Friday, June 22, 2007

Henry To Barca A Done Deal....

The La Liga season has been over for less then a week and Barca are already re-tooling for the upcoming 2007/08 season. ESPN is reporting that Thierry Henry moving to Spanish runners up Barcelona is a done deal. With Eto and Henry playing as strike partners up top, it is hard to believe the Catalan club won't find massive success. Playing in the midfield you will find Messi, Ronaldinho and Xavi. Seriously...this could be the dream team that takes home all the silverware. It could be an injured mess at the same time if Henry shows his age. We'll see....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another RSL Trade : Klein for Sturgis + Findley?

After the Cunningham trade I thought it was apparent that new head coach Jason Kreis had given up on Real Salt Lake's season. Publicly he was saying that it was a good team that was assembled but in trading away a player who can score 12-18 goals in a season the actions were saying "we're toast; time to rebuild".

If the new trade rumor turns out to be true, it'll further solidify that theory for me. The rumor is that RSL has traded Chris Klein along with some salary cap space to the LA Galaxy for Nathan Sturgis and Robbie Findley. It's hard to say who's getting the better deal on this.

Klein has seemed to struggle at times this year. But it's hard to make too much of that given how poorly those around him have played. He brings a veteran presence and a midfielder who can score 5 - 10 goals and the same with assists.

Sturgis looks to have a lot of talent that already has him looking like a decent MLS player. It could be that Kreis sees him as a replacement for Eddie Pope (he plays as a center back for the US U-20s). Robbie Findley, well, he's got talent but I have yet to see anything out of him that would give me reason to think he's going to make it. The MLS' history is full of players like Findley that come in with a lot of promise and stick around for a few years until they've shown they're not going to cut it.

As to which side got the better deal, the devil will be in the detail. It could be that both sides got the better. Findley could start to settle in and turn into a nice sub that nabs some late goals for RSL. Sturgis could end up giving RSL's midfield some bite. And Klein could help give LA some badly needed offense on the cheap. There's no reason their has to be a winner and a loser. The one thing we can be sure of is that in bringing in a vet RM like Klein, Yallop is committed to playing David Beckham in the middle of the park.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wouldn't it be nice to see this in MLS...

I have to imagine that some MLS exec is thinking now is the time to try and splash the cash for Ryan Giggs. True, this magical goal was 8 years ago, but he's still got the skill and you know he would tear up MLS defenses like Guillermo Barros Schelotto. I know for a fact that the Colorado Rapids badly need a left winger like Giggsy. Please MLS...go after him.

New MLS Commercial on ESPN...

I think Allen invited me to blog here because of these emails I've been known to send to my friends with little bits and pieces of soccer info from around the world. Most of my posts here will be of that nature, I hope you enjoy.

This morning I was watching ESPN Sports Center while eating some breakfast. One of the commercials seemed to start off as a commercial for a baseball game, which I would normally ignore. It showed some kind of "exciting" baseball play and said, "Excitement". It then showed a ripping shot on goal in a MLS match and had a check box next to the word Excitement. The box checked. The commercial went on to have a couple other baseball scenarios and then showed how the MLS game contained that attribute.

Please note, I don't know that excitement was the actual word...I can't remember the exact details. But you get the picture. ESPN is marketing directly at baseball fans, one of the first groups to trash soccer saying it is boring. The fact that baseball fans say soccer is boring is beyond me, but I applaud ESPN for targeting that group of sports fans. In my opinion, many baseball fans are sports fans first and foremost. They like baseball because they like the stats, they like sports and they grew up with the game. It would seem that since they like sports they should be able to gain some interest in soccer.

If ESPN can help convert some baseball fans into soccer and MLS fans it will be a huge step forward for the league. Let's hope it works.

In my personal quest to convert new soccer fans, baseball fans are often easy targets. They recognize that MLB is not what it used to be and soccer is an exciting worldwide sport with so many nuances that they can explore and latch onto. Go ESPN.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Landycakes - Love Him or Hate Him...

I don't care if you love Landycakes or you hate him, you have to give him credit for best attacking player to put on the US jersey.

You can't argue with the facts: 92 USMNT Caps - 13th all time 32 USMNT Goals - 2nd all time (With three more goals he'll pass all time leading goal scorer Eric Wynalda...thankfully) 25 USMNT Assists - 1st all time 89 USMNT Points - 1st all time

Those are the stats of someone finishing his career, right? After all, he just passed John Harks on the all time Caps list. The people below him are some of my favorite all time US Players (Eddie Pope, Brad Friedel, Tab Ramos and Chris Henderson). However, Landon is only 25 years old.

Yes, he was born March 4, 1982. It is hard to believe it has been 8 years since we started reading about this young phenom moving to Germany to play for a Bundesliga side, Bayer Leverkusen. It is hard to believe he made his debut in MLS 6 years ago. But here we are in the midst of the 2007 Gold Cup with Landon Donovan leading the charge against the rest of CONCACAF...and doing quite well. For my money he hasn't been the most exciting player on the field, I'd give that award to Clint Dempsey. He has been consistent and he has his team winning. Donovan showed his maturity, class and leadership by passing to Eddie Johnson instead of shooting against Trinidad and Tobago.

Let's look a little further back against Ecuador in March. True, it was a friendly but Ecuador was a good team in last year's World Cup...and Donovan scorched them for a hat trick. And not a 3 goal from the penalty spot hat trick, a highlight reel hat trick.

Landycakes is the real deal and he is just hitting his prime. Sure, you can debate his quality as a club player since he didn't last long in Europe...but that has not kept him from producing for the US Men's National Team. At 25 years old he has plenty of time to rewrite the history books with his name on top of every category. Heck, he'll do that this year for all of the points categories. He'll get the all-time Caps title as well, it might just take another 7 years to pass Cobi Jones' 164 Caps.

Hola, soy Bonji - Hey folks. You may know my first blog, From College to the Pros. Well, the Black Panther and I have been friends for awhile now and I've decided to start writing some of my other musings over here. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Revs Could've Had Schelotto

That's what Soccer By Ives is saying. I don't doubt Schelotto's claims that he spoke with the Revs. And I don't disagree with the part of Ives statement that Nicol decided against Schelotto. But to say that Nicol didn't want a "skillful and dangerous left-sided player" because he decided against Nicol is a stretch.

There may be other reasons that Nicol chose to not further pursue signing Guillermo Barros Schelotto. It may be that New England didn't see how they'd be able to sign him without using their designated player slot. Nicol may have had other players he was pursuing that he felt were better when it came to using that. Or it may have been that gutt feeling that as skillful as Schelotto is he wasn't going to make enough of a difference with the team.

Even with Schelotto Columbus has struggled to score goals. Worse, they have only one win in 11 games. New England on the other hand have only lost twice and have 5 wins. I have a hard time faulting Nicol for passing on Schelotto when he hasn't been a difference maker at Columbus and the Rev's have performed just fine without him.