Tag Archives: Barcelona

Soccer Roundup (9/16/2012): The Weekly Boot

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. Graham Zusi (pictured above) was one of the key contributors in the victory over Jamaica this past Tuesday.

By Ben Liebing

When ESPN’s British commentator Ian Darke hailed the U.S. Men’s team by saying their first half play “was verging on brilliant,” I knew that I wasn’t just a blindly elated fan.

This week, on September 11th itself, the men’s soccer team took the field in Columbus, Ohio to play their second World Cup qualifying match in as many weeks. Having lost to Jamaica in Kingston (for the first time ever), just the week before, there was a lot of that “must win” talk circling the TV waves during the usual pre-game formalities.

I was skeptical. Every fan that pays much attention to U.S. soccer learns to live with a certain level of anxiety. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Brazil in a final or the island dot called Barbados in a qualifier – for every match in recent memory, you’re just never sure what kind of American team is going to show up. Sometimes they’re great, other times they look like a junior high team trying to keep up with the varsity boys in practice. Continue reading

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King of Clay

Photo courtesy of nikeblog.com. Rafael Nadal (pictured above) continues to show why he is the “King of Clay.”

By Toni Headley

Toni Headley is a tennis expert who worked at ESPN for 10 years and has been a freelance writer there for the past 2 years.  She also previously worked at CBS Sports and has covered every major tennis tournament in the world multiple times.

Rafael Nadal has begun the clay court season in spectacular fashion by winning his first two tournaments without dropping a set.  First he defended his Monte Carlo title at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters – 1000, where he won his 8th consecutive title, his first title since winning the French Open last year.  He is 44-1 in Monte Carlo with his only loss coming during his debut in 2003 in the round of 16.  Not only did he defend his title in Monte Carlo, but he was finally able to best his arch-rival Novak Djokovic, whom he had lost to in seven finals dating back to last year.  Nadal is the only player to win at least 1 ATP Masters – 1000 title for eight consecutive years.  In doing so he won is 20th Masters – 1000 trophy, which broke a tie with Roger Federer.

At his home club, the “Real Club Tenis Barcelona,” Nadal won his 7th consecutive title and his 35th straight match on the 10th anniversary of his professional debut. This makes Nadal the only player in the open era to have won two tournaments seven times (Monte Carlo & Barcelona).  He is 35-1 in Barcelona with his only loss coming in his debut in 2003 in the 2nd round.  He defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer for the 4th time in the championship match (2008, 2009, 2011, & 2012); he did not defend his title in 2010.  Nadal has now won 77 straight matches on clay in the month of April to go along with his 15 titles. This is how you earn the title “King of Clay”. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 8-1-2011

Photo courtesy of prorumors.com. Ryan Braun (pictured above) and the Milwaukee Brewers have a huge series against division rival St. Louis this week at Miller Park.

By Josh Kramer

Just like the rest of you, I am trying to recover from arguably the wildest week transactions wise in sports that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.  The NFL returned.  Then the MLB Trade Deadline came like a world wind.  Plus there was big time soccer in the US and the X Games.  So after catching your breath, take a look at what is in store for this week.

5.  Following the always exciting Brickyard 400, NASCAR heads to Pocono on Sunday.  Jimmie Johnson is right in the hunt as usual, but has not won a race since his victory on April 17th at Talladega.  Winning in Pennsylvania could go a long way in helping Jimmie Johnson accomplish an amazing six-peat, as Sprint Cup Series champion.  In each of his previous five Sprint Cup Series titles, Johnson took home at least five first place finishes.  He only has one thus far this year. Continue reading