Meat Pies and Orange Slices

MLS to keep Donovan? So says Don Garber he says the league has no intention of selling Donovan who is vital to the league. Calm down folks. This is exactly what you say when you are trying to drive up someones price. We all assume Donovan is going to Europe for a reason – and that is Donovan refused to commit to MLS. Donovan has leverage here.

Why no Donovan rumors? My guess – repeat guess – is that LD and Everton have something worked out and his purchase is to be funded through the sale of one Stephen Pienaar. Now this would be a bit of a financial risk for the Toffees because LD will have no resale value at his age. But he brings the American market – which probably makes up for it.
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Meat Pies and Orange Slices

Holden to Blackburn rumors heat up. This I think would be a great move for Holden. He would be a perfect replacement for Mortem Gamst Pedersen, who is rumored to be headed to Celtic, and Holden would be joining a club where he should get playing time and that will likely not be the nitty gritty of the relegation struggle.

Ricardo Clarke not going to Livorno, come on Greg tell us where! Greg Seltzer at No Short Corners, in another great piece of reporting, tells us that “Impending Dynamo free agent Ricardo Clark is not about to join Livorno… in fact, the club CEO told me they are off him completely now, “with main focus on finding a striker. I can tell you that Clark currently has at least two offers on the table and that I’m fairly certain I know one of the suitors. I’m on it.” Impatient Nats fans are waiting anxiously.

Damarcus Beasley is back. And so is Edu. Both returns are absolutely huge for the Yanks. An inform Beasley gives us something we are sorely missing with Davies out: speed. More on this latter and expect to see an AF six month out USMNT World Cup squad.

What do Henry Kissinger, Donna Shalala and Drew Carey have in common

Kansas City stadium construction begins. So it’s finally happening – WV Hooligan has photographic evidence! I had always thought this wasn’t going to happen and they would relocate in the dead of night to St. Louis, good for KC – but a stadium out in the middle of nowhere isn’t going to exactly set the region ablaze.
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Meat Pies and Orange Slices

Yummy

Here’s a roundup of some of the stories we’ve been reading from around the world of soccer.

MatchFitUSA has an interesting piece noting that the flow of American soccer talent seems to be coming back in the direction of MLS, with that Danny Calif, Vincenzo Bernardo, Lee Nguyen, and now Niko Gkoinis are coming back from Europe. Some of the movement, of course, could be because they weren’t sticking with their teams in Europe and didn’t really have much choice. But whatever the reason, it is important for MLS to be able to be a repository of good American players. Despite seeing his first action during Rangers’ Champions League finale, DeMarcus Beasley would benefit from such a move and could force his way back into the thinking of Bob Bradley with a strong start to the MLS season.

One player moving in the other direction will be Landon Donovan, who looks all but certain to join Everton on loan in January. The Guardian follows up yesterday’s rumors with a report that talks are at an “advanced stage” and Donovan will be joining on a three-month loan deal. Donovan is an excellent fit with Everton, the new Mikel Arteta?, and will definitely benefit by playing a dozen or so games in the Premier League as the USMNT prepares to face England in the Group C opener. Continue reading

Meat Pies and Orange Slices

USL is getting really messy. Brian at Inside Minnesota Soccer has a fantastic rundown on what is going on. The basic gist is that former USL sides are breaking away and seeking to create their own league. This has left the USL with just a few teams but they remain the league recognized and sanctioned by US soccer and FIFA. As Brian points out Sunil Gulati really needs to come in and help straighten this out. His silence is damning and is really harmful to the growth of the game in this country. A country as large as ours needs a solid and viable second division. Get off your ass Sunil.

MLS expansion news. Montreal looks set to be the 19th team and David Beckham appears serious about being part of the ownership group of the 20th team. Montreal was pretty obvious for sometime now. It creates an instant rivalry with Toronto and provides a solid and enthusiastic fan base. There will be a lot of speculation over the 20th team. If Beckham is involved one has to think it will be in a major city, probably either New York or Miami. Goff speculates that there is no ownership group in Miami. That’s true but in a few years and with Beckham I would think that would change. A team in Queens would be great but the league absolutely has to have a presence in the south.

MLS contract talks starting to heat up. The MLS players union tried to go all global on the ownership and got the involvement of the FIFPro – the international body that represents the players. But Sepp Blatter has laid the smackdown back saying FIFA won’t be involved. MLS does some shady things vis-à-vis the players, beyond simply not paying them all that well. Grant Wahl explains.

