The Weekend: Live Commentary Here

And folks, we’re back in full swing.

West Brom, only headed up with Peter O....

A full slate of….

…wait. A pesky players strike in La Liga. Probably best giving the bruhaha–again–between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Don’t know about you guys, but I kind of feel like this is one of those “Ow! Quit It” things.

A whole host of excellent fair still this weekend including:

» Saturday: EPL: Chelsea vs. West Brom: Peter Odemwingie re-inking shows Fernando Torres that it’s never too late to have a career revival and get paid. Blues fans are, uh, waiting on that revival Nando.

» Friday: Primera: Tecos vs. Pachuca: We almost need a fake prizefight poster for this one with Herculez Gomez on one side and The New Jose Torres (welcome back buddy) going for Pachuca.

» Saturday: EPL:  Sunderland vs. Newcastle: Enough with the Joey Barton baloney, this is the biggest and fiercest derby out there….to the Old Firm that is.

» Saturday: EPL: Arsenal vs Liverpool: Both teams somewhat flush with cash here in the short term, Liverpool spent like Real Madrid on acid in 2011 while the Emirates are seemingly smoking the profits behind closed doors.

» Saturday: EPL: Swansea vs. Wigan: The media-dubbed “Swanselona” look to bring their ticky-tac up to the Prem against a team not named Man City with a Spaniard carrying a semi-automatic. Don’t put a ton of stock in this one, it’s not going to be on Wigan’s awful pitch.

» Saturday: MLS: New England vs. New York: Not exactly the Red Sox-Yankees here. The battle for midtable mediocrity….in Thierry Henry’s team. If you told me at the beginning of the year that the Red Bulls would: sign Teemu Taino, keep Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez relatively healthy and have Henry golden-booting it and that they would suck at this time of year, I would tell you to go to ThinkTaylor.org. (Great work by Twellman on ThinkTaylor.org by the way.)

LA fans are just fine with Keane's baggage....

» Saturday: MLS: Los Angeles vs. San Jose: The Robbie Keane debuted for the Galaxy. You know who benefits? Everyone, but especially Mike Magee, the guy will get even more chances on a platter but once again he’ll help out the opponents keeper.

» Saturday: MLS: Portland Perlazas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: Solid move there by the Timbers today in getting creative Eric Alexander into the fold. With the dazzling Perlaza surrounded by Nagbe, Zizzo and now Alexander for Timbers that’s good for the future.

Oh and Hasli won’t stand out with those tattoos in Portland. He’s easily out tattooed probably by 80% of the fans.

» Sunday: Ligue1:  PSG vs. Valenciennes: Pastore, that is all.

» Sunday: EPL: Bolton vs. Manchester City: No way Aguero goes for more than 3 in this one. Actually, Bolton vs. Manchester City (both fast starters last year) headline the top of the table with identical goal difference. This one is an early test for just who Manchester City. Will the Citizens be pumped up at the Reebok?

» Sunday: EPL: Manchester United vs. Tottenham Spurs: We’ll eventually get to this one on Monday, but….DeGea or Gomes…odds on who has a complete meltdown first this year?

(There are plenty more…you guys write them in the commentary and I’ll add them up here.)

(Poll coming)

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54 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by SpaceAlliance123 on 2011/08/19 at 12:59 PM

    Matt, Matt, Matt — you forgot Philadelphia-Columbus tomorrow night! Battle for the East? Freddy Adu vs Robbie Rogers for breakout ex-disappointment USMNT project player award?!

    Reply

  2. Arsenal v Liverpool
    Houston v RSL

    One of Bolton v City or United v Tottenham. Do you have the times of the games?

    Reply

  3. Posted by dth on 2011/08/19 at 1:42 PM

    Thinking Borussia Dortmund vs. Chandler’s Nurnberg provides a fun clash between an elite team and a USMNT player.

    Reply

  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/19 at 1:44 PM

    Arsenal v Liverpool. 07:30. EST
    Nottingham Forest v Leicester City. 10:00. EST

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/19 at 2:37 PM

      Definitely going to get up early for the Arsenal-Liverpool game. So many subplots and ramifications here to this game.

      I think Suarez rules the game. He’s my captain on my fantasy team this week, so…

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/21 at 7:02 AM

        Sending off decided the game, Although Arsenal should not have any complaints because it really was a 2nd yellow card offense, and the ref had no choice.

        Reply

  5. Posted by John on 2011/08/19 at 3:39 PM

    In a bit of interest to only nerds….

