Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Lets start this off by saying, just about any agreement was going to be better than a player strike. The league has made nowhere near the impact on the hearts and minds of the average American soccer fan, much less, the average American sports fan to be able to survive a strike. Of course, I wanted to see the MLS finally take the steps to ensuring the longevity of the league by finally valuing their players. Raising the salary cap, and addressing the abysmally low ($34,000) league minimum salary were obvious priorities.
One can find all of the details of the CBA here. And below I've outlined my opinion on several of the key points:
1. Salary cap increases to $2.55M in 2010 (2.315 in 2009), and will increase by 5% each year through 2014.
Lets face it, the MLS isn't a major league yet, and won't be able to offer an impressive salary cap until it can draw the advertising and media monies other sports have. That being said, I think the MLS could have gone higher, perhaps up to $2.75M.
2. Increased player benefits including: raising league minimum salary to $40,000, 401K contributions, health care, appearance fees, better travel coverage, bonuses for winning, bonuses for participating in exhibitions.
A $6,000 increase in the league's minimum salary isn't overtly generous, but when all the benefits are taken into account I feel that the increase was mostly sufficient. And the standout here for me is player incentives for winning. Hopefully this will incentivize teams to put their best product onto the field day in-day out. And the MLS will now cover player's health insurance?? Smells like a SOCIALISM..
3. Possible establishment of a reserve division.
This could be great for talent cultivation, but remember its in the "committee" stage. My opinion: don't hold your breath.
4. Guaranteed contracts for players that are at least 24 years old and have 3 years of MLS service.
I think the goal here is to keep players in the MLS and prevent talent from migrating to other leagues. There could be more in the CBA to keep our players here, but this is a step in the right direction.
All in all, I think this is a win for the players. Lets be honest, the majority of the owners in the MLS aren't turning a profit. I commend the owners for making the concessions (yes, they are modest) to keep the players from striking, a blow that the league may not have survived.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Whatever the outcome, for me this season has been a pleasure as Fulham has cemented themselves as a quality/mid-table Premiership team, gone far into the FA Cup and played will in the Europa League (Juventus is up next, ouch). It would be nice to see Hodgson pick up a more dynamic center midfielder to control the game and some durable, quality support to run up front with Zamora.
On a side note, Gareth Bale: Man or Ape? You be the judge...
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
DMB getting the nod to be subbed on for the injured Holden. Looks like he needs to stock up on some Monster Milk as I think he weighs about a buck-thirty soaking wet.
Robbie Findley is not the answer.
Bornstein brain fart + Sneijder selling the penalty = 1-0 lead for the Dutch.
I don’t know much about Man City’s De Jong, but I have zero respect for him. First that tackle on Holden in a game with absolutely zero consequence and then a comical flop when Beasley didn’t even touch him. It’s stuff like that that ruins games and gives the sport a bad name.
Who is Alejandro Bedoya?? Got his second cap coming in for the invisible Robbie Findley. Almost drew a penalty too.
I hope, for their own sake, that the Dutch pick up their game before South Africa. I was not really impressed with their play. Cheap PK and a deflection for their goals.
With that being said, the Dutch have a really deep roster. For every big name they subbed out, another world class player came in.
Tim Howard is a beast. USA has had some of the best goalkeepers in the past 15 years, no doubt. Keller, Friedel and now Howard. Guzan is a stud too. At least we have one position locked down for a while…
Bocanegra showed his experience and calmly headed in the only USA goal.
USA picked up its play and pressured the Dutch in the last 10-15 minutes with Goodson and Altidore both having good scoring opportunities. It will be interesting when Onyewu, Clark, Dempsey, Feilheber and maybe even Charlie Davies are healthy.
99 days till the big dance….Bring it on South Africa!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I just finished watching the highlights from some of today's EPL games and saw that Man City beat Chelsea 4-2. This makes me happy. First of all it tightens up the race at the top and prevents the Blues from going 4 points clear. It also just so happens that I can't stand half of the players on Chelsea's squad. Didier Drogba: diver. Ashley Cole: hack with a hot temper. John Terry: a guy who sleeps with a teammate's wife, real classy. And now we come to the biggest piece of crap of them all, Michael Ballack. To be honest, I don't know why I dislike the German so much, but when I saw that he got a red card for a dirty tackle on Tevez, I was delighted.
