Posts Tagged ‘Eric Lichaj’

Might the EPL Get Another American Defender?

Lichaj: Ensconced on the TSG depth chart...

Shame on TSG for not updating our near bi-weekly Eric Lichaj Report.

We’ve been following Lichaj for about 3 months now since stellar column contributor Ryan put him on his depth chart way back when–see the comments section here.

An interesting report out of England this past week where Villa Manager Martin O’Neill–speaking of Lichaj and another defenders–” is believed to have refused to grant the defenders permission to play in Lincoln’s run to the third round of the FA Cup.”

Could a return to the mothership be in the offing? Villa’s defense has been stable this year, with the corner defense (where Lichaj plays) being manned capably by Luke Young and Steve Warnock, but they are certainly lacking some depth with the once-promising Nicky Shorey shipped out to lower league club Nottingham Forest and 32-year-old Habib Beye the only other cover.

Might be a good chance to get the youngster some tutelage and a few junior games…wait, our fandom just came out.

We’re Getting Excited: USMNT One Week Notice

Wow, we are about one week away from more USMNT action. No doubt as we get closer to the Slovakia and Denmark friendlies, the questions of

alti

A look back...

rosters (which I believe we should learn shortly on the US side, maybe Monday after (the) MLS playoff round closes?), line-ups and tactics will abound.

For now, goto US Soccer and take a look at the behind the scenes view of the October 14 RFK game. Once again, we have to give a pat on the back to USSF for making video available to the fans.

Cost of a camera to shoot the video: @$8,000

Cost of the camera man to shoot the piece and the editing: @$5,000

Total cost: $13K or so…(and remember that’s a one-time camera purchase)

Which begs the question? ESPN, what are you doing with your production coverage? TSG alerted you to the 9th minute salute and we got all of 5 seconds of it memorialized on the telecast.

I would look at the video first, but here are some TSG comments on it:

• Some very candid shots of Jozy Altidore clearly externally exhibiting his inner monologue going on about CD9.

• Some great camera work on the focused expression of Stu Holden in the locker room and during the line-up picture

• An absolutely splendid job in capturing the feeling, especially with audio, of the CD9 salute. Bravo.

• Again great work in showing Landon Donovan’s patience under fire in the box to trap the ball and create a shot rather than just throw it back on frame.

• Perhaps in the best, though heartbreaking, image of all: Oguchi Onyewu’s look of shear anguish as he goes down in the box. In one moment, you saw his pain and then his immediate realization of what it meant for his season and his challenges in making it back for World Cup 2010.

• And to balance that last image out, Jozy Altidore egging on the crowd after the final goal by Jonathan Bornstein, lifting his jersey and screaming in jubilation, “That’s my boy” while chest thumping his “Davies 9″ undershirt. Cherishable.

TSG is going to send a note to USSF today commending them on the piece. If you add comments below, we’ll send these along as well.

In other USMNT news:

gale

Portugal-bound?

• U-20 defender Gale Agbossoumonde who hails from Syracuse, NY (Cuse!) is rumored headed to Portugese top league side Sporting Braga. Here’s hoping that deal gets done (as Agbossoumonde is a little in limbo at a USL player) and Braga gets to suit up for the first team Arsenalists (another great nickname) shortly. Gale will find himself going up against a host of Brazilian defenders for minutes (nearly the entire defense for Braga is Brazilian born) and on the same pitch as Manchester United prospect Rodrigo Possebon, on loan from the home squad.

• And, we almost goofed, our Eric Lichaj Report: The young defender was unfortunately issued a 3-game ban for his red card last week in Lincoln City’s 3-1 loss to Morecambe. There’s a bright side here though, Lichaj will go back to Villa to train during his ban. Read these sterling comments on Lichaj from his Lincoln City manager Chris Sutton.

• And a piece of housekeeping for reader Antonio. I finally got a chance to watch the Italy-USA U-17 match. Yes, I know the US lost, but when was the last time you saw the U.S. play a truly even game with runs up and down the pitch. Still greatly impressed with Cabrera. I liked that he brought the backline up a little more in this game, in effect saying to Italy, “We respect your possession and we want to clutter in the midfield so we’ll take our chances with you playing it over the top.” Absolutely loved the almost reckless abandon the US attacked at the end. Tough loss, but well-played.

