Archive for the ‘Americans Abroad’ Category

The Weekend: What Are You Watching?

Will Spector and West Ham be celebrating another deposit versus an American keeper (Brad Friedel) this weekend?

TSG is getting a head start on the weekend with a wedding down in Nawlins. (Thanks to those for the recommendations.)

So our new weekly series:

You’ve got three hours and change to kill. Which two games are you watching Saturday and Sunday. And my-oh-my is there quite a docket this weekend.

For what it’s worth (and TSG will be missing quite a bit of the footie this weekend). Our two picks…oh man…I would go with West Ham vs. Villa (because of the Americans involved and the periphery of the relegation battle) and probably United vs. City in the FA Cup.

Pick two.

On Michael Bradley & Aston Villa

Timothy Abraham

The Shin Guardian had the occasion to interact last week with Aston Villa beat reporter Timothy Abraham who writes for Birmingham’s Express & Star. Abraham gives us an unvarnished, untarnished by American lens view on the goings on inside Villa Park. TSG is thankful to have Abraham’s thoughts here as we respect he’s an on-staff writer for the Express & Star.

Follow Tim on Twitter here.

(Editor’s Note: This TSG piece on Michael Bradley–vetted by Abraham–is a requisite read beforehand.)

Will it soon be a walk in the Park or from it?

TSG: You mentioned Michael Bradley is struggling with game speed. Do you think this is due to lack of game time or is it something different?

Timothy Abraham: Some players do take time to adjust to the pace of English football and I think this is evident in Michael’s case. In his fleeting appearances for the first team he has been caught in possession too easily sometimes and his passing has been found wanting. It is in stark contrast with Jean Makoun – who joined Villa from Lyon in the January transfer window – and has looked at home in English football straight away.

TSG: You mentioned that Michael Bradley won’t likely be resigned by Villa next year. Is he still Premiership material?

Timothy Abraham: The jury is out at the moment. I don’t think Michael’s situation has been helped by Villa having struggled at the bottom of the Premier League for most of the season. With the exception of Jean Makoun Villa manager Gerard Houllier has gone for players who are tried and tested in English football. If Villa are able to pull clear of the relegation battle in the next few matches then Michael might get a run of games towards the end of the season and given a chance to stake his claim to remain at Villa.

TSG: Will Michael Bradley’s situation be impacted at all by Nigel Reo Coker’s? Will Reo Coker resign with Villa? If not, if Bradley an option?

Reo-Coker...

Timothy Abraham: Nigel Reo-Coker’s future is up in the air at the moment. His Villa career looked over when Martin O’Neill was in charge but he has been reinvigorated under Gerard Houllier. The problem for Reo-Coker is that he is probably not quite good enough for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea etc so that leaves him with very few options. I think Villa is about his level but my inclination is to say that he is seeking a big contract and with under pressure to cut the wage bill he will not get the kind of deal he is after and will leave the club. I guess there is a chance Michael Bradley could be a replacement but with the kind of money that Borussia Monchengladbach want for him, and with a surplus of midfielders at Villa I think a deal is unlikely.

TSG:  About other Americans: Brad Friedel’s club standing? Will Eric Lichaj ever see the light of day at Villa? Or even Brad Guzan?

I want to work....there...

Timothy Abraham: I expect Brad Friedel will be offered a new deal although he may well have to accept that he will not be first choice next season as Villa look to sign a keeper for the future. Eric Lichaj has done well at Leeds and, with the exception of a couple of mistakes in a game against Manchester City on a day when no-one from Villa covered themselves in glory, when he came in he did well.

I’m not sure he’s quite in the class of on-loan Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker and with Lichaj being 22 I suspect he may move on sooner rather than later. The same probably applies to Brad Guzan.

TSG: What’s the general perception of Houllier’s reign thus far?

Timothy Abraham: The reviews on Gerard Houllier’s short tenure have been mixed. His development of young talent and commitment to play more aesthetically pleasing football than previous manager Martin O’Neill have been appluaded by a lot of fans.

However, there have been some PR gaffes which has alienated sections of the fanbase. Not least his comments after the defeat against Liverpool (although they were taken out of context) and in particular the decision to field a weakened side in the FA Cup against Manchester City which really angered supporters. Houllier has perhaps been guilty of trying to change too much at Villa at once when he should have waited until the summer to make sweeping changes.

 

Resume Tape: Preston Zimmerman

TSG interview fave Preston Zimmerman is out doing some pub as he reaches the end of his contract with Mainz. Zimmerman’s been playing almost exclusively at fullback with their reserve team.