US exports soccer talent.
The Culture of Soccer makes a great point: we now export soccer players. Giuseppe Rossi, Vedad Ibisevic, Nevan Subotic, and Arturo Alvarez all developed their skills in the United States but chose to play elsewhere. We have come a long way from the David Regis era of the 90s. Just imagine if Rossi, Ibisevic or Subotic picked the Nats.
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Meat pies and orange slices

Meat pies for the soccer soul; Photo by Sandy Austin

Meat pies for the soccer soul; Photo by Sandy Austin

A round-up of stories and ideas from around the world of soccer that are interesting but don’t merit a full post of their own.

Gooch says he’ll be back for the World Cup. Three weeks since successful surgery to repair a ruptured patella tendon, U.S. national team and AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu is in a confident mood. He tells Kristian Dyer of ESPN.com that he could be “back in four months, realistically.” That’s two months ahead of schedule, and while his injury was a simple tear which, according to U.S. national team physician Bert Mandelbaum, “allowed for the best possible scenario to repair the injury and provide for a good prognosis for recovery,” that should still take six months. We have speculated before about how difficult it will be for Gooch to get into playing shape and sharp enough to start during the World Cup if he only takes the field again in April. But Gooch says he’ll be ready, “I know my body and I know how hard I work to recover and how my body heals.” Let’s hope he’s right. Continue reading

Meat Pies and Orange Slices

Here’s a sampling of stories from around the world of soccer that are interesting but don’t merit a post of their own.

If you wanted to see shambolic defending, the Chivas vs. Galaxy game was definitely a superclassico. All four goals were horrendous and completely due to defensive miss ques. There were two miss hit clearances, a back pass gift, and a hopeful shot from distance that should have been saved. What made matters worse was when there were actual good scoring chances created from open play those chances were squandered. Alan Gordon the most obvious culprit. Donovan is sitting in the six yard box unmarked for a tap in, you have a clear passing lane if you pick your head up and look. What do you do? Well, if you are Alan Gordon you badly shank a shot from an acute angle. I really wonder if Arena left Buddle in the game whether he squares that ball and Galaxy are on cruise control into the next round.

MLS and Don Garber will be sweating bullets going into the next leg of playoff games. First and foremost the league wants Beckham in the next round. Chivas playing anybody is a disaster. Secondly, they want Seattle to get through. Houston has very good support, but it is nothing like Seattle and a Beckham vs. Ljungberg is quite a draw. Out east, New England’s pathetic playoff crowd of 8,000 is a disgrace and the league will strongly hope to see Chicago and Blanco overcome their 2-1 defeat and get to the finals. I would imagine the league is not too choosy concerning Salt Lake and Columbus, but Columbus vs. Chicago has a bit more of a bite to it than Salt Lake vs. Chicago (unless of course Stockton and Malone magically appear to take on Jordan). Continue reading

Meat Pies and Orange Slices

spurs new uniform

Here are some things on the intertubes and some thoughts:

Spurs submit stadium plans for planning approval and it looks sweet.
Despite the recession and the lavish spending of the last few years, Spurs have managed their finances well and are now seeking to build a stadium on par with their north London rivals. Spurs have tremendous support and their is a long waiting list for tickets so the increase in capacity by 20,000 should not be a problem whatsoever. This should also help Spurs in their goal of challenging the top four. More on this to come.

Hull City in total disarray – finances in shambles, and Brown reportedly fired but then team denies rumors. Fortunately, this is a loan move for Jozy and hopefully the off the field shenanigans won’t impact him and he will get on the pitch more. I have mixed feelings about Phil Brown. Hull have been very poor for about a year now and he was too negative tactically at times, but despite the recent blow up, he did seem to really believe in Jozy. Lets hope if a new manager were to be appointed he sees Jozy’s potential and we don’t have a Derby county-Feilhaber situation where the manager gets sacked and he ends up riding the pine. That being said if Hull’s financial situation as bad as reported I doubt they have the money to fire Brown and hire someone new.

MLS playoff hype is growing.
In what is a great matchup, Seattle takes on Houston Thursday night on ESPN. For a playoff preview see, Greg Seltzer’s here, WVHoolign’s here.

Brad Guzan cements his status as the next great American keeper. One game does not a superstar goalie make, but Guzan sure did gain the spotlight in the UK after saving four penalties (one in relegation and three in the shutout) to see Villa advance. The British press went gaga, calling him Villa’s hero and Martin O’neil was asked, “tell me about the goalkeeper, where did you pick him up from?” Martin O’Neil preceded to glow endlessly about him, saying Guzan was a “marvelous prospect” and confirming that he is Friedel’s replacement. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, added “Their keeper had one of those nights he will remember for the rest of his career.”
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