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Archive for the ‘Weekend Commentary’ Category

Weekend Commentary Thread
   April 4, 2014 (11:55 PM) by Matt Benson

I am headed out of town this weekend on a last minute work trip and Howie is also leaving his city of residence so updates might be a little light this weekend.  So use this thread to update each other on news/scores/whatever.

Timmy Howard and Everton have a big game against Arsenal on Sunday.  Nine Americans could possibly see the field this weekend in Sweden’s Superettan as league plays begins while Norway starts its second week.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread
   September 20, 2013 (7:23 PM) by Matt Benson


Already this weekend, Bobby Warshaw found the back of the net in injury time to help secure a point in Ängelholm’s 1-1 draw to Örebro on Friday.  And Mix Diskerud was involved in the build up to Rosenborg’s lone goal in their 1-1 draw to Haugesund.

But use the comments to discuss with others about the games this weekend or post some links to some news or highlights if I am not around.

Categories: Weekend Commentary
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Weekend Commentary Thread
   September 14, 2013 (12:01 AM) by Matt Benson


I don’t know if David is going to be around, but feel free to use this thread to talk about the games, post links to news/highlights and all that other good stuff.

Steven Goff has all the games on TV and the internet listed right here.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread – Sunday Edition
   May 18, 2013 (1:35 PM) by David

Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport in Eerste Divisie Promotion Playoff

Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread – Sunday Edition

Crunch Time: Decision Day. Germany closed out its seasons on Saturday, and the tension at Schalke and Hoffenheim was palpable. Today its England, Italy,Turkey, Portugal and Belgium.The potential for drama abounds as teams battle for a European place for next season or fight to stave off relegation into the lower leagues.

Yesterday I called it Germany Day, but no-one dominates today, so lets call it Euro Day. Lets start with England’s EPL, and lets key in on London specifically, where three teams #3 Chelsea, #4 Arsenal and #5 Tottenham, are chasing each other. One slip now will make the difference between the UCL and the Europa League next season. The matrix of possibilities is mind boggling, lets look at the matches. None of the games is easy (this is the EPL) Chelsea though seem to have the biggest task to maintain there position. #6 Everton and Tim Howard have had some success against Chelsea over the last few years, Everton cannot catch the front-runners any longer but a win at Chelsea would cap off a season, where they grabbed bragging rights from Liverpool, and David Moyes will like to have a win to see him off the Manchester United next season. I have a feeling Everton Wins. Arsenal visit lowly #13 Newcastle, on paper Arsenal should have no problem, but a 7-3 loss at The Emirates will be stuck in Newcastle’s craw, and a win would be something to sooth their fans frustrations for the summer months. I don’t believe Newcastle will win/ Draw. Now on to the match that all US fans will be following, Tottenham at White Hart Lane and  #17 Sunderland. Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey along with their team mates will want to do their bit to reach the UCL, win first, check on the teams around you later. Interestingly its been four years since a game between these two teams has had a spread greater than one goal, Tottenham did win 2-1 at the Stadium of Light, earlier this season. Sunderland’s woeful away record v Tottenham’s excellent home record says it all. I will buck recent history, Tottenham Wins by at least three goals.

In Belgium, its finale day in the “Championship Playoff” All six teams will be playing, and five of the six have an opportunity to reach European competition next season. The final games fell into one of the strangest configurations I can remember (this is points based league) #1 plays #2, #3 plays #4 and #5 plays #6 – What are the odds on that?  Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan play Zulte-Waregem for the automatic spot in the UCL. Both teams have the same post season record of 4W 2D 3L – Anderlecht are top based on the post season point system that gave them 34 points to start, Zulte-Waregem received 32 points (based on final positions in regular season ) Are you still with me? A win or draw and Anderlecht get the automatic spot, a loss and a 2+ goal win by #3 Club Brugge would knock Anderlecht out of a UCL spot, and into Europa league. Its wacky, but the drama it produces is unique to Belgium. History between the teams has Anderlecht with four wins, one draw and two losses over the past three years and with Zulte-Waregem winning the last two games (including a 2-1 home win on April 20th) I’m pulled toward a draw, but Anderlecht seem to have re-found its form of late. Anderlecht Wins.

