Thursday, May 15, 2008

We've Moved!

Thanks for all the support here at Blogspot. The Cruz Pitch is moving on to bigger and better things as we now have our own website.

Check us at our new home at: The Cruz Pitch dot com

We'll be bringing you more videos, stats, news, and even a podcast! - Where Soccer Happens

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

David Suazo Joins Inter Milan

Honduran-born Cagliari striker David Suazo, has just signed on a transfer to recent Serie A champions Inter Milan. The official signing puts an end to the weeks of speculation, heightened by Suazo's absence from the Honduran National Team during the current CONCACAF Gold Cup competition.

"La Pantera Nera" has been an absolute wonder for Cagliari, breaking the club record for goals in 2005-06 with 22 on the year. His prolific scoring rate, along with his astonishing speed, make him an attractive target for Inter next season.
Here's a video of the Catracho in action:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Week 9 MLS Power Rankings

An interesting week of games highlighted by some stellar performances (See Eddie Johnson and the Chicago Fire) as well as some absolute duds (DC United-Galaxy and New England-Salt Lake receive the credit there). The big match-up of the week involved the league's top two teams, the Wizards and the Red Bulls and it certainly lived up to the hype. Juan Pablo Angel was his usual incredible self but Eddie Johnson stole the show with a second straight hat trick. His performance also pushes his team to first place in the power rankings. Here's how the rankings look this week:

1. Kansas City Wizards (LW: 2 / 6-2-1)
Stepped up when they needed to and are without a doubt the top team in the league right now. It'll be interesting to see how the team performs with Eddie Johnson gone for the Gold Cup. Look for Marinelli to play a bigger role in the team's successes.

2. Red Bull New York (LW: 1 / 5-2-2)
You just can't beat top-shelf quality sometimes. The Red Bulls didn't have a bad game and a controversial red card spoiled the final result. Juan Pablo Angel continues his tear through MLS and with the Red Bulls one of only two teams not to have any players taken for the Gold Cup, I can see New York reclaiming its top position soon. Big rivalry game against DC and a difficult encounter with Toronto awaits.

3. New England Revolution (LW: 3 / 5-2-3)
A pretty poor showing against RSL but none of the teams behind them did anything significant to warrant a drop in the rankings so the Revs stay put at #3. The tie against RSL may come back to haunt them though, as they lose their best players to the Gold Cup and will struggle to get points during the next few weeks.

4. DC United (LW: 5 / 3-3-2)
There's a steep drop-off from the top three teams but DCU has earned its position by going undefeated in the last five games. Their defensive staunchness has stepped up but it has to be alarming that Emilio has been quiet for a number of games now. With Angel and the Red Bulls coming to town, United need to find a way to score goals quickly.

5. Chivas USA (LW: 7 / 3-3-2)
This ranking is more a reflection of other teams' failures than of Chivas' own merit since they had a bye week. Still, Chivas would be in the playoffs if they started today so that's certainly an improvement from past seasons.

6. Houston Dynamo (LW: 8 / 3-5-1)
After seeing them go down 1-0 against Dallas, I was ready to spit vitriol at the Dynamo but they came back in impressive fashion, snatching the win and moving up in the rankings. Are the champions back in form? I don't think so, but it certainly is a good start. We'll see how they play without Ching and De Rosario.

7. Toronto FC (LW: 9 / 3-5-1)
The rest of the league has to realize this by now: Toronto is tough to beat at home. Dichio is becoming a legend up north and the Canucks look like a serious playoff contender at the moment.

8. Colorado Rapids (LW: 4 / 4-3-3)
A win could have catapulted them into the top three, instead they fall flat in Toronto and drop four spots because of it. They still haven't been consistent enough to be convincing for me and I can't help but feel there's a bad losing streak coming in the near future for the Rapids.

9. FC Dallas (LW: 6 / 5-5-1)
Tough road result against Houston, their defense hurt them as the game progressed. They'll probably play better without Ruiz and with Cooper not being called into the roster, Dallas should fair just fine in the next few weeks.

