Observations: June 8, 2012

Written by Ian Thomson

A few highlights, in no order, from what TSO observed this week:

— Richard Whittall’s simple guide to using rudimentary stats in soccer analysis

— Simon Kuper’s look at the dark world of Polish soccer

— Gabriele Marcotti discusses Zdenek Zeman’s return to Italy’s top flight

— Some great pictures in Earl Gardner’s photo essay from Philadelphia Union’s win over D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup

— One New York-based coach has an extended Twitter rant about the U.S. player development system

— Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larson spoke with Carl Valentine, one of the heroes from Canada’s only ever World Cup appearance in 1986

— When Saturday Comes’ Chris Hughes reflects on “Thursday Night Channel 5” soccer viewing

— Would the Scottish league survive without Rangers? Of course it would, and Scotland On Sunday lays out why

— My First Touch colleague Ed Upright writing about the U.S. Open Cup for When Saturday Comes

— TSO’s pale Scottish tones struggled in the afternoon heat during Houston Dynamo’s recent MLS clash with Los Angeles Galaxy, and BBVA Compass Stadium is already being referred to as “The Oven” according to Dynamo beat writer Jose De Jesus Ortiz

— Photographer Mark Van Spall’s work documenting real soccer at F.C. United of Manchester

— And finally, a bizarre pitch invasion in Montenegro