San Jose overcomes early red, hands Dallas fourth straight loss

Leave a comment

Major League Soccer’s officials are clear cracking down. Last season, red cards came once every 4.08 games. This year, that rate’s down to one every 3.10. Perhaps that figure will climb as the season progresses, but through 10 weeks, it’s meant  a lack of 11-on-11 soccer.

Saturday night in Santa Clara gave us only 45 minutes of even strength play, those Cordell Cato’s goal in the 25th sent San Jose into halftime with a lead. But the Earthquakes were also down a man at that point after Shea Salinas saw red for a reckless challenge. In the second half, the shorthanded hosts got insurance from a David Texiera own goal, enough to overcome a Michel free kick and two close calls to give the Earthquakes a 2-1 win.

The victory gives Mark Watson’s side seven points in its last four games, turning what was once a dreary spring  into something decent. With 10 points, the Earthquakes are now in sixth place, and while part of that is due to having three more games played than the seventh place Galaxy, it’s also three spots better than they were a short time ago.

Dallas, on the other hand, is trending in the other direction, though it’s four-game losing streak has gone from one extreme to the other on the red car spectrum.Two weeks ago in D.C., Dallas ended the night with nine men.  Last week in Frisco, Tex., Dallas lost Je-Vaughn Watson after 10 minutes. Wednesday’s game in Seattle was played without any dismissals, while tonight’s match gave the Toros an advantage. Against Chivas USA next week, expect Dallas to finish the game playing against nine.

While that makes it difficult to figure out where Oscar Pareja’s team is in this (perhaps temporary) post-Mauro Diaz world, FCD still should have found a way to get something out of Santa Clara. Down one but up a man with 45 minutes left should give a team averaging just under two goals per game plenty of time to equalize, if not win. Unfortunately, without a creator to replace Diaz, Dallas was largely ineffective – unable to break through Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez.

It’s difficult to be too critical of Dallas given Diaz’s situation, but even if the Argentine playmaker comes back in six weeks, Oscar Pareja needs a better Plan B. Whether he gets injured again or just doesn’t come back as quickly as the most optimistic rumors hope, Dallas can’t continue as a team that can’t win 11-on-10 when he’s not on the field.

Gerard Pique continues to be booed by Spain supporters

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 21:  Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona looks down dejected after missing a chance to score during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Malaga CF at Camp Nou on February 21, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Spain secured qualification to EURO 2016 today with a 4-0 win over Luxembourg, but once again a good performance was overshadowed by the rift between fans and Gerard Pique.

The center-back continues to be booed and whistled by his own fans, despite ongoing calls from the manager, players, and Pique himself to stop the jeers.

[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]

The boos started when Pique, who plays for Barcelona, made some joking comments about Real Madrid while celebrating Barca’s treble winning season last year. Ever since then, Pique has been the subject of boos from Real Madrid fans while playing for the national team.

Before the match against Luxembourg, Spanish legend Xavi called for a stop to the antics, saying supporters should put their club allegiances aside when rooting for the national team. However, they paid no attention to one of Spain’s greatest players, as Pique was whistled at throughout the match.

Following the win, Pique was pleased with the result that booked Spain a place in the final tournament, but was still upset over his treatment by his own fans.

I’d like to resolve this situation with the whistling, of course I do but that depends on the fans. I am going to give all I’ve got to do my job. We’ve reached our objective which was to qualify. I think we’re changing the dynamic; the whistling is louder than the applause but we will improve.

I seem to have explained myself a thousand times on this… no one should be in any doubt about me and my commitment; I’ve been with the national side since I was 16. People can take a look through the archives and see everything I have said in the press since I was a kid. You won’t find anything bad, or comments I’ve made against the national team or this country for people to get upset about.

While the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid is one of the biggest in the world, it shouldn’t carry over into the national side. Pique has made more than 70 appearances for the Spanish team, and started every match at center-back in Spain’s 2010 World Cup run, which was the country’s first major trophy in nearly 50 years. He also played every minute of Spain’s EURO 2012 campaign, which resulted in another title.

[ RELATED: Sergio Aguero suffers torn hamstring playing for Argentina ]

With Spain now into EURO 2016, it’s time for fans to move on and start showing Pique the respect he deserves as one of their most consistent and important players over the past five years.

FIFA presidential election could be postponed

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - MAY 30:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter talks to the press during the FIFA Post Congress Week Press Conference at the Home of FIFA on May 30, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Alessandro Della Bella/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

For months now, the footballing world has been waiting for February 26, the date on which the FIFA presidential election is scheduled to take place, which will finally put Sepp Blatter out of power.

However, that election may not take place as scheduled, as FIFA has called an emergency meeting amidst the suspensions of some top officials.

[ RELATED: Klopp introduced as Liverpool boss ]

The emergency meeting will be held on October 15, just a few days before the October 26 deadline for candidates to officially declare their intent to run for the presidency.

On Thursday, FIFA announced bans on multiple executives, including Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Chung Mong-joon. Platini has been the odds-on favorite to succeed Blatter as FIFA’s leader, while Mong-joon has also announced he will run for president.

Because of the current investigation and suspension revolving around Platini, he would not be allowed to run for the presidency if the election were to take place as scheduled in February. If the election was pushed back, it would give time for the investigation to come to a conclusion, which could possibly absolve Platini of any wrongdoing and allow him to re-enter the race.

Issa Hayatou, who has been the president of the Confederation of African Football since 1988, is currently serving as the acting FIFA president following Blatter’s suspension, and will preside over the meeting next week.