Archive for the ‘Americans Abroad’ Category

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:)

The Weekend: Five To Watch

Your top 5 games for Americans to watch this weekend:

(And when we say to watch that doesn’t mean an American has to be playing just that we’re suggesting you check out the game if you’re around some HD in the States.)

Will Cesc give the thumbs up again on Twitter and be good to go?

5. Carling Cup Finale: Will Professor Emirates Cesc Fabregas Teach A Lesson?

The skinny: Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas skipped out at the 14th minute–actually more like stumbled out with a hamstring ailment–of Arsenal’s 1-0 war of attrition win over Stoke City on Wednesday.

The midfield maestro has vowed to make every effort to be fit for the final at home.

Same story for Birmingham. Stout at home alone, minimal use of offense to achieve maximum gain on the season.

This will be a defensive struggle with Birmingham closing up shop for long stretches. It makes the top five solely on the oft-chance that Zigic can deposit one early for the visitors and make Arsenal truly play for it.

And who knows, maybe we’ll get a Beckham-esque shot of Brum trialist Ale Bedoya in the stands. That’d be nice.

4. La Liga Must-Win: Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla

The skinny: It’s been “pile on” Sevilla lately and rightfully so.

WCJD: What Can Jesus Do.....to prevent Sevilla from sliding?

Last year’s Copa Del Rey champs got bounced from the competition by Real Madrid a few weeks ago. This week, despite a 1-0 win away at El Porto, Sevilla is out of the Europa Cup.

Los Rojiblancos are reeling and (courtesy Sid Lowe’s excellent article here) far off the pace that made them the winningest team in Spain from 2005-2008 and….a joy to watch.

This weekened? Against the team just below them at #8 in the table: Madrid.

Next week? The other Madrid at home.

Big game for Sevilla if they hope to hold on their slim Champion’s League dreams. They’ve got the veterans in Kanoute and Fabiano and then young heir apparent in Jesus Navas to make a run. Can they do it?

This weekend? Foes....

 

3. Saturday: Tete-a-Tete: Aston Villa v. Blackburn

The skinny: Obviously, the story Stateside will be the marquee match-up in the midfield between Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley, however the bigger story might be the entrance of Mauro Formica on the Barclays scene.

The Argentine was purchased by Blackburn in January of this year after moves to Genoa and Monaco fell through. While he’s been compared to “a young Batistuta” by Blackburn manager Steve Kean, the 22-year-old is really more a true #10 playmaker in the vain of a Kaka, something the Rovers could sorely up top (as evidenced by erroneous rumors at a pursuit of the original Brazilian man).

With players out on both defensive sides–Carlos Cuellar for the home side Villians and Phil Jones still for Rovers–look for some scores in this one as Villa haven’t kept a clean sheet in more than 15 games and the Rovers have conceded–I believe–in every away game of the campaign.

1. Holy Meatballs: Napoli clash with Milan for the right to the top of the table

Cavani, with 20 deposits, for Napoli...

The skinny: The Foodies vs. The Fashionistas

TSG’s team du jour, Napoli, who as I write this find themselves down 2-1 in the Europa Cup having rested Cavani for the bulk of the match, take on Milan at the San Siro in another battle of two versus one.

Lot of tangents in this one, not least is which will Milan deploy their “Thug Life” midfield in a hope to slow the Napoli attack.

The Azzurri will want to press the attack, but by the same token they’ve conceded nearly two-thirds of all their goals away from home this year.

A battle of styles and wills and Cavani looks to bundle on to his league leading twenty goals on the campaign and a win away from home means things are even up for the teams in the race for the Scudetto.

Alexi On Alexi….And Serie A

Lalas....

Editor’s Note: We’ve had a few pieces lately that involved , specifically, Alexi Lalas and his time overseas in Serie A with Padova.

This piece by Eric Beard which acknowledges Alexi’s time at Padova and the focus in training. And this piece, Eric Giardini, which discusses the challenges for Americans playing in Serie A.

Thus we decided to reach out to the now-ESPN analyst and get his perspective on playing abroad. The following by….Alexi Lalas, with questions by Eric Giardini:

Mint condition...

TSG: You joined Padova in 1994 during the height of Catenaccio that the great Milan teams of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s were using so successfully to win 3 European titles and 5 Scudettos. What was it like playing this defensive style of soccer and how did it differ from your duties with the USMNT?

Alexi Lalas: The defensive tactics of Italian soccer are well documented. And if you’re a club like Padova, who’s simply looking to stay up in Serie A, your reliance on defense is only amplified.

We were not going to be possessing the ball or dictating play against most teams. So we basically played in a 5-3-2. The player in the middle of the back 5 would often fall back like a sweeper and provide additional safety and another layer of cover. The outside backs only pushed forward on the counter.

But from the first day I arrived we trained on our defensive team shape, it was as important as stretching.

Continue reading

The Weekend: What Americans Watch

Your top 5 games for Americans to watch this weekend:

(And when we say to watch that doesn’t mean an American has to be playing just that we’re suggesting you check out the game if you’re around some HD in the States.)

It's been mostly "hold the applause" for Everton this year. Can Timmy and team turn it up and keep it up?

5. Sunday: Bolton over to Goodison to face the Toffees

The skinny: After a blazing start, the Bolton Wanderers find themselves bobbing around the middle of the table–currently 8th–as the season hits the home stretch.

Is Europe out of the question for Bolton?

