Monday, February 06, 2006

Not If I Can Help It News

-Two players were dropped from the TEAM USA Winter 06 training camp - Freddy Adu was sent to DC to be with United for their full preseason, while Steve Ralston of New England was cut due to a quad muscle injury. He will rehab and join up with his club for their preseason.
-Just a reminder that this Psuedo-USA team will play Japan on Friday night in San Francisco. The game kicks off at 10pm central time, and can be seen live on ESPN2. The word is that Japan's roster consists entirely of players from the J-League.
-Ticket sales for the Japan match are over 25,000, which unfortunately means lots and lots of Japanese fans.
-Fantastic new video from US Soccer of our boys playing a little closed door match v South Korea. You get to see & hear Arena talking with the players during a break in the action. I mean it, really fantastic.
-American striker Kenny Cooper was released from his Manchester United contract last week, and this week will probably be joining FC Dallas in MLS!! This means that Dallas is preparing itself to either lose Carlos Ruiz or Eddie Johnson, or cover for Johnson while he plays in the World Cup. With the addition of Cooper, if Dallas were to keep both those 2 big guys, and not forgetting that the promising Roberto Mina is also on the squad, it would give them "easily" the most potent striker combo in the league, maybe league history.
-Andrea Canales contemplates the target forward for the US. If Brian McBride is the man, is Taylor Twellman his successor? And what does Eric Wynalda think about it?
-Demko spotted some tabloid fever in the Guardians Fiver column: Dvd O'Lry intends shoring up his back-line with Standard Liege's Oguchi Onyew. Because Villa won't get to play Middlesbore every week. If I were Oguchi, and I only am in height, I would say yes to England, and no to Villa.
-Our guy in LA, Jonesy, calls MLS a "slow waltz". What a great analogy. Read on.
-A huge quarterfinal weekend at the African Cup of Nations! This leaves just 4 teams for Tuesdays semifinals. Here are the scores and the next match ups:
Q1 - Guinea 2-3 Senegal
Q2 - Egypt 4-1 Congo
Q3 - Nigeria 1-1 Tunisia - Nigeria wins 6-5 on pk's
Q4 - Cameroon 1-1 Ivory Coast - Ivory Coast wins 12-11 on pk's after Samuel Eto'o missed for Cameroon!
Semifinals will be next week on Tuesday.
Nigeria v Ivory Coast
Egypt v Senegal
-Let's check in on our top boyz in Euro-land:
Steve Cherundolo did not play for Hannover due to a concussion the week prior - his team drew 1-1 with Nurmberg
Kasey Keller and Monchengladback lost 2-0 at Wolfsburg
DaMarcus Beasley's PSV topped Roda 3-2
Blackburn & Brad Friedel were beaten 2-0 at West Brom, leaving them sitting decently in 9th place.
Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra & Fulham could not hold off Man United, losing 4-2 at Old Trafford. Bocanegra unluckily had United's first goal deflect off him, but McBride headed home to keep Fulham in it. United's third goal was scored by Van Nistelrooy who was a couple yards offside, sending Fulham Coach Cookie Coleman into a rage that got him red carded.
Eddie Lewis sent in 2 crosses for goals as his Leeds beat QPR 2-0
Reading with Marcus Hahnemann in goal, & Bobby Convey on the left wing ran their unbeaten streak to 31(!!) Championship division games, beating Crewe 3-4
-In other England action - I sat with a friend at the excellent Highbury Pub in Milwaukee on Sunday morning watching Chelsea do their thing against Liverpool, winning 2-0. I have been trying for a long time now to figure out how to describe their style of play. Then it hit me, the old North Carolina, Dean Smith, Four Corners, Deep Freeze! Yes this is a college basketball comparison. But Dean Smith's teams played such amazing defense, and had such a patient offense that they could beat anyone! They spread the floor and passed the ball with precision just waiting for the other team to overreact and then - BOOM - strike the basket hard. This is Chelsea to a T.
-Now let's check in on my Wigan-Everton Prediction. Early in the EPL season a shocking look at the table had people scratching their heads in awe and confusion. Newly promoted Wigan was somehow in 2nd place. And last years big surprise Everton were in 19th - second from bottom. At this point I made the prediction that Everton would snap out of their funk and finish the season above Wigan. Well, it just gets closer every week. Right now Wigan is still the surprise of the league sitting in 6th place with 39 points. But Everton are climbing Everest and now sit in 11th place with 33 points. Only six points apart with 13 games to play. I will still hold to my prediction.
-Luca Toni scored his Euro leading 22nd goal for Fiorentina in their 1-0 win over Lecce.
-And the Italian we all love to hate (Totti) says he is all grown up now, as he cries and whines about getting fouled. Ha!
-Thunder coach Amos Magee sends his final "Postcard" from Portugal. He is a great writer, with many entertaining things to say.
-Sadly, but just as I expected, the San Jose City Council has shit canned their Mayors $80million proposal to lure a top flight soccer team back to the Bay Area town.
-The Boston Herald profiles New England’s most important player, no not Tayler Twellman, Shalrie Joseph. He was the real MLS MVP for 05.
-Like I predicted a month ago, Michael Essien was fit enough to play for Chelsea, but not his country. Ghana got knocked out of the ACN on Saturday, while Essien started for Chelsea on Sunday. Of course Jose Mourinho defended his player, and the Ghana coach ripped him. I agree with the Ghana coach.
-Title holders Toluca lost for the first time this season, while Tecos won again and now sit on top of the Mexican Premira Division by themselves.
-Phil Ball finds it to have been extraordinary: That was the week that was!
-Another Andrea Canales feature story, this one on lil Stevie Sampson and the 2006 Los Angeles Galaxy, for Soccer365.
-And over the weekend she also had an interview with Eddie Pope of Salt Lake City "fame".
-Looks likely that promising midfielder Alain Nkong will return to Colorado this season, but at a lower salary. I think this is great.
-Rob Hughes of the International Herald Tribune writes: Joys and sorrows felt beyond Africa
-One for the ages?? Dortmund fans taunted Schalke fans with inflatable penis' and a banner in German that basically said "Go Fuck Yourselves"! Now there is some finely orchestrated top notch fan abuse! I hope someone out there can track down a picture of this classic moment.
-Chris Henderson feature story from US Players Assoc.
-La Primera Fase (final qualifying) for la Copa Libertadores ended last week. The 6 winners advance to the real tournament that kicks off Tomorrow! Here are those scores & the big 6:
Wednesday scores:
Deportivo Tachira 2-4 Palmeiras - for group 7 - Palm wins 6-2
Goias EC 3-0 Deportivo Cuenca - for group 3 - Goias wins 4-1
Thursday scores:
Independiente Santa Fe 0-0 Defensor Sporting - Independiete SF wins for group 2 - ends tied 2-2, advancing on away goals
Oriente Petrolero 0-2 River Plate - River wins group 8, 8-0!!!
The 6 who advanced:
Guadalajara Chivas to group 1
Independiete Santa Fe to group 2
Goias to group 3
Universitario to group 5
Palmeiras to group 7
River Plate to group 8
Tuesday group stage matches (running now thru early June):
Bolivar v Estudiantes - group 2
Rocha - Universitario - group 5
-A couple of articles of worth pop up the New York Times new sports magazine, Play: Franklin Foer the author of the overrated How Soccer Explains the World, writes in the New York Times of a new documentary film about the New York Cosmos glory years: Once In A Lifetime. It was produced by a guy named Michael Davies who wrote excellent field reports from World Cup 02 for - AND - Jeff Klein on the Roman derby.
-Big Apple Soccer's Dylan Butler on new Metro, Scottish winger, Peter Canero.


