Archive for August, 2008

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A Disappointing Sunday

August 31, 2008

Wah wah wahhhhhhhhh. That’s the sound of all the steam escaping from an overhyped Sunday matchday, and here’s why:

Scottish Premier League

RANGERS 4 CELTIC 2

Rangers came out on top in the first Old Firm Derby of the season, behind a brace from Kenny Miller.  Unfortunately, Damarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu failed to play a part for the Gers and we’ll have to hope next week brings more minutes for the Americans.

La Liga

VILLAREAL 1 OSASUNA 1

In an exciting match that saw two red cards and a penalty, Villareal were held to a draw in their first game of the season.  Jozy made the bench, but for us Americans whose mouths are watering for a debut, we’ll have to wait.  If Jozy can’t even see sub minutes when their two star strikers are out, you have to figure a loan move could be in the cards.  We will have to wait and see.

Ligue 1

RENNES 0 TOULOUSE 0

Carlos Bocanegra went the full 90 in a solid defensive performance, but Rennes were held scoreless in an otherwise slowmoving match.  Usual stuff from the consistent Boca.

Looks like the most exciting stuff today will be the Bradley transfer.  And if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll see Gooch on the move as well in the next 36 hours. Woo!

As always, you can check out Sunday Highlights for all American’s Abroad at http://watchsocceronline.blogspot.com/

–psc

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Michael Bradley to Borussia Mönchengladbach

August 31, 2008
Surprise! Betcha didn't expect Monchengladbach, did ya!?

Surprise! Betcha didn't expect Monchengladbach, did ya!?

In something none of us expected, Heerenveen have accepted an offer for Michael Bradley from Borussia Mönchengladbach of the Bundesliga.  The club might sound familiar to you and that is because Kasey Keller once plied his trade for this German side from 2005 to 2007.  Gladbach are back in the Bundesliga 1 this year after spending last season in the 2nd division.  They are a large club with some good history, but have been floating around mid-table the last 8 or so years.

Not many American news outlets have picked this up yet, so I’m left to quote the Heerenveen official website which translates loosely to:

Sc Heerenveen and Borussia Mönchengladbach have already reached agreement on the transfer. Bradley must still make ends meet personally with the Germans.

So Bradley still has to agree to personal terms with the Bundesliga side.  Apparently Mikey traveled quickly to the German club after Heerenveen’s game today.  This transfer sounds all but done, and it does make me a little sad because it would’ve been great to watch Bradley on TV for Middlesbrough every weekend.  My dissapointment aside, I think the Bundesliga is a good fit for Bradley.  Surely, it’s not as fierce as the BPL, but Germany is full of high quality football and if Bradley can get in the squad regularly (like we all expect) he will continue his development nicely.

UPDATE: Borussia’s site is now confirming this, saying (thanks to google translator):

Borussia faces the commitment by Michael Bradley. The 21-year-old U.S. national player from SC Heerenveen to be tomorrow (Monday) the medical check in Moenchengladbach abroad.

“He is a versatile midfield player usable, for his age quite a lot of experience with it. We hope that everything works and we will make perfect thing tomorrow,” said sports director Christian Ziege.

DOUBLE UPDATE: Ives is reporting that Michael Bradley agreed to personal terms with Monchengladbach this morning. Deal done.

What do you think of this suprise potential move?

–psc

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Weekend Thoughts: Transfers, US Men Action, Etc

August 30, 2008

MICHAEL BRADLEY TRANSFER SAGA

Nothing materializing yet as far as an actual bid, but Goal.com reported today that Bradley is “In Talks with Boro.” Conversely, Southgate is denying that he will make any moves before the window shuts.  BBC reported earlier today:

“Gareth Southgate says he will be expecting a hectic transfer deadline day, but only because he is taking his daughter horse riding. The Boro boss is not planning any additions to his squad before the window shuts.”

At this point, everything is still speculation until we hear something more substantial, like a bid.  I wouldn’t read too much into Southgate’s denial either, the transfer deadline is a tricky tightrope to walk.

SATURDAY SCORES

Ligue 1

MONACO 0 GRENOBLE 1

Freddy Adu again came on as a late sub, this time entering the match in the 83nd minute.  Adu couldnt inject any fire into the side, as he only touched the ball a few times before the Full Time whistle.

Still only very limited minutes for the young American and not enough time to analyze anything.  We can only hope Freddy stays positive and works hard in training to move up in coach’s eyes.

Colaship

READING 4 CRYSTAL PALACE 2

Convey sat on the bench for 90 minutes as a Kevin Doyle hat-trick secured the win for Reading.  Hahneman, as usual, played netminder for the match.

