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Silly Season Talk

 Posted by on May 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
May 212013

It would seem that January’s transfer window success has buoyed Brendan Rodgers and Co.

Already we’re finding out that Liverpool have accepted a £15 million ($22.76 million) bid for Andy Carroll; though the towering striker has yet to make up his mind on his future. We’re also hearing rumors that free agent Kolo Toure is high on Brendan Rodgers’ wishlist as a (hopefully) short term replacement for Jamie Carragher. There’s also the matter of whether or not Pepe Reina will depart for Barcelona this summer. Rumor has it Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic would be high on the list of potential replacements.

Clearly we don’t have a lot of time to prognosticate so let’s get right to it. Here’s my top 3 needs for Liverpool this summer.

1. A Centerback To Replace Jamie Carragher

Although I’m not a fan of bringing in Kolo Toure (even on a 1-2 year deal), it’s reassuring to hear that this particular need is a priority for the management staff.

If Martin Skrtel also departs, then suddenly this isn’t just about having a guy available on the bench, but rather someone who is going to partner up with Daniel Agger for the long run.

Top Prospects: Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy-MLS), Ashley Williams (Swansea City-EPL), Hector Moreno (Espanyol-LaLiga)

Omar Gonzalez is as fast as he is powerful in the air. He might not be quite as technically gifted as Brendan Rodgers would like for his preferred style of play, but the young American is going to wind up in Europe in the next two years and Liverpool would do well to talk to LA about him. Ashley Williams is the most likely given Rodgers’ propensity towards choosing former players of his; although the price tag for Williams will be steep. Hector Moreno is another up and coming star out La Liga’s Espanyol. Much more technically gifted, but less imposing, than Gonzalez, Moreno is a good distributor out of the back who would thrive in Rodgers’ system.

2. A Winger To Bump Stewart Downing

If it’s not clear by now, I’m not a fan of Stewart Downing, especially as a starting winger in Rodgers’ 4-3-3 formation. Raheem Sterling still needs another year to mature and Oussama Assaidi continues to be ignored. Suso is still too young as well.

Ideally this would be someone left footed, but the key is that they have speed and get technical ability to create on their own out wide to free up space for Luis Suarez to make runs.

Top Prospects: Clint Dempsey (Tottenham-EPL), Nico Gaitan (Benfica-Primeira Liga), Zoran Tosic (CSKA Moscow-Russia)

Rumor has it Dempsey could already be on his way out of White Hart Lane after one season. If that’s the case, Liverpool would be downright stupid to let him get away a second time. Benfica’s Nico Gaitan is an excellent left sided winger who is currently being chased by Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen. He’s got the technical ability to fit right in from Day 1. Zoran Tosic has gone on the record saying he regrets asking out of Manchester United and what better way to get him back into the Premier League than by bringing him to Anfield. He’s got a wicked left footed free kick and has the dribbling ability to free up lanes for Suarez to run wild down the middle.

3. A Striker Capable Of Replacing Luis Suarez

If Luis Suarez departs this summer and Andy Carroll winds up at Upton Park, then suddenly we’re looking at just Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini. If Suarez stays, he’s still missing almost a quarter of the season due to his bone headed decision to take a bite out Branislav Ivanovic. Either way, Liverpool need a clinical striker waiting in the wings.

Top Prospects: Jackson Martinez (FC Porto-Primeira Liga), Edinson Cavani (Napoli-Serie A), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina-Serie A)

These are all very expensive prospects, so selling Luis Suarez would go a long way towards bringing one of them in. Jackson is a good tactical fit as a lone striker in a 4-3-3. Edinson Cavani is the most clinical finisher on the market and Jovetic might have the best individual skill set for this system.

Mar 042013

Sing it with me…

You’re the beeest arooounnddd

Nothing’s gonna ever keep ya down!

Doesn’t that feel great?! It certainly felt a lot better than Liverpool’s “routine” 3-0 victory over Wigan over the weekend. The reds controlled the match from the start and left little doubt about the result. The second goal in particular stands out as newcomer Philippe Coutinho calmly collected the ball and played a beautiful through ball to Luis Suarez, who did what he does best and put the ball in the back of the net.

Suarez now has 21 league goals scored, putting himself two ahead of Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie and the ever impressive Keebler Elf Gareth Bale. This stat alone is merit enough for the Uruguayan to be named Player Of The Year. But consider the situation Liverpool was in back in September. They looked foolish in their failed attempt to sign Clint Dempsey after letting Andy Carroll go on loan. Shortly thereafter, Fabio Borini went down with a long term injury and suddenly it was Luis Suarez and…no one else.

Fast forward to today and you’ll find Liverpool in seventh place in the table. They are third in the league in scoring. None of this would be possible without Luis Suarez. And if you think about it, how many other players currently in the EPL are capable of carrying a team on their back the way he has. The previously mentioned Van Persie and Bale are surrounded by more than enough talent.

This is what makes Suarez’s 2012-13 season so remarkable. He has not had world class talent around him. Not that he needs it though. Suarez might be second only to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of individual skill. Whenever the ball arrives at his feet, you know for a fact he is firmly in control of it. It does not move unless he commands it. He creates goals with little to no service from his teammates; which is appropriate considering the best passer out of the midfield right now is a 20 year old Brazilian from Inter.

Time will tell if the Uruguayan forward will move on to the likes of Juventus or Bayern Munich (to name a few) this summer. He’s certainly capable of a massive raise the way he has carried Liverpool from the depths of mediocrity. He becomes even more valuable when you consider the latest news about Liverpool’s debt piling up. They may have no choice but to take market value for their prized goal scorer.

