Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What's Goin' on in Dallas? More Goals in One Half than a whole Premiership season!, 4 more in the second half

Los Angeles wins 6-5 over FC Dallas. LA moves onto the next round as FC Dallas is eliminated.

Goalscorers (so far):


I had to drive some where and miss the first 15 minutes - look what I missed, 4-1 Los Angeles at halftime and it's not like man-for-man the defense isn't bad.

1st Half
LAG: Gordon (2) 3'

LAG: Klein (1) 12'
LAG: Gordon (3) 15'
LAG: Harmse (1) 18'
FCD: A. Alvarez (2) 43'

2nd Half
FCD: Juan Toja (1) 78'
FCD: A. Alvarez (3) 82'
LAG: Donovan (2) 84'
FCD: C. Ruiz (2) 90+'
LAG: C. Pavon (1) 90+'
FCD: A. Thompson (1) 90+'

Donovan assisted the first two goals and was sprung from the back by Ante Jazic on a breakaway with Sala; the FC Dallas goalkeeper cut the angle down nicely and blocked Donovan's bid for a goal to go with his two assists. Half ended 4-1 and you thought most of the action was done. No - the 2nd half didn't want to be outdone by the first as the goal clinic continued (and Cannon even had a pretty decent game). Six goals peppered the 2nd half with Alvarez grabbing his second (he is quickly becoming a vital part of that squad) and Toja got into the mix. Donovan added the necessary goal to quell the crowd and dash the hopes of FC Dallas. Then came injury time - the most goals I have ever seen in one as Dallas kept clawing one back through lucky bounces, lackadaisical defending, and shots on the frame. But 2 goals in injury time was not enough as Pavon's 1st goal for the club ended up being the gamewinner (who would of thought?)

To be honest, I thought this was the best quality high scoring game I have seen in a long time. They were spreading each other out, tiring each other, and taking rips that all seemed to find the goal. The 22-year old Arturo Alvarez was lights out and Donovan had a better game, all in all I wish I had taped that so I could go back and watch it right now. Oh but wait - I can - thank you MLS.

Beasley set to resume European play with Rangers

UPDATE: Even after Walter Smith sung his praises to local UK media, Beasley didn't get off the bench. A big reason for that, however, was Alan Hutton's sending off in the 60th minute. They were only up 1-0 at that point and felt like they had to protect it. Final score: 2-0. Beasley will get his chance.



The Montenegrin champion FK Zeta looks to make it tough at home for Beasley and the roster-shocked Glasgow Rangers. Rangers - strapped for cash over the last decade after Walter Smith's last tenure with club when he dropped the cash on veteran Italians (an experiment that failed) - have opened their doors to forward Jean Claude 'the Rocket' Darcheville and defender Carlos Cuellar from Osasuna, while also bringing in Lee McCulloch from Wigan Athletic. All - preseason friendly-wise - seem to have meshed well with Beasley and the American winger looks to make his competitive debut at Ibrox today ay 3:00pm EST.

Updates on the outcome - FK Zeta defeated Lithuanian champion FBK Kaunas in the first round of qualifying, 5-4 on aggregate. A little overview of the match with quotes from Walter Smith.

American, dare I say traitor?, Guiseppe Rossi to Villareal

The 20-year old Rossi will be taking place of the departed Diego Forlan who went to Atletico Madrid to replace Fernando Torres who went to Liverpool. It's a game of transfer musical chairs. Rossi, well-known for his US-Italy - which team to do I want to play - tug of war, was born in the NY metro area and is one of the many youth prospects found and nurtured by Manchester United, but eventually - due to the attraction of bringing in big name players, already established - he was cast aside. Rossi could find life tough in La Liga, but then again, if you can score in Serie A as he did with Parma on loan last season, you can score anywhere.

Source

It is confirmed: Benfica answers Adu's European come-and-get-me call


The 18-year old showed his true colors at U-20 World Cup and now, about $2 million later, Benfica - a storied Portuguese superpower, legendary for being Portugal's soccer savior Eusebio's stomping ground - has won the signature of Freddy Adu. Confirmation here.

The task will be a tough one - Benfica has won the signatures of some highly rated players this summer. Angel di Maria, also a U-20 standout from Argentina, was courted heavily by Arsenal to add to their already youth-laden line-up, but found an $8 million move to Benfica much more appealing. Belletti, the versatile Brazilian who has long been a part of the core that was Barcelona's success, will join on loan after a tumultuous and frustrating year at Barcelona has brought in several new players, weeding Belletti out. Adu has his competition and large shoes to fill as slightly older Simao Sabrosa was considered Benfica's attacking heart and soul, but just transferred out. A $27 million offer from Atletico Madrid (who also recently just captured former Arsenal and Real Madrid attacking mid Jose Antonio Reyes) was too enticing to turn down.

Apparently, Adu has trained with them (as seen above, courtesy of Yanks Abroad), has received the graces of a Salt Lake community (who will be happy to have the money open up for a rebuilding acquisition) as well as a former D.C. community who want the kid to succeed (for the most part). If he plays with the grace and tenacity that he had in the recent U-20 World Cup, this kid could be something special. After 98 appearances in the MLS and the continued pressure of being the USA's first "soccer wonderkid", Adu will test his mettle abroad where the scrutiny is more intense and everything is under the microscope.

My verdict? Good move - and given two years, we're going to see a consistent, refined, and even haughtier Freddy Adu. One who can perform against teams other than those in CONCACAF (i.e. Mr. Donovan).

For those Benfica supporters/Portuguese SuperLiga fans that are looking for information on Freddy. Check here...

What are your thoughts?

Be back with more later. Day job calls.

Monday, July 30, 2007

10 Bright Spots of Week 19: Light Week but the East is Beast and Blanco shines

1. Ante Razov - everything he does is so damn subtle; Razov propelled Chivas USA to a much needed road win over the Red Bulls on ESPN2 this past Thursday; his goal was a powerful header that beat Jon Conway as the Goats might not have been the better team but at least they finished their chances and if anyone could, it would be Razov to give the scoring clinic - Ante now sits four behind Moreno and Kreis as all-time MLS scoring leader


2. Cuauhetemoc Blanco - he might be 34 but Blanco never lacks the desire to win and he never really cares who he has to go through to get it; his MLS debut helped the Chicago Fire grab an elusive three points to also cap off a new era consisting a front four of Mapp, Blanco, Rolfe, and damn...Paolo Wanchope. it's only one game but, barring a horrific injury, Blanco could fit in real nice at Toyota Park


3. Yura Movsisyan - he fell asleep for a couple weeks but came back to make his presence known in the shoot-out that was Kansas City's 3-2 victory over Chivas USA; his 89th strike won the game and gave him his 5th goal of the season; the Armenian-American super-sub was on for all of 7 minutes before he found the back of the net and put Kansas City only one point behind New England at the top of the Eastern Conference; when Eddie Johnson is silent it is nice to know you have this kind of young talent to back him up

4. Calen Carr -
seen him play, passed him off for 'adequately serviceable' but his performance in Chicago's revival win, 3-0, over Toronto FC told me otherwise; does it change my opinion? No, but it certainly will make me give him another look. Carr had the second goal and assisted the third (Floyd Franks); the 24-year old is known mainly for his ability to make something in the last 5 minutes and he could also be labeled 'king of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup' as he scored 3 goals in 3 appearances in last year's USOC win; with Chris Rolfe out he has seen extended playing time but look for it to wane as Wanchope is on his way


5. Brad Guzan - a great showing against the Red Bulls on Thursday in a 2-0 shutout win, but believe it or not, despite the 3-2 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, Guzan was the star of the match seeing a lot of action and reacting really well to it; it was probably the best performance by a goalkeeper who still ended up conceding 3 goals this year (haha, what a feat)

6. Jeff Larentowicz -
the West Chester, PA product had his hand in both New England goals - scoring one and assisting Pat Noonan's opening strike; this is yet another example of a guy who's play day in day out goes rather unnoticed, but his effect is deserving of some attention; Larentowicz during the 2006 Preseason looked to be a career reserve midfielder at best (considering he was actually drafted as a defender); due to injuries and contract issues Larentowicz got his chance and ended up being a crucial part of New England's MLS Cup run

