Top Stories

Morning Ticker: FIFA makes Olympic ruling, Dynamo downs Pachuca and Real Madrid close in on midfielder


Good morning all. Lots to get into today so let’s get started:

FIFA judge rules that clubs must release U-23 players

If you were ready to go buy some tickets after receiving word on Tuesday that Lionel Messi would be making the trip with Barcelona to the United States you might want to hold off for a bit.

A FIFA judge has ruled that clubs must release Under-23 players for the Olympics, a ruling that affects Messi and Brazilians Diego and Rafinha. All three were being held back by their respective clubs.

What next? The case will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which will have the final say. I wouldn’t bet on the court ruling against FIFA.

Dynamo downs Pachuca in SuperLiga semifinals

Second-half goals from Bobby Boswell and Corey Ashe helped the Houston Dynamo topple Mexican powerhouse and reigning SuperLiga champion Pachuca, 2-0, in SuperLiga semifinal action at Robertson Stadium on Tuesday night.

Pachuca looked to have taken the lead in the second half only to have a goal incorrectly ruled offside. Rather than overcome the bad call, Pachuca let up in a game it was beginning to dominate, opening the door for the Dynamo to take over.

Houston will now face the winner of tonight’s SuperLiga semifinal between the New England Revolution and Atlante in the SuperLiga final.

Real Madrid closes in on Van Der Vaart

In what may be a sign that Real Madrid is ready to give up on its quest for Cristiano Ronaldo, the Spanish champions are closing in on signing Hamburg playmaker Rafael Van Der Vaart. Not a bad consolation prize, is it?

Van Der Vaart has been a star in the Bundesliga for years and has a good understanding with Dutch national teammate Wesley Snjeider, who he would be united with in the Real Madrid midfield.

Does this really mean Real Madrid’s hunt for Ronaldo is over? I doubt that. Ramon Calderon won’t give up that fight any time soon.

What do you think of the FIFA ruling? Will it hold up? Does Houston look poised to win SuperLiga? Was Pachuca robbed? Is Van Der Vaart going to make Real Madrid better?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Houston dominated the first half. They were kicking themselves for not going up a goal in the first half. I recall the announcers making a similar observation.

    HSV already told Madrid that their offer was insulting. I’m not sure why they think they are going to change their mind. It’s going to take at least 12 million Euros to land him I’d bet.

  2. Steve,

    You are correct but they are only forcing them to to release the U-23 players. The 3 over 23 players are screwed if they play for a club in the big European four leagues.

    Plus what do you think the repercussions are for the non Messi’s, ie average squad player on a club, who wants to represent his country and goes aganist his clubs wishes?

    The Olympics are a once in a life time oppurtunity. Everyone should be free to go without one word being said to them about it. Just to walk in the opening ceremonies and represent your country is worth more then 10 Champions leagues finals.

    NOW- look at all the crap the U.S. press gives the NBA about not wanting to release players for Bejing. The europeans look like idiots for what they are doing. They can stop harping on Americans about greed and look into the mirror. They could even have- GOD FORBID- delayed the seasons start by 2 weeks.

    The whole thing stinks of the mafia that is FIFA.

  3. Steve, regarding your comments that Euro clubs should realize that if they decide to buy players that are from countries outside of Europe that they’ll need to let them go when those other regions have tournaments, this is not just non-Euopean players going to the Olympics. Teams with young Italian, Serbian, Dutch and Belgian players will be missing them for the Olympics as well. Fiorentina will be missing possibly 3 important players durring this time – Italians Montolivo (their playmaker), Osvaldo (important backup striker) and Serbian Kuzmanovic (sometimes starting midfielder). And they’ll be missing these players when they have CL qualifiers. Now its not known who Fiorentina will play against (could be a weak team, or it could end up being a strong team like Athetico Madrid), but its not right that a club has to give up important players when they’re knock out matches to be played. Now I believe that representing your country in tournaments is important (I’m actually country before club) but think it’s stupid that FIFA, if they want U23 players to be at the Olympics, didn’t make the Olympics a window in which club matches don’t get played.

  4. Thom,

    While I understand and sympathize with your attitude, you should probably re-read the post: FIFA are the ones forcing the clubs to release the players so they can go to the Olympics.

  5. The offside call was close. I’m not sure I agree it was a bad call. Those calls go either way, so I don’t think you can call the Dynamo lucky. They won convincingly in the end.

  6. I hate FIFA. The only reason they put up a stink about this is because the don’t have their hand in the olympic money pot. Believeme- if they were making a dime off this everyone and their mothers would be forced to go.

    Jack Warner + Seth Bladder(I like this spelling better) = black souls

    Platini will soon be on their level as well.

  7. When Mexican players say that they played a better game, it means they danced around flat-footed US midfielders until losing the ball at the edge of the box because they didn’t or wouldn’t pass it to an open teammate for a tap in.

    US players don’t talk about playing a better game… They win.

