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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I know this is a soccer blog and all, but did you happen to stay up late last night and watch LeBron's one-man show in the NBA playoffs??? Wow, wow, wow.

Okay, back on topic. I've got an eclectic program for you this morning before I jet off to L.A. for the United-Galaxy match Saturday night at HDC.

Let's start with the showcase game of the weekend. No, silly, not Colorado-Toronto. England-Brazil at the new Wembley today. All eyes are on Beckham, who returns to the lineup for the first time since the World Cup last summer. It's only a friendly, but with England getting desperate for Euro qualifying points, today's tuneup is probably vital for team psyche and for Steve McClaren's future. You can watch the match live on Fox Soccer Channel beginning at 3 p.m. (Eastern).

Locally, with United on the road, I wanted to direct your attention to some lower-division matches taking place Saturday. Crystal Palace USA, with a win and a tie since starting 0-4, will host New Hampshire in a USL2 game at the Naval Academy at 7 p.m. Meantime, there is a doubleheader at George Mason University's Robinson Field (not the main soccer stadium) with the Northern Virginia Majestics hosting the Washington Freedom in a women's game at 5 and the Northern Virginia Royals facing the West Virginia Chaos in a PDL match at 7:30. Of course, you could always stay home and watch USA-China at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

And finally, I wanted to pass along two video clips of interest. One is a sensational free kick by Chicago-bound Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the Mexican final, the other perhaps the worst free kick you'll ever see, courtesy of New England's Khano Smith (the long build-up to the kick just enhances the ineptitude; great audio too). Smith is a very good player and should not be judged by this one folly, but it is awfully funny.

I may or may not rejoin you this afternoon before my flight. If not, please check back in Saturday for England-Brazil highlights, maybe some Euro stuff, perhaps a USA-China review and United pregame news and lineups. The Insider rolls on.....

By Steve Goff  |  June 1, 2007; 9:08 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Next: Going to California With an Aching in My Heart


"That was not chest-high"

I disagree. It wasn't a bad free kick. It was good, just in a different way.

Posted by: MattM | June 1, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

In a different way? Good...for nothing?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 1, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

If Beckham shines and gets called up full time , how bad of a cluster will that create for MLS?

Posted by: Chico | June 1, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

LeBron = WOW
Blanco = WOW
Kano Smith = umm, uhh, wow?
I know it's not soccer, but Lebron scores tha Cavs last 25 points and 29 of teir last 30? Wish he had chosen soccer over b-ball?

Posted by: donkey richard | June 1, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

chest high for cheap seats

Posted by: Ian | June 1, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Basketball? Can't stand it. Anyway, wish I had known that that game was today so I could've recorded it...I'm sure FSC will replay it. OTOH, FSC will have Spain on tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by: RK | June 1, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

In regards to Kano Smith, are the Redskins still looking for a place kicker?

Posted by: James | June 1, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"If Beckham shines and gets called up full time , how bad of a cluster will that create for MLS?"

All I can say is get ready for possibly the biggest soccer nerd internet jihad of all time with Beckham on his way. Maybe not with him missing MLS matches, but the snotty way in which his move to the Galaxy will be treated by the English football media (it's already started). Snobbery and inferiority complexes will be on display - just wait.

If he's in the team, it's never really "full time" but he could be called up for their fall qualifiers. England play 5 competitive matches between now and November. If MLS have a problem with losing players to call-ups, they should adhere to the international fixture schedule.

Posted by: Kev | June 1, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Agree w/ Kev on the MLS, but to say that the "MLS should do something" is to start a conversation that could snowball through the rest of the thread.

Anyways, looking to sucker some unsuspecting friends into having Happy Hour at a bar I can watch the England / Brazil match. Anyone know of someone on the Hill? Would prefer somewhere on the block of bars between Eastern Market and Capitol South, but beggars can't be choosers.

Posted by: Kyle (Falls Church) | June 1, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Geeze, even a minute and 15 seconds of Feldman is enough to make me want to perforate my eardrums

Posted by: Dead to me | June 1, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

very cool. you spend a few days away from the Insider and it takes you 30 minutes to catch up...

I don't know why the folks at Crystal Palace are crying. They haven't sniffed the EPL in years.

Posted by: jj | June 1, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

and that free Blanco hit a good one, too. J

Posted by: jj | June 1, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I'll take Gomez's free kick against Houston last week over Blanco's anyday.

Posted by: delantero | June 1, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"I don't know why the folks at Crystal Palace are crying. They haven't sniffed the EPL in years."

They were in the Premiership 2 years ago

Posted by: Kev | June 1, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

so who is Fowler going to? NE would seem likely but they are such cheap bastards. RBNY and LA can't get another player of his value and keep a straight face, they're both already so past plausibility in the salary cap that if they got him, people would just stop goiong to games. Columbus is Columbus, it makes Liverpool look like Paris. Dallas? Colorado? Chivas? Surely not us.

