Archive for February, 2011

Tuesday: The Champ’s League..and More

It’s going to be all Southampton FC alum hype this week. Tomorrow it be Theo Walcott who will grab the hype for Arsenal as they battle Barcelona, again, in the Champion’s League.

Today, of course, it’s Gareth Bale….

Gosh, I really don't want Robinho back in the news...

• Tottenham Hotspur attempt to turn the lights out on AC Milan

….or is it?

As Harry Rednapp’s crew heads to the Giuseppe Meazza and the Champion’s League gets back under way, questions remains as to just who is fit for the visitors.

Ruled out earlier in the week, reports suggest Gareth Bale will make an appearance on the left flank that he alone owns during this Champ’s League campaign.

Knocks to Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart may drop both from the line-up.

Or is this just head games and will all three or a couple of the aforementioned play.

If you’ve watch the Spurs in the Champion’s League, specifically the width provided by Bale and Lennon, it’s no question that despite Milan’s form, the Londoners are going to give Allegri’s crew some problems.

Conversely, even minus maestro Andrea Pirlo in the middle and hatchet man Kevin Prince-Boateng, Milan will have the steel to go up the middle with the likes of Flamini, Seedorf and Gattuso.

Can Milan keep the pressure on in the middle of the pitch while Tottenham likely sits back and tries to catch ‘em down the flanks on the counter? Good question.

Another key match-up here? Robinho (likely to start over Pato) on the left hash going up against the sometimes clumsy Alan Hutton.

• Will Raul Schalke the Spaniards?

Two this past weekend for Valencia's Joaquin who may found himself on the pine with Mata's return...

It’s time to call a spade a spade.

Schalke 04 just hasn’t recaptured the glory they had last year. After challenging for the title last year in the Bundesliga, the German side have bobbed up and down all year long and currently are perfectly average, 10th in the table.

Conversely, while Valencia don’t have the best record in Europe, they’re playing this one at home and have been steady as she goes in La Liga in 2011.

While the headline here will be Raul’s return to Spain, the story will likely be Valencia’s midfielder, with Juan Mata returning, controlling the game and getting lose in German defensive third.

It’s going to take a big effort here by Schalke keeper Manuel Nueur, who’s been big all year, to earn the draw. Possible, but not probable.

• Elsewhere:

» Manchester City vs. Aris Salonika: The Citizens lick their wounds in Europa League action. Give us the crazy Italian! (He’s in the squad.)

» Birmingham vs. Newcastle: The Brum squad bores me. Really David Bentley and (former Bar Coder) Obafemi Martins was the best you could do in the January transfer window. A team sorely in need of a striker needs to give it team some firepower up top to avoid the continual grind. Anyway…

» Yankee Doodle Tuesday: Eddie Johnson goes for Preston North End.

» Ferrari firing up in Chicago: A little new piece missed yesterday. Former Sampdoria hopeful Gabriel Ferrari, one of the few Americans to test his wares in Serie A, is trying out for the Chicago Fire after his last club FC Wohlen didn’t sign him up. Going to try and get a TSG interview going there.

Jay Bell Asks: What League Do You Fancy?

Jay Bell, as only he can, initiates discussion on TSG.

The months of February and March is a big cluster of soccer for viewers in America. Every different league, different styles, different matchups, etc. are all in action over the next month and a half.

We’d like to know what TSG fans prefer and why. Feel free to give us some long answers in the comments because mine is pretty long too. Let us know your preferences for competition and style in the polls at the bottom.

First Kick goes to Seattle this year....Matthew already has Freddy Montero for the Golden Boot...will the season start with a bang?

MLS First Kick is March 15 when the Los Angeles Galaxy heads to Qwest Field. Honestly, I cannot wait. This is the biggest season so far. We all know the off-field intrigue this season: the entry of Portland and Vancouver into the league, Kansas City’s new stadium, the Cosmos marketing extravaganza, the final year of Beckham’s contract, etc. But when it really comes down to it, the product on the field is the showcase. A lot of people do not really admire the play or they just will not admit that they do, but I love it.

I am an American sports fan at heart. If anyone knows my Twitter or YouTube accounts, they may notice that the Arkansas Razorbacks are still my first love. The reason I love Arkansas and SEC football so much is because of the speed of play and the physical nature of the games. That is why I love watching MLS games. I love how fast the games move and admire the athleticism that is present in the league despite the players having to play through such gruesome summer heat.

