We'll have very little MLS regular season action over the next two weeks and no league games for the Fire until July 2 but there will be plenty of soccer to occupy our time. The World Cup begins tomorrow with Brazil taking on Croatia at 3pm (ESPN). The greatest sports tournament in the world (you can have your NCAA March Madness) will provide soccer everyday from June 12 until June 26 when the group stage matches are completed. Here's the complete TV schedule.
If that's not enough for you here's a list of things to check out related to the World Cup that will certainly provide some entertainment as feast on international soccer overload:
There are several new good reads out there. One such book provides an inside look at the qualification process for numerous nations. What makes James Montague's "Thirty-One Nil" interesting is that it doesn't just feature stories about the big teams like Brazil, Germany, Spain, etc. Instead he visits countries like Haiti, Egypt, Mozambique, and Samoa and gives a first hand account of what it's like to partake in the less glamorous attempts at qualification around the globe. The title is based on a 31-0 pasting suffered by American Samoa at the hands of Australia in 2001.
If you're lucky enough to be traveling down to Brazil for the World Cup and aren't fluent in Portugese, the Party Brazil Phrasebook provides quick translations and tips to getting around in the host country. Full of references to just about everything you'd need from travel, slang, night life, and drinks, it even includes a chapter called "Love Is In The Air" which will guide you through the do's and don'ts of extracurricular activities in Brazil. I couldn't find a translation for "unfinished stadium" though.
This link will get you to an excellent article on the rise and fall of Chuck Blazer. A man who helped build up soccer in the United States but apparently took advantage of every possible angle to line his own pockets. There's some shady stuff going on in and around FIFA.
One book that has nothing to do with the World Cup is worth a look anyway. "I Am Zlatan" is exactly what the title says, an autobiographical look at one of the planet's top footballers. It's a shame he won't be participating in the tournament because he's such an entertaining character.
Want to try and get the US out of the group stage after you're done cursing another loss to Ghana? There's always the World Cup version of FIFA14.....EA Sports' latest soccer game.
And......Hop into the Fire Confidential bracket challenge over at MLSsoccer.com. The league name is "Fire Confidential".
- The team is off for most of this week but they'll be back in action next Wednesday in the fourth round of the US Open Cup. The Fire will face Collins John and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on June 18 at Toyota Park.
- Gonzalo Segares had surgery yesterday to remove a bone spur in his right ankle. We may not see him back until mid July.