Posted by: DCAustinite | June 1, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Kyle - agreed, was only saying that MLS can't have it both ways. Seems like they are content to lose players while their fixtures continue though. They've always preferred that to breaking up the season.

Best soccer bar on the Hill is the Pour House on Pennsylvania -doesn't open till 4. Cap Lounge also opens at 4 - not good timing with a good match on at 3 today.

Posted by: Kev | June 1, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Here a bunch of bars in DC that will be showing the game:

DC Bottom Line Restaurant
Washington DC Fox Soccer Channel subscriber.

DC Capitol Lounge
231 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington DC
202-547-2098 LIVE English Premier League with English Breakfast. DC United, Washington Freedom and U.S. games. MLS/ESPN Shootout. Close to RFK Stadium. Call for schedules.
DC Elephant and Castle
1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
202-347-7707 Fox Soccer Channel subscriber.

Washington DC Fox Soccer Channel subscriber.

DC Finn Mac Cool's Irish Pub
713 8th St. SE.
202-547-7100 Fox Soccer Channel subscriber. Live International Football, US Soccer, MLS, Rugby and Gaelic Sports. Close to RFK Stadium.

DC Glasgow's
Washington DC Fox Soccer Channel subscriber.

DC Jury's
Washington DC Fox Soccer Channel subscriber.

DC Irish Channel
500 H St NW
Washington DC
(202) 216-0046 Shows Soccer and Rugby
DC Lucky Bar
1221 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC
202-331-3733 LIVE International soccer. UEFA Champions League. Spanish Liga, Italian Serie A, French Campionnat, English Premier League. US National Team and DC United.
DC Mackey's
Washington DC Fox Soccer Channel subscriber.
DC Pour House
319 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington DC
Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta subscriber. MLS Direct Kick, Rugby. Close to RFK Stadium. Call for schedules.

DC Senators Grille
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington DC Fox Soccer Channel, Direct TV subscriber

DC "Union Tap" British Embassy,
3100 Massachusetts Ave
Washington DC

Posted by: DC United Fan | June 1, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the locations!

Posted by: Goff | June 1, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

That's a list of places that have subscribed to FSC - might want to call to see if they're open and will show it for you.

Posted by: Kev | June 1, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

what's the over/under on mls references in the england/brazil game?

english media outlets sent folks to madrid to cover beckham's every move when he switched. will they do the same when he suits up for pretty boys west?

Posted by: i hate LA! i hate 'em | June 1, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I LOVE Soccer Insider. This is a great feature, and Steven Goff does a terrific job keeping it interesting, lively and professional. It's just a great format for soccer fans who want to follow the happenings of the sport, and aren't satisfied with one or two stories per week in the print edition. The inclusion of YouTube video and the feedback forum add to the experience. Thanks Steve and!

Posted by: David | June 1, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

With the 14,500 views of Khano Smith's free kick, I fear that this may be the most viewed MLS YouTube video.

Posted by: NW FC | June 1, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Most viewed not counting Fredinho

Posted by: Columbia Heights | June 1, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Fado (along with the Irish Channel, one of Chinatown's two fine Irish pubs) on that list, but you'd think they'd be carrying such an event.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | June 1, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Beckham's in the England team tonight...

Paul Robinson, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, John Terry, Nicky Shorey, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole, Alan Smith and Michael Owen. (BBC)

Posted by: Kev | June 1, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

BBC match commentator Alan Green on the radio now...

"There is no reason for Beckham to be in this England team. It's only for two matches, because once he goes to MLS, and I watch MLS matches, the quality is SHOCKING. He'll have no chance of getting back in to the team once he goes to America"

Just one perspective - but a lot more coming.

Posted by: Kev | June 1, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Why does he watch MLS matches if the quality is shocking?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 1, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I think it is the pace of the game that the English see as inferior to the Premiership. To MLS' credit each season has seen an increase in quality and pace. I can already see the difference between this season and last. Its only going to get better, and make the English press swallow their callous words. I have been converted to an MLS fan. Now all they need to do, is switch the calendar of the season, so that players won't miss club games while representing their national teams during summer international competitions.

Posted by: DC United Fan | June 1, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The English game is often way "over paced" if you ask me. There's so much direct play that creativity becomes less and less important.

Plus, I would love to see the EPL try and take on the August DC heat.

Posted by: delantero | June 1, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

To go from watching the top level of EPL and La Liga to the MLS, I'd say that one would have to change up expectations a bit.

The first touch for the gents in the MLS is not nearly as good as what one would expect in the top european leagues.
As a result, more touches are taken and the game is slowed down.

the speed and quickness of players is also different. A player who can deceive with change of pace is hard to come by in the MLS.

While speed and quickness can only be improved so much beyond the natural gifts one has, the touches one chooses to and can make can be practiced and improved upon quite a bit and it is in this category that I see us improving quickest, and there is no question that we need to.

