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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.

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.

The Beckham Experiment

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.

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.

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

Home Sweet Home

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.

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