Eastern Europe

Americans Abroad

How does one say "en fuego" in Bosnian?

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It took Nermin Crnkić all of 18 seconds from kickoff on Friday night to bag the only goal that FK Sarajevo would need to tentatively perch at the top of the Bosnian championship playoff table. The winger now has four goals and a helper in his last four games. - Greg Seltzer

Double Time

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FK Sarajevo winger Nermin Crnkić put the game away by scoring a late brace as the visitors pulled to within two points of the top spot with a 3-0 victory at Radnik Bijeljina on Saturday. His first strike was on a tiptoe through the tulips, while his second came on a strong close-range header. And just like that, he's got the most league goals of all Americans playing in European top flights this

Lucky Number Seven

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Later, I will begin a week-long festival of MLS Top 5 Lists. For now, let's give a round of applause to FK Sarajevo winger Nermin Crnkić, who scored t to help his side reach the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup final with a win at Mladost Doboj Kakanj on Wednesday. It was his career-best seventh goal across all competitions this term.

The American-est

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It's time to take a short break from the Clipboard for an update to this old post from Jacob Klinger. Obviously, there have been plenty of additions to our table of the clubs that have fielded the most Americans. But I've also made a few alterations: 1) no more prospects listed, a guy has to have played at least one first team match to count, 2) a few clubs way, way down the league pyramid have

Björn (Not) Free

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It's flat-moving day over here, so I doubt I can drop the left wing list today, but I wanted to drop by with a quick update on Björn Maars Johnsen's situation. I can tell you that Litex Lovech are still hanging a high price tag and rejecting offers, and that there are no longer MLS suitors at the bargaining table.

The Bjorn Ultimatum

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Well, it looks as though Bjørn Maars Johnsen may not be able to move before the transfer window closes. I'm told he has 'several' offers, but Litex Lovech are sitting on them while they fight the Bulgarian league's decision to expel them over their December walk-off. Theoretically, this could play into the hands of any MLS suitors that may still remain - and yes, I'm checking to see if any do.

Maars Rover?

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To follow up on last week's Björn Maars Johnsen post, that MLS interest is in competition with enduring suitors from all the places I outed in the fall (2.Bundesliga, the Netherlands, Greece, Russia), plus some in France and Turkey. I'm getting closer to pinpointing a few club names, but once the Bulgarian FA announced the fate of Litex Lovech, his move could happen quickly.

This just in...

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Among other places, I can now confirm that Litex Lovech striker Bjørn Maars Johnsen has interest coming from MLS. Bear in mind, however, that the forthcoming announcement of his side's fate in the Bulgarian top flight will have great bearing on whether he moves anywhere during the winter window. As you may recall, Litex were dumped out of the A-PFG after walking off in protest of the officiating

My Big Fat Fake Awards Ceremony

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In my final regular bit for MLSS, prizes both honored and dubious were handed out to celebrate the year that was for Americans playing in Europe. The Americans Abroad Player of the Year award was an easy choice. Actually, many of them were no-brainers given all the recent defections home and injury woes that greatly thinned our Old World spectating in 2015.

One to grow on?

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Birthday boy Bjørn Maars Johnsen made it look easy to turn home the Litex Lovech third in a 4-0 rout of Slavia Sofia on Friday night. The already-tall striker now has six league goals (good for second place on the A-PFG chart) and eight overall this term. - Greg Seltzer

The Joker strikes again! BAM!

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(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1=v2.5"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Yup, Cesar Romero fired the lone goal winner to keep Vardar Skopje on the summit in Macedonia.

The Bjørn Identity

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Litex Lovech target man Bjørn Maars Johnsen came to their rescue off the bench, striking the 75th minute leveler to earn the visitors a 1-1 draw against the last place team. A near-oof, indeed. Ya know what I like better than what is a perfectly sure finish? That sudden separation in a small area. Noiiice.

Both Bjørn Maars Johnsen (Litex Lovech)

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Both Bjørn Maars Johnsen (Litex Lovech) and Evgeni Starikov (Chernomorets) have struck in winning league efforts.I will get on the clip chase shortly...- Greg Seltzer

The firm of Wood & De la Fuego

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Like I said, Bobby Wood is heating up. The play for his opener starts at the 13-second mark below. And later that day, Ararat's Bryan de la Fuente did him one better to bag a doozy of comeback brace. His goal plays start at 2:48 and 3:47. - Greg Seltzer

Another Goals Roundup

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Don't look now, but Bobby Wood has scored in three of his last four games for Union Berlin. That, however, is not the main point of this post (that goal clip will come later). No, I have another bushel of tardy videos to get up. So here goes... I can't get to Wood's goal form today, because I still need to get his midweek strike up.

