Yesterday was a slightly crazy one with stuff happening all day long. We had the US U-20 team qualifying for the U-20 World Cup, Stuart Holden made his first league appearance since March 19, 2011 and Joe Corona/Edgar Castillo scored for Tijuana in Copa Libertadores action.
As for some links.
The US U-20 team is headed to Turkey this summer for the U-20 World Cup after beating Canada 4-2 yesterday. The U-20 World Cup starts up on June 21, while the draw will be held on March 25. While they did qualify yesterday, there are still potentially two more games left in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The US will play Cuba in the semifinals on Friday and will be without the services of Cody Cropper, Jerome Kiesewetter, Luis Gil and Caleb Stanko the rest of the way as they return to their club teams.
One player who could potentially be on that U-20 team come June is Anthony Brooks. And Every Touch Footy decided to do a video of Brooks’ performance against Kaiserslautern from this past weekend.
As I stated above, Stuart Holden made his first league appearance in 711 days yesterday. It sounds like he did alright and was “neat and tidy”.
Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona scored in Copa Libertadores action last night, becoming the first Americans to score in that competition since Nicky Torres in 2011. And here is a photo of them celebrating after Castillo’s goal.
Sebastian Lletget scored a goal yesterday in U-21 action as West Ham lost to Wolverhampton 2-1.
Kenneth Di Vita Jensen also scored a goal, but in a friendly for Hønefoss.
Stoke City’s Robert Huth could be missing some time in the future. Does this mean some playing time at centerback for Geoff Cameron?
Lets start off with some Europa League-oriented links as the Round of 32 begins today.
Brad Friedel is getting the start for Tottenham as they take on Lyon in Europa League. Friedel has started only three matches (1 Europa League and 2 FA Cup) since the beginning of December.
Left off the US U-20 roster, Marc Pelosi did not make Liverpool’s Europa League travel squad for today’s game against Zenit St. Petersburg.
While US fans were holding out hope for Pelosi to get the 20th spot on the US U-20 team, Tab Ramos announced yesterday that Colorado Rapids’ Dillon Serna will get that spot. The US U-20 team kicks off the CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Monday against Haiti at 5:30 PM Central on Fox Soccer.
Steven Goff does his yearly look over US Soccer’s tax records. This time for the time period between April 2011 through March 2012. The US had a shortfall of $3.1 million over that time frame.
Brian Sciaretta caught up with Matt Besler to talk about his first callup with the USMNT.
A couple guys were saw the field yesterday. Preston Zimmerman got the start and played 48 minutes in Darmstadt 98′s 0-0 draw to Babelsberg 03 in German 3. Liga action. Justin Moose scored a goal in SJK’s 4-2 win in some tournament called IV KOMIA. And Kenneth Di Vita Jensen scored a goal for Hønefoss and Steve Clark played the first half in a 3-2 win over HJK Helsinki in a friendly. Here are highlights from the match with his goal coming around the 4:50 mark.
So here we go with the wrap on Norway. The regular season ended yesterday, while the First Division ended last week. Most of the promotion and relegation is all set with the exception of the last promotion/relegation playoff spot.
Molde (Champions League) enter 2nd round
Stromsgodset (Europa League) enter 2nd round
Rosenborg (Europa League) enter 1st round
Sandnes ULF (Relegation/Promotion Playoff v Ullensaker)
The Relegation/Promotion Playoff First Leg will be on November 21st. Ullensaker will host the first game. The Second Leg will be at Sandnes ULF on November 24th.
From a US OT perspective
Josh Gatt will be playing Champions League football next year. Mikkel Diskerud will be playing in the Europa League.
Chad Barrett with Valerenga will be staying in the Eliteserien as will Steve Clark with Honefoss.
Sean Cunningham (on loan from Molde) and Erik Benjaminsen with Stabaek will be in the First Division.
Decided in the Playoff; either Kenneth Di Vita Jensen (on loan from Honefoss) with Ullensaker will be in Eliteserien or will remain in the First Division.
David posted about the promotion/relegation playoffs going on in Norway earlier today. Kenneth Di Vita Jensen scored what turned out to be the game-winner in Ullensaker’s 4-3 victory. They jumped out to 4-0 lead, but Sandefjord came back with three goals. Ullensaker next play Bodø / Glimt this weekend with the winner playing whoever finishes in 14th place of the Eliteserien for a spot in next year’s Eliteserien. But here is Di Vita Jensen’s goal from today.
With all the accolades for Norway Eliteserien Champions Molde, and USMNT/Molde forward Josh Gatt, lost in the noise is the promotional playoff situation for teams in Norway’s First Division.
While Eliteserien has one more week of the regular season left, the First Division is complete and now moves on to promotion/relegation playoffs. While the Eliteserien relegation picture will not be decided until this weekend, the First Division promotional playoffs start today.
How it Works
The Eliteserien will relegate three teams. Stabaek are relegated already, while three other teams are trying to stave off relegation (one will be automatically relegated). The team finishing above the bottom two will enter into the relegation playoff.
The First Division will promote three teams. Start and Sarpsborg 08 are promoted already. The four teams (places three through six) now enter the promotional playoff. Sandefjord #3, Mjondalen #4, Bodo/Glimt #5 and Ullensaker #6, will play the first round today followed by the final qualifier this weekend.
#4 Mjondalen v #5 Bodo/Glimt
#3 Sandefjord v #6 Ullensaker
The winner of the final qualifier will then play the Eliteserien team that qualified as relegation playoff.
US Player Involvement
Two of the four teams vying for the First Division promotion playoffs have US players:
#4 Mjondalen Rhett Bernstein and Kyle Helton
#6 Ullensaker Kenneth Di Vita Jensen
Fourth place Mjondalen gets to play at home and will be favorites to advance. Ullensaker, who went through a mini-collapse at the end of the regular season, will have to visit third place Sandefjord.
At the bottom
A number of US players leave First Division with their clubs due to relegation to Second Division.
Baerum Sebastion Troupe Despite a late season run ended in 14th place
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.