Recent Comments by sbacharach

How to Watch European Soccer on TV

I had really been taking for granted the availability of EPL, FA Cup, Champions League, and Europa League the last several years. This is disappointing news, but the media landscape is always evolving, so I shouldn't be surprised.

posted by sbacharach at 02:52 PM on August 12, 2018

Arsene Wenger is Leaving Arsenal

It was time - actually it likely was time after the last FA Cup win. I hope the club can keep some of his DNA for fluidity and flair. Yes, I would love consistency and I would love a whole lot more defensive solidity, but above all I want to enjoy watching them play - yes, probably even more than watching them win.

posted by sbacharach at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2018

I doped like Maria Sharapova

Check out "Icarus" on Netflix - similar idea, at least at the start. It begins with a cyclist who gets a Russian doctor to help him get on an undetectable doping program, similar to many a pro-cyclist a decade ago, to see how it affects his performance. The documentary then moves toward telling the story of the doctor and Russian state-sponsored programs of the last few decades.

posted by sbacharach at 12:22 PM on September 06, 2017

England Adds Post-Match Bans for Diving

When talk of this has come up over the years I always wonder how you decide if someone dived in the following scenario (with the aim of tricking a match official): (1) Player A is running with the ball at speed (2) Player B sticks a leg out which will miss the ball but hit Player A's shin/knee (3) Player A, rather than risking injury, dives over Player B's out-thrust leg and lands on the ground

Depending on the speed at which the players are moving, the angle of the boot of Player B, the game situation (which theoretically shouldn't matter), you can give a yellow to Player A, you can give a yellow to Player B, you can give a red to Player B, you can call a foul on Player B, you can do nothing. The stakes are even higher when this occurs in the 18-yard box.

How does replay help with that?

posted by sbacharach at 11:08 AM on May 19, 2017

Joey Barton in trouble - again

1) Betfair went to The FA. Was there a potential this story would come out, snagging the company in the process, so the company gave the notification? Betfair obviously looks much better now than had this story been "breaking news." Good question - why did they wait ten years to turn over this data? I haven't heard any answers on that yet.

2) I wonder how many players have accounts with these companies: surely some of them place bets on soccer matches? They are probably deleting them furiously right now.

3) Joey Barton will NEVER be confused with a Mensa member. He seems to be one of the more thoughtful footballers who gets a mic put in his face, but that may be a rather low bar to get over. I think we'll be hearing him doing a lot more commentary in the next 18 months and beyond.

posted by sbacharach at 02:52 PM on April 28, 2017

Joey Barton in trouble - again

I meant integrity of the "game".

posted by sbacharach at 08:28 PM on April 27, 2017

Joey Barton in trouble - again

What I'm struck by in listening to UK podcasts is how many people think that an 18 month ban for gambling - including bets against his own team - is excessive. It's true that betting sites very much support the Premier League financially so there could be a little hypocrisy going on here from the FA, yet his behavior calls into question the very integrity of the same. I think a lot of the pundits work with him doing analysis so they are happy to give him a pass, but this would never fly in the US.

posted by sbacharach at 06:00 PM on April 27, 2017

World Cup 2026: Fifa reveals allocation for 48-team tournament

Way too many teams getting in - waters down the competition considerably. The Euros should have stayed at 16 teams too.

posted by sbacharach at 03:07 PM on March 30, 2017

Chicago Fire Sign Bastian Schweinsteiger

I doubt he'll need to emote to compete in MLS for a year or two

That may or may not be true. Many foreign players who come into MLS don't seem to realize how physical the league can be - not crunching tackles, rather a lot of running and long travel to away games and as well as hotter temperatures than they are accustomed too.

posted by sbacharach at 12:36 PM on March 22, 2017

Chicago Fire Sign Bastian Schweinsteiger

I just contacted a friend in Chicago who is a big soccer fan, and he's happy "they finally signed someone worth watching." I can't say he's represents all Chicago supporters, but I'm sure there are many people, myself included, who are happy to see more quality of any kind come into MLS.

posted by sbacharach at 03:16 PM on March 21, 2017

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal 'mentally collapsed' against Bayern Munich

That was depressing. A dead rubber back in London (and Barcelona).

posted by sbacharach at 09:53 PM on February 15, 2017

Frank Lampard Retires from Soccer

As part of a Chelsea squad that had several players that were easy to dislike, Frank Lampard always seemed to stand out as one of the real good guys.

posted by sbacharach at 12:45 PM on February 03, 2017

SportsFilter's 15th Anniversary


posted by sbacharach at 02:23 PM on January 25, 2017

Surprising almost no one, the Chargers decide to move to LA.

