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June 29, 2014

LeBron demands max $$. Will Big 3 all be back with Heat? Poll. Vote!; plus U.S. soccer, more World Cup KOs (update II), Hot Button Top 10 & more

1aa1anapier1) It is MONDAY, JUNE 30. Heat rolls its brand new 2014 Shabazz Napier onto showroom floor at introductory news conference today. Wonder if he got Dan Marino's blessing to wear that So Fla-sacred number? Notably today, Pat Riley did not quote from any quarter-century-old James Ingram songs. 2) UM football players and Sebastian the Ibis have been out thanking fans who renewed their season tickets. Cute video resulted. Click here. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Wade, Haslem join Heat Opt-Out Club, World Cup knockout round begins, Dolphins stadium, Panthers draft & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1alebronmaxFree agency update: LeBron reportedly to demand max money: ESPN reports today (not a surprise) that when free agency begins a minute past midnight Monday James will demand the maximum salary of $22.1 million per year from any team that wants him including the Heat. If true, that does not necessarily suggest his re-signing with Miami is in jeopardy, though the Conclusion Jumpers already are out in force. What it does suggest is that the burden would now be on Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to accept deeper cuts with James out of the bargain business.   

1aa1arobinhood1aa1a3musketeersPOST OPT-OUTS, VOTE WHETHER YOU THINK HEAT'S BIG 3 WILL ALL BE BACK WITH MIAMI: Chris Bosh as expected joined Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and charter Opt-Out Club member LeBron James. So all of the Heat's main guys have now opted out of their Miami conracts and become free agents. In a column -- click All For One to read -- I explore why this is good for the Heat. The literary images here also help explain it. If this poll feels like deja vu, it should. We ran the same question just two weeks ago (June 18). But that was before all the opt-outs. I thought it might be interesting to reprise the question and compare results. Have the opts-outs made you more confident or less that the Big 3 will all re-up with Miami? Vote now and say why.

THE STATE OF THE STATES: I write an unabashedly positive column on the state of U.S. soccer -- both the national team and the support for it. I feel both have turned a corner in this World Cup. The
1aa1aussoccerU.S. team, playing Belgium Tuesday in the round of 16, no longer is the little underdog cowering to the skills of Europe and South America. Likewise American soccer fans no longer are a cult or niche. Team and fandom both have grown up. Yes, support for U.S. soccer in a World Cup is largely patriotism-driven. Yes, I too have heard the jokes about how we'll be glad when the World Cup is over so we can start ignoring soccer again. Nevertheless, a once "foreign" sport is fully in the American mainstream now. Click on TEAM USA to read the full column.

1aa1abrazilwcFUTBLOG! WORLD CUP ROUND OF 16: KNOCKOUT ROUND CONTINUES: FUTBLOG! is the official World Cup post of this blog, a continually updated daily dose of the month-long soccer spectacle in Brazil. See earlier posts for earlier group-play results. We're on to the round of 16 now, with two knockout games each day for four straight days, Saturday through Tuesday.

Today:



FRANCE def. NIGERIA, 2-0:
 The French have had a redeeming World Cup after a nightmare four years earlier but would have disappointed if they didn't advance here to the quarters. A goal in the 79th minute and another in extra time took care of that. Nigeria's offensive struggles continued after it managed only three goals in three group matches. My pick was: France, 2-1. 

GERMANY def. ALGERIA, 2-1 (OT): The Germans carry Europe's banner in terms of being the best non-South American bet for the crown, but didn't always look it here. Algeria from my view looked to be in over its head here, especially on the defensive end, but I underestimatecd the underdogs. My pick was: Germany, 4-1.



To follow: Tuesday--Argentina vs. Switzerland; United States vs. Belgium.

World Cup goal scoring through today's games: 54 matches, 150 goals, 2.78 per.

ADVANCED TO QUARTERFINALS / ROUND OF EIGHT:

1aa1anetherlandsNETHERLANDS (def. Mexico, 2-1): You could argue the country that old-timers still call Holland was the most impressive of any in group play, going 3-0 and leading all flags with 10 goals. But the favored Dutch barely escaped to survive here, equalizing late and then winning on a penalty kick in extra time. A heartbreak for Mexico's El Tri. My pick was: Netherlands, 2-1 (bull's-eye).

1aa1acostaricaCOSTA RICA (def. GREECE, 1-1 [5-3 PKs]): Can two Cinderellas attend one (foot)ball? Costa Rica is the darling of this Cup after winning a pedigreed group that contained three former champions. But lightly regarded Greece was only team to advance with a negative goal differential. Costa Rica remains the Cinderalla standing by prevailingf despite playing a man down for a third of the match. My pick was: Costa Rica, 3-0. 

1aa1abrazilBRAZIL (def. Chile, 1-1 [3-2 PKs]): A date with host and favorite Brazil was a most dubious bracket reward for Chile, but the underdogs played valiantly through overtime before falling in penalty kicks. Brazilian fans were not entirely thrilled with their guys' play in the qualifying stage and should not have been today, with relief the emotion here far more than elation. My pick was: Brazil, 3-1.

1aa1acolombiaCOLOMBIA (def. Uruguay, 2-0): Colombia looked very good in qualifying (3-0, with 9-2 goals differential) and continued its strong run today. Uruguay was rocked by suspension of star Luis Suarez in the biting incident, effectively Mike Tyson-ing its chances. My pick was: Colombia, 2-0 (bull's-eye).

