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Friday kickaround

*The Post's build-up to the World Cup continues with a front-page dispatch from Cameroon. In the coming weeks, our foreign service will file additional stories from countries sending a team to the Cup.

*FIFA computer failure halts ticket sales in South Africa.

*France is named host of the 2016 European Championship.

*South Africa continued its successful pre-Cup run with a 2-1 victory over Colombia, which was robbed at the team hotel.

*A popular local youth coach is cleared of wrongdoing.

*The Chicago Fire and FC Dallas played to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park. Was Brian McBride offside on the equalizer? And how did Mike Banner miss this chance?

*We're awaiting official word on D.C. United midfielder Brandon Barklage, who underwent an MRI exam for a suspected torn ACL in his left knee.

*Ronaldinho will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field this afternoon.

By Steve Goff  |  May 28, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Africa , Brazil , D.C. United , European Championship , FIFA , France , MLS , South Africa , Youth soccer  | Tags: Brian McBride, Cameroon, D.C. United, European Championship, MLS, Ronaldinho, South Africa, World Cup, Wrigley Field  
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Next: Videos: U.S. World Cup player highlights

Comments

I wonder if Ronaldinho had to google "first pitch" to find out what it was they were asking him to do.

Posted by: troy6 | May 28, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Ronaldinho is not going to sing "take me out to the ballgame" is he? That could be classic!

Posted by: harkes4ever | May 28, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely mind-boggling case there in Fairfax! Makes me furious! I feel for the guy and his family - hope he's able to recover some of what he lost.

Posted by: nairbsod | May 28, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why it's "throw *out* the first pitch" and not "throw the first pitch"? The term "throw out" of course did apply back when William Howard Taft or whoever would toss a baseball from the stands to a catcher down on the field.

But nowadays (who started doing it this way, was it Reagan?) the dignitary actually goes out to the mound and *throws* the ceremonial pitch. It's not "thrown out" it is just thrown.

Back to soccer -- MLS has got to do something about the quality of the featured games and of course its games in general. The FCD-CHI game last night was just unwatchably bad. No fluidity, no creativity (with the exceptions of occasional flashes from Nyarko) and just a lot of duffing in the midfield and muffing in the attacking zones. Horrible.

I really get tired of MLS stop-motion style of play -- you know, where player A makes a pass to player B, who STOPS and waits for his marker to go make a phone call. The defenders usually keep defending, though, so player B passes to player C who STOPS to see if his defender will fall asleep, which they usually don't. Player C then gets closed down by a couple more defenders, so he promptly kicks the ball out of bounds. Horrible. I'm sick of it.

Nobody expects MLS to be the EPL, and of course some MLS games are enjoyable, but far too many are like the one last night which was flat-out wretched to watch. How is featuring so much plain-old bad soccer going to attract new audience? This of course was made worse by Kyle "The MLS" Martino who makes Marcelo Balboa sound like John Madden in comparison.

Posted by: Ron16 | May 28, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

1. We will now learn how to perform the bicycle pitch.

2. Cameroon article: "These days, though, attendance at local matches has dwindled from the previous decade, players and coaches said. The spread of satellite television, by which worldwide matches are shown around the clock, is one reason."

Eurosnobs everywhere.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 28, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

1. We will now learn how to perform the bicycle pitch.
Posted by: OWNTF
================

I hope he juggles the ball a few times before the bicycle pitch.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 28, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Is a stepover move as part of one's windup considered a balk?

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | May 28, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Ron16 - NBA is easily the best professional BBall league in the world, it has bad regular season games on national TV sometimes, some would say often (I am a BBall fan). There are some truly awful EPL, La Liga, and Bundesliga games on TV. How about a mid-table battle from Italy?... very often unwatchable. Beyond that, I don't share your view of last night's game, which I saw most of before turning my attention to a very good NBA playoff game. It wasn't a great game, but didn't look like the picture you paint either, at least not to me. I'll agree with you on Martino, however, he was not ready for prime time.

Posted by: assocfoot | May 28, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ronnie should wind up, then toss the ball on the ground and dribble it in with a few step-overs then nutmeg the catcher. That would be classic!

Posted by: peridigm | May 28, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

From the stories I hear of South Africa I will be completely STUNNED if there are not more incidents of crime much worse than petty robbery of a team. The tourists are going to be in the mix with the locals and that is where we will find out just how out or in control South Africa really is.

I think the country is completely NOT READY to hold this event once everyone truly arrives. We will have missing people's reports and theft like mad. Sorry to drop my worries here but how can FIFA not have seen this coming?

Then again, I will pray with all my might that everyone has a safe trip and has fun for what it is worth.

Posted by: elfelixg | May 28, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I like the US teams' shoes as well - who knew that Nike made a light brown cap toe oxford?

Posted by: soccerman | May 28, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I really feel for Mr. Sean Lanigan and his family. Even when a man is cleared of wrongdoing with this type of charge, how do you really get your reputation back? A dark cloud is going to probably hang over you and there will be some sorts of whispers or people who won't give you the benefit of the doubt when the subject comes up.

Talk about a "nightmare'. When some of the jurors say that the case was weak from jump street and that it should have never been pursued--that speaks volumes.

I also hope that the girl gets some professional help. It sounds like some is seriously needed.

