Wednesday: Lanverton, Rafa, More

Some quick bits for Wednesday morning:

Not today...

• FC Stanky Legg

Update: Charlie Davies not in the 18 today for the match.

Charlie Davies and Sochaux head south to face relegation-hovering AS Monaco. Game time is 10AM EST, 1pm PST. Beyond Davies in this one, check out Monaco’s Park Chu-Young, who dazzled for South Korea in South Africa and has been linked to a January transfer to Premiership clubs Aston Villa and Fulham among others.

On the Davies front, the club has advised him to head on loan. Word is Charlie’s not having it. We are set to speak with the striker in early January.

Also in action Wednesday. Ricardo Clark and Hot Dog City play in the German Cup and Carlos BocaJuniors and St Etienne take on top’o’the table Lille.

Lando isn't as young as he once was...he needs the rest...

• Lanverton Breather

Smart move by Landon Donovan to rest his body this winter. If Donovan couldn’t bring it at the end of the MLS campaign, he’ll be stepping up to an even more physical EPL league where the pace of play is quicker and the time on the ball shorter.

Not a recipe for success, especially with the mounds of expectations that Toffee fans would have–who are desperate for offense and wide play–if he ditched the beach for Goodison.

Donovan will be on Everton radio Wednesday and his tweet last night make it certainly seem that Everton was the only option he would consider…and there might something a year out in the offing.

Conspiracy theory: Donovan tells Bababooey..I mean Bruce Arena…that he wants to push for a move. Arena reminds him that he hasn’t won an MLS Cup in Los Angeles (since 2005) and that he shortchanged his club team by having a World Cup focus in 2010.

Donovan agrees to defer for a year and tells Bruce he’ll give him the year. Arena stockpiles all his national team cronies for one last hurrah as he sunsets to the shuffleboard pavement up in Santa Barbara.

Okay a stretch, but still.

• More Asterisks on the Galaxy

Two quick notes about the team I seem to be talking a lot about this week:

First, doesn’t it seem like the Galaxy are reversed. Most teams hold on to aging defenders and swap out youth up. As we’ve mentioned before this is primarily for two reasons: a) a mistake further away from the goal is less costly and 2) goal scoring is at a premium, age matters less.

The Galaxy though boost a youthful backline of, potentially: Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo and AJ De La Garza while ahead of them are the speed merchants of David Beckham and 34-year-old Juan Pablo Angel. Just note this.

Second, on Tristan Bowen….let me throw out a few names for you that you will definitely not know: Kevin Mmahat, Steve Adkins, Clay Parker and Brien Taylor. All four of those players were, at one time, New York Yankee pitching prospects that were supposed to be the next Ron Guidry or Roger Clemens.

Didn’t happen–and especially with offensive players (as we’ve seen with the likes of Eddie Johnson and Freddy Adu to name two) it’s just such a roll of the dice.

With Los Angeles going for it, you can’t condemn the Tristan Bowen trade though a Plan B to bring in young talent must be set into effect shortly.

Never again?

• Buddle and the Gooch

Sounds like a bad Tom Hanks spinoff, no?

Add Bari, FC Basel to Palermo and Standard Leige on the list of rumored destinations for Oguchi Onyewu come January. Chances that Gooch remains at Milan for the 2nd half? 1%, max. Our odds on? Back to Leige.

English tabloids are reporting that the services of Edson Buddle are wanted at other Premiership stops. Until we have a better source, we’ll leave this alone.

• Bug Juice!

No pinty for Cameron this year....

Some exciting selections by Bob Bradley Wednesday with his January camp roster, but I still would have liked to see Dynamo man Geoff Cameron get in there. TSG’s Jay Bell spoke with Geoff a few months ago and he had this to say about January camp:

TSG: Are you looking forward to hopefully being in the January camp with the national team again?

Geoff: Yeah, I think so. I think I would like to get another opportunity. To be honest I’m just focusing on being in rehab and getting back for preseason. I’m just kind of taking it one day at a time because I’m not sure if I’ll be called in, especially only playing half of a season.

