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Archive for July, 2009

Colombian Independiente Medellin Jair Benitez (R) vies for the ball with Uruguayan Defensor Sporting's Julio Marchant during the Copa Libertadores soccer match in Medellin on February 24, 2009.

Today, FC Dallas made their second move of the transfer window by signing Jair Benitez from Deportivo Cali on loan for the rest of the season. Benitez is a 30 year old Columbian left fullback with good speed and average ball handling skills. To make room for him in the 24 man roster, FC Dallas released Micheal Dello-Russo.

I think this is a great signing to cure the Hoops’ left side defending problems. Benitez looks like he can attack well, but has the experience and skill to defend better than the company of players that have inhabited the left fullback spot this year. Here is a not very good video that kind of shows Benitez. He is in green on the left side of the field.

FC Dallas are trying to fix their problem spots during this window. They traded for Atiba Harris, a right side midfielder meant to balance the threat of Dave Van den Burg on the left. Now with this signing, Dallas is looking more and more dangerous. I believe they will make at least one more big move and probably more this summer. I know they are actively seeking a high target striker to compliment Kenny Cooper, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another defender enter the mix as well.

In other FC Dallas news, the rumors are picking up again that Kenny Cooper is being courted by teams from England, specifically Bristol City, a Championship club. Cooper’s english passport makes him easier to acquire since he won’t need a work permit and teams are recognizing his skills. I would be surprised to see him move this summer, as I think the MLS will want too much money for him, but stranger things have happened. If he does leave, then the Hoops’ will definitely need to find a striker who can replace his goal production which is one of the best in the league.

Cooper has his detractors here in the States, saying that he is lead-footed, and isn’t as good in the air as he should be due to his 6′ 3″ frame. He does have things to work on, and he isn’t as good as he can be, but he is a young player (23) that has a good skill set. I see a good future for Cooper as he figures out his game and matures more.

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FC Dallas has traded Marcela Saragosa for Atiba Harris in a surprise move today. Click here for the official report.

Atiba Harris (left) and Chivas USA could not crack Kevin Goldthwaite and the Red Bulls defense.

Saragosa had lost his starting spot this year due to injury and poor form. I have never been a fan of Saragosa’s, but he was liked by Schellas Hyndman which allowed him to play even when his form and his decision making were at their worst. Saragosa was a central midfielder who played on the right occassionally and this year was converted to a right back. However, he was dreadful in that position, which got him benched by Hyndman.

Atiba Harris is a young, midfielder/forward who has played on the right side for Chivas. He has been a bench player at the LA club, but it looks like he will challenge for a starting spot at right midfield where no one on the Hoops has fit this year.

I like the move a lot, and think it will work out in our favor. Saragosa was dead weight, and Harris should become a first guy off the bench type or a starter before too long.

I’ll update with more later. Keep checking back to this post to find out.

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Danny Szetela has now signed with the MLS, leaving Racing Santander. Szetela is a central midfielder that played with Columbus before making the move to Europe in 2007.

FC Dallas is first on the allocation list of teams who can sign Szetela. The team is in need of another striker, a right midfielder, and some defensive help, but are pretty secure in the center of midfield. Szetela could play as a right midfielder, but I don’t know how affective he will be there.

Personally, I think this is the best that FCD will be able to get with the allocation, and will be a good option for the team to persue.

He could also be picked up by FCD, and then traded to New York or another team who wants him for another player or allocation money. Szetela is from New Jersey and may want to move back home and play for NYRB.

I’ll keep you updated.

UPDATE~~~~~~~~Szetela has signed with DC United as cover for the often injured Ben Olsen and others. A good pickup for DC who looks like they may be a real contender for the Cup. FC Dallas passed on the chance to sign him, and still hold the #1 allocation slot. Click here for more.

Rumors abound that Demarcus Beasley will come back to the MLS, and FCD might be able to lure him to Big D. However, I don’t see him coming back to the US to play his club soccer. I think he is still relevant in Europe, and a small club somewhere will take a chance on him.

