Archive for May, 2012

FIFA Interview: Landon Donovan On Klinsmann, Brazil 2014

Donovan, the younger years…

Landon Donovan from a FIFA interview posted today:

In this, the first of a two-part interview, all matters Stateside are discussed, such as Los Angeles Galaxy’s start to the Major League Soccer season, the dominance of Mexican sides in the CONCACAF Champions League, the appointment of Jurgen Klinsmann as USA coach and why the FIFA World Cup™ is so special.

FIFA.com: Considering the attacking players in the Galaxy’s squad, it would be the envy of many teams across the globe. Is that a sign of your attempt to capture a second MLS Cup?

Landon Donovan: Well in our league, and particularly in LA, we have an owner here who is very committed to not only winning but to making sure we are putting an exciting product on the field. Most places around the world it’s just about the football, but we are still trying to build our game, so we need to have, hopefully, an exciting product that people want to pay money to come see. We’re fortunate that we’ve got an owner and a coach who are committed to that and it’s fun for me as an attacking player because I get to play alongside some of these great, talented players.

Looking at the current table and the CONCACAF Champions League, it wasn’t the start you would have hoped for. What do you credit that to?

It was tough. We are certainly a much better team than we showed early on. I think a big part of it was not having myself and Robbie [Keane] there from the beginning of the pre-season. We were a little bit disjointed to start and it kind of showed on the field. We weren’t playing terribly, but our league is parity-driven, so if you are a little bit off-form and a team is playing well they can beat you. So it’s not like we are Manchester United or Barcelona, where you have a bad day and you can still win 2-0 or 3-0. We have a bad day and we can lose games, and that’s what happened at the start of the season.

Monterrey have qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup. It always seems to be the Mexican teams that reach the final of the competition. How close are MLS teams to narrowing the gap?

We’re close, but there are realities. We’re the exception, but most Major League Soccer teams have a payroll of $3-4m USD for the entire squad. Some Mexican teams have a payroll of $20-30m USD. The reality is that the teams who are paying more for their players generally win. We’re getting better – our league is committed to continuing to spend more money, but they’re running a business so they’ve got to be smart about it. We’ve had a number of teams, even with the discrepancy in pay, doing very well and getting very close. Last year, Real Salt Lake went close against Monterrey – and were less than 45 minutes away to advancing to a Club World Cup. It’s only a matter of time, but as long as we’re progressing I think we’re still OK with that.

Do you think the Galaxy may be the team which are in the best position to narrow that gap?

Yes, if our team is healthy. We’ve got enough talented players to pull off plays and score goals. One deficit we had at the start of this year we were missing arguably our most important player in Omar Gonzalez, our centre-back, and I think we paid for it. We gave up some pretty soft goals early on and goals that you wouldn’t expect to give up if Omar was there. So I think if we were a healthy team, we’d have a realistic chance to do well.

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Jurgen Klinsmann’s Campers: Getting Close To Full Squad

The updated positional roster–additional and official–eleven names:

DEFENDERS (4): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland)
MIDFIELDERS (1): Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Herc Gomez against Turkey…

Twitter and other news reports out on Saturday suggested that there were two more additions to the US final preliminary roster set to be release sometime today. Those flown in today are apparently to include Herculez Gomez and Chris Wondolowksi

That would make the current roster look like this:

(Blue text means unconfirmed by US Soccer:)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (4): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS (1): Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

That leaves 9 players set for possible inclusion today. The best guess update:

G: [None]

DEF: Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst, Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream, Eric Lichaj, Clarence Goodson

MID: DaMarcus Beasley

FW: Brek Shea, Jozy Altidore

The skinny: Might Brek Shea be dropped for this after his suspension and with it concern about how many games he may miss? Is DaMarcus Beasley surplus to requirements with the addition of Joe Corona? Are there one too many centerbacks now being called in?

Possible edition: Jonathan Spector.

UEFA Champion’s League Final: Bayern vs. Chelsea Live

In the battle of Bayern vs. Chelsea…Ribery vs. Drogba–TSG’s two pivotal players, TSG roots for….

Michael Essien. Knee surgeries have robbed the global soccer world of Essien’s excellence.

May he shine today for the Blues. The hopeful scoreline? Bayern 0, Chelsea 0…..Essien 3.

Always a superstar–white-haired or not–in TSG’s book.

MLS Predictions: Cascadia…Take Me Away & SuperClasico

Someone call a plumber because this backline sh*t stinks! (Leonardo returns for the Galaxy)

… and so it begins, rivalries in full flow, television screen packed with pomp and circumstance as the familiar elevens gather to do battle on the grassy field. This week we explore some rivalries, talk about Cascadia and the battle for Los Angeles, and discuss trades that were. Lets get down to business.

