Friday, May 16, 2008

MLS News and Previews

So far this year the dominant trends in MLS have been plenty of scoring and the Eastern Conference's superiority to the West; if one were to integrate the table you'd see that the best teams in the Western Conference have only a few points more than the cellar dwellers in the Eastern Conference. It's probably pointless to speculate about this too much until all of the teams have faced each other once. The major stories from this season aside from this drastic imbalance and proof that Beckham's a bit more than just a billboard campaign is the terrible form of reigning champions Houston, who've finally collected their first win, and the miserable performance from D.C. United whose revamped roster was supposed to leave the rest of the East in the dust. Much of this is due to injury but both teams will have a hard time making up ground in August and September if they continue to drop points early.

Last night Colorado staked their claim to the top spot in the West after a convincing win in the Rocky Mountain Derby, but it's telling that they've been repeatedly punished by teams from the East.

Barca, MLS ink deal. It seems like there may come a day when MLS will want to stop associating so closely with big teams from abroad to emphasize its own quality, but that day is a long way off. Anything that gets the Eurosnobs to pay attention is probably for the best.

Since there are no good weekend previews out there, I'll do my best to give a quick summary here:

Columbus @ TFC : The league's best team heads north to contend with an army of drunken Canadians who've lately taken to assaulting traveling fans and trashing public transport. See, that's how sophisticated football fans behave! I can't wait until Philly gets a team and the Sons of Ben hit the road; blood will flow in the streets. Columbus should take this one in a walk.

San Jose @ New England : The league's worst team visits New England, who are desperate for some points. Twellman's back and he's scoring, expect a NE win.

KC @ Red Bull: Red Bull's form has picked up with Jozy Altidore and JP Angel finding the net recently. Claudio Lopez has been cooler of late. Could go either way, so flip a coin if you want a prediction.

Houston @ Chicago : The last time the Dynamo came to Chicago they humiliated us 4-0 in former Coach JC Osorio's first game. SSN Editor Sanford was in attendance and was none too impressed with the scene. Expect some serious payback.

D.C. United @ Chivas : Dog crap, meet dog crap. Most of the news surrounding Chivas of late has to do with extreme fan violence included an alleged stabbing outside a Houston game. D.C. fans travel, I hope they're wearing kevlar.

Jewel of MLS @ Dallas : a point separates these two in the standings. Both lost last week but JoMLS lost to a better team so they're probably a safer bet if Goldenballs is healthy enough to go 90.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Any one of Real Zaragoza, Osasuna, Recreativo Huelva and Valladolid could fill the final relegation berth and join Levante and Real Murcia in the second division next season.


Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Second-placed AS Roma, a point behind the defending champions, will snatch the scudetto if they beat struggling Catania in Sicily and Inter fail to win. If Inter lose and Roma draw, Inter will prevail due to a better head-to-head record.

Inter’s Ibrahimovic eyes comeback for finale

Round-Up: Inter fret, Roma calm

Colossus Kahn brings bittersweet career to an end

Kahn, who plays his final competitive game on Saturday when Bayern Munich host Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, spent most of his 21-year career thriving on abuse as much as admiration.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

So the Bundesliga reaches the final weekend with Bayern Munich preparing for their title winning party at the Allianz Arena. However elsewhere, there is still lots to play for with four teams in the hunt for the two Uefa Cup places.

Down at the bottom either Arminia Bielefeld or Nürnberg will be relegated on the final day of the season to join Hansa Rostock and Duisburg, who are already down.

Congrats to touch my monkey.

Brazil Announces Roster for U.S. Tour

Kaka and Robinho highlight Dunga's squad but Adriano and Pato should be interesting to fans for games in Seattle and New England.

Will U.S. Customs allow him to enter the country with this shirt?

