Archive for February, 2010

More Recovery: Gooch, In Person

Courtesy U.S. Soccer

Weekend: Junior & The Shin Guardian Clash

Yes, we’ll have a column up tomorrow for the Manchester United vs. Ameriton. (Everton)

Have you been reading our comments section?

Cheesy soccer globe #(something)

Honestly some really, really good stuff in there this week.

Thanks for all the contributions. A quick thank you to GeorgeCross, who by being dually a supporter of the Three Lions and a repeat contributor to TSG has added some contrarian commentary to balance our American-esque commentary. Thank you.

More stellar commentary like:

GeorgeCross on Steven Gerrard and others diving lately: “We English talk about our fair play vs European / Latin dirty tricks etc, but we’re the one’s who are trophyless since 1966…”

Killer photog man Matt Mathai on injuries on the USMNT:  “A partially fit Davies might be useful, but a sub-100% Onyewu might be a liability.”

ChrisR on Arsenal: “How do you have a squad that is seemingly competing for trophies with two of the more mental keepers around (Almunia, Fabianski)? Arsene should have signed a keeper in the summer and if not then, he surely should have signed one in January.”

Sam on soccer growth in America and ESPN:  “….the ball in MLS’ court to do two things. Generate ticket revenue and secure primetime ratings.  A long run by MLSers in the USMNT at the World Cup could do that, however with talent escaping the league as soon as it pops up the problem gets a little more stretched.” …and more.

And even more…take a read today if you haven’t got there yet.

And I’d like to thank everyone for keeping the commentary informative and non-personal. I seriously enjoy reading you’all. Thanks.

On to the weekend:

Friday:

We always bet on TSG....except this time...

TSG Battles Sweatpants Jr. (TSG Hoffenheim v. Bo’Munchen)

TV: GolTV, Today, 11:30 PST

UPDATE: 2-2 tie…TSG holds its own against Baby Bradley

Miss Shinny applies the jab to Matt under the Rocky statue...

Wait, why didn’t anyone tell us this:

That’s right folks its Michael Bradley vs. The Shin Guardian today as our German arm TSG Hoffenheim takes on Bo’ Munchen. 1899 Hoffenheim–as they like to be called–was in the German 5th league as recently as 2000. A stratospheric rise to the top…hey sounds like….did I say that out loud?

One more goody here, the team nickname is “Hoffe”…as in Don’t Hassle the Hoff. A German team adopting Knight Rider’s (sorry youngsters) nickname…amazing…simply amazing.

Saturday:

Everton roll out the blue carpet for Manchester United at Goodison

TV: ESPN2, Saturday, 4:45AM PST – Yikes!

This is the big one for American fans….Tim Howard once again taking on the side that vanquished him in the mid 2000’s. Everton man-of-the-month Landon Donovan getting the once over by the Red Devil defense.

TSG surmises that you’re going to see Ji Sung Park on Landon’s side and you can guarantee Donovan will be on the bad end of one filthy tackle by the Scotsman Darren Fletcher.

More? Landon taking runs, potentially, at Rio Ferdinand who might make a return….or even Nemanja Vidic who the US might face in a Serbian showdown after the Group Stages 2010.

This is going to be a tough one for Everton. And they would be wise to keep the ball wide. Maroune Fellaini is out and Tim Cahill is ailing making Everton very vulnerable in the interior midfield.

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Charlie Davies: In Video

Charlie Davies, one month from seeing the training pitch…

Ching: “In 2006, Guys Got A Little Complacent”

We’re just putting this interview up there to show you what happens. Interview with The Shin Guardian…win US Soccer’s Man of the Match…that simple.

Mark will be along shortly with the game review.

Ching: "Sometimes it's taking hits...sometimes it's dishing them out"

Quick apology to the TSG community. TSG was attempting to get an audience with Brian Ching in December upon the announcement of Brian’s new charity “The House That Ching Built.”

