Fear not, dear friends! World Cup soccer is back with a single game, but what a game it is. More on that later, closer to kickoff. For now, start your day with your morning kick of freedom.
Vote now for 2014 AT&T MLS Goal of the Week: Week 17 | MLSsoccer.com
Lookin' good here, too, Nicky.
Vote now for MLS Save of the Week: Week 17 | MLSsoccer.com
We see you there, Bill Hamid.
World Cup 2018: Can Fox match ESPN? | SI.com
Richard Deitsch asks the question we've all answered in our minds. No. The answer is no. And even if Fox does somehow get their act together, it won't matter all that much ratings-wise, as games will be kicking off early in the morning instead of the primo timeslots ESPN has to work with in Brazil.
Nil-ism In America: When You Stare At The Pitch, The Pitch Stares Back | NPR
With all the debate about American play-by-play callers versus their British counterparts, there's a lot of focus on vocabulary. NPR gets into the game by looking at the encroachment of "nil" onto American shores. Listen for the cameo from your favorite PxP guy and mine, Dave "It's in the net!" Johnson.
Neymar's cultural significance to Brazil transcends soccer, World Cup | SI.com
Neymar's injury isn't just a big deal on the field for a Seleção; he's basically the physical embodiment of the country.
Four key matchups of the 2014 World Cup semifinals | ESPN FC
Michael Cox (he of Zonal Marking fame) gives a little scouting report, focusing on the big battles to watch today and tomorrow.
Alfredo Di Stefano the foundation on which Real Madrid's success stands | SI.com
Sad news yesterday, as a legend of the game passed away. Di Stefano won five consecutive European Cups and - depending on who you believe - single-handedly created the juggernaut that is los Merengues today.
Did SKC's Dwyer deserve a yellow for taking selfie? | The Blue Testament
Back Stateside, and I'm not gonna lie - I enjoyed this celebration. It's also ironic that the referee gave Dwyer a yellow for it, only for the league to plaster the selfie (and meta-photos of the selfie) all over its own website. My take on the card: unless it's somehow demeaning to the other team or takes up an inordinate amount of time, go easy on disciplining goal celebrations. This is a game, after all. Fun is good.
David Beckham group expected to meet with Broward County about stadium | World Cup | Soccer - MiamiHerald.com
Broward County: they know they weren't one of the first five or six options, but they're just happy to be getting buzz. Welcome to the Everglades, Team Goldenballs!
City of Orlando plans for soccer stadium are thwarted by a church | ESPN The Magazine - ESPN
One writer gets a little bit preachy (no pun intended... okay, maybe a little) about eminent domain, using Orlando City SC's stadium plan as a vehicle. I share for the "stadium news" angle and won't enter the debate myself, but I will note that any discussion on the merits of public-vs-private good in this context has to at least mention the Kelo v. City of New London case or I can't really take it seriously.
How come ‘best league in the world’ has hardly featured at Brazil 2014? | The Guardian
And finally, Oscar isn't just Brazil's last hope for glory this summer. He might be England's too (unless Mesut Oezil shows up). Flippant comments aside, there are some interesting stats here, and the conclusion - that the Premier League's penchant for buying fully developed players and running them into the ground isn't really consistent with international tournaments - is actually one most English managers would probably agree with, not that they're bothered by it.
Let us know in the comments what's on your mind today. Welcome to the open thread.