Archive for January, 2010

Holden Bolton: Benny Says Stay Focused

Updated: January 21st: We are updating this piece, first published on January 18th. Reports emerging…Holden is Premiership-bound, headed to Bolton, according to Houston Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti via Fox Houston. Vindication for Holden and for Benny below who said last week Holden had the quality to play in the Barclays.

Holden: EPL Strong?...YES!

Canetti on Fox: “”I will confirm all indications point to Stuart apparently signing with Bolton,” Canetti said.” (courtesy: Fox News)

The Wanderers currently sit in next to last place, just above the man-made disaster that is Portsmouth. As for Holden’s opportunity, Chung Yong Lee–who we learned from Wanderer message boards is considered the Ronaldo of Bolton–has recently come on on the right flank. In the middle they’ve got a platoon amongst the following: Mark Davies (a English wunderkind) and Fabrice Muamba, both 21, who Holden could supplant and Tamir Cohen, recently arrived from Israel.

Matt Taylor historically a defender, has moved up the pitch to the left flank…he’s got 5 goals on the year…so he is likely staying put.

Best bet for Stu…central midfield.

In the meantime, TSG caught up with Benny Feilhaber just last week to discuss Stu’s overseas forays.

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Beer & Soccer Series: What’s Your Yankee Brew?

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Kyle Beckerman Pale Ale

(Can someone Facebook this sucker….we need more input!)

If you remember, the genesis of our beer series was a little spat my brother and I had in the comments section about who was the expert of what? From those handbags, came the dawn of the great “Beer & Soccer Review” Series on TSG as well as the second installment today.

For those that missed our first installment, it’s going to be tough to beat. Kyle Beckerman’s very-own Pale Ale….we’ll try our best. (By the way, when we gave the beer to Kyle he walked away and said to Geoff Cameron, “Dude! I have my own beer!”)

We’ve composed a panel of experts–minus the TSG crew on hand–to help us select the appropriate brew for the appropriate USMNT event.

Need a bevy recommendation for the next USMNT friendly? Just scroll down here.

Not sure what to stock for the June 12th affair with the Queen? Look no further.

First, our panel of experts:

The Free Beer Movement in action....

He’s a man with too many USMNT jerseys. He’s got a blog and a dream…and it has to do with beer. Say hello to Dan from the Free Beer Movement. He’s going to be like the Simon Cowell of this thing; I can feel it. I mean c’mon the guy grew up in Milwaukee and now lives in Texas. Beer, beer, beer!

He owns the only establishment in the greater San Francisco area that carried the English telecast of the States-Honduras qualifier in October….and he’s not even American. Don’t judge him…let him judge something greater than us all. Welcome Steve Pritchard, owner of Danny Coyles in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district.

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Random Wednesday: Sacha, Strikers, $8 Water

Haven’t done a random, non-scripted piece in awhile…but I have a bunch of things in my mind and maybe they start some productive conversations in the comments section:

There...I've done it again...I've inserted a picture of Landon instead of the Clintinator

• While blogs show pictures of Donovan supporters and folks revel in the chants of ” USA, USA, USA” I can’t help, but wonder if Clinton Drew Dempsey were a bit more charismatic if the heaps of praise lavished on Landon would have already been earmarked some time ago for Deuce….especially overseas. Seems, I don’t know, just odd to me, the fanfare around Donovan when Demps has been doing it for awhile and was really coming on this year.

• I’ve mentioned it before and maybe I’m putting too much stock in well-delivered answers, but I’m looking for Sacha Kljestan to be a contributor. You have to think that Kljestan is on the cusp of the South African team…but if he gets his form he could challenge for a role with Stuie on the right side if Clint is up top as is now expected.

• I am giddy like an….like an…I don’t know NBA 1st round pick in a strip joint after the draft about our beer piece dropping tomorrow…just an excellent panel of experts helped us out. Thank you in advance.

• It’s been nearly 100 days since the Charlie Davies 9th minute salute…and where do we stand on strikers?  CD9 is flicking a ball (“Push It, Charlie…we need you!), according to the aforementioned Kljestan.

From Group 1 of our “With Davies In Repair, Who Strikes?” piece, we almost lost Dempsey to injury and Altidore is starting sporadically with the mercurial Amr Zaki arriving on the scene.

From Group 2, Conor Casey looks like a lock for the team and has a shot at starting. Group 3 inclusions, Kenny Cooper and Brian Ching, seem semi-permanently and permanently out of the picture.

"You should be getting your boarding passes in the mail any day now..." (courtesy: Matt Mathai)

Group 4…holy smokes I just realized I forgot a Group 4. Sorry guys.

