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***Official Soccer Discussion Thread***


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5 hours ago, NewlyRetired said:

The Man City Man United game today in China has been cancelled.

The pitch was infected with fungus, and although the affected areas were dug up, recent torrential rain in Beijing has washed away the replacement turf.

This would have been the first Manchester derby to be played abroad ever.

I love all of that.

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So I live in Nashville and Atlanta is getting an MLS team.  Due to the fact that my first love in sports was the woeful early 80's Atlanta Braves, I've got a long-standing connection to Atlanta.  While Atlanta is typically a horrible sports town, my soccer buddy at work has convinced me that the support for Atlanta United FC (cmon really?) should be great.

So....even though I scroll through MLS stuff in this thread faster than a rat up a drainpipe, I formally announce my allegiance to Atlanta United FC.  

Now...how does one start enjoying inferior soccer? No shtick...it's an honest question.

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1 minute ago, shader said:

So I live in Nashville and Atlanta is getting an MLS team.  Due to the fact that my first love in sports was the woeful early 80's Atlanta Braves, I've got a long-standing connection to Atlanta.  While Atlanta is typically a horrible sports town, my soccer buddy at work has convinced me that the support for Atlanta United FC (cmon really?) should be great.

So....even though I scroll through MLS stuff in this thread faster than a rat up a drainpipe, I formally announce my allegiance to Atlanta United FC.  

Now...how does one start enjoying inferior soccer? No shtick...it's an honest question.

you could start at a place like Liverpool and go from there.

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9 minutes ago, shader said:

So I live in Nashville and Atlanta is getting an MLS team.  Due to the fact that my first love in sports was the woeful early 80's Atlanta Braves, I've got a long-standing connection to Atlanta.  While Atlanta is typically a horrible sports town, my soccer buddy at work has convinced me that the support for Atlanta United FC (cmon really?) should be great.

So....even though I scroll through MLS stuff in this thread faster than a rat up a drainpipe, I formally announce my allegiance to Atlanta United FC.  

Now...how does one start enjoying inferior soccer? No shtick...it's an honest question.

I was skeptical as well, but having a 4 year old that wants to see soccer live helps.  Seriously, the soccer isn't that bad, the atmosphere (at least in NYC) is decent enough, and you'll be surprised how many random people say hi to you wearing your local gear.  Plus as much as I hate the owners politically, they're doing a good job with outreach and trying to develop soccer throughout the metro NYC area.

At his point, I liken it to college sports.  Is it a step down from the majors, sure, but its still enjoyable to go to the games and watch the occasional one on TV when the best teams in the league play.  I'm a convert. :shrug: 

Edited by Sammy3469
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1 minute ago, Sammy3469 said:

I was skeptical as well, but having a 4 year old that wants to see soccer live helps.  Seriously, the soccer isn't that bad, the atmosphere (at least in NYC) is decent enough, and you'll be surprised how many random people say hi to you wearing your local gear.  Plus as much as I hate the owners politically, they're doing a good job with outreach and trying to develop soccer throughout the metro NYC area.

At his point, I'm a convert.  

I'm going to give it a go.  Mostly so that I can go watch a few games a year.  

 

Time to scout Hector "Tito" Villalba

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1 minute ago, shader said:

I'm going to give it a go.  Mostly so that I can go watch a few games a year.  

 

Time to scout Hector "Tito" Villalba

better buy season tickets soon- IIRC, andy posted some pretty insane numbers about their advance sales. or maybe that's another city. pretty sure it's not NYC.

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1 minute ago, shader said:

I'm going to give it a go.  Mostly so that I can go watch a few games a year.  

 

Time to scout Hector "Tito" Villalba

It also helps if there are one or two big names.  

Having said that, I'm also all-in for $75 tops with my son for 4 hours of entertainment on a Sat or Sun afternoon which is about as inexpensive as it gets in NYC.  

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1 minute ago, El Floppo said:

better buy season tickets soon- IIRC, andy posted some pretty insane numbers about their advance sales. or maybe that's another city. pretty sure it's not NYC.

NYCFC is actually pretty close to sold out for the lower 2 sections.  Of course you can buy $25 on the secondary market, but they are averaging almost 27K this year (2 Red Bull derbies though).  Lowest attendance is just under 22K.

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4 minutes ago, Sammy3469 said:

It also helps if there are one or two big names.  

Having said that, I'm also all-in for $75 tops with my son for 4 hours of entertainment on a Sat or Sun afternoon which is about as inexpensive as it gets in NYC.  

subway in and out... pretty nice stuff. (other than having to see soccer in yankee stadium). I ashamed to say I haven't seen NYC with the big three playing yet- NEED to get uptown for this at some point this summer.