7. Kyle Beckerman - it was the week of the holding midfielder as Vide, Zavagnin, and Beckerman all made the cut; his effort was certainly worth mentioning in Real Salt Lake's frustrating 2-1 loss to New England; Beckerman is potentially a guy you can build around and that's exactly what Jason Kreis is looking for; unfortunately (unless you count friendlies) Beckerman's roving midfield play has not amounted to points for the Salt Lakers; RSL needs a target and they need it soon


8. Kerry Zavagnin - the defensive midfielder struck again (as he very rarely does) in the same fashion as he did before against the New York Red Bulls earlier in the year; he has two goals this year, both long blasts, both in really tight wins, and both a product of his balls-to-the-wall approach to the game; never stops running and is probably in the top 10 of fittest players

9. Joe Vide - a Kerry Zavagnin-like player, he's not flashy and not even technically sound but he fights, bites, claws and can pass a little; he barely played last year and with all the shuffling Arena has had to do with injuries to Freeman, Kovalenko, Reyna, Parke, etc. at various times; Vide is raw but in time, he could be a consistent MLS starter

10. Red Bull - yes, the owners of the New York franchise - why? because as previously reported throughout the soccer blogosphere, Red Bull deserves credit for announcing their intention to buy the remaining half of their unfinished stadium (tentatively named Red Bull Park); shows a massive commitment to soccer in America and their presence in the New York metro area, while also preserving a "soccer-specific" feel to the Harrison, NJ project - Comcast - take note - and find a way to do something Philadelphia.

Iraq wins the Asian Cup, 1-0 over Saudi Arabia

That completes the improbable. A massive underdog, a war-torn country, and one hell of a football team.


Unfortunately, then I hear about 4 deaths caused by celebratory shootings. And lest we forget, 50 dead after the semifinal when a bomb goes off amidst a crowd of supporters.

“Those heroes have shown the real Iraq. They have done something useful for the people as opposed to the politicians and lawmakers who are stealing or killing each other,” said Sabah Shaiyal, a 43-year-old policeman in Baghdad. “The players have made us proud, not the greedy politicians. Once again, our national team has shown that there is only one, united Iraq.”
A true "fairy-tale" as Soccernet as so nicely put it, it seems only a little while ago I was reading shit about one of Saddam Hussein's sons flogging the feet of Iraqi soccer players, locking them away, etc.

Extremely fitting that the captain and guy lifting the trophy in the picture above happened to score the game's only goal.

Thoughts?

SuperLiga 2007: DC wins this time only to see Houston cough up 2 points

Quick Note: This tournament is quickly turning into a huge success. Each game looks destined to break out into one massive brawl but yet it never quite does. Both D.C. and Houston had altercations tonight - Brian Mullan sticking up for Wade Barrett and Bennie Olsen getting things done all on his own. We need more rivalries like this in the MLS.

D.C. United 1, Club America 0
RFK Stadium

A 12th minute goal from Rod Dyachenko (a nice one, I'll give him that) sealed the deal for D.C. This time an Oscar Rojas ejection in the 49th minute for one of the nastiest looking tackles I have seen in a while (it was both studs up, looking to tear off some ankles), put D.C. in familiar territory. The Eagles responded well, preserving the lead, and creating more scoring chances, while keeping America to 2 (if you call them scoring chances). Christian Gomez had a feisty and productive game, while Luciano Emilio missed more opportunities than can certainly be comfortably stomached. They held on and now sit in firs

Match Report from MLSNET.com

Goalscorers:

DCU: Dyachenko (12)
AME: NONE

Houston 1, Morelia Monarcas 1
Robertson Stadium

To all Ngwenya doubters (and damn, am I one of them), the Houston striker threw a huge f-you out to his critics and Morelia supporters scoring in 12 seconds. All was solid until a penalty box mix-up forced a tough 50/50 challenge between a Morelia forward and Zach Wells. The ball popped out nicely to the only Morelia attacker in the vicinity (go figure), Marcio Batista, who proceeded to find the hole between three Dynamo defenders. Game tied. 1-1. Morelia still has that chance to go to the second round.

Goalscorers:

HOU: Ngwenya (1)
MOR: Batista (74)

Match Report from MLSNET.com

Transfer Central: Nery Castillo courted by Sven, but won by Shakhtar Donetsk

The Ukrainian powerhouse has shelled out upwards of $20 million for the Mexican playmaker who has been "hiding" in the Greek Premiership for some time now. The deal is reported to be for four-years and should be confirmed on Monday. It looks like Castillo prefers to wallow in what some would call 'obscurity' - the club, itself, however, has made some decent strides in the past couple years and possess such talent as Brazilian midfielder/forward Fernandinho, Copa America stud Elano and forward Brandao, wing midfielder Darijo Srna, Czech defensive stalwart and former Newcastle target Tomas Hubschmann, and promising Ukrainian goalkeeper Bohdan Shust. Their profile skyrocketed after securing prolific Italian forward Cristiano Luccarelli from Livorno in Serie A. Luccarelli has been at the top of the Serie A scoring charts for some time now.


It looks like Manchester City's hope to bring the 23-year old to England has failed, despite now having the cash to drop too.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

MLS: Blanco Debut a Resounding Success, Another GK for Toronto, and KC wins without the offensive help of Eddie Johnson

New England 2, Real Salt Lake 1
Rice-Eccles Stadium

The heartbreak continues for RSL and there really seems to be no end in sight. Jeff Larentowicz served as the catalyst of New England's victory - chipping in a goal and an assist. His goal was the winner. Noonan started it off, while RSL countered with Carey Talley's PK conversion. Robbie Findley was border-line non-existant - while Sturgis and Beckerman gave decent efforts.

NER: Noonan (4), Larentowicz (2)
RSL: Talley (pk 1)

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer


Chicago 3, Toronto FC 0
BMO Field

Blanco's first MLS appearance inspired a very stagnant Fire in search of a much-needed win. To do it at BMO is even prettier. Calen Carr had his first real efficient performance of the year with a goal and an assist. Floyd Franks, an unlikely candidate to be on the scoresheet, scored his first but it was Ivan Guerrero (assisted by Blanco) who opened the floodgates in front of a sold out Toronto crowd anxious to see their home team back in MLS play. TFC employed yet another new goalkeeper - David Monsalve.

CHI: Guerrero (1), Carr (2), Franks (1)
TFC: NONE

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer

Kansas City 3, Chivas USA 2
Arrowhead Stadium

Chivas USA grabs two goals yet again, but get beaten by the firepower of the Wizards (and who could believe it? nothing from Eddie Johnson). Bornstein and Cunliffe both found their first goals of the season while Kansas City got premium efforts from the hard-working Kerry Zavagnin, another goal from Davy Arnaud, and the game-winner from super-sub young'un Yura Movsisyan.

KCW: Zavagnin (3), Arnaud (4), Movsisyan (5)
CHV: Bornstein (1), J. Cunliffe (1)

Match Report from MLSNET.com

A Superliga Saturday: Chivas Pulls One Back while the Hoops tie again

FC Dallas 1, Pachuca 1
Pizza Hut Park

You know, most of the time I cringe and get upset when Carlos ' the flopping fish' Ruiz scores. But when he scores against a Mexican team - especially one who dives more than he does - I celebrate. Oh but then I get punished when that age-old 'dive in the box for a PK' trick works - Christian Gimenez converted the penalty kick with about 5 minutes left to tie it all up. Ricardinho had another spirited match showing some decent flashy footwork and running ragged at the Pachuca defense.


Match Recap from the Superliga Website

Match Recap from Top Drawer Soccer

Goalscorers:

FCD: Ruiz (76)
PAC: Gimenez (PK 87)


Chivas de Guadalajara 2, Los Angeles 1
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Landon Donovan continued his wildly inconsistent ways by turning in a rather uninspired showing last night. Despite grabbing back a goal in waning moments of the match, his touch, vision, pretty much everything was off the whole game. The Galaxy were also torn apart by the 6 returning internationals who put the LA defense on their heels throughout the whole game. Both Omars - Esparza and Bravo - had decent games for the Goats. Bravo scored the eventual gamewinner and Francisco Rodriguez finally beat Joe Cannon with a low-driven header to put them up at the beginning of the second half. Cannon was the team's MVP - perhaps for the second game in a row.

Match Report from Superliga

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer


Goalscorers:

LAG: Donovan (88)
CHV: Rodriguez (59), O. Bravo (82)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

All you Football Manager addicts - 2008 list of features and screenshots released

Check it out here!!!

