Archive for the ‘US Soccer’ Category

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.

Charlie Davies Transfer: The Plot Thickens?

July 9, 2009

While the French media reported a few days ago that Hammarby’s American striker Charlie Davies had all but locked up a deal with Sochaux, methinks the phone lines are burning up between his agent and several clubs, to include Rennes, Saint Etienne, and at least one Bundesliga club.

Word on the street is that the price tag for the 23 year-old US breakout star of the Confederations Cup will be anywhere from is currently somewhere between € 2.5-5 million.
LFV friend in Amsterdam, Greg Seltzer, also reports that Croatian side Hajduk Split are in the mix. So who is the German club? Borussia Dortmund? Stuttgart? How about Bayern Munich, which is still in the market for a striker or two?
My spidey sense tells me that Davies and his agent and playing this one smart and letting the impact of the striker’s continued exploits in the Gold Cup sweeten the deal and add to the list of potential suitors. Stay tuned!

FIFA Suspends Bradley For 3 Matches

July 7, 2009

American midfielder Michael Bradley has been suspended three matches by FIFA for a post-match confrontation of referee Jorge Larrionda after being shown a red card in the 87th minute of the USA’s recent 2-0 win over Spain.

Read more about it here.

Brazil #1, USA #12 In New FIFA Rankings

July 7, 2009

Courtesy of FIFA:

Victory on all fronts for Brazil: after winning the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, the Seleção have regained the top spot in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, thus relegating European champions Spain (2nd, down 1) to second place. The South Americans last topped the ranking in August 2007, a position to which they have climbed six times in the history of the ranking.

The Netherlands (3rd, down 1), Italy (4th, unchanged) and Germany (5th, down 2), occupy the next three places, but are some distance behind the leading duo. Russia (6th, up 3) have overtaken England (7th, down 1) and Argentina (8th, down 1), achieving their best position since August 1997 in the process.

Of the other countries that took part in the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, finalists the USA (12th, up 2), Egypt (38th, up 2) and hosts South Africa (70th, up 2) have also progressed up the ranking. Egypt’s improved position despite their early exit from the tournament is due to their 1-0 victory over world champions Italy, which scored very highly in terms of ranking points. Meanwhile, disappointing performances by Iraq (94th, down 17) and New Zealand (100th, down 18) caused them to lose ground.

In other news, Algeria (47th, up 19) and Tunisia (49th, up 2) have climbed into the top 50 at the expense of Burkina Faso (51st, down 1) and Finland (52nd, down 3). Furthermore, the following teams have achieved their best position since the ranking was introduced in 1993: Australia (16th, up 13), Gabon (30th, up 18), Grenada (88th, up 14), Montenegro (98th, up 12) and Antigua and Barbuda (105th, up 9).

In the last four weeks, a total of 119 senior international matches were played: 16 FIFA Confederations Cup matches, 67 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying matches and 36 friendlies. This brings the total matches played this year to 406. The many matches played and the devaluation of matches at UEFA EURO 2008 are the main reasons for the many changes in position in this edition of the ranking.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 5 August 2009.

Real Madrid Joins The Chase For Onyewu

July 6, 2009

According to media reports from the Real Madrid camp, the Spanish giants are considering adding American defender Oguchi Onyewu to their pantheon of Galacticos (as an alternative to Álvaro Arbeloa).

Meanwhile, Belgian news sources seem to indicate he is close to a deal with Ajax while the Italian media are focused on Genoa and Fiorentina. Reports out of Istanbul indicate Fenerbahce is out of the running while the lack of new rumors out of England only indicate that there must be contact with a least a few new Premiership clubs.

So, will it be Ajax, Palermo, Fiorentina, Genoa, Parma, Espanyol, Valencia, Fulham, Marseille, PSG, Real Madrid, or some other team?

Stay tuned because this one is far from over.

Zizzo Loaned To Fortuna Dusseldorf

July 2, 2009

American midfielder Sal Zizzo has been loaned from Hannover 96 to newly promoted Second Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf on a 1-year deal.

The 22 year-old Olympian and UCLA alum is expected to see more playing time in Dusseldorf and perhaps increase his chances for a senior US team callup in the coming year.

What do you think? Can Sal Zizzo recapture the mojo of his US youth team days and get onto Bob Bradley’s radar scope?


Livorno Crushes Brescia’s Serie A Dreams

June 21, 2009

Livorno crushed Danny Szetela’s Brescia side 3-0 in the final leg of their promotion playoff and will return to Serie A next season. Livorno’s win capped a 5-2 aggregate win in the Serie B playoffs. Lingering injuries kept Danny Szetela out of the side which will remain in Serie B for at least one more season. Szetela’s loan deal to Brescia expires at the end of June and its still not clear whether he’ll stay with the club, move back to Racing Santander, or be picked up by another European side.

