NYCFC is a puppet state

Written by Will Parchman

20yrds

Andrea Pirlo was supposed to be the safest multi-million dollar hedge in the history of New York soccer. He drinks wine from his own Italian vineyard, has a mane like a lion prowling for suitors on the Masai Mara, plays video games on World Cup final days (and wins both), and he fits in diagonal balls – still – with the same nonchalance we use drawing in a breath.

But perhaps most importantly for the image, not a month ago Pirlo was playing in a Champions League final. That Pirlo was essentially marked out of the thickest portion of the match by Luis Suarez and did almost no tracking was clearly deemed far less important by his multiple suitors. He may be 36, and he may have almost entirely shed his desire to observe any discernible tempo on his own. But he’s Pirlo. Even the clouds seemed to scribble it on the firmament.

And so America spent a few gleeful hours trumpeting the reported NYCFC arrival of one of the world’s most interesting men in one of the world’s most interesting soccer markets. He’s an Italian in the boroughs, for chrissakes.

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Written by Will Parchman

Carlyn Baldwin, one of the most highly recruited midfielders in the 2014 women’s soccer class, enjoyed a fine freshman campaign at Tennessee last season. She played more than 1,700 minutes and contributed to the lacework of a young but growing midfield. The addition of No. 1 recruit Katie Cousins for 2015 will excite no one more than her future running mate in the midfield.

Baldwin came off the bench in two matches at the U20 Women’s World Cup last summer, making her a rarity in that she earned U20 WC playing time before she’d even reached college.

If Baldwin’s silky offseason skills (above, of course) are any indication, it appears she’s ready for the college season to kick off already.

Look out for the Tennessee women this year. The Vols signed a whopping five players in the IMG Academy 150 for this fall: Cousins (No. 1), Danielle Marcano (No. 49), Megan Massey (No. 57), Maya Neal (No. 30) and Tatum Wagner (No. 95). Remember too, the 2014 class was No. 11. We ranked this one No. 4 nationally.

It seems a given the Vols are in for a marked improvement over their 10-10-2 record last season. The bigger question is whether this team can compete for an SEC title. And perhaps more.

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Written by Will Parchman

This is Yago Pikachu, the man with the greatest name in sports. He plays his soccer for the coastal Paysandu in Brazil’s Serie B. The team was promoted from Serie C last year, and they’re currently flitting around the promotion places for a look-in to Serie A next season. Good things.

Pikachu is helping them get there. The marauding 23-year-old fullback has an astonishing (for a defender) five goals in his last seven matches. This bending Roberto Carlosian free kick was the most recent, drawing third-place Paysandu level with second-place Nautico en route to an eventual 1-1 draw earlier this week.

It was a real Thunder Shock. An Electro Ball, if you will. Or maybe a Wild Charge. These are all attacks used by the Pokemon character Pikachu, which I just spent 45 seconds researching for your benefit. You’re welcome.

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Written by Will Parchman

fatter

We’ve been hearing for weeks now about how bad United Passions is. FIFA’s self-styled unintentional mockumentary about its past, featuring dinosaur doctor Alan Grant and a terrifying amorphous blob named Gerard Depardieu, is awful. So bad, in fact, that even its reviewers couldn’t enjoy hate-watching its miserable moments of putridity.

Now, we have firm confirmation that at least in America, United Passions is the worst movie ever made. After the DOJ took down FIFA, American moviegoers took down FIFA. ‘Merica.

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Written by Will Parchman

The Sounders and Timbers staged a U.S. Open Cup match filled with an atypical amount of drama, even for this series. Brad Evans was sent off first with the match tied at 1-1, and then hell opened. Clint Dempsey tore up the referee’s book. The Sounders eventually finished the match on seven men and lost 3-1 after 120 ridiculous minutes. The referees were escorted off the field by a cadre of police. A fan threw a trash can onto the field. It was… something.

Needless to say, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid’s postgame was blunt, terse and notably glorious in his response to one of the worst officiated matches in history. I can certainly say I’ve never seen a game bungled more completely on this level. A few of Sigi’s choice cuts from the above video.

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Written by Will Parchman

MJS worldcup, nws, sears, 1

On June 22, 2014, overfull American bars and living rooms were in rare voice. Denizens bedecked in stripes and stars and red and blue poured over illuminated screens as Portugal and the U.S. danced in the World Cup group stage. The match played into the American soccer zeitgeist with unimaginable aplomb. The U.S. scored twice. Cristiano Ronaldo dusted off a world class cross to tie the match 2-2 in stoppage time. Excitement. Flair. Goals. All there.

There was something else there as well: viewers.

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Written by Will Parchman

Life inside the Development Academy can be an experience cut ruggedly from hard limestone. There are only so many of them, which can necessitate travel, long hours and homework on the bus to and from practice.

This quick glimpse inside a day in the life of the San Jose Earthquakes academy gives you a pretty good indication. The questions (“Is this worth it?”), the declarations (“I come home late so one day I can do what I love and get paid millions for it”) and the camaraderie (#bartcrew) are all here. If you wanted a sense of what it’s like, you won’t get a much better indication in five minutes than this right here.

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Written by Will Parchman

Pele, a noted stale sandwich salesman who might’ve been a soccer player at some point, narrated the new FIFA 16 trailer that debuted at E3 on Monday.

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Written by Will Parchman

John Oliver, he of The Daily Show and HBO’s Last Week Tonight fame, is a soccer fan. That’s good news for us, because it means he routinely shines his withering spotlight at the corrupt business of FIFA’s malfeasance.

Oliver’s feud with Jack Warner is undoubtedly his finest act so far. He aired an ad in Warner’s native country of Trinidad & Tobago pulling Warner’s corruption into the light, and Warner actually responded. To which Oliver responded again here. Got that?

Oliver upped the production ante with sparks and a couple belching spires of fire. If Warner comes back with dancing tigers, this beef is on.

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Written by Travis Clark

NeymarSo turns out this Neymar kid is pretty good after all.

Fresh off a treble winning season with Barcelona where he scored 39 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions, Neymar has no chance to rest. He played a starring role on Sunday as Brazil opened up its Copa America campaign with a win over Peru.

After scoring a goal in that game, the 23-year-old now has 44 goals in 64 games for the national team.

First, check out how he embarrassed a few of Peru’s midfielders:

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