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Ohio State Revolution

We all know the New England Revolution has fallen agonizingly short of an MLS championship four of the last six years, but in the wake of their humbling loss to LSU last night in the BCS title game, perhaps the Ohio State Buckeyes should be mentioned in the same breath as our MLS friends. In the past 12 months, OSU has lost in the football final twice, the basketball championship game and the soccer finale. (Of course, the Buckeyes won the football title a few years ago, while the Revs can only boast a U.S. Open Cup trophy.)

Which leads us to another New England team: the Patriots. At 16-0, they are three victories from NFL immortality, but how will they be perceived if they fall short? Unlike MLS, which awards the Supporters' Shield to the best team during the regular season (and subsequent entry into international tournaments), the Patriots receive no such prize. It's all or nothing over the next few weeks. So as bad as DCU supporters feel about their club's postseason downfall the last two years, at least they have something to show for a superb season.

Enough pigskin talk, eh?

*As you read here first yesterday, United is on the verge of signing Argentinos Juniors forward Franco Niell. Clarin has more information in this morning's editions, as well as details of Real Salt Lake's expected acquisition of Matias Cordoba. Perhaps a formal announcement from DCU in the next couple days?

*Following the Women's World Cup, one of the big questions surrounding the U.S. team was whether Kristine Lilly would stick around through the Olympics or end her remarkable career. The answer: neither. She's pregnant. However, she says she has not decided whether to return to the pitch in 2009.

"I'm not closing any doors as far as soccer," said Lilly, 36, who has 340 caps. "I hope to play in the new league and if one day I get the chance to play for [new U.S. head coach] Pia [Sundhage], that would be fantastic. But for now, I'm focusing on becoming a mom for the first time and everything that goes with that experience."

*Expect the complete MLS schedule to be unveiled the week of Feb. 4, although last-minute issues could delay it by a week.

*Polish media reports say Poland will be the USA opponent in a March 26 friendly. No word from the USSF.

*Eddie Pope has a new job. Details later this morning.

*Scotland hopes to have a new manager soon.

Sunday's Real Madrid-Zaragoza highlights:

By Steve Goff  |  January 8, 2008; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Why I'm Grateful for My Blog.....
Next: The Pope Is a Union Man


May United be blessed by a return of The Pope.

Posted by: seahawkdad | January 8, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I share Nelson's sentiments from the previous blog entry in regard to Ohio State. With some of the most annoying fans in the country, along with Notre Dame, I will relish their pain today. HA HA


How many times are we going to play Poland anyway?

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | January 8, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

re: Poland. Along with Sweden, I think they're the only European side taking Sunil's calls these days.

re: Scotland job. What, no mention of The Bruce in the article? SCANDALOUS!

Posted by: str8red | January 8, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

In defense of Ohio State fans, aren't all fans that are not a fan of your own team annoying?

Posted by: GLC134 | January 8, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

340 caps?!? How is that humanly possible?

What is she, a T-1000?

Posted by: Erick | January 8, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Poland is a strong member of the coalition of national teams willing to play us.

Posted by: stairs | January 8, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Any input on Preston North End's bid for Taylor Twellman? Do you think Twellman, the Revs, or MLS are open to this if PNE raises their bid to over $2 million?

Posted by: Conrad | January 8, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Welcome to Columbus, OH: Runner-up Town, USA. If only the Crew could live up to that.

Poland? Again? Let's see, the USSF HQ are in Chicago... Kielbasa... friendlies against Poland. Makes perfect sense (?)

I think Lilly is done with international soccer. Coming back from pregnancy at 36 is much different that coming back while younger, like other players have. Also, what would she come back for, the WWC2011? When she's 39? This is a good way for her to retire from the WNT.
Thanks for all you've done for US soccer, Kristine (2 World Cups, 2 Olympic Golds, and especially for heading the ball off the line in 1999), and best wishes on motherhood and the rest of life.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 8, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

How can we sign Franco Niell? Wiki says he already plays for DCU.

Posted by: lol | January 8, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey Goff - did you catch the interview with Greg Ryan on FSC last night? Greg pretty much lambasted Hope - said she blew off a team meal at the WC, spent time with her boyfriend and family rather than the team, and was completely outplayed by BS in a practice before the Brazil game. Said he called his coaches to watch the practice session to confirm his belief and then said Abby, Lilly, all agreed with his decision. Said Hope needs to grow up and learn from the experience. Really threw her under the bus.

