Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pictures of the Crews’ new jerseys

When you get into late-November, early-December, there are three things you can always depend on: Terrible covers of Christmas songs in department stores, endless news “stories” on shopping, and the next year’s horrifically ugly Columbus Crew jerseys.

Well, you won’t be disappointed, folks, because the folks in Columbus (or at Adidas design headquarters, you choose) did not let us down, topping their fantastically ugly 2010-11 road jerseys (you can see those here) with this year’s ones, which are even worse. The home uniform is fine, though it looks a bit like a polo shirt, but the road? Yeesh.

Anyway, these images come courtesy of this site, so visit it for more info.

Seedorf to the MLS?

According to the always interesting MLS Rumors site, which in turn dug up the info here, AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who has won pretty much everything there is to win in world football and is one of my favorite players, could end up moving to the MLS. Now, you can take this rumor with a grain of salt, as it’s been bandied about for a few years now, but I for one thing he’d be a fun player to watch in the league, at least ’til his legs fall off, oh, next year. If it does happen, it’ll likely either be the Galaxy or Red Bulls that get his services, because, well, you know how it works. That now makes three aging flair players linked to the MLS this offseason (former Real Madrid midfielder Guti, Chelsea striker Nicholas Anelka). Will they all come? One of them? Any of them? There’s no doubt that Seedorf is a classy player, but it’s questionable whether at 35 he’d have the legs that the fast-paced (though often technically deficient) league requires.

Here is a video:

 

DC United release 2012 home, away uniforms

Image

This is my first dabble into soccer jerseys, which I’m actually, dorkily, a little interested in, since they are changed EVERY SINGLE YEAR. So I’ll try and post all of the ones as I get info for them.

Anyhoo, DC United released images of their 2012 home and away jerseys. It’s interesting with the MLS, which like Australia’s A League, and practically no other professional soccer league, has the same kit supplier for all their uniforms. This results in some great uniforms and some monstrosities like the Crew’s away uniform. DC United typically has some of the better-looking kits in the league, but I’m not impressed with these, particularly since last year’s looked so good. The home is passable, but the away is a horrible pastiche of different ideas. Red collar? OK, fine. Red collar, black shoulder stripes, red panels down the side? Eeeehhh…looks like a hacky attempt. Let’s see if they can jazz up some of the ones that are always hideous (I’m looking at you, San Jose Earthquakes.)

You can buy the jerseys here.

Swansea City 0, Aston Villa 0: What we learned

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All things considered, a 0-0 draw at Swansea, where only Javier Hernandez, among visiting players, has scored this season, isn’t necessarily a terrible result. Nonetheless, with six more matches coming up this year, four of them against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, and the only obviously winnable matches away ones, (Against Bolton and Stoke) a point won’t be seen as good enough for Villa, especially in light of how much they dominated the second half.
Record: 3-7-3, 16 goals scored, 17 goals conceded, 16 points, 9th place
Goal scorers: none
Assists: none
Man of the match: Gabriel Agbonlahor, as usual this season, the best player on the pitch for Villa
Next up: Manchester United on Saturday

1. A new midfield pairing? With captain Stiliyan Petrov injured, Fabian Delph, who had a run of starts early in the season, was paired with current first-choice defensive midfielder Chris Herd. The two of them played pretty well, actually. Both were tidy in possession and did a good job of harrying Swansea players, particularly in the second half. One drawback to the two starting is that neither offers much in attack, which is a shame, because Petrov, who is having a good year, is painfully slow.

2. Villa need to press more.  Manager Alex McLeish has come under quite a bit of criticism from Villa fans due to the fairly defensive-oriented strategy of the team. This doesn’t bother me, though. What does bother me is the team’s tendency to sit off opponents in the first half. Tottenham was the benefactor last week and picked Villa off at will in racing to a 2-0 first-half lead. Swansea doesn’t have the same quality of players, though, and was unable to create much. In the second half, Villa pressed much higher and dominated accordingly. Unless Villa wants to drop into the bottom half of the table, the team needs to start being more active without the ball, particularly with the murderer’s row of teams coming up in the next few weeks.

3. Swansea will struggle not to get relegated this year. Swansea are a nice team that passed the ball around well, but they rarely make passes to open up the opposing team’s defense. After watching them this week, it’s hard to see them scoring many goals this year – why it’s not surprising to see them tied with 19th place Wigan for the fewest. Upcoming matches against Blackburn and QPR – both of which have to be considered “must-win” games, will go a long way toward determining whether they’re in the EPL next year.

