About the Show

“Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show,” is a radio show started in April 2011 by Eric Nash, a local Philadelphia resident.  He saw the need for a soccer show in a city and a country that loves the game but does not have enough outlets through which to follow it.  Eric brought his vision to 1490 WBCB, a radio station which is located in the heart of the Levittown community, and a station that reaches through the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Eric does not have a single focus for his radio show; he spans the entire soccer globe.  Whether it is reporting on the local Philadelphia Union, engaging with reputable soccer charities and stories, or speaking with Bobby McMahon from Fox Soccer about the best soccer leagues and teams in the world, this show is tailored to the interest and knowledge of any soccer fan.  And he also wants to know what you want to talk about!! If you have an idea for next week’s show, whether it be a topic, guest, or question, feel free to email Eric at: ERICSNASH@COMCAST.NET.

Eric has two sidekicks on his “Vuvuzela” team as well.  Eric’s longtime friend Bryan “Shep” Blasband serves as co-host for the show, and brings humor and perspective to the discussion.  Bob Long is a Penn State student who began with Eric this summer, discussing tactics and other strategic elements of games and teams.  The three person mix makes for stimulating soccer debate and entertaining radio, a combination that has led to the show’s success in just over a year of operation.

The show has recently expanded and changed station affiliations.  Vuvuzela now broadcasts Saturdays 3-5PM from 860 WWDB in Bala Cynwyd, a station that stretches into Philadelphia and all the way to PPL Park in Chester.

CLICK HERE to listen live online to “Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show” on Saturday afternoons.

Also, to access any and all podcasts of the show (posted the week after the show), FOLLOW THIS LINK

Red Bulls Edge 10 Man Union Squad 3-2

The New York Red Bulls took care of business and climbed to 1st place in the East on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.  But the way the victory was attained was anything but business-like.  After Joel Lindpere started the scoring in the 15th minute to give the Red Bulls the lead, Freddy Adu began to confuse and frustrate the Red Bull defense that would be tormented all day long.

After Adu put on multiple showcases of individual footskill, including one ball that he put through a defender’s legs while in the box and then turned a shot on net, he finally put himself on the scoresheet in the 31st minute. Adu crossed a ball just after a corner that landed squarely on the head of Lionard Pajoy who buried the header into the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.

The game then changed completely and irreversibly in the 43rd minute, when Adu was making a run into the box.  As he was being challenged by two Red Bull defenders, he went down in the box, and a whistle was immediately blown from the referee.  Inexplicably, with the entire stadium sensing a penalty kick coming, the referee announced his decision of diving on Freddy Adu, a foul that resulted in a second yellow, and Adu was subsequently sent off.

The Union were then down to just 1o men for the remainder of the game, and the controversy of the call resounded throughout the stadium.  Freddy Adu gave his explanation for why he believes the second yellow was unwarranted, “It wasn’t a foul or anything (on New York), but in that instant I’m not trying to bait the referee, I was just bracing myself to get hit…I didn’t stay down and complain for a call or anything, but he just blew the whistle so quickly, and everything happened so fast.”  Adu said he would have at least given a warning before making a call that so dramatically changes a game, “but hey, I’m not a referee,” he said.

Adu was the most dynamic player on the field for the first half of the game. “I had the freedom to move everywhere, be inside, and be unpredictable. That’s always been my favorite way to play, to be able to float everywhere and be involved all the time.”  His fancy and proficient footwork was unmatched in the first 40 minutes of the game, and his being sent off changed the course of play for the remainder of the game.

After entering halftime tied at 1, the Lionard Pajoy scored just 25 seconds into the second half to give the Union a 2-1 lead.  This goal led to nearly 25 minutes of pure domination by the Union.  The Red Bulls back 4 was inconsistent at best, and chances for Pajoy, Gomez, Daniel, and Mwanga for the Union were prevalent.  Ryan Meara made multiple game-saving clearances to keep the deficit at just 1 goal.

Then, in the 69th minute, Markus Holgersson was on the receiving end of a corner cross that he headed into the back of the net to tie the game 2-2.  This goal did not stymie the Union’s chances, however, as Pajoy missed a chance all alone just minutes after the equalizing goal.

In the 78th minute, Kenny Cooper chested a ball down in the box, pushed it past Zac MacMath to the touch line and then finished it easily with his right foot.  With a 3-2 lead, the game became the “Ryan Meara Show” as Meara made three fantastic saves in the final 10 minutes, including one in extra time on a blast from from within 5 yards on the near post.

