It was an interesting night at RFK stadium for a seemingly meaningless friendly between two clubs from different nations, competing for no pre-season trophy, in a nation not traditionally known for its football passions. However, 25,000 people showed up to see Michael Bradley’s AS Roma take on Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side for what would turn out to be a fairly entertaining match.
As to be expected, all eyes were on the only American on the pitch,Michael Bradley, with fans eager to see how he’d match up against Chelsea’s world-class midfield including players such as John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle, Kevin De Bruyne, and Michael Essien. You could tell Bradley was perhaps a bit over-excited, over-doing things on the dribble on multiple occasions. His eagerness to dribble out of danger was a bit comical several times, as he was in fact in space, and only looked silly and out of his depth. However, as a whole, he didn’t put in a terrible performance. His passing was effectual, and he put in a few great tackles to help his side defensively.
Chelsea were the real entertainers on the evening, with several players creating chances in on goal. Fernando Torres was quite lively while on the pitch, almost going in on goal with a clever series of back-heel juggles over the defense. Chelsea’s knew signing, veteran keeper Mark Schwartzer let in an absolute howler of a goal in the first half, as he mis-trapped a pass which then hit the post, only to be finished by Erik Lamela.
A second-half wonder-strike by Frank Lampard and a tap-in by Romelu Lukaku ensured victory for the English side, who were in truth the better performers on the night. After the match, Bradley spoke of the importance of playing in these type of friendlies against quality opponents to prepare for the start of the Serie A campaign. Bradley also mentioned the upcoming international friendlies as a chance for players to get in some last minute match fitness before rejoining their club squads. When I asked Bradley about whether or not he’d be traveling to Bosnia he replied “the players who will be traveling for the friendly should be notified by tomorrow whether or not they’ll be meeting up with the team.”
Having since been named to the squad for the Bosnia match, hopefully Bradley can add some much-needed leadership and experience to a relatively inexperienced USA squad.
Roma seemed out to prove anyone who thought they would come in and treat this like a preseason match they could sit back in wrong. They came out hard in the first half with an early goal and a few more close calls that stymied the MLS defense. MLS possession fell and fell throughout the half but they were able to hold Roma to a 1-0 lead when the first 45 came to a close.
Things didn’t improve in the second half with another quick Roma goal, an another one they easily slipped in at the 69th minute. MLS took more chances, but things were easily defended by the Italian team. Nick Rimando was the second half goalkeeper, and the skills we saw throughout the Gold Cup were on display keeping the Roma score from rising even further. Another bright spot in the second half was the injection of MLS youth into the game, with some bright moments from the All Stars’ youngest players DeAndre Yedlin and Jack McInerney. MLS had a final gasp in second half stoppage time with Omar Gonzalez scoring off of a free kick making the final score AS Roma 3 – MLS All Stars 1.
Beyond the loss, the message echoed in the post game press conference is what makes All Star Game week so special. It goes far past the game to players who are normally competitors sharing time together as teammates. It’s about a great soccer city like Kansas City showing off what they can put together. And it’s about all of us who are part of the Major League Soccer family coming together to celebrate the sport we love and where it has come in America over the last 17 years.
The campaign’s first video was produced with the 2012 All Stars while in Philadelphia and it premiered later in the season. This season started off with a new video, and the message prominently appears throughout Kansas City, at the press conference, at fan events, and at the game itself tonight.
Portland’s Will Johnson, Kansas City’s Graham Zusi, Chicago’s Mike Magee, and Kansas City Coach Peter Vermes all spoke about why “Don’t Cross the Line” is such an important message to them and to the league:
Major League Soccer knows how to put on a party and last night Macklemore and Ryan Lewis put on quite a show in Kansas City’s Power and Light District.
The free concert was a great way to blend music, MLS personalities, and amazing fans to celebrate All Star Game week. The Cauldron supporters group got chants started in the packed crowd while Kei Kamara got the crowd excited about Wednesday night’s game along with hosts Jason Saghini and Alexi Lalas
But with as great as Alexi Lalas is, the crowd was there for Macklemore, a great pick to headline the week as both a prominent artist and one with a big social conscience. He made a video earlier this year for MLS partner the You Can Play Project and spoke out in favor of Washington State’s Referendum 74 which legalized same-sex marriage last year.