The TSG Zimmerman interview series–a can’t miss if you haven’t read it.

Preston Zimmerman, USMNT U-20, FSV Mainz 05 (October 26th, 2010)

As Told By Preston Zimmerman – Part I – Part II – Part III

 

The Weekend Going Live: Five To Watch

Five Games To Watch & Live Commentary right here:

Elkin Soto for Mainz....

Roma vs. Lazio (Out of respect for TSG’s Eric Giardini, acknowledge Roma, ejected from the Champion’s League this week and now fighting for it next year with Lazio–5 points ahead–coming to town.)

Bolton vs. Birmingham (Can the non-league Cinderella season for the Brum Blues boys continue?)

Sevilla vs. Barcelona (Are we finally seeing the Sevilla of old, even if Fabiano has been shipped home. It’s not too little too late.)

Mainz vs. Leverkusen (Penultimate Bundesliga team Leverkusen have lost one game away all season…at Dortmund. Meanwhile pesky Mainz are fourth in the table and sub-.500 at home. With a win Mainz inches closer to Hannover which got thrashed at Cologne on Friday.

Will Elkin Soto be the difference maker?)

Manchester United vs. Arsenal. (Oh Samir Nasri how you just couldn’t get it done against Barca. Redemption time.)


Directing Traffic: Friday Link-Up

Yes, it’s sadly true. Sometimes others have the goods and TSG doesn’t. An old-fashioned link-up post today–one we haven’t done in nearly a year….

…but there’s some good stuff out there!

Here’s where you should be looking:

Simon Hill....hero....

Two-Footed TackleBlind Ambition: The Simon Hill Story: Think you and I have challenges playing the game, how about playing the beautiful game blind. Two-Footed Tackle with a review of their documentary on Simon Hill, captain of England’s Blind Football Team. Amazing; stories like this always bring me to tears.

• The New York Times: A Qaddafi Son, Italian Soccer and the Power of Money: Did Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi and Libya employ state funds to further the soccer career of the dictator’s son. A fascinating tale.

• A Football Report: Blunt Questions for FIFA presidential candidate Grant Wahl: A different interview with the journalist attempting to illuminate the lunacy occurring at the FIFA global home office through the election process.

Huffington Post: Fixed Soccer Matches Create Post Carnival Headache for Brazil: More trouble in Brazil in the 2014 lead-up. Dubbed the “Whistle Mafia” the Brazilian court has just fined the football association US$ 100M for fixing games.

The Guardian: Stadium For Next Year’s Europa Final in Some Serious Trouble: And in Romania, Jonathan Wilson takes a break from the tactical and says some serious mismanagement is afoot at the stadium that is supposed to host the Europa League Final next year.

•The Free Beer Movement: And Then They Took The Beer From My Hands: There’s a reason we give a lot of love to the Free Beer Movement here at The Shin Guardian. First, their founder is genuine, and second it is perhaps the most unusual and selfless non-profit (and probably costly) effort to promote soccer in the United States in a unique way. Here? What happened with the Free Beer Movement ran across the AO Rally in Vegas.

Aduing it, aduing it, Aduing it well?

• ExtraTime Radio Podcast: Freddy Adu, more: The fellas at ExtraTime Radio score with a Freddy Adu phoner. Interesting to hear Adu speak on his move to the 2nd division in Turkey; he comes across as maturing….very slowly. In a nod to self-awareness, Adu talks about his need to focus on his defense and in a nod to showing he still needs to mature more Adu talks about how it’s a struggle to play his natural interior, #10 position and be trusted.

For DC United fans, Adu’s comments playing out of position stand in stark contrast to a player like Perry Kitchen who when asked after being taken in the MLS SuperDraft what position he was most suited for answered with an applause-worthy “Wherever coach puts me.”

I don’t think time is running out on Adu becoming a professional soccer player, but on being a great one? For sure. Highly recommended podcast.

• The Guardian: Why Michael Carrick Must Shine: Now moving to one of England’s polarizing figures, Danny Taylor at the Guardian wraps an analysis of Manchester United’s midfield–the one that is rumored to house Jack Rodwell next year–around the trials of Michael Carrick and how the Englishman must come good this weekend.

• From MLS-TMZ: While Teal Bunbury looks primed to be a massive star in middle American this year, his sister’s going Hollywood. Another reason for Jonah Hill to go from “6 to midnight” (and if you get that reference bully for you.)

Best American Campaign Abroad Thus Far?

Simple question. Simple answer?

Dolo-nator...

Which American leads for the title of best American abroad campaign, 2010-2011?

(Question repeated…go:)

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