Category Archives: Sports

Match Report: US v. Mexico – Sept. 11, 2018

Some games just mean more. Whether it is the time or place or opponent, some games just end up holding a place in the mind of a team or player that puts it above others. For the US, those games are any time they play our archrivals, Mexico, and considering the date of this particular occasion, the stakes for this match were even higher. September 11th holds a special meaning for every American; it is a dark reminder of one of the most tragic days in our history. The US knew this full well and even visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York in preparation for the match. Who is to say how much any of this impacted the players, but coming off of a dull, 2-0 loss against Brazil, they needed something to give them a spark, and, unfortunately, the pre-game tactics of USMNT Head Coach, Dave Sarachan, were not going to get that job done.

The US came into this match even more shorthanded than the previous. John Brooks, one of the best performers of the Brazil match, and Paul Arriola, one of the worst, both returned to their respective sides, Brooks to Wolfsburg in Germany, Arriola to DC United. These sort of personnel changes, combined with the lackluster result against Brazil, would seem to indicate a need to change the tactics of the side, but no. Sarachan rolled out the same 4-1-4-1 formation that struggled to put pressure on the Brazilian defense with only cosmetic alterations, and as the first half rolled along, the side played to type. The possession was fine, not great, and they could not build any forward motion that held its conviction. Anchored by goalkeeper Zach Steffen, who snuffed out Mexico’s few opportunities including saves in the 15’ and 37’, the central defense held firm against Mexico’s attack and continued to outshine the other areas of the squad. Going forward, there will be a real debate about the best center back pairing for the US. Right now, Brooks and Miazga have their places nailed down, but Carter-Vickers is young and could start to pressure them, if they are not careful. The only real difference between the tactics of this and the Brazil match was the concerted effort made by the US to try to feed Gyasi Zardes, who replaced the phantasmic Bobby Wood in the starting XI, over the top. None of these balls were successful or even close to it, so both sides continued to be stymied at a scoreless draw. Then, as the half drew near, Weston McKinnie, a standout from this camp, picked up a knock, and was relieved by Julian Green, leaving the match scoreless at the halftime whistle.

Coming out for the second half, the US showed their first signs of life. Sarachan had shifted formations from the 4-1-4-1 to a more traditional 4-4-2, moving Green up from McKinnie’s midfield roll into a forward spot and brining up Wil Trapp to fill the void in midfield. The possession in this new formation was much better, more prolonged, and the legitimate attacking chances started to materialize. Then, the US hit Mexico with a 1-2-3 punch over the course of 15 minutes.

First, Sarachan brought on Antonee Robinson in the 56’ for Eric Lichaj at left back. Lichaj had struggled all evening with his possession, positioning, and temper, nearly picking up a yellow card for dissent in the first half for arguing a throw-in call, so the substitution was justified. Robinson’s influence was felt immediately. He brought pressure up the left side of the pitch and brought US possession with him. It was a good rebound for Robinson who was caught out of position against Brazil several times and had a less than stellar performance overall. Then, in the 67’, just after a shouting match inside the US 18 between Matt Miazga and Mexico’s Diego Lainez, which featured Miazga mocking the striker’s 5’5’’ frame, Mexican midfielder, Angel Zaldivar made an exceedingly dangerous, two-footed slide into the feet and legs of Trapp. His attempt was no where near the ball and caught Trapp with full studs on the shin. With the referee standing less than 10 yards away, Zaldivar received a much earned straight red card. When play resumed, the US continued their good form and in the 71’, after good build-up on the left side of the pitch, Robinson laid off a grounded cross to just above the penalty spot. Zardes had already made his run, pulling the Mexican defense forward, which created a pocket of space that was filled in by the trailing Tyler Adams, who placed a strike past the Mexican keeper. The rest of the half was positive, but uneventful. Neither side had many good opportunities, but the US had the majority of possession, which is expected as they were a man up. In the end, the score line remained 1-0, US.

The result is obviously good. Anytime you win, it is hard to be displeased, but the first half was definitely a blemish. Overall, there were some bright performances and fewer disappointments than against Brazil, most notably the improved play of Robinson and the poor play of the man he replaced, Eric Lichaj, but looking at this two game series as a unit, there were some definite standouts:

• The central defense looks stout, as I already mentioned (even if I was never too keen on Miazga before the series), and Zach Steffen looks like he is solidifying his place atop the goalkeeper depth chart.

• Yedlin is already showing great improvement after his move to and increased role with Newcastle United, and should be a perpetual starter on the back line.

