Posts Tagged ‘Villarreal’

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A Tear For Llorente Means A Break For Jozy

November 17, 2008

News out of Villarreal today is that Joseba Llorente has torn a muscle in his thigh.  The injury came in last weekends 2-2 draw with Malaga and now the striker is facing a month on the sideline.  While this may be bad news for Llorente and Villarreal, it could be nice for Altidore who suffers when the strikeforce is at full strength.

We can expect Rossi and Franco to continue starting up top, but it seems that Altidore will be the first striker off the bench in the next few games.  At least until Nihat returns to form which might be soon.

But before we think this is a great opportunity for Jozy, let’s remember that there’s another side to this coin.  If Jozy plays another game for Villarreal, he is unable to be loaned out in January.  I believe that is the rule.  So while Jozy may get to play in the short term (in Llorente’s absence), in the long term he may find himself trapped deep in the rotation once spring rolls around and every striker is healthy.

So we’ll see what happens this weekend, and if Jozy makes an appearance.  But before that, we can turn our attention to Wednesday and hope Jozy has a strong showing against Guatemala.

Thoughts?

–psc

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20-Man Roster For Guatemala Game

November 17, 2008

Bob Bradley released the roster for the Guatemala game this Wednesday and Jozy and Freddy are the only boys to venture over from Europe.  John Thorrington (Why Gody Why) and Chris Role (Kill Me Now) are the new domestic additions.  Take a peek:

GOALKEEPERS

Brad Guzan, Troy Perkins, Matt Pickens

DEFENDERS

Jonathan Bornstein, Sean Franklin, Cory Gibbs, Clarence Goodson, Drew Moor, Michael Parkhurst

MIDFIELDERS

Freddy Adu, Davy Arnaud, Ricardo Clark, Sacha Kljestan, Pablo Mastroeni, John Thorrington

FORWARDS

Jozy Altidore, Conor Casey, Brian Ching, Kenny Cooper, Chris Rolfe

Alright, so despite the inclusion of Chris Rolfe and Papa John Thorrington, there are some things to be excited about.  First off, Corey Gibbs makes his return to the National Team and there’s a chance he might sneak a start (I suspect he’ll be fighting with Drew Moor for the RB spot).  On first glance, my gut tells me that the starting defense will be Bornstein, Goodson, Parkhurst, Moor. But Gibbs could slide in for Moor.  And Franklin could be a late sub, just to give him a taste of the Senior crest.

In the midfield, my gut reaction is that we’ll see Adu, Clark, Mastroeni, Kljestan lining up.  I’m surprised that US Soccer lists Davy Arnaud as a midfieler, but I don’t expect him to see the pitch anyway (but I suppose you never know).  Some people may be sad to see Freddy on the wing, but where else would we put him in this squad? I don’t think he’d slide into the center because that would push Pablo or Clark out, and I just don’t see that happening.

Up top, the forwards pose an interesting dilemma.  First, I have to figure that Jozy will start.  Why else would we bring him over from Villarreal?  That implies that Brian Ching and Kenny Cooper will be fighting for the other spot, and that makes me extremely worried.  Because knowing Bob Bradley and the US Soccer contingent, Brian Ching will start.  Which breaks my cold, black heart.  This game means nothing and we really need to see what Kenny Cooper can do in a strong runout.  Cooper has been much more productive in the MLS, but because Ching is a “USMNT veteran” he will get the nod?  There is a chance that Cooper will start, but given the traditional and safe ways of Bradley, I don’t have much confidence in that possibility.  Hey, there’s always the chance that Cooper and Ching would start up top together, although that would be mind boggling.

What do you all think of the roster?  Who do you figure will get the start?  Are you sad not to see Danny Szetela in this lineup? Because I am. I have some more in depth thoughts, but I’ll post those later.

–psc

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Saturday: Bye Bye Luhukay, Helloooo Mikey B

October 18, 2008

Bundesliga

BOCHUM 2 BMG 2

Michael Bradley went 90 minutes in today’s 2-2 draw between BMG and Bochum and he looked alright!  He was guilty of some suspect marking in the 50th minute on Bochum’s first goal, as you can see below:

Cmon little Mike!

C'mon little Mike!

In any case, thank god he’s getting some minutes, and hopefully this is a sign of his new role at BMG.  Interestingly enough, he played pretty high up the pitch in today’s game, almost immediately behind the striker Rob Friend.  For a player who calls himself “most comfortable with a defensive midfield role” I wonder what Bradley thinks about his position today.

Serie B

BRESCIA 3 TRIESTINA 2

Danny Szetela came on in the second half and scored the gamewinner for Brescia in the 88th minute.  I’m foraging for highlights and as soon as I can find them I’ll post.  But great news for Danny as he continues to make his place in the squad at Brescia.