As the full time whistle sounded, a cascade of boos came down from the stands at PPL Park, most directed at the referees who irreversibly changed the game by assigning Adu his second yellow for diving at the end of the 1st half.  With the win, the Red Bulls overtook first place in the Eastern Conference from Sporting Kansas City, and gained its fourth consecutive 3 point result.  The Union dropped to 2-6-1 with the loss, but the quality of play and the attacking mindset of the Union was unmistakable, and was a strategy that had been missing all year until Sunday.  However, the Union still languish in 9th place in the East, and victories by Montreal and Houston this weekend now puts 7th and 8th place a full 4 points ahead of the Union.

Mancini’s Blueprint

Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show, is a 2 hour weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the finer points of the beautiful game.  Join us Saturday afternoons from 3-5PM on 860 WWDB for discussion on the Philadelphia Union, the US National Team, the English Premier League, and much more.
by: Eric Krakauer
What a difference a month makes in the world of soccer. After leading the Premier League, and having been handed a seemingly favorable draw in the Europa League against Sporting Lisbon, Manchester City have seen their season take an almost unthinkable turn. At one point competing for four trophies, the Manchester blues are almost certainly going to end the season without silverware, and one need to look no further than to Roberto Mancini for their precipitous fall from grace.
Managers are the customary scapegoats for their teams’ ills, and as such, blaming the Italian is hardly a surprise. Nevertheless, Mancini may have just unwittingly authored the manual for what not to do when attempting to steer a team burdened by massive expectations, towards glory. Ultimately, Mancini proved inept at dealing with the problems that inevitably result from building a team with overpaid mercenaries: disgruntlement over playing time, antagonistic personalities, and the consequent media fallout.
The first problem found its climax in Carlos Tevez’ refusal to come off the bench against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. While there were some minor media grumblings of dissatisfaction within the squad, the Argentine’s public subversion was a clear indicator that the cracks caused by player discontentment had turned into full-blown crevasses.  The ferocious British media demanded a stern response from the Italian manager, and it soon got it with Mancini claiming that Tevez would never again play for City, so long as he remained in charge. Mancini’s reaction, while rash, was the correct one, as it most likely proved a deterrent to similar behavior from other players. Yet, as ensuing Tevez transfer speculation failed to materialize, and City navigated through its first dips in form, the pressure to reinstate the Argentine became too difficult for Mancini to ignore, and the Italian was soon telling the media that Tevez had redeemed himself. A tough sell to anyone who had spent the previous months witnessing the mercurial striker’s repeated visits to nightclubs and golf courses, alike.
Tevez’ return to the squad may have been assuaged, though, had the club remained free of other distractions. Still, as Tevezgate dragged on, Mario Balotelli did his best to solidify himself as the pariah of soccer, as his supposed mentor reciprocated by playing his best Neville Chamberlain, appeasing his young compatriot with more starts, and an apparently inexhaustible patience that only served to alienate all his remaining players.
The Balotelli situation was only exacerbated by the fact that Mancini insisted on giving the tabloids a play-by-play of his interactions with the striker. Instead of dealing with Super Mario behind closed doors, and deflecting the media attention, which only compels Balotelli to become more of a side-show – “why always me” – Mancini stoked the fires by calling him “immature” and declaring that one never knows what he will do on the field, and that their meetings were yielding few results.
Such declarations did, and continue to do, nothing more than to mystify those who wonder why such a liability was still allowed to play when championship chances were slowly dissipating. Manchester City fans could only watch in horror as Balotelli walked back onto the field on Monday, after a first half against Arsenal where he should have been sent off for an egregious tackle on song, and where his teammates made their feelings towards him known, when they unceremoniously walked by him as he lied injured on the ground. Even club captain, Vincent Kompany is giving the impression that he’s given up on Balotelli, after serving as a buffer between the Italian and his other colleagues on numerous occasions.
All these incidents are suggestive that Roberto Mancini has clearly lost his way in Manchester, and that his future is elsewhere. One can’t help but cringe when the Italian rubs his forehead during post-match interviews, clearly at a loss for answers, and even more painfully, clearly wondering where it all went wrong.
Mancini’s replacement will certainly have his hands full next season, with expectations being even higher than they were this season. Whoever that manager may be, he will do no wrong by taking a page of Mancini’s book, and quickly tossing it in the trash.

The Progression and Struggles of Zac MacMath

Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show, is a 2 hour weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the finer points of the beautiful game.  Join us Saturday afternoons from 3-5PM on 860 WWDB for discussion on the Philadelphia Union, the US National Team, the English Premier League, and much more.

Philadelphia Union Goalkeeper Zac MacMath has played three games as the permanent starter after the offseason departure of Faryd Mondragon, and the Union has yet to get a win in the young season.  The slow start by the team and the struggles of Zac MacMath have caused a sense of uneasiness and frustration among the Union supporters, and have caused some to wonder whether MacMath is a viable solution for the goalkeeping situation moving forward.

