Category Archives: Bronco

Championships or Bust

After last years amazing run to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers came out hot out of the gates this year. They had a bad bad second half of the season but still ended up with the 2 seed in the East. They host the Sabres when the playoffs start this Wednesday. I think I speak for all of Philadelphia when I say that it’s time for the Flyers to win a Stanley Cup. Last year was the closest they have come in my entire lifetime. They’ve got the team to do it, led by the offense. Stanley Cup or bust.

I still don’t care at all about the Sixers. I do like Doug Collins but I will not root for the Sixers again until Andre Iguodala is gone. I hope they get swept in the playoffs.

After a rough first season, the Philadelphia Union are off to a hot start with 3 wins in 4 games. 9 points puts them at the top of the Eastern Conference. The biggest move the Union made was bringing in goalie Faryd Mondragon. Mondragon is an experienced goalie from Colombia who is a million times better than Chris Seitz was last year. Mondragon has the defense organized, calm, and no longer making that one stupid pass out of the back each game that ends up in a game-changing goal. The defense has looked great so far this year only giving up 1 goal in 360 minutes.

After watching last nights 1-0 win at home against the New York Red Bulls, honestly, I am kind of worried about the offense. The midfield got dominated. The Union had pretty much no possession the entire game. But hey, they took advantage of the one real chance they got when Danny Mwanga intercepted a poor pass out of the back from Tim Ream and dished it off to Roger Torres who put it away for the winning goal. Sebastian Le Toux looked terrible last night, and hasn’t gotten it going quite like last year yet this year. Carlos Ruiz could never get it going either. Between Mwanga, Le Toux, Ruiz and Torres they should turn it around and have no problem getting the goal or two each game that they’ll need to at least secure a tie.

I really think that the Union are going to make a run this year at a championship. Defense wins championships and I think that the Mondragon-led defense of the Union are one of the best in the MLS.

To everyone who doubted the Phillies before this year: Shutup. In the first week or so of the season the Phils have already opened up a 2 game lead on the 2nd place Marlins. I’d say 7-2 is a decent start and to have a run differential of +26 just makes their record even more impressive. Hamels was absolutely lights out today. Two negatives this weekend though. Cliff Lee had no command on Friday night. I’ve never seen him throw so many pitches right over the middle of the plate. And Ryan Howard did not look good at all. I think he was 1-10 for the series. The positives were pretty much everything else, Chooch came up huge off the bench on Saturday, Oswalt had a good start, Hamels was even better. A shutout to close the series out was a great way to end the series. I’m just going to say it right here, right now: World Series or Bust.

Bronco

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Phillies Biggest Loss: Not Werth

It’s opening day today for the Phillies. The buzz around the team is ridiculously high right now and for good reason. The addition of Cliff Lee to the rotation was slightly unexpected but absolutely amazing. With all of the positive energy around the team I thought I’d be a big old jerk and write about the Phillies biggest loss this offseason.

No, I’m not talking about that prick Jayson Werth. I’ll be the first to say that I loved him the last couple years but I have absolutely no respect for a player who gives up any chance of winning just for money. The Phillies got Cliff Lee not because they gave him the most money, but because he wanted to be here and he knew he has a great chance to win here. That’s not the point of this article though.

Let me take you back to a moment completely unrelated to the Phillies. 2004 ALCS Red Sox down in the series 3-0 and in the game 4-3 in the 9th to the Yankees.  Kevin Millar draws a walk from Mariano Rivera. Dave Roberts comes in to pinch run. Rivera throws over 3 times and then Roberts steals the first pitch Rivera throws. Bill Mueller knocks him in, Bo Sox end up winning in 12 innings, come back win the ALCS and then the World Series. That one stolen base was enormous. It took the 2004 Boston Red Sox team from being the team who got swept by the Yankees in the playoffs to the team who ended the 2nd longest World Series drought at the time. This is where I bring it back to the Phillies…

People tend to think 1st base coaches could just be any old Joe Schmo, and sometimes they are right. It is hard to be a 1st base coach who has a serious impact on the team, but if its negative it’s a killer and if it’s a positive impact it can change games, series, and really whole seasons. The last 4 seasons, the Phillies led the league in stolen base percentage every single year, including the 2007 season where they were successful on a major league record 87.9%(138-157) of their stolen base attempts.

