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Friday morning links
   October 24, 2014 (1:09 AM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

A few links before the weekend.

The USMNT will have a second friendly next month in Europe as they will take on Colombia at Craven Cottage in London.

The latest FIFA rankings came out earlier this week and the US dropped six places to No. 23.  They are still the third-highest ranked team in CONCACAF as Costa Rica comes in at No. 16 and Mexico at No. 17.

Mix Diskerud had to be subbed out after 36 minutes in last weekend’s game due to an injury, but he just missed a couple practices this week and returned to training yesterday.  Sounds like a good chance he plays on Sunday.

Also in the injury department, Aron Johannsson is expected to dress with AZ Alkmaar this weekend.  Johannsson played with AZ’s reserves earlier this week and will get a chance to play in his first game with the senior team against Groningen on Saturday.

While those guys are coming back from injuries, Timothy Chandler will likely miss Eintracht Frankfurt’s game this weekend due to an abductor muscle issue.

After missing basically the entire season after tearing his achilles tendon, Zarek Valentin returned to full training this week in Norway.

Freddy Adu hasn’t done much at Jagodina in Serbia this season and could be making a move to Sweden come January.

Geoff Cameron is back from injury and is ready to fight for a position at center back or central midfield.

Ives Galarcep talked to Greg Garza earlier this week about the crazy three-year run Garza has been having.  I remember when he was sort of this mythical player stuck in Traffic Sports purgatory.

Franco Panizo caught up with Alfredo Morales to talk about the progress he is making at Ingolstadt and with the USMNT.

Jose Torres scored a pretty bitchin’ goal in Copa MX action earlier this week.

Gedion Zelalem went the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 4-3 loss to Anderlecht in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, Junior Flores got the start and played 77 minutes in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 loss to Galatasaray.

Marc Pelosi has been training some with Liverpool’s senior team this past week.

Brian Sciaretta talked to 16-year-old English-American defender Cameron Carter-Vickers about his trip with the US U-23 team down to Brazil and how US Soccer found him.

While we are learning about some new dual-national players, Tom Marshall introduces us to Leones Negros midfielder Jesus Vazquez.

Aleks Gogic signed with Reading last year, but it looks like the 18-year-old goalkeeper must be on loan with Southern League Premier Division (seventh tier!) side Slough Town F.C. as he played in a game with them last Saturday.

Categories: Aleks Gogic, Alfredo Morales, Aron Johannsson, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Freddy Adu, Gedion Zelalem, Geoff Cameron, Greg Garza, Jesus Vazquez, Jose Francisco Torres, Junior Flores, Marc Pelosi, Mix Diskerud, Timothy Chandler, US Men's National Team, Zarek Valentin
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Tigres vs. Toluca Highlights
   October 22, 2014 (9:34 PM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

Herculez Gomez and Jose Torres both went 90 minutes with Torres scoring the opening goal of the game in Tigres’ 2-0 win over Toluca in Copa MX action.  Here are the goals from the game.

Categories: Herculez Gomez, Highlights, Jose Francisco Torres
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USMNT to play Colombia in friendly at Craven Cottage
   October 22, 2014 (8:46 PM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

First the rumor was a friendly against Croatia at Craven Cottage in London for November but that fell through.  And now US Soccer has confirmed a friendly against Colombia at Craven Cottage for November 14.  The US will also play Ireland in Dublin on November 18 during the same international break.

“Colombia showed in the World Cup that they are one of the top teams in the world,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They have some tremendous attacking talent like Radamel Falcao at Manchester United, James Rodriguez who won the Golden Boot at the World Cup and now plays at Real Madrid, Arian Ramos from Dortmund who was one of the top scorers in the Bundesliga, and Carlos Bacca who won the Europa League with Sevilla. So overall, it’s a squad with a lot of experience playing at the highest level, and this will be another great benchmark for us. We are thrilled to be playing at Craven Cottage, which holds so many good memories for U.S. players. It will be a unique experience.”

