|1) Gold Cup semifinals are here. Planet World Cup's Peter Goldstein is doing an excellent job at recapping the action so far. He has the best coverage of the "lesser" confederations that I've found on the web. It's hard to see any other outcome other than a USA-Mexico final. They don't need to play their best to beat the other teams in CONCACAF. Just look at the USA in the 2005 edition. Canada is pretty good though. Based on their European talent, they really should do better in World Cup qualifying. With the new stadium and MLS team, I would expect them to make the hex at least.|
Oh, and I just want to mention this: Guadeloupe is NOT like Puerto Rico, it's more like Hawaii. It's a department/region of France, part of the country and not a territory. Clear? That's why it can't, won't, and shouldn't be a FIFA member. So no World Cup for them.
2) Here's a World Cup statistic for you. Which non-champion country has defeated the most World Cup winners (out of the seven)? Of the non-winners, that would be be an honor shared by Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Yugoslavia. All of those teams have beaten four of the World Cup winners.
3) Speaking of the World Cup, this is definitely an issue that's completely under the radar. When will the preliminary draws be done for World Cup qualifying? They were scheduled to happen in late May. This Bigsoccer thread alerted me to this issue. I'm not talking about the big draw in South Africa this November, where we'll learn the groups and pairings for every confederation. I'm talking about the draws for AFC (Asia) and CAF (Africa), where they will pit their weakest teams against each other to get to the number for the November draw. OFC already did their draw, at least.
It's also interesting that CAF is cutting down to 48 teams for the big draw. They will qualify 5 teams to the World Cup and 16 to the 2010 Nations Cup, using the same games. How does that work with 48 teams? Will South Africa be included, since they need to qualify for the Nations Cup?
4) Juan Pablo Angel has now scored in six consecutive games. I remember Carlos Ruiz's streak last year; a check on MLSnet reveals that he, Raul Diaz Arce, and Wolde Harris all share the league record with seven games in a row with a goal. Does anyone doubt that he'll tie it on June 30th at the Crew? He could break it on July 5th at Houston.
I also wanted to take a moment to highlight another streak, Roy Lassiter's in 1996. He scored in 11 straight games for the Mutiny; that includes the last six regular season games, the Open Cup quarterfinal against Rochester, and the first four playoff games. 99% sure that's an MLS record, and will be even harder to match.
Oh, I just thought of something. MLS doesn't count scoreless streaks over multiple seasons, we've already learned about that ridiculous policy. I wonder if they don't count goals scored streaks over two years as well? I'll have to check.
5) As a Fire fan, I'm so glad Dave Sarachan was fired. He totally deserved it, and it's funny to read the Washington insider-like rantings of Robert Wagman. Who cares how "approachable and honest with the media" he was. And apparently he was great "until the current front office arrived." I guess he's not counting the worst season in team history, 2004. I also noticed how he was defended by Stephen Goff on his blog, who immediately posted quotes from a call between the two. It really does remind me of how certain pundits, journalists, and politicians in Washington defend each other regardless of their beliefs. Chris Armas jumped to his defense as well.
I don't care how nice or media friendly he was, performance is what counts. Dave didn't get it done and his teams played boring soccer. John Guppy perhaps deserves to be fired as well, but Sarachan definitely hasn't done a good job. Now everybody sing the Dave Sarachan theme song!