You still on that jellybean high? Fantastic weekend for soccer, if you could squeeze it in:
• The Los Angeles Galaxy went out of this world with their 3-0 thrashing of the visiting….”TIIIIMMMMBERs!”
While the Galaxy’s form will be hailed, I’m not sold on their squad just yet. Chad Barrett played above himself and P-Town’s midfield seemed to be sleeping on the job (in reality they were just, collectively, a step slow).
Press the Galaxy’s midfield. Give Beckham, Juninho and Donovan less time on the ball and to make passes. I’m curious then if there forwards will loose themselves and give their midfield counterparts streaking runs or interplay up top.
Not sold, but we shall see.
A few other nuggets in this one:
» AJ De La Garza filling in for the injured Leonardo looked dynamite. I shall call him Mini Cannavaro. For now. Hope he lives up to the junior nickname.
» Interesting post-game commentary from Landon Donovan where he lightly admonished, “Have people figured out I’m not a goal scorer [more a passer] anymore?” Was known for a while, but sure make Bruce Arena’s commentary that Donovan might be play as a second striker prior to the season a little hollow. That’s Arena for you though.
» Darlington Nagbe. Take solace Portland. Kid will be a player.
• MB90 minus 90: I’m afraid it’s time for all those that glommed on to the statement, “Michael Bradley has earned playing time everywhere he’s went” to throw an asterisk on that statement.
Villa skipper Gerard Houllier was admitted for emergency surgery earlier in his coaching career at Liverpool and now he’s back in the hospital as of last week. That likely means a “don’t rock the boat” squad with assistant manager Gary McAllister in charge.
You may see Bradley sneak in the 18 one or two times and even the eleven once, but you can consider–for whatever reason–Bradley’s time at Villa to be a failure for his exposure.
Once again, Junior Bradley was nowhere to be seen as Aston Villa drew Stoke City 1-1 on Saturday. Manning the midfield hub was 31-year-0ld Stiliyan Petrov and Nigel Reo-Coker. On the bench for the Houllier’s was Jean Makoun…and 37-year-old Robert Pires.
Has Bradley’s ability or career plateaued or is this just a speed bump. I still maintain that the Bradley to Sunderland nonsense (only heard here in the States) was just a story plant for buzz. Whither Bradley post-campaign? Back to Bo’Munchen, but will it be in Bundesliga II?
• Spec-ulating: Speaking of the Yanks’ midfield, a healthy performance from Jonathan Spector though West Ham got the knife from Chelsea. Spector’s midfield movement (on the account of him being a former striker I’d imagine) is excellent, but he’s still not a run with the ball or final pass sort of guy. With Bob Bradley seemingly now chock full of righbacks (Cherundolo, Chandler, Lichaj) will Spector be used in the midfield?
• Arsenal fan? Always turn your set of at 80 mins: Tough weekend for Arsenal fans as Tamir Cohen banged home a header to give Bolton a 2-1 victory over the would-be title seekers. At some point, if you’re not going to make the right purchases, you have to at least ask your manager how he’s going to solve those late game mental mistakes.
And Danny Sturridge for Bolton, once again proficient.
• The Yellow Card Bowl: Who gets the first today as Jermaine Jones and Blackburn face off against Nigel DeJong and Manchester City.
• Get out of the kitchen! http://hastorresscoredforchelsea.com/
• The story for ‘Pool: Liverpool, creeping up the table. The story for Pool? Not Maxi Rodriguez’s three-spot, not that Joe Cole actually still exists. How about that John Flanagan kid at rightback? He’s 18!
• The other ‘Pool: After a stirring first half of the campaign, Blackpool find themselves in the thick of relegation fisticuffs. How about this? The player’s voted their player of the year this past week. Charlie Adam, of course, right? Nope. Seems threats and commentary about wanting to leave the club midseason didn’t sit well in their dressing room. The Tangerines Proper went with the other middie David Vaughan.
• Serie A’s Arsenal: Speaking of pretenders, Napoli showed they’re a cut..below as they fell on the road in a rather mundane effort to Palermo. I only know because, you know, Pastore.
• The Real Madrid: Don’t look now, but Real Madrid is a peeking. 6-3 over Valencia on Saturday including the return of Gonzalo Higuain who dropped a hat trick on Los Che. That’s right Gonzalo, “I’m on my Euro Dance Train” Higuain.
[Yes, I know you can't watch the video here, clickthru. Can't say it's worth it, but....]
Back in the Americas
• Herculez Gomez, again
Just checked my watch. Yup, about that time of year that Herculez Gomez revs up the engine. His fourth in four games this weekend, though Pachuca gave away a victory and drew Queretaro 1-1.
You’ve got Bunbury, Agudelo and Altidore for the Gold Cup. And then, in our opinion, you’ve got the poacher-finisher-hard worker type in either Gomez or Wondolowski (and maybe Buddle.)
Charlie Davies, not in that conversation quite yet (as we saw Thursday when he played a higher class of defender.)
• Sporting KC sieve it up against Los Feilhabers
Didn’t see this one. But don’t be too hard on KC as their defense continues to prove leaky. It’s not a Cup championship worthy defense, but it will show better once KC gets back in their new digs.
Must be continually tough to play on the road at the beginning of the season. But, you know, Livestrong.
• Tough weekend for the U: Beyond Nagbe, a tough weekend for Akron University alum Steve Zakuani who is now on the road to recovery from that nasty tackle by Brian Mullan.
It was discussed on TSG here, but the key point of infuriation stems around Mullan’s lack of contriteness both during the game and following the game. Can’t say I disagree though the shock must have still been ebbing through his veins as well. Another good point brought up here questioning whether an injury of that magnitude happens on natural grass.
The next question? The magnitude of the suspension. Ten matches? Twelve? Less?