Week 1 in review: Feels good to be “home”

Final result – Montreal Impact 2 – New England Revolution 1

It felt really good to finally be back watching MLS action, even if it was well below freezing on the way to the stadium. I’d also like to thank 1642 for inviting us up to their beautiful city. If security had let us join you after the match, I would have loved to meet your people and have fun messing with each other over our maple syrup rivalry (you read that right).

13th minute – “Oh cool, another short corner kick” quickly turned in to a loud, frenzied celebration thanks to Teal Bunbury’s sweet strike off of the cross in to the bottom left hand side of the net. If more of this is in store for this year, I am all for it. What a rush to open up the year.

37th minute – Quioto draws the Impact back level.  This is why I love football more than any other sport.  The pure elation felt after scoring first can turn to utter heart break in minutes.  Roller coaster emotions along with some good back and forth gives you a formula for people to have fun and bond. 

80th minute – Urruti puts the Impact ahead for good with a cheeky little chip over an out of position Matt Turner. Does it excuse the defense for collapsing around him? No, but he was also out of position and got burned. This being only the first game of the season, I’m willing to forgive a blunder or 2, but with the rest of the league looking to capitalize on them, you have to do what it takes to make sure they don’t happen.

How it could have been different – We had a goal called back due to offsides that I want to take another look at to see if that really was the correct call, the review came after the ref was talking to the Impact goal keeper, so I’m kind of curious what brought him over to the review screen.

There was a header that completely fooled the goalie and do you know what happened? IT BOUNCED RIGHT OFF OF THE POST AND NOBODY REBOUNDED IT!!!!!!! Oh my shorts was that disheartening. We were all ready to celebrate, but instead we were left feeling like somebody stole our last slice of pizza after a long day at work.

What I disliked – THAT REFEREE!!!!!! Chances are I am being a big “homer” here, but those calls were NOT going our way at all. It felt like every time Montreal looked at their own shoe laces, they’d fall down and the ref would call a foul. We had a player get tripped pretty badly around midfield and nothing happened. I don’t mind losing, but when it looks like the game is being that poorly called, it’s just heartbreaking.

Pre Season Match 1: LA Galaxy v New England Revolution

Final Score: LA Galaxy 2 – New England Revolution 1

Major Talking Points:

8′ Goal – Ethan Zuback (Cristian Pavon)

Jeremy – Kessler and Sinovic both looked like they missed the mark on the goal. Kessler miss timed his jump and Sinovic was somewhat caught in no man’s land between two attackers. Penilla also did not track back, and if you listen closely, you can hear Bye yelling for Penilla to help cover. If Penilla gets back, that cross may not get through. I understand Turner not coming for it but his positioning could have been slightly better, if he comes out a bit to challenge Zuback, he may have been able to cut down the angle.

Chris C- There’s too many poor defensive plays on this goal. Bye and Penilla are unable to switch man-marking fluently. As Jeremy touched on, Bye calls on Penilla who doesn’t track back to allow Bye to cover on the second player, Danilo Acosta, causing a hesitation from Bye closing down Pavon. Pavon gets the well-placed cross off to Ethan’s waiting head, who merely had to nod due to superb placement. The second issue lies between Kessler and Sinovic. Sinovic needs to believe that Kessler can handle his own with Zubak in this instance, because if he doesn’t, Katai is also looming behind him. Sinovic notices the mistimed jump by Kessler and wants to help out, but in a true pace/ effort game, if Zubak knows he can’t do it, Katai’s got free range when Sinovic goes to save the day. Kessler needs to have his jumps on time if he’s going to be one of our CBs. That ball was well placed, but putting a body back against Zubak would’ve thrown him off. And finally, Turner could have definitely gotten himself positioned better due to no immediate threats besides Zubak.

