The Kick Off Strikes Back

Punxsutawney Phil called, he predicts more soccer in the next few weeks.  This week on The Kick Off, we review some of the deals made on Transfer Deadline Day, Robin Van Persie’s heroic two penalty effort against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, the US Women’s National Team’s dominance in Vancouver (in which Kiran professes his love for Alex Morgan), and we also preview upcoming matches including Chelsea v Manchester United on Sunday.  If you have questions you’d like for us to answer in future podcasts, leave them in the comments below!  Enjoy!

The Kick Off #2 (Right click to download)


Shutouts all around

Buffalo, NY February 1st. The heat was on as the first place Rangers (32-12-9) took on the number twelve ranked Sabres (21-24-6) who are sprawling just to make the playoffs this year. While there was no scoring throughout the game the two teams made it clear they do not like each other. The Rangers proved to be the tougher team doubling the amount of hits and penalty minutes the Sabres had. When I turned on this game I had no idea it 0-0. When I found out I was immediately hooked and was constantly shouting as both Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist took center stage. Both goalies were white hot, stopping everything that came their way, forcing the game into overtime, and a shootout. In the shootout both goalies finally gave up a goal. First goal was allowed by Ryan Miller against one of the league’s top goal scorers in Marian Gaborik. The Sabres didn’t score their next time up but just when all hope was lost Jason Pominville snaps a quick one blocker side past Henrik Lundqvist to keep the shootout alive. Unfortunately that was cut short as Ryan Callahan buried the game winner and the Rangers continue to show why they are in first place. Up next for the Sabres is the 13th ranked Islanders (20-22-7) on Saturday. The Rangers next game is against the Philadelphia Flyers (29-14-6) who are just 5 points or 2 1/2 games back of the Rangers in the Atlantic division.

India: A New Age Of Soccer

Hernan Crespo hoping to win more silverware

By: Kiran Balan

Soccer is the world’s sport. It has the ability to unite and create opportunities for anyone and everyone who has the determination and desire to succeed. It is with this thinking that India has developed a soccer league called the Premier Soccer League. The main goal of this large project is to raise awareness of the soccer in the region and to build on the recent soccer frenzy that hit the country in recent months. The new league will be a welcomed breath of fresh air to a country that is cricket crazy.  With the Indian national soccer team ranked at a dismal 158th in the world according to FIFA’s current rankings.  The league will begin in the Indian state of West Bengal and based on the popularity of the league, could spread to other states in India.  It is believed to have a similar structure as Major League Soccer in North America and of the competitive I-League in India. Read more of this post

Top 10 Deadline Day Transfers: January 2012

By: Kiran Balan and Joe Ballard

Another January, another Transfer Deadline Day done and dusted. It might not have been the barnstormer of big-name moves we were hoping for, but there were still plenty of surprise transfers all around England and even some here in America’s MLS. My colleague Kiran and I are bringing you our top ten transfers from Deadline Day and our thoughts on how these players could impact their new clubs.

Nikica Jelavic:

Rangers FC to Everton (Undisclosed Fee)

Jelavic signed a four-and-a-half year deal with David Moyes’ side on Tuesday for a fee thought to be in the range of £6 million. The precociously talented striker signed with Glasgow Rangers in 2010, quickly becoming their star man up front and leading them to two Scottish Premier League titles. The EPL will be a big step up for the Croatian, but he has the skills to acclimate and could be the spark Everton needs to kick-start their season. An excellent piece of business for Moyes’ team.

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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

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