Archive for August, 2010

Transfer Talk: DMB Rumors, Man City Makes It

It’s a good thing TSG is here.

Tuesday’s “proposed movement”:

The Beas...about to order a Dunkel in time for Octoberfest?

• While some soccer outlets are reporting a DaMarcus Beasley to Hannover rumor, the reality is that DMB is one of at least two players in consideration to join the Bundesliga side. It’s not Beasley-or-bust. Thanks Sky Sports.

• What will Liverpool do now that they have $16M from Alberto Aquilani…and perhaps even more from a Javier Mascherano deal?

(Update from TSG Reader John: This is a free loan (WTF) with an option to buy at the end for 13mil pounds…thanks, our apologies.)

One report has ‘Pool looking at Mahamadou Diarra…funny we mentioned that might be the case on Friday. Diarra is better option–pending price–than Scott Parker. That might get some of you excited…or distraught.

• Jonathan Spector’s West Ham is looking to add a striker before the close of the transfer window. It’s a shame that Zola is not in charge anymore because Carlton Cole owes his career to the man. Had Zola been there we would have found a way to start up Altidore-to-West Ham rumors.

That said, Inter’s Victor Obinna seems the odds-on favorite to swing the Hammers.

• Congratulations are in order for Manchester City this morning.

Last year, with outrageous bids or rumored bids for Kaka and Robinho, Manchester City was part kid-in-a-candy-store and part laughing-stock. Well today, according to his agent, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barca’s major transfer last season, states he wants to play for one of three team: AC Milan, Real Madrid, or Manchester City.

While the placement of Manchester City is probably to drive up price or to earn his client a major upgrade on his existing deal, Manchester City mentioned as a favored destination point with Madrid and Milan…well that sort of press is priceless.

Christmas Morning For The Dynamo

They’ve got a new stadium coming.

They’ve got a dearth of talent.

Revised: One big, happy, future Dynamo Stadium...if they get their DP

They’ve got a huge, diverse fan base that earned that stadium.

Tim Leiweke, part of the Dynamo ownership group, commented today that Houston Dynamo should bring in a significant player. Wait, not strong enough, check out the direct quote:

“From a business standpoint, the only thing I’ve asked Chris and Dom to do is don’t dip your toe in the water.

If you are going, go big. I don’t believe in halfway, and there is a commitment amongst all our partners to make it a significant player that moves the needle from a business standpoint, fan standpoint, as well as on the pitch.”

Wow, it’s now up to coach Dom Kinnear and COO Chris Canetti to deliver.

Big Tim: Voted Fast Company's Most Creative Man in Sports, 2009

If you’re looking for a potential Houston DP, given Leiweke’s comments, your candidate has the following complexion:

• They can pull both American fans and Mexican fans into that shiny new stadium.

• They fit a team need for Houston (primarily attack).

• They should be attacking if possible either way–those players tend to fetch more fan buzz and interest.

• You’re thinking about a salary (to the player) of about $2M-$4M.

Five Plausibilities (not ready to call them Possibilities)

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Lichaj: Loving His First Start, Doused With Popcorn

Eric Lichaj had some comments following his debut against Rapid Vienna last week.

Lichaj gets his game going at Villa...

Here’s our scouting report on Lichaj’s game.

His comments:

He said: “It was a really good atmosphere in Austria.

“All the Vienna fans were jumping up and down – they were actually throwing popcorn at me at one point and I think they were throwing beer at Brad Guzan.

“But it was a good atmosphere to play in for my first competitive game for Villa.

“I didn’t get chance to sample any of the popcorn after the game! It was too bad we couldn’t hold on for the win but it was a good, solid draw.”

See more at the official Villa site.

—–Elsewhere:

Benny Feilhaber comments to Danish papers Monday that there are no current offers for his services.

Jay DeMerit to Swindon rumors dampened by Swindon assistant manager, Peter Shirtliff:

“I haven’t got a clue on those – it’s nothing I’ve heard about. We are continuing to see what we can do and would like to get a couple in, but it is proving a bit difficult.”

• San Francisco’s SErik Benjaminsen signs with Stabæk of Norway, the same club as vaunted US prospect Mix Diskerud.

• TSG mentioned on Twitter that hurdling up the depth charts at LB for the Yanks is no other than….Bobby Convey.

West Coast: You Want China!

(Note: USSF has not finalized the USA vs. Colombia match that is rumored or slated for October 2010.)

Check out the tadpoles who got the nod the last time the U.S. played in the Bay Area...

Hey West Coast, beyond a few of your stadium turf issues, you want to root for a Japanese or Chinese, but not an Australian, friendly.

Got it?

Rumors–likely to be confirmed–have a United States versus Colombia friendly now scheduled for on or around October 12th.

Add that in to the recently announced United States versus Poland match October 9th at Soldier Field in Chicago and save some Camp Cupcake Finales the United States men’s national team seems to have an allergic reaction to playing with its A squad on the West Coast. Outside of a Gold Cup game against Grenada in Seattle–repeat the quality of that game back to yourself–and games at the official training center at HDC, the US has not played on the West Coast with an “A” side since early 2007.

Of course, there is a method to this.

Just a few months ago, TSG investigated how USSF selects the locales for USMNT home games.

You can throw most of the criteria in that piece out the window for this round of friendlies because there are only two factors that matter with these games having the least meaning of those in the run-up now to 2014:

Continue reading

Monday Midday Thoughts: Wigan, EJ, More…

A fun weekend of soccer as we start to rev up the EPL season and head for the home stretch of the MLS one.

Some thoughts:

The next Wayne?

• Get ready for a Rooney-like bombardment by the Brit tabloids…

…of stories about Andy Carroll.

