etagloh's profile

etagloh
411
Member since: April 06, 2002
Last visit: August 30, 2014

etagloh has posted 49 links and 1465 comments to SportsFilter and 0 links and 1 comment to the Locker Room.

Recent Links

Trying their best to win at losing: Eight badminton players face disciplinary hearings for "not using one's best efforts to win a match" after two Olympic women's doubles matches where both pairs were very obviously playing to lose their final group matches in order to secure a better draw in the knockout round. This is the first Olympic tournament that's not been a pure knockout competition; it may be the last.

posted by etagloh to olympics at 01:53 AM on August 01 - 32 comments

"In the white spaces. I think about the silence at Lord's, and I understand. Test cricket is different from the rest of the world because it was designed to be." : Having travelled to India for the World Cup (as mentioned here), Wright Thompson visits the home of cricket and meditates on the nature of the Test match.

posted by etagloh to other at 07:18 PM on December 27 - 9 comments

Dan Wheldon Dies in 15-Car Crash at Las Vegas: Dan Wheldon died Sunday from injuries suffered in a 15-car wreck during lap 13 of an IndyCar race in Las Vegas. He was 33. Wheldon won this year's Indianapolis 500. "I've never seen anything like it," driver Ryan Briscoe said of the crash. "The debris we all had to drive through the lap later, it looked like a war scene from Terminator or something."

posted by etagloh to auto racing at 06:29 PM on October 16 - 28 comments

Argentine Soccer Giants Relegated: For the first time in their storied 110-year history, the Argentine soccer team River Plate has been relegated from the country's top division. They lost a promotion-relegation playoff against Belgrano de Cordoba in Buenos Aires. Despite the presence of 2,200 police at the match, violence erupted in the stands and spread into the streets, leaving 68 people injured, 50 arrested and 15 vehicles destroyed. The 3,000 traveling Cordoba fans were not able to leave the stadium for two hours.

posted by etagloh to soccer at 09:00 AM on June 27 - 3 comments

“He plays like a child enjoying the pasture, playing for the pleasure of playing, not the duty of winning.": That's the Uruguayan novelist Eduardo Galeano on Lionel Messi, who receives a long profile from the New York Times in advance of next Saturday's Champions League final.

posted by etagloh to soccer at 01:50 AM on May 22 - 7 comments

Recent Comments

Germany Closes Down France in World Cup

Definitely more open than the previous round, but also a pretty obvious gap in class and creativity.

I'm pretty sure that Özil plays worse when he's in Hair Gel mode, compared to his classic Dickensian Urchin look, which reappeared during that rainy match earlier in the tournament.

posted by etagloh at 03:05 PM on July 04

Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup

Our national team will improve the longer we can keep our top players in Europe, away from the MLS.

But that can't go on for an extended period of time, with a disjunction between kids who grow up in the US and ones who have US citizenship but grow up elsewhere. It has to be transitional, to provide sufficient breathing room to change the development model underneath it.

Having your best players abroad is hardly a unique state of affairs: footballers from all over the world get scouted into European club systems, but their home countries still have the base level infrastructure for the scouts to know where to look.

The US federation isn't going to change the dominance of the NCAA and the lure of a scholarship, but it needs to sell the idea that there is a route to being scouted and playing professionally and not getting stuck in rec-league stagnation. Liga MX clubs are scouting 14-year-olds in the US, especially kids with Mexican heritage, and perhaps doing so more aggressively than MLS.

posted by etagloh at 09:15 PM on July 03

Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup

First touch in midfield. I'm not going to make excuses for Bradley losing possession, but if you're not confident that balls to feet will be controlled well, or passes to players ahead of you will be reached or given good first touches, there's not much you can do there unless the aim is to play Route One, hope to win balls in the air and then have support.

posted by etagloh at 11:33 PM on July 02

U.S. Falls to Belgium Despite Epic Tim Howard Performance

Focusing on Bradley just taps into bad American habits. That's daft. The first touch was lacking across midfield, and when you can't relieve pressure against a good side, then you make a rod for your own back. Howard was immense, of course, but I doubt he'll be considering his "record" in positive terms. This isn't the NHL.

The US did pretty much as well as they deserved: rank them alongside all the other teams who went out in this round to sides with a bit more guile and depth and stamina (and in some cases, luck). Most of the losing sides are going to get better, and will have days where they win. The question for the US is whether they can improve at the same rate.

The quarter-finals are probably going to be more open than the second round, because (as rumple says) the balance between teams has shifted again. No more "job done" victories here.

posted by etagloh at 09:37 AM on July 02

Colombia Faces Suarez-Less Uruguay in World Cup Knockout

Yeah, Rodriguez isn't an undiscovered star, and he isn't short of a bob or two after the move to Monaco.

