freshman campaign for the Heels averaging 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds and was an Honorable Mention to last year's All-America Team.

Jordan Taylor - Wisconsin - Guard
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The 6'1" Taylor is NOT a sophomore. The only senior on the team, Taylor averaged 18.1 points per game and 4.7 assists as a junior and was a second team All American. Taylor set career highs last year in shooting percentage (43.3%) 3-point percentage (42.9%), free throw percentage (83.2%), rebounds (139), assists (161), blocks (5) and points (617).

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