The Weekend: Altidore vs. Dempsey

Best I could do...

Not done with the weekend preview…but I thought I would get it out there to start the discussion….more coming.

FSC Schedule here.  ESPN schedule here.

—————

More spanning, no cheesy globe this time (unless I can find a good one….and I took my best shot).

Yes, we apologize to those heckling in email:

“When are you going to talk about MLS?” and my favorite, “You’re not talking about MLS at all right now because you’re afraid that your boy Borny is going to look horrendous in the opener.”

Love getting heckled.

Wow!

Well folks, we’re not going to talk about a lot of MLS…yet, but a big thank you to the TSG community for getting me interested in MLS. Last night after the Syracuse Orangemen succumbed, I was flipping back and forth between the Sounders-Union opener and March Madness and found myself watching a lot more of the Sounders game–and christening David Myrie of the Union the next Maldini or something.

You see why I need to ease my way into MLS. That said, very good entertainment last evening.

Onto the weekend:

League One – England

Leyton Orient vs. Brentford

A huge inter-London game of the week.

Our feature game of the week. 8am PST, Saturday March 27th AM. Gonna be huge…

Actually, the big news here?  Leyton’s got a new fullback, he goes by the name of Eric Lichaj just loaned by mothership Aston Villa.

Brentford only thing I know about them is they have that Polish goalie on loan from Arsenal.

We actually asked USSF about Eric Lichaj last week and they reminded that he was a guest in Chicago last year. Okay USSF…and?

Some pub for the pride of Downers Grove, Illinois

EPL

Arsenal up to St. Andrews to face Birmingham

Arsenal is hanging around the top of the table there…legitimate shot at the top? You bet.

They’re in form, but it will be a big statement to go up to Birmingham and come away with a win, not a draw. Birmingham, the promoted darlings, are downright feisty at home. Watch this game if you can, great mix of splendid possession and passing (Arsenal) vs.a squad that thrives on teamwork (Birmingham).

Will Arsenal rest any of their eleven in favor of the big Barca showdown Wednesday?

Joe Hart, please step up. Robert Green, shaky. David James, really shaky.

Anyone else starting to see this face on Ancelotti?

Chelsea defends The Bridge versus Friedel’s Villians

Saturday, ESPN Classic, 7:55AM PST

Chelsea look to right the ship against a squad that customarily heads south down the stretch. Aston Villa are doing that once again this year.

Do you believe in Martin O’Neill more or Carlo Ancelotti?

Does it say something that the Blues have had little success and optimism at coach since The Special One graced the pitch? I think it does. A lot of ego, a lot of entrenched veterans at Chelsea. Scolari, Grant and maybe Ancelotti run out of town the past few years. I say–as rumors abounded this week–shake it up. Time for some new blood.

Oh and a quick note here on the viewing, that’s a better time slot for ESPN here for an EPL game, but they have it on Classic. Interesting….

Altidore vs. Dempsey (Hull City welcomes Fulham to KC Stadium)

Saturday, FSC, 3PM PST (Delay)

I can’t believe there isn’t a YouTube compilation on Altidore vs. Dempsey…really?

Reports have Altidore all set fitness-wise for this one.

Ponder this for a second, one might argue that the two best attackers in this game are American. Bobby Zamora is battling a stomach bug and might miss this one; though Stephen Hunt might take issue with that statement.

Both teams need this one, but Hull City surely more as they dropped a big one at Portsmouth (I didn’t mean for that to be a pun…but looks like it is). Fulham though have not won in the Premiership in over a month.

Fulham are without Andrew Johnson or he would have been perfect to press the Tigers porous defense up the pitch. That said, I think without Zamora and Johnson, they’ll have enough Deuce power up top to generate some offense and pressure.

I’m curious to see if Ian Dowie, Hull’s new manager, deploys Jozy in the same manner as Phil Brown–that is as a receiving striker out of the midfield.

If so, look for the Jozy match-up against both Brede Hangeland, a Nemanja Vidic-type and Aaron Hughes. Fulham play a very stout back line and they don’t like to come up the pitch all that much. Let’s see what Dowie does.

