And if you want to be semi-depressed, John Godfrey breaks down the struggles along the back line for the USMNT.
Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic will be out a month with an ankle injury, which probably means Michael Bradley will return to the starting lineup. Bradley has come off the bench in two of his last three games.
I forget whether I posted this last week or not (and I am currently too lazy to look and see), but here is a NY Times story/interview with Brad Guzan. Can’t hurt to post to it twice.
Tijuana continues their hot streak in Copa Libertadores with a 1-0 win over defending champions and 2012 FIFA Club World Cup champions Corinthians. Joe Corona got the start while Greg Garza came off the bench.
We posted about Daniel Antunez playing with Chivas USA during training camp. Well, he officially signed with the club this week. Antunez last played for Inter Turku in Finland in 2012. Also, we might pass around a hat to take up a collection so OT can sponsor at tarp at a Chivas USA game at the Home Depot Center. Just joking (or am I?).
Sticking with the Chivas USA theme, Franco Panizo talked to Juan Agudelo about playing for Chivas and his training stints in Europe this offseason.
The USMNT kicks off the Hex on Wednesday against Honduras. The game will be at 4 PM ET on beIN Sport. It is being played in the afternoon since Honduras wants to play in the sun and heat. Apparently Honduras declared Wednesday a national holiday so the country can watch the game.
US Soccer gives us a video tour of Estadio Olimpico in Honduras (the video is from 2009, but it still gives you a look). US Soccer has also posted field-level highlights from the friendly against Canada.
Brent Latham (ESPN Insider) looks at the January transfer moves and their impact with the USMNT.
It doesn’t look like Tim Howard or Brad Guzan will have to look over their shoulder for Mix Diskerud moving up the goalkeeper ranks.
Nothing new to report on the financial situation at Brøndby, but Clarence Goodson played in a friendly for them this weekend.
Two Scandinavian Leagues are finished for the season. Champions League and Europa League places have been decided as well as promotions and relegations. Finland ended its season a while ago, while Sweden finished its season this past weekend.
Finland was one of the first countries whose leagues finished early. Their Champions League and Europa League places are already set. The league was won by HJK (Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi), they finished six points clear of Inter Turku and 10 points ahead of TPS. HJK claim the sole Finnish Champions League place and will enter the competition in the second qualifying round. Inter Turku, with USA’s Daniel Antunez, and TPS will play in next year’s Europa League.
At the bottom of Veikkausliiga, Haka is the team that lost the battle to stay in the country’s top league. Next season USA’s Jordan Seabrook will start his campaign with Haka in the Ykkonen, where he will play against Aaron Wheeler at KooTeePee, Justin Moose and Pat Phelan at SJK. Kyle Luetkehans and HIFK were relegated from Ykkonen and will now play in the Kakkonen league, Finland’s 3rd division.
HJK – Won League – Champions League
Inter Turk – 2nd place Europa League – Daniel Antunez
TPS – 3rd place – Europa League
Haka – Relegated to Ykkonen – Jordan Seabrook
RoPS – Won League – Promoted to Veikkausliiga
Sweden finished its regular season this past weekend. The league representatives from Sweden to the European Competitions are set. This year no USA players will appear for Swedish teams, based on league standings, in Champions League or the Europa League (Cup Winners still to be decided)
IF Elfsborg will represent Sweden in the Champions League and begin play in the second qualifying round. Hacken and Malmo FF will represent Sweden in the Europa League.
At the bottom of Allsvenskan two teams were relegated (Orebro and GAIS). GIF Sundsvall will play in a playoff series (Home/Away) against the Superttan (2nd Division) 3rd place finisher, Halmstad, with the USA’s Ryan Miller. The winner will appear in Allsvenskan next season.
IF Elfsborg – Won League – Champions League
Hacken – 2nd place – Europa League
Malmo FF – 3rd place – Europa League
Orebro – Relegated to Superttan
GAIS – Relegated to Superttan
GIF Sundsvall – Relegation Playoff
Halmstad – Promotion Playoff – Ryan Miller
GIF Sundsvall will play Halmstad to decide who will play in Allsvenskan next season (games 10/11 & 15/11)
I’m not going to lie, this weekend got me a little excited for most of the seasons to start up again next month. A few more leagues started up this weekend, plus we had more than a few Americans find the back of the net on Saturday. To get a recap on what happened on Saturday, including links to some highlights, check that out right here.
