MLS Daily Sweeper, 12.12: Gimme a Boswell for a Cochrane

If I learned just one thing yesterday, it was that waiting till the afternoon only caused storms in my brain. Hence, the Sweeper returns to its normal date and time. Not that this affects anybody, but I’m also considering changing my online handle…more on that when I figure it out.

– Here I thought Steve Goff’s recap for the “real” Washington Post (that’s as opposed to the blog they run to satiate the 24-hour cycle) on yesterday’s madness drained the power of the trade whirlwind currently tossing about DC United. As it turns out, a little dust-devil spun off the mother storm, sending Bobby Boswell to Houston in exchange for their back-up ‘keeper Zach Wells and “a future draft pick.” This gives us one more fact on the ground than we had yesterday and, thus, something concrete to talk about. Bueno.

Part of me is sad I won’t get that live experiment I wanted that would compare DC’s defense with Joe Cannon in goal instead of Troy Perkins. On the upside, I get to replace that with finding out just how good a defender Boswell is. To lay down my marker, I think Boswell will do well in Houston’s back-line; that admittedly relies on the theory that the man only needed a little guidance back there, but I think we can all agree that the shit is tight on the Dynamo back line. And even if Boswell doesn’t replace Patrick Ianni outright, this gives Houston a pretty solid back-up. The bastards…

But there’s so, so much more going on with DC. Another Goff post has Perkins’ move abroad looking near-certain (the same post clocks reports that Guillermo Barros Schelotto might return to Argentina; you’d think this would deflate my interest in following the Columbus Crew, but nothing would be further from the truth; this actually makes them more interesting; sorry, long digression). And, if MLS Rumors can be believed (still haven’t run the percentages on that) we should be hearing, oh, today, that Juan Sebastian Veron will announce his intentions to leave Argentina’s Estudiantes for DC United; the rumor/report says more stuff will follow in short order, but let’s see how that first one goes. Perhaps now is when I start counting MLS Rumors’ reliability… Continue reading

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CWC: Boca Jrs. 1-0 Etoile Sportive du Sahel…

…um…all I know about this game comes from FIFA.com’s site; here, in fact.  Some jackass (me) blew setting the VCR, entering p.m. where he needed a.m.  (Yeah, I’m still on old technology; I also rocked K-Mart duds through elementary school and rode a hand-me-down girls bike with a peppermint-candy banana seat for years; such trends are powerful, only the details change.)  Sounds like it was a close game.

So, I missed this one.  I’ll try again for tomorrow’s game: AC Milan v. Urawa Red Diamonds.  I’m still pulling for an upset in the Club World Cup; hopefully, Milan will oblige.

EPL Daily 12.12: Maurice Edu abroad!?; Capello done…; Gerrard burgled

Fabio Capello – England’s next skipper. Eurosport says it’s as close as you can get to done. BBC Sport is saying the talks are just beginning. Even Ruud Gullit has thrown in his two cents, saying that the Italian could really make a big impact on English football as long as you don’t expect “sexy football”. The English playing “sexy football”, Ruud? HAH!

No real proof as of yet, but the Maurice Edu to Aston Villa rumors are back!! First, the Daily Mirror (crap). Second, Vital Football. It’s picking up steam, but Martin O’Neill has yet to confirm.

Steven Gerrard joins the list of 6 other Liverpool footballers that have been burgled in the past 18 months. His house was hit while he was in France destroying Marseille. Others? Crouch, Dudek, Agger, Kuyt, Reina. Scary part is, Gerrard’s wife was home at the time – first time someone has been in the house. Lucky no confrontation was involved.

Aston Villa defensive stalwart Olaf Mellberg is ready to snub Martin O’Neill and join Juventus. His contract is up in the summer and pre-contract talks can happen in the January transfer window. His thoughts? “Juventus? I can’t deny it.” Well put. Mellberg’s loss could present some sort of mass defensive exodus as Wilfried Bouma, keeper Thomas Sorensen, and Martin Laursen all are awaiting contract talks but could certainly opt for other opportunities as many will be in line to snatch them up.

UCL: Liverpool, Real Madrid through

Group A

Liverpool 4, Marseille 0

The Reds wasted no time in dismantling Djibril Cisse’s squad. The arrow was pointing in their direction and it wasn’t any clearer than when Gerrard missed an early penalty conversion only to follow it up and put Rafa’s boys in the lead. The rest of the game was symmetrical to say the least. Gerrard in the 4th, Torres in the 11th, and then two in the second half from Babel and Dirk Kuijt. On to the knockout round…

FC Porto 2, Besiktas 0

Jose Mourinho’s former team overcame a disallowed goal early on to put two more in on the Turkish giants. Ricardo Quaresma had a particularly enlightening game, supplying the clincher in the 62nd minute. With Porto’s win, Group A was won, putting Liverpool in second heading into the knockout rounds.

