Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sounders advance with a 5-1 rout over the Atlanta Silverbacks

By Money Mike

16 MLS teams kicked off their U.S. Open Cup campaign in the third round this week. However, half of the pack got knocked out. The other half, including the Seattle Sounders, advanced to the fourth round. The Seattle Sounders advanced after a 5-1 beatdown over the Atlanta Silverbacks last night in front 3,703 fans at Starfire. The Sounders will face Cal FC next Tuesday at Starfire after they upset the Portland Timbers at their home ground with a 1-0 win in extra time. Had the Timbers won that match as everyone would've expected, Seattle would've traveled down to Portland and faced the Timbers in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. That also would've been the third time in the last four years that Portland hosted an Open Cup match against Seattle.

The Sounders tested the Atlanta Silverbacks backline straight from the opening kickoff. Cordell Cato won that battle for the ball with Jose Burciaga, Jr. and poked the ball for Sammy Ochoa. Ochoa turned and had a go from about 25 yards out, but no problem for goalkeeper Joe Nasco to make the save.

In the 19th minute, the Sounders had a great opportunity to go ahead. Cordell Cato took on former UW Husky Raphael Cox who had a torrid time in this match. Cato squared the ball across low for Eddie Johnson from about 12 yards away, but Johnson skied it over top of the bar. I'm not sure how much of a chance Johnson had in putting that one away because he had to reach out for that ball with his left foot. It almost looked like he stumbled a little bit while trying to put that away, but a big chance there for Eddie Johnson who has struggled these last couple of weeks.

In the 21st minute, Danilo Turcois backheeled the ball to Raphael Cox for a first timed shot that sailed over the bar. Turcois, who represented Honduras at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, looked like he was used as a playmaker in this match for the Atlanta Silverbacks.

In the 36th minute, this could easily have been a straight red card had the referee or the linesman spotted this one. Joe Nasco collided with teammate Jose Burciaga, Jr. which gave Ozzie Alonso a try from the half way line. Nasco did get back and punch it wide, but it looked like he was outside the penalty area. If a goalkeeper handles the ball outside the box, that's an automatic red card. I think he was lucky that the referee didn't call anything.

In the 43rd minute, Alex Caskey tried his luck from 19 yards out and forced another save from Joe Nasco. The Sounders have tested Nasco from all cylindars the entire match and made things tough for him.

Shortly after, the Sounders struck first. Eddie Johnson headed the ball across to Jeff Parke who then chested the ball down at the top of the area and the man standing there was Andy Rose and the rookie from UCLA hits it first time into the left corner to give the Seattle Sounders a well deserved 1-0 lead over the NASL side. Joe Nasco didn't have a chance at this one. We've seen Osvaldo Alonso strike those from outside the area as well as Alex Caskey but I wouldn't forget about Andy Rose. It's great to see that we're getting a lot of production from the midfield.

In the 47th minute, the Sounders doubled their advantage. Cordell Cato, who had an excellent performance, sent Ozzie Alonso in behind with only the keeper to beat and Alonso slotted it inside the far corner for his first of the season.

Six minutes later, Atlanta pulled one back. Shane Moroney came forward from his right back spot and fed Reinaldo Navia at the top of the area. Navia struck the ball first time low into the right corner to cut the Sounders lead to one. That was until Alex Caskey came right back and scored his first Sounders goal and more importantly, to restore Seattle's two goal lead.

In the 63rd minute, the Sounders started running away with this match. After a turnover in the midfield by the Silverbacks, the Sounders stormed back the other way and Ozzie Alonso fed Sammy Ochoa who was able to keep him self onside and smash the ball inside the left post to make it 4-1 Sounders. Ochoa was not done there. In the 66th minute, David Estrada looked to get in on the act as his shot from the top of the penalty area was blocked by Martyn Lancaster, but Sammy Ochoa was right there to follow up and curl his shot into the far corner to put the icing on the cake in this third round U.S. Open Cup match.


It was good to see Ozzie Alonso get some minutes in this one since he was banned for two matches in MLS play. I'm expecting him to get the start again next Tuesday in Seattle's fourth round matchup against Cal FC, who of course stunned the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Alonso is considered to be one of the best if not the best holding midfielder in Major League Soccer and he did very well holding the fort last night and also picking up a goal. He's a great all around athlete and rarely have I seen him have a bad game.

Sammy Ochoa had a two goal night which was the first of his career. Despite his performance, the MLS and U.S. Open Cup are two different levels and I'm not sure Ochoa at the level to start MLS matches just yet. Ochoa does have the potential to score a lot of goals and he did show that against the Atlanta Silverbacks, but remember he spent about 5-6 years with Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico where he got almost little to no playing time so his form still needs a little work. Eddie Johnson has been dealing with the same situation during his time in Europe, but Johnson has more experience than Ochoa has and his work rate is much higher than Ochoa's. I do think Ochoa will be around for a while and I do think he's going to be a starter in the future. Again, he has the potential to score a lot of goals.

Another good turnout at the Starfire Sports Complex by the Sounders FC Supporters despite the debate this past week about this match being moved from Atlanta to Seattle. Here's the point though, sure Atlanta would've sold this match out had they not agreed to move the match to Seattle but the fact is Atlanta is a crappy Sports City and they would not even come close to helping out in terms of increasing the growth of American Soccer. Which is why they won't be getting an MLS team. It won't happen anytime soon at least.

It was good to see the Sounders bounce back from their 4 match winless draught in MLS and get a win here to close out this long month. It's also nice to see that they're going to be at home for the fourth round against Cal FC. An amateur side who beat the Portland Timbers on their home ground. Now that's just sad. I mean really, when was the last time an amateur club beat a Major League Soccer team? I mean really the Sounders got themselves an easy opponent for the fourth round. Trust me, Seattle will be too tough to handle for Cal FC.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Andy Rose (Jeff Parke) 44'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (Cordell Cato) 47'

Atlanta Silverbacks - Reinaldo Navia (Shane Moroney) 53'

Seattle Sounders FC - Alex Caskey (unassisted) 54'

Seattle Sounders FC - Sammy Ochoa (Osvaldo Alonso) 63'

Seattle Sounders FC - Sammy Ochoa (unassisted) 66'

Misconduct summary:

Atlanta Silverbacks - Reinaldo Navia (caution; late foul) 59'

Seattle Sounders FC - Marc Burch (caution; retaliatory foul) 59'

Atlanta Silverbacks - Jordan Davis (caution; tactical foul) 88'


Atlanta Silverbacks - Joe Nasco; Shane Moroney, Martyn Lancaster, Jose Burciaga, Jr., Raphael Cox; Tony McManus (Jordan Davis 83'), Ciaran O'Brien, Danilo Turcois, Borfor Carr (David Santamaria 70'); Matt Horth (Nico Colaluca 64'), Reinaldo Navia

Seattle Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Cordell Cato, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 70'), Andy Rose, Alex Caskey; Eddie Johnson (David Estrada 46'), Sammy Ochoa (Roger Levesque 69')

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sounders get set to kickoff their U.S. Open Cup campaign against the Atlanta Silverbacks

By Money Mike

Already seven MLS teams have been eliminated in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Seattle Sounders will hope they don't become the eighth MLS team to be knocked out as they host NASL club Atlanta Silverbacks tomorrow at the Starfire Sports Complex in Takwila at 7:30pm. The Sounders of course have won three straight U.S. Open Cup titles and are looking to make it four, but it sure as hell won't be an easy task. Especially the way things have gone so far in the third round as seven MLS clubs including Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy have been eliminated. This match was originally scheduled to be played to Atlanta, but the Sounders and the Silverbacks agreed to move the match to Seattle.

