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Archive for the ‘Four At The Back’ tag

#15: The Long Goodbye

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The long-awaited but barely anticipated 15th episode of Four At The Back is available now, in which Dan Loney and I talk about the USA/Mexico game, Don Garber‘s decade as Commissioner of Major League Soccer, the just-completed “Summer of Soccer” and the future of our little show.

Who knew Landon Donovan had Swine Flu? Not Dan when we did the show and not me when I took him to task for a poor finish against Mexico. Get well, Landon. And watch out, Grant, that stuff’s contagious.

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August 14th, 2009 at 6:33 am

Programming Note

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Four At The Back is taking some time off.

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July 17th, 2009 at 8:09 am

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Episode #14: Beckham, Gold Cup, Open Cup, SuperLiga

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So is David Beckham really a bad captain and teammate? And what will happen now that he’s due back in the States soon and will return to his contractually-obligated, short-term-stint MLS career next week against the Red Bulls in New York? Dan Loney and I will discuss that and other topics in the latest episode of Four At The Back.

So Landon Donovan called Becks out, then said he wished he hadn’t. Dan’s uncomfortable being in the middle because he likes them both and he has to hear it from both sides and he’s just…so over it already.

The USA’s performance to this point in the Gold Cup, the upcoming semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and the future of SuperLiga are also on the agenda for our 14th episode, which you can download here.

Keep those emails and iTunes reviews and ratings coming, folks. Or leave a comment below. Thanks to those of you who have subscribed lo these many weeks and to those of you who have just discovered the show.

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July 9th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Episode #13 – Confederations Cup, XSL, Book Report and US Open Cup

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Back after a week’s vacation, Dan Loney and I pick up with Episode 13 of Four At the Back by looking at the US Nats’ shocking run to the Confederations Cup final, the potential demise of the Xtreme Soccer League and third-round results in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, plus we talk to soccer historian and author Roger Allaway about his new book, Corner Offices & Corner Kicks.

The XSL’s death (they’re calling it a “one-year hiatus”) would consign it to the indoor soccer mortuary along with the original MISL, the NPSL, the CISL, the EISL, the WISL, the second MISL and the AISL. Fear not, we will still have the NISL and the PASL. What will happen to the XSL teams (including the longest-running pro team in America, the Milwaukee Wave) is stil to be seen.

Allaway’s book looks at the similarities between two American soccer dynasties of very different eras: the New York Cosmos of 1971-84 and Bethlehem Steel FC of 1911-1930. No doubt you’ve heard of the Cosmos, but if you don’t know the story of Bethlehem Steel, you’re missing out on a fascinating chapter of our country’s soccer history. You can order the book through

Here’s where to download the show, subscribe (and rate and review, if you would) the show on iTunes and send us your feedback (either in an email or in the comments below).

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July 3rd, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Back…From Outer Space (or Upper Michigan)

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(Beeg trouble for moose and squirrel.)

So…anything happen while I was gone?

No, seriously. They just got word of V-J Day where I was for the past week.

So let’s catch up:

  • The US made an amazing run in the Confederations Cup. Yes, I know, they got into the semis on a technicality, but they beat Spain and had Brazil (BRAZIL) on the ropes. Does this mean that all is well with the US Nats? No, of course not. Nobody in their right mind is saying that, just stupid bloggers and Bigsoccer posters who like strawmen. But it does prove that, every once in a while, the US can put together a magical performance. Maybe they wouldn’t be quite as magical if we did them all the time. But just enjoy it, okay? We beat the #1 team in the world and had the new #1 team in the world on the ropes for 45 minutes. We’re getting there.
  • Michael Jackson‘s death was, like him, odd. The worship we’ve been seeing, which seems to sweep the last dozen years or so under the rug, is probably not so unexpected. I wonder what we’ll do as a society when OJ dies. Will we remember him as the great running back and charismatic actor and pitchman?
  • The XSL is going to announce a “hiatus” tomorrow, but it’s really dead. That’s unfortunate, but if it gets us closer to having one unified indoor soccer league, it’s a net positive. As hard as this sport tries to kill itself, it always seems to hang around.
  • USL teams went 3-3-2 (advancing in four of eight matchups) against MLS teams in Round 3 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. While USL teams are closing the gap, MLS teams, by and large, don’t care. Only 25 of the 88 starters the eight MLS teams trotted out for their third-round matches had even played half of their teams’ league minutes this season. Half of the goalkeepers hadn’t even played one league minute. The average was about 32%. And three of the four MLS teams that were eliminated had just come off playing three games in eight days in SuperLiga. Not at all surprising.
  • We’re scheduled to have my man Roger Allaway, author of Corner Offices & Corner Kicks, a fascinating new book about the Fall River Marksmen and New York Cosmos, as our guest on Four At The Back this week. Hopefully that’ll be available tomorrow.