QUARTERFINAL BRACKET: Brazil vs. Colombia July 4; France vs. Germany/Algeria July 4; Netherlands vs. Costa Rica July 5; Argentina/Switzerland vs. United States/Belgium July 5.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Hot Button is a 1aa1ahotbuttonnew Sunday feature of the blog (debuting last week) because our Sunday notes-column package in the print edition (newspaper) is on summer hiatus, set to return in August. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1. World Cup: Knockout round: Brazil barely survived, Uruguay's Luis Suarez was suspended for biting and the U.S. reached round of 16, the knockout stage, and faces Belgium on Tuesday. Once again, America, on my count: "Let's gooooo States!"

2. Heat: LeBron leads Opt-Out Club: LeBron, Wade and Haslem all have opted out of their contracts and Bosh is expected to follow suit, all good news for Miami. Opting out is in!

3. NBA Draft: Heat land Napier: Miami's draft-night trade for UConn point guard Shabazz Napier made admirer LeBron James very happy. Isn't that the whole idea heading into free agency?

4. Marlins: Slowly fading: Good news: Giancarolo Stanton will be in Home Run Derby. Bad news: Slumping Fish are now in third place in NL East and four games back as playoff hopes run away.

5. Panthers: Cats draft defenseman No. 1: Aaron Ekblad, 18, a 6-4, 216-pounder from Ontario, is the latest in NHL Panthers' stockpile of young talent. Potential is good. Winning is better.

6. Dolphins: Pouncey's surgery: Center Mike Pouncey had hip surgery and will miss start of season. For O-line, apparently the Incognito-Martin Jinx continues.

7. Wimbledon: Williams sisters both out: ESPN The Mag's annual 'Body' issue is out July 11 and Venus Williams is among athletes artfully naked. Based on her and sister Serena's early Wimbledon exits, their game has been exposed, too.

8. Tiger Woods: Fizzles in return: Tiger missed the cut but said he was encouraged in first PGA Tour event following three months out after back surgery. That's a low threshold for encouragement. 

9. Michelle Wie: Wins first major: Former child-phenom wins Women's U.S. Open, at 24. And speaking of child phenoms...

10. Recruiting: Canes target 9-year-old: Seriously. UM women's basketball team is recruiting Orlando phenom Jaden Newman, 9. What would an improper inducement be? A Happy Meal?

Click back often because the frequency of our updates and adds to our latest blogposts is startling...

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Greg,

Read your "All For One" column, and here are some concerns regarding what everyone within shouting range of this blog apparently see as a good thing. First, if y'all believe and think that any portion of what was scheduled to be paid out by the Heat organization ($127M) to the four players is being returned, well, I would stop right here and applaud the four gents for what would certainly be worthy of Four Musketeers lore.

However, if what actually is happening is that the $127M is extended out in time, well, that may not be the best option for the team.

Take that $15 million figure you assigned to Wade in your column. Even just a one year extension creates a $57M contract which burdens the Heat in year three, when one would assume Wade's production would not match his owed $22M salary. The team would be saddled -not now- but then. This also applies to Bosh and in a less impactful way, to Haslem.

Don't get me wrong, the team needs to move mountains to retain the services of Mr. LeBron James. He deserves top dollar. I just think this whole Three Musketeers, Three Amigos, Big Three thing has run its course. There are far better players out there to complement James than Wade and Bosh. Moreover, when the path they're on limits so much flexibility in the future.

Btw, with the Haslem salary, the baseline number going forward is actually $131M.

Time to pick my sports bar of choice for Netherlands-Mexico. Who would've thought 20 years ago, I can pick & choose where to watch, let alone find any bar at all that would show it.

DUTCH VERSUS EL TRI!!!

split loyalties for the ole shadow here- so bi-polar i will be from noon till about 1:45 PM. brazil almost bit the dust yesterday, but the PKs were bad for both sides. rooting of course for one of the minnows from CONCACAF, costa rica against the greeks. i believe, even as well as el tri have been playing, that holland will advance-too much firepower and a pretty decent backline.

If one stops to think about it, the opt-out move by Wade, Bosh and Wade is quite clever, as the figures they arrive at to play next year and perhaps the following year will almost certainly be more than what any team would offer them come year three or four, had they opted-in and forced Miami to pay them now instead of later.

Enjoy your futbol, boys. Looks like a good day out there for it.

citizens,

great piece in yesterday's WSJ by dave barry who plays in a band consisting totally of journalists (they better have another job because soon there ain't gonna be very many newspapers). subject: the greatest rock'n'roll song ever written- G-L-O-R-I-A, author van morrison. i am not a musician but mr. barry opines that the song is so great because it consists of only three chords:E,D, and A. he also postulates that bands don't play beatles songs because they have too many chords and are difficult to play. (beyond the sea by the fantastic bobby darin, OBM is on one of the commercials at the moment). i will have to leave it to our (the real)dave in los angeles to address the musical issues involved; but one thing is for certain- most every band plays "gloria" in their sets somewhere along the way. musical tidbit: "gloria" was the B-side of "baby, please don't go" on parrot records, in the good ole USA.

OC Dolphin,

all this "opting out" business is making me dizzy. as the clash would ask "should they stay or should they go"?

Posted by: OC Dolphin | June 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Just pathetic.

