Saturday, March 31, 2007

Premiership Returns...

English Premiership Recap

Saturday, March 31st

Liverpool 4, Arsenal 1

It has been a while since you've heard the name Peter Crouch and the word hat-trick in the same sentence. Singlehandedly, Crouch catapulted Liverpool above the Gunners into third place. There might have been a price to pay as Steven Gerrard walked off with what appeared to be a thigh problem (in post-game, apparently it's not serious). With the recent confirmation of ownership change and the introduction of new midfielder Javier Mascherano, Liverpool looks to make a push for momentum that will lead them into next year. Their biggest concern at this moment, though, is their Champions League clash with PSV. Also, did anyone see that Liverpool fullback Jon Arne Riise has declared bankruptcy. Something in the form of 100,000 pounds. Kind of funny considering he earns around 50,000 weekly.

LIV: Crouch (4,35,81), Agger (60)
ARS: Gallas (73)

Manchester United 4, Blackburn 1

When did Park-Ji Sung learn to put balls in the back of the net? Manchester, in my mind, have clinched. They look fluid, natural, and more importantly, intimidating. The coupling of Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in the back has completely outplayed Chelsea's match-up of Ricardo Carvalho and John Terry. With that said, Vidic is out with a pretty serious shoulder injury. Rough. Even when down today, the Red Devils scored four unanswered goals to put Brad Friedel and the Rovers to bed. All of these were scored with 30 minutes to go. How can a team this sound tactically, technically, and playing beautiful game lose this fight? Could an injury to Gary Neville have an effect? By the way, Man U had 30 shots. With that shot total against them, the Rovers were bound to lose their 4 game winning streak.

MAN: Scholes (61), Carrick (73), Ji-Sung (83), Solskjaer (90)
BLA: Derbyshire (29)

West Ham United 2, Middlesborough 0

Carlos Tevez scored his third goal in his past three games and put West Ham only 6 points behind strugglers Sheffield United. A couple weeks ago it seemed hopeless. Today, with the continuing terrible form of Sheffield United, WHU seems poised to make it very interesting in the last 8 games. You have to remember though that WHU's goals were what we call 'silver-platter goals'. A goal is a goal however and the main difference between WHU a month ago and WHU today is clearly confidence. There was no bull-shit, no ego struggles. Instead, they found a way to score.

WHU: Zamora (2), C. Tevez (45)

Charlton 1, Wigan 0

Poor Filan. All the hard work and great saves ruined by an errant penalty call. Darren Bent stepped up and put it away for the Addicks a couple minutes from time. This brings me to the confusion I have with Darren Bent. I understand his pricetag is now a bit too high for midlevel teams like Everton, Portsmouth (well maybe not them anymore), and Bolton but why has NO ONE splashed the cash on this workhorse? He's consistent against high performance teams and scores when needed. Lack of international experience? The fact that he plays for Charlton? The fact that he is so desperately waiting for a bid from Major League Soccer? Hmmmmm.

CHA: D. Bent (pen 86)

Newcastle 0, Manchester City 1

Oguchi Onyewu came on in the 73rd minute to replace Aussie Craig Moore and provide a big body to find the equalizer. Didn't work. Emile Mpenza scored a late goal to put Citeh in front. I am starting to believe in the fact that Newcastle's club exists to underperform. Send me an e-mail if you're interested in researching and contributing a piece about this 'underperformance curse'. I would be eternally grateful and give you the proper credit. No Damarcus Beasley in this clash.

MAN: E. Mpenza (80)

Bolton 1, Sheffield United 0

Paddy Kenny will be playing for a Premiership team next year whether or not Sheff Utd stays up or not. A shame that he couldn't preserve the clean sheet (a beautiful low post shot from Kevin Davies made that tough). The Blades were somewhat fortunate that the score was not anything worse. Regardless, Sheffield United has lost their last 7 away games in a row. Luckily, they have Newcastle next week home.

BOL: K. Davies (80)

Watford 0, Chelsea 1

Salomon Kalou is starting to reap the praises of the hard-to-impress Jose Mourinho. Watford played valiantly, Jay Demerit specifically (don't tell me I don't give him the praise he deserves). I like that Wright-Phillips is getting his chance but Arjen Robben was certainly missed. Chelsea, as a whole, looked tired probably from the 18 recent international call-ups. Or, quite possibly, Chelsea is anticipating their doom against Valencia this coming week. Chelsea hasn't let up a goal though in over 700 minutes. So we'll see.

