May 31, 2012

Bucks 3:2 Fire

The following is from Sports Illustrated's U.S. Open Cup 3rd round recap:

Michigan 3, Chicago 2

"PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Nermin Crnkic's extra-time goal gave the Michigan Bucks a victory Tuesday night over the Chicago Fire of the MLS in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

The Bucks of the USL Premier Development League took a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute when Tommy Catalano beat Chicago goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. Michigan outplayed Chicago for most of the first half, but the Fire tied the game on Corben Bone's goal in the 28th minute.

Federico Puppo's shot from the edge of the box in the 51st minute gave the Fire a 2-1 lead, but Nate Boyden's header forced extra time in the 78th minute.
Crnkic hit the winning goal in the third minute of extra time."

Read more:

May 29, 2012

U.S. Open Cup - Bucks -v- Chicago Fire, Major League Soccer

Finally in the big leagues. 7:30 Eastern, 6:30 Central
@ Ultimate Soccer Arenas - directions here
Last Tuesday the Michigan Bucks upset USL-Pro 3 side Pittsburg Riverhounds 1-0. In the 90th minute, the Bucks were awarded a penalty, which was converted by the reigning PDL defender of the year, Stew Givens. With the victory, the Bucks advance into round 3 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The third round is where top tier (MLS) clubs come into the mix, and the Bucks have landed midwest rivals, the Chicago Fire.

The Chicago Fire have won the trophy 4 times; 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006. 4th placed in the East and with the 9th best overall record in the league at 5-4-3. The Fire's form seems to be rather up and down this season, with a slight edge in their home match-ups by (3-1-2 home, 2-3-1 away). Their most recent 7 matches are as follows: L W D W L W L.

Their most frequent games demonstrate how their stengths and weaknesses. In a home match against FC Dallas the Fire won off a penalty deflection, however the shot was taken by a player who had encrouched into the box before the kick. Despite what you might say about officiating, they fought back to win a close match, which shows determination. An away trip to the Buck's sister club the Columbus Crew May 26th demonstrated how a defensive minded team can stifle their approach. They have the ability to split teams open and work a set play to their advantage, but smart defense can step up and extinguish their attack. The Bucks can't let up on defense for a moment or the Fire will surely take advantage. Despite Chicago resting a number of key players, the MLS side will be analyzing its depth for players to step up against the lower league team.

This quote was taken from the Chicago Fire's website, in regard to the away match @ Columbus.
"For the second consecutive season the club covered the cost of travel for over 600 supporters to board 10 buses and make the seven hour journey to invade Crew Stadium"
Whether or not this will happen today is at this point unknown, but it is likely that there will be Chicago fans there. Hopefully the Bucks can tap into the Detroit City fervant fans and show them how we do in Michigan. A win over a side from the highest of domestic leagues in one of the most interesting American sports tournaments, coupled with passionate support of the local teams is one of the most crucial part of demonstrating to Major League Soccer that the city can sustain a football franchise.

Ticket information here (if there are any tickets still available, that is):

Don't shout Fire XX XXXX
You'd be a liar XX XXXX
You must be Joking XX XXXX
They're not even smoking XX XXXX

May 18, 2012

Michigan Bucks (PDL) -v- Chicago Fire (MLS)?

Stefan St. Louis spotting

With a resounding 6-0 victory over Boca Jersey Shore, the Michigan Bucks are looking to keep that form going in their next two matches - first May 19th, the home PDL season opener against the Chicago Inferno and then away @ the Pittsburg Riverhounds for the U.S. Open Cup 2nd round on May 22nd. Should the Bucks win away to the PDL side, they would then advance to play a home match against MLS side Chicago Fire. While the Bucks have a strong record against Chicago Fire's reserves, a top tier team is an opportunity for the players to really showcase their skills, turn some heads, and maybe even go out there and win at home. Considering the support Detroit City got on their opener, bringing an MLS side to town could tip the scales for the Bucks in terms of fan support. While the result is far from certain, there is another issue that could come up in the event that the Bucks do make it that far: capacity
The following is a statement was put out in a Michigan Bucks newsletter.

"Since the announcement came down from US Soccer on Thursday, we have had calls from all over (including the Chicago fans) asking about ticket prices and information for May 29", said Sherwin Connell, Bucks Director of Operations. "We have made it clear that there will be no announcement of tickets until there is an official game to announce.   But seeing that there are only six days between when we would find out the result of next Tuesday night's match and the actual game on May 29 we are preparing to be able to make tickets available to our loyal fan base at least 24 hours prior to tickets going on sale to the general public.   If the game is going to happen, we are committed to making sure our hard core fans will not be kept out of this match that would certainly be a sell out."  Ultimate Soccer Arena's intimate setting is great for fans to be right on top of the action, but can only seat around 2,000 fans for such an event.

