Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2007

What was your highlight of the weekend?

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Good afternoon folks. Apologies for the absence of posts today but I'm having issues with the official SBI computer. Hopefully they can be straightened out later today, but if not I'll definitely be back up by tomorrow.

For now I want to hear from you folks on what you thought were the best soccer highlights from the weekend? Was it Fulham, led by its American players, holding Chelsea to a tie?

Seattle Sounders trounce Atlanta, win USL title

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The Seattle Sounders routed the Atlanta Silverbacks, 4-0, in the United Soccer League championship on Saturday night. The title is Seattle's fourth.

Greg Howes came on as an 18th-minute substitute for injured Sounders star Leighton O'Brien and scored two goals to help the Sounders win the league championship in what could be their last season in the USL.

Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake (Running Commentary)

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Good evening folks. I'm here at Giants STadium and the Red Bulls-REal Salt Lake match is about to kick off. Apologies for the absence of posts today. I had some non-work stuff to take care of today. I'm back now and ready to roll.

Let's get going. Follow the match here and feel free to share your thoughts on the match below:

1st minute- We're under way and Francis Doe gets a shot on goal just 12 seconds into the match.

Convey Hurt Again

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Bobby Convey can't catch a break.

He finally returns from a long injury layoff to score a stunning goal against Liverpool earlier this week but now reports are surfacing that he injured his leg in training and won't play this weekend.

There are no details on the injury yet but it does not appear severe enough to keep him out for an extended period of time.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Okay folks, you asked for an expanded weekend TV schedule so I have included MLS and some Latin American soccer matches on the Soccer TV schedule.

Roma at Inter Milan is the headliner this weekend, kicking off at 2:30pm ET on Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel.

I'm sure there are other matches I am missing, and I still haven't included Setanta, but consider this schedule a good starting-off point.

TGIF: What would a 20-team MLS look like?

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It is a day after SBI reported the Seattle MLS expansion team and while some people still aren't buying it, those of you who are rational have probably started wondering just how big MLS can get and what it might look like when the league is done expanding.

If you believe that MLS will stick to FIFA's mandate that leagues be no bigger than 20 teams, then this is what the league COULD look like:

CURRENT TEAMS

  1. Chicago Fire
  2. Chivas USA
  3. Colorado Rapids
  4. Columbus Crew
  5. DC United
  6. FC Dallas
  7. Houston Dynamo
  8. Kansas City Wizards
  9. New York Red Bulls
  10. New England Revolution
  11. Real Salt Lake
  12. Toronto FC
  13. Los Angeles Galaxy

EXPANSION TEAMS

  1. San Jose (2008)
  2. Seattle (2009)

POTENTIAL EXPANSION TEAMS (potential start date)

  1. St.

Wizards lose game, Conrad and Arnaud sent off

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Gavin Glinton's goal was enough to give the lowly Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-0 victory against the Kansas City Wizards on Thursday night.

KC defender Jimmy Conrad and midfielder Davy Arnaud were both issued red cards in the match, which means both will now miss the Wizard's key Eastern Conference showdown against DC United on Friday, Oct.

Red Bulls practice report

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Hello all. Apologies for the lack of posts today but I wanted to let that breaking news on the Seattle expansion team enjoy the spotlight. I've also been running around a bit today, attending Red Bulls practice and some other personal matters. Here are some tidbits from practice:

Carlos Mendes is back training and should be in uniform for Saturday's match.

Brazil blasts USA in Women's World Cup semis (Hope Solo sounds off)

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Marta scored two goals to lead Brazil past the U.S. women's national team in the World Cup semifinals. The story of the match was U.S. coach Greg Ryan's decision to start Brianna Scurry in goal ahead of Hope Solo. Scurry looked old and slow in net today, with at least two of Brazil's shots coming close enough to save only to have Scurry fail to make the stop.

Seattle to MLS in 2009

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Major League Soccer's 15th team will be its first in the Pacific Northwest.

SBI has learned that MLS has chosen Seattle as the home for the next MLS expansion team. Sources with knowledge of the deal have confirmed that Seattle will join MLS for the 2009 season, a year after San Jose is set to join MLS as its 14th team. An official announcement will be made in two weeks.

Adu scores first Benfica goal in Cup victory

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Freddy Adu showed the first real glimpses of being something special for Benfica by scoring a 90th minute penalty kick and converting a penalty shootout attempt to help Benfica defeat Estrela Amadora in the quarterfinals of the Carlsberg Cup.

Adu came on as a second half substitute for Benfica and calmly placed a shot into the top right corner of net to tie the match in the 90th before placing Benfica's first shootout attempt into the low left corner of the net.

Messi does it again

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If you forgot to watch or TIVO the Barcelona-Zaragoza match, or you were late to see it, you have already missed three stunning goals. Lionel Messi has scored two goals and Alberto Zapater added his own blast and it's 2-1 Barcelona after 11 minutes.