Francesco Tavano, Alessandro Diamanti and Martin Bergvold were the goal scorers for Livorno, which returns to the top flight after finishing the 2007-08 Serie A campaign bottom of the table.

US Soccer: Which Way Ahead?

June 19, 2009

In case you’re wondering why your loyal vagabond has yet to comment on Team USA’s woes at the Confederation’s Cup, I’m watching the matches again and trying to put some emotional distance between these events (and see how they respond against a strong Egypt side) before offering my views on where we stand and where to go from here.

In the meantime, what do you think? Do we need a change of direction, leadership, or both?

Are we developing the kinds of players we need or are we churning out players with big hearts but little imagination or technique?

Have your say in our comments section.

Here We Go! U.S. Team Confederations Cup Update

June 13, 2009

Courtesy of U.S. Soccer:

U.S. Men’s National Team Confederations Cup Update
Tshwane/Pretoria
June 12, 2009

CONFED CUP KICKS OFF AGAINST ITALY: Less than 72 hours remain before the U.S. begins play in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, with no less than defending World Cup champion Italy waiting to greet them. Kickoff at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria is set for 2:25 ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN and Telefutura. Fans can also follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. will then face five-time World Cup champion Brazil on June 18 in the same venue (9:55 a.m. ET, ESPN2 and Telefutura) before closing out group play against two-time defending African Nations Cup champion Egypt on June 21 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg (2:25 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Telefutura).

OFFICIAL U.S. CONFEDERATIONS CUP MEDIA GUIDE AVAILABLE ONLINE: Both media and fans alike now have free access to the USA’s 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup media guide. The reference tool includes player bios, the team’s history in the tournament, a look back at the 2007 Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, and more.

The free media guide can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here.

QUICK HITS:

The U.S. team has been together in part since training camp opened on May 26 before two FIFA World qualifiers, at Costa Rica and home against Honduras. The team departed from Chicago on June 8 for South Africa, arriving on June 9 into Pretoria.

The U.S. is without several regulars due to injury. Defenders Steve Cherundolo (Hanover 96) and Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), midfielder Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers) and forward Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) are all unable to participate due to injury.

The U.S. is the reigning champion of CONCACAF, qualifying for the FIFA Confederations Cup via a 2-1 defeat of Mexico on June 24, 2007, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

South Africa marks the U.S. team’s fourth appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The U.S. also appeared in Saudi Arabia (1992), Mexico (1999) and France (2003).

The U.S. has twice finished third at the FIFA Confederations Cup. In 1992, the U.S. was third out of four teams, and it 1999 they were third of eight teams.

Bruce Murray and Brian McBride lead the U.S. with two goals each in Confederations Cup play. Overall, Mexico’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Brazil’s Ronaldinho hold the record with nine career goals in the tournament.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is the 48th FIFA men’s competition in which the U.S. has participated. Only Brazil (61st) has participated in more.

If a player accumulates two yellow cards in the FIFA Confederations Cup, he will miss his team’s next game in the tournament. Yellow cards do not carry over into July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, however, if a player receives a red card in the final Confederations Cup match for the U.S., he will be suspended for the Gold Cup opener.

Following the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, the U.S. returns to home soil to defend the Gold Cup title from July 3-26 in 13 venues across the United States.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Average Age: 24.8
Average Caps: 27
Most Caps: 110 (Landon Donovan)
Least Caps: 0 (Luis Robles)
Oldest: 30 (Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra)
Youngest: 19 (Jozy Altidore)
Play professionally in: USA (6), England (5), Germany (3), France (2), Denmark (2), Spain (1), Sweden (1), Belgium (1), Mexico (1), Scotland (1)

Schalke’s Jones Opts To Play For The USA

June 13, 2009

Looks like we’ll need to hit the pause button on my hiatus…

FC Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, once seen as a future hopeful for the German national team has announced he’d rather play for the USA. The 27 year-old dual German-American citizen is the son of an American service member who was stationed in Germany.

“I think that I never really got the chance in the German team, although I always did well in my club performances,” Jones told Kicker. “I’ve long had it in mind to play for the U.S. “For me, a new life now begins.”

The six-foot, one inch defensive midfielder rose through the ranks of his hometown Frankfurt youth system before landing a contract with Eintracht Frankfurt where he worked his way into the first team in 2001 before being sold to Bayer Leverkusen. There, he languished in the reserves (so he and Landon Donovan will have something in common already) and in 2005, was loaned back to Frankfurt where he excelled before being acquired by Schalke in 2007. He has made 84 appearances for Schalke, scoring six goals.

More importantly, the speedy enforcer has Champions League experience, a level of experience sorely lacking in the current edition of the US squad. I think this development will ensure that Michael Bradley’s role will be more offensive, not a bad development. Where and how he could fit into Bob Bradley’s scheme (and what its means for rising d-mids Maurice Edu and Sacha Kljestan) remains to be seen but these are just the kind of problems the US team could use right now – what role to give a player of Jones’ caliber.