Trades: No Go for Guzano! Can Twellman Find Relief?! Polish Rumors!

Taking them briefly and in turn:

– Still-Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s move to Aston Villa died this morning at the hands of a work permit denial (hat-tip, for me anyway, My Soccer Blog). That sucks for Guzano, to be sure, but at least Chivas USA has a goalkeeper, right? (As their roster shows, they are a little thin at that position.)

– Speaking of My Soccer Blog – and not parenthetically this time – Mike H turns another take on the New England Revolution’s now-annual tradition of blocking a move for one of their players. As we all know, this is Taylor Twellman we’re talking about and Mike covers the familiar dynamics of his situation – and well. But he also pulls the future into (back?) the discussion with this passage:

“Add that to the additional chances he will have with the national team and next year the offer might be a bit too much for the Revs to ignore.”

The question turns on the part in bold: how many chances will Twelllman get with the national team? Hasn’t he had enough by now? How many more chances would you give him? In other words, if his prospects turn on his national team future, should he call it a day and plan for eminence grise status with the Revs.

(UPDATE: Further reading: Blue Blooded Journo offers a smart, near-term alternative scenario for Twellman’s future….even if it sounds too generous for the Kraft Kabal.)

– Finally, Luis Arroyave (who, I just learned from reading his bio, started with FHM! Fascinating!) mentions that the Chicago Fire have entered the “footsie stage” of trying to bring Tomacz Frankowski to the team. This sounds a ways off, but I imagine the Fire would like help at forward a little quicker than Patrick Nyarko’s learning curve (unless, of course, that goes sensationally well).

Bonus Material: Two today.

Jesus Held Hostage!  OK, it’s just a statue.  The payoff comes when the newscaster reads the ransom note.

– A really, really frickin’ stupid exercise device…almost has to be a spoof…

A Trade that MUST Happen…plus a round-up of some others…

MLSRumors, god bless ’em – and do note the title, people – posted the coolest damn rumor today about a delicious mega-deal in the works between DC United and the Colorado Rapids. Here are the details and, so far as I’ve seen, they’re posted only on MLSRumors:

“The buzz now is that there may be a trade involving Christian Gomez and the Rapids’s Terry Cooke, Pablo Maestroeni or another player.”

Please, god, let this happen. With Cooke, DC fans would finally have the width they (or at least The DCenters) believe they need and, with Mastroeni, they should get valuable leadership and grit (and, yeah, the occasional unhinged, ejectable attack on an opposition player). For the Rapids, bringing Gomez to Colorado provides hope, if only of the slimmest kind, that fans at The Dick will witness something remotely resembling attractive soccer; add Pat Noonan from New England, perhaps even Ecuador’s Agustin Delgado (for the record, Black Panther seems cool to this one), and things get a little less remote….until they all pick up injuries and take Fernando Clavijo’s job with them to rot on the physio’s table (along with what’s left of his self-respect and his hair).

Most important of all, god, this trade needs to happen because we’ll have no way of knowing what all this would look like if it doesn’t. And I really want to know. Just passing on a wish, sir. The seemingly imminent influx of South American players is nice and all (according to Goff, who cites “sources and reports”: Jose Carvallo, Gonzalo Martinez, Franco Niell, and, possibly, Gonzalo Peralta), but the “Gomez Deal” just seems that little bit more special.

Now, the rest of the trading business for the day…including some I’ve neglected to mention in the past: Continue reading

MLS Rumors Watch, 1-1 (2-1 soon?) + Today’s Latest

Even though the ink is not yet dry on the trade that will send Alecko Eskandarian to Chivas USA, the content of Steve Goff’s direct communication with the forward makes me feel comfortable enough to say they got that one right. That takes them to 1-1 – and Esky sounds happy. Huzzah!

In other news, they’re “90% certain” to go 2-1 on the Claudio Lopez to MLS rumor.

To move this thing forward, I came across a late post yesterday: Toronto FC is after/working on signing some Argentinian dude with dodgy facial hair named Roger; they didn’t rate this one, but I’m going to call it live. This seems to be part of the grand, hush-hush project of making MLS the Argentine League Norte.

Anyway, I’ll post more of today’s rumors in this space as the day progresses…after this sentence.

UPDATE: Tricky, tricky, tricky, so much so that scuttling this Rumor Watch project is tempting. For instance, what to do with the Clint Mathis to Greece thing? For starters, they don’t really treat it like a rumor – it’s more of a report – and multiple sites are reporting it as such (which I’ll be doing myself shortly). So, that won’t count.

I get the same feeling about the Clarence Goodson to some Scandinavian team with a made-up name (IK Start? Ah, bullshit. That’s like IK Let’s Go! C’mon, tell me the real name). Mmm…maybe it’s not so hard. 3rd Degree’s report link to Soccer by Ives ran on something more solid than “making a run” at a job in Norway; then again, Ives’ headline reads pretty firm, “Goodson Says Goodbye.” So, all right, I’ll call this one live – and they’re rating it as a 5…and I’m guessing this will be an easy W for MLS Rumors.

For the record, I’m passing on the expansion city post and the one about Denis Hamlett refusing the first offer from Chicago (though, if he did, good for him). So, for today, I’m only clocking the Clarence Goodson and Roger rumors…plus the ones leftover from yesterday…getting confusing…

UPDATE: Because MLS Rumors tagged it with a 3, the Kenny Cooper to Houston rumor doesn’t rate; damn shame, ’cause that’s a really nifty li’l rumor.  And, because I thought it already happened, and because it seems