• Adams, even if you ignore his goal, appears to be a solid choice for a holding midfielder role, and his pairing with McKinnie, who also came out of this series looking quite good, in the middle of the pitch should be a partnership to watch moving forward. They need to get to know each other’s tendencies a little more, but that will come with time.

• Pulisic was present, even in his absence. His skill set seems to perfectly align with the most glaring gap in this camp’s side. His attacking talent, in mindset, possession, and distribution (especially on set pieces), was very much needed.

Moving forward to the next set of matches in October and getting a 10,000 foot view of the side, there are some areas of concern and consideration:

• While the US has a good crop of defenders to use when completing the defense that would already include Miazga, Brooks, Carter-Vickers, and/or Yedlin, their inexperience in these two matches was apparent and there were times their effort to get back after a run up the pitch was questionable. If any of those four solid defenders go down with an injury, the US would have a hard time replacing them.

• If the US moves Pulisic more central, in a sort of 4-4-1-1 sort of system, the performances at the wing position did not instill confidence that they would be able to perform well. Weah is developing at PSG, so he should get better, but over the two matches, they had the second hardest time as a group. Arriola was bad against Brazil, Acosta was decent after came in against Brazil and against Mexico, but not a standout, and Green was active, but not productive.

• The group that causes the most concern is the forwards. Zardes has had a great year with the Columbus Crew, but that did not translate into a good performance against Mexico. Bobby Wood has never impressed with anything other than his positioning. He can get to the right place, but struggles with finishing. It would have been nice to have seen Novakovich at some point during these matches, considering his good start of the season in the Eredivisie, but Sarachan decided against it. Josh Sargent is a good prospect, but he was too busy tearing it up with Werder Bremen’s U23 side, 5 goals in 7 matches, to report for this camp. He may end up being a great and natural fit up top, but the US has not seen enough from him with the senior squad to say that for certain. There are some older forwards that could have a role moving forward, like Jozy Altidore, but they would all be getting a little long in the tooth by the time the next World Cup arrived.

All in all, the squad came out with a good, not great result, but the path forward remains quite undecided. Sarachan is still the interim head coach, and the decision about his replacement is said to be coming before the end of the year, but nothing more specific than that. There is scuttlebutt that Gregg Berhalter is likely to be named as the coach once the MLS season ends, but those are just rumors. Whoever they hire will be adopting a team full of talent and potential, but in need of direction, identity, and coaching. In the end, the future for the US is bright, especially considering how dark the past year and half has been, but it is quite uncertain.


Match Report: US v. Brazil – Sept. 7, 2018

The honest truth is that the United States Men’s National Team is in a rough spot. Are they better off now than they were a year ago? Absolutely, but that can only be said because their biggest failing of this century is now behind them. Missing the 2018 World Cup was an inexcusable catastrophe that now serves as a tombstone for a series fading national team favorites.  Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones, players that were shoe-ins for starting spot when healthy one or two years ago, are recently retired and there are serious discussions in the USMNT camp about the futures of captains and mainstays, most notably Michael Bradley. These are uncomfortable and necessary conversations considering the recent past, the amazing flood of young talent that has been and continues to be discovered among US eligible players, and the long slog that qualifying for the Qatar World Cup will be; however, talking is not enough. Continue reading Match Report: US v. Brazil – Sept. 7, 2018

Prospects to Watch This Season in College Basketball

You may not know it from looking at us, but we are huge college basketball fans here at MMITM. Zander and I were talking about some things to watch for this upcoming season and it got me thinking, in this world of one and dones, which freshmen should we be watching this season? There are plenty of other players I could have put here, but I wanted to keep the list to five players so please don’t be upset with my list (or do, I will sleep just fine either way). Continue reading Prospects to Watch This Season in College Basketball

Puma Italy 2018 Home Kit Review

After some demand for some jersey reviews, I decided to review some kits, training gear, and other products that may go overlooked in the wide world of boot reviews! So to start off, I am reviewing the Puma Italy 2018 Home Kit that the fine folks at Puma Football sent over with my name on the back. So without further ado, let’s get into the review. Continue reading Puma Italy 2018 Home Kit Review

Great Textversations: 6/23/17 – The NBA Offseason 2017

With the NBA Draft in the rear view mirror, the NBA offseason is now in full swing.  We have already seen one major trade in the Butler/Levine blockbuster, but many more may be on the horizon.  Combining that with some major players announcing their intentions of becoming free agents, i.e. Blake Griffin and CP3, tees up these next few months for major moves that could reshape the NBA landscape.  Hunter and Zander had a quick take exchange in light of the most recent news.