Posted by: Hmmm | January 8, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

* Daily Breeze says that the Four Nations Roster will include Amy Rodriguez (USC) and Lauren Cheney (UCLA).

* Full roster to be announced today.

* Pia will stick with the 4-3-3 for now, which would seem somewhat contrary to earlier comments stressing possession and dictating tempo. But she sounds leery of entirely upsetting the apple cart in one shot. "It's important to find the right balance," said Sundhage, explaining why she will persist with a 4-3-3 formation. "You can't make too much of a change."

*She retains keeper coach, who as far as I know has not weighed in on Solo-gate (good for him), and brings on staff the head PSU coach Erica Walsh.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, I-270, Exit 1. I think motherhood will significantly alter Lilly's soccer outlook. Also, I think she'll reconsider her use of the word "experience" to describe motherhood. Playing in the World Cup is an experience. Giving birth to, and raising, a child is something more than that.

But what a phenomonal athlete and soccer player Lilly has been. If she writes a book on how she did it, I'm buyin'.

As for the Patriots, I can't call myself a fan. But they play some awesome American football. Now that my teams (Steelers, Skins) are out, I'm looking forward to watching New England play. I consider them the Arsenal of the NFL -- love 'em or hate 'em, you have to respect their ability to play.

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 8, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Ryan has no class. None. Zero. People should ignore him and what he says.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

A couple Franco Niell highlights found on youtube...

Posted by: DCUMD | January 8, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

In defense of Ohio State fans, aren't all fans that are not a fan of your own team annoying?

Posted by: GLC134 | January 8, 2008 09:26 AM


Posted by: sitruc | January 8, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Trust me, it is worse to be a Philly fan...

So, Bruce Arena to Scotland?!? :)

Posted by: RK | January 8, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Would have preferred Croatia or Greece as an opponent for the USMNT.

Posted by: 12th man | January 8, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes, by all means, Arena to Scotland.

(insert Cheshire grin)

Posted by: England Fan | January 8, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Steve: What's going on here? 10 minutes go I read the Soccer Insider post that Eddie Pope is now player relations director (or something like that) for the MLS PLayers Union. Now that post has disappeared. Does have to conserve electrons to cover Gibbs resignation? Was it taken down by the MLS Secret Police? Did Eddie have a Veronesque change of heart?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 8, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

and now it's back (posted 11:00 AM). Rod Serling anyone?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 8, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Technical malfunction. Remain calm. All is well. Thread restored.

Posted by: Goff | January 8, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

*She retains keeper coach, who as far as I know has not weighed in on Solo-gate (good for him), and brings on staff the head PSU coach Erica Walsh.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 10:04 AM

Isn't a second college head coach, FSU's Krikorian, also on board? I suppose this configuration will last through the Olympics, which wraps up at about the same time that the college game gets going again. What about the long term?

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

If the federation wanted Pia to make long term decisions, they should have given her a long term contract. Right now I'm guessing she's concentrating on Germany and Brazil in 2008, and the rest will play out accordingly. Maybe Marta will get fat at all of her award banquets.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

In defense of Ohio State fans, aren't all fans that are not a fan of your own team annoying?

Posted by: GLC134 | January 8, 2008 09:26 AM

Uhhh, no.

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | January 8, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

With Gibbs retiring, who will DC United hire as coach to replace him?

Posted by: ...... | January 8, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Hope Solo is the one with no class. The way she trashed a world-class teammate was despicable. And I haven't heard her dispute what Ryan said about her behavior. She does have a chance to redeem herself however. The key comment from Ryan was that they would not have beaten Brazil even with Solo in goal -- and THAT'S why he got fired! His job was to win the WWC and, his record notwithstanding, they way they were playing it wasn't going to happen. Although with a different ref it would not have been such a blowout.

Hats off to Lilly for a great career though I think she left retirement a little late.

Posted by: HS | January 8, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Huge disagreement here, HS. I have a slight problem with Hope's comments, but Ryan is a first class tool, AND a poor coach.

Posted by: JkR | January 8, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

How do you spell schadenfreude?

Posted by: LloydCarr | January 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I would not equate some ill-considered remarks in the heat of the moment with calculated remarks in print and TV interviews months after the fact.

And as to why Ryan got fired, it was not just the result per se. DiCicco was in no real danger of being fired after his team finished third in 1995. Nor was Heinrichs in much danger after coming in second in the 2000 Olympics, and she was under only moderate pressure after the third-place finish at the 2003 WWC. Ironically, she was finally forced out after the 2004 Olympics, where the USA won the gold medal. With both Heinrichs and Ryan, it was a matter of what could be expected from them going forward. In Ryan's case, he went out of his way to identify himself with the kick-and-run game, so he could hardly have been a credible exponent of a different system.