34′ Goal – Cristian Pavon (Sebastian Lletget)

Jeremy – Sinovic got beat over the top and Turner was off balance not allowing for a good plant or push off to attempt a save. The run was good by Pavon but Sinvoic was somewhat exposed for not having as much pace. Turner’s backpeddling did not help with his balance, which can either be he just was not expecting the ball over the top or just misread the flight of the ball. Either of these two options is a little concerning.

Chris C – The pass from Lletget allows Pavon to decide how he wanted to beat Sinovic. Sinovic’s run to follow the ball was very poor and allowed Cristian the time to think about how he wanted to beat Turner. Turner wasn’t correctly shutting down the angles. He misstepped to allow himself to be beaten far side, since he was back-pedaling to try and cover the angle better.

42′ Goal – Gustavo Bou (Adam Buska)

Jeremy – Buska dragged his shot wide and Bou was there to poach it in on the back post. While it may have been close to offside, it is good to see that Bou is looking at the back post for scraps. Penilla does make a good run into the box in order to get to the ball to Buska, but again, I would like to see fluidity in the attack.

Chris P. – OH MY GOD DO WE ACTUALLY HAVE SOMEBODY THAT IS GOING TO FEED OFF REBOUNDS/POACH MISSED SHOTS?!?!?! Overall great to see Bou with the heads up play to draw back within one. Hopefully we see more of this in the regular season, as it could increase our goal output.

Overall

Jeremy – I thought that the first half was disjointed at times. Penilla looked disinterested in the entire affair, and while he would get the secondary assist on Bou’s goal, he did not trackback on the first goal, and just had this walk about the park feel to his game. Similarly, Fagudez on the other flank looked both out of shape and honestly not that great in both getting forward and tracking back. He also missed a couple of simple passes but, that may have just been some cobwebs. Bou looked like he was fooling around for a bit, and eventually, he and Buska started getting a feel for how each other play. Bye made good runs forward and tracked back, yes he got beat on for the cross, although it was a two v one situation. Sinovic got beat on both goals, the first one stuck in a who do I cover, but the second one got exposed for pace and positioning. I hate to admit this, but Turner showed why he did not get named in the 18 for the USMNT game; his positioning on the second goal was below expectations. Getting caught off balance and backpedaling did not allow him to have a chance to attempt to make a save.
Jeremy (cont) – I think Jones had a banger of a second half. Playing at both right and left-back, he got up and down the wing well, covered his defensive duties while taking on defenders and getting in some good crosses. Will be honest, and he looked gassed at the end of the second half, but it is the first preseason game. Teal and Buchanon both had very poor misses in the final ten minutes of the match, which again first preseason game but would have been nice to see them bulge the old onion bag. The kids looked good and full of energy and had some cohesion over the last 90 minutes, and in my opinion, due to both those missed chances, they should have at least gotten one goal, if not more. I think there are more positives than negatives, and with the team still missing Gil, Delamea, and Büttner, I still have the same optimism I have had this offseason.

Chris – I have to believe this game was at 70%. Bou was making turns that he wouldn’t normally take during a regular season game. He seemed like he was having fun out there. He had a few times where his pressure up top almost created problems at the back for LA.

As Jeremy pointed out, the outside mids were slow to move. Fagundez was a good problem when he applied himself to the situation, for the rest of the time he seemed to be invisible. Penilla was caught out all game leaving Bye to clean up the mess.

An important positive was the passing out of the back was mostly on point. I’d like to see the analytics for it, but it looks like they’ve got the skill. A few mis-timed passes or someone didn’t make the run they looked like they were going to make. I think those instances could have turned into more goals.

Sprichst du Deutsch: A Bundesliga blog entry

Dortmund v FC Köln

Here we are! Mt first foray in to the wonderful world of the German Bundesliga. I try to watch as much soccer as I can from leagues in Europe, and every time I find myself watching Bundesliga, it’s almost magical. Captivating, fast, good contests. Dortmund will be at home on Friday against an FC Köln squad that has won 4 of their last 5 and looks to continue on an upward trend. This Friday, I think they get it done and pick up an upset win over Dortmund 2-1.