CHE: S. Kalou (90)

Fulham 1, Portsmouth 1

The way Fulham's results have been turning up lately, this draw against Portsmouth is a decent thing. They are creeping ever closer to a relegation stand-off. Ian Pearce's 90th minute deflection and first ever Fulham goal, gave them something to move into next game with. Nike Kranjcar's curling shot was naaasty. Brian McBride was taken out in the 65th minute to make way for Collins John. His game was fairly average, having a couple of chances to give the Cottagers a bit of hope at times. Rumors are that Niko Kranjcar's stay at Portsmouth might be up in the summer. He's too good for Fratton Park.

FUL: I. Pearce (90)
POR: Kranjcar (4)

Sunday, April 1st

Take a look at They decided to play with peoples' heads on April Fools' Day. The drift is...Beckham to Columbus, Bruce Area and his belly to Barcelona, and Real Madrid honcho Fabio Capello is now the U.S. head coach. I was actually kind of mad when I read it.

Tottenham 1, Reading 0

Don't let the scoreline fool you. This was one of the more entertaining games of the
weekend. Robbie Keane put away another one his penalty kicks. Reading had several botched chances, mainly by 13 goal forward Leroy Lita. Other than that, the highlights involved Aaron Lennon's streaking runs and blistering pace and Dimitar Berbatov's dominance in the penalty area. Didier Zokora also had a great game and has produced a consistent string of results recently. The brightest spot for Reading was Marcus Hahnemann in net but unfortunately is game was finished after half-time when Adam Federici came in for him. No word as to what his injury might be. This is Tottenham's fifth win in a row. It is Reading's third loss in a row. Momentum clearly played a part.

TOT: R. Keane (pen 41)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Round of Rumors

Jose Antonio Reyes wants to make his loan move from Arsenal to Real Madrid permanent. He hasn’t featured much for Real but when he did, he got the job done.

Glasgow Rangers striker Dado Prso has struggled with injuries. Might call it quits. I say come to the MLS. He’d dominate here…if he could stay healthy.

Manchester United, according to the London Times, is looking into making a move for in-favor Ajax striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Huntelaar has been targeted for a couple years now. Dirk Kuijt has made the move, it is only a matter of time before Huntelaar does too.

Northern Irish international hero David Healy is being heavily linked with the Glasgow Rangers, acting as a possible replacement for the oft-injured Dado Prso.

Apparently, Juninho Pernambucano’s ambition goes above winning the Champions League. He has revealed to Skysports that his likely occupation after retirement is as a coach. His only predicament is whether it will be in his home country Brazil or Europe.

Luca Toni
has become a hot commodity. In fact, he has been for a long time. Fiorentina, his current Serie A club, swears they will be holding on to him. Bayern Munich, his latest suitor, is strongly looking to foil their valiant attempts.

Actual News:

Chelsea and Dutch international winger Arjen Robben has caught the injury bug again. This time, it calls for knee surgery and will be out the rest of the season. Mourinho is apparently furious to have Robben return from playing the full time for two Euro 2008 qualifiers then returning to only be injured the next day. I would have to see his point.

Arsenal hit man and Togolese international Emmanuel Adebayor has been axed from his respective national team. Two others were axed as well over a player bonus payment dispute. With this dismissal, Adebayor is slated to possibly retire internationally or at least boycott the team until a leadership change.

Diego Maradona
is back in the hospital. Again.

It’s official – Clint “Cletus” Mathis is coming back to the Metro Red Bulls. It will be interesting to see if and where he fits in. I hope this doesn’t mean the end of the pursuit of Juan Pablo Angel.

On May 23rd, the Los Angeles Galaxy have scheduled a friendly against the Glasgow Rangers (that’s the third news item this post).

The Virginia Beach Mariners of USL Division One have, in fact, been booted from the league due to a financial dispute between current ownership. They vow to return after a solid ownership group is found. They project 2008. This all a shame because of their off-season signings looked rather promising. The roster is now released and ultimately free agents.