Group B

Chelsea 0, Valencia 0

When your coach writes this game off as nothing more than a ‘distraction’, you know it’s going to be a bore. Avram Grant has his mind set on Arsenal later this week, but the Blues still managed to squeak out 20 shots and keep Los Ches backwheeling on occasion. With a spot already in the knockout rounds, one wonders why Lampard, Terry, and Essien weren’t rested for this one.

Schalke 04 3, Rosenborg 1

Not a shocking result by any means as Rosenborg has gotten their ass handed to them quite a bit during group play. Schalke, however, had to deal with a little bit of a scare pre-match as head coach Mirko Slomka dropped Mladen Krstajic and Ivan Rakitic from the first-team for frequenting the nightclubs. No problem, though, as goals from Kevin Kuranyi, Gerald Asamoah, and Rafinha sealed the deal and a spot in the next round.

Group C

Olympiakos 3, Werder Bremen 0

I knew the Greek champions were strong – but ‘beating Bundesliga contenders 3-0’ strong? I certainly didn’t think so. Call it luck, but all in all, Olympiakos had Ieroklis Stoltidis who finished 2 of the 3 chances he had, sparking the Greek giants to the only real upset of the day. Former Portsmouth man Lomano Lua-Lua started for Olympiakos and caused some trouble up front.

Real Madrid 3, Lazio 1

The veterans struck early for Real Madrid to make sure there was little contest when it came to a knockout-round berth. Raul (man, those ice baths and the altitude ‘sleep’ training might really have saved his career) and Julio Baptista struck before the clock turned 20. Robinho added his touch before half-time and Madrid was cruising. Lazio – with a guy as a dangerous as Goran Pandev – were bound to make things interesting. And they didn’t disappoint. With 10 minutes to go, Pandev scored. Then in the waning minutes, Pepe was called for a handball in the box but Tomasso Rocchi couldn’t do his part in converting the penalty.

Those qualified yesterday:

Olympiakos
Real Madrid
Liverpool
FC Porto
Schalke 04
Chelsea

MLS: Cannon to DC, Ruiz to LA, Gomez to Dallas…screw it. Get me some Pepto.

Now that I’ve wasted 45 minutes trying to sort a trade that recalls nothing so much as sitting on the can waiting for something, um, meaningful to happen, I’m going to let the pros sort this one out.  If someone could kindly contact me when all this is over, I’ll do my best to have something intelligent to say.

MLS Daily Sweeper, 12.11: CWC, CONCACAF, Atlante, TRADE MADNESS…AHH!!

Jesus balls! What a day! So many major and minor things to discuss….best start with the little stuff to warm up. Just like before playing, right?

– One little thing to keep an eye on: I seriously don’t know how teeny-tiny Major League Soccer (MLS) rosters will cope with the scheduling insanity if the powers-that-be follow through with their threat to create a CONCACAF Champions Cup. FC Rocky looked only at Houston’s schedule, but a couple teams will be eating the same shit sandwich.

– The Club World Cup continues (very early) tomorrow morning (report tomorrow) when Etoile Sportive du Sahel enjoys their one-night stand against Boca Juniors. Naturally, Boca is trotting out the typical “we’re not overlooking anyone” business, but one suspects they’re grinning like cats when no one’s looking. Then again, Jonah Freedman’s look at how the world’s mighty have fallen cautions against complacency.

– Don’t know how far behind I am on this (so much for following the Mexican league…oh wait, I couldn’t, not with my cable package), but Atlante, the latest hot thing in Cancun, Mexico, won the Mexican Primera’s Apertura. That makes them the “other” Mexican club for this spring’s CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, right? Wikipedia says it does – smack at the bottom of their brief history of the club. Do note the move from Mexico City to Cancun in August 2007. Luis Bueno wrote a nice recap of Atlante’s accomplishment as well. But the most interesting thing to come out of any of these pieces appears at the bottom of that first link – and it doesn’t deal with Atlante so much as MLS’ future prospects in our local, international tournaments:

“One-time models of success, Pachuca have hit rock bottom. The record-setting club lost 1-0 in the opening round of the Club World Cup to little-known Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel. Los Tozos went to Japan who had high expectations, but the club that could do no wrong for most of 2007 — winning the Clausura championship, the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and the Superliga title — has not played well of late and they failed to make any accounting of themselves on the world’s stage.”

So that’s one CONCACAF Champs’ participant sucking wind. Maybe we’ll get a club to the final in 2008?

OK. Now the big stuff (and the accompanying thought-sprawl): Continue reading