SC Freiburg v Paderborn

Padernborn is down on their luck this year, more than likely heading for relegation spot. They have 3 wins and only 12 points through 18 games. Freiburg has 29 points and sit 2 behind Bayer for the Europa league qualifier spot. This contest, like many other this year, will not go Paderborn’s way. 3-0 SC Freiburg is my prediction for the weekend.

Mönchengladbach v Mainz

Another top of table (Monchen, 3rd place) v bottom of the table (Mainz, 15th place). Mainz has lost 2 in a row and 4 of their last 5. Games either go well for them (6 wins) or very poorly (12 losses). They are the only team in Bundesliga that has yet to record a draw this season. Don’t look for that to change this weekend. Monchen is almost doubled up on Mainz in points, and 3 here would help them immensely in their chase for a 3rd star. Monchengladbach win this 2-0 in one of those contests where “the game is not as close as what the score says”.

Wolfsburg v Hertha

Wolfsburg has had about the most even season you can have. They are 6-6-6 with only a -2 goal differential and sit right in the middle of the table (9th of 18). Hertha has taken more points than dropped lately, only losing once out of 5, but seem to be struggling overall this season. I really don’t like my score prediction for this contest. My least favorite result in all of football. This game will come out as…….0-0 :/

Eintracht v RB Leipzig

These 2 squads actually play each other twice in 10 days starting with their Bundesliga match on Saturday. Their other match is DFB cup 3rd round on February 4th. Over the past 3 years, I have seen several articles about how “everybody in Germany hates RB Leipzig”. Why is that? The 50+1 rule that has seeping slowly in to the league. German football fans are understandably upset, as they don’t want their league to “go commercial”. They face a struggling Eintracht team this weekend and will end up with 1-0 win.

Union Berlin v Augsburg

Two teams in the middle of the table fighting it out to try and get a spot in the Europa League (they are 8 and 11 points away, so the time to start catching up is upon us).  Union has lost 3 of 5 and need to do something to prevent a slide further down the table.  This is their first season ever in Bundesliga, and they look to stay in the top flight. Let us not forget that their first ever Bundesliga goal was scored by Sebastian Andersson against………that’s right…Augsburg. That came in a 1-1 draw earlier this season. Look for both squads being out to prove a point against each other. This should be a great contest with Union Berlin edging out Augsburg with a 2-1 win, where the winner is scored after the 75th minute.

Bayern v Schalke 04

If you can compare one team to the Montreal Canadiens or the NY Yankees, it’s Bayern Munich.  In the league for a 55 year stretch, they have a title approximately every 2 season (28 wins).  That’s just insane.  Where were you in 2012? Seems like a long time ago, right? That is the last time somebody other than Bayern won the league (2011-12 champion was Borussia Dortmund). That is a New England Patriots level run of excellence. Schalke isn’t to be overlooked though.  They sit only 3 points behind Bayern and currently hold the Europa league group stage spot in the league.  Going off absolutely nothing at all (the all time head to head website I had up froze) I think Schalke 04 comes away with a win here 2-1.

Werder v Hoffenheim

Both squads here seem to be struggling as of late. Werder has lost 4 of 5 and Hoffenheim lost 3. This contest will see both clubs trying to turn their luck around, and Werder trying to stay away from relegation. Hoffenheim sits towards the middle of the table and it looks like that is where they’ll more than likely end up. There will be a score here, but not much of one. Werder has more to play for here and pulls it off 1-0.

Leverkusen v Fortuna

Not really much to say here. Fortuna could be having a much better season and I just don’t see them winning this one. 1-0 Leverkusen

EFL Championship Match day 28

Good evening my friends. Here we are on the second half of the campaign and the spots for promotion/relegation starting to take form. If the teams in top aren’t careful (1 win between the 2 in each of their last 5 games) they will soon be in the promotion playoff as opposed to an auto spot.