Then we had a few more interesting things happen on Sunday. Daniel Antunez scored a goal in Inter Turku’s 6-0 thrashing of KuPS.
Conor O’Brien did not score this weekend, but he had an assist in SønderjyskE’s 1-1 draw with Copenhagen. You can check out highlights of that right here.
Staying in Denmark, Clarence Goodson picked up a yellow card for an elbow to the face. You can see that right here.
While most thought Jann George would be playing with FK Senica in Slovakia, he ended up playing with Nurnberg II in the Regionalliga on Sunday. Upon tweeting this news, the always good Brian Sciaretta informed me that his loan deal had been canceled.
Michael Bradley and Roma whooped up on Polish club Zaglebie Lubin at Wrigley Field on Sunday. Here is a team photo of Roma before the game.
I talked about this briefly in the recap from Saturday post, but Josh Gatt had to leave the game early after scoring on Saturday. According to this article, with the somewhat help of Google Translate, it looks like he strained his thigh and could miss Tuesday’s Champions League game. Then again, Google Translate could have mixed up thigh strain with losing a limb and we will never know (he didn’t lose a limb).
Sacha Kljestan came off the bench at the end of Anderlecht’s 3-2 win over Lokeren in the Belgian Super Cup on Sunday. Also, here is what their home shirts for this season will look like.
Charlie Davies made his Randers debut this weekend as well, coming off the bench for 21 minutes in Randers’ 1-0 win over OB.
And finally, I know a lot of people have been wondering about Zak Whitbread’s fate, myself included. Finally some word is coming out that he could be headed to Leicester City in the near future. Leicester City finished ninth, nine points away from a promotion playoff spot, in last year’s English League Championship.
Did I just quote Montell Jordan? Yes. Deal with it.
A quick recap of Thursday’s Europa League action. Daniel Antunez went the full 90 minutes as Inter Turku got a nice 1-1 draw with FC Twente. Joe Funicello and Thor Akureyri (with Josh Wicks on the bench) lost 3-0 to Mlada Boleslav. And Etchu Tabe and KuPS won 2-1 over Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya.
Geoff Cameron will be a Stoke City player pending completed personal terms and a work permit (he will have to win an appeal). He has two fewer USMNT caps than Tim Ream, who won an appeal last January, but it seems easier to get a UK permit these days.
The US U-20 team begins it quest for a Milk Cup title this weekend. They played Liverpool’s reserve team earlier this week and lost 4-2. Marc Pelosi scored a goal, but it was for Liverpool. You can see some highlights of the game right here.
One of those players on that US U-20 team who is looking for a home is goalkeeper Cody Cropper. He was on trial at Southampton and “hopes to receive a contract soon” according to this article.
I know there was some speculation that Bobby Wood could be on his way out at 1860 Munich at the end of last season after picking up more injuries, but he was in the starting lineup today for 1860 Munich II as they started their Regionalliga season. Wood played 70 minutes and scored two goals in a 3-0 victory.
Robbie Rogers, sporting a new black eye, scored a goal for Leeds United in their 5-2 win over Farlsey in a preseason friendly.
Tom Marshall introduces us to a Mexican-born goalkeeper, William Yarbrough, who holds a US passport.
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.
I got an e-mail from ticketmaster yesterday informing me that the US-Chile friendly has been pushed back from 6 PM Pacific to 7 PM Pacific (10 PM for you East Coast guys). And according to this US Soccer press release, the game will only be on TeleFutura or ESPN3.com, no English-language TV coverage. Boo.
Like I have mentioned before, I will be at the game in the stands, but I am going to bring my camera and take a few shots of the game (while also enjoying the game as a fan). I am also going to set up another “guess the score” contest later this week/early next week with stickers and maybe another book on the line for the winners. I just need to see what I have laying around the “OT Mansion”.
Maurice Edu finally returned to action after missing some time with a knee injury. He came off the bench and played 23 minutes in Rangers’ 3-0 victory over Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup.
Sticking with some cup action, here are some highlights from Évian TG’s 3-1 victory over Olympique Marseille in the Coupe de France featuring Howie’s pick for player of the week in net for Évian TG. The lone goal that Quentin Westberg gave up was actually an own goal (and that field was in horrible condition).
