MLS Allstars beat Tottenham 2-1

Harry Kane with Tottenham  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Harry Kane with Tottenham Hotspurs
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

On Wednesday night, the MLS Allstars played, and defeated 2-1, Tottenham Hotspurs.  The Allstars had a star-studded lineup who quickly showed their stuff.  They immediately started controlling the game, creating chances and looking like the better team. Despite that, Nick Rimando was forced into making several saves.  After a handball in Tottenham’s penalty area, the Allstar’s captain, Kaka, converted the penalty to give them the lead.

Just minutes later, Gyasi Zardes, Clint Dempsey, Kaka and David Villa were involved in the second goal.  After a strong buildup around the box, Dempsey gave the ball to Kaka, who whipped a low ball into David Villa.  Villa simple turned his foot, and redirected the ball past the goalkeeper.  It was fitting that Villa scored from a Kaka assist, since they fought over who should take the penalty.

Kaka with Orlando City SC (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Kaka with Orlando City SC
(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Just when it looked like the MLS Allstar’s would have an easy game, Gyasi Zardes sent a poor back pass to Matt Beasler, who slipped just before he could trap it.  Harry Kane picked it up, and instead of trying to get around Omar Gonzalez, he shot from close to 20 yards out, past a helpless Nick Rimando.  It was definitely the best goal of the match, and was a perfect way for Kane to celebrate his 22nd birthday.

The second half was basically without highlights, since both teams play their second strings.  The MLS Allstars finished the game victorious, crowning a strong performance.  Tottenham could have been much more dangerous, if not for Harry Kane.  While his positioning was perfect during the whole game, all his shots, many point-blank, went right at the goalkeeper.  That was until his goal.  All-in-all it was an impressive performance for both sides, and an entertaining game to watch.

MLS Allstar match, the joke of North American soccer.

Sebastian Giovinco playing for Toronto FC (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Sebastian Giovinco playing for MLS club Toronto FC  (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Tonight the MLS Allstars play Tottenham Hotspurs in an exhibition match in Colorado.  The match is where the best players in Major League Soccer come together and play against a top-level European team.  The issue is that not all the best players always make the squad, while some more popular players make it no matter what.  At the end of the day, it is nothing more than a popularity contest.

Sebastian Giovinco is undoubtedly the best player in MLS.  The Italian forward has been putting home goal after goal for Toronto FC.  Despite that, he didn’t make the first cut.  But Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard did make it.  The English  legends, despite not playing a single game in MLS during the pick, were both chosen.  On the bright side, both were withdrawn due to injury, along with American Michael Bradley and Irishman Robbie Keane.  Giovinco was brought in as a replacement, as was Gyasi Zardes.  Even so, there does seem to be an imbalance.  Despite being on top of the Eastern Conference, DC United were not given a single representative.

It seems that until MLS grows up and stops being somewhat of a retirement league, this yearly popularity contest will just be a slap in the face to the better, lesser known players in the league.

Jamaica falls short at the final hurdle, Mexico win Gold Cup

Andres Guardado holding the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Andres Guardado holding the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jamaica and Mexico clashed it out on the pitch two nights ago during the final of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.  Jamaica had shocked the USA in the semifinals, while Mexico had controversially beaten 10-man Panama with two late penalties.  Andre Guardado scored a great volley goal as Mexico triumphed without the help of star strikers Chicharito and Carlos Vela.  Guardado was named player of the tournament, scoring six goals and dragging Mexico to the final.  Clint Dempsey earned the Golden Boot as top goalscorer, netting seven times in six game.  Brad Guzan was named keeper of the tournament, conceding only four goals the entire tournament.

They went up 3-0, before Jamaica pulled one back.  but it would be too late, as Mexico claimed a 7th title.  They must now go to a playoff with the USA for access to the 2017 Confederations Cup.  It was a violent game, with the referee being extremely lenient just to keep 22 players on the field.  The game was a big disappointment for Jamaica, who could have become the first Caribbean country to win the tournament.  At the end of the day, it was still an entertaining, if predictable, game.  You can bet that the Reggae Boys will be back in two years to try again claiming the title.

Gerard Pique’s Impressive Jersey Collection

Gerard Pique with Spain at Euro 2012

Gerard Pique with Spain at Euro 2012

It’s well known that soccer players like to collect the sweaty jerseys of other players at the end of games.  Some player’s shirts, like Messi’s and Ronaldo’s, are in high demand.  Most people would rather have a high profile player’s shirt than so player nobody knows.  That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Gerard Pique, the Barcelona and Spanish National Team defender.  He has undoubtedly, if not the biggest, most impressive collection around.

A large portion of Gerard Pique's jersey collection

A large portion of Gerard Pique’s jersey collection

With the likes of current stars Lionel Messi,Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, it looks good like that.  But then you add the jerseys of older stars such as Ronaldinho, David Beckham, Andrea Pirlo, Yaya Toure, Raul and Francesco Totti, and the sheer scope of the collection hits you.  He has close to 50 different jerseys.  It is unsurprising since he has played in the Premier League and La Liga, as well as two Euros and two World Cups with Spain.  Remember when you thought Jamaica’s Wes Morgan’s Copa America haul was impressive.  Gerard Pique has him beat any day of the week.

