Sunday, June 27, 2010

Got soccer redux?

Boo hoo, America lost in the knockout round of the World Cup. Yawn. We scored once all game, on a penalty kick.

Ghana's second goal was a wicked shot, the best I've seen in the tourney so far. Beautiful kicks like that are few and far between because scoring in soccer is so hard, especially with defenders hanging on you every step.

It's almost impossible to get "space" in the box. The scorer in overtime created a tiny bit of space and made a superb shot.

If you get a step on the defenders, they'll take you down. And half the strikers cowardly take a dive in traffic trying to get a free kick.

Soccer needs scoring. It needs fixing.

The Americans could help out here. FIFA should borrow rules and procedures from the NHL, NBA and NFL.

Every goal in soccer is suspect because of the archaic, stifling offsides rule. Make offsides only be dependent upon no one being offsides when the ball first crosses midfield (the blue line in hockey).

Then strikers could spread out and get open. Teams would have to make choices in defending their end.

To ensure that two strikers don't hang out bracketing the goalie, have a three second rule in the box like in the NBA. We love those riveting nil-nil games after all.

Soccer is so boring because of all that backwards passing, often all the way back to the goalie. The rest of the world slowly passes the ball back 75 yards to try to advance it 90 yards into the scoring zone.

This is trying to get a head start, I guess. You know, like a quarterback taking a snap at midfield and running back to the 10 to try to throw a bomb.

To keep movement mostly being progressive, institute the backcourt and icing rules from basketball and hockey. No passes backwards past midfield once the ball on offense has entered the box unless it has been lost in the interim, or else the other team gets a free kick at the spot the ball was touched by the offending team (always at least 10 yards outside the penalty area regardless). No backwards passing series past two lines anyways, to eliminate all that boring back-to-the-goalie stuff.

When a player gets fouled, give a free kick from there but tack on 15 yards (move the ball closer). Why let the defense use fouling, and the resultant free kicks from the point of the foul, as a chance for the defense to catch up and reset.

Keep the game time on the scoreboard clock, and have it stop during all that "stoppage" time when players are writhing on the ground after receiving phantom hits. When the period is over, that's it.

This will give sponsors the ability to have TV timeouts. There is no 45-minute-long continuous flow to soccer, that's a ridiculous notion.

Change the asinine rule (which is hard to determine) that the ball is scored, or dead, only when it completely crosses the line. Adopt the NFL's break-the-plane rule.

And for sure, have the FIFA commish assess fines each week after reviewing game tapes for flopping, unseemly unwarranted writhing, peacock strutting after gooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaals, clothes-grabbing and bad fouling. Soccer sucks the way it is now.

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