10. Chicago Fire (LW: 12 / 4-4-1)
Now there's how you answer your critics. New signing William Oliveira had a tremendous impact, notching a goal and an assist in Chicago's win over Columbus. Now Chicago needs to string together a couple of games like this to move back up in the East.

11. Los Angeles Galaxy (LW: 10 / 1-3-3)
If they can't score any goals with Landon Donovan, how do they expect to score when he's gone? They're tied for last place in total points and things are only getting worse for this team.

12. Columbus Crew (LW: 11 / 1-3-5)
Their propensity for ties would catch up to them sooner or later. With only one win in the 2007 campaign, the Crew's season is on the verge of a total breakdown. They're significantly behind their Eastern peers in points and need wins in a hurry. Schelotto can't do it all.

13. Vancouver Whitecaps (USL / 5-1-3)
On top of the league and on an impressive streak, Vancouver is in the middle of an intense battle for USL supremacy with its Canadian brethren, the Montreal Impact.

Oh, I'm sorry, am I missing a team here? Don't think so....

Monday, June 4, 2007

ESPN Cares More About Spelling than Soccer

US Soccer fans know all about ESPN's devious plans to destroy soccer in this country. Between the increasingly-annoying 30 at 30 updates
during the middle of an exciting play and the atrociously bad commentating from the three stooges (I'm looking at you Julie Foudy), ESPN has gone above and beyond to ensure that soccer plays second fiddle to the likes of the AFL and College Softball.

But ESPN stooped to a new low over the weekend. In their ultimate highlight segment of Sportcenter (Where they show the best plays and action from the past weekend), they choose to highlight the finals of, get this, the National f'ning Spelling Bee and had NONE, count them, ZERO highlights of the 4-1 US vs. China game. Unbelievable.

If anyone needs me, I'll be writing several unpleasant letters to the offices in Bristol.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Portuguese Are Coming! Manchester Utd Dips into the Iberian Peninsula

Manchester United should have a very Portuguese feel to it next year. The club has just announced the signing of FC Porto's Brazilian midfielder Anderson. Only 19 years of age, he has become one of the top members of the Portuguese champions and oozes talent and flair. Here's a highlight video of the young man:

But that's not all. Rumors have it that Manchester has also agreed to a 14-million pound transfer for 18-year Sporting Lisbon midfielder/forward Nani. How good is this guy you ask? Here's proof:

Along with Cristiano Ronaldo already in the fold, Manchester's new Portuguese contingent should push the team to new heights of attractive football and creativity. I'm excited, you should be too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

New 2007-08 Inter Milan Away Kit: One of the Finest Jerseys You'll Ever See

Yes, I know this may seem like a random post, but I just had to mention the new Inter Milan kit for next year. The jersey may seem like it belongs on the backs of the English National Team but fret not, the jersey is actually based off of the Milan city flag.

Easily one of the finest jerseys I've ever seen, kudos goes to Nike and Inter for the beautiful design. A great way to mark the 100th year anniversary of the club. Here are some pics of the kit:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Week 8 MLS Power Rankings

Chicago are the biggest losers this week after two terribly unimpressive performances. Kansas City and Chivas are the biggest gainers and a clear distinction between the top teams in the league and everyone else is starting to take shape. Here's how the rankings break down this week:

  1. Red Bull New York (LW: 2 / 5-1-2)

This needs no mentioning since it should be glaringly obvious to any MLS fan but Juan Pablo Angel is the real deal. I’ve watched the replay of his 2nd goal a dozen times and it impresses me every time. A brilliantly placed ball is crossed into him in the box and JPA acts as if he’s going to shoot, only he fakes at the last minute (And sends Chris Armas flying) and puts it in the net with a world class finish. It sounds simple but the beauty lies in its subtle complexity. This is a very solid team, one only wishes more fans could show up to the stadium to see them.