Cesc Fabregas and Wesley Sneijder are off to great starts right now but I don't think there's a more dangerous player in the world right now than little Lionel Messi.

Szetela misses out on debut

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Danny Szetela did not make the team sheet for Racing de Santander's match against Villarreal today. The former Crew midfielder is getting over a flu. He has yet to make his debut for Racing since joining from Major League Soccer last month but is expected to be in uniform soon.

Szetela also missed out on a reunion of sorts with childhood teammate, fellow Clifton native and Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi, who earned the start for Villarreal.

U.S. women turn to Scurry

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The U.S. women's national team faces Brazil on Thursday in the World Cup semifinals and the Americans will have a familiar face in goal. Veteran Briana Scurry will get the nod in goal ahead of regular starter Hope Solo.

U.S. coach Greg Ryan stated that Brazil's style of play and ability to get plenty of shots from close range led him to start Scurry, who he deemed the best in the world at making reaction saves.

Your chance to see Amado Guevara play

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Hey Amado Guevara fans, can't wait until his inevitable return to the Red Bulls in 2008 to see your favorite volatile Honduran playmaker? You're in luck.

Guevara and CD Motagua will be playing Panamanian squad San Francisco tonight in the quarterfinals of the Central American club championships on GolTV at 9pm.

Motagua beat San Francisco in the first leg of this home-and-home, 1-0.

The Ronaldinho to Chelsea rumor

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If you're wondering why it took me a while to comment on the Ronaldinho to Chelsea story, it is because as of right now it is a story being reported by an absolute rag tabloid of a publication, the Daily Sun. I know that didn't stop ESPN from running with the story (a bit of an absurd decision of you ask me. It would be like the BBC evening news running with a National Enquirer story), but I wasn't really impressed with the rumor

Is there a chance that Ronaldinho leaves after this season?

A better version of Giusfredi's long-range goal

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Okay folks, I know most of you have already seen it but if you'd like to see a better quality video clip of Eliseo Giusfredi's goal from the midfield stripe, here it is. The clip starts with the post-goal celebration, which is a bit weird, but the actual goal comes up right after. Enjoy.

Who will the Red Bulls start down the stretch?

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There are four games to go in the regular season for the Red Bulls and last week's 2-2 tie with New England marked the first time they used the same lineup two games in a row. That doesn't leave a lot of time for building continuity and familiarity.

It may not matter if the Red Bulls attack keeps playing as well as it did against New England.

Mid-week European Soccer on TV

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Can't wait for the weekend to get your European soccer fix? You're in luck. This week features a bunch of quality action in Italy, Spain and Germany.

Barcelona, Roma, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are just some of the teams you'll be able to watch on TV this week. Here is the mid-week European soccer TV schedule:

TODAY

2pm- GolTV- Espanyol at Sevilla.

My column on Eliseo Giusfredi

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Good morning folks. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, here is my column in today's Herald News on Seton Hall star Eliseo Giusfredi.

If you missed my post this weekend, here is the clip of Giusfredi's game-winning goal from near the midfield stripe.

Is the kid for real? The short answer is yes.

Having seen him play in high school, college and against the Red Bulls in scrimmages twice I can say that he has the skill to play on the pro level.

What could Arsenal do with a $140 million transfer budget?

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If you haven't heard by now, Arsenal has made a boatload of money thanks to its new stadium, Ashburton Grove, and now the Gunners reportedly will have a $140 million transfer war chest next summer.

So what do you give the team that is already loaded with talent and quality young prospects? There are always areas a team can upgrade and Arsenal has their own.

It's Q&A Time

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Okay folks, it has been a few weeks since the last question & answer session so let's have another one. I know I didn't get to all of the questions last time but I will look to cut off the questions sooner so I can handle them all in a timely manner.

Let's hear your questions. Fire away.

SBI European Top 10

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Talk about a bunch of high-quality match-ups in European soccer this weekend.

There were a half-dozen matches pairing teams either in the SBI European Top 10 or in the honorable mention, from Roma-Juve to Man U-Chelsea, and these match-ups have helped the Top 10 come into a better focus as we head toward October.

Real Madrid holds on to the No.

Random Soccer Thoughts

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Hello all. Those of you waiting for the SBI European rankings, they are on the way. For now, here's a post that isn't about any soccer subject in particular. Just some random thoughts I've had recently after watching hours and hours of soccer this weekend. Here goes:

Hey Francesco Totti, we get it, you love your kids. How about finding a new goal celebration?

Monday Morning Center Back (Who wants to make the MLS playoffs?)

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Good morning folks. It was a pretty busy weekend of soccer action and while there was plenty to talk about in the European game, my MMCB this week will focus on MLS. This really is supposed to be the playoff stretch in Major League Soccer, even if MLS teams aren't playing like it.

Chicago, Columbus and Colorado are supposed to be battling it out for the final MLS playoff berth but none of them looks like they're ready to take control.