In Portugal, Estoril and Tony Taylor have a famous opportunity, from what I can see Estoril has never been in European competition ( you can email me or comment if I’m wrong) On Sunday they will be playing Gil Vicente in the finale of the Portuguese Primeira Liga, they are two points above Vitoria Guimaraes, so a draw  is all that Estoril need to play in the Europa League next season. Estoril are hardly a “big” club by anyone’s standards (example; their stadium capacity is 8K) and a chance of hosting some of Europe storied teams must be exciting the team and the fans. Lets hope they don’t choke, and make the jump. Gil Vicente are a nemesis for Estoril, you have to go back to 2009 since Estoril have beat them and have a lifetime six wins, two draws, nine losses record. Still I think that the moment will not be lost on the team. Estoril Wins

My last two teams are Bursaspor in Turkey and AS Roma in Italy. One has qualified for Europe already, the other cannot. The Ultras in Bursaspor “Texas” have made Maurice Edu a favorite, and whether Maurice plays in today’s game at Genclerbirgli they have pushed the management at Bursaspor to request of Stoke a full transfer. Bursaspor are sitting in the final Europa League place in Turkish Superliga, they can’t be caught or move higher. European competition is not new to them, although you might say European success would be. Genclerbirgli has not beaten Bursaspor since 2009, although there last meeting produced a scoreless draw. With little to play for by either team another draw wouldn’t surprise. The Green Crocodiles,Bursaspor Wins. AS Roma cannot reach European competition this year through the league, but I included them here because they play Naples and because they had a horrendous earlier part of the season that took them out of contention early. Sunday they play one of the hottest teams in Italy Serie A, Napoli. This is their European test. AS Roma v Napoli is a historical match-up that tends to end up split each season. Napoli walloped Roma in Stadio San Paolo 4-1  where Uruguay’s Roberto Cavani struck for three goals. AS Roma and Michael Bradley, but without Totti (red card) will want to have a good showing against the UCL bound team in their home finale. To Close to Call.

One other game to talk about, In Holland, Helmond Sport will visit Rotterdam in the Promotion Playoff 2nd leg. Unfortunately Charles Kazlauskas and co. are down on aggregate after a 4-2 home loss in the first leg. Still if the opposition can score four, why not you. Rotterdam and Helmond ended the season tied on points, with Rotterdam getting the edge through goal differential. Helmond did go to Rotterdam and beat them 3-0 last year, so they have done it in the recent past. Optimistically, I think this one goes to penalties.

So that’s my take on Sunday’s games. Agree? disagree? Let me know, be proactive if you don’t like the prediction then have one ready 🙂

Looking forward to you joining me early on Sunday morning for “The Thread” see you then.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread – Saturday Edition
   May 17, 2013 (10:01 PM) by David

SK/OT. Sasha and Anderlecht’s season is on the line this weekend

Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread

Crunch Time: Decision Day. With the exception of one or two senior leagues (that complete their seasons next weekend) this is the big one. England, Italy and Germany will all finalize their seasons this weekend. The winners go on to Europe, or get promoted, the losers go home or get relegated.

Lets call Saturday Germany Day. It’s a big day for US Players in Germany at both ends of the Bundesliga table. Schalke visit Freiburg and this has to be the game of the day in Germany. #4 Schalke are currently in the final UCL place on 52 points. They lead #5 Freiburg by a single point going into this finale. A win or a draw gets them through, but Freiburg are no push-overs as Jermaine Jones and Schalke know, they are 0-1 this season, and where beaten 3-1 by Freiburg at home in December. To Close to Call