 

oh- met up with a bunch of HS friends who were doing their annual "SF Giants away series trip" last weekend, one of whom is a SF sportswriter and radio personality. he brought along a guy who was a huge RBNY and soccer fan- and also a sports writer for the Post... mark something. italianish. materazzi. something. 

 

 

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Listen Atlanta.  I'd like to make a case for Mario Balotelli.

I know that he has horrible work ethic in practice, but let's face it, America is forgiving in that dept.  We have a long line of sports stars that don't take practice seriously.  Plus, you can market Balotelli as the "bad boy" of English soccer.  

His skill level is phenomenal.  The other day Pirlo said he could be one of the best strikers in football if he tried.

I think he could be the first bigtime European name to come to the MLS in his prime, and if he gave it full effort, I think he could be the first MLS American superstar.  One that transcends the sport and gets people in this country interested in the MLS.

On his end, I think it's a no-brainer.  He's a dead commodity in Europe.  He's trashed his reputation over there.  If he came and tore up the MLS, he could be an American celebrity, which is not the worst thing in the world.

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Just now, Sammy3469 said:

NYCFC is actually pretty close to sold out for the lower 2 sections.  Of course you can buy $25 on the secondary market, but they are averaging almost 27K this year (2 Red Bull derbies though).  Lowest attendance is just under 22K.

thats great :thumbup: ... seemed inevitable.

 

oh... right- what I wrote earlier came across all wrong. I was trying to make fun of towns not NYC, but it came across as making fun of NYCFC. 

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1 minute ago, El Floppo said:

subway in and out... pretty nice stuff. (other than having to see soccer in yankee stadium). I ashamed to say I haven't seen NYC with the big three playing yet- NEED to get uptown for this at some point this summer.

 

oh- met up with a bunch of HS friends who were doing their annual "SF Giants away series trip" last weekend, one of whom is a SF sportswriter and radio personality. he brought along a guy who was a huge RBNY and soccer fan- and also a sports writer for the Post... mark something. italianish. materazzi. something. 

 

 

They have a messed up schedule.  Were home for the first part of the year and haven't been home recently.  Little one is demanding we go again and with vacations and night games, the next one we're home for is the season finale in October.  Guess we're going to that one.  Hope Pirlo and Lampard are still alive for that one.    

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7 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

subway in and out... pretty nice stuff. (other than having to see soccer in yankee stadium). I ashamed to say I haven't seen NYC with the big three playing yet- NEED to get uptown for this at some point this summer.

 

oh- met up with a bunch of HS friends who were doing their annual "SF Giants away series trip" last weekend, one of whom is a SF sportswriter and radio personality. he brought along a guy who was a huge RBNY and soccer fan- and also a sports writer for the Post... mark something. italianish. materazzi. something. 

 

 

I bet it was fun to chat with him.

 

A few months ago, I was trying out driving for Uber part-time.  I picked up this guy and his family and we chatted soccer for 20 minutes.  I was telling him all my thoughts on why Steven Gerrard hadn't transitioned well to the MLS.  He had his opinions of course, but he listened to mine.  At the end of the ride his dad piped up and said "did you know my son up there is the  sportscaster for the LA Galaxy?".   That was cool.  Plus I'm sure he really learned something from me. :lmao:

Edited by shader
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4 minutes ago, shader said:

Listen Atlanta.  I'd like to make a case for Mario Balotelli.

I know that he has horrible work ethic in practice, but let's face it, America is forgiving in that dept.  We have a long line of sports stars that don't take practice seriously.  Plus, you can market Balotelli as the "bad boy" of English soccer.  

His skill level is phenomenal.  The other day Pirlo said he could be one of the best strikers in football if he tried.

I think he could be the first bigtime European name to come to the MLS in his prime, and if he gave it full effort, I think he could be the first MLS American superstar.  One that transcends the sport and gets people in this country interested in the MLS.

On his end, I think it's a no-brainer.  He's a dead commodity in Europe.  He's trashed his reputation over there.  If he came and tore up the MLS, he could be an American celebrity, which is not the worst thing in the world.

You mean like David Beckham?

Super Mario will never be Sebastian Giovinco :wub:

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39 minutes ago, shader said:

So I live in Nashville and Atlanta is getting an MLS team.  Due to the fact that my first love in sports was the woeful early 80's Atlanta Braves, I've got a long-standing connection to Atlanta.  While Atlanta is typically a horrible sports town, my soccer buddy at work has convinced me that the support for Atlanta United FC (cmon really?) should be great.

