He can’t get a red, white, and blue one until Sunil Gulati sees his birth certificate.
The USMNT gets another tune-up tonight before beginning their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup.
After dismantling Scotland 5-1 in Jacksonville on Saturday, Jurgen Klinsmann’s men welcome the hosts of that next tournament, Brazil, to FedEx Field in Landover, MD.
While it was nice to see the USA romp over an opponent for once, this game should give us a better barometer of where the squad is at.
Qualifying for WC 2014 should be no issue (though finishing on top of CONCACAF is a real priority) so it is these matchups against the teams that you might encounter in the finals, hopefully in the knockout rounds, that should really excite fans of the USMNT.
You can catch the game on ESPN2, Telefutura if you prefer lengthier goal exclamations, or online at ESPN3.
Whichever your viewing pleasure, join me back here before kickoff at 8:00 PM ET.
Full lineups (when available) and my ever witty, insightful commentary after the jump!
Our Fearless Leader
Like most of you this weekend, here at Four Five Two headquarters we had some spare time on our hands. Rather than spend that time with loved ones, we consumed copious amounts of alcohol while watching one of the most enjoyable USMNT matches in the past few years. Tonight’s match against Brazil is likely to provide a much sterner test before a final friendly against the Canadian Baconers. If you are new to the USMNT game, fans of the squad tend to get a little shall we say bat-shit crazy and delusional. Don’t believe me? See Davies, Charlie, the quest for a great American striker, or the never ending search for a left back that can run faster than Captain America. Because of this, Four Five Two is spelling out our expectations for the upcoming qualifying cycle in order of importance. Note these expectations do not include the World Cup itself. If we qualify we will do another one of these bad boys, until then bitch at us in the comments.
Move over, Disney. This is the real happiest place on Earth. (credit: Tripadvisor.com)
The Beer: BPA, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, New York
The Pub: Iron Horse Taproom, in Northwest DC
What you need to know: Belgian Pale Ale is the “lawnmower beer” of the most complex beer culture in the Western world. According to Beer Advocate’s writeup of the style, it was originally developed after World War II for Belgian brewers to compete with the widely spreading Czech pilsner. That said, it’s not too far off of an English or American Pale Ale in flavor or color. However, the fruity characteristics typical of a Belgian yeast combined with the relative simplicity of grain bill give it just that twinge of distinction.
Brewery Ommegang is a farmhouse brewery situated on 136 rolling acres in the old hop belt of America, Central New York. The brewery was founded in 1997, and was purpose-built for brewing Belgian-style ales. This is one of the few breweries reviewed here that I’ve actually visited, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the happiest places on Earth. The Brewery sold controlling interest to Duvel in 2003, but their Belgian overlords allow them free reign to brew as they like, and so they still brew their lineup of 6 year-round Belgian-style ales with about a dozen seasonal special ales. The BPA, in fact, began as a seasonal ale before going full-time last year.
UEFA President Michel Platini, who is concerned about money in football
There’s a lot of money floating around world football. Despite record profits in the premier league this year, English teams spent all of it and more. This past year, 11 of the Premier League’s 20 clubs made losses, totaling at 458 million pounds. It would be nice to think that these losses could actually affect these clubs going forward, but in all likelihood, the only effect they will have is a brief frown from these owners aboard their yachts after they are interrupted from their afternoon orgy by their supermodel accountant.
Could make a potent attack with Corradi.
Thursday, MLS debutants Montreal Impact officially announced their signing of longtime Serie A forward Marco Di Vaio. Montreal’s first designated player signing, Di Vaio is a striker with a nose for goal who at 35 years of age could still make a difference for his new club.
He scored 10 Serie A goals this past season, 19 the previous, and had a career high 25 in all competitions in the 2008/09 campaign.
The forward, who earned 14 Italy caps from 2001-2004, will join fellow national teammates Matteo Ferrari and Bernardo Corradi who are already with the Impact.
Besides that new trio the only other Italian in MLS is young Chicago Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, an Inter youth product who currently backs up even younger USMNT prospect Sean Johnson.
In fact, Di Vaio will be only the eighth Italian player to lace up his boots in MLS.