No Rogers, no Marshall, no Cameron and no Hartman leads me to think it may have been a fitness thing. But the Ike Opara call in–and subsequently declination–refutes that assessment.

So, still kind of missed.

On the Excite-O-Meter, here’s a few thoughts with a few hours to digest the roster:

» Hoping to take to camp and see both Sean Johnson and Dominic Cervi in action. Matt Pickens, not so much.

» Dax McCarty and Jeff Larentowicz, your Chile midfield starters?

» Curious to eyeball little known defender Ryan Miller out of Halmstads BK in Sweden’s top league. Miller started all but four games for the club this season. That said, HBK had a pathetic -11 goal differential.

» While I favor the leftback battle as the most interesting one and continually favor AJ De La Garza for a run out there, don’t rule out De La Garza or Marvell Wynne and being to small of frame to play in the interior. Names like Cannavaro (5’9”), Roberto Ayala (5’9”) and even Rafa Marquez (5’10”) come to mind as little guys that held their own among the trees.

DC and Najar….United.

Andy Najar re-ups with DC United. Either he’s sticking or it will drive his price tag up. The frisky winger is also now on Twitter.

Not A Special One?

It’s not clear that Rafa Benitez is out at Inter (though it looks likely).

What is clear is that Jose Mourinho is loving every minute of the Spaniard’s misfortune with the team he took to the treble last year.

Said Mourinho today: “What Rafa says doesn’t deserve commenting on. I expected at least a ‘thank you’ for the success that I presented him with.”


• MLS’ing.

Houston broadcaster drops a David Suazo-to-Houston rumor. Called him the best DP candidate for the Dynamo back in August.

The Colombian ball trafficker, David Ferreira, re-ups with FC Dallas (that team is stacked, huh).

More coming…

40 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dude on 2010/12/22 at 2:16 AM

    Since I can’t sleep, I might as well agree with your conspiracy theory. There’s no other reason to add Hedjuk for Bowen. Bruce is going for it Now. That means having a healthy, happy Donovan. Donovan can’t be happy that he is redundant season after season for LA. He knows he’s the best American to play in the league, ever. It’s time to succeed in Europe as long as his legs can carry him, and he can.

    Here’s the real “stretch,” has Bruce been biding his time for a European job by trying to rework the leagues most topsy turvy franchises (DC, New York, and LA?). Seems like he’s pushing pretty hard without much backup. Maybe he’s finally decided he’s had enough, and longs for pricier pastures.


  2. Posted by Iggystar on 2010/12/22 at 2:55 AM

    Anyone else tried of people tenuously related to players saying they are considering a move to the MLS?

    Looking at you Anelka, it really seems like a contract ploy.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 8:26 AM

      He’ll be 33 when his contract expires at Chelsea. Mentioning MLS is hardly a bargaining tool, but a reality. He’s played for some of the biggest clubs in France, England and Spain, and has won many trophies at Club and International level. He might not get a contract with a ‘G14′ club, but I am *positive* he could still find employment in Europe and earn more money.

      Maybe this is a new chapter he wants to explore? I cannot see him wanting to move to Columbus, Colorado or Houston, but I can see him wanting to *live* in LA or NYC.

      If you have ever seen Anelka live, (in the flesh), you’ll know how frightening his movement and finishing really is. Even at 33, he’d be lethal in the MLS.


      • Posted by John on 2010/12/22 at 8:35 AM

        The Incredible Sulk in the MLS!


      • Your telling me he wouldn’t find it interesting to be a part of the first dynamo team in the new stadium and with or without him be in contention for another title? Houston is really a big city as well. Why people don’t tend to see that is beyond me. Forbes magazine named Houston the #1 city for shopping. At 33 he wouldn’t like to come here?


        • Posted by John on 2010/12/22 at 3:13 PM

          Not to disparage Houston but I will…
          (I’ll try to be nice about it)

          I’ve been to Houston.