    Portland offered a ticket deal through Groupon for their reserve game against Vancouver.

    As of right now, Portland has sold 10k tickets, with less than 2K coming from Groupon.

    That is all.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/08/19 at 3:49 PM

    I am grossly biased but Fulham versus Wolves….

    Dempsey coming off a brace in Europa League play tries to help Fulham get something other than a draw. Plus some intrigue as to whether he plays MF or F.

    Ok not the most exciting game but its Dempsey and its the FSC Sunday AM game.

    Reply

    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/08/19 at 3:51 PM

      On the non-biased side I am most looking forward to Liverpool and Arsenal.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/08/19 at 4:39 PM

    Herculez tonight!! Beasley too, But I’m for Wolves, Dempsey can score a trifecta, but every year I take on an underdog team who work hard and that is my Wolves. Last year they scraped by but defeated some good teams without Hunt & Doyle for a lot of games. This year look out!! Sorry Blackmon you got it wrong!
    And if they get crushed then I will post under the name of Mick’s Mutt

    Reply

  8. Posted by MJ on 2011/08/19 at 5:49 PM

    No love for MLS going 5 for 5 in the CCL this week, along with the first MLS win in Mexico?

    Reply

  9. Posted by Bob Bradley on 2011/08/19 at 6:16 PM

    Robbie Keane can collect his millions anywhere and then go home and make sweet, sweet…sorry, my bad

    Reply

  10. Posted by Travis McKil on 2011/08/19 at 9:50 PM

    The “Nando” shall and will rise up. This is a guy with a World Cup; also a guy that stuck around Athletico for probably three years (imo) too long to benefit him financially, follicly, or tatooically.

    He did have a bad World Cup coming off of a knee injury but did contribute(again in my opinion) and deserves any successes coming his way. I assume you are a Chelsea fan? If so, a little patience is required; if not then I don’t know what you want from the guy other than to score goals when given opportunities and to be the best fair-skinned Spaniard he can be.

    Look at Roy Keane’s quotes in regards to the current Chelsea team; this is an unlucky, unruly man but even they can make a lucky, even a possibly apropos comment once in a while.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Soccernst on 2011/08/19 at 11:12 PM

    Hercules Gonez is a straight winner. You can’t help but be pulling for him. Class finish at the death.

    Reply

  12. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 5:24 AM

    Jose Enrique looks like Liverpool’s best signing of the summer, irrespective of price.

    Reply

  13. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 5:55 AM

    I finally realized what team Liverpool reminds me of: it’s the world’s ultimate midtable team, plus Luis Suarez and Pepe Reina.

    Reply

  14. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 6:36 AM

    If you dosed Liverpool authorities with truth serum, and asked them in retrospect whether they’d rather have Carroll + 15 million or Strurridge + 45, they choose the latter every time, right?

    Reply

    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/20 at 6:49 AM

      Every time. The real question is what would they have gotten with the 30. I don’t think they would go with Sturridge over Carroll. I think Carroll will score more goals and have more assists this season.

      Reply

    • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/08/20 at 9:51 AM

      Caroll will score a respectable handful, All English teams need one drunken wild party guy who plays and parties hard. It gives the masses someone to identify with, its like wresting, having a guy to fit every ethnic or interest group demographic, Bob Backlund for the Irish, Junk Yard Dog for the African-Americans, etc… It helps that Caroll is a good fottballer too.

      Reply

  15. Posted by John Henry on 2011/08/20 at 7:18 AM

    how much does the new fantasy.premierleague website suck?

    Reply

  16. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/20 at 9:50 AM

    In light of Sciaretta’s tweet how good is Fibian Johnson? I assume he is a clear step up from Lichaj since one is playing Bundesliga and one is waiting for a loan.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 11:25 AM

      JOHNSON VS LICHAJ.

      FOR JOHNSON: natural left-footer.
      FOR LICHAJ: actually a defender; Johnson has been playing left midfield for Hoffenheim.

      I’m not sure there’s a huge obvious difference in ability, from what I’ve seen of both (admittedly not that much of Johnson).

      Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/20 at 2:12 PM

        Thanks. I have seen Hoffenheim but I had not paid particular attention to anyone so wasn’t sure how excited to be and given our LB situation (better with Lichaj but he hasn’t made the 18 yet so)

        Reply

  17. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/08/20 at 10:24 AM

    Terrence Boyd scores yet again for Dortmund’s reserves.

