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Morning Kickaround

*Here's where we stand in MLS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Thursday: Chicago at Columbus, 7:30 ET (ESPN2)

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Saturday: New York at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 (FSC, HDNet)

Video of the Red Bulls' 3-0 stunner at Houston yesterday is here.

*The NCAA women's tournament will be unveiled at 8 p.m. tonight on ESPNews and the NCAA Web site: 30 automatic berths and 34 at-large selections.

*Soccer America men's top 10: 1. Wake Forest (17-0-1); 2. Creighton (12-1-2); 3. Akron (15-1-3); 4. Maryland (15-3-0); 5. St. John's (15-1-3); 6. Loyola, Md. (17-0-1); 7. Tulsa (13-3-2); 8. South Florida (12-4-2); 9. Notre Dame (12-5-2); 10. Illinois-Chicago (12-2-4).

*Soccer America women's top 10: 1. Notre Dame (21-0-0); 2. UCLA (18-0-2); 3. Stanford (18-1-1); 4. Portland (16-1-0); 5. North Carolina (19-1-2); 6. Florida State (14-2-3); 7. Oklahoma State (17-1-3); 8. Florida (17-3-1); 9. Southern Cal (16-4-1); 10. Missouri (16-4-1).

By Steve Goff  |  November 10, 2008; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  College Soccer , MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: MLS, USA, NCAA
Next: Americans Abroad

Comments

10 votes... I'm with the 70% at the moment. I think Chicago is going to win the whole thing.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 10, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm happy to see that we have some new blood other then Houston and NE headed into the Conference Finals, but no matter who makes it to MLS Cup, I think it's going to be a pretty boring MLS Cup.

Posted by: beltwayrob | November 10, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Oklahoma State and successful women's soccer. A great example of how the sport has grown in this country.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 10, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

NO RED BULL!

The 7th and 8th teams in don't deserve the title. Call it after the Columbus vs Chicago match!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 10, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Go RSL. You got the goalie for it. The Red Bulls did a great job yesterday. Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth to LA if they got it?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | November 10, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Oklahoma State and successful women's soccer. A great example of how the sport has grown in this country.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 10, 2008 9:49 AM
__________________________________________

That isn't the half of it. Expect to see the Big 12 extremely well represented (Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado, Kansas).

Posted by: universityandpark | November 10, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

A bit of silver lining from the HOU-NYRB match: 30,000-plus attendance.

Posted by: Juan-John | November 10, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Also, potential Osorio sexiness if it's a Chi-NY Cup matchup.

Posted by: Logan_Circle | November 10, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Dude, Dane Richards is amazing. So fast. Not to mention that he's been growing in his skills as well. That ball to Wolyneic was perfect.

Posted by: Matte | November 10, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Good attendance in Houston. Too bad it was on gridball lines.

The NCAA tourney for the men is already over. Wake wins it going away.

The womens' side is more interesting -- any one of the top 6 is capable of winning it.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 10, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Someone in another thread said Houston's backline had slowed and thus had trouble with Dane Richards. I don't think there is a backline in MLS who does not have a whole lot of trouble with Dane Richard's pace.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 10, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

How many SEC or Big 12 schools have men's soccer, joedoc?

Posted by: sitruc | November 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

If you're going to prognosticate about the NCAA women's tournament, you have to taken into account who's going to be in Chile:

http://www.ussoccer.com/articles/viewArticle.jsp_10682371.html

And that's just the Yanks. A few teams will presumably be losing Canadian players, too.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 10, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

That really was the Dane Richards and Danny Cepero show, huh? Where did this Cepero come from? Reminds me a bit of when another player had to sub in late season in Giants Stadium. The Jints rode Jeff Hostetler's magic all the way to the title.

That said, I think this game came down to one call. On the little mlsnet player, it doesn't look to me like that should have been called a handball against Clark. No intention to play the ball with his hand -- he was running, with his arms pumping. At least, that's how it looks when he's about a millimeter wide on my computer. After that, it's obvious that Houston was pressing too hard, failing to put away numerous opportunities which they might have converted, if they were down only one goal.

I think any of the four teams could wind up in the final, but the champion will come out of the Eastern semifinal.

Posted by: fischy | November 10, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd see a RSL vs. NY Western Conference final. Anyway, since I have grudges against the other three teams, I'm rooting for RSL...

Posted by: revsfanindc | November 10, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Where did this Cepero come from?
_________________________________________

From the storied Harrisburg City Islanders, I believe.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 10, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Fire the coach Shoen!!!
DCUnited deserves to have better coaching staff; keeping coaching staff = lossing fans.

Posted by: OrlandoGator | November 10, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

How many SEC or Big 12 schools have men's soccer, joedoc?

Posted by: sitruc | November 10, 2008 10:52 AM

Rhetorical question? If not, I have no idea. For the Big 12, I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess 12. (There are 12 schools in the Big 12, right?)