At the other end of the table #17 Hoffenheim, who have struggled all season, have the unenviable task of traveling to #2 Dortmund and will need an unlikely win to avoid straight out relegation to 2.Bundesliga. Head to Head Dortmund have the advantage, and beat Hoffenheim in Sinsheim 3-1 earlier in the season. Hoffenheim have beaten the teams around them over the past five weeks, but against stronger opposition (Schalke) they were well beaten. Sadly Hoffenheim lose this one and Fabian, Danny and co. are set to prepare for life in 2.Bundesliga next season. Augsburg and Michael Parkhurst are not out of the woods yet either, even if Hoffenheim loses, # 16 Augsburg will need a win and a little luck. The good news is that the odds are in their favor. Augsburg welcomes already relegated #18 Furth into their home and that should result in the three points they are desperate for.  #15 Dusseldorf share the same points total, and only lead Augsburg on goal differential, travel to #9 Hannover and, newly re-signed, Steve Cherundolo. Dusseldorf are leading this seasons tally 1-0, after beating Hannover 2-1 in December, but times have changed for Dusseldorf, who’s first season back in Bundesliga since 1986 has not gone well, and they could find themselves in the relegation playoff against Kaiserslautern (2.Bundesliga /third place). Hannover wins/Dusseldorf Relegation playoff.

Talking about 2.Bundesliga, the promotions are already set as the teams set up to wrap up on Sunday. Hertha Berlin and John Brooks will be plying their trade in the Bundesliga next season after topping 2.Bundesliga. Eintracht Braunschweig take the other promotion spot (so glad no US players are with them – typing their name during weekend commentary would take ages) and the aforementioned Kaiserslautern take the promotion playoff spot.  Unfortunately we do lose Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen, who are relegated to 3.Liga. Andrew had a pretty good season with seven goals, second on the team.

In 3.Liga, Preussen Munster and Matt Taylor, who up to a month ago led the division, will be hard pressed to even make the promotional playoff. Their last three games have only yielded one point, and in a league where the top five teams are only separated by seven points, that’s just not good enough. Matt has had a phenomenal season scoring 15 goals in the league and three more in the DFB cup. Saturday #5 Preussen Munster will be at home to #19 Babelsberg. Munster should get the win (and Babelsberg relegated) and then will have to wait on the results from Heidenheim and Osnabruck, both whom are playing relegation candidates at home. Munster Wins/fail to get promoted. At the bottom of 3.Liga, Darmstadt and Preston Zimmerman are battling for survival. There are just two points that separate #19 from #16, all four teams are hoping for a positive result on Saturday. Two of the four teams will be in Regionalliga next season. As fate would have it #18 Darmstadt are at home to #16 Stuttgarter Kickers, who Darmstadt visited earlier this season and came away with a point in a 1-1 draw. Whichever way it goes, Preston Zimmerman had a great season, scoring seven league goals to lead his team. Going out on a limb, Darmstadt Wins/Stuttgarter Kickers are relegated.

Usually I comment on the whole weekend, as this is Decision Day Weekend, I will continue this piece on Saturday night for Sunday – Covering England and Italy and a closer look at #1 Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan’s game against #2 Zulte-Waregem.

Join me Saturday morning for the “Thread”, let me know if you agree with my predictions and let me know your predictions for Saturday and Sunday.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread
   May 10, 2013 (9:51 PM) by David

Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread

Crunch Time Part 6: Two weeks left in the EPL, and the rest of Europe, and still much to be decided. Saturday Germany takes center stage, with a full plate of matches. At the top of Bundesliga, Schalke and Jermaine Jones take on Stuttgart, and Schalke will need to win to stay in contention for the UCL next season. Meanwhile the relegation battle will be decided over the next two games. Furth on 21 points are relegated. Three teams, #17 Hoffenheim on 28 points and #16 Augsburg and #15 Dusseldorf on 30 points each are desperately reaching for safety. So how will the weekend fair for the three teams. Augsburg have the unenviable task of visiting #1 and Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich, it’s unlikely that Bayern will want to lose their home finale, WIN Bayern. Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim welcome # 7 Hamburg to the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena. Hamburg have an outside chance a snagging a Europa League spot, if the chips fall in their favor, they will be gunning for the shaky Hoffenheim defense from the opening whistle. Hoffenheim have found a little form over the last few weeks, while Hamburg have slipped some, DRAW. From the bottom teams playing this week, Dusseldorf v Nurnberg will be the hardest to predict. Both teams have lost four of their last five games. Tim Chandler (season ending injury) and Nurnberg’s away form is 3W-5D-8L, while Dusseldorf’s home form is a little better, but hardly inspiring at  5W-6D-5L. Hmm, I will go with a DRAW.  So if my predictions are correct the positions stay the same, but Hoffenheim pulls within a point of Augsburg and Dusseldorf a point above. If this holds true then the finale week at the bottom of the Bundesliga is “gonna be a barn-burner”  Leaving the senior leagues, I have to put in a word for 3. Liga #4 Preussen Munster and Matt Taylor. What a season they and Matt are having. Matt sits in eighth position in scoring with 15 Goals, and the team are one point off of a promotional playoff. With the team above them playing two very hard games over the next two weeks, and Preussen having a relatively easy path, 2. Bundesliga soccer next year is a real possibility – put your support with Preussen and Matt on Saturday as they visit Unterhaching.

Also on Saturday, in Austria, #3 Rapid Vienna and Terence Boyd will have #4 Wolfsberger to contend with. Rapid have only lost once in their last five, while Wolfsberger have two wins and three losses, including last weeks loss to relegation threatened Mattersburg.  Austria Bundesliga still has four games to go, Rapid’s Europa League spot is by no means guaranteed, they need to maintain form and take the three points this weekend to help their own cause. So what’s happening in England on Saturday? Duh! FA Cup folks, Manchester City and Wigan will lock horns at Wembley. Aston Villa will entertain Chelsea, with Chelsea knowing  a win would pretty much guarantee a spot in the top four, the last time Chelsea faced Villa at Stamford Bridge earlier this season it ended in an 8-0 beating . That should not be repeated as Aston Villa with Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj, now five points clear of the relegation zone and having recorded back-to-back wins that have secured their survival, will look for all three points in the finale at Villa Park, but don’t discount Chelsea to spoil Villa’s survival celebration. Finally, in Portugal, following an incredible draw, mid-week, at powerhouse league leaders Benfica, Estoril and Tony Taylor find themselves a point out of Portugal’s Europa League final spot. This Saturday they are at home to a near relegated Beira-Mar. Three points would, with one more game following this, keep them in the hunt for European play next season. Good luck Tony.

That’s Saturday, now Sunday, a busy day. In the EPL, Tottenham will visit a hot Stoke City. After a downturn in form, Stoke City with Geoff Cameron are now undefeated in their last three matches and safe from relegation. Tottenham and Clint Dempsey will be hunting for the win following Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, and know that they must win to keep their UCL chances alive. Everton (still with David Moyes) will be at home to West Ham. Tim Howard and Co. still need to keep the pressure up to ensure they take sixth place, I believe (and need to confirm) that if Manchester City wins the FA Cup, the sixth place team will enter the Europa League, like I say I need to confirm this.  In the Championship promotion playoffs Leicester City take a 1-0 lead into Watford, a win and they are in the playoff final, a loss and they will have to try again next season. It is unlikely that Zak Whitbread will play for Leicester. In Italy’s Serie A, AS Roma have a mountain to cross, with two games left, and trailing Udinese by two points, for the final Europa League place, this week they find themselves at the San Siro facing #3 AC Milan, points won’t come easy there. To make matters worse the finale for Michael Bradley, Totti and company will be against #2 Napoli next week. Looks like Europe is not in the plans for next season for AS Roma. In Holland, Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar will finish out their season at Willem II. A late run by AZ has left them mid-table, and their win in the Dutch Cup placed them in the Europa League next season,  going into the off-season there will be some good feelings for the future. Of course that feeling may not last long if Jozy decides to move on this summer. Oh, those wacky Belgians! Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan will want all three points at Genk. Genk has the edge over Anderlecht in 2013 with a three win, one loss record. Anderlecht are a class team, that had lost their form right at the end of the regular season, but they are on the up right now and should record their second win against Genk this year. Randers and Charlie Davies need to get over their mid-week cup loss and concentrate on their game against Midtjylland in Denmark Sunday. There is no reason, with three games left, why Randers should not qualify for Europa League next season, barring a complete collapse. Denmark looks to be a great place for US players reaching next seasons European competitions, Conor O’Brien with Nordsjaelland, Thomas Delaney (dual) with Kobenhagn and Charlie Davies with Randers all look to be playing top flight.