Losing Davey Lopes as a 1st base coach is going to be the biggest loss of the offseason for the Phillies. Who is going to replace Lopes? Sam Perlozzo. Last years 3rd base coach is making the move over to 1st. It is going to be interesting to see how he does. If the Phillies can still steal bases extremely effectively, then it will prove to be a really unimportant loss, but if say out of 157 attempts (just like the 2007 season), the Phillies are only successful say 120 times, that is 18 less outs available to get hits and the Phillies just wont have runners in scoring position quite as much, which could be really bad.

Phillies prediction: 162-0

Bronco

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Sports Officiating Replays

First off, there is no way that we will ever know what the perfect solution is to this problem, lets just get that straight. But, with recent events such as Armando Galarraga’s just barely imperfect game, and the entire World Cup officiating debacle, the arguments of the use of replay have surfaced yet again, and with much more firepower. So, being the great guy I am, I will outline sport by sport what I think the extent of replay use should be.

Football: Football, I think, was the first to institute the use of any kind of replay in its sport. I also think they have it almost perfect in the amount replay is used, however, I think that coaches both in college, and the NFL, should start with 2 challenges. For every correct challenge, they should receive an extra challenge. This would reward coaches for getting the best out of officials. It wouldn’t slow the game down that much, because I do believe that with a failed challenge, you should still lose a timeout, and we all know how important timeouts are in the last 3-4 minutes of a game. Unfortunately, Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid never figured out their importance.

Basketball: Basketball has it pretty much perfect as well. Every last second shot should be reviewed, no questions asked. No challenges, but I do think boundary plays should be reviewed by, for lack of a better word, the booth, as it is called in football.

Hockey: I suggest no changes to hockey’s replay system. Goals get reviewed by the “War room,” and sometimes then get reviewed by the game referees.

Soccer: Soccer, is the only sport in this article with no replay rule at all. This is how it should be. But, I think some technology wouldn’t hurt. There has been a ton of talk about putting a chip in the ball and a sensor on the goal line and I see no reason why they should not have them. I also think, for offside calls, they should have 2 sideline referees on each side. It just doesn’t make sense to me that this does not already exist. Obviously, referees will make more correct calls, especially on boundary calls, and offside calls if they only have to cover half of one sideline rather than a whole sideline by themselves.

Baseball: This is in my opinion the toughest to decide. What they have going with the home runs is good, I think it should be extended to the foul calls too, though.  Balls and strikes should not be touched, I think everyone agrees on that. “The booth” should review close plays at all bases. Apparently, according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, there are 1.3 close calls per game. This would only slow the game down as much as the readjustment of batting gloves every single pitch, or for that matter, mound visits.

I don’t care enough about any other sport to consider their replay rules.

Bronco

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Just Not Good Enough

In my humble opinion, if you’re not one of the top 4 teams in any given World Cup, you should hire a new coach for the next cycle(A cycle being 4 years). Excluded from this rule are any teams that made a Cinderella run past the round of 16.

A couple reasons behind my theory.

  • After 4 years of one coach shoving his style of play down your throat, if you haven’t excelled in it yet, you’re not going to. The coach most likely won’t change his style of play after 4 years, so you need a different coach, with a new strategy.
  • In some cases, it isn’t necessarily the closed-mindedness of the coaches strategy, but the fact that he has now developed a bond with certain players, and wants them to win, when sometimes it’s time for some new faces on the field.

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, it is time for Bob Bradley to go. It’s more the second reason than the first reason for him. Although he does stay attached to his 4-4-2 formation, the thing that really grinds my gears is his lack of openness to bring in completely new players. For example, although he was injured for the World Cup, Jermaine Jones is still yet to make an appearance for the U.S. team, even though he received his eligibility to make appearances for us before he was injured, well before the real buckle down time for the World Cup. I love what Bradley has done for US Soccer, but we need a new face on the sidelines, one who brings fresh ideas to personnel choices and tactical decisions.

