Farewell Abby

abby

After the World Cup Final was played and the USWNT, United States Womens National Team, defeated Japan 5-2, the Victory Tour that would last the rest of the year was announced. With all the veterans on the team I felt like it was going to be the farewell tour to many of the stars as well. Even knowing this and the fact that she is 35 and not playing on a club team, I was still a little shocked in October when the greatest player of her generation, Abby Wambach, announced her retirement from the game.  On Wednesday, December the 16th of 2015, the soccer world said its goodbye to one of its legends. Abby Wambach played in her 255th and final game for the National Team. Her 184 goals are the most by any player, mens or womens, at the international level. She has been an influence to many throughout her career and she is a big reason that soccer has gotten as popular in the USA as it has in the past decade. Not only through her goal scoring prowess, but also because she was not afraid to let others know what she thought about things. For her teams she was  the unquestioned leader even when she was not on the field, or wearing the captains armband.

The game on Wednesday night brought about a different feel than previous games. Many of the younger players, to whom players like Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Christie Rampone, and Lauren Holiday were entrusting the fate of the national team  to, were on display last night. Tobin Heath will be one of the next superstars of the midfield with her  dazzling displays with the ball at her feet. The young midfielder Morgan Brian who was an unknown before the World Cup has continued to look more confident every time she takes the field. The versatile Lindsey Horan, who came on just before halftime in place of an injured Alex Morgan, showed her nose  for goal late in the game despite her equalizer being disallowed for offsides. Finally the dynamic Chrystal Dunn came on late and saw plenty of the ball going up and down the pitch. These are some of the players to whom the USWNT has been entrusted and I believe they will be up for the task.


So Ends the Streaks

The past week has seen two of the greatest streaks of the year end and by the end there could be a third great streak fall.

Golden_State_Warriors_2010_04

The Golden State Warriors lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 108-95 on Saturday night. That ended the Warriors perfect 24-0 start to the season which is absolutely impressive especially with the last six of those wins coming on the road. While everyone knew this was coming it was still nice to wonder how long Steph Curry and co. could keep it going. Now the Warriors can focus on other accomplishments for the season, such as the 72 win mark set by the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls or to be repeat Larry O’Brian Trophy recipients.

Patty Kane

On Wednesday night in Chicago another streak, this one quite possibly more impressive, was ended. No it was not the World Series drought. Chicago Blackhawks star Right Wing Patrick Kane had his 26 game point streak ended with a 3-0 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche. I think this streak was more impressive because in hockey it is still difficult to score goals, so for a player to either score a goal or assist on a teammate’s goal for 26 games straight is amazing. Even more impressive is the American broke the old record for longest point streak all the way back on November 28th with his 19th game with a point in a 2 point outing against the Los Angeles Kings. This streak did help draw interest to the NHL with highlights even showing on SportsCenter.

Carolina

The end of this week could feature the ending of yet another streak in one of the major sports. In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers take on a team that has ended perfection before, the New York Giants. Do I think that it is possible that this will happen, not a chance. Most of the time there just seems to be a different Eli Manning on the field when the Giants take on an unbeaten team. That being said, with the way that Cam Newton and the rest of this team are playing, and coming off a 38-0 drubbing of the Atlanta Falcons, I think the Carolina Panthers are going to remain undefeated through the rest of the regular season. I think they will end up losing eventually though. I think they will lose their playoff game in the NFC Divisional Round.

Gamble of a Lifetime

Today it was announced that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred would be upholding the decision to ban former player and manager Pete Rose. The all-time hit king for the MLB should never be allowed back into the league. During his playing career it was found that he had gambled on games, the MLB could never prove it was on his own team. After his long playing career, the final three seasons as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, he continued to manage the Reds. This all ended in 1989 when the MLB Commissioner at the time, Bart Giamatti, announced a place on the MLB ineligible list. Since that day he has worked to be reinstated but as of today, the 14th of December 2015, he has not shown current commissioner Rob Manfred that he has done enough to change his ways.

