I've never played soccer, I'm not a dedicated fan and I'm strictly a layman in my understanding of the game. However, Tim Howard's performance against Belgium ranks as one of the greatest solo feats I've ever witnessed in team sports, alongside Kellen Winslow's classic effort in the San Diego Chargers' overtime win against Miami in the 1981 AFC playoffs.
One need not be a musician to appreciate Sills or Pavarotti; one need not paint to be moved by Klee or Matisse; and one need not play soccer to know Howard's incredible game is arguably one of the finest performances ever produced on soccer's grandest stage.
Tim Howard. No dancing, no chest bumping or thumping, no taunting. Just an incredible athlete putting on an incredible performance. How refreshing.
Paying homage to Tim Howard, couldn't FIFA have bent the rules a little and allowed the U.S. to advance to meet Argentina based on goal-saving differential?
Mark J. Featherstone
The saddest words of mice and men,
They should have played L. Donovan.
I understand that soccer is popular all over the world, and that the World Cup is its big stage. However, the hysteria over the play of the U.S. mystifies me. Granted we had a fine goalkeeper. But the countries whose teams we played have populations of 10.5 million (Portugal), 11.3 million (Belgium), 25.4 million (Ghana), and 81.9 million (Germany). We won one game, lost two games and tied one. Was this worth the bucketloads of ink and the hours of talk and analysis lavished on this effort? A month of play, four games and a record of 1-2-1? Get serious.
Look at it this way: In how many World Cups can the U.S. claim they were better than Spain, Italy, England, Portugal and Ghana? One: 2014. Well done, guys.
Perhaps if there were a few rules changes, more Americans would be attracted to soccer. Awarding Mexico's opponent a penalty kick for tripping a guy who was no threat to score is like sentencing someone to hang for walking out of a store without paying for a package of gum.
ESPN should be giving thanks to the true heroes for the high ratings of their World Cup coverage — soccer moms! Armed with juice boxes, folding chairs, and snacks, these women introduced a generation of U.S. kids to the game.
Now back to some real football: college and NFL.
Let me present a short summary, with comments, of the letters in last Saturday's Times:
1. The World Cup has united the U.S. (uh, yeah, right).
2. A hockey fan said soccer stinks; a soccer fan said hockey stinks (OK, I think they're both right).
3. Hockey and soccer are both major sports in the U.S. Wrong — according to several sources, the five most popular sports, as determined by TV viewership are: pro football, college football, pro basketball, MLB, and college basketball. Hockey and soccer are fighting to become No. 6 (a battle that soccer, unfortunately, will probably win).
"You can observe a lot by just watching." —Yogi Berra.
Thank you, and good morning.
In the market
Kobe's selfish contract drains the Lakers of money they need to sign good players. Fortunately, if they get Carmelo Anthony, they don't need to sign anyone else, because between these two ball hogs, there will be no passing to anyone else on the court. They both can play two-on-five and enjoy more losing years.
Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss continue to play music while the Titanic is sinking. While they await word from the big names, LeBron and Carmelo, most of the available productive players (Kyle Lowry, Marcin Gortat, Darren Collison, Gordon Hayward) are being snatched up by proactive teams. By the time the Lakers' so-called brain trust realizes that the ship is sinking, there will be no more lifeboats (good players) left. Hopefully Kobe and the Lakers don't get left at the altar again. Cap space is useless if you can't convert it into productive players.
Word to Pau Gasol. You are the victim in an abusive relationship. Three years ago, they actually traded you to the Houston Rockets, only to have the deal vetoed by Commissioner David Stern, sending you back to your abuser. Since then, every mention of a trade has you dangled as the bait. The last coach cruelly kept you on the bench in the final minutes of the fourth quarter in close games, without so much as a peep from management. Now your day has finally arrived. You are a free agent. Walk out the door and never look back, no matter what sweet-talk they spout. You deserve to be with someone who loves and respects you.
Gary H. Miller
To absent friends
At the end of last baseball season, if you told me Jack Bauer would be back on television but the Dodgers wouldn't, I would not have believed it.
There is one man who can easily break the stalemate over Dodgers broadcasts between Time Warner Cable and the other cable providers. All it would take is Vin Scully casually mentioning that, since over 70% of L.A. cannot hear him, he is thinking about retiring at the end of the season. The public relations disaster of being blamed for the loss of the most loved man in all of Southern California would quickly bring all of the parties to their senses.
Note to Time Warner Cable:
I enjoy getting up in the morning and reading about the Dodgers in the Los Angeles Times.
So three Bruins were taken in the first round of the NBA draft, yet these Bruins failed to win the regular season conference title let alone make a meaningful run to a national championship. While Steve Alford calls it "a point of pride" for the program, I imagine most are scratching their heads and wondering what, exactly, went wrong.
Ducks' fans need to curb their enthusiasm. No trade, draft pick or player development can compensate for their lack of a Darryl Sutter.
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