Pathetic in terms of what? Do you care to make an intelligent rebuttal or just act like a self absorbed, arrogant child.

ah FZB I prepared the ingredients I was given to bake your cake perfectly but sadly the ingredients I was given included human excrement. So though I did everything exactly right to prepare your cake, alas it still tastes like $hit.

Philbin had the equivalent human excrement to work with the past two years so alas the outcome was $hit.

LMFAO @ "self absorbed"

OC

You are so missing the point on Wade and Bosh. The Heat are not in the position of being able to dump them and pick up different players. Wade and Bosh had the power with their current contracts. The ONLY way Riley gets them to opt out is to promise them something they would agree to. My guess is they get more total money but less per year. I think $15m is likely. At some point the Heat are going to have to pay for what Wade and Bosh are giving up over the next two years. I suspect that Riley is figuring he can get through this without any real pain to the Heat because of the expected substantial increase to the cap in the next couple of years. In any event the Heat are going to have to pay Wade and Bosh beyond their real value because they had no choice. The $40m due the next two years put Wade and Bosh in the drivers seat.

/

so far...

el tri have been playing better, robben a real non-factor; but 45+ minutes for the dutch firepower to kick in.

No, I get the point, Tom. Riley does have some limits but his options should focus on minimizing their stay, not elongating contracts.

Dutch trying, but Ochoa keeps saving. I like Robben, he doesnt take flying dives like Neymar. He hurdled the defender who stuck his feet up. He couldve taken the trip and PK. In fact, he had a PK not called at 45 min, by Moreno. Dutch recovered from all bad calls against them in first two games..looks like they can't do it today.

Dang, did you see that gorgeous goal by Sneijder? Mexicans were just 3 minutes away. Looks like OT. Like The Shadow, have split unsure loyalties here. Want Concacaf to prevail and show that our region can play, but also want their to be competition for Argentina.

ah, stupid play by Mexico. wow. 3 minutes from victory , now a loss.

Just when I complimented Robben for hurdling the defender previously, this time it looks like he baited the defender and then let his leg get clipped. Well, at the end of the first half he should've had a deserved PK , so the whole game may have been different at that point.
Chalk up another tainted result.

I feel real bad for that pretty Mexican fan they showed in tears after it was over.

OC I would agree if Riley had flexibility. But he didn't. To get Wade and Bosh out fast Riley would need them to opt in. But if they did opt in then there is no money to retool and then what happens? Lebron leaves. For a Heat fan what is going on now (all three opting out) is the absolute best scenario for the Heat remaining competitive for the next few years.

Mexico got a break with the non-penalty call in the first half. But they also got screwed with that last penalty call. Too bad. I was looking forward to the extra period.

Johnny Ftubol,

i also feel bad for el tri today, but they really didn't have a very good second half excepting the score by dossantos. imagining that this type of play from a team that had to go to new zealand to get into the mundial. the coach resurrected the team from the depths and they were really good for the tournament save for an eight minute strtech at the end that cost them. as mentioned, rooting for either of the sides makes it somewhat easier than, say, getting ousted by a non-favorite, but i was hoping el tri would get through. mexico played some of the finest futbol of the tourney, got a point off brazil which no one else might not be able to say. el tri is still basically a youth team, excepting for rafa marquez who gotr victimized by the flying robbe. chicharito, dossantos, herrera and friends willbe a tough squad to beat in the next few years. que lastima!

I watch the thing they said on the soccer game about them jumping off side so then they dad the penaly kicks but don't think that had happen before. so even if it should have before it was still very bad call. also in the other game this had happen but they dident score goals from it! Do thenethorlands play the US now also?

The Dutch pulled a victory out of their ass against Mejico...they look like a team of destiny..the Dutch that is..

Say Betty...ok I'll buy your point that clueless Joe had chit to work with but kindly explain to mua how the team was so unprepared to play those last two games of the year?.. Or our very plain unimaginative offense?..

Mr FZB if I work really hard to perfectly prepare your cake but the ingredients include human excrement will you base your evaluation of my preparation of that cake based on how it tastes or the care I took in preparation? If you base it on how it tastes then you would conclude I did not properly prepare the cake. Same with Philbin. If you base your evaluation of how Philbin prepared his chit filled lineup on the outcome of course you will conclude he did not prepare them well. But the truth is you really don't know about the preparation of that team. Just as you wouldn't know whether I perfectly prepared your cake.

I hope that helps you.

Senor Cote the Dolphin jinx has been on since ownership changed hands after Uncle Fester...

Betty, I have it on good authority that you were talking smack about me behind my back. Is it professional jealousy? While my waffles, pancakes, and other breakfast items are culinary masterpieces, you are simply resting on your faded laurels. Your cake and pie mixes are dated...and the boxes they come in filled with rodent feces. It is a wonder you have not been incarcerated.

I have also seen recent photos of you, fatty. Those "petite" images of you on the box are a hoot!

Don't mess with me, Crocker.

Aunt Jemima I see you are now in another line of work. No wonder you pancakes and waffles suck....get it?

http://rule34-data-000.paheal.net/_images/d55216f2832adc8d89c905b3077d1b67/55938%20-%20aunt_jemima%20mascots.jpg

Bosh opted out of his contract..the Heat are now ready to reload..Pat Riley is a pimp.

Military Bans Bibles But Forces Soldiers to Adhere to Ramadan Rules

http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/us-personnel-in-bahrain-prepare-for-ramadan-1.290721

The Shadow Knows,

They don't call them the Flying Dutchmen for nothing. and I'm not talking about Honus Wagner. Still can't match the superman leaps of Neymar and the premature falls of Marcelo, Fred and Hulk.