We even had the title picked out as we wanted to focus on that charity on the turn of the new year, “Resolutions? Brian Ching has a few…”

Alas, due to some hecticness , we’re just rolling out our Brian Ching interview this week. Mind you, the questions were scribed in December so at that time there was less of an MLS focus. We’ll do a follow up at some point; we promise.

That said, Ching answered  TSG’s questions much like he plays the game: workmanlike, direct and without pulling punches.

Let’s drop a sampling of them here to whet the appetite as we get started…..

On his physical play: “Sometimes it’s taking hits, sometimes it’s dishing them out.”

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Department of “What Were You Thinking?”

Update: Cesc Fabregas, in a great display of leadership, stands up for Fabianski. It’s Cesc. Just “Cesc.” With all the talk of Rooney being a a number 1 type player, is there any doubt that Cesc is top five…he’s clearly top 10. Digressing…

Luis Fabianski’s brain cramp today at Dragon Stadium, helping FC Porto to a 2-1 win. The sad thing is statistically Fabianski has been better than Almunia over the past year.

Fabianski putting his mitts on the back pass created the free kick, but as TSG commenter Matt Mathai and I discussed in the comments section, the defenders need to step in and force the ref to step-off the requisite yards and thus slow the play down.

More from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on what the ref should have done.

All this being said, not the best game for the, gulp TSG heritage on the line here, pride of Poland goalkeep.

Wed: Philly Tune-Up, Champ’s League, More…

Wow, what a Tuesday.

You know the shootout scene in the movie Heat? That’s how I imagine every back line feels when they are going up against Wayne Rooney these days. Sweet lord of hosts, someone cool that man off before June.

Oh, and how about Seedorf’s finish (new link)? Class. Okay, on we go:

"I know I'm a cream cheesehead, but..THE YANKS ARE COMING! Woo-hoo!"

• What better way for the USMNT to warm up for the soccer version of Christmas (WC 2010), then with a game against Turkey less than a month before. Oh gosh, that was terrible before we even wrote it.

Clint, Jozy, Bobbo and crew take on Turkey, so they say, May 29th in Philadelphia.

Turkey, Netherlands, maybe more? Much better than the 2006 warm-ups against the likes of Jamaica and Latvia…good work, USSF. That’s a Hiddink-less Turkey by the way as the former Russian coach has signed on the dotted line, but isn’t in action until August.

• Portsmouth and Algerian central defender Nadir Belhadj rumored, and we mean rumored with a Daily Mirror report, an apple of Barcelona’s eye. And Wednesday morning, the Guardian has it as well.

• “Hold that plane! I’m coming!!” – The hot-cold DaMarcus Beasley warms up in a reserve game. Going to need to a do that a few times in a row in some league games against the Hibs and others before you get me jumping back on your bandwagon, DMB.

• Lots of chatter from yours truly on how Gareth Barry can be exploited by Team USA…and he goes and scores for Man City Tuesday. Damn, picked the wrong day for that one.

• More from the Daily Mirror, Vidic to AC Milan for Huntelaar? Interesting,  though normally–much like you never trade a big for a small in the NBA–you never trade offense for defense in soccer.

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“Okay, I Get It ESPN, But….”

For those that have followed TSG since the inception, there are two dispositions that we believe regularly resound from this publication.

ESPN needs to put it's stamp on soccer in America....

First, we tend to wander slightly left of the neutral line to optimism over pessimism.

Second, we don’t often harangue on or put down other sites. Just like you can be an uber-fan or a passive fan, everyone has their right to their voice.

Why do we offer these qualifications now? Because were about to challenge some of ESPN’s growth strategy here in just a minute.

Let’s lead off with a statement we’ve made before on soccer broadcasting in the United States:

“The single biggest entity that can have an impact on soccer viewership growth and American soccer legitimacy in the United States is ESPN. It is not ESPN’s responsibility to make it happen, but they do have the ability.”

The growth of soccer as well all know in the United States will likely not come from a stratospheric improvement in quality of MLS or from the against-odds chance that the USMNT finds themselves in a World Cup final. The latter has the odds stacked against it heavily and the former’s trajectory will not happen fast enough.

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