CARDIFF CITY 0 SHEFFIELD UNITED 0

Cardiff nicked a point at Bramall Lane and Eddie Johnson was late sub, coming on the 86th minute.  He only had a touch or two.  After going 90 minutes earlier in the week, hopefully Cardiff just wanted to give EJ a rest as he builds his fitness.  If Eddie can’t break into a Championship side, we’re in trouble.

Demerit also played today, but unfortunately I think his USMNT candle is flickering out so I didn’t report on it.  Just my opinion.

Bundesliga

DORTMUND 1 ENERGIE COTTBUS 0

Neven Subotic played a full match for Dortmund and also scored the winning goal in the 45th minute.  He continues to emerge as a strong force in the Bundesliga and I think this will be a great coming out year for him.  That said, his strong performances are definitely going to catch the eye of the German National Team and Serbia’s squad as well, I don’t have alot of hope that he’ll align himself with our USMNT unfortunately.

Catch highlights for a bunch of our yanks abroad over at Watch Soccer Online!

Here’s to the next two days of supposed tranfer madness! Hurrah!

We’ll be back tomorrow with some Sunday Recap, so stay tuned because Jozy is looking for his debut!  And of course the minute I catch wind of new transfer news, I’ll post it here. So don’t go far!

–psc

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Jozy Altidore Squashes Rumors (for the moment)

August 29, 2008
The Ankle of Hercules

The Ankle of Hercules

An exciting sliver of internetness has emerged despite an otherwise slow Friday: Jozy Altidore has posted a new blog on this NY Times blog! Let’s take a peek at some of the most interesting parts.  First off, Altidore addresses the Olympics:

And the Olympics. Man, it seems like that was ages ago, but it was only a few weeks. I honestly don’t want to talk about. It was pretty disappointing for me as a whole. O.K., I guess I have to say something! Everyone was disappointed, even now when I think or talk about it I get a sour taste in my mouth. We had so many good players on the team and were so close to getting out of the first round. It’s hard to take and I don’t like to talk about it.

I know there were some things written about me being injured … I don’t know where that came from because I wasn’t injured. Maybe my left ankle is not the greatest, but I was more than fine to play. How much I played was really a coach’s decision. I had a game plan for myself, but I guess it wasn’t the same as the coach’s plan. My playing had nothing to do with my ankle, it was just how the coach made the lineup.

My Thoughts: Cue tears. We may never truly understand what was going on behind closed doors amongst Bob Bradley, Piotr Nowak, and Jozy Altidore, but this little bit of info is saddening. Jozy wasn’t injured and Piotr still barely used him in the Olympic Games.  Blasphemy! Heresy! Sabatoge!  Jozy was a strong threat in the sub minutes he did see, so it breaks my heart to know that he COULD HAVE PLAYED a full 90.  We’ll never know how our Olympic squad could have done at full tilt.  But let’s HOLD UP a minute, Jozy did say “Maybe my left ankle is not the greatest,” so maybe he was carrying a slight knock, and Nowak just wanted to protect him?  We’ll never know.  Some people around the internet are whispering about Jozy’s “attitude,” similar to how we’ve heard about Kenny Cooper’s “attitude,” and I’m not sure what to say about that.  The one fact remains (in my opinion): Josmer Altidore, attitude or not, is the strongest and most potential-filled pure Striker our National Team has seen in the last 10 years, and maybe ever.  Let him play.

Jozy then goes on to address some of the loan rumors:

So now I at least know that I’m going to be here at least until January. Everyone knows I was supposed to go to another La Liga team on loan. But I think I’ve now done well enough and we have those injuries that the coach said I’m going to be staying around and if I do well the coach said he would keep me for the whole season. With Nihat and Rossi hurt, we just want to make sure we’ve got things covered.

So that appears to answer any questions we had about Jozy’s supposed move to Vallodolid.  Jozy will get his chance in the fall term to prove his worth, and if he can play well, he’ll stick around.  Sounds good to me.  Rest assured I will have my eyes peeled on Sunday, hoping that Jozy takes the pitch and turns in a good performance.

What do you think about the Olympic situation? Trust Bob Bradley and Nowak?  Or did Nowak just pull the same thing he did with Adu at DC? I encourage you to OVERREACT! That’s what internet soccer blogs are for.

–psc

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Kljestan to FC Twente?

August 29, 2008
The boy's got skill, but he needs to EAT MORE PIES.

McClaren: The boy's got skill, but he needs to EAT MORE PIES!!!

Ives has a little gossip on the Dutch club interested in our man Sacha.  Apparently it’s none of than Steve McClaren’s FC Twente, who just crashed out of Champions League qualifying earlier this week to Arsenal. Ives reports:

“…the Chivas USA midfielder could join former England manager Steve McClaren at Twente if the Dutch club can make an offer MLS will consider accepting (in the $3 to $4 million range is what I am being told).”