Trinidad and Tobago international Osei Telesford has signed a contract with the Chicago Fire. The way their roster is shaping up, they need all the help they can get.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

U.S.A. 0 - Guatemala 0 the play was relatively boring, but there was a good soccer IQ without the exposure to commit to execution. Justin Mapp has a plethora of good runs only to see his burst of acceleration blocked by a Guatemalan shin or his step-over thwarted by a double team. Mapp was the player of the day for the US of A. Dempsey had his moments, but again showed me that not playing that much at Fulham is getting to his head. Everyone is saying Feilhaber and Bradley are the future of the U.S. midfielder. I see Ricardo Clark hearing that and then beating Feilhaber and Bradley to starting position. However, they were both solid, Bradley especially. The American backline was shaky and Carlos Ruiz gave them a bit a trouble. I am all for Jay Demerit getting a cap, but if he can’t handle the likes of Lomano Lua-Lua of Portsmouth or Giorgios Samaras of Man City (“lower-tier” Premiership strikers and guys who gave Jay particular trouble), how can he handle the likes of CONCACAF strikers Marlon King, Carlos Ruiz, and Kikin Fonseca. Granted we got the clean sheet, but I don’t think we’ll see Demerit starting come qualifying (and I don’t think many people even expected that). Kenny Cooper also looked remarkably oafy. His touch was pretty bad. I thought he was supposed to be the Yao Ming of the MLS. With all this said, I don’t see this as a step back. Bob Bradley still deserves the position. Dear Bob, I know that’ll inflate the head, but please don’t go losing to China 5-0. Thanks, Breton.

Answer me that pop quiz at the bottom of this post. I will mail you a tootsie roll and a picture of Eddie Johnson signed by me if you do.

Player Ratings:

FC: Eddie Johnson (5) – better than last game but still doody
FC: Landon Donovan (6) – did Ecuador get to his head? No real help though
ML: Justin Mapp (7.5) – his runs were countered but of the right mind
MC: Benny Feilhaber (6) – better vision, but still shaky
MC: Michael Bradley (7) – solid, he really does seem to get it
MR: Clint Dempsey (6) – somebody tell Chris Coleman to play him
Jonathan Spector (5.5) – 21 caps, but still shaky to me, only 21 though
DC: Jimmy Conrad (7) – a real presence in the back, had problem with speed
DC: Jay Demerit (6) – there is potential, but he’s still raw
DR: Frankie Simek (6) – physical, feisty, decision making will come
GK: Kasey Keller (6) – made saves when he had to, but nothing pressing

Sub: Kenny Cooper (5.5) on in the 59th minute for Benny Feilhaber
Brian Mullan on (-) in the 67th minute for Eddie Johnson
Sub: Wade Barrett (-) on in the 74th minute for Jonathan Spector

Team Average: 6.125

Unused Substitutes:

Steve Cherundolo
Damarcus Beasley
Kyle Kelderman
Brad Guzan
Brian Carroll
Taylor Twellman

Next up for USMNT: vs. China, June 2nd, 2007


Who said “My knee! Oooooh my knee?!”

Which star soccer player (not playing) raised his arms only for national television to capture some nasty pit stains?

Euro 2008 Results and Other News...

Due to the U.S. v. Guatemala game tonight, I have to push the Team America Spotlight of the Week back a day or so. When it does happen, it will be the first installment of my MLS 2007 Regular Season Preview.

Euro 2008 Qualifiers

Check the standings here.

Andorra 0, England 3

Gridlocked with zeroes at halftime, England clearly looked to score but held off to ensure maximum dramatic impact. David Nugent, the Preston North End star and only Championship team member on the roster, bagged his first goal. The real stud, however, was Steven Gerrard and his rage with the fact that England was tied with Andorra at any point. McClaren is safe for now, but in all honesty, there are still 6 games or so left.

Ireland 1, Wales 0

Ireland's second win in a row was against yet another quality opponent in Slovakia. Reading star Kevin Doyle tallied for the Irishmen. These favorable results are stacking up and could result in a well-deserved Euro 2008 bid.

Northern Ireland 2, Sweden 1

A shocker. Maybe not as big as England losing to Northern Ireland and without the political impact, but nevertheless, extremely unexpected. The Northern Irish went down 1-0 with Johan Elmander's strike, but fought back with real bite. David Healy was the hero with both strikes (deja vu anyone?)

Liechtenstein 1, Latvia 0

Yep. That's right. Mario Frick got the goal (Leichtenstein's all-time leading scorer) and probably catapulted up (no more than 10 spots really) the FIFA World Rankings. Damages Latvia's hopes undoubtedly.