Actually, you can say that Chile took a point from Brazil as that was a tie on the field. 2inches lower at the end of OT and Chile would be moving on. Brazil shuld've been eliminated in group play with what should've been a 2-1 to Croatia, the Japanese ref never saw another match. But I enjoy watching Neymar's ultra theatrical flights. I think those are unmatched in the history of futbol,

For his best ine ever, google Neymar dive Uruguay. and see what he did in the 2013 Confederations Cup.

Wow, Duarte of C. Rica just got sent off. He can't play vs Netherlands. If Greece scores in the last 7 minutes, CR have to play 30 more minutes a man down.

Well Obi is a muslim...no one should be surprised he makes concessions to the arabs...

Costa Rica will and deserves to lose this game for being too conservative..

being conservative sucks

I just messed me knickers Aunt Jemima...

I don't know jack about soccer but I was watching the game before going to mass and I come back from taking a shower and the Mexicans are losing 2-1. I rewound and saw how the scored the winning goal and I couldn't believe my eyes, the same mother focking ref that threw that pass interference flag from sixty yards away from where the last play of the game took place in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl against the Canes was refereeing the Mexican game today.

As big a hose job as I've ever seen. If you can give a team the ball ten feet from that goal for what is a 99 - 1 shot to make the kick gimmie for the little horse chit play that happened at the end then soccer is an even bigger piece of crap than what I believed. Five freaking hours running around with not much happening and then the ref blows a whistle and they put the ball ten feet in front of the Indian with the green jersey. What chance did Montezuma have? Hell, Custer had a better chance than the Mexican goal keeper had.

If that ref guy who hosed Mexico isn't already tied up and traveling in the trunk of a Narco traficante souped up Escalade I would be shocked.

Woodcock, that's probably why I've never seriously considered following soccer. Bad enough that I've got to deal with the refs in the NBA and NFL. Can you imagine what would happen to my blood pressure if I also followed this band of corrupt officials!?

I put sawdust in every burger. Saves money!

how many are they allow to kick in the last part of the game hen they have the penalties shots? I just saw that and the one team had 5 kick and the other oe I think only had 4 but refaree didnt see it?

TIME_OUTS IN FUTBOL???

sorry, but putting water/TV timeouts in games relegates futbol to hockey, football and basketball. if you can't stand the heat... really disappointed that stoppages were ordained; BS.

soccer? -----yawn-----
when does dolphin training camp start?

and the latest from the rumor mill:

http://www.xnsports.com/2014/06/29/nba-free-agent-rumors-heat-eyeing-marcin-gortat/

if riley figures out a way to get gortat, the collective hot air from the heat haters might damage the environment..

Say it so Wendy!

I think it would be ludicrous NOT to have a brief respite for the players when the conditions are that brutal. And it's for the very reason that soccer IS different from those other games. These guys are running endlessy. I'm actually amazed at how well-conditioned they are. You or I certainly couldn't do it.

Really, though, it was silly for Brazil to build venues all across the country. The WC should have been focused on Sao Paulo, Rio, and the southern part of the country where it is not tropical at all and the weather is cool and gorgeous right now. Building venues in the VERY hot and steamy regions in the northeast and in the Amazon was insane.

FIFA is a corrupt match fixing juggernaut. HOlland has no business in the next round. FIFA made sure the ref favored the 'right' team. BS!

Mr Woodcock, I enjoyed that humor and set of analogies. Hurricanes really did get screwed. Most fans only remember the end zone interference. Also, Ohio St had 4th and long , their receiver completely pushed off on the Canes defender. No call. 1st down.

Yes, the PK call at the end was bogus. However, Szneijder's goal was gorgeous. The ref had been misofficiating the whole game. The Dutch, same guy Robben, deserved a legit PK at the stroke of half time. Clumsy tackle by Moreno who also broke his leg on the stupid play. Nt giving the PK distorted the game right then and there. N way of knowing how it would've played out,

the geographer,

when the USA hosted the 94 mundial, didn't they play in miami in the summer? plus, wasn't it hot all over the country during the summer? chicago, new york city, and most everyplace that is not at altitude (read denver or albuquerque) is hot the second half of june and the first two weeks in july. i remember it as being pretty warm when italy lost to brazil in the rose bowl in 94.

Feel bad for the Greeks. C. Rican fans throw bags of urine at US players during US qualifying away games there. However, it's good to have someone from our confederation still in it. Proves the Europeans and S. Americans that we're on par with them.

C. Rica beat Italy, Uruguay, tied England in a meaningless game, and survived playing a man down for 30 min plus 30 minutes OT.

Yeah, so they keep me in this freaking box and then I'm supposed to "surprise" you all with our wonderful food items.

Well, lemme tell 'ya. It's a bunch of HORSESH*T. I wouldn't feed this crap to a starving dog. Our "juicy and delicious burger" is half road-kill mixed with gerbil crap. Our "crispy, golden fries?" HA! One of them is probably the index finger of the poor, underpaid teenager who sliced it off on the meat cutter.

So, yeah, sure. "SURPRISE!!WHEE!!" Whatever. Just freaking kill me.

