Archive for July, 2009

Beckham Fine: A Whole $1000 MLS? Really?

July 26, 2009

So, MLS has decided to fine David Beckham a whopping $1,000 for taking the bait from jeering fans and exchanging words and gestures with them (of a less-than-gentlemanly nature).

I for one am glad to see this kind of passion coming from these MLS fans, who care enough about their club to be bothered by the way Beckham has disrespected the Galaxy over the past year. At the same time, its nice to see Beck’s lacing up his “I-give-a-crap” boots for a change (glad they got packed in the luggage from Milan). How about more of that fire this year David, especially since you’ve missed 17 games and you’re all rested up from your vacation with the Mrs? With Da Bruce at the helm and the Galaxy firing on all cylinders, how about winning a trophy or two?

All this said, if MLS wants to fine a player for misconduct, it should be commensurate with their salary in order to send the right message. A $1,000 fine sure packs a punch on those young players who are living in their cars (since their salary already puts them below the poverty level) but for Becks, come on. He can probably find that much loose change under the cushions of his couch.

Then again, if Beckham is half the cheapskate Donovan seemed to indicate in Grant Wahl’s new book, perhaps MLS knew what it was doing on the level of the fine. But on whether he should have been fined in the first place, I’m not sure Becks, nor the fans (except the one who jumped down from the stands), really crossed the line.

The more you look at the videos, the more you see that this was nothing more than the kind of exchanges you see between fans and players in stadiums all over the world. We’re seeing electric atmospheres in places like Seattle and Columbus (to name a few) so let’s hope the league does not stifle the spirit they’ve worked so hard to build. This entire episode leaves me asking the same question LFV pal Phil Schoen asked recently; Is MLS Ready For The Passion?

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Armstrong Channels Maldini: Hangs Tough on Mont Ventoux

July 26, 2009

American Lance Armstrong seems to be channeling Paolo Maldini these days by hanging tough with athletes who were born at least a decade after him. Today on the Tour de France’s gruelling 20th stage ride up Mont Ventoux, Armstrong beat back several attacks to cement his third place standing for the ride into Paris tomorrow.

The seven-time winner made his comeback this year after a four year hiatus from top level cycling. Young Spanish powerhouse Alberto Contador appears set to claim his second Tour title tomorrow after maintaining a 4:11 lead over second place Andy Schleck and third place Armstrong.

MLS Fines Ching For Twitter Comment

July 19, 2009

With the number of professional players using Facebook and Twitter these days, it was inevitable that a player would get into hot water for making certain comments on these social media sites.

Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching is now the first to be fined after criticizing a referee on his Twitter page during a recent match against the Sounders.

More details here.

Gabe Ferrari Transfered to Foggia

July 18, 2009

American striker Gabe Ferrari has been transferred from Sampdoria to Serie C1 side Foggia after spending the past season on loan with Perugia. The New York native made 14 appearances for Perugia this season, scoring one goal.

Foggia, which last saw Serie A action in the early 1990s, has been trying to claw its way back into Serie B since 1998, coming close to promotion in 2007.

Ferrari could see his first action for Foggia in their August 2nd Tim Cup match against Viterbese.

Ibrahimovic To Barca?

July 17, 2009

The transfer season arms race at the top of Spanish football continues as today’s Gazetto Dell Sport and Marca indicate Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be heading for FC Barcelona in a 42 million euro deal. Its reported that Barça President Joan Laporta and Inter Boss Massimo Moratti came to an understanding on the transfer during a meeting last night in Milan.

It is also being reported that Barca striker Sammy Eto’o may be heading to Inter as part of the deal to acquire the the 27 year-old Swede Ibrahimovic, who is currently in Los Angeles training with his Inter teammates.

Ibrahimovic, who scored 25 goals last season for the Italian champions, would add to the Spanish and European champion’s already potent offense and make an ideal striker to play off the world’s best supporting striker in Lionel Messi.

There remains a chance that Chelsea could still swoop in make a grab for Ibrahimovic and even Moratti admitted on Sky Italia last night that , “We need to wait to see what the player wants.”

Classic: Politi on Beckham

July 16, 2009

With all of the hoopla surrounding Beckham’s (reluctant) return to the LA Galaxy, here is one observer who can see through the smoke and call this one like it is.

Thanks to New Jersey reader Marc S. for passing this one along.