Video of Eliseo Giusfredi's goal from the midfield stripe

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In case you missed the post earlier this week, Seton Hall forward and Paterson resident Eliseo Giusfredi scored a game-winning goal against Princeton on Monday that has to be seen to be believed.

Just seconds after Princeton found an equalizer in the 85th minute to make the score 3-3, Giusfredi calmly collected the midfield kickoff and blasted a right-footed shot past Princeton's goalkeeper from the center circle for the game-winner.

Americans in Europe: Bradley scores again

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Michael Bradley can't stop scoring.

The U.S. national team midfielder netted his fourth goal in three matches for Heerenveen, netting his team's first goal in a 3-2 loss to FC Utrecht. Bradley scored in the 50th minute to tie the match at 1-1 but Utrecht scored two late goals to win.

Bradley was the only European-based U.S. national team player to score this weekend, but he wasn't the only American-born player to score.

European Soccer: Man U wins, Juve and Roma tie

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Goals from Carlos Tevez and Louis Saha helped Manchester United top Chelsea, 2-0, on Sunday. A 32nd minute red card issued to Jon Obi Mikel crippled an already short-handed Chelsea squad and ManU spoiled Avram Grant's debut as Jose Mourinho's replacement.

In Italy, Juve netted an 88th-minute equalizer from Vincent Iaquinta to spoil Roma's perfect record and salvage a 2-2 tie in their Serie A showdown.

Red Bulls-Revolution (Running Commentary)

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Good evening folks. I'm at Giants Stadium and the Red Bulls-Revolution match is about to get under way. Check here throughout the match for updates and comments.

2nd minute- Van Den Bergh with a sharp-angled shot that Reis stops.

------------------

1st minute- Francis Doe dribbles into the penalty area but, guess what, he fails to pass and loses the ball.

Messi leads Barcelona past Sevilla, 2-1

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No Ronaldinho, No Samuel Eto'o? No problem.

Argentine wonder kid Lionel Messi scored a brace, including a beautiful side volley off a perfect pass from Thierry Henry, to lead Barcelona past Sevilla, 2-1, on Saturday.

Barcelona's second goal came courtesy of a penalty drawn by Mexican starlet Giovani Dos Santos which Messi converted.

Liverpool ties, Tinker man Benitez loses

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When will Rafa Benitez learn?

The Spaniard keeps tinkering with Liverpool's starting lineups and yet again his club dropped points against a team it should have thrashed. Liverpool settled for a scoreless tie against Birmingham, whose combined transfer value may not even be as much as Spanish striker Fernando Torres, who started this match on the bench.

Pink is the new Red

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Just when you thought Olympique Marseille's hideous neon uniforms, which were featured in the most recent You Write the Caption, were going to be the most shocking uniforms we'd see this season I know give you Sevilla's hot pink road uniforms, which they are wearing against Barcelona today.

Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wearing pink, as Palermo can attest, these uniforms are just a bit loud.

Arsenal crushes Derby

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Okay, okay, I'll admit it. Arsenal is playing out of this world soccer. After smoking Sevilla in mid-week in the Champions League, the Gunners thrashed Derby, 5-0, on Saturday. They're playing beautifully, though to be honest, most good teams will against Derby.

I'll be installing Arsenal as No. 2 in the next SBI European rankings, unless Real Madrid manages to lose this weekend.

Women's World Cup: USA, Germany roll

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Second-half goals from Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Kristine Lilly helped the U.S. women's national team roll past England, 3-0, in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup in China this morning. Yes, I was actually awake for the second half of this game, which I watched intently (well, as intently as you can watch while still being half asleep.

USL Playoffs: Seattle wins, Portland and Atlanta tie

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The Seattle Sounders recorded a valuable 2-1 road win against Puerto Rico in the first leg of their home-and-home USL Semifinal series on Friday night. Seattle now returns for the second leg in Seattle on Sunday with a considerable edge. Oh, and Petter Villegas scored Puerto Rico's goal with a 25-yard blast (MetroStars/Red Bulls fans just spit up their Cheerios.

US-Catalonia cancelled (officially) with NO replacement match

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The inevitable finally became official on Friday when U.S. Soccer announced that its proposed friendly versus Catalonia has been cancelled. What wasn't known until today though is that there will be no replacement match. This means the U.S. men's national team has just two games remaining this year, at Switzerland on Oct. 17th and at South Africa on Nov.

Video of Michael Bradley's UEFA Cup goals

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For those of you who haven't seen them yet, here is a highlight reel of the goals from Heerenveen's 5-3 victory against Helsingborg, including both of Michael Bradley's goals. Bradley's second goal is especially impressive, though the penalty-drawing tackle he delivers in the next sequence brings a cringe. Overall, still a great showing from a 20, yes 20-year-old American midfielder.

This weekend's European (and MLS) soccer on TV

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If you're a true soccer fan then prepare to be glued to the TV this weekend.

