Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nani and Anderson - A Manchester United Young'un Coup

Manchester United has started off the transfer season with a bang. For several seasons now, the Brazilian Anderson (now 19) has been an integral part of Porto's success, but now barring legal complications - Anderson will now be plying is trade for Manchester United and possibly grabbing the reins from Ryan Giggs after his imminent retirement (in either 2008-2009). Nani, another starlet in Portugal's SuperLiga, has been nothing short of amazing for Sporting Lisbon. A winger, as well, he has been compared to the closest equivalent to a younger Cristiano Ronaldo. Add Nani to the Manchester United roster and you have a brilliant recipe for repeat. Add these two Owen Hargreaves (a $30+ million signing) from Bayern Munich and the future looks rather bright for Sir Alex Ferguson and his Red Devils. It's even more funny due to the fact that the transfer window hasn't even opened yet.


Barcelona is close to closing a deal with Rodrigo Palacio of Argentina's Boca Juniors for $30 million. The 25 year-old has been a constant highlight at the top of Argentina's scoring charts as of late and looks to be an immediate impact in La Liga. Problem: Huracan and Banfield, both teams that own a stake in Palacio, are demanding more and more money as they hear the transfer fee is up to $30 million. What's this mean for Icelandic international Eidur Gudjohnsen? Also, if he comes over - that piece of crap rat tail better disappear, or is that the craze in South America?


Bayern Munich have signed Italian World Cup stud Luca Toni for $22 million. Italian is a route that Munich doesn't often go down and it will be interesting to see how this pans out. Like Rafa Benitez with Liverpool, Bayern look to have significant turnover of the roster this summer and it will be fun to see who else makes their way in and out.


Other:

- Ryan Giggs has declared international retirement from the Welsh national team. Sucks for them as I don't know anybody even close to comparable to Giggsy, leaving Wales back at square one.

- The MLS has signed a formal deal with YouTube to provide a separate website for MLS video highlights within 24 hours of a finished match. Sounds promising. Read up on it here.

- Alain Perrin, former Marseille coach, has been appointed the new Olympique Lyonnais head coach as he aims to add to Lyon's six consecutive Ligue One titles. This is big in the French world of football but in terms of international appeal, Gerard Houllier is known by the world not just Ligue One. For the sake of Perrin, a good start has been in order as Juninho Pernambucano has signed on for two more years even though he has stated, "I will never win a Champions League title with Lyon'. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

10 Bright Spots of Week Eight

1. Juan Pablo Angel - after the Red Bulls have won their last two games at home by a combined score of 7-0 and Angel being a significant part of both of those games - we have to make some sort of an educated assumption: this Colombian makes a difference on this team. And yes, he beats out Eddie Johnson for player of the week in my book, but that's probably because I am Red Bull-biased.

2. Eddie Johnson
- a hat-trick to continue is streak of "is EJ back for good?" performances. If he scores against New York this weekend - he can help me shed any bias I might have towards certain 31 year old Colombian strikers, I'd also like to see EJ translate his MLS success into Gold Cup/Copa America success.


3. USA/China Roster - As if it wasn't enough to make me happy that the likes of Wolfsburg's Kamani Hill, Hammarby's Charlie Davies, and PSV's Lee Nguyen were in training camp this past weekend, but to see Ante Razov, Sacha Kljestan (no caps), and Jesse Marsch (1 cap) was surprising but understandable to a point. Kljestan probably deserves a look and Marsch, a couple years senior to Ben Olsen, acts in the same high work rate, crazy-ass midfield role.

4. Maykel Galindo/Ante Razov/Chivas USA - They tamed a giant awakening from his sleep and did it semi-pretty fashion. Razov has got to appreciate having Galindo as his strike partner. Galindo does all the dirty work and attempts the finish. If he scores, great, goal! If not, Razov cleans up, great, goal! In all fairness, Razov's tap over Dario Sala's out-of-position head was beautifully executed.

5. Herculez Gomez
- This one made me happy. I always like when players get 'revenge' on their former teams. For all I know, Gomez wanted to leave Los Angeles and had no 'ill will' at all towards his former teammates. But for the blog's sake, Gomez ripped LA's heart out and spat on it by slotting home a 71st cross from none other than assist-man himself, Terry Cooke.


6. First Round US Open Cup Matchups - Although not MLS, persay, a couple of these matchups I wish were televised. For example, Richmond Kickers (USL2 defending champs) vs. Michigan Bucks (PDL defending champs). Ocean City Barons (local team) vs. Crystal Palace Baltimore. Rochester Raging Rhinos vs. Long Island Rough Riders. I don't know about you, but I'll be rooting for Lynch's Irish Pub. Complete bracket here.


7. Jim Brennan's goal - I put it on replay. It was nice. Noteven close to as nice as the Roberto Carlos strike that is on every 'best goal' compilation known to man, but entertaining nevertheless. If you haven't seen it, here it is. Thank you YouTube.

8. D.C. United
- Although it went unnoticed for the most part, United went undefeated in the month of May, yet many still see them as wallowing the dumps of MLS. Emilio, Gomez, and Olsen are starting to lead a team of players regaining their composure and arrogance that made them DC. Their next match-up is against another out-of-form team, the LA Galaxy.

9. Ronald Cerritos - The old San Jose Clash/Earthquakes star is still plying his trade down in home country El Salvador with San Salvador FC. His performances have earned him a position on the Gold Cup 2007 roster! On another note, David Sommeil, the ex-Man City defender currently with Sheffield United - he is playing for Guadeloupe? Any Sheff Utd fans care to enlighten me - parents from there? Is he?


10. Marcelo Salas - For the hope I have that he, ''El Matador" would actually land in the MLS. This guy finds a way to always consistently score goals. Only 32 and still with the ability to wreak havoc in a developing league such as this, the Chilean could be a godsend to a struggling team like the Chicago Fire (whom he is training with at the moment).

Monday, May 28, 2007

Your Most Effective Player Signing Is...?

Juan Pablo Angel - 15 votes (39.5%)


The Colombian's position at the top is probably due to (and a little skewed by) his 3 goals in the last 3 games. Therefore, at the present, he has helped further strengthen an already strong Red Bull lineup. The true test will come with 6 of their next 7 games away from home.