Group 5 has seen Bob Bradley kick the tires of Eddie Johnson and Robbie Findley with more expected of Findley. Rolfe and Adu, also included in the group have not factored and may never. My money is on Rolfe over Adu for those that have not shown.

Group 6 was all Jeff Cunningham …and…he…is… slowly…making…his…case.

Group 7 included Marcus Tracy, a camp injury casualty and Preston Zimmerman…not summoned.

More feedback as we get closer here.

Check out the latter columns of the “Who Strikes?” series. Part II and Part III.

Part III is one of my favorite pieces I’ve written….wait, did I say that out loud?

• Shout out  to Rico Clark….without spoiling a forthcoming World Cup piece….we owe you some pub. A big move over to the Bundesliga, message boards lit up overseas with your praises, and the Germans even labeling you Rambo. More shortly Rico…TSG owes you some love. (Thanks Evan for the link.)

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The USMNT Is Going To Play Where?

Back in August, TSG explored the idea of creating “Soccertown USA” — one city where the USMNT would play all of its games. In that piece the following was noted:

Since the beginning of 2006 the USMNT has played games in 19 cities —San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Cary (NC), Nashville, Cleveland, E. Hartford, Phoenix, Tampa, San Jose, Boston, Chicago (2 locations), Houston, NYC, Washington (DC), Columbus, Seattle and Salt Lake City (9/5).

The USMNT travels back to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay for the first time since 2007 to face El Salvador in February.

Looking at these locations and the relevancy of the games — friendly, World Cup qualifier, Gold Cup — there did not seem to be much rhyme or reason to where the games were placed by US Soccer. In fact, we likened the USMNT to a traveling circus due to their seemingly random movement throughout the country.

Though TSG never thought the US Soccer Federation actually threw darts at  a map of the United States as their method of selection, little explanation has been offered behind match site decisions. Thankfully, the USSF offered some insight into their due diligence and decision-making process during TSG’s trip to training camp last week.

The guiding principle for stadium selection by USSF is to put the game in a place where US Soccer has “the best chance to be successful.” Based on some of the selection criteria below, the definition of “successful” is likely some combination of team performance on the pitch, financial success and the potential to reach and reinforce a growing fanbase, though US Soccer didn’t specifically elaborate on its definition.

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Dodging The Bullet: Deuce Gets Mini Vacation

Say It Ain't So! Say It Ain't So!

Update 01/19 afternoon:

Whew!

That was a close call.

The official statement today from Fulham FC.

“During the Blackburn Rovers fixture on Sunday 17 January, Clint Dempsey sustained moderate damage to a ligament in his right knee. Following the results of a scan, early indications are positive in that no operation is required. At this stage it is thought that the injury will not prevent him from featuring for Fulham, prior to the end of the season.
Whilst obviously disappointed, Clint is focused on his rehabilitation and will work hard, in line with medical advice, to return at the soonest opportunity.”

Reprinted from FulhamFC.com

This quote by Bob Bradley from US Soccer.com:

“The news about Clint’s injury is positive, especially given the fact that he will not require surgery,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley.  “We are confident that Clint will be ready to be an important part of our team during the World Cup.”

Not a vacation, but not surgery either.

Just had the exchange with TSG Contributor Chris over IM:

Chris: What do you think of the phrase ‘moderate ligament damage’ & ‘should be playing again before May?’

Matthew: I think that’s best we could have hoped for. I think that as long as it wasn’t the ACL then that’s a good thing.
I think the silver lining is that Demps will be fresh. Probably the best news we could have hoped for.
Thanks to TSG Contributor BW for sending the Deuce news our way.

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Carling Cup Semi Man U – Man City

Tevez, has a face that makes babies cry...but a harder worker you will not find

WHAT A GAME. The replay at United will be quite the affair. Tevez is the hero but it was Irish keeper Given who kept them in the match. Lunch time for me.

94:00 - Tevez deservedly named Man of the Match, but its all Rooney right now as he wins anther corner. Its header clear by the taller City defenders but Rooney eventually gets the ball and has a shot. It’s all United as they keep attacking. City defend incredibly and the whistle blows to end the game.

92:00 – Bellamy breaks clear but an errant pass ends up in Scholes feet who pushes forward. Rooney ends up with the ball just outside of the box and with some nimble footwork sends a low shot in that is expertly saved by Given and goes out for a corner. Corner comes in and Diouf gets a free header but sends it agonizingly wide.

89:00 Scholes’s first move is to lose the ball, but Zabeleta who has  a great game tiredly gives it away. United keep attacking and win a corner. Man U make their last change and bring on Diouf for Rafael. 5 minutes of added time. Sir Alex will still complain that it wasn’t enough!

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