So that covers the senior leagues that are almost complete for the year. No offense is meant to clubs who’s seasons have really just begun, by there omission in the round-up. We are still following Scandinavian teams closely as always.

Join me this weekend as we follow every US player that we know is playing, join in with the chat and if you must feel free to rant. Discuss the end of season positions/next season European play and of course “silly season” moves that you think may happen.

Join me for the drama Over There.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread
   May 3, 2013 (10:13 PM) by David

Crunch Time: OOPH! That’s gonna leave a mark!!

Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread

Crunch Time Part 5.  Three weeks left in the EPL and most other senior leagues. A great time for cliches, but lets avoid those. So Tottenham and Clint Dempsey welcome a Southampton team to White Hart Lane on Saturday that has been fading fast, good news for Spurs, who need every point to stay in the UCL hunt.  Dempsey scored the winner last time the teams met. Three points from Tottenham would put them equal with Chelsea, although goal differential is a factor. Chelsea don’t play till Sunday, when they face Manchester United. Arsenal are away from home, well across town, at QPR, in what could have been a critical London derby, but with QPR already relegated there is no saying what team will show up for QPR. The other game with huge implications in the EPL for our US players is going to happen at Norwich. Brad Guzan and the Villains will come into Carrow Road just one point behind Norwich, and you have to think that if they take all three points that they will be safe for another season of EPL soccer, although it may be a point will suffice, with perennial survivors Wigan five points off safety.  It’s the final week of the regular season in the Championship. Bolton seem to be the US players best bet for a playoff spot. They currently sit in sixth and the final playoff position (on goal difference) and will want and need all three points from their home game against Blackpool if they are to be sure of holding that spot. We will all be looking to see if Stu Holden makes the gameday team, and maybe even Tim Ream. The two teams who can catch Bolton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City with Zak Whitbread play each other, setting up sprint to the finish (oops! cliche) that should provide some excitement. The good news from the other end of the table is that we have no US players teams in relegation difficulties. In League One, Euan Holden’s Bury and Mike Grella’s Scunthorpe will be playing in League Two next season.

In Germany, Schalke and Jermaine Jones 1-0 away win at M’gladbach on Friday, gave them a six point cushion, with three weeks left, over Frankfurt. Schalke sit in fourth place and the final UCL spot (UCL Qualifiers) four points behind Leverkusen, who have a game in hand. At the bottom of Bundesliga, Hoffenheim still hold out a slim hope of avoiding the drop. They are three points behind Augsburg and Dusseldorf (tied at 30 points). Tight is not the word this weekend. Hoffenheim are away to Bremen who are not doing so well themselves this season, while Augsburg are on the road to Europa League hopeful’s Freiburg and Dusseldorf find themselves in a similar situation at Frankfurt, who also have Europa League dreams. So if Hoffenheim’s leaky defense can keep the game close, Hoffenheim could create a three-way tie for the trip to 2. Bundesliga next season. Lets throw all our mental support behind Fabian, Danny and team and hope for all three points on Saturday.

Just four games left in Italy’s Serie A. Roma have the final Europa spot going into their away game with Serie A’s other current Europa representative Fiorentina. At such a critical time you could not get much more tense a situation. Fiorentina are just one point out of the UCL spot, and will not want to give Roma and Michael Bradley any opportunity for even one point. Game on for Totti, Bradley and co.