It's been four years since these two sides last met. As a matter of fact, the year before, both Seattle and Atlanta met eachother in the 2007 USL First Division Championship which took place at Starfire and Seattle crushed the Silverbacks 4-0 to win the title. A month later, Seattle was awarded an MLS franchise. Now when you look back at that time, a lot of folks haven't heard much about the Sounders and I didn't start following the Sounders until 2005 and soccer wasn't really that big a deal at the time. The popularity level dropped since MLS kicked off its history in 1996 and someone like me who has played soccer for a couple of years, it's really disappointing. Since 07', the popularity level of Soccer in America reached new heights. I mean, this past Saturday the USA-Scotland match in Jacksonville drew a big crowd and believe it or not, the majority of the fans were USA fans. So it's been a while since we've seen the Sounders and the Silverbacks square off.

One thing to keep in mind is that Sigi Schmid won't use his original starting 11 at this stage. We might see a few starters in the 11 as well as some reserve players. So I'm guess we'll see guys like Andrew Duran getting the start. Christian Sivebaek looks like he'll get the start as well. I'm expecting Bryan Meredith to get the start in net although I wouldn't rule out Andrew Weber. This is my guess of course.

This will be the last of Seattle's eight game stretch in the month of May. After a stretch of four straight MLS matches without a win, the Sounders will look to end with month with a win in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and get ready for the month of June where they only have four MLS matches scheduled. The Sounders won't be back to business in MLS play until June 16th when they travel to face the Montreal Impact. Up until that point, they have the Atlanta Silverbacks to deal with tomorrow and if they win this one, then they'll have another Open Cup match on June 5th. They also have a reserve match this friday at Starfire against the Whitecaps. The reason I bring that up is because Steve Zakuani is expected to play in that one. We've heard so many times that Zakuani was aimimg to make his return sometime during this stretch. Other then those three matches, the Sounders will have a much needed break after a long month.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sounders and Chivas USA finish all square 1-1

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders were coming off a very disappointing 2-0 loss at home Wednesday night to the Columbus Crew and really needed to find a way to keep that from happening again. The way they played on Saturday, Seattle possibly could've came away with all three points but instead they settled for a 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center against a new look Chivas USA side. The Sounders will now have a two week break from MLS play. They still have a U.S. Open Cup match this Wednesday down at Starfire against the Atlanta Silverbacks and another one on June 5th should they advance with a win over Atlanta. The Sounders currently sit in third place in the Western Conference with a record of 7-3-3 (24 points).

In the 31st minute, former Sounder James Riley played a long crossfield ball to the near side for Ryan Smith. Now here's the problem, Mauro Rosales was all the way back defending because Zach Scott who was supposed to be defending Smith on these plays was in a central defensive position. Smith took advantage of that and maneuvered around Rosales and sent in a low ball to the near post for Alejandro Moreno, but Jeff Parke was there as well to knock it out of play for a corner kick. Parke has been criticised lately about his defending, but he answered all critics in this match and made some great defensive plays.

In the 39th minute, Fredy Montero sent David Estrada in behind the Chivas USA defense and it looked he had all the time and space to either get a cross in or go for goal himself, but James Riley got back and broke of the attack. That was five yards that Riley made up. Estrada is another guy that has been criticised lately. I understand Eric Wynalda was discussing this on FSN West and I have to agree with him on this part. The reason Estrada has stuggled is because of his lack of pace. So far, he's lacking still and he doesn't have the closing speed and hopefully he'll continue to work on that as the season goes on.

Two minutes later, Alvaro Fernandez headed the ball on for Marc Burch to made an excellent run from the back. However he didn't have much of an angle for a shot or a cross and the ball was easily gathered by Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.

At the end of the first half, the Sounders had the best opportunity to take the lead going into the locker room. Fredy Montero got away from John Valencia and tried to find David Estrada, but the ball was deflected by Danny Califf right to Mauro Rosales who misses a golden opportunity. I don't know how much Rosales knew about it, but that was the best chance of the half for either side.

In the 57th minute, first blood went to the Goats. Peter Vagenas, another former Sounder, found James Riley on the near side with loads of space. Riley curled the ball toward the near post. Now it looked like Bryan Meredith was going to punch this one clear, but Juan Agudelo snuck right in front of him to head that one into the far corner to give Chivas USA a 1-0 lead. Agudelo's first professional goal came against the Sounders while he was playing for the New York Red Bulls and now in his second game for his new club, he repeats the trick and scores his first goal for Chivas USA against the Seattle Sounders.

In the 61st minute, the Sounders would come right back and tie it up. Shortly after coming on, Alex Caskey makes an immediate impact as he curled in a low ball right into the mixer and all David Estrada had to do was get a toe to the ball and that's exactly what he did as he made a run around John Valencia and poked the ball home for his fifth goal of the season. As for Caskey, that was his third assist of the season and I got to tell you he's outperforming Alvaro Fernandez so far this season. If Fernandez doesn't pull his head out soon, he could lose his starting job.

In the 90th minute, Eddie Johnson made a run all the way to the end line before trying to square the ball for Cordell Cato, but Cato couldn't get a foot on it. The ball bounced to Andy Rose for a first timed shot, but it was cleared away by Danny Califf. Had he not cleared the ball, it probably could've been a goal at the same time Kennedy may have had that covered, but the bottomline is Seattle couldn't find the breakthrough and come away with only a point.