          A lot.

          Houston isn’t LA.
          Houston isn’t even… oh…. let’s say DC.

          It is a big city yes, but er… I’m really trying to be nice…. not exactly attractive to those not living there. (and according to 3/4 of the ex-houstonions that I have spoken with) no exactly attractive to some that DO live there.

          I know there are nice people but… er…

          London and Houston aren’t exactly sister cities.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 3:29 PM

          As an American, would you rather live in London or Leeds, Milan or Naples, Paris or Marseille.

          Then as a professional athlete, who doesn’t need to prove anything and can take his pick… As an immigrant myself, I certainly understand the draw of LA, Chicago or NYC (even San Fran and Boston) over Houston [and yes, I have been]. No offense intended, Kevin.


        • Posted by John on 2010/12/22 at 3:43 PM

          George you do a better job than I do explaining that.

          Then again, as we all know, we all really just want to live in Croydon off the East Croydon train stop!


        • I do understand what you’re saying though. I’m only half offended and it’s not really by your comments. Houston isn’t really you’re typical city. The downtown area I would agree isn’t that nice. The galleria is fantastic though, and for people that enjoy city life probably won’t find Houston as attractive as LA, Chicago, NYC, DC etc. I was really more just trying to state reasons why he might decide go with Houston. I will stick by my opinion that it’s a big city, but it’s really nothing like most cities. Regardless of politics and the horrible public transportation, the biggest reason I don’t think Anelka would work in Houston is just that he wouldn’t fit into the team. If he were to make his mind up he wanted to go to the US he would probably go to the team willing to offer him the most.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 9:06 PM

          John – did you just look at a map and come up with East Croydon, or did you pick somewhere near Crystal Palace?! Un-effing-canny.

          I grew up in East Croydon, and it is a toilet (now?). But it’s 15 mins to London Bridge and 20 to Victoria on the rattler…


        • Posted by dth on 2010/12/22 at 9:17 PM

          The one little weird factor here: I don’t know about soccer players, but for whatever reason, American athletes love Houston and Dallas.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 9:22 PM

          And if it was all about the loot, he wouldn’t be coming to MLS in the first place. I am sure he’d be heading to the likes of Al-Arabi or Grampus 8…

          Ker-ching. Merci tres beaucoup, monsieur.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 9:23 PM

          dth – one word: cheerleaders!!


        • George touche on not coming to MLS.


        • Posted by John on 2010/12/23 at 7:52 AM

          George, I was passing through East Croydon about a month and a half ago. The wife and I took the wrong train from London to Gatwick and milled about the station for awhile. After taking about 4 trains in that short little stop, it seemed that all trains led to Croydon.


        • Posted by John on 2010/12/23 at 8:29 AM

          On the Texas attraction issue for American athletes, there are a couple of factors at which you should look.

          #1 No State income tax.

          That is a pretty big one for professional athletes who routinely make over $1 million a year.

          #2 For the NFL, Dallas is a marquee destination because of tradition. People without a frame of reference to world sports often wonder why a soccer player would choose Manchester over London…. well Dallas is in that same mode. It has a winning tradition and a history of championships in the NFL.

          #3 For the NBA, Dallas has an owner who used to pee money away for breakfast. He routinely overpaid for role players, gushed money out on comforts such as locker room and perks to attract free agents, and still has way too much money for his own good

          #4 For the NBA, San Antonio has a winning tradition, the city has some decent features.

          #5 for the NBA, Houston has a winning tradition as well, and has shelled out the cash for players. Tracy McGrady once signed a contract extension in 2004 for 63 million over 3 years.


  3. Posted by chad on 2010/12/22 at 7:41 AM

    Since Bob Bradley shows a preference for taller midfielders, I doubt he will want smaller central defenders.


  4. Posted by dth on 2010/12/22 at 8:44 AM

    I like Anthony Wallace at LB a little more than AJ de la Garza–to me AJ is a centerback first and foremost.