GOALKEEPERS: Julio César (Inter/ITA), Diego Alves (UD Almería/SPA), Doni (Roma/ITA)

DEFENDERS: Daniel Alves (Sevilla/SPA), Gilberto (Tottenham/ENG), Kleber (Santos/BRA), Maicon (Inter/ITA), Alex (Chelsea/ENG), Alex Silva (Sao Paulo/BRA), Juan (Roma/ITA), Lucio (Bayern Munich/GER), Luisão (Benfica/POR), Marcelo (Real Madrid/SPA)

MIDFIELDERS: Gilberto Silva (Arsenal/ENG), Josué (Wolfsburg/GER), Diego (Werder Bremen/GER), Kaká (Milán/ITA), Julio Baptista (Real Madrid/SPA), Mineiro (Hertha Berlín/GER), Elano (Manchester City/ENG), Anderson (Manchester United/ENG)

FORWARDS: Luis Fabiano (Sevilla/SPA), Alexandre Pato (Milan/ITA), Robinho (Real Madrid/SPA), Adriano (Sao Paulo/BRA), Rafael Sobis (Real Betis/SPA)

USA: Bradley Announces Roster for Upcoming Games

Beasley Returns

Goalkeepers: Dominic Cervi (no club), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton, England), Troy Perkins (Valerenga, Norway), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Dan Califf (Midtjylland, Denmark), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Michael Orozco (San Luis, Mexico), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England)

Midfielders: Freddy Adu (Benfica, Portugal), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Maurice Edu (Toronto), Benny Feilhaber (Derby, England), Eddie Gaven (Columbus), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Derby, England), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (New York), Brian Ching (Houston), Kenny Cooper (Dallas), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Nate Jaqua (no club), Eddie Johnson (Fulham, England), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich, Germany)

The Mill ++

Friday's Rumours
Friday's BBC gossip column
Summer Sales: Transfer news and speculation

Kanu wants to be big for Africa

Portsmouth's Nigerian centre-forward knows better than most how badly treated footballers from his continent have been. He tells Jason Burt why he is establishing a foundation to help them do something about it
Nwankwo Kanu: 'For years African players have been exploited...'

Euroland: News

With only days to go until the Serie A finale, Inter Milan are caught up in a Mafia scandal
Inter Drugs?

Sven-Goran Eriksson has turned down Benfica, as well as an opportunity to manage Mexico, as he contemplates an offer from what one of his close associates described as a "much bigger club"
Eriksson rejects Benfica for bigger offer

The championships, which begin on June 7 and are hosted by Switzerland and Austria, are in a "terrorist danger zone"
Euro 2008: al-Qa'eda threatens terrorist attack

The Russian government has warned Manchester United and Chelsea fans heading to next week's Champions League final in Moscow that it will not tolerate mob violence
Moscow: We don't want Manchester's violence

Barcelona playmaker Deco has indicated that he is on his way out of Camp Nou...
Deco: I'm Leaving

According to reports, Barcelona B have returned to their historical name of "Barca Atletic" for next season after a request from club director Rafael Yuste earlier in the week
Barcelona B To Use Old Name

England: FA Cup Final

As much as I'd I like to, I just can't get excited about this year's FA Cup final. Yes I know it's good that other teams are getting a chance, yes I know it's good that a Championship side is taking part, yes I know it's good Harry is getting his moment of Wembley glory. And yes I know last year's game between two top teams was awful. But for me the FA Cup is as much about the build up before the game as the game itself, and however it's dressed up it's still Cardiff against Portsmouth. But it could be a good game - let's hope so...

Team News:
Portsmouth v Cardiff

Portsmouth's veteran captain aims to do all his talking on the pitch at Wembley
Campbell on the edge

Before Portsmouth's last game of the season at the weekend a trestle table was carefully carried out, sagging under the weight of enough player of the year awards to fill even a pair of mantelpieces
Pompey's players' players relates to Cardiff

Will superstitions bring the FA Cup back to Portsmouth?
Pompey hope for more luck in Cup

Fancy a flutter on the final? Here's the form:
Bluebirds can silence Pompey

As Aaron Ramsey readies himself for the FA Cup final, Dave Jones is trying to do his best by his young star
Cardiff resigned to losing Ramsey

Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin believes a final featuring none of the ‘big four’ is exactly what the FA Cup needed…
Distin Blasts England's Big-Four Obsession

England: News

Michael Ballack has revealed his reasons for refusing to back down in his extraordinary on-field row with his team-mate Didier Drogba during last month's League meeting with Manchester United – and said that Chelsea still suffer from a lack of popular appeal because of "envy" over Roman Abramovich's wealth
Ballack shows ruthless streak in free-kick row

A £10 million valuation of the England forward is a primary stumbling block to a departure from Liverpool
Crouch offered route back to Portsmouth

Cristiano Ronaldo may consider his future at Man Utd after the Champions League final
Ronaldo hints at 'dream' move

The Portugal defender believes that there may be several departures following the Champions League final
Carvalho warns of exodus from Stamford Bridge

Concerns among those in day-to-day control at Liverpool about the club's American co-owners' ability to deliver a new stadium were compounded yesterday
Anfield finance fears grow as credit crunch hits Hicks

Manchester City have been awarded a 'Fair Play' place in next season's UEFA Cup, the English Premier League announced on Friday.
Citeh in the Cup

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Americans Abroad: Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

With most of the 2007/08 European campaigns in the books, Soccer 365’s Graig Carbino takes a look at the off season in regards to what some of the Americans playing across the pond should do in the off season.

Copa Libertadores: Boca held at home, Adriano gives Sao Paulo narrow win

Defending champions Boca Juniors were held 2-2 at home by Atlas in their Libertadores Cup quarter-final first leg on Wednesday while Adriano gave Sao Paulo a 1-0 win over Fluminense.

USA: Home Sweet Home

US Soccer announces the venues for their World Cup 2010 qualifiers this fall.

European Championship History: Italy

As the build-up towards this summer's European Championships begins, looks at Italy’s history in the tournament...
Italy's Euro History

Poor Coverage

In a world of 24-hour sports coverage have we lost all judgment of what is actually worth reporting? Or listening to?
Bland, decrepit, unrelenting: depressing state of sports news culture

Walsh's Word: Flying Fish?

Marksman Carlos Ruiz is nearly back from injury and ready to join his high-scoring L.A. Galaxy teammates.

But's Pat Walsh wonders if el Pescadito's real value is on the trade market.

The Mill ++

Thursday's Rumours
Thursday's BBC gossip column
Summer Sales: Transfer news and speculation

Euroland: News

Martin Jol will take the reins at Hamburg SV from the beginning of next season
Jol named as new Hamburg manager

Inter fans are likely to be banned from traveling to Parma on Sunday following an emergency meeting in the Italian parliament. This comes after Roma cried foul over being banned earlier this week
Inter Fans To Also Be Banned

The French champions look set to win a seventh consecutive title, but there is a lack of cohesion at the club
Ben Lyttleton: Lyon stumble towards the double

Those hoping to see Pavel Nedved play one more international tournament were left disappointed as Czech coach Brückner confirmed that the veteran was not a member of his 23-man squad for Euro 2008
Nedved Out Of Czech Euro 2008 Squad

England: News

Peter Hill-Wood has changed his mind and now wants US tycoon Stan Kroenke to play a bigger role at Arsenal
Arsenal chairman does U-turn on Kroenke

Sven Goran Eriksson refused to comment on when he will next meet the Manchester City owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, after arriving in Thailand yesterday
Eriksson's silent start as farewell tour hits Bangkok

Chelsea boss Avram Grant has accused referees of helping to give Manchester United the Premier League title
Grant could be in hot water with FA

Manager's long and successful reign proves that loyalty pays
Ferguson Wins Out

Liverpool's Spain international midfielder happy to stay at the club and believes he could shine alongside Gareth Barry
Alonso pledges to fight for Anfield place

A record television deal for the Premier League has benefited all clubs, but the champions are set to benefit the most
Manchester United set for £80m payout

Zenit win EUFA Cup

Rangers' run in the UEFA Cup really has lead to huge pile of bullshit from the British press. The Scottish team did well getting to the final but by all accounts did so by torturing viewers with their negative tactics. Were this a team from Greece or Croatia they'd be derided as boring and negative but because they're Scottish and managed by Walter Smith they're unlucky and plucky. You get headlines like 'Rangers run out of steam' in The Telegraph...they didn't run out of steam, their shite tactics caught up with and the team that actively tried to win the game thankfully prevailed. Or 'Gallant Rangers fall at final hurdle'...what the fuck is gallant about boring the crap out of spectators for hour after hour of cup football?