Ship shape, I believe in that as well. FIFA wants at least two of the usual powers in the Final. That's why the small guts can't go far.
Brazil should've been out already in the group stage if not for horrifying calls in the opening game vs Croatia. They are the hosts, and we can't have them not win this WC.
However, there was a lot of flack worldwide, and two of the refs since then gave not fallen for amazing Brazilian dives especially Neymar's. since that opening game.

the geographer,

no games in miami, but games in orlando and dallas in early july during 1994 mundial. those places are hot, and dallas has streaks of 100 degrees pretty much every summer. summer in most of europe ain't summer in the united states. european heat waves are 80-85 degrees for the north of europe; 80-85 are cool days in our glorious country.

So, it's rigged!?

The Shadow Knows, I played in 100 deg and humidity, 90 minutes, in local leagues. We had between 0 and 2 subs per game. We never had water breaks.

I think this is new because northern Europeans can't cope with heat. If you remember, they were wilting in games played in Dallas, Orlando and even Chicago in 1994. No...games were not played in Miami, which was absurd given that Joe Robbie had soccer and the World Cup in mind , when he built the stadium. FIFA even said at the time it was the best designed soccer stadium in the US. The Irish say it's a heat wave when it goes about 80 for a week. No way they can suddenly play in mid 90's. The games have to be mid-day for European TV.

Imagine Qatar 2022 -- if it doesnt get taken away from them. -- they'll need water breaks every 5 minutes. However, they said they are using new technology to keep the stadiums in the 80's.

Chit..if Riley can sign Gortat AND Lowry in addition to keeping the big three I'll chit in my pants..

This is a special announcement...football is starting in less than 30 days !!!!, well training camp at least.

the geographer, agree with you. That's why Brazilians are protesting these games. This is all about money. Companies getting big dough to construct or renovate 12 stadiums.

Brazill is even worse than the US for getting around. Massive distances, no trains, poor roads. Fans are gaving a hard time getting around, and expensive too on thise domestic flights.

Players traveling big distances. US screwed themselves too by choosing Sao Paulo as their base far away from their venues.

Brazil could've done this in 8 cities. Rio is underused. I guess they wanted to include the Amazon city of Manaus to draw attention that t's an interesting little known tourist spot.

Both Gortat and Lowry will command $10M each. Why not just add Anthony in there too at $20M. It's only Monopoly money they're using.

Davíd in LA, per Cote's article, not everyone is yawning.

Except for NFL , US-Portugal has had more viewers for ESPN than any sport event in their history. Including Unvision viewers and online viewers, the game bested this year's BCS Final.
and blew away average viewers (per final series) gamein MLB, NBA, and NHL series.

The game was not shown on major network channel, was not in prime time, and the numbers do not include millions across the country at bars, restaurants and specially set up fan zones like the one in Chiago that's pulling in 10k+.

As Cote says, there is US nationalism involved , beyond this many people actually loving soccer ..but the World Cup is making a presence here. 200,000 Americans tickes to matches . 20-30k US fans at the US games. Many just went to see any game, others just to be there in the atmosphere.

I can't prove it's rigged, but after waching for any years, it often seems like it.
Like the refs are told to take advantage of any opportunty that comes along to help out a favorite power if they get into trouble. I have many historic examples, I'll spare you.

But this time,I'm not so sure. The opening game was a massive cheat fest for Brazil at the expense of Croatia. But lot of flack about it , and they haven't been getting much since.

The US has actually played better in the past. FIFA wants the US at the WC, Our networks pay big. We send the most travellers in the world. But FIFA doesn't want to see a country where soccer is not king , to go very far. We were screwed in 5 out if the last 8 WC games going back to 2002. and screwed if a chance to be in the 2002 semi's. In 2010, seemed like we had to score 2 or 3 times to get one to count.

However, so far it hasn't been the case in these games. The ref could've disallowed Dempsey's goal. It was a fine goal. but very close to being offside. This was against Ronaldo's team..he is the world footballer of the year and everyone loves him. Yet, the ref ruled fairly and didnt disallow the goal that hurt Portugal bad.

Some think it's presumption of ability..like we hear in NBA talk, back in the Jordan days. Refs think that the traditional powers should get the breaks.

Or, it may just be plain crappy officiating in a sport that sorely needs to step into 21st c technology.

The Heat would be ridiculous to re-sign Haslem. He is as good as done.

Wolf your reports here are as inaccurate as your reporting on CNN. The Heat will resign Haslem to a cap friendly deal that rewards him in the back end for his loyalty to the Heat.

Welcome back FZB hope your son and his family are settling in. I don't have a good feeling about the USMNT against Belgium but I will be cheering for them. That effort against Germany was putrid despite the defensive style. Johnny is right the tv ratings have been great and the sport does seem to be gaining in popularity. Premier league games on NBCSN will likely spike as well when WC is over. The question remains how long will they stay interested. MLS is improving as a league in terms of talent but attendance is only good in certain markets not sure about tv ratings likely spotty. Who knew there was a giant city in the middle of the Amazon jungle I didn't. US playing on July 5th would be great despite the certain loss it would be patriotic anyway.

Since our "National Pastime" is about as exciting as a Pauly Shore movie marathon I really don't know if we Americans are the best qualified when it comes to judging which sports are 'boring.'

Thanks BB..yup its nice to be back yapping with you losers..lol

I think the US boys have a good chance against Belgium ..go USA !

The Belgian team is probably desperate for good beer at this point as Brazilians drink only crappy lagers.

The key to beating them is to stack cases of Chimay, Duvel and St. Bernardus on the sideline and make them become completely distracted (or possibly sh*t faced).

