Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Midweek Mailbag - Soccer, Soccer & More Soccer

Carles Puyol is looking at maybe having surgery on his knee, and will most likely not be fit for the Euro 2012 tourney. I know he's just one guy, but he's pretty well the anchor of that back 4 for Spain. How big of a loss would it be to not have him when Spain tries to defend their Euro title? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit:
Tough break for Carles "don't call me Carlos or Charles" Puyol. Any time you lose one of your starters, particularly one of your team leaders, it's a blow. Fortunately for Spain, they're incredibly deep in the back. Even without Puyol they can trot out an imposing back line consisting of Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Raúl Albiol (Real Madrid) and Álvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid). Puyol is 34 now and the reality is that Spain was going to need a plan to move forward without him in the near future anyways. Now they're just going to have to do it a little bit sooner than expected. The bigger concern in my mind for Spain is that they will be without their leading scorer from their World Cup run as David Villa continues to recover from his broken leg suffered with Barcelona. Spain will have to get production from somewhere else on the field or teams like the Netherlands or Germany will be able to upset the defending champs.

Bill Miller was all set up to buy into (or possibly outright- I can't find concrete details) Rangers over in Scotland. He just recently announced that he would, in fact, NOT be spending any money on the club after all after doing his due diligence and finding many years of Mismanagement. He also was receiving Hundreds of emails a day saying "go Home Yank" and many other, more colorful phrases along the same lines. Now I know that Rangers supporters can be nutty, but the guy was there to try and help. With several USMNT players on their starting roster, how bad will it be for them if Rangers don't get their proverbial ducks in a row in a hurry? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit:
Rangers are in serious trouble right now. Sanctions have already been imposed on the club preventing them from signing players for the next 12 months unless they are under age 18 and they cannot play in next season's Champions League because UEFA rules prevent the club from being granted a license. And now they just lost a potential investor. Miller, the chairman of a Tennessee-based towing and recovery equipment company, had recently put in a bid to buy the club, but by his admission a combination of the financial situation being worse than he initially thought, and the unfounded hostility from the fan base was enough to deter him from the potential investment. But regardless of the reasons, this is another step backwards for the 140 year old Scottish powerhouse. Andy Kerr, president of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, painted a grim picture: "Let's be open, let's be honest, let's fully understand another false dawn is going to be the final nail in the coffin." Now there are other bidders, but none as prominent as Miller was. And while the financial issues in Scottish football may seem insignificant over here, don't forget that Rangers has 3 members of the U.S. National Team on their roster: captain Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya. While I don't think the anti-American sentiment expressed towards Miller will adversely impact the future of these three with the club, their financial situation, and potentially increasing sanctions certainly could. Edu is signed through 2013, with Bocanegra and Bedoya on the books until 2014.

Ok, So it would seem that Summer Green has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to scoring. She just broke the U.S. record at ANY level for scoring the most goals in a qualifying tournament. Who is this scoring machine and how long before she starts seeing time with the senior team? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit:
Summer came early in Guatemala this year as the 17 year old American striker put on a goal scoring clinic notching 12 goals and dishing out 4 assists in leading the U.S. to the U-17 Women's CONCACAF Championship title. Apparently not the typical jock, Green graduated from high school a year early and has verbally committed to attend the University of North Carolina in the fall. I think she's still a couple years away from impacting the Senior Team though. While it's great to see what she did in this tourney, let's remember that the girls in this tournament are all still in high school. Let's see what she does at the U-17 World Cup this fall when presumably she'll meet more opposition than she found against the Bahamas, and how she adjusts to the college game where she'll certainly be one of the youngest players in Division I. If she continues to shine in those spots then we can start to talk about what comes next for her. With a long line of prominent forwards ahead of her though (Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez, Sydney Leroux, etc.), there's no rush to get Green onto the field for the Senior National Team.

Ok, so Fox just showed almost every final day English Premier League game and a lot of them came down to the last possible second. How good is it that Fox made sure to broadcast all of those games in order to reach a wider audience? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit:
This past weekend was tremendous for the game of soccer. I don't care who you're a fan of, but Manchester City's come-from-behind win in the final seconds against Queens Park Rangers to clinch the English Premier League Title was amazing. And any time something like that reaches the masses, it's going to bring in fans. Think about Landon Donovan's goal against Algeria, or Abby Wambach's goal versus Brazil. Those were huge moments for a sport that has a reputation of being boring and hard for the casual fan to get into. This was another one of those moments that people are going to remember. And now that networks are starting to pick up more and more games from more and more leagues, this is only going to continue to grow the game over here. The timing couldn't be better either. The Euro 2012 tournament is about to kick off, World Cup Qualifying is right around the corner, MLS is in full swing... It should be a great summer and soccer is primed to make another jump in popularity.

Looking at the top tens in scoring from around the world of European Soccer, I notice that a few teams that won titles have more than one guy in the top ten list. Take Real Madrid for example. They have a few guys on the list and they won the title in Spain, while Barca only has Messi, and they only came close. This may seem like an obvious question, but how related is having a bunch of guys who can score to winning trophies? Is it always like this or is this just kind of a coincedence? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit:
The more weapons you have on offense the better, but it's not always as simple as that. Real Madrid won La Liga and had three of the league's top ten goal scorers (Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema). But for every Real Madrid there's a Juventus who had none of the top ten goal scorers in Serie A (Alessandro Matri was 16th), but still managed to win the league title. That said, Barcelona really missed David Villa this year. Lionel Messi is an amazing talent, and Barcelona has an unreal midfield, but as we saw in both the Champions League and in La Liga, they lacked another proven finisher. It's not that big of a reach to say that Villa's injury cost Barcelona at least one if not a pair of titles.

That does it for this week. As always a special thanks to everyone (Cory) who wrote in. And remember, as the great G$ Meyer says Reading is for Winners, especially when you read Smitty's Mailbag.

Got a question for the mailbag? Click on the link at the top of the page or email us directly at

No comments:

Post a Comment