Fulham v Middlesbrough

Arguably the hottest team in the championship right now (4 wins out of their last 5), Middlesbrough look to remain in good form and potentially knock Fulham out of their playoff spot (3 clear of 7th place Swansea). They do have double duty this week again, as they square off with Tottenham in the FA cup 3rd round replays. Will this have a hang over effect going in to Friday? Potentially. Combine that with the fact that Fulham is off until Friday, and I think the Cottagers come out on top. Look for a final score of 3-1 Fulham.

Queens Park v Leeds

Remember earlier this campaign when QPR were in a playoff spot? It now feels more likely that they will be fighting to keep out of the relegation zone. Leeds is coming off of a tough loss to Sheffield Wednesday and will be looking to prove something. They are only 1 point behind West Brom for top of the table, and QPR only have 1 win in their last 5. This may spell trouble for the Rangers even though they will be playing in front of their home crowd. I can see Leeda getting the chip off of their shoulder and putting Queens Park down 3-0 and proving that they are deserving of the promotion spot they are currently holding on to.

Derby County v Hull City

Time to face facts. Derby have struggled pretty much all campaign, but may be in the middle of turning things around, as they only have 1 loss in their last 5 and now have Wayne Rooney on their squad with hopefully something left in the tank. Hull City will be looking to avenge their 1-0 loss to Fulham this past Saturday. I am openly biased towards Derby here, but I do feel that the Rams can pull off a win and get themselves a few more spots away from relegation (we aren’t getting promoted this year). Derby County wins this contest with a 2-1 final.

Swansea City v Wigan Athletic

This matchup looks to favor the Welsh side. They are currently tied on points (42) with Sheffield Wednesday while Wigan has 23 points and sits in 23rd position, seemingly doomed for relegation. Wigan has 1 win in the last 5 and Swansea has 1 loss in the last 5. A very large “goal differential gap” (2 for Swansea/ -17 for Wigan) does not bode well for Wigan either. HOWEVER, I am calling an upset this week and here it is. Wigan athletic take the 3 points and get themselves out of relegation with a 1-0 win.

Huddersfield v Brentford

BEES! BEES!!!! SAVE YOURSELVES!!! (Tommy Boy anybody?) Huddersfield recently had 2 seasons in the Premier League, I would say enjoyed, but I would not be telling the truth. They now are 20th in the Championship and are faced with the very real possibility of a second straight relegation. Brentford sits in 3rd place and look to be promotion playoff bound, winning 3 of their last 5. Huddersfield’s fortune will not be turning around this week unfortunately as they will lose at home to the score of 2-0.

Millwall v Reading

Millwall seems to be that team that is either really up (currently 8th and 1 point behind the promotion playoff) or really down (finished 21st last year).  Reading didn’t fare much better last year, finishing 20th.  This campaign sees them currently in 14th, but they are on their way up the table, losing only once in the last 5. I see this one going 1-0 in Reading’s favor

Birmingham v Cardiff City

Birmingham has had a rough go as of late, losing 3 out of 5. Cardiff has not fared much better, but 3 of their last 5 at least got them 1 point each, and at this stage, every point counts. Both teams enter this weekend with 9 wins each, so they should be pretty evenly matched. Not much action is going to happen in this one, but both teams will get on the board. 1-1 result with Birmingham drawing level after the 75th minute.

Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn

To show how evenly contested most of the table is, let me point out the following. Sheffield Wednesday sits in 6th place with 42 points while Blackburn sits in 13th with 37. The middle of the table fascinates me the most I think because teams can go from a top 6 squad to the mid teens in a matter of weeks. The owls have shown promise this campaign but are also plagued by games where they don’t look good at all. Blackburn is having a fairly level season (10-7-10 with 0 goal differential). They won’t get relegated this time around, but they also won’t be anywhere near promotion. Given that I love teams playing spoiler, I think Blackburn wins 2-1 and drags Wednesday juuust outside the promotion playoffs.