Italy 2, Scotland 0

Luca Toni regained his international form and rained on Scotland's parade. Toni scored both goals and dominated a shaky Scottish back-line.

Norway 2, Turkey 2

Thomas Myhre, you suck. Two goals, 200% fault. 2 for 2 on fuck-ups. Norway still won in my mind. What irks me the most is that Myhre is no slouch, a long time quality English Premiership GK with Charlton Athletic. What was going through his head? When I find the botched saves I will put up the link. Hamit Altintop was the Turkish player who had the last laugh.

Slovenia 0, Netherlands 1

The Orange needed a late 86th minute strike from Barcelona's and hopefully a MLS target, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst to beat a feisty Slovenia. The win puts the Dtch back on top of their group.

Many other scores are here.

Bulgaria 0, Albania 0

A dogfight for Albania. A sheer shame for the Bulgarians and hitman Dimitar Berbatov. Nineteen shots could not yield one single goal.

Azerbaijan 1, Finland 0

Yikes. Another upset but this one (if you saw the game) didn't even seem like one. The Finns were well...dominated. It would have been an unwarranted tie for Finland. Thankfully, Emin Imamiliev scored in the 83rd minute to put the icing on the cake. What made this even better? The Finns were unbeaten in Euro qualifying so far. If anyone has footage of the Azerbaijani celebration, please e-mail me because I heard it was riotous. Rightfully so.

International Friendlies

Germany 0, Denmark 1

Germany was surprised by the young Danish striker Niclas Bendtner who scored a goal 10 minutes from time. For Denmark this takes a little bit off the sting for the Danes who lost to Spain 2-1 this past weekend. Germany fielded a A- or B team with Kevin Kuranyi the only real international star in their line-up.

France 1, Austria 0

Olympique Lyonnais youth product and future star Karim Benzema scored in his international debut. He has a propensity for strong starts/debuts. You will most definitely see this kid for some time. The real man of the match though was Marseille attacking midfielder Samir Nasri. The French have some real nasty kids comin' up through the ranks soon.

***I only covered the somewhat 'shocking' results***

OTHER NEWS in 5 Bullet Points:

- Mia Hamm had twins. Many didn't even know she was pregnant. Thanks to Emily for sending me that info.

- American/Canadian businessmen Gillett and Hicks' takeover of Liverpool is finally complete.

- Reading received great news. Striker Dave Kitson signed back on for three more years and said it was only because Steve Coppell, current Reading manager, is coming back too.

- Tony Meola hates Bruce Arena. Or is mad he is not playing. One of the two. Here's the story.

- Here is a list of the top 25 hottest pieces of transfer speculation to hit world soccer in the past month. Compliments of

***I am not happy with Eddie Johnson***

Remember Juan Pablo Angel?

According to a variety of sources, most specifically Metrofanatic (an insider Red Bull website which has been rather spot on when it comes to transfer news), we might be seeing Aston Villa and Colombian international striker Juan Pablo Angel coming to New York.

Think Adolfo Valencia. Or a first-season Alex Comas. Except better.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Richetti and Toja.

- Transfer speculation is now confirmed regarding FC Dallas and the signing of Pablo Richetti. Here's the link.

Here's some info from BigSoccer:

Player Name: Pablo Richetti
Full name: Pablo Javier Richetti
Nationality: Argentinian and Italian
Place of birth: Buenos Aires ,Argentina
Date of birth: January 2, 1977
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Positions: Defensive Midfielder, Right Back, Central Defender, Defender
Previous Jersey #: 21

Quilmes (Argentina) 2006 GP 3(2) Goals 0 YC: 1 RC: 0
(Italy) 2004/5 GP 0(0) Goals 0 YC: 0 RC: 0
Valladolid (Spain) 2003/4 GP 24 (6) Goals 1 (vs Athl. Madrid) YC: 7 RC: 1
Valladolid (Spain) 2002/3 GP 7 (2) Goals 0 YC: 3 RC: 0
Valladolid (Spain) 2001/2 GP 4 (0) Goals 0 YC: 2 RC: 0

- UPenn and Red Bull New York goalkeeper Danny Cepero earned himself a developmental contract. He will be RBNY's number three. Congrats - a 4th round MLS Supplemental Draftee to RBNY Reserve Team GK.