I will e-mail Jurgen Klinssmenn immediately.

Posted by: OC Dolphin | June 29, 2014 at 08:06 PM

Aw, don't worry baby girl, Kobe'll retire in a couple years and the Lakers will be able to start trying to build a playoff team again!

beer snob,

In the old Floridians ABA years, they used hot ball girls in sexy shorts underneath the basket to distract opponents. You can find pics on google. I choose that distraction method over beer. Floridians did make the playoffs a couple of times.

Hate to be a downer, but the US played better in the last 3 WC's than they have in 2 of 3 games so far, I've seen them all and I just verified the stats. Even in the one lopsided loss 3-0 to Czech, we outpossessed them significantly. It was simply that we gave up a quick goal forcing us to change strategy and expose the defense.

We played Ghana much better in 2006, 2010. Completely even games shots and possession. Bogus PK against s in 2006. 2010 couldve gone either way. Near the end, we hit the post, while they put it in. In 2014, we were on our heels all game, but got the goals.

Belgium was great in qualifying and were considered dark horses. They've yet to produce a quality display. But that can happen anytime.

I think the US has reached the limit and aren't better than the remaining teams. They might be on their heels vs Belgium. That's not to say that we can't and won't win. And I hope we go as far as we can.

In 2002, the US played even or better than the opponent in every game. It was a bad non call late vs Germany in the quarters that kept us from OT and 50-50 shot in PK shootout.
Just like that, we could've played S. Korea in semi's , who we had tied 1-1 in group play.
And a win there would've had us in the Final...so yes, 2002 was our finest display and just a bad call ended a chance to move on to semi's.

This team doesn't seem good enough to matchup with Belgium, Argentina or even the Swiss. We play C. Rica well , but C. Rica is playing above & beyond in the cup. France and Brazil's pace would be as hard or harder to deal with than Ghana was.

One can only question not bringing Donovan. I think our whole game would be better. We brought some teens in his place who'll never touch the field. What a waste when Donovan woud've been the answer to Altidore's injury.

Altidore may play, if he's 100% , our game could change for the better. Whether he breaks his scoring rut or not, he creates dangerous situations, and possibly improve our possession game.

So far, US has survived on Dempsey genius and some hard working defense. It's been said that they're one of the fittest teams. If they'd stop getting injured and breaking noses, that would help


Sometimes, I bake very tiny pastries in the hopes that microscopic lobsters will come to my home and consume them.

Shad, the Costa Ricans must have picked up that urine bag routine at the old Olympic Auditorium in LA during the boxing matches. They even hit that poor Welshman that was a bean pole and came out and that son of a bitch Mexican ref let some beaner pound on him on the corner until he killed the poor guy. Those losers gang bangers threw urine bombs when they were taking the kid out on a stretcher. I stopped going to the fights after that crowd showed up. Boxing has always been a tough crowd but those gang banging Indians are a bunch of savages. It's too bad that Columbus and the Spaniards didn't wipe out the whole lot.

Costa Rica used to be a great place to go to. The people are friendly, educated, good food, you can drink the water, the country is gorgeous, and as soon as they started deporting all those central American gang bangers back home the country and the whole region became a sponge to soak up urine.

What a shame it used to be known as the Switzerland of Central America. Hopefully the thousands upon thousands of decent citizens in Central America will get rid of this pond scum and rescue take their countries back.

A 3 Hour Snooze,

You are right. I doubt baseball would succeed if it wasn't the pasttime. There may be more scoring,but it sure seems like nothing is happening most of the time. A good game, a skillful game..exciting? No.

If the season was 50 games long, it may seem better. 162 kills me. When I attend, it seems more like a social event. Beer, hot dog, conversation wth your friend. People constantly not watching, getting up , making you have to stand. No one sits still. At soccer games, no one leaves their seats for 45 minutes unless they really got to go.

Love giving it to these old idiots. Wish they would just hurry up and die.

Johnny, baseball is as exiting as watching grass grow. Fun game to play but not to watch. Way too cerebral and slow. It's like marlin fishing, 8 hours of sea sickness in a slow wobbly boat ride followed by 20 minutes of action. It's for wonks like OC and even he's wound up too tight for baseball. It's an early 20th century game in a new century that is expanding at light speed. It will always be around and it's a good game but it will never be what it used to be fan wise.

At some point in the next 20 or so years as the "reconquista" of America continues unabated (You white boys better start laying some more pipe or soon you're going to look around and it's going to look just like Custer at the Little Bighorn.) if they ever put soccer up against it here in America it should out draw it.

Hell it's just as boring but at least the damn thing ends in 90 minutes. Now if they decide to cut it to say 70 minutes and penalty shots to decide the usual tie game that happens 80% of the time, and eliminate that effeminate tackling rule where you have more Euros and Injuns hitting the turf than on D Day and at Wounded Knee then we might actually have something.

Never happen though, soccer fans are too stupid to understand Mr. Woodcock's improvements. Oh well, when does training camps open again?

"At soccer games, no one leaves their seats for 45 minutes unless they really got to go."

Johnny Football

No chit Sherlock, in a sport where goals are scored at a pace of one every 4.78 games or so, anyone stupid enough to head for the john during a game instead of pulling out johnson and squirting on the leg of the opponent's fan who's dressed up like some kind of freaking peacock from Mars standing next to you is not just nuts for being there but absolutely certifiably insane for taking a chance that he'll miss something as rare as Haley's Comet, a freaking goal scored by anyone in a freaking soccer game.

