Archive for January, 2009

Jozy Loaned To Xerez

January 31, 2009

After much speculation and a couple of false starts, Jozy Altidore’s loan deal from Villarreal to Xerez is now complete. The 19-year old American will join the Spanish second division side the rest of the year after scoring once in six appearances for the Yellow Submarine. His new team is currently first in Spain’s second division standings and looking for Altidore to add the spark they need to stay on track for promotion to the Primera.

“This is a good opportunity for me because I will be able to get more playing time which will help me adapt to this country and continue to develop my career,” said Altidore according to the club’s web site.

Mixed Bag For American Players In Europe

January 31, 2009

It hasn’t exactly been a banner weekend for American soccer players in Europe with too many sitting the bench or being on the losing side.

Friday night, Landon Donovan made a late substitute appearance in Bayern Munich’s 1-0loss to Hamburg. The result has proven that Bayern has not become an invincible juggernaut over the break, as Kicker magazine had touted it.

Over in England, Clint Dempsey shined in Fulham’s 3-1 win over Portsmouth, playing a key role in two of the Cottagers’ goals.

Michael Bradley went the distance for Borussia Moenchengladbach in a 2-0 loss to Stuttgart, a team which rebounded well from its 5-1 German Cup drubbing against Bayern.

Neither Steve Cherundolo nor Sal Zizzo played for Hannover in today’s 1-0 win over Schalke.

Freddy Adu matched from the bench tonight (again) as AS Monaco topped Grenoble 1-0.

But there is some good news but its no surprise: as usual, Carlos Bocanegra started at left back for Stade Rennais against Toulouse – game which is still underway.

BRADLEY RECALLS 20 PLAYERS TO BEGIN PREP FOR MATCH AGAINST MEXICO

January 31, 2009

Courtesy of US Soccer Communications:

CHICAGO (Jan. 29, 2009) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has called 20 players back to U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., to begin preparations for the USA’s first match of final round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. will take on regional rivals Mexico on Feb. 11 in front of a sold-out crowd at Columbus Crew Stadium live on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and Univision beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The match can be heard live on the Futbol de Primera radio networks, and fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

The 20-man group is made up almost entirely of players who participated in the previous camp from Jan. 4-24 at the HDC, with Columbus Crew defender and three-time World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk the only new addition. The U.S. team will train in Carson for nine days before departing on Feb. 7 for Columbus.

Fourteen of the players on the roster appeared in the USA’s 3-0 win against Sweden on Jan. 24, including midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who became the second player in U.S. history to score his first three goals all in the same game. Both Robbie Rogers and Chris Wingert made their debut for the full team in the victory.

Tickets for the USA-Mexico clash sold out in 90 minutes following the beginning of the public sale. The match is the first of 10 in the final round hexagonal that will determine the three automatic entrants from CONCACAF into the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In addition to qualifying, the U.S. will compete in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in June, having been drawn into Group B along with five-time World Cup winners Brazil, current World Champion Italy, and Egypt. Just days after the tournament, the U.S. will begin its defense of the CONCACAF Gold Cup title.

U.S. Men’s National Team Training Camp Roster By Position
Carson, Calif.
Jan. 29 – Feb. 7, 2009

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids)
DEFENDERS (5): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado Rapids), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire)

Russian Champs Eye Onyewu

January 30, 2009

Reports out of Liege indicate that Russian champions Rubin Kazan have their eye on Standard’s American defender Oguchi Onyewu.

My take? I highly doubt Gooch would say yes to an offer to play in the Russian league since he still seems to have his eye on England or France. With just over 24 hours left in the winter transfer window, there is still plenty of time for Standard to make a pretty penny instead of losing him this summer on a free transfer.

So, when Onyewu suits up for Standard’s match against cellar dweller FCV Dender tomorrow, it could be his last for the Belgian club where he has earned so much respect and praise and from fans and opponents alike.