But in the meantime, whether you love him or hate him, let’s all stop and celebrate everything he has accomplished so far this season.

He’s the best around.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Feb 062013

Jurgen+Klinsmann+Costa+Rica+v+United+States+CWEHXAIgcfbl 300x200 USMNT vs Honduras Preview: Hex Game #1 The U.S. opens their Hex campaign today against Honduras on the road to Brazil 2014. Honduras holds home field advantage and is going all out for those three-points. The government in Honduras has even named today a national holiday in the country. The USMNT veterans have only had two days to prepare together, with most players not getting to San Pedro Sula until this past Monday.

Back in 2009 in the team’s World Cup qualifying game against Honduras, Conor Casey was the star of the game. Casey’s goal helped clench the U.S. a spot at the 2010 World Cup. The last time both teams faced each was in 2011 in a friendly that ended in a 1-0 victory for the USMNT marking the first win for the team under Jurgen Klinsmann.

 This time around the team will be facing an even stronger Honduran-side, but will see the team operate in a similar formation to the one two years ago. Los Catrachos have included several MLS players on their roster, which means U.S. fans will be seeing familiar faces on the other side of the field. The large influence MLS has on the Honduran-side meant that the team’s roster selections did not come as a surprise. This will also serve as an advantage in Klinsmann’s team preparation for the break down of the opponent team’s operational tactics.

 “You have strikers up front in Bengtson who can always harm an opponent, and you have Espinoza in midfield who has a lot of creativity and a wonderful touch. They have a very strong defense physically so that’s why we respect them. That’s why we’ve done our homework,” Klinsmann told press on Monday.

Honduras comes into the game with a strong defensive midfield. The U.S. will have to work through the midfield to score. The earlier the USMNT scores the better chances they will have in holding the lead during the game.

The game will mark the first time in several years the stars and stripes have played a qualifying match without Landon Donovan on the squad. Although his omission did not come as a surprise to most, U.S. fans will have start getting used to not seeing Donovan in the starting XI and the Dempsey/Donovan combo. Back in December after the 2012 MLS Cup, Donovan still was not sure on whether he wanted to continue playing.

U.S. fans will have one thing to look forward to. Today’s game will mark Chandler’s return to the U.S. men’s national team and will officially cap-tie him to the U.S. An official competitive match with the USMNT will finally end all worries of the 23-year-old’s commitment to the team. Chandler will help fill the role Steve Cherundolo plays on the team, after Cherundolo’s omission from the roster because of a knee injury.

“It’s a huge opportunity for Timmy and I think he’s simply just maturing. He’s growing into his role as a fulltime professional and that’s why we were very patient with Timmy to mature,” Klinsmann said.

Klinsmann included seven MLS players from January camp to his roster for the match. Similar to Honduras, the stars and stripes go into the match with a strong defensive midfield and a solid backline. The U.S. will have to place its efforts on attacking and getting the ball to Dempsey and Gomez in the front from the outer flanks to avoid a standoff in the Honduran defensive midfield.

USMNT Roster:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim ), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg – 3/0)

Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Roma), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Jose Torres (Tigres), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)

Honduras Roster:

Goalkeepers: Donis Escobar (Olimpia), José Mendoza (Marathón), Noel Valladares (Olimpia)

Defenders: Brayan Beckeles (Olimpia), Víctor Bernárdez (San Jose Earthquakes), Osman Chávez (Wisla Krakow), Maynor Figueroa (Wigan), Juan Carlos García (Olimpia), Juan Pablo Montes (Platense), Arnold Peralta (Vida), Orlin Peralta (Vida)

Midfielders: Jorge Claros (Hibernian), Roger Espinoza (Wigan), Oscar Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Luis Garrido (Red Star Belgrade), Alex López (Olimpia), Mario Martínez (Seattle Sounders), Aldo Oviedo (Real España)

Forwards: Christian Altamirano (Marathon), Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Carlo Costly (Veria), Roger Rojas (Olimpia), Georgie Welcome (Motagua)

My starting XI: Howard, Chandler, Cameron, Bocanegra, Johnson, Edu, Bradley, Jones, Torres, Dempsey, and Gomez.

My prediction: 2 (USMNT)- 1 (Honduras)

What are your predictions?

The better question is how long do  you think it will take before Jermaine Jones receives a yellow card?

Jan 212013

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United
Vidic clears a Spurs free 001 The Blame Game!The secret, they said, was to contain Gareth Bale and Moussa Dembele. Sounded good. Contain those two, every so-called pundit and expert insisted and, just like always,  you’ve got the same old weak-willed bunch of North London sob sisters. What every one hadn’t counted on, however, distracted by the obnoxious desire for attention of the club’s abrasive, street hustler/ Spiv Chairman Daniel Levy. is that the club has finally hired a brilliant , worthy manager in Andres Villas-Boas.

Late in the game, with an exhausted Manchester United team no longer able to control the match’s tempo, Sir Alex Ferguson gambled on playing rope-a-dope from the 80th minute on. Knowing exactly what Dembele and Bale do is intellectually do is one thing, dealing with it in practice is something else again. Left to his own devices, Aaron Lennon is the most predictable overrated winger in the Premier League. Carefully marked, he has been little but an ooh-ah distraction against the likes of Stoke City and Bolton Wanderers for years. One on one in a foot race with the stubborn Peter-Panish Patrice Evra, Lennon got his own bit of pay back for at least seven seasons of getting his head handed to him, by rubbing the faded French left back’s nose in a giant pile of poo for final thirteen minutes. Revenge, in the case of Aaron Lennon, is sweetest when served dim-witted and cold!

