Archive for June, 2010

Takin' it back to 1776!Let’s party like it’s 1776!

In quite possibly the most anticipated opening round game in World Cup history, the US takes on England in a battle that can be traced back almost 250 years.  Just like back then, the US are the underdogs….just the way they like it.

Back in December, FIFA held it’s World Cup draw, live on TV with much pop and circumstance.  Important/famous people like David Beckham and Charlize Theron, selected the ping-pong balls in which would determine what teams would join the 8 groups headed by the top 7 ranked teams in the world (S. Africa was the 8th seed due to being the host nation).  When it was England’s turn to find out who the first team to join them in Group C was, there was one team, and one team only, that they were praying was not going to be called.  “USA” was said.  ESPN cut quickly to a live video feed it had at famous soccer bar, Nevada Smith’s, in Manhattan.  You would have thought that the US had WON the World Cup.  The place went crazy.  David Bechkam almost crapped himself on stage.

Sixty years ago, the United States stunned England in the World Cup in one of the most storied upsets in sports history. A win in South Africa might not prove to be as legendary, but could be more significant.

England has been the Boston Red Sox of international soccer. Think of the post-Babe Ruth untill 2006 era.  In that time, the Red Sox  had so many good teams, but never won a championship.  Same thing with England.  Every 4 years, they get hyped up so much as having a great team, but fall short.  The tabloids and newspapers in Britain are England’s biggest fans and biggest haters.  There is so much pressure on England to beat the US that it’s almost impossible to believe.

Team USA is no slouch.  Let’s be honest.  The Red, White and Blue are ranked 14th by FIFA and England 8th.  Sure, the US doesn’t have the big name players that England has (Wayne Rooney, Joe and Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard to name a few), but the US is a very good defensive team.  Tim Howard is the US goalkeeper who has been playing in the English Premier League for about 7 years who is respected as one of the top goalkeepers in the league.  Clint Dempsy is perhaps the US’s most creative and exciting player.  He’s played for Fulham of the Premier League and is loved in England.  Then there’s Landon Donovon.  Ahhhh Landon.  The best player for the US has been the subject of much ridicule over the past few years for the dud he laid 4 years ago.  He’s the all time leading scorer for the US with 42 international goals.  So he is going to be heavily relied upon to put the ball into the net.

We’re about an hour and a half from kickoff and I can honestly say that I am pumped up for a soccer game.  Many of the analysts today are calling for a 1-1 draw or a USA win. Former USA Defender Alexi Lalas,  just said that he feels as if the England squad is “ripe for the picking”.  Obviously he’s a homer, but he said that England has too many good players and just haven’t shown the chemistry as a group.  I hope he’s right, because if he is, look for Jozy Altidore to put the ball in the net for the US.  He’s the 20-year-old striker that has been hot in qualifying.

Game time is approaching.  I gotta go get my vuvuzela ready….

Robbie Lawler will take on Babalu in Strikeforce Live on June 16th

Robbie Lawler Faces Off Against Babalu Sobral to Headline Strikeforce Live 

By Alexia Krause 

  

With Strikeforce Live only weeks away, the heat is getting turned up for a showdown between two hard-hitting opponents. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler will take on former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral for a fight that is bound to go beyond the cage and strike at the hearts of the two fighters. In fact, Sobral was quoted as saying that he has “hate in his heart” leading up to the fight and his trainer is making it clear that his hate will be taken out in the ring against Lawler. This type of bad blood will make the upcoming Strikeforce Live a MMA event to remember. The two will face each off in a 195-pound catch-weight bout on June 16 in Los Angeles. 

This is an interesting turn of events, as Sobral wasn’t initially slated to fight against Lawler. The main card had originally been Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, but after being rebuked by Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, Mayhem was later pulled from the card. Miller is under review for a possible suspension due to the brawl that had broken out following a post-fight interview with Jake Shields at Strikeforce Nashville. 

The next Strikeforce event (Wednesday June 16th in Los Angeles) will be the first ever to be scheduled during the middle of the week (in order to correspond with the video game expo, E3, and the subsequent release of EA Sports MMA). Most fans are going to the event to see the main fight between Sobral and Lawler. The main card is bound to set the tone for the evening and possibly the rest of Strikeforce MMA. 

“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is considered by most to be somewhat of a quiet figure outside of the ring, but once inside the cage he’s as merciless as his nickname. Lawler is known for completely annihilating his opponents by means of his all-or-nothing fighting style. This type of intensity will be a large part of his upcoming fight. This 5-foot-11 middleweight may be a reckless fighter inside the cage, but his fans love him for exactly that reason. 

Renato “Babalu” Sobral, on the other hand, is a complete technician within the squared circle. Widely known for his amazing grappling and submission moves, Babalu doesn’t need to be ruthless in order to dominate. This type of process has helped Sobral rack up victories over such fighters as Kiyoshi Tamura, Mauricio Rua, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on his way to becoming the light heavyweight champion. It has also made him one of the hardest fighters to defeat in all of Strikeforce MMA. 

Many fans seem to think that if Lawler can keep the fight on his feet, he will have the advantage. Robbie Lawler has a history of being smart on his feet, throwing calculated punches. However, if the fight shifts towards more grappling, and Babalu is careful, he could use his superior BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) skills to his advantage. Over half of Sobral’s wins have stemmed from his masterful use of submission fighting. 

Other matches for the evening feature Marius Zaromskis vs. Evangelista Cyborg and Trevor Prangley vs. Tim Kennedy. Both fights are bound to have their fair share of attention at the event, but nothing will compare to when ruthlessness meets technical dominance via Lawler/Sobral. Then we shall see exactly how much hate is flowing through the veins of these two fighters at Strikeforce Live on the 16th. 

Alexia is a self-described sports-nut. She particularly enjoys martial arts. Recently, she joined up with MMA Industries- retailers of highly popular MMA equipment and shirts. Alexia has been blogging about the latest trends in MMA gear for the past few years, and continues to provide you with the latest news in the MMA universe.