Bristol City v Barnsley

GUEST SCORE PREDICTOR!!!! So I had the pharmacy student pick this one because I had to go mix an IV. Alex came up with a 2-2 score due to “Bristol City losing 3 of their last 5 and Barnsley dropping only 1 in their last 5”. An interesting take on the contest and I look forward to seeing if her prediction is accurate.

Preston North End v Charlton Athletic

Well, she wrote me 2 score predictions. This one comes as only a little but of a surprise given how both teams have struggled as of late. “I am taking the underdog, Charlton Athletic, with a 1-0 score line”. Between the 2 teams, they are the only one with a win in their last 5 contests. You know what? I agree with the prediction on this one.

Nottingham Forest v Luton Town

I had high hopes for the newly promoted Luton Town, I really did. This campaign has not gone their way at all, and it unfortunately does not look to be turning around any time soon. Last place with 1 draw and 4 losses in their last 5 and the lowest goal differential in the league at -25. Nottingham, on the other hand, have enjoyed a mostly “up campaign”. They sit in 5th place with 3 wins in the last 5. A win here could go a long way to showing teams that they belong at the top of the table. 3 points could see them get as high as 3rd place. Look for them to play at the top of their game and put Luton Town down 3-0.

West Brom v Stoke City

First place v 21st place. Plain and simple, Stoke has been struggling this season and a win this weekend could go a long way towards keeping them out of a relegation spot. Just so happens that they are playing West Brom. These 2 teams have played 147 games against each other all time, with Stoke getting 61 wins and 37 draws. West Brom will get their 50th win all time won against Stoke City this weekend. 1-0 West Brom this weekend as Stoke will put up a surprising effort but ultimately come up short.

Championship Match Day 17 –

Fulham v QPR

This should be an entertaining game, as a win by either club would greatly help their promotion playoff hopes. With both teams having 7 wins on the campaign, Fulham has the slight edge in points, 26 to QPRs 24 due to their having 2 more draws. My score prediction here is 2-1 in favor of QPR.

Charlton v Cardiff City

Early in the season, I thought Cardiff was destined to be relegated for a 2nd straight campaign, but they have since “jumped” up the table to 14th and a win could potentially get them in to the top half of the table. 1 point and 3 spots ahead of them stand Charlton. They have done well this campaign for a club newly promoted up from League 1, the wheels may be in the process of falling off, as Charlton have only won once in their last 5 contests. Will they rebound this weekend? Yes, I believe they will regain their form with a slight, 1-0 win over Cardiff City.

West Brom v Sheffield Wednesday

This contest has HUGE implications for the Owls, as a loss against West Brom would potentially drop them out of the top half of the table.  The Baggies have only lost once all campaign, but that will most likely not last forever. Yes, they are in first place, but Sheffield will be playing with a lot to prove, and I think it helps them grind out a win. 2-0 this Saturday, Owls over Baggies.

Blackburn v Barnsley

GUEST SCORE PREDICTION!! I had the idea to get my co-worker in on this idea. I don’t have a write-up for this match, but Jeff says 2-1 in favor of Blackburn.

Derby County v Preston North End

As a Derby County supporter, this match scares me a little bit. The Rams aren’t “bad” right now, but their season is plagued with inconsistency. Preston sit in 2nd place and 10 points up on Derby. The lilywhites win this one easily with a score of 2-0 over the Rams.

Brentford v Reading

Brentford have won more than they lost this campaign, but not by much. Reading is trending upward at the moment, only losing once in the last 5 contests. It will be a close one, but in the end, nobody will gain the 3 points. This one ends 1-1.

Swansea City v Millwall

4 (Swansea) and 15 (Millwall) are only separated by 8 points, making the upcoming end of the first half of the campaign entertaining as teams jockey for promotion playoffs and try to avoid relegation. I’ve seen the Lions do great things this year, and I’ve seen them make mistakes. One thing can be said, this team has heart. Look for them to leave it all out on the pitch Saturday and come away with a hard fought 3. They win it 2-1 with a stoppage time winner.