For those who appreciate footie ironies, both started playing in the Premier League in January 2006. Lennon, eighteen at the time, one of Levy’s usurious bargain purchases from the diseased bankrupt body of Leeds United and Evra to United from Monaco as a replacement at left back for the brilliant, but constantly injured Gabriel Heinze. In combat for six seasons, it was never any contest. The foot race rivalry for fastest-but- least brightest between Jermaine Jenas, Jerome Thomas, Matty Etherington, Ashley Young. Theo Walcott and Lennon was always won by the spring-heeled latter.

Despite the onset of early senility in many athletes, however, Evra at the age of 31, has finally been gobsmacked by the vicissitudes of time and fate. As the French say,   “?Cette fille sexy et jeune est maintenant une grosse, négligée femme au foyer!” A team-player of the first order, a hard worker, and a real gentleman, Paddy is much loved by the fans, the Gaffer and most of his United teammates. Unfortunately, although he still succeeds with many aspects of his attacking game, including his admirable leapimg ability for corners, his legs have gone. When you can no longer run with a player who has no more to his game than speed, sudden stops, and step-overs, the end is no nigh. The prospect of Paddy facing the combined switcheroo antics of Angel DiMaria, Mesut Ozil and CR7 against Real Madrid has me reaching for my trusty bottle of Johnny Walker Black!

Consequently, United exposed themselves to the cruelty of a late late dagger into its tubercular defensive underbelly, when United’s thus-far heroic goalie, a partially blocked David De Gea weakly punched a cross towards Lennon and Evra. The speedy little Yorkshire pocket-rocket simply had to skip around the knackered veteran before tapping the ball into Clint Dempsey’s path. Poor De Gea, awesome all afternoon, was totally exposed as the whole back line, petrified of Gareth Bale, shifting right with the Welshman and the one who likes to have himself called ‘The Texacutioner,’ despite being utterly, toothless throughout the rest of the match was there on the spot to spare his club defeat and destroy United’s seven point lead over the Abu Dhabian rent boys of Manchester City.

Sir Alex Ferguson Manches 006 The Blame Game!Sir Alex Ferguson may have barked at the officials and the press about the dreadful refereeing of Chris Foy and his awful assistant Simon Beck, but it just seemed to be more of the same of what the fiery old Scot always does after tight draws and losses. Doubtless United did deserve the penalty call they did not get when Steven Caulker blatantly upended Wayne Rooney to the turf in the penalty box in the 61st minute. The truth is, however, that despite often being surprisingly imperious in midfield and deserving a one goal lead from a superb Robin Van Persie effort in the 25th minute, United just did not take advantage of the scores of counterattacking breaks they had in both halves.

In spite of the incompetence of Chris Foyle, United should have been leading by three or four goals, so dominant and brilliant was their counterattacking play. Unfortunately, chance after chance was squandered. For me, however, despite the dreadful ineptitude of Evra, this was the best team performance by Manchester united this season. If the team’s major weakness on the left flank can be solved, however, the big picture is much improved for the club.

Of course, the obvious will hold true if you look at Spurs’ statistics,. The north Londoners controlled possession for close to 60% of their home match, but their finishing was so repeatedly, inexcusably dreadful that United always looked the more likely to get a second goal throughout. With David De Gea pulling off three fantastic saves from Defoe, Bale and Lennon (and Emanuel Adebayor off playing for Togo in South Africa), striker Jermain Defoe simply never seemed truly up to the task against Rio Ferdinand. After what was probably his worst display ever in a United shirt in the 3-2 loss to Tottenham at Old Trafford in September, the Peckham Kid has learned to keep his perimeter tight of late and the proximity of a fit Nemanja Vidic didn’t hurt, either. The way Ferdinand has adjusted to doing less better of late ought to have been both a lesson and a warning to Patrice Evra, but the Frenchman has not yet adjusted to the cruelties of time.

For one of the few times this season, United played truly well for 80 minutes and were always dangerous. Danny Welbeck, although not much of a scoring threat these days, was a worker-bee throughout, and, along with the twinkle-toed Shinji Kagawa, who was in his element in a winger-less midfield next to a frolicsome Tom Cleverley and a marvelous Michael Carrick who, although he always plays well against his old club, seems to be at a career high level of confidence.

And just how good is Robin van Persie? RVP’s 22nd goal of the season midway through the first half was a little bit of burglary out of Mission Impossible. After Kagawa picked the ball up in midfield, he pushed it into Carrick’s path. Carrick hit an exquisite Pirloesque cherry to Danny Welbeck on his left and the young Manc striker cut inside, seeming to dither a moment about taking a shot before cleverly locating Cleverley. Just how Cleverley’s cross was found by the flying Dutchman, who was double-marked by both Dawson and Caulker, managed to get to the ball is a miracle us mortals can only contemplate upon. Once the cross reached Van Persie there was an inevitability about where it would finish. Shrugging the Spurs center backs aside, Van Persie headed the ball home. Wow! He now has 10 goals in his last 10 league matches.

Just how well both teams performed is the snow is to their credit as professionals. The pitch was only passed fit for play an hour before kickoff. Two of the more amusing sights on the sidelines were Spurs’ boss Andres Villas Boas, swathed in blankets, attempting to remain warm and still and Sir Alex Ferguson, so absorbed in the game’s second half, that he didn’t notice his woolly club tam was then wrong way round on his head.