I've seen many LA Galaxy games at the Stub Hub Center in Carson - an excellent venue for watching soccer. It hosts other events like some of the California high school football championship games. Even if it's short-lived, it could be an incredible (and intimate) atmosphere for an NFL game.

posted by sbacharach at 05:09 PM on January 12, 2017

Kevin Harlan's Epic Radio Call of Monday Night Football Interloper


posted by sbacharach at 04:48 PM on September 13, 2016

Hope Solo Calls Sweden 'Cowards' After U.S. Loses Quarterfinal

She should have been booted off the team long ago.

posted by sbacharach at 08:43 PM on August 12, 2016

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

billysaythis: Still attending this Sunday's Arsenal/Chivas game in Carson? I'll be there with a friend and my two sons. Let me know if you want to hook up for a drink ahead of kickoff:

Sorry to post this in this thread - couldn't figure out another way.

posted by sbacharach at 11:04 AM on July 27, 2016

Kobe Bryant Scores 60 in Final NBA Game

A lot of haters out there re: Flea's National Anthem, but I loved it. If you're gonna make everyone listen to that song before every American sporting event, at least make it interesting.

posted by sbacharach at 02:18 PM on April 14, 2016

Tennis Tourney Exec: Women Ride Men's Coattails, But They're Attractive

I just want to thank all of you for a set of well-reasoned, non-hysterical arguments. I have thoughts about this issue as well (as everyone likely does) but I was honestly a bit afraid to weigh in given the potential toxicity of the topic. After reading through the above, though, I don't think I have more to add to the discussion.

So kudos to all. There are many forums, I'm sure, where things would have spun out of control long ago. [loud clapping and patting oneself on the back to follow]

posted by sbacharach at 12:53 PM on March 23, 2016

Wenger's Arsenal

I hadn't heard that - thanks.

posted by sbacharach at 12:53 PM on February 18, 2016

Wenger's Arsenal

I live an hour from Carson and five hours from San Jose, so the All-Star game is not my first choice of the two, but if I go up for that game, well then, yes, definitely.

posted by sbacharach at 04:43 PM on February 17, 2016

Wenger's Arsenal

I'm seeing this summer.

posted by sbacharach at 05:36 PM on February 16, 2016

Wenger's Arsenal

I loved the 2-0 win over Man City last year, but there were some dire games immediately following that. I admit the main reason I like the team is because of the style.

I'm just excited that the Gunners are coming to the US this summer. I figured with Kroenke moving the Rams to LA it would happen at some point - I just didn't expect it to be so soon.

posted by sbacharach at 12:44 PM on February 12, 2016

Rafael Benítez sacked by Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane taking over

They never should have sacked Carlo Ancelotti last Spring. I thought that players and fans all liked the job he was doing, but Perez was trigger-happy. If by some miracle, Zizou keeps the job for several years, maybe someday we'll get an Arsenal/Real Madrid Champions League tie reuniting French superstars: Henry as Arsenal manager and Zidane with Real. Though that could happen a lot sooner if Real plays PSG with Larry White at the helm.

posted by sbacharach at 05:20 PM on January 05, 2016

The Rugby World Cup Final is on Saturday

I leave in Ventura County near Los Angeles and I think I'm able to watch it on Time Warner Cable (Channel 1203), so you may want to check your listings again. If the final is anywhere close to the semis in drama, it should be great.

posted by sbacharach at 12:21 PM on October 30, 2015

Huge 20-Cyclist Crash Takes Out Leader at Tour de France

One of the more cringe-worthy crashes I've seen in the last several years. There are no stretches of road where you can zone out for even a moment over the entire 3 week race. Still surprised by the race neutralization though.

