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Everything posted by Viper

  1. I was at the Loons' kit reveal event (alas, the pics I got aren't as good as what's already been posted). It's a downgrade from last season, but it's not awful by any means. Hell, it was good enough for me to plunk down $120 for one. Note that they only revealed the primary and keeper kits, not the clash kit. Last year's white clashes were nothing special but still a nice and crisp design. I'd be happy if they just kept that. If they try to mimic this new design on a white clash kit I don't see how they could make it work.
  2. (Olympic Athletes from) Russia's three-letter code this year is OAR. If they win any gold medals, this should be their anthem.
  3. The Loons have signed Cameroon international forward Frantz Pangop. Not the sort of acquisition I had hoped for to start the new year - Minnesota needs backline reinforcements some fierce - but still one I can get behind, especially if they play him as a second forward in tandem with Christian Ramirez. I've wanted Adrian Heath to switch to a two-striker set so opposing defenses can't just key in on Ramirez, and now they have enough attackers to make that possible. On the other hand Pangop may just be used as a replacement for Johan Venegas, who's been loaned back to Costa Rica in advance of the World Cup. And speaking of Ramirez, he's finally gotten a well-deserved USMNT call-up.
  4. Yeah, Williams wasn't the only one who blew it for the Saints. Sean Payton and his DC share in the blame too. The Ringer's Rodger Sherman noted that one of their defenders was guarding the sideline near the line of scrimmage, where he was totally useless (no way Keenum was going to throw that short with so little time left). Meanwhile they had no one in deep coverage, to be the last line of defense in case a Vikings receiver got away - or better yet, to make that receiver think twice about going for the end zone in the first place. As it was, Williams was that last line of defense, and once he whiffed on his tackle the Saints' fate was sealed.
  5. Here is the play, with Paul Allen's call. http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=22100627
  6. At the start of the drive, Vikings radio announcer Paul Allen said they needed a "Minneapolis Miracle". Naturally, after the TD that's exactly what he called it, twice in fact. Also, it turns out the play has a fitting name in the Vikings' playbook: "Buffalo right, seven heaven".
  7. San Diego's a big Navy town, so that probably has a lot to do with the name choice here.
  8. One of the NLL's new expansion teams for the 2018-19 season has revealed their identity today, including a repurposed nickname from a different sport within the same state. My first reaction to the logo: An interesting concept (a seal wearing an anchor-shaped crown) but poorly executed (with a black head on a black hexagonal shield, it looks as much like a domestic cat as a seal).
  9. And now, the biggest injury bombshell of the season: Aaron Rodgers breaks his collarbone again and is possibly out for the season. With that, the NFC North is wide open. Also, backup Brett Hundley, on the last year of his contract, is now playing for what could be a huge payday next season. If he can get the Packers back into the playoffs, some other team is going to make him a very rich man. On the other hand, if he keeps struggling going into the bye... Kaepernick?
  10. Hell, even in Europe a few years ago some of the richest clubs were floating the idea of breaking away from their federations and forming a closed super-league. Nothing ever came of it, but the very fact it was even discussed suggests pro/rel isn't as sacrosanct as it's made out to be even in the sport's beating heartland.
  11. Aaaaaannnnnnd the Panama game just went final too. USMNT is officially out of Russia.
  12. HON 3:2 MEX just went final. Now we are reduced to rooting for Costa Rica to score late vs. Panama.
  13. They've been recycling the same old crap for a reason: Other than Jurgen Klinsmann, it's not as though world-class coaches have ever exactly been beating a path to USSF's door even when the USMNT's been successful. If they don't qualify for Russia they could be back in the wilderness for a long time to come.
  14. Two straight wins for the Loons, for the first time in their MLS history, after thrashing FC Dallas 4-1 tonight. FCD's freefall has now reached ten straight games. Meanwhile Minnesota's playoff prospects, amazingly, still have a pulse.
  15. Field lacrosse is viewed as a rich kids' sport, perhaps. Box lacrosse, where it's visible at all in the US, is almost precisely the opposite - a predominantly working-class sport which has also been embraced by the Iroquois nations (where the game originated centuries ago) precisely because they saw that the field game had been co-opted by the NCAA (read: an elite white institution). Box lacrosse's problem in the US is that it's hardly visible at all in places that haven't been exposed to the NLL, whose player base is overwhelmingly Canadian and Iroquois National. That said, box lacrosse has long had a presence in places like Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, far from the traditional field strongholds. It has also made significant inroads to the Upper Midwest (particularly Minnesota and Michigan). It also has a large constellation of local and regional semi-pro and beer leagues across the US, most notably the 2-year-old Interstate Box Lacrosse Association which is emulating the Canadian Lacrosse Association model (and most of its rules of play), with a network of smaller statewide and regional leagues. (Minnesota just got an IBLA chapter this year and recently concluded its inaugural two-team best-of-seven "season", played before near-capacity crowds in de-iced high school and community rinks, whose champion Hastings will be playing at the IBLA Nationals in Denver in November against the champs from Colorado and Oregon. There are plans to add as many as four more MN teams in 2018 and perhaps more beyond that.)