On Sunday in Austria, Rapid and Terence Boyd will have to be on their game as they visit Sturm Graz. Rapid who looked comfortably on the way to a European spot next season have lost their mojo and they are in very real danger of not qualifying. Rapid have five games left to right the ship, starting this week with Sturm Graz who with a win, could push Rapid out of Europe, yes that dire folks.

On Friday, Anderlecht were handed a lifeline as Zulte-Waregem lost to Genk (4-0). All season long Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan have been odd-on favorites to lead Belgium’s representation in next seasons UCL. But, Well, That Wacky Belgium Playoff system, has them currently in a Europa League spot with four games left. With only one win in their last five outings the giants of Belgium need to dig deep, and find form.

In Denmark, we have the opportunity of multiple US player teams qualifying for European play. Thomas Delaney and Kobenhagn and Conor O’Brien and Nordsjaelland sit in UCL spots, and Charlie Davies and Randers in a Europa League place. There are four games left in the season and really all these teams need to do is maintain their form and point leads.

With two games left, AZ and Jozy Altidore, realistically, are out of contention for any European soccer next season, still Jozy has an opportunity to pad his goal tally, and that alone is worth watching.  In Portugal, Estoril and Tony Taylor have three games left (they next play Monday) and have an excellent chance of grabbing a Europa League place for Portugal. In Turkey, Maurice Edu and Bursaspor will visit already relegated Orduspor, three games left and Europa League spot on the line, three points on Saturday will probably wrap that up nicely.

There are lots more games, lots more drama out there this weekend. The senior leagues seem to be where all eyes will be, but here at socceroverthere our eyes follow all US players all over the world. So hold on to your hat’s, the weekend is just starting. Join me as we follow all the games that involve US players this weekend, and as usual your participation is encouraged. Finally how many cliches did I use today. 🙂

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread
   April 26, 2013 (9:08 PM) by David

Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread

Crunch Time Part 4:  The amount of time and number of matches is shrinking rapidly, no time for a bump in the road, its win and go forward. In the EPL, Manchester United have won the league with games to spare, Manchester City look like a lock for one of the remaining UCL spots. Everton seemed to be faltering, so the European slots are being contested by London’s Big Three. Separated by two points London’s giants Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are battling it out. Arsenal and Chelsea play Sunday, so Clint Dempsey and Co. have an opportunity to pass them both. Sounds good, with the opposition, Wigan, being  a bottom three team, easy win huh! Not so fast Wigan are the perennial survivalists, and never a walk over at the DW Stadium. But Tottenham should do Brad Guzan and Aston Villa a favor. One to watch. Tim Howard will lead Everton out to face Fulham and although mathematically still in the hunt for a Europa League spot, one game and five points behind Tottenham, Everton will have a tough task to make it.  Stoke and Norwich round out our Saturday EPL action in a game that has little meaning, both teams would like the points and move a little higher, realistically neither are in relegation trouble, and have very little to play for. Aston Villa play Monday, against a resurgent Sunderland (2W-2L-1D in the last five) in what’s best described as season defining.

With just two weeks left in the Championship, Cardiff, have the first automatic promotion spot to the EPL locked up. Jozy Altidore’s old club Hull and Watford are vying for the other automatic spot. Hull have the edge by one point with a game in hand. Positions four through nine are separated by just six points (position three through six enter the promotion playoff’s). From a US Overthere perspective, Bolton are #6 and Leicester #7, separated by one point. Bolton have the edge with an extra game, but find themselves away to leaders Cardiff, who will be wanting to celebrate promotion at home – tough nut for Bolton this weekend. It looks like it will all come down to next weekend’s final Championship matches to decide the final playoff spots.