4. Is Alex McLeish in trouble? In a word, no. Villa owner Randy Lerner failed to fire Gerard Houllier last year when the team was near the relegation zone most of the season, so he’s probably not going to fire McLeish with the team still in the top half of the table (for now). Failure to pick up at least six points from their next six matches (probably still not good enough, but given the quality of opponents, is probably an optimistic number) will only increase calls for McLeish to be fired, even among some of his more ardent supporters. And with Villa’s attendance dropping with each passing match, you get the sense that Lerner will have to choose between either investing more in the squad or finding a new manager. I pick the former.

Match grade: B

Galaxy vs. Houston in MLS Cup final

Ho-hum. The Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake and Houston surprised Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference final to advance. The Galaxy match was fairly by the book, but Houston lucked out a bit with what looked to be a definite penalty for KC getting waved off. They did manage to win the game without Houston winger Brad Davis, who was injured in the match and will likely miss the final.

All the stars are aligned for the Galaxy to claim their first title with Beckham on the team, before he leaves for France, England or Mexico, presumably. Will it happen? We shall see.

Klinsmann releases U.S. roster for France/Slovenia friendlies, and … c’mon, really?

Jurgen Klinsmann: What do you mean he hasn't done anything? He got 3rd in the World Cup with one of the world's strongest teams, at home, and took the dominant team in Germany almost to 1st place!

Two more U.S. friendlies, two more disappointingly similar roster choices from U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. But hey, at least the team is win…well, at least the team has won once, right? Against Honduras. The world’s #57-ranked team. At home. By one goal. Klinsmann keeps talking about how the friendlies are important to evaluate who can play for the squad, while repeatedly calling up players who have tried and failed to make an impact in these friendlies, which we aren’t winning – even against inferior opposition (DaMarcus Beasley, Robbie Rogers, Edson Buddle, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Orozco Fizcal) or players no one have heard of who are notable for playing in Germany – or at least being on a German team’s roster (Fabian Johnson, Alfredo Morales, Danny Williams).

That isn’t to say Johnson, Morales, Williams and players of their ilk aren’t good enough to be on the team. But it is to say that it’s questionable to continually call up the same team through mediocre results while overlooking deserving players playing in the U.S. and elsewhere like George John, Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, CJ Sapong, Mix Disterud and others while calling up relative unknowns because they play in Germany and filling the margins of the rest of the team with players like  Buddle who can hardly be called the future of the U.S. national team. Klinsmann’s honeymoon is over. He either needs to start getting results or blooding players who might have an impact in 2014, if we actually qualify. At least Brek Shea is still on the team.

The roster:

Goalkeepers Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)

Defenders Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon)

Midfielders Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Brek Shea (Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

Forwards Jozy Altidore (AZ), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles)

MLS Playoffs: Seattle Sounders 2, Real Salt Lake 0 (Real Salt Lake wins 3-2 on aggregate)

Local boy Lamar Neagle scored the 2nd goal for Seattle, likes his fade tight.

Goals: Osvaldo Alonso (1), Lamar Neagle (1)

Seattle takes 26 shots against Real Salt Lake, but fail to find the breakthrough until the second half and eventually run out of steam. It wasn’t a terrible performance from the Sounders, but they were a bit wasteful in the first half, and Real Salt Lake was always going to  sit back and defend and soak up all the pressure, which they did very well. Osvaldo Alonso got the first goal on a penalty, and when Lamar Neagle scored around the 63rd minute, there was hope for Seattle, but they never found a third. Real Salt Lake, who played quite well in this matchup, move on to face either LA or New York. Probably LA.

MLS Playoffs: Sporting Kansas City 2, Colorado Rapids 0 (KC wins 4-0 aggregate)

CJ Sapong only likes song with "swag" in the title.

Goals: Aurelien Collin (1), CJ Sapong (1)

Kansas City becomes the first team to advance to the “conference semifinals” with a fairly easy win at home against Colorado. The Rapids were always going to be up against it having lost 2-0 at home to Kansas City and dealing with a ton of injuries, but they created virtually nothing in the match. The impressive Aurelien Collin scored the opener to basically put it away, and then CJ Sapong, who I interviewed in June, added the second. Kansas City takes on the winner of Philadelphia and Houston.

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