Other Results:

David Beckham - 13 votes (34.2%)
Cuauhtemac Blanco - 4 votes (10.5%)
Claudio Reyna - 2 votes (5.2%)
Guillermo Barros Schelotto - 2 votes (5.2%)
Pablo Ricchetti - 1 vote (2.6%)
Alecko Eskandarian - 1 vote (2.6%)

38 Total Votes.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tidbits of the Week

Philadelphia's own Chris Albright has been ruled out for the summer with a torn hamstring, further diminishing a dilapidated Los Angeles squad. Not looking good for the Philadelphians, Bobby Convey and Albright are injured. Now Dan Gargan, Colorado Rapids fullback, has to carry the Philly torch of representation.

Real Salt Lake are expected to announce a major player signing this coming week. Everyone's bets are on Kasey Keller who has been told that a new contract is not happening at Borussia M'gladbach. His year was so-so as a strong start led to a dismal finish and a relegation battle.

According to Yanks Abroad, a host of suitors are keeping an eye out for American winger DaMarcus Beasley. Glasgow Rangers, Claudio Reyna's old club, appear to be first on the list. Beasley was not picked up by Manchester City after a semi-successful loan period and his time at home club PSV Eindhoven has, barring a coaching switch/nasty injuries to starting right or left wingers, come to a close.

On October 14th and October 17th, 2007, the US Men's National Team will head on over to Europe to take on some decent opponents in Switzerland and the Spanish region Catalonia (which Barcelona is in). Switzerland is a formidable opponent as we have yet to beat them (0-3-3 all time) and Catalonia will be interesting. As it is not a FIFA team, they field players of Catalonian descent. Stars like Albert Luque (the Newcastle dud), Pepe Reina (the Liverpool hero), and Raul Tamudo (the Barca killer) have suited up for Catalonia. Many wonder why we couldn't get better opponents...you can thank Euro 2008 qualifying for that.

Heavily coveted wonderkid Gareth Bale, who plays for Southampton of the English Championship, has solidified a $20mm dollar move to the Tottenham Hotspur. If Southampton hadn't botched the Championship promotion playoffs, it could have (but probably not) been different. The other strong suitor was Manchester United who failed to play hard this early in the game. Alex Ferguson had stated, however, that Bale was on his list to bring in. Maybe he's not too worried as he looks to pry either Hotspur godsend Dimitar Berbatov or out-of-favor Jermain Defoe away from White Hart Lane.

Former Leeds United and Celtic goalscorer (although his account has all but dried up nowadays) Chris Sutton might wind up in the Championship next season with Norwich City where he spent several years at almost 15 years ago.

David Beckham has been recalled by Steve McClaren to the England national team to face Brazil in an international friendly and Estonia in a Euro 2008 qualifier. The 'prodigal son's' return to England's line-up is bittersweet for Galaxy and American soccer fans as possible absences could bite into the AEG/Galaxy/MLS investment. Alexi Lalas has already issued a response...

Former Aston Villan J'Lloyd Samuel has been picked up on free transfer by the Bolton Wanderers. After several years of contribution, Samuel was left out consistently of the Aston Villa squad last year. His imminent contract expiration was supposed to spark a tiny transfer war, but Bolton got their man rather easily.

Eddie Johnson Revs the Wizards, Herculez's Revenge, and A Point for Chicago

Saturday, May 26th

Kansas City 4, New England 3
Gillette Stadium

A goal-fest through and through, New England started off with 2 quick goals from the leaders Ralston and Twellman. Before halftime, however, Eddie Johnson took control and pounced on two opportunities (one of which he created himself) to head into the locker room with a KCW 3-2 scoreline. Davy Arnaud scored the first to help the Wizards regain their confidence. The second-half saw a hand-ball lead to a converted Shalrie Joseph penalty and a blank slate of a game yet again. EJ would have none of it though. Carlos Marinelli found EJ for an 81st minute thriller and KC came away from Foxboro with the three points
Because I Think...'s MVP: Eddie Johnson - his performances are somewhat inconsistent, but when he wants to, he piles it on...Could this season's performance move up a move abroad?


KCW: E. Johnson 3 (6), Arnaud (2)
NER: Ralston (2), Twellman (7), S. Joseph (3)

Toronto FC 2, Columbus 2
Columbus Crew Stadium

Toronto's away chops looked a bit more efficient this time around. Columbus and TFC traded goals as three were scored before halftime. The equalizer, however, was the true highlight of the match. Jim Brennan's freekick from 35 yards curled its way into the right upper ninety and Toronto gifted themselves a solid away point (7 now for the season). It was the Canadian's first of the season. Big-man Dichio hit his second forToronto as well. Andy Herron found the net twice for Columbus as goal-scoring seemed a tad easier for the Crew this weekend.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Jim Brennan for his goal of the week.


TFC: Dichio (2), J. Brennan (1)
CMB: A. Herron 2 (2)

D.C. United 2, Houston 1
RFK Stadium
Houston's horror continues and it's not even their play that is doing them in. The Dynamo aren't getting any breaks as their losing run continues. Two quick goals from Christian Gomez and hardass Ben Olsen were enough to keep Houston at bay. Brad Davis pulled Houston within one only to alter the scoreline ever so slightly in their loss (their last three have been at 1-0 scorelines). De Rosario found his scoring touch again, but it couldn't help Houston get a point or three. HDNet is stupid.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Gomez, he is starting to regain the form that made himself so dangerous last year and in the the CONCACAF Champion's Cup.

DCU: C. Gomez (3), B. Olsen (1)
HOU: De Rosario (3)

Colorado 1, Los Angeles 0
Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Herculez Gomez, the person who the Galaxy would least likely want to see score, finished a nice cross from Terry Cooke late in the game to push the Galaxy deeper in the Beckham-less hole. Even worse, there have been rumors of Beckham's newly rekindled international career severely interfering with his club duties for Frank Yallop's club. Not sure how much Alan Gordon could have helped, but his absence is hurting the Galaxy right now. That, and Landon Donovan's inability to score against anyone other than Chivas USA. It also didn't help that Kyle Martino was sent off in the 25th minute and the Galaxy were a man short for close to 70 minutes.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Herculez Gomez, for condemning his former squad to another week "cellar-dwellitude" (hmmm).