GBS: Somehow gone without fanfare...

I am still enamored by the class oozed in every touch from Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Juan Pablo Angel, David Ferreira and of course Cuahtemoc Blanco when he played for Chicago, but their abilities on the ball would not stand out so much if it was not for the hectic pace of the game around them.

Around the same time as the MLS First Kick, either Real Salt Lake or the Columbus Crew will be heading into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Their opponent will either be Saprissa from Costa Rica or Olimpia from Honduras. These are two of the most successful clubs from Central America. As much as I respect those two teams, I hate the style that they represent. Caribbean and Central American soccer is so scrambled, slow and dirty (in tactics/nature, not hygiene) that it is so hard for me to watch. I can only hope that Saprissa or Olimpia will not resort to Arabe Unido-type tactics if they are winning by one goal late in a match.

On the other side of the bracket are four Mexican squads. The knockout rounds of the Champions League come at a time when the Mexican Clausura is in full swing. The quality and intensity in those matches should be great for the Champions League. Unfortunately, I just cannot get excited by Mexican football. A lot of fans love the skill and quality exhibited in Mexico. I find the style more anesthetic than aesthetic. The game is just too slow for me. That is why I enjoy watching the contrast of styles between Mexican squads and MLS teams. MLS teams that do well in the tournament tend to have a Latin American influence (Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio, Emilio Renteria, Schelotto), but still play at the speed that I appreciate from MLS.

That speed is part of why I will always embrace the English Premier League as my second favorite. There are the obvious enabling factors: quality, language, visibility and a popular destination for American players. I always enjoy the pace of the matches. The intensity of the games are at such high levels that are usually only reached on the international level.

Celebrating the American...

Part of the reason Landon Donovan was so beloved at Goodison Park was because of his work rate. The same can be said of Brian McBride at Craven Cottage.

The English game and its fans appreciate speed, intensity, grit, determination and effort; very “American” sports ideals. The league also includes dazzling skill with the ball though. Even Arsenal with all of its beautiful football still has players like Walcott, Chamakh, Song and all of their fullbacks that can play at a pace that presses opposing defenses.

The contrast of the English style and others will be on full display in the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League. All four English teams advanced in the Champions League while two remain in the Europa League. What other styles are out there?

The French Ligue 1 has sped up over the years. Along with easier citizenship processes, the playing styles in England and France have been very conducive to bringing in more African players. The African continent is known for the speed and “power” of its players.

Gervinho: Seizing Ligue One

Ligue 1 has benefited from its African influx. Obviously it is tougher to view French league matches in America and few US internationals ever play there, but it is a league that I wish I could see more of.

The German Bundesliga went through a transformation over the last decade of which Klinsmann and ESPN would not stop telling viewers about during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The league has always represented the pace and physicality of the German national team. Now the league continues to replicate the growing attacking verve and prowess displayed by the Germans at the national level. The Dutch Eredivisie is not the juggernaut it once was, but the league continues to produce elite attackers. The speed of play and high-scoring dramatics make the league entertaining to watch. Unfortunately, like Ligue 1, it has low visibility in America and few US internationals ever play there.

In my opinion, much of the rest of the continent (and the world for that matter) plays at a slower, more deliberate pace. Italy is well known for its tactics and patience, perfectly described here by Eric Giardini. Spain’s La Liga takes Mexico’s technical abilities to the extreme. Barcelona is dazzling to watch, but many teams throughout the league play at a slow pace without anything near the quality of Barca. I believe a lot of the “megaclubs” in lower UEFA domestic leagues play a Latin style. Teams like Porto, Sporting Lisbon, Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce employ many Latin and Latin American players. Teams from the Danish Superliga and the Scottish Premier League play a more deliberate tactical game.

I cannot write at length about much South American and Asian soccer. The quality of the Brazilian and Argentine leagues is exhibited by the enormous number of exports and transfers every single year. The group stage of the Copa Libertadores runs through the end of April. The finals are in the middle of June. The Japanese J-League and Korean K-League exhibit a more technical style, while the Australian A-League is more similar to MLS. The group stage of the AFC Champions League ends in late May.

