Team/Player of the Week: 1/29

With the EPL taking a break this weekend, the F.A. Cup proved once again that the old magic is still alive, with several upsets and surprise results taking place. While Clint Dempsey and Fulham made last week an incredibly simple process, this week we’ve got so many good choices that along with our usual team of the week, we’re including a few shoutouts to other teams who also pulled off excellent results. So our final team of the week award for January goes to a club from League Two, while our player of the week is a certain popular member of the US Women’s National Team! Read more of this post

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The Kick Off of The Kick Off

The staff here at Down By 20 is extremely excited to bring to you a brand new soccer podcast titled The Kick Off.  The Kick Off will be a weekly podcast featuring our writers Kiran Balan, Joe Ballard, and myself, as well as another soccer fan, Wassim Elhouar.  This week’s podcast covers topics including Clint Dempsey’s current outstanding form with Fullham, Mario Balotelli’s four game ban, and also the status of soccer here in the United States.  Our podcast is recorded via Skype, so you might hear a few hiccups here and there, but nothing too major.  In the future, if you have some topics that you would like us to discuss, or a question you would like us to answer, just leave it in the comments below.  You can listen to the podcast below, and also download the podcast in the following link.  Enjoy!

The Kick Off #1

The US Women’s National Team: Hearts of Gold

By: Kiran Balan

The year 2012 is a year of no regrets for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team. After a rather disappointing 2011 in which the USWNT barely qualified for the World Cup in Germany and losing a heartbreaking final to tournament underdogs Japan, the time came to move forward. Olympic qualifying matches have come thick and fast for the United States, but the US has used their limited time together to rebuild lost chemistry and to fix mistakes that proved costly in 2011. Read more of this post

Carling Cup 2012: Year of the Underdog

Strange results have been in abundance in the Premier League this season- even by its normal standards- but the Carling Cup has also thrown up its share of surprises in 2011/12. Crystal Palace only went to Old Trafford and stunned Manchester United, while Cardiff City took care of Blackburn Rovers in the quarterfinals. The semifinals pitted the two remaining Championship sides against each other (won by Cardiff), while underdogs Liverpool defeated league leaders Manchester City in the other tie. This means a second division team will be in the Carling Cup final for the first time since 2001, when Birmingham City narrowly lost to Liverpool in a penalty shootout.

Many neutrals are thrilled by this prospect, and rightly so- who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Well, others are saying that the final will be dull and predictable and that they should just give the trophy to Liverpool now. They lament that the final won’t be contested by two “bigger” teams and therefore assume it won’t be exciting. This is, quite frankly, ridiculous.  Read more of this post

Breaking News: Latest On Ovechkin

Shanny strikes again! This time dealing out a suspension to one of the leagues most valuable players. An already struggling Washington Capitals team is going to be without their star forward three games. Shanahan is once again doing a great job in dealing out punishment. All season long he has sent out videos publicly explaining each situation and clearly depicts his reasons. He discusses how Ovechkin left his feet, and intentionally launches himself into Michalek of the Pittsburgh Penguins. As stated in the video, “Rule 42 Charging. A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates into or jumps into or charges an opponent in any manner. Although the shoulder may have been the initial point of contact, the act of launching causes contact to Michalek’s head.” He goes on to basically explain how Ovechkin intentionally attacked the head of Michalek therefore receiving the 3 game suspension. The Capitals are ranked 8th in the Eastern Conference, with Boston Tampa Bay and Florida next up on the schedule, Washington is surely to have even more of a challenge set up for them.

2012: A New Year and a New United States National Team

                                                                                                                                                                                        By: Kiran Balan

On January 21st 2012, the United States Mens National Soccer Team opened the calendar year with an international friendly against Venezuela. In the lead up to this game, Venezuela looked to be formidable opposition, especially during a successful Copa America in which they were able to beat cup favorites Argentina in one of the shock results of the year.  In addition the United States have been unlucky with a recent run of results yielding only 3wins in 8 games.  This friendly match proved to be another testing ground for players looking to make a break through to the main 1st team. The players called up consisted an MLS majority along with Jermaine Jones and Ricardo Clark who both ply their trade in the German Bundesliga. Many were skeptical of the US getting a result against their South American opposition, despite being undefeated against Venezuela in particular. Read more of this post

EPL Team/Player of the Week: 1/22

In a new feature at DB20, my colleague Kiran and I will be choosing a “team of the week” and a “player of the week” from each weekend of English Premier League matches. We’re hoping most weeks will be debatable for all of us as well as our dear readers but quite frankly, this week’s choices were simple. Without further ado, here is the inaugural EPL Player/Team of the Week! Read more of this post