Archive for April, 2010

United, They Stand: 3-1 Over Spurs

Just some quick comments on this game which I watched in its entirety:

One of the best players on the pitch today and you barely noticed it.

• The loss in this one goes to Harry Rednapp and the Spurs fitness trainer. Hotspur played rather evenly through say about 65 mins, after that both Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Wilson Palacios tired immensely. The impact we’ll discuss…

Harry for his part failed to recognize his side was tiring, brough in Aaron Lennon, but failed to get him the ball. Didn’t realize that Bale was gassed leading to Nani’s second and decisive goal. Bringing on Crouch was an excellent move, but…

• With Modric tiring, Tom “Heavyweight” Huddlestone was moved further up the pitch. Crouch must have laid off about 5 potential goals to the big man (not his fault, not his skillset) who needed to take one touch then a shot. That’s a role that Modric would have been much better in…where was Modric? Still jogging up the pitch. Blame to Harry on that one…you bring in Crouch, but fail to complement his service layoff.

• Gareth Bale is looking like a star now on the west side for Tottenham. Continuously challenging both middies and wingbacks alike.  Good move by Ferguson to move Fletcher back there and take off a very confused Rafael who was guilty of leaving the post on Ledley King’s single score for Hotspur.

However, Gale was gassed to and Manchester United kept finding space behind him. Better move by Rednapp, not sure, but he needed to do something.

• Best goalie in the Premiership not going to South Africa? Edwin Van Der Saar–his impact on the game should not be denied. Continuously moved his defenders around and was–something I’d like to more out of Howard (remember, I am a fan)–calm in his leadership.

A few other things that Van Der Saar did that oozed class. Moving the ball around when Man United had an advantage or were getting beat on a site. Beat, he went the other way. Advantage, kept distributing. Finally, on balls played back to Van Der Saar the elder keeper–who wears a fanny pack on his days off–rushed out to meet them giving him multiple options and time to make the right pass. Impressive day from the Dutchman that should not go unnoticed.

• Nani, expressing himself in Rooney’s absence. Did Sir Alex’s threat to send him somewhere in the middle of nowhere during the Januury transfer window awaken the Portugese winger? Looks so.

• Finally, John O’Shea was brought in and given the chore of quieting Aaron Lennon. O’Shea got beat and issued fouls on the not-100% Lennon in one-to-one combat. Did Bob Bradley take note today that Carlos Bocanegra is  an O’Shea clone, but also a drop slower. Hope so.

MLS: Rowdy Friends & Thursday Night

All my rowdy friends are here on Thursday night.

HP: Mighty big TSG spotlight on you tonight, fella...

I’m really starting to like these primetime MLS games on Thursday nights.

How about you?

I’m also as excited as when I grew up with the Monday docket of MacGyver at 8pm and Monday Night Football at 9pm on the East Coast and had IBM’s You Make the Call as the first commercial in the 1st quarter.

Tonight, Sounders again okay primetime, this time against FC Dallas. A few questions on this:

• What’s wrong with this juxtaposition: Seattle has trouble scoring and Fredy Montero is rumored to be headed to CSKA Moscow. Closing the book on that one…wait…you know half these rumors are just agents out there trying to drum up demand. I can see this one as Fredy’s agent saying, “Okay who’s really far away that no else will be able to get a hold of?”

• Good test here for Heath Pearce. Can he shut down Freddie Ljundberg, but also get ahead in the attack?

I feel I might have, let’s say, put-off a few of you with opining on my love of the current style of play from the Los Angeles Galaxy. I’m not ready to choose a team; not sure if I ever will. I do know that this season MLS because of the TV production, improved quality of play and the forthcoming World Cup has been more watchable for me than ever before.

I’m going to need something to get me into MLS and I’ll have a column on what it is shortly.

The Beautiful Dunk

Kind of cool to see this coming out of a high school dunk competition in the midwest. I would have imagined Steve Nash doing this first but either way, great pass and great finish!

Hamburg versus Fulham – Deuce enters

Can Deuce's entrance in the 52nd minute break the deadlock in the first leg of the Europa Cup semi

TWEET TWEET TWEET – Game over. Well Deuce and a string of fine Schwarzer saves were really the only thing worth noting. That said, the return at raven cottage should be fun!

91:00 – Duff scampers down the right wing and is brought down by Trochowski who gets a yellow card for his efforts. The free kick though goes straight at the keeper.

86:00 – Game has gone back to being sleep inducing but Deuce’s involvement has shown positive signs. He’s running hard, making good and creative passes and looks dangerous. I imagine he will be in the starting 11 this sunday against Everton at Goodison.

77:00 – Dempsey is supposed to be  playing the out and out striker role but differs to the number 9 role instead as he sends Konchesky down the wing with a nice pass. Konchesky does well to send in a cross but no men in blue are there to meet it.