The perfect combination of everything usually comes at the international level. Even in Asia, North America and South America the more technical style of the game accelerates to a faster pace in continental competitions. Players’ initial reactions to the international game are almost always about the speed of play. There will be another set of FIFA international dates in March allowing for friendlies and UEFA European qualifiers.

No matter what your preference, every soccer fan will get their chance to indulge in their favorite styles, teams and league over the next several months. For me, I am ready to get the 2011 MLS season started and see how the US players are building up the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer.

Devastating…….Ronaldo

Nothing, nothing said “striker” growing up like Ronaldo. And, for this writer, no one claimed the identity of the canary Brazil jersey like the great #9.

And there was one curt word that described his play, “devastating.”

Teams would work so hard just to prevent him from getting the ball knowing what was coming next.

Reports say the great Brazilian Ronaldo is set to hang up the studs today.

For me, I’ll best remember Ronaldo’s international career as Brazil’s monumental place in World Cup and global football afforded more watching opportunities growing up.

The catastrophic 1998 seizure news, followed up by arguably his best World Cup performance–though not at his physical peak–in 2002 when he willed Brazil all the way.

The Fan In You: Death Valley Days

In this The Fan In You piece, TSG Photog Extraordinaire Matt Mathai fills us in on how he came about his passion

Death Valley Days “Life nowadays as a DC United fan”

There's only one Matt Mathai. One Matt Mathaaaaaiiii. There's only one Matt Mathai.

My first introduction to top-level soccer in America came in 1992 when a friend and I went to see the USA-Ireland match at RFK Stadium.

More so, it was a chance to see Roy Keane, Niall Quinn, Thomas Dooley, and the new elegant US player, Roy Wegerle. It was really cold and rainy for a May day and match, but we stuck it out and were rewarded with a 3-1 win.

I was hooked.

I had played, coached, and reffed soccer at various levels all my life, but this was different somehow.

I’ve now lost count of the number of times I’ve traveled to watch the USMNT in action since then.  The most memorable time was in 2001 when the Screaming Eagles, a DC United supporters group, organized a trip to Mexico City for a WC qualifier.

Estadio Azteca was and is awesome.

110,000 fans in green, and then there was about 130 of us in red, white, and blue.

The tension ramped up when we unfurled a huge US flag right behind goal. A little unwise, perhaps, but we hadn’t come all that way to sit quietly and anonymously in a corner. We were hit by all kinds of things thrown at us….beer, coins, batteries, and other less savory things that I am too much of a gentleman to mention.

I love the red jersey I wore it that day. It now has a burn mark where I was hit with a lit flare.

Yes, you read that correctly, hit…with…a…lit flare.

All of it, though, the atmosphere, the sound, the singing, the armored riot police escorting us through a tunnel of plexiglas riot shields, all of it was awesome.

1992: USA v. Ireland: Notice the Budweiser ‘frame’ they used for ads.  This was an improvement over having to take commercial breaks, which they did during the TV broadcasts of the 1990 World Cup.

In 1994, my friend and I took a lot of time off and spent a lot of money to see 14 World Cup matches.

The most notable were: Ireland vs. Italy (a shock upset), Saudi Arabia vs. Belgium (one of the finest goals ever scored in a World Cup) and Germany vs. Bulgaria (Stoitchkov beating the Germans with a beautiful free kick ). Then Italy vs. Brazil….the final.  I remember sitting in the stands in Pasadena thinking that I’d fulfilled one of my dreams.

Here’s the shot I took of Stoitchkov nailing his free kick.

And here’s a shot of the pre-game ceremony at the final in Pasadena

I joined Sam’s Army early because I liked the idea of promoting American support for the USMNT.  I was tired of watching games in the US where our fans were outnumbered.   In the beginning, it was often just 10 or 20 of us in red behind a goal.

The players noticed, though, and that made it worthwhile.

I was thrilled when MLS started.

Only the finest graphic design from 1996...

The announcement in 1995 that my home of Washington, D.C. would get a team was a great day for me.

I felt committed to helping it succeed in any way I could, so I decided to form a supporters group….which eventually became the noted Screaming Eagles.

I set up a listserve and a web page and started to attract traffic from the people I used to talk to on the rec.sport.soccer newsgroup.

