Category Archives: Soccer

Soccer

A Hard Foul Sports Thanksgiving

Who cares if he hasn't played yet this year? I'm still very much thankful for Jack Eichel. (Getty Images)

Who cares if he hasn’t played yet this year? I’m still very much thankful for Jack Eichel. (Getty Images)

– Evan Sally

I’m a simple man, so when it comes to defining what I’m thankful for in the sports world the answer is simple: I like it all. But there are a few things that stand out: Continue reading

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The Hard Foul Podcast: English Premier League Update

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Kevin De Bruyne has been the engine behind Manchester City’s hot start. (Getty Images)

On a special edition of the Hard Foul Podcast, Evan Sally was joined Hard Foul Sports soccer correspondent Stefan Hanley. The guys talked about the biggest stories in the English Premier League, including:

  • Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City revolution
  • Tottenham and Liverpool’s high energy styles
  • Whether Arsenal can challenge for the title
  • Manchester United and Chelsea’s shaky starts
  • Leicester’s future

Evan also got Stefan’s thoughts on 18 year old American soccer prodigy Christian Pulisic. Just how good can he be?

Two Ways to Listen:

iTunes   SoundCloud Continue reading

Podcast Special – English Premier League Title Race with Stefan Hanley

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez (left) and Jamie Vardy are leading their team to unprecedented heights. (Getty Images)

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez (left) and Jamie Vardy are leading their team to unprecedented heights. (Getty Images)

Evan Sally was joined by Hard Foul Sports soccer correspondent Stefan Hanley to talk English Premier League. Stefan called in from Scotland to talk about the big surprises like Leicester City, Tottenham and West Ham, the disappointments of Arsenal and Man City and the bigger disappointment of Chelsea. They also talked about the state of the US Men’s National Team and what to expect from the Champions League going forward. It was a really fun conversation that we hope you enjoy.

Two Ways to Listen:

iTunes

SoundCloud

If you have an Android device and don’t want to use SoundCloud there are several apps on the Play Store that our show is available on. We recommend Podcast and Radio Addict. Continue reading

The Unlikely Star: How Jamie Vardy and Leicester City Became the Biggest Surprises in Sports

After scoring in a record setting 11 straight games, Jamie Vardy has the world celebrating with him (Getty Images)

After scoring in a record setting 11 straight games, Jamie Vardy is on top of the English soccer world. (Getty Images)

Stefan Hanley

In mid-2013, Jamie Vardy was on the verge of walking away from soccer. In December 2015, he’s a Premier League record holder, England international, and this season’s top scorer.

Based on current form, youd be forgiven for doubting there was ever a time when Vardy wasnt on top of the world. Every game is met with grit and effort, every goal with jubilation. But it wasnt always so. Before he broke Ruud Van Nistelrooys streak of 10 consecutive games with a goal, he was edging ever closer to joining a club no one wants to be in – the almost made its.

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Chelsea Disappoints and City Shines: Premier League Grades

– Stefan Hanley

Chelsea's disappointing start is one of the biggest stories of the first part of the season (ESPNFC.com)

Chelsea’s disappointing start is one of the biggest stories of the first part of the season (ESPNFC.com)

It’s the October international break, and while all international breaks suck, this one has been particularly rotten for me. Why? Oh, just Scotland finding another innovative way of not qualifying for a major tournament. You know, the usual story.

On a happier note, the Premier League has shaken off its summer layer of dust, and the season is in full swing. To stave off the misery that comes with almost two weeks of dull, international fixtures, here’s an early grade for each BPL team, based on their season so far. Continue reading

A New Way to Attack: The Inverted Winger

New soccer writer Stefan Hanley will be writing about all parts of The Beautiful Game from team and player profiles to on field play and tactics. Here’s his first piece for Hard Foul Sports on how the game is changing tactically.

Lionel Messi is the perfect example of the inverted winger (Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is the perfect example of the inverted winger (Getty Images)

Soccer has changed more in the last decade than in the four that preceded it. With growing importance placed on athleticism, and the lucrative rewards that come with European qualification, the stakes have never been higher for players, coaches, owners, and of course, fans.