As the old terrace chant goes, it's just like watching Brazil, and it's weird to think that Colombia are missing a huge talent in Radamel Falcao (who the gossipy back pages believe is in Madrid right now). The bookies still have Brazil favourite for the quarter-final, and luck appears to be with them right now, but I'd love to see Colombia keep going.

posted by etagloh at 10:14 PM on June 28

U.S. Escapes Group of Death, Advances Despite Loss

is the US now obliged to enshrine Ronaldo as Mexico has enshrined Zusi?

Their primary debt is to Thomas Müller for the hat-trick that had Portugal starting their final match with a goal difference of -4. Giving him an extra one in the competition for the Golden Boot was partial repayment.

posted by etagloh at 06:09 PM on June 26

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

why is this punished more harshly than headbutting?

Would you rather be nutted or bitten?

There's your answer. The man's a biter.

posted by etagloh at 12:56 PM on June 26

LeBron Taking His Talents Out of South Beach

Grantland's piece reminds me of how the salary cap rules make corporate acquisitions look like playing shop, but the motivation for LeBron isn't going to be the size of his own contract, but the prospect of a championship.

posted by etagloh at 10:08 PM on June 24

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

If Suarez were a dog, he'd have been sent to the place from where no dogs return by now.

The weird thing about all the Suarez incidents is that the recipients all reacted the same "what the fuck?!" way. They know how to embellish an iffy tackle, but they haven't got the experience in responding to a chomp.

posted by etagloh at 04:44 PM on June 24

Portugal Ties U.S. in Final Seconds of Match

The bookies still have Germany as the favourite to win, with the draw second favourite (7/4) though that might change over the next day or so.

I suppose there's something to be said for winning the group -- though it's hard to judge who's the strongest of the three potential qualifiers in Group H. The second-place team in group G faces a potential quarter-final against Argentina if they progress, while the strongest team on other side of the draw is... France. Um. Pick your poison.

posted by etagloh at 10:05 PM on June 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

This is a genuinely great World Cup so far. I posted elsewhere a piece talking about how it's got rough edges in terms of tactics: late-vintage tiki-taka vs fast counterattacking, and while Spain may be on the plane, there are possession-focused teams with the talent to win it all.

When things like this happen, and a team like Spain plays so badly it almost appears they are trying to do so, I wonder if there is a dark shadow looming in the background.

Nah. This was a knackered side picked on past glory over present form that got found out by the Dutch, and the players went into today's match knowing they'd been found out. Had they played Australia first, they might have won scrappily and built on it, but the 5-1 clogging undid them, and I'd expect the Socceroos to beat whatever side Del Bosque puts out.

Look at the link to the 2006 Argentina goal upthread: that method of building an attack now feels like it belongs to a different time, and it does.

posted by etagloh at 11:41 PM on June 18

Spain Eliminated from World Cup After Just 2 Games

I liked Barney Ronay's piece, written before Spain's exit, but accurately describing the fortuitous way this World Cup displays tactics in transition:

The retreat of all-out possession play is intersecting profitably with the advance of the counterattacking style, a clash that has produced rough edges, sparks, weaknesses in one system that can be exploited by strengths in the other.
He talks about the role of wide, fast counterattacks, something I noticed from the Croatian goal against Brazil onwards, and I think he's right that by Euro 2014, the rough edges will have gone. We're being spoiled here.

posted by etagloh at 11:32 PM on June 18

Keeper Guillermo Ochoa Saves Mexico's Tocino

During the opener, I wondered what a German side with strength and counterattacking pace might do to Brazil. Then I actually saw Germany play and realised that I underestimated them. The way the draw's set up, though, keeps them far apart.

Instead, Brazil will face someone out of Group B in the second round. We won't know whether Spain's opening horror-show is a sign of deeper malaise until later today, or whether the Dutch will do the Dutch thing once they get out of the group, but it's not a comfortable draw. (Brazil-Chile in the second round? Plausible.)

As for Ochoa, he may not have known much about some of those stops, which is true, but there's a tendency to discount positioning on the goal line for the ones that aren't acrobatic.

posted by etagloh at 08:30 AM on June 18

Keeper Guillermo Ochoa Saves Mexico's Tocino

the play-by-play announcer and his analyst, both of whom were, I believe, of Hispanic descent, added a lot to the game for me.

Fernando Palomo (Salvadorean, works for ESPN Deportes) and Alejandro Moreno (Venezuelan, ESPN analyst and announcer for Philadelphia Union). They did the earlier Mexico match, and I enjoyed it a lot: very much 'Univision for English-speakers', and I'm only surprised that it's taken so long -- it's not as if ESPN Deportes doesn't have a stack of bilingual talent.

The ultimate voice of American football broadcasting is going to be one part blazered American sportscaster, one part Univision / ESPN Deportes, one part English football commentator and one part American ex-pro. It's still melding, but it's definitely getting there.

Ochoa was excellent; Brazil will need to improve.

posted by etagloh at 10:23 PM on June 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Vanishing spray at the World Cup.

posted by etagloh at 10:21 PM on June 10