Archive for May, 2011

Report: Landon Donovan To AS Roma?

Donovan, the younger years...

Okay, first let’s make sure to state this. Corriere dello Sport is a much better source than Goal.com (which recently professed that Jozy Altidore was headed to Besiktas and that Newcastle was calling for Landon Donovan. Thus I don’t believe these Clint Dempsey, PSG rumors just yet–don’t believe them also because Dempsey just had a kid and his wife doesn’t speak French.)

Moving on.

Today, Rome daily Corriere dello Sport reported that AS Roma was interested in acquiring the Los Angeles Galaxy forward and US national team frontman.

The link apparently being the recent ownership change of Roma to by American investor Thomas DiBenedetto.

As TSG’s Serie A expert Eric Giardini has commented before Roma going to international to acquire fans seems like a given. Likewise, as TSG has commented before an American–even one slowly moving over the peak of his career–would bring brand cache, fan dollars to go along with their talent.

Donovan is on record saying that EPL’s Everton is the first place he’d like to go, so not a lot of credibility here yet, but bares watching.

TSG on Serie A: Beyond the EPL: An American At Roma, Totti: Ingloriously Slipping To Obscurity at Roma

A Little Puffery, But: Chicharito vs. Agudelo

Juan Agudelo may not be starting for the Red Bulls tonight (or in the future for that matter), but you knew with the hype surrounding the teenager that, thrust onto the Gold Cup stage this summer, he would be forever linked to Mexican superstar Chicharito.

Will the be a tete-a-tete this summer or will it be a case of Derek Jeter vs. Rey Ordonez. (NY fans know exactly what I’m talking about.)

(Was waiting for this video to hit–had it in my Google Alerts).

Yin-Yang: Boateng & Ballack

Just last year, Kevin Prince Boateng was playing at the train wreck dubbed Porstmouth FC. During a critical FA cup showdown, he put down the captain of Germany, Michael Ballack, out for the World Cup courtesy a tackle by the Ghanian on Ballack’s ankle.

Now? That moment was the inflection point as Kevin Prince Boating yesterday celebrated (see video below) AC Milan’s Scudetto victory in style while Ballack has been relegated to spot duty by Bayer Leverkusen for this campaign.

Feature: On Michael Ballack.

The Weekend: What Are You Watching

Quick note: We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming (in-depth interviews, long form analysis, witty commentary) shortly.

MLS revving up this weekend while the EPL is winding down and some great match-ups.

TSG's new "Sean Franklin," so to speak...

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: First up in the homeland is the least hyped match of the year, the Seattle Sounders taking on their pesky little brother Portland Timbers.

If you’re an MLS fan, you’ve been inundated with promotion for this game, but it’s justified.

Seattle has been playing uneven at best and comes off a shaky two game road trip that saw them wilt in DC and hold on in Columbus. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid by the way has never lost to his old employers the Crew.

This week though the Sounders face a Portland team that appears to be gradually coming together under John Spencer. As much Portland has attempted to play a more open and attacking game, it’s their set piece work (Spencer is of course a disciple of Dom Kinnear in Houston) that has been lethal. Jack Jewsbury doing an impeccable job in the early going serving up the stopped ball.

For Saturday, expect Portland to play the ball down the flanks as Seattle’s fullbacks, Leo Gonzalez and James Riley, have been susceptible to giving up the corner. Look for the new apple of TSG’s eye Jorge Perlaza to be a handful.

Going the other way, same attack story for Seattle, finding offense through Erik Friberg’s service and Alvaro Fernandez’s best Zakuani impression to open up Fredy Montero in the middle.

Elsewhere:

Galaxy vs. Sporting KC: If I’m an LA fan….I want to see David Beckham play some defense and make some on-target…non-yellow card tackles. Has to be hard for Bruce Arena to look a player like say 30-year-old $130K-a-year Todd Dunivant–who’s going up-down every game on the corner–in the eye and tell him it’s $5M-a-year Beckham that needs the rest.

FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union: The Union still cannot get their offense in gear. Mentioned it previously, but Philadelphia would have been a lot better off saving their Carlos Ruiz money and selecting and inserting Will Bruin into their line-up. Mind you, not because Bruin’s been hot, but because Ruiz and Sebastien Le Toux go together about as well as Timbers and Sounders fans. Both makes the same runs and both drop the same place in the midfield.

How will the Union deploy this weekend?

Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake: Koke and a smile this weekend?

Okay, didn’t know where to put the following and I want to comment on it.

Here was MLS exec VP Nelsen Rodriguez on the Marcos Mondaini suspension (for breaking Javier Morales’ ankle with a late slide from behind)

“During its discussions, the committee characterized Mondaini’s tackle as late, clumsy, and from behind,”

 “It was also, however, seen as an attempt to prevent his opponent from scoring. Brian Mullan’s tackle on Steve Zakuani last month did not serve such a purpose. Rather, it showed utter disregard for his opponent’s safety and appeared to be driven by anger.” 

You know the problem I have with this? The implication that it’s okay to foul someone to prevent them from scoring. Yes, it happens and players, coaches official know it will happen, but you can’t justify the Mondaini (short) suspension by saying it’s attempt to prevent a score. What does that say about your league, about the type of play you expect?

