Archive for the ‘Letters From Vagabondia’ Category

Format Change At Letters From Vagabondia

September 4, 2009

Letters From Vagabondia will be changing from a soccer-only format to a broader one including social commentary plus perspectives on travel and living a healthier, happier life. We’ll still have a soccer blurb now and then but it will no longer be the focus of this blog.

Thanks for your readership and we hope you give us a look under the new format in the coming weeks.

Thanks!

Chris

Heath Pearce Lands In………….Turkey!

September 2, 2009

American international Heath Pearce has signed for Turkish First Division side Bursaspor (just south of Istanbul).

The Gators are currently in fifth place on seven points after the first four matches of the season.

For more details, check out LFV pal Greg Seltzer’s report over on his blog No Short Corners.

Team India Holds Onto The Nehru Cup

September 2, 2009

Courtesy of FIFA:

India goalkeeper Subrata Paul was the hero as the host nation held their nerve to retain the Nehru Cup winning 5-4 on penalties against Syria at New Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium on Monday.
Despite losing to Lebanon by a solitary goal in the opener, India bounced back to reach the final of the five-nation tournament with wins over Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, it was Syria that went into the tournament decider with an unblemished record that including a solitary-goal victory over the hosts two days prior.

Second-time around proved a different story altogether. Following a goalless 90 minutes, the hosts went ahead eight minutes into the second period of extra time, with Renedy Singh curling in a well-taken free-kick. Despite the agony of conceding so late, the Syrians showed impressive resolve to equalise as Ali Diab headed home a minute from time to force the penalty shoot-out.
Having excelled throughout the campaign, India’s young custodian Paul went on to produce some of the tournaments finest saves when his country needed him most. Although Renedy missed the target and Mehrajuddin Wadoo’s shot was saved, the 22-year-old bravely denied Wael Ayan and Ahmad Haj Mohamad, and after Irungbam Surkumar put India ahead, Paul kept his cool to save from Hamzeh Al Attounim to seal India’s dramatic triumph.
Houghton hails progressPaul’s sublime display didn’t go unappreciated by India coach Bob Houghton, who was quick to acknowledge the talent displayed by his goalkeeper. “Again Subrata was brilliant for us and he had an outstanding tournament,” said the former China and Uzbekistan boss who assumed the reigns of the world’s second most populace nation in 2006.
Under the Englishman, India made history two years ago when they ran out 1-0 winners over Syria to lift the Nehru Cup trophy as hosts for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1982. Boosted by the ground-breaking success, India went on to claim arguably their greatest success to date by winning last year’s AFC Challenge Cup, thus booking their place in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.
“The team has played together for the last three years and they are a matured group now,” Houghton stated after the Nehru Cup final. “They play for each other and give everything for the team. Even after conceding the late equaliser and missing two spot kicks, the team came back.”
Winning a hat-trick of titles in his three years in charge has provided Houghton and his charges with a timely boost in the build-up to India’s first appearance in the AFC Asian Cup since 1984. “We still have our work cut out if we are to do well in the Asian Cup. We will plan to play some good matches to keep the team in good shape.”

Like India, Syria also showed impressive form throughout the tournament and despite the second near-miss against the hosts, they showed they are truly a side to be reckoned with.
Under the guidance of Fajer Ebrahim, Syria began brightly with a 2-0 win against Kyrgyzstan. They went on to defeat Sri Lanka 4-0, edging Lebanon 1-0 to book their place in the final, before beating the hosts in the final group match, albeit with the result academic.

“We were unlucky to lose the game as we had created so many chances,” said Ebrahim, whose side is seeking to qualify for Qatar 2011 from a group which also features Lebanon, China and Vietnam. “I hope the experiences gained and lessons learned from this campaign will benefit us in the forthcoming Asian Cup qualifiers.”
A special thanks to our LFV readers in India – Jai!

Save Of The Day: Julio Sergio, Man Of The Day: Diego

August 31, 2009

While Roma got shelled today 3-1 by Juventus, exposing its enduring weakness on the defensive end, newby keeper Julio Sergio did provide a moment of brilliance for the giallorossi.

Check out his brilliant save at the 9 second mark on the video. After that, check out Juve’s Diego channeling Maradona (with a brief intermission by Roma’s Daniel De Rossi with a gorgeous long range shot). After three years in the wilderness of Italian football, there’s only one thing to say for Juventus; they’re ba-ack!

And not to be outdone, Valencia’s Juan Mata and Pablo Hernandez put on a show of their own in downing Sevilla 2-0.

Noel Gallagher Leaving Oasis

August 29, 2009

Please observe a moment of silence for that fine band of City fans from Manchester; Oasis. It looks like they’ll be splitting up now that guitarist and songwriter Noel Gallagher will be leaving the band since he can no longer work with his brother, Liam.