COL: H. Gomez (3)
LAG: NONE

Chivas USA 2, FC Dallas 0
Home Depot Center

The Goats stole momentum from FC Dallas with Maykel Galindo striking early and Ante Razov providing the finishing touch. Chivas USA, despite the win, had to be saddened by the disgusting RBNY-like attendance figures at the Home Depot Center. Unfortunately, could it have been due to Ramon Ramirez's announcement of his retirement? Regardless, Dallas had opportunities but a troublesome lack of finishing. Galindo and Razov, who are forming a formidable strike partnership, made sure that the Goats didn't render themselves scoreless. Kljestan had a decent game as well.
Because I Think...'s MVP: M. Galindo, not only does he have a story that makes every media member salivate but he continues to score goals with his flashy speed and raw but effective composure


CHV: Galindo (5), A. Razov (4)
FCD: NONE

Sunday, May 27th

Chicago 0, Real Salt Lake 0
Toyota Park

Sarachan's Fire tied a game they should have decidedly won as Mapp and Barrett missed golden opportunities to push the advantage to Chicago. The fans came out in droves to support the slumping Fire, but no goal could be found. RSL had little production but decent performances from Esky (who looked noticibly dejected) and Atiba Harris. Freddy Adu looked like his mind was moving faster than his body.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Rimando, for a semi-decent job in goal, parrying several close range shots - still not great, but you know what? His performance worked...but enough to displace Kasey Keller if he comes in?

CHI: NONE
RSL: NONE

Friday, May 25, 2007

Jonathan Bornstein

Jon Bornstein has had,so far, a whirlwind of a domestic and international career. 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year honors, then a goal in his first game with the US Men's National Team. Bornstein has goals way above that, but for now his appreciation for where he is, what he has done, and who he gets to play with far exceeds the ambition he has. Undoubtedly, Jon has a bright future - he's Cal-Pomona and UCLA product - and has taken advantage of the fact that has stayed local, surrounding himself with a family and friend support group. Drafted by Chivas USA in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, he was taken 37th and considered a 'sleeper' pick, if anything. His versatility proved key has he won himself a position in a formidable Chivas USA lineup. Just recently, Bornstein has been called up by former coach Bradley for his second stint at the international scene, the Gold Cup starting June 6th, 2007.


Jon, I wish you nothing but the best and thank you for taking the time!

What kind of youth soccer background did you have growing up in California?


In California I started out playing soccer in Carson. It was a little recreation league that my dad coached me at. After that I moved to Los Alamitos and played AYSO in region 159. After playing all stars and spring select, my parents figured I was good enough for club soccer and that is when I joined a club in Long Beach. From Long Beach I moved clubs to the Irvine Strikers when I was 15. That is where I feel that I became a much better youth player.

Being from California, attending UCLA, and on a squad of predominantly Hispanic players [Chivas USA], how is your Spanish?


My Spanish is nowhere near fluent, but it feels like I am learning more and more each day. I took Spanish while I attended high school and college, which helps out, a little bit. I always tell people that I can understand a lot more than I can speak.

You played for two colleges throughout your whole NCAA career, CSU Pomona and UCLA, how was the transition there?

The transition was rather easy. I felt that if I wanted to become a professional soccer player, I was going to need to transfer to a top of the line Division I school. Cal Poly Pomona was tough competition, but not as tough as UCLA. I knew a lot of the team at UCLA before I went there so all the friends I had on the team made the transition real easy.

How important is it to be so close to home? You have had the fortunate opportunity to stay in the same state (regardless of how gigantic it is) and that must supply you with a huge support system.


Yah, I love playing in southern California. It gives most of my family the opportunity to come see me play whenever they want to. For almost all of them, it is just a drive down the 405 freeway to catch a game. Not to mention all the friends and teammates that are able to come watch as well. I have always stayed local for soccer (school, club, etc…) and so I have built up quite a support group. I feel lucky to have been able to stay local.

What other teams do you follow closely? Players?


I try to watch as much soccer as I can whenever I get the chance. My favorite teams to watch are Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, and many other European Teams. I personally like it when Champions League is going on…exciting times. Some of my favorite players to watch are the guys who play on those teams. Ronaldhino, Christiano Ronaldo, Robben, and Messi, are just a few to name.

Who are you closest to on Chivas USA?


I would say that I am closest to Lawson Vaughn. We hang out a lot off the field and we even room together on the road. He is kind of a stinky guy, but overall he is a great guy. I am stoked we both got drafted when we did.


Any rookie horror stories that, after a year, you can now reflect on? Or were the veterans mostly upstanding gentlemen?


Overall I would say that the Veterans were very easy going and great guys to play with and learn from. Although throughout the year they make you get the goals, the balls, and everything else. There was one time when they played this pretty big practical joke on me. They set up this interview and had told me that I got rookie of the year. This was about a month before they actually announced the award winner. They put balloons by my locker, wrote it up on the board, told the whole team, and wouldn’t stop talking about it. After training, the interviewer came up to me and started asking me how it felt to win the award and as I was answering, they dumped a Gatorade jug on me and told me I got “PUNKED!!!” It was pretty embarrassing but all in good fun you know.

How exactly does the sharing of Home Depot Center work? Do you see Galaxy players quite a bit?


We run into the Galaxy players just about everyday…in the hallways, in the gym, in the parking lot, and also out on the fields. I would say that the biggest thing that sharing the home depot center does is that it creates tension between the teams. That is why El Super Clasico is always so intense.

Is there anyway to explain to those not able to make a SuperClasico (let alone play in one), what is the atmosphere on and off the field like?


It is pretty hard to explain what goes on during a Super Clasico game, but let me just start by saying it is out of control. The atmosphere in the Home Depot Center is electric. The fans are constantly yelling and rooting for their team to win. Friends who have attended games have told me that they have even seen little fights break out. Honestly though, to play in one of those games is amazing and no real words could describe how it feels.

How has the transition from Bob Bradley to Preki been? We have heard there a great many similarities…


Overall, the transition has been rather smooth. Preki was our assistant coach last year so all the players got to know him pretty well. I think that he also picked up a few things from coaching under Bob last year and that is probably why they have many great similarities.

Are there any notable differences between your rookie year and your sophomore year in the MLS? Either on the field, off the field, in the off-season?