In the opening game of the season against Portland, MacMath let a bad goal by him in which he let the ball on the slick turf slide underneath his body and into the net.  He actually made a strong and decisive move on the ball, but once he got in front of the ball he couldn’t corral it.  He then allowed two other goals in that game that were not his fault, but many fans blamed the loss on MacMath’s inability to keep Portland scoreless for the first half.

In the home opener for the Union against the Colorado Rapids, MacMath again faced a setback and showed his inexperience by mishandling a soft cross into the box, whereupon the Rapids converted an easy scoring opportunity.  The Union dropped this match 2-1 and began the season with two losses.

Finally, last week the Union dropped a 1-0 match against the Chicago Fire on the road at Toyota Park.  The only goal that beat Zac MacMath was a free header in the box that one hopped into the corner of the net.  Many gave MacMath the benefit of the doubt on that goal, but while the save would have been difficult, it certainly was a savable ball.  MacMath was just a bit too slow in the reaction to the header, and with a more natural and fluid reaction to the re-direction he could have given himself a chance to deflect the header wide.  However, savable is much different than an easy save, and therefore most fans and analysts were correct to not put the full blame on MacMath.

The fact that the Union had no shots on net other than on set pieces was a much larger problem in that game that the play of Zac MacMath.  In addition, MacMath made two big saves to keep the match at 1-0 and keep the Union in the game, and his aggressiveness is the only thing that kept the team in the game.

After three matches the jury is still out on Zac MacMath.  His aggressiveness is something that no one can truly coach, it is a natural element of his game that needs to be controlled and pulled back at times.  He also is bound to make mistakes as a first year starter in the MLS.  However, give MacMath until May to prove himself.  Simon Allen, a friend of “Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show” and of the Simon Allen Soccer Radio Network, said two weeks ago that the first two months of the MLS season aren’t necessarily even worth watching, but instead is a time for teams to develop chemistry and prepare for the later and more important stages of the season.  While that isn’t a suggestion to stop watching the MLS, it should be an indication that it is far too early to judge MacMath.

Just give him until May.  If he still is playing poorly and costing the Union matches, feel free to send the emails and rip me on the radio shows.  But until then, realize that Zac MacMath has all the talent in the world, he is playing his first few matches as a full time starter in the MLS, his team isn’t scoring around him, and the Union as a whole is in a state of change and uncertainty.  The consistent performances will come, and soon everyone will forget about the first month’s struggles for MacMath.

Live From “Fado’s Irish Pub”

Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show once again took to the road to broadcast live from one of the best football pubs in the world, Fado’s Irish Pub in Center City Philadelphia.  Eric Nash and Shep introduced the first meeting of the”Philly Spurs,” a Philadelphia fan club dedicated to the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.  In the midst of 400+ spectators at Fado’s, many of which were watching the Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal vs. Manchester United matches, the Vuvuzela hosts enjoyed every minute of the day.  From Shep commenting on how “amazing” the experience was, to Eric not being able to hear Cesar over the raucous crowd at Fado’s, to Eli Pearlman-Storch and the Rabbi providing a fresh perspective on the MLS and the English Premier League, the day was a memorable one in the short history of Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show.  The Philly Spurs will continue to meet at Fado’s for the team’s big matches, and Vuvuzela hopes to make many more appearances at this mecca of soccer in Center City Philadelphia.

Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show is a 2 hour radio show dedicated to the beautiful game.  The show airs every Sunday 11AM-1PM EST on 1360 WNJC in New Jersey.  To listen to any of the show’s podcasts, click HERE.

Live From “Football Factory at Legends”

Vuvuzela: The World Soccer Show broadcasted live from “The Football Factory at Legends” in New York City on December 18th, 2011.  Voted the best soccer pub in New York, The Football Factory was a perfect place for Vuvuzela to extend its reach.  We brought local soccer writer and friend of the show Cesar Diaz on the set for scintillating discussion and analysis on the English Premier League and the future of the New York Cosmos.  We also had Eric Krakauer from Worldstriker.com on the set to discuss the transfer market in the English Premier League.  This show was the most entertaining and informative Vuvuzela! show to hit the airwaves since the show went live in April, and Eric, Shep, and Bob had a great experience at The Football Factory.  Many thanks go out to Robbie, the owner of Legends Pub, for all his hospitality and facilitation of the whole process.  Also, 1490 WBCB’s engineer, Mike, was so helpful all day long, and was integral to the seamless and crystal-clear broadcast.

Vuvuzela! will continue to hit the road with live remotes as it will broadcast live from Fado’s in Philadelphia on January 22nd, 2012.  Come on out and watch some soccer with your favorite soccer hosts!