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Brian Sanders

Jun 142013

When Nigeria ended the long drought in the African Cup of Nations it was with a squad that was talented but devoid of the superstars.

As with most countries this is the stage to test themselves in a competitive atmosphere where they can see what to expect from the different teams from different regions. Friendlies cannot suffice, this is what is needed.

Stephen Keshi has constructed a squad that works well for him. Being a former player he knows how to bring the best out of his players and has earned their respect from his time as a Super Eagle.

This is a test squad seeing how the up and coming talent will do against the powers of each continental power.

But without the ‘stars’ who will be the leaders?

Unheralded striker with German second division leader Koln Anthony Ujah scored quite a few via good positioning and if the rocket shot of Ogenyi Onazi can be controlled then young Ahmed Zusa won’t need to be relied on to provide action from the wing.

This will be a fun side to watch. Each player will be eager to prove themselves and will be looking to be the first to bring a senior FIFA title to Africa.

Likely hood as not. Progress to the semifinal is as much as can be expected as the weakness of Nigeria.

Come on the Super Eagles

Jun 142013

It has been well documented how good this Spain team is. Lets look at what they have accomplished.

At the youth level the U-21 side won the 2011 European title and quite a few members of that side are now on the Spain squad.

The last two European Championships have been won by the senior side, added by a World Cup title in-between.

This is the best international side ever based entirely by their successes and deserving the praise.

That said this current squad looks to be the pinnacle of its dominance as this and the World Cup look to be the last major tournament for many members of this squad as major members of previous winners are most likely coming to the end of their contribution for the national team.

That doesn’t mean that this side could be called weaker than the team that won last summer’s Euro’s.

At every position is a player who is a fixture on their club’s 11 in major leagues.

But it must be said that there are questions at the back with the captain Iker Casillas who was removed from the Real Madrid goal by his manager in a fight that resulted in the manager leaving and Casillas staying, a sign that player power is at its strongest.

Also Xavi Alonzo is not present, due to injury. Sure it presents an opportunity to find the suitable replacement who will take over for the long term so for Spain it could be all for the good.

Triumph is all that should be expected by Spanish fans who will look to win the only international competition they have yet to win during this golden age for Spain.

May 302013

Brian Sanders (@kcnffc) and Vincent La Rosa (@vincelikesstuff) review the season in the Serie A, welcome Sassuolo and Hellas Verona to the big time, and celebrate Lazio’s win over Roma in the Coppa Italia

click here to listen

May 232013

It is an example of how much Major League Soccer has progressed with the league taking a break for internationals and that is all to the good as no less than seven Sporting Kansas City players are going to join international outfits.

At the youth level is the lone 2013 MLS Draft pick Mikey Lopez who has been called up by the United States U-20 team for a tournament in Toulon, France in preparation for the FIFA U-20 tournament that will take place later this summer. As being part of the team during its qualification for the tournament during the CONCACAF U-20 tournament prior to the start of the MLS season. Lopez will miss out on his chance to make an appearance during the US Open Cup 3rd round match against USL PDL side Des Moines which would be the first time Lopez could make his Sporting debut.

The most interesting call-up must be the Lebanon national team calling up Soony Saad for a friendly against Oman on May 29. Having only recently qualified to be called up this will not permanently tie him to the country until he appears in a competitive match but considering his age and the possibilities he could be one of the better players for Lebanon, who are on the up internationally, who will look to use their improvement from making the final World Cup qualification round for Asia. Lebanon might be looking for Saad to bolster their Asian Cup qualifying campaign as has only started.

Kei Kamara has been called up by the new Sierra Leone manager Johnny McKinstry as the next round of World Cup qualifiers occur. Sierra Leone are currently in second place behind Tunisia and face the leaders at home on June 8 and then visit bottom of the table Cape Verde on June 15.

Graham Zusi and Matt Besler have been called up for the United States camp for the friendlies on May 29 and June 2 against Belgium and Germany as they prepare for the three World Cup qualifiers on June 7, 11, 18. Zusi has been part of the US set up for some time and is most likely to be called up for the qualifiers and extending his national team stay, with a rapreve during the Gold Cup to offer the opportunity for other players to make their mark. Besler made an impession against Mexico but might not make the squad for the qualifiers, if so he is a shoe in for the Gold Cup squad in July.

Mechack Jerome and Peterson Joseph have been called up by Haiti for friendlies against Spain in Miami, Florida on June 8 and Italy in Rio de Janeiro June 12. There is a strong chance that both will be called up for Haiti for the Gold Cup in July as they have been drawn into Group B along with Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador, and Honduras.

May 062013

Coming into the match it was a question of who was going to be rotated with a midweek fixture to deal with but in the end Sporting Kansas City didn’t need their full strength side as they dispatched with Chivas USA 4-0 on a chilly Sunday afternoon.

While it would be easy to talk up the good performance by the offense, especially the brace for Claudio Bieler, it must be said that it was the solid defensive display by Sporting KC in the 38 shutout in the MLS career of club captain Jimmy Nielsen.

Former Wizard legend Tony Meola, MLS MVP in the 2000 championship season, previously held the record of 37 while at the club.  Nielsen is the 17th player to hit this number and did so in the fewest games played(104).

Aside from the landmark set by keeper Nielsen the second string back-line of Seth Sinovic, Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, and Mechack Jerome was able to hold Chivas from having a shot on goal.

The defense has been the backbone of the squad in their successes and it must be said that with this result with two of the four typical members of the defense out there is evidence the the depth has been built and when the fixture list will thicken with the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League there will be the trust of the fans in whomever is in the starting 11.

Up top it was the club designated player, Claudio Bieler, who scored a brace that was all that was needed. The first, before halftime Bieler needed to cut back to score. Bieler’s second came from the spot kick as he was brought down in the box by Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy, who was surprisingly issued his marching orders, putting it past new keeper Patrick McLain to give him six on the year; a place on top of the Golden Boot award.

The goal scoring was finished up by Graham Zusi and CJ Sapong who were able to benefit from being up a man as each goal was the cap on a strong offensive move involving many Sporting players.

With a match against Seattle Sounders, a re-match of the 2012 US Open Cup final, on Wednesday it would seem that Peter Vermes has been able to rotate his squad to meet the demands and with the good performances of the bench players it can be expected that

Apr 222013
Global Football Today Italia Weekly Pod Logo 1

Brian Sanders flies alone as he looks at all the results in Serie A, Coppa Italia, and the Serie B race for promotion

Click here to listen

Mar 312013

Coming in Sporting had yet to have a complete game. That all changed as Claudio Bieler and Graham Zusi found the back of the net in a dominating from beginning to in.

Bieler showed early on that his salary is worth it as he accepted an excellent pass from Benny Feilhaber and put it away to the extreme delight of all those fans present at a sold-out Sporting Park.

From that moment on it was obvious who was the better side as constantly Sporting controlled possession of the ball, attacked when able, and when dispossessed of the ball they immediately went after it not giving Montreal a moment to be able to breath.

It wasn’t until 10 minutes remained that the second goal would be scored by Zusi who had the knowledge and steadfastness to stay on his feet amongst the contact to put the ball in the net.

It was immediately after the Impact Marco Schallibaum was ejected, completely confirming the failure of Montreal in their Kansas City visit.

For both sides it is a welcome site that more home fixtures are to follow and now it would seem that both sides would be glad of it. Sporting KC to keep their form, Montreal to be in friendly confines that will allow for an easier route in their good early season form.