This report out of Norway has Jeff Cunningham training with IK Start, although they haven’t signed him (and someone with IK Start gives the standard “we haven’t signed him, but you never know what the future holds” type comment).
I tweeted this last night (if you are not following us, you probably should), but it appears that Daniel Antunez (he played at FC Inter Turku in Finland this past season) is now at Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico. He got the start and played 68 minutes in Estudiantes Tecos’ 4-1 loss to Cruz Azul this past weekend. Also, the article indicates that the forward might be playing a sweeper/defender role for Tecos.
With a few of the Scandinavian leagues coming to a close in the next month, I thought I would give a quick run down on how a few Americans are sitting with the last couple games to be played.
In Finland, there is one game left for each of the 14 teams. Daniel Antunez and FC Inter Turku sit in sixth place with 36 points. Unfortunately, they are four points behind fourth place and unable to get a Europa League First qualifying round spot.
Vaasan Palloseura (Greg Eckhardt and Brian Pope) are in 10th place with 30 points, three points ahead of 13th place and a spot in the relegation playoffs. While there are teams in 11th and 12th place, their -11 goal differential is worse and could come into play if they lose and some teams below them get wins.
One of those teams slightly behind them is IFK Mariehamn and the American trio of Giuseppe Funicello, Lamar Neagle and Mason Trafford. They sit in 11th place with 28 points, one point ahead of the relegation playoffs (13th place) and two points ahead of the automatic relegation (14th place).
So the Veikkausliiga is coming down to the last game of the season.
Next we head to Norway’s top-flight league, which has three games left in the season for the 16 teams.
IK Start (Clarence Goodson and the now injured Hunter Freeman) currently sit in eighth place with 38 points. They are safe from relegation and probably mathematically eliminated from third place (Europa League First qualifying round spot).
Mikkel Diskerud and Erik Benjaminsen are in 11th place at Stabæk with 36 points. They are safe from relegation.
Over at Hønefoss (Steve Clark and Kenneth Di Vita Jensen) are in 14th place (relegation playoffs), five points ahead of 15th place (automatic relegation), but six points behind 13th place and safety. If they get stuck in the relegation playoffs, they will be in a four-team playoff with the teams that finished between third to fifth in the Adeccoligaen.
In Norway’s first division, there are four or five games left for the 15 teams.
Joseph Bendik and Sogndal are in first place with 52 points, seven points ahead of second place. In the Adeccoligaen, the top two teams get promoted automatically, so they have a good shot at promotion with four games left to be played.
Colin Burns and Sarpsborg 08 are in third place with 41 points. Like mentioned above, teams third through fifth are put in the promotion/relegation playoffs. Fourth place is at 40 points, while fifth and sixth place are at 34 points.
Graham Dugoni and Mjøndalen are in 11th place with 28 points, only three points ahead of the relegation zone, so their last five games are very important.
Over in Sweden, there are three to four games left for the 16 teams in the top-flight league.
USMNTer Alejandro Bedoya has his Örebro SK side in third place with 45 points. They are 13 points behind second place, but only two points ahead of fourth place. If they can hold onto third place, they will get a Europa League First qualifying round spot for next season.
Ryan Miller and Halmstads BK are in 12th place with 32 points, but are only four points ahead of the relegation playoffs spot (14th place). So they have some work to do in their last three games to stay safe this season.
A pair of Americans play at Ljungskile BK (Nick Noble and Michael Thomas). They are in fifth place with 44 points, but with only one game left to be played, they are five points shy of making the promotion playoffs, so they will be in the Superettan in 2011.
League of Ireland Premier Division
Two games are left in Ireland and Ryan Guy has his St Patrick’s Athletic squad in fifth place, three points behind third place and a Europa League First qualifying round spot for next season.
League of Ireland First Division
Down in the first division, goalkeeper Chris Konopka and Waterford United are currently in third place (promotion playoffs), two points ahead of fourth place and nothing with two games left in the season.
Russian Premier League
Finally, we head over to Russia where Eugene Starikov (on loan from FC Zenit Saint Petersburg) and FC Tom Tomsk are in 10th place out of the 16 teams with 27 points. There are still five to eight games left, depending on the team, so there is still a lot of soccer left to be played in Russia.
So there you have it. Hopefully you are all caught up to speed on the leagues that are coming to a close in October and November.