posted by sbacharach at 09:36 AM on July 07, 2015

U.S. Defeats Germany, Advances to Women's World Cup Final

I agree with the comments about a better flow when the players aren't rolling around theatrically after minor collisions - real or imagined. However, I find I've been a bit frustrated by the lack of fine ball control skills by many players in the competition: inaccurate passes leading to avoidable loss of possession and balls going out of play or lazy trapping of received passes. I find that interrupts the flow a lot at times. Maybe the turf has something to do with it.

posted by sbacharach at 01:00 PM on July 01, 2015

Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title

To grum's point: I also have a problem with the idea (only in American sports?) that the MVP has to go to a player on the winning team. International counterexample: Diego Forlan winning the Golden Ball at the 2010 World Cup. Uruguay came in third in that tournament.

posted by sbacharach at 12:37 PM on June 17, 2015

FIFA President Sepp Blatter Announces His Resignation

This reminds of how OJ Simpson was going to spend his life looking for Nicole's killers.

posted by sbacharach at 06:55 PM on June 04, 2015

Arsene Wenger, The Martyr

I remember just after the recent, very drab 1-0 win over Burnley how I just felt a little empty. I had thought that victory, and a further consolidation of 2nd place, would feel better. It didn't. The game was boring. I keep hoping, as all supporters do I'm sure, that winning and beauty can coincide at some point, and I assumed that if forced to choose, I'd take winning over beauty, but that Burnley game makes me question myself. That being said, it felt great to beat Man City 2-0 in a very pragmatic fashion!

posted by sbacharach at 12:57 PM on April 22, 2015

U.S. Men Win 2-0 Over Mexico in San Antonio

You may be right, Bismarck - I thought I heard one of the commentators say it was a debut, but I (or them) could be wrong.

posted by sbacharach at 05:15 PM on April 16, 2015

U.S. Men Win 2-0 Over Mexico in San Antonio

Happy with the win, but it looked like Mexico fielded a team with significantly less experience than ours - despite the fact the winning US goal came from a debutante.

posted by sbacharach at 12:41 PM on April 16, 2015

The Miracle of Sociedad Deportiva Eibar

Loved that book. I think I heard of it from Tim Vickery.

posted by sbacharach at 02:50 PM on December 24, 2014

Chris Wondolowski Relives That Shot

I'm a pretty big USMNT fan, but if that shot goes in, the result is completely counter to the rest of the game. The Belgians should have beaten the US by five goals at least. I don't mind too much that the better team advanced.

posted by sbacharach at 02:25 PM on December 19, 2014

Even if you don't follow La Liga, it's worth reading The Sids

My favorite is Best Pundit.

posted by sbacharach at 05:28 PM on May 29, 2014

Landon Donovan Left Off World Cup Roster

With Landon or without him, I think getting out of the group is a pretty huge ask, but I'm disappointed. I also think it's more about off-field than on-field, and I'm more inclined to think that Klinsmann is putting his personality ahead of the team than that Donovan would have done that. Will removing him from the squad heal any sort factional issue in the dressing room or will it create one (or neither, I guess)?

posted by sbacharach at 01:23 PM on May 23, 2014

Arsenal Comes Back to Win FA Cup Over Hull City

Even after just Cazorla's goal, I think there was already "the feeling it was only matter of time", though of course you never know.

The Sanogo to Giroud to Ramsey goal was definitely worthy of an FA Cup winner - the "beautiful" in "The Beautiful Game".

posted by sbacharach at 01:02 PM on May 19, 2014

Crossing Over:

A couple months ago I went to the 1st leg CONCACAF Champions League game between the Xolos and the Galaxy in Carson, CA. The Tijuana fans brought an outstanding atmosphere to the Stub Hub Center. I'd like to get down to a game sometime in Tijuana to see them on their own turf. I admit I was a little intimidated by the idea (I haven't been to TJ in 25 years), but reading this article has made it seem a whole lot easier.

posted by sbacharach at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2014

Ronaldo Speaks Up for Field-Crashing Fan Who Hugged Him

Great story rcade. I never heard about this incident, and I'm happy to see Ronaldo take a moment out to send some support this guy's way.

posted by sbacharach at 03:22 PM on October 15, 2013

Is Roger Federer Done?