- Check out the new pictures of Toronto FC's BMO Field.

- Real Madrid is scoutin' out the stars. Now, apparently, they are shopping for not only Cristiano Ronaldo but also AC Milan star Kaka. Imagine that starting line-up.

- is reporting possible suitors for French and Olympique Lyonnais left winger Florent Malouda. Malouda says it would take a club like Juventus or Arsenal to pry him away from Stade de Gerland. Take a look here.

- Chelsea and Arsenal were fined $200,000 each for their FA Cup Final brawl. Fitting. Check out the article here on Skysports.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Busy Weekend.

United States 3, Ecuador 1

A reinvigorated Landon Donovan scored a hat-trick of beauties and caused the Ecuadorian defense a lot of hell. The lively and newly enrobed in blue pinstripes USMNT (not to be confused with TMNT) gave the pundits much to talk about in terms of Bob Bradley now being granted permanent status as well as a World Ranking of 30th for the team. Other than Donovan, not many real bright spots for the U.S. Beasley made some good runs and nice passes and Benny Feilhaber almost had his first tally for the red, white, and blue (I guess more the former these days). For Ecuador, I really liked Neicer Reasco and Edwin Tenorio. Overall, an average day but a decent win against a team "ahead of us" in the polls. Afterwards, Bob Bradley released Brian Carroll, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, and Timmy Howard to their respective clubs. They all have big games coming up within their leagues, Carroll with D.C. United who take on Chivas in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup semi-final.

Player Ratings:

GK: Tim Howard (7) - no real faults, but some real decent saves, average
DL: Carlos Bocanegra (6) - represents the mediocrity that was the back-line
DR: Steve Cherundolo (5.5) - didn't seem himself exactly, could be the new style
DC: Oguchi Onyewu (6) - bumbly, still intimidating as hell
DC: Jimmy Conrad (6) - couldn't keep up much with the speed of the Ecuadorians
ML: Damarcus Beasley (7) - saw some fleeting moments of his old self
MC: Landon Donovan (10) - his play wasn't flawless, but three goals deserves a 10
MC: Benny Feilhaber (6.5) - you can see the potential, has played better with HSV
MR: Clint Dempsey (6) - not much to applaud, the bench at Craven is getting to him
FC: Brian Ching (7) - ball-winner, troubled by quick Ecuadorian defense but coped
FC: Eddie Johnson (4.5) - getting to be dumb, hasn't played in '07 with intensity yet
Sub: Michael Bradley (6.5) on for Eddie Johnson in the 46th minute
Sub: Taylor Twellman (6) on for Brian Ching in the 73rd minute
Sub: Jonathan Spector (-) on for Steve Cherundolo in the 80th minute
Sub: Brian Mullan (-) on for Clint Dempsey in the 80th minute
Sub: Justin Mapp (-) on for Damarcus Beasley in the 83rd minute
Sub: Brian Carroll (-) on for Landon Donovan in injury time

Team Average:

Clearly the formation is off, but you get the jist.

Unused Subs:
GK Kasey Keller

Other surprising results this weekend:

Israel 0, England 0

Steve McClaren's job got a little harder. His players, represented by the 'rift' with Wayne Rooney, are starting to lose some confidence in him. Actually, the truth is, they never really had too much as it has yet to even be developed. This string of bad results could cost McClaren the post. McClaren's response to regarding the result was, "People in football who I respect have phoned me and said the only thing wrong with our performance on Saturday was that we didn't get a goal". Mr. McClaren, as a coach, your job is to make sure they play well enough to get a goal. Now possession-wise England did dominate, but quality chances weren't abundant despite the alarming disparity between England's 10 shots on goal to Israel's 1. England sits tied with Israel in third at 8 points from 5 matches.

Kazakhstan 2, Serbia 1

Borat must have played. This is an upset in its' entirety. The game even pushed ESPN Soccernet to report, "Borat joy at Serbia shock".

Germany 2, Czech Republic 1

Wish I could have watched this one.

Bosnia-Herzegovina 2, Norway 1

Another shock.