Bro, if they could put soccer in a bottle and sell it at a drug store it would put the Sleepinal sleep aid company out of business in two days.

I see hens and candy.

Check this out. Hey, if soccer makes Americans more popular overseas I'm all for it. Ole!

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/u-s--becoming-fan-favorite-of-other-world-cup-team-nations-224510530.html

Dukey, did you forget to take your meds again?

Duckey, you don't see Euros and Injuns on your TV. Bro, you need to double up on the meds pronto, paisan.

Baseball is still King in St. Louis, Boston, NY, Chicago, LA, a few other markets. It doesn't sell everywhere but like soccer it has become a niche sport in some ways I would agree. There is nothing like playoff baseball for fans of the game.

10 Worst Contracts in the National Football League

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2113848-10-worst-contracts-in-the-national-football-league/page/3

It’s puzzling as to what the Miami Dolphins were thinking last offseason when they signed free-agent wide receiver Mike Wallace to a megadeal.

Wallace is set to make an absurd $17 million in 2014. This is after a season in which he rated 23rd at his positional group in catches (73) and 27th in yards (930), per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

The most overrated and underrated NFL players, team by team

Overrated: ILB Dannell Ellerbe --­­ They paid him a lot of money to sign as a free agent from Baltimore last season and he was a major disappointment. I thought he'd be much better than he was for the Dolphins. He needs a bounce­-back season.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/pete-prisco/24599152/the-most-overrated-and-underrated-nfl-players-team-by-team

Another disastrous Ireland 2013 free agent signing.

As bad as D. Ellerbee was P. Wheeler may have had a worse season last year. Both need to have a good year or else Miami will be faced with salary cap implications for releasing both. I am not ready to call the Wallace contract bad just yet. Only because it's average over 5 years is 12 mil (ballpark figure for top NFL wr's maybe a bit on high end..). This is assuming he is an elite WR which he still can be I think. They had to overpay to get the player in this case hopefully he lives up to it or close in the next 4 years. It certainly has the potential to be a bad contract but after one year too early to say.

Mr. Woodcock,

yes, i remember johnny owen, RIP, nicknamed something like "the merther matchstick" dying after i think lupe pintor savaged him in the ring. he was tall for that weight division and had no muscle while the much shorter pinto (i think) was muscled up. the buildup for johnny owen was immense-the now defunct herald-examiner which was boxing heavy with alan mallamud, RIP, covering booxing, you are quite correct sir in stating that the mexicans used to throw bags of fresh urine on the non-mexican fighters at the olympic auditorium, where i went toi many, many wrestling cards with my father, Of Blessed Memory. freddie blassie, the destroyer and the infamous "figure four leglock", art "seaman" (maybe it was semen) thomas, cowboy dick hutton... and ring announcer par excellence jimmy lennon with dick lane doing the TV broadcasts with commercials, often "dirupted" by combatants done by lou henson for "lou's garage". it ws great growing up in LA (if i ever did). my brother and i were devastated by the death of johnny owen, whose dad had come along with him for the bout. davey moore was a local who died in a card held at dodger stadium if i remember, and who was immortalized by dylan in the song "who killed davey moore.

Mr Woodcock,

yup, davey moore versus sugar ramos was held at dodger stadium in 1963. also went to a globetrotters "game" there which had on the undercard the reigning world champs of baseball versus the NFL champs- dodgers versus the bears. my favorite ballplayer ever, tommy davis, was the best high school player in NYC (boys high, brooklyn) and nobody on the bears could handle him. remember that then back-up rudy bukich (another USC product) threw a football from home plate into either the green section or the general admission section- quite a toss.

Tom,

thanx for the stats which bear out what these eyes saw last season- that mike wallace stunk up the joint and got megabucks for doing so. as stated here often, brandon gibson going down hurt the dolphins tremendously and if he returns to his ram form #17 will have it a lot easier. did they ever let us know just how long pouncey will be out? or if he is gonna be tangled up in the aaron hernandez crimes?

Mexican fans at Azteca skip the bags I think they just whip it out and go wherever there is an American nearby.

If an NFL GM on another team had one player they could pick from the Dolphins to have my guess is that it would be Mike Wallace. Money aside this is likely a fact. He's a game changer for any offense.

So the Dutch player admits to flopping to win the game versus Mexico. This problem is so much a part of soccer that it seems we just have to accept it at this point and move on. Shame it happened in a World Cup on that stage however it really cheapens the game if you ask me. Unfortunately there is no solution. You can suspend players for flopping it's too much of a judgement call it would be a mess sorry Tommy Smyth. It is what it is. Mexico got hosed.

BB Not with the contract Wallace has now. The Dolphins tried to trade him and there were no takers.

It's a bloated contract but 12 mil per year average isn't totally unreasonable. It's up to him to live up what remains of the contract maybe he does maybe he doesn't. I think he has the potential and it's not like they have to pay Tannehill 20 million a year right now so that offsets it a bit.

He's due $30m the next two years. Bad contract for Miami

Miami potentially has one of the best WR groups in the league in my opinion with Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, Landry, Matthews. I am glad to see them at least addressing the position seriously now after not having done so for the better part of three decades. No excuses now for Tannehill. Not worried about overpaying for Wallace if it means a deep playoff run and Lazor getting the most out of him. I accept that they are overpaying him by 2-3 per year yes but he wasn't coming to Miami if they didn't.

lmfo if it was not for the so called "old idiots"who pumped yo mama, you would of been nothing but a stain on the ass of her panties. And yo daddy thought we was jus working in the yard.

