In case you have been kidnapped Taken-style over the last 48 hours, the US kicked off the Send-Off Series with a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday. Here are some highlights and some photos from the game. Here is also a short video on the game and Chris Wondolowski from the San Jose Earthquakes Youtube channel. Clint Dempsey was a late scratch with a groin issue, but it is not serious and he will only miss one or two days.
This Landon Donovan shirt is awesome. And this song might be the only country song I like. Jimmy Conrad/KICKTV have their latest Group G video up and this time Jimmy is in Ghana. I want to have a beer with Jimmy at some point in my life.
As I posted yesterday, reports out of England have Tim Ream agreeing to a new three-year deal with Bolton.
Tab Ramos named his roster for the upcoming Toulon Tournament earlier this week. One name missing from that roster is Anthony Brooks. He told some German press that he wants to pull a Timothy Chandler circa 2011 (rest over the summer since he is young and new to the Bundesliga) and sit out of national team competitions (but maybe he changes his mind if the USMNT come calling?).
Another name missing from the U-20 team is forward Villyan Bijev. And now he has accepted a call by Bulgaria’s U-21 team for this summer’s Euros, which would provisionally cap-tie him. Bijev’s last appearance with the US came with the U-18 team at the Lisbon International Tournament.
Speaking of the Lisbon International Tournament (I love easy transitions), the current U-18 team opened up the 2013 Lisbon International Tournament with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Going back to the U-20 team, Jose Villarreal’s name was missing from the Toulon Tournament roster because the Galaxy didn’t release him.
Stoke City and Tony Pulis have decided to part ways. Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea and Maurice Edu will have a new manager to impress this summer.
Photo time! Clarence Goodson and Brøndby avoided relegation over the weekend so they celebrated by taking a shirtless photo in the locker room (this is for the ladies).
Charlie Davies and Randers finished third in the Danish Superliga, so here is Davies showing off his bronze medal.
And congrats to Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht on winning their second consecutive Belgian league title. Here is a photo of Sacha and the cup. Staying with Sacha, I should hopefully have the Sacha/mustache shirts up for sale later tonight/tomorrow. It all depends on my travel schedule today.
On Friday in English U-21 action, Villyan Bijev came off the bench and scored a late game-tying goal in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw to Arsenal in his U-21 debut for Liverpool. Here are 11 minutes worth of highlights, including Bijev’s goal at the 9:48 mark.
Jurgen Klinsmann took over US Soccer’s twitter account yesterday and while he didn’t answer any of Howie’squestions, he did give us some good news on Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson and Steve Cherundolo.
Spoke with Clint. Back in training & hopes to play v Inter. All good for WCQs RT: @mrhoffman02 When will we know if Dempsey is able to play
And while it has been mentioned before, Bruce Arena gave an update on Landon Donovan and he should return to the Galaxy the last week in March.
Costa Rica released their roster for the qualifiers. Good news for USMNT fans, and most Red Bulls fans can confirm this, Roy Miller made their roster. Also, I just noticed tonight that the US is winless in its last five games (3L, 2D) against Costa Rica and haven’t won a game since a qualifier in 2005.
The US U-20 team will be playing in the Toulon Tournament in late May/early June.
One of those players, Juan Ocegueda, is still going to play for Chivas Guadalajara despite playing for the US. Chivas have a policy of “Mexican only” players, but they are apparently going to look the other way with Ocegueda.
With two games remaining this year’s Eliteserien is almost decided. Three teams are clear at the top and are vying for a single place in next year’s Champions League, while the remaining two spots are headed to the Europa League. At the bottom of the table, Stabaek are relegated to the Adeccoligaen next season, while the three teams directly above them fight for survival. For our USA players, Josh Gatt at Molde and Mikkel “Mix” Diskerud at Rosenborg look set for European Competition next year.
At The Top
With two games left to play Rosenborg, who are sitting in the 3rd spot look to have least chance of a CL spot. With 52 points from their 28 games, they would need Molde (56 point from 28 games) to lose both of their remaining game just to pass them. Stromsgodset are sitting in 2nd place after their win over Rosenborg this last weekend and just one point behind Molde. Stromsgodset’s final two games are against the bottom two teams so they are likely to end the season with the full six points. Molde’s final games are not as easy, but they should still get the six points needed to wrap up the league. Still, they have to win both games. A win and a draw would not do it if Stromsgodset perform as expected.