Don't look too much into it: Rangers 2, Chelsea 0


Spaniard Nacho Novo and Filip Sebo knocked home two late goals to dispatch of a much-stronger Chelsea line-up. You wouldn't have guessed though as Rangers' new acquisitions Carlos Cuellar and Lee McCulloch delivered some nasty tackles on the Blues. Though just a friendly, many see this as proof that Rangers have effectively strengthened their squad this offseason and look primed to de-throne defending champs and bitter rivals Celtic. DaMarcus Beasley did not start but got decent work in after both sides entered 8 new players each at the beginning of the second half. Beasley acted as a one of two wingers supporting former Wigan Athletic man Lee McCulloch who sat alone up front.

The win against the Premiership runner-ups should serve as a confidence booster before their Champions League qualifier, this coming Tuesday, versus FK Zeta.

Match Report from Chelsea's website.

LINE-UPS:

RANGERS: McGregor, Alan Hutton, David Weir, Sasa Papac, Barry Ferguson, Brahim Hemdani, Kris Boyd, Charlie Adam, Jean-Claude Darcheville, Carlos Cuellar, Lee McCulloch

Subs: Smith, Carroll, Thomson, Novo, Sionko, Gow, Burke, Murray, Beasley, Broadfoot, Webster, Sebo

CHELSEA: Petr Cech, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Tal Ben-Haim, Lassana Diarra, Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Steve Sidwell, Florent Malouda, Andrei Shevchenko, Didier Drogba

Subs: Cudicini, Hilario, Cole, Carvalho, Obi Mikel, Pizarro, Sinclair, Wright-Phillips, Hutchinson

Blackburn signs Roque Santa Cruz from Bayern; what does this mean for Eddie Johnson?

The big Paraguayan had a tumultuous time at Bayern Munich - suffering through a massive case of the ups and downs. He is, however, only 25-years old and with a great track record which, if compared to Eddie Johnson (who has been rumoured to have ongoing contractual discussions) - Roque Santa Cruz is a much better, high-profile choice. What does that mean? Eddie Johnson will probably not head to Blackburn, has already turned down Derby, and how many other teams are willing to chase him in the Premiership? And is the Premiership even the right spot for him?


Regardless, the Rovers have paid $7 million for the striker and the only reason he's leaving Munich is because of the strong acquisitions new coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has made. Where's the playing time when you got Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose, and Lukas Podolski all ahead of you? Can't even move him to the flank because Frank Ribery is there. More importantly, Hitzfeld is looking to shed any remnants of last year's "disaster" of a season (in Bayern Munich standards). This is a steal for Blackburn and to have him up top with Benni McCarthy (who was rumored at some point to be on his way out) with Jason Roberts in support - is a damn good thing (with two young'uns Maceo Rigters and Matt Derbyshire vying for a role as well). The Paraguayan scored 31 times in a 155 appearances with Bayern and also has 49 caps for the national team, tallying 14 times.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Chelsea re-sign Terry until 2012, but is Ballack sticking around?

Defensive stalwart John Terry, despite previous reports of a move out of London, has signed on for another 5 years at Stamford Bridge. Though no real figure was reported, his new contract likely makes him one of the highest paid defenders (if not player) of all-time. Is the man worth it? With Ryan Giggs-like loyalty and a keen form of leadership, I'd have to say yes. You can't quantify influence, respect, or determination. This guy has all of them and he has always wanted to keep himself at Chelsea. From Eurosport.com...

"I hope that the fans can see that we are all trying to build something special here, both for now and for the future, and I want to be a part of that.

"I have been at Chelsea all my career and have the privilege of being captain. Now it's time to look forward to the new season, which we are all very confident about."

Chief executive Peter Kenyon added: "This is an important day for Chelsea. This was the right deal for us and for John.

"As a club we are committed to try and keep our players together on long term deals and this was a natural progression from last season when other players also committed themselves for the long term.

"As captain, John is clearly a key player for Chelsea and also a great symbol of the club so naturally we are pleased this has been agreed."

This "building something special", however, might have to come without oft-injured and fading German midfielder Michael Ballack. But is he fading? Or is it lack of playing time and consistency of health? Either way, new Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster is looking to bring his talent to the Bernabeu. Let him go, Jose. You rarely play him anyway. And remember...you said you'd calm down.

Landon Donovan to the English Premiership?


When has Landon Donovan only spoken to Skysports News. Regardless, the LA Galaxy midfielder says that as he ages he realizes how much he "yearns to play at the highest level". Not only is the English Premiership the highest level, but there are also no language barriers (which apparently threw Donovan for a loop in Germany).

For all those Donovan to San Jose hopefuls, this could introduce more suitors. Or will the failed time at Bayer Leverkusen be enough to ward potential suitors off?

"The older I get and the more I play, the more I'm yearning for that highest level I can play at and I think the Premiership would be the best place the play," he told Sky Sports News.

"If I were to go obviously the language isn't an issue. There are a lot of Americans there. It would be the easiest place the settle, Germany was difficult.

"At the moment I'm happy here, at least for the next few years with Dave (Beckham) here. I want to be a part of this too. Not many people get to be a part of this, so I want to live it."

Source is here...what are you thoughts?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chivas USA 2, Red Bull New York 0

Angel called it "strange" and "unlucky"

Altidore called it "frustrating"

Stammler called it "unlucky"

Arena called it "not good enough" - but believe it or not, he did say "we actually probably played better tonight than last Sunday against D.C. [United]". Interesting

Either way...Ante Razov and Sacha Kljestan scored for Chivas USA, while the post kept most everything out of Brad Guzan's goal. Bruce Arena's 3 forward attack in Altidore, Angel, and Wolyniec created the chances but couldn't convert those chances into goals.

Match Report from MLSNet.com

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer

Goal Scorers

CHV: Razov (6), Kljestan (2)
RBNY: NONE

YANK ABROAD UPDATE: Frankie Simek signs on for 3 more years.


The Sheffield Wednesday fullback made it clear to the Premiership squads interested in him would have to fight a little harder if they want his signature. A newly-minted American international, Simek's consistent play in the Championship has attracted interest from Everton and Birmingham respectively. His thoughts, however, are on getting Sheffield Wednesday back into the Premiership (which quite interestingly was the team that John Harkes you used to play for). Therefore, Simek has agreed to a new three-year deal.

Sheffield Wednesday will open their season at Ipswich on August 11th.

Starting Line-ups: Red Bulls throw a curve ball vs. Chivas USA

Red Bull New York

GK: Jon Conway

Defenders: Hunter Freeman, Chris Leitch, Seth Stammler, Kevin Goldthwaite

Midfielders: Joe Vide, Claudio Reyna, Dave van den Bergh

Forwards: Juan Pablo Angel, John Wolyniec, Jozy Altidore

Subs:

Unused Substitutes: Danny Cepero, Carlos Mendes, Dema Kovalenko, Clint Mathis, Dane Richards, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Randi Patterson

Bruce Arena has opted for a 4-3-3 formation as he tries to put all three in-form strikers together on the field. This'll be the first time in a long time that the Red Bulls have gone with three forwards. Angel is back from suspension. Clint Mathis and Dane Richards are both on the bench, while Joe Vide has earned his way into the holding midfielder role. Also look for Van den Bergh to act a little more defensive. The other surprise is Chris Leitch over Carlos Mendes which the buzz in the press box here is that Mendes is out with the flu (could probably see some time in the second half if needed). Stammler, Freeman, and Goldthwaite all have the pace to deal with Galindo, but will it happen?

Chivas USA

GK: Brad Guzan

Defenders: Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas, Jonathan Bornstein, Alex Zotinca

Midfielders: Sacha Kljestan, Lawson Vaughn, Jesse Marsch, Francisco Mendoza

Forwards: Maykel Galindo, Ante Razov

Subs:

Unused Substitutes: Preston Burpo, Jason Hernandez, Orlando Perez, Rodrigo Lopez, Jorge Flores, Anthony Hamilton, Laurent Merlin

The Goats have come to Giants Stadium with a healthy line-up - the key decider between these teams seems to be who comes off the bench to spark the game. Looking at Chivas' bench options compared to the Red Bull's it looks like NY has the upper hand.