Well a lot will depend on the impact of Daniel Sturridge, the single reinforcement for Owen Coyle’s troops in the January window. With Kevin Davies showing some wear-and-tear and Johan Elmander slumping from his early season form, the Chelsea loanee will be needed to stretch the field and find the net even more. (Sturridge has made it count in two outings thus far (two goals) and TSG took a small step towards becoming a “believer” on his game.)

Everton, notoriously a slow starter, hasn’t had that mid-to-late season kick that it usually does. It will be even harder now as Jack Rodwell, who moved from potential to realized on the player bar, finds himself on the PT table for the next four to six weeks.

That will pair two like-minded central midfielders in Fellaini, a true difference maker for the Toffees, and Mikel Arteta, paid like a difference maker, in the middle…the duo has not always complemented one another.

Will Fellaini play up to use his noggin or sit deep to play the true holding role he excels at. Will Arteta drift outside right and lose his game further?

However they’re deployed, they’ll face the hard-checking duo of Stu Holden and Fabrice Muamba, both who caught a break during the FIFA dates.

This one will be a battle of the midfield here and despite the Rodwell loss I see Everton being stout at home and eeking out the win.

4. Saturday: Pachuca v. Puebla

The skinny: The Herculez Gomez Bowl.

Now a starter after being hitched to the bench for the beginning part of the campaign, Gomez features for a Pachuca team that is getting moldy in the basement of their Clausura group.

Puebla is not doing much better in their group, uncomfortably resting just above the cellar dweller in their group.

Both coaches are under fire for their under-firing teams and need the victory.

Has anyone seen Paco Torres lately?

Hugging Hamsik has become a common occurrence at Napoli...

3. Saturday: Roma v. Napoli

The skinny: It is con…..gested up top in the race for the Scudetto. Inter has roared to life with the Spaniard now banished, and Roma is currently on the outside looking in for a spot in Europe sitting seventh.

A huge one Saturday as Roma heads to Napoli Napoli takes the Marek Hamsik Show on the road and heads to Roma looking for than a point for their excursion.

Clint Dempsey, mischevous in the other team's end all season...

2. Monday: Big London vs. Little London

The skinny: It’s basically been Clint Dempsey or bust for the Cottagers this year on the attack.

What makes Dempsey’s push for his first EPL double digit scoring year all the more impressive is that the stork dropped off a new bundle of joy for the US forward just this past Fall.

Usually that means lack of sleep, for Deuce it appears to be inspiration.

Bobby Zamora’s return (two weeks in the offing) can’t come soon enough as Fulham really don’t have a pattern for their goals with Dempsey seeming to conjure up some impressive shots out of thin air.

For the Chelsea, it’s been the Blues lately. Unable to shake off the midseason doldrums and now having the pressure to integrate a new striker into the mix.

The writing seems to be on the wall for Nicolas Anelka to finally take a walk, yet, incredulously Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti used Anelka–to ambivalent results–in the key attacking forward role last game. Le Sulk in a role that plays conduit to the Drogba-Torres firepower up top? Really?

So with that new striker incoming, Chelsea left arguably their most important player, Florent Malouda, out of the line-up for 80% of the match last week and are relying on a diamond shape that forces a 30-year-old and World Cup-drained Ashley Cole and a recently returned, but not fully fit Jose Bosingwa to fly up the flanks. More confusing still.

What in the world is going on at Stamford Bridge. Can’t blame John Terry for this, can you?

Will the new guy come up big on Derby Day?

1. DERBY!Manchester’s Derby

The skinny: Manchester City vs. Manchester United. Quickly rocketing up from the bottom of depth charts like a bad Oasis anthem, has a similar feel to the Red Sox-Yankees’s clashs early in the 2000’s. The upstart City team starting to splash the cash and quite yet able to quell the monstrous and historical goliath down the road.

This weekend sees the Fergies’ looking to recover from their first stumble of the season and playing at home. By all accords, to the home team at Old Trafford should go the spoils.

And that’s why this is Manchester City’s biggest statement game of the season as a potential six point swing is only in the offing if Mancini’s side challenges the Aons. With a monumental win, City would find them right in the mix for the title at two points back, 54 to 52. Lose and it’s likely a goal of Champion’s League or bust at the Eastlands.

A few weeks ago, City took to the road and after toying around with the idea of going head-to-head with Arsenal for the first ten minutes or so, battened down the hatches, closed up shop and decide to play for the draw against the Wengers.

Champions are made by going for it and Man City needs to step up in this category. Let’s hope they let it roll and in turn the game is open on Saturday.

Note: TSG’s Shaun Webb will be live-blogging this one.

Honorable mentions:

* Re-Juventus vs. even more rejuvenated Inter: I know this game should probably go up in the top five (and probably ahead of Roma-Napoli), but Quagliarella, Milito, Chivu are all absent for this one. Nevertheless, with Leonardo moving Wesley Sneijder back to the midfield (after Rafa Benitez forsook him in a false nine role), the match bears watching just for the Dutchman’s play of late.

* Championship: Hull City vs. Preston North End: Americans only here as Brad Guzan looks to keep his strong record in goal for Hull City going and faces Easy Eddie Johnson on loan from Fullham. I surmise this is your last shot to be a grown-ass, EJ.

* Super Lig: Bursaspor vs. Eskisehirspod: Jozy’s squad takes on the mid-table contender on Sunday. Altidore will get a playing time, but the question is where and how much with Scotsman Kenny Miller slamming them home for club and country and 20-year-old sniper Sercan Yildrim starting to look like a superstar in the making for his homeland.

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