A trio of can't-miss matches headline a full weekend of soccer action on soccer-heavy Fox Soccer Channel and GolTV. Barcelona-Sevilla, Juventus-Roma and Manchester United-Chelsea should all be top notch affairs worth TIVOing and watching repeatedly.

Here is a detailed rundown of this weekend's TV schedule:

SATURDAY

9:30am- GolTV- Stuttgart at Werder Bremen.

USL Semifinal Preview (The OTHER American pro soccer league)

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Can't wait another month for some exciting playoff action? If not, then consider taking a peak at the United Soccer League playoffs. The semifinals start tonight with No. 1 seed Seattle facing No. 6 seed Puerto Rico and No. 2 seed Portland facing No. 4 seed Atlanta.

Red Bulls fans will find particular interest in the Seattle-Puerto Rico series.

TGIF: Birthday Greetings

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Good morning folks. You probably didn't know it but today is an important day in American soccer. It happens to be the birthday of the best American player of all time (Tab Ramos), best American coach of all time (Bruce Arena) and best New Jersey-born, Peruvian-American soccer writer of all time. Yes, I mean me.

It's been a rough few days, from the hospital visit to my current fluid diet that was just upgraded to include toast and bananas this morning, but as many of you know, soccer makes things better.

UEFA Cup: Bradley scores twice in Heerenveen rout

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U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley scored the first goal and last goal in Heerenveen's 5-3 rout against Henrik Larsson's Helsingborg in UEFA Cup action on Thursday. Bradley, who also scored in Heerenveen's league win last week, netted his second goal in a week in the 20th minute before adding an insurance goal in the 61st minute.

You Write the Caption (9/20)

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Okay, I know it's been a while since the last installment of You Write the Caption but part of that has been the lack of funny photos.

I was originally just going to post this picture under the title, "Best. Uniforms. Ever" but I figured I'd just let you all try to write some captions (Since I know some of you are just dying to show off your senses of humor).

UEFA Champions League: A look back

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Arsenal smokes Sevilla, Barcelona routs Lyon and Real Madrid keeps on rolling with a win against Werder Bremen. These were just some of the highlights of the first round of Champions League matches this week.

Chelsea's disappointing 1-1 draw with Rosenborg has turned out to have the biggest impact, with Jose Mourinho leaving the club afterwards.

No way Jose! (Mourinho leaves Chelsea)

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After more than a year of rumors that Jose Mourinho might leave Chelsea the Portuguese manager followed through, leaving the English club a day after Chelsea suffered a disappointing tie with Rosenborg in Champions League play.

Chelsea director of football Avram Grant and assistant coach Steve Clarke will take over for Mourinho in the meantime.

USA-South Africa friendly now official

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The USA-South Africa friendly slated for Nov. 17th became official on Thursday.

Out sick (Well, I'm supposed to be)

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Good morning folks. If you're wondering where I've been the past 20 hours I've been battling an illness that finally got the best of me last night. I'll spare you the details but let's just say I watched a "My name is Earl" marathon for seven hours before finally giving in and going to the hospital.

The doctor told me not to work for three days but you and I both know that's asking a lot.

Guevara on TV last night

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I meant to post this earlier today but forgot to. Last night as I put together my posts for the morning I stumbled upon a Central American Champions Cup match between Motagua and San Francisco. As some of you may know, Motagua is where former Red Bulls standout Amado Guevara is playing these days. I couldn't resist a chance to watch him play and see whether he still has it or is mailing it in.

SBI Reader Roll Call (Take Four)

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Good afternoon all. It is time to bring back the reader roll call one final time. We're at almost 800 responses and I really want to see if we can get to 1,000. Just remember, if you've provided your info here before please don't add it again. Those of you who haven't taken part yet can keep reading on.

(Alert, if the next three paragraphs sound familiar it's because they're basically the same from the last three times I did roll calls.

What would be your state's Best XI?

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For those of you who missed it, I wrote a piece on Tuesday where I named the current Best XI of New Jersey-born soccer players. Ten of the 11 players are professional players at present, with Villanova defender Matt Sleece the only college player on the squad.

As I put that team together I couldn't help but wonder what some of the other All-State pro soccer teams would look like.

Red Bulls practice report (Jozy's Back)

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Good afternoon folks. Here is the rundown from Montclair State today:

Jozy Altidore trained today for the first time since being sidelined with a mysterious leg injury. He didn't show many signs of the injury as he blasted goal after goal during training. I know it's only training but Altidore was a beast out there today, as usual.

Women's World Cup: U.S. wins, North Korea ties

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The U.S. Women's national team defeated Nigeria, 1-0, on Tuesday and will avoid facing defending World Cup champion Germany in the quarterfinals. North Korea suffered a 2-1 loss to Sweden and will now face Germany in the quarters.

Off to Red Bulls practice

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Good morning folks. I'm heading to Red Bulls practice today. Hopefully I'll be able to get some info on the injury status of Carlos Mendes, Mike Magee, Kevin Goldthwaite and Jozy Altidore. I'll check back in this afternoon with a practice report so stay tuned.