A bit of tidying.

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There were some goals the past week, so time for some catch-up. First up to bat, we have Bjørn Maars Johnsen, who used a simple finish to bag goals in a second straight Litex Lovech game. Next up we have young Jablonec winger Nermin Crnkić, who used stick-to-it-iveness to net his first of the season in a win.

Bjørn in the USA

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For at least a couple of hours, Bjørn Maars Johnsen and Litex Lovech sit at the top following a 2-0 win capped bu his first goal of the league season (he's already bagged two in Europa League play). The play you're looking for begins around the 2:48 mark. - Greg Seltzer

Belgian Stuff

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Two items for ya here, both related to the Jupiler League: I can confirm that DeAndre Yedlin will not be heading to Anderlecht on loan, as widely reported as a good possibility the last couple days in numerous Belgian outlets. I had heard they made a loan + buy option offer and were rejected by Spurs, but have not confirmed those twin aspects of the story yet.

This just in... (updated)

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I am still working on some details, but can confirm that free agent striker (and Sunday birthday boy) Cesar Romero has signed with Macedonian champs Vardar Skopje. Obviously, you were all hoping for a somewhat bigger league quality jump, but it is still a bit tougher than in Armenia. UPDATE: It is a one-year deal with an option for another.

Bjørn In The USA

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I dropped the ball last spring when late-season Litex Lovech acquisition Bjørn Maars Johnsen scored six goals in the Bulgaria top flight's championship hex to help them grab a Europa League spot. Well, the North Carolina product gave me a nice occasion to correct my error. The John Carew-esque striker bagged a stunning lob-on-the-run and a bullet header for his first two Europa League goals, the

The Cesar Weapon

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Held out of the start due to jet lag, FC Pyunik ace Cesar Romero wasted little time after being subbed in at the break before bagging the 2-1 winner over Folgore for his first Champions League goal. Will he still be on the team when they head to San Marino for the second leg of first round qualifying?

Russian Cesar?

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According to RPL club Amkar Perm (who once felt the Europa League wrath of Clint Dempsey), they will be auditioning FC Pyunik free-agent-to-be Cesar Romero at their Turkish preseason gathering next month. He has had interest from Serbian champs Partizan Belgrade and reportedly from Mexico, but I am still trying to get the full word.

Hailing Cesar?

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I have confirmed that FC Pyunik scoring king/free-agent-to-be Cesar Romero is currently receiving interest from Serbian champs Partizan Belgrade. However, for now, that is the extent of my knowledge on the situation. I shall keep digging on this one.- Greg Seltzer

All Hail Cesar!

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Yup, he did it. FC Pyunik ace Cesar Romero became the first American to win the Golden Boot in a European honor division by snagging the opener in a 3-2 closing day win over local rivals Mika. Not content with bagging his 21st of the year, he notched his ninth assist of the term on the winner with seven minutes left.

Oops - Cup Edition

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I apparently got very confused and missed that FC Pyunik won the Armenian Cup on Wednesday night, topping Mika 3-1. And as such, I missed that Cesar Romero bagged the final goal. The play that sets up his beautiful restart strike begins at the 2:26 mark of the top video, which includes all highlights and some of the ensuing ceremony.

Just happy little pigs in slop are we.

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I am referring, of course, to how us Americans get giddy rolling around in sports stats.What follows (to a large extent) are the top six in various stat categories among Americans Abroad. I parenthetically say large extent because there are a few holes in the count. I was unable to come up with the three defensive categories at the bottom for 2.

Show-Off

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While we wait on the Cole Grossman video update, you can check out César Romero's Armenian PL-leading 19th goal of the season. Though it came in a losing cause, the striker moved his overall total for the campaign to 23 tallies with a temporary equalizer consisting of a loooong free kick and one happy bounce.

The Joker is loose... POW! BAM! SHA-BANG!

