US National Team gets critical win in the snow

It’s been a week of drama for the US National Team, with all sorts of reports of infighting and the team having serious issues with the coach. But hopefully this game in the snow changed the karma.

Time to take your hand off the panic button, America.

After a week in which we wondered who would win this game, collective spirit or Anonymous Source, the former won the day, albeit amidst farcical scenes. The U.S. beat a feisty Costa Rican side 1-0 in a blizzard that occasionally made the game appear like the Winter Olympics come early. Now the Americans head to Mexico with their first points of The Hex.

Here’s four immediate responses to the evening’s ice follies:

1. Football is a funny game
After the accusations contained in the Sporting News investigative report, the USMNT have trained all week under a hail of doomsday predictions. They came to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to prove their worth, only to face conditions for which they could never have planned. The snow prevented football of any style from being played. Ultimately, the conditions might have been a blessing, as it took some of the pressure off the U.S. team. There were no more concerns about unnamed sources, which players were not here, or the captaincy debate. This was all about 11 men and a yellow ball. And the man of the match was the groundsman with the shovel who kept the game playable.

Read the rest of Roger Bennett’s column. Let’s see if the rest of World Cup qualifying goes this well.

Massive match-fixing scandal hit soccer

Free image courtesy of

This latest news about rigged matches around the world, all being funded by an Asian mobster trying to influence massive bets, is threatening the very core of worldwide soccer. And it’s not an isolated case. Then add in the massive corruption at FIFA itself and you have a real problem. It’s a clear example of how sports betting fuels this corruption and raises the question of whether legalizing it can help or worsen the problem of corruption.

Classic David Beckham assist

This is just beautiful. David Beckham gets the ball to Mike McGee who scores the game winning goal.

USA shocks Italy for first win ever against the Azzurri

This one is a shocker.

The United States beat Italy for the first time in 11 games over 78 years, a 1-0 victory in an exhibition Wednesday night on Clint Dempsey’s goal in the 55th minute.

Dempsey took a short pass from Jozy Altidore following Michael Bradley’s cross and put a right-footed shot from just inside the penalty area just past an outstretched hand of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. It was his 25th goal in 83 international appearances.

A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, who turns 29 on March 9, Dempsey has had the most accomplished season by a U.S. attacking player in European soccer. He’s scored 16 goals this season for Fulham, becoming the American career scoring leader in England’s Premier League with 43 goals.

The loss was particularly deflating for Italy, a four-time World Cup champion preparing for the start of the European Championship in June. The Americans, who are getting ready for their opening qualifier for the 2014 World Cup in June, had been 0-7-3 against Italy and had been outscored 32-4.

Italy dominated for stretches but the American defense held and the Azzurri were called for offsides nine times.

The Italians had been playing well, but forwards Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano were out with injuries. Also, Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was “left off the squad because of his temper and unpredictability” according to this ESPN article. He’s a well-known hot head so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Soccer year in review

Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels (15) scores a goal by penalty kick against against Olympique Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandana during their Champions League Group F soccer match in Dortmund December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

It was a good year fro Soccer games, but a bad year for FIFA according to this year in review.