Well on the field there are a few differences. One of those would be my responsibility on the team. Last year I was a new player and was trying to adjust to the league and just being a professional. This year I have a better idea of what it means to play and so there is more expected from me. Off the field it is basically the same, other than the fact that I know most of the guys very well and therefore hang out with them more than I did last year because I was just getting to know them.

What is the worst stadium to play in fan-wise?


Fan wise, I feel that playing against the Galaxy, when it is one of their home games, is the worst to play against. They are always screaming foul things at you and trying to get inside of your head.

How amazing was it to score your first international goal in your first appearance for the US Men’s National Team?


It was truly one of the greatest moments of my life. Not only had a dream finally come true, which was to play with the National team, but I scored a goal in that game also. Not to mention that my entire family was watching because the game took place in my hometown (HDC). So I would say that it truly was an amazing moment in my life.

You have seen time at many positions and excelled at many, how much has your versatility helped your career? Did you have that versatility at UCLA?

I would say that my versatility is the only reason that I was able to see time on the field at all last year. Prior to last season, I had never played fullback/defense. All of the spots on Chivas were basically taken last year and left fullback was the only one that wasn’t set. Bob Bradley played me there in a couple pre season games and it turned out that I could actually play in that spot. So basically because I was able to transition to left fullback I was able to get on the field and see some success. At UCLA I also played all the halfback positions and forward so I would say I was versatile there also.

Coupled with the question above, what do you feel your best attributes are as a player? What did you work on most this off-season?


In the off-season I worked on my one on one defending and trying to get stronger physically. Those were two things that I noticed I needed improvement on. Other than that I felt that my best attributes as a player are my ability to get forward from a defensive position and the speed that I bring to the game.


Jon, thank you again and good luck with the rest of the season!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

US Men's National Team Gold Cup Roster

Goalkeepers (3) - Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton FC), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Defenders (8) -Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

Midfielders (8) - DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburger SV), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution)

Forwards (4) - Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards),Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)

Clearly, there are some notable omissions here. A Frankie Hejduk inclusion baffles me, instead of opting for a young back and solid attacking back like Burciaga Jr. Some other players left out were Bobby Boswell, Chris Rolfe, Kyle Beckerman, and Bennie Olsen. It is nice, however, to see Michael Parkhurst get the nod though. Any others missing that hit a nerve?

UEFA Champions League Final and other important scores

Due to my lack of posting on the aforementioned topic, you can probably guess who won.

AC Milan 2, Liverpool 1
Athens, Greece

'Pippo' Inzaghi hit for a brace as Liverpool couldn't convert the chances they did have. Inzaghi's first was a deflection off his torso after a scorching shot from Andreas Pirlo. In good news for Liverpool, though, Stevie Gerrard should be finalizing a new 5 year deal TODAY! Kaka was the difference in this game, but Gerrard had his chances and moments too. He just couldn't convert.

Other news:

US Open Cup Qualifier

Colorado 2, Real Salt Lake 1

Jacob Petersen had 2 goals to kick RSL and Jason Kreis out of Open Cup contention. Conor Casey had a decent showing as he was given significant time for the first time since signing with the MLS.

Friendlies

Rangers 1, Los Angeles 0
Home Depot Center

Kris Boyd, the Rangers hitman and leading goalscorer, put the Glasgow Rangers on top and they never looked back really. The game was relatively even as far as skill and statistics go, but it never seemed as if the Galaxy could threaten enough to win. A good showing for LA overall.
This exhibition drew over 15,000 fans.

Toronto FC 0, Benfica 0
BMO Field

18,000 saw Andrea Lombardo and Toronto struggle to a 0-0 tie against Benfica, Portuguese powerhouses. It was somewhat lopsided as Benfica controlled the play and rhythm, but as no goals were put in the back of the net - a tie was in order. The fans showed up yet again and created an amazing atmosphere for Benfica to come play in. A nice consolation prize for not beating FC Porto in the Portuguese SuperLiga.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

10 Bright Spots of Week Seven

1. Juan Pablo Angel - the Colombian showcased his power AND finesse in a 4-0 drubbing of Columbus; Bruce Arena tried to paint the picture as if it was a spanking, but the truth is...it was, and Angel was at the head of it; Angel also started off his MLS career versus Schelotto, making the all-time series now Guillermo 2 wins, 1 loss, and 2 ties.


2. FC Dallas - these guys keep on winning, almost to the point where I am going to have to stop ragging on their defensive quartet; Alex Yi and Chris Gbandi were strong against both Real Salt Lake and Chicago; they are doing all of this without the input of Carlos Ruiz

3. Michael Parkhurst - the kid's consistent play has been overshadowed by Taylor Twellman and Shalrie Joseph's goalscoring antics; before long, Parkhurst will plying his trade in Europe, but for now, Parkhurst is the heart of the Revs' run right now


4. Dane Richards
- I keep singing this guys praises and Bruce Arena still thinks he is not running at full speed; scariness would be 'full speed'; he looks to get a rest sometime soon as Markus Schopp is slowly worked back into the line-up

5. Sal Caccavale - it was nice to see a young'un come in for a couple minutes and nutmeg a decent goalkeeper like Andy Gruenebaum; not to mention his assist was provided by another rookie Sinisa Ubiparapovic


6. Colorado Rapids' fans - since opening day and a 2-1 win over D.C. United, Rapids fans' have been patiently waiting for another win, a 1-1 tie with the Kansas City Wizards this past weekend kept the winless streak alive

7. Shalrie Joseph
- whatever his problems are with his contract and his desire to play abroad, there is no doubt he makes New England a much better team; his 9th minute cracker sunk Houston as the Revs continue to surge and Houston continue to slide

8. Pablo Ricchetti - his presence at defensive midfield allowed Juan Carlos Toja to move forward and really piss the Real Salt Lake defense off; Ricchetti is not big but he is extremely effective with his possession and passing abilities; I really think Dallas is one piece away from a solid line-up; what defenders are on the market?

9. John Wolyniec - nice to see the journeyman get his couple minutes in the spotlight; one goal and one assist was a good showing; the goals could have kept flowing but Angel and Wolyniec had trouble connecting well up top with consistency (to the point where Angel was getting visibly disturbed with Wolyniec's decision-making); yes - the inundation of Red Bulls in the top ten continues


10. D.C. United - for somehow coming away with that win against Toronto FC; it wasn't pretty and by all means, it wasn't fair, but they go the three points and seem to be getting back on track

I knew Facebook would come in handy...


