It’s Been Fun; Thanks for Reading


This has been coming for several months now—as you could probably tell from the steep dropoff in posts here—and today it’s official: After three and a half years, 1,091 posts, and untold thousands of misplaced modifiers, wrongheaded opinions, and factual errors, we are shutting down the Backpost.

We launched this site in late 2009 with three purposes in mind. One was to get our writing out there, in hopes of landing a gig at a bigger site such as MLSSoccer. The others were to provide a forum for more irreverent stuff that wouldn’t necessarily fit in at a mainstream site, and to simply create an outlet for our ongoing soccer jones.

Well, we’ve checked off all three boxes, and since we’ve recently expanded our role at the day job while also taking on more freelance work, there’s just no room left for the Backpost.

But it’s been fun—we especially enjoyed doing this, this and this, among many others—and we send a sincere thanks to everyone who happened by, and a double dose of gratitude to those who made regular trips.

Your attention was much appreciated. Please keep reading our stuff over at the MLS site and follow us on Twitter at @JohnEM12.

Thanks again,


Run-DMB Hits 100 with USMNT

Forget for a moment the fact that the US’s weak performance against Belgium in Cleveland yesterday does not bode well for their meeting with Germany on Sunday—not to mention their trio of pivotal World Cup qualifiers in early June (against Jamaica, Panama, and Honduras).

Let’s just ignore that for a few minutes, along with the increasing evidence that Jurgen Klinsmann is not a very good soccer coach.

Instead, let’s pause to celebrate DaMarcus Beasley, the 31-year-old Puebla midfielder who made his 100th appearance for the US last night.

Here is the wiry speedster, looking back:

Beasley, who won the Silver Ball at the 1999 U-17 World Cup, finishing right behind Golden Ball winner Landon Donovan in the voting, may have more to give to the USMNT. He told the MLS website yesterday that he’s still fighting for a spot in meaningful games: “I’m going to push the young guys to make them push me out of the lineup again.”

Some 20 friends and family members were on hand to cheer the Fort Wayne, Ind., native as he hit the century mark, becoming just the 13th player in US soccer history to reach the milestone.

BPFL Week 38: The Final Recap

BPFL Subbuteo


Ladies and gentlemen, Co-commissioner MGlo is here with the last roundup for the Backpost Fantasy League. Take it away, champ:

I am writing this while listening to Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions.’ It is a fitting song to a worthy champion, if I may say so myself. Yes, after 38 excruciating Gameweeks, my Old27m squad has finally conquered the Backpost Fantasy League. It was a tough go, but in the end I walked away comfortably with the trophy held aloft. At my recent press conference I was asked about my season. Below are some excerpts.

Jim White, Sky Sports: Clearly you were the class of the league. How did the season go for you? And when did you know you had the title won?

Me: Well Jim, it was a long hard haul. I ended up making 43 transfers and using both wildcards, but unlike seasons past, I pretty much knew the changes I was going to make heading into each Gameweek and refused to second guess myself. But even still, the anxiety caused each week was almost unbearable.

As far as having the title won, that didn’t really come until Week 32. Colorado Keeper was hot on my tail and I couldn’t shake him. He was two points back and then four points back. But in Gameweek 32 I won and he lost and that started a three game losing streak for him. By Gameweek 34 I was ahead by ten points and could breathe easier. I still wasn’t comfortable until I got that win in Gameweek 35 though.

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport: Mike, who would you say was your player of the season?

Me: Good question Phil, and hard to answer. Clearly Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Michu and Gareth Bale performed big-time for me this season, especially when they wore the captain’s armband. But I would have to say it was the supporting cast that helped me to victory and for that thanks has to go to the likes of Rickie Lambert, Christian Benteke, Ben Davies and an assortment of others who showed they belonged in the team when picked for the first string.

Barry Glendenning, the Guardian: Was there one particular player who let you down this season?

Me: Unfortunately there was, Barry. That would have to be Rafael. Either he was rested and Manchester United earned a clean sheet or he was getting cards or hitting the post, which could have cost me in the end. It was very frustrating!

Georgie Thompson, Sky Sports: As the most attractive manager in the Backpost Fantasy League, what are your plans for the future?

{For those of you following at home, judge for yourself: SRalston

Me: Thank you Georgie. Well, having led the Backpost League for the entire season, and having just come off a second Championship in the PPifa, I won’t be resting on my laurels. I am hoping to dominate these competitions for years. However, for the immediate future I would be more than happy to have a drink with you.

So there you have it. Colorado Keeper finished in second place, 10 points behind. Rise* of FC Hammer stole third place from Disgruntled Numpties as the former won and the latter lost on the last day of the campaign.

The average team embarrassingly finished fifth, which meant nine teams were below average.

That includes I Am Liverpool—who could only manage the sixth spot.

Thanks, commish. And congrats! Thanks for playing, everyone.

With Nine Games Still Remaining in the Round, the MLS Goal of the Week Competition Is Over

Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry shut down the balloting for the week (and maybe the year) with this stunner:

The 88th-minute golazo put New York up 2-0 on Montreal, but of course, these being the Red Bulls, they gave up a goal to Marco Di Vaio in stoppage time, and then nearly blew Henry’s masterpiece a minute later, when Di Vaio hit both posts with a shot inside the box.