The Record!!

I managed to nail the Montreal v LA Game giving me another correct pick and exacta, which brings my total on the week to 5-5 and makes my overall record 29 correct – 33 incorrect with 5 exactas. Thanks go out to the red card in the Crew match and the ineptitude of Colorado for messing up what could have been a 6-4 week with 3 exactas.

I also managed to take in a u-23 pdl US Open Cup game (which was highly entertaining), and once again highly encourage all of you in all areas to go. If you are in the Southeast, this is a great opportunity to show your support for one of the great open tournaments in the world.

Once again, all times East Coast, Olympic Stadium in Montreal is cavernous even when filled, Carlo Rossi and Sprite is not a drink, and Battleship is a game… not a movie.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

5:00PM – Vancouver v Seattle – BC Place – Television: TSN RDS2

The battle for Cascadia starts here, and what a game it will be. For those of you unaware… The three clubs of Cascadia (Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle) play a supporters made tournament throughout the year for the right to be called the best team in Cascadia and have their supporters group hold the Cascadia Cup. While Vancouver lacks some of the utterly bitter emnity of Portland versus Seattle, the rivalry still exists and inflames.

This year, Vancouver and Seattle kick off the Cascadia Cup tournament in Vancouver, and the Whitecaps are hoping that their home form will hold. With both Seattle and Vancouver finishing last week with a loss, both playing ten games on the season and Vancouver only 5 points behind Seattle in the League, this has all the earmarks for a tight, pulsing game.

Seattle has yet to lose on the road, winning two games and tieing one. You have to imagine that Seattle is going to attempt to come out and try to pressure Vancouver, while Vancouver attempt to get the connection between their midfield and forwards working. Eric Hassli has really started to warm up, finishing last week with a spectacle of a goal in the Canadian Championship game. Of course, if you want to look at spectacular you only have to look at the Qwest field version of this game last year in which Hassli hit a stunning shot past Kasey Keller.

Right away I think you have to look at whether Vancouver’s midfield can track and match up with Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso. As well, will Seattle’s back line be able to thwart Le Toux, Hassli and Chumiento.

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MLS Blockbusting: Pearce Gotham Bound; Juan Agudelo To Chivas USA, More

Gothamist….

Well, it looks like the band is getting back together. FC Dallas ’09 is now coalescing around the New York Tri-State area.

In a move that probably began this week with Peter Nowak wanting Danny Califf away from Philadelphia, Chivas USA has sent former US national teamer and odd player movement expert heath Pearce and allocation money to the New York Red Bulls for Juan Agudelo. Wow!

Pearce joins up with former FC Dallas running mates Dax McCarty and Kenny Cooper in the move. Someone get a GPS on Jeff Cunningham.

As part of a second deal of the day, rapper extraordinaire and midfielder Michael Lahoud and some allocation dinero heading to the Union for central-back-tat expert Danny Califf.

Carry on….

This Ain’t Disney World: USMNT Camp Starts Rolling

MLS Travel Series: Montreal Exposed

“Okay, who wants to go out on the town with me tonight?” Credit: MLSSoccer.com

The MLS Travel Series, Entry #2

James Grossi can’t get any love from the Toronto FO on covering his home side…so he takes to Montreal.

Salut mes amis et bienvenue à Montréal,

Acclaimed Montreal abode dwelling, Habitat 67

As a Torontonian, obvious barbs aside, I could not be more chuffed to have Montreal be the nineteenth club in MLS and its third Canadian side. It’s a wondrous place and it’s nice to have a local rival and relatively close opponent that does not require going to Columbus – sorry Crew fans.

I’ve already taken the opportunity to head over to Montreal on three occasions, though time and finance have meant that I have had under twenty-four hours combined on the ground – each time making only a day trip including the six-hour bus journey each way.

In order to introduce you to what the city has on offer, I’ve enlisted the assistance of some local experts, who will lead us through a myriad of options to ensure your time in one of the more unique urban centres in North America is well spent.

But first a brief introduction to our guides:

Philippe Germain (@SoccerPlusEN), World Soccer’s Canadian correspondent and Canadian Soccer News Montreal-based contributor ; he is the host of SoccerPlus, the first French-language soccer podcast in North America and has been the voice of the Montreal Impact on radio and television for a decade prior to this season.