Rangers run out of steam as Zenit lift Cup
Gallant Rangers fall at the final hurdle
Manchester bears scars of Uefa violence
More on the violence (video)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TSB's EPL Team of the Season

This would be my starting eleven of the season:





Sorting out the goalkeeper and defenders was pretty straight forward. James has easily been the best keeper this season, with only the Yanks, Friedel and Howard, coming close. Evra and Ferdinand have been consistently good for United all season, the later finally living up to his potential. Lescot can't stop scoring goals, while Sagna has solved Arsenal's right back weakness of last season. Vidic, Clichy and Laursen were the only others that came into contention.

Sorting out the forwards and mids was a touch harder. Originally I had a 4 man midfield with Hleb playing, but when it came to choosing strikers I couldn't decided between Adebayor and Cruz. So I ditched Hleb and switched to a Barca style 4-3-3. Having dropped Hleb the three midfield spots were no-brainers. Bentley, Arteta, Essien and Young have all had good seasons but had dips in form. Apart from Hleb, only Gareth Barry really pushed for a starting midfield spot.

Up top Torres was a shoe-in, while Cruz joins Adebayor. The Arsenal man is a bit hit and miss at times but 24 goals speaks for itself. Cruz hasn't scored as many, 19, but when it's factored in that he plays for defensively oriented Blackburn and only cost 2mil, he makes the cut.

My reserve 11 would be:





Certain players like Brown, Vidic, Carrick, Arteta, Distin, Essien, Cole, Friedel and Carragher will be crying into their wives' plastic boobies about not having made the cut, complaining that they'd at least done enough to make it into the 2nd 11. But they didn't.

Here's's EPL Eleven:
Premier League Team Of The Season

Zenit and Rangers bid for UEFA Cup glory

Venue: City of Manchester Stadium
Wed 14 May
1945 BST

The UEFA Cup will have a new name etched on to it after Zenit St Petersburg meet Rangers in the final at the City of Manchester stadium on Wednesday.

Rangers: Player Profiles
Zenit St. Petersburg: Who are they?


Eyes on the prize...

Dick Advocaat refuses to tackle bigots of Russia

Advocaat said in an interview conducted with Yuri Doud, an English-speaking journalist working for Pro Sport magazine in Russia, that he could not sign black players as coach of Zenit. The fans would not allow it, he claimed. In 83 years Zenit have never found use for a black player and Advocaat’s chosen path is not to confront this standard, but to work with it. “I don’t want to sign a player who won’t be accepted by the fans,” he told Doud, who has the interview on tape.

Ronaldo says he is eight kilos overweight

“I am 1.84 metres tall and today weigh 95 kilos,” the AC Milan striker said during a Brazilian television programme aimed mainly at housewives.

How Thaksin turned from saviour to sinner in a single season

Fans who failed to question the Thai owner's past are now shocked to see how authoritarian he can be.

Come on...he seems like a nice guy...

Robbie Fowler: God's Goals

The man Liverpool fans called God will have probably his last chance to shine when Cardiff face Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final at Wembley this weekend. Here's a nice compilation:

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


Calcio Debate: What Has Happened To Serie A Attendances?