Scoring summary:

Chivas USA - Juan Agudelo 1 (James Riley 2, Peter Vagenas 1) 57'

Seattle Sounders FC - David Estrada 5 (Fredy Montero 3, Alex Caskey 3) 61'

Misconduct summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Andy Rose (caution; foul) 20'


Seattle Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Alex Caskey 61'); David Estrada (Cordell Cato 78'), Fredy Montero (Eddie Johnson 73')

Chivas USA - Dan Kennedy; James Riley, Danny Califf, John Valencia (Rauwshan McKenzie 66'), Ante Jazic; Laurent Courtois, Peter Vagenas, Ryan Smith (Cesar Romero 88'); Juan Agudelo, Jose Erick Correa (Blair Gavin 76'), Alejandro Moreno

Seattle Mariners weekly recap: May 22nd-28th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners began their week like they ended the previous week by winning two out of three games against first place Texas Rangers. Then it all fell apart as the Los Angeles Angels came to town and swept the Mariners in a four game set. Despite the Mariners receiving six quality starts out of seven this week from their starting staff they went 2-5. The Mariners hitting didn't hit at all this week and were often called out due to striking out. The Mariners also had another late inning bullpen meltdown by closer Brandon League who has been temporarily removed as the closer. This week I'll talk about the good(starting pitching), the bad(the hitting) and the ugly(the Angels domination of the  Mariners through the years).

The Good:

Whenever a team goes 2-5 during the week it can be hard to find some "good" and this week was no different. Only one hitter made my good this week but the Mariners starting five man rotation all made the list. This week in a lot of ways resembled last year where the starting pitching kept the Mariners in the game but the offense let them down. The Mariners did see 37 year old Kevin Millwood continue to turn around his season after starting off 0-4 he has been dominant the last three games. If Millwood continues to pitch like this the Mariners could get some decent value for him at the trade deadline as this team will surely be sellers. The Mariners lone hitter to make the cut was Justin Smoak who is slowly breaking out of his slump which was nice to see. The Mariners did take the Texas Rangers two out of three which is another team they have struggled against as well over the years.

Good Hitting:

Justin Smoak: 6-23(.260), 2 HR's, 2 runs, 7 RBI's, SB

Good Pitching:

Kevin Millwood: 1-0, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 2 K's
Blake Beavan: 7 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, K
Jason Vargas: 0-1, 7 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 6 K's
Hector Noesi: 0-2, 16 IP, 3.37 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 7 K's
Felix Hernandez: 1-1, 14 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 14 K's

Kevin Millwood in his last three starts is 3-0, 22 innings pitched, 0.41 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 15 K's.

Mariners starting pitching this week: 2-4, 50 IP, 3.24 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 30 K's, 6 quality starts

The Bad:

There was plenty of bad this week especially in the Angels series where the Mariners just couldn't put the bat on the ball. The Mariners scored just nine runs in that four game sweep and 21 overall during this seven game week. Against the Angels the Mariners struck out 40 times in their four game sweep of the Angels including Dan Haren throwing a complete game shutout striking out 14 Mariners to open the series up. The bullpen had their issues once again as Tom Wilhelmsen made a 5-0 game against the Texas Rangers interesting when he allowed a three-run homerun to former Mariner Adrian Beltre. Then on Friday Brandon League gave up three runs as he blew the save. In his last four games League has pitched 3.1 innings, allowed six earned runs and 13 base runners while blowing two saves. League has been removed as the teams closer for now. The Mariners feature a team with young hitters so unfortunately these type of weeks are going to happen. Also doesn't help that Eric Wedge preaches being aggressive at the plate so that is another reason why the Mariners strike out so much. Wedge needs to preach a little bit more patience to his ball club as these strikeouts are starting to become an annoying trend.

Bad Hitting:

Dustin Ackley: 3-22(.136), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, SB, 8 K's
Mike Carp: 2-14(.143), run, RBI, SB, 7 K's
Alex Liddi: 4-17(.235), HR, 2 runs, 4 RBI's, 8 K's
Brendan Ryan: 4-19(.210), 6 K's
Kyle Seager: 2-22(.090), 3 runs, SB, 6 BB's, 7 K's
Michael Saunders: 4-20(.200), 4 runs, RBI, 2 SB's, 8 K's
Jesus Montero: 3-20(.150), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, 7 K's
Miguel Olivo: 0-9(.000), run, CS, 3 K's
Ichiro: 6-28(.214), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, SB, 5 K's. Hasn't walked in 18 straight games(May 8th last walk)

Bad Pitching:

Tom Wilhelmsen: 3 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4 K's, hold
Brandon League: 0-1, blown save, save, 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 K's

Mariners team hitting: .226/.288/.360 which all ranks 13th out of 14 teams in the AL. The Mariners are 10th in runs(185), 10th in home runs(41) while being 2nd in strikeouts(389). This offense hasn't improve like most want you to believe this is still a bad ball club in year four under Jack Zduriencik.

The Ugly:

With the Angels sweeping the Mariners this week that put the Mariners in their rightful place of last place in the division a spot they have held six of the last eight seasons. The Angels have dominated the Mariners badly since  2006 and the last time the Mariners won a season series against the Angels was back in 2003 when the Mariners were in the fourth straight year of winning 90 plus games. The series has really turned ugly since 2007 when the Angels along with the Texas Rangers have just taken it to the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners can't expect to compete in this division when two teams are constantly kicking the living crap out of them. In the Angels case they have better ownership, management, and a manager which is why they have dominated the Mariners lately.

Ugly domination:

vs LAA

2007: 6-13, outscored 110-80
2008: 5-14, outscored 98-84
2009: 9-10, outscored 85-71
2010: 4-15, outscored 100-62
2011: 7-12, outscored 70-48
2012: 0-4, outscored 18-9

Totals: 31-68(.313) outscored 481-354(average 4.86-3.58)

This is a six year stretch where the Mariners have defeated the Angels only 31.3% of the time which simply isn't going to get the job done at all. This four game sweep at home was an embarassment as the Mariners resurrected the Angels and their high priced first baseman Albert Pujols.

Al West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 30-18, first place
L.A. Angels: 24-25, 6.5 GB
Oakland A's: 22-27, 8.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 21-29, 10.0 GB

The Mariners are back to sitting in a spot they know all too well which is last place. You saw the hitting numbers this team doesn't hit for average, get on base or slug the ball at all. This team strikes out way too much as a result over being overly aggressive even our young patient hitters like Seager and Ackley are striking out. Wedge is hurting the growth of these youngsters and needs to go. He was a loser in Cleveland and now is turning the Mariners into an embarassment. The pitching has improved but the hitters aren't doing themselves any favors with all these constant strikeouts on balls in the dirt. Until the Mariners learn to look at a few pitches this is going to be another failed "rebuilding" season once again which the Mariners have been doing since 2004.