Premier League

FULHAM 0 SUNDERLAND 0

Dempsey came on in the 73rd minute as Fulham were held to a scoreless draw against Sunderland.  Clint was involved in some nice passing sequences after coming on, but Fulham never truly threatened the goal.  Sunderland will be most dissapointed with the draw after having a goal disallowed in the second half.

check back later on today and see if Jozy makes the bench for Villarreal and if Adu can get in the game against Nice for Monaco.

For all your International Yank highlights, head to watchsocceronline.blogspot.com

–psc

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Some Questions and Updates Before Cuba

October 9, 2008

The USMNT has been hitting the training field hard this week in preparation for Saturdays match against Cuba.  After the first day of training, new man Torres had this to say:

“The first day was good. I was really nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Everyone has treated me really well. I started to feel very comfortable, and after the first day of training I’m feeling better and better.”

Also, Michael Bradley took the time to chime in about the coaching change at BMG:

“Ziege is the sporting director and everyone has a relationship with him… He is around every day, he sits on the bench at the games, he is out at training quite a bit. I think it will be a good thing for me because, at the end of the day, he was the one who really, really pushed hard to bring me to the club… I think he has confidence in me and he likes the qualities that I can bring to a team.”

So that sounds like good news for the young Bradley and hopefully he’ll start to feature more strongly for the German side.

Back to US training camp, you can see a few video highlights of training here:

So what do we thinkg about Cuba? Well first off, sadly I think Brian Ching is a lock to start up top.  That will probably bring a frown to the faces of some Yanked Around readers, but in any case Ching is a veteran and seems to be in good graces with the coaching staff.  We all know how the USMNT loves “experience.”  I think there is a small chance Jozy could start, but the more realistic notion is that Donovan would start up top and then Jozy would come on in the second half to spell one of the forwards.  Another interesting question remains regarding Torres: Even though this is his first camp, does Bradley throw him in the game to cap-tie him to us?  I think Torres is pretty committed to the US program, so I don’t think it’ll be disastrous if we DON’T cap him, but it is still something to consider.  I think we will see the same starting lineup we’ve seen in the past:

Howard

Dolo, Gooch, Boca, Pearce

Dempsey, Bradley, Kljestan, Beas

Donovan, Ching

The least certain starter is Sacha, but I do think he’ll get the nod over Edu, who hasn’t seen enough playing time with Rangers yet.  I think the back four is immovable, and given Dempsey’s strong play for Fulham last week as a forward, we COULD see him up top, but I think he belongs in the midfield for the Nats.

The more interesting hopes arise when we consider what subs might see the pitch.  With a bench of Jozy, Adu, Davies, and Torres, you have to hope we grab a few goals early in the first half so we can see some fresh blood as soon as possible.

What do you think about our lineup for Saturday? Any different ideas about our starting lineup?  Think we’ll crush Cuba?

–psc

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Saturday With The Big Boys: Dempsey Gets His Chance

October 4, 2008
Don't Suck.

Don't Suck.

Dempsey is listed to start up front with Zamora for Fulham today, as they take on WBA.  Amidst rumors of Clint’s unhappiness on the bench, Hodgson has given the Texan a chance to prove himself and hopefully he’ll seize it by the collar and put in a good performance.

UPDATE: Dempsey didn’t suck (but Fulham did lose 1-0 to WBA)! By all accounts, Clint took advantage of his inclusion and through most of the game looked very dangerous.  He seemed central to Fulham’s attack and went close on a number of nice drives; he also set up Zolton Gera beautifully after a nice bit of hustle, but the former WBA man failed to finish.  Hodgson seemed happy with Dempsey’s play, saying after the match:

“…Clint dempsey who came in for the first time this year, had a very good game and that’s good to know, that there are players who haven’t featured so much so far, who are capable of going in and playing well.”

Good work from Dempsey in Andy Johnson’s absence, but I don’t think it was enough to keep him in the starting XI.  Still, his effort wasn’t all in vain methinks, as he definitely proved to Hodgson that he can be a valuable asset to the team and a viable offensive threat.  Clint needs to keep up the work in training, and really look to grab a goal or assist in his next chance if he wants to further raise his stock.

Over in Germany, Michael Bradly is on the bench for BMG’s game against Cologne.  It’s currently about the 65th minute and the score is locked at 1-1.  Doesn’t look good for Bradley getting in the game. Blah.

UPDATE: BMG lost 2-1 and Bradley did not get off the bench.  Tick tock BMG, time to get Bradley in the squad, looks like you need him.

In other Saturday Matchday news, Altidore is in the squad for Villarreals match against Real Betis, since Nihat is once again out with injury.  I don’t expect Jozy to see the pitch, but who can tell.

