Archive for January, 2010

USMNT Sr. Man United Plays At Arsenal

It is absolutely 100% conceivable to argue that the best football on your television this weekend is soccer. Manchester United versus Arsenal. Ghana vs. Egypt in the Cup of Nations. No college and the gimmick that is the NFL Pro Bowl…no argument.

Diaby: "I'll make up for that little snafu this time....promise..."

For those that remember the preamble to this Sunday’s match, it ended with Arsene Wenger walking into the stands like a petulent child–and probably rightfully so–after he was thrown out by the referee for a somewhat dubious reason…was it kicking a water bottle I believe.

In the front end of the series, Arsenal outplayed Manchester United at Old Trafford with Andrei Arshavin dialing up a killer strike to put Arsenal ahead one-nil. You just can’t call it a mere goal it was a strike.

Wayne Rooney then created a penalty kick on a questionably legal tackle by Manuel Almunia in the box. 1-1.

Abou Diaby decided to play the ball into his own net (2-1 Devils) and finally Robin Van Persie netted the equalizer only to see it called back for offsides (and rightfully so.)

A quality contest. At the time of writing this, Man U stand one point from the top of table, Arsenal at just two. Wow!

This Sunday, the game will be at the Emirates. Wenger’s squad comes in still attempting to deal with the loss of Van Persie and Bendtner up front; Sir Alex’s squad comes in with a gathering chorus of fans and pundits questioning if the Red Devils rely too much on Mr. Wayne Rooney.

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Saturday Games: Hull, Holden…Have At It….

Can you tell me how to get...how to get to Trinity street....

It’s gameday.

As football is winds down and the incredibly exciting sport of baseball winds up, tt’s time for the soccer fans to come and revel in being the best game in town….at least until March hoops madness.

Updates:

» Ligue 1: Boca starts as Rennes blows up bottom dweller Grenoble, 4-0.

» Chelsea leads 1-0 versus Burnley off a textbook counter-attack. Anelka put home an easy one.

» Nigeria up 1-0 on Algeria in Cup of Nations consolation. Algeria should be applauded on having only 1 pitch ticket today and keeping a full eleven on the field.

» You think Man City would like to initiate a little Joleon Lescott-Wayne Bridge-Kolo Toure for Richard Dunne trade…Man City Mismanagement Award Winner 2009 (not to mention Toddlerho)

Burnley's Robbie Blake about two hours from now?

» Robbie Blake vs. Frank Lampard today as Burnley play Chelsea. That’s like Glass Joe v. Mike Tyson circa the 1990(s).

» Wow! Wow! WOW! Birmingham tie it on a perfect alley-oop cross in the box that is then headed back across by Cameron Jerome for an easy stab into the left pocket. Take heed USMNT at Birmingham’s composure. The Blues steal the draw at home today because of their phenomenal composure…honestly can’t say enough about the EPL newcomer. Simply…amazing.

Question: Did Ridgewell volley the initial ball and then get the goal as well? Scratch that leftback Scott Dan with the box-ball….

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TSG Travel Day: Mini Spanning The Globe

This soccer globe goes to #11....

It’s a TSG travel day….so you’ll have to bear with us here. Oh, and just phenomenal community commentary on England-States, Algeria and US friendlies yesterday…..TSG will get a write-up going on some of that commentary shortly.

For those new to the Spanning the Globe program, we introduce a cheesy or goofy soccer globe in each of these columns. We hope it gets you scrolling faster to the good stuff below. Oh, and feel free to send us one to post in the next column.

And…go:

Ligue 1

• Valenciennes v. Sochaux (Sunday)

We Salute You!: Our Charlie Davies Watch, Week 1. Wow!

It’s January 2010. Our Charlie Davies Watch is in hyper drive. T-minus 100 days or less….Awe-inspiring.

• Stades Rennes v. Grenoble

Rennes and Captain Boca host bottom table dweller Grenoble this weekend. Our guess, Boca in the 18, not in the 11.