SBI European Club Top 10

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The Champions League group stage is here and you know what that means. It's time for the latest installment of the SBI European Top 10.

I know the first edition was a bit rough but I think I worked out the kinks with the latest installment. Obviously there are going to be differences of opinion. Some of you respect the EPL more while some others give Serie A or La Liga more of a preference when it comes to ranking.

Giusfredi midfield blast lifts Seton Hall

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Eliseo Giusfredi has been Seton Hall's go-to goal scorer this season but even his teammates couldn't have imagined what he would do on Monday night.

The Paterson resident and Seton Hall junior took a back pass from the opposite side of the midfield stripe and blasted a 60-yard shot past the Princeton goalkeeper to give Seton Hall a 4-3 victory on Monday night.

Mendes has ankle injury

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Wondering where Carlos Mendes was on Saturday? It turns out he picked up an ankle injury late last week in training. Of course the Red Bulls chose to keep that fact a secret leading up to Saturday's match.

Mendes hasn't been starting lately but his absence on Saturday was still a bit surprising. Now that we know he's hurt it makes a little more sense.

Women's World Cup: Germany, England advance

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Defending Women's World Cup champions Germany clinched its berth in the quarterfinals by beating Japan, 2-0 on Monday. England joined the Germans with its own 6-1 rout over tournament punching bag, Argentina.

The Germans will face the second place team in Group B, either the United States or North Korea, in the quarterfinals. Needless to say, not many people want that Germany-USA match to happen so early in the tournament.

Magee and Goldthwaite suffer knee injuries in reserve game

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Red Bulls midfielder Mike Magee and defender Kevin Goldthwaite both suffered serious knee injuries during the Red Bulls' reserve game against Chicago on Sunday. The team has yet to publicly announce these injuries (there's a shock) but a source close to the team confirmed that both players suffered major knee injuries.

The timing of the injuries couldn't have been worse, what with the MLS roster freeze date having just occurred on Friday.

UEFA Champions League is Back

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If you have been suffering from Champions League withdrawal since AC Milan lifted the trophy last May you are in luck. The competition is back and the action promises to be as entertaining as ever.

Eight group stage matches will take place on Tuesday, highlighted by Liverpool's trip to face Porto on ESPN2 at 2:30pm. Werder Bremen at Real Madrid is the best match of the day but it isn't being shown on TV (well, aside from ESPN Deportes).

Monday Morning Center Back (The Women's World Cup)

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If you're wondering why there hasn't been any coverage on the Women's World Cup on the blog it is basically because women's soccer is something I've never really had to cover.

My newspaper, the Herald News, has long had a women's sports writer who handled the women's soccer coverage. That includes women's national team and WUSA when it was around.

DC closing in on Veron deal for '08

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If you've been wondering if and when MLS front-runners DC United would ever get around to using a Designated Player slot, the time may be coming sooner than expected.

According to sources with knowledge of the discussions, DC United is deep in talks with Argentine star midfielder Juan Veron to sign him as a designated player for the 2008 season.

Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire (Running Commentary)

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Good evening folks. I'm putting this up now to let you all know that I will be doing a running commentary on tonight's Red Bulls-Fire match. I know some of you were curious about that so now you know. Check back here as we get closer to the 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time kickoff.

For those of you who haven't seen it, here is my ESPN column on Chicago Fire coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

Americans in Europe: Dempsey and Bradley score

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A week after playing key roles in the U.S. national team's impressive showing against Brazil, both Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley scored goals for their European club teams.

Dempsey scored Fulham's lone goal in a 1-1 tie with Wigan. Bradley scored the final goal for Heerenveen in a 5-2 thrashing of Excelsior.

DaMarcus Beasley was also on the scoresheet on Saturday, scoring Ranger's second goal in a 4-2 loss to Hearts.

Howard misses ManU match

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Tim Howard will have to wait longer to face his former club, Manchester United.

Howard did not dress for Everton's match against Man U today after being unable to recover from the finger injuries he suffered in the U.S. national team's 4-2 loss to Brazil last Sunday. He suffered a dislocated ring finger on his left hand while also injuring his pinky finger.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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Hello all. Apologies for the drop in my frequency of posts the past few days. I had to take a break on Friday and the previous days I went for the fewer but longer posts approach. I know that may not be a preference to some of you who need to fight the cubicle bordom but I'm trying new things.

Here is this weekend's soccer on TV. Get your TIVO ready.

Tim Howard's status still in doubt

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Tim Howard's status for Everton's match against Manchester United remains in doubt as his club continues to wait for swelling to go down on his ring and pinky fingers of his left hand, which he smashed against the crossbar during the U.S. team's 4-2 loss to Brazil.

As if Howard's uncertain status wasn't bad enough for Everton, Manchester United will have Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo back for this weekend's match.

My response to the Reyna critics

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Thanks to those of you who wrote in response to my Red Bulls piece earlier today. As I expected, many of you were quick to jump on any attempt to defend Claudio Reyna. I can't say I'm surprised.

