Tim Howard: Scott Rolen X 100

The World Cup is underway and it is AWESOME. I’m about done with hearing people bitch about soccer being “boring” or “gay” or whatever other insult they sling. It is impossible for me to fathom the fact that sports fans cannot enjoy a sport being played at its highest level.
I’m not a huge hockey fan, but I enjoy watching the NHL Playoffs as a sports fan. Baseball bores me at times, and I’m not going to act like it’s easy to sit through those three-hour tilts, but when October rolls around, the MLB is fun to watch. The NBA is one professional sport people seem to understand. Everyone talks about how they can only watch the NBA during the playoffs. I don’t agree, but I enjoy the fact that people can appreciate the game being played at its highest level. The Super Bowl is basically a holiday in America. It’s (American) football at its best. The World Cup is soccer at its best. America needs to enjoy it.
I think I know the reason it’s so disliked in America. I’ve heard a good number of soccer enthusiasts say it’s the whole “ugly American” thing. I think it’s simply because America is arrogant. So arrogant, that the U.S. invented its own game no one else plays, then gave it the name of the world’s most popular sport – a sport the U.S. wasn’t the best at. America wants the best of everything. We’ve got the best basketball in the world (NBA), the best baseball in the world (MLB), the best American football in the world (NFL) and the best hockey in the world (NHL). What don’t we have? The best football (ahem, soccer) in the world. The MLS is slowly getting better, but just because the likes of David Beckham and Thierry Henry are willing to come across the pond to finish the twilight of their careers, it’s not even close to Europe. There’s no denying the improvement of the Americans in recent years – just look at the runner-up finish in last summer’s Confederations Cup. Even so, Americans still won’t appreciate the game until America has the best. And that ain’t happening any time soon.

But now away from the negative (apparently widespread) American perspective. Let’s talk about what we’ve seen on the pitch thus far.
–North Korea might ruin everything for one of the other three teams in the “Group of Death.” They sat back and played great defense against the best team in the world and took them all the way to the 93rd minute, even getting a goal of their own. If not for Maicon’s amazing 55th minute goal, the North Koreans may very well have played the Brazilians to a tie. But seriously…what a goal by Maicon.

–Portugal and the Ivory Coast need to score a lot of goals against that North Korean team in order to advance. Based on what I saw from their game earlier in the day, neither team showed the offensive firepower they’d need to knock off Brazil. As a result, it will either come down to which team can tie Brazil or which team beats North Korea by more goals. A tie gets you through to the round of 16 on points. A lot of goals against North Korea gets you through on goal differential.
–Germany looked good early on. I’d have to give them the tip of the cap as far as early favorite. I wasn’t expecting much from the German side, especially with Ballack gone, but a 4-0 throttling of the Aussies was pretty freaking impressive.
–BUT, Spain hasn’t played yet. Let me see them tomorrow morning, then I can truly evaluate my last statement. The European champion was my favorite before play started. After the first games are finished, I wouldn’t be surprised if they regained that standing in my mind.
–Slovenia is only the size of Houston (about two-million people) and is the smallest nation in the World Cup field. Yet they lead Group C after their 1-0 triumph over Algeria, and one of their substitutes is going all Joe Namath on us. Andrej Komac guarantees Slovenia will beat the Yanks.
–The United States played a pretty solid game against England. They had a major lapse defensively in the first four minutes, but they came back and got chances of their own throughout the game. There’s no denying Clint Dempsey’s goal was a fluke, but they gave the English side a very tough match. I think they need to clean up the defense in spots – it seemed like English players were almost always uncovered down the flanks – but they weren’t afraid to attack defensively, either. I like the idea of having Edson Buddle and Jozy Altidore as the two scoring threats. I’m even more excited about the idea of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey controlling the ball in the midfield to build up an attack. This U.S. side has talent. If they don’t make it out of Group C, it is a failure. It will just be interesting to see how they handle the role of favorite.
–Tim Howard was outstanding in that match against England. A brave challenge against Heskey that nearly knocked him out of the World Cup and two huge saves on English breakaways. Americans everywhere can thank Tim Howard for keeping the U.S. alive with a shot to make it to the knock-out rounds. I said a few posts back that a man who doesn’t love Scott Rolen is not a man at all. I stand by that statement, but as I said in my title, Tim Howard is Scott Rolen X 100.
That concludes World Cup coverage for this post. I hope you enjoyed.