Posted by: yankiboy | May 28, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

They are called Air Jefferson. No wonder William J. Clinton likes them.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 28, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The assistant referees wrongly allowed McBride's goal and disallowed Shea's, which translated to a 1-1 halftime score vice 2-0 in favor of Dallas who were playing on the road. In the words of the VP, that's a BFD! The greater problem was the referee's refusal to call fouls in the run of play. I've seen rugby matches with less violence! I know we pride ourselves on being a "physical" league, but at this rate the players will need to carry pepper spray.

Posted by: dcarmy | May 28, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know where the Screaming Eagles and other DCU types will be trying to park and tailgate in Philly tomorrow? My emails to the roadtrip dude at SE keep failing. Would love to set up shop near some folks with some Black and Red ties!

Posted by: DadRyan | May 28, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

They are called Air Jefferson. No wonder William J. Clinton likes them.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 28, 2010 10:07 AM |

maybe the best shoe name ever. way better than "Superfly II".

Posted by: VTUnited | May 28, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

South Africa keeps on making FIFA look foolish for choosing such a broken location.

It's not FIFA's only bone head move for sure, but for its and the world's most prestigious tournament, you'd think FIFA would pick countries that can actually host the event properly. Countries with a strong EXISTING infrastructure which may build a few upgrades for the event. Not a place that needed a full blown overhaul.

Posted by: Stabaek_Kofie | May 28, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The only thing that really bothers me about the World Cup being held in South Africa is the whining coming from the US and Europe about it.

Posted by: csd1 | May 28, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Except for Shep Messing, the TV commentators doing the MLS games are the worst in sports...they talk constantly and have nothing to say...when the game should mostly speak for itself, these ex-footballers and JP Dellacamera's/Harkes' et al suffocate the game with their recipe of overcooked borscht...to hear them motormouth through the match is blasphemy to the game.

Posted by: juke2 | May 28, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I thoroughly enjoyed the game last night, until the last twenty minutes or so, when Dallas decided they were going to bunker down and play for the point and Chicago was unable to break them down. Having a rooting interest usually makes games easier to watch, or maybe my standards are just too low, but I thought there was a fair amount of action. I have to admit we deserved to lose at least 2-0. In addition to the McBride offside, Dallas had two goals called back, one of which was clearly onside, and the other which was very close.

Posted by: BooThisMan | May 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely agree on the quality of MLS and DCU TV commentators. Mostly we want them to just name the players who are in the action, we can see for ourselves what happened: like "the ball ping-ponged" (useful right?) etc.
Also, what type of foul was it? If they have any idea.
Give us some UK, or South American voices, who know the game.

Posted by: lemovs1 | May 28, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I bet Ronaldhino has no idea what they are asking him to do. I need to see this.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 28, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

So any chance DCU is the rumored MLS club competing with Atlas for Boca Juniors' Sebastian Battaglia? Someone has apparently put DP money on the table.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | May 28, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

@DadRyan: No Screaming Eagles tailgate tomorrow, due to most of 'em being on the bus to Philly for the USA-Turkey game. If you wanna tailgate, BYO or mooch off the Barra Brava.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | May 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"The only thing that really bothers me about the World Cup being held in South Africa is the whining coming from the US and Europe about it."

Posted by: csd1
-------------------------------------------
So you must be equally pleased with the fact that so many people living in the US have invested a lot of money into travelling there.

Ca$h speaks louder than words, right?

Posted by: yankiboy | May 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@DadRyan -- sorry, didn't read your e-mail all the way through. Dunno where they'll be tailgating at the Linc. I'm taking the bus.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | May 28, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Keep an eye on that little witch! I am sure she will cause somebody some more trouble before she reaches the age of adulthood. A bully to boot? She's trouble! Her parents need some therapy too, to deal with this little monster they have created!

Posted by: alan19 | May 28, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Alan, you are kidding, right?

She is a kid. A kid who apparently has a lot of issues and needs a lot of help. Serious help. But she is a kid.

After this, (if they didn't need it before) I don't doubt that her parents will need some professional help, as well.

What a tragic mess.

Posted by: yankiboy | May 28, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

the Post still has a foreign service? Viva journalism!

Posted by: diego_r | May 28, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

alan19 . . . spoken by someone who surely has never (1) had children; or (2) coached youth soccer . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | May 28, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

What I am saying is that when a child like that decides to blow her top, there is always seems to be collateral damage...Could you even imagine that a child could scheme up a plan like this? I want to shield my own kids from any kids like this, whom I see present potential harm. I hope Mr. Landigan can get his life back!

Posted by: alan19 | May 28, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that the MNT will return to this area Saturday night and fly out of a local airport (Dulles? BWI?) on Sunday. Will there be any sort of sendoff?

Posted by: universityandpark | May 28, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Alan19

If you're looking to pass blame, then I suggest redirecting your focus to those adults in the "system" (parents, investigators, prosecutors, judges, etc.) that allowed an apparently decent man to spend days in jail and go through the expense of criminal trial based on the unsupported and apparently unbelievable allegations of a single minor. The fact that a minor - in a fit of fear - would act in such a manner is (sadly) not too surprising. The fact that supposedly responsible adults let it go so far should not be accepted in a decent society.

Posted by: carnack | May 28, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. I personally pass the blame onto the parents. But I dont simply dismiss this as a scared child in a fit of fear. She could have said he pushed her, or threatened her, or any other "your word against my word" lie. But rather she used an allegation of sexual misconduct against him. Something that she knew would be hard to challenge and something that would damage his credibility. That's why I find this so shocking. This child is clearly sick...

Posted by: alan19 | May 28, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

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