Here is my response to some of the comments made, particularly the introduction of some rather misleading statistics regarding Reyna and the Red Bulls:

Stats can tell lots of stories, some true and some false.

The Red Bulls: My take on Reyna

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If you're wondering where the Red Bulls coverage has been recently, I will be back on the beat next week. I've spent the past week or so attending to other matters.

I did get a chance to watch the Chivas USA game during the week and it was pretty much as ugly as everyone said it was. What I will say is that as ugly as it was, the 3-0 loss needs to be put in some perspective.

Dempsey and Donovan: A posiitonal dilemma?

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Overlooked in the wake of the U.S. team's recent loss to Brazil was Bob Bradley's deployment of Landon Donovan on the right flank, a position Donovan has not played very frequently in the past. Long regarded as the U.S. team's top attacking threat, Donovan's shifting to a right midfield role could signal a significant change in the national team's long term plans for one of its best players.

What do you want to see more of?

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Good afternoon folks. I'm taking a break from the blog today but I wanted to give you all an avenue to let me know what elements of the blog you would like to see more of.

Help me out. let me know what elements you lke the most and the least. Whether its MLS rankings, the Q&As or You Write the Captions, let me know what blog elements you realy enjoy and which ones you can do witout.

Howard sounds off on criticism of U.S. defense

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Tim Howard has heard the criticism. He knows that there is a segment of U.S. soccer fans and media that have criticized the U.S. national team's starting center back tandem of Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu. He knows it is out there and considers it misguided.

The U.S. goalkeeper and former MetroStar has never been shy about expressing his opinion.

MLS transaction deadline looming

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We're getting close to the Sept. 14th MLS player transaction deadline, meaning teams have just three days to make additions to their teams ahead of the late-season playoff push. Unfortunately for MLS fans, teams generally don't make too many moves at this point in the year.

Here's my question to you. If you were GM for this week and you could make some moves, what moves would you make?

The race for the MLS playoffs

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Chicago, Columbus and Colorado. Which of these teams will reach the post-season?

There are five weeks left in the MLS regular season and the race for the final MLS playoff spot is a tight one, if not an exciting one.

Chicago has pulled into the No. 8 spot after beating Columbus while the clock struck midnight on on Colorado's nice Cinderella run courtesy of a 3-1 loss to the awful LA Galaxy.

USA to play South Africa

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The U.S. national team is on the verge of announcing a friendly against 2010 World Cup host South Africa, set for Nov. 17th in South Africa.

A venue has yet to be chosen but the match is being dubbed the Mandela Challenge Cup. The date is an international fixture date but it is also taking place a day before MLS Cup, which means players taking part in MLS Cup would be unlikely to be called in.

You Write the Caption (Materazzi edition)

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There were tons of photos to choose from for a YWTC but I found a pair of photos of Materazzi from the France-Italy Euro qualifier. No, Materazzi didn't play, but he still managed to make a scene.

Enjoy:

Marco Materazzi reads his own bio to remember the name of the guy who headbutted him.

No caption for this one.

My USA player grades

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For those of you who hadn't seen it, here is my recap of the game on ESPN.com along with player grades.

Feel free to share your thoughts on my grades and story (If you haven't already).

Michael Bradley's game in pictures

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If you got the feeling on Sunday that Michael Bradley was all over the field for the United States, you weren't alone.

The U.S. midfielder made things difficult for Brazil's stars and enjoyed his best game as a national team player in the 4-2 loss to Brazil.

To help give you a better feeling of Bradley's performance, here are some picture's from Sunday's match.

Up next for the USA: Switzerland

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The US national team's next match is a month away against Switzerland but it isn't too early to start talking about who will play in that match.

What is the starting XI you would like to see in that match? Share your thoughts below.

Monday Morning Center Back (A look back at USA-Brazil)

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Good morning folks. It is the day after the U.S. team's 4-2 loss to Brazil and I have to say I'm a bit perplexed by some of the reactions to the match.

If you're a U.S. Soccer fan who can come away from yesterday's game not feeling encouraged by the national team's progress and potential then I really don't know what to tell you.

USA-Brazil (Running Commentary)

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Good afternoon all. It's a sunny day here at Soldier Field and, aside from the ugly looking grass, it's a beautiful day.

I'll be starting the running commentary shortly. For now, feel free to post your pre-game comments on today's match below.

---------------

29th minute- Brazil with another dangerous free kick.

USA-BRAZIL Lineups

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Good afternoon all. I'm coming to you live from Soldier Field in Chicago and we're about 40 minutes from kickoff of the USA-Brazil friendly.

I will be doing a running commentary on today's match so check here for updates throughout the match if you happen to be near a computer instead of at a bar or at the game.