One of the darlings of this past summer’s World Cup, Colombia is currently ranked No. 3 by FIFA and No. 5 by Elo and should be bring a strong roster featuring James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao.

The US is 3-9-4 all-time against Colombia, last playing to a 0-0 draw on October 12, 2010 in Chester, Pennsylvania.

US Soccer’s website also has a little story up on the history of US Soccer players and Craven Cottage.

Categories: US Men's National Team
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OT Player of the Week
   October 22, 2014 (6:55 AM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

A day late on this.


Matt’s Pick – Andrew Stadler (Landskrona – Swedish Superettan)

Andrew Stadler scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season, which also tied the game in the 87th minute, in Landskrona’s 1-1 draw (highlights).

Howie’s Pick – Cesar Romero (Pyunik – Armenian Premier League) 

Cesar Romero scored two goals in Pyunik’s 3-3 draw with Alashkert in Armenia. Pyunik were down 3-0 and scored the final three goals over the last 17 minutes of the game with Romero scoring the final two goals (highlights).

Categories: Andrew Stadler, Cesar Romero, Player of the Week
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Tuesday morning links roundup
   October 21, 2014 (12:24 AM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

A bunch of links from the last couple of days.

The rumored USMNT friendly against Croatia at Craven Cottage for November (that their federation announced) looks to be no mas.  That said, US Soccer looks to be talking to Colombia about filling that void and still playing at Craven Cottage.  But if you remember, Colombia was the team that US Soccer tried to schedule for September for the second friendly and that fell through.  Basically nothing is official until US Soccer announces something.

This was the weekend of players returning to the field.  Geoff Cameron came off the bench and played 29 minutes (completing 15-of-15 passes) in Stoke City’s 2-1 win over Swansea City.  Stoke City’s website got a couple post-game quotes from Cameron.

Terrence Boyd made his return this weekend, coming off the bench and playing 29 minutes in RB Leipzig’s 1-0 loss to Nurnberg.  Here is a photo of Boyd in action.

Aron Johannsson played in his first game since the World Cup.  It was with AZ Alkmaar’s reserve team on Monday, but he scored from the penalty spot (highlights).

While he didn’t come back from injury, John Brooks appears to be out of the dog house as he came off the bench for Hertha Berlin in a 2-0 loss to Schalke.

And while we had those players coming back, we did have a couple Americans pick up injuries this weekend.

Joe Corona broke his foot in Tijuana’s 2-1 win on Friday and he will be out four weeks.

Mix Diskerud had to be subbed off after 36 minutes over the weekend due to a leg injury, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious.

Joe Gyau had successful knee surgery last Thursday.

Fresh off his goal with the US on Tuesday, Jozy Altidore didn’t even make Sunderland’s bench this weekend.  It was probably a good thing as Southampton trashed the Black Cats 8-0.

Brek Shea was sent on loan to Birmingham City to get playing time, just probably not with their U-21 team like he did on Monday.

Sticking with Birmingham City, Shea, Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood will have a new manager as Lee Clark has been fired.

If you missed Howie’s post yesterday, Juan Agudelo is still without a job as Wolverhampton decided to pass on him after his trial.

Also from the weekend, Will talked to Quentin Westberg about the weird situation at Luzenac and his possible future.

We had some goals over the weekend.  Cesar Romero has now scored in six straight games.  Andrew Stadler scored a game-tying goal in the 87th minute.  Devante Parker scored his first goal at the U-23 level for 2014-15.  And Christian Eissele scored his 17th goal of the 2014 calendar year.

Jake Keegan and Galway FC beat Shelbourne 2-0 in the first leg of the Irish Premier Division promotion playoffs.  The second leg will be on Friday.  For more on Keegan, take a look back at RJ’s interview with him from last week.

Staying in Ireland, Yanks Abroad’s Kenya Brown talked to Pat McCann.

Also over the weekend, Dembakwi Yomba scored a goal with Atlético Madrid’s Juvenil División de Honor team.  Here is also a Google-translated interview with Yomba.