Will Chivas and MLS let Sacha go? Would 4 million USD be enough?

My Thoughts: I make my fondness for Sacha no secret and I think the Eredivisie would be a great league for the 22 year old.  He’s a strong creative midfielder who can attack in a number of midfield positions, but it’s hard to see where he can fit in the future of our already crowded USMNT midfield.  I think he was strong in the Olympics but I think his fitness was a weakness as he often looked sloppy in the last 15-20 minutes (granted he did play each game for our squad).  As for Twente, I’m not such a believer in the quality of the club, nor the quality of McClaren, but it would be a step up from Chivas.  The Dutch League could be a terrific place for him to develop, but I’m not sure Chivas will be happy to let him leave; it would leave their roster very thin.

–psc

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Friday Morning Frenzy: Rumor Roundup

August 29, 2008
Through this transfer window lies your hopes and dreams...

Through this transfer window lies your hopes and dreams...

So here we are, the final weekend of the transfer period. Let’s have a quick breakdown of the rumors swirling around some US Men.

Michael Bradley

Teams potentially interested: Middlesbrough, Hamburg, Monaco, Everton

My Thoughts: My formal bet is that Bradley Jr. goes to Middlesbrough.  Some other folks think that Germany and France are the most likely, but I have a feeling that Mikey and his agent will be pushing hard for Southgate to come in with a good offer (Bradley prefers England).  Plus, Boro has to be encouraged by the potential reunion between Michael and Afonso Alves. They had strong chemistry at Heerenveen and Gareth will hope they can reignite that flame at Teesside.

UPDATE: Greg Seltzer over at NSC muses:

Synchronized word out of England and the Netherlands says Middlesbrough either now have or are about to table an offer for Bradley, which will seemingly land in the €3.5-4.5 million neighborhood.

Looks like the wheels are in motion…

Oguchi Onyewu

Teams potentially interested: Specifics unknown, but we do know the leagues: Ligue 1, Premiership, La Liga.

UPDATE: soccer365 is saying that Aston Villa is the Prem Team who has their eye on Onyewu…

My Thoughts: I think we’ll have some more facts on this bit of gossip later today, but Gooch has definitely earned the buzz that’s stirring across Europe.  I can’t see Onyewu wanting to head back to Ligue 1, plus you have to imagine he wants a chance to redeem himself in England and if the Aston Villa rumor is true, that club could be a great fit.  Manager Martin O’Neill has assembled an ambitious side this season, and Villa’s defense has been a bit shaky thus far (Onyewu would certainly be an improvement over Zat Knight in my opinion).  This Villa rumor also comes on the heels of the news that Villa has just locked up the signature of James Milner in a 4 year contract for 10 million pounds.  So if the Onyewu rumor is also true, it looks like they aren’t afraid to splash some cash right now.   All of that said, Gooch has also been consistently linked to La Liga in the past, and I think he would be a strong asset to a number of Spanish teams.  While the Villa rumor is an exciting notion, a few more facts need to pop up before I take it TOO seriously.  In this order, I think he’ll end up in (1) La Liga (2) England (3) France.  But this all depends on who’s interested.

Jozy Altidore

Teams potentially interested: Rumors that Real Valladolid are looking to acquire the ManBeast in a temporary loan move.

My Thoughts: I think the rumor might be bogus, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t mind talking about bogus rumors, because hey, it’s fun. Bottom line: Jozy just needs minutes, so bring it on.  Let’s see if the kid can play with the big boys.

UPDATE: Word straight from Jozy’s mouth dispells this rumor.  He will be staying with Villareal until at least January.

–psc

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Gooch: THE RACE IS ON (Apparently)

August 28, 2008
I will leap into your league and crush.

I will leap into your league and crush.

less than 24 hours after a formidable showing against Liverpool, reports out of Belgium say the Liege phone is ringing off the hook.  Apparently, and soccer365 talks about this too, clubs in France, Spain, and England are inquiring about the availability of Oguchi “The Boss” Onyewu.

The interest is strong, and teams are now asking about the price.  According to Lyle Yorks, the most negotiations have occured with a club in La Liga (I would guess Espanyol, which had been linked earlier with a move for Gooch).  Says Lyle Yorks:

We’ve been talking with a La Liga club for 10 days… It’s a big club. I can say that. After last night’s game, we had discussions with a Premier League club and one of the top teams in France.

So we shall see. Will Gooch be going anywhere this window?  Can you guess what Premiership team is after him?

–psc