Transfer Round-Up: Sven at Citeh goes on a shopping spree, Simao moves to Spain, and MSI screws everything up

Pending work permit issues, Bulgarian Martin Petrov will be making his way to Sven Goran Eriksson's new stomping ground, Manchester City. With the Thai takeover complete, the transfer budget has been given gentle nudge upwards and Eriksson, former English national team boss, was able to spring for the Atletico Madrid playmaker. His cost? A heavy $9 million and change. The first question is, will Martin outplay the "other" Petrov, Stilian, who spent his first year in the Premiership with Aston Villa. Secondly, and probably most importantly, will Eriksson stop here??? That answer is a firm no - he is expecting several more new faces and has been rumoured to target restless Juventus stars Giorgio Chiellini (who had recently a wonderful Euro U-21 appearance with Italy) and midfielder Manuele Blasi. Let's not forget the search for a big target man up top - Nikola Zigic apparently is on top of that shortlist as the 6'7" Serbian striker had a decent year with Racing Santander last year in La Liga. Add him up front with Corradi or Bianchi and you have yourself one hell of a scary strikeforce.

In an effort to counter the loss of Fernando Torres, Martin Petrov, etc. Atletico Madrid is launching a rather bold bid for former Liverpool target Simao Sabrosa. A $26.5 million bid just might be enough to pry the extremely talented young'un away from Benfica. The contract offered is reported to be a 5-year stay and a formal acceptance is the last thing needed to make the deal official. Both Liverpool and Valencia tried and failed to sign the winger early on and could this be a move that has links to possible Freddy Adu transfer??? Who knows...

Charlton fullback and England international Luke Young has agreed a transfer that will take him to Middlesbrough. His main concern was staying in Premiership football. The deal is official and it will be nice to see him fit in with an already decent back four led by the two central defenders Ronald Huth and former Real Madrid player Jonathan Woodgate. The deal was an easy $5 million.

A divorce is in process between MSI and Corinthians. Apparently the Brazilian club has severed all ties with the London-based agency. Let's be honest - when Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano signed for West Ham United we all knew something rather dodgy was going on. It was confirmed that way and now MSI and Kia Joorabchian (Tevez's agent) are looking to do the same with Carlos Tevez going to Manchester United after one painful year with West Ham. If any player was that tied up in legal headaches and remarkably terrible business practices, why would a club want to work their way into the middle of it? Even if Tevez and Rooney would be insane up front.

What do I know. What's your two cents?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Where's Beckham!?


This is either after Alan Gordon or Landon Donovan's goal in the Galaxy's SuperLiga win over tourney favorites Pachuca 2-1. Well, his kids seem to like the team. And now we know Beckham is emotionally invested somewhat in this team. Or it's just a pretty hysterical picture with no real meaning whatsoever.

SuperLiga Starting Lineups: D.C. United vs. Morelia Monarcas

D.C. United

GK: Troy Perkins

Defenders: Marc Burch, Devon McTavish, Bobby Boswell, Joshua Gros

Midfielders: Fred, Christian Gomez, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen

Forwards: Luciano Emilio, Rod Dyachenko

The only real surprise is Dyachenko starting here, but even that isn't that big. It will be interesting to see what he can do. The other match-up will be D.C.'s Brazilian duo versus Morelia's Brazilian trio (Wanderson de Souza, Wilson Matias, and Marcio Batista).

Only 7 minutes and Christian Gomez has placed a perfect 25 yarder in the bottom right hand corner. Early on, my prediction is a 3-1 D.C. win.

No Jersey Sponsor for Kansas City in 2007...but yes to 2008?

A little off-the-transfer-topic, but here's a little tidbit from KansasCity.com - apparently, there is talk of rebranding (highly unlikely), a third jersey (likely), and so on. Here's the article - read and take what you will from it.

On top of that, who knew Garmin was going to sponsor Middlesbrough? I didn't...but that's interesting - for no apparent reason.

UCLA's Zizzo off to Hannover 96

Sal(vatore) Zizzo will join Heath Pearce as the second Yank to head to the Bundesliga this transfer window. Pearce recently joined newly promoted Hansa Rostock. The 20-year old Zizzo, who thanks to Johann Smith's untimely injury, terrorized the sidelines along with Robbie Rogers during the US U-20's quarterfinal run in Canada.

The move has been confirmed by Hannover 96's website (with the little German I can comprehend) and both MLSU and Soccer by Ives' have confirmed as well. This is a great move and quite a loss for the MLS (although due to Zizzo's apparent Italian/EU Passport, his intentions all along screamed Europe). The UCLA product will join a team that started the 2006/07 season terribly but rebounded and excelled with a young line-up to finish 11th, led by Steve Cherundolo's grit and influence. The team certainly plans to improve and have picked up some especially potent strikers in Mike Hanke from VfL Wolfsburg and Benjamin Lauth from fellow Yank Abroad Benny Feilhaber's squad Hamburg (HSV). It will be interesting to see whether or not Zizzo can make a first-team impression, but it would hardpressed - considering Hannover's lack of speed and aggression on the wing - that he wouldn't get a look right away.

The contract is three years and I think this is just the beginning for American youth heading abroad. We've got one whole month left in this summer's transfer window and I'd be surprised if we don't have closure on some other rumors.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

FC Dallas 1, Chivas de Guadalajara 1 - The Hoops are Shafted.

Three Bright Spots of the Match

1. Juan Carlos Toja - the guy works harder than any one in the MLS to rule that midfield; I have not seen one game where Toja didn't look motivated, charged, and ready to contribute; his effort made me take Ricardinho out of this top three even though his debut in a Hoop uniform was inspiring for a 19 year old; the Brazilian has the speed of Oduro (well not quite) but better composure and skill; Toja sprung Ricardinho loose several times on that left side while on the defensive end, the Colombian broke up several dangerous Chivas' counters

2. Arturo Alvarez - his mazy runs left several Chivas defenders embarrassed at times; all his effort and hard work on the wing culminated in the deft chip over Chivas GK Ernesto Michel; Alvarez was still creating chances with the help of Toja and Ricchetti even after Drew Moor's sending off in the 72nd minute

3. Ray Burse, Jr. - I remember a certain FC Dallas fan writing in at the beginning of the season to tell me that Dario Sala was the man and neither Ray Burse, Jr. or Shaka Hislop were worth giving a damn about; he was right about Hislop - but Burse, Jr., who got his audition tonight, responded magnificently looking like - guess who? - Dario Sala in net; his reflexes and speed off the goal line was certainly not indicative of his young age

Worst Call of the Game: It certainly deserves a mention. After a 50-50 challenge went awry, the ball bounced into the path of the Goats' Antonio Olivera who, unintentionally, settled the ball with his hand which then proceeded to bounce favorably enough for Olivera to fire a volley (great shot by the way) that rocketed past

Best Call of the Game: Moor's red card. As much as I wanted Moor to retaliate and a full-out brawl to ensue, he's really got to be thinking about professionalism in this situation. You know the fouled is going to exaggerate - greatly, you know you'll get ejected if you physically touch the guy, but I am sure the handball goal was still fresh in his mind, rendering all things composed completely obsolete. Moor had a decent defensive game beforehand and the Hoops played harder a man down.

I will not be watching the whole Galaxy-Pachuca game - so views and opinions are more than welcome. It is 0-0 in 40th minute, however - with Beckham definitely not playing (as he's sitting in stands) - and Pachuca seems to be getting most of the chances offensively. Abel Xavier has been a rock yet again. Same with Joe Cannon. Once again, however, where is Landon?

The New Generation of Young'uns: Premiership Teams that Owe their Promotion to Youngsters

Giles Barnes
Club: Derby Birthdate: August 5th, 1988

Barnes lit up the Championship last season and he has already seen a long line of suitors contemplating bids for the 18 year old. That line consists of West Ham United, Arsenal, and Tottenham. Last term was his first full year in the first team and, consequently, his breakout year. Overall for Derby, though, he's appeared 58 times with a solid 9 goal clip as an attacking midfielder. The guy was probably THE reason that Derby has found themselves promoted this year and he's ready to take the club onto his shoulders yet again (with big help from forward Steve Howard). A broken foot during the Championship play-offs has sidelined Barnes and will keep him out of Derby's early Premiership match-ups against Portsmouth and possibly Manchester City.