EPL

• Hull City v. Wolverhampton

Marcus Hahnemann is a near lock for South Africa at this point. Jozy Altidore’s candidacy was never really in question.

First, we hope for progress in JZA’s native Haiti and that the volume of supplies arrive and distribute at a faster pace. If you haven’t donated yet, check out the cause over on the left. It takes but a minute.

Perhaps we’re USMNT fans, but we’d like to see Big Jeezy pair Amr Zaki up front, especially if Jimmy Bullard is not fit to conduct the play through the middle.

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Warm-Up Debate: Dempsey vs. Donovan

TSG, can't you just love us both? Who cares who's Batman and who's Robin?

Donovan vs. Clint Dempsey.

This debate between Shaun and I began some three weeks ago….much has changed, but the content contained herein is sure to spark good debate and follow-up pieces. This column was started and written well before Demps’ injury and during Landon’s début.

So we’ll consider this piece just a warm-up round in what will be a longer debate–with your commentary–on Landon vs. Dempsey. Who’s more vital? Who should a team be built around?

I’m sneaking it in below our weekend piece….

—–

Got this email from Shaun today (01/05), simple and concise.

“It would be fun to do a “Who do you think is the best US outfield player?” piece.

I think its Deuce…if you think its Landon…than game on…we could do a back and forth email piece about it.”

Well Shaun, I’ll gladly accept the challenge here on behalf of Mr. Landon Donovan. While I haven’t really considered personally yet who I think the best player is the debate would be good nonetheless and spawn a larger and perhaps more important question, “Should the USMNT be built more around Clint Dempsey rather than Landon Donovan?” Wowsers!

So, my good friend Shaun, game on:

I’ll defend Landon (in practice only) and you swashbuckle for Clinton Drew.

I’ll go…

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The Jumble: US Depth, Owen Hargreaves & Turkey Headed To A Pitch Near You?

USA v. HON: This moment always gets me...right...here...

• Here’s an interesting stat to start us off.

9 of 11 starters.

That’s right…depending on what your starting line-up is for the USMNT in 2010, it’s possible that the squad that strides out with kids in hand on June 12 will feature nine players (Howard, Spector, Gooch, Stu, Rico, Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore) that played in one of the top 4 leagues in Europe in 2010.

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Interview: Jimmy Conrad, The Most Special One?

Go to Jimmy Conrad’s personal home page and it makes a bold proclamation…

Welcome to JimmyConrad.com: Your whole life will now change for the better.

It was a short night on Saturday for JC.

Well Jimmy, after stomping on my hopes and dreams Saturday night at the Home Depot Center with your 17th minute sayonara I call bullsh.. false advertising!

After meeting Jimmy in-person earlier this month when TSG was at the US Soccer training camp, I actually believed my life had changed for the better. I started a new job, attended the Jets playoff beatdown of the Chargers in my own backyard and matched all my socks coming out of the dryer.

Things were looking good.

Then came Saturday.

JC gets a red card, the USMNT gets thumped 3-1, the Knicks get walloped by 50 and the Jets fell apart in the second half versus the Colts. In other words, I’m not quite sure what to believe anymore. While the USMNT and greater soccer public is probably harboring a grudge against Conrad, take a read of our time with him and the scales of injustice will begin to balance.

Perhaps the only thing I know for certain following my short time with Mr. Conrad after a US training session earlier this month in Carson is this – what you see is what you get with Jimmy Conrad. He’s comes across just as engaging, funny and intelligent after practice talking 1-on-1 as he does through his multi-pronged media exposure.

Upon meeting Conrad, he took a quick glance down towards my notes which happened to be a page marked “Conor Casey” and immediately informed me that he was not, in fact, Conor Casey, but Jimmy Conrad.

(Thanks for the heads up, Jimmy, but we know you’re not bald. We know you don’t score goals, you give up fouls in the box. Zing!)

And thus we were off on a great Jimmy Conrad experience that touched on MLS, teaching math and playing in Poland among other things. You’re going to want to stay around for the Poland part.

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