In the cruel postmortem which  has followed this match, the Bury accent of Gary Neville has communicated itself loud and clear. The tying goal is the fault of an eccentrically passive/aggressive David De Gea, he insists in all of his pundit gigs for television  and radio. His opinion does indeed count for something and he’s gone out of his way to show how the ‘body language’ of Vidic and Welbeck after the equalizing goal was scored showed ‘anger’ at the Spanish custodian. At the same time, another teammate, Javíer Hernandez, has been Twittering that he and other teammates beg to differ. Coupled with Rumor Mill-mongering from the usual pool of hacks who make their bread and butter out of conjecture, the repeated word is that the Gaffer has fallen out of love with the young goalie.  This is inevitably bound to become a self-fulfilling prophecy; and, ultimately, perhaps one which will be best for all concerned, if a more seasoned veteran is signed. Mark my words, however, David De Gea will eventually be a superstar! Such is life lived in the goldfish bowl of playing for Manchester United and the need to be in the good graces of a London=biassed, barracuda-like press.

*”That sexy young girl is now a fat sedentary housewife!”



Nov 262012

Clint Dempsey had a memorable weekend, which included being named U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year and getting an assist for Tottenham Hotspur, while Fabian Johnson was the lone American abroad to score this past weekend.


Tim Howard made three saves for Everton in their 1-1 draw against Norwich City on Saturday. The Toffees are 5th on the table with 21 points. Howard and Everton take on Arsenal on Wednesday before traveling to Manchester City on Saturday.

Clint Dempsey had an assist in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-1 win over West Ham United. Dempsey was also recently named U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. Brad Friedel did not start in goal for Tottenham on Sunday. Tottenham moves to 7th in standings. Friedel and his team host Liverpool on Wednesday before playing Dempsey’s former team Fulham on Saturday.

Brad Guzan was the starting goalkeeper for Aston Villa against Arsenal on Saturday in their scoreless draw. Eric Lichaj was subbed in for the final 39 minutes of the match. Villa sits in the relegation zone with 10 points. Aston Villa host Reading Tuesday before taking on Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Geoff Cameron picked up a yellow card in Stoke City’s 1-0 win over Fulham FC on Saturday. Maurice Edu was not on the game day roster for Stoke. Stoke moves to 12thin standings. The Potters host Newcastle United in Wednesday and travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Tim Ream went 78 minutes in Bolton Wanderers’ 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Bolton travels to Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday and then host Ispwich Town on Saturday.

Jonathan Spector picked up a yellow card in Birmingham City’s 3-2 loss to Derby County on Saturday. Spector and his team sit two points below Tim Ream and Bolton Wanderers at 19th in standings. The Blues play against Blackpool on Tuesday before hosting Middlesbrough on Friday.


Michael Bradley picked up a yellow card in AS Roma’s 1-0 shutout over last-place US Pescara on Sunday. AS Roma remain 5th in Serie A standings. Roma takes on relegation-threatened Siena on Sunday.


Carlos Bocanega was not on the roster for Racing Santander’s 4-1 defeat to Barcelona B on Sunday. He is still recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained during the U.S. soccer team’s friendly against Russia. Bocanegra is expected to miss six weeks of action, which will sideline him until early 2013. Racing sits at 17th in standings hovering two points from the bottom of the table.

Oguchi Onyewu was an unused sub in Malaga CF’s 4-0 victory over Valencia on Saturday. With the win the team moves to 4th in standings.  Malaga travels to Getafe on Saturday.


Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 played to a 5-0 loss to first-place Bayern Munich on Saturday. Hannover moves down a spot to eighth in the league. Hannover host SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Tuesday before taking on Mainz on Saturday.

Jermaine Jones picked up a yellow card in Schalke 04?s 1-1 draw to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Schalke play Hamburg on Tuesday, and then host Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. Schalke now move to third in the league.

Fabian Johnson scored Hoffenheim’s lone goal of the night in their 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. The goal is Johnson’s third of the season. Danny Williams was a used sub in the game. Hoffenheim sit just above the drop zone in 16th place. The duo takes on Timmy Chandler and Nurnberg on Wednesday before hosting Bremen on Sunday.

Timmy Chandler went 90 minutes in FC Nurnberg’s scoreless draw against SpVgg Greuther Furth on Saturday. Chandler and his team travel to Leverkusen on Saturday. Nurnberg moves out the relegation zone with 13 points.


Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar played to a 2-0 defeat against Feyenoord Rotterdam on Sunday. AZ stands at 12th in league standings and travel to on FC Utrecht on Sunday.


Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjaelland lost 1-0 to Esbjerg on Sunday. Parkhurst and his team move up to 2nd in the league. The team hosts Brondby and Clarence Goodson on Sunday.

Charlie Davies played eight minutes for Randers FC before picking up a red card in the 1-0 to Aalborg BK. Aalborg takes on first-place Copenhagen on Sunday.


Sacha Kljestan picked up a yellow card in RSC Anderlecht’s 4-1 win over Germinal Beerschot on Saturday. Anderlecht remains at the top of the table with 37 points. They take on Cercle Brugg on Saturday in their last league game of the year before the winter break.


Jose Torres was officially transferred to Tigres UANL from Pachuca last Friday. After spending six years with Pachucha, Torres will now join former USMNT. Torres will begin competition with Tigres beginning in early 2013.

Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona led their team to a historic win against Leon to advance to Liga MX finals. With the 3-0 win on Sunday the team advances to finals 3-2 aggregate over Leon in semifinals. The Xolos play the first leg of the final on Thursday.


