Written by Will Parchman

Let’s set the scene.

Servite met up with Loyola this week in Southern California’s CIF Division 1 semifinal, and Servite ended up winning the match 3-2 to advance to the final against El Toro. Junior forward and leading scorer Garrett Amador put in what turned out to be the match-winner with this insane looping 30-yard half volley.

Everything about Amador’s golazo is bananas. How he caught it, where he caught it, the defensive pressure draped off his left shoulder, the placement. Perfect. And even better, this would’ve beaten a world class keeper. The surprise in it assures that.

The goal was Amador’s 22nd of the season, and he’s got another year to play. You might not remember Amador’s name, but just last year he was on the assisting end of the fastest goal in program history just eight seconds into a match. Now he has its golazo brother.

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Written by Will Parchman

mls

In his 1917 book ‘The Life of John Caldwell Calhoun,’ author and historian William Montgomery Meigs wrote of Calhoun: “(He was) a high-strung man of ultra intellectual cast.” A smart orator, Calhoun was strong-minded and apt to curry favor with those who took to his particular brand of rabble-rousing. He was persuasive and driven, rising from the House of Representatives to the Senate to posts as U.S. Secretary of War and Secretary of State. From 1825-1832, he was the seventh Vice President.

Perhaps Calhoun’s most prominent stance, the one that dogs him into legend, was his de facto leadership of the War Hawk Party. After he was elected to Congress for the first time in 1810, Calhoun immediately set out the war drums and began banging. Bulldozing the nuance of the Napoleonic situation in Europe and alienating an enormous chunk of the liberal northeast, Calhoun and his followers agitated for war with Britain.

Outrages over international slights and naval impressment fueled Calhoun’s meaty and endless rhetorical diatribes. There would be no compromise.

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Written by Will Parchman

Klopas_vsFCDallas

The Montreal Impact might’ve notched the biggest non-win in club history on Tuesday night. With the specter of a work stoppage looming like a shroud over the match, the Impact faced off against Pachuca in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League match. A spot in the semifinals loomed, a bastion MLS teams haven’t widely visited. Further, the Montreal Impact, the Worst Team In MLS Not Named Chivas USA in 2014, was the league’s last hope.

Right. This wasn’t supposed to turn out well.

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Written by Will Parchman

david-villa-nycfc

NYCFC is apparently rolling out some music video called “New York City all the way,” which is as hilarious as it sounds. And David Villa is in it, sort of pantomiming every fifth word and shifting from one leg to another like he’s trying to shake a crab out of his pants.

NYCFC has been accused of being obtuse where its fans are concerned. From labeling Frank Lampard’s stint at City a loan when he was a City player all along, to a laundry list of restrictions on fans at games that includes “old school hollow cones” in lieu of megaphones, NYCFC’s front office has had a rough offseason.

But now, the chance to redeem themselves via song is here. And here it is! It’s really bad!

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Written by Will Parchman

lagger

It’s a simple question, but the answer that follows is endlessly complicated.

How much experience is enough to take over the role of an MLS team’s personnel czar? And does the position require MLS playing experience?

Every team has its own answer. Some reword the question entirely. Of the league’s 20 current teams, 12 employ what they call a “technical director.” Five more list their front office personnel gurus as general managers, while the Dynamo’s Matt Jordan (GM/Vice President) and Garth Lagerwey (GM/President) have their own unique handles. The Vancouver Whitecaps, meanwhile, don’t have a GM or a TD. Greg Anderson’s “VP of Soccer Operations” handle is as close as it gets, but the ‘Caps also employ a president and a “Head of Analysis & Scouting.”

For most of these clubs, the distinction between GM and TD is academic. Almost like choosing to call it a field or a pitch. One has traditionally American undertones, the other does not (and in fact, NYCFC and Orlando City both refer to “sporting directors” instead of “technical directors,” but we’ve given them the benefit of the doubt).

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Meanwhile, in Lille

Written by Will Parchman

One-touch soccer is the best soccer. Lille, it would seem, agrees with the premise.

Lille are currently scuffling through a forgettable season in Ligue 1. Mired in the thick midsection of the table, Lille sits in ninth place 19 points adrift of league leaders Lyon. Since winning the league double in 2011 and qualifying for the 2012-13 Champions League, it’s fair to say the post-Rudi Garcia era’s been a bit of a disappointment so far.

But this was not. Lille managed to pull off a sweeping 2-1 upset of Lyon over the weekend, and this lovely bit of one-touch madness was the equalizer. What you’re seeing here is five consecutive one-touch passes in and around the cramped spaces of the area. This is not easy, which makes it all the better.

Lille may not qualify for Europe next season, but they’ll always have this.

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Written by Will Parchman

telli

Mario Balotelli is unhappy again.

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League knockouts last week with a thudding loss to Besiktas in Turkey. Dejan Lovren rifled the decisive penalty over the bar, and the Reds went marching home, hat in hand.

In the midst of the fray, Mario Balotelli resembled a giraffe on stilts. Unsure of himself and on a booking, Brendan Rodgers opted to sub off Balotelli in the second half. Consider that Balotelli is maybe the best penalty taker in world soccer right now (and that he made the winner against Besiktas in the first leg), and you can imagine Balotelli’s disdain as he clopped off the field. This, in fact, is what the Italian thought of the decision.

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Written by Will Parchman

snow

Snow in Texas? Yes.

In fact, a lot of snow in Texas. A fangs-out winter storm hit Fort Worth on Friday just as the door opened for the anticipated ECNL Texas event. Plunging temperatures and frosted fields didn’t stop the event from launching, however, which made for hazardous on-field conditions during the showcase’s initial spate of games.

You feel for the attendees. These occasional showcase events are meant as a primary recruiting tool for college programs, and players can turn a positive performance spread over a weekend into a scholarship offer. With this much snow on the ground, those hopes were dampened considerably on Friday.

In any case, fun pictures. Here’s a selection of some of the best.

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Written by Will Parchman

fifa-2022-qatar-1

The Confederations Cup was an afterthought until FIFA president Joao Havelange decided it wouldn’t be. When FIFA took over the five-year-old tournament from the Saudi FA in 1997, the organization had grand plans for it. Sepp Blatter finally realized those in 2005 when the Confederations Cup assumed its present shape. It moved from biennial to once every four years, shadowing the World Cup as its glorified dress rehearsal.

For the past three World Cup cycles, that’s been the tournament’s primary purpose. While Germany’s existing infrastructure made the 2005 tournament a rote dry run, the Confederations Cup held unique significance in 2009 and 2013. South Africa and Brazil both scrambled to finish enormous stadium and renovation projects in time for their respective World Cups, and the Confederations Cup allowed (and forced) each to examine their processes for the next year. In 2009, South Africa buzzed with activity around the Confederations Cup. Four years later, Brazil used the tournament to quell widespread safety concerns and ease a wary populace into new, dramatically expensive stadiums.

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Written by Will Parchman

All Hulk does is crush golazos that break sonic barriers.

Well. That may not be entirely true. But since Hulk is trapped in the media black hole that is Russian soccer, we can only assume he’s scoring scary-fast golazos on an endless feedback loop that stretches into eternity. Since the beginning of this post, Hulk has scored 47 more golazos on 47 separate teams.

In any case, this particular Hulk Smash was perpetrated on PSV in the Europa League. Zenit trounced the Eredivisie side 3-0 to win the tie 4-0 and progress into the Round of 16. Hulk will continue to score these goals long after all of us are dead. Better to get used to the idea now.

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