WSOTP pod: episode 35

we even had time on this week’s podcast to cover prom proposals – which apparently chris wondolowski helps fans out with.

No matter what your cup of tea is when it comes to world football, odds are there’s a segment in Episode 35 of the podcast that will tickle your fancy. You like the Premier League? We’ve got thoughts on Liverpool’s title surge and the growing scrap at the bottom of the table — plus Spurs and Chelsea thoughts, per normal. If you prefer continental football? We chatted about the Champions League semifinal draw, paying special attention to highlighting the “Courtois Conundrum” between Atlético and Chelsea. Should you desire domestic soccer, we’ve got musings on Major League Soccer and the rumors that the Copa América will be coming to the States. So grab a pint (unless your driving) or a coffee, sit back and strap yourself in for the latest edition of the WSOTP Pod.


Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

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WSOTP pod: episode 34

Everton's Ross Barkley vs Arsenal's Mikel Arteta

could everton find themselves in the top four at season’s end at arsenal’s expense? the guys debate that and more on this week’s podcast.

With the Premier League season entering the final stretch, just about every match has taken on some sort of importance, either contributing to the title race, the fight to make the top four and/or the relegation scrap. And this weekend’s matches most definitely checked all of those boxes, meaning Jeremy and I had a lot of games to offer up our opinions on. Of course, there was also MLS “Rivalry Week” to contend with, including a thrilling Cascadia Cup tie between the Timbers and Sounders and a Trillium Cup match up between the conference-leading Crew and big spending Toronto. And let’s not forget about last midweek’s USA-Mexico game and this midweek’s Champions League matches that will also need to be chewed upon. You’ll get all that and more on the latest episode of the WSOTP Pod.


Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

ten words or less #89

DC United forward Chris Rolfe

friend of WSOTP, chris rolfe will find himself in new digs this weekend after being traded from chicago to DC.

It’s been ages since my last links round up piece — okay, so it’s just been over a month. But a month can seem like ages in a house with an infant. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I needed to get this latest Ten Words or Less published before some of the links below become no longer relevant. And with the collection of links below spanning nearly the entire spectrum of professional soccer — from World Cup stories to the Premier League, from the Major Indoor Soccer League to USLPRO to Major League soccer, and from footie gear to soccer broadcasting — this is a links round up not to miss.

To new beginnings. – mlssoccer.com

Ian Darke stars in probably the best ESPN commercial ever. – youtube.com/espn

I really wish Chelsea would stop making kits I like. - footballfashion.org

The MISL is dissolving and it’s getting really ugly. – thebluestatement.com

BeIN Sport have made a vuvezela that changes the channel. – therichest.com

I am 100% behind making this the next MLS rebrand. – thegoatparade.com

Please don’t tell me this is a permanent home. – daytondutchlionsfc.com

Some people prefer Spanish commentary… I’m not one of them. – npr.org

I’m a non believer, but these football Tarot Cards rock. – designfootball.com

Some day… Nike will send me these, too. Some day. – theoriginalwinger.com

WSOTP pod: episode 33

WSOTP Podcast - Season 1 Episode 33

justin meram’s late heroics and the crew’s red-hot start are talking points on episode 33 of the podcast.

For the third week running, Jeremy and I talk about new US national team recruit Julian Green — this pick the over/under for the minutes the German will see in this week’s US-Mexico game in Phoenix. But Green wasn’t the only topic of conversation on this week’s episode of the podcast. We talked of the misery the guys shared after both Spurs (nothing new) and Chelsea (definitely new) dropped vital points this weekend. The rest of last week’s Premier League action was also glanced over — including Moyes out banners being dragged around above Old Trafford and Liverpool going top — as is the weekend’s MLS play – with special attention paid to the Crew’s big last-gasp victory over Seattle.


Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

an interview with professional goal guardian kofi sarkodie

Featured

Kofi Sarkodie Career ProgressionWhen it comes to interviews, if you look at my track record, it’s pretty clear that I’ll talk to just about anyone from the game of football.

And while I’m more than happy to talk to any player from the professional ranks about their experiences, I have a soft spot in particular for players who hail from the state of Ohio. After all, I’m from Ohio myself. And on top of that, a substantial number of my readers and followers call Ohio home, too. So helping to shed some more light on the lives of those who come from my own backyard seems as much a duty as it does a privilege.

Luckily, Ohio has a pretty deep pool of players that populate MLS rosters. And one of the brightest among those that call the Buckeye state home is Houston Dynamo right back, Kofi Sarkodie. A product of Huber Heights — a suburb of Dayton — Kofi has represented the US at the youth level, won a national championship with the Akron Zips and established himself as one of the league’s best up and coming young defenders.