Friday, May 25, 2012

SSB weekly rant: May 19th-25th edition

By Kshell

Happy memorial day weekend everyone! I hope everyone has a great memorial day weekend even though the traffic is a nightmare currently in Seattle. On this memorial day weekend there is plenty to talk about in the sports scene as I continue my weekly rant. The NBA postseason is providing some nice moments. In this following post I'll mainly be talking about the NBA postseason, why some fans in this area are against Chris Hansen's arena proposal and do a nice little rant on a certain Cougar fan on the Seattle Times who is bashing our Seattle Sounders. I honestly don't understand the sports fans in this town. Anyways I hope you guys enjoy this following rant and be sure to remember your loved ones who have passed away this weekend by decorating their graves with flowers.

cougforlife2011 on seattletimes

"meredith is one of the worst if not the worst goalies i have ever seen in my life. The guy couldn't stop a shot from going into the back of the net if it was only 3 feet wide. Time to put him on the bench and start weber. Our front office has no clue on how to bring evaluate and bring in talent. Sounders are becoming the mariners of seattle. Oh wait the mariners have a youthfull team that actually tries and puts out effort, never mind."

I don't understand this rant at all by this dumb Coug fan. The Sounders have made the playoffs the last three seasons and are top 10 in the world in soccer attendance. While the Mariners rank 11th out of 14 teams in the American League in attendance. The Mariners haven't made the playoffs since 2001 as well. This was just a stupid overreaction by a dipshit fan who obviously hates soccer. I'm not a big soccer fan myself but to go off on the Sounders at least say something intelligent like complaining how they haven't reach the second round of the postseason. Sorry there Coug fan but the Sounders are not the Mariners, they actually win some games every now and then.

I don't get why fans are against Chris Hansen's arena proposal? See to my right is Hansen with  our good friends from Bring Back Our Sonics. This arena in the SoDo area will bring in the NBA and the NHL. This will also make the SoDo area a kickass area to be around in. Sure the Mariners will be jealous but you know what? Screw em! Win some damn games then you have a right to complain! I'll admit I wanted the team to be in the Seattle Center but it's looking like that isn't going to happen so time to join forces and rally behind Hansen. Hansen is doing what Steve Ballmer has claimed he'd do for four years now only Hansen is actually going through with it instead of blowing smoke up our asses like Ballmer. Hansen is paying for the arena too as the tax payers are getting off. The SoDo district will finally be cleaned up as well and we can have a kickass part of town basically dedicated to us sports junkies. I'm fired up over this plan and I suspect Hansen is going to make this happen regardless of what the longshoreman or Chuck Armstrong think.

Kevin Durant who should be for the Sonics will be playing in his second straight Western Conference finals for Oklahoma City as they take on the San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan. For Duncan this is his seventh Western Conference Finals trip as he has won four NBA championships. While Durant is still looking to reach his first NBA Finals after losing last year to Dallas Mavericks in five games. Both teams have cruised in the playoffs as the Zombie Sonics are 9-1 after defeating the Lakers in five games. While the old Spurs are 8-0 this postseason including two comeback wins at Staples Center to sweep off the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. This should be a great playoff series which could set up for a good NBA finals. You have the battle of the up and comers(Zombie Sonics) against the old consistent team since 1999(the Spurs). These are the type of matchups the NBA dreams about.

What a difference a week makes for Dwyane Wade and Lebron James? This time last week they were trailing 2-1 to the Indiana Pacers.  Now they are resting to see who they host in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals starting this Monday. Lebron James had a historic performance in game four scoring 40 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing out 9 assists becoming the first player to do that since Elgin Baylor back in 1961. Lebron in the last three games averaged 32.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 8.0 APG with 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Wade since his horrific game three responded as well in game six scoring 41 points on 17-25(68.0%) shooting with 20 points in the second quarter alone. In the last three games Wade averaged 33.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 3.8 APG. He is averaging 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game as well. The Heat proved they can win a tough playoff series and this was without seven-time all-star power forward Chris Bosh who should return this series. When James and Wade are clicking like they were this series they are impossible to beat. If the Heat advance past the winner of the Celtics-76ers that should make for another great highly rated NBA Finals.

This has been another fun week in the sports scene and this weekly rant ran a little bit longer than most. I must admit I probably left off a few things like I always do. Next week my rant will be taking place in Boise, Idaho as I'll be there next week the home of two-time Fiesta Bowl champions Boise State Broncos. These NBA playoffs have been great and I'm back into the fold as a NBA fan once again which is good since our Sonics are coming home very shortly. The NHL playoffs is compelling as well with the L.A. Kings making the Stanley Cup Finals while the New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils are battling it out in a hard fought series. Well guys have a fun and safe memorial day weekend and hope you enjoyed my weekly rant!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lack of finishing haunts the Sounders as they fall 2-0 to the Columbus Crew

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders outshot the Columbus Crew, they had more possession, they out dueled their opponent, they completely outplayed Columbus. However there was one problem, they couldn't find the back of the net. Despite all the chances the Sounders created in this game, they struggled to finish and it came back to haunt them as they fell at home to the Columbus Crew by a final count of 2-0. After winning five in a row, the Sounders have came away with only one point in their last three matches and you have to feel that they need to win on the road this Saturday against Chivas USA before their two week break from MLS.

In the 10th minute, Fredy Montero looked to score from a free kick but he hit the wall. The ball bounced to Osvaldo Alonso who cut inside to his right foot and fired a low right foot drive, but it was poorly hit and Andy Gruenebaum easily gathered it up.

So you may think the Sounders looked like the better side, but as head coach Sigi Schmid said after the game, goals change games and in the 15th minute, it was Columbus who got that goal. For the third game in a row, Adam Johansson got caught as Dilly Duke whipped in a very good cross to the far post and Justin Meram made a great run behind Johansson and headed the ball inside the right post for his third goal in as many matches. Johansson had to leave the match later on after picking up a hamstring injury. Let's just hope it's not too serious and hope to see him back on the pitch on June 16th following their two week break, but Johansson has struggled these last three matches. He's been getting caught out of position and should be held responsible for three of the five goals Seattle has conceded in these last three games.

The Sounders looked to get one back in the 18th minute. Marc Burch found Brad Evans at the top of the penalty area, but his header wasn't enough to trouble Andy Gruenebaum.

In the 33rd minute, David Estrada curled the ball near post for Eddie Johnson. However, Johnson didn't have much of an angle and his shot went well wide of goal. A few minutes later, Ozzie Alonso had a go from distance, but he couldn't hit the target.

In the dying seconds of the first half, Seattle nearly came through with the equalizer that surely would've changed the momentum of this game. Adam Johansson chipped the ball into the area for David Estrada. Estrada turned and sent in a cross to the far post for Alvaro Fernandez who was unmarked but his header was inches wide.