    • Posted by dth on 2010/12/22 at 8:45 AM

      Wish I could edit, but the big reason I prefer Wallace at LB is that he’s:
      a) already pretty good (immediately grabbed LB spot at Colorado after being traded there)
      b) Has bigger upside than AJ.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2010/12/22 at 9:06 AM

      I am still trying to make heads or tails of all the Shea in defense talk. I have the same issue as I have with Edu at CB… Can you really be world class at a position that you don’t play on a regular basis?

      I think we need outside backs that can contribute offensively if the USMNT wants to take the next step. So I am open to it. But can Shea really be a top defender if he plays there 10 games a year?


      • Posted by pino on 2010/12/22 at 10:03 AM

        who said anything about being world class? at this point just having a little bit of depth at LB would be nice. IF Shea is half decent back there the experiment would be totally validated


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 11:12 AM

          I think you’re being greedy – having a decent full back who is defensively savvy and one adds a offensive dimension would be nice. I don’t think there are any Ashley Coles knocking about in US football at the moment!


        • Posted by Matti on 2010/12/22 at 12:05 PM

          Its a long shot, but keep an eye out for U-20 Kofi Sarkodie RB and can play LB. Decided to leave for the Pros yesterday. Young, extremely good one on one defender, attack minded, and excellent server of the ball


        • Posted by dth on 2010/12/22 at 12:25 PM

          Kofi doesn’t have very good ball skills and rarely defends for Akron. He’s interesting, but not overwhelming.


        • Posted by dth on 2010/12/22 at 12:27 PM

          Plus that we’re getting into Left Back Messiahism territory previously explored by Eric Lichaj: Sarkodie rarely plays LB anyway.


        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2010/12/22 at 3:22 PM

          Ok. World class might not be the right term. Just think that if Shea plays LB 10 times a year, and he gets burnt being out of position in a crucial time (“pulling a Ricardo Clark”), we can’t get angry at him.


        • Posted by Matti on 2010/12/22 at 11:41 PM

          I’m just not a big supporter of Shea, Good player, but I see no development as Defender or Midfielder for the US Squad. MLS quality is all I see, and I want to see more.


  5. Posted by 30frames on 2010/12/22 at 10:13 AM

    Last winter, Landon had THE best possible audition for European football. Seriously, how could his stint at Everton gone better? It couldn’t have.

    Assuming Lando wants a permanent move to Europe, why on Earth would he audition again??? I imagine he would be happy to transfer permanently to Everton (or wherever on the opposite side of the Atlantic) – but the best way for that to happen is for last season’s loan stint to be the freshest thing in the minds of Moyes, Owen Coyle, et al so they’ll be more willing to meet MLS’s price.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 11:09 AM

      The only issue I have *if* he really wants to play in England, is the fact that he’s made those Everton statements. Why did he do that? Why cut off other potential avenues? At his age, the prospective club probably won’t get a resale value, but they will be getting a “proven” player. The reason I mention this is that he just signed a new contract, right? So MLS will want to get a decent transfer fee…


      • Posted by 30frames on 2010/12/22 at 3:48 PM

        You’re right that the Everton statements don’t help him going to another team in England. But really, they don’t HURT either. Maybe Everton fans will feel extra hurt after Lando claims to love the Toffees and then signs at Aston Villa or whatever. That would annoy fans but those pro-Everton statements wouldn’t really effect the nuts and bolts of the move itself.

        My guess is that Lando is interested in a move, but he obviously liked the security of the fat MLS contract he signed last year. If he goes, in his mind, that’s great – but at least he has that guaranteed $$ here at home.

        The MLS powers would want a LOT of money to make up for losing the league’s best (?) player and highest profile local hero. That extra value Lando has for MLS doesn’t exist elsewhere – like Scholes/Giggs in Manchester or Jeter for Yanks fans. My guess, is that because of these financial issues, Lando stays in MLS for the time being.


        • Posted by scweeb on 2010/12/22 at 6:55 PM

          It makes sense if you look back at his other European outings. Everton is were he shined and i think its were he feels comfortable being.