  16. Well, USMNT did improve by two net goals over the last time they faced the Ticos under Jurgen Klinsmann. Surely that counts for something. Probably. Maybe. I think.
  17. Minnesota and Philadelphia are in more or less the same lurch when it comes to the NLL: Absent an NHL or NBA ownership/arena connection (which doesn't seem to be in the cards for either market), teams tend to thrive best in minor-league hockey arenas that can be cheaply rented, which neither Minneapolis/St. Paul nor Philadelphia has. In Minnesota's case, the U of M has a couple of arenas of suitable capacity, but Mariucci Arena's rink is Olympic-size which may not work for the NLL, Ridder Arena (women's hockey) would have the lowest spectator capacity in the league, and in either case I doubt the university would want to take on an outside tenant on a permanent basis, at least not one that would need a liquor license (which was a sticking point with the Vikings). Outside the U of M campus, the only other local option would be Warner Coliseum, which would be almost perfect capacity-wise (around 6K) and location-wise (on the state fairgrounds, about halfway between the two downtowns and just up Snelling Avenue from where MNUFC is building Allianz Field) if it weren't ancient and falling apart. At this point Minnesota's best chance of returning to the NLL is the New England Black Wolves' route; i.e. if one of the state's Native American tribal casinos decides to take a stab at NLL ownership, and is willing to either build their own arena, finance a Warner renovation, or take their chances as a second- or third-banana tenant at Target Center or even back at Xcel Energy Center. (One of those casinos was the Swarm's jersey sponsor for several years, so that is within the realm of possibility.)
  18. A guitar-pick logo for a Nashville team? Gee, where have I seen something like that before?
  19. Chicago Fire (with Dax McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger, at home, and dominating pretty much all the game stats), 1. Minnesota United FC (without Christian Ramirez, and Miguel Ibarra as only a late sub), 2. Finally, the Loons get their first MLS road win. Suddenly the homestretch of their season has gotten more interesting... In related news, Ethan Finlay and Abu Danladi are becoming a potent combo - the former set up both the latter's goals tonight, and they nearly combined for a third.
  20. And Liverpool drew Watford 3-3 earler today. Apparently nobody's backliners have gotten the memo that the season has started. Edit: Now Chelsea are not only down 3-1 but down to 9 men (following a straight red for Cahill and two yellows for Fabregas).
  21. At this point basketball seems more likely than any other sport to dethrone football among American sports. It's played more or less year-round, it's the only other big college sport besides football, and the best players on the planet still gravitate to the NBA.
  22. Not only do the Loons finally get win #6 tonight, they manage to bring their July goal differential back up to zero (a 4-0 win, after 1-0 and 3-0 losses and a 0-0 draw, not to mention a 1-1 draw in a friendly vs. Atlas FC of Mexico).
  23. Great Gold Cup final so far - albeit painful for Jamaica with Andre Blake going out with a serious hand injury in the first half. First Altidore goes over the Jamaican wall with a cannon shot, but then Je-Vaughn Watson slams home the equalizer early in the second half. Apparently not all the Mexican fans went home after the loss, as they are doing a certain goal-kick chant... for both teams. Also, this is without a doubt the worst pitch I've ever seen in an international tournament final. The grass at NSC was in better shape than this, and that was for NASL ball. UPDATE: Jordan Morris strikes late, and USMNT snags the trophy!
  24. As I've stated previously, the most likely pro/rel scenario involving MLS would be a strictly internal one; i.e. MLS creates a second and maybe even a third division within itself, then populates it by expanding like crazy and/or absorbing clubs from the NASL and USL. That way established clubs could be relegated without losing their MLS affiliation (which, as it is, is the biggest sticking point for pro/rel in North America), and eventually the USL would be for reserve teams only and the NASL would either disappear or become soccer's equivalent of the SPHL. On another note, a few months ago I mentioned a report that Minnesota United had struck a stadium naming-rights deal with Allianz; well, yesterday that deal finally got an official announcement.
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