Oct 172012

usacelebrate 300x235 Deuce For Deuce Beats Guatemala

What started out as a shock turned into a domination that American fans should be proud of as the United States came away from the final third round World Cup Qualifier with a 3-1 in over Guatemala at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Carlos Ruiz, who announced his retirement from international play in the media zone after the game, played the offside line perfectly as he was able to slip past the back line of the US to put the ball past Tim Howard and give the Guatemalan fan presence hope that they could get through to the hexagonal round of qualifying.

The response of the American side was excellent. They showed a spine that will be needed when the fixtures for the fourth stage, ‘The Hex’, gets underway.

The equalizer came from USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra’s header off a corner shortly after the Ruiz goal. The zone defense by Guatemala was easy prey, but it was a lovely goal from Bocanegra with an assist from Clint Dempsey.

Dempsey proceeded to make the first half his own. He scored the go-ahead goal from short range off an Eddie Johnson cross.

Before the first half ended Michael Bradley chipped the ball over a Guatemalan defender and the goalkeeper for Dempsey to knock home to make it 3-1 and give Clint his second of the night.

Into the second half the United States was happy with the score line as it was and kept the ball to themselves. They did not allow any clear-cut chances for their opposition as they were able to coast through the second half to victory and a top spot in their group. Now they wait for CONCACAF to make the fixture decision for the fourth round matches.

While there is the question of when and where they will play all 10 remaining World Cup Qualifiers, American fans can take pride in the fact that their team dominated and that they are in an excellent position to progress even more with a friendly against Russia looming in the November FIFA date window.

Our Boys Overseas: October 2

 Posted by on October 3, 2012 at 12:31 am  Our Boys Overseas, United States, USMNT
Oct 032012

This weekend marked a memorable weekend for Clint Dempsey, who notched his first goal since joining Tottenham Hotspur. Several Americans begin competition this week in the first round of the Champion League and Europa League.


Clint Dempsey scored his first goal for Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend in the Spurs’s first win against Manchester United in 23 years. Dempsey’s game winner lead Tottenham to a 3-2 victory. Brad Friedel made five saves for his team, helping them extend their unbeaten streak to five games. Dempsey and Friedel face Aston Villa fellow Americans Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj next weekend. Before the Spurs host Aston Villa they travel to Athens on Thursday to take on Greek-side Panathinaikos in the first round of the Europa League.

Tim Howard made four saves for Everton in their 3-1 win over Southhampton in the team’s second straight win on Saturday. Everton stands near the top of the table in second and have gone unbeaten in their last three league matches. The Toffees travel to Wigan Athletic next Saturday.

Brad Guzan started in goal on Sunday and made two saves for Aston Villa in the Villans 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion. Eric Lichaj was an unused sub in the match. Eric Lichaj dressed but did not play for Aston Villa. Aston Villa sits 16th in standings.

Geoff Cameron went the full 90 minutes in Stoke City’s 2-0 shutout over Swansea City on Saturday marking the team’s first win of the season. Maurice Edu was an unused sub in the match. Stoke travels to Liverpool on Sunday.

Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City won in a 1-0 shutout over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Birmingham lost to Cardiff City 2-1 on Tuesday in midweek action. Spector and Birmingham take on Huddersfield Town on Saturday.


Michael Bradley is still recovering from an injury and did not play in AS Roma’s 4-1 loss to Juventus on Sunday. Roma dropped to tenth in standings with the loss. i Giallorossi host Atalanta on Sunday.


Oguchi Onyewu was an unused sub in Malaga CF’s 4-0 shutout over Real Betis on Saturday. Malaga is currently third in La Liga standings and have gone unbeaten in all of their league matches this season. Onyewu and Malaga travel to Belgium on Wednesday to take on Anderlecht and Sacha Kljestan in the first phase of the Champions League.

 Carlos Bocanega went 90 minutes in the back in second divison Racing Santander’s 1-1 draw against Numancia on Saturday. Bocanegra and his team travel to Murcia on Saturday. Racing has gone unbeaten in their last five matches. 


Jermaine Jones picked up a yellow card last Friday in his team’s 2-2 draw against Fortuna Dusseldorf. FC Schalke 04 takes on Montpellier on Wednesday in the first phase of the Champion League. Schalke currently sits at fourth on the league table. The team returns to Bundesliga play on Saturday when they host VfL Wolfsburg.

Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 fell 1-0 loss to Hamburg SV on Saturday. With the loss the team falls to fifth place in standings. Cherundolo and Hannover hope to start off the first stage of the Europa League with a win on Thursday against Spanish-side Levante. After the match on Thursday, the team returns to league play over the weekend with a match against Dortmund.

Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams both went 90 minutes in Hoffenheim’s scoreless draw against FC Augsburg on Saturday. Williams picked up a yellow card in the match. Hoffenheim sits in the middle of the pack in 9th place.


Jozy Altidore netted the equalizer and had an assist in AZ Alkmaar’s 3-3 draw against RKC Waalwijk on Saturday. The goal marked Altidore’s eighth league goal of the season. Altidore and AZ travel to Twente Enschede on Sunday.


Michael Parkhurst had an assist in FC Nordsjaelland’s 3-0 shutout over Esbjerg on Friday. Nordsjaelland were defeated 4-0 by Chelsea FC in the first phase of the Champion League. Parkhurst and his team travel to Odense BK on Sunday. The victory moved Nordsjaelland to third place in standings.