EPL & More: Saturday is the Day for Rain

You’ve got Birmingham v. Manchester City on Sunday and that’s it.

Meanwhile Saturday, your day to stay in, brings us a full docket of very interesting games.

Here we go….

EPL

"Hey Jozy, get a move on, TSG is running out of action shots."

• All eyes will be on Turf Moor as Hull City travel to Burnely’s home pitch in an important away game for the crisis-bound side.  As the chronology goes, Phil Brown gets vote of confidence on Tuesday of this week from Hull City chairman Paul Duffen. Wednesday reports surface that Coach Call Center is on the outs and has left the park (only to be refuted) and Thursday the same chairman who backed Brown is removed.

Seems only days until Brown is gone.  While it’s sometimes hard to can a coach after a win, I wouldn’t put it past Hull City in this case. That being said a loss to Burnley, does that nearly assures an exit for the Hull City manager?

An important away game for Hull as much as an important homestand for Burnley. Come end of the campaign, this game could be looked back on as a key match in determining relegation.

TSG is just looking for Jozy to make the 18 here.

• Clock set for the early game here with wobbly Tottenham caravanning to Emirates to take on the Gunners on ESPN 2.  If there were no college football, this game might be a ratings bonanza.

Lack of finishing last week caught up with Tottenham in their loss to Stoke City and they’re really going to want to right the ship this week. Arsenal, who let in two unanswered to draw with West Ham seven days past, righted their own ship against Liverpool (thanks for the correction Dan) in the Carling Cup but Old Man Wenger is looking for a lot more effort and maturity out of his squad. Tottenham will have a tough and most likley insurmountable task away as they travel without Jermain Defoe, Luka Modric and Aaron Lennon.

Is it me or is this Vita Mannone-Manuel Almunia situation eerily reminiscent of when Almunia supplanted Lehmann in net two years back. The

almunia

Will Mannone render Almunia down for the count?

numbers are a bit staggering for Mannone over Almunia in the EPL:

Mannone:  5 games, 19 saves, 5 goals conceded

Almunia: 4 games, 9 saves, 8 goals conceded

Any chance the 32-year-old Spaniard heads elsewhere? Is the 21-year-old Mannone too precocious?

And speaking of Lennon, in other news, somehow TheShinGuardian.com came up in a search this past week for “What’s Aaron Lennon’s shoe size?”

For the one person who found our publication that way, TSG lobbed in a question on your behalf here and we’ll post the answer if and when we get it.

• While the Daily Mirror may not be the best source of English football information, they are at least on target when they stretch the truth. Possible news this week that Man U will swoop for the Davids of Valencia, Silva and Villa.

silva

Silva: Desperately needed at Trafford

Silva, as we’ve mentioned before, would bring much needed talent and stability to the midfield. Paul Scholes could focus on retiring, Michael Carrick on getting his career back on track and Ryan Giggs would only need to flash his fading brilliance occasionally.

Villa, a top 10 global striker, and quite possibly top 5, would be, in our opinion, an excellent pairing with the industrious Rooney up the pitch. Dimitar Berbatov could then concentrate on a move to City, consuming some Red Bull to get his energy level up, or backing up Andriy Shevchenko at Dynamo Kyiv.

If Man U don’t make some serious renovation to their Trafford squad this January, you can starting believing the buzz that the selling of Cristiano was much more financially motivated than anything else. (Manchester United has a staggering 1.8B in debt on the books….WOW!)

Man U are home against relegation material Blackburn in the late game. Whoa is Blackburn.

• Bolton vs. Chelsea Saturday after Chelsea overwhelmed the Wanderers in the Carling Cup, 4-0 this week. Maybe Ancelloti and Megson can just meet beforehand and agree upon a 1-0 Chelsea win and we can be done with this?