Z: Now where is Blake trying to go?

H: Memphis. You heard it here first.

Honestly, I think the Cavs should K-Love trade for cap space and maybe a better SG and then sign Blake.

Z:  CP3 is also going to opt out.

If the Cavs got CP3, Kyrie could go to the 2, which is closer to his true position.

H: That would be nuts. I think CP3 is set for Spurs though

Z: #rememberthebananaboat

H: Melo coming then? And Wade?

Z: Not Melo, but the Bulls would love to get rid of Wade’s contract and would probably do a trade for KLove. A straight up trade works in the trade machine, but I would expect some more going to Cleveland.

H: Lavine

Z: I do not know the rules on trading a player you just acquired via trade, but him being a defensive minus would make that addition a little less likely.

D-Wade would likely opt out of his contract if he was traded and sign a more friendly deal so that the Cavs have enough room for CP3.

H: Only rule is that you can’t be traded after PLAYING for 2 teams in same season. So he’s fine.

Z: Oh. Well, there is still the option that the Cavs trade KLove for PG13. If they got him and signed CP3. Warriors/Cavs IV would be an amazing series.

H: But if Pacers take that deal (assuming they don’t work a 3rd team on to get some more talent) they would be stupid. K Love stinks.

Z: The Cers would need more, but getting some for PG is better than nothing. Pritchard is getting thrown into the deep end for his tenure.

H: No kidding. Starting to think Bird just didn’t wanna deal with it.

Z: That is entirely possible. I would have gotten out of his position if I saw this coming.

H: There’s no winning here. Unless the Pacers just absolutely trade rob someone, fans won’t be happy.

Z: I think that KLove’s in Indy would be considerably better than in Cleveland. I think a lineup with him and Turner could have some really good spacing and shooting.

Looking at the Cers and there some really bad contracts on here.

H: Need to get a better SG. And someone to replace George’s scoring ability. Trade George for Greek Freak and whatever else they want.

Z: There is a zero percent chance the Greek Freak will be traded. He is still on his Rookie contract.

H: Turner, George, Leaf and bingo we have a deal.

CrazyTrade.jpgZ:  Crazy trade that will never happen, but works mathematically.

H: Would never happen, but honestly… think it would be great for all teams involved.

Z: I think the Pacers and Cavs would say yes, but it goes against the current mindset of the Bucks to do this trade.

I don’t get how every team gets significantly “worse”.

H: That part makes no sense to me either.

Z: I’ll just chalk it up to the ridiculous ESPN power rankings in general.

H: Those are so dumb.


Freddie Freeman’s Injury Is Devastating for the Braves

Bottom of the 5th inning, one out, with a man on 2nd base in a 6-3 game, the Braves had exactly the man they wanted at the plate, Freddie Freeman. Even with the Braves up 3, it is always nice to grab some insurance runs, but just 2 pitches into the at bat, the Blue Jays’ pitcher, Aaron Loup, threw a 94 mph fastball in tight on Freeman, and, on a check swing, the ball ricocheted off Freeman’s left wrist. Almost immediately Freeman, who is as tough as they come, grimaced in pain and headed to the Braves dugout where the trainer was there to meet him. He was immediately taken out of the game and the whole of Braves nation held their collective breath to hear the word on his wrist. Continue reading Freddie Freeman’s Injury Is Devastating for the Braves

The New York Met’s Rotation: Imagine What Could Be


In today’s era of “All or Nothing” approaches at the plate, having a strong rotation is a must. The New York Mets could and should have so much more than a “strong” rotation. When you look at the talent they have, you would think they’d rarely ever give up more than one run. With talents such as Harvey, Syndergaard, and deGrom, they should cut through the league like a hot knife through butter. Unfortunately we have yet to see all of the talent on full display, due to a myriad of injuries.  Below I will briefly go over the 5 pitchers that the Mets have, which in turn will show just how dominant this rotation could be if they were all healthy at the same time. Continue reading The New York Met’s Rotation: Imagine What Could Be

Etihad Stadium. Manchester, England May 13th, 2012

93:20. A time that may not mean much, but it means everything to Manchester City.

