SSN is a digest of the day's soccer/football/futbol articles with a focus on the top European leagues and the United States National Team. Below, you’ll find links to articles and video, as well as additional features and commentary. We locate the top news of the day so you can stay updated with ease.
Well, February is gone. We hardly knew you. And that means Major League Soccer is back, bitches! We got a lot of stories to check out prior to kick-off. Freddie Adu in Philly? Landon Donovan in Cambodia? Carlos Ruiz in D.C.? No Montero in Seattle? Ryan Nelson in Toronto? Yes, these are but a few of the stories that deserve some attention. Commish Don Garber claims MLS is the Seventh Best-Supported League...in the entire World. That's some heavy shit, Don. Click on that link and you'll see some previews for each conference. And here are some power rankings.
There's a rather large match looming on the horizon over in London. North London, to be precise. Yes, it's only 4.1 miles (that's 6.1302654501 kilometres) from the Emirates to White Hart Lane, and that proximity breeds some contempt, you could say. Tottenham host Arsenal in a very critical North London Derby at 11am EST on Fox Soccer Channel. Here, former players such as Ian Wright, Gary Mabbutt, Alan Smith, and Martin Chivers share some memories. Speaking of Alan Smith, he's got a nice piece on how the teams compare ahead of the big match.
And here's all you need for the weekend (and beyond) in the EPL:
Hats off as well to Jozy Altidore. The young American continues to kick-ass in Holland. He scored twice in Alkmaar's 3-0 win over Ajax. With said goals he has tied Clint Dempsey's record for goals scored by an American in a foreign league. One of his goals was pretty tite. Check it.
Another epic episode of El Clásico went down last night and Madrid emerged 1-3 winners in Barcelona. As you might expect, Ronaldo figured prominently with two goals for The Whites. Meanwhile, Messi (as he did in Milan) went missing. Perhaps he had a fever?
Sid Lowe was there (of course he was!) and thinks that Barca may have lost more than the Copa del Rey with this performance. Mainly, identity, supremacy, fitness, and confidence.
The best moment of the match (from a neutral's perspective) came when Di Maria completely destroyed Puyol with a little shimmy and left the Barcelona Hair Farm doing his best Dominique Dawes imitation. Di Maria's shot was saved, but Ronny calmly slotted home the rebound to make it 0-2.
Grant Wahl's been speaking with MLS players. He's been asking them questions. Questions like, "If you were starting a team from scratch and could pick one MLS player to start with, who would it be?" Surprisingly, even though he's retired, Coby Jones got the most votes. Uh. No.
Americans Abroad. Brek Shea made his debut for Stoke City at Fulham on Saturday. It was the early match on ESPN2, and, well, we were up early so watched the whole damn thing. He was decent. Not great, not terrible. He won a penalty that Jonathan Walters (twat) wasted, but that was about it. Here's a look at all the rest of the guys playing in other countries. Looks like things went quite poorly for Maurice Edu over in Turkey.
Oi! Loads to get through today. We'll begin with yesterday's fantastic edition of Monday Night Football...
Holy Moses! Gareth Bale is en fuego. He pretty much took care of West Ham on his own yesterday, leading his Spurs to a 2-3 win at Upton Park. His free kicks weren't up to their usual standards but The Hammers allowed the new Welsh Wizard plenty of time on his left foot to knock in two glorious strikes. Scott Parker reckons Bale has "deflated" Arsenal ahead of Sunday's mega-clash. Some of the SSN staffers who are Arsenal fans were certainly deflated. Jonathan Wilson says André Villas-Boas has changed Spurs' shape and the system has allowed the winger to take flight with startling results. Startling results, indeed. Here's a match report. And here's the winner:
Now that all of this round's action is complete, let's take a look at the table. As noted in the reports above, Spurs jumped above Chelsea into third. United remain comfortable at the top, while a gap has now opened between fifth and sixth after Everton's loss. QPR looked doomed, which means 'Arry will leave to ruin yet another club, and Villa have work to do to get out of trouble.
On to Spain. We're graced with two (count 'em) two columns from Sid Lowe today. The first is his usual weekend round-up, whilst the second is a closer look at the upcoming grind for Real Madrid. The Special One's boys face Barcelona away in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Camp Nou this evening, having drawn 1-1 in the first; on Saturday they play Barcelona again in La Liga at home and next Tuesday they travel to Manchester United in the Champions League, again having drawn 1-1 at home in the first leg. Yikes!
The first Cup of the campaign was delivered to Swansea City yesterday. Bradford were simply out of gas and out of ideas for this one. Propers to Laudrup and Swansea -- they've got a lot of quality in that side and they play attractive, attacking football. Andy Hunter was at Wembley. As was Phil McNulty.
An Inter fan shows his class...
We're going to break with tradition today and go straight to Paolo Bandini in Italy. The Milan Derby took place yesterday and ended 1-1. Balotelli got the expected abuse, but Paolo says the racial angles were taken only by a few in the crowd. Cassano got his fair share of abuse. Zanetti continued to turn back time (we love that guy). Mega-Mohawk Man El Shaaraway scored for Milan while Inter substitute Schelotto got his team's goal. Elsewhere in Italy, Michael Bradley's Roma won again, this time in the snow up in Bergamo.
Yank Abroad Michael Bradley enjoys the snow...
Back in England, Manchester City knocked off Chelsea at home (Hart saved a Lampard penalty and Jack Rodwell was surprisingly effective), Manchester United continued their march to the title with a win at QPR, Norwich edged Everton, Santi saved Arsenal, and a Berbatov rocket coupled with a Schwartzer penalty save gave Fulham a win at Craven Cottage. Here are some lovely links:
Jeff Carlisle wants to talk about Landon Donovan. You're right, Jeff. Donovan does still owe us something. Have at it, Jeff.
There is some Monday Night Football this evening and it's a doozy. West Ham host Tottenham. Will Gareth Bale continue to score and make weird signs with his fingers? Will Sam Allardyce chew his gum so hard he breaks his ugly jaw? Will AVB squat? Will Andy Carroll do, well, anything? Check it at 3pm EST on ESPN2.