Anthony Stokes
Club: Sunderland Birthdate: July 25th, 1988

The former Arsenal youth product was picked up by Sunderland boss Roy Keane after his impressive loan spell at Falkirk which consisted of Stokes scoring 14 goals in 16 games. He returned to Arsenal at the end of 2006 and sensing that his first team potential with the Gunners was dead, he succumbed to advances of Roy Keane and made a $4 million move to Sunderland. This move and continued first team play led to his first international cap with Ireland. The striker is known for his well-developed skill at such a young age, with the know-how to dictate the tempo of play - fittingly, he likens himself to Dennis Bergkamp. Look for him to play to his potential and attract some attention as he plays day in and day out at the Premiership level.


Fabrice Muamba
Club: Birmingham City Birthdate: April 6th, 1988

Yet another former Arsenal youth product, recently purchased by Birmingham for a solid $8 million and one who has high expectations of him at the Premiership level. Never given the chance to see significant first team time with the Gunners, Muamba - a defensive midfielder - spent last season on loan with Birmingham and was integral in their successes, appearing 41 times. Muamba and his family fled DR Congo (then Zaire) and sought asylum in England. His curiosity and desire to play football never ceased, despite the life-altering events, and now he regularly appears with the England U-19s. His strengths are his sheer athleticism, natural fitness, and raw talent. With continued play, Birmingham boss Steve Bruce aims to make him his idol, Patrick Vieira.

Paolo Wanchope to join Blanco at the Fire and guess what? Jose Mourinho plans to chill out!


Paolo Wanchope is one of those guys that you could swear has been playing for 25 years (kinda like Abel Xavier). The Tico-legend has instead taken the globe-trekker approach and gone from Costa Rica to England to Spain, at some point to Argentina, etc. He has played most recently for FC Tokyo in Japan but also has had seasons with Derby County, West Ham United, Manchester City in the Championship and Premiership respectively. Within English competition, the 30-year Costa Rican has racked up a respectable 81 goals to match his equally respectable tally of 45 goals in 72 caps for the Costa Rican national team.
The brief details of the deal were first reported by Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune and I am sure he will continue to keep us all updated.

Check out Wanchope's brace against Germany in the 2006 WC (as well as all 4 German goals)

JOSE MOURINHO plans to CALM DOWN


As for Jose Mourinho - his plan for his fourth season at Chelsea is to mellow out and, well, not hog the damn spotlight. Amidst all this talk to Skysports, however, he still managed to get a crack in at Arsenal's Arsene Wenger. Read on...

"I want to be more mellow this year," Mourinho told The Sun. "I am what I am but, at the same time, people use my personality to create something that is not true.

"It is normal if I am emotional or if I react to something that is not fair.

"But people have an image of me that's incorrect and now I want it to be different.

"I won't hug Arsene Wenger because he's not a close friend. But he can say what he wants about us.

"He can complain about a lot of things as he did in the past. I'm not ready to react. I just want to do my work and concentrate on that.

"I look at our opponents because I need to know the way they play but I'm not interested in what they say.

"My relationships with other people will not change. My bottle of wine with Ferguson will still be a bottle of wine, my handshake with Wenger will still be a handshake."

Mourinho also reiterated the fact that he is content with life at Chelsea and is in no hurry to leave the club.

"This is the first time I have started a fourth season with the same club and I feel great," added Mourinho. "I am happy with what we've done.

"I am happy with the relationship I have with my players and with the people who work with me. It's the best place to work so I am happy to be part of the Chelsea future. I didn't want to move.

"I think I did a good job at Chelsea for three years but I want to do more.

"I am loved in Portugal but my life is better in London.

"The way people approach me is different. In London, you have more space. My life is a simple life."


I do think it's good that he even wants to try - Ferguson and Wenger all mellowed out and some point and despite their ups and downs, neither has ever really seriously thought about leaving the UK. One side note: if David Beckham - Mr. Emotional - and Jose Mourinho - a different kind of Mr. Emotional - were the same person, that person would inevitably be the biggest head case known to man. I have to admit, if you watched some of that hour Beckham program (New Beginnings) on ESPN before the game, Beckham cries a lot, more than normal people...Mourinho, on the other hand, will eventually have a conniption if he doesn't mellow out, so watch the guy this year...and let's see if he keeps to his word.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Superliga: An SUM Experiment Begins


Here's a quick TV schedule for you. All games are televised on Telefutura.

Tuesday, July 24th

9:00pm FC Dallas vs. Chivas Guadalajara

11:00pm Los Angeles vs. Pachuca

Wednesday, July 25th

8:00pm D.C. United vs. Morelia

10:00pm Houston vs. Club America

Saturday, July 28th

8:00pm FC Dallas vs. Pachuca

10:00pm Los Angeles vs. Chivas Guadalajara

Sunday, July 29th

8:00pm D.C. United vs. Club America

10:00pm Houston vs. Morelia

Tuesday, July 31st

8:00 pm FC Dallas vs. Los Angeles

10:00 pm Chivas Guadalajara vs. Pachuca

Wednesday, August 1st

8:00pm D.C. United vs. Houston

10:00pm Club América vs. Morelia

Tuesday, August 14th

Semifinal 1, (TBD), Time TBD

Wednesday, August 15th

Semifinal 2, (TBD), Time TBD

Wednesday, August 29th

Final, (TBD), Time TBD


Who is going to win?
- or will anybody be following this? I've heard this competition called everything from 'cashcow' to 'glorified friendlies' - what's your take on it?

Personally - I see Pachuca as the favorite, but Houston is going to do well, making the final, and eventually winning it all.

10 Bright Spots of Week 16: Guess what? Beckham didn't make it.

  1. Guillermo Barros Schelloto – 2 goals in the span of 6 minutes allowed Columbus to take care of Toronto and to put a bit of a buffer between those currently out of playoff contention; the Crew were dropped last week by Chivas USA on an own goal and felt robbed, what they needed was to step up and regain the momentum; Schelloto did just that as the Crew now wait to head out to Chicago on August 4th to take on the Fire
  2. Brian Ching – who would have thought that, in the end, another Dynamo All-Star in Dwayne DeRosario would let Ching down; the target man put two close-range opportunities away in the span of 2 minutes to help Houston catapult to a 3-2 lead over the Revolution of all teams; unfortunately, the game was tied minutes later after DeRo palmed a restart allowing Shalrie Joseph to provide the equalizer from the spot; could this brace officially break Ching out of his funk?
  3. John Wolyniec – the journeyman, when needed, always seems to come through; Arena placed him up front with Altidore and, often, this pairing doesn’t work out too well; this match, however, was against D.C. and everybody’s desire to play skyrockets a little – Altidore fed Wolyniec head-to-head and his goal stuck to lead NY back to the top of the standings; every goal Wolyniec AND Altidore have scored this year were eventual game-winners
  4. Eddie Johnson – his 2 goals and performance against Colorado would normally get first on this list but he was stood up by Schelloto, Ching, and Wolyniec; his league-leading 12 goals looks pretty next to 11 appearances but, unfortunately, barely anyone was there to witness his scoring clinic
  5. Cuauhtemac Blanco – yea, his first goal in a Fire jersey was during a friendly but he looked fit, skilled, and fired up for his debut; a semi-sea of Blanco Fire jerseys probably helped but Blanco refused to look 34 out there, even as Celtic defenders homed in on him, fouling him several times in the first half; Blanco responded with poise by taking his own self-pass, rounding Celtic GK Boruc, and putting it home; unfortunately, a Derek Riordan goal later in the game erased that 1-0 lead but the Fire held out for the tie
  6. Abel Xavier – despite all the offensive tallies in meaningful play this week, we witnessed a remarkable performance from the conflicted Portuguese defender; Xavier literally got some extremity on almost every ball in the Galaxy’s penalty box; I think I counted 6 blocks which means he kept Chelsea’s shot total from reaching a ridiculous 30; between him and Ty Harden, the Galaxy saw improvement as they played somewhat well together – can it translate into Superliga success and, ultimately, MLS success?
  7. Facundo Erpen – no, he didn’t have the best of games against Kansas City defensively but he did provide the equalizer when he challenged a Terry Cooke cross amidst many Wizard defenders, nodding it home past Bouna Coundoul; of course, this goal comes after a little bit of adversity in the form of being traded from the East Coast to Colorado and the Rapids’ needed that point
  8. Tim Howard – he had a great game against Real Salt Lake which even Everton coach David Moyes expressed satisfaction towards; but he also gifted that first RSL goal to Carey Talley which in turn allowed the victory-challenged RSLers to cruise to a 2-0 win; oh yea, and Moyes made sure to point that out too
  9. Taylor Twellman – coming back from international competitions and getting right back into the swing of things again is not easy, unless your Eddie Johnson; Twellman found a little bit of a groove again providing New England with a put-back goal and an assist on Pat Noonan’s opener in their 3-3 scorefest against Houston; Pat Noonan, after being assisted by Twellman for his 3rd of the year, felt compelled to return the favor
  10. Referee Tim Weyland – 9 cards issued in the game between Colorado and Kansas City; he also had to deal with Burciaga, Jr. who took a pot-shot at Rapids keeper Bouna Coundoul (but why was there no card for Bouna when he kicked both legs out at Burciaga?); regardless, this spot on the countdown is not for the quality of his refereeing but merely for the physical effort it takes to pull out 9 cards in one game – that’s tough.