I contacted the DC team (as yet unnamed) in 1995 while they were still in an office in NYC and we agreed to talk once they set up operations in the DC area.  I was lucky enough to establish very good relationships with everyone in the front office, and those relationships persist to this day.

The first sign I had that we had something was when the Name-The-Team contest was conducted via telephone and my web page.  That was pretty cool.  It’s a long story for another time, but I’m glad to say that sanity prevailed and the name ‘DC United’ was selected.

Here's a shot I took in April 1996 at the Meet the Team event. Bob Bradley, John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry.

Where have you gone, Said Fazlagic?

The year began with such promise.

It wasn’t to last.  We were terrible in the early days. Arena fired half the team after the second game, a 0-4 loss at Columbus, I believe.

Continue reading

Manchester Derby: Live Commentary

Nani scores the first goal, though no acrobatic celebration.

United right the ship after last weeks blip against Wolves. City had their chances, but United defended well. Lets see if the rest of the chasing pack have an answer to United’s derby win.

TWEEET TWEET TWEET - The game ends with no real drama. United were clinical in putting the game away.

91:00 - 4 minutes of added time. On the bench, Lord Ferg is fuming.

88:00 - Giggs and hair have a weird relationship.

84:00 - SWP has no imagination in any of his passes. He telegraphs everything. At one point he had so much potential, but in the end became one-dimensional, though something about his games keeps getting him picked by every manager he’s played for.

81:00 - 10 minutes left. Should be riveting! City still passing very well, but their end product is nothing to write home about as Dzeko blazes one over the bar.

78:00 – GOOOOOAAAL. What an amazing goal from Rooney. That came out of no where.  Nani sends in a poor cross that is behind Rooney, but he launches himself up and bicycle kicks the ball straight into the back of the net. Goal of the season. WOW. Untied 2 – City 1.

77:00 – Little Mikey Owen pretends to care about the game as he half-heartedly stretches. Harry Potter is sitting behind him

74:00 – United are giving City much to much space in the center of the pitch. They finally cut in between a SWP and Dzeko one too to clear. Game is completely open as Nani waltzes across the halfway line all the way to the box and has a shot that goes well over. He was barely challenged.

71:00 – Even at 105 years old, Giggs is a master down the wing. Unstoppable as he sends a delicious cross, but its well cut out by the City defenders and Silva brings it forward.

69:00 - Game has opened up again as both teams look to be the next to score. City’s attacks seem to be more convincing as even SWP gets into it with a nice little run.

67:00 – Lord Ferg counters by sending in the Berba for Anderson.

65:00 – GOOOOOALLL. Dzeko. The Bosniian has been on for less then 5 minutes and one times a cross off Silva’s back and completely wrong foots Van de Sar. A little lucky and Silva should be credited with that goal, but a goal is a goal and it’s all level here at the Theater of Dreams. United 1 – City 1

63:00 – Tevez and Silva certainly have developed a good understanding and ping it around the United box. Tevez brings it down and sends a teasing cross that agonizingly bounces around the penalty spot, but not a light blue shirt in sight.

60:00 – Good move from Mancini as Milner comes of for Dzeko. Should have started the game or second half like this. Lets see what the former Wolfsburg striker can do in 30 minutes.

59:00 - Dzeko’s trackie bottoms are off. Entrance is imminent.

56:00 – Silva turns three defenders with one jinx, but his well struck shot is straight into the inviting arms of Van de Sar.

55:00 – Scholes with an acrobatic and bizzare back-pass that befuddles Van de Sar and goes for a corner. From it City win another.

52:00 - City start of brightly, but like the first half, have nothing to show for it. Oddly their first move is to take Kolarov (who has been largely absent) and replace him with SWP!!!! Dzeko anyone?

TWEEEET - and City start the second half.

PEEEP PEEP. Halftime. Well it was all City in the first half, but United counter well and take a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

46:00 – City respond well, but United have grown in confidence as a nicely worked move ends with a Giggs shot over the bar.

41:00 – GOOOOOOOOAAALL. What a well worked counter attacking goal by United, as Nani scores his 10th to give United a 1-0 lead. Giggs supplies the pass that Nani expertly controls, takes one touch and easily slots past Joe Hart. City were dominating the game, but United are up a goal. United 1 – City 0

38:00 - Shot of Gary Neville on the bench. Thought he retired?