Gone are the days of throwing your best eleven out there and trying to score one more than the opponent. Match film, massive scouting networks, and superior tactical awareness have all contributed to a game that’s far more cerebral than it used to be. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a lot of ex-players and pundits, particularly in England, some of whom just cannot seem to accept that their coaching methods and philosophies are outdated, and in every sense, outstripped by the Continental method (which the US is beginning to implement at a grass roots level). Of course, the reaction from these dinosaurs is not to adapt, but to automatically revert to the “everyone else must be wrong” ideology.

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USWNT: FIFA Women’s World Cup Analysis

By Angela Nicholas

USWNT before their quarterfinal match against China. (Photo: Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports)

USWNT before their quarterfinal match against China. (Photo: Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports)

So far, we’ve seen the United States come out on top of Group D, knock off Colombia in the Round of 16, and Friday evening, defeat China 1-0 in the quarterfinals to find themselves headed to Montreal for the semifinals against Germany. Germany, the No. 1 seed The USWNT have not allowed a goal in 423 minutes, which is quite the achievement. Still, there is so much left to be desired about their World Cup performance thus far. Join me as I go in depth to analyze the USWNT’s troubles this WWC.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has come under some heavy criticism with the selection of her 2015 WWC roster, as well as lineup and formation choices. Thus far in the World Cup, we’ve seen an ever-changing Starting XI, interesting substitutions, and an overall underwhelming performance by the United States. What is the issue? Continue reading

The Sheriff’s Quick Takes of the Week

– Zachary El- Sharif

It’s starting to feel like summer out there, so it’s getting to the time of the year that even if you’re the biggest sports fan in the world, you still may find yourself doing things outside instead of sitting on the couch and watching every second of every game. So, I’ll take it upon myself to fill you in on everything you may have missed this past week of sports.

NBA:
Western Conference Finals:
Houston got booted from the playoffs thanks to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Lil B. (No clue who this guy actually is, but he put a curse on James Harden.) Dwight Howard is still a champion (in his eyes), but the Golden State Warriors won the Series (4-1).

Eastern Conference Finals:

Source: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images North America)

Matthew Dellavedova has played important minutes this postseason run. Source: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images North America)

No Kyrie, no K. Love, no problem. LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and Matthew Dellavedova take care of business rather easily against the top seeded Atlanta Hawks. LeBron James showed why he’s the best player on the planet, Tristan Thompson showed why he needs a new contract, and Matthew Dellavedova showed that even if you’re a long lost cousin of the O’Doyles (Always Sunny in Philadelphia), you can still be an X factor on an NBA team. Cleveland swept the series (4-0).

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FIFA Arrests: Is Anyone Really Surprised?

A joint column by Evan Sally and Angela Nicholas.


EVAN SALLY:

FIFA President Sepp Blatter/Photo: AFP

FIFA President Sepp Blatter/Photo: AFP

News broke late last night that several FIFA officials had been arrested on charges of corruption and bribery. The United States Department of Justice, working in tandem with Swiss authorities, arrested 14 high ranking officials in total, including 5 corporate executives that work for sports marketing companies that are partnered with FIFA. The investigation was mainly focused on the corruption that surrounded the selection of Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively. The charges are wide-ranging: from the standard asking for cash to give favorable treatment in return, to the more outlandish. My personal favorite was the FIFA official who, in return for voting for England to get the World Cup in 2018, asked for a knighthood and for England’s national soccer tournament, the FA Cup, to be renamed after him.

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UEFA Champions League 2nd Leg Semifinal Preview

– Angela Nicholas

SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS:
Juventus (ITA) 2 – 1 Real Madrid (ESP)
Barcelona (ESP) 3 – 0 Bayern Munich (GER)

Last week in the 1st leg of the Champions League semifinals, Barcelona put on a late show against Bayern Munich to win 3-0, while Juventus upset Real Madrid 2-1. This puts Barca on top of Bayern 3-0 in aggregate scoring, and Juventus over Madrid 2-1 aggregate. Continue reading