YANKS ABROAD UPDATE: Freddy Adu to Benfica? With Celtic close behind. Scholes, another Freddie, and Ricardinho too.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that $7.5 million would have to be tabled in order to pry the 18-year old Adu away from the MLS. That's slim pickins' for a club like Benfica or Celtic and Freddy Adu's absence at the Real Salt Lake/Everton friendly fueled transfer talk. According to Lewis' sources - Adu's agent could be wrapping up a deal in just a few days with Benfica the leader in the chase. Another club mentioned is Premiership youth hotbed, Tottenham Hotspur.

Clearly - more should come from this in the coming days. Adu, however, should be in the roster for RSL's friendly match-up with Boca Juniors on Tuesday, July 24th. His departure would certainly be a bittersweet one as many are still waiting for the "real" Freddy Adu to come out. Not only that, but it might push RSL to up the ante for a Jay Jay Okocha or some other winger looking to come to the MLS.

OTHER NEWS:

Manchester United were dealt a rather large blow as trusty veteran center midfielder Paul Scholes has been ruled out of the rest of the Red Devils' Far East tour and a month onward with extensive knee pain. Exploratory surgery will be done keeping him out for the beginning of the Premiership season on August 11th.

Long-time Arsenal Gunner Freddie Ljungberg has moved on. West Ham United were keen suitors and won their man. His departure, however, was pretty much solidified when Thierry Henry left the club as Ljungberg believed that any favorable future for the club left with the French striker. Ljungberg, only 30, is healthy again (and over his injury riddled last season) and is poised to help an ailing Hammer midfield (especially if Tevez leaves).

The courtship of Ricardinho is over. FC Dallas', according to Buzz Carrick's 3rd Degree, has finally signed him on loan formally, all legal/immigration documents in order, and he will be ready to compete in the Superliga schedule rapidly approaching. Roberto Mina has been placed on injury reserve to make room for the youth international. His pace apparently rivals Dominic Oduro, except the Brazilian possesses better skill and decision-making skills. Should be real interesting, especially if Denilson comes into the mix (which we should hear something about soon).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

MLS week 16: Beckham debut, Schelloto brace, Johnson brace, Ching brace, Blanco scores on debut

MLS Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

New England 3, Houston 3

Gillette Stadium

The streak ends for the Dynamo, but Houston fight hard for a point at Gillette. Taylor Twellman resumed scoring, while Brian Ching played catch-up by scoring 2 goals in 2 minutes. In probably the craziest game of the season so far, take a look at previous posts to find out why.

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer


NER: Noonan (3), Twellman (8)
HOU: DeRosario (4), Ching 2 (6)

Columbus 2, Toronto FC 0
Columbus Crew Stadium

Thanks to the presence of Guillermo Barros Schelloto (all he needed was about 5 minutes), the Crew overcame a stingy Toronto FC squad. Toronto's away woes continue as the Crew start their winning ways all over again.

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer

CMB: Schelloto 2 (4)
TFC: NONE

New York 1, D.C. United 0
Giants Stadium

John Wolyniec put one away early on with the help of Claudio Reyna and Jozy Altidore as New York managed to hold on for the first Atlantic Cup victory in a looooong time. The Red Bull defense looked, quite possibly, back to normal. The Bulls gained two points on both KC and NE in the Eastern Conference race.

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer

RBNY: Wolyniec (3)
DCU: NONE

Colorado 2, Kansas City 2
Arrowhead Stadium

Colorado overcame a quick brace from Eddie Johnson (who now solely possesses the Golden Boot lead with 12) to force a point away at Arrowhead. It took a PK conversion from Jovan Kirovski and Facundo Erpen's first goal for the club to do it, but it was done. This year could be the first year multiple forwards have hit for 20 goals in the same season. KC struck early then had to hold on due to Jose Burciaga, Jr.'s sending off in the 67th minute. Somebody fend off the Derby County officials because after this game, I think we'll see them offering some money.

Match Report from MLSNet.com

COL: Kirovski (PK 3), Erpen (1)
KCW: E. Johnson 2 (12)

Friendlies!

Real Salt Lake 2, Everton 0

Robbie Findley and Carey Talley scored to make RSL 2-0 in international friendlies. Too bad it can't translate to league wins...Timmy Howard looked decent in goal, while it was apparent that Everton were severely lacking in fitness.

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer

Chelsea FC 1, Los Angeles 0

It was lavish. It was a spectacle. It was somewhat hair-raising. There were stars there and a sea of Beckham jerseys. Overall, you have to be happy about it. Did ESPN not focus on the right things? Of course not. They Americanized it, but it was a good thing Beckham did. He will fit well into this league, but now...rest. Chelsea's lone goal was scored by John Terry (everytime he's around Beckham he finds some way to score!). The Galaxy played well and even though they were outshot 25-5, two sitters were missed by Donovan and Gordon. A good showing overall. Abel Xavier and Ty Harden stood out in the back.

Match Report from MLSNET.com

Chicago 1, Celtic 1

In Blanco's debut, he scores. How fitting. The bull raced down a self-pass, beat the outstretched fingers of Artur Boruc, and slotted it home. Celtic equalized later, but overall, a decent showing from the aching Fire. Blanco looks ready to go and could make an immediate impact on the Chicago's second half of the season.

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer

Tidbits from RBNY: Arena expects another defender soon, Parke injured, Beckham under-rated

Red Bull New York 1, D.C. United 0

full match report coming in the weekend round-up

- Bruce Arena said in his post-game press conference that he expects another central defender on the roster soon. He revealed this when he was questioned about putting Seth Stammler back at central defense. This need being compounded with the injury, though seemingly slight, to Jeff Parke. Parke had a solid first half until his back pass (unnecessary though it was) caused him to strain his right hamstring.

- "He brings a great attitude to the team everyday. Works very hard. When he's called upon, he comes through. Last year he did pretty good job, but he's an improved goalkeeper this year. They do say that when keepers get into their thirties, they get much better. I think Jon is getting a much better feel for how to play, how to read the game." Arena on Jon Conway, replacement for Ronald Waterreus.

- "Even on a bad day, Wolyniec helps us" - Arena on Wolyniec's work ethic

- Jozy Altidore decided to forfeit his time off that Arena offered him after the U-20 World Cup. This was due to the fact he wanted to end the jinx against D.C. He accomplished his goal, but admitted to being fatigued early out there, but in no way did he regret not taking the days off.

- "Whatever this league needs to get some attention, I'll take it. I'm happy I'm not in the middle of it, but if that's what gets people in the stands. I, personally, think that David Beckham is, oddly enough, a very underrated player. I mean he is an outstanding I don't think he's gonna carry the league on his back, but he's a great player. I think the expectations as to what he's gonna do are large, but that's certainly not my problem" Arena on Beckham.

- Arena said he was impressed by ESPN's presentation comparing it to the presentation of other American sports, but reiterated that he was happy not to be in the middle of it. Too much to handle.