34:00 – Giggs left alone out wide and sends in a peach of a cross that Fletcher charges in and heads directly at Hart. Nice bit of football from the red half of Manchester, but the Scot should have done better.

31:00 - City still pressing. Most of their attacks are coming from Zabaleta and Richards and typically end with Silva and Tevez. United’s rear guard standing firm but for how long?

24:00 – As one might expect, the game has slowed down a bit, but at the same time opened up as well. Both teams are getting time on the ball.

16:00 – City have looked the more dangerous team as they are making the better runs coupled with the crisp penetrative passing. Van de Sar hasn’t been challenged though.

14:00 – Micah Richards just manhandles Giggs as the Welshman goes of on one of his trademark mazy runs. Everything was within the rules, but that is no way to treat the elderly.

12:00 – Another random surprise here, but Micah Richards is playing very well and and very effective as a wing back. will get back to you re his defensive duties.

11:00 - Nani gets a little space and sends in a pile driver of a shot that whistles inches over the bar. He then complains to the ref about something.

8:00 – Lots of shoving and blocking and end to end stuff, but nothing that has troubled either keeper.

4:00 – Silva and Tevez have a lovely one two that leaves the Spaniard one on one with the Van de Sar, but at a very tight angle. His shot trickles inches wide.

2:00 – This one is started with all the pace and verve of a runaway locomotive. Milner brings it out of his own penalty area all the way past halfway, but is well tackled by Scholes. Not sure what was more impressive or surprising.

David Silva has been quietly having a very productive season and has brought out the best in Tevez

TWEEET TWEEET – and United kick off and in seconds win a corner

————————-

Sadly no Balotelli as a match up between the fiery Italian with tons of talent and Rooney would have been fun to see. Dzeko on the bench? Not sure why, but i guess Mancini knows what he’s doing.

————————-

Here are the line ups

Manchester City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Milner, Barry, Toure Yaya, Kolarov, Silva, Tevez.
Subs: Given, Wright-Phillips, Dzeko, Boateng, Vieira, Jo, Toure.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Scholes, Anderson, Nani, Rooney, Giggs.
Subs: Lindegaard, Brown, Owen, Berbatov, Hernandez, Carrick, Rafael Da Silva.

————————-

Morning everyone. It’s stupid o’clock here on the west coast, and TSG studios is up and stupid.

The Weekend: What Americans Watch

Your top 5 games for Americans to watch this weekend:

(And when we say to watch that doesn’t mean an American has to be playing just that we’re suggesting you check out the game if you’re around some HD in the States.)

It's been mostly "hold the applause" for Everton this year. Can Timmy and team turn it up and keep it up?

5. Sunday: Bolton over to Goodison to face the Toffees

The skinny: After a blazing start, the Bolton Wanderers find themselves bobbing around the middle of the table–currently 8th–as the season hits the home stretch.

Is Europe out of the question for Bolton?

Well a lot will depend on the impact of Daniel Sturridge, the single reinforcement for Owen Coyle’s troops in the January window. With Kevin Davies showing some wear-and-tear and Johan Elmander slumping from his early season form, the Chelsea loanee will be needed to stretch the field and find the net even more. (Sturridge has made it count in two outings thus far (two goals) and TSG took a small step towards becoming a “believer” on his game.)

Everton, notoriously a slow starter, hasn’t had that mid-to-late season kick that it usually does. It will be even harder now as Jack Rodwell, who moved from potential to realized on the player bar, finds himself on the PT table for the next four to six weeks.

That will pair two like-minded central midfielders in Fellaini, a true difference maker for the Toffees, and Mikel Arteta, paid like a difference maker, in the middle…the duo has not always complemented one another.

Will Fellaini play up to use his noggin or sit deep to play the true holding role he excels at. Will Arteta drift outside right and lose his game further?

However they’re deployed, they’ll face the hard-checking duo of Stu Holden and Fabrice Muamba, both who caught a break during the FIFA dates.

This one will be a battle of the midfield here and despite the Rodwell loss I see Everton being stout at home and eeking out the win.

4. Saturday: Pachuca v. Puebla

The skinny: The Herculez Gomez Bowl.