The Raheem Sterling Transfer Saga finally ends, but who comes out happy?

Raheem Sterling has finally completed his long sought after move from Liverpool. Manchester City paid an unprecedented £49M for the 20-year-old, making him the most expensive English player ever. Today I am going to look at all the angles of the transfer, from the Saga as a whole, to whether it was a good transfer for both sides.

Raheem Sterling.

Raheem Sterling.

Sterling has wanted out of Liverpool for a while now. They offered him £100,000 a week, but he declined and instead sent in a transfer request. While Liverpool finished close runners up in the 2013-14 season, they flopped into 6th place, a full eight points behind Manchester United in the last Champions League spot. It comes as no surprise, then, that Sterling wants to go somewhere where he can win some trophies. It’s just a shame that he had to go about it in such a shameful way. Part of the problem is his agent, but he could have been much more graceful. When he was named Liverpool’s young player of the season, the fans booed him.

Several teams showed interest despite this. Manchester United showed very early interest, but refused to pay Liverpool’s asking price. Arsenal then looked into Sterling, but they too decided the price was too high as well. Manchester City then looked into him. They were looking for homegrown players, and since he is one, he fits the bill. After getting two bids rejected, they finally bought him. He is certainly more expensive than he should be, but since City will play in both the Premier League and the Champions League next season, money is not a big issue.

Manchester City need Sterling. They had just two homegrown players on their team last season, Joe Hart and Richard Wright, who is 37 and has no appearances for the Blues. After failing to buy Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, Sterling is a decent alternative. He is homegrown, has Premier League and Champions League experience, and is only 20. Excluding the price, which as stated before isn’t that big a deal, this is the perfect buy to strengthen City’s team.

Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli

Liverpool have just lost a big star. Now they will recover by buying tons of players with the money, who will pretty much all be failures, and proceed to not put up a title challenge. Sound familiar? That’s because that’s what happened last season with Luis Suarez. Now Liverpool have another large stack of money, but will they spend it wisely? Last year, they spent and spent, only for many of their big name signings, such as Mario Balotelli, to completely flop. Brenden Rodgers was at one point considered a genius, but now that can’t be said as much. Liverpool, rather than buy the players they need to fill in holes in their squad, have instead gone on a signing spree, buying anyone they can, with the likes of Manchester City’s James Milner, Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne, Burnley’s Danny Ings, and Hoffenheim’s Roberto Firmino already joining. Whether Rodgers can make them into a strong team is up for debate, but the answer is looking like no.

Andy Carroll (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Andy Carroll
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The whole transfer saga as a whole puts another issue into light. English players tend to get way over valued in the Premier League, no matter how old they are. Wayne Rooney cost Manchester United £25.6M in 2004, at the age of only 18. While this deal ended up paying off, others haven’t. Andy Carroll was brought to Liverpool to replace Fernando Torres, costing £35M, at the age of 21. He ended up totally flopping, and now plays for West Ham United. Tottenham Hotspurs are asking for £25M for 21-year-old sensation Harry Kane. Despite not even being on the first team at the start of the season. He is widely untested, but that won’t stop many of the biggest clubs looking into buying him. The Premier League forces teams to have homegrown players, meaning they either came through an English Team’s youth system, or be English. This puts English players at a much higher value.

I will stop ranting now, but it’s just so frustrating at how much value is put on largely untested players, just because they are English. Raheem “Money Man” Sterling is no exception. He needs to succeed at Manchester City, because otherwise both he and City will look like fools, and Liverpool will look good. And nobody wants Liverpool to look good.

Manchester United’s biggest transfer targets of 2015

Manchester United have had a tough time the last few seasons. While Louis van Gaal has returned the Red Devils to the Champions League, they will need to enhance their squad a lot in order to stay competitive against the toughest teams in Europe. Here are six transfers that are essential to Manchester United’s return to glory.

Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay.

Starting off is the only confirmed transfer (so far). Memphis Depay was the standout young player in Europe last season, scoring 22 goals and captaining PSV Eindhoven to the Dutch Eredivisie title. Since van Gaal was his coach while in charge of the Dutch National Team, it seemed very likely from the start that he would join. Now that he is at United, he can be one of the strikers missing from the equation, now that Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie have both left. Whether in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation, Depay is the perfect young player to buy.

Edinson Cavani has huge pressure on him to perform this tournament.

Edinson Cavani.

Next, United need a pure center striker. As said before, Falcao and van Persie are gone, Chicharito is looking like he is going to move, Rooney isn’t a true striker, and neither is Fellaini. This leaves United in a bad place. Many people want the Red Devils to buy Harry Kane, but he is too untested to risk how much Tottenham are asking. I think a better option is Edinson Cavani. He is a great striker who is clearly unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain, where he plays second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He plays very physical, yet can still use lots of skill to get past defenders. Just how the Premier League likes their strikers. I wanted Mario Mandzukic to go to United, but Juventus ended that dream.

