Angry BirdsSoccer Notebook: Midwinter Edition

After bolting out of the gate to the tune of an undefeated 11-10-0 record, Brighton and Hove Albion have run straight into the proverbial brick wall, sputtering to a 0-1-3 record in the League Championship over their last four games and getting knocked out the FA Cup following a 1:0 loss to Hull City on Saturday. The Seagulls’ recent form has dropped them from first to fourth place (11-11-3/44 points) on the League Championship table, 8 points behind top-of-the-table Middlesbrough (16-4-4/52) and 2 points north of fifth-place Burnley. Goal-scoring has been a particular challenge as of late, as they have not scored in their last 5 games, last finding the new since a 2:2 draw against QPR on December 15. Albion will be looking to right the ship when league play resumes tomorrow and they travel to Rotherham, who are in 21st place in the 24-team league. Tomer Hemed continues to lead the team in scoring with 6 goals out of the 31 scored for Albion thus far, but more goals will certainly be needed to keep them fighting for Premier League promotion in 2016-17.

Soccer Notebook: Midwinter EditionNot Even Close: Maccabi Haifa Loses to Maccabi Tel Aviv Again

Sunday afternoon featured a clash of rivals at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, as 6th-place Maccabi Haifa drove down the coast to face 2nd-place Maccabi Tel Aviv in Ligat Ha’al action. The hosts jumped out to a 2:0 lead behind goals from Eran Zahavi (of course) and Tal Ben Haim in the 32nd and 36th minutes, and despite Yossi Benayoun’s 70thminute goal for Haifa, the visitors couldn’t equalize and dropped a 2:1 decision to the reigning title-holders. That makes 20 goals in 17 appearances for Zahavi this year, and kept Maccabi Tel Aviv just one point back of first-place Hapoel Be’er Sheva at the top of the league. The news out of Maccabi Haifa only got worse after the game, though, as striker Itay Schechter indicated that he wanted to leave the club and play somewhere else- just another sad story in the midst of yet another middling campaign for the green-and-white. It’s also worth noting that in their last 13 head-to-head meetings, Maccabi Tel Aviv has won 11 and drawn 2, with the last Haifa victory coming way back in December of 2012. Better luck next time.

Seeing Red At AnfieldSoccer Notebook: Midwinter Edition

The mediocrity seemingly never ends at Anfield, as Liverpool continues to lose winnable games, defeat good teams every now and again, and be exposed as a boring offensive team on a regular basis. Their 22 goals through 20 games, tied for 6th-worst in the Premier League is downright yawn-inducing, their -2 goal differential is equally unimpressive for a top-tier team, and sandwiched between Crystal Palace (7th) and Watford (9th) in the standings is not where LFC fans want to be. The lackluster 2:2 draw at Second Division side Exeter City in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Friday did little to inspire confidence; the two teams will do a replay at Anfield on January 20. All is not lost bad, though, as the Reds did earn a 1:0 win at Stoke in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal fixture last Tuesday, so dreams of Wembley live on, for now. The second leg of that cup fixture will take place in Liverpool on January 26. Also, the Reds did make the Europa League Round of 32 and will play away at Augsburg (Germany) on February 18, hosting the return leg at Anfield on February 25, with an eye towards moving on the Round of 16.

Soccer Notebook: Midwinter Edition2016 Revolution Schedule Announced

Amidst great social media fanfare (at least for those of us who follow MLS clubs on Twitter), the 2016 MLS schedule was released last week. The Revolution drew their usual list of Eastern Conference foes for their home dates, hosting NYCFC, the Columbus Crew, and the Chicago Fire twice and every other conference opponent once. The Revs also have an attractive home schedule against Western Conference competition and will be welcoming the reigning MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers (Apr. 27), FC Dallas (May 21), Seattle Sounders (May 28), Colorado (Sept. 3), Sporting Kansas City (Oct. 1), and to Gillette this season. The Revs open their home schedule on March 12 against DC United. Over/under on game-time temperature? 34 degrees.

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