TAKING OVER THE WORLD'S GAME

Lance Zierlein: The World Cup and ugly Americans know how to "fix" soccer

Hey guys, let's fix soccer. Victor Araiza

Americans love them some America. Whatever we do is the best. Don’t believe it? Just ask us. We expect you to speak our language (even in your country) and many Americans would just as soon eat at a McDonalds abroad than than eating the local cuisine. I know, I know….not everyone is like that but there are enough to make that generalization and have it stick.

When it comes to sports, we are even worse. We rule and you suck because we have American football. We aren’t really into the World Baseball Classic like the Latin American countries and we barely even lift our heads when the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team ends up playing abroad - even in the Olympics. As a country, we tend to like things when they are on our terms when it comes to sports.

When it comes to the World Cup, there appears to be a growing number of American fans who are following matches irrespective of the lack of U.S. representation in the event. I’ve been all-in with the World Cup since 1998. I love the passion and I love the tension that builds during each match. I watch as many World Cup matches as a I can every four years and I wouldn’t change a thing, but you just know that there are a couple of Americans in a bar every night trying to make soccer “more watchable.”

“I KNOW WHAT WILL MAKE SOCCER BETTER”

Guy 1: Are you watching the soccer thing at all?

Guy 2: I’ve seen it when I flipped channels but it’s just too boring for me.

Guy 1: I’m the same way! There just isn’t enough scoring. If they had more scoring, I might watch.

Guy 2: What they need to do is add a 2 point line where if you make a goal from outside that line it counts as 2.

Guy 1: You nailed it! But I would also add a 3 point line too so teams have a chance to make a big comeback. How much more exciting would soccer be if guys were shooting goals from deep trying to make a 3?!

Guy 2: And they basically just play zone the whole time. Make them play man-to-man defense.

Guy 1: Also on the throw-ins I think they have to use two hands but you can’t throw it as far that way. They should allow people to just chunk it with one hand so they can throw it further down the field. Maybe you can make more fast breaks that way.

Guy 2: Oh, also all that flopping has to go. They should make it where if you get caught flopping you have to go to like a foul box or a penalty box for 5 minutes or more and the other teams gets to play with a an advantage. It would knock out flopping and we might get more scoring.

Guy 1: I hate that flopping and rolling around on the ground stuff. Unwatchable. If you act hurt then you have to stay out of the game for 10 minutes. That’s my rule. Those guys are wussies!

Guy 1: And they should allow them to set picks to get guys open. Way, way more scoring if they did that.

Guy 2: I was thinking about the 2 point and 3 point thing we talked about. I think we are going to have to make the goal bigger too.

Guy 1: Oh definitely. It looks super easy to keep the ball out of the net when I watch. Let’s make it harder by adding three feet on each side.

Guy 2: That’s a given. Every sport makes changes to make scoring easier and soccer needs to get on board if they want anyone to even watch that crap.

Guy 1: While I’m all for scoring, I also want to see more contact to toughen these guys up.

Guy 2: Are you talking about tackling?

Guy 1: Yes. I’m not saying have tackling all the time because that would keep the scoring low, but I want one guy to be the designated “hitter” and he can just lay people out once every ten minutes.

Guy 2: So that’s like 8 or 9 punishing hits every game then. That would be awesome! If they would do what we say, their sport would be so much better and I might even watch!

 

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Houston now focused on postseason

Altuve and Correa homer, Astros drop final regular-season game

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With no playoff impact at stake if the Astros won or lost the game, Houston took Sunday's final regular-season game as a chance to get their lineup a few more at-bats before shifting focus to Tuesday's first game of the post-season. Here is a quick recap of the game against the Rangers:

Final Score: Rangers 8, Astros 4.

Record: 29-31, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wes Benjamin (2-1, 4.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chase De Jong (0-1, 14.73 ERA).

Houston's main bats get a final tune-up

Knowing they'd only have a couple of at-bats to work with, some of Houston's big bats took advantage, starting with Jose Altuve. He crushed a pitch in the top of the first, a solo homer to put the Astros in front 1-0. After the Rangers tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Altuve started the third with a walk before moving to third base on a Michael Brantley single, which improved Brantley's season average to .300.

Aledmys Diaz would pick up the RBI on a groundout to score Altuve, putting Houston back in front 2-1. In Correa's last at-bat in the top of the fourth, he extended the lead to 3-1 with a solo home run of his own.

Rangers hand Astros a loss to end the regular season

After getting the early run against Chase De Jong, the Rangers would put together a big inning against him in the fourth. After two one-out singles, Rougned Odor would give Texas their first lead of the day on a three-run homer to make it 4-3.

De Jong would continue to struggle in the inning, getting just one more out while loading the bases, prompting a move to the bullpen to bring in Nivaldo Rodriguez to try and eat up more innings. The Rangers greeted him with a two-RBI single to extend their lead to 6-3 before ending the fourth. Odor would hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot to make it a four-run lead at 7-3.

Rodriguez allowed another run in the bottom of the seventh, making it 8-3. Diaz, who drove in a run earlier, would account for another RBI in the top of the eighth, getting Houston's third solo homer of the day. That would make it an 8-4 game, which would go final as the Rangers would win the regular season's last game.

Up Next: Houston's first game of the playoffs will be on Tuesday, with the start time and opponent TBD while the rest of today's games wrap up, and the schedule is announced. Regardless, the Astros are expected to begin that best-of-three series with Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

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