  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/12/22 at 12:28 PM


     Mario Balotelli believes he was a worthy recipient of Tuttosport’s Golden Boy trophy as the best player under the age of 21. Balotelli finished ahead of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere for the Turin sports newspaper’s award, and reckons he was a deserving winner. “I am delighted to receive this award,” said Balotelli. “Who should have won this award but me? Two years ago I finished sixth and a year ago fourth. It was finally my turn. I don’t know who Wilshere is but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him. Perhaps I can show him (Wilshere) the Golden Boy trophy and remind him that I won it!” 



    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/12/26 at 9:04 PM

      The world is littered with tall, selfish forwards who think too highly of themselves (see Adebayor et al). He’s a moron who manages to alienate both his teammates and coaches without scoring enough goals to validate his own self opinion. Mourinho hated him and Mourinho put up with one of the biggest dramaboys in Drogba (and The Incredible Sulk!) and made them into champions.
      He’ll be starring in the Turkish league soon enough.


  7. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/12/22 at 2:14 PM

    balotelli is a serious baller, for sure, but one that does not look so imposing in the epl, as he did in italy, its no wonder he is already talking about returning to milan.

    on the donovan front, if there is one thing donovan could have done better it would have been to put away the relative “sitter’ he missed. he puts that goal away and teams are more likely toturn the loan deal into an out right purchase. if donovan is going to go to europe this window my money would be on tottenham. if they sell modric to chelsea, then we might here some more donovan news. rednapp has courted donovan in the past.

    one thing that i found interesing is that this jan. camp only has 24 players, as opposed to past jan. camps that have started a cycle. in 03 the camp had 26 players and in 07 there where 29 players. to me it is very valid that coach bradley takes each player on a case by case basis. so cameron recovering from injury may not get a call, where as opra, who has never been in a camp might get the call, just so the coaching staff can evalute. its almost like a game of poker this selection stuff. maybe opra is afraid of making bad first impression. you hve to wonder.


  8. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/22 at 2:47 PM

    Balotelli certainly has a lot of ability. And they say that strikers need to have a certain amount of selfishness in order to make it to the top. But his decision making is just attrocious. And then there is his attitude…

    As for Donovan to Tottenham, I am not so sure that would happen. IMO Donovan is not as effective in the middle, and he’s not a playmaker in the Modric mold. And Tottenham seem to be well stocked on the wings…


    • Attitude? I thought when he said that Messi is perhaps a little bit better than him he was being modest. Arrogance at it’s best… reminds me of… Mr. 3000. (If anyone has seen the movie)


  9. Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2010/12/23 at 10:15 AM

    So, can someone explain to me English work permit rules/restrictions? Specifically how it impacts players wanting to play in England in any division?


  10. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/12/23 at 3:58 PM

    landylakes, it works like this; there are two sets of criteria the british home office looks at. one is whether or not the ntional team of the player applying for work permit is in the top 70 of the rankings. im not sure if it is the fifa rankings or some other ranking that is used, but whichever ranking they use, usa is top 70. second is that a player must have played in 75% of his countries games, which he was available for selection over the past two years. it seems its a little grey area as to what it means to be available for selection.

    work permits have always been tricky business, maybe findley will end up in denmark if this derby deal fails to work out.


  11. Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/12/26 at 9:09 PM

    As much as you want to hate Mourinho the guy is just freaking magic. And he loves tweaking Rafa. Benitez got away with a lot at Liverpool since the owners were too busy suing each other the last few years. Gerrard saved his a– in 05 and he rode that for 4 more years without delivering anything but a bunch of aggravated players (Torres, etc). This one has to just kill him, being handed the treble winner in Inter from Jose and turning them into a shambles. They are awful to watch this year.


  12. And if it was all about the loot, he wouldn’t be coming to MLS in the first place. I am sure he’d be heading to the likes of Al-Arabi or Grampus 8… Ker-ching. Merci tres beaucoup, monsieur.


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