A5DchsACUAA0N97

Did the bad pitch matter? We at least have to consider it

3 Comments

Brian Sciaretta, who ardent U.S. Men’s National Team fans will know from his work at Yanks Abroad, showed the world a glimpse of the field in St. John’s, and it’s not pretty:

source:

Charles what now?

That looks horrible. Per Sciaretta’s tweet, that’s from midfield at Vivian Richards Stadium.

Before we go denigrating the U.S. too much, he suggests, take a look at that pitch. Perhaps the U.S. should be thankful for what they got.

It does, however, beg a question: How did the teams combine for three goals in that slop? The answer to that is less important than the fact they did score three goals. While it’s true the teams could have had an easier time of it on a nice day (perhaps leading to more goals), scoring was not an issue on Friday night. The States scored as many goals in 90 minutes as they did in 180 versus Jamaica.

Go beyond the goals, consider the chances, and you see a similar story. This was a pretty typical U.S. performance, even in the adverse conditions. Eddie Johnson had three good chances. Michael Bradley hit a post. Herculez Gomez had two opportunities to worry Antigua and Barbuda only to see his touch fail him. Depending on how you want to count them, that’s four-to-six chances. It’s not as if the United States had been generating many more on good tracks.

The conditions of St. John’s cricket ground were part of Friday’s story, but they can’t be an excuse. Both teams had to play in them, and both teams proved capable of overcoming them. It was unclear the field gave either side an advantage, let alone dictated the result. Ultimately, the U.S. looked no different in a swamp than on dry land: Controlling, but struggling to convert possession into chances.

Bottom line: U.S. Soccer is a program that should be expected to overcome certain obstacles. Weather against a team that didn’t make last cycle’s third round might be the last of them.

Besides, it’s not like many people were taking up the Antiguan cause when they were subjected to a downpour in Tampa.

VIDEO: T&T women’s team gives away one of the most bizarre PKs

Leave a comment

Play until you hear the referee’s whistle. In theory, so simple. In practice, it only takes a single second of concentration lapse to become an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

Such is life for Karyn Forbes, member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. In the above video, you’ll observe Forbes, a 24-year-old midfielder, giving away perhaps the most bizarre penalty kick you’ll ever see. You’ll have to watch for yourself to believe it.

[ MORE: USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with 5-0 victory ]

Unfortunately for Forbes, though the whole of the ball might have crossed the whole of the end line, the referee did not blow her whistle… not until Forbes picked the ball up with her hands and carried it to her goalkeeper.

Bundesliga to go ahead with video replay tests over two years

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, a Hawk-Eye camera is set up at Toyota stadium in Toyota. For the first time at a World Cup, technology will be used to determine whether a ball crosses the goal line during matches at the upcoming tournament in Brazil. With vanishing spray also being used to prevent encroachment by defenders making up a wall during free kicks, officials at the highest level of the world’s most popular sport are finally getting some assistance. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) The German Football League (DFL) has given the go-ahead for the possible testing of video replays in the Bundesliga over a two-year pilot phase.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s Bundesliga coverage ]

The DFL says it will be lodging an application with FIFA to take part if the pilot phase is approved by the International Football Association Board at its next annual general meeting on March 5.

The DFL says video replays could be used by a “team of impartial match officials for the purpose of avoiding any evidently incorrect decisions” and that the pilot phase would be preceded by “intensive preparations.”

[ MORE: 17-year-old American MF Pulisic gets Bundesliga debut for Dortmund ]

These would include the settlement of costs among FIFA, the IFAB, the DFL and German football federation, as well as training for the candidates.

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
1 Comment

West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

Leave a comment

Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal

Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.