Szetela To DC united

July 15, 2009

Midfielder joins. D.C. after two years in Spain, Italy

Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2009) – D.C. United today acquired midfielder Danny Szetela via its #2 allocation ranking. Szetela joins the Black-and-Red after spending two-plus years in Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie B. The 22-year old is currently with the team and will be available for selection upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate. He is not expected to be available when United takes on the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium this Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet).

“We are pleased that Danny has decided to return to MLS and that he is now part of D.C. United,” said General Manager Dave Kasper. “He is a talented young player who now has some terrific international experience including two years playing in Italy and Spain, as well as all of his time at the U.S. Olympic, U-20 and U-17 National Team levels. Danny is very versatile and will compete for regular playing time in a number of spots on the field. We look forward to his future contributions to our club.”
Szetela originally joined Major League Soccer in 2004, when he was allocated to the Columbus Crew at just 17-years old. Over four seasons with the Crew (2004-07), the midfielder played in 34 games (24 starts), collecting three assists. In August of 2007, Szetela was signed by Racing Santander of Spain’s La Liga and in July of 2008, he was transferred to Brescia Calcio of Italy’s Serie B. While with Brescia for parts of the last two seasons, the Clifton, NJ native played in 26 games, tallying a goal and two assists.
Szetela has earned three caps as a member of the full U.S. Men’s National Team, which includes playing in two FIFA World Cup qualifying games last year. His first cap with the full national team came on October 17, 2007 against Switzerland, setting up the game’s lone goal in the 1-0 win.
The 5-foot, 11-inch midfielder has a long history playing with the U.S. youth national teams, as well, seeing time with the U.S. at the U-14, U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels.
Last year as a part of the U.S. U-23 side, Szetela played in two games (one start) at the Bejing 2008 Olympic Games. All told with the U-23s in 2008, Szetela played in four games (one start).
As a part of the U.S. U-20 National Team in 2007, Szetela scored three goals in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, starting each of the team’s five games. In all, he played in ten games (all starts), scored three goals and assisted on two others with the U-20s in 2007. In 2005, at the FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland, he played in two games with the U-20s. He played in a total of six international games in 2005 with the U-20s.
As a 15-year old, Szetela joined the U.S. Residency Program in September of 2002, finishing the year with 23 appearances (17 starts). He was the second-youngest player on the 2005 Under-17 World Championship roster, starting all four matches of the World Championship, and helping the U.S. to a fifth-place finish.

Update: Altidore To Olympiakos?

July 11, 2009

Word from reliable sources indicates this one is not yet a done deal. Stay tuned.

Greek media are reporting that young American ace Jozy Altidore may be spending the next year with Olympiakos. The 19 year-old Villarreal striker, after turning more than a few heads in the recent Confederations Cup (including scoring against Spain), is still facing the prospect of not breaking into the Yellow Submarine’s starting 11.

Last year, Altidore, after making six appearances for Villarreal and scoring one goal, was loaned to second division side Xerez where he sat on the bench for five months. Recent statements attributed to the New Jersey native indicate he wants to find a situation where he can play every week.

The deal being reported in Greece indicates that a loan deal with an option to buy may be near and take Altidore across the Mediterranean to Olympiakos, where the young forward will have the opportunity to play in the Champions League.

What do you think? Could this be a good opportunity for Jozy or is he better off elsewhere?

Methinks any chance to play every week for a good club and get some Champions League action can’t be a bad way to get ready for the World Cup.

Davies To Sochaux: Done Deal

July 9, 2009

According to reports in Sweden’s Aftonbladet and France’s L’Equipe, Hammarby’s American striker Charlie Davies will move to Sochaux of the French first division for an undisclosed transfer fee. Sochaux had recently sold striker, Mevlut Erding, to Paris Saint Germain, and has founds its replacement in the 23 year-old who is currently with the US team competing in the Gold Cup.

Wahl’s Book: ESPN Paid For "Beckham Infomercial"

July 9, 2009

The steady release of excerpts from Grant Wahl’s forthcoming book “The Beckham Experiment” continues to stir interest (and no doubt pre-orders on Amazon) as more behind-the-scenes details from his tumultuous time in LA emerge.

The latest tidbit, that ESPN paid Beckham’s management company to produce a one-hour special on Beckham sounds even more crass than the previous charge that Becks was a cheapskate.

Wahl, a guy who works his butt off to develop his stories, called it “checkbook journalism,” and he’s 100% right.