Alecko Eskandarian had this to say about being traded to Real Salt Lake where he'll meet up with former United mates Freddy Adu and Nick Rimando...

"Alecko Eskandarian is in shock.... just found out i got traded from TFC to Real Salt Lake.... definitely did NOT ask for this so im pretty devastated right now"

That's the business of the game. Esky had a following already in Toronto and his blog, Esky's World, is evidence of it. I would love to see Alecko score more goals than Cunningham in RSL, but let's be honest, Cunningham will hit 100 goals this year and has been a consistent goalscoring force for whatever team he has played for. Esky is injury prone but has one of the toughest hearts and work rates in the league.

What do you think? Who got the right end of this trade?

***In Premiership news, young'un and former Arsenal target Steve Sidwell will be leaving Reading on a free transfer in favor of Chelsea. Sidwell is great, don't get me wrong, but does he fit into the same category of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Claude Makelele, or even Jon Obi Mikel for that matter? The only answer is: we will see.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Assorted.

Sylvain Distin could on his way to Fratton Park as Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp looks to bolster his defense after a formidable Premiership showing. Pompey is also looking hard at a previous summer's transfer target, Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari. The figure is reported to be around $14 million.


Charlton, with a quick return to the Premiership in mind, have signed Chris Iwelumo from Colchester and Crewe's goal-scorer Luke Varney for a cool $4 million.


Romario has scored his "one-thousandth" goal and joins Pele in that realm. Controversy, of course, ensues but a thousand is a thousand. If ALL goals were counted, like in Romario's case, who else would be close?

The big MLS news today was from New York. The Red Bulls have pushed back 2 months the opening date for Red Bull Park. Article is here.

A Rumor for the Ages...

One fleeting comment........leads to this!

Andrei Shevchenko to the MLS? When?

The 30 million pound (as in British currency) man is looking to wind his career down in the MLS...or is he? He says he would be "excited to follow David Beckham" state-side. The 31-year old has had a turbulent time at Chelsea so far after his mid-2006 summer signing and if all does not work out (and Milan doesn't come beckoning again), we might see Shev here. The rumors had been circulating, but an article had not yet been released. The one team mentioned is D.C. United, as his American wife Kristen Pazik is from there. Posh and Pazik - we salute you.


Source: Eurosport

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bulls Back on Target, Dallas Wins a Third, and Adu Scores his First

Saturday, May 19th

Red Bull New York 4, Columbus 0
Giants Stadium

Take a look at my match recap here at Top Drawer Soccer.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Dane Richards and Juan Pablo Angel, troubled the Columbus defense all match forcing several defensive miscues.


RBNY: J. Wolyniec (1), C. Mathis (4), J.Angel (1), S. Caccavale (1)
CLMB: NONE

D.C. United 2, Toronto FC 1
BMO Field

Alecko Eskandarian struck first for the home team and Toronto seemed poised to gather another giant-killing win. Luck was not on their side as a favorable deflection off a Christian Gomez shot and a somewhat questionable penalty that Jaime Moreno converted allowed United to escape with three points. Moreno, however, tied Jason Kreis at 108 career goals with that penalty and joined Kreis in the history books.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Esky, for opening his Toronto FC account.

DCU: Own Goal (K. Goldthwaite), J. Moreno (3)
TFC: A. Eskandarian (1)

New England 1, Houston 0
Robertson Stadium

A big crowd watched as Houston dominated another game only to lose out on an early goal and the inability to finish. Shalrie Joseph struck from the top of the penalty box in the 9th minute to, without anybody's previous knowledge, cap the scoring for the day. Houston have suffered countless 1-0 losses this year and, frankly, it is getting painful to watch. A rebound is on the way I'm sure, once somebody starts finding the net for the Dynamo.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Shalrie Joseph, the disgruntled MLS star didn't let his unsettling contract wrestling match stop him on the field


NER: Joseph (2)
HOU: NONE

Kansas City 1, Colorado 1

Dick's Sporting Goods Park

A first half injury time penalty kick conversion from Jovan Kirovski allowed the Rapids to go one up on KC. The Wizards, though tested, responded as they have all season. Davy Arnaud, a guy well known for his breakout season a couple years ago, has been quiet as of late. His goal, however, secured a point for Kansas City. Eddie Johnson's presence was felt again as he provided his third assist to the game-tying goal. Carlos Marinelli started on the bench as he is nursing a slight injury. He came on after halftime and was effective.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Both goalies.

KCW: Arnaud (1)
COL: Kirovski (2)

Sunday, May 20th

Los Angeles 1, Chivas USA 1
Home Depot Center

A somewhat dull second SuperClasico as, this time, Landon Donovan was sort of on the defensive side of things, playing catch-up. Maykel Galindo struck first for the 'home side' but Donovan would have none of it and equalized after a loose ball landed right at his feet. The atmosphere was fitting and history did not repeat as the Goats came away with a point.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Donovan, for not allowing a loss.

LAG: L. Donovan (2)
CHV: M. Galindo (4)

FC Dallas 2, Real Salt Lake 1
Pizza Hut Park

FC Dallas provided most of the interesting play. Real Salt Lake was tested early after Carey Talley's knock in the 10th minute. Arturo Alvarez scored his first of the season shortly after that. Alex Yi's shirtpulling led to a Freddy Adu penalty conversion in in the 68th minute. Yi had trouble all game dealing with Atiba Harris and it eventually caught up to him. It didn't matter, though, because inn the 82nd minute, Chris Gbandi's shot from 20 yards out found the upper 90 and gave FC Dallas their third consecutive win.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Chris Gbandi, because why else would he ever receive this prestigious award.


FCD: Alvarez (1), C. Gbandi (1)
RSL: F. Adu (1)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

MLS Week 7

Saturday, May 19th

Red Bull New York vs. Columbus
Giants Stadium

MLS is marketing River Plate (Juan Pablo Angel) vs. Boca Juniors (Guillermo Barros Schelloto). A rainy day ensures however that, yet again, there won't be many at this game. RBNY is going to have to shed their bad form before it even starts. Two straight losses if you count the loss to Los Angeles. Columbus is going to have to find some way to crack a stingy NY defense and even then, the Crew have to find somebody to score. Look for Angel to receive better service today and Schelloto to drive the Columbus attack (both safe bets). Their last meeting was a 0-0 draw. The full match report will be up on Top Drawer Soccer late Saturday night.
PREDICTION: If Reyna plays, RBNY 2-1, if not, 1-1 deadlock.

Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
BMO Field

Could the Supporter's Shield holder stop TFC's cinderella run. A win over Chicago and defending champs Houston has Toronto threatening mid-table. The Toronto faithful will be happy to have, after only one game, their bruiser Danny Dichio back. Does Bobby Boswell have the answer for him? D.C. has had a week off and will have fresh legs. Guy-Roland Kpene looks to be the youthful spark they need along with Kasali Yinka Casal to keep D.C. fresh.
PREDICTION: D.C. 3-1

Houston vs. New England
Robertson Stadium

The Dynamo are still scratching their heads after a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC. Newly acquired Joseph Ngwenya had several chances that were missed and he looks to capitalize on them this week. New England looks to continue their run of good form with everybody firing on all cylinders. Between Taylor Twellman and Stevie Ralston, their foundation is set. If all cogs operate without drama, we could see another MLS final out of the Revs. Maybe a little Robbie Fowler wouldn't hurt either. Houston needs to rebound and no better place to do it than at home - with Ching quiet, where will Houston get their scoring from?
PREDICTION: New England 2-1

Colorado vs. Kansas City
Dick's Sporting Goods Park

A thin Colorado back-line will have to deal with a potent Kansas City offense. Greg Vanney and Brandon Prideaux are out with the possibility of Ugo Ihemelu missing another game. Jimmy Conrad will be out for Kansas City. Colorado is coming off a quiet 1-0 win over the Red Bulls last Sunday and could have a bit of momentum heading into their first meeting with the Wizards this year. Kansas City had their good form interrupted by a surging FC Dallas team who scored 2 first half goals to win 2-1. These two should put on a show.
PREDICTION: KCW 3-2

Sunday, May 20th

Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles
Home Depot Center

Landon Donovan will look to quarterback the Galaxy's effort in continuing a SuperClasico tradition...beating Chivas USA. Los Angeles wants to reverse their somewhat devastating 3-2 loss to New England last week as Taylor Twellman captained that comeback. Expect another sold-out crowd and Chivas USA to play a lot better than last time.
PREDICTION: Chivas USA 1-0, Panchito Mendoza makes something happen.

FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake
Pizza Hut Park

Dallas has the chance to ruin Jason Kreis' "homecoming" and second coaching start since a 3-3 tie with New York. On top of the Western conference now, FC Dallas has won two road games in a row and returns home with a rather healthy and happy squad. They have also retained the Brimstone Cup and continued their recent dominance of a faltering Chicago Fire. RSL is still waiting for the Adu and Cunningham connection to work and patience is running low.
PREDICTION: FC Dallas 3-1.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

FC Dallas and Toja's Hair

ESPN2 MLS PRIMETIME THURSDAY

FC Dallas 2, Chicago 1

Toyota Park

A potent midfield consisting of Pablo Ricchetti, Dax McCarty, and Juan Carlos Toja propelled the Hoops to a 2-1 TKO of the home-team Chicago Fire. FC Dallas 2-game away win streak continued Chicago’s now 3 game losing streak. Kenny Cooper, at the beginning season, was pegged as being very overrated. I still agree, but every time he scores, Dallas wins for the most part. That makes him somewhat invaluable. Dario Sala had yet another good performance and has been a big reason of Dallas’ resurgence. A 4-3-1 record is now tops in the West.

Because I Think's MVP: Juan Carlos Toja, this guy has been remarkable for Dallas this year. Their glue. If he stays healthy all season and a defensive addition is made, this team could be setting themselves up for a chance to mess up yet again in the playoffs.

FCD: K. Cooper (4), J. Toja (2)

CHI: C. Carr (1)

Roma wins the Coppa Italia with a 2-1 loss in a second leg (7-4 aggregate win) to Inter Milan. Francesco Totti deserves this as he has had one hell of a year. Simone Perrotta’s goal after going down 2-0 helped give AS Roma their first Coppa Italia title in 16 years.

After such a successful individual season, Eurosport.com is reporting that Didier Drogba might be looking for a ‘new challenge’. Success in France, success in England, but what next? A Champions league title? I think your best bet is to stick at Stamford Bridge because that’s a fair assumption for European football. Maybe instead of scoring only 32 goals, you should be a man and score 40! (joke)

Comex has secured the jersey sponsorship for Chivas USA. Mexico's largest paint seller and producer has paid around $2 million/year. Here's the story.


Former USL Coach of the Year Dale Mitchell has been hired as the new Canadian Men's National Team manager. He takes over for Frank Yallop who left to coach the Los Angeles Galaxy. Mitchell looks to be the one to get Canada back to World Cup, as they haven't been there since 1986.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Random Tidbits.

Sevilla wins the UEFA Cup with a penalty kick win over Espanyol. Jonatas goal with 5 minutes to go in extra time ensured a shootout showdown with reeling Frederic Kanoute and Sevilla. Sevilla secured their repeat however with accurate shooting, something which Espanyol couldn't muster up. It was 2-2 regulation with goals from Adriano Correia and Kanoute for Sevilla and Riera and Jonatas for Espanyol.

Mr. Bob Bradley has been appointed United States Men's National Team boss. Some are saying he'll get an 18-month trial period before it is decided whether or not he'll stick around. As long as we play decent competition, I have no problems. Also, many say his record over the last couple months should have been expected. We all know, however, a win over Mexico should never be expected. With the likes of Omar Esparza, Andres Guardado, and Giovanni dos Santos you can never expect a clear-cut win.

Toronto FC has done it yet again. A 1-0 home win over the defending champs has rendered people somewhat baffled. Andy Welsh did the damage for TFC heading in a restart. Yet again the fans were unmatchable, but without promotional items to litter the field with.

It is a shame Sheffield United went down. With Wigan's form in the waning moments of the season, United really deserved to stay up. Even more so, Neil Warnock did not deserve his fate of leaving the now Championship club. Who knows, maybe he'll end up with Man City or one of the other Premiership openings that could possibly coming.

Both Oguchi Onyewu and Damarcus Beasley's releases have been confirmed. They have returned to their respective clubs of Club Brugge and PSV Eindhoven. It will be interesting to see where they end up.