70:00 – Hamburg are dominating this dull affair but are not really troubling the Fulham defense. As I write this Schwarzer has to make two fine saves, first off a tight angled shot from Pitropia and then of a long range shot by Trochowski. All Hamburg here.

64:00 – Dempsey is certainly making a positive contribution since his introduction as he storms into the penalty area and passes to Gera who is tackled hard. Possible penalty? The ref correctly waves play on.

60:00 – Dempsey gets passed the ball, breaks into the Hamburg half and lays off to Gera who continues down the wing and attempts to send the return cross back to Dempsey. Only a fine piece of defending stops the American from getting the ball. Nice counter there by Fulham.

55:00 – Dempsey makes his presence known as Boateng challenges Deuce pretty hard in his own penalty box but no penalty is given. Replays suggest that the ref got that wrong.

Well it’s minute 52 and Clint Dempsey comes on for Bobby Zamora. This game has been pretty boring so far as has the other Europa Cup semi between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, in which the Spanish home side are leading through an early Forlan goal.

Meanwhile in Hamburg the game is scoreless.

The Combine Is Over: The EPL American Draft

The NFL Draft is tonight on ESPN. Have you heard?!

Draft time!

TSG figured with the over-publicity of the NFL draft and the ridiculous stories surrounding it, like Donovan McNabb wanting to play with an over-the-hill Terrel Owens, that TSG would come up with a ridiculous piece for the draft.

TSG asked community member Antonio to help us out here. Beyond being a huge Dilly Duka fan, Antonio seems to know about players long before they surface. I’m pretty sure that Antonio watched some of Mesut Ozil’s games….at Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen. See what I mean.

Our premise? The EPL wants TV ratings to go up in America becuase of the market size. They hold a back alley meeting with Sunil Gulati and friends who coordinates a dispersal draft for all Americans into the EPL.

Two rounds, 38 players in this case (we only know that West Brom and Newcastle have been promoted to date). With that, here are Antonio’s selections taking into account player age, skill set and team need. Thanks Antonio.

Round 1

JZA: First out of the green room....

1. Jozy Altidore – WBA
2. Clint Dempsey – Newcastle
3. Omar Gonzalez – West Ham
4. Landon Donovan – Wolves
5. Tim Howard – Wigan
6. Stuart Holden – Bolton
7. Jermaine Jones – Sunderland
8. Charlie Davies – Blackburn
9. Benny Feilhaber – Stoke
10. Oguchi Onyewu – Fulham
11. Edson Buddle – Birmingham
12. Eric Lichaj – Everton
13. Clarence Goodson – Aston Villa
14. Maurice Edu – Liverpool
15. Alejandro Bedoya – City
16. Michael Bradley – Spurs
17. Luis Gil – Arsenal
18. Steve Cherundolo – United
19. Brad Guzan – Chelsea

Round 2

38-year-old Brad Friedel just misses the 1st round...

20. Brad Friedel – WBA
21. Jay Demerit – Newcastle
22. Robbie Rogers – West Ham
23. Paco Torres – Wolves
24. Marcus Hannehman – Wigan
25. Herculez Gomez – Bolton
26. Damarcus Beasley – Sunderland
27. Carlos Bocanegra – Blackburn
28. Jonathan Spector – Stoke
29. Sacha Klejstan – Fulham
30. Gale Agboussomonde – Birmingham
31. Ricardo Clark – Everton
32. Jonathan Bornstein – Aston Villa
33. Freddy Adu – Liverpool
34. Brian Ching – City
35. Chad Marshall – Spurs
36. Bryan Arguez – Arsenal
37. Troy Perkins – United
38. Kenny Cooper –  Chelsea

TSG: ESPN Score Game Winner with Ad

It’s really just Soccernet in my book that’s not doing coverage justice.

ESPN scores, in our opinion, with a superb human interest commercial for the World Cup.

We actually have been chatting back and forth with their video makers and asked the question, “Can’t you guys use something other than U2 audio in these things?”

The answer: “Regarding U2, the U2 World Cup relationship is an extension from the successful World Cup 2006 campaign and broader details may be discussed in the future.”

Looks like Bono will be around for awhile.

We’ll also try to get our hands on a certain Landon Donovan copier machine Sportscenter commercial that was pre-aired before it was suppose to be.

Forbes List Of The Most Valuable “Football” Clubs

How do I become an investor in Goal 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8?

Two comments from this annual article by Forbes: “The Nike  swoosh will continue to adorn the shirt as well thanks to a 13-year pact with the apparel maker that pays the team $470 million plus a 50% share of profits on specific merchandise through 2015.”

• Make way for the influx of big clubs both locally here in the States and anywhere with a big enough television audience. Just this week we heard a barrage of potential and likely match-ups in the states with names ranging from AC Milan all the way down to Benfica.

Forbes’ comment on this: The “poorest” global clubs “have little reach outside their local markets. Manchester City and Newcastle United posted operating losses of $56 million and $49 million.


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