At The Bottom
Stabaek are relegated. The gap between Sandnes ULF and Sogndal, 13th through 15th places, is seven points. Sandnes ULF, on 26 points, has an extra game in hand over its two strugglers, Fredrikstad on 27 points and Sogndal on 31 points. Fredrikstad have the hardest schedule playing current league leaders Molde and third place Rosenborg. The other two teams certainly do not get an easy road to survival as Sogndal maybe having a slight edge away to Stabaek and home to Brann. While Sandnes ULF will start with two home games against Tromso and Stromsgodset (no easy task) and end the season with a visit to Aalesund. Realistically it’s unlikely that Fredrikstad will get the points they need and the final positions will probably be decided by only one point.
Stromsgodset – League Champions – Champions League spot
Molde – 2nd place – Europa League (Josh Gatt)
Rosenborg – 3rd place – Europa League (Mikkel “Mix” Diskerud)
Stabaek – relegated (Sean Cunningham and Erik Benjaminsen)
Fredrikstad – relegated
Note: The Norwegian Adeccoligaen is one game away from completion. Start has been promoted to the Eliteserien, so we will see Villyan Bijev in the Eliteserien next season (if he stays there on loan), along with Sarpsborg. The teams vying for a spot in the playoff picture for the final promotion spot, Mjondalen (Rhett Bernstein and Kyle Helton) and Ullensaker (Kenneth Di Vita Jensen), are currently in good position going into the leagues final day.
Grant Wahl talked to Stuart Holden recently and it looks like we might get to see a Holden return in late October. I am guessing that means his return to training with the team, not when he will first see game action (but I could be wrong).
It looks like Josh Gatt was purposely held out of Molde’s game this past weekend, so he would be ready to go for Thursday’s Europe League match against Stuttgart.
First off, thanks to Badwolfdc for posting crazy amounts of updates in the weekend commentary thread. I think I am going to continue to set those up each weekend for the time being until things die down for me. Also, thanks to Howie for picking up the slack in the highlights department.
Looks like this interview came out on Friday, but Clint Dempsey sat down with ESPNFC for an interesting 20 minutes. He touched on his time with Fulham, moving to Tottenham and road qualifiers in CONCACAF among other things.
Southampton decided to sign a new goalkeeper to add to their depth since Cody Cropper picked up an injury.
Carlos Bocanegra made his Racing Santander debut this weekend, going 90 minutes in their 1-0 win over Mirandés. Robbie Findley got the start and played 50 minutes in his Gillingham debut, a 2-0 win over Port Vale. And Villyan Bijev made his IK Start debut this weekend, coming off the bench in a 2-1 victory over Hødd.
Today doesn’t want to end and I am pretty slammed at work, but here are a few quick things.
Continuing with the loan trend from yesterday, Liverpool’s Villyan Bijev is headed to Norwegian side IK Start on loan for the rest of the season. Some might remember that both Clarence Goodson and Hunter Freeman both played there a couple seasons ago. IK Start are currently in first place of the Norwegian Adeccoligaen (second division).
Greg Seltzer is reporting that Maurice Edu is headed to Stoke City to complete a transfer move to the Premier League side. So both starting center backs from the win over Mexico could be playing holding midfielder at Stoke City.
Staying at Rangers, Carlos Bocanegra is expected to play this weekend despite picking up a hamstring injury recently.
Brian Sciaretta has an interview up with Omid Namazi, an American who is an assistant coach with Iranian national team.
Chris Wright has made the move from Magdeburg to fellow German Regionalliga side Berliner AK 07.
And Matt Taylor has left Paderborn for German 3. Liga club Preußen Münster. They have already started their preseason and he has scored a few goals already. He will be looking to regain his 3. Liga form from 2010-11 when he scored 17 goals for Rot Weiss Ahlen (tied for the third most in the 3. Liga).
Andrew Wooten and Kaiserslautern have also started up their preseason with a few games, including a 2-0 win over SVN Zweibrücken. Wooten has been getting some starts up top in a 4-4-2.
Tyrone McCargo has been promoted from Nurnberg’s U-19 team to their U-23 team, meaning he will be playing in the Regionalliga this upcoming season (which means we can follow him a little bit better).
A few guys in Finland played on Thursday. Daniel Antunez went the full 90 minutes in Inter Turku’s 4-0 loss to MYPA. Etchu Tabe went the full 90 minutes in KuPS’ 3-0 loss to TPS. And Mason Trafford went the full 90 minutes in IFK Mariehamn’s 1-0 win over Haka.
In case you missed it on Wednesday, Josh Gatt assisted on Molde’s first goal in their 4-3 win over Rosenborg in the NM Cupen. You can check out some highlights here.
And finally, some more new kits for the 2012-13 season. I know he is the goalkeeper, but Neal Kitson’s Northampton Town have some new home and away kits. And in the event Villyan Bijev goes back out on loan to Fortuna Düsseldorf next season, they also have some new home and away kits. I like the red/home shirt.