Thursday, November 29, 2007

NCAA Men's Tourney Round 2: Significant Upsets!


Massachusetts upsets #1 seed Boston College 2-1 behind two second-half strikes.

Bradley ousts in PKs #4 seed and University proving that a 17-day hiatus from competition is not a good thing for a top seed.


Illinois-Chicago - after beating traditional powerhouse Saint Louis - takes down #9 seed Northwestern, 2-0.

Cinderella team Central Connecticut State beats #16 seed Tulsa 3-2 to set up a second-round match-up of underdogs (vs. UMass).

The Old Dominion Monarchs shrugged off the Ivy League champs and #6 seed Brown University in a 2-1, double overtime thriller.

South Florida took care of #14 seeds Akron in a 1-0 game on a Yohance Marshall

Rest of the Results:

#8 Creighton 3, Southern Methodist 0
#5 Ohio State 1, Louisville 0
#13 Maryland 0, Loyola (MD.) (Maryland won on PKs 4-2)
#3 Connecticut 2, Vermont 0 - MY PICK TO WIN
#11 Virginia Tech 3, California 2
#7 Santa Clara 3, UCLA 1
#10 Notre Dame 2, Oakland 1
#15 West Virginia 1 , Virginia 0
#2 Wake Forest 1, Furman 0

Third Round Match-ups played on December 1st and 2nd, 2007.


MLS 2007 Waiver Draft: Couple Surprises

Players available:

CHIVAS: David Arvizu, Desmond Brooks, Carlos Llamosa, Rodrigo Lopez, Laurent Merlin, Justin Myers, Ramon Nunez, Orlando Perez, Eder Robles, Erasmo Solorzano

Some Los Angeles Times writer did predict a roster turnover of sorts as Chivas USA tries to make the leap from conference champion to MLS champ. I could see San Jose grabbing Merlin.

COLORADO: Zach Thornton

COLUMBUS: Ben Hunter

DALLAS: Juan Botero

D.C. UNITED: Shawn Crowe, Mira Mupier, Brad North, Kiki Willis

Kiki Willis left a while back for personal reasons, while the Crowe, Mupier, and North seem destined for the USL.

HOUSTON: Kenneth Hoerner, Jordan James

KANSAS CITY: Edson Edcock, Aaron John Godbolt, Willy Guadarrama, Chris Konopka

LOS ANGELES: Mike Caso, Lance Friesz, Carlos Pavon, Kyle Veris

Carlos Pavon - I love it. I think someone should take a long hard look at Lance Friesz though...potential to be a real quality keeper.

NEW YORK: Blake Camp

Camp had exactly one minute of playing time this year.

NEW ENGLAND: Bryan Byrne, Miguel Gonzalez, Marshall Leonard, Chris Loftus

Loftus - former Duke striker - has the skills to make it - maybe someone should grab him.

REAL SALT LAKE: Chris Brown, Steven Curfman, Christian Jimenez, Jean-Martial Kipre, Jack Stewart

TORONTO FC: Adam Braz, Maycoll Canizalez, Srdjan Djekanovic, David Guzman, Stephen Lumley, Cristian Nunez, Marco Reda

Would you expect anything less than 7 players waived from Mo Johnston?

No one expects much action but its always interesting when an expansion team is around. I suspect San Jose will grab someone. Here's the team order:

1. San Jose
2. Toronto
3. Salt Lake
4. Los Angeles
5. Colorado
6. Columbus
7. New York
8. Dallas
9. Chivas USA
10. DC United
11. Kansas City
12. Chicago
13. New England
14. Houston

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NCAA Division 1 Update: Home Advantage and Second Round Matchups


Looking at the first round in 2007 and past years, what does one have to pay to get home-field advantage? Is it the highest ranked that gets to play at home? Or a simple coin toss?