  8. It’s like a broken record — whenever a Mexican team loses to an American team, the excuses start flowing immediately: it was the refs, it was racism, it was the pitch, the weather, etc. get over yourselves mexico! maybe the gringos finally learned how to play futbol….

  9. Hamburg might actually be a decent place for Michael Bradley to go… I think he’d fit in reasonably well with the Bundesliga’s style of play.

  10. kpugs, I’m definitely American, and I’m always a fan of the US National team first and foremost.

    I have no connection with the Netherlands other than simply loving the way they play the game.

  11. “instead I’ll just advise silent e and hoyanick learn out to read.” – kpugs

    I advise you learn how to craft a legitimate sentence; then, if you are capable, read the following comment by Ives:

    “Guys, didn’t mean to imply Pachuca dominated the whole match (and yes, I did originally write ‘dominate’). They were beginning to dominate. That said, I definitely didn’t see a first half dominated by Houston. The first half was pretty even, with a slight edge to Houston.”

    In other words, Ives edited the post and then our comments became superfluous.

  12. I love hearing in the game recap that one of the Pachuca players thought they played better but still lost. It’s like a broken record, that same old refrain from Mexican national and club teams. When will they realize there’s more than one way to play soccer (not just short passing and combinations) and that winning isn’t just about who can connect the most passes. You also have to tackle, finish, etc.

  13. Pachuca suffered a very late, questionable handball call that resulted in a penalty which essentially decided their game against the Revs. Then they get robbed of a go ahead goal in the semi finals on a bad offsides call.

    These calls happen all the time and happen to every team, but when the same team gets a string of these calls against them in a short period of time, in the same tournament, against MLS teams, on the road it can feel like a fix was made.

    However, often times teams will forget that sometimes these calls do go there way. For instance, the Revs had an early goal against Pachuca called back on a questionable offsides call. In the end, it is easier to remember the calls that go against you than the ones that go your way. Especially in the heat of the moment.

  14. Never did understand the hype about VdV. I know he’s good, but nowhere near the same class as CR. Class meaning playing ability and not sportsmanship, because CR is one of the biggest divers and whiners around.

  15. I only watched the first half and thought Houston was out pacing and much more physical then Pachuca (which might have been expected).

    Any info on why Jimenez (sp?) was abscent? (he’s their extremely talented playmaking midfielder)

  16. cat in the Hat..

    Is just You……….. Ives Houston dominated first half. You said it yourself, “The first half was pretty even, with a slight edge to Houston”.. That mean’s Houston dominated.

    But if Pachuca goal would of count i do not know how Houston would of reacted. Also Pachuca could of score like 3 clear goals in those 20 min in the second half the dominated.

    But what about them being Sore losers. Well they ever lose and walk away, with their chins up……. sore losers.

  17. I apologize for my previous meanness, instead I’ll just advise silent e and hoyanick learn out to read.

    Out of curiosity jrnail23, are you Dutch? Or American?

  18. Dynamo fans – as a neutral MLS fan who will always root for the MLS teams against international competiation I think IVes asessemtn was fair. Houston was the better team in teh first half but not the way Pachuca was to begin the second half. Looked liek men among boys for a whiel there and I was wearing my ‘Here we go again face’.

    Tha being said Congrats and I hope your boys can carry this confidence over to the CCL this fall when there will be less excuses available to those sout of the border. The gap is closing on the club tema level as it has alrecy more than done at the National team level. (Cue said excuses)

    As for the club v. country thing its time for European clubs to wake up and accept that when you sign talent from regions other than Europe that there will be calendar conflicts and that is part of the package you’re buying.

  19. As a fan of the Dutch national team, I love the Van Der Vaart move to Madrid.

    Now they’ll have Ruud, Sneijder, Robben, Drenthe, and Van Der Vaart all playing together.

  20. Wow, so Real Madrid see Van Der Vaart as a worthy replacement for Ronaldo? Totally different players with different styles. Van Der Vaart has tried to get away from Hamburg for a number of years, and from what I’ve seen of him I think he’s two classes below Ronaldo. But there’s not much out there in the market.

  21. I would say that the home team(s) seam to get the benefit of a doubt when it comes to officiating regardless of sport or competition. I think the idea of bias officiating would be reversed if any matches in SuperLiga were played in Mexico.

  22. I have not seen all the superliga games but the officiating has been bad both ways in the games I have seen. I only caught the last 15 minutes of last nights game but it seemed like he was letting the players play.

  23. Pachuca goes up 1-0 and it’s a totally different game, they got robbed and it’s a shame on the officials. Is it just me or has anyone else seen a bias toward the MLS teams in this tournament?

  24. Guys, didn’t mean to imply Pachuca dominated the whole match (and yes, I did originally write ‘dominate’). They were beginning to dominate. That said, I definitely didn’t see a first half dominated by Houston. The first half was pretty even, with a slight edge to Houston.

  25. Ives–was Pachuca dominating the game? No. Were they dominating the 10-15 minutes prior to the incorrectly called back goal? Yes. But the Dynamo had dominated the first half.


Leave a Comment