TSG would like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for suggesting you shouldn’t put Carroll in your fantasy team for at least the first seven games of the season.

Had you listened, you’d be sitting near the bottom of the fantasy table…just like us.

Carroll looked impressive in notching a hat-trick as Newcastle rebounded off their season opening loss to the Red Devils with a 6-0 shellacking of Villa. Admittedly, Villa was playing their 2nd game in three days and were missing some key players…still.

Carroll with an extraordinary game and if the youngster doesn’t get a call-up to F.C. England Senior shortly then fans across the pond have every right to get upset.

Talking...to the BBC...

• As we mentioned yesterday, Bob Bradley went on BBC live to comment on his interest in the Aston Villa job.

We’ll keep the conversation on Villa and Bradley in yesterday’s piece, but a very shrewd move by Bradley’s agent Ron Waxman.

First, even without any expressed interest from Villa, you get a major media outlet–the most major media outlet–in England putting the words “Bob Bradley” in the same story multiple times with “Aston Villa.”

This drives up Bob Bradley’s brand equity, in the same country that he has aspirations to coach in.

Let’s says Bradley’s name were to come up for, I don’t know, the opening at Sheffield United, now you would have folks saying, “Oh yeah, I know Bob Bradley–he coached the US team and was going to be the coach at Villa,” even though Villa has never expressed that Bradley is, in fact, a candidate.

Further, by telling his story overseas, it dampens any negative blowback that might occur if Bradley made the statement Stateside.

It might have been construed as, “He’s the coach of the U.S. National Team and he wants to coach in England?” by the lay soccer fan.

As an American soccer writer, I don’t like that the tight-lipped Bradley–arguably the most visible non-player associated with US soccer–commented to a foreign outlet, but I understand the calculation of the move.

• Well, if Villa isn’t in the offing for Coach Sweats, then Wigan could be.

Roberto Martinez might have been electrifyingly good in his commentary during the World Cup, but the preparation and pride of his Wigan side is the diametric opposite in the early going of the Premiership.

Wigan should have never been crushed at home by Blackpool in the opener; against Chelsea on Saturday is a little bit more understandable.

However, if you take a look at the end of the game and the final goal by new Chelsea signing Yossi Benayoun, you see a defense that was horribly out of position, lacks discipline, and worse, looks like it gave up.

Can you really quit on a team and coach two games into the season?

If Wigan don’t bounce back next week, there may be new rumors linking Bob Bradley with the gig…or Curt Onalfo (kidding).

On Friday, we contributed our thoughts on Roy Hodgson potentially ticketing Alberto Aquilani out of Merseyside; now word today on Aquilani’s midfield mate Javier Mascherano being Barca’s new Cesc. Terms yet to be agreed on.

I don't know Eddie...I think you've gotten plenty of chances overseas...

• Eddie Johnson commented that Americans don’t get respect in the EPL.

I could understand if Clint Dempsey were making those accusations, but Johnson is the same player that couldn’t push 31-year-old molasses-maker Eric Nevland out of a role last season.

It’s not a conspiracy EJ.

Eddie I wonder what you have to say about…

Making his mark...

• Thanks to our community for posting this to us:

Owen Coyle on Stu Holden:

“He brings an unbelievable energy and desire. I mean this is a lad that we managed to get for free last year from Houston and hadn’t played in the Premier League – and probably had a bit of rejection early in his career. I think he’d been over at Sunderland for a little bit. The thing I love about that is that he’s got a real desire to try and be a Premier League professional. As you say, there’s an energy about him and with him and Muamba in there they certainly cover every blade of grass.”

Coyle doesn’t have a conspiracy against Americans and I’m wondering how much dinero MLS missed out on by the management of Holden in 2009. Could MLS have structured something to make some change from this? Not sure.

• Asked new MLS Designated Player signing Geovanni on Saturday how he felt playing up top instead of out wide as he did quite often for Hull City last season. His response? Diplomatic:

I like playing forward, the main thing is I like that the team won today. I like more more that we won. The crowd was very good to me and gave me a good reception when I came in.

I’d like to thank the club and the fans and everyone for welcoming me.

Geovanni said the weather was hot and he’s going to ready to give more next week.

(Thank you kindly for the translation provided by Jay Mettee of San Jose’s front office.)

• A quick note on a good read on soccer journalism by Brent Lathan–he of the multitude of years doing a good job covering the game.

Lathan laments the use of “anonymous sources” in “breaking” a story. Couldn’t agree more. Also agree, in the much shorter time that we’ve interacted with USSF, that they are notoriously quiet on newsworthy issues…either that or our publication is way too young to have curried favor or developed a deep-rooted rapport.

What is perhaps worse than Latham’s frustration at anonymous sources, is those that cite stories using them as a source in their own pieces.

Pieces with a headline like, “Bradley reportedly favorite for Aston Villa job.” Read a few lines in and you learn that the source is…The Daily Mirror. C’mon.

• Question: “So let’s say they marched off about 50 yards between you and Jozy Altidore and had you both run at one another, who’s hitting the ground?”

Answer: “Oh. Jozy’s a big boy; he and I weigh about the same. He also has to run with the ball and keep defenders off’em. But I played football. So, he’s hitting the ground. I think I’ve got him.”

Our interview with DC United goalkeeper and USMNT prospect Bill Hamid, who shut out the Union this past weekend, coming up this week…

Your Sunday Commentary Here

Wow, Newcastle is pounding on Bob Bradley-less Aston Villa.

Andy Carroll has just put the Beermen up 3-o…yes, that’s the same Andy Carroll we said you should lay off on your fantasy team.

The rest of your Sunday commentary here.

Carroll: Looks like there is hope for England after all....

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