Deuce

This is a beautiful play by Clint Dempsey. Notice:

  1. Before the ball gets to him he’s already positioning his body to pivot away from the defender.
  2. Even at age 34 he still has the quickness of feet to juke the second defender.
  3. As soon as he’s past that guy he sees that Altidore is making a run, and that if he doesn’t pass it immediately Jozy will probably be offside.
  4. So he snaps off a quick rolling pass which is so perfectly weighted that Altidore has to run all-out to get to it — but that run takes him away from the defender and gets him to the ball before the keeper. It’s not the easiest of finishes for Jozy, but Dempsey has perfectly set him up for success.

There are two American players with the vision and technique to pull off a play like this: Dempsey and Christian Pulisic. The USMNT desperately needs a few more such players, but where they’re going to come from I have no idea.

Hair

HAIR

As the new season of European football approaches, many players are faced with a momentous decision — no, not whether or not to seek a transfer to another club: how to wear their hair. Last season saw some unfortunate decisions in that regard. Exhibit A:

Messi

Exhibit B:

Fellaini

Marouane, please. There’s only one right way to do that kind of do:

Carlos

Conversely, Neymar, whose hair has always been adventuring, often in ways that seemed wholly outside the control of the man under it, surprised everyone last year with a totally normcore look:

Neymar

But this preseason, as he pursues a move to PSG, he’s gone back to an old favorite, frosted tips, and is so pleased with his look that he’s leaping for joy:

Tips

We’ll see who surprises us in the coming year, but for those players who are still uncertain about the route to take, let me make a suggestion: Find a look that expresses who you really and truly are, in your heart of hearts, and stick with it:

Vidal

That’s right, Arturo — give yourself a round of applause. You, more than anyone else, deserve it.