Matteo Darmian  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Matteo Darmian.
(Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

On to our third transfer, Matteo Darmian is as good as confirmed. The right-back starts to fix Manchester United’s lack of defenders problem. At age 25, the Italian is already considered one of the best defenders in Europe, and was voted Italy’s best player of 2014. This allows Antonio Valencia to not have to fill in at the spot, and makes sure we have the best defense in the league next season.

Nicolas Otamendi (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Nicolas Otamendi.
(Photo by Raul Sifuentes/LatinContent/Getty Images)

The second defender Manchester United need is a strong central defender. Mats Hummels would have been perfect, but he has decided to stay at Borussia Dortmund. Then Nicolas Otamendi was sounding as good as confirmed. Then Raphael Varane sounded like a deal, and now it’s Sergio Ramos that is all over the news. Otamendi and Varane are the two best options here. Otamendi is experienced, and could team up with Argentina National Teammate Marcos Rojo to form a duo that already has experience together. On the other hand, Varane is a promising young talent who could become a breakout star. He could also help to ease the pain of losing David de Gea to Real Madrid. But he could also just be a flop, due to lack of experience. Which do you guys think is better for the Red Devils?

Morgan Schneiderlin  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Morgan Schneiderlin.
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Michael Carrick is quite old. No one can deny that.  A replacement is much needed, since Daley Blind has switched to left-back. Ilkay Gundogan from Dortmund would be perfect, but he re-signed with BVB. That leaves Morgan Schneiderlin. The Southampton player was an essential part of the Southampton squad that finished 7th last season, but now wants to play in the Champions League. Several teams are interested, but Manchester United are the biggest, so if he leaves, they seem like the best option for him. Schneiderlin is a proven holding midfielder, able to distribute the ball while helping on both attack and defence. Very Carrick-esque of him.

Hugo Lloris. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Hugo Lloris.
(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Last but not least, the Red Devils need to bring a goalkeeper to Old Trafford. With David de Gea almost certainly leaving, there is a vacancy. They still have Victor Valdes, but he is old and not a good long-term replacement. Hugo Lloris from Tottenham is a great goalie who wants the Champions League, and is only 28 years old. There is also Jasper Cillesson, who Louis van Gaal coached while in charge of the Dutch National Team. He is 26 years old, which means he could have a long Manchester United career in front of him. I am indifferent on which one they choose, as they are both great options, just so long as we get one.

With just a few changes to the squad, Manchester United can become serious title challengers next season. That is, of course, as long as their team comes together and plays well. I’m looking at you, Angel di Maria.

The USA defeats Japan to win third Women’s World Cup title.

Carli Lloyd shined for the USA in the final, scoring a hat trick in just 15 minutes.

Carli Lloyd shined for the USA in the final, scoring a hat trick in just 15 minutes.

Last night in BC Place in Vancouver, Canada, the United States Women’s National Soccer team took on Japan in the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was a rematch of the 2011 final, where Japan defeated the USA on penalties. The buildup was crazy in the semifinals. Japan defeated England off of an own goal in extra time, while the USA shocked favorites and number one ranked in the world Germany 2-0. The game was supposed to be one of the most exciting and close matches of the tournament.

The USA didn’t like that plan though. They came out guns blazing, and within five minutes were up 2-0, both goals from Carli Lloyd. Lauren Holiday scored a fantastic volley in the 14th minute, and two minutes later Lloyd completed her hat trick with a half field strike. Yuki Nagasato scored a nice goal in the 27th minute, but the USA still went into halftime with a huge 4-1 lead.

In the second half, Japan seemed to reform and played a bit better, grabbing another point off of a Julie Johnston own goal that Hope Solo couldn’t quite keep out.  A few minutes later though, Tobin Heath gave the USA back their breathing room with a basic tap-in, and Japan couldn’t pull back.

Abby Wambach finally won a World Cup at age 35.

Abby Wambach finally won a World Cup at age 35.

The USA won their first World Cup since 1999, a great achievement considering how shaky they started the tournament. Big players like Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd stepped up and took the burden, pulling the USA through. Carli Lloyd won the Golden ball as best player of the tournament, as well as the Silver boot for second highest goalscorer with 6 goals, only losing out on the top prize to Germany’s Celia Sasic due to minutes played. She was so vital to this USA team, she deserved it all.

The victory means Abby Wambach finally gets the award that has eluded her for so long, and Christie Rampone earns her second. Rampone become the oldest player to appear at a Women’s World Cup, at 40 years old. It was a very fitting moment when she and Wambach lifted the trophy together.

On a different note, thanks to everyone for being so patient over the last week.  I went camping and didn’t have internet, so I couldn’t post anything.  I should be back to my regular posting schedule now though, so get ready for some more soccer action.