Monday, June 27, 2016
Francisco Silva’s penalty kick sealed the Copa America Centenario championship for Chile with their 4-2 win on penalties following a 0-0 draw against rival Argentina Sunday night in a dramatic Final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Chile, FIFA’s fifth-ranked national team, defended its 2015 Copa America title, also won on penalties over Argentina. La Albiceleste is still seeking its first major tournament title since 1993.
After Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo stopped Lucas Biglia’s shot in the fourth round of the shootout, Chile needed only to make their fifth try to win, and Silva buried it as La Roja outscored Argentina 4-2 in the shootout. Silva’s winner came moments after Argentina superstar Lionel Messi shockingly missed over the goal.
The contentious finale of the tournament saw 35 fouls called with eight yellow cards and two red cards issued, the first red to Marcelo Diaz of Chile in the 28th minute after he collided with Messi. Consequently, Chile played with 10 men. But only for 15 minutes.
Messi was fouled several times as Chile were physical in marking the diminutive forward, and even he was shown yellow for embellishment in the 40th minute.
In the 43rd minute, the sides were evened at 10 when Argentina’s Marcos Rojo drew a straight red card for a hard tackle on Vidal. It marked the third time that players from both teams were sent off in a Copa America Final.
Before all of that drama, Argentina missed an excellent chance to take an early lead. Chile’s Gary Medel lost control of the ball deep in his team’s side of the field, and Gonzalo Higuain made a run with only the goalkeeper to beat. Higuain’s 21st minute shot trickled just wide left of the goal with Medel laying out against the post to keep the ball out of the net.
Things quieted down in the second half as far as scoring chances and whistles, but Argentina missed in the 84th minute when Messi found Sergio Aguero on the flank and Aguero skied his open shot well over the goal.
Messi missed high on a counter attack early in stoppage time and the game went to an additional 30 minutes.
Romero saved an Eduardo Vargas header in the 99th minute, then Bravo barely tipped away Aguero’s high header in the 100th.
The crowd of 82,026 was the largest to ever see a soccer match in the state of New Jersey.
Vargas didn’t score Sunday, but took the Powerade Golden Boot as leader for the tournament in goals with six. Chile’s Alexis Sanchez was awarded the MasterCard Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player, while Bravo won the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper for the second straight tournament.
Friday, June 24, 2016
United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016
Choice Votes %
Leave 17,410,742 51.9
Remain 16,141,241 48.1
Valid votes 33,551,983 99.92
Invalid or blank votes 26,033 0.08
Total votes 33,578,016 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 46,501,241 72.2%
Sunday, June 19, 2016
It's a championship 52 years in the making.
One that was won by the Cleveland Cavaliers 93-89 over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Sunday night. But one that was made all the more meaningful by decades of losing seasons from Cleveland's Browns and Indians, as well.
It took a native son -- the most important draft pick in franchise history 13 oh-so-lucky years ago, born and bred just about 30 miles down the road, in Akron, Ohio -- to break the cycle of disappointment.
If back-to-back titles in Miami were James' breakthrough as one of the game's all-time greats, the championship in Cleveland represents his ascension to living-legend status.
His NBA Finals record still stands at a lopsided 3-4 -- not nearly as stellar a bullet point on his résumé than the four MVP awards and top-five ranking in all-time playoff points, assists and steals -- but that third ring carries so much weight.
Hundreds of players have won the NBA title before, but nobody has ever done it quite like James and the Cavs did this year.
James dominated the series, pushing it to an improbable brink with back-to-back 41-point games in to bring Cleveland back from a 3-1 deficit. The first 32 teams to fall down 3-1 in the Finals ended up losers. The Cavs, led by a certain No. 23, made sure that streak ended when it came to 33.
A win by the Warriors would have solidified their place in the discussion of the greatest team ever. James' performance in the series changed the conversation and steered it toward consideration for him as the greatest player ever.
He did it, of course, on the same court as the league's back-to-back MVP in Stephen Curry. Only anyone watching could see by James' play that when everything matters the most, he remains the best the sport has to offer, with Curry still a level below.
And he did it by elevating a group of teammates like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson -- with a combined zero playoff games between them before James came back to Cleveland -- to the game's zenith.
As he famously posted in his homecoming letter in the Players' Tribune, "In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have."
James and the Cavs outworked and outlasted the greatest regular-season team.
And now the city of Cleveland can rejoice a well-earned championship -- one that will be remembered for the ages -- at last.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
The Greater Western Sydney GIANTS are delighted to announce the club will field a team in the new National Women’s League (NWL) in 2017.
The AFL today announced that the GIANTS were one of eight AFL clubs to secure a licence to field a team in the inaugural year of the NWL.
The GIANTS’ successful bid detailed the club’s experience in establishing a new AFL team, it’s capacity to house a women’s team immediately and its commitment to driving inclusion and diversity in the New South Wales and ACT communities.
GIANTS CEO David Matthews said today’s decision was a watershed moment for the game and for female athletes in New South Wales and the ACT.
“This is one of the most significant announcements in the game’s history and certainly one of the most important things the GIANTS will ever do,” Mr Matthews said.
“Today’s decision opens up a clear pathway for women and girls looking to play Australian Football at the elite level. The opportunity this provides females in New South Wales and the ACT is unprecedented.
