Thursday, April 19, 2007

Atomic Flea News

The hottest rumor of 'em all - last night I received a phone call, followed by an email, both claiming that AEG exec Tim Leiweke was currently in Europe meeting with Zinedine Zidane to persuade him to un-retire and come play in MLS. But with which team? AEG owns 3! Hell, even Mike and Tony talked about it on PTI last night.

Thursday night MLS action:
-Columbus v New England - see the game live at 6pm central on ESPN2
-Prepare to have your ears wrung mute by announcer Tommy Smyth tonight. He will make several completely contradictory proclamations, and make up new interpretations of rules as the game goes along. Also expect him to make a very early declaration about the entire mental state of one of the two teams before they have even had a chance to settle in to the game. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! He makes me insane.
-Match preview from Mike Biglin of the Metrowest Daily News.
-Jeff Carlisle of Soccernet previews.
-Andrew Hush of Soccer New England with a preview.
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Yes, this is a picture of DC United defender Bobby Boswell dressed like a "sexy" tiger. The stripes are made from chocolate. I shit you not. He did it for a charity fund raiser. Not good.
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Word is spreading that Chicago's Toyota Park security are prepared to start cracking down on Fire fans, especially those in "Section 8", who try to bring smoke bombs, beer etc into the stadium. They will have stricter searches at the gates, and a bigger security presence in the stands.
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Ken Pendleton at the US Players Assoc has no problem with MLS chasing after Zizou, but he does not think the player should be in Los Angeles.
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Columbus hope to have new signing Guillermo Barros Schelotto available for games starting on May 5 or 12. He will make an appearance in Columbus next week, but return home to Argentina for a tribute match and to get his work permit.
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Toronto is churning through players like a rich guy through skid marked underpants. Constantly. Why clean em up when you can just get new ones. Larry Millson at the Toronto Globe & Mail says forward Conor Casey is the latest guy out the door. Shipped to Colorado for the "rights" to young Canadian forward Riley O'Neill & some money. I was told that TFC could have drafted O'Neil but did not, so this one is odd. And it seems like Casey didn't get much of a shot. He was hurt through almost all of preseason, and came on as a sub in both games. What is Mo Johnston's master plan anyway? O'Neil is currently in Europe trying to catch on to a team there, so he isn't even available to TFC at this time. (thanks to Jesse & Jesse for all the info)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dean McNulty of the Toronto Sun says Johnston is also chasing Polish defender Jacek Bak. The 34 year old currently playing for Al Rayyan Club in Qatar has been linked to the Chicago Fire in the past as well.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Frank Dell'apa says New England has had to become more of a team since Clint Dempsey departed. And they think it is paying off already.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lacy Banks at the Chicago Sun Times with a story on Fire midfielder Logan Pause, who has really stepped up for his team this season.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch with an article on a Crew player who was one of the few bright spots for the team last season - Ricardo Virtuoso. He has not played yet this season due to injuries, but he is expected to go tonight. Could he be for real? He sure was impressive the few times he stepped on the field last year. Come on man! Light em up!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune talks to KC Wizard striker Eddie Johnson about his plans to avoid the slump again this year.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In their match on Sunday April 29, Houston will wear a special shirt featuring the team colors of Virginia Tech, as a tribute and fund raiser. I understand that this is a nice gesture, but I am wondering what is Houston's connection to VA Tech?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Glenn Davis at the Houston Chronicle looks at the Dynamo's acquisition of veteran midfielder Richard Mulrooney.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

LA Soccer News has a Q & A with Chivas USA's first year English forward John Cunliffe.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Luis Bueno meets Chivas USA's new French striker Laurent Merlin for MLSnet.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

TFC coach Mo Johnston will be looking sharp in his Harry Rosen suits. He has become a spokesperson for the Canadian menswear store, and they have an interview with him on their site! Excellent! (thanks to the wise person who sent us this, they know who they are)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

An article in the Baltimore Sun says DC United is looking to potentially play a game in Charm City this summer. Sounds good to me Bunky.
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This is why AEG took the San Jose Earthquakes to Houston - Potential new Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff has hit a snag with San Jose State University over new stadium revenue sharing. The people at this University are clearly not interested in compromise, they weren't before and they aren't now. Let's hope it gets figured out.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sports Illustrated with their weekly MLS wrap up and rankings.
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Allen Hopkins with his weekly MLS news assemblage for Soccernet.