If he's like most of the greats, it's hardly ever been about money, lifestyle, or rankings. It's about Grand Slam championships, and that's all it's about.

posted by sbacharach at 11:19 PM on August 20, 2013

Robbie Rogers Unretires, Signs with L.A. Galaxy

I think Rogers participation in MLS is fantastic, but I'm disappointed that the Galaxy have lost Mike Magee to the Chicago Fire in the process. Magee was an absolutely vital player in the Galaxy's playoff success of the past two years, and I'm concerned that the league - which has a vast amount of control over transfers - has sacrificed Magee's spot on the squad to make sure Rogers can play in a high-profile (by MLS standards) club in a diverse, liberal city.

That being said, the Galaxy just routed the Sounders 4-0, and perhaps I'm just being a bit of a conspiracy theorist. But, Magee scored some huge goals when it counted the last couple campaigns.

posted by sbacharach at 10:12 PM on May 27, 2013

ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons from Twitter for Criticizing 'First Take'

In the past couple weeks I just started to listening to Simmons' podcast, the B.S. Report. Even when he discusses stuff I don't care much about (i.e. MLB, Boston sports), he's still pretty thoughtful and entertaining - at least I think so. Interestingly, in just the last few days, he was mentioning how he was proud of ESPN in the way they've never told him not to do a story of some type. The guy he was interviewing - sorry I forgot who it was - was an investigative reporter and he echoed those sentiments. I think the context had to do with reporting on head injuries in the NFL and criticizing the league response. Anyway, funny now that ESPN puts the hammer down a bit. I expect this will come up in his next podcast.

posted by sbacharach at 02:51 PM on March 15, 2013

Olympics drop wrestling for 2020

I think any sport where an Olympic gold is considered the pinnacle achievement in that sport should stay right where it is. There are sports where the Olympics are practically an afterthought compared to other events, e.g. soccer (World Cup), which are better candidates for elimination, IMO.

Agreed. Get rid of tennis. And isn't golf going to be added? I'm against that as well for the same reason.

posted by sbacharach at 06:07 PM on February 12, 2013

Lower-level clubs oust 5 EPL sides in FA Cup

With the fight that Brighton put up against Arsenal (and the sorry excuse for a defender that is Andre Santos), there could have been an additional casualty from the EPL.

posted by sbacharach at 08:21 PM on January 27, 2013

Lance Armstrong Admits Using PEDs, Destroying People

I second MrB's comments about lack of remorse. Lance felt like he'd almost gotten away with it but was just dragged back in at the last moment. Poor guy.

posted by sbacharach at 02:49 PM on January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong Admits Using PEDs, Destroying People

Not defending Armstrong at all, but I think the laughter was a mask for awkwardness; the truth (or some of it) is brand new territory for him.

The destruction of others' characters and careers is the most the damning thing for me. I can't excuse, but I think I have a better understanding of, the mentality behind all the doping, but the outright bullying is unforgivable - a fact he actually recognized in the interview.

If it were just the doping and I saw him on the street, I would walk up and say hello, but the borderline sociopathic way he attacked anyone who got in his way makes me want to keep my kids away from him, not that I would fear for their safety, but because I associate him with vindictiveness, not exactly a family value. That being said, I have a friend who trained on the Xterra Tri course in Maui with him a couple years ago - just the two of them for over an hour - and reported that Lance was a mellow, down-to-earth guy (now it appears with a pretty strong dark side).

posted by sbacharach at 02:47 PM on January 18, 2013

Tony Hawk Ruffles Feathers with Family Photo

I'm with Hawk on this one. Though I'm glad that safety has increased in general over the years - seatbelts, airbags, helmets, etc., people who decry the photo/incident have gone a bit too far. Is anyone really going to go out and try this themselves just because Tony Hawk did it? There is an extremely long list of things he can do that I cannot, and I am smart enough to know that.