“We’re pleased our bid has been vindicated and our commitment to the promotion and development of female sport has been recognised by the AFL. We are in the unique positon of having a proven track record when it comes to building a club from the ground up. We know what it takes to establish a new team and take the game to all corners of the community from day one.
“Our objectives in establishing a women’s AFL team are also aligned to the AFL’s broader strategic aims of providing comprehensive pathways for female athletes and developing a truly national code.
“We have world class facilities and play out of some of the best stadia in the country which will provide the ideal platform for growing the women’s game. We are proud to be the flag bearers for female athletes looking to play Australian Football in New South Wales and the ACT and can’t wait for the inaugural NWL season to get under way next year.”
The GIANTS will now work with the AFL on planning for the inaugural NWL season with further details of the 2017 NWL competition forthcoming in due course.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Who needs a goal on the statistical ledger when you win a Stanley Cup?
There’s another addition to Sidney Crosby’s championship legacy in the form of the Pittsburgh Penguins' fourth Stanley Cup title.
The Elias Sports Bureau’s research shows that Crosby is the third skater to win the Conn Smythe despite not scoring a goal in the Stanley Cup finals -- joining Scott Niedermayer of the Ducks in 2007 and Jonathan Toews with the Blackhawks in 2010. All three were captains of their respective teams.
Crosby has two titles, the same number as Penguins owner Mario Lemieux. He has won five championships overall, including two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 world championship. He also has the same number of professional titles as LeBron James.
This is the Penguins' first title since 2009 (which they also won on June 12). All four have been won on the road. The Penguins’ four titles are tied with the Red Wings for the most since 1991, the year of the Penguins' first championship. The Penguins are 4-0 in games in which they had a chance to clinch the Cup on the road.
Among teams to debut since the NHL’s first expansion in 1967-68, the only team with more Stanley Cup titles is the Oilers with five, all between 1984 and 1990.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray went 6-0 immediately after a loss this postseason. Elias Sports Bureau research shows that his 15 wins match the most by a rookie goalie in a single postseason and that he’s the seventh rookie goalie to win all four games during the Stanley Cup finals, the first since Cam Ward in 2006.
The best support
Crosby won the Conn Smythe, but Phil Kessel was also one of the Penguins' top players. Kessel was traded from the Maple Leafs in a six-player deal after being much maligned in Toronto.
His sister, Amanda, was not going to play her senior season at Minnesota after suffering a concussion. But things changed for the family. Amanda returned in February and scored the game-winning goal in the national championship at the Frozen Four. She won three national titles at Minnesota.
Kessel’s season turned on March 13 when he joined a line with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino. He led the Penguins with 10 goals and 22 points in 24 postseason games.
To top it off, on May 1, Amanda signed a one-year deal with the New York Riveters of the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) worth $26,000, making her the top-paid player in the league.
How they won
The story of the series was how the Penguins limited the Sharks' opportunities. The Sharks had 67 shot attempts in Game 6 and the Penguins blocked 33 of them. The Penguins blocked 136 shots in the series, an average of 23 per game.
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Yesterday, I was due to report for jury duty on an election day. Well, a Primary Day, to be technical. So, I was sent to a courtroom in the George Deukmejian Courthouse, Department S17, to be given an orientation by the presider, Judge Judith Meyer. The building looks similar to the CSULB Student Union, only slightly bigger. A Subway and Coffee Bean/Tea Leaf is on the first floor, and there is also a convenience store that I am not aware of. This was going to be a two to three week trial. That's at least 250 dollars that I could get from being called to serve. The case was a gangbanger case from 2011. Nothing special. The guy, as far as I concerned, is guilty but the defense will most likely appeal anyway, only to have it declined. Waste of time all over.
There was one problem with that, bigger than the predictable conclusion I forecasted. One of the witnesses happened to be the husband of one of the board members/instructors that works for one of my companies, the Long Beach Bar Foundation, whose classes happen to take place at the courthouse. Because of his links, it was very unlikely the defense would get a fair trial. Seeing this, the resident court clerk excused me and took my questionnaire. I had a lunch break (I ordered a Malibu Dream with almond coconut milk from the Coffee Bean/Tea Leaf), and afterwards, with no other trials, my jury duty was over, I took a bus home and got some sleep so that I could wake up and go back to my soccer writing for the Stoppage Time.
The fact that I know a lot of people at the courthouse—and this was my very first visit, one of the staff checking bags was at the Recognition Reception earlier this year—means that in order for me to really have a chance, I have to be assigned to a different courthouse. HOWEVER, they would have to pay extra for mileage, so it would be more expensive. Convenience breeds familiarity. My brother in law was also sitting on the jury of a trial. He was two and a half weeks into his case.
After I woke up and had some coffee, I found out that Hillary Clinton had won the California primary in the early morning. Earlier in the morning, I made my vote and a number of choices I made wound up going through, including Clinton, Kamala Harris and YES to all the measures. No surprises, but what was surprising was that Bernie Sanders refused to concede. I don't know about this, but I am sure he is now making himself and his constituents looks bad. This is why I can never accept Bernie Sanders as the leader of the free world: he is a sore loser.
Bernie, being a sore loser is my job, and I apply in a different setting. It's called sports. It's called punditry. Give up, old man. With all due disrespect to Mr. Trump, Hillary Clinton will be our next president.