Happy Monday Mane Landers! It's hard to believe that the 2015 MLS Season is officially over. Portland's exciting win over Columbus was hard-fought and not free of controversy. Coincidentally, that would be the theme for today's lion links: controversy. So let's get on with it, shall we?
Portland Timbers Win 2015 MLS CUP
As a transplanted Portlander, nothing gave me greater joy than to see my hometown Portland Timbers take the win on the road last evening in Columbus. The game was exciting from the start, with the first goal coming from Diego Valeri 27 seconds into the game, the fastest in MLS Cup history. The rest of the game was just as crazy with controversial refereeing, goalkeeper errors, and numerous goal-line replays. To make sure you know it all, we get the winners' perspective from Stumptown Footy and Massive Report gives us the low-down from the Columbus Crew camp. As the season draws to a close on this 2015 MLS season, don't worry the off-season will be a busy one and you can check out the schedule of events right here and you should mark your calendar that MLS 2016 preseason starts Jan. 22, 2016.
FIFA Controversy: Sepp Blatter Implicated
Despite FIFA President Sepp Blatter's current 90-day suspension and the looming ethics investigation, the leader of the world's governing body of soccer has stayed silent on any wrongdoing, and has always denied involvement in the bribery scandal which alleges that $10 million changed hands for promotion and broadcast rights to the upcoming 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Breaking news from the BBC's investigative news program Panorama now reveals that the FBI is now focusing attention on statements from former FIFA President Joao Havelange, which directly implicates Sepp Blatter with "full knowledge of all activities," the BBC reports.
Meanwhile, in Bizarro-land, David Beckham has decided to weigh in on the controversial 2022 Qatari World Cup bid saying that the games should go on. Maybe Becks suddenly feels empowered now that he is finally on his road to his own bid, which was not short on controversy.
USWNT Turf Controversy
This weekend the 2015 World Cup Champion U.S. Women's National Team had a major blow when Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe went down with a torn ACL during training. Immediately afterward, amid comments from players on Twitter and photos of the damaged turf surface at Aloha Stadium, U.S. Soccer called off the game. This has escalated quickly as very bad press for U.S. Soccer's treatment of the USWNT. This article is titled "U.S. Soccer Doesn't Care Enough About the Women's National Team," pointing out that the last time the U.S. women played in the Alamodome, the site of Thursday's upcoming scheduled match in San Antonio, that Australian player Kyah Simon tore her ACL 27 seconds into the game.
The U.S. Men, however, played a friendly in April and had fresh sod laid down over the turf. Stars and Stripes FC calls the discrepancy "blatant sexism," and, with the fact that there is a protocol for evaluating playing surfaces for men in advance but no such thing exists for women, that this is a problem in need of discussion and immediate action by U.S. Soccer. The team also weighed in on it.
Orlando Pride's Alex Morgan was quoted by Fox Sports on the issue, saying:
"The training grounds that we were given and the playing surface of the stadium were horrible. I think it's hard because no one's really going to protect us but ourselves. So we're put in a very hard position because obviously we want to play in front of these fans and we want to train before the game but injuries happen when you don't protect yourself and when you're not protected from those higher up from you."
Penn State Women Win National Collegiate Cup
Portland wasn't the only team that won a trophy yesterday. The Penn State women's soccer team managed to knock off Duke 1-0 in the College Cup final in Cary, NC. The Nittany Lions take home their first collegiate title and it caps off a sensational journey for game-winner Raquel Rodiguez who made her debut for Costa Rica at this year's FIFA Women's World Cup, and now brings home the title for a college program that she took a risk on when she left home four years ago.
That's it for today Mane Landers, fingers crossed for a non-controversial Monday but before I say goodbye to controversy, take a look at this video and let me know what you think of the goalkeeper's actions in the poll or comments.