Ian Plenderleith at the US Players Assoc tries to compare, or maybe not compare, MLS to English football.
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US Open Cup - MLS qualifiers. (The 4 teams who did not make the playoffs last year get underway first.) Here are those two games:
Wednesday April 18
-Real Salt Lake 2-1 Kansas City Wizards - RSL goals by Jeff Cunningham and Andy Williams, with KC goal by Sasha Victorine.
-Salt Lake will now play Colorado on April 28.
-Match report from James Edwards at the Deseret Morning News.
Tuesday April 24
-Columbus Crew v Los Angeles Galaxy (winner takes on New York Red Bulls)
-Next round date still to be determined.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

MLS Week 3 matches:
New York v Houston - 6:30pm on FSC
Chicago v Kansas City - 7:30 on HDNet
Chivas USA v Salt Lake 9:30 on Direct Kick
Dallas v Colorado - 2pm on Telefutura
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

USL First Division matches this weekend:
Charleston v Minnesota - live at 7pm central on Fox Soccer Channel
Carolina v Minnesota
Atlanta v Montreal
Portland v Puerto Rico
Vancouver v Seattle
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

AC Milan will have a youth team in the USA this summer to play matches against my Minnesota Thunder and the Portland Timbers. The team is called AC Milan Primavera, and consists of the players just below the senior squad. Several of these players train regularly with the first team and have even suited up & played in matches. Matteo Darmian, Mateo Bruscagin, Matteo Lunati, Gastone Bottini, Luca Antonelli & Davide Di Gennaro have played in Italian Cup or Serie A matches. They will be a very good opponent.
The matches are June 19 in Portland, June 23 in Minnesota, and a third game still to be announced.
-Here is the press release with details from the Thunder.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A very interesting article from the Washington Post on the growing bi-lingual nature of youth soccer in America. This is about a DC area high school.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The USA U20's will take on the Argentina U20's in a friendly on May 15 at PAETEC Park in Rochester.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

3 Americans were in EPL action last night:
Blackburn 3-1 Watford - Brad Freidel in goal for BB and Jay DeMerit for Wat.
West Ham 1-4 Chelsea - oof - Jonathan Spector played the whole match, and was burned by Shawn Wright Phillips for a goal.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yanks Abroad reports that young American midfielder Michael Bradley scored last night and led the reserve team of Heerenveen to the league title!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In Denmark 2 more Americans were in action last night:
-Danny Califf - Aalbourg - played the full 90 in a 1-1 draw at Randers.
-Heath Pearce - Nordsjaelland - also played the whole match, but lost 0-1 at Copenhagen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

CONCACAF Champions Cup final round matches
Wed Apr 18 - FIRST LEG
Guadalajara 2-2 Pachuca - Chivas got both goals from Omar Bravo, while Tuzos got theirs from Juan Carlos Cacho & Marvin Cabrer.
-Second leg is 7 days later on the 25th at Pachuca.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Copa Libertadores - here are the week's matches:
Apr 18
Flamengo 1-0 Real Potosi
Parana 2-1 Maracaibo
Banfield 0-1 Libertad
Alianza Lima 0-1 Sao Paulo
America 2-1 El Nacional
-Match reports via Sports Illustrated.
Apr 19
Internacional - Nacional
Velez Sarsfield - Emelec
Gimnasia - Defensor Sporting
Santos - Deportivo Pasto
-Libertad, America & Parana have advanced to the next round. A couple more will join them after today's matches.
-Flamengo, Santos, Colo Colo & Caracas had already qualified for the next round.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Copa del Rey semifinals:
April 18 - first leg
Barcelona 5-2 Getafe
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David Beckham is fit and ready to go for Real Madrid this Saturday when they take on Valencia in a battle for near top of the table.
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Niki Kitsantonis at the International Herald Tribune looks at the latest fan violence plaguing Greek football.
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Jonah Freedman's new World Soccer Power Rankings from Sports Illustrated.
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Brazilian forward Julio Baptista tells the Times of London that he is homesick and miserable playing in England. His family is "frightened" by not seeing enough sun in London. Hahahaha. Poor dude, he needs to get out now. Adios mutante. (thanks to BQ for the story tip)
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More Arsenal takeover intrigue as one of the teams board members quit after his siding with potential American owner Stan Kroenke was frowned upon. This could cause a lot of chaos. Also from the Times of London.
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Inter Milan lost out on their chance to win the Serie A scudetto last night as they got blown out by Roma 1-3 for their first league loss of the season. Pathetic display by the home team. Good for Roma.
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And something great has happened in Italy! Despite the fact that I love Inter Milan, their forward, the Brazilain Adriano, has been suspended for 2 games after a video review of the foul on him in the box that led to a PK has been adjudged to be a DIVE! Yes, that's right, Italy used a post game video review to call Adriano on his diving bullshit and have now docked him 2 games. As far as I know this is unprecedented. I love it. Please keep it up. Punish the divers!
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But the revolving door in Catania continues, as yet another court has said the fans can return to the stands for home games.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

houston's connection to tech? they wear orange i guess? i dunno. perhaps it is simply just a nice gesture on their part, in which case that is good because nice gestures are really needed at this point. DC should be doing something, since they're the closest team to the school.

5:03 PM  
Blogger CG said...

The Houston jerseys look nothing like Va Tech colors. Weird.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous bq said...

I too thought it was weird that Houston is supporting VA Tech.