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With the recent transfer of Charlie Davies from Hammarby to Sochaux, he is now leaving the Gold Cup squad to join up with his new team. He is now the fourth player to leave the squad.

The other three were Freddy Adu, Micheal Parkhurst, and Steve Churundolo.

The loss of Davies leaves a US attacking group that is a little toothless. Ching, Cooper and Santino Quaranta are the remaining forwards in the squad while Jozy Altidore can be brought in if necessary. I doubt Altidore comes back, as he will either be returning to Villareal, or moving on loan to another club to gain playing time. Cooper hasn’t had a great tournament and Ching is returning from an injury which will lessen the power of the attacking duo for the rest of the tournament.

Freddy Adu’s return to Benfica happened last week and his absence really won’t be missed. He has had a mediocre tournament in his two appearances and did not climb the mountain like I hoped he would. He had a few moments of skill, but even more moments of disappointment. He will need to find playing time somewhere, and should be loaned out again. The best move for him would be to move to a club in Sweden, or Denmark where he can get playing time, and slowly build his confidence back up to where it should be.

Micheal Parkhurst was not on his best form in this tournament, and did not help his cause for playing time with the US Men’s National Team as the other centerbacks in the player’s pool look stronger and stronger. He moved back to his club in Denmark, Nordsjaelland.

Steve Cherundolo was good in the tournament, providing some great crosses and anchoring that right side of the defense. He will be missed, as the other right backs in the squad are pretty meagre. Brad Evans has played a few games there, but he is a natural midfielder, while Jay Heaps’ performance against Haiti shows that he is not of USMNT quality. Sam Cronin has played a few games as a right back for Toronto.

Of note as well is the absence of Benny Feilhaber, who was brought in for two games from the extra players allotted to the US team for their performance in the Confederations Cup. He has moved back to his club as well so that he could begin preseason training.

This is how I see the team lining up in the Semi-Finals.

Ching——–Cooper

Rogers—————–Beckerman————-Cronin—————-Holden

Pearce——————–Marshall—————–Conrad—————-Evans

–Perkins–

The midfield is still very good, and Holden has been a beast recently, so I still think the team reaches the final, but I don’t know if they can become champion without more of a strike force, and better right back.

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In a summer that should be full of Americans moving to promising clubs, Charlie Davies has been transferred from the Swedish club Hammarby to Sochaux, a team in the French first division.

Reports of the deal have been anywhere from €2 million to €2.5 million.

The deal seems like it will be a great move for Davies whose speed and control on the ball will fit in well in Ligue 1.

Here is SBI’s take on Davies’ move.

Davies has been with the USMNT in the Gold Cup, where he scored a goal, but is now leaving camp to join up with Sochaux in preseason training.

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beckham experiment cover 192x300 Grant Wahls The Beckham Experiment: A Review

In a book that is sure to rile some feathers of the biggest names in the MLS, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated has written the probable book of the summer in his all telling book, The Beckham Experiment. Hopefully I will pick up the book today and have it read by sometime next week, but until I can get the review up, here are some goodies from other writers in the blogosphere.

Adam Spangler of This is American Soccer has a wonderful interview with Grant Wahl.

Kartik Krishnaiyer of MajorLeagueSoccerTalk writes an insightful review of the book.

Also, if you haven’t yet read the excerpt from the book that was featured in Sports Illustrated, here is a link to that piece of gold.

Happy Reading!

UPDATE: The second part of the interview over at TIAS with Grant Wahl.

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A new semi regular column is going up soon here on the 2-6.

The twentysixpanels book review will look at the biographies, case studies and novels that have defined the world of football and soccer through the decades. It will be a way for readers to familiarize themselves on the better books on soccer around the world. Here is just a sampling of what will be covered this summer and fall.

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Among the Thugs by Bill Buford

Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano

The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

And hopefully others, if I can get them read, which include:

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

Brilliant Orange The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer by David Winner

First post should be up in the next few days. What’s your favorite soccer book? Excited for The Beckham Experiment? Let me know in the comments.

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