Anonymous bq said...

As usual I cannot get the (U.S.) video to work. Well, I had about 3 good days there. Oh well!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Zathras said...

It's being reported that D.R. Congo captain Lomana Lua Lua's 18-month old son died during the ACN and the DRC FA kept the news from him for *two weeks* so as not to affect his performance. If this is true, I can see why certain players wouldn't want to play for their country. If the federations of the countries are so corrupt, I doubt I'd play for them either.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Mr. Fish said...

The official site of the Cosmos doc:

12:28 PM  
Anonymous J. Michael said...

Yeah, I'm glad to see Everton pull out of their funk. It would be a shame to lose that Merseyside rivalry.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous ken said...

I personally don't think that Bocanegra had the shot deflect off of him "unluckily". I think he turned to avoid getting hit by the shot instead of challenging the shooter and I personally thought it looked rather pathetic for a defender in a top flight league in Europe. He needed to step up and challenge that shot, and take one for the team if necessary, and he didn't. I was talking Monday night with some of the guys on my team who had also seen that game and they agreed. Bocanegra hasn't been impressing me all that much lately.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous bq said...

totally agree with you Ken.

11:09 AM  
Blogger brucio said...

point well taken
i see that "i dont wanna get hurt" move all the time and hate it
thanks for showing me the light

1:53 PM  

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