Friday, July 11, 2008

Pablo to join Brad Guzan at Aston Villa?

We Want Rapidman has a nice look at Pablo Mastroeni's situation. With his contract up this December and with Pablo himself telling the press he is looking at making a move to Europe the speculation over where he could land has begun. Livorno, Atalanta, Aston Villa, and Cagliari are ones that were mentioned by Nick. Do you think Pablo will actually make the move this time? Will he end with Brad Guzan at Aston Villa?

If you find yourself saying "but Brad Guzan plays in the MLS for Chivas USA", well, you're a few hours behind the times. It's official today that Aston Villa has bought the young American goalkeeper for $1.5 million. The Offside Rules, par for course, has more information and an entertaining photo on it here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rapids Jeckle and Hyde Defense

Most teams in Major League Soccer struggle to win on the road. The Colorado Rapids are no exception. Over half way through the 2008 season and the Rapids have a single win on the road. Worse than that, they have yet to pick up a tie on the road. In soccer part of the game is finding a way to pick up points on the road, even if it's just a tie.

While the Colorado Rapids have only allowed 5 goals in 8 home games, they've allowed 15 in their 7 road games. While that's not the worst in the league, Toronto FC have allowed 16 in 6 games, it's still horrible.

After the 2007 season, when the Colorado Rapids missed the playoffs, much was made by Fernando Clavijo and other Rapids officials about their defense. They had the 3rd best defense in the league as measured by goals allowed (GA). As I mentioned awhile ago (old post here), in looking at how the defense did I felt the GA was better than the defense had deserved.

In 2006 the Colorado Rapids allowed a whopping 49 goals in 2006. That was bad enough to be worst in the MLS (tied with then 2nd year Real Salt Lake). 34 goals allowed in 2007 was a huge improvement. While they're scoring more goals, Clavijo's Rapids are on pace to let in nearly that many, 32, while on the road this year.

As many of us fans of the beautiful game know, goals are sexy but to advance in a tournament or the playoffs, a team needs to have a stingy defense. If the Rapids are going to get points on the road, important if they are to make the playoffs, let alone advance in the MLS playoffs they need to find a way to stop the opposing team from scoring goals. Surely that shouldn't be too tall a task for the Rapids. After all they're coached by Fernando Clavijo who played defense for the US National Team.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Southampton Pre-Season Starts Tonight

Southampton's pre-season starts tonight at Farnborough. The soap opera over Jan Poortvliet is over with Rupert Lowe having finally officially getting his man. Now the real work begins.

Poortvliet was quick to let 6 players leave St. Mary's. Inigo Idiakez, Alexander Ostlund, Darren Powell, Mario Licka, Jermaine Wright and Josh Dutton-Black have all been allowed to leave on a free. Since then Youssef Safri has also been allowed to leave Southampton.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Rapids Beat New York.... Can They Do It On The Road?

Like most teams in the MLS, the Colorado Rapids have a single win on the road this year. As Nick over at We Want Rapidman points out, the key to the Rapids doubling that total this weekend at San Jose will be scoring first. Will things for the Rapids start to come together with another win to follow-up their season high 4-0 win over hapless New York.

If you didn't catch the news, again mentioned over at We Want Rapidman, the highly touted Rapids goalkeeper Justin Hughes recovered from his hernia injury only to turn around and see his bad luck continue in dislocating his shoulder. Best of luck in recovering Justin!

American Soccer News covers the game here.
Kyle at The Offside cover the game here.
We Want Rapidman's take on the game here.

Rapids Play In 2008

It's interesting take a look back on some comments about the Rapids earlier this season. Are the Rapids carrying out that unique, fast-pace play that is leading to home-field advantage? Is it hurting them on the road?'s Article :

And although Clavijo has unveiled a new formation in each of the last two home games, helping to establish the unique, fast-paced, home-field approach he hopes will give the Rapids an edge playing a mile above sea level, he expected the latest look to have legs enough to play on the road, depending on the opposition. "There are teams that are more open for us to do that," Clavijo said of the 3-5-2 formation's future. "There are teams that we may need a different system. For the first time I'm going to apply what I think, regardless. I have a lot of intelligent players, and we can switch back and forth between different systems depending on the team we play."