The US Men's U-2o National Team played well against Argentina's U-20 team minus the ability to finish. Jozy Altidore came close several times, but failed to put it in the back of the net. I like their chances for this coming summer (already got tickets to the US vs. Brazil game on July 6th).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

10 Bright Spots of Week Six

1. Toronto FC and their fans – this is an obvious selection as Toronto and its’ fans created an atmosphere heads and shoulders above RFK and the Home Depot Center, possibly even combined? A Premiership feel it certainly was…

How many times is this number one for them?

2. Taylor Twellman – arguably the most consistent performer in MLS history, Twellman netted two goals against a tough Los Angeles defense to spark a New England rally ahead 3-2. His brace gives him six for the season and Player of the Week honors.

3. Guillermo Barros Schelotto – the legendary Argentinian showed what he has to offer the Crew, displaying his vision, focus, determination, and creativity. The one thing he didn’t show, however, was how to find the back of the net. That, I’m sure, is still to come…

4. Andrea Lombardo – the Canadian U-20 star came on as a substitute in Toronto FC’s 3-1 win over Chicago and helped keep a charged TFC team reeling

5. Dario Sala – back from suspension and ready to work after watching Dallas struggle to pick up some points with Hislop in goal and the Dallas defense functioning half-assedly; Sala showed what he means to this team in only one game back, it’s funny I didn’t realize it before

6. Juan Carlos Toja and Pablo Ricchetti – the new Dallas midfield duo with Dax McCarty in there somewhere has potential to be one of the most cohesive in the MLS; Ricchetti already has shown signs of uber-decency and Toja will be the glue of the team all season

7. Maurice Edu – his pinpoint half-volley was aesthetically pleasing and confirmed a great performance from the #1 Draft Pick; only more to come from him

8. Adam Cristman – yet another appearance in the Top Ten Bright Spots…due to his effort and impact in the Revolution’s comeback win over the Galaxy

9. Niko Hernandez – it’s about time he made himself known again to the Colorado faithful; will he break out or head back into hibernation?

10. RBNY Press Box – for letting me into it to cover the Colorado vs. Bulls game and giving me those free Nutty Buddy bars I loved in elementary school

Monday, May 14, 2007

Free-Transfer All Star Team

Wonder who is available after the 2006-07 World Soccer season winds down???

Here is the Top XI by position (from right to left):

GK: Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart)



DL: Marko Babic (Bayer Leverkusen)



DC: Sylvain Distin (Manchester City)



DC: Tal Ben-Haim (Bolton)



DR: Cristoph Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund)



ML: DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven)



MC: Aldo Duscher (Deportivo la Coruna)


MC: Steve Sidwell (Reading)



MR: Boudewijn Zenden (Liverpool)



FC: Claudio Pizarro (Bayern Munich)



FC: Javier Saviola (Barcelona)


Reserve Squad:

GK: Jerzy Dudek (Liverpool)
DL: J'Lloyd Samuel (Aston Villa)
DC: Titus Bramble (Newcastle)
DC: Michael Lamey (PSV Eindhoven)
DR: Hatem Trabelsi (Manchester City)
ML: Yilderay Basturk (Hertha Berlin)
MC: Claus Jensen (Fulham)
MC: Lee Hendrie (Aston Villa)
MR: Mehdi Mahdivikia (HSV)
FC: Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough)
FC: Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth)

Subs:

Oscar Ustari (Independiente)
Robbie Fowler (Liverpool)
Richard Wright (Everton)

MLS Week Six Roundup

Saturday, May 12th

Toronto FC 3, Chicago 1
BMO Field

One sentence sums this game up (and not in a bad way) - the Toronto fans pushed their team to victory, no doubt about it. Danny Dichio scored before he was sent off for a out-of-the-box challenge on Matt Pickens. Diego Gutierrez was also ejected after he bear-hugged big Dichio to the ground. At 10 v. 10, Toronto had some problems but they still kept picking Chicago apart offensively. Rookie Maurice Edu was sensational.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Kevin Goldthwaite, who wreaked havoc on the left side putting great crosses across and keeping Chicago's wingers at bay. This could have easily gone to Andy Welsh but that would be a 'Most Improved' award. Has Toronto found its' stride?

TFC: Dichio (1), Goldthwaite (1), Edu (1)
CHI: Rolfe (4)


New England 3, Los Angeles 2
Home Depot Center

Labelled by many sports writers the 'best game of the year'. This back-and-forth battle saw Landon Donovan come in and out of his Chivas USA form. Taylor Twellman, with this game, might have solidfied himself a starting spot on the USMNT. The guy gets open, scores consistently, and has enough size and speed to make any defender crazy. The Galaxy defense was stymied by simple passing - something MLS defenses aren't really used to seeing.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Taylor Twellman, clearly.

NER: A. Cristman (2), Twellman 2 (6)
LAG: Martino (1), T. Marshall (1)


FC Dallas 2, Kansas City 1
Arrowhead Stadium

This started the away win fiesta for the weekend. Kenny Cooper rediscovered his scoring touch and Juan Carlos Toja registered his first goal for this reeling Hoops squad. Dario Sala acted as a catalyst for a decent defensive performance, as he was able to stop the barrage effectively letting only 1 in after 10 shots on goal. New signing Pablo Ricchetti was stagnant, but showed some promise as to what he can offer. Rookie Michael Harrington found his second goal for the Wizards, but finishing was the main deficiency of their starting XI.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Juan Carlos Toja and Dario Sala.

FCD: Cooper (3), Toja (1)
KCW: Harrington (2)


Chivas USA 1, Columbus 1
Crew Stadium

Guillermo Barros Schelloto showed what he can bring to an offensively challenged Columbus Crew team. His skill and precision passing created several chances, many of which he probably should have just taken himself. Schelloto registered his first point though on an assist to Ned Grabavoy, who is a revelation in midfield this year. Ante Razov spoiled the party at Crew Stadium with his 2nd minute strike and put Columbus in the hole early, but the tandem of Schelloto and Moreno (both new acquisitions) seemed to produce chances but no finishes.
Because I Think...'s MVP: G-B-S. Schelloto. He will do some damage in Columbus.

