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Showing posts from August, 2015

Liverpool - no time to panic ... yet

In sports, the adage is don't get too high, don't get too low.

It was great that Liverpool got two wins right out of the gate and played Arsenal to a standstill. But don't get too high as they merely scored 2 goals in 3 games.

The loss to West Ham, 3-0, was a bad one. But don't get too low and blow up the team and the lineup and fire the coach.

Here is an item over at Liverpool Echo suggesting Ings should get more time. With Coutinho out with the red card, this is a sensible move. Perhaps, a 4-4-2 formation with Benteke and Ings up at the top. But who are the 4 midfielders?

Milner for sure. If Henderson is back to health, he is also in. With the investment in Firmino and his getting closer to full game endurance and comfort with his team mates, you put him in the XI as well. The question is who is your fourth one? Lallana (is he healthy?), Lucas, Can, or Ibe? I'd go with Lucas and let Milner/Henderson/Firmino be more attack minded.

UPDATE: Still not clear Henderson…

Amateur Theologian

I recognize that professional theologians have training in the original languages, taken classes in church history and systematic theology, and spend most of their time mulling over the Bible text and the knots of trying to bridge the thought world of Christian faith and daily life in a world skeptical of god (generic) and Jesus as the Christ (specific). My hats is off to them for their efforts!

In this blog space, I free acknowledge my reflections are in the realm of amateur theology. My goal is to give my best understanding of the Scriptures. Over the years, there have been various "projects" focusing on specific books of the Bible and other times specific topics.

Recently, have noticed that the Apostle Paul gets a lot of the brainpower of professional theologians. Makes sense given that much of the New Testament was written by him. And, not surprisingly, Christian theologians write many volumes about the doctrine of Christ (Christology).

Thus, for my next amateur theologi…

0 for 4 this soccer weekend

One would figure by rooting for four different teams, one of them would win!

Alas, this weekend, my clubs whiffed with three laying goose eggs: LA Galaxy lost 1-0, Liverpool FC lost 3-0, Falkenberg FF lost 1-0, and to cap-off the grand slam, IF Elfsborg lost 2-1. Don't think this has happened since I started following FOUR teams!

It is international break so all four clubs will be taking some time off with the exception of players with national team call-ups.

Meanwhile, the LA Dodgers face a huge 3-game showdown with the SF Giants. Go Dodgers!

LIverpool vs. West Ham

I remember last year, Rodgers had to juggle the line up a lot due to injuries and trying to push the right buttons to get something to work.

Right now, with two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw against Arsenal, it isn't time to make changes. I'd go with the same lineup as last week. Haven't heard if Henderson is back to game speed. Thus, Mignolet in goal.
Defense: Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, Gomez
Midfield: Can, Milner, Lucas
Forwards: Firmino, Coutinho, Benteke

Will be interesting to see if Firmino is ready to go a full 90?

If not, will we see Ibe or Ings off the bench for him. I'd say Ings. Moreno will probably continue to be the late substitute defenseman of choice.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

San Jose is up 1-0 at the half. Seems to me they are faster to the loose balls and their defensive pressure is causing hurried and errant passing by the Galaxy. Also, seems like the SJ defensive backs are using their size to frustrate dos Santos by initiating contact and knocking him down.

Don't know enough soccer to know what Coach Arena is going to do in the second half to change the narrative of the game. Something will have to be done on the Galaxy side as San Jose is dominating and are sitting on a 1-0 lead and if the Galaxy doesn't change the flow of the game it could be 2-0 in short order.

UPDATE: Oh my, red card on Galaxy defender Leonardo at the 47 minute mark!

FINAL: 1-0, San Jose wins it. Hats off to San Jose, they put the pressure on in the first half and got the goal. They kept pressing and forced Leonardo to bring down the breakaway leading to the red card. But it seemed going down to 10 increased the Galaxy urgency and San Jose seemed to relax. Galaxy put some t…

Weekend Sports Roundup

Dunno what to say about the Dodgers. Starting pitching is doing reasonably well but the relief pitchers give up the tying and go ahead runs. The offense isn't offering much support. What can you say when you spend hundred of millions of dollars on player salaries and wind up with a team that might not make the playoffs! Yikes!

Inspirational article in the LAT this past Sunday. One of the representative moments of the Giant-Dodger rivalry was when Marichal (Giants) hit Roseboro (Dodger) on the head with his bat 50 years ago in 1965. Eventually, the two men did reconcile! As big a rivalry the two teams have, in the end, its just baseball.

Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy took down NYCFC, 5-1. Yup, you read that right, 5-1. It was 1-0 at the half with the two teams pretty even though LA appeared to be gaining the upper hand. But in the second half, the flood gates opened and the Galaxy ran all over the field against an increasingly hapless NYCFC.

Elfsborg kept pace with a win to remain in the…

CCL Match: LA Galaxy vs. Comunicaciones

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FT - and that's all folks. Galaxy pick up 2 wins and gaudy goal differential numbers heading into the road portion of CCL which will be in late September and late October.

90 - 2 minutes of added time.

88 - Keane dancing around with the ball back to Walker back to Keane and its 5-0!

