Friday, August 06, 2010
With much the same squad as last season, and without the distractions of the Europa League, Fulham should be aiming for the top half of the table.
But the U.S. Under-20 national team's triumphant run in that event, which included victories over China, Denmark and host North Ireland, is still cause for (measured) optimism. The usual strengths associated with the U.S. -- athleticism, size and endurance -- remained, but the Americans were also technically better than their opponents, particularly in a 3-0 victory against Northern Ireland in the final last week.
Trying to pick out a few players who have the potential to light up the forthcoming Championship season is always an interesting challenge.
It was tough but here is the magnificent seven that I think could make a huge impact.
The traditional curtain-raiser may be regarded by some as nothing more than a glorified friendly, but the first piece of silverware is on offer plus the opportunity to strike an early psychological blow.
Tottenham Hotspur got the draw of their dreams this morning when they were picked to play Young Boys of Bern, last season's Swiss Super League runners-up, in their Champions League play-off.
It is Tottenham's first foray in Europe's premier club competition since the 1961-62 season.
Jones had been set to make his U.S. debut after playing three exhibitions for Germany and being approved for a switch last year by FIFA. The U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday that after accepting the invitation, he decided to remain with his club ahead of its opener at Hamburg on Aug. 21. Jones missed last season because of a shin injury.
I suppose our friend here will be pleased with the decision...
Thursday, August 05, 2010
At the end of May England played friendlies against Mexico and Japan. June 11 began the month-long boredom fest known as the 2010 World Cup. When that finished on July 11, the qualifying rounds for the Champions League were already under way. The Community Shield is this Sunday, then on August 14 the Premier League kicks off on its nine-month slog through to May 22, 2011.
Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar are vital to the club's success this season, with David Moyes having little to spend to advance Everton's bid for Europe.
How could a player who has been so classy over the years for Barcelona turn into a cheap-shot artist on two occasions against the U.S., earning red cards for dirty plays against Cobi Jones in World Cup '02 and Tim Howard in a qualifier for World Cup '10?
The Premier League is once again loaded with American talent, with Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey leading the way.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Étienne), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
FORWARDS (3): Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Pachuca)
Goal.com's Subhankar Mondal ponders whether the Grifone are going to be surprise package of the season...
Have you heard this one? Let me summarise: 5,000 gold-plated iPods bearing Frank Lampard's lasered signature are to be melted down after demand for the £599 product failed to materialise in the wake of the World Cup. Do take a moment to digest those details.
He's got Scunthorpe to finish bottom.
Real Madrid star Kaka is set to be out of action for up to four months after undergoing knee surgery in Belgium.
A post-World Cup medical revealed a problem with the Brazilian's left knee and the midfielder had to leave Real's pre-season camp in Los Angeles.
He should just get Jesus to send him this cup...
Dani Alves said that "Brazil played against Korea in the World Cup. They were a very good team". Messi, who actually did play against South Korea in South Africa, replied when asked for his first impressions of the country: "I didn't see much. I don't know where I am and what time it is. I'm too tired."
The reluctant returnee is a footballer who was meant to epitomise the new, moneyed City but is becoming an indictment of overspending and his journey from marquee signing to unwanted embarrassment has taken just two years. At Santos, he was out of sight and, at times, out of mind. That is not possible in Manchester.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Clint Mathis will retire from professional soccer Saturday after the Los Angeles Galaxy play Real Madrid.
The former U.S. international seared his image on the public consciousness with a mohawk and dazzling skill in the 2002 World Cup.
Canales: Goodbye to the Georgia Peach
Rooney arrived at the club's Carrington training headquarters in his red 10 plate Audi RS6.
Just days after colleague Anderson's near-fatal collision in his Audi R8 in Portugal, Nani cruised through the entrance gates in his flash Lamborghini Gallardo.
A surprise Syrian bidder claims to have re-entered the race to buy Liverpool FC.
Yahya Kirdi, a businessman and former Syrian international footballer, says his group are in "advanced negotiations" with the owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
And here he is...!
This week we'll preview all the teams in the English Premier League as we prepare to head into the new season. Today we examine the three teams that were promoted from the Championship.
With the transfer window open for business, rumors of players being bought and sold swirl no matter how poor the economy is or how little money clubs really have to spend. They don't call it the silly season for nothing.
But while every club dabbles in the market, only a few are savvy at conducting transfers. Most buy for too much, sell for too little, and lack a full understanding of the market's intricacies.
Which clubs are the smartest wheelers and dealers? Five come to mind.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
This man is a central midfielder. He’s not a tackler, nor is he a creator. He doesn’t score many goals – in fact, he rarely looks to get into the box. So what does he do? It’s a question asked by Arsenal fans about Denilson. It’s a question asked by Manchester United fans, about Michael Carrick.
And it’s not just the fans who ask. Britain’s most famous football pundit, Alan Hansen, has the same question about Jon Obi Mikel, who started the majority of games at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield as they won the Premier League lastseason. “What does John Obi Mikel do?”, asks Hansen.
Keeping up with the sparse roster of MLS Designated Players has generally been a breeze up to now.
But Major League Soccer's drive to add more of these high-profile stars is now bearing fruit. Teams are adding pricey talent at a faster clip, and it's a stretch for even the best of MLS fans to keep up.
Alex McLeish will do well to fashion another top-half finish but Blues have enough to avoid 'second-season' syndrome.
Chinese businessman Kenny Huang is one of "several" potential buyers to submit a bid to Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton, BBC Sport understands.
Huang, who is the head of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports Ltd, values the club at about £325m.
But it is understood that as many as six bids were submitted last week.
I am reflecting on this because I have just come back from watching Rio's biggest derby, Flamengo against Vasco da Gama - 'the classic of the multitudes'.
Goals are only one reason why the striker is in demand – his marketing value and class off the field are almost as important.
The Scot was fuming after Roo was snapped smoking during a bender until 5.30AM on Sunday and his team-mate wrecked his £125,000 Audi R8 sports car in a horror crash that nearly killed him.
The Brazilian, who is expected to make his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury next month, was treated for superficial injuries but police want to know if he had been drinking before the crash.
That's him on the left during happier times...