Unfortunately, due to some commitments, I had little time to watch and play as much soccer as I usually do on the weekend.
A big thank you for our guest commentator Shaun and to the commentary that our fans have added here on the site, Rayment, Kevin, Matthew, etc.
As Mark mentioned, we’ll be getting a Commentary Hall of Face going so don’t be shy and who knows you may win something.
Here’s a just a few tidbits of plots that I found intriguing this weekend with a smaller dose of the sport than usual:
Soccer at Home
– C’mon ESPN…are you kidding me? No win for the U.S. Wednesday and the coverage of US roundball and global soccer in general takes a nose-dive on 1st page promotion on ESPN.com — one more time, are you kidding me? ESPN.com at about 20M “unique users” (internet speak for “viewers”) is the largest sports site in the United States and looked at as the authority in sports reporting in America. Yet with EPL season starting (remember: ESPN is hosting a series of games), a compelling post-Mexico US story, the college season starting (TSG will be attending games for 30th ranked USF this year) and MLS back in full swing, not a single soccer story could muster itself to the first page.
Meanwhile your TV brethren had a feature on the Premiership at Drogba’s goal included in Plays of the Week.
Shame on you ESPN.com. It’s your ratings, not ours.
– TSG had the occassion to interview KC interim head coach Peter Vermes (note to other blogs and publications by the way, we’ll share our commentary with you if you’re so kind as to link to it, no need to paraphase it, create your own story and get it wrong) prior to his first game in the hot seat against the Chicago Fire.
His team came out swinging against Chicago, but couldn’t muster a goal, only a red card. Though Chicago Fire keeper Jon Busch had a say with some stellar saves.
Give Vermes team one more game and then start looking for results. Adjusting to a new coach, new success criteria, and new strategy is not something that can happen in two weeks at the least.
– Speaking of the Chicago Fire, with Robbie Rogers the current left wing rave on the USMNT, TSG is still pining for Justin Mapp to shake of his injuries, commandeer some more playing time, and factor back on the national scene at some point.
Mapp, just 24 years-old, featured in Chicago game on Sunday — we only saw highlights — if you saw him play, let us know how he looked?
– Since when did David Beckham become the new Pablo Mastroeni. Yet another sending off for the Galaxy “super” star on poor form tackle in the Galaxy’s 2-0 loss to the Sounders. Beckham is really reveling in his villian role, either that or he just doesn’t want to be here anymore. We think it’s the latter.
Just check out Galaxy helmsman Bruce Arena’s comment on the tackle from the Beckman.
“With the way he came in hard, I could see how the referee would determine it likely was a dangerous tackle,” Arena said. “When you throw yourself into that kind of tackle, there’s a chance you’re going to get sent off.”
Check out Beckham’s well deserved red card (and then check out the end of the article to see how a similar tackle shattered Arsenal star Eduardo’s leg last year)
I need to sit down with Shaun here, but with watching just a few halves of the opening salvo of the season–it will be a novel year in England’s top league. The top teams didn’t really improve themselves, but the midtier certainly did. Note to TSG reader Andrew, we’re working on a league overview piece for the newbies as you requested.
– Tough week for Timmy Howard. A very game performance against Mexico and then he turns around and has to keep the wickets unscathed versus Arsenal four days later. Didn’t happen. As Shaun commented, Howard was blindfolded and walked out to the firing squad against Arsenal on Sunday to the tune of a 6-1 loss.
The real story here? Disgruntled star central defender Joleon Lescott. For those not familiar with Lescott think Rio Ferdinand Junior, stoic in central defense with a scoring ability and mentality that pressures the other team. Alas Lescott has been adamant about joining Manchester City and adding more cheddar to his bank account. That would be like Oguchi Oneywu coming out the pitch for U.S. but saying he was auditioning for the Italian team. For a team that is as workmanlike as Everton, having that type of disruption in middle (as we saw on Sunday) won’t work.
– From the Shaun-is-probably-grinning department, despite a very lethargic start to the season for Liverpool, Glen Johnson looked worth every pound of his $18M offseason transfer to the Reds even with their shaky performance against Hotspur. Did you see the moves he put on the White Hart Lane brigade near the 60th minute? Johnson, who’s got all the tools you want in a wingfull, slalomed through two defenders before Spurs keeper Hercules Gomez stopped him….after Johnson had beat him as well. The result? Pull down in the box and a Gerrard penalty kick for a 1-1 tie at the time.
Watch GJ and you’ll see some of the ability–albeit at a much lighter level–that TSG sees in Galaxy back Jonathan Bornstein. It’s that type of dynamic player that we want to see at the US wingback position.
– Staying with this game, will this be the season that Luka Modric makes his mark on the EPL? The extremely slight Tottenham middie has the build and tools that would see him be a points leader in the La Liga or Series A (kind of reminds us of a young Pirlo), but will it happen for Modric in Great Britain? Will it be Cesc Fabregas in parallel or, yikes, Andrei Shevchenko?
– Taking a look at Fullham’s tough EPL schedule ahead (in order: Chelsea, Villa, Everton) and seeing that 31-year-old
striker Eric Nevland featured in the second half, TSG is wondering if we’ll see American Eddie Johnson in the side even once in the next month. Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and certainly Nevland are all senior by at least 3 years to the 25-year-old EJ. Eddie, this is your moment this season. Let’s make it happen.
– Oh and the Manchester City experiment. The first punch goes to the Light Blues with a 2-0 win on Saturday, admittedly over bottom feeder Blackburn on Sunday. Did anyone else find it hysterical that Carlos Teves found himself in the familiar role of mop-up duty? Teves who TSG sympathized with last year before his non-stop mouth-running in the press certainly looks foolish for accepting the role of sub he so detested with AIG’ers…and at an inferior club across the street. Let’s see how this one progresses. A fine start to the season for Man City. Teves, not so much.
Maybe he should just pal up a few more times with Noel and Liam.
You Want More on Americans?
– Everyone has heard about Charlie Davies phenomenal 2-goal off-the-bench display for Sochaux. I think he’s next up for TSG nickname. However, don’t look now but Kenny Cooper is playing lights out for 1860 Munich. A single goal tally in two games, but count’em 11 shots, 7 on goal for the true striker. We’ll be monitoring his progress over the next few weeks and months.
Eduardo tackle video
Note, this video is not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who though Beckham’s sendoff was inappropriate I advise you to reconsider.