Friday, August 25, 2006

Strikers That Don't Pan Out

Will Martins Work for Newcastle?

It's funny how some players seem to get a lot of attention while others don't. Mateja Kezman got a lot of attention for scoring boatloads of goals while in Holland. Yet when his big move came, he barely did anything for Chelsea in the premeirship. He faired better last year for Atletico Madrid, but still nothing like his time in Holland. We've seen this with others like Martín "El Loco" Palermo, Diego Forlan, Sergei Rebrov and others. Heck, a young Louis Saha scored a lot of goals for the Metz youth team but when Newcastle brought him in, he didn't perform well enough and show enough promise so Metz ended up selling him to Fulham.

I thought of this while reading a post on Blog FC [ ] that was wondering why no big club has bought Miroslav Klose. He scored 25 goals in 26 games for Werder Bremen last year. And this summer he was the top scorer at the World Cup. Why hasn't one of the truely big clubs made a move to buy him? Is Werder Bremen really asking too much? Does Klose not want to move? Or are the big clubs scared they're buying the next Rebrov or Forlan?

One note on yesterday's post . Man City has suspended Ben Thatcher.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Stadiums and The Law

New Stadiums and The Law

There have been a few stadiums in Major League soccer being built or completed the last few years. Chicago just opened theirs in Bridgeview, IL. Seemingly out of the ashes Real Salt Lake broke ground a couple weeks ago for a new soccer stadium in Sandy, Utah. The one that's most imprtant to me right is currently under construction in Commerce City, Colorado. Just 6 miles from downtown Denver, it will be the most centrally located of the soccer specific stadiums in the league.

More information on it can be found at the Colorado Rapids web site :

In other soccer news, the police are investigating an incedent from yesterday. Apparently Manchester City's Ben Thatcher clocked Pedro Mendes with a forearm during the game with Portsmouth yesterday. Apparetly the FA is simly saying that nothing more needs to be done with Thatcher received a yellow. That wouldn't be a good decision for the FA but not the worst except that Pedro Mendes was not only knocked unconcious but also suffered seizures. If it's serious enough for the police, it deserves more than just a yellow card. What do you think? Is a yellow card enough?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's All About The Players

With the Major League Soccer season winding down, who is your MVP?

More interestingly, who will be the players this year to watch that aren't playing with big clubs right now? Will someone like Chevaton play well enough to get the big clubs in Spain and England interested in him again? Will Klose stay at Werder Bremen?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Real Playoffs?

At the same time Yallop's Los Angeles started to win in the MLS, RSL seems to be coming to life. They're still underperforming for a team with the 5th highest payroll in the league. But the team that didn't win once on the road last year has managed to win more on the road this year than last. In fact right now they're on a 3 game undefeated streak on the road an undefeated in 5 overall. Not bad for a team that only mustered 5 wins in 32 games last year. A lot of the attention has been given to Jeff Cunningham. He's been scoring and racking up some assists a lot lately. But the talk of him reaching MVP status is a step too far, at least at this stage in the season. I've watched every RSL game that's been available. Cunningham can be a classy goal scorer. But I don't see that he elevates the teammates around him. He performs for the team, makes some passes and has been scoring goals. But I don't the most valuable player side of things. It's just not that I frown upon talking about MVP for a team that isn't in the playoffs (a relatively low standard for the MLS). But that I expect the MVP to be a player that does elevate the level of play around him. If you're going to pick an MVP canidate for RSL, it should be Mehdi Ballouchy. Without Medhi, RSL would more often than not be up to their old ways of last year where they struggled to string together more than a couple passes at a time and didn't have enough possesion. Earlier in the year when Cunningham would score, the team still wasn't winning. Often times though Medhi either wasn't in the game or he was pushed off to the side. What Cunningham has brought to the team is a nose for goal, something Jason Kries can't offer them any longer. I'm just suprised the RSL bloggers aren't thinking the same.

More interesting though, is that 4 of Cunningham's recent goals have come off of penalty kicks. I'm not going to completely discount those. It means something that you can be calm and execute them properly. But they're not goals from the run of play. And that's something that RSL has struggled with getting under Ellinger. Take away those Pks and RSL has 2 more loses at home and are tied with Columbus at the bottom of the single table standings. Maybe RSL hasn't turned the corner like Ellinger seems to think? We'll have to wait and find out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Russian Money At Work

As the transfer window comes to a close at the end of the month, clubs are busy trying to finalize deals and bring in new players. Harry Redknapp's been busy spending new owner Gaydamak's money. He's brought in Kanu, ex-Hammer Glen Johnson, David Thompson, David James and Sol Campbell. Most folks that follow the game will instantly recognize these names. The problem is I don't see how they do anything but elevate Pompey's payroll. 36 year old David James never really had it. That he's got 34 caps for England is more of a testament to the lack of truly world-class talent England has at that position than what it says about David James. David Thompson is a decent squad player, the same with Kanu. Sol looked last year like he was ready to hang the boots up. I have a hard time seeing him turn things around. Only young Glen Johnson has potential to be a special player this year.

What will be more interesting to see is if Pompey avoid relegation. They were in the mix last year until they turned it around just enough to finish 4 points clear. But that Pompey didn't go down was more of a testament to how West Brom and Birmingham fell apart last year than quality at Pompey. Other players seem able to see the ship is still taking on water as despite having millions to spend they weren't able to sign D'Alessandro, Defoe, Gareth Barry, and Curtis Davies. Heck, Pompey wasn't able to even tempt ex-DC United defender Ryan Nelsen away from Blackburn. And now it looks like Nicolas Anelka prefers Bolton over Portsmouth. Seems like Pompey is a sinking ship with a new twist, it's attracting the rats.

As for the MLS in America, Frank Yallop seems to be living up to his hype. The Los Angeles Galaxy have only lost once in the last 8 games. That was a 1-0 loss to Colorado on the road where they only mustered 4 shots in 90 minutes. It's hard to win when you do that. But otherwise Yallop seems to have them turned around and headed for the playoffs, especially with how listless Chivas seems to be lately.

The college season in America is starting. From College to the Pros - The US soccer ladder talks about it more. If you're interested in player development in the US that blog is an excellent source for information.