UPDATE: Altidore WAS named in the provisional 8 man bench for Villarreal, but he was dropped from the bench when they trimmed down to 7.  Unfortunate.  Hopefully we see Jozy versus Cuba next Saturday.

Check back in as the day moves on for updates! And for all Yanks video highlights, head over to http://watchsocceronline.blogspot.com

–psc

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Saturday Action: Bradley Hits The Bench

September 27, 2008
A Settling Jewel

Michael Bradley: A Settling Jewel

M’gladbach fell further in the league table today, dropping a 1-0 result to Hamburg SV (they now are second to last in the table).  Michael Bradley was an unused substitute, and you have to wonder what the manager is thinking.  Gladbach is disastrous in possession and also has shown really poor tackling in the midfield, so it seems that Bradley would be a perfect injection of quality.  As I did some internet digging, I found this article, which after some translation, consoled me a little:

…But because of Patrick Paauwe’s injury [Bradley] was tested again on Tuesday in the German cup second-round game against Energie Cottbus, after his unplanned Bundesliga debut against Hertha BSC Berlin (0:1) last Saturday.

The son of US national team coach Bob Bradley couldn’t help the Borussians with his already enormous strength in on on one situations and his astonishing maturity yet, but coach Jos Luhukay first wants to give his new jewel time to settle in anyway. “Michael tried. For a first game that was ok” – the coach attests at least that he had a good debut. But the threshold for Bradley is much higher – as he wants to take the next step in his already meteoric career.

So hopefully there is some truth to Luhukay’s implied desire to let Bradley settle in slowly.  But to be honest, can M’gladbach afford to do so?  They need help, and fast, before they find themselves even more mired in the relegation swamp.

Ah well, at the end of all this speculation, only one thing will ACTUALLY get Bradley into the lineup, and that’s performances in training.  So let’s cross our fingers that Mikey can adjust to the German air and seem settled enough to feature next week.  God knows M’gladbach needs him.

In other Saturday developments, Dempsey was an unused sub in Fulham’s loss to West Ham.  Not too surprising there, as he went 90 in midweek Carling Cup action.  Later on today Villarreal will take on Sporting de Gijon, but early word is that Jozy is left out of the squad (now that Rossi and Nihat are back, I don’t think we’ll see Jozy until Copa del Rey kicks up).

How’s Saturday going for everyone?

Remember to head to Watch Soccer Online for all your Yanks Abroad weekend highlights.

–psc

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More Cup Action: Adu starts for Monaco

September 24, 2008

Freddy got a start today and went 69 minutes for Monaco as they lost 1-0 to PSG in the French League Cup.  He played as a striker and by all accounts looked strong in attack.  He made sharp runs in the offensive third that unfortunately often went unrewarded by his teammates, as he was caught offsides a few times due to late passes.  The announcers also seemed impressed with his contributions and we can only hope that Gomes felt the same way.  Park replaced him up top as Monaco searched for the equalizing goal, but he could not provide any scoring either.  I’d be curious to see Park and Freddy up top together and see if they can combine for anythng promising.  Hopefully can still feature this weekend for Monaco, and let’s pray that Gomes sees the promise that we all do in the American youngster.

In other Tuesday developments, Villarreal will take on Racing Santandar today, but Altidore did not make the bench.  Both Nihat and Rossi are back from injury, so Jozy has been pushed further down the chart.  I’m curious if Villarreal will keep him simply for the Copa del Rey or if they will more seriously consider loaning him out.  It’s a little frightening to think Jozy might not see any first team action until January, but at least he is still training with the best.

Rennes and Carlos are in French League Cup action later today, so we’ll talk about that later on!  Also, the Rangers play today in a Cup game, so hopefully Edu and Beasley will see some time.  This could be an important game for Maurice to prove his stuff if he can get on the pitch.  Last but not least, Howard and Everton line up against Blackburn in Carling Cup play.  Also in CC today is Aston Villa, and maybe even Guzan will get to play?

UPDATE:

Carling Cup

ASTON VILLA 0 QPR 1

Brad Guzan started in net for Villa, but ultimately he was the one to blame after a poor clearance resulted in the only goal of the match. Guzan was called into action on only a few occasions, but did make a some nice saves.

Scottish Co-operative Insurance Cup

RANGERS 2 PARTICK 1

Beasley came on in the 70th minute and assisted on the gamewinner in Extra Time.  Edu was on the bench for the match, but did not see the pitch and will hope to play a part this weekend.  Beasley still looked a bit rusty, but he did provide a spark and I have a feeling he’ll stay as a super sub for the Rangers for the forseeable future.

–psc