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Soccer Science: Speed Kills


Soccer-Science seeks to bring a scientific focus to the game we love. I apologize for the nerdiness, but such is my fascination with the field. Stick with me through the stuff you may have slept through in school, and please don't come after me like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds. There will most certainly be some entertainment in the process.

That beautiful Canadian ginger did it again. In a match characterized by missed opportunities, empty seats, and a frustratingly effective Dan Kennedy, it took a defender to steal the winner. And boy, am I glad he did. Not only did he save my body from what was certainly a ten point increase in blood pressure, but he also set us off on the right foot (with his left foot) in what is sure to be a grueling road trip.

But much has been written the last couple days on the specifics of this match. I'm here to geek things out a bit with my first "Soccer Science" post. Hit the jump to get yo' nerd on. And if the last time you heard anything about science was on Breaking Bad or the Big Bang Theory, then bear with my scientific nonsense to get to some much-needed pop culture.

As Zach pointed out after the match, the turning point against Chivas USA was, among other things, the introduction of Mac Kandji. His speed and ability to go at defenders is absolutely absurd, and while I question the use of him in a "super sub" capacity, suggesting his inclusion ahead of Ching and Bruin just doesn't feel right. Still, I assume his 5 minutes of work today has bought him perhaps 10-15 the next go-round.

Regardless, we need this injection of speed late in the game, especially with the length of the road trip we are on. Chivas USA, great goalkeeper that they have, are not the stiffest of opponents on our trip. San Jose, Seattle, Chicago, and Columbus await us, and if it took us 90 minutes to break the deadlock on Sunday (although it should've been much less), I have a sneaky feeling the coming attractions will be of a higher difficulty. Still, with the late additions of Kandji and Carr, we hold the proverbial aces-in-the-hole. The ability to attack a slower opponent and go for the kill is a huge advantage, much like the bacteria Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus.

Whoa, what? Yep, I just science'd all up in this business. Such is the mystique of these Soccer Science posts. Anyways, enough dawdling. B. bacteriovorus is unique for both its speed and ingenuity. Essentially, in order to survive, it is able to propel itself at speeds of up to 160 um/s. To put that into perspective, thats about 100 times their length each second, like if your cute golden retriever could run the 100 yard dash in a second. Yikes.

After reaching these speeds, it collides with its host, embedding itself inside the would-be defensive shell. Then, it multiplies, eventually breaking down all host defenses - effectively destroying the host cell.

Who does that sound like? Yep, Mac Kandji and co. rushing in at the last minute to finish the job. Our own B. bacteriovorus manning the front line.

Now enough science for the week. Thanks for your patience.

Fashion Faux Pas of the Week

I'm a Texas boy, so country music (and country-western dancing) are a big deal to me. When the lady would like to hit the town, its usually to a place where we can two-step or swing dance at. So when our own Geoff Cameron tweeted this, I was obviously hurt:

Still, its understandable when I look at some people when they two step, so I won't hold it against him - he probably just hasn't seen me tear it up. Regardless, because of this appreciation I am known to wear cowboy boots when the mood strikes. It's Texas. It's normal.

Another thing my upbringing has taught me to appreciate is hip-hop culture, coming from a city like the H. That isn't to say that looking at me would at all suggest any hip-hoppishness (or hearing me say that sentence) in my blood, but I do listen to hip-hop. I also have an immense appreciation for sneakers, a love only slightly dampened by my lack of free-flowing wealth.

However, what I cannot appreciate is the fusion of these two cultures. No I don't mean the horrendous Nelly-Tim McGraw collabo, which is an embarrassment to both Texas and the ATL. I am referring to Adidas' decision to create a fusion sneaker-cowboy boot combo. Aside from the fact that they are horrible as a fusion, I am equally disgusted by their inability to satiate the need for anything cowboy boot-ish or sneaker-ish. In the end, they only look like a pair of Shape-Ups wearing a graphic-tee version of the Pope's mitre.

Announcers' Comments I'm Sick of Hearing

"Not a Smart Ball by Watson"

Exactly, please remove him from the field. Now.

"Another save by Kennedy" OR "Another shot directly at Kennedy"

Kennedy is swell, sure. But can we maybe, just maybe, aim for the side of the goal? This reminds me of a story my 9th grade soccer coach told me, when his old football coach-turned soccer coach lectured his team at halftime: It's a big ol' goal, and a little ol' ball. It shouldn't have any trouble fitting in.

Our forwards would do well to remember these words of wisdom.

SXSW Wisdom of the Week

I stopped by the ATX on Monday to meet up with my brother, who was in town from NYC entertaining clients. Lucky for us, our cousin and his wife were savvy enough to show us around the town. The highlight of the trip, in my opinion, was an absurdly awesome joint called the "Whip In." Essentially, this is an old convenience store-turned-bar complete with over 70 beers on tap and a wine bar fit for a king (along with Indian food that, while I didn't try it, looked fantabulous). While there wasn't music when we were there, a tiny stage occupies a corner of the bar where local artists play. If you're in Austin for SXSW, hop off the beaten path for an untarnished look at the city. I insist.

Apropos Hip-Hop Video of the Week

Port Arthur, TX here to get us started off right. We have a rough road ahead, but damn does it feel good to be back.