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Yup, Armenian Premier League top gun Cesar Romero fired a pretty 73rd minute decider at Banants on Sunday to give FC Pyunik a four-point cushion at the top of the table. The goal was his 18th on the league season and the victory was the eighth in a row for the Phoenix (not sure is that is actually their nickname, but Pyunik means Phoenix in Armenian and one stands on their crest).

I've made a huge mistake.

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No, not GOB-huge... but, still. The other day I remarked that AZ forward AJ was the BMOC when it came to US goal scorers operating in UEFA honor divisions. WCGW?Wellll, it turns out I could have fried egg on my face instead of on top of my chorizo, broccoli and sweet potato hash (as the food Gods intended).

Hmm... maybe play him more?

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Yesterday, Omonia attacker Tony Taylor nodded home his third goal of the season as late consolation in a 4-2 loss to Apollon Limassol. Despite playing just 300 minutes, the American is just two tallies behind the team's top striker. Hmm indeed. The goal play is the last thing on the video. - Greg Seltzer

Proletariat

‘Football proletariat’ brave Serbia’s crumbling, violent stadiums

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Belgrade (AFP) – Khalid Aucho and Takuto Yasuoka are among hundreds of footballers from Africa, Asia and South America whose dream of stardom has brought them to Eastern Europe.

Aucho, a 23-year-old from Uganda who has already tried Scotland, and his 20-year-old Japanese counterpart Yasuoka train together at OFK Belgrade, currently bottom of the Serbian second division.

‘Football proletariat’ brave Serbia’s crumbling, violent stadiums

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Belgrade (AFP) – Khalid Aucho and Takuto Yasuoka are among hundreds of footballers from Africa, Asia and South America whose dream of stardom has brought them to Eastern Europe.

Aucho, a 23-year-old from Uganda who has already tried Scotland, and his 20-year-old Japanese counterpart Yasuoka train together at OFK Belgrade, currently bottom of the Serbian second division.

World Cup 2014

Brazil 3 Croatia 1

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And so it began...first underwhelmingly and then annoyingly as the ref served up some home cooking. NSC Man of the Match: Fred Louganis - Greg Seltzer

The In Crowd

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We have four new party passes handed out for Brazil 2014; Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Switzerland are in. So who can make the list on Tuesday and how? We gotchu. Honduras can make it 15 with so much as a draw at Jamaica. If they fail to do that, Mexico could grab the last spot with a win at Costa Rica.

Win two tickets to England v Ukraine at Wembley in September

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Win two tickets to England v Ukraine at Wembley in September - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

With Euro 2012 all done and dusted and the new 2012-13 season underway, England's players will be starting to look towards the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Three Lions start their World Cup qualifying campaign in September against Moldova, with the side's first home match against Ukraine at Wembley on September 11th.

The Rest

Playing Catsup

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The lady was in town for a few days this week to allow me the privilege of giving her a perfect birthday. So aside from regular work duties, I put all my focus on the tough little Russian who has probably wrestled bears that were drunk on wod-ka (holy hell, I love it when she says that word). Now that she is away again, I've remembered that goals still exist.

Rude Guests

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It took a few days, but we finally have highlights of the pre-Olympic USMNT's 5-2 road rout of Bosnia from this week. - Greg Seltzer

A Bleak Future for Eastern European Soccer

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During the Soviet regime, football teams were owned by state industries. Of course, the teams owned by more powerful organizations like Moscow Dinamo, a club owned by the Soviet security and secret forces always finished at the top of the league. Therefore, the league was completely unfair due to the greater support put forth by larger organizations, and corruption.

Bernard Joins Shakhtar Donetsk as Arsenal and Tottenham Bids Fail

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Brazilian international and highly sought after Premier League target, Bernard of Athletic Miniero has official put pen to paper on a five-year deal with Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk according to reports from Goal.com.

The 20-year-old attacker was linked heavily to both Arsenal and Tottenham in recent weeks as well as Portuguese side FC Porto, but it appears that the Eastern European club offer more opportunity for the player to be involved with the first team from the beginning.

Arsenal’s £80,000-a-week Andrey Arshavin loves his McDonald’s discount vouchers

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Dining in swanky over-priced restaurants seems a natural by-product of having a grotesquely large disposable income. But true to his delightfully unconventional nature, Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin bucks this trend quite dramatically. According to McDonald's workers in the Hampstead branch of the ‘restaurant' chain, the diminutive Russian is a regular.