More importantly, fans who attend Saturday's 7:30 home game against the Chicago Inferno at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac will get an access code. This will allow them to purchase tickets 24 hours before general admissions. I urge anyone who would want to see the Bucks the play the Inferno to go to Saturday's match after the Champions League, and get that code. Heck, why not check out the Upper 90 Pub for the game.

You should probably buy tickets to the games online up to the day before, because they're only $6, compared to $10 at the door. I picked up the season pass for $35; while it doesn't cover Cup matches, if I go to all 8 home games it's less than $5 a game.

Buck up

May 16, 2012

Asst. Coach Cale Wasserman on DCFC's fans

The following is an email sent by associate head coach for Detroit City, Cale Wasserman, on the fans and the atmosphere they create. We are honored to honor you, Rouge;

"I just wanted to send an email out to you briefly, My name is Cale Wassermann, I am the Associate Head Coach for DCFC. You can also pass this message along to all the loyal supporters you are in touch with. The atmosphere you guys created on Saturday night was somet...hing that does not happen many places, it was top notch. Most of our players, even ones that played at Top Division 1 teams and have played from PDL and Semi-Pro teams around the country said they have never seen an environment like that, let alone played for fans like that who were there to cheer them on.

This environment you have created has made these players feel honored (Coaches as well) to work hard for you guys. I am excited to get to training this week because I really think the players understand they are a part of something special and that is thanks to you and all the loyal supporters.

Buffalo had a small group but couldn't get close to what you guys have created, keep up the good work!

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you and hearing you on the 26th!

Cale Wasserman"

May 14, 2012

Champions League Final - My Bold Prediction

With the Champions League Final this Saturday, the pre-match hype is increasing as the match gets closer. Both teams have faced problems with their respective domestic leagues, and this is the last chance to mark the season as a success. These teams have both had to overcome a number of obstacles to reach this far, and despite their respective setbacks, they both should prove a strong threat for one another for different reasons.

Home Town Favorites
Bayern is under immense pressure to win this one at home in the Allianz Arena. This is the first time that a club has hosted its own UEFA Champions League final, and there is a high expectation that being at home gives die roten a mental advantage. At home during the regular season, Bayern have drawn once (0:0, FSV Mainz 05) and lost twice (both 0:1, Borussia Dortmund & Borussia Mönchengladbach). Despite their great home form, the club is surely bitter about losing the Bundesliga title and Deutscher Pokal to Borussia Dortmund, and this final is the club's last chance to mark the season as a success.

Bayern will be without key defensive support due to suspension. David Alaba - a wildcad who primarily filled in at left back this season, Holger Badstuber - the German youth who has grown to be a stalwart defender for the Bavarians, and Luiz Gustavo - an explosive central defensive anchor, are all out because of yellow cards. The fate of center back Daniel Van Buyten is still up in the air; he played in a reserve match, but is that enough match fitness for him to start in the final? With Philip Lahm sure to start at fullback, the opposite flank could fall to Rafinha, Diego Contento or Danijel Pranjic. Next to Jerome Boateng we may see central defensive midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk or a newly returned Daniel Van Buyten. Fucking drams

Having been to the final in 2010 and being soundly beaten by Inter 2:0, Bayern hope to learn not only from their mistakes but from their time as a team together. The bulk of their current team was together for that loss, and it will be interesting to see how this match compares to the former with the addition of Franck Ribéry to the lineup.

Last Chance Blues
Finishing in 6th this season following the departure of André Villas-Boas. His replacement, Roberto Di Matteo, has enjoyed reasonable success, but the coming match will not be without pressure. While he was able to steer the club to an FA cup victory (2:1 over Liverpool), victory is vital should he hope to step up into a full-time position as manager.

The suspensions of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, and Raul Meireles weakens Chelsea in two of the areas where they're the strongest: the center of the pitch and the attacking third. The potential absence of Gary Cahill and David Luiz could greatly hinder Chelsea's defensive resilience. Di Matteo in his second leg match against Barcelona at one point had 6 men back to break up Barça's rapid ball movement. Any team that can take down a giant of the game like Barcelona should never be counted out, but do they have all the right pieces to win this match?

Finally, for Chelsea, the result of this match could mean a great financial setback. Last season, finishing in the quarter finals brought the club in almost €45 million. With the season over and Chelsea out of the league via qualification, the Blues' only chance to remain in the competition next season is to win it all. Their league setbacks could come back to haunt them should they fail to complete this task.

My bold prediction is as follows: Bayern will win the match. It will be a scrappy contest, with the deciding goal coming from a penalty kick. Final Score: 3:2