    Reply

  18. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 11:27 AM

    Might as well post this: http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/arsenal-may-covet-a-red-bull-on-the-rise/

    It seems rumored interest is surprisingly high for the big three of young American MLS centerbacks–i.e. Ream, John, and Gonzalez.

    Reply

    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/20 at 2:31 PM

      I have to admit that I don’t get it. Ream is what 23 and while he is a good player, he doesn’t strike me as Champion’s League quality. If he was 19 maybe I can see it.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 3:03 PM

        Ream is pretty young in central defender years and inexperienced. Like keepers, it takes a while for central defenders to figure it out.

        But big teams will often make speculative bids of 500k-1 million just to see what happens. Shinji Kagawa is one such example of a bid that paid off big (I believe he was 500k euros). The difference between MLS and a lot of “developing world leagues” (meant in the soccer sense rather than the strict economic sense) is that MLS seems to reject those speculative bids out of hand and players are inclined to wait until free agency to leave.

        Reply

        • Posted by mbw on 2011/08/20 at 3:56 PM

          Ream takes “figuring it out” to a new level. Practically every game he’s passing the ball to Mwanga or kicking a guy in the box or letting Bobby Convey go right past him or some absurd thing like that. I’ve watched maybe half his games this year and still think he has an unusually high ceiling — but good grief.

          Reply

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/08/21 at 7:29 AM

            Absolutely a speculative punt. Always a risk associated with an unproven player [at this level], but at $1m it’s not an excessive risk. Huge upside here [football and business], and if Ream doesn’t work out, Arsenal will more than likely recoup some of the transfer fee. Those who know Game Theory, will recognise it as “a bit like” a minimax strategy.

            Reply

            • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/21 at 5:43 PM

              I am not even sure MLS is the young CB that is the best choice to execute that strategy. At least recently John would seem to be a better choice and Omar G has the raw physical tools to be a CL CB (no where near the soccer skills though).

            • Posted by dth on 2011/08/21 at 7:52 PM

              Well, here’s what a big club is thinking here. Keep in mind here that they’re not thinking:
              a) how good they are currently
              b) how good they’re likely to be
              c) how good they might potentially be, given proper training, and a lot of luck; compare to investment.

              The key here is upside. Both Gonzalez and John have limited upside, for one reason or another. John, I think, will be the best in most scenarios but has limited upside–he doesn’t seem to read the game, defensively, as well as Ream or Gonzalez.* It’s worth noting that of the three, John has the best goalkeeper at his back and the best central defender at his side. I disagree with you that Gonzalez has the physical tools to become a champions league centerback. He’s tall, so he looks the part in central casting. But he is so. damn. clumsy. I’ve seen highly successful small centerbacks. I’ve seen highly successful slow centerbacks. I cannot think of any highly successful centerbacks who make me think, while watching him, that he’s actually a 16-year-old growing into his frame or a goofy 7-foot-tall center in basketball. Gonzalez’s lateral speed and short-area speed is very poor. The one thing that’s good about Gonzalez, from a defensive perspective, is his dominance in the air. But I’m not sure how useful that is these days–it seems to me the even the English are getting away from the “Hoof it up to the center forward, lads” strategy. His distribution has progressed signficantly–it’s average now. Unfortunately, he thinks he’s Simon Kjaer and keeps on trying long balls to his left to the winger on that side.

              Ream reads the game quite well–his errors are more brain farts than inability to figure things out. As a scout, you think to yourself–“Well, he might figure that out” and recommend a cheap bet. His passing, as everyone notes, is really excellent. His form has been below average recently, but he’s in that chaos in New York–he has to cover for an awful goalkeeper and an indifferent centerback partner. That’s something Ream’s peers don’t have to contend with–they’ve benefitted from stability throughout their careers: the same coaches, with the same supporting players, gelling together. New York has been in continuous panic for a while now, and it’s undermined everything. People have backlashed against Ream in Ricardo Clark-style fashion, holding one error against him contrary to his overall game. Ream’s form has been by no means great, but it’s not exactly the cesspool that it’s been made out to be. It’s one of the strangenesses of the U.S. fan pool that Ream’s been lambasted for his mistakes but Juan Agudelo–who’s been worse than Ream for New York, post-Gold Cup–has not really been criticized at all (well, widely-speaking).

