Doing a little lite league-hopping overseas this afternoon:
Poor ESPN and ESPN.com.
I’ve criticized them before for not promoting soccer enough across their site and externally and now they do it…..for Liverpool-Burnley. Did you really just do a match-up piece with a segment on Steven Gerrard vs. Graham Alexander? Apologies to Alexander, but if you think a 37-year-old who is in his first year of Premiership football is a “match-up” for arguably one of the top five players in the world…..are you kidding me?
There are banner ads on the ESPN site and even major promos during Sportcenter to add to the hype and hoopla….for Liverpool-Burnley and the Reds are at home. I’m not a gambler, but LadBrokes has the chance of Burnley (shellacked by Chelsea last outing) eeking out a draw at 12 to 1 in this one.
This is on a day when Arsenal travels to an Adebayor-led Manchester City and Manchester United travels to White Hart Lane (to face the white-hot Harry Rednapp-skippered Hot Spurs); this game after the Man U’s comeback last year is going to be a good one. The punishment should fit the crime…I mean the promo should fit the piece.
Look ESPN we know you don’t have the cream of the crop games yet, so let’s not pretend they are with the American fanbase. Shaun, c’mon, add something in here: Graham Alexander vs. Steven “I own the nighlife scene” Gerrard!
In other news, ESPN360.com is my new YouTube-Hulu.
Remember, 360 can’t get rights to many first rate games. Well checkout some of the matches that made the line-up this weekend:
Serie A: Livorno vs. Milan
— A Goochman cameo?, Milan coming of an embarrassing loss at an inferior opponent goal-plosion?
La Liga: Espanyol vs. Real Madrid
— Have I been able to see the New York Yankees of La Liga (Ronaldo, Benzema, Kaka) against a league opponent yet on cable? Nope.
Bundesliga – Werder Bremen vs. Hannover 96
– I’m a huge Hannover fan or…or.. I’d like to see the USMNT’s very own Steve Cherundolo finally get on the pitch this week
Belenenses vs. Benfica
– I hereby dub you, start or no start, sub or no sub, the Renewed Freddy Adu. Now make it happen.
Well done ESPN 360…ESPN and ESPN.com, not so much.
The Bill Simmons Classic
Before the Battle for America between Fulham (now only 2 US players) and Everton (3 US players) on Sunday, you’re going to want to watch that Manchester United – Tottenham game.
Will Simmons, a professed Tottenham fan tune in for this or is he rewinding reruns of Inside the NFL with features on Steve Grogan and Irving Fryar on Saturday? We’ll find out Monday I guess.
Tottenham, everybody’s favorite top four bandwagon crasher pick last year, is off to a stunning start to begin the EPL campaign with four victories against zero defeats, including the season kickoff against Liverpool. Manchester United is off to their typical slow start and is one Rooney penalty away from some harsh words from the press.
Beyond this year’s results, who can forget the galvanizing come-from-behinder by the Red Devils last year. Sadly, Luka Modric is out for the home side after breaking his leg–Modric is an exciting central midfielder who can both manage possession and attack. I hear you salivating USMNT fans and a tear is now rolling from my eye.
Break out the Amber jersey
Next up Jozy Altidore, we’ll spare you some angle on the story about JZA going up twice this week against T&T striker Kenwyne Jones, how about Hull manager Phil Brown looking to loan out his most featured striker Caleb Folan. Folan is rumored headed to Premiership-estranged mates Middlesborough or Newcastle. This should at least give JZA some more running room.
I will now not talk about Gareth Southgate’s (Middlesborough) splendid history with importing strikers.
Wow, just used the Google-a-tor and image search for “Caleb Folan” and though I mistakenly typed “Damon Wayons.”
Fulham vs. Everton, what’s the TSG angle here?
We’ll depart our Deuce focus for once.
How about new defensive signee John Heiteinga covering in front of Tim Howard for Everton. About time Timmy got some more help.
Ironically, Heitinga made his international debut against the USMNT way back in 2004 in the last friendly between the two squads–Tim Howard took that match in too, admiteddly from the American bench.
Welcome to Goochville, Milan. Population: Zero thus far
We mentioned in our last Americans serving time abroad column, that the Gooch was not likely to play tomorrow’s A.C. Milan game against Livorno.
However, with an absolutely horrendous defensive display (Final: 0-4) in the Milan derby against Inter, might we see the pride of Silver Spring, Maryland take the field? Don’t bet on it. Defensive stopper Gennaro Gattuso–hands down one of the funniest players to watch and specifically, watch foul opponents–is out and Milan will need experience behind in the middle to right the ship.
Anything more we need to add from overseas for the weekend?