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

In defense of Ohio State fans, aren't all fans that are not a fan of your own team annoying?

Posted by: GLC134 | January 8, 2008 09:26 AM

Michigan fan's come to mind

Posted by: Les Miles | January 8, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

* My prediction and hope is Lilly is back for the league start in 2009. International is likely over, but she could be huge for the league.

* "I haven't heard [Solo] dispute what Ryan said about her behavior." If she has any sense at all, you will not hear her (or anyone else who still represents the WNT) respond to Ryan. Solo and Scurry are going to China, gotta think that Solo is starting and the whole thing is done with. If there's an upside to the whole thing going forward, it is Solo will have to sky high for a Brazil re-match.

* The 4 Nations roster is out.

I am hoping and hereby lobbying for a separate thread on this by Mr. Goff; IMO there are some interesting things going on.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

umm, it really sucks to not only suffer the heartbreak of being a Crew fan in the reign of the FatMan, but also to watch all 4 of the games mentioned by Goff and to feel the downward spiral of your soul as every national championship game OSU makes it to, they blow. Especially when they blow a lead and go on to lose.

Posted by: crew fan | January 8, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

IMO there are some interesting things going on.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 01:43 PM

Indeed! Four uncapped players and three more in single digits; in other words, one-third of the squad. (This includes some players with local HS/youth and college connections.) If anything, this may be tilting too far toward youth, given that only people who are within seven months of being able to perform at the highest level should be of interest to Sundhage now.

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Why settle for Les when you can get Rich quick?

Posted by: MichiganFan | January 8, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

*Younger for older, smaller for taller. Younger, smaller not always faster but one take is Pia is looking for speed before size, though always nice to have both together.

*College player DiMartino (5'2") was first in the beep test in camp, which is impressive among that group. I still think it will be hard to match (for example) the Koreans' work rate with only 3 mids, but a next level of fitness -- if that's possible -- can't hurt.

*Krieger and Heath are listed as defenders although to my knowledge they've always been listed and played as mids on youth national teams. Two Ds are out (Markgraf and Mitts), but only one young defender is taken. Not sure what that means. One take is Pia is looking for more attack out of the back? Convention would suggest 4-4-2 over 4-3-3 in that case, no? Its all tea leaves, but still more interesting to me than speculating on who the Red Bulls next equipment manager will be.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

With regard your comment "while the Revs can only boast a U.S. Open Cup trophy":
After losing four cup finals (3 MLS Cup, 1 US Open Cup), winning the 2007 US Open Cup was a major achievement for the Revs. Not only was it their first trophy, but they proved to themselves, their fans, and the press that they could "win the big one". At the time, winning the USOC was a joyous occasion for Revs fans. Unfortunately, that memory faded quickly after another MLS Cup final loss in November.

Posted by: Dave The Rave | January 8, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

As if the Ohio State defeats in title games are not painful enough, to be compared to the Revs.... talk about salt in the wounds!

Posted by: Sean T | January 8, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Krieger and Heath are listed as defenders...

Actually, they're listed as mids in one place and defenders in another, all in the same press release.

Two Ds are out (Markgraf and Mitts)...

Three, if you count Ellertson.

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

5 Ds if you add Dalmy and Jobson. I meant that M&M were in camp in December, so hopefully they recover and are in the mix for the Olympics.

Another question -- who wears the armband now? Is Wambach a no-brainer? Whitehill with 123 caps?

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Jobson had long since announced her retirement, and Ellertson, Markgraf, and Mitts are on the DL. Dalmy is the only one of the bunch who is healthy, non-pregnant, and non-retired, and whose absence can be taken as a clue to Sundhage's thinking, right?

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

22201, are we having a dia-blog? What are Goff's thoughts, I ask? Or is he off lamenting the second ending of the Joe Gibbs era?

All I was trying to say is, given the defenders that are not going to China for one reason or another, I would think she'd take more "true" defenders for a look see. That she didn't may mean something about what she's trying to accomplish, then again it may not.

Posted by: WNT fan | January 8, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I now notice that in addition to Dalmy, she left behind Dowling, LePeilbet, and Trotter. LePeilbet is the only one in the bunch who has significant caps, so perhaps her omission is significant, unless she has some sort of injury.

Posted by: 22201 | January 8, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

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