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 10, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Video of the Red Bulls' 3-0 stunner at Houston yesterday is here."

I still can't read that without throwing up in my mouth a bit.

Posted by: Section117 | November 10, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Rhetorical question? If not, I have no idea. For the Big 12, I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess 12. (There are 12 schools in the Big 12, right?)

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 10, 2008 11:22 AM

-------------------------------------

Sadly, that's not such an obvious answer. A fair number of men's soccer programs at smaller Division I schools fell victim to Title IX cuts (for example, my alma mater Miami of Ohio cut the men's program so that we could keep pumping money into our oh-so-stellar football team).

Posted by: Kenobi | November 10, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

A fair number of men's soccer programs at smaller Division I schools fell victim to Title IX cuts...
__________________________________________

A lot of Division I schools, both large and small, have never had varsity men's programs. It is quite possible that such programs would have been created in the past 30 years in the absence of Title IX. For instance, the oxymoronically named Big 10 has 11 women's teams, virtually all of which are under three decades old, but only seven men's teams, virtually all of which are over three decades old.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 10, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Yeah - there are only seven Big 10 men's soccer teams. Indiana's main rival in most sports (Purdue) doesn't have a team.

Posted by: combedge | November 10, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

re:

Fire the coach Shoen!!!
DCUnited deserves to have better coaching staff; keeping coaching staff = lossing fans.

Posted by: OrlandoGator | November 10, 2008 11:20 AM

--------------------------------

Your recommendation comes too late. Soehn has already been retained for another year.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 10, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I could be wrong, but I don't think any Big 12 schools have men's soccer and only two SEC schools have men's soccer and Vanderbilt cut their program a couple years ago (they competed in CUSA). I'm only bringing that up since I think it's important to be cautious when talking about growth and support of soccer in that avenue. Those women's programs exist mainly to offset football for Title IX purposes.

Posted by: sitruc | November 10, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The Hou-NYRB game was a clear case of 'the team that scored the most won' not 'the better team won'. Houston looked snakebit, but full props to Cepero and Richards - they had a stellar game.

I agree with VirginiaBlueBlood: the real MLS Cup game will be Chicago vs Columbus.

Posted by: wichne | November 10, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As soon as I hit submit I remembered more stuff I wanted to include in my comment, but it seems in the couple minutes I hadn't hit refresh the subject was covered. Thanks, universityandpark.

Posted by: sitruc | November 10, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I looked up the Big 12 South -- Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech -- and only the Sooners and Aggies have men's varsity soccer.

I suspect though that the Big 12 North -- Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, K-State, Missouri and Nebraska -- will be different.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | November 10, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought that's where you were going, Sitruc. Title IX is a classic case of the dynamics of legislation designed to influence behavior. Unintended consequences and all (not to mention unfunded mandates from Washington).

But back to my main point: remember when it was Carolina, maybe Portland, Florida and Notre Dame -- and that was it in women's college soccer? Now there are enough good players for those schools to remain strong, PLUS make schools like Oklahoma State competitive.

Does that make Title IX a success? I don't know enough about it to give an educated answer. But I would say it reflects the growth in girls youth soccer.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 10, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected -- NONE of the Big 12 North schools have men's soccer.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | November 10, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be signs, however appalling to NY haters, that this Red Bull team's season is one with a glisten of destiny.

How else to explain everything that has happened to them and STILL they find themselves one game away from the final? Years of seasonal failures and majestic collapses - check. Random player selections and formations by a coach who would think himself out of the game before it was even played - check. Yearly roster upheavals, and this year, even a mid-season one - check. Losing your starting defensive mid and your most valuable all around field player given his ability to play every position - check. Starting goalie and best defender making MLS history and banished a record 10 games for substance abuse - check. In the stands, our most dedicated supporters survive what was the closest I've ever experienced to a bloody full scale soccer riot in this country during halftime vs the Galaxy, the end result of years of disdain from Giants Stadium security and years of resentment and anger on the suppporter's side. WTF?! What next?!

How about thru it all, having the best professional in MLS in Angel lead by example, to start? How about recovering from the drug suspensions by replacing their goalie and defender with 2 players making a combined $25,800, and 0 years experience and having them perform exceptionally? In addition, replacing their two high priced imports (Pietravallo and Rojas) with Sassano and Ubiparipović, making a combined $50,000 and doing just as well? How about a coach actually shelving his pride/ego and finally admitting he was wrong by bravely changing his tactics when it mattered most? How about the first sign that the planets might be aligning for us 3 weeks ago when our goalie scored, and the second sign yesterday, beating the best team in MLS convincingly, away, by a THREE goal shutout, and shocking everyone, maybe even themselves... Unreal.