Those following Italian football over the past few years will undoubtedly have noticed the painfully empty stadiums at many games and grounds. Salvatore Landolina looks at the reasons for this problem…

Serie A Average Attendances for the seasons from 1997/98 to 2007/08:

1997/98: 31,160
1998/99: 30,841
1999/00: 29,908
2000/01: 29,508
2001/02: 26,019
2002/03: 25,474
2003/04: 25,469
2004/05: 25,472
2005/06: 21,698
2006/07: 18,473 (N.B: No Juventus Due To Calciopoli)
2007/08: 22,373

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

England: Looking back at the 2007-2008 EPL campaign

Henry Winter: Good, Bad and Bubbly
Norman Hubbard:
Top 10 Worst Buys

Derby, Birmingham, Reading: Thrills and frills dry up for relegated clubs

Kevin McCarra:
Are the Big Four set in stone? The level of ambition in many Premier League clubs could see Liverpool and Arsenal dragged back into the pack.

The Tale of Chelsea's Season: Ups and Downs

Birmingham go down because Bruce bought "pile of rubbish," says Sullivan

Fair Play Award: Fulham eye Europe after great escape

Garth Crooks:
Team of the Season
Martin Rogers: Team of the Season

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


Tim Vickery in South America

Vickery reports from BA on San Lorenzo...and the club's fans...

Phil Ball in Spain

Barcelona hit rock bottom...

Americans in England: Fulham Up, Reading Down USA's Matthew Braine wraps up the weekend that was for the U.S. contingent playing in the EPL.

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

Deriving pleasure from pain...

Italy: Paulo Bandini Column

Back in February, the Nerazzurri held an 11-point lead over Roma. Now, going into the final weekend of the season, the gap is down to one. Signor Bandini reports...
Roma scent an unlikely Scudetto after nervy Inter stutter again
Moratti Blames Matrix

Spain: Sid Lowe Column

Atlético Madrid's best strike partnership since 1970 has helped them into the Champions League after 11 long years. Señor Lowe reports...
Aguero leads Atlético back to the Promised Land

Germany: Raphael Honigstein Column

Nürnberg face trial against Schalke

'The Club' will be relegated for a record seventh time if they fail to beat Schalke on Saturday. Herr Honigstein reports...
Nürnberg struggling to stay in the Bundesliga club

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Mill

The Premier League season is complete in England so let's bring The Mill back from hibernation:

Monday's Rumours

Spain: Atletico Clinch Champions League Spot

Diego Forlan repaid back a huge chunk of his 21 million euro transfer fee as he fired Atletico Madrid into the money-spinning Champions League for the first time in over a decade with a 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

Elsewhere Barcelona lose in Rijkaard's last match and Sevilla beat Betis in the Derby...

Italy: Inter held by Siena as title race goes to wire

Inter Milan again wasted the chance to retain their Serie A title when they were held 2-2 at home by Siena on Sunday with Marco Materazzi having a penalty saved.

Elsewhere, Milan lose in Napoli while Fiorentina win to move into fourth. And Juventus are held by Catania...

and it's no good...

England: EPL Reports + Final Table

Wigan Athletic 0 - 2 Manchester United
Sir Alex Claims Another Title

Outrageous refereeing helped victors, says Bruce

How Manchester United won the title

Relegated to the Championship: Derby County, Birmingham City, Reading
Champions League: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool
UEFA Cup: Everton
Intertoto Cup: Aston Villa

Portsmouth 0 - 1 Fulham
Remarkable Recovery

Middlesboro 8 - 1 Manchester City
Sven Thrashed as Exit Looms

Sunderland 0 - 1 Arsenal
Walcott Goals Wins It
Cracks Appearing in Wenger Philosophy

Chelsea 1 - 1 Bolton
The Insider at Stamford Bridge

Everton 3 - 1 Newcastle United 1
Moyes' Men Take Fifth

West Ham United 2 - 2 Aston Villa
Intertoto for Villians

Tottenham 0 - 2 Liverpool
Torrid Torres

Derby County 0 - 4 Reading
Too Little Too Late

Birmingham City 4 - 1 Blackburn Rovers
City down for the second time in three years

English Premier League Final Table

Man Utd3887
Aston Villa3860
Man City3855
West Ham3849