Thursday, May 31, 2012

Euro 2012 Coming to ESPN!

It's about a week away, and I can feel the excitement growing within me.

The UEFA Euro Cup 2012 begins June 8th 2012 and will last for nearly a month, until July 1st. This competition brings together sixteen of the best teams in Europe to compete for the title of Euro Cup Champions. This competition is all about pride, fame and bragging rights for the European country that wins.

You might be wondering, Why am I (an American) so excited about a competition that only involves Europe and Europeans?

Euro 2012. Source - UEFA
Two Reasons I am excited for Euro 2012;

1. First, I believe its safe to say the biggest collection of the best soccer players is in Europe so this competition will feature many incredible players and teams. The likes of Germany, Spain, England, France, Portugal, and Netherlands will be playing against each other, just to name a few.

2. Second, All the games will be shown in America on the ESPN Network.

Yep, you read it right, ESPN will be airing every game live on ESPN, ESPN2 or Just writing that makes me exited.

This means that for nearly a month there will be games between some of the best teams in the world on almost everyday.

In case you are still not excited, let me run though some of the match ups I am looking forward to in the Euro Cup 2012.

June 9th: Germany Vs. Portugal - With stars on both sides, this will be an exciting clash.
June 10th: Spain Vs. Italy - Another incredible match up. Spain was 2010 World Cup winners, Italy won in 2006.
June 11th: France Vs. England - Both teams have something to prove, and should play hard for a win.
June 13th: Netherlands Vs. Germany - Two excellent teams filled with world class players

I hope you get the point, there will be quite a few exciting games, and these are just from the group stage. Once teams make it out of the group stage, the games can get even more enthralling and the stakes increase dramatically.

I hope you will be watching the Euro Cup 2012, I know I will be! No matter who you cheer for, it will be an incredible competition made even better by the ability to watch it live on ESPN, ESPN2 and

Link to for those who might be unfamiliar with it.
Also, UEFA Euro 2012 official website

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Union Struggling to Replace Key Players

Lets face it, the Philadelphia Union are having a hard time playing as a team and scoring goals. I think one of the factors influencing the Union's performance is the instability of their lineup and holes left by key players.
Although coach Peter Novak often shifted players around last season, the Union had a lot of stability in their defense with few changes occurring. This resulted in one of the best defenses in the MLS for 2011 led by veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.

PPL Park home of the Philadelphia Union
It is a different story this year. Young Zac MacMath has taken over the starting goalkeeper position and after a few shaky games, has done quite well. But losing their veteran goalkeeper and captain is hard to replace.

Yet he was not the only vital player traded away. Sebastien Le Toux, the Union's leading goalscorer in 2010 and 2011, was traded away at the beginning of the season. Then, about 5 games into the 2012 season, the Union's current captain and central defender, Danny Calif was traded to Chivas USA in a curious fashion.
Le Toux scored more than 50% of the Union's Goals

These three players made up the heart of the Philadelphia Union last season, and removing them has left a hole too big for any other players to fill. The Union's Coach has brought in a number of new players and several of them have been looking pretty good, but no one has been able to replace the goal scoring ability of Le Toux, or the leadership of their veteran goalkeeper and central defender. 

In the end, many hoped the 2012 season would bring an opportunity to make a run at the MLS Cup after reaching the playoffs last year. However, it appears to me that this will be a building season allowing newly acquired players to try to fit in and get accustomed to things in Philadelphia. 

So far, the Union Coach has been shifting players around, and trying different formations without much to show for it. Hopefully they will find a combination that works and keep their best players for next year, instead of trading them away as they did last season.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Team? Philadelphia Union!

Yep, you guessed it, I'm a fan of the Philadelphia Union.

I have been keeping track of Major League Soccer (MLS) since about 2004. I originally started following it because I just liked to watch the highlights of the games, and the MLS website did a great job putting up video highlights after each game.

During the next few years I kept track of the league, but had no real favorite team. In 2007, I moved to Pennsylvania and rumors of a team in Philly started to swirl around the same time. Finally, in 2010, Philadelphia got their very own professional team, the Union. I was an instant fan of the union mostly because of my proximity. In the next few seasons I was able to go to several games at PPL Park and thoroughly enjoyed these games.

I currently do not live close enough to Philadelphia to go to any games, but I still enjoy checking on the team each week to see how they are doing. I believe, no matter where I live, I will always be a fan of the Union.

I think it makes watching Major League Soccer much more interesting when I am cheering on one or a few particular teams. For those reading here, you might already have a favorite team, if so, post it in a comment! If you don't have a favorite team, look around at teams near you, or at a team you really enjoy watching. If nothing else, be sure to check out the Union's website and consider them!

I'm a Union fan, and I look forward to cheering for them in their next game! Who will you cheer for?