  19. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/08/20 at 4:38 PM

    MLS is like indentured servitude. The players are tied to ridiculously low wages and sometimes they hold the a player hostage until he waives his right to a transfer fee. I mean C’mon $40K to play? a taxi drive in NYC makes more, a doorman does better and at christmas time they clean up in tips. Tim Ream needs to get out of NY and try his lot in Europe, as well as George John. The pay and prestige is so much better That is why I think the players wait until they can leave as free agents. Its only a matter of time before a player does a pout to try to force a move, and the press as well as the clubs will make him a poster boy for the greedy selfish.ungrateful ugly american. Look at Herculez’s TSG interview where he talked about his salary and treatment, or Buddle going to Germany to get a fair wage. Ream should run the 1st chance he gets,

    Reply

  20. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/08/20 at 7:08 PM

    So, um, no George John in Dallas’s 18 today. That’s interesting, right?

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 7:23 PM

      Red card suspension.

      But yeah, eventually will probably go to Blackburn. My worry here is that John is in the middle of a season here–will he just jump right in? If so, how exhausted is he going to be by the end of the EPL seaosn?

      Reply

  21. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 7:24 PM

    Luis Gil with his second goal for RSL. Could’ve had a third, but just barely missed after outwitting the goalkeeper.

    Reply

  22. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 7:26 PM

    MLS referees have to be the world’s harshest on diving. Daniel Cruz (the Colombian) just got sent off. Not sure if this is what was meant when, at the beginning of the season, it was announced that refs would be getting tougher.

    Reply

  23. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/08/20 at 7:40 PM

    Ruelas 90 for Jaguares in a 2-1 victory. A lot of interesting goings-on this weekend.

    Reply

  24. Posted by dth on 2011/08/20 at 7:55 PM

    So, watching Galaxy-Earthquakes. Galaxy have a set piece…and Omar Gonzalez is back, manning the point. Maybe that’s just a thing for this play, but this had me thinking of a comment Beckham made last year of Gonzalez–“He should be scoring every game.” And it’s true! With Gonzalez’s height, he should be scoring more often than he does, I feel.

    Reply

  25. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/08/20 at 7:56 PM

    NYRB Dax McCarthy was fouled twice in the box, the ref really blew it, even called it a dive with a yellow for the 1st, the 2nd was an elbow to his face in the box. Even worse was the commentator saying that Dax really needs to reevaluate how he goes down? I guess he’s not embellishing it right or enough.

    Reply

  26. Posted by dth on 2011/08/21 at 8:05 AM

    Apparently, besides Jozy’s brace, he also provided the through ball that led to the penalty for the third goal. Not a bad little game there, huh?

    Of course, let’s all remind ourselves that this is the Eredivisie–Michael Bradley scored, what, 16 goals there once?

    Reply

    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/08/21 at 8:24 AM

      I feel like that reminder should be appended to every Jozy is doing great story. While I am very glad he is doing well, I want to retain judgement until we see him in the US jersey or against better comp.

      Reply

      • Posted by Izzy on 2011/08/21 at 10:14 AM

        That being said, we should also remind ourselves that Jozy still has a few holes in his game – if we see those holes start to disappear, it doesn’t really matter what league he’s playing in. I think we’re already seeing better movement and touch. This is all fairly obvious stuff anyone could have said though :)

        Reply

        • Posted by mbw on 2011/08/21 at 12:19 PM

          The best Jozy analysis of recent years comes from Herculez Gomez, in the great interview TSG did with him a few months back: “Jozy is one of those guys when he figures out how good he is, he’s going to explode.”

          Jozy definitely still has things to learn — like all young strikers do — and these exhortations to wait and see are perfectly sensible. But confidence is the number one thing with him. This hot start is good, good, good news, as it solves more problems than it hides.

          Reply

          • Posted by Izzy on 2011/08/21 at 1:11 PM

            Does anyone else notice how intelligent Herculez Gomez is? About the game, and life in general? He’s one smart cookie, on and off the field.

            Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/08/21 at 12:22 PM

      Reply

  27. Posted by Soccernst on 2011/08/21 at 7:48 PM

    DMB!

    Boys south of the border representing. Looking forward to a piece on the hoffenheim lb eligible for the usa

    Reply

  28. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/08/22 at 6:18 AM

    Chelsea look like a circa 1980’s footballing side. Or any Mourinho side in the last 10 yrs. Direct, ugly football with an air of smugness that they don’t deserve at present. Again I reiterate that I don’t get what all the Ramires noise is about. He runs straight ahead, doesn’t beat the second man and cannot deliver through balls while moving. We miss you young Frank Lampard!

    Reply

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