Mikkel Diskerud scored a goal in Rosenborg BK’s 5-2 win over Haugesund on Friday. Diskerud also picked up a yellow card in the match. Diskerud and Rosenborg host Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday in a Europa League match-up.


 Jose Torres went 26 minutes in Pachuca’s 1-0 win over Chivas de Guadalajara on Saturday. Torres and Pachuca travel to taken on DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla on Wednesday. Pachuca hosts León on Saturday.

DaMarcus Beasley played 68 minutes for Puebla in their 1-1 draw against Pumas UNAM on Sunday. Beasley and his team take on Tigres UANL and Jonathan Bornstein on Saturday.

Edgar Castillo played the full match in Club Tijuana’s 1-0 win over Queretaro on Saturday. Neither Joe Corona nor Greg Garza played in the match. The trio travels to Monterrey on Wednesday before hosting Toluca on Sunday.


 Posted by on September 1, 2012 at 1:30 am  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Sep 012012

Count me among the Liverpool fans/supporters who are worried the sky could fall at any second.

The transfer deadline has come and gone. Liverpool sent Andy Carroll and Jay Spearing out on loan and sold Charlie Adam for roughly 4 million Pounds to Stoke City. This would’ve been a cause for celebration except the Reds failed to outbid Tottenham for the services of American forward Clint Dempsey.

Dempsey was the biggest prize for Liverpool all summer. Both sides wanted a deal to get done, even though Liverpool will not play in the Champions League this season. And at less than 10 million Pounds, many fans are scratching their heads as to why Spurs ultimately came out on top. Many are speculating that this only confirms what we’ve all feared: last summer’s signings of Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, and Charlie Adam have caused irrevocable financial damage.

But this goes far deeper than Liverpool. Fenway Sports Group, who owns both Liverpool and the American baseball team Boston Red Sox, just completed a trade for the Red Sox that allowed them to dump over $200 million in salary. This is an ownership group that is backtracking and wants to put financial stability ahead of anything else. And I can understand that…to a degree.

I’ve said all summer that despite last summer’s terrible deals, Liverpool needed to splash some cash on one or two big name players. Now it seems they have almost no cash whatsoever. The ownership group did the same thing they did with the Red Sox: they made moves solely for the purpose of cutting their losses. It also sounds like they failed to discuss this with manager Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers said just last week that he’d be foolish to try and deal Andy Carroll without a viable backup. Now he appears to be just as confused and angry as the rest of us. This roster has become incredibly thin, especially up top. Liverpool needed a high profile goal scorer. Instead they signed a Germany/Bayer Leverkusen U-18 player named Samed Yesil. And in a less publicized move, Nathan Eccleston was sold at the deadline today as well. So if you’re keeping score at home that means Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini are the only players capable of playing a striker/forward role. I was hardly impressed by Adam Morgan the other night which means the Reds are up a creek without a paddle.

To make matters worse, they learned their fate in the Europa League today. Their group will consist of Udinese, Anzhi Makhachkala, and Young Boys. This year’s Champions League draw shows us just how important Europa League results are in determining a country’s coefficient score which ultimately determines the number of teams who qualify for the Champions League. If Liverpool wanted to increase their odds of making it back next season, they needed to make a run here. Now with a thin roster, the task seems even more daunting.

Oh and let’s not forget that Arsenal are in town Sunday morning!

I am usually incredibly optimistic when it comes to supporting my favorite teams. I always prefer to look on the bright side of any bad situation. But this is a huge problem. I posed a rhetorical question earlier on Twitter: When was the last time a team won the EPL or UCL as a result of building a team from the ground up? Whose 3-5 year plan ever works out? There is only one way to succeed in European football: Buy Buy Buy!!! You HAVE to buy great players. Luis Suarez did not come cheap. Nor did past players like Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, and Fernando Torres. You have to spend money in order to bring in talented players. If your owners cannot provide that money then you are left with only one option: auction off your Academy teams. But how can Liverpool try to sell a player like Raheem Sterling when in fact they need him to play with the first team? Now they have to keep him. I don’t see Liverpool churning out too many teenage sensations for a decent price. So Brendan Rodgers is now stuck with an incredibly shallow squad while his bosses scramble to correct the mistakes of the past.

Make no mistake about it: Friday’s deadline day was a disaster for Liverpool. The future certainly doesn’t look bright. Suddenly you have to question management’s plan to turn things around. And don’t expect reinforcements in January when fees are the most inflated. The following is your 2012-13 Liverpool roster…

GK-Pepe Reina, Doni

DEF-Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique (currently not fit), Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Martin Kelly, Stewart Downing, Sebastian Coates, Jack Robinson, Jon Flanagan

Midfield-Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen, Lucas (out 2-3 months), Nuri Sahin, Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Cole (currently unfit), Raheem Sterling, Oussama Assaidi

Forwards-Luis Suarez, Fabio Borini, Adam Morgan

Now keep calm and slowly push the panic button with me…


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”

Sep 012012

Note: All terms are reported. Also, not all of these deals came on the deadline day. Many (such as Luka Modric) come from as far back as Monday. I ordered them in terms of player profile rather than chronology. 

Luka Modric

The deal everyone saw coming: Luka Modric transfers from Tottenham to Real Madrid for 33 million Pounds ($52.2 million). He signed a five year deal.

Clint Dempsey

It came down to the wire but in the end the American forward got his wish and moves on to Tottenham Hotspur.

Nicklas Bendtner

The, shall we say, polarizing Danish striker will join Juventus for a season long loan from Arsenal.

