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Archive for July, 2009

Big news in American Soccer news today. Oguchi Onyewu signed a three year deal with European powerhouse AC Milan today, and Fifa handed out a 3+1 match ban for Micheal Bradley after an altercation between the ref and himself after he was sent off during the Spain v. USMNT match in the Confederations Cup.

My thoughts in two sentences. Great for Gooch, as he will be challenging for a starting role in one of the best leagues in the world. The ban on Bradley won’t make him miss the Mexico match in August, so it doesn’t mean too much besides the fact that he is a little bit of a hothead who needs to mature some more.

Since I was in class when all of this broke, here are some links from every other blog that has covered it. Check them out to learn more about both.

UF
SoccerByIves: Onyewu, Bradley
du Nord
Goal
TOW
USMNT Blog
Yankssoccer
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home-sweet-home-quilt-block-3

At the FC Dallas game this weekend on July 4th, I saw some encouraging signs for the future of the team. This season has been the equivalent of a year’s worth of depressants hitting the system constantly. The team has been terrible, the crowds have been pathetic and the front office has been inept. It has seemed like no matter what happened, whether it be a weak home crowd or a blown lead, FCD was a loser.

However, these last few games have been somewhat less depressing. The Hoops have won or tied in seven of their last 8 games and now have 17 points, 5 points out of a playoff spot. The home crowd of around 14,000 last night was the most it has been since the opener, and the young players and recent additions to the team that the front office have made seemed to all come together to produce something Dallas fans should be encouraged by.

Now, more than likely the home crowd was bouyed by the fact that it was the Fourth of July, however, the front office must have done something right to advertise for this match. It also showed that support for the team has not dried out in Frisco and Dallas. I saw a crowd that was loud, encouraging, and pretty smart, cheering for subtle breakups in the New York attack and clean passes for the Hoops.

Jeff Cunningham scored a brace and showed that he can still score goals and lead the attack while Cooper is with the USMNT.

Brek Shea had his best performance in a Hoops jersey and really looked solid on that left wing, providing decent crosses and running at defenders splitting three at one point. He tenaciously kept the ball at his feet, and reminded me of the first time I saw Juan Toja play in a Dallas jersey. He won balls away from defenders and kept it at his feet battling until the very end. I thought he had a wonderful performance.

Eric Avila provided a good spark off the bench, keeping NYRB on their heels with some good offensive work that almost added a third goal to the Toro’s tally.

Dax McCarty was probably my star of the game besides Cunningham with his two goals, as McCarty has become the defensive midfielder Dallas has needed. He broke up attack after attack, and provided some very good balls into the attacking third.

Overall, I was very impressed with the performance. However, the score should have been much bigger. FC Dallas needs to start finishing some chances in the beginning of the game. If NYRB weren’t so awful, this game could have been a different story. Thankfully, they are much worse off than Dallas is. Also, the performances of Andre Rocha and Anthony Wallace were lacking. Both were lacidasical out there, and Wallace’s lack of hustle led to the Red Bull’s goal.

Game Grades

Ray Burse: 7 Provided some very good saves on a few one on one’s and has become an encouraging piece of the Dallas backline

Anthony Wallace: 3 Lazy performance. Subbed at the half

Kyle Davies: 6 Looked comfortable out there. I really like his presence. Even at twenty years old, he is much calmer than most of the CB’s on the team

Pablo Richetti: 7 Broke up attacks and made good passes out of the back to set up attacking counters. He needs to stay in the backline.

Drew Moor: 6 Good performance. Quiet but as a defender, that’s a good thing.

Dave Van Den Bergh: 7 Got the assist on Cunningham’s second goal. Very good crosses. Dangerous all game.

Dax McCarty: 8 Wonderful performance. See Above

Andre Rocha: 5 Played about like he has all year…which is sub par.

David Ferriera: 6 I really like this player, and think he will be a good FCD player. He hasn’t missed a minute all year, and there is a reason for that.

Brek Shea: 8 See above. Very good game.

Jeff Cunningham: 8 MOTM Got the brace that won the game. Took his chances well.

Subs:

Blake Wagner: 5 He gave the ball up too much. Got forward and lost the ball, leaving his teammates uncovered.

Eric Avila: 7 Provided a great spark of offense when the team needed one. The definition of a second half attacking sub.

George John: NA Not on the field long enough to warrant a grade, however, encouraging seeing him back on the field after his injury.

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Funny_Soccer_10

Here are some links from today, just because I am feeling nice.

Ives throwin’ down some knowledge: Soccernet
Micheal Owens to Manchester United! Unprofessional Foul
UEFA tightens down on racism. about time. : The Original Winger
Superliga hitting home in KC: Advantage Played
Brad Evans Interview: USMNT Blog

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fitz_roy

The climber looks up the mountain as he struggles for breath. 8000 feet up, ¬†and the air is thinner than he remembered. He has been here before, walked these steps, seen these tress. Once when he was younger, he made that long daunting trip up through the foothills, and to the base of the mountain. The mountain was ominous and dark then, as he was barely 18 but now it looked promising and he was determined to make it to the top this time. He didn’t quite reach it before, as he began to read his own press clippings and proceeded to bite off more than he could chew.

The path had been laid down by others, leading to success and goals achieved. The way was clear, his mind was clear, he was ready.

Freddy Adu will look to make his mark on this year’s Gold Cup, hoping to impress Coach Bob Bradley enough to warrant an inclusion in next year’s World Cup squad. However, he also must see this as a way to impress his club coaches at Benfica as well. He knows that this is his best opportunity to shine. The only question is will he.