So with the Dynamo off to a blazing start to the 2014 season, this seemed like the perfect time to talk with Kofi to talk about his younger days here in Ohio, the importance of his close relationships with his soccer-playing brothers, and his career to this point.

Continue reading

WSOTP pod: episode 32

WSOTP Podcast - Season 1 Episode 32

green’s switch to the USMNT has brought both joy and ruffled feathers.

Without a doubt, podcast Episode 32 is an absolute doozie. There was just slightly more than a boatload of football on since we last recorded, and finding time to talk about all of it was quite the task. In fact, we didn’t even get to talk about the weekend’s thrilling Clásico match up. But we did find time to run down all of the midweek Champions League matches and subsequent quarterfinal draw, plus the entirety of the weekend Premier League action. On this side of the pond, we dove through an interesting week of MLS headlines — including the Crew’s red-hot start and the odd timing of their dismissal of the club’s president — and talked about Julian Green’s official switch to representing the US National Team. We even squeezed the listener questions into the mix, too. So sit back, grab a pint and enjoy the latest edition of the WSOTP Pod.


Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

pic of the week 3/17-3/24

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david beckham's miami stadium plans

Even though actual teams are playing actual matches in Major League Soccer, anytime David Beckham’s still-imaginary team in Miami makes any waves, it instantly becomes the front page news around the league. And things were no different when the Daily Mail published what are supposedly the initial renderings of Team Beckham’s stadium at the highly desired but likely difficult-to-acquire Port of Miami site. And to be fair, if they are able to pull it off, this stadium will easily be one of the best in MLS.

The 25,000 all-seated stadium offers views of the city skyline and port — designed by Miami’s Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture of Kansas City — also features an adjacent plaza that will house restaurants, retail space, and predictably a night club for Becks to fraternize with fellow celebrity friends. But as mentioned before, whether or not Beckham and the league will be able to secure the space in the port remains to be seen. Opposition ranging from Royal Caribbean cruise line and city officials, not to mention a hefty price tag, currently stand in the way of the deal being done.

But I’m hoping they’re able to pull it off, if for no other reason than it give me an excuse to check it out for my MLS Stadium Guide project!

WSOTP pod: episode 31

 

WSOTP Podcast - Season 1 Episode 31

its dark times at old trafford for david moyes; but is there anyone who could turn the dark to light?

In a week chock full of delectable action — including some enjoyable match ups in the UEFA Champions League, a handful of intriguing games in Major League Soccer, and even some entertaining CONCACAF Champions League fixtures — the Premier League stole the show once again. And between a nine-man Chelsea meltdown, a frustrating North London Derby, and an under pressure David Moyes falling to Liverpool at home, Jeremy and D.J. had more than enough to chew on in the English ranks alone. But worry not, we had enough time in this week’s podcast to hit on all of that and more. 


Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

WSOTP pod: episode 30

WSOTP Podcast - Season 1 Episode 30

when demba ba gets a chance to drop a brace on you, it’s fair to say things aren’t going well.

Though it may have been a truncated weekend schedule for the Premier League, it was a big one here on the podcast with it being the WSOTP Pod Derby — or Spurs versus Chelsea for those not in the know. And for those who know us well, is should come as no surprise that the results in said Derby had D.J. wallowing and Jeremy doing his best to take it easy on his fellow podcast co-host. You’ll also find the full review of the rest of BPL action, FA Cup chatter, reflections on the USMNT’s match against the Ukraine, a rundown of MLS First Kick highlights, a talk on the Crew’s controversial TV deal, and our thoughts on Nike and Adidas’ crazy new knit boots… so a little something for everyone.


Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

in review: MLS jersey week 2014

MLS  Jersey Week 2014 Review

It’s been an odd off season in MLS. Unlike years past where there was a definite lull in the amount of stories and headlines coming out of the league during the winter months leading up to the season, there was a near constant flow of announcements this time around. From Toronto FC’s seismic signings to a twin pair of expansion announcements in Florida, the league taking over a troubled franchise in LA and now preseason friendlies over the last fortnight, it’s just been non-stop.

So with this being the final week before First Kick 2014, that’s meant it was time for the league-mandated kit reveals to fill up our newsfeeds as well. And that, of course, means it’s time too for me to give you the second edition of my reviews of each of the new shirts dropped around MLS.

Looking back at last year’s review, I noticed a few points of interest. First, I was incredibly harsh in my reviews of some of the shirts. Some of the shirts I gave poor marks to grew on me over the season, though a few still fail to impress. Secondly, the actual club reveal events were often the first time we had seen a majority of the 2014 2Jersey Week reveals.