It's one win, and of course we're overreacting over in NY because we don't actually know what winning feels like... nor do we know how to behave in this situation, we humbly acknowledge that much as well. However, there's only two things that matters to us now:

1. Whatever happens this Saturday, for this season, our squad, to the man, are already heroes in our eyes for what they've managed to accomplish so far given what the adversity they have had to endure. And 2, Can you hear DC sing?? Noooo, noooo...! ;)

Posted by: VivaMetro | November 10, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Resolved: Men's College Soccer is a blue state sport

Pro: # of Division 1 Men's Programs in states won by McCain - 32

# of Division 1 Men's Programs in states won by Obama - 172

Discuss...

Posted by: IamAM | November 10, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Jussi Jääskeläinen -- His flurry of saves against Hull City were featured by ESPN, as "footy" was number one on the Top Plays list.

Posted by: fischy | November 10, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"But back to my main point: remember when it was Carolina, maybe Portland, Florida and Notre Dame --"

Replace Florida with Santa Clara (although they've since fallen - no Keira Knightely?). Florida won it all in 98, but I (as a Gator) would be reluctant to put the whole team among the 1990's elite. We did produce a few good women, though.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 10, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I really hope the Red Bulls don't win it all. Their 4,200 fans deserve better -- getting there next year would be OK -- maybe an Eastern Conf. final sellout against DC United...

BTW -- has MLS awarded next year's final yet?

Posted by: fischy | November 10, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

In the Southeastern Conference, only two of the 12 members have varsity men's soccer: Kentucky and South Carolina.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | November 10, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

VivaMetro. I was with you until the last line. Hubris is a fickle mistress.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 10, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure they're not overreacting in NY. In fact, I'm pretty sure "they" haven't even noticed in NY.

Posted by: fischy | November 10, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Replace Florida with Santa Clara (although they've since fallen - no Keira Knightely?). Florida won it all in 98, but I (as a Gator) would be reluctant to put the whole team among the 1990's elite. We did produce a few good women, though.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 10, 2008 12:33 PM
__________________________________________

How about the 1980s, when the CAA (i.e., George Mason and William and Mary) routinely sent two teams to a 12-team tournament, whereas now there are typically two CAA teams in a 64-team field?

Posted by: universityandpark | November 10, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

From a business/tv ratings perspective, I suspect Garber and co. are wishing for a New York - Chicago final. That would be matchup most likely to attract a decent number of viewers. Col - Salt Lake, though it might feature some pretty good soccer, just might be the first ever MLS Cup game to garner a 0.0 Nielsen rating. I exaggerate about the 0.0, but ratings could be very low for that matchup.

Related MLS Cup question - why does HDC get so many MLS Cups? It seems like every other one is played there.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 10, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

After reading the NY Times and seeing that not only did they not bother to send a reporter to cover the Red Bulls match but that they ended up using an AP article in today’s paper it just reminds me how fortunate we are to have you and the Washington Post.

It would be interesting to hear your views on your counterparts in the other markets.

Do you ever talk with people like Fallas at the Houston Chronicle or Arroyave at the Chicago Tribune? Anyone you greatly respect or greatly disrespect?

Posted by: Southeasterner | November 10, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Re: I stand corrected -- NONE of the Big 12 North schools have men's soccer.
Posted by: SportzNut21 | November 10, 2008 12:13 PM
-------------------------------
No surprise there. A few years ago the Nebraska A.D. was asked when are they going to add men's varsity soccer to the program? His reply: "When we drop football" !!

Posted by: bs2004 | November 10, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Saturday: New York at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 (FSC, HDNet)

It seems that neither ESPN nor Telefutura will cover this one? Shame.

Posted by: nnelson1 | November 10, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

A few years ago the Nebraska A.D. was asked when are they going to add men's varsity soccer to the program? His reply: "When we drop football" !!

Posted by: bs2004 | November 10, 2008 1:28 PM

If it was Tom Osborne, that response wouldn't surprise me.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | November 10, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

To SportzHut21
"If it was Tom Osborne, that response wouldn't surprise me."
---------------
That quote is not attributed to the current A.D. Tom Osborne but to a previous occupant of that office.


Posted by: bs2004 | November 10, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"From the storied Harrisburg City Islanders, I believe."

Not really. Cepero is a New Yorker who was drafted by NY (4th round... of the SUPPLEMENTAL draft), and was loaned to Harrisburg by RBNY. So if anywhere, he came from Penn, where he went to college.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | November 10, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

women's bracket up. Good for VA schools. UVA, VTech, JMU, William and Mary and Radford all made it. UVA is 2 in their bracket - looks like a decent draw. JMU has to play George first round; Tech at Brigham Young which should be tough.

Posted by: Beckster1 | November 10, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

After the early struggles and injuries the entire season, I'm glad VT made the tournament for what I believe is just the second time. I think the last time they made the tournament was their first year in the ACC, 2004. That was a good defensive team with a great keeper and an outstanding freshman forward. Unfortunately for Tech fans, injuries and attrition tore that team apart.

Posted by: sitruc | November 11, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

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