What I’m doing; what I’ve done

After 10 years, 4 months and a few days, I left USA TODAY at the end of March 2010. In my time there, I wrote about soccer, mixed martial arts and Olympic sports. I edited the online sections for soccer, boxing/MMA, Olympics, golf, hockey, high school sports and horse racing. (Not all at the same time, but many at the same time.) I dug into the technical side to help with IT work on our automated stats and scores. And I was a guinea pig on blogs, backpack journalism (with video), Twitter and some other things I’ve probably blocked from … Continue reading What I’m doing; what I’ve done

Monday Myriad: MMA apology time

Quick reminder: Boston Marathon this morning on Universal Sports. So what happened this weekend? SOCCER (Americas) – MLS: The Galaxy look great. The bottom teams look terrible. Full roundup already up. – WPS: Six and a half years ago, Abby Wambach scored both goals in the last WUSA final as the Washington Freedom defeated the Atlanta Beat. On Sunday, Wambach had a goal and two assists as the Freedom won their first WPS meeting with the Beat 3-1. Trivia, true to the best of my recollection (let me know if I forgot someone): The only two players from the Beat’s … Continue reading Monday Myriad: MMA apology time

MLS Week 4: Cool is a rule, but bad is bad

Did MLS suddenly adopt the Scottish system of splitting the top half of the table from the bottom? That would explain why the bottom four teams in the MLS East all faced off this week in a macabre mini-tournament of sorts. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Salt Lake played a terrific rematch of last fall’s MLS Cup final. One of the bottom four matchups, Thursday’s Toronto-Philadelphia game, was already covered. On to the weekend (lineups are estimated from Match Tracker and from what was visible on the highlights; if you see someone who wound up playing elsewhere on the field, please … Continue reading MLS Week 4: Cool is a rule, but bad is bad

On D.C. United: “We’re not 1996, man”

Early in a 2-0 loss to Chicago on Saturday, Andy Najar — known to no one outside D.C. United’s staff a few weeks ago and now starting in MLS at age 17 — chased a ball down on his own endline and centered it across the face of his own goal. That’s how things are going for the once-mighty team these days. Three years of atrocious personnel decisions and a recent rash of injuries have left a team that looks incapable of winning. Santino Quaranta, now an elder statesman of sorts at age 25, pointed to the injuries — Clyde … Continue reading On D.C. United: “We’re not 1996, man”

Anatomy of a goal: Fire’s Dykstra to McBride

The dagger for D.C. United started with former Woodbridge, Va., resident Andrew Dykstra, the young goalkeeper for the Chicago Fire. Dykstra, who had 80-100 people coming to watch him, said he was looking for Brian McBride with his long distributions late in the game. He wasn’t able to get the ball to him in the corner a little earlier. Then he saw McBride drift into the box and figured he would aim there. “I trust the 36-year-old veteran,” Dykstra said, undercounting by one year. The 37-year-old veteran knew what to do next. He couldn’t see United keeper Troy Perkins, but … Continue reading Anatomy of a goal: Fire’s Dykstra to McBride

Friday Myriad: What’s going on this week(end)

It’s a relatively slow time for the sports world outside the NBA and NHL, where the Capitals appear to have started breaking my heart. But you won’t be without viewing options this weekend. Read on for all of those (all times ET) and a look at the midweek news: MLS Comedy of errors last night in Toronto. Philadelphia keeper Chris Seitz let a Dwayne De Rosario free kick slip through his hands into the goal, and he committed the foul that let De Ro win it from the spot. Danny Califf, the “veteran leadership” for Philadelphia, made a poor backpass … Continue reading Friday Myriad: What’s going on this week(end)

Throwing open the U.S. Open Cup

It’s U.S. Open Cup season again, which means it’s also open season for Open Cup reform ideas and lamentations over its lack of popularity. Like England’s FA Cup, the U.S. Open Cup has a proud history that predates the formation of a viable national league. The biggest difference is that the USA’s viable national league — the old American Soccer League — was only viable for a little more than a decade, so the Open Cup had another long period of giving the only national trophy at stake. But the Open Cup has had a rocky run through the last … Continue reading Throwing open the U.S. Open Cup

‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 3: Not that there’s anything wrong with that

Two weeks ago, we wondered if Rich Franklin would be replacing Tito Ortiz sometime during this season, and we were all assured otherwise. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz, and Chuck is excited!

Last week, we got confirmation from the UFC: Chuck Liddell will be facing … Rich Franklin??!!

We’ll have to watch to find out how.

So let’s run through the teams …

Team Liddell:
Kyle Noke – former Crocodile Hunter bodyguard, won first fight
Rich Attonito – good wrestler, quiet so far
Charles Blanchard – wasn’t he a college football player in the 40s?
Josh Bryant – won close decision to get in
Brad Tavares – helped out Crabman and McCray with the air-horn prank last time
Court McGee – Scott Ian goatee
Joe Henle – looks like Chris “Jesus” Ferguson

Team Ort, er, Punishment, er, Franklin?:
Nick Ring – impressive resume
Kyacey Uscola – Mr. 18-15, didn’t like Crabman’s antics
Kris McCray – wins fights quickly
Jamie Yager – Crabman! On a mission to annoy everyone
James Hammortree – won prelim with ground-and-pound
Clayton McKinney – trains with Tom Lawlor and Seth Petruzelli, and he has the green hair to prove. Lost already to Noke and seemed humiliated when Tito tried to make it a learning experience.
Chris Camozzi – dental problems since prelim fight

On to the show, where we get the theme music this time. Anyone already missing the gag of showing Roy Nelson’s belly fat on the word “fitness”?

Continue reading “‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 3: Not that there’s anything wrong with that”

What’s better about the Dynamo’s new stadium?

A Twitter debate du jour: What’s so great about the Houston Dynamo finally getting a deal for a new stadium if they’re just going to share it with a college football team? Answers here via spokesman’s e-mail from Oliver Luck, Dynamo president/GM: we control the scheduling, not UH. [Univ. of Houston, which hosts the Dynamo today at Robertson Stadium] we control the maintenance, not UH. we control the entire fan experience (including hygiene, concessions, etc…), not UH. yes, we’ll have football lines but we will schedule as best we can around them and we can minimize the football markings, which … Continue reading What’s better about the Dynamo’s new stadium?

MLS: Who’s paying cash for clunkers?

Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy has a provocative piece on Major League Soccer teams’ wild misses in judging talent. Sure, teams make mistakes all the time, but in this new era with more guaranteed contracts, those mistakes can be more costly. Kennedy singles out Toronto and the signing of Latvian left back Raivis Hscanovics, about whom Wikipedia says the following: “In March 2010 his contract was terminated with Skonto FC because of knee problems. He later joined Toronto FC.” (We’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word for it, because the source cited on that note is in a language I don’t even … Continue reading MLS: Who’s paying cash for clunkers?