This year, that’s a completely different story.

Of the full nineteen MLS clubs dropping at least one new shirt for the 2014 season, sixteen’s shirts had were leaked before their planned release dates. And though I’ve had an extra full week to form my opinions about how they look this year, I didn’t get the explanation for some of their design decisions ahead of time — not to mention the high resolution pictures needed to truly judge the kits. So I wanted to give the clubs/adidas a chance to explain themselves before I ran them through the ringer.

MONDAY MARCH 3RD

Houston Dynamo
Location BBVA Compass Stadium
Public Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link Dynamo Team Shop
Grade C
Jersey Week 2013 Primary and Secondary
2013 Grade(s) C and C-

SECONDARY: Click to zoom.

Though I said I’d go easier on my kit ratings this year, how is it that I give a C right out of the gates? For the new away shirt for the Dynamo, it boils down to the lack of change from last year’s 2013 secondary shirt. The orange sleeve panels have made way for an extra stripe of light blue piping at the cuff. A slightly revamped collar also makes an appearance, as does a “lenticular” — or 3D — crest. Overall, there’s nothing wrong with the shirt itself; it just isn’t enough of a change to earn them a better grade. That said, praise should be handed out for the new kit’s stellar hooped socks.

Los Angeles Galaxy
Location Website Launch
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Team LA Store
Grade A
Jersey Week 2013 Secondary
2013 Grade(s) C

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

In a lesson that the US soccer federation hasn’t quite learned yet, the Galaxy have wisely stuck with their sashed shirt design. And this year’s striped sash is particularly pleasing. The eleven stripes — meant to represent the XI on the pitch — taper to give the shirt a feeling of positive, upward movement. Plus, the over used “quasar” effect from last year’s shirt designs has been minimized and moved to the inner neck taping, leaving us with a much more clean design. Easily one of my favorites of the bunch.

Portland Timbers
Location Pure Space
Public Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link Portland Team Shop
Grade B
Shirt Third
Grade A
Jersey Week 2013 2Primary and Secondary
2013 Grade(s) C and C-

SECONDARY: Click to zoom.

THIRD: Click to zoom.

For the second year running, the club that Paulson runs dropped two new designs. In fact, Merritt even leaked some teasers of the shirts a few months back over social media — naughty naughty. The secondary kit gets an overhaul just a year after the last refresh, with a two tone, red-to-black gradient design. A closer look shows that a tiny rose-thorn pattern is interlaced in the shirt’s fade and a secondary rose-shaped logo for the jock tag pay subtle hommage to the “Rose City” moniker. But the real gem is the new third kit. An excellent, modernized throwback that hearkens to the team’s NASL days. Classic colors, clean lines, and a simplified logo help this shirt to ooze retro cool. Bonus marks to the Timbers for including smart little infographics explaining the designs of each shirt.

Seattle Sounders
Location Century Link Field Pro Shop
Private Event
Shirt Third
Purchase Link Seattle Pro Shop
Grade B-
Jersey Week 2013 Primary and Secondary
2013 Grade(s) C and C-

THIRD: Click to zoom.

Ever attempting to be at the bleeding edge of MLS branding/marketing/identity, Seattle were the only team to give their new shirt a name: Pitch Black. Admittedly, the black pairs well with the accenting “radiant green” and makes for a strong, bold look. So why not a higher grade? While a good look, there’s just nothing that imaginative about it outside of slick, marketing-friendly color names. Not only that, but it’s not too different from their current second kit. I’m also a bit disappointed they chose to use the radiant green instead of black as the primary colors for the shorts and socks… but who would the Sounders be if they weren’t trying to burn our retinas while watching on TV?

TUESDAY MARCH 4TH

Chicago Fire
Location Hyatt Regency Chicago
Private Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Fire Fan Shop
Grade D
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate.
2013 Grade(s) n/a

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Poor Chicago. Not only were they deprived of a shirt launch during Jersey Week 2013, the long wait for a new home kit this year sees them launch probably the worst one of the bunch. And it earns that distinction for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Fire have a strong traditional design with a red shirt with a white bar across the chest, which has now been ignored two home kits in a row. Instead, the club/adidas chose to build upon the last shirts’s blatant betrayal of the white bar by turning it blue and extending it over the entire top third of the 2014 edition. Secondly, the Fire attempted to explain that the look is a nod to the city’s fire engine’s, but the color scheme is off. If you ask me, it actually looks as if the color template was more of a nod to their sponsor.