So....even though I scroll through MLS stuff in this thread faster than a rat up a drainpipe, I formally announce my allegiance to Atlanta United FC.  

Now...how does one start enjoying inferior soccer? No shtick...it's an honest question.

"How does one start enjoying inferior soccer?"...You already got a leg up on that one, GB...

ETA: Damn you Floppo... I'm a day late, & a dollar short as always...:kicksrock:

Edited by Kafka
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I was embracing the shtick.  In truth, I don't think Mario's attitude is as much of a problem as some people.  But I also don't think he's as good as people think he is.  Other than that one half year in Milan when he took a ton of PK's he's been, at best, a 1 in 2 striker.  Most often, he's a 1 in 3 striker.   Sooner or later, you have to admit that he is what he is.  For all the physical gifts, he's not a consistent finisher and doesn't really have the attacking positioning to sniff out chances.  I don't see any indication that he's suddenly going to develop those traits. 

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4 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I was embracing the shtick.  In truth, I don't think Mario's attitude is as much of a problem as some people.  But I also don't think he's as good as people think he is.  Other than that one half year in Milan when he took a ton of PK's he's been, at best, a 1 in 2 striker.  Most often, he's a 1 in 3 striker.   Sooner or later, you have to admit that he is what he is.  For all the physical gifts, he's not a consistent finisher and doesn't really have the attacking positioning to sniff out chances.  I don't see any indication that he's suddenly going to develop those traits. 

So true...his career was made in the 2012 Euros...with those two beautifully taken goals against Germany...(& the resultant memes of his shirtless self-beautification)...

PS: not sure that's a word, but let's roll with it...sick of all this self-deprecation:ptts::ptts::ptts:

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1 hour ago, shader said:

I think he could be the first bigtime European name to come to the MLS in his prime, and if he gave it full effort, I think he could be the first MLS American superstar

I must be misunderstanding this post....

How would Balotelli, an Italian, be considered an "American" superstar?

And ignoring that misunderstanding on my part, how would he be bigger than Beckham, Henry, Kaka, Donovan, Giovinco, El Pibe and many others?

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1 hour ago, Sammy3469 said:

They have a messed up schedule.  Were home for the first part of the year and haven't been home recently.    

That must be due to the stadium sharing they have to deal with.  I am sure the Yankees get what they want from a schedule point of view and then NYCFC has to work around that.

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1 hour ago, El Floppo said:

better buy season tickets soon- IIRC, andy posted some pretty insane numbers about their advance sales. or maybe that's another city. pretty sure it's not NYC.

It was Atlanta.  They are actually well ahead of where Seattle was at this time in their expansion start up.  And considering Seattle is one of the highest drawing teams in our entire hemisphere, that says a lot to me.

Of course whether it lasts or not is always an issue with expansion teams in all sports.

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2 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Something for us wannabe footy analytics types.

Bruce Arena is not a fan :)

=====================

“We won the game. That’s what you do in soccer games. We were on the road in a venue where the team does pretty well at home. What are we complaining about? Then some moron will write that they had more shots than us thinking that’s important,” Arena said. “Actually, analytics in soccer, if no one here has figured it out, doesn’t mean a whole lot. Analytics and statistics are used for people who don’t know how to analyze the game. I’ll be very honest with you, this isn’t baseball or football or basketball. We have a very important analytic, and that’s the score. That distorts all the other statistics.”

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Baseball and football and basketball don't have scores?

You know I love the Bruce, but I imagine what he's really saying is that we haven't found the right analytics yet.  And that's probably true, to an extent.  It certainly isn't possession or shots, or even chances created or "expected goals (whatever flavor of that you're using). 

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8 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Baseball and football and basketball don't have scores?

You know I love the Bruce, but I imagine what he's really saying is that we haven't found the right analytics yet.  And that's probably true, to an extent.  It certainly isn't possession or shots, or even chances created or "expected goals (whatever flavor of that you're using). 

There are still NFL coaches who haven't bought into this stuff yet and they've actually made a lot of progress.  Soccer is still flailing around in the dark a lot of the time.  So it's no wonder an old school coach like Arena hates it.

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22 minutes ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Something for us wannabe footy analytics types.

Quote

I believe the importance of attacking players as pass recipients is the greatest insight we have gathered over the last couple of years.

Makes sense to me.  I did a master's thesis trying to beat draft position as a predictor of WR success in the NFL and (outside of draft position itself) the per-reception efficiency of a player when he catches the ball is probably the best single indicator.

