Just some thoughts to tie up the weekend:
» Brad Friedel starts today for Aston Villa at Stoke City. Brad Guzan on the pine, Eric Lichaj not in the 18.
Both teams are missing their managers today, Houllier not on the job yet and Pulis with a personal issue.
Big Bird Brad needs to watch out for Kenwyne Jones and the nasty (but often listless) Ricardo Fuller. Both terrorize the skies and Aston Villa has conceded the most corners in the campaign thus far, 35.
• Champ’s League a’coming for the Staties….
Tuesday will see
» Maurice Edu and his Rangers in action at Old Trafford against the Red Devils.
» Schalke and Jermaine Jones to face 2010 Champ’s semifinalists Lyon.
• Football to soccer to football
As the NFL season got started this weekend, one thing I start to pay attention to more and more is the corollary between NFL players, issues, coaches, etc. and their soccer brethren around the globe.
• Rex In Effect…
What a different a sport makes: Rex Ryan, for both his documentary and his brash style is being absolutely massacred for his bravado, machismo, and trumpeting of his team’s abilities.
Ryan states that the pressure is on him, not his players if the production doesn’t back it up.
In soccer, there are character coaches like Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson who continually make outlandish statements to take the pressure and focus of their team and heap it upon themselves.
Just thought it was interesting that the media and fans accept this in soccer, but not in football.
» Instant replay. Pass.
But seriously you had Calvin Johnson’s “touchdown” called back Sunday. What I find interesting about this is, there is a general acceptance again by fans today that the rule may or may not be wrong, but they can live with the call.
Instant replay review actually improved the public acceptance of a play that should have went the other way.
We know FIFA still has this one wrong.
• How do you say “DNP: Coach’s Decision” in Spanish?
After talking up Jozy Altidore in La Liga in my Sunday column, absolutely have to feel for the guy not getting off the bench when his team was up 4-0 on Sunday.
This is the single biggest storyline for an American abroad right now.
It’s too far to say Jozy’s career is in the balance, but Jozy will turn 21-years old this year, that’s the year that strikers like Didier Drogba and decided to make their mark.
If you’re a USMNT fan your watching Altidore’s deployment this year in earnest.
• And here I thought the next Ginger Ninja was Dax McCarty
I had a chance to watch Stu Holden play a full game on a big screen finally this year.
As I mentioned on Saturday, here’s what I thought of Holden’s play. He needs to get more physical, he’s exceedingly calm on the ball (as in top EPL 5%) and he’s more than quick enough for the league.
What’s interesting–again if you’re a Yanks’ fan–is that Holden is playing a center midfield role paired with Fabrice Muamba in a 4-2-3-1 alignment for Bolton. It’s almost like he is the stopper of the midfield, while Muamba is the sweeper….and it’s extremely clever from Bolton honcho Owen Coyle.
Holden–rightfully so–is the more forward of the two central midfielders, you could say it’s an equivalent to a Michael Bradley role for the States. Got to be honest, I like Holden more in that role than Bradley because he’s got a much better passing arsenal if he’s wins possession.
I’ll go on record as say now two things. One, if Holden’s going to be learning this role I like to see Bob Bradley consider him there come next match.
Two, if Holden has a breakout year, I see him as a perfect match for Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils for the aging Paul Scholes. I mean, c’mon, Fergie; he’s a fellow countryman, sort of.
• Have Mersey…side
Watched the Birmingham-Liverpool match and I have to say my early season prediction of a top-four finish for Liverpool is in serious jeopardy and a serious mistake.
Liverpool look totally discombobulated and have virtually no flow on offense. They routinely rely on typically Fernando Torres to be Herculean in attack and break down the defense all by himself. That, or a “lucky” run by one of their wingers.
A work in progress for Liverpool. I must say, for all his talent, Steven Gerrard is starting to look more-and-more like a Scottie Pippen than anything resembling a Michael Jordan.
• Wolfsburg is still only about Jettas
No word still on a landing pad for ex-Watford man Jay DeMerit. Odd.
• Toronto is for…is for…
Says here that there is no way a struggling DC United team goes on the road…to Toronoto…and comes away with the win if Curt Onalfo and not Ben Olsen is your coach. Just saying…
• Stockpiled, but…
Tim Howard earned a “Silks Of The Week” nod from Rio Ferdinand.
For out two cents, Howard should get an international break when the United States plays Poland and then Colombia in a little less than a month.
Brad Guzan should be there, but with Bill Hamid out, who else is going to be backing up the nets for the Yanks come October especially with trusted vets like Nick Rimando and Kevin Hartmann in the thick of playoff preparation for their MLS sides.
There’s consideration for:
» Dominic Cervi, who didn’t make the 18 for Celtic this past weekend and has yet to earn an international cap.
» Prodigious youngster Samir Badr, who just got shellacked in a 5-0 loss for the U-20 squad giving way to….
» Cody Cropper…in nets for the next U-20, 2-0 loss to Colombia and now signed to Ipswich Town.
»Luis Robles. Last year’s Gold Cup keeper is finding a tough go of it in the Bundesliga 2 and is not on the bench for his home Karlsruhe in today’s match.
» Chris Seitz, who’s coach (and former Bob Bradley assistant) Piotr Nowak had this to say about his last outing 10 days ago and his team, the Union, drew, but should have notched the victory against Kansas City.
“I think we all know that we were supposed to win this game, there is no question about that,” Nowak said. “First of all we cannot feel sorry for ourselves; Chris [Seitz] made a huge mistake. When we control the game for 70 minutes . . . this is disappointing; we still believe he has the ability to make the crucial saves . . . I think the guys in front of him made it easy for him today and when it comes to the crucial moments he needs to be there for his team.
Fun decisions afoot for Coach Sweats. (We’re betting on Cervi at this point only because Bradley has called him in before….big asterisk.)