But with a slew of notable names linked with North American clubs, Di Vaio’s signing could mark the beginning of an Italian invasion.
Old and Busted. (credit: teletext.co.uk)
About a month ago, the BBC announced that Ceefax, its text-only, real-time news channel, would be shut down in all markets except for Tyneside, Kent and Northern Ireland as the UK moves to an all-digital television signal. The passing of the service was met largely with a whiff of nostalgia by a lot of observers, perhaps none moreso than football fans. For a time, Ceefax was the top source of transfer news as it broke, and match updates for those whose clubs received no television coverage over the BBC airwaves.
Over the past week, Aston Villa saw its move for Molde Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær dissolve, with the Manchester United legend yesterday announcing that he would be remaining with the defending Tippeligaen champions to keep his family in Norway, after being whisked away to Birmingham for surprise talks with Villa Chairman Randy Lerner.
So, you’re probably thinking, how are these two stories related? Well, the latter is an example of how the speed of information today has rendered the former obsolete, and how, in a Ceefax world, I might be a very happy chappy with my club’s managerial appointment.
When asked what he wants in this latest commercial from Nike, Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli replies simply, “to be remembered.”
Off the pitch, Super Mario has certainly done enough to solidify his place amongst the clown princes of football.
But on the pitch he is as mercurial a talent as there’s ever been, with periodic flashes of strength and brilliance offset by silly fouls and squabbles with his own teammates and managers.
The upcoming European Championship gives Balotelli yet another chance to begin fulfilling his enormous potential and wipe the slate clean, at the very least in the eyes of Italians, with whom his relationship could kindly be referred to as “rocky”.
With that goal in mind, the new ad sees Mario trying out some iconic hairstyles before he takes the biggest stage in his career thus far.
Always good to see Balotelli being a good sport. No word yet on how many extras he threw darts at.
Argie Crouch is 6’2″, possibly pregnant.
Now’s as good a time as any to check back in on our favorite underachieving club from South America. There’s four weeks left on the Nacional B season. Only twelve points up for grabs. You might expect a big club like River Plate, with all its resources focused on earning promotion back to the top flight, would have this thing sewn up and bagged by now. But you’d be wrong. It’s been a rocky, nerve-racking ride for Los Millos, and this weekend won’t be any smoother or less nervy. It’s been squeaky bum time at River Plate for several weeks now.
So where are we right now? Well, last weekend River was held to a draw at home against lowly Brown. The sort of performance that inspires confidence, right? The dropped points meant they wasted a chance to grab hold of the top of the league. A gentle reminder about promotion: first and second place automatically go up, while 3rd and 4th place have to play a 2 game playoff against the 17th and 18th place teams from Primera A. River is in second place right now, but they’re only ahead of Instituto on goal difference. The league leaders are Rosario Central, ahead of River by two points. Guess which team River gets to face on the road this weekend? Continue reading
This is what I think of your whining
For many fans, soccer is much more important than just about anything in the world, even life itself. People live and die with their teams triumphs and failures, which makes it all the more interesting that Liverpool still has so many fans. Nonetheless, at Four Five Two we have broken down the 5 stages of grief and tried to guess just where some of this year’s teams fans would fit.
One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, areearly in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.
The Beer: Scottish Session, Williams Bros. Brewing Company, Alloa, Scotland
The Pub: The Queen Vic, in Northeast DC
What you need to know: Williams Bros. is a relatively young brewer in the UK. The brewery began out of a homebrew supply shop in 1988, with a translated version of an old Gaelic recipe for Fraoch, a beer that uses heather in place of hops (slightly different from a gruit, as the grain bill is closer to a wee heavy than a pale ale). The titular brothers began by contract brewing Fraoch and three other historical recipes as Heather Ale Ltd., before moving into their own digs in Craigmill in 1998. In 2004, in need of larger spaces, the Williams Bros. took over the Forth brewery in Alloa, where they put their own name on the bottle and began to brew more modern styles of beer.
Golden Ale is a close cousin of the English Pale Ale covered in past editions; the lone differences are in the color, which is slightly less amber than a true pale ale. But we’re talking by a matter of degrees here. In reality, golden ale is somewhere between pale ale and best bitter.