Here are the lineups for today's game (they'll look familiar if you read the blog on Saturday):

USA:

-------------------Dempsey----------------------

Beasley-----------Donovan---------------Wolff

------------Feilhaber------Bradley--------------

Pearce-------------------------------Cherundolo

--------------Onyewu---Bocanegra--------------

---------------------Howard----------------------

BRAZIL:

-----------------Alves------------------------

Robinho-----------Ronaldinho---------Kaka

---------Gilberto Silva------Mineiro---------

Gilberto---------------------------------Maicon

---------------Juan--------Lucio---------------

---------------------Doni------------------------

What do you think of the USA starting lineup?

Good afternoon from Chi-town

Soccer By Ives at related • 0 views

Hello folks. I'm about to head to SOldier Field for today's USA-Brazil match. I'll post some more tidbits once I get there.

For now, here's a link to my Herald News story on today's match. Check it out.

Check back here in a few for more info.

Brazil Practice Observations

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Hey folks, here are some observations from Saturday's Brazil practice:

Brazil worked on free kicks and Ronaldinho's placement was as deadly as you would expect.

Ronaldinho was asked about playing in MLS and he handled it diplomatically, saying his focus was Barcelona but that it's intriguing for all players to consider playing in the United States.

Brazil's lineup vs. USA

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If you were wondering what team Dunga will trot out for Brazil against the United States on Sunday, here is the starting lineup he used in training:

-----------------Alves------------------------

Robinho-----------Ronaldinho---------Kaka

---------Gilberto Silva------Mineiro---------

Gilberto---------------------------------Maicon

---------------Juan--------Lucio---------------

---------------------Doni------------------------

Julio Cesar could also start in goal.

Greetings from Toyota Park

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I'm here at Brazil practice and a nice-sized crowd is out to see the Brazilians train. Ronaldinho came out last (of course) and drew a loud chorus of applause.

I also went to the US team's interviews earlier today and there were some interesting comments, the most interesting revelation coming from Clint Dempsey.

The Fulham forward and the US team's only goal scorer in the 2006 World Cup admitted that when he watched the 1994 World Cup match between the United States and Brazil he rooted for Brazil.

Good morning from the CHI

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Hey all. It's about 9:30am local time here in Chicago and I'm going to start getting ready to head over to the US national team's hotel for some interviews before heading off to Toyota Park to see Brazil train. Toyota Park will be opened for the Brazil training session so you can actually watch it if you make your way to Bridgeview. Brazil training starts at 3:30pm local time.

SBI Live from Chicago

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Good afternoon folks. I'm checking in from a train in Chicago headed toward downtown. I landed a few minutes ago and am heading to hopefully score some interviews ahead of Sunday's US-Brazil game.

For those of you who haven't seen it, here is my column on Sunday's match for ESPN.com. I will be checking in regularly from Chicago with any and all news and tidbits I stumble upon.

Beckham loan rumors swirl

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If you haven't heard by now, and I'm sure most of you have, there are rumors swirling out of England that David Beckham wants a loan move to England for the first half of next year.

I believe the English have a word for this type of move. Cheeky. If there is truth to the report, and you can't really trust reports from the UK, then it would mean Beckham leaves for England during the winter transfer window and potentially not returning until the summer.

Some more of your questions answered

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Hey folks, I still haven't finished answering the rest of your questions from the most recent Q&A but I did answer some of them.

Here are some more of your questions answered. I will look to finish the rest this weekend.

TGIF: Off to Chicago

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Good morning folks. I will be traveling to Chicago today ahead of the USA-Brazil match on Sunday. I will look to offer up some tidbits once i'm settled into the Windy City. I will also try to post at least a few answers to some of your questions from last week before I get on the plane.

I'm finishing off an ESPN column on the Brazil match this morning, then it's off the airport.

Amado wants to come back

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For those of you who haven't heard, former MLS MVP and Red Bulls standout Amado Guevara wants to come back to Major League Soccer and specifically the Red Bulls.

Guevara told El Diario that he wants to come back to the Red Bulls to fulfill the promises he made to fans here. That he wants back shouldn't really be a surprise. The question is whether there is any realistic chance that the Red Bulls would want him back?

What lineup should Bradley play vs. Brazil?

Soccer By Ives at related • 13 views

Good afternoon folks. We're getting close to the big USA-Brazil friendly on Sunday and I couldn't help but wonder what some of you would choose for a lineup for that match if you were the US national team coach.

I'm sure half of you would include Jozy Altidore in your lineup even though he wasn't called in and he's hurt but that's to be expected.

You Write the Caption

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Good morning folks. It is a bit of a slow news day so far this Thursday so I have decided to post the latest YWTC entry to get you thinking soccer.

This entry actually comes courtesy of Adam Spangler of This is American Soccer, who found the photo. U.S. national team fans will enjoy it while Mexican national team fans may not find it as funny.

SBI European Top 10

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Good afternoon folks. With the European soccer season in full swing (well at least until this international fixture date passes through) I felt it was time to offer up an SBI ranking of Europe's top teams.