In the 51st minute, once again Seattle came close. David Estrada tried to feed an overlapping Adam Johansson, but the ball bounced awkwardly for him. Johansson was able to control it and play it back to Estrada who got his right foot around the ball and found Fredy Montero who shrugged off Carlos Mendes and fired it low on goal, but somehow Andy Gruenebaum kept that one out. Four minutes later, Estrada once again found Fredy Montero who was played onside by the Columbus Crew defense. Montero struck the ball low and hard again, but goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was equal to the task once again.

In the 76th minute, Columbus delivered the knockout punch. After the Sounders struggled to clear the ball out of their own half, the ball bounced nicely for Emilio Renteria who caught goalkeeper Bryan Meredith off his line and went for goal from a long way out. Meredith got a hand to it, but it was too late. Renteria scored what's surely a candidate for Goal of the Week and like I said earlier the Sounders are going to rue not being able to finish their chances in this match. The Sounders have already lost three matches at home this season, which is a bit of a problem. When you're one of the top teams in MLS, you have to take advantage of those home matches and these last couple home matches, the Sounders have struggled to produce.


I'm hoping the MLS disciplinary committee doesn't suspend Ozzie Alonso for Saturdays match against Chivas USA. There was one play where he came in two footed while challenging for the ball right in front of the referee, but the referee didn't give anything. Alonso did receive a yellow card later on in that match for infringement but I'm pretty sure the league is going to review that two footed challenge. There's a chance he could be banned for the next match, but we don't know for sure. We haven't heard anything regarding that, so as of right now Alonso is available for the away match on Saturday, but late in the match Alonso had difficulty controling his temper.

Bryan Meredith got the start again in goal for the Sounders for the injured Michael Gspurning who is expected to return on June 15th. He's done very well filling in for Gspurning has been out with a hip injury, but the second goal conceded was all on him because of the fact that he was off his line. These last couple of games have been tough for Bryan Meredith because the backline has struggled and because Meredith has been caught out of position a couple of times. He needs to communicate with his backline and make sure they're all on the same page in their next match because it looks like that'll be his last start before Michael Gspurning makes his return.

Disappointing result from Sigi Schmid and the rest of the coaching staff. This was a match that most of the folks would've expected this team to win, but shit like this have happened everywhere and will always happen and you just have to deal with it. I mean, I've dealt with it, but I will tell you it's painfull. lol. Bottomline is, this loss won't hurt the team that much. It's still early, there's a lot of matches to go. When we get to June, I believe that's where the Sounders will take off and really start to dominate the rest of the way during the season.

Scoring summary:

Columbus Crew - Justin Meram 3 (Dilly Duka 1, Emilio Renteria 1) 15'

Columbus Crew - Emilio Renteria (unassisted) 76'

Misconduct summary:

Columbus Crew - Dilly Duka (caution; foul) 47'

Columbus Crew - Carlos Mendes (caution; foul) 71'

Seattle Sounders FC - Marc Burch (caution; foul) 85'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (caution; persistant infringement) 88'


Columbus Crew - Andy Gruenebaum; Sebastian Miranda, Carlos Mendes, Josh Williams, Nemanja Vukovic; Dilly Duka (Tony Tchani 57'), Danny O'Rourke (Kevan George 44'), Eddie Gaven, Cole Grossman, Justin Meram (Bernardo Anor 80'); Emilio Renteria

Seattle Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith; Adam Johansson (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 61'), Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Marc Burch; David Estrada (Andy Rose 78'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Mauro Rosales 61'); Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Seahawks trade for TE Winslow for future draft pick

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks yesterday traded for troubled pro bowl tight end Kellen Winslow Jr of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Once again the Pete Carroll regime proves they'll take in guys with character issues if they are talented and Winslow fits the mode. The Seahawks ignored the offense in the draft but instead have focused on the offense through the last two offseasons by signing Sidney Rice, Tarvaris Jackson, Zach Miller. Then this offseason signing Matt Flynn and now trading for Winslow. In the Carroll regime they also traded for Marshawn Lynch so it appears they are more comfortable developing guys on defense while going for established guys on offense. The Seahawks offense will now be dangerous with two productive tight ends plus a new quarterback to go with a pro bowl running back.

The Seahawks gave up a seventh round draft pick that could be more if Winslow performs well. What they are getting in Winslow who made the pro bowl with the Cleveland Browns back in 2007 where he had 82 receptions for 1,106 yards(13.5 YPC) with five touchdowns is a talented tight end. Winslow will be 29 years old this season and should give the Seahawks a chance to run multiple sets. Winslow was taken with the 6th pick overall in the 2004 NFL draft right out of Miami University. In his four seasons with the Cleveland Browns in 44 games and 40 starts he caught 219 passes for 2,459(11.2 YPC) yards with 11 touchdowns. He averaged five receptions a game for 55.9 yards. Then he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he has played the last three seasons. In those three years he has played in 48 games making 40 starts. He has caught 218 passes for 2,377 yards(10.9 YPC) with 12 touchdowns. He averaged 4.5 receptions a game for 49.5 yards per game. Winslow is a proven tight end which the Seahawks have lacked in the Carroll era. Hopefully now with Matt Flynn and another year with Tom Cable the Seahawks can go from zero production from tight end to having  two productive tight ends. This move will give the Seahawks a chance to be a very successful offense.

Now with the trade of Winslow people are already speculating that Zach Miller is on his way out. Now that could be the case but I think Miller still has value. Miller who is also a former pro bowler with the Raiders in 2010 when he caught 60 passes for 685 yards(11.4 YPC) with five touchdowns won't turn 27 until December of this year. Miller while in four seasons caught 226 passes for 2,712 yards(12.0 YPC) with 12 touchdowns. He averaged 3.6 receptions for 43.7 yards. Then last year with the Seahawks was a disaster played in 15 games all of which were starts but caught just 25 passes for 233 yards(9.3 YPC) with zero touchdowns. He averaged just 1.7 receptions and 15.5 yards per game. Miller was often asked to stay in to block plus the Seahawks experienced inconsistent play from the quarterback position which didn't help his cause either. With Miller and Winslow the Seahawks can run a lot of two tight end sets which will be pivotal in the run game as well as the red zone. With those two along with tall receivers Sidney Rice and Mike Williams the Seahawks should be scoring plent of touchdowns this year in the red zone. This was a big time move for Pete Carroll to make and I do think they'll still keep Miller as he still has value to the team.

In conclusion, I liked this move a lot as Winslow is a great talent who can provide huge upside. If he doesn't work out? It doesn't cost you anything as if he is cut prior to the season the Seahawks don't even lose the draft pick. The Seahawks have continued to improve the defense in the draft and the offense with veterans who are still in their 20's. What the Seahawks are doing the last few years you have to love. Winslow might not work out but I'm glad the Seahawks are taking chances on these type of players which the previous regime was afraid to do. Winslow can be the missing link that this offense needs as talent has never been an issue.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fredy Montero comes through with a late goal to salvage a point in Vancouver, 2-2 draw

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders were looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat against RSL. Instead, they were a couple minutes away from losing their second straight match for the first time since their 0-2 start last season. However a late goal from Fredy Montero made sure that didn't happen and the Sounders came away with a point after a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Sounders are now 7-2-2 on the year after that draw and remain in third place, one point behind San Jose for second and three points behind Real Salt Lake for first.