Some surprises: Andre Ak'pan's Harvard lost to the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils - it was CCSU's first win in a Division I NCAA tourney (across all sports); Saint Louis succumbed to a tougher Illinois-Chicago in PKs even with Calum Angus calling the shots; Mike Videira and Mike Grella missed out on the second round with Duke - losing 1-0 to Louisville

First Round Matchups - Home Records
2007 12-4
2006 11-5
2005 12-4
2004 10-6
2003 13-3

Big Second Round Match-ups
Ely Allen's Washington vs. Defending Champions UCSB
Joe Lapira's Notre Dame vs. Upstart Oakland
Andrew Jacobson's California vs. Patrick Nyarko's Virginia Tech
Milos Kocic's Loyola (MD) vs. Stephen King's Maryland - keeping it in-state, but it's Loyola who has shutout 12 of their last 13 opponents
Connecticut vs. Vermont - Julius James, O'Brian White, Mike Pezza, and Ryan Cordeiro - can they be stopped by minnows Vermont?
Old Dominion vs. Brown - last Ivy Leaguers left as both Harvard and Dartmouth fell short in the first round; the Monarchs have David Horst and Trevor Banks though
Ohio State vs. Louisville - can the TDS Player of the Year Xavier Balc orchestrate a tourney run?
Santa Clara vs. UCLA - a rough match-up for Santa Clara, whose only loss year came against Brown; UCLA has been on the up-and-up but Klasila - SCU's freshman netminder - has been the rock of a near flawless defense

Second Round Match-ups - Home Records
2006 12-4
2005 9-7
2004 13-3
2003 12-4

Ngwenya training abroad.

Joseph Ngwenya will head on over to Germany to tryout his luck with Alemania Aachen, a Bundesliga2 club. To Ngwenya? It's just a routine training stop in Europe to hone his skills - to the Oranja faithful, it's a bit of a 'hold-your-breath' moment. I have to admit, I was quick to write Ngwenya off this year in terms of talent but he provided some of the years best offensive moments.

This could be commonplace for Ngwenya, but don't go on over there, try out for some Bundesliga team, get your hopes up, and then come back to the MLS and play significantly crappier than the year before (ahem...Carroll...).

As many already know, Andy Dorman will take a stab at his homeland after falling out of favor in New England this past season. It's a shame after almost 18 months of being one of the rocks of Revs squad and leveling the ship during the World Cup absences and the whole Shalrie Joseph stand-off. No real word as to where he's going to try his luck.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Brian Carroll to Columbus, Kei Kamara to San Jose, Preston Burpo to San Jose

A flurry of trades as the Expansion Draft overhaul gets picked apart. It was pretty much a given that defensive midfielder Brian Carroll was going to move on after being picked by San Jose and having a somewhat sketchy year in D.C.

Columbus gets Carroll for - in my opinion - a rather low price, forward Kei Kamara. Apart from speed, Kamara has shown very little - kinda like Calen Carr in Chicago. The Crew now have a formidable defensive pairing in Carroll and Danny O'Rourke to provide defensive support for Schelotto and Eddie Gaven, who seems to be finding his passion again.

San Jose also picked up GK Preston 'the Rock' Burpo from Chivas USA for a 2008 MLS Superdraft Pick. Burpo's not a bad choice as he performed decently for Chivas before Guzan progressed. I think you'll find he operates as the back-up though.

Who will be England's Next Manager?

I want your feedback. Let me know in the poll to the right.

Take a look at the candidates here.

A U.S. - Cuba Match-Up? In Cuba?

Well well well...a couple of a great match-ups looming with massive political undertones in the world of soccer these days.

First - Turkey vs. Armenia in the same World Cup qualifying group. Now, the possibility of a USA - Cuba match-up. First up to ensure that match-up happens? Barbados or Dominica.

The two tiny Caribbean nations will duke it out in a home-away series for the chance to play the United States. Cuba has to get through either Aruba or Antigua and Barbuda to qualify for the semi-final group. Cuba, ranked 70th by FIFA, looks a lock to do so, along with the USA, Guatemala (who face either Turks and Caicos or Saint Lucia), and Trinidad and Tobago (who face either Bermuda or the Cayman Islands).

The last time the USA and Cuba have faced off in World Cup qualifying was 1949. Where they took a home-away series on aggregate 5-3 to advance to the 1950 World Cup. Whoever advances, it looks favorable for the USA to advance to the final round.

Records Against in WC Qualifying

Barbados 2-0-0
Cuba 5-1-1 (overall)
Dominica 0-0-0
Guatemala 4-0-4
Trinidad & Tobago 8-0-2

New Focus

All-MLS, All the Time...Some NCAA coverage too. It's the offseason so expect the information to be flowing.

All the rest will be on over at Center Holds It.