Columbus Crew
Location Bar Louie
Private Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Crew Team Shop
Grade B-
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate
2013 Grade(s) n/a

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Another side that didn’t participate in last year’s Jersey Week fun, the Crew decided to add a new primary shirt for 2014. And while it won’t wow you, it’s still a decent enough shirt, even if very basic. The black bands on the sleeves is an odd choice, as it could either make sure everybody on the pitch looks like the captain and/or like a permanent memorial band. That said, the fading diamonds screened into the bottom half of the shirt provide a subtle Bavarian feel to the shirt, which is fitting considering Columbus’ Germanic heritage. But the lack of jock tag or special monikers does hint at the fact that this is simply a holdover shirt until the Crew get their brand makeover in 2015.

Impact Montréal
Location Theatre De L’Olympia
Public Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Club Boutique
Grade B-
Jersey Week 2013 Third
2013 Grade(s) B+

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Much like Seattle and Columbus before it, the new Impact home shirt’s mark took a hit due to a relatively reserved and simple design. However, just like those other shirts, the subtle changes to this year’s shirt are enough to keep them from receiving poor marks. The former home jersey had about 8 million fleur-de-lis screens all over the front of it, with the Mont-Royal cross formed in the negative space in their absence. This year’s shirt flips the script, minimizing the use of the fleur-de-lis screenings to center the cross upon the club crest to much greater effect.

New England Revolution
Location Royale Boston
Public Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Patriots Pro Shop
Grade C
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate.
2013 Grade(s) n/a

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Perhaps simplified shirts was something MLS had high on their agenda, as yet another club in the Revolution gets a simplistic overhaul to their home kit. So again, we see this a shirt take a hit to it’s grade for boring-factor alone. And while a simplified, enlarged logo does help the Revs’ cause, the humongous sponsor logo on the chest seems to take priority over all else. (TANGENT: How the hell is it that the Revs don’t have their own dedicated team store? Instead, they’re shoved into the Patriots team shop like the second rate club the Krafts treat them.)

New York Red Bulls
Location Stage 48
Private Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link NYRB Team Store
Grade C+
Jersey Week 2013 Primary and Secondary
2013 Grade(s) C and C-

SECONDARY: Click to zoom.

I’m not going to go on and on about another simple jersey design, so know why the Red Bulls’ newest away shirt started off with a lower grade. And just like the Revs’ shirt above, it takes a further knock for featuring an extraordinarily large sponsor logo on the chest. But the one redeeming quality of the shirt is the is the unique “New York” line font jock tag strip along the bottom edge of front. Though the larger “New York” on the back does reek a little of insecurity ahead of neighbors NYCFC joining next season.

Philadelphia Union
Location Dave & Buster’s
Public Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Union Shop
Grade B
Jersey Week 2013 Third
2013 Grade(s) A+

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Simplification that actually improves the design makes its return to Jersey Week. The Union dropped a lot of the light blue accents that had been a feature on the last home jersey in favor of a more basic and clean gold and navy template. And while it may seem rather mundane from the front, when you see the shirt flipped around you’ll see the true beauty of the upgrade… pinstripes. Those pinstripes inconspicuously wrap around the front of the shirt forming the two thin stripes that border the larger central one, though you would never be able to tell from looking straight on. Bonus points for sticking with the same theme the club have rocked since it’s inception.

Real Salt Lake
Location Rio Tinto Stadium
Private Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link RSL Team Store
Grade B-
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate.
2013 Grade(s) n/a

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

One of the few shirts to not actually leak out ahead of Jersey Week was Real Salt Lake’s new primary shirt. It’s a familiar look for RSL, what with their standard claret body and blue sleeves. But the addition of what the call a “gold crown bar” streaking across the chest provides an element of interest. It’s an odd design that I originally didn’t like, but it’s grown on me a little. Though I still feel like this would have made a better training top instead of an actual kit. If nothing else, it provides a completely different look to anything else currently gracing pitches across the league.

Sporting Kansas City
Location Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, Public Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link Sporting Style
Grade A
Jersey Week 2013 Secondary
2013 Grade(s) A-

SECONDARY: Click to zoom.

The other shirt that didn’t leak out ahead of the big announcement was Sporting KC’s new secondary shirt. And I must say, the reigning MLS Cup champs picked an excellent shirt to drop… and probably my favorite new shirt over all. A hooped design alternating between navy and sky blue is the primary feature of the shirt, although the club will be keen to point out the new silver star above the crest representing their latest Cup triumph.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 5TH

Colorado Rapids
Location Website Reveal
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Rapids Pro Shop
Grade B
Jersey Week 2013 Primary and Third
2013 Grade(s) B+ and B

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

The Rapids opted to replace the new home shirt they debuted last year — a slightly hooped variant that composed of season ticket holder names which I really liked — and simplified it like many other MLS teams have this year. But, taking a page from the third kit dropped at last year’s Jersey Week launch, the home kit now also features a screened “C” design that pays homage to the state flag of Colorado. That flag itself is emblazoned on the bottom of the shirt at the jock tag. And, honestly, it really helps to tie the entire kit line together.