Hugo Lloris

The French goalkeeper completed a deadline move to Tottenham for 10 million Euros ($15.9 million). He’ll be expected to compete with American veteran Brad Friedel for the starting spot.

Javi Martinez

The Athletic Bilbao midfielder joins Bayern Munich for the next five years for a reported Bundesliga record fee of 40 million Euros ($50 million).

Julio Cesar

The Brazilian goalkeeper completed a move to Queens Park Rangers. Much more to come from the London side!

Rafael van der Vaart

The Tottenham midfielder completed a three year move to Hamburg SV in Germany on Deadline Day.


The Brazilian defender moves from Inter Milan to Manchester City for 3 million Pounds ($4.75 million). Not so long ago you could’ve added a zero to that figure and it would not have shocked anyone.

Nigel de Jong

The fierce Dutch midfielder moves from Manchester City to AC Milan for three years.

Gregory van der Wiel

The Ajax fullback joins Paris-Saint Germain for a “meager” 4.5 million Pounds ($7.1 million). PSG made headlines earlier this summer for signing the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Thiago Silva.

Ibrahim Afellay

The Dutch winger joins Schalke from Barcelona on a season long loan. Afellay will not have to worry about missing any Champions League action as the German side qualified for the group stage as well.

Bojan Krkic

After spending last season on loan with Roma, Krkic moves to AC Milan from the Italian capital on a season long loan.

Javi Garcia

The Benfica midfielder completed a deadline move to Manchester City for 16 million Pounds ($25.4 million).

Javier Saviola

Another Benfica player was on the move this week as the Argentine striker completed a move to Malaga in Spain. Malaga qualified for the group stages of the Champions League after a massive spending spree last summer that may or may not have come back to haunt them.

Alberto Gilardino

Once a desirable transfer target for all of Europe, the Italian forward seems to be waning in terms of performance. He completed a low profile move from Bologna to Genoa.

Alessandro del Piero

And speaking of Italian strikers, the legendary Juventus captain has completed a move to, of all places, Sydney FC in the Australian A-League. Del Piero had long been a target of the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer.


The out of favor Real Madrid midfielder moved to Queens Park Rangers and signed a four year deal.

Giovanni dos Santos

The Mexican international completed a move from Tottenham to Real Mallorca for four years. Dos Santos never could find a regular spot in the First XI under former manager Harry Redknapp.

Andy Carroll

The English striker will join West Ham United on a season long loan from Liverpool. The Hammers failed to convince Carroll to join them permanently after making a club record bid for him several weeks earlier.

Jermaine Defoe

The English striker signed a new three year deal to remain at White Hart Lane with Tottenham.

Dimitar Berbatov

The moody Bulgarian forward completed a deadline move from Manchester United to Fulham after many reports that he was headed to Italy with either Fiorentina or Juventus.

Michael Essien

The Ghanaian midfielder will join Real Madrid on loan from Chelsea. Essien has struggled ever since returning from a horrific knee injury several seasons ago.

Alvaro Pereira

The Porto left sided player completed a four year move to Inter Milan this week.

Moussa Dembele

Fulham sold another up and coming star across London as Dembele joins Clint Dempsey at Tottenham for a 15 million Pound ($23.8 million) fee.

Simon Poulsen

The Danish defender signed a three year deal with Sampdoria after his current deal with AZ Alkmaar expired this summer.

Stephane Sessegnon

The Benin international signed a new deal to remain at Sunderland this week after much speculation throughout the summer that he was headed for a high profile move.

Gaston Ramirez

The Uruguay international was highly sought after all summer long by many high profile clubs, but he ultimately signed with English Premier League newcomers Southampton for a fee of approximately 12 million Pounds ($19 million). That would be by far the highest fee ever paid by Southampton.

Stephane M’Bia

The Cameroon international moved from Marseille to Queens Park Rangers.

Joey Barton

And while it wasn’t a swap deal, the QPR midfielder completed a season long loan to Marseille.

Danny Rose

The Tottenham starlet who played well for Team Great Britain at the London Olympics will join Sunderland for the 2012/13 season.

M’Baye Niang

The 17 year old French striker joins AC Milan from Caen on a three year deal.

Petr Jiracek

The Czech midfielder signs a four year deal with Hamburg after departing Wolfsburg.

Matija Nastajic

The Fiorentina center back will join Manchester City in exchange for 12 million Pounds ($19 million) plus defender Stefan Savic.

Park Chou Young

After being signed by Arsenal last summer, the Korean striker will join Spain’s Celta Vigo on loan for the upcoming season.

Scott Sinclair

The Swansea City winger joins Manchester City for an undisclosed fee on a long term deal.

Pablo Hernandez

Swansea did, however, bring in Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez on a three year deal for 5.5 million Euros ($6.9 million) in order to replace the departing Sinclair.

Ryan Babel

The Dutch winger came to a mutual decision with Hoffenheim to terminate his contract and then proceeded to sign a one year deal with Ajax.

Kieran Richardson

The Sunderland standout joins Fulham on a three year deal with an option for a fourth.

Ahmed El Mohamady

Another Sunderland player on the move, but this was just a season long loan to Hull City. El Mohamady joined the Black Cats last summer.

Charlie Adam

The Scottish master of the “Hollywood Pass” will leave Liverpool and join Stoke City for 4 million Pounds ($6.3 million).

Jay Spearing

Liverpool also chose to loan out their young central midfielder to Bolton for the upcoming season.