In the 8th minute, Seattle got caught on the counter as Sebastien Le Toux sent Omar Salgado away. The 18-year old got to the ball before Ozzie Alonso could clear, but his touch was poor and Bryan Meredith came off his line to cover.

Three minutes later, the Whitecaps got on the board. Omar Salgado sent Alain Rochat away down the left hand side, and with Adam Johansson overcommiting Rochat had time and space to run at the Seattle defense. As he approached the Seattle goal, he had Darren Mattocks and Sebastien Le Toux in support along with Gershon Koffie and Lee Young-Pyo trailing on the play but because Jeff Parke didn't come to challenge, Rochat did all the dirty work alone and he slotted the ball inside the right post to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.

In the 32nd minute, Alain Rochat went long for Omar Salgado. Salgado brushed Jeff Parke aside and looked to snap the ball across and inside the far post, but he missed wide of target. I think the referee blew the whistle though for the challenge on Jeff Parke, but I didn't see anything wrong with the challenge. It was shoulder to shoulder and just poor defending by Parke. Jeff Parke actually had a poor defensive outing all match.

Eight minutes later, more from Rochat as he dispossessed Mauro Rosales and waited a couple of seconds before getting Darron Mattcks in behind the defense. Mattocks looked to slot the ball inside the far post, but he didn't get enough bend on it and it just went wide. Once again it was Jeff Parke getting caught. Fortunetly, the Sounders dodged another bullet and the score remained 1-0. The Sounders did have a couple of shot of their own in the first half, but none of them were on target. The way the back line has played, it could've been worse.

That would change however. A minute into the second half, the Sounders quickly pulled level. Fredy Montero chipped the ball out wide for Mauro Rosales. The Argentine had time to settle before whipping in a very good cross to the far post for Eddie Johnson who rose up and headed the ball back across and inside the right post to tie this match at 1-1. It was important that Johnson had to bounce back from a poor performance last Saturday at home and the easiest way of doing that was to get a goal and that was what Eddie Johnson did as he headed home his third goal of the season.

In the 82nd minute, the Whitecaps climbed back ahead. Camilo took the free kick from the near side. He curled it to the middle of the area and it bounced inside the far post. At first it looked like Gershon Koffie got a touch on it, but it wasn't the case. Nobody touched it in the box and Camilo got credited with his third goal of the season and his second against the Seattle Sounders and more importantly put the Sounders ahead 2-1.

However, in the 90th minute the Sounders came from behind again. Eddie Johnson headed the ball forward to Fredy Montero and from 20 yards out, the Colombian hesitated and curled the ball around two Whitecaps defenders and in to the back of the net as goalkeeper Joe Cannon had absolutely no clue on where the ball was because he had two defenders in his way. No chance to make the save and Seattle comes away with a point.

Scoring summary:

Vancouver Whitecaps - Alain Rochat 1 (Omar Salgado 1) 12'

Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson 3 (Fredy Montero 2, Mauro Rosales 2) 47'

Vancouver Whitecaps - Camilo Sanvezzo 3 (unassisted) 82'

Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 4 (Eddie Johnson 1) 90'

Misconduct summary:

Vancouver Whitecaps - Gershon Koffie (caution; foul) 84'

Vancouver Whitecaps - Camilo Sanvezzo (caution; foul) 93'+


Seattle Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith; Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch (Zach Scott 85'); Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey (Andy Rose 45'), Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 72'); Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson

Vancouver Whitecaps - Joe Cannon; Lee Young-Pyo, Martin Bonjour, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat; Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, Davide Chiumiento (Camilo Sanvezzo 80'); Sebastien Le Toux, Darren Mattocks (Eric Hassli 64'), Omar Salgado (John Thorrington 74')

Seattle Mariners weekly recap: May 14th-20th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners just completed their 10 game road trip going 4-6 but ended it with a three game sweep at the Colorado Rockies. This week started off with back to back two game sweeps at the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians before recovering with a three game sweep at Colorado. For the Mariners this week wasn't all bad as much of the young bats continue to produce on this road trip. The main problem on this trip was the pitching mainly the bullpen which blew a 4-1 lead against the Cleveland Indians on  May 16th then Brandon League blew the save in extra innings as the Mariners lost 6-5. The Mariners did recover from that tough loss with a sweep which showed that this team is mentally tough. This team is just consistently inconsistent which is the sign of a young team. The Mariners did go 3-4 this week meaning I'll talk about the good(the young hitters), the bad(the pitchers including the Mariners 1-2 punch in the rotation) and the ugly(the bullpen which has been shaky this year).

The Good:

All the good that happened this week for the Mariners happened in interleague play with the sweep of the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field. The Mariners saw their young hitting core of Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero, and Justin Smoak all have big weeks. This week also saw Kevin Millwood show that he still does have value on this team as he threw a complete game shutout in Coors Field this past Friday night. Some of the Mariners long relievers and secondary bullpen pieces pitched well this week. Just nice this team bounce back from that horrible series in Boston where they didn't compete and the disaster in Cleveland where they blew a four run lead. The Mariners took it to the Colorado Rockies and that was led by their youngsters despite what Eric Wedge wanting more veterans these young guys need to continue to grow.

Good Hitting:

Justin Smoak: 7-25(.280), HR, run, 2 RBI's
Kyle Seager: 7-28(.250), HR, 4 runs, 6 RBI's, SB
Ichiro: 8-31(.258), 5 runs, RBI, 3 SB's
Jason Vargas: 1-3(.333), run, RBI, BB
Jesus Montero: 5-20(.250), HR, 2 runs, 3 RBI, 3 BB's
Michael Saunders: 7-27(.259), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, SB, 3 XBH's
Brendan Ryan: 5-19(.263), 4 runs, RBI, SB, 3 BB's
Dustin Ackley: 9-31(.290), HR, 5 runs, 4 RBI's, 2 SB's

Good Pitching:

Kevin Millwood: 1-0, 9 IP, CG, SHO, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 7 K's
Charlie Furbush: 4.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 4 K's
Shawn Kelly: 4.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 4 K's
Hisashi Iwakuma: 4 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4 K's
Hector Noesi: 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 5 K's

The North Carolina Tarheels connection is starting to pay off lately. For this year in 140 AB's Kyle Seager is hitting .286/.308/.486 with five home runs, 17 runs and 26 RBI's. Seager is looking like a main stay for the Mariners whether he sticks at third base or moves to short stop.