Ireland 1, Wales 0

Stephen Ireland's strike in the 39th minute gave the Irish a belated St. Patty's Day victory.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Two big pieces of MLS News:

So the reason the Los Angeles Galaxy did not announce a jersey sponsorship deal with Citibank earlier was because it was more of a two potential sponsor race...with Herbalife. The Galaxy yesterday announced a $3.5 to $5 million a year agreement through to 2011 with the nutritional giant Herbalife. So far...the money is good, but the jersey is shite. What happened to the new colors? New logo? When did that get scrapped? Or is it still in the works?

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) has built itself a rather big influence in the Toronto FC organization with the announcement of a jersey sponsorship deal (pretty much in tandem with the LA announcement). First, the stadium. Second, the jerseys. Next?? At least it's better than Herbalife. No word to the logistics of the deal. Anyone got that?

- A flurry of transactions of happened within the MLS recently. They are all up to date in the top right of the this blog. Enjoy.

- There are some great Euro 2008 qualifiers and International Friendlies going on right now. I will round those up tomorrow, but there aren't many on TV in America.

FOR NOW, here are the updated scoring leaders for the big European leagues:

English Premiership

1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 18
2 Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd 16
3 Wayne Rooney Man Utd 12
Ayegbeni Yakubu Middlesbrough 12
Benedict McCarthy Blackburn 12
6 Andrew Johnson Everton 11
Frank Lampard Chelsea 11
Robin Van Persie Arsenal 11

Spanish Primera Liga

1 Frederic Kanoute FC Sevilla 19
2 Alberto Diego Milito Real Zaragoza 18
3 Ronaldinho Barcelona 17
4 Ruud van Nistelrooy Real Madrid 14
5 Fernando Morientes Valencia 11
6 Raúl Tamudo Espanyol 10
Fernando Baiano Celta Vigo 10
David Villa Valencia 10

Italian Serie A

1 Francesco Totti AS Roma 18
2 Rolando Bianchi Reggina 15
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Inter Milan 15
Luca Toni Fiorentina 15
5 Tommaso Rocchi Lazio 13
Adrian Mutu Fiorentina 13

German Bundesliga

1 Mario Gomez VfB Stuttgart 13
Theofanis Gekas VfL Bochum 13

3 Roy Makaay Bayern Munich 12
4 Alexander Frei Dortmund 11
Kevin Kuranyi Schalke 04 11
Miroslav Klose Werder Bremen 11
Marko Pantelic Hertha Berlin 11

French Ligue 1

1 Steve Savidan Valenciennes 13

2 Aruna Dindane Lens 11
3 Fred Lyon 10
Ismael Bangoura Le Mans 10
Pauleta PSG 10
6 Bafetimbi Gomis St Etienne 9
Seydou Keita Lens 9

Scottish Premier League

1 Kris Boyd Rangers 19
2 Anthony Stokes Falkirk 14
3 Christopher Killen Hibernian 13
4 Steven Naismith Kilmarnock 12
5 Barry Robson Dundee Utd 11
Scott McDonald Motherwell 11
7 Jan Vennegoor of H. Celtic 10
Colin Nish Kilmarnock 10
Darren Mackie Aberdeen 10

Dutch Eredivisie

1 Afonso Alves Heerenveen 25
2 Blaise N'Kufo Twente 19
Danny Koevermans AZ Alkmaar 19
4 Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Ajax 17
Danko Lazovic Vitesse 17
6 Jefferson Farfan PSV Eindhoven 16
7 Wesley Sneijder Ajax 13
Kennedy Bakircioglu Twente 13

Portuguese Liga

1 Sabrosa Simao Benfica 10

Helder Postiga FC Porto 10
3 Aparecido Nei Naval 9
4 Salazar Jose Pedro Belenenses 8
Da Silva Liedson Sporting Lisbon 8
6 Collins Mbesuma Maritimo 7
Lucho Gonzalez FC Porto 7
Roland Linz Boavista 7

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Lite Day

European Championship Qualifying Must-Sees

Saturday, March 24th

Portugal vs. Belgium
Greece vs. Turkey
Ireland vs. Wales
Czech Republic vs. Germany
Spain vs. Denmark
Netherlands vs. Romania

International Friendly Must-Sees

Saturday, March 24th

Brazil vs. Chile

Sunday, March 25th

United States vs. Ecuador
Mexico vs. Paraguay



The South Jersey Barons (previous Team Spotlight of the Week) and General Manager Neil Holloway have taken one step closer to being a premier force in the PDL. On the field, they already are, but off the field, there is much left to be desired. That, it seems, could change with the appointment of Mike Pellegrino as Barons head coach. This allows GM Holloway to focus on his duties in the front office. They look to expand their marketing in the South Jersey area and push their attendance figures above their previous average of approximately 450. Holloway had formerly been GM, Head Coach, and a midfielder for the Barons squad. In that time, they have made quite an impression on the Eastern Conference. Could one move make all the difference?