Bayern Stomps Stuttgart In German Cup Quarterfinal

January 27, 2009

Bayern Munich put the league on notice that they are taking no prisoners when Bundesliga play resumes this weekend after tonight’s 5-1 thrashing of VFB Stuttgart in a German Cup quarterfinal match. Bastian Schweinsteiger opened up scoring for Bayern with a 14th minute goal followed two minutes later by Franck Ribéry in the 16rth for a 2-0 lead. Just before halftime Luca Toni scored to send the team to the locker room with a 3-0 lead.

In the second half, Schweinsteiger scored a 55th minute another goal on a penalty for a 4-0 lead, and five minutes later a shell shocked Stuttgart side saw Zé Roberto make it 5-0. American Landon Donovan came on in the 69th minute for Luca Toni and almost made it 6-0 a few minutes later with a shot that went just wide.

Finally, in the 85th minute Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez (a previous Bayern transfer target) saved some honor for the Swabian side with a goal to cut the deficit to 4 at 5-1 – a score which stood until the final whistle.

Beckham: Just Let Him Go

January 27, 2009

I’ve been wondering when (depite the drumbeat of reports from Europe) people back home would finally realize that David Beckham really wants to stay in Milan. Now it seems they are waking up to it and none too happy.

Perhaps it was too much to load onto one man’s shoulders -to popularize the game in a vast nation of 300 million people. Perhaps MLS and others close to the league lost some perspective in overplaying Beckham’s star power. One popular media outlet even had a special “Beckham Watch” feature on its web page which just looks strange when you consider that even at the height of Michael Jordan’s dominance of the NBA, you would never see such a thing.

For Beckham himself, its obvious that he still dreams of playing at the highest levels and his aspirations to earn England some silverware remain unfulfilled. Perhaps he went for the big paycheck in LA but then did some soul searching and remembered that he had some unfinished business. He obviously believes he can’t achieve those goals by playing in MLS or he would not have gone to Milan with the intent to seek a longer term stay.

I truly believe cutting Beckham loose will allow the league and its fans to focus on the fundamentals; attractive, compelling soccer featuring exciting young players who want to be there. Cutting Beckham loose will allow the spotlight to shine where it should; on exciting young players like Kenny Cooper, the dean of US keepers – Kasey Keller, or the return of “Big Cat” Tony Sanneh.

For LA fans who were hoping for a turnaround under new coach Bruce Arena, the realization that they stand to lose Beckham and perhaps Landon Donovan (to Bayern Munich) this year may be too much to bear. The league would do to take some of the money they’ll save on Beckham’s massive salary and bring home DaMarcus Beasley, buy a few quality foreign players, while paying rookies enough so they won’t need to live in their cars.

Still, its a shame that AC Milan couldn’t at least have a dialogue on this with the LA Galaxy, instead of communicating to them indirectly through the press – something that happens all too often in Europe these days. Arena seems none too amused in remarking to the LA press that “I’m not sure it’s appropriate for club officials at the biggest clubs in the world to make comments without having made contact with us. If I had a player on loan then I wouldn’t be talking about acquiring him unless I had spoken to the club.”

Here in Bella Italia, Danny Szetela played the final seven minutes last night in Brescia’s 0-0 draw with Sassuuolo. Brescia is now third in Serie B with 38 points, just one behind second place Livorno and two behind leaders Bari.

Eduardo Salvio: The Next Big Thing?

January 27, 2009

While Arsenal courts Zenith for Andrei Arshavin, Real Madrid begs and pleads for Cristiano Ronaldo, and other clubs are going after the hottest players in the game, there is still a wave of scary talent coming forward from the youth ranks. One in particular is 18 year-old Argentine wunderkind Eduardo Salvio who has already scored 4 goals in 14 appearances for Lanús, including putting two past Boca Juniors. He is also working his way up through Argentina’s highly competitive youth system, recently shining in the South American U-20 championship. Just three days ago, he led his Argentine team to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Peru, scoring the winning goal.