Dustin Ackley #2 hitter: Hit .221/.275/.305 in 102 PA's with just one home run, 10 runs and 6 RBI's. He had 19 K's to just seven walks.

Dustin Ackley now as a leadoff hitter: Hitting .294/.368/.456 in 76 PA's. Has two home runs, 12 runs, 8 RBI's. He has 13 K's to eight walks.

As you can see Ackley is hitting a lot better since moving to leadoff which is important for the growth of the franchise.


The road trip ended well with the sweep but it was looking like a complete disaster before that. Felix Hernandez got rocked twice on this road trip as the Mariners went 4-6 including his worst start of the year against the Cleveland Indians when he couldn't get past the fourth inning. The Mariners still aren't beating good teams this year and seeing Hernandez getting rocked was tough to watch. The other Mariners All-Star who had a bad week was Brandon League who blew the save on Wednesday then got rough up in a mop up role yesterday. The Mariners blew a 4-0 lead on Wednesday and what made it sting the most was Steve Delabar giving up a three-run home run to Jose Lopez in the eighth inning to up the game. Yes former Mariner Jose Lopez who has since bounced around baseball hit that shot.

This week saw some good hitting there wasn't too many hitters who struggled minus one in particular in Alex Liddi who is starting to go back to his bad traits from Tacoma where he is striking out a lot. The Mariners week was bad but like I stated it was saved at the end. Just was tough seeing their two best pitchers in Hernandez and Jason Vargas have such a bad week although Vargas did bounce back against Colorado pitching well.

Bad Hitting:

Alex Liddi: 2-17(.117), 9 K's
Mike Carp: 2-10(.200), 2 HR's, 2 runs, 2 RBI's, 3 K's
John Jaso: 2-10(.200), 2 runs, 2 RBI's, K
Casper Wells: 2-10(.200), run, 2 RBI's, K

Bad Pitching:

Felix Hernandez: 0-1, 3.2 IP, 14.71 ERA, 3.54 WHIP, 3 K's
Jason Vargas: 1-1, 13 IP, 5.53 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 4 K's, 3 HR's allowed
Blake Beavan: 1-1, 9 IP, 5.00 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 11 K's
Steve Delabar: 2.2 IP, BS, 10.11 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 3 K's
Brandon League: 0-1, BS, 1.1 IP, 27.00 ERA, 6.76 WHIP, 2 K's

This week saw Hernandez and Vargas go a combined 1-2 having thrown only 16.2 innings with a 8.63 ERA and 1.73 WHIP with only 7 K's. The Mariners won't have too many successful road trips if those two pitch like that.

The Ugly:

The Ugly this week was the bullpen melting down and in particular this season. If a starting pitcher has a 3.60 ERA which is above average for a reliever to match that he must have a 2.00 ERA. None of the Mariners relievers have close to that. The bullpen struggled once again this past week highlighted by that Cleveland game where they blew a 4-1 lead then League blew a 5-4 lead in the 11th inning. This week in only 1 1/3 innings League allowed four runs and nine base runners. This wasn't a case of League getting unlucky as he allowed six base hits and three walks. League has been very shaky this season as has the rest of the pen. The Mariners would be wise to trade League very quickly before he loses all of his value. More bullpen blowups like this and the Mariners will be hurting. They will also be regretting how they didn't deal League sooner and acquire some pieces.

Ugly Pitching:

Brandon League: 0-3, 8 saves, 3 blown saves, 18.1 IP, 3.93 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, .275 BAA, 11 K's(5.40 K's per 9). Nothing about his stats look good at all as his ERA is high for a closer, his WHIP is really high and his K's per 9 is horrible.

Tom Wilhelmsen: 1-1, blown save, 6 holds, 21.1 IP, 3.80 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .262 BAA, 26 K's(10.97 K's per 9).  Wilhelmsen is the Mariners top setup man and also has a high ERA for a reliever plus WHIP and BAA. At least he records strikeouts unlike League.

Steve Delabar: 1-0, blown save, 3 holds, 19.1 IP, 5.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .186 BAA, 24 K's(11.17 K's per 9). What is hurting Delabar is he has already allowed six home runs as the rest of his numbers are fantastic but the ERA is unacceptable.

The Mariners aren't a good team and their bullpen is making their record even worse as they have recorded six blown saves on the year while recording only eight saves. That isn't going to cut it at all and if this group doesn't improve changes will have to be made.

Al West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 26-16, first place
Oakland A's: 21-21, 5.0 GB
Seattle Mariners: 19-24, 7.5 GB
L.A. Angels: 18-24, 8.0 GB

If the Mariners have any shot at fooling their fans into thinking they can do something this year now is the time to do it. The Mariners play host to the Texas Rangers this week for three games then the L.A. Angels for four games. The following week the Mariners travel to Texas for three games. Both of these teams have kicked the Mariners ass the last couple of seasons. Now is the time to see if the Mariners young kids are up for the challenge. This is a streaky team but boring ole consistency like taking two out of three every series is what the playoff ball clubs do. The Mariners aren't there yet and won't be for a couple of more seasons it appears.

Chelsea stun Bayern Munich on their home ground, win the Champions League final 4-3 on Penalties

By Money Mike

If you're a Tottenham fan, this is the worst thing you want to see because now instead of qualifying for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League, your team will instead will compete in the Europa League and this is why. Bayern Munich had the home field advantage and the momentum at their side for the final and looked to be the team that would come out on top. That was not the case. 62,500 fans at the Allianz Arena and over 150,000,000 viewers worldwide got to witness first hand Chelsea defeating Bayern Munich 4-3 in a penalty shootout and all those chances Bayern Munich had in this match, they're going to rue not being able to capitalize.

In the 18th minute well, all I can say is how the hell did this guy fan on a golden opportunity. A long throw in to the end line found Thomas Muller who was able to poke the ball to Mario Gomez. This one looked like it was going to be a goal for Bayern Munich, but Gomez scuffed it and the attack broke down.

In the 34th minute, off the free kick Juan Mata looked to curl his effort towards goal but he got under it a little too much and the ball sailed over the bar. That was one of few shot attempts by Chelsea in this match.

Three minutes later, Bayern Munich were on the move again. Diego Contento made an overlapping run and sent in a good looking cross into the middle of the area for a left footed volley by Thomas Muller, but it just whistled wide. In the 43rd minute, Bayern Munich waste another golden opportunity. Mario Gomez turned Gary Cahill inside the box and had just the keeper to beat, but he skied his shot well over the bar. Bayern Munich had 16 shots on goal in the first half, but only two were on target. What a waste.