Vancouver Whitecaps
Location The Commodore Ballroom
Private Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link VWFC Store
Grade C+
Jersey Week 2013 Primary
2013 Grade(s) C+

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

A basic, unoriginal shirt design point deduction not withstanding, I have to give credit to the Whitecaps for opting to use screened logos on the shirt to create a wave effect. But while the concept of paying tribute to Vancouver’s surrounding ocean in that way sounds really cool, in execution it just doesn’t look as great as it sounded. Though I will admit the addition of a more silver accent color to the kits’ three stripes and logos does help to add a more classy look to the shirt.

THURSDAY MARCH 6TH

FC Dallas
Location Fashion Institute Gallery
Public Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link FCD Team Shop
Grade B
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate.
2013 Grade(s) n/a

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Another shirt that’s grown on me since it originally leaked out is FC Dallas’ new home shirt. Gone are the familiar, distinctive red and white hoops that have given the team their nickname. In their place, subtle dark red hoops of various widths contrast with the traditional bright red — lending the shirt a bit of a Southwest vibe that fits right at home in Texas. The reason for the all-red makeover? The club are literally trying to “own the color red” in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area with their new club slogan “Red for 90″. A bit corny, but the shirt isn’t so bad.

Toronto FC
Location Real Sports Bar & Grill
Public Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link Real Sports Online Shop
Grade B+
Jersey Week 2013 Primary
2013 Grade(s) C

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for grey kits, and this shirt is no different. Featuring a shade the club are calling “onyx”, the design is accented by 9 rows of increasingly spaced maple leafs to call out the dominant design that’s featured on the epileptic-inducing home shirt debuted last season. If this weren’t the Crew’s Trillium Cup rivals, I’d be tempted to shell out for this. That said, if this had been in any other color, I’m not so sure I would find it quite as appealing.

FRIDAY MARCH 7TH

Chivas USA
Location Web Announcement
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link Chivas USA Shop
Grade C
Jersey Week 2013 Secondary
2013 Grade(s) B-

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

Forever the afterthought and again without a special event to unveil their newest shirt. And with the club recently taken over by the league and due for a complete rebranding in 2015, it’s not really that surprising that this year’s home shirt is pretty much a “meh”. Red and white stripes, navy collar. And though there’s nothing particularly great or bad about this shirt — hence the grade — the shirt could prove a collectors item given it’s the last ever Chivas USA kit in MLS history.

HEY… AREN’T WE MISSING A FEW TEAMS?
Right you are, eagle-eyed reader. The reason for that? Two sides actually jumped the gun in releasing their 2014 kits. The nerve. Anyway, it’s only fair that I judge them now as well.

San Jose Earthquakes
Location San Pedro Square Market
Public Event
Shirt Secondary
Purchase Link Quakes Team Store
Grade C+
Shirt Third
Grade C+
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate.
2013 Grade(s) n/a

Primary: Click to zoom.

SECONDARY: Click to zoom.

Dropped way back on January 31st for the club’s 40th anniversary celebration and new brand unveiling, the Earthquakes were justifiably the first club to reveal their new kits for 2014. According to the press release, the shirts are meant to “reunite” the histories of clubs several eras. The red away shirt is aims to link the club to it’s NASL days, while the blue with black sleeves recalls the club’s initial rebirth in the MLS era. While I like both concepts, the fault-line inspired screened design is used so much that I’m literally looking at it in the middle of an earthquake. It just comes off a little overboard.

DC United
Location Pinstripes
Private Event
Shirt Primary
Purchase Link DCU Team Shop
Grade C
Jersey Week 2013 Did not participate.
2013 Grade(s) n/a

PRIMARY: Click to zoom.

I’ve said it a thousand times already in this article, and I’ll say it again with D.C. United’s newest kit. There’s practically zero customization aside from a nifty, tire tread-esque United eagle on the jock tag. If you took the club’s raised crest off the shirt, this wouldn’t look any different than a kit your own team could order to wear in your Sunday League. Yes, I’m aware they club’s tradition features predominantly black shirts, but you would have to think they could do something to make this shirt a bit more interesting.

—————————————————————————–

So, what shirt do you like best? Disagree with any of the grades I dolled out to the new shirts? Be sure to let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.