Contrasting uni's this weekend and only one will likely be celebrating...

M…L…S

(Treading lightly here as I learn the league. I’ll only offer one game this )

Kansas City vs. DC United

Call it the Retribution Bowl for Curt Onalfo who was dispatched by the Wizards last year. $20 says the winner of this game will receive a lot of pub about “Setting the right tone early” or “It’s a whole new year….”

Can anyone else see Troy Perkins dominating in MLS? Goalkeeper of the Year….I see it…big fan here at TSG.

Are KC fans impressed with the triumvirate of Kei Kamara, Josh Wolff and Davy Arnaud up top? Seems like a lot of the same type of player to me.

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37 responses to this post.

  1. Man, I didn’t realize so many of Deuce’s goals are golazos…

    Makes me proud to be an American, and glad I don’t go easy on the highschool kids I play against on Friday pickup games…

    Reply

  2. The other fun MLS game to watch this weekend (if you can get it in your viewing area) is the Dynamo at FC Dallas, fierce interstate rivalry where the winner of the season series gets El Capitán (a replica 18th century cannon).

    Hard to say what KC will do this year. I watched Kamara a lot last season in Houston and he’s a bit hit or miss, he’s probably above average when it comes to MLS strikers and has great size but his finishing is on the inconsistent side. Arnaud I haven’t seen a lot of but I’ve always viewed him as more effective playing from the midfield. Wolff just seems to be a “right place, right time” kinda guy, he’s got a gift for squeezing through defenders and getting on the end of passes inside the area. If he and Kamara can form some chemistry they could be good complements to each other, one a big rangy guy and the other a little opportunist.

    Reply

    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/26 at 4:53 PM

      Does KC play with 3 up top? Which brings to mind, do any MLS teams play with 3 up top on a regular basis?

      Reply

      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/26 at 5:33 PM

        Not many, but I faintly remember seeing one team that did last year. Maybe New York? I think Real Salt Lake might have a bit last season. Possibly New England with all the injuries they had. I don’t really know. If I had to guess, I would say New York did.

        Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/26 at 5:39 PM

      As a Houston fan, I can’t agree more with the rivalry game coming up. What I can’t wait for is our games against Seattle and LA mostly because I HATE those two teams. I’m sure some regulars might have noticed I hated LA during last years playoffs.

      On Kamara, I don’t see Kamara as the big guy that others do. To me he’s quicker and much more… fancy? He plays with more trickery and often fails at it, but when he plays straight forward he reminds me of an Ngwenya. (A million times better than Oduro)

      Reply

  3. Posted by Matt B on 2010/03/26 at 3:53 PM

    As someone who tries to watch MLS as much as possible and doesn’t really have a favorite team, I’m looking forward to the New York-Chicago game Saturday on ESPN2, mostly to see the new stadium. I’m also intrigued by Collins John–I can’t believe he’s still only 24 after seeing him play with McBride at Fulham 5 years ago.

    Reply

  4. Posted by MJ on 2010/03/26 at 7:35 PM

    Anybody know how serious Howard’s knock is? EFC site is calling it a “thigh strain” for which he received medical attention and is now “doubtful” for the game against Wolves tomorrow. Better not be serious..!

    http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/2010/03/26/howard-doubt-for-wolves

    Reply

    • Posted by KMac on 2010/03/26 at 7:49 PM

      Probably just giving him some rest.

      Reply

      • Timmy is my boy, but he is the one player on the team that if he goes down I am not even a little worried. We’re the deepest team in the world in terms of GK.

        Of course, he’s our rock, so I’d hate to see him go, but I’m not gonna cry about it.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/26 at 9:21 PM

          That’s a nave and fanatical viewpoint John.

          Check out our Indispensable Ten List.

          Brad Guzan hasn’t seen the light of day for Aston Villa through most of 2010 while Hahnemann has been solid but not spectacular for Wolverhampton.

          Beyond that Tim has been the only consistently present force for the Yanks in the back.