I had other things I was going to say, but hell if I can remember them now. I need caffeine.

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July 2nd, 2009 at 9:07 am

Extra #2: Shep Messing En Toto

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Just our luck – the US pulls off a miracle, and we’re going to be on vacation this week. So no new Four At The Back this time around (sorry), but on the second Four At The Back Extra, we bring you our entire interview with former star goalkeeper and current star analyst Shep Messing.

Even if you heard the original show, you will want to listen to this one. Did you know the Cosmos went on strike in 1976? Did you know Shep’s book could one day be a movie? Did you ever hear the story about match-fixing in the NASL? It’s all here. Give it a listen.

Thanks to all of you who have found our little show since we started it three months ago. Our audience is small, but apparently none too bright (kidding, we love you). We’ll be back next week. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to subscribe on iTunes and/or give us a rating or a review. We appreciate it. Keep those cards and letters coming.

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June 24th, 2009 at 9:00 am

Episode #12: Slammed in South Africa, Rossi, USL-1 and Mount Rushmore Revisited

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The plight of the National Team, branding Giuseppe Rossi a traitor, the top team in USL-1 and Mount Rushmore redux are the topics on this week’s episode of Four At The Back.

Dan Loney and I look at the first two games of the Confederations Cup for the US and ask “What’s next?” Also, Andrew Bell of the Charleston Battery and Fox Soccer Channel’s USL-1 broadcasts stops by to talk about his top-of-the-table team and its upcoming US Open Cup challenge. And we look at reaction to last week‘s question, “Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore of American soccer?”

Download the show, subscribe (and rate and review, if you would) the show on iTunes and send us your feedback (either in an email or in the comments below).

EDIT: Between the time we recorded Andrew Bell’s interview and this show dropped, Charleston did suffer its first loss, 1-0 at Puerto Rico, on Thursday night. They still lead USL-1 by a point over Carolina, who has a game in hand.

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June 18th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Episode #11: WPS, Open Cup, the Nats and Mount Rushmore

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Josh Hakala from and Rob Penner from WPS are our guests on Episode #11 of Four At The Back. We also talk about the US Men’s National Team’s qualifier against Honduras and their prospects in the upcoming Confederations Cup, and, just for fun, ask “Who’s on your Mount Rushmore of American soccer?”

Download the show, subscribe (and rate and review, if you would) the show on iTunes and send us your feedback (either in an email or in the comments below).

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June 12th, 2009 at 6:35 am

Episode #10: US Nats, Subbuteo, Beckham and More

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Falling between World Cup qualifiers, episode #10 of Four At The Back features discussion of the US Nats’ loss in Costa Rica and a look ahead to the game with Honduras. Also, the best subbuteo player in the country, Zach Walker, is our guest (visit the American Subbuteo Association to find out more about this fun game). We’ll also talk about Toronto FC’s upcoming friendly with Real Madrid and Dan gets his David Beckham hate on.

Download the show, subscribe (and rate and review, if you would) the show on iTunes and send us your feedback (either in an email or in the comments below).

Also, many thanks to Brian Lewis of the New York Post for giving us some love in his soccer blog about last week’s interview with Shep Messing.

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June 4th, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Four At The Back – Episode 9

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Shep Messing is our guest on the latest episode of Four At The Back (sorry it took an extra day to get it online – but, hey, you’re not paying for it, so simmer down). We also discuss the US National Team’s upcoming busy summer and ask what can be done about the US Open Cup?

Shep shares his insight on this year’s New York Red Bulls team, the sad history of MLS’ New Jersey/New York franchise and the glory days of the Cosmos in Episode 9.

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May 30th, 2009 at 6:56 pm