Archive for September, 2010

Champ’s League-ing Tuesday

Raise your hand if you love UEFA Champ’s League. Okay, who was the one guy in the back that prefers CONCACAF Champ’s League? Is that you Don Garber?

Good ones of course today:

• Will Ajax Scrub Milan Out at Home?

Oops! Wrong jersey. Is Zlatan the Johnny Damon of Serie A?

This should be the game that you’re going to want to pirate at work.

Ajax is flying in the Eredivisie with a league-leading 20 goals through seven games. They’ve only leaked one goal per game as well.

That said, Milan travels with a Robinho, Pato, Ronaldinho, Boateng and Ibra-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder.

I’m sorry Grant Wahl, Ajax is going to struggle to get through this group.

• Frankly, the Blues should still win in a walk.

Lampard is out for Ancelotti’s men, Marseille bring Loic Remy, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Ghanian Andre Ayew to the Bridge. It’s still not enough.

• Will it be Merry Festivus for FC Basel?

Um, no.

Bayern Munich will come out with their guns blazing on the road at FC Basel after manager Louis Van Gaal gets a vote of confidence with a new contract and after being embarrassed by Mainz at home this Saturday.

Plus, FC Basel start Franco Costanzo between the pipes. My motto? Never trust a goalkeeper who pulls one of his defenders’ hair.

• Wenger’s going to need an Arsenal if his netminders continue to pull Homer Simpsons. Partizan Belgrade vs. Arsenal Wenger.

First, let me say I think Luis Fabianski is a decent keeper.

That said, I actually feel for Arsenal fans. Their goalkeeper situation is a like a port-o-potty at an underfunded state park: The longer the situation goes on, the more it fills up with sh*t. It stinks to high heaven and the area around it (the defense) starts to get trashed.

Enough already, bring in Lloris….watch Wenger transfer in Robert Green.

All I can tell you about Partizan Belgrade is that 14 out of 18 of their players’ last names end in “ic.”

They seem too one-dimensional to me; Emirates pulls this one out.

(Thank goodness for the unique Jonathan Wilson who actually has a viewpoint on Partizan.)

And more:

Spartak Moscow v MSK Zilina

Auxerre v Real Madrid

Braga v Shakhtar Donetsk

Roma v CFR 1907 Cluj-Napoca

How Have We Not Heard Of This Guy?!

This is a guest post by frequent contributor Nick Sindt

No, I don’t know where I’m going; But, I sure know where I’ve been.

Hanging on the promises; In songs of yesterday.

An’ I’ve made up my mind; I ain’t wasting no more time.

Here I go again; Here I go again…

How haunting that the first verse of Whitesnake’s epic monster-ballad could ring true to the United States Soccer Federation’s supposed deficiencies in identifying “American” talent in the cases of Conor Doyle and Nick May. If you’re a fan of the USMNT or Americans getting chances outside of our borders, then you’ve probably come across this story on Nick May or one of the many on Conor Doyle.

Conor Doyle in action...just not for US Youth...

You’ve heard of them, but the questions that keeps gnawing away at the back of your brains are, “How had we not heard of these kids until now?

“Have they slipped through the cracks of the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team setup?”

After some preliminary digging, I can tell you that Doyle played his youth club ball for the Dallas Texans (one of the most storied teams in all of Texas counting Clint Dempsey, Lee Nguyen, Hunter Freeman,and Jared Jeffrey amongst others as alums) before attending Creighton University, and May was playing for the Florida ODP team when given his trial at Estudiantes.

Without having access to their personal diaries, which surprisingly aren’t available on the interwebs via Facebook, Friendster, or Twitter, I don’t know for certain whether they’ve been given their fair shake with the U.S. Youth National Teams.

But how can Derby County recognize the talent in Doyle (a big athletic target striker of which we have few in the U.S. Player Pool) and the USSF cannot? Or how can Estudiantes, in Argentina, and Queen’s Park Rangers, in London, be salivating over May but he was conspicuously absent from Rongen and Cabrera’s squads for their recent Youth World Championships?

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Report: USA vs. Chile in January

Bielsa for Chile

According to a Chilean report, Marcelo Bielsa will be bringing La Roja to Carson, CA to face the States (and attendees of January Camp) on the weekend of January 23rd, 2011.

Will 21-year-old Alexis Sanchez make the trip for the Chileans? Probably not, but it’s possible.