The Redlegs are struggling right now. Maybe you’re calling it a “June Swoon.” Maybe you’re already starting to think this is just the “same old Reds.” The 6-0 tally in the top of the fifth against L.A. won’t change your mind, but I’m not so quick to hop off of the bandwagon. The Cardinals aren’t playing extremely well right now, either. If both times have June records around .500, that leaves the Legs in what has become a two-team NL Central race. We can’t expect the Cardinals to keep slumping for the remainder of the season, but the Reds had to cool off at some point, too. They’re not going to have months like May every single month. We can’t expect that. But we can expect the offense to remain toward the top of the league and the young players on the team to continue to grow. The only worry I have about Cincinnati is the pitching, both starting and relieving.
-The bullpen is an issue, but the Reds are trying to find some help from L’Ville.
-The starting pitching has been solid, but it needs more. And it’s troubling to think it will come down to Aaron Harang (and Bronson Arroyo). The two most experienced pitchers on this squad need to step up. Cueto’s struggling and we can’t expect Sam LeCure and Mike Leake – yes, even Mike Leake – to keep from falling off at some point in their rookie seasons. Volquez and Bailey will both come back at some point, but that really just leaves the Reds in about the same place, regardless of who they send down. This squad badly needs Harang and Bronson to get it “together again.”

-You thought 50 Cent was a badass? How ’bout this guy from Chicago who got shot in the mouth…then spit out the bullet.

-Paul Daugherty writes a great piece about the NCAA’s punishment of USC. Plenty of people couldn’t care less what their team did if it meant that team enjoyed the success USC enjoyed – both on the field and in its wallet. Money drives college athletics. If cheating means money, then cheating it is.

-The Big 12 is still around (and Kimmy English thinks they should call it the “Elite 10” now). Mizzou owes Texas a big thank you after this whole ordeal. If the burnt orange bolts for the Pac-10, Mizzou might find itself in the Mountain West. Instead, they’re looking at more money and a stronger committment.

-Marissa Miller is one of the hottest women alive. Apparently, she was too hot for Guitar Hero. Miller filmed a commercial for the video game, but this commercial was deemed too racy to air on TV.

-Kids today know way too much for their own good, in my opinion. But that fact makes it funny when you actually see them proving it. These 15 science fair projects are freaking funny. My favorite isn’t even inappropriate, though. It’s just plain funny…

Please take note of his conclusion.

-Interstate 75 in the great state of Ohio will never be the same. This statue used to serve as a landmark and monument along the highway:

Touchdown Jesus at Solid Rock Church

Then, last night, a bolt of lightning struck it and this happened:

Hot Jesus!

And all that was left was a steel frame. Here’s what you’d have seen after the fire last night:

Jesus is no more

Lucky for I-75 travelers everywhere, the church plans to rebuild a fireproof statue. Does that mean it’ll be rebuilt in three days?
And even when the fire was just starting, it sounds like the 911 dispatcher found the entire situation somewhat laughable.

-Speaking of God, I’ve been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother this summer. The show is downright phenomenal. I recommend checking it out. But if the Big Guy upstairs is striking down a statue of his only Son, maybe I should pray more. Maybe like my man Barney Stinson.

-The Lakers looked like they had a sense of urgency tonight, eh? Boston needs its supporting cast to show up somewhere other than Boston if they want any chance to take this series. I initially predicted the C’s would win this series in six, but that obviously can’t happen. It was an interesting contrast coming back to L.A. – the best road team in the NBA against the best home team. Thursday night’s game should be a good one.

That’s all I’ve got. Now I leave you with a great video. If I’m a monster, no chance in hell I’m coming near this little girl. She knows what she needs to do.



~ by nchaney3 on June 15, 2010.

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