• If you’re an Everton fan, then you now know just how huge the loss of Joleon Lescott, compounded by the loss of Phil Neville was and is. While castigators will certainly fault Tim Howard for not being Plasticman or something, just a peek at the goals scored against Timmy show a shockingly disorganized

PLASTICMAN

About the only answer in goal for the Toffees beyond Big T

defense.  For a fan and columnist alike, it’s truly perplexing just how bad the backline is because Hietinga, Distin, Hibbert are at least individually decent players in the back. Alas Moyes has tried everything (Heitinga in central defense as Yobo goes one ice) to try and plug the holes….in the dam.

Everton always start slow, but you can pretty much kiss a top 5 finish goodbye at this point. As for the defense, let’s get Chad Marshall in there to get some experience in front of Timmy before the World Cup–it would invaluable–not plausible, but invaluable.

Everton hope to the hear cheers, not jeers at home when they face Aston Villa Saturday. After some commentary in our USMNT injury piece, TSG is going to be going full 411 on Villa reserve and American up-and-comer Eric Lichaj going forward.

Our first report: Lichaj not likely to be in the 18.

(Note thanks to TSG contributor “Tuesday,” I’m all over learning about this Lichaj fellow. Here is a little nugget from a game review Monday that is sure to whet your USMNT appetite: “And two minutes later a cross by impressive American left-back Lichaj beat Nicholson at the far post and Cian Hughton headed over.” (Courtesy South Devon News.)  A few “keywords or key terms” here: “left-back,” “a cross,” “impressive American.” Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.)

• More Americans on the pitch as the Dempseys take on Liverpool at home–another Torres test for a top flight defense and the Spectors travel to Sunderland.

MLS

Pleasantly enjoyable was the Real Salt Lake Royals v. Colorado Offseasons last Saturday. This Saturday boasts the playoffs and RSL taking on Columbus. If I can watch the game I’ll be looking at, in no particular order:  Robbie Findley for a second game in a row which….will….parlay…into Chad Marshall in central defense for the Abercrombies–is he all better?  Also catching my eye will be the play of  Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven and Frankie Excitement. Anyone else TSG should pay attention to?

gaven_us

Does Gaven deserve another USMNT look?

• If we get time on Sunday, we’ll be transfixed on two players: Chris Rolfe and Omar Gonzalez — alas they won’t be going head-to-head.

• Feel free to comment on what TSG is missing on the MLS as we get up to speed on the league. I can’t promise yet we’ll do the deep dive next year, but of the games we’ve watched intently, it’s been entertaining. Gosh, I sound so elitist. In other news, my $999 Sony Vaio is missing an “h” in case you see a lot of misspellings — okay we balanced out that elitist comment.

Other

• With this–perhaps–admission via Twitter in response to in-game commentary that he lost his spot in the 18 due to too much partying, we are hereby temporarily changing the nickname of Mr. Adu. For the time being, you are “The Subdued Freddy Adu”– you will reclaim “The Renewed” when you get back into the starting 11 and follow-up on your Twitter promises of dedication. C’mon Freddy, we’ve got your back. Make us believe.

And by the way, if I find you playing Fifa late night with JZA again, I’m going to fly Pablo Mastroeni over there to red card you off the pitch. Get my drift.

Freddy’s club Belensenses takes on FC Porto on Friday evening at 4pm EST. If you haven’t seen Porto play yet, you should tune in for at least a minute or so just to see their striker, the incredible Hulk. Actually, we’re not kidding the 23-year-old, 5-11,170 lbs., Brazilian Givanildo Vieira de Souza is officially known as the Hulk. He is the spitting image of David Banner’s alter ego and is apparently prone to temper tantrums as well.  Take a look at his skill below.

(Warning! Warning! Only turn the sound on in the video below if you’re tuning in from Hvar or Ibiza at 4am in the morning with a sweat-stained shirt and a Fruitopia in hand…where was I going with this again?)

• And TSG wishes a bon voyage to the original rasta Henrik Larsson who bid a tearful goodbye Thursday night in Sweden to close his career at the age of 38. Larsson, a one time captain of the Swedish national team, was a consumate pro and fan favorite along stops at Celtic, Barcelona and Man United. He’s best known for his Celtic days and take a look here at his first return to Celtic Park sporting a Barcelona jersey. $20 says Brett Favre’s return this week in Green Bay doesn’t come close.

On that note, enjoy the weekend.

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