Noel wrote on the band’s website: “It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you I quit Oasis tonight. I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”

According to various reports, Noel walked just before the band was due to headline at Paris’s Rock en Seine festival after he and Liam got into a fistfight.

Singer Amy Macdonald reported on her Twitter page that the brothers had exchanged blows backstage, writing: “Liam smashed Noel’s guitar, huuuge fight!”

Is this just a temporary bust-up or will it be for good? My spidey sense tells me if they ever get back together, it won’t be for a long time.

So until then, here are their top three songs as ranked by their own countrymen in a recent poll:

Live Forever

Wonderwall

Don’t Look Back In Anger

And of course one of my favorites:

Chamgagne Supernova

Bradley Names Roster For World Cup Qualifiers

August 28, 2009

CHICAGO (Aug. 27, 2009) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 24 players that will train in advance of the critical FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. first hosts El Salvador on Sept. 5 in Sandy, Utah (tickets). Kickoff at Rio Tinto Stadium is set for 6 p.m. MT., and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and TeleFutura. Four days later, the U.S. returns to Hasley Crawford Stadium to take on Trinidad & Tobago. The match kicks off in Port-of-Spain at 7 p.m. ET, with live coverage on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s newly upgraded MatchTracker.

The U.S. team will begin gathering Aug. 30 in Utah for training. Following the match against El Salvador, the U.S. team will travel Sept. 7 to Trinidad. The U.S. currently sits in third place in the final round hexagonal, collecting 10 points and a 3-2-1 record through six games. Costa Rica leads the pack with 12 points, while Honduras holds second place based on a superior goal differential to the United States. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while the fourth place team will participate in a two-leg playoff against the fifth place team from South America.

“Clearly these are very important games in our effort to qualify for 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who holds an unblemished 7-0-0 record at home in World Cup qualifying. “As we expected, qualifying in this region is very competitive. Both El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago will be hungry to get points from these matches, and we have an opportunity to position ourselves well to secure a berth for South Africa.”

Seventeen players on the roster return from the group that defeated No. 1-ranked Spain and finished runners up to Brazil in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June. Tim Howard, who missed the previous match in this round against El Salvador while serving a one-game suspension, has posted an impressive seven shutouts in 12 all-time World Cup qualifying appearances. Clint Dempsey, honored with the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the Confederations Cup, tallied three times in South Africa, including goals against Spain and Brazil. Dempsey is tied for second place in scoring for the U.S. in this qualifying cycle, netting four goals along with Michael Bradley, Brian Ching and Landon Donovan.

Led by team captain Carlos Bocanegra, four players have appeared in all six of the USA’s final round qualifiers thus far. Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 116 international appearances. Long the USA’s all-time leading scorer in both goals and assists, his strike in the 2-1 qualifying win against Honduras on June 6 in Chicago lifted Donovan to the top of the team’s all-time scoring list in World Cup qualifying with 11 career goals. Now with 31 career World Cup qualifying caps, Donovan is poised to surpass Kasey Keller, Eddie Pope and Claudio Reyna as the USA’s leader in appearances in qualifying.

Jozy Altidore leads all U.S. scorers in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals, including a record-setting hat trick performance in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1 in Nashville, Tenn. With the three goals, the 19-year-old Altidore became the youngest player in U.S. history to record a hat trick. Altidore also scored the first goal to spark the USA’s comeback in the 2-2 draw on March 28 in El Salvador, marking the first time the team has faced and erased a two-goal deficit to earn a point on the road.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman and forward Robbie Findley are making their first appearance on a World Cup qualifying roster. Along with Robbie Rogers, they are only players on the roster without a cap in qualifying. Stuart Holden earned his first World Cup qualifying cap against Mexico. With his goal at Estadio Azteca, Charlie Davies now has recorded two goals in qualifying in three appearances.

The U.S. is playing for the first time at Rio Tinto Stadium, and only the second-ever match in the state of Utah. During qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, two goals from Donovan paced the U.S. to a 3-0 win against Costa Rica on June 4, 2005, at Rice Eccles Stadium in front of more than 40,000 fans.

Holding a lifetime record of 13-1-5 against El Salvador, the U.S. has never lost to the Salvadorans in World Cup qualifying (4-0-3). The team will be without the services of defender Oguchi Onyewu, who will be serving a one-match suspension due to yellow card accumulation.

This is the fourth consecutive World Cup qualifying cycle in which the U.S. and T & T have faced off, and the sixth overall since 1985. The U.S. holds a 10-1-2 record in qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago, including a 3-1-1 record on the road.