The former Serie A goal poacher was ruled offside, dubiously, and the ball just stayed out, enabling the Red Bulls (6-4-2) to hold on for a 2-1 win that lifted them into a tie with Houston atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Your Belated, Penultimate BPFL Recap of 2013

BPFL Subbuteo

Co-commissioner Our Man at the Valley filed this last week, and we—per recent S.O.P.—are a little late getting to it. But the season is winding down, and Old27M was on the cusp of the title heading into this past weekend. OMATV has the details:

The BFPL is bearing a strong relationship to the EPL these days. Most clubs are simply playing out the final games of an unremarkable season. Any intrigue in the title race has been absent for what seems like half the season. A couple of clubs are fighting it out for some minor silverware. And Luis Suarez is hungry.

A victory this week against Average will hand the BFPL title to Old27M, though it seems like it’s been in his grasp since early January. He tripped up at the weekend, beaten by last year’s champion Rise*of FC Hammer, but still holds a 10-point lead over second-place Colorado Keeper.

Old27M has had a fine season, recovering well from missing out on a Top 10 finish last year. This campaign has seen him rise to the top 3,000 in the overall ranking, and the top 100 in the USA. Though he might complain a bit too much in his writeups he will be a worthy champion once he locks in one more victory. Congratulations to him.

The Backpost League Cup went to Sporting de Dijon, a 38-31 winner over my Disgruntled Numpties a few weeks back. Rickie Lambert’s assist and bonus points made the difference for the new father from East London. Now doubt he celebrated by running to the corner post, rocking an imaginary baby and eating a couple of real meat pies that he had hidden in his socks.

My co-commissioner will post the final writeup in a few weeks. I hope you all enjoy the offseason. Hopefully you won’t be attacked by any teenage wizards.

Thanks OMATV, and well done Old27M.

These Are Actual Professional Players Messi Is Making Look Like Practice Cones Here

The incomparable Lionel Messi was at it again this past weekend, making Atletico Bilbao defenders look like Washington General–style accomplices in his showmanship en route to Barcelona’s first goal in a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Take a look:

As Prison Mike said, he makes stuff like this look too easy.

Sidenote: There’s a clip of this floating around with beIN Sports’ Ray Hudson doing the commentary, and we gotta say, the former Miami Fusion and D.C. United coach may have jumped the shark when it comes to broadcasting Messi brilliance.

His way over-the-top response—with phrases like “he emasculates them individually, collectively!” and “he disperses his atoms to one side of his body…!”—actually detracts from the sensational action on display.

Tamp it down a bit, Ray. You’re getting in the way.

Van Persie vs Wolyniec

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie scored three goals yesterday to lift his team to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa (and U.S. keeper Brad Guzan) that clinched the club’s 20th English championship.

His second was a beauty:

The full volley into the far corner, off of a pass from distance, kind of reminded us of MetroBull striker John Wolyniec’s overtime winner against Columbus in 2003:

Which one is better?

The MLS man was closer to goal, but the pass he had to deal with was longer. It was also an overtime winner.

Both players hit the ball absolutely on the screws, but RVP’s degree of difficulty to get it on frame was greater, and he pocketed it right in the corner.

Advantage: RVP, by a nose.

U.S. U-17s, Coach Richie Williams, Make the Wrong Kind of History

Former MLS midfielder Richie Williams and his U.S. U-17 charges lost 3-1 to Honduras in the CONCACAF Championship quarterfinals on Sunday evening in Panama City.

The defeat denied the team a berth in the 2013 U-17 World Cup, and made them the first U.S. U-17 side ever to fail to reach the World Cup, a string of 15 straight appearances dating to 1985.

The Americans came into the match as heavy favorites, but after Honduras broke a 1-1 tie with two goals early in the second half, the U.S. could not recover, and their World Cup dream evaporated.

Highlights here:

This is the third disappointing result for a U.S. youth team in the past three years, following the 2011 U-20 team’s failure to reach their World Cup, and the U-23’s inability to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

U.S. U-17s Edge Guatemala, Advance to Do-Or-Die Game with Honduras

On a patchy field in Panama City, the U.S. U-17 national team got a 49th-minute goal from midfielder Corey Baird and made it stand up for a 1-0 win over Guatemala in the Americans’ second game of the CONCACAF U-17 Championships.

Check out the highlights, which include some quality wing play from Rubio Rubin, and a sweet piece of skill (at the 1:56 mark) by newcomer Joel Sonora, a Boca Juniors Academy product who made his first start for the U.S. U-17s:

The victory handed the Group C title to the U.S., who defeated Haiti 3-0 in their opener on April 7 behind two goals from Red Bulls Academy player Christopher Lema.

The Yanks now move on to face Group D runner-up Honduras on Sunday (6:00 pm ET, Fox Soccer) with a berth in this fall’s U-17 World Cup on the line.

If the Americans win, they’ll advance the CONCACAF semifinals as well as to the nation’s 15th consecutive U-17 World Cup, with this year’s edition being held in the United Arab Emirates from October 18 to November 8.