I will make this a weekly fixture of the blog (and yes, I know I probably said that about the MLS rankings I rarely do, but I'm trying to have some regular elements of the blog and this will be one of them).

Red Bulls-Coco rumors resurface

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Reports out of Italy are saying that Italian defender Francesco Coco has been offered contracts by the Red Bulls and New England Revolution.

How much truth is there to these reports? The Red Bulls passed on Coco back in early August but the team can certainly use an experienced central defender. This feels more like an agent's last-ditch attempt to get his client's name in the press in order to drum up interest.

Altidore is hurt, but how badly?

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So much for all the clamoring from some U.S. national team fans who felt Jozy Altidore should have been called in for the US team's friendly against Brazil. He is, in fact, still injured.

Altidore has been ruled out of the Red Bulls' road match at Chivas USA with what the team is describing as a "Lower Leg Injury." I don't know who is diagnosing these injuries but I think they stayed at a Holiday Inn Express rather than any sort of medical school.

Szetela introduced at Racing

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Clifton native Danny Szetela was presented to the fans of Racing de Santander today after completing his move to the Spanish club. Szetela should be available for the club's next match, on Sept. 16th against Levante.

Here is my column on Szetela's decision to sign for Racing in today's Herald News. I will try to get in touch with Szetela when he returns to the United States to sort out his move so look out for a story on his first impressions of Spain in the near future.

(Half of) Your Questions Answered

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Good afternoon folks. We had a record number of questions for the latest Q&A session, even after I said I would cap the questions earlier than normal. Thanks for continuing to participate.

I told you I would answer your questions for Friday early this week. Well, I managed to get close to half of them done. Here are some of your questions answered (I will try to post the rest tomorrow).

Tuesday Morning Center Back (Stop Rushing Altidore)

Soccer By Ives at related • 12 views

(Good morning folks. Since I didn't do an MMCB yesterday I have decided to do a Tuesday version to kick off the week. Enjoy.)

It was Labor Day, a day off for most, but that didn't stop scores of US national team fans from finding time to express displeasure with the fact tht Jozy Altidore didn't called up by Bob Bradley for the Brazil match.

U.S. roster vs. Brazil announced

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The US national team announced its roster for the Sept. 9th match against Brazil. Here it is:

Forwards: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich).

Midfielders: Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids).

MMCB (Labor Day Edition)

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Okay, so it can't really be a Monday MORNING Center Back when I'm posting after 1pm but it's Labor Day weekend and I just had to catch up on my sleep.

It is the start of a very interesting week, what with European qualifiers taking place and the US-Brazil match capping the weekend. There will be plenty to dive into and analyze.

Before we get into this week we should probably look back at the weekend and some of the better highlights:

Benfica wins, Freddy doesn't dress: Is this the start of problems for Freddy Adu in Portugal?

Dempsey enjoys a dream day

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In case you hadn't heard by now, Clint Dempsey had a dream day for Fulham on Saturday. He had a hand in all three goals to help Fulham come back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to salvage a 3-3 tie against Tottenham.

Dempsey powered home a first half header to make the score 2-1. He then salvaged what looked like it might be a turnover by getting a good pass off near the top of the box that was turned into another Fulham goal.

A Lazy Sunday

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Hello folks. Like many of you I am taking today off. I'm not at the beach or anything, just home watching some great soccer. Real Madrid and Villareal are playing on GolTV so I had to see Giuseppe Rossi go up against Madrid. Some good action so far.

It has been a crazy weekend. In England you had Clint Dempsey's amazing performance for Fulham, Alex Ferguson edging Roy Keane in their first match-up as managers and Villa handing Chelsea their first loss.

Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire (LINEUPS)

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No Jozy Altidore today. Altidore is out with the same calf injury from the Under-20 World Cup. He isn't even dressed for the match.

Dema Kovalenko is dressed but not starting.

Here are the lineups:

RED BULLS

---------------Angel-----------Wolyniec-----------------

Mathis-------------------------------------------Richards

--------------------Reyna------Vide----------------------

VDB------------------------------------------------Leitch

--------------------Parke----Stammler-----------------

---------------------Waterreus-------------------------

BENCH: Jon Conway, Mendes, Magee, Kovalenko, Doe, Goldthwaite, Ubiparipovic.

Red BUlls vs. Chicago Fire (Running Commentary)

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Good evening folks. The game is about to kick off. No Jozy Altidore today (And no, he wasn't sold before the transfer window).

Feel free to follow the match here. Add your comments on the match below.

Let's have some fun:

1st minute- Clint Mathis was honored before the match for breaking the club's career goals record in all competitions.

Szetela speaks

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Danny Szetela will depart for Spain on Saturday to have his physical and finish off all details of his transfer move to Racing de Santander.

I spoke to Szetela Friday night and he is equally excited and relieved that this whole transfer saga is over.

Here is some of what he had to say:

On choosing Spain and Racing

"Out of all the opportunities I had a style of soccer that I wanted to play and that style is played in the Spanish League," Szetela said.