posted by sbacharach at 02:24 PM on December 20, 2012

Russian Team's Fans Demand All-White, All-Straight Team

Shameful. I don't know how closely associated the fan club is with the team, but this might be a case for UEFA to mete out some punishment? Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018 - will FIFA have something to say? With the Winter Olympics coming up in Sochi in 2014, maybe the IOC will have a statement? Or is that all a bit too optimistic on my part?

posted by sbacharach at 01:17 PM on December 18, 2012

Bradford City stuns Arsenal

@etagloh: I thought Wenger put out a surprisingly strong squad for this game, at least compared to what he's normally done for the League Cup in the past. That's why I personally find this loss to be pretty distressing. Normally, I'd just shrug it off as a minor, relatively meaningless competition, but not this time.

posted by sbacharach at 11:08 PM on December 11, 2012

NFL Might Eliminate Kickoffs

Debo270: I'm not really into the NFL, so I'll stay out of the main conversation, but I love me some Southpark, so I'm definitely with you there

posted by sbacharach at 05:14 PM on December 07, 2012

UCI claims 'moral authority' to lead cycling

I would hope that it's only certain people running UCI and not the whole organization itself that has been part of the problem. At the very least they need to clean house at the top and somehow introduce more transparency.

posted by sbacharach at 01:07 PM on October 23, 2012

Boxer Orlando Cruz: I'm a 'Proud Gay Man'

Just reading the headline, I'd have to say this guy is an absolute hero.

posted by sbacharach at 12:00 PM on October 05, 2012

Ryder Cup 2012: Medinah miracle comes to pass for Europe

I agree with the frustration of watching the implosion on holes 17 and 18. On a related note, I think it's great that Phil can be such a gentleman to his opponent, but at the same time, it didn't look like he was very bothered by seeing it all slip away. You don't have to root against your opponents, but it almost looked like he was rooting for his.

posted by sbacharach at 05:34 PM on October 01, 2012

Tom Sims, skate- and snowboard pioneer, died Sept. 12 of cardiac arrest. He was 61

A true pioneer.


posted by sbacharach at 12:09 PM on September 17, 2012

Trying their best to win at losing

I'm with Atheist: it's up to the organizers to try to provide an entertaining competition; it's up to the players to try to win medals within the system set up by the organizers. The organizers made a mistake and the players were punished for it. I wonder also, is most of the anger because the players didn't do a good enough job of hiding their desire to lose or that they tried to lose in the first place?

posted by sbacharach at 01:45 AM on August 02, 2012

Germany Shows Greece Who's Boss

Games like this one and performances like we saw from Ireland make me wish this tournament would stay at 16 teams rather than being expanded to 24 as is the plan by Platini, I believe. Yes, there were some nervous moments for Germany after the Greek equalizer, but all in all, I didn't think it was worthy of a quaterfinal of a major tournament.

posted by sbacharach at 08:42 PM on June 22, 2012

Greece, Czech Republic Advance in Group A

I was thinking Russia could be a dark horse to win the whole thing. Never mind.

posted by sbacharach at 06:45 PM on June 16, 2012

Denmark Stuns Netherlands 1-0

Van Persie scored like crazy this past season (topped the EPL) for Arsenal. The Dutch setup doesn't seem to accomodate both him and Huntelaar on the pitch at the same time.

posted by sbacharach at 08:28 PM on June 09, 2012

USA 5-1 Scotland

Very cool you made it to the game, rcade. I wish we got more USMNT games played in California, but against just about any CONCACAF opponent (not that Scotland is a part of the confederation of course) you'd probably have more opposing fans than home supporters.

posted by sbacharach at 12:17 AM on May 28, 2012

USA 5-1 Scotland

Scotland were lazy, disorganized, and slow, and the US made them pay time and time again. Rarely have I been so impressed with a performance by the US as I was with this one. Excellent movement, dominant in the midfield, building from the back, good communication, clinical finishing. Now we'll see how things go against Brazil on Wednesday...

posted by sbacharach at 12:40 PM on May 27, 2012