In Germany, the Bundesliga has four weeks left. Bayern Munich are the champions, with Dortmund and Leverkusen looking to be the other two automatic UCL representative’s from Germany in the UCL. Jermaine Jones and Schalke, currently in the UCL qualifiers spot, do not seem to be hitting form at the right time, and sit just one point ahead of the pack, for the final spot and chance at UCL soccer. Realistically Hannover at #9 could catch them, if the stars are aligned correctly, as only five points separate #4 Schalke from #9 Hannover, so its up for grabs and Schalke’s to lose. At the bottom half of the table Hoffenheim are at home to Nurnberg and Tim Chandler. On Sunday Mainz will face off against Frankfurt. Mainz are mathematically still in the Europa League hunt, but with four games left and six points behind Frankfurt it realistically is a slim chance.

On Sunday, Michael Bradley and Roma will do all they can to entrench themselves in the Europa League hunt as one of Italy’s Serie A representatives. Currently out point out of the EL spot, they face relegation battling Siena, Roma should get the three points from this game. Nothing for us this weekend, in Holland, as AZ played at Heerenveen Friday, with Jozy Altidore scoring  two and setting up a third in a 4-0 win. AZ are now six points out of a Europa League place with two games left, but it would seem unlikely that they will make it. In Austria, #3 Rapid face #2 Salzburg, with the expected return of Terrence Boyd, who missed last week’s action with a suspension (yellow card accumulation). Rapid need some points from this game to maintain their lead of Sturm Graz who are three behind. A massive game for Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan as they face nemesis Club Brugge on Sunday. In the wacky world of Belgium playoffs, Anderlecht have now slipped from their #1 spot and now have a battle on their hands to make the UCL from a charging Standard Liege. Not often mentioned, Tony Taylor and Estoril are knocking on the door for a Europa League place in Portugal. They won 2-1 against #4 Sporting Braga on Friday and now hold the #5 final spot, with three weeks left.

So there you have it, the major leagues in Europe as they approach their final few games. Of course this weekend we have many other games to follow, in Scandinavia, the lower European leagues and elsewhere around the world. So join me on the thread, rant and rave, discuss and debate or just make a comment, but join in, its what makes it fun.

Following last weekend I am assured by Comcast that the Internet will be available in Washington DC this weekend 🙂 so join me Saturday Morning for all the games you can handle.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread
   April 19, 2013 (9:54 PM) by David

Welcome to the Weekend Commentary Thread

Crunch Time Part 3.  Time is running short, whether European play, promotion or relegation we are down to three or four games in the leagues in Europe. Yup, after about the 20th of May you will be watching MLS and the occasional international.

This is a breakdown of closing dates for the leagues we follow in Europe:

EPL May 19th

Championship May 4th

League 1 and 2 April 27th

(championship, Leagues 1 and 2 do have there playoffs following the regular season)

Bundesliga May 18th

2.Bundesliga May 19th

3.Liga May 18th

Serie A May 19th

Eredivisie  May 12th

Turkey Super Lig  May 18th

Austria May 25th

Belgium – who knows? 🙂

So the next few weeks are critical to the teams future. This week in the EPL we have two teams battling for European places and two teams fighting to stay in the EPL for another season. Tottenham are at Man. City on Sunday where they will hope for at least a point, while on Saturday Everton will visit Sunderland, who are teetering on the edge in the bottom half of the table. An Everton win will possibly vault them over Tottenham (who need a win to maintain position) into the Euro League spot. At the bottom, Stoke visit already relegated QPR, not a walkover, as they look for points to move ahead of some close competition (three teams on 34 points) and Aston Villa (one of the teams on 34 points) has the unenviable task of visiting Man. Utd. at Old Trafford on Monday.

In the Championship, Bolton are one point behind Leicester for the final promotion playoff spot, Bolton are at home and face another team we follow, Middlesbrough, who have fallen out of the race, and Leicester are away to Crystal Palace, who are just two points ahead of Leicester in their playoff spot. So things are tight at the top of the Championship and with only three weeks left every point will be fought over. Stuart Holden and Sheffield Wednesday have fought out of immediate trouble, but need points to avoid slipping back. If you are following the Championship there are only seven points separating 9th spot from 22nd and relegation.