On another note, the Washington Post article on Translating Soccer Into Fútbol is excellent. There is something about this sort of article that truly gives me joy. Football can transcend so many obstacles that normally keep people of different races, languages and religions apart. It's fantastic that these coaches are using this as a plus instead of a negative.

Our Startribune here in Mpls. just last fall also ran a fantastic article on the diversity of high-school soccer and how the kids were learning from each other. I heard a quote the other day, it went something like this; If you get to know a persons, culture, their ways and their religion, if you get to know the person, it makes it that much harder to bomb them.

Maybe it's naive but these sort of stories give me hope.

5:29 PM  

"(thanks to the wise person who sent us this, they know who they are)" - Bruce you just made my day!!!

7:39 PM  
Anonymous McCrum said...

What's Mo's plan this year? Simple.

A: Stay there for more than one year.
2: Win some games. Failing that, score a goal, possibly two.
III: See how much scotch he can consume during 90 minutes.

I always see him on the sidelines in his jeans, unbuttoned shirt and jacket and imagine him thinking, "What, am I the only head coach drinking around here?" so this wardrobe change can be nothing but a step in the right direction. Hopefully Sutton can teach him how to tie a four in hand when he's not busy picking the ball out of the back of the net.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see Section 8 is being held responsible for their actions. DC could learn a thing from the Fire's security.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous seahawkdad said...

DC has its own security...and it doesn't involve the CSC goons:

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why must Houston have some obvious "connection" to Virginia Tech ?
Uh, how bout they're part of the human race ??
Fellow Americans ??

Say, isn't DuNord the same blog that was talking about shirts for a CHARITY, some weeks back ?

1:08 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

The most obvious connection I can see between Houston and Virginia Tech is Wade Barrett. He is from Virginia Beach (as am I), and the area has a strong connection with VT. He most likely knew many people that went to the school in the past, and felt he wanted to show his support.

Then again, it might not be the case at all, but I sure feel better thinking that Wade is behind this.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

VT asked everyone in the country to wear their school colors today. My guess is that Houston decided to do this at the next closest game to today.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my response to Jonah Freedman that I couldn't send because I couldn't find an email addy:

Hi Jonah

Love your work, but to suggest that we should all be salivating over Man Utd and Chelsea going head to head in everything is a bit much. What we have at the moment is the makings of a never-ending dynasty that's only going to get worse as the top clubs get richer and richer. It's like being shown a rich kid's new sports car: nice for them, but not something to really get excited about back in the real world.

Let me try to explain myself. Fulham, my team, are having a terrible year. Every week we turn up expecting things to have changed, every week it gets worse. It's soul destroying and we might soon be relegated. This isn't some post-Hornby football-as-obsession pose, it's a very real feeling. Think back to last November, when we were playing Reading at the Cottage. It was one of those crisply sunny autumn days, the crowd was up for it, I was in the best mood. Then we had a man sent off early and lost. Terrible. In the week after this we were due to play Arsenal, who had ripped us to bits the previous year with their sparkling football. If we couldn't handle Kevin Doyle, what chance of keeping Thierry Henry quiet?

This time I'd had a frustrating day at work, my bus to the stadium got stuck in traffic, and I was in a foul way by the time I took my seat. But from nowhere Fulham pulled out a performance for the ages, winning 2-1 but worth more than that. It was sensational stuff for all of us there. I can't see how a Chelsea or Man Utd fan can feel that (unless they're beating Roma 7-1, of course). They expect to win every week. And that's not what football's about.

Football's out of control. It's bad enough that teams from heritage-rich Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic aren't allowed into the moneyspinning bit of the 'Champions' League (unless they've jumped through the requisite qualifying hoops first), but for three or four English clubs to be stuck into the virtuous cycle of wealth just makes things impossibly dull and widens the divide. How are any of the Eastern European clubs that have been left behind ever going to catch up? How are any other English clubs going to catch up in our own league? It's ugly to see and a lot of us just wish the G14 group would get a move on and disappear into this greedy European Superleague they've been rubbing their hands over for as long as we can remember. Our only hope is for Michel Platini to suddenly announce that his initial noises about reshaping European football were the soft version so as not to worry people, and that all along he's been plotting some crazy scheme to radically re-shape the European game before it's too late.

So while Chelsea and Man Utd may thrill the true neutrals, the rest of us will be doing our best to ignore the hype and hoping that next year someone can break the status quo. Give us our game back.


PS - if you're interested in Fulham, and a lot of Americans seem to be, I write a Fulham blog most days. Drop on by.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Rich, you're pretty good with that hammer 'cause you hit the nail right on the head. The problems you describe have certainly been affecting my interest in the game abroad in recent years.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear you don't like Tommy Smyth. I love him, and think he brings something else (besides his accent) to the god-awful drivel that is spewn during MLS/USA Int'l matches on ESPN. You'd rather hear Dave OBrien, perhaps?

11:07 AM  
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