Early May of 2012 was a an odd time for me. I was preparing to graduate from high school and getting ready for my last summer before I went off to college. But another thing that was going on was the race for the Premier League title race. Going into the last Saturday of the season, the two clubs that could win the league were found in Manchester. Manchester City and Manchester United were level on points with City leading on goal difference and both were battling teams that on paper should be easy wins. United was taking on Sunderland away at the Stadium of Light and City was at home facing QPR in the Etihad Stadium. To keep things fair (and to add a lot more drama) the games would kick off at 11 AM Eastern time. If you are a soccer fan, you have surely seen the stories, the drama, the goals, and even the heartbreak from United fans who were hoping for their second title in a row. City was hoping to win their first title in 44 years. This is my experience, my story, and this is what 93:20 means to me. Continue reading Etihad Stadium. Manchester, England May 13th, 2012

Duke Basketball: Moving Past 2016

Another college basketball season has come and gone and sadly the month of March flew by way too fast. Coming into this 2016-17 season, the Duke Blue Devils had the #2 recruiting class in the nation with four McDonald’s All-Americans coming in: Harry Giles (PF), Jason Tatum (SF), Marquees Boldin (C), and Frank Jackson (PG). All four of whom were in the ESPN top 25 players for their grade. Duke also managed to land Javin DeLaurier (PF) who was in the ESPN top 100 as well. On top of landing five high school standouts, Duke had Luke Kennard returning, along with Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson, and Matt Jones. Duke had everything it took this past season to make a good March Madness run and even a shot at the national title. They had a great recruiting class coming and they had upperclassmen leadership from players like Allen, Jefferson, and Jones. I have to say that before the start of the season I was very excited to see the potential of this team play out through the season. Continue reading Duke Basketball: Moving Past 2016

Freddie Freeman: Baseball’s Least Talked About Superstar

Standing in at 6’5 and listed at 220lbs, Freddie Freeman is an imposing figure at the plate. After finishing off last year as one of baseball’s hottest hitters, Freeman has carried that momentum into 2017, not skipping a beat. Yet even though he’s lighting up the ball, I feel that he is not mentioned enough in the NL MVP conversation, partly due to playing on a rebuilding Braves team. Continue reading Freddie Freeman: Baseball’s Least Talked About Superstar

Liverpool On The Right Path Under Jurgen Klopp’s Leadership

Over the past decade, Liverpool Football Club has been mediocre at best compared to the Liverpool we think about from thirty years ago. Whether it has been not finishing in the top four, inconsistency in the boss’ chair, or just flat-out not performing, that is the Liverpool we all think of when it comes to recent years. As a person who bleeds Liverpool red, it broke my heart to see the state of the club over the past few seasons. Continue reading Liverpool On The Right Path Under Jurgen Klopp’s Leadership

The New Generation of Shortstops: Possibly the Best We’ve Ever Seen.

For the last few years, prior to about 2013, the position of shortstop has lacked a true “superstar” and has left fans wanting more. Gone were the years of Alex Rodriguez dazzling with the bat and the glove, and Derek Jeter’s age had begun to catch up with him. Sure, there were a few bright spots here and there. Just look at Andrelton Simmons and his other-worldly defense, but he also left much to be desired at the plate. So, baseball fans began to wonder, “When will the next superstar shortstop arrive?” Within 2 years, their question was answered resoundingly. Continue reading The New Generation of Shortstops: Possibly the Best We’ve Ever Seen.

Great Textversations: 4/10/17 – The 2026 Joint World Cup Bid


CONCACAF announced that there would be a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  Hunter and Zander have already made their feelings on the issue known in Episode Fifteen of the MMITM podcast, but there were some interesting developments that make it better.  They had a back and forth on the news and developments. Continue reading Great Textversations: 4/10/17 – The 2026 Joint World Cup Bid

Keep Your Head Up Dallas, The Future is Bright

While it is easy for Cowboys fans to hang their head in defeat and say, “I knew we would blow it” or “What a disappointing season”, Cowboys fans need to remember how impressive the season, as a whole, truly was. Even with the loss to the Packers on a last second field goal, the Cowboys lost only 4 games this season. To put that into perspective, the Cowboys had as many losses as San Francisco and Cleveland had wins, combined. The catch? Dallas did it with two rookies in the backfield all season long. Continue reading Keep Your Head Up Dallas, The Future is Bright

Taking Off The RedShirt: Shea Patterson Shines For Ole Miss

In what looked like a game destined to be dominated by Texas A&M, who came into the game ranked 8th in the country according to the College Football Playoff rankings, a deflated, bruised, and down for the count Ole Miss team wanted to make a statement that the Rebels were not done yet. Continue reading Taking Off The RedShirt: Shea Patterson Shines For Ole Miss