  1. Kansas City Wizards (LW: 4 / 5-2-1)

Eddie Johnson’s return to form couldn’t have come at a better time. As for the Wizards in general, they left a helluva of a statement upon finishing their work at Gillette Stadium. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit to take the 4-3 victory is certainly impressive, but the way the KC forwards just obliterated New England’s defenders (Which have been pretty consistent all year) has to shock some fans at the very least. Kansas City was scary earlier in the year when they were beating down on the league’s worst. Now they’re plain nasty. (In a very, very good way)

  1. New England Revolution (LW: 2 / 5-2-2)

I still feel they’re one of the elite teams in the league but you simply can’t allow an opponent to come back from 2 down at home, let alone let them put up 4 goals on you. Heaps was abused and manhandled by Eddie all night, but really the entire New England backline was suspect. Luckily they get to play Salt Lake next week. I’m predicting at least 2 goals….from Twellman alone.

  1. Colorado Rapids (LW: 5 / 4-2-3)

It’s hard to get a read on this team and they’re frustratingly inconsistent but at least they finally picked up a second home win. Inconsistency aside, this team still has 15 points accumulated and is sitting pretty at 5th in the standings. Only time will tell whether this team is good enough for the long haul.

  1. DC United (LW: 6 / 3-3-1)

Well that didn’t take long. Reports of their demise were greatly exaggerated, as anyone who watched their game against Houston can attest to. I forgot how good Christian Gomez is but a vintage performance from him this past Saturday erased any doubts. DCU are finally starting to gel and even, *gasp*, playing solid defense! NY, NE, and KC may have new company in the next few weeks. (Which begs the question: How incredibly stacked is the East this year?)

  1. FC Dallas (LW: 3 / 5-4-1)

Can someone remind this team how much talent their roster has? I’ll admit Chivas USA are a scrappy bunch but to get shutout by the Goats? After last week I thought Dallas was ready to compete consistently in the top of the league but I can see now how terribly incorrect I was. This teams needs a shakeup immediately.

  1. Chivas USA (LW: 11 / 3-3-2)

Disclaimer: I’m half-Cuban.

So I may be a bit biased about Maykel Galindo but regardless, no one can deny his importance on the field and the great season he’s had thus far. Chivas are one of the most adventurous squads in the league and its cost them a couple of points early on but if they can become more efficient and effective in their attack I can easily see Chivas contesting for a playoff spot. I can see it now, Chivas and the Galaxy duking it out for the last spot in the playoffs.

  1. Houston Dynamo (LW: 7 / 2-5-1)

They still find themselves in an offensive rut and now their situation is becoming increasingly serious with each week. We’re ¼ through the season and Houston, with 5 losses already, has a lot of ground to make up against the rest of the playoff contenders. They have too much talent to continue struggling like this (I mean c’mon, they won the MLS Cup last year) but one has to wonder if a DP is needed to ensure better football?

  1. Toronto FC (LW: 10 / 2-5-1)

The Canucks finally showed their grit away from home and you have to think that Toronto views this tie as a victory. The degree of confidence within this team is rising every week; they’re no longer the whipping boys of MLS folks.

  1. Los Angeles Galaxy (LW: 9 / 1-3-2)

If you’re Landon Donovan right now, you should be sitting in a pool of your own nervous sweat. With the prospect of Beckham missing some league games after his debut to play with the English National team and Donovan already missing plenty of game action to attend this summer’s tournaments, you have to wonder how large of a tailspin will this franchise find itself in.

  1. Columbus Crew (LW: 12 / 1-2-5)

We now know Andy Herron is fully awake. Although it was a solid performance by the Crew, they really need to find a way to convert some of these ties into wins. They lead the league with most ties and if just one of two those ties had been victories, the Crew would in a very unfamiliar position: top half of the table.

  1. Chicago Fire (LW: 8 / 3-4-1)I got some flack for suggesting the firing of Dave Sarachan a couple of weeks back but the Fire have only gotten worse since then. Now riding a 4-game losing streak, something HAS to give to improve this situation. Do you think Blanco is going to care about his level of play if the Fire find themselves near the bottom of the league? Scary times for Chicago fans…..
  1. Real Salt Lake (LW: 13 / 0-4-4)

Sigh….moving on.