PDL squad Chicago Fire Premier have hired Larry Sutherland, a former Chicago Power player, as their head coach for the 2007 season. The former coach, Mike Matkovitch, has been plucked by Toronto FC to serve as an assistant coach.


The Charleston Battery have unveiled new jerseys and signed a sponsorship deal with Saturn. I'd buy it. Simple but it gets the job done.

The Seattle Sounders will play Chivas USA on June 2nd, 7:00 PM at Qwest Field in Seattle.

In other news:

Fred, the Lyon version, has been handed a 3-game ban from UEFA for his elbow on Christian Chivu of AS Roma. This is funny mainly because it is normally the Romanian defender Chivu that gets the bans. Here is the elbow that did Fred in. Courtesy of YouTube.

Lille and Manchester United were both fined by UEFA due to their blowout earlier in the Champions League. Lille, the supposed victim, was fined 62,000 euros and Man Utd about 6,000. We can tell who UEFA thought was the victim. The quarrel? It was about a free kick taken apparently too early by Ryan Giggs of Man Utd. It wouldn't have been a problem had he not scored the lone goal of the game. Several Lille players though about walking off the pitch in protest. UEFA threw out a Lille appeal. No word on whether or not Lille will appeal the fine.
Here's the source of the problem. In this clip, again from YouTube, you can see Giggsy's goal and the ensuing protest.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Young'uns - The New Generation: Brazil Part II

Marcelo Grohe
Club: Gremio
Birthdate: January 13, 1987

This young Brazilian goalkeeper is making a push for taking over the reins of Dida and Julio Cesar sometime soon. Has been a Gremio player for life and is known for dominance in the air. Starting goalkeeper on the Brazilian U-20s and won a South American and World Championship with the U-17s in 2005. In January, Marcelo was hampered by an injury, which due to lack of depth, forced Gremio to pick up the capable and seasoned Argentinean Sebastian Saja. Regardless, he has forced his way back into the line-up. Still does not look like he will be leaving for Europe anytime soon. Then again keepers don’t become real transfer targets until their mid-20s.

Club: FC Porto
Birthdate: April 13, 1988
Fullname: Anderson de Luís de Abreu Oliveira

Made the trek across the Atlantic early to in his career to FC Porto after progressing through the ranks of Gremio (as it seems most Brazilian stars do). Many accolades under his belt: voted “Golden Ball” (youth “Golden Boot”) winner of the U-17 World Championships in 2005 and a Portuguese Superliga Championship 2005-06. He is pacy, aggressive, determined, and Kaka-like creative. Anderson’s introduction to Portuguese football was marred by a nasty injury, a broken fibula to be exact, 2 months into his first full season with Porto. He has now recovered properly and has helped push FC Porto through to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League. Just like most young Brazilian attacking midfelder phenoms, he also draws many comparisons to the one and only Ronaldinho. Known to be admired strongly by both Chelsea, Inter Milan and Barcelona. Look for him to be making a lucrative move at some point in the near future.

Seitardis' Challenge on Anderson

A Well-Done Montage of Anderson's Chops


Club: Cruzeiro
Birthdate: January 27, 1988
Fullname: Kerlon Moura Souza

Often called Foca (the Seal), as his trademark is a somewhat unconventional dribble which involves him flicking the ball up to his head and running with it. It clearly poses a problem for most defenses as the only way to effectively stop it is to take him out. At 5’6” and a master of the seal dribble, this guy gets fouled a lot. Kerlon, an attacking midfielder, has swiftly become a rising star within the world of Brazilian football and along with Lucas looks to copy and improve upon what Ronaldinho and Ronaldo has built. Below is a link to the seal dribble. It’s amazing, the defenders don’t know what to do so they completely unload on Kerlon. Has been linked to Manchester United as well as a host of Italian clubs. He would have been in Europe as early as 2005, but a serious injury kept him out for approximately 4 months.

The Kerlon Seal Dribble