NEWS: Argentina has captured the Under-20 World Cup Championship

Argentina 2, Czech Republic 1
BMO Field Toronto, Canada

It was a true display of the still efficient youth of the somewhat "watered down" U-20 Argentine squad. Martin Fenin opened the scoring in the 60th minute with a Sergio Aguero, the Atletico Madrid striker, struck back 2 minutes later, however, putting it back to even. Aguero is highly touted to be an even bigger part of the picture at Atletico this coming season with the departure of Fernando Torres to Liverpool (depending on whether or not Diego Forlan is in form). The winner was provided by Mauro Zarate in the 86th minute. Somebody in the New York pressbox here won't let us hear the end of it (his retort, "how many championships have the Americans won?"). Well, he's got us there.

Overall, it was an outright battle of youth out there. There were 10 yellow cards issued - 6 to the Czechs, 4 to the Argentines. The win, however, was Argentina's 6th U-20 title which you would think should start translating into senior World Cup wins again sometime soon.


GOALSCORERS:

CZE: Fenin (60)
ARG: Aguero (62), Zarate (86)

Half-time at Giant Stadium: Red Bulls 1, D.C. United 0

Altidore's revenge plot has been executed with 50% success so far.

50% in the fact that Altidore assisted John Wolyniec's third goal of the season, instead of scoring outright.

50% in that it is only halftime and D.C. dominated the last 10 minutes taking the momentum into the locker room.

Altidore has had some nice touches but D.C.'s Vanney and Boswell have responded beautifully.

Crazy game going on: Houston vs. New England

The game started relatively tame as Pat Noonan scored the opening goal in the 32nd, which left the game 1-0 New England at the half.

Then - all hell broke loose. In the 49th minute, DeRosario scored to tie it up 1-1. Twellman responded in the 51st to put the Revs up 2-1. Ching decided to partake in the fun by scoring 2 goals in 2 minutes, striking in the 60th and 61st minute to put Houston up 3-2. Then in the 66th minute, Shalrie Joseph's PK after a Dwayne DeRosario handball was saved by Pat Onstad (maybe showing exactly why Onstad should not have been snubbed by the MLS All-Stars). Only, the PK was called to be retaken, Joseph sunk the second attempt for his 4th of the year tying the game up at 3-3.

Yep, that's 5 goals in 15 minutes. Not to mention, Houston just had that shutout streak broken in a somewhat ridiculous fashion. Score still 3-3 in the 70th minute.

Starting Lineups: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls

GK: Jon Conway ()

Defenders: Hunter Freeman (), Carlos Mendes (), Jeff Parke (), Kevin Goldthwaite ()

Midfielders: Dane Richards (), Claudio Reyna (), Seth Stammler (), Clint Mathis ()

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (), John Wolyniec ()

Substitutes:

Unused Subs: Danny Cepero, Chris Leitch, Dema Kovalenko, Markus Schopp, Dave van den Bergh, Joe Vide, Jerrod Laventure

Altidore cuts his time off short from the long run in Canada to wreak havoc on the piecemeal D.C. defense. Not only that but someone has to fill in for the suspended Juan Pablo Angel. Someone needs to find the net as there has only been one goal in the past four games. Waterreus is still injured as is Dema Kovalenko (but he is on the bench, if desperately needed)

D.C. United

GK: Troy Perkins ()

Defenders: Devon McTavish (), Bobby Boswell (), Greg Vanney (), Marc Burch ()

Midfielders: Clyde Simms (), Brian Carroll (), Christian Gomez (), Joshua Gros ()

Forward: Luciano Emilio (), Fred ()

Substitutes:

Unused Subs: Jay Nolly, Jeff Carroll, Stephen DeRoux, Rod Dyachenko, Domenic Mediate, Nicholas Addlery

The Brazilians will start up front looking to expose any inconsistencies in New York's back four, but United is without Bennie Olsen who lit up the Red Bulls last meeting for a well-deserved hat-trick.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chelsea's Line-Up vs. the Galaxy


I think they're trying to destroy American soccer, David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy in one fell swoop. This line-up is phenomenally ridiculous.

GK: Petr Cech

Defenders: Tal Ben-Haim, Paolo Ferreira, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho

Midfielders: Florent Malouda, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Shaun Wright-Phillips

Forward: Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou

Then again - what were we expecting? On the bench - we have the likes of Andrei Shevchenko, Joe Cole, Jon Obi Mikel, Claude Makelele, Glen Johnson (back from loan), and former Bobby Convey teammate Steve Sidwell. BIG ABSENCE (anyone with any news) is Dutch young'un winger Arjen Robben who apparently has agreed personal terms with Beckham's former club Real Madrid.

Transfer Round-Up: MLS Chase for Fowler is over, Ajax brings in two old guys, and Edgar Barreto moves to Serie A

Robbie Fowler, the Liverpool loyalist, has ended his hunt for a new club. Apparently, at one time, Fowler had been courted by Steve Nicol and the New England Revolution, and less religiously, the New York Red Bulls. Neither struck his fancy. Then came the A-League - Sydney was taking a look at him. Fowler wanted nothing to do with the distance. Fowler - clearly a homebody - decided finally on Cardiff City, a English Championship squad with a good amount of cash. Perfect for Cardiff, as they just lost their big gun Michael Chopra to newly promoted Sunderland and Roy Keane. Regardless, hopefully Fowler can put together a couple more solid goalscoring years and propel the squad to the Premiership.


Ajax has a thing for aging Spanish veterans and this offseason's transfer window sees not many changes. At first, maybe, as they went and raided freshly relegated Charlton Athletic for winger Dennis Rommedahl. The Danish international previously played for PSV Eindhoven so competition in the Dutch Eredivisie will come as no surprise. The second signing is clearly for the short term as Ajax swooped for 35-year old Ismael Urzaiz of Athletic Bilbao. Urzaiz will join Roger and Gabri as two other aging Spaniards. Is the Eredivisie a retirement league? No - Henk Ten Cate just likes old Spaniards, can't fault him for that.

Edgar Barreto - one of my favorite prospects from Paraguay - has moved on to Reggina of Italian Serie A. He showed his promise against the United States at Copa America, scoring Paraguay's first goal. The midfielder has been playing with NEC Nijmegen in the Dutch Eredivisie and has become transfer bait due to the club's need for cash. Known for his off-the-ball work and hard work ethic, no doubt he'll be a hit at Reggina who desperately need some sort of midfield spark to ensure survival in Serie A. This kid should undoubtedly shine.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Philly: the Seeds of Frustration Continue to Plant Themselves

Yes. I am pessimistic. Do I want MLS Philly? Of course - but I'd rather not hear anything until it's definite.

Here is the news popping up all over the place on an expansion team/SSS in and around Philadelphia.

Kicking Up Interest (Philadelphia Daily News)


Chester Stadium in the Works? (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Chester would be a great place for the stadium. Waterfront - close proximity to Center City Philly and all suburbs around it. What do you think?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A US Open Cup MLS Embarrasment Means...

1. Better Lower League Competition?

or

2. Little Urgency When It Comes to the USOC?

Regardless, here is the quarterfinal schedule:

August 7, 2007

Harrisburg City Islanders vs. New England
Richmond Kickers vs. Carolina Railhawks (featuring the Maher brothers)
F.C. Dallas vs. Charleston Battery
Colorado vs. Seattle Sounders (Maykel Galindo's old club dispatched of Chivas USA)

Semi-finals will be played September 4, 2007
Final will be played October 2, 2007

I see a New England/FC Dallas matchup in the final - with the other two semifinal teams being Carolina and Seattle (Sebastian Le Toux likes the label ' MLS Giantkiller', he will play that role again against Colorado)

Has freshly-promoted Premiership club Derby rekindled its' interest in Eddie Johnson?

The answer could seemingly be yes...

Skysports.com reports nothing but raving positive comments about the Florida native coming from the mouth Derby County Rams manager Billy Davies.

"He is young, has great pace and also a point to prove because he has never played in England before, he scores goals for fun and has started the American season like a house on fire. He is the most valued player in the MLS."

I'd say that's a glowing spot of interest - Davies is keen to match the pace and youth of Johnson up front with the strength and pure determination of newly-acquired Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw.

Derby boss Davies goes on to say this about American players in the Premiership in general, "Very few American players have come to this country and failed. They have a lot to offer, they are fit and they are very good professionals."


You can bet Derby will have their scouts firmly entrenched in the stands come 9:00pm tonight. Would Derby be a right move for EJ? I think so - EJ needs a place to go where he's a big fish in a small pond. Derby is that place - where he can "overperform" against big teams without the pressure of having a player always breathing down your neck for that shot at a starting position (take the Rooney, Saha, Alan Smith, Guiseppe Rossi saga going on right now). What do you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Remember that U-20 WC? Yep, it's still going on.