If I could pick any coach in the World to replace Bob Bradley, it would be, without a doubt, Pep Guardiola. His 2008 Barcelona team was, in both my opinion, and statistically, one of the best club teams in history. Barca is widely considered the best passing team in the World, and Guardiola would bring an entirely new system to the states. That all being said, the chances of him leaving Barcelona to coach any team, especially the United States, are about the same of the Phillies signing Hee-Seop Choi and inserting him into the starting lineup next week.

Possible Replacements:

  • Jurgen Klinsmann. Led the Germans to a 3rd place finish in 2006, and lives in LA. More importantly, the US pretty much hired him before they hired Bradley, but one small disagreement ended that. 4 years later, I would still like the move.
  • Joachim Loew. If he does not resign with Germany, he’d be a great choice. He led the Germans to a 3rd place finish in 2010, but does not play a typical German style, so some of the higher-ups do not approve of him coaching the Germans. I’d love this, he loves to counter-attack, which makes for some really interesting soccer, and with the speed of Davies, and Donovan, the system makes sense.
  • Jose Mourinho. This is a very far off shot, but prior to the 2010 World Cup, he said the idea of coaching an international team for a World Cup excites him. Probably doesn’t have the U.S. in mind for that, but the self-proclaimed “Chosen One” (of managing) is a tactical genius. His most recent accomplishment was winning the UEFA Champions league, the Italian league and Italian cup in 2009 with Inter Milan. He is now the coach of Real Madrid.

But, Bronco, we made it out of the group stage isn’t that good enough? No. There is no way that we should not have made it out of that group. Sure, I didn’t expect us to top the group, but, losing in the round of 16 to a Ghana team without its captain, best player CM Michael Essien is just not good enough for U.S. Soccer anymore. This is America, we are better than everyone at just about everything, and soccer should be no different.

Tonight may be Bradleys final game as the coach of the U.S.A. against Brazil at 8 PM on ESPN.

Bronco

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One Cup, One Dream

The friendlies are done; the preparations are almost over, the cup almost here.

In just under six days time, South Africa will be hosting Mexico in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In just over seven days time, The United States will start their cup run against perennial power England.

12 years ago, US Soccer executives initiated what was call project 2010. The goal of the project: To develop the US Soccer program into a legitimate threat to come home with the FIFA World Cup trophy.

A week from today, the whole world will find out how legitimate a threat the U.S. National Team is, how successful project 2010 was.

I would say that June 12, 2010 is the single most important day in United States Soccer history. When the U.S. drew England as their first opponent, many were worried, some were excited, I was going crazy. England is the perfect opponent for the U.S. to play in their first game of the World Cup. This match will be watched in the states more than any other U.S. Soccer game ever. The 23 players that will wear the US jersey in South Africa next Saturday have a chance to win over the hearts of millions of Americans just dying for a reason to get behind this team.

Stay tuned for more on the World Cup.

Bronco

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Round One

I’m going to start with my thoughts on the 2010 Draft in general, then tell you what I think of the Eagles move to get Brandon Graham.

First of all, the fact that it is now a three day event is just ridiculous. While ESPN is NOT showing the NHL playoffs because of God knows why, they’re showing us the NFL Draft. Don’t get me wrong I love Mel Kipers slicked back hair and how he actually thinks he’s useful for ESPN but c’mon man (NFL Live anyone?). The Draft should start on Saturday at noon, go for 3 rounds which should be televised, and then Sunday the last 4 rounds should happen untelevised. Have you ever watched the last 4 rounds? It is all the analysts sitting there continuing to break down every first round pick like we don’t already know their whole goddamn life story from the 8,000 hours of draft coverage between the end of football season and the draft.