CHV: Razov (3)
CMB: Grabavoy (2)

Sunday, May 13th
Colorado 1, Red Bull New York 0
Giants Stadium

Here is my first match review for Top Drawer Soccer. Check it out.
Because I Think...'s MVP: Pablo Mastroeni and Mike Petke.

COL: Niko (1)
RBNY: NONE

Saturday, May 12, 2007

MLS Week Six

Saturday, May 12th

Chicago vs. Toronto FC
BMO Field

Toronto is going take another stab at the whole 'getting a point' thing. Chicago, however, is on equal grounds play-wise with Kansas City, so I think another last minute goal could be the decider in this one. Unfortunately, Toronto will most likely get beat again. It has been a week, though, and Ronnie O'Brien should back and feeding crosses into big-man Danny Dichio all game. Chicago is looking to regain composure from its' small hiccup in form and quite possibly could underrate the home team. The key word here is possibly - Chris Rolfe and Chad Barrett will give Toronto's backline fits. Dear Toronto, please get your first goal, Thanks, "Because I Think...".
PREDICTION: Chicago 2, TFC 0 - Toronto doesn't get its' first even though Esky comes close several times...


Chivas USA vs. Columbus
Crew Stadium

The Crew's Guillermo Barros Schelloto will look to get more time and have more of an impact today along with new acquisition Alejandro Moreno. Chivas USA, instead, wants to get back on Victory Lane. Sacha Kljestan looks to atone for his previous suspension and will most likely have a big game. Bornstein, a consistent performer, has yet to get himself on the scoresheet (even from left fullback). I think that might change today. Andy Herron is still suspended and John Cunliffe for the Goats might have to miss today's match with shoulder sprain. The question is who will fill in for Paulo Nagamura in the midfield? And how will Paulo do against his old team less than 3 days after being traded?
PREDICTION: Chivas USA 1, Columbus 0

FC Dallas vs. Kansas City
Arrowhead Stadium

Carlos Ruiz on the bench and a host of defensive miscues still bother the Hoops. Kansas City could possibly run away with this or the absence of Carlos Ruiz could spark a work ethic and determination that messes with the Kansas City line-up. Dallas will be helped out by the absence of Jimmy Conrad due to a broken jaw, which could threaten the Wizards recent form. The Wizards will most likely pick rookie Aaron Hohlbein to fill Conrad's spot. As was written, Dario Sala has been 'itching' to get back into the line-up and it will be interesting to see According to some Dallas fans that have written in, many would rather have a Dario Sala at 75% than a Shaka 'His-Fault' at 100%. I hope you get your wish. Look for new signing Pablo Ricchetti to get a little bit of a run-around.
PREDICTION: Kansas City 2, FC Dallas 1

New England vs. Los Angeles
Home Depot Center

With Shalrie Joseph back from suspension and is ready to work after seeing Jeff Larentowicz show some worth at his position last week. A couple of knocks picked up this week on Dorman, Larentowicz, Khano Smith, and Twellman will not keep them out of the game but could potentially effect the outcome. If it does, you might see the goals flow for Los Angeles who have yet to do that much this year.
PREDICTION: Los Angeles 2, New England 1

Sunday, May 13th

Colorado vs. Red Bull New York
Giants Stadium

I will be up at Giants Stadium covering this game for Top Drawer Soccer (www.topdrawersoccer.com). Juan Pablo Angel will most likely be making his first MLS start, let alone appearance. Colorado played Thursday, the Red Bulls are at home. If Colorado had as weak of defense as FC Dallas did in their 3-0 loss at Giants Stadium earlier this year, I would say RBNY looks to have some fun, but that is not the case. The Bulls will be missing new fan favorite and former Rapid, Hunter Freeman but Seth Stammler should fill in nicely. Look for the Bulls to win, but not to dominate.
PREDICTION: RBNY 3, Colorado 1 - Juan Pablo Angel will have a productive first outing.

Friday, May 11, 2007

South Jersey FC 0, Cannons FC 0

Here - finally - is the South Jersey FC vs. Cannons FC game recap courtesy of Adam Evans:

South Jersey FC 0, Cannons FC 0

The inaugural season champions vs. last season's champions.

SJFC's Lifetime Record vs. Cannons FC: 1-0-1

South Jersey FC had its toughest match yet this season last weekend, when they took on Cannons FC at Pennypack on the Delaware. Saturday marked the first time the two teams met since South Jersey defeated Cannons in a penalty kick shootout for the Casa League championship last Fall. South Jersey (3-0-2) stepped up the level of play from previous weeks (which was somewhere on the spectrum between “sloppy” and “abysmal”) to hold Cannons (2-0-3) scoreless for the duration of the match.

Despite a slight personnel shortage at the start, South Jersey managed to keep Cannons’ offense in check from whistle to whistle. Cannons’ usual reliance on striker Anthony Mitchell’s speedy breakaways was misplaced, as Carlos Clay kept a tight mark on him throughout the match. While Mitchell is typically dangerous on the attack, Clay’s physical style of play kept him away from the goal mouth and mostly on the ground, effectively hobbling the Cannons offense. Mitchell’s one viable attacking run was cut short when goalkeeper Eric Wirth rocketed from goal to tackle the ball away at the 18. Eric Danner, making a strong appearance at sweeper, broke up the Cannons’ other would-be plays with numerous mid-air wins and calm feeds into the midfield. The South Jersey midfield was slow to warm up, though, allowing Cannons to complete some short exchanges. Cannons midfielders Craig Spear and Chris Fahey orchestrated several possessions and managed quite a few on-target switches, but Jersey soon settled in started playing tougher in the middle. Jorge Montoy and Brandon Bonnette repeatedly broke up Cannons’ exchanges, mounting immediate counter-attacks, and Matt Acciani was an immovable target up top. Acciani consistently muscled the Cannons defense and, along with striker Breton Bonnette, made several promising charges at the net. As has been the case for most of the Spring season, however, Jersey failed to execute up front. Several crosses went unclaimed, and shots were generally off-target. As a result, the match ended in a scoreless tie, a faithful recreation of the teams’ initial meeting six months prior. There were many bright spots, however, perhaps indicating that South Jersey has shaken out the Winter cobwebs and is ready to rise to the challenge of defending a league championship.


South Jersey FC next plays this Saturday, May 12th vs. The Steagles

SJFC's Scoring Leader: Brandon Bonnette (2)


All photos courtesy of Channing Johnson