Daily Sweeper, 09.04: Ticking Clocks; Lotsa Open Cup (+ Blasphemy); Yallop’s Lifeline(?); St. Louis Update…Gasp!

– I’ll lead with a doozy of a concept. A Houston Chronicle article on the local team’s recent staggers pointed out that said local team has only SIX regular season games remaining. Nah, I said. Then I checked the standings. Holy crap. The same applies to Kansas City. It’s crunch-time, people. Good stuff.

– The semifinals for the Lamar Hunt Head-On/Activ-On U.S. Open Cup (LHH-OA-OUSOC) go down tonight – but all y’all knew that, of course, and planned accordingly. I know what I’m doing tonight (unless the wife says otherwise…yes, dear) and will duly prime myself with previews from both games:

FC Dallas v. Seattle Sounders
MLSnet.com
US Open Cup unofficial site
Nice bit from FC Dallas Updates – especially the crack about Seattle humidity

New England Revolution v. Carolina RailHawks
MLSnet.com
US Open Cup unofficial site

By time of posting, the New England/Carolina game should be close to underway – so I’ll be missing that one – but the Seattle/Dallas Super-Epic-o will air online tonight. Huzzah! I would live blog the game, but…well, I’m not sure how it’s done – on a practical level, I mean. That’s to say, I have an approach in mind – e.g. watch the game and write comments, posting them as they come to me – but that seems like such a pain in the ass. Is that how people do live-blogging when they do it?

Anyway, I’ll probably do my usual thing, wife and kids allowing – e.g. “Brain-Dead Blogging,” where I write down a bunch of crap in a whiskey-juiced haze and foist it on all y’all later. Continue reading

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Many (Tangential) Talking Points: RBNY v. Chicago

As noted below (no need for pingbacks; just scroll down for the good stuff), I hadn’t intended to post the notes I scrawled through one closed eye while watching New York edge the Chicago Fire 1-0. But since it contained a couple Big Picture, Major League Soccer (MLS)-wide talking point that bubbled up as I watched, it seemed worth passing on to the curious. A personal favorite came in the 35th minute, when I concluded that Cuauhtemoc Blanco is better for the league long-term than David Beckham: he brings this whole pro-wrestling villain vibe to games – just awesome to watch.

There are many more besides, good, conversation/argument-starting talking points (like the one on Osorio coming to coach). Enjoy.

Here goes…and, as always, I’m not promising coherence and anything not lifted from my notes verbatim appears in parentheses: Continue reading

MLS Week 22 Perspecto-Scope: Statements of Intent

It was a weekend of statements.  From DC United’s “knock this battery off my shoulder…bitches,” through Red Bull New York’s, “don’t call it a come-back,” all the way down to the Los Angeles Galaxy reeling out a quiet “Yeah…it can get worse, actually” while longingly eyeing the last day of the regular season, the league looks to be gradually sorting itself out.

Then again, a couple key games ended in ties, thereby giving ambiguity another day in Major League Soccer (MLS).

I caught a few games this weekend and would have typed them up – specifically, Red Bull v. Chicago, which turned out to be the most educational of this weekend’s games – but, between family and squelching various crises, too much time slipped by to post them.  It’s a shame in a way…they were good notes….but this perspective piece will have to do.  May as well start with the boldest statement… Continue reading

US Squad Selection to Face Brazil on September 9th

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard (Everton FC), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Looking towards the future, it’s good to see Seitz this early but shouldn’t we keep giving Guzan chances? Especially in a competitive atmosphere such as this? Doesn’t really matter as Howard will start and most likely play all 90.  

Defenders (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

Many were itching for Pearce to be included and those seem to be the same people calling for a disbanding of the usual Bocanegra/Onyewu central pairing. Pearce won’t get time is my guess, but Simek will (who might be regretting his contract extension with Sheff Wednesday right about now). Spector is trying to hold on to his spot in West Ham’s line-up, but it is getting increasingly hard – a good showing against Brazil could up his persuasion power. Most likely will be Spector, Boca, Onyewu, Cherundolo…

Midfielders (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)

Dempsey is down as a midfielder but will most likely work up top with Donovan. Both Beasley and Dempsey have rapidly increased their perceived value in Europe these past couple weeks as Dempsey has 2 g, 2 a on the year and Beasley has several as well. Convey is still being ignored, but is slowly making his way back into the Royals set-up. Feilhaber is still in transition, but Bradley has found a place in a very inconsistent Heerenveen side. My guess is Beasley, Mastroeni, Bradley, Feilhaber (Ives thinks Wolff will play right wing and he could very well be right, as Feilhaber isn’t fully fit). 

Forwards (4): Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich)

Crappy form as of late for the Wizards speaks nothing of Arnaud and EJ. Eddie Johnson’s acrobatic goal this past weekend was the only real upside of lopsided loss to Real Salt Lake. Arnaud has racked up 4 g, 6 a so far this year, but many think there are others who deserve this call-up. I think if he gets time, people are gonna like him. Never stops working and makes rather good decisions most of the time (not going to change the face of the game, but will certainly keep it going in the right direction). Donovan needs an injection of confidence as this losing thing could start hurting him at the international level. 

What is your starting XI? And how do you think they can stack up against the squad Dunga brings? 

French Ligue One: Lyon keeps grabbing the headlines with Benzema in the spotlight

Lyon used three unanswered goals in less than 10 minutes to overcome a 2-0 Le Mans lead. The goals were provided by Sidney Govou (71st min), Karim Benzema (74th), and Liverpool/Aston Villa castaway Milan Baros (78th) respectively as OL looks less than dominant this year. Le Mans opened the scoring thanks to Stephane Sessengon as he closed the first half with one and then opened the second half with another. The fact that Lyon looks resilient is dangerous if they decide to become their regular dominant selves again. Benzema looks poised to become the next Ligue One go-to striker and for that, he’s CHI’s player of the week.

Bordeaux kept their upper-table form with a 2-1 win over an upstart Monaco. Monaco barely made a noise and could not withstand a second-half double salvo from Moroccan Marouane Chamakh and Brazilian Wendel.

Nancy keeps winning and they’re not limiting themselves to beating lower table sides. This time the victim was Saint-Etienne, 2-0 with goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Carlos Kim. Kim gave them the lead in the 11th minute and Fortune put it away in the 85th. Nancy is proving tough to beat. As they sit clear above the rest by 2 points, with a game in tow.

Rennes and Lille fought it out to a 2-2 draw as Etienne Didot had a great game for Stade Rennais and the wanted Michel Bastos provided the 76th minute equalizer for Lille. Strasbourg and Lorient played to a 0-0 tie, while Valenciennes and Metz did the same.

Toulouse rebounded from a nasty loss to Liverpool in the midweek Champions League qualifiers to push Auxerre even closer to the bottom. Johan Elmander and Moussa Sissoko did the damage late in the game as Auxerre sat helpless, absorbing another loss and boasting a -13 goal difference.

On Sunday, Marseille and Paris St-Germain played to a 1-1 draw with all of the scoring being done within 20 minutes. Djibril Cisse scored his first Ligue One goal of the year but Pegguy Luyindula replied no more than 10 minutes later. Despite inconsistent form to start the season, Lyon is still ahead of those originally predicted to be their biggest competitors this season. If Marseille and PSG don’t get it together, Lyon could lift their 7th.

Also on Sunday, Nice needed just one from Baky Kone to beat Racing Lens, who are off to a winless start in 5 games, 1-0.

Standings