Major Link Soccer: Trio of Superclasicos

Richard Heathcote

Three "Superclasicos" took place over the weekend. Only one of them was described as a "bucket list" experience.

3 Superclasicos last weekend

Believe it or not, there were 3 rivalry matches in soccer last weekend that go by the name of "Superclasico".

The one most of us are most familiar with involves the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. The latest edition was a dominant win for LA, on the strength of braces by Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

The other Superclasico involving a team owned by Jorge Vergara resulted in a 2-0 loss for Chivas de Guadalajara at the hands of Club America.

The most famous Superclasico involves the two biggest clubs in Argentina. Boca Juniors managed a 1-0 win over their Buenos Aires rivals (and former club of Mauro Rosales) River Plate as they attempt to catch Newell's Old Boys (another former club of Rosales) at the top of the table. ESPN FC calls the Buenos Aires derby a "bucket list" match.

FIFA

Reacting to reports of deaths of workers in Qatar as a result of abusive conditions, FIFA president Sepp Blatter promised to discuss the situation with the new emir of Qatar. He angered many by saying that there is "plenty of time" before the 2022 World Cup. For its part, the Guardian is still putting plenty of pressure on FIFA.

There are still many people who want to see a re-vote for the 2022 World Cup (including Eric Wynalda), but Blatter says that won't happen.

I previously mentioned that an independent FIFA investigator is looking into each country's bid for the 2018 and 2022 World cup for signs of foul play. Unfortunately for him, he was prevented from entering Russia due to political differences between Russia and the United States.

Peru will play its next home game behind closed doors due to "crowd disturbance incidents" in Peru's match against Uruguay last month.

MLS

Eric Wynalda wants a chance to coach in MLS, and he doesn't seem to care who he offends in his public lobbying for a MLS coaching job. He goes as far as implying that coaches without playing experience at the highest levels aren't as good at coaching as those who do have significant playing experience. While Stars and Stripes FC takes issue with this, Liviu Bird of Pro Soccer Talk seems to be on board with Wynalda.

We've talked a bit about Match Analytics and their growing relationship with MLS. Some more details about the expanding relationship are beginning to emerge. The technology provides a panoramic view of the entire pitch that tracks the players and the referees, meaning that it could become a useful tool for keeping referees accountable and helping them improve.

In David Beckham's final year as a pro soccer player, he earned more money from endorsements than he will have to pay to MLS as an expansion fee.

Orlando's chances for gaining entry to MLS got a bit of a boost yesterday, when the City of Orlando board of commissioners unanimously voted in favor of a funding plan for a soccer specific stadium.

College Soccer

Sean Okoli's Wake Forest notched an impressive 3-0 win over Virginia Tech last Friday, propelling the Deacons to the #10 spot in Top Drawer Soccer's national rankings. Wake Forest provided some video from the match, including some reaction from the players. You can see Sean Okoli, starting at 0:40 in the video in their recap.

NASL

The San Antonio Scorpions recently announced a trio of signings that includes Federal Way native, USL Sounder and former Generation Adidas signee Ciaran O'Brien.

USL Pro

USL Pro expansion team Sacramento Republic FC added a couple of members to its front office staff.

US Soccer

An interview with USMNT and AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley was featured in an episode of BBC's World Football last Friday. Pro Soccer Talk provides a transcript of the interview for those of you who can't listen to it at work.

Reports emerged late last week that the United States will play against Iran in a friendly as part of a 4 team tournament. US Soccer responded to the reports by pointing out that they are in discussions with several countries to schedule friendlies in preparation for the World Cup, so it may be a bit early to pencil in a match against Iran.

A lot of things have changed for Bob Bradley since he was fired by the United States and hired as the manager of Egypt's national team. Due to events that have transpired in Egypt since he took the job, he has become a sort of ambassador between the United States and Egypt. In addition to that, he has Egypt on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup The Shin Guardian has a must read feature about the road that has led him to this point.

England

As was mentioned last week, England's FA is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, Buckingham Palace will host a match for the first time ever. The teams involved are Civil Service FC (a founding member of the FA) and Polytechnic FC. Prince William spoke yesterday about the historic match.

With Liverpool virtually tied with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table and striker Daniel Sturridge leading the league in scoring, Luis Suarez is enjoying his partnership with Sturridge at Anfield. Former player and manager Kenny Dalglish couldn't have picked a better time to join Liverpool's board of directors.

Former NASL Sounder and current QPR manager Harry Redknapp had some harsh words for the FA after he was passed over for the England job last year. He went on to imply that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy cost him the national team job.

It sounds like Sunderland is about to name Gus Poyet as its next manager. Poyet will reportedly be on a 3 year contract.

Cardiff City players have told the club's owner to not enter the locker room on match days due to a dispute over bonus payments.

Germany

Jozy Altidore isn't the only US national team player having to adjust to a new manager at his club this season. Tim Chandler's Nuremberg fired Michael Wiesinger yesterday after a 5-0 loss at home to Hamburger SV. That Chandler was part of the back line that gave up 5 goals at home can't be good for Chandler's chances at winning the right back job from Brad Evans any time soon. Nuremberg U23 coach Roger Prinzen will take over as caretaker manager until a permanent replacement is hired.

Eintracht Braunschweig earned their first win in Bundesliga in nearly 30 years after beating Wolfsburg over the weekend.

Italy

Italy's national team is likely to be seeded at the 2014 World Cup, as it won't be possible for them to drop out of the top 7 of the FIFA rankings before the draw is held.

Lazio has decided to appeal a ban by UEFA that would force them to play their next Europa League match behind closed doors as a result of allegedly racist chants. Lazio was already on a warning, which is why the ban was handed out.

AC Milan defender Philippe Mexes was handed a 4 game ban for punching Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus last weekend.

Statistics

We often talk about how many shots a team takes in relation to those taken by their opponent. We even sometimes focus on the percentage of shots taken that are on target. But can the percentage of shots on target be relied upon as an indicator of future shooting accuracy?

OptaPro recently introduced a statistical method of judging the effect of managers on a team. The first example used was Mark Hughes. A subsequent article on Stats Bomb analyzed Andre Villas-Boas.

A Shot in the Dark

In a recent match in Sweden's sixth division, Andreas Engstrom converted a penalty. Why is this worth mentioning? Engstrom suffers from Leber's disease and is 99% blind. He only knew he scored after hearing the reactions of his teammates.

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