“I can play anywhere, inside or outside, but it does not frighten me to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper,” said a confident Salvio to Gazzetto. “My mirror player plays in another position, and he is Juan Román Riquelme.”

Salvio is a combination of fast, clever, and very technical and with his diminutive 5’5” frame, nothing but trouble for defenders once he has the ball at his feet. He is already being hailed as the next Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi (who are both mentioned as the next Maradona) in the great tradition of Argentine supporting strikers such as Carlos Tevez, Messi, Javier Saviola, and others.

Now, teams like Roma, AC Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina, Juventus, CSKA Moscow, Genoa, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Villarreal and Atlético Madrid are hot on his trail.

So, it is no surprise that in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, we see that Juve’s management are making their move by sending chief scout Renzo Castagnini to Argentina to work out a deal before another club gets there first. They’ll be hard pressed to trump Napoli, which has always been a second home for Argentine players on the continent, including Maradona, Lavezzi, German Denis, and others. That said, Juve’s deeper pockets would probably carry the day.

According to Gazzetto, to seal the deal Juventus is ready to ante up with at least €8.5 million and plans to finance it through the sale of forward Vincenzo Iaquinta to an interested Russian club Zenit St Petersburg (which also indicates they are resigned to losing Arshavin).

But any deal may not happen until summer since Lanús president Alejandro Marón, has a stated policy that the club’s youth players must play a full season before any transfers are allowed.

Meanwhile, Juventus has reportedly approached Chelsea to discuss a loan deal for French winger Florent Malouda. Malouda has not fared well since the arrival of Chelsea boss Felipe Scolari but his old Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, now at Juventus, thinks he can help the team challenge Inter for the Scuddetto.

Eddie Johnson Sighting!

January 26, 2009

For those of you who may have forgotten about him, there was an Eddie Johnson sighting in Cardiff, Wales yesterday!

Johnson entered Cardiff City’s FA Cup match with Arsenal right at the stroke of 90 minutes to help preserve a 0-0 draw. The mighty Arsenal Football Club marched into Cardiff on Sunday with one objective; to quickly dispatch last season’s FA Cup finalists and avoid another fixture on their already cluttered match schedule.

Instead, Arsenal were in a dog-fight most of the afternoon and Cardiff City lived to fight another day (although that next fight will be at Arsenal’s home digs – The Emirates Stadium in London. Perhaps, Johnson will see more time during this fixture – you never know.

Now, if we can just get Freddy Adu some minutes down in Monaco…

*Brought to you by Keith Richardson, who should soon be signed by LFV once his agent comes to terms with Natasha, our evil head of human resources.

Rangers’ Edu Out Injured – Yet Again

January 25, 2009

Rangers’ Maurice Edu was not available to play in yesterday’s Scottish Premier League match with Aberdeen due to a knee strain.

Its been a tough road so far for the young American, who joined Walter Smith’s side last summer after a transfer from Toronto of MLS. Since then, he has only played in two league matches and one friendly.

But Smith isn’t giving up on him yet, stating: “Maurice played in a bounce game this week and twisted his knee. He is not having much luck with injuries. Hopefully he will be available again next week.”

Some Great Soccer Writing

January 25, 2009

As we do every now and then, its time to point out some of the great soccer writing out there these days.

Here is piece of brilliant writing by Rob Hughes on how after a terrible storm took the lives of four boys in Barcelona, the team gave the grieving city something to cheer about.

Also, this one is three weeks old but its still worth pointing out Brent Lathem’s insightful article on Neven Subotic’s decision to play for Serbia instead of the USA. Brent offers some perspectives few others have been privy to (including yours truly) which I’ve got to say has opened my eyes. So, In my humble opinion, Brent’s piece is must reading for anyone who wants to know what happened.

And for you Liverpool fans out there enjoying the club’s success after the doldrums of the 1990s, the Observer’s Andy Hunter does a great job of examining the downfall of Kenny Dalglish in “The Day The Magic Walked Out Of Anfield.”

If you want to nominate some great soccer writing you’d like us to feature, just drop us a line here.