Maybe it is the fact that he is always throwing crappy tackles on opponents. Maybe it is the fact that he plays for Chelsea, the NY Yankees of soccer. Maybe it is the fact that he is perpetually screaming and crying to the officials about missed calls. I can't put my finger on it, but it's official: Michael Ballack sucks.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
This win put Fulham even on points with Birmingham City and only one point behind red hot Everton. I really hope Fulham can keep getting results here. It would also be lovely for Dempsey to make a recovery and get some quality minutes prior to South Africa in June. Enjoy the goals below (all 3 of Fulham's).
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In the other big game, Lyon was able to beat the new "Galacticos" of Real Madrid. The final score was 1-0 thanks to a beautiful strike from Makoun. Let's see if Madrid can rebound when the tie returns to Madrid.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
1. Stuart Holden to Bolton Wanderers (EPL)
2. Freddy Adu on loan to Aris FC (Greece)
3. Eddie Johnson on loan to Aris FC (Greece)
Both Adu and Johnson have their European careers on life support with this move to Greece. Johnson saw little to no time while at Fulham and on loan to Cardiff. Adu bounced around from Benfica to Monaco to Belenenses and now Aris. Lets see if these guys can get their act together or we might see them in MLS sooner rather than later.
4. Ricardo Clark on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
5. Landon Donovan on loan to Everton (EPL)
Donovan scored his first EPL goal the other day against Sunderland. This move seems to be panning out better than his time spent in Germany.
6. Bryan Arguez to Estoril FC (Portugal 2nd division)
A promising young talent that went from DC United to Hertha Berlin only to have some disciplinary problems. He will try for a fresh start with the 2nd division Portugese club.
7. Kenny Cooper to ????
The striker seems to be disgruntled with his situation in Germany and could find himself a new home. He is hoping to secure playing time in the run up to this summer's World Cup.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
2. Philadelphia Union. It will be nice to have some new blood here on the east coast. From the looks of the moves the management has been making, the team seems to be set up to succeed. Can Peter Nowak replicate the success that was seen in expansion Seattle last season. Let's hope so. The potential of the DC/NY/Philly rivalries is pretty enticing too.
3. The absence of Landon Donovan. He is scheduled to come back to the Galaxy by the start of the MLS campaign, but one of the best things that could happen for US soccer would be if he can make his stay in England permanent. Landon is one of the top talents in MLS and he can only progress by challenging himself in a higher level league such as the EPL. He seems to be performing well for Everton and hopefully he can make a good impression. Good luck Landon and I hope you don't come back to LA (for the benefit of the national team).
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
US Men's National Team fans can breath a collective sigh of relief: both Clint Dempsey and Oguchi Onyewu released favorable injury reports this week.
Today Fulham indicated that Dempsey, who limped off the field during Fulham's 2-0 loss to Blackburn last weekend, indicated that his injury wouldn't require surgery. That news is extremely positive after Roy Hodgson had indicated earlier in the week that they suspected him to have severely injured his posterior crucial ligament.
And Onyewu, who injured his knee last October, is making good progress and is on the road to recovery. In a hilariously titled interview with MLS Insider (On the Couch with Onyewu), Gooch mentioned that he has already started running and that his rehab is proceeding ahead of schedule. He said he is poised to make a comeback in the near future and he hinted that he should be fine in time for South Africa.
While this is surely good news, lets all take a moment to pray to Allah/Buddha/and James Cameron that both of these guys are back to form by the World Cup. We could probably use their help against little ole' England.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
As a Tottenham supporter for many years, I have seen my share of flops at the club. From Rebrov and Postiga to Hossam Ghaly, the previous decade was littered with players that arrived to the club with high expectations only to deliver performances that were far below the hype. There is one player on the current Spurs side that most supporters have already labeled a flop, and there is no debate that he has not played to the 15 million pound transfer fee we paid for him back in July 2008. David Bentley looked the part during his time at Blackburn, but the move to the Lane has sent his career into a tailspin. I think the DUI most recently just about sums up his time so far. I take a different look into the transfer however, and feel the 15 million pounds has actually partially paid itself back in a different sort of matter. And in a round about way, I wouldn’t consider the transfer a total bust in the eyes of a supporter.
While Bentley hasn’t played to the high expectations, but his arrival did light a spark under Aaron Lennon. Lennon’s form faded towards the end of the 2007-2008 season and many were worried he wouldn’t be the same after the Euro 2008 snub. The purchase of Bentley was another sign that the young lightning-quick winger might have lost the confidence that made him so dangerous. Fast forward to the 3-0 drubbing of Manchester City where he terrorized Sylvinho, and what you are seeing is a player brimming with confidence and a much improved final ball. What changed? You could possibly point to Redknapp’s appointment as manager or a better supporting cast. I think it has to do with one thing, Bentley’s arrival.
