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?
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.
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
1st minute- We're under way and Francis Doe gets a shot on goal just 12 seconds
into the match.
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:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wearing pink, as Palermo can attest, these
uniforms are just a bit loud.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
The doctor told me not to work for three days but you and I both know that's asking a lot.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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.
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
Here is this weekend's soccer on TV. Get your TIVO ready.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
I'm finishing off an ESPN column on the Brazil match this morning, then it's off the
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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
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.
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