Olivier Tremblay (@OliTremblay), MLSsoccer.com’s Montreal beat writer and weekly contributor to Radio-Canada’s Sports Extra; audio files of which are available along with additional examples of his writing at his website, Mise au Vert, loosely translated as “Pre-Game Retreat”.

Both were very generous with their time and I recommend in particular getting a few podcasts under your belt before travelling; SoccerPlus includes English-language interviews – usually when the subject is more comfortable as such, while both offer those of us out of practice with our French education a chance to retrain our ears to the meter and parlance.

I sent round a list of a dozen or so subjects, what follows ties their recommendations together.

Food & Drink

A bit of travel always works up a sizeable appetite and one of the easiest ways to dip your toes into the water’s of another culture is to sample their cuisine.

That’s not to say one has anything to fear, it is still North America, if McDonalds or a simple pizza is your thing, then you will find it available in abundance.

Artist rendition: Sherbrooke St.

If you’re in search of something near the stadium, Philippe recommends heading north along Sherbrooke Street – “Across from the Olympic Village you’ll find a bunch of options – Grill, Asian, Deli – even a Belle Province the institutionalized hot-dog joint with poutine as greasy as Uncle Joe’s hair”; if you go to Belle Province for the poutine, grab a couple of steamé – steamed hot dogs – as well. Cheap, plentiful; all-dressed or Montreal-style, gets you mustard, chopped onion, and sauerkraut.

Olivier offers – for those looking for something quick and easy – Brit and Chips (433, McGill St.), adding “Fish. Chips. Goodness. Lots of variety too; haddock in a maple syrup batter and hake in an Orange Crush batter are two delicious examples.”

For those looking for something a little more sophisticated he suggests Tapeo (511, Villeray St.)  “Lovely, LOVELY Spanish food. Book in advance or you’ll need to get a quick burger somewhere else.”

Philippe suggests hunting along St. Laurent Boulevard, north of Sherbrooke back towards the downtown core and offers this bit of wisdom, “Downtown Montreal is filled with great places to eat, whatever the type you are looking for. Bad restaurants don’t survive long in this city.”

A recommendation from me, for the foodies amongst us, check out Au Pied du Cochon (536, Duluth Av. E) Chef-Owner Martin Picard is a bit of an icon, having hosted his own Food Network show, The Wild Chef. Rustic Québécois cuisine with plenty of foie gras can’t go wrong with that.

If you find yourself in need of a coffee, Philippe – a confirmed Starbucks dude – calms any concerns, “Name your spot downtown; there it is.” If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, Olivier suggests SoupeSoup (1228, Saint-Denis St. & five other locations)  “Not just for the coffee, but for the overall experience – convenient location, excellent food and drink.”

For the tourist in you, Olivier recommends a Montreal landmark, Schwartz’s Deli (3895, Saint-Laurent Blvd.) “Food again. Schwartz’s has been written off by some, but I think it’s still the very best smoked meat sandwich in town.” And really you can’t travel all the way to Montreal and not have some smoked meat.

Whether a bistro, brasserie, or deli; an old-fashioned Cabane á Sucre (Sugar Shack) for some tourtière or just a healthy dollop of poutine, Montreal has just what you’re searching for.

Pints, Pubs & Sport

Getting away for the weekend doesn’t mean you have to fall behind on your regular soccer viewing. Montreal has several soccer-friendly establishments where you can grab a pint and catch up with the latest international action.

Philippe suggests Champs Bar (3956, Saint-Laurent Blvd.) “A three-story building always full for big matches,” while both our guides also speak highly of Burgundy Lion (2496, Notre-Dame St. W) Olivier adding, “Excellent British pub – crumpets for breakfast while watching Newcastle thrash Sunderland is a must.”

Les Trois Brasseurs

Noel Butler (@thesoccernoel)  host of Oranges@Halftime, Montreal-based TSN 990’s soccer radio show chimes in with Les Trois Brasseursa microbrewery-gastropub with several locations around the downtown core and beyond.

For those solely with refreshment in mind, Olivier points out Dieu du Ciel! (29, Laurier St. W) “A brewpub with a great selection of ales, stouts and other varieties of good stuff – really crowded at times, but good fun nonetheless.”

For those unfortunate souls riding the bus into town, head North from La Gare des Autocars (Coach Station) on (Rue) Berri St., turn right and walk East along (Rue) Ontario St. to find a cozy wee spot called Le Cheval Blanc (809, Ontario St. E.), perfectly located a quick jaunt away from the station for those in need of a pint, but short on time and concerned about getting too lost in the more far-flung marvels of the city.

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