He has technical skill, now he just needs to refine it, get stronger on the ball, and start making better decisions with the ball. The good thing about all that is that it can all be attained with time and practice.freddyadu

Fredinho as he has been known, is a product of too much hype at too young an age. He was compared to Pele, Maradona and Cruyff at the tender age of 15, and was told that the future of US soccer rested on his thin gawky shoulders. No one lives up to that hype. If Pele had grown up in this day and age, with that sort of media pressure, I doubt he would have ever lived up to the hype that would have been attributed to him.

He knows the pressure is on him for this month’s tournament, but he should be used to it, as he has been under pressure since he was a boy.

Fate has a fickle finger, but I hope it begins to point in Freddy’s direction soon, so that he can being to relax and enjoy the game. Until then, he will continue the journey through the foothills to the base of the mountain, look up on it’s powerful peaks and invulnerable crags and smile. He has been here before, and knows the path to success.

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US Gold Cup 2007

On Saturday, the USMNT starts the second tournament of it’s long summer against Grenada in the Gold Cup. The team will not be the same as the one that traveled to South Africa last month, but it looks to achieve many of the same goals as the A team achieved against the best teams in the world. The quality of opponents in the Gold Cup is lacking, however, a young, inexperienced American side will be able to learn a lot from this tournament as well as try to garner the attention of head coach Bob Bradley before the World Cup in 2010. The squad looks like this:

Goalkeepers: Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (IK Start), Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern)

Defenders: Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Jay Heaps (New England Revolution), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaellands), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock)

Midfielders: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Colin Clark (Colorado Rapids), Sam Cronin (Toronto FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

Forwards: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United)

Seven players have also been allowed to be added to the pool since the Confederations Cup ended so close to the start of the Gold Cup. The US will still have an 18 man game day roster but, will be able to call in these players to individual games if the coach decides to do so.

These players are:

Jozy Altidore, Brad Guzan, Conor Casey, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Jonathan Bornstein, and Ricardo Clark

The lineup I see Bradley using is this:

Ching————–Davies

Holden

Rogers—————————————————————————Adu

Pause

Pearce——————–Goodson—————Parkhurst—————–Cherundolo

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holden and Adu switch places, or for Beckerman to come in for Pause. I also think we will see Jimmy Conrad and Chad Marshall in the center of defense at some point as well. The above lineup is what I would like to see for the first game against Grenada.

Honduras and Haiti are also in the United States’ group.

What do you think? Good lineup, or do you want to see somebody else in there getting some playing time? Wish someone who wasn’t called up would have been? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll be back later with some key players to watch in the tournament.

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Rising Stock

Wow, less than a week after the Confederations Cup Final, and the Americans who played well in the tournament are getting new interest from all over the world.

We will look at the biggest winners and losers from the tournament:

Biggest Winners:

Charlie Davies–A move away from his current club Hammarby was pretty much destined to happen as he has had two very good seasons with them and bigger clubs were bound to take a look, but since the tournament, clubs from France, Germany and the Netherlands have shown more than just a glance in his direction. I see him going to Ligue One, where I feel like his speed and quickness will be able to make the most damage.

Jozy Altidore–Since making the loan move to Xerex in January, he hasn’t played a competitive match, and he isn’t happy about it. He returns from his loan back to Villarreal in the coming weeks, but I don’t see him staying there. English clubs such as Everton, and other clubs from Spain have inquired about him asking for a loan deal. I feel like he would do well in the Premier League and learn a lot from testing against the tough physical backs that hold down the forts in England.

Clint Dempsey–While he has become a starter for Fulham, it has been his breakout during the Confederations Cup that has increased his stock the most. Everton has been linked with him, as well as some clubs from Germany and Spain. He only has one more year left in Fulham, and it has been rumored that he recently turned down a two year deal that would keep him at the Cottage, so they may be willing to sell. A deal worth 4 million euros would probably send him on his way. I have a hard time seeing him in Germany or Spain, so I think he will stay in England.

Oguchi Onyewu–We wrote here a few weeks ago that a move to Fenerbache was imminent, but it seems like he realized that bigger teams would be on the prowl after his dominating performance in the Cup. Reports have come in linking him to pretty much everywhere in the world. Teams from Italy, England, Spain, and even the Netherlands have shown interest. This is a toss up, but I want to see him in England, as I think his game will grow the most in that physically demanding league.

UPDATE: Ajax from the Netherlands is VERY interested, while he has narrowed down his choices to teams from four clubs, the Dutch (with Ajax), one from Spain in La Liga, and two from the Serie A in Italy. Thanks go to Greg Seltzer at No Short Corners for the find.

Jay DeMerit–His stock has gone up as well as he played wonderfully, and it has been reported that some of the lower end Premier League clubs in England are taking a look at him. I doubt Watford will be able to hold onto the surly looking, never say die defender.

The Biggest Losers

Demarcus Beasley–Let’s just say this. When he was on the field, the Americans looked terrible, and when he wasn’t, they played with the best teams in the world. He needs to find a team and play, but his stock has plummeted. It might even take him coming back to the MLS for a few seasons, and trying to get his game back together. FC Dallas is first on the allocation list, and he would fit in well…(maybe I’m dreaming).

Sacha Kljestan– His stock has been falling for awhile now, but since the Cup, I don’t see him leaving the MLS in the near future. Ever since he cut his flowing soccer locks, he hasn’t been the same player. He played wonderfully against Sweden, scoring a hat trick, and almost got a transfer to Celtic. However, since his rise, there has been a tremendous fall. In the cup, he turned the ball over more than anyone else on the field. He would either get the ball and pass it to the other team, or become completely invisible and do nothing until he would get red carded. He is going to have to turn his game around pretty quickly to get any serious offers from Europe.

Some Links:

Transfers

Thoughts About Transfers

What do you think? See these players getting moves to new teams? Agree with who I have said? Think some more people should be added? Let me know in the comments.

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