86 - long ball to dos Santos who swings it left for Keane to put it into the net! 4-0.

77 - on the whole LAG dominating possession with some near miss shots.

76 - Lletget in for Gordon.

53 - Keane to Gordo gooooool! 3-0.

46 - Keane in for Zardes.

HT - after the initial 2 goals, Com has been more competitive. LAG with more shots but not all that threatening. Will be interesting to see the substitution by Coach Arena for LAG.

40 minute - another free kick for LAG. Com defenders taking to the hack attack defense; but not much is happening for either side

28 minute - Gordon takes a shot .... right at the goalie; Gordo missed the open man to his left.

24 minute - is it my imagination or is the field looking…

More Soccer Roundup

In Monday action, Falkenberg lost late to Hammarby, 1-0. FFF remains just barely above the relegation line. The relegation drama is one part of soccer we don't have in MLS. This format give motivation for teams as there is quite a bit of money on the table to be lost if one falls from a higher level league. Thus, there is drama at the top (winning a championship) and bottom (avoiding relegation) of many soccer leagues. Of course, teams in the middle need to find a balance between hiring new talent to try to go up the table and keeping existing talent from being raided by more lucrative clubs.

Also in Monday action, Liverpool defeated Bournemouth, 1-0. Didn't see the game but read the post-game analysis. The general feeling was that it was a pretty even match and that Bournemouth had a goal waved off that may have been a good goal and that Liverpool's goal was a missed offsides call. In MLS world, there are lots of complaints about the referee's work. Alas, even in a to…

Soccer Roundup

LA Galaxy defeated FC Dallas 2-1 on Saturday.

Game temperature was 90F and so the game did look sluggish but FC Dallas did seem to have a spring in their step in comparison and rightly got a 1-0 lead on clearly more assertive play.

But soccer is a rude game in that all it takes is a few moments of inspiration on the attack or lapse of concentration on the defense and the game changes 180 degrees. The Galaxy capitalized in a short stretch of ~ 5 minutes in the second half with two goals by Keane!

On Sunday, Elfsborg won 2-0 over Djurgarden allowing the club to move to second place on the table. Two thirds of the season is complete and its a log jam at the top of the table with five clubs separated by a mere 4 points.

On Monday, Falkenberg is in action against Hammarby. FFF is 13th (15th and 16th is relegation and 14th is playoff for relegation) and just above the line. A home victory tonight by FFF will allow them to breath a little easier but its tough anyway you slice it when you are…

GOP 1st Debate the Top Ten

Didn't get to see the first debate with the other seven.

Did see the prime-time debate with the top 10 candidates.

Pop quiz: can you name the top 10 candidates?

I'll mention all 10 at some point in the observations below and mark their first appearance in bold.

On policy, with the GOP, you are going to get strong defense no matter what. It is just a question of degree and confidence speaking about it with some specificity.

On the specificity front, Gov. Christie wins that by talking about the Ohio Class Submarine, something Hugh Hewitt has used almost as a "litmus" test for seriousness about national defense. Because of the large number of candidates, I'm not certain each candidate got some form of national security question.

On the economy, with the GOP you are going to get (1) reform regulations and (2) reform the tax code. Again, it is just a question of degree and confidence speaking about it with some specificity. And here is where the governors do have an a…

LA Galaxy in CONCACAF Champions League

Coach Arena and the brain trust have to decide how much the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) means to them.

The Galaxy are in the hunt for a play-off spot in the MLS. However, they will also be playing a total of four CCL games mid-week during the rest of the season. These competitions test the depth and fitness of any club.

Thus, does Arena put out his #1 line-up tonight for the CCL match up?

He also has to plan for a big showdown with Seattle this weekend where a win will help the Galaxy keep pace in the hunt for a play-off spot.

MLS teams don't have the massive budgets of the English Premier League where the #2 squad of most clubs would probably beat many teams from weaker Leagues. Instead, the MLS #1 squad includes high level players in the three "designated player" slots, several well paid (by MLS standards) in the $100,000 to $1,000,000 range, and the starting XI is rounded out by a few journeyman players earning from the league minimum up to $100,000. The #2 squad …

Win by away goals explained

Took me awhile to get it but I think I got the idea behind "winning by away goals."

Elfsborg won leg #1 2-1 against Odd in Europa League Round Three.

Today, leg #2 takes place. The winner is based on the aggregate score of the two legs.

Obviously, if the aggregate score is NOT equal, the side with more goals wins.

But what happens if the aggregate score is tied at the end of regulation play?

In this situation, one tie scenario is that Odd scores 1 goal while Elfsborg score none. Thus, the aggregate score is 2-2. The tie breaker is which team scored more goals away from home. Since Odd scored 1 goal against Elfsborg at Elfsborg in leg #1 they win on "away goals."

What if Odd is leading 2-1 at the end of regular time?

This would mean the aggregate score is 3-3 and both teams would have scored 1 away goal. Thus, the game goes to extra-time to determine the winner. If still tied, the contest goes to penalty kicks until someone ones.

What if Odd is leading 3-2 at the en…