Of course there's a solution, change the freaking tackle rules to make it logical. You want to see great soccer go watch amateur games where they have zero refs. The same great athleticism that you like without the every minute stoppage for tackling fouls. It is exactly as playground basketball differs from organized basketball. No refs. More scoring, a faster game, and the players can police the action by themselves as they now do in hockey or baseball. You cheap shot someone and the next time you'll be spitting out teeth and cleats from your pie hole. The reason that soccer is so popular world wide is that it's an easy game to play, all you need is a field and a ball and something to mark the field and goal posts, but in addition people love it because without the silly tackling rules of the organized game the contest actually flows rhythmically and the games are decided by the players on the field not some jack ass baboon who should have their whistles shoved up their ass until it becomes permanently lodged besides their tonsils.

Can't do that at the pro level guys are too big and fast. Flopping will always be with us. They should do something about offside though like maybe the technology that tennis uses now. That shouldn't be a judgement call at least in hockey they have a line on the ice that determines offsides.

They should take a page out ice hockey and start putting guys in penalty boxes for hard illegal tackles. For example, yesterday instead of basically gifting the game to the Dutch for a horseshit decision why not call a penalty and make the Mexicans play for ten minutes shorthanded? The refs are killing us with their freaking decisions and the league offices are killing us with idiotic rules and regulations. They must all be Progressive Obama liberal idiots who run these leagues. If I have to see another foul call with less than ten seconds to go in a game, or another pass interference phantom call that puts the ball on the 2 yard line and gives the offense 4 new downs, or watch what that jack ass did to Mexico yesterday I may just fold my tent and just watch golf. In that game there are no salaries, you only get paid if you win or make the cut, and you referee yourself, and if you cheat you're ostracized and banned from the game. Yea, they got it right in golf, but then they've been playing it longer than most other sports. Oh, and did I tell you that they allow drinking while you're playing?

Miami is not capable of a "deep playoff run" until the OL is an effective unit.

There are no magic wands. There is no coaching wizardry, no quarterback skills or game-planning that can hide it. It is the most elemental part of the game and until the Dolphins have it fixed it doesn't matter what Lazor, Philbin, Tannehill or anyone else is doing.

You cannot run an effective offense without an effective Offensive Line.

Period.

The sport has its problems and the old corrupt FIFA farts refuse to make adjustments that would improve it, like the NFL keeps doing. Man with the whistle has to come of a part in the result.

FIFA is all excited about their goal line technology. They spent 20 yrs debating it. One very bad call in 2010 and they finally did something. But the ball going over the line is an error that occurs 1 out of every 10,000 other errors.

On the WC level eveey game should be committee reviewed post game. If a blatant intentional dangerous foul was not caught, they should dole out yellows and reds where they fit. If a blatant dive occurred, same thing. This might get players to think about it before they do it.

If a player did not deserve a yellow or red, they should remove it.

Offsides can be reviewed real time. I don't care what anyone says about taking up time and stopping play, it can be done.

PK calls / non calls are a blemish. There is no great solution. The flaw is inherent in a sport that uses legs and feet. It's not easy to prove if a player needed to fall or not after contact.
They dive because the ref won't call it if the player doesnt fall. There are actually hundreds of cases for illegal contact in the box, but unlss you fall..nothing gets called.

There's holding, shirt grabbing, and slight arm and elbow nudges that can throw a jumping player off balance and cause him to misconnect. Only shoulder charges are legal to do that.
Even if the player doesn't fall, that is as bad as getting tripped. This ruins the fame, but FIFA does nothing. They continue to allow 50% games have distorted results..

Otherwise, soccer is a great game and the World Cup could be great. Just need somechanges to open up the scoring chances and to help with officating.

Big Baby, Robben admitted to a dive in the first half, not the final one.
At least he admits it.....how about them Brazilians? Fred's dive was much worse and ruined that entire group. Croatia was the kegit winner of the opening match, instead they went home. Fred, Marcelo Neymar all deny their blatant dives. How can you deny a 5 yard flight as not being a dive.

Back to Robben....

you do know he Robben was double hacked in the box before half time. The Mexican Moreno broke his leg in the clumsy foul. The ref did not call an abvious PK. From that point on, the game was ruined and distorted.

Also, about 15 min from the end, Robben avoided a dive..he hurdled a defender and kept at goal. Taking the trip there would've been semi valid because the Mexican put himself in his path forcing him to hurdle.

In the 2010 Final vs Spain, while late and still 0-0, Robben had a breakaway at goal. The defender manhandled him football style. Robben stayed on his feet, though off balance , and missed the shot. If he rightfully falks, he gets the Spaniard ejected ( can't foul a breakaway runner) and earns a free kick. Instead, the guy who fouled him scores the winner for Spain.

That man Robben is inconsistent.

Note: the Dutch were robbed in their first two games with wrong PK calls against them. Spain's Di Costa intentionally stepped on the defender's foot and fell. Spain up 1-0. Not much is made of it because the Dutch went on to win 5-1.

Mr. Woodcock, I've been a taker more than a giver as late. What I mean to say isI've been occasionally perusing the blog whilst contributing nada. Here I sit brokenhearted waiting for a fresh idea...

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