Bristol City v Nottingham Forest

Dead…Even. These 2 teams (#5 and #6) could both use 3 points here, as it would boost confidence and help keep them in the promotion playoffs. If the chips fall the right way, the winner here could end up in 2nd place! There will be some great defending and a few decent scoring chances, but 1-0 will be the final in favor of the Robins (Bristol City).

Huddersfield v Birmingham – Just the score predictions on the last few games in the interest of getting all tge games predicted. Birmingham 2- Huddersfield 1

Stoke City v Wigan Athletic – Wigan 1 – Stoke 0

Luton Town v Leeds United – Luton 0 – Leeds 3

Middlesbrough v Hull City – Middlesbrough 1- Hull City 2

EPL Predictions From Some American Idiots

With the start of the Premier League around the corner, we’ll be sharing our picks. Chris Pierce (referred to as Pierce), Chris Creighton (referred to as Creighton) and Jeremy Goldenberg with our completely biased and uneducated predictions.

Pierce:

Relegation (in random order)

  1. Brighton and Hove Albion
  2. Southampton
  3. Burnley

My top 4 this season

  1. Liverpool
  2. Manchester City
  3. Arsenal
  4. Wolverhampton

Creighton:

Teams to be relegated this year: (in this order)

  1. Bournemouth (I’ve never been hot on them, and Billing is probably the only interesting prospect they have.)
  2. Watford (Welbeck can’t save ’em)
  3. Norwich City (Awesome green color in their badge, but that’s it)

None of these teams have struck me as teams that actually can pull the stops out at the end of the year to provide themselves with staying power. I might be wrong about Watford, a couple of their transfers this offseason were key. If not them, then definitely Brighton.

Teams I will force myself to put ahead of Everton in the Top 4:

  1. Tottenham (Yes, I know this is a long shot.)
  2. Liverpool (This pains me…)
  3. Man City (Just to piss off my United friends)
  4. Wolves (I want this to happen, so let it be so)

That being said, I think Everton are 5th this year. Their transfer window was amazing. Chelsea will be in 6th…because I said so. Mostly just to annoy the person who’s making their prediction below. ❤

Jeremy:

Simply put relegation will be way more entertaining than the top 4, in my opinon or at least the top 2. I still think there is a gap between Liverpool and Manchester City and the rest of the league, and if Spurs can actually finish off a season I think the only interesting place will be 4. The bottom three should be fun this year.

Top 4: 

  1. Manchester City
  2. Liverpool
  3. Tottenham (lord that hurts)
  4. Chelsea

Why Chelsea over Arsenal, United or a third party, well I honestly don’t think Arsenal did enough in the window to make up ground even with the defenders coming in. United I don’t trust Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. So why not Frank’s Chelsea. As for Everton, maybe top 8, if they get behind Marco Silva, not worried about who they brought in…

Relegation (in no particular order)

  1. Sheffield United (didn’t see enough in the window)
  2. Newcastle (don’t trust Steve Bruce or Mike Ashley)
  3. Brighton and Hove Albion (feels like with the loss of the manager that got them there and some of the players who left it’s gonna be a rough year)

Random People we know (don’t worry, we gave them code names) and asked:

My love of the game

This is my first ever, so please stick with me while I find my groove here. Soccer, henceforth called football whenever I post, is by far my favorite sport. It brings together so many different types of people. All races, orientations, gender identities, and others are welcome. When I was in high school, football was not a widely popular sport to watch on tv and I thought myself kind of a loner because nobody I knew talked about it.

My first New England Revolution game was 5 years ago and I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere at the stadium. I joined the midnight riders when I got home that evening and rambled non-stop about how much fun I had. Fast forward 5 years and I am now a 4th year season ticket holder and the riders are my family. This is one of the first places I’ve ever felt accepted for who I am and not expected to act a certain way to fit in. How could you not fall in love with a sport and people that give you what you had been searching for your entire life?