Following these matches, the U.S. will close out the 10-game, round robin final round with matches against Honduras and Costa Rica. The United States will travel to face Honduras on Oct. 10, and finishes group play on Oct. 14 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 12/7 SO)

DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 22/3), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover: 19/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 3/0), Clarence Goodson (IK Start: 1/0), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew: 2/0), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan: 17/1), Jonathan Spector (West Ham: 2/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake: 0/0), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 11/4), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 6/0), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 18/4), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus: 2/0), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo: 1/0), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew: 0/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 5/0)

FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Hull City: 9/5), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids: 5/0), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 16/6), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux: 3/2), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 31/11), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake: 0/0)

*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

Rumor Links Donovan To Paris Saint-Germain

August 22, 2009

You’ve probably heard the rumor by now that the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain. What you probably haven’t heard is that virtually every report (including this one) is just a recap of a blurb from French website 10 Sport.

But even 10 Sport only mentions that he is about to be engaged with the club (which could mean talks have begun), a far cry from being close to a signing – assuming this rumor has any truth to it.

A move to the French league, even if its just a loan for one season, would probably be a good way for Donovan to stay tuned up for next year’s World Cup. After seeing how effective Charlie Davies has been at Sochaux, there may be other French teams now interested in signing one of the available US strikers. All that said, until you see another original news source or a quote from someone in Donovan’s camp, don’t hold your breath.

US World Cup 2018 Bid Committee Announces List of 27 Potential Host Cities

August 21, 2009

NEW YORK (August 20, 2009) – The USA Bid Committee today announced the 27 United States cities that passed the third stage of the city and stadium proposal review process and remain under consideration as potential host venues for the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. These cities will continue working with the USA Bid Committee both on the development and promotion of their local and national campaigns.

Officials representing a total of 38 cities received the Requests for Proposal (RFP) and had from June 16 to July 29 to complete their proposals and return them to the USA Bid Committee. The RFPs requested information from city officials covering a vast array of subjects such as tourism, climate, security, transportation, training sites, promotion and more.

“The USA Bid Committee is pleased to have received comprehensive responses from city officials and local organizing committees across the United States,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “The overwhelming interest and creativity shown by the candidate cities made our extensive review process that much more difficult in narrowing down the list.”

The RFP process resulted in 11 cities being pulled from contention, an important step in the United States’ application that is due to FIFA in May 2010. FIFA and its 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two host nations for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.

The 27 remaining candidate cities offer a wide variety of markets that range in size from New York City to Jacksonville, Fla., as well as vast coast-to-coast geographic strength. Numerous U.S. markets that did not play host to matches during FIFA World Cup in 1994 remain under consideration, including Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix.

The 11 cities removed during this round were: Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Fayetteville, Ark.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Minneapolis, Minn.; New Orleans, La.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Salt Lake City, Utah and San Antonio, Tex.

In conjunction with the list of 27 cities announced by the USA Bid Committee, a short list of 32 stadiums still under consideration was also announced today. The venues average almost 74,000 in capacity and represent a wide spectrum of facilities, featuring stadiums typically used for college and professional football, including open-air, domed and retractable roof venues. All 32 stadiums currently exist or are under construction with eight featuring capacities between 80,000 and 108,000 spectators. A list of the finalist cities and stadiums, all of which are vying to be included in the USA Bid Committee’s formal bid book to FIFA in May 2010, can be found at the end of this news release and at the bid’s official webpage, goUSAbid.com.

The current list of venues came as a result of a four-month process that began in April with representatives from 58 stadiums expressing interest in being considered for the USA’s bid. The USA Bid Committee was then able to cut the list to 45 stadiums in 38 cities in mid-June following the review of a detailed questionnaire completed by the candidate venues that incorporated the strict FIFA facility requirements into the evaluation process.

“We will be working closely with officials from all 27 cities, stadiums and host committees over the next few months in our process of identifying the final list of cities that will be included in our bid book to FIFA in May 2010,” said David Downs, the Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee. “The support of the individual cities and their capacity to promote the bid will be crucial to our efforts as we work to maintain the momentum created by the launch of our national campaign and our Web page, goUSAbid.com, last week. With the passion for the game being shown by our fans and the existing infrastructure in place in the U.S., we are confident we have assembled a list of candidate cities that will meet and exceed FIFA’s requirements for hosting World Cup matches.”

FIFA’s criterion requires a candidate host nation to provide a minimum of 12 stadiums and a maximum of 18 capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match. The U.S. used stadiums in nine cities when it hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.

Altidore Gets Work Permit: Ready To Help Hull

August 19, 2009


Its official!

American striker Jozy Altidore has finally received his UK work permit and will be able to join Premiership side Hull, which opens the season this weekend against Bolton.

Hull Ready To Match Fulham Offer For Altidore?

August 5, 2009


Is a bidding war starting for American striker Jozy Altidore? The UK’s Daily Mail thinks so.

If this pans out, it looks like Jozy’s value has already jumped by $2 million since last summer.

Special thanks to LFV reader Marc Sarchet for digging up this nugget.