Maybe Marcelo and Coach Sweats can sit down and discuss, oh I don’t know…formations?

Good Stuff: The Weekend In Video

Some motion picture of a phenomenal soccer weekend:

• Michael Bradley…bang!

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• We tried to tell you in our preview and on Twitter that West Brom was hot and would toss the kitchen sink–and Peter Odemwingie–at Arsenal and take it to the 12th round.

The crew from the Emirates didn’t respect us.

Terrible quality video here, but Chris Brunt is truly a quality player that footie fans do not see enough of.

A perfectly timed, weighted and directed back heel nutmeg here that leads to the Baggies 2nd goal.

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• Does MLS not have the best fans? Chicago Fire fans re-enact Super Mario Brothers.

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Charlie Davies On Radio Show

Our friends over on WFD had Charlie Davies on their show on Friday.

Nothing earth shattering in the interview, but a few new tidbits:

• Charlie refutes a Soccer America report that he’s completely out of sorts in his comeback. Says the journalist who issued the report only watched him one game.

• Charlie says his goal for a return to the U.S. team is next summer’s Gold Cup.

• Davies said he had doubts about his World Cup candidacy in April when Sochaux shut him down for the season.

One Doozy Of A Weekend…

MLS Old 'Skool

Add your weekend commentary here….

I’ll mention it again. Thanks to all of you who pushed for TSG to get into and starting covering MLS. It’s been a great experience from learning all the team names–kidding–to interacting with the media teams of many of the clubs.

The Galaxy, the Earthquakes, the Wizards are just some of the clubs that have been great to work with.

In homage to the move to cover MLS, we’ll lead this weekend preview with MLS as opposed to the EPL as we customarily do.

MLS

Friday:

The Herbalifers hope to slow down the running of the Red Bulls

Los Angeles-New York 11 p.m. EDT ESPN2

JPA wasn't smiling when he was fixed to the pine last week...

Maybe it’s the absence of Thierry Henry or that the Los Angeles Galaxy will trot out promising, but wet-behind-the-ears Leonardo, and Trinidadian Yohance Marshall in central defense as Omar Gonzalez is on suspension, but there’s a little less luster to this game than last time around.

Or maybe it’s the Friday night start time.

Anywho, the fulcrum point of this game will be in the central midfield, specifically how Los Angeles manages protecting their 2nd-string central defense pairing while linking the ball and countering the forceful Rafa Marquez and Tony Tchani of NYRB.

Juninho–who was fit, but didn’t play against D.C. United–is again the key figure here. In fact, it seems that the Galaxy’s play turns on just how much the lithe Brazilian can boss the game and find his spots.

This game will be no different. If Juninho can control the tempo and Dema Kovalenko (who I expect to start as well) can play enforcer well, the Galaxy should still handle this one at home. Beckham is a 2nd half sub in my mind. Last thing you want him having to do is run around after Tchani or getting terrorized by Marquez to start the game.

You know what would be the best golden moment in this? A bench shot of Jovan Kirovski (who has to be tired from all the minutes up top lately) and Eddie Lewis eating hot dogs with their cleats off. 140 caps between the old guys.

Anyway…

Saturday:

The Vermes Army entertains the ‘Stache and the Hoops

Kansas City-Dallas 8 p.m. EDT Direct Kick

Here’s your game of the week in my opinion.

The Kevin Hartmann storyline won’t happen here. Kansas City is playing some excellent attacking ball right now and come off a zestful midweek come-from-behinder against the “other Texas team.”

Meanwhile, Dallas–who I consider to be the most balanced team in the league–will have to survive without MVP candidate Hartmann and that will come down to how well their defense can marshal themselves in his absence on the road.

If you’re looking for one MLS game to watch this weekend, this is the one.

Toronto FC needs a good showing on the road at San Jose.

Toronto-San Jose 4 p.m. EDT Direct Kick

Stephenson is finally bossing MLS in his fourth stop...

Soft spoken giant Khari Stephenson is the key in this one. He enables Sam Cronin to go rooting around the pitch for a tackle or pass reception. In short, San Jose has been a different team with Stephenson in the middle.

In fact, the Jamaican has been so good since joining up in San Jose that his national team has recalled him for the first time in more than a year for its next friendly series.

Elsewhere:

The Union show the love to Chivas: TSG has a Justin Braun interview coming up shortly.

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