Now a starter after being hitched to the bench for the beginning part of the campaign, Gomez features for a Pachuca team that is getting moldy in the basement of their Clausura group.

Puebla is not doing much better in their group, uncomfortably resting just above the cellar dweller in their group.

Both coaches are under fire for their under-firing teams and need the victory.

Has anyone seen Paco Torres lately?

Hugging Hamsik has become a common occurrence at Napoli...

3. Saturday: Roma v. Napoli

The skinny: It is con…..gested up top in the race for the Scudetto. Inter has roared to life with the Spaniard now banished, and Roma is currently on the outside looking in for a spot in Europe sitting seventh.

A huge one Saturday as Roma heads to Napoli Napoli takes the Marek Hamsik Show on the road and heads to Roma looking for than a point for their excursion.

Clint Dempsey, mischevous in the other team's end all season...

2. Monday: Big London vs. Little London

The skinny: It’s basically been Clint Dempsey or bust for the Cottagers this year on the attack.

What makes Dempsey’s push for his first EPL double digit scoring year all the more impressive is that the stork dropped off a new bundle of joy for the US forward just this past Fall.

Usually that means lack of sleep, for Deuce it appears to be inspiration.

Bobby Zamora’s return (two weeks in the offing) can’t come soon enough as Fulham really don’t have a pattern for their goals with Dempsey seeming to conjure up some impressive shots out of thin air.

For the Chelsea, it’s been the Blues lately. Unable to shake off the midseason doldrums and now having the pressure to integrate a new striker into the mix.

The writing seems to be on the wall for Nicolas Anelka to finally take a walk, yet, incredulously Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti used Anelka–to ambivalent results–in the key attacking forward role last game. Le Sulk in a role that plays conduit to the Drogba-Torres firepower up top? Really?

So with that new striker incoming, Chelsea left arguably their most important player, Florent Malouda, out of the line-up for 80% of the match last week and are relying on a diamond shape that forces a 30-year-old and World Cup-drained Ashley Cole and a recently returned, but not fully fit Jose Bosingwa to fly up the flanks. More confusing still.

What in the world is going on at Stamford Bridge. Can’t blame John Terry for this, can you?

Will the new guy come up big on Derby Day?

1. DERBY!Manchester’s Derby

The skinny: Manchester City vs. Manchester United. Quickly rocketing up from the bottom of depth charts like a bad Oasis anthem, has a similar feel to the Red Sox-Yankees’s clashs early in the 2000’s. The upstart City team starting to splash the cash and quite yet able to quell the monstrous and historical goliath down the road.

This weekend sees the Fergies’ looking to recover from their first stumble of the season and playing at home. By all accords, to the home team at Old Trafford should go the spoils.

And that’s why this is Manchester City’s biggest statement game of the season as a potential six point swing is only in the offing if Mancini’s side challenges the Aons. With a monumental win, City would find them right in the mix for the title at two points back, 54 to 52. Lose and it’s likely a goal of Champion’s League or bust at the Eastlands.

A few weeks ago, City took to the road and after toying around with the idea of going head-to-head with Arsenal for the first ten minutes or so, battened down the hatches, closed up shop and decide to play for the draw against the Wengers.

Champions are made by going for it and Man City needs to step up in this category. Let’s hope they let it roll and in turn the game is open on Saturday.

Note: TSG’s Shaun Webb will be live-blogging this one.

Honorable mentions:

* Re-Juventus vs. even more rejuvenated Inter: I know this game should probably go up in the top five (and probably ahead of Roma-Napoli), but Quagliarella, Milito, Chivu are all absent for this one. Nevertheless, with Leonardo moving Wesley Sneijder back to the midfield (after Rafa Benitez forsook him in a false nine role), the match bears watching just for the Dutchman’s play of late.

* Championship: Hull City vs. Preston North End: Americans only here as Brad Guzan looks to keep his strong record in goal for Hull City going and faces Easy Eddie Johnson on loan from Fullham. I surmise this is your last shot to be a grown-ass, EJ.

* Super Lig: Bursaspor vs. Eskisehirspod: Jozy’s squad takes on the mid-table contender on Sunday. Altidore will get a playing time, but the question is where and how much with Scotsman Kenny Miller slamming them home for club and country and 20-year-old sniper Sercan Yildrim starting to look like a superstar in the making for his homeland.

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