I've always interpreted that metric as being something like "vision" or "game sense" or "spatial awareness" which would obviously have application in any sport.

Edited by wdcrob
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24 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

Did you construct some fuzzy logic or machine learning algorithms to come up with that metric, @wdcrob?

I tried all kinds of things Z.  I'll spare everyone the full list, but based on what worked in the end it's sort of a manual approximation of a neural network.  I actually started with the approximation based on what was already in my head and then had a couple profs say that a NN should work.  Definitely in over my head trying to explain exactly why, but there probably just wasn't enough data to use a true NN and they weren't able to find the same relationships.

The final model more than doubled the value of draft position as a predictor though -- which was pretty cool.  It only uses players who came into the league before 2012 though, and you can see in the intervening years that the league as a whole is already adopting some of the things I found (the Development piece below for sure).

If you're into these things...here's the Reader's Digest version:

I broke most of the predictor variables into sub-variables based on inflection points in lowess line graphs, and broke the WRs up into subgroups based on build.

Then ran stepwise regression for each WR sub-group using the sub-variables to generate two new variables -- a development score (using draft position, NCAA volume, NCAA efficiency, age), and a physical score (using HT, BMI, Speed, Explosion, Agility).  Probably forgetting something there, but close enough.  I didn't know it when I was actually doing it, but using the line segments is called piecewise regression.

Then the results of the Developmental and Physical models were regressed against my measure of career performance.

What was kind of cool about it was that the model I ended up with was pretty close to what was in my head from working with this stuff informally for a long long time.  The hard part was figuring out how to formally model what I thought I already knew.

 

Edited by wdcrob
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15 minutes ago, wdcrob said:

I tried all kinds of things Z.  I'll spare everyone the full list, but based on what worked in the end it's sort of a manual approximation of a neural network.  I actually started with the approximation based on what was already in my head and then had a couple profs say that a NN should work.  Definitely in over my head trying to explain exactly why, but there probably just wasn't enough data to use a true NN and they weren't able to find the same relationships.

The final model more than doubled the value of draft position as a predictor though -- which was pretty cool.  It only uses players who came into the league before 2012 though, and you can see in the intervening years that the league as a whole is already adopting some of the things I found (the Development piece below for sure).

If you're into these things...here's the Reader's Digest version:

I broke most of the predictor variables into sub-variables based on inflection points in lowess line graphs, and broke the WRs up into subgroups based on build.

Then ran stepwise regression for each WR sub-group using the sub-variables to generate two new variables -- a development score (using draft position, NCAA volume, NCAA efficiency, age), and a physical score (using HT, BMI, Speed, Explosion, Agility).  Probably forgetting something there, but close enough.  I didn't know it when I was actually doing it, but using the line segments is called piecewise regression.

Then the results of the Developmental and Physical models were regressed against my measure of career performance.

What was kind of cool about it was that the model I ended up with was pretty close to what was in my head from working with this stuff informally for a long long time.  The hard part was figuring out how to formally model what I thought I already knew.

 

That's pretty much what I came up with, too.

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Fantasy EPL league - draft, H2H

Thread here

 

If you have an interest in following EPL, this is a fun way to learn about the teams/players.  Its a long season, but really sucks you in.  This will the the 3rd year for the league, with lots of good folks (excepting me).

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

Fantasy EPL league - draft, H2H

Thread here

 

If you have an interest in following EPL, this is a fun way to learn about the teams/players.  Its a long season, but really sucks you in.  This will the the 3rd year for the league, with lots of good folks (excepting me).

 

We've been doing it with a draft for six years but the first few years were run using the official EPL fantasy site rather than Fantrax.

Year one of the draft format was the Attack of the Aguero clones which dates it at 2011-12.

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Well the Higuain to Juventus deal is confirmed.  Yikes, that's a lot to pay but swapping a midfielder for an elite striker and pocketing 40-50M isn't bad for Juventus. (assuming of course that the Pogba deal happens)

Edited by shader
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5 minutes ago, shader said:

Well the Higuain to Juventus deal is confirmed.  Yikes, that's a lot to pay but swapping a midfielder for an elite striker and pocketing 40-50M isn't bad for Juventus. (assuming of course that the Pogba deal happens)

Yikes, indeed...the really scary part is that Juve could actually keep Pogba, too.

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22 hours ago, Kafka said:

Gonna go out on a limb here, & say you don't particularly fancy this Marouane fella, eh?

Not sure what gives you that idea!!!  Hes great.....  at throwing elbows and giving away balls and missing headers.  Perfect for a mid table club more worried about relegation then a title chase.

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