In the 54th minute, Bayern Munich thought they broke the deadlock. Thomas Muller fed Arjen Robben from 19 yards out for a first time shot. The ball bounced off Ashley Cole right to Franck Ribery for the tap in, but Ribery was in an offside position on the shot so the goal did not count.

The second half looked pretty even in terms of possession. Chelsea came out in the second half and looked a lot better than they did in the first half. Bayern Munich still looked like the better team, but they just didn't play like the better team because all they did was fail to capitalize on their chances. Chance after chance after chance, and for some reason they had problems finishing. Especially Mario Gomez. I think Gomez had a crappy game after failing to capitalize on three or four opportunities that he more than likely would've put away in his sleep. Chelsea did put together some opportunities of their own. Like in the 50th minute when Didier Drogba turned and snapped a shot on goal, but it was always going wide. Arjen Robben also wasted a few opportunities of his own for Bayern. Both Robben and Gomez who were supposed to be the stars of this team had an awful night and this could hurt them in their chances of representing their respective countries in EURO 2012 next month.

With under eight minutes to play, Bayern Munich finally broke the deadlock. Franck Ribery poked the ball back to Toni Kroos just outside the penalty area. Kroos then curls the ball to the far post and finds Thomas Muller for a downward header which bounces on the ground and in off the top of the crossbar to give Bayern Munich a 1-0 lead in the final. First of all that was poor defending from Chelsea. Second of all, how did Petr Cech let that go in. It looked like an easy save, but he didn't jump to try to make the save and the ball snuck in.

Shortly after that goal, Bayern Munich brought on Daniel Van Buyten to try to hold on to the lead. However in this 88th minute, that defensive switch wasn't good enough and Chelsea came through with a late equalizing goal. Juan Mata took the corner from the far hash mark and sent in a driven cross to the near post for Didier Drogba who got well and snapped his header in off the hand of Manuel Neuer for one of the biggest goals of his career at Chelsea. In the last minute of stoppage time, Drogba had an opportunity to come through with a winning goal off the free kick but he got under it a bit too much and the ball sailed over the top and the match went to extra time.

In the third minute of extra time, Drogba gets whistled for clipping Franck Ribery in the box and the referee awards a penalty to Bayern Munich and also books Didier Drogba. Gary Cahill was arguing with the referee after that, thinking it wasn't a penalty. Come on now. Drogba caught his right foot from behind in the penalty area, of course it's a PK. Arjen Robben stepped up to take the penalty. I said he had a awful night, this was one of the reasons. He tried to go for placement and Cech guessed the right way and made the save. At this stage of the game, I would've went for power. I actually would've went for power at any stage of the game. There were no goals in extra time so the game went to a penalty shootout.

In the shootout, Philipp Lahm stepped up first for Bayern Munich and slotted the ball to Petr Cech's left despite Cech getting a hand to it. Juan Mata stepped up first for Chelsea and tried to go to the goalkeepers left hand side, but Neuer read it perfectly and made the save and Bayern led 1-0 after round one. Mario Gomez went second for Bayern and he slid the ball inside the goalkeepers left hand side. David Luiz went next for Chelsea and on a long run up, Luiz made no mistake and he smashed the it home. Bayern Munich still led 2-1 after two rounds. After Manuel Neuer and Frank Lampard converted their penalties in the third round, it was Ivica Olic's turn and he failed to convert as he went to the goalkeepers left and Cech made the save. Ashley Cole stepped up for Chelsea and converted his penalty and it was 3-3 after four rounds. In the fifth round, Bastian Schwiensteiger stepped up for Bayern Munich but his penalty was poor as his effort was tipped on to the post by Petr Cech. So it's come all the way down to Didier Drogba to win the Champions League for Chelsea and he slotted the ball inside the goalkeepers right hand side and Chelsea believe it or not win their first European Cup title.


After all the chances Bayern Munich have had, they fail to capitalize and this is what happens. You have to capitalize on your opponents mistakes and Bayern were unable to do that and in the end, they lose. Disappointing night for Bayern Munich and their fans after another rough Bundesliga campaign, they just couldn't get the job done and when you don't get the job done, it'll come back to haunt you. This is one of the reasons why there's no such thing as fluke wins.

Now take a look at this. Please tell me if you have ever seen a stadium that changes colors besides the Allianz Arena? In Seattle, you go to Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field, KeyArena, etc. and the outside is just all bricks, steel and other shit. Not the Allianz Arena, they change the color for any club that plays for home match inside that ground. If it's Bayern Munich, the outside of the stadium is red. If it's TSV 1860 Munich, the outside is blue. If it's the German national team, the outside is white. But, as you see here, they used neither of that. What they used was the color of the game ball. It's pretty cool that the stadium can change colors, you can only see it at night though.

The atmosphere was electric inside the stadium. Overall I think it was a great match and that it was better to have the final played on a Saturday than at midweek like they used to do until 2010, but again a great match despite a poor finishing display form Bayern Munich and I'm pretty sure for the fans, this loss will take a while to sink in. Congratulations to Chelsea for finding a way to come out on top in the Champions League despite a poor Premier League campaign, but they'll have an opportunity to defend their Champions League Crown next season.

Scoring summary:

Bayern Munich - Thomas Muller (Toni Kroos) 83'

Chelsea - Didier Drogba (Juan Mata) 88'

Penalty summary:

Bayern Munich - Philipp Lahm (Goal; 1-0)

Chelsea - Juan Mata (Miss; 1-0)

Bayern Munich - Mario Gomez (Goal; 2-0)

Chelsea - David Luiz (Goal; 2-1)

Bayern Munich - Manuel Neuer (Goal; 3-1)

Chelsea - Frank Lampard (Goal; 3-2)

Bayern Munich - Ivica Olic (Miss; 3-2)

Chelsea - Ashley Cole (Goal; 3-3)

Bayern Munich - Bastian Schweinsteiger (Miss; 3-3)

Chelsea - Didier Drogba (Goal; 3-4)

* Chelsea win the Champions League Final 4-3 on penalties.

Misconduct summary:

Bayern Munich - Bastian Schweinsteiger (caution; handball) 2'

Chelsea - Ashley Cole (caution; foul) 81'

Chelsea - David Luiz (caution; foul) 86'

Chelsea - Didier Drogba (caution; foul) 93'

Chelsea - Fernando Torres (caution; foul) 120'


Chelsea - Petr Cech; Jose Bosingwa, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Ashley Cole; John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard; Saloman Kalou (Fernando Torres 84'), Juan Mata, Ryan Bertrand (Florent Malouda 73'); Didier Drogba

Bayern Munich - Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Diego Contento; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos; Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller (Daniel Van Buyten 87'), Franck Ribery (Ivica Olic 97'); Mario Gomez