The top 9 picks didn’t really surprise anyone. I hope pick #8 tears his ACL every year of his career, but the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick #10 came up with a doosie. Tyson Alualu out of Cal. A projected late first to second round pick went 10th overall. Are you kidding me Jacksonville? Do you pay attention when the Eagles are on the clock, don’t you know you can trade down? I don’t know much about this guy, which says a lot. Because out of the 8,000 hours of draft coverage, I probably watched 7,000. So if I don’t really know you, and you get drafted, you’re not that good. And 10 overall is just ridiculous.

The Broncos gave up a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round pick to get Tebow at 25. That is just plain silly. The Bills were the only other team interested in picking him in the top 32, and they also were going to have to trade up to get there. I think the Broncos could have waited and maybe saved a pick if they tried to move up to maybe pick 30. That being said, props to Josh McDaniels for having balls to not only pick Tebow, but to trade up to get a guy he wanted.

The Eagles traded up and got Brandon Graham. He’s probably going to play DE, but he can also play linebacker. Overall, I like him, but I’m not so sure about right here. I think they should have picked a defensive back here. Earl Thomas was still on the board. I think he would have been a great pick, but that is who we expected and when do the Eagles do anything expected. The Birds have pick 37 overall, look to see a DB here, hopefully. In reality, I’d rather see them trade it for an established defensive back but I doubt that happens.

The real question today is when is the best running back in the draft going to get drafted, and by who? Yes, I’m talking about former Auburn standout Ben Tate. I hate the combine, but, if you like it, he put up ridiculous numbers there. He had the best speed score out of any running back. He benched more than most lineman, and still ran the 3rd fastest 40 out of the RB’s. He ran for 1300 yards in his senior season, where he shared carries with 2 other people, and Auburn set school records in almost every passing category. Oh yeah, and he never fumbled one single time in 4 years at Auburn, which plays in a real conference unlike Ryan Matthews.

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Cinderella Story

On 11 April 2010, Portsmouth F.C. punched their ticket to the Football Association Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The FA Cup is one of the biggest, most prestigious tournaments in all of soccer. Every team in Englands Football Association participates, this year a record number of 762 teams participated. That’s not an exaggeration. Through the first handful of rounds, another division joins in the tournament, with the final division being the Premier League. This obviously favors the teams in the Premier division on English soccer.

Portsmouth is in the middle one of the most interesting seasons in any sport ever. In the last calendar year they have had 4 owners 2 managers, the worst start in Premier League history, filed for bankruptcy, been docked 10 points in the standings for filing for bankruptcy, been allowed to sell players not in the transfer window, laid off 85 workers, and are probably going to finish as the worst English Premier League team in the long history of the league. Oh yeah, and now they’re in a Cup final?

I guess it’s a good thing they’re in this final, maybe they’ll make some money, and its definitely a perfect time to showcase their top talent to other clubs who are surely going to be looking to buy players from the struggling club. As relegation is a sure thing for Pompey, clubs all over the World will surely be calling whoever is running the club now (It’s hard to keep up) looking to bolster their own rosters. The only problem is that, quite frankly, Portsmouth only has maybe five players that are actually worth good money.

As their opponents Chelsea have already locked up a UEFA Champions League spot for next season, Portsmouth are granted a spot in the UEFA Cup, Europes secondary club competition. But, with the club in financial turmoil, they did not file for a UEFA license before the 1 March deadline and are not eligible to play in any cup competition run by UEFA next season. Naturally, they are now fighting to earn their spot in the UEFA Cup. Why? I have no idea. They will surely be out of that competition within minutes. A mass exodus is surely going to happen in the coming months at Portsmouth, and quite frankly, they’ll embarrass themselves and all of English soccer competing in that competition.

The date is set, Portsmouth vs. Chelsea 15 May 2010, Wembley Stadium. This is very possibly the worst F.A. Cup Final matchup ever, and could end up as the most lopsided final ever, too. Chelsea F.C. is not only one of the richest, most popular sports teams in the whole World right now, but also in first place in the Barclays Premier League. They are in great form, and barring injury will surely beat up on Pompey. Or will this Cinderella story end happily?

Yours Truly,

Bronco

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