In the battle of American goalkeepers, Tim Howard (photo) and Everton defeated Brad Guzan (photo) and Aston Villa.  It was Howard’s 350th career Premier League appearance, trailing only Brad Friedel (450) for the most all-time by an American.

Alfredo Morales showed off some skills this weekend.

FC Utrecht manager Robby Alflen has been impressed with Rubio Rubin.

And finally, Stabæk’s fans had some fun signs for Bob Bradley this past weekend.

Categories: Alfredo Morales, Andrew Stadler, Aron Johannsson, Bob Bradley, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Brek Shea, Cesar Romero, Christian Eissele, Dembakwi Yomba, Devante Parker, Geoff Cameron, Jake Keegan, Joe Corona, Joe Gyau, John Brooks, Jonathan Spector, Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Mix Diskerud, Pat McCann, Quentin Westberg, Rubio Rubin, Terrence Boyd, Tim Howard, US Men's National Team, Will Packwood
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Juan Agudelo will continue to add to the unemployment rate
   October 20, 2014 (6:31 AM) by Howie Michaels     Email This Post Email This Post

As has been said a few times, Juan Agudelo, out of contract since June 30 and lacking any matches since the Eredivisie ended in May. Unable to secure a work permit, he was released by Stoke City after a few months on loan with Utrecht. He has supposedly had interest from a number of clubs, but he has yet to sign anywhere.

Most recently, he was apparently pursuing EU citizenship via a not-at-all-sketchy-sounding avenue in Cyprus in hopes of getting that work permit in order to sign with Wolverhampton. Alas, Wolverhampton, currently one point out of a promotion playoff spot, will be moving in another direction:

“Juan is not a player that are going to pursue,” Jackett confirmed.

“He has been here on trial and we thank him for coming here and training and hope he enjoyed his time with us.

“But both parties will now move on.

“We felt that match fitness was the key for Juan.

“To get him up to Championship standard he would need to play games and it is hard to go from nothing straight into the Championship.

Kind of hard to believe that a player who hasn’t played in five months wouldn’t have the best level of match fitness (sarcasm). There have been rumors of MLS interest (New England holds his rights, but people have linked a lot of players to New York City FC without any stated interest from players) but even that would still be another five months away.

Categories: Juan Agudelo

Landskrona vs. Assyriska Highlights
   October 19, 2014 (1:52 PM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

Andrew Stadler and Paul Torres both went the full 90 minutes with Stadler scoring the game-tying goal in the 87th minute in this 1-1 draw.  Here are some highlights.

Categories: Andrew Stadler, Highlights, Paul Torres
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Mainz II vs. Wehen Wiesbaden Highlights
   October 19, 2014 (8:25 AM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

Devante Parker got the start and scored his “first” goal of the season on Saturday in Mainz II’s 2-1 win over Wehen Wiesbaden in German 3. Liga action.  While he does have two goals with the U-19 team, this was his first goal with either the senior or U-23 team.  Here are some highlights with Parker’s goal coming at the 1:15 mark.

Categories: Devante Parker, Highlights
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Pyunik vs. Alashkert Highlights
   October 19, 2014 (7:10 AM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

Cesar Romero has been on a tear as of late and scored two goals in Pyunik’s 3-3 draw to Alashkert in Armenia on Saturday.  Pyunik were down 3-0 and scored the final three goals over the last 17 minutes of the game with Romero scoring the final two goals.  With the brace, Romero now has 10 goals on the season across all competitions, including at least one goal in each of his last six games.  Here are some highlights with his goals coming at the 2:45 and 3:20 marks.

Categories: Cesar Romero, Highlights
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Quentin Westberg Interview
   October 18, 2014 (6:35 AM) by Will Reno     Email This Post Email This Post

Quentin Westberg is a French-American goalkeeper who represented the US with the U17, U20 and U23 youth national teams. Last season his club Luzenac earned promotion into Ligue 2 but were awkwardly rejected admittance into the second division. Westberg talks about his ties to both America and France, what was happening behind the scenes at Luzenac, and where he is now in the search for a new club. For more about how Westberg ended up in a city with a population of just 650, read Michael Yokihn’s fantastic piece on Westberg.