In Bundesliga, Schalke still sits in the final UCL spot, but they have four teams that can catch them over the next four weeks., and Schalke is visiting one of them this Saturday, Frankfurt. Jermaine Jones and his teammates will be hoping for at least a point. At the bottom, Hoffenheim are now in the relegation spot, they are three points behind Augsburg, but have a game in hand. Unfortunately they are away to UCL bound Leverkusen. Fabian Johnson and Co are probably looking for miracles to end the season.

Jozy Altidore and AZ will welcome PSV to Alkmaar on Saturday. PSV is battling for a UCL spot, a win will help that cause. Jozy and AZ have stated that they want a strong finish to the season and a shot at the Europa playoffs in Holland. They are six points away from that goal, and with four games left a lot of luck will have to play into their strategy.

In Turkey, Maurice Edu and Bursaspor are in a Europa League spot, 4th place. They are three points out of 3rd and have a three point lead over their closest competition, tight, but again, points is what it takes. In Austria, Terence Boyd will not be playing this week, yellow card accumulation, as his club Rapid faces league leaders Austria Wien. Rapid have a little while to go, but although 3rd and in a Euro league spot, are not assured that position at the end of the season. Terence you let your side down. Finally the zany Belgiums. Sasha Kljestan and Anderlecht are still in the top spot, and UCL spot, but recent results have them in danger of losing their position. Sunday could be the decider as they visit 2nd place Zulte-Waregem, a win will probably cement their UCL future.

So join me this weekend as we follow all these teams and a slew of clubs from the rest of the world as we monitor what is going on in Socceroverthere, as usual participation is expected and gratefully accepted.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

Weekend Commentary Thread
   April 12, 2013 (9:02 PM) by David

 With just a little over a month left in the season for most European Leagues, the countdown is on.

Welcome to this Weekend’s Commentary Thread.

This week’s EPL is mostly about the goalkeepers. Saturday, Brad Guzan and Tim Howard are working for clean sheets for their clubs as one team fights relegation and one team a place in Europe next season.  It’s less than a month in the Championship. US players represent many of the Championship teams, this Saturday the potential is there for US players in four Championship games. Stuart Holden’s arrival at Sheffield Wednesday has coincided with a reassurance, Wednesday have won their last two games and are now well away from the relegation zone that triggered the Holden loan, from Bolton. Bolton have Tim Ream to call upon in their bid to return to the EPL. Bolton are two points out of a playoff spot, with the the four teams above them all struggling at this critical time and already relegated Bristol on the ticket. Leicester City’s draw on Friday has created an opportunity that Bolton must take if they have aspirations of EPL soccer next year.

In Germany, Schalke’s home game against Leverkusen is critical to both teams. A Schalke win will put them within a point of a guaranteed UCL place, and pull them three points clear of chasing Freiburg. For Leverkusen a win would all but put them in the UCL next season. This promises to be the game of the week in Bundesliga. With Hannover, Mainz and Nurnberg collectively going through a difficult patch with a Euro League opportunity begging, all eyes following US players turn to Hoffenheim and the equally woeful Augsburg. One, if not both, teams will be playing in 2. Bundesliga next season, and with time running out, points is the cry!  Hoffenheim trail Augsburg by one point and have managed just seven points from a possible 15 in the last 5 games, Augsburg just six points over the same period. Hoffenheim play Saturday at Wolfsburg, Augsburg play at home on Sunday against Frankfurt.

Elsewhere, AZ and Jozy Altidore play on Sunday as they battle to stay safe in Holland, Anderlecht and Sasha Kljestan also play Sunday in the funky Belgium playoffs (referred hereafter as the FBP). Terrence Boyd and Rapid have to get by their current form if they want to cement a Euro League place next season

Finally, Finland starts playing soccer again, a sure sign that spring is here (in the US) for real.

As always, chat, rant (within reason) or debate goings on concerning US players over there and join me as we go through this weekends matches.

Categories: Weekend Commentary

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