Macklemore didn’t shy away at all from the social issues in his performance, citing both Trayvon Martin as a recent example of injustice in America and the ongoing fight for marriage equality. This all led up to his performance of “Same Love,” the MTV VMA nominated song that is the first top hit that advocated for gay marriage. Out Seattle singer joined him on the stage for her choruses and Macklemore donned a pride flag tossed to him on stage from the crowd. It was simply an amazing moment.
If you missed the concert or last night’s live stream, you can watch the whole show from MLSSoccer.com:
The Seattle Reign are the latest American soccer team to make a video for the You Can Play Project, becoming the first Women’s professional team in the US to participate.
Out US Women’s National Team midfielder Megan Rapinoe joined the Reign earlier this summer after her time with Lyon and she appears with her teammates in the video.
Welsh international Jess Fishlock spoke about making the video:
I am excited that we are partnering with You Can Play and helping them take the steps that are needed to eradicate homophobia in professional sports. It’s something I support 100% and I am honored to play for the first professional women’s team aligned with this cause.
- Michelle Betos, goalkeeper
- Liz Bogus, forward
- Jess Fishlock, midfielder and Welsh National Team member
- Laura Harvey, head coach
- Sam Laity, assistant coach
- Megan Rapinoe, midfielder and US National Team member
- Keelin Winters, midfielder
AS Roma released their video for the “Don’t Cross the Line” featuring US Men’s National Team star Michael Bradley over the weekend ahead of this week’s MLS All Star Game.
Bradley is joined by teammate and Roma captain Francesco Totti, defender Nicolás Burdisso, and manager Rudi Garcia in this first-of-its-kind video for a team in Serie A.
Don’t Cross the Line is featuring heavily at All Star Game week festivities, with stations set up at events where fans can take the pledge.
You can take the pledge yourself at http://www.mlssoccer.com/dontcrosstheline and don’t forget we’ll have coverage of the 2013 MLS All Star Game all week.
Sarah Huffman and Meleana Shim speak out as out NWSL athletes as part of the announcement.
Eighteen NWSL players have joined the Athlete Ally program as Ambassadors, representing seven teams across the league, as well as both the US and Canadian National Teams.
The effort to have league players join the anti-homophobia and a anti-transphobia non profit as a group was spearheaded by the Western New York Flash’s Sarah Huffman, who said as part of the statement:
I am proud to be an athlete ally because I dream of a world full of equal opportunities and treatment. I believe that sports are a place where everybody belongs. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation, race, gender have no place in the world – nevertheless sports. I am excited to be an ally and stand up for people like me in the LGBT community.
Marc Burch is not a dickhead.
Robbie Rogers is on the August cover of Out Magazine for an issue focused on sports. It’s quite a good interview done by who is probably the best writer at Here Media, who publishes both Out and The Advocate. It covers his playing, his coming out, and his personal life with a balance you don’t often see from gay media outlets. I haven’t yet mentioned the Out Magazine interview on this site, and this will be the only time I mention it.
I’m not going to mention Out Magazine and their otherwise good interview with Robbie Rogers because the magazine has also published an online slideshow called the “21 Biggest Dickheads in Sports: 2013 Edition.” Seattle’s Marc Burch and San Jose’s Alan Gordon both appear on the list along with athletes from basketball, ultimate fighting, hockey, gridiron football, and baseball.
Our friends at Bumpy Pitch have created a brand new t shirt design to support Robbie Rogers and to benefit his Beyond “it” initiative launching this fall.
The front of the shirt features Rogers’ initials stylized into a crest along with the Bumpy Pitch ball logo and the back has the logo of Beyond “it.”
Beyond “it” will be a philanthropic endeavor that helps funnel donations to great charities that fight against labels and stereotypes that tend to box people and and hold them back, whether it be gender, sexuality, race, or ability.
As with all of Bumpy Pitch’s offerings this new shirt just flat out looks good and its proceeds are going toward this great new cause to boot. You can get the great new shirt honoring Robbie Rogers and benefiting his new charity at bumpypitch.com.
The Trevor Project is a non-profit organization aimed at suicide prevention among LGBT youth. It was started in the 1990s by the creators of the 1994 Oscar-winning short film “Trevor” about a 13 year old boy who attempts to take his own life after being taunted by his peers. They provide a helpline for teens and other resources.
It’s great to see Robbie Rogers using his prominence as a pro athlete to help kids who are going through the same struggles with sexuality he did when he was their age.
Here’s the full Hangout with Robbie Rogers, ESPN’s L.Z. Granderson, and youth from the Trevor Project: