New York, NY – Now that the Fourth of July weekend is officially over, it's time to catch on the soccer action that took place this weekend. This past weekend was filled with soccer matches from Major League Soccer (MLS), the North American Soccer League (NASL), the FIFA Women's World Cup, and the Copa America.
The FIFA Women's World Cup is off to a tremendous start over at Germany. The matches have been entertaining and teams such as France, Brazil, Germany, and the United States have demonstrated that they're the teams to beat. Based on the defense and goal scoring production from all four teams, the key to winning the World Cup is going to come down to scoring. While their goalkeepers have played exceptionally well, I believe it's going to be a playmaker who will win the World Cup for their team.
The United States Women's National Team is off to a fantastic start as they've outscored Korea DPR and Columbia by a combined score of 5-0. U.S. WNT goalkeeper Hope Solo has been fantastic in her two shutouts .
While the United States and Japan have been dominant in their team performances, Japan's Homare SAWA and Brazil's Marta have opened the scoring registers for their teams as Homare has scored 3 goals in Japan's victory. Trailing her is the the player who many consider the best female player in the planet, Brazil's Marta. Along with her two goals, Marta also has an assist and there's no evidence that she's going to slow down in this tournament.
While the Women's World Cup has been entertaining, the Copa America 2011 in Argentina has been a complete disappointment. With National teams such as Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Uruguay competing in the tournament. With Latin America's most famous tournament filled with world-class athletes, soccer fans have yet to witness the brilliance of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Neymar, or a Diego Forlan.
After six matches, the only team that has produced a two-goal game was Chile as they defeated Mexico 2-1 on Monday. While the tournament is still in it's early stages, the play overall has simply been rubbish. If I want to watch a series of matches where offenses are sputtering and resulting in draws, then I will continue to follow the New York Red Bulls.
Winners of one match over their past eleven matches, the 5-3-10 New York Red Bulls continues to demonstrate that they're a team who's simply good enough to tie. Concluding their four-game road trip on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes, the Red Bulls had to rally to tie the Earthquakes 2-2.
Leading the way was Joel Lindpere who's brace (two-goal performance) was enough to help prevent the Red Bulls from earning a loss. With Saturday's tie, the Red Bulls continues to trail the Philadelphia Union for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. With their ongoing problems at goalkeeping and the team's inability to hold on to a lead and prevent set piece goals, the Red Bulls are fortunate to be competing in the Eastern Conference.
Over at the Western Conference, you have the L.A. Galaxy, FC Dallas, the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, and defending champions the Colorado Rapids fighting aggressively for not only a playoff spot, but the also the top spot in the Western Conference and in Major League Soccer.
Over at the North American Soccer League, the Carolina RailHawks continue to demonstrate why they indeed maybe the team to beat in the NASL as posted another win on Saturday in a 2-0 win over the Montreal Impact. With the win, the RailHawks have the best record in the NASL with a 12-1-1 record.
Their only loss of the season came against last year's Division-2 Champions, the Puerto Islanders. After going on a four-game winless slump, Islanders have stormed back furiously as they've registered a 3-1-2 record over their past six games. With Monday's 4-3 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks, the Islanders are now in third place in the NASL. With 14 games remaining in the NASL season, the Islanders are in good position to move up in standing while being primed for the post season.
Along with their resurgence of excellent play, Islanders celebrated their 2011 Summer Soccer Clinics at Parque La Merced in Hato Rey where from June 6-10th, the players and coaching staff helped boys and girls from 7-15 years olds enhance their soccer skills while enjoying a good time at the same time. In the last day of June's session, each player and coaching staff wore a funny hat as part of the day of ceremonies where every child in attendance received a certificate of participation.
Before the month of June reached a conclusion, Banco Santander hosted brazilian soccer star Pelé at "La Islandera"–home of the Puerto Rico Islanders. Pelé and the Puerto Rico Islanders spent time with 1,000 kids brought by the Department of Sports and Recreation and then with the winners of Banco Santander's summer contest to meet Pelé.
Following photo-autograph session with Pelé, the Islanders conducted a soccer clinic to 500 kids at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium.
"It was great to meet him. He was very nice to everyone and was willing to take pictures and sign autographs. It felt great when he said: 'I like to take pictures with Champions'", said defender Marco Vélez.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com ; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at [email protected] and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.