Whether you believe Mondaini got too lenient or harsh a sentence for the penalty, the league acknowledged that it’s trying to crack down on overtly physical play. It’s a smart move that will improve a more flowing, attacking brand of football.

Now with the lack of penalty for Mondaini, you (the league) has almost acknowledged those types of fouls are permissible. The league should have come down just short of Mullan (8 games) and said, “We don’t care about the injury. You can’t project one will happen. But we care about reckless play and we want players to think twice before intentionally following someone.”

David Ferreira fouled a league-high 84 times last campaign. Javier Morales; 76. If I’m a player looking to come to MLS and I’m a creative type that will make the league more exciting, don’t I put this on the “negative” side of my positive-negative review of coming to the States.

Look at the SPL; its reputation as a physical league precedes it. How many “beautiful game” players, how many Brazilians, Argentinians play in that league?

EPL

Tevez, still an uncertainty for this one.

The FA Cup: Manchester City vs. Stoke City: Either way this game will be, let’s say, energetic. Either Manchester City will brandish their class and ring up a 3-0 victory or Stoke City will initiate Project Mayhem on the pitch and look to lay the wood on City and rough them up at every turn, leading to a 1-0 or nil-nil 90 minutes and extra time.

Really quite fascinating because Stoke City can’t really compete on talent here with Manchester City looking for their first silverware and champagne….supernova.

Wigan vs. West Ham: Better than the FA Cup, the relegation battles and this is the biggest one of the season. Wigan on 36 points, West Ham, a paltry 33 points. This is a must-game for West Ham or they’re headed down. Period. Wigan are home and with the weather report expect to be a rainy 55 degrees, this one’s going to be a slopfest…and it favors the home teal as they bring down the Hammers and send them to the Land of Lower TV Revenue.

Oh by the way, my EPL predictions? Close, no cigar. Here’s what I had at the beginning of the season:

• Matthew, TSG: (5) Manchester City, (4) Liverpool, (3) Arsenal, (2) Manchester United, (1) Chelsea

I’ve probably got the top five here as Liverpool should go out swinging, but I didn’t think United had it this year. Wrong.

More shortly…

The Beautiful Game: The Other MVP In Dallas

The Beautiful Game series explores how soccer makes a difference around the globe.

Update: Target RAISED. Groundbreaking on the field begins shortly.

There’s Another MVP In Dallas You Should Know (from November 2010)

Support for this piece from Communications Chair of the Freddy Fund, Mike Anderson

Imagine having a good friend.

Freddy Garcia

Imagine enjoying playing a sport–this time it just happens to be soccer–with your good friend. In fact, it’s the fabric of your friendship.

Imagine being almost good enough to make that sport a living, but more than passionate enough to play for a reserve club, like the FC Dallas reserves, and to keep soccer as central to your life without it being a paycheck.

Now imagine that good friend–the one in the group who brought the energy, manufactured the sunshine–was taken from you.

They passed away….

Without warning, no time to prepare…..

For unknown reasons….

And right before they were to graduate from college…

For some, understandably, something as playful as a sport may become a burden.

“Oh man, I remember when I used to pass it to him….right…there.”

“I kind of don’t like having an extra space in the car on the ride to the field.”

You might recoil into yourself or need an extra push just to get back to even, to attain balance.

Or in the case of the friends of the late Federico “Freddy” Garcia–whose father once donned the Stars and Stripes–you do the exact opposite.

You use the cruel event that left a hole in your life and you rally. Big time.

You galvanize support.

You reach into the depths of the energy that Freddy once showered on you and you return that energy…to the community in homage to your fallen teammate….

In the form of a soccer field, erecting a place to play the sport that was more about friendship and much less about competition.

A field, layered with turf and lines, for the neighborhood where Freddy grew up; a neighborhood where the median household annual income is $17,000.

Continue reading

Bradley To RFK, Reportedly To See Stanky Leg

Davies in the picture...

Update: TSG made a connection from Steve Goff to information learned through US men’s press lead Michael Kammarman in this piece. We have since learned he was not the source of this information and offer a retraction. Our apologies to the audience and Kammarman.

———-

Washington Post’s Steve Goff just reported that USMNT coach Bob Bradley will travel to RFK stadium to observe the DC United versus Colorado Rapids affair this weekend.

We can be pretty sure that Bradley is not scouting Conor Casey and, per Goff’s commentary, is there to specifically scout Charlie Davies for Gold Cup roster inclusion.

So Davies, firmly on the radar and this week going up against a physical defense in Colorado. Good test.

With Davies in the picture and Jay DeMerit recovered and probably a near lock, the shuffling of the Gold Cup 23 is in full effect.

TSG’s Gold Cup roster predictions from Tuesday, here.

MLS Castrol Index Introduced: Whoa George John

MLS now has their very own oily Castrol Index.

This isn't NASCAR.

First up on the inaugural list, that would be the DP everyone expected there….Thierry Henry.

Players #2 and #3 on the list (Steve Zakuani and David Ferreira) are both now becoming physical therapy to come back from traumatic injuries. Stain their on the league.

And players #8 and #10 are your two most undervalued MLS personnel it would seem.

Defensively in the eight hole is FC Dallas defender George John whose annual salary is a meek $42,000.

#10 sees Chicago Fire striker-en-fuego Diego Chavez. He of the same salary and same under appreciation.

Your thoughts?

See the whole list here.

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