His playing career was impressive enough that he should be recognized for it. At some point he should be elected into the Hall of Fame. This could be possible even if he does not ever be reinstated due to the fact that the MLB and HOF are not controlled by the same group. That being said the HOF board did vote to ban the admittance of all players on the permanately ineligible list in 1991. This group only has one member who is alive, Pete Rose, but if anyone has the numbers to make it, he can.

Feeling Blue

Chelsea

Another game, another loss. This has left Stamford Bridge blue for the wrong reasons. For the eighth time in only fifteen chances in the Premier League, Chelsea have lost. This time to Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth. The current Champions now sit at 15 points through as many games which is very unfamiliar territory for the team. This loss leaves them in a staggering 14th place in the league and only 3 points above the relegation zone, the bottom 3 teams in the division at the end of the season get sent down to the league below. At this point last season this same team, almost all the same starters are the same from last year, was just enduring their first loss of the season at the hands of Newcastle United. Now the team that so easily wrapped up the league at the beginning of May is struggling to win more than once in an entire month.

After this most recent loss the owner of Chelsea, Russian Tycoon Roman Abramovich, will have to rethink keeping manager Jose Mourinho in his current position. While Mourinho was been very good through his first two years, in this his second tenure with the team, the tires have completely fallen off this year. The main reason that I believe that he has remained at his post so long this year has been because of the lack of quality managers available. However, at this point in the season with the current record one must wonder if there is any possible way that Mourinho’s team can dig themselves out of this hole. If not then now is the best time to sack (fire) him. This would give a new manager the ebtter part of a month to try out the players on the roster and to make plans for the January transfer window.

In the event that Chelsea decides to sack Mourinho, there are only a few people who I believe would be good fits for the team:

Carlo

The first is former Chelsea manager, 2009-2011, Carlo Ancelotti. The former Chelsea manager has had successful spells at clubs Paris St. Germain (France) and Real Madrid (Spain) since leaving Stamford Bridge. He has been out of a job since being sacked at the end of Real Madrid’s campaign in late May.

Rodgers

The second potential replacement is former Swansea and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. He has been out of a job since being sacked on October 4th. He also has ties to Chelsea, as he was the youth manager from 2004 until he was promoted to reserve manager in 2006. He coached Swansea City to the Premier League, 1st Welsh team to ever play in the league.

Zola

The final person that I believe could be a potential replacement is Gianfranco Zola. The former striker is a Chelsea legend and has said that he would love to coach the team one day. Currently he is coaching Al-Arabi in Saudi Arabia, but he has also taken time to coach at West Ham United (Premier League), Watford (England 2nd Tier), and Cagliari (Italian Serie A).

Due to their ties to Chelsea, and their managerial experiance, these are the top three people I could see replace Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

Dawg Gone

UGA

Fifteen long years. That is how long the University of Georgia had Mark Richt as their head football coach. After the regular season however UGA fired Richt after a 9-3 season. If he ends up coaching and winning the Bowl game that Georgia ends up in then he would add a tenth season out of his fifteen where he led them to a ten win season. I do not think that the firing of Richt was a good idea.

Georgia fired a coach who is a known quantity and are bringing in a coach in Kirby Smart who does not have head coaching experience. While Smart has a history at UGA, was a Defensive Back from 1995-1998 and in 2005 he was back at UGA as the running backs coach. He spent a year in the NFL as the Dolphins safeties coach. Most of his coaching career has been spent under Nick Saban and I think that it could set him up for success. UM

The unsurprising part is that after only three days on the market, Mark Richt already found a new head coaching job. The University of Miami, Richt’s alma mater, landed just the coach that they needed. A coach of his pedigree is just what the Hurricanes needed. After firing Al Golden in October I figured the Hurricanes were going to hire a coordinator who had no experience as a head coach. I could not have imagined that such a good coach with strong ties to the school would ever drop into their lap like this.