Compelling Story Lines Waltzing into Week 2

Just a fun August for TSG and soccer in general.

We’ve got transfer rumors up the wazoo and we’ve got swine flu scares. By the way, is anyone else sick of this swine flu-Altidore-Hull story?

Don't worry Phil, Jozy's about to suit up.

Don't worry Phil, Jozy will suit up.

I am, it’s over-reported and it is what it is. Worse, how about reporters asking for commentary on the story! Like I know the first thing about Jozy having swine flu. Everything else is conjecture. TSG just hopes he doesn’t have….whatever.

If you want to learn the latest on Jozy’s situation, just click here and make your own judgments.

or

Just check-in with Jozy’s latest Twitter: Finally on the plane to england :) I just want to play. Once again thanks for all your support guys”

Let’s get back to soccer and transfer buzz and stop being the secondary or tertiary source of rumor-based “news.” It’s like this story is sitting at the grocery checkout counter and running next to Rachael McAdams (hottie) is having an alien baby or World Cup 2010 cancelled. Enough already.

Apologies for the diatribe. Here’s some of the soccer-based and factual things that TSG unearthed this week or will keep tabs on this weekend:

Dempsey against Chelsea

You can read our recent commentary on Dempsey here, but I, for one, am going to tune into this game for not just the Dempsey factor, but to see how Ancelloti’s Chelsea is employing the diamond and the Drogba-Anelka pairing up top. Anyone else get the feeling that with Drogba’s new contract and renewed vigor that he’ll become the lead punch of the strike tandem and Anelka will revert to his sulking behavior? I think I’m in that boat. Might we see Drogba-Daniel Sturridge up top by midseason? Maybe.

Hey, Macarena!

Hey, Macarena!

On another note, doesn’t Jose Bonsingwa feel like the Macarena? The absolute toast of the EPL to begin last season as he continually sliced upfield and dissected the other team’s rearguard the one-hit wonder can barely get on the pitch for the Blues? Rumors about him going to Bayern or Werder abound, but that would be like throwing a sprinter into a triathlon, the league is just not the right fit. Thoughts?

You’ve got to feel for US last line of defense Timmy Howard right now

The summer he spent getting absolutely shelled in the Confed and for the U.S. qualifiers. Heading into Fall, he goes back to top-5 or -6 squad Everton who looked absolutely impenetrable last year. Then Man City waves a wad of cash in front of Joleon Lescott (arguably the class of their backfield) and the whole backline is now in disarray and he gets rained on for 6 goals last Saturday. Just a few weeks ago, Howard was being touted by experts and being mentioned with the likes of Buffon and Iker–thankfully this Sunday they have EPL newcomer Burnley on the docket. Oh wait, Burnley will be absolutely brimming with confidence after their Man United putdown this week. Hang in there, Timmy.

Over in Series A, are A.C. Milan getting more comfortable with the Gooch?

Rumors about about Milan vet Kakha Kaladze (might have to be my first son’s first and middle names there) headed everywhere from the Bundesliga to Fiorentina. Arguably, Kaladze is at or just rear of the American in the pecking order. TSG is taking this as a good sign of Onyewu’s tenure at his new club thus far.

Back to the EPL, could we see Jonathan Spector’s situation mirror Onyewu’s?

Centerback, Coach? Me? Yeah, sure.

Centerback, Coach?

With the Lescott situation (discussed above) and with Aston Villa’s hot-and-heavy pursuit, Matthew Upson, who had a stellar 2008-2009 season and a goal in the inaugural weekend this season, could be headed away from West Ham. Though a left back by trade and in the competition for the spot in South Africa for the USMNT, Spector is being discussed as a possible successor to the central role at West Ham. Not to read into that too much, but does it concern you we’ve got two hybrid wingbacks looking to start for the USMNT rather than true outside fullbacks (more on that in another column).

Might Paul Ince be the best thing to ever happen (or return) to American Jemal Johnson?

JJ has Ince grinning

JJ has Ince grinning

Johnson, if you remember, is on the fringe for a place on USMNT (who knows the politics on this one) and came out lights out to start the season for MK Dons this year. A hat trick in the opener and an assist in yesterday’s 1-0 win over Transmere Rovers. So how does Ince factor in here? After failing to negotiate and seal a contract with Dons to end last year, Johnson returned to the Dons at the urging of Ince–who is returning to the club after coaching it during the 2007-2008 season–this year and now have Ince’s former Man United teammate Andy Cole giving advice on hitting the back of the net. And that’s the key, Ince, if you remember, stewarded EPL team Blackburn to begin last season and whatever exposure and connections, or expert coaching, he can make for the plateaued American striker will be important to seeing him finally make the leap to the next level. So far, so good. C’mon Jemal, TSG wants you in the USMNT mix.

We’ll keep adding story lines here up and through the weekend.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/08/20 at 3:43 PM

    Oh, I hope that Spector doesn’t move to center back. He seems undersized and isn’t the type of player I’d like to have in my center. This could be a terrible move for his career and I’m hoping that this isn’t seriously being considered. Not only is he a little undersized, but he plays very well on the outside of the back line. He is very offensive-minded for a defender and he plays excellent balls up along the line and into the opponent’s box. I can’t remember what game it was, but Spector played an absolutely beautiful ball into Dempsey (I think) for a goal during the Confed Cup. Spector won’t have these type of offensive opportunities as a center back. I’d prefer a VIdic/Carragher type player who is tall, strong, has long legs, and plays a very physically dominating game. Spector has a very fine touch on the ball and excels at a containment defense, but I can’t help but think that he would struggle in the middle.

    Reply

  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/08/20 at 3:46 PM

    I’m in agreement with you here Matthew — not the right role for his game. Doesn’t have the size and his cross is an absolute weapon.

    We need him to develop his on the ball wing defending in the EPL for the USMNT

    By the way, I just realized that Chad Marshall is 6’4”, the same size as Gooch — I had no idea.

    Reply

  3. Am I the only one that wishes Jose Bosingwa would just get rid of that hideous muppet mustache of a unibrow he has going on. Man. The guy makes enough money to have a few hangers on brave enough to tell him that thing looks ridiculous.

    Seriously though, I am worried that Gooch’s move to AC Milan was just a commercial stab at tapping deeper into the american soccer fan market. I keep telling myself that they are struggling in this hyperinflated transfer market and he represents a good deal. I am having a hard time believing it though. Not to discredit Gooch’s abilities, I just can’t see him being first choice for a squad so thin on well, every position, but as big as AC Milan. I hope I am proved wrong. At the very least he is getting world class coaching. Maybe he can teach BB some new coaching tactics.

    Other thoughts…
    Phil Brown’s a tool but I’m glad he picked up Jose.
    Big Tim’s a pro and will be fine.
    Le Sulk will come out mid-season immediately followed by Drogba exploding on a fan or ref.
    Regarding Spector, any consistent PT our players get in EPL level competition is a good thing.
    Not sure about Jemaybe and Ince. Haven’t been tracking that one. Good to hear though.

    Later

    Reply

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