Why move to France to play? From a US national team fan’s perspective, there’s the worry that you’ll fall off the radar going overseas. You could have stayed close here in the US, near the National Team coaches, and work your way to MLS.

I was born and raised in France. So France is where I discovered soccer, really. I always played there apart from the US youth national teams, although I always felt more American as an athlete. Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to come to MLS but I chose to stay in Europe, despite being really interested, because I felt Europe was where the best soccer was played at the time. I know from an American standpoint France L1 is a lower league compared to the EPL, for example, but the league is very tough and usually players who stands out there does very well in England or Spain, such as Benzema, Ribery, Drogba, and Hazard.

Can you expand on feeling more “American as an athlete”? I assume you mean you wanted to play for America but still rooted for both them and France in the last World Cup?

I grew up in France with an American dad and a French mom. I am very proud of both my cultures. I have been and still often asked here in France why I chose to play for the U.S. at such a young age, instead of taking a shot at French national youth teams like I could have when I was 16. It was clear to me, even before I had to make a choice, that I wanted to play for the U.S. because playing sports in America is way different than it is here. Or anywhere else I know. I was lucky to experience four promotions with professional clubs here in France but my best soccer memories were with the US national team.

Luzenac’s situation was confusing to say the least. Luzenac earned promotion, then it was denied, it went to hearings and courts but continued to hit a wall again and again. So without beating a dead horse, what’s an aspect about this that isn’t getting out to the public? Surely it wasn’t just that Luzenac didn’t have the financial stability and appropriate stadium to move up, right?

Confusing for sure… A complete joke, if you ask me. The club was denied access to Ligue 2 for a lot of reason but no particular one in the end except being a small and ambitious club that represented a whole region and not one big town. First it was money problems, then a stadium problem but it turned out there were no big enough problems to deny our promotion. It just took until September 10th to prove all of that and that’s when a judge considered it was too late to place us in any league.

It’s a huge disappointment for everybody that followed the club. And it’s a wrong message to send to people that love promotion/relegation, proving it’s not as simple as it seems. From a player’s point of view, it’s kind of hard to accept that even after a great year filled with success, you can still be left out of a League you deserved to play in.

What are Luzenac’s plans moving forward? I saw they released all the first team players but I haven’t seen anything about where, or if, they club will be placed for next season.

The club now only exists at the level its reserve team used to play, in French 7th division. That level, not being professional. All the player’s contracts where annulled in early September, when all the leagues had been playing for at least five weeks. Luzenac went from being a professional club, whose general manager was Fabien Barthez (a former World Cup winner and a couple of times best goalkeeper in the world) to a random club team like one of the hundreds in France.

You’re one of the few players left that hasn’t signed with another club. Are you talking with any clubs at the moment?

I have been in contact with a few clubs since being officially out of contract on September 10th. Even when our promotion got denied, Fabien Barthez asked me to stay with them to fight for promotion all over again, but the club didn’t even stay in that division and its professional side was dissolved. I had an offer from a Portuguese 1st division club early in August, but at the time the club [Luzenac] was really confident everything would fall into place. Since September 10th I’ve had quite a few contacts, mostly with French sides, but since it’s so late into the season, all the clubs had already all of their roster’s need for goalkeepers. We are not like forwards where you can afford having five or six. Most professional clubs have three, and in 95% of cases, all 3 goalkeepers are signed by pre-season.

I have always wanted to play in MLS at some point in my career. Over these past 8-10 years, I have had the opportunity a few times but it never worked out, mostly for calendar reasons. I would love to have this opportunity again sooner or later. Maybe now is the time, maybe I will discover another European league. Regardless, I still practice six times a week with my goalkeeper coach so I am ready for whatever challenge comes up for me next.

Quentin recently posted highlights, covering games over the past four years.

Categories: Quentin Westberg
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