Samed Yesil

And in a rather underwhelming move, Liverpool signed Bayer Leverkusen/Germany U-18 standout Samed Yesil.

Carlos Bocanegra

The American defender will leave Rangers and joins Spanish second division side Racing Santandor.

Maurice Edu

Another American departs fallen Scottish giants Rangers. Edu completed a move to Stoke City early in the week.

Zeki Fyers

The Manchester United/England youth defender signed a two year deal with Standard Liege in Belgium.

Thorgan Hazard

Just weeks after being signed, the younger brother of Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been loaned out to Belgium’s Zelte Waregam by the Blues.

Maya Yushida

The Japanese center back signed a three year deal with Southampton.

Richard Wright

The (at times) comically bad goalkeeper signed with Manchester City on a free move.

Bakary Sako

The St. Etienne midfielder completed a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves were relegated to the Championship this past season.

Steed Malbranque

The Lyon midfielder signed a new deal to remain with the French giants.

Fabian Monzon

Lyon also beefed up its defense with the signing of Nice left back Fabian Monzon.

Razak Boukari

The 25 year old Rennes winger joins Wolverhampton on a four year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Jordan Bowery

The former Chesterfield striker signed a three year deal with Aston Villa.

Bryan Oviedo

The Costa Rica international signed with Everton in a deadline deal.

Theo Janssen

The midfielder has come full circle and signed a three year deal with Vitesse Arnhem after leaving Vitesse to play for Ajax.

Damien Perquis

The Sochaux defender signs a three year deal with Real Betis with an option for a fourth.

Massimo Volta

The Sampdoria defender will join Levante on loan for the 2012-13 campaign.

Federico Casarini

The Bologna midfielder will play on loan with Cagliari for the upcoming season.

Mo Bangura

The Celtic/Sierra Leone striker will play for his former club AIK Stockholm on loan until January.

Domingo Cisma

The left back completes a free move to Atletico Madrid from Racing Santandor.

Michael Ciani

The former Bordeaux defender signed a deal with Lazio in Italy.

Michael Rensing

The former Cologne goalkeeper signed a one year deal with Bayer Leverkusen.

Mark Bunn

The Blackburn goalkeeper signed a two year deal with Norwich City where he will be expected to back up John Ruddy.

Mohammed Abu

The Manchester City/Ghana midfielder will join Spain’s Rayo Vallecano on loan this season. Abu is just 20 years of age.

Anestis Argyriou

The 24 year old Greek defender was released by AEK Athens and signed a two year deal with Rangers.

Dane Richards

Just seven games after being traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS/Jamaica winger Dane Richards found out he will join Burnley during the January transfer window on a free move after his current deal with MLS expired.

Marco Pappa

Originally believed to be leaving in January, it came as quite a shock when it was announced the Chicago Fire midfielder will immediately join Heerenveen in Holland.


Phew! Glad that’s over with! See you again in January!





Our Boys Overseas: August 31st

 Posted by on September 1, 2012 at 12:09 am  Our Boys Overseas, United States, USMNT
Sep 012012

With the summer transfer window coming to a close today, several U.S. Soccer players secured a move to a new club for the remainder of the season. Several of these Americans are set to make their debuts this weekend for their respected teams.


Clint Dempsey’s time at Fulham has officially come to an end today after spending the last six years with the team after joining the Cottagers in 2006 from the New England Revolution. After speculations that the American would be transferring to Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur snatched the Texan before the close of the summer transfer window. Dempsey will be joining fellow American Brad Friedel at Tottenham who is the current starting goalkeeper at the club. Dempsey completed his physical yesterday and has signed a three-year contract with the team. With the help of both Americans, the team hopes to get their first win of the season this weekend against Norwich City.

Maurice Edu will be joining fellow U.S. Soccer team member Geoff Cameron at Stoke City after signing with the team last weekend on a three-year contract. Cameron made his debut for Stoke last weekend against Arsenal in a match that ended in a scoreless draw. Edu makes the move as a free transfer after the demotion of Glasgow Rangers to the third division of Scotland and four seasons with the team. Edu could make his debut for the team as soon as tomorrow when the team faces Wigan Athletic.

After spending most his first season for Leeds United recovering from a concussion injury, Robbie Rogers is going on loan with Stevenage FC of League One for the remainder of the season. Rogers was recently put on Leed’s transfer list. Current Stevenage coach, Gary Smith, is the former coach of the Colorado Rapids in the MLS. Rogers could make his debut for the team this Saturday against Oldham Athletic.


Carlos Bocanegra is going on a loan for the season to Racing Santander of the Spanish second division following in the footsteps of fellow American teammates Alejandro Bedoya and Maurice Edu  who also made moves due to the team’s ongoing financial struggles and recent demotion to the fourth tier of Scottish football. The last American to play in Spain was Jozy Altidore who previously was a player for Villarreal. Santander host Sporting Gijon on Sunday.


Joe Gyau has made a loan move to St. Pauli of the Bundesliga 2 from 1899 Hoffenheim to gain more playing time and experience. The 19 year-old leaves behind fellow Americans Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams who are both starting players for Hoffenheim. Gyau’s first chance at getting minutes may come this weekend when the team takes on Sandhausen.


Oguchi Onyewu will be joining Carlos Bocanegra in Spain from Sporting CP when he moves to La Liga team Malaga for a season-long loan. This comes after CP left him of the team’s Europa League roster. Onyewu’s Belgian citizenship allows the player to bypass the Spanish-side’s non-allowance of players who are not European. Malaga travels to Zaragoza on Saturday.