In horse-racing, the great ones have a competitive fire that drives them on when they go neck and neck with another horse. It is that intangible quality that makes them winners. Rather than shrink at the sight of an opponent, they rise to the occasion and raise their performance. In a sense, Bentley was the horse brought in to challenge Lennon on the right wing. It would have been easy for Lennon to give up or feel disheartened. Instead he fought to keep his place in the team and has found the form of his life. I say that Bentley’s threat brought out the best in Lennon. Now, Lennon has raised his value at least 15 million pounds. While Tottenham will no doubt lose money on Bentley when he is finally sold, I think we have ended up with arguably the most dangerous right winger in the game. A winger, I hope, that does not see the pitch on June 12th against the United States.
Obviously I am not in the locker room or even in England for that matter. This is merely a theory and an effort to take the positives from the Bentley Experiment. No matter what his form has been attributed to, his resurgence has been a major reason why Spurs are in the top 4 race. Now that the injury bug has hit him, let’s hope he comes back as strong as he left and that Spurs can continue the momentum.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
While December 26th is simply known as the day after Christmas in the USA, in the UK and various other countries they call it Boxing Day. With the holiday comes a full slate of English Premier League matches, most of which I'll have watched while parking my ass on the couch all day. (Thanks FSC) Here are the results from the day:
Fulham 0 - 0 Tottenham
Fulham missed several good opportunities including a clanger off the crossbar from my man Clint Dempsey in this all London draw. (sorry Dilbs)
Birmingham 0 - 0 Chelsea
West Ham 0 - 0 Portsmouth
Everton 1 - 1 Sunderland
The Toffees save a point when they could have used 3 in their fight to move up the table. A clinical finish by Darren Bent and a 85th min equalizer from Fellaini rounded out the scoring
Burnley 1 - 1 Bolton
Manchester City 2 - 0 Stoke City
Wigan 1 - 1 Blackburn
Liverpool 2 - 0 Wolves
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Akers spends the afternoon swapping trade secrets with both Santino Quaranta and Stuart Holden. The video is pretty great, not only does it show Quaranta and Holden nailing 50 yard field goals, but it shows Akers ripping some set pieces on frame with Quaranta in goal. Akers says he hasn't played soccer in over 17 years, but this dude knows a thing or two about kicking a ball.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!
The BBC's Phil Minshull recent European Team of the Decade lacks said balance. Phil's midfield from left to right plays: Figo, Zidane, Beckham. Ironically, this "best" lineup was a reality in 2004. Beckham joined Figo and Zidane in Madrid and Makelele left the same year. There was no balance to the team and the initial success of Los Galacticos waned (it took 3 years for Madrid to win another trophy). And on defense Phil has Carvalho playing next to Philp Lahm. Both are great players by any standards, but a team that represents Europe's best without fielding Maldini or Ashely Cole seems incomplete.
That being said, SOTB will be compiling a few "best team" lists (we can't resist the urge to manage from our armchairs too) to round out both the year and the decade. Leave your comments below on who should or shouldn't be included.
- This morning it was reported that David Villa is finally ready for a move to England as it appears his chances at joining Madrid or Barcelona have diminished.
- Fergie has ruled out making a transfer window splash to "ease the defensive crisis."
- Tottenham's chairman, Daniel Levy to Redknapp: "You need to sell before you can buy."
- But, United have reportedly bid on 21 year old Benfica winger Angel Di Maria. Offering 9 million pounds plus Michael Jackson look alike Nani.
And if you are looking to get a grasp on what else to expect from this winter's transfers here is a great roundup.
Monday, December 21, 2009
He has been with Man Utd since the inception of the Premier League and in that time he has appeared in over 550 league matches and scored 105 goals. He has terrorized the left side of the pitch and scored some of the greatest goals ever seen. Here is my favorite from 1999 in the FA Cup semifinal against Arsenal. He scored in the 109th minute to give United the lead and help them win the cup during their historic "Treble" season (FA Cup, Premiership Title, Champions League).
Ryan Giggs Vs Arsenal - Click here for another funny movie.
Giggs has continued to score goals and produce for United, even into the latter stages of his career. Now he has been able to provide a strong sense of leadership on a team that still competes in the highest echelon of world football. The only thing that English football fans could dislike about him is the fact that he did not play for their national team (he is Welsh). Here's a compilation of some of Giggs' greatest moments on the pitch.