Posted by: bribri | June 1, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

No update for over 8 hours - what the hell is wrong with Goff today?? Can't he get on line while in flight??? I know he has found out something we need to know since this morning. What a crappy day surfing the internet while at work today :(

Posted by: Henchlow | June 1, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Did Alen Green just now find out Beckham was going to the MLS?

Has he been living on Earth the past couple of months? I mean that's some key insight he is providing months after the deal happened.

I think the English need to concentrate on their own league problems before pointing the finger at MLS and the US. Most English fans didn't even want Beckham playing in the last WC and now he is a hero again? Please. America bashing is so 2006.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 1, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

And why would it matter which league Beckham plays in? His big contribution for the English is free kicks.

One thing MLS has is decent goalies and big guys in the walls so I don't know how that is going to greatly effect his game for the English National team.

He could play on a U-8 girls club team and do the same thing he does for the English team.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 1, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

glad the Post will send Goff to LA for the game.

I guess soccer>Stanley Cup for the Post.

Posted by: alex | June 1, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Witness, the game today. Case in point.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 1, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

i've heard the reason why they don't mimick the schedule of the rest of the world is mostly due to weather, and some part due to other sporting conflicts. An outdoor February game in Denver or Boston isn't very ideal. Hell, a February game in DC would be pretty horrible. Then again, CSKA Moscow starts their season in January. I don't know how they do it there, but I've heard lots of vodka is consumed by fans to try to keep themselves warm. And yes, I know that's a fallacy anyway.

Posted by: Boss T | June 1, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Damn skippy Alex, its called priorities and also the Beautiful Game haha :D

Posted by: DjB | June 1, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

so who is Fowler going to? NE would seem likely but they are such cheap bastards. RBNY and LA can't get another player of his value and keep a straight face, they're both already so past plausibility in the salary cap that if they got him, people would just stop goiong to games. Columbus is Columbus, it makes Liverpool look like Paris. Dallas? Colorado? Chivas? Surely not us."

There is a bidding war between Celtic and Rangers, He will choose one side, be hated by the other and retire in Scotland.

Posted by: dtd | June 1, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Have you heard anything about Luis "Cuto" Guadalupe heading to Columbus??

Posted by: Nick | June 1, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Boss T,
The Russian schedule is March until November, which is almost identical to the MLS schedule. Teams only play in off months if they are in European competition.

Posted by: Martin | June 1, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

DC United interested in the Chilean Salas. Know anything about this?

Posted by: annapolis | June 1, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Cootie Mac's free kick looked just like Jim Brennan's free kick. And I think Toronto paid a lot less for Brennan.



Posted by: JayRockers! | June 1, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Really appreciated everyone listing bars to go to. Ended up watching the end of the game at Pour House - such an unsurprising, and typically English finish to the match.

England look to be, as England are want to be, a very confused, unorganized, and quite frankly confusing team. Perhaps there is a better word, but England just seem not to have the first clue what they want from their starting XI. They seem much more intent on putting out those who are the "best eleven" rather than the first semblance of a cohesive unit.

Just my thoughts, but it'll be interesting to see how things go in October when they go to Russia, in a very important Euro match. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to qualifying tomorrow - always fun, at least for national team soccer.

Posted by: Kyle (Falls Church) | June 2, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

little late in this thread to change topics, but our U-18 team is playing an important tournament at the moment. They lost to Finland, beat Denmark, and have their last game today against host Portugal. I'm going to today's game, so I'll post results on whatever thread happens to be active later today.

Posted by: Troy | June 2, 2007 3:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm visiting from out of town and would love to catch the England v. Estonia game on Wednesday. I saw the list of pubs above--too many choices--any consensus on the best place to see the game with other England fans? The game is on pay-per-view channel 501, dunno if the FSC subscribers will show the game. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by: JW | June 4, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"I'm visiting from out of town and would love to catch the England v. Estonia game on Wednesday. I saw the list of pubs above--too many choices--any consensus on the best place to see the game with other England fans?"

This match is being shown on pay-per-view (, so it is not clear that the list of pubs above is applicable. If you do find a pub that is carrying this match, you will presumably be among England fans, although if anyone knows of a pub where Estonia fans will be in the majority...

Posted by: Go Penn State! | June 4, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

If it's any consolation Alan Green is one of the worst commentators in Britain and as such his word should count for nothing. Until someone really steps up on the right wing for England I still think Beckham will have a good chance of making the team, providing Mclaren bothers to watch any of the games that is.

Posted by: Wolfgang Wolf | June 6, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Just to clarify, this is not the Alan Green that many of us remember from NASL days. The two AGs have separate Wikipedia entries.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | June 6, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

As poor as England played, Brazil was worse. They only confirmed that against Turkey yesterday. Turkey was the best of the three playing fantastic moving soccer. As for places to watch the game, Lucky Bar has shown everything I've bothered to watch since I got here though with varying amounts of people there (I take this to be because of the time of day and it being the workweek). Outta curiousity, any good places to play some relaxed pick up games?

Posted by: Tony | June 6, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

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