Despite the US U-20's abrupt absence...the show goes on.

Today brought the first semifinal:

Czech Republic 2, Austria 0

Tomas Micola and Martin Fenin scored their goals in the first twenty minutes making the last 70 minutes a desperate effort for the Austrians. Okotie and Edwin "Jimmy" Hoffer were effectively neutralized by the stingy Czech defense. The Czechs head to the final against either Argentina or Chile.

Why'd they lose? Would it have been any different if we played a "tough" opponent in Spain? Argentina? or Mexico? An unfortunate event in disguise when we beat Brazil and won the group?

All Star Game vs. Celtic tomorrow on ESPN2 at 9:00pm. Who's watching?

'Because I Think...' Readers Had It Right...and Wrong.

What US U-20 team member would have the best World Cup?

"Because I Think..." Readers thought...

Freddy Adu 24% (18 votes)

Jozy Altidore 19% (14 votes)
Michael Bradley 12% (9 votes)
Danny Szetela 11% (8 votes)
Chris Seitz 9% (7 votes)

I'd say next the top two are spot on. The overlooking of Sal Zizzo and Anthony Wallace's contribution was glaring, however. Both received only 8% of the vote total. Could be because you had to type them in with an 'other' vote.

How far do you think the US U-20s will advance in the World Cup?

Win the Whole Thing 41% (15 votes)

Lose in the Semifinals 35% (13 votes)
Runners Up 14% (5 votes)
Lose in the Quarterfinals 8% (3 votes)
Lose in Group Stage 3% (1 vote)

Clearly, the 76% at the top should have been correct in assuming that - especially after the unforgettable win over Brazil, but it was not to be. Only 8% picked the boys to lose in the quarters (and most would have probably expected them to bow out to a Spain, Brazil, or Argentina), but that minority was right. At least this tiny vote shows our faith in the American youth ranks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quick Post: Yep, It's True - The Earthquakes are Back, the Hammers are holdin' on, and Heath Bar Pearce moves on

Lew Wolff has done what he intended to do. Quick post due to the fact I have been sick. Here's some reading material:

CNN Sports Take

Other headlines:

Ludovic Giuly (I had a slight hope he'd grace us with his presence in the MLS) has swapped Barcelona for AS Roma. Originally, the plan was for Christian Chivu to go the other way - but Chivu and Roma made that tough. Instead, Giuly was transferred for around $4.5 million. Good buy.

West Ham is making it real tough for Manchester United to get the Carlos Tevez transfer completed. ESPN Soccernet's report.

American left-back Heath Pearce has moved from the Danish league to newly promoted German Bundesliga side Hansa Rostock. Upped my interest in the Bundesliga two-fold.

Monday, July 16, 2007

10 Bright Spots Week Fifteen: Toja's World, The Beckham Experiment Begins, and some dude named Boris

1. Juan Carlos Toja – his first time at the top; Toja handcrafted an FC Dallas comeback tie at RFK Stadium against one of the hottest teams in the league; with a brace of plays exuding borderline psycho work ethic and determination, the Colombian has found his spark that he was missing in Argentina

2. Steve Ralston – not the best of games against the Red Bulls but his MLS assist record shall be rewarded nevertheless; any guy that passes Carlos Valdaramma on a record chart deserves what honors he gets; Ralston won the tackle at midfield from Clint Mathis and distributed the pass to Shalrie Joseph which eventually led to Andy Dorman’s rocket blast – ultimately, the goal won the game and put New England up in the season rivalry

3. Luciano Emilio – yea, his effort gets knocked down a couple due to the end result of D.C’s 3-3 tie with the Hoops (squandering a 3-0 lead will do that to you) but the truth is, Emilio keeps finding ways to find the net and puts away those chances that just fall in front of him; many strikers find a way to miss those, when it’s harder to miss than make

4. Houston Dynamo defense – an MLS shutout record for 685 minutes certainly means something but it isn’t an amazing defense; in this league, it’s consistency – playing organized and tough game in and game out; a wily mix of veterans (Eddie Robinson, Cochrane – the youngest – Wade Barrett, etc.) has kept the Dynamo in the opponent’s half and never worried

5. David Beckham – we’ll give him a spot on the top ten just because we can call him an MLS player now; 5,000 fans were itching to meet him at Home Depot Center and those same 5,000 booed the mayor of Los Angeles; anyways, it will be fun to see how all this Beckham-mania pans out


6. Stuart Holden – who would of thought with the kind of the week he had Holden would be bumped down to 6th!?; could of put him above Beckham but it’s okay, he won’t mind; the 21 year old, thanks to an unfortunate Brad Davis injury; has pushed his way into the starting line-up and immediately he has added a different component to Houston’s unbeaten push; he cracks shots from outside and hustles off the ball all while showing the composure of seemingly an MLS veteran; Thursday he had a goal to go with his goal and assist from the week before - can the form continue?

7. Andy Dorman – though part of the 1-0 sleeper against New York, it was Dorman who broke that deadlock with a wicked right foot strike that sailed by the flat-footed Jon Conway; the Welsh midfielder has caught the scoring bug with 7 at the All-Star break, already surpassing his total of 6 from last season

8. Boris Pardo – I don’t know who he is or where he came from but Toronto FC has found a way to start taking goalkeepers off the street and put them in uniform; actually he is a Seton Hall University graduate and played a bit professionally in Chile for Colo-Colo and Universidad de Chile; Djekanovic started and completed the game so no use for Boris

9. Adrian Serioux – simply for returning from a nasty injury, playing 66 minutes, not getting injured again (Michael Owen-style), and doing what he needed to do; a win for FC Dallas would have been nice though; Serioux will be thrust straight into that backline as Alex Yi is now out with injury for a while

10. Eddie Johnson – hi, I’m Eddie Johnson – I go away for a little while – suck – and then come back to the MLS and learn how to score all over again; a little bitter yes but he did provide the little kick in the ass the Wizards needed to get over a scrappy and, albeit, desperate, Real Salt Lake squad

Because I Think…’s Worst of the Week: Juan Pablo Angel, a stretch but I thought it would be interesting to have the contrast of first to worst; Angel was easily frustrated this past weekend against New England tussling with Shalrie Joseph and Andy Dorman at different moments in the game; it was Angel’s elbow (whether intentional or not) that on Joseph late in the game that capped a rather frustrating performance from the Bulls

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Copa Surprise: A Younger, Unfazed 'B' Brazil Tames the Giant 'A' Team, Argentina

Brazil 3, Argentina 0
Copa America Final Maracaibo, Venezuela

Yes, some calls went against Argentina but in no right mind did they play well enough to get a sniff of victory. Brazil's Elano - before he had to go off due to a knock in the first half - was simply brilliant as the architect of that first goal. Vagner Love played with more passion and tenacity than every previous Copa America appearance before this. The little Josue organized the midfield nobly and suffering the fouls that stunted Argentina's progress. Ayala's own goal was a miscue but, nevertheless, a necessary one - the attempt had to be made to get the ball out of danger and Ayala's slide was a little too technically spot on for his own good as he redirected the cross behind Abbondonzieri.
Elano's "back-up" and Chelsea target Dani Alves was fantastic coming on early. He took a bit to get into the match but ended terrorizing that right side and eventually scoring the third goal which involved at least 3 other Brazilians and started from inside Brazilian territory. His finish was immaculate as was the Brazilian "B" team's performance. It was Brazil's eighth Copa America win.
Any opinion as to the problem with Argentina?


Match Report from ESPN Soccernet

Match Report from CopaAmerica.com

BRA: Julio Baptista (5), Own Goal (Ayala), Dani Alves (69)
ARG: NONE

Major League Soccer Sunday (7/15/2007)

Houston 0, Toronto FC 0
Robertson Stadium

A deadlock highlighted only by the Maurice Edu ejection as MLS 2007 Superdraftees are learning the hard way (Bakary Soumare, a first round selection for the Fire, has been sent off recently as well). Houston set the record for longest shutout streak and the minute count stands at 695.

Match Report from MLSNet.com (w/a)

Match Report from Top Drawer Soccer (w/a)

HOU: NONE
TFC: NONE