          As a fan I would be a lot less confident in our defense, the key to our game in South africa, without Howard at this point.

          Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/26 at 9:23 PM

          The deepest teams in the world at goalie is Spain hands down followed by Italy then the States in my opinion.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/26 at 9:30 PM

          I thought Landon was your “maboi” John?

          In terms of goalkeepers. I agree with Matthew – the US aren’t deep – you’re potentially deep, but that’s a different kettle of fish. Spain have 3 keepers playing CL football year after year and playing in high pressure teams – you cannot buy that experience (Howard v Porto, remember?)…

          Reply

        • Posted by kaya on 2010/03/26 at 11:50 PM

          Timmy is absolutely indespensable, and saying you’re not gonna cry about his absense is naive… but absolute depth of GK’ing != relative depth of GK’ing. What about the dropoff from Iker to Pepe, for example, compared to Iniesta to Cesc.
          I feel most of our field position options are less stable than those at GK.

          Reply

        • Posted by Wilson on 2010/03/27 at 9:27 AM

          Comparing Iker and Pepe – Iniesta to Cesc. Like comparing bumble bees and mosquitos. The do the same thing but are different style players at their positions. I think I will take Howard over Pepe (Liverpool GK) as of now on.

          Reply

  5. No teams in MLS really run 3 up top. Most every team runs a 4-4-2 although historically TFC has usually been in a 4-5-1 and DC has been in a 3-5-2. Kamara is a terrible striker. His touch is poor and while his athleticism can sometimes make up for it, he is apparently locker room cancer as well. KC is one of the worst sides in the league while DC is an improving one. Look for DC to take the away victory 2-1 if Jaime Moreno keeps up his preseason form.

    FC Dallas is a team to watch this year with all of their young attacking players and Jeff Cunningham. They are a team that no one is picking, but could surprise a lot of people. I’m about to hit up the Chivas-Colorado game in which Colorado is easily the better team and they should take this one on the road unless Hollywood Kljestan pulls something out of his you know what.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/03/26 at 10:51 PM

    Hey, if you want to get a glimpse of a VERY promising youngster, watch some of the DC United – KC Wizards match. DCU signed two kids from their academy (a most promising sign of progress.) One is Bill Hamid, an 18-year-old giant who has already been invited to train w/ the US national senior team. I have a photo of Tim Howard watching Hamid block a shot. He’s going to be the DCU #2 keeper this year.

    The field player to watch is a 17-year-old Honduran/American kid named Andy Najar (‘Na-har’) He’s fast, technically skilled, and has a great engine. He plays a lot of different positions, but is best at right wing. Onalfo has said he’ll get major minutes this year, which is pretty amazing given his age. A few of his teammates (incl. Perkins) have stated on record that he’s better than Freddy Adu was before he left. We’ll see.

    Anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of MLS. Some of the soccer sucks, but a lot of it is very good. The bonus is that you get to see players who might force their way into the national team pool.

    Reply

  7. Posted by kaya on 2010/03/26 at 11:32 PM

    2nd week in a row your soccer globe is more “badass” than cheese. I guess this is a reflection of Mark’s absence. I think you need to subconsult.
    The best shot of Lichaj you could get was of some other guy with the equivalent of an upskirt shot?
    I will be learning to love the MLS along with you, Matt… I’ll bet it’s better than League 1, either way.

    Reply

  8. How crazy awesome that most of this thread’s discussion has centered on the slate of MLS games offered this weekend and, additionally, the talent that can be viewed in OUR VERY OWN DOMESTIC LEAGUE.

    Obviously we’re all fans of the int’l game, but great to see MLS getting some positive talk from everyone (despite its shortcomings we all know). For better or worse its OUR league and glad to see people repping it.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Jon C on 2010/03/27 at 9:50 AM

    Jozy won the penalty that led to Hull’s first goal. They are crushing Fulham right now. Great sign that the new manager gave Jozy the start.

    Here’s the clip: http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/5177195/ Great work by Jozy in the box.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Jon C on 2010/03/27 at 9:52 AM

    Jozy won the penalty that led to Hull’s first goal with some great work in the box. Here’s the clip:

    http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/5177195/

    Really good sign that the new manager is throwing Jozy out for the start after his injury.

    Reply

  11. Posted by cesar on 2010/03/27 at 11:12 AM

    Matthew, if you want to see an interesting matchup in MLS, fire and new york is one of the best for that (and not just because I made the trip from chicago to jersey). No foreign coach has ever had a winning record, and in these two teams you have TWO such new coaches. Plus the fire’s mad talent ;)

    Reply

  12. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/27 at 1:12 PM

    Did you see Jozy give Smalling the workout? Two 20 year-olds. One grown man.

    Reply

  13. If we need a reason to rag on Soccernet’s coverage more at the moment, I’m following along with Gamecast for FC Dallas v Dynamo for a bit more info since I can only get the match in Spanish. So far it’s about 6 minutes behind and has Houston’s goal as a header for Chabala just outside the right corner of the six yard box (it was a sliding shot from the left side near the edge of the penalty area) and Dallas’ goal as an Atiba Harris shot from the left side of the six yard box (it was a rip just to left of center 20 or so yards out). Seriously guys?

    Reply

  14. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/27 at 3:23 PM

    Pity Freidel isn’t in the USA team – Lampard put 4 past him today. *Another* 20-goal season is on the cards. Quite remarkable for a midfeilder player.

    Reply

    • Posted by Bob on 2010/03/27 at 6:25 PM

      Yes, but thank God Warnock plays for England! I hope Jozy, LD, Clint, and CD9 were all watching that game today (or will watch the replay). I can’t wait till June, George, I can’t wait…

      Reply

    • George – I didn’t see any of the highlights of that game yet, but when a team drops 7 on someone, it’s not likely that the keeper is at fault for most of them, unless it’s a rec-league indoor match.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/29 at 6:29 AM

        Yes, Nick, I *know* that – but if an American player scored four against an English keeper, the TSG community would be all over it…

        And the other point is that even though Lampard did what he should have, he still could have missed – he took his chances.

        Reply

        • Of course we’d be all over it, that’s news. Chelsea turning on the turbo scoring to beat Man U in goal differential is not the same kind of news, no matter the keeper. They’ve quality up and down the pitch and you can argue their entire bench would start for Villa.

          Basically, my question to you George is this: so?

          George, sine you’re representing the English on this site, and valiantly so, I think you’d be spot on to make some sort of ridiculous bet with the readers on this website. Something like, you’d have to buy (and wear, with a picture) a Landon Donovan kit if we win, whereas you should be allowed a to post an entry with all of us commenting on how right you were, in the event the three lions pull it out against the yanks.

          You make some valid points guy, but you’re forgetting, we’re Americans and we lack the natural pessimism about our national team because we haven’t suffered the same level of humiliation you English have grown used to. (zing?)

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/30 at 7:30 AM

          Apart from teams I have played for (school, college, university and Saturday and Sunday League etc.) I have *never* worn colours of another team – club or country – (not even a team from another country) and I will not even entertain the idea now. It’s a bit like asking a Red Sox fan to don the stripes of the evil empire of the Yankees….

          Humiliation? It’s only humiliation if you have ideas above your station, no? England have reached the QFs in the last two World Cups and that’s ‘probably’ about right, if you want to looks at ranking etc. I believe the US did not even get out of group play in two of the last three World Cups – that’s an embarrassment. Do I need to remind you of USSF’s “Project 2010″??

          Oh, and one last thing – when you put on that ghastly USA top, look for a star above the badge… England belong to that club and there are only 7 members!

          Reply

  15. George, all I’m sayin is “put your money where your mouth is.”

    It’s about how much faith you have in your side bro.

    And hey, I like the new USA kits, very “1950ish…”

    Maybe there should be an asterisk next to that pretty little star up there… A Ghost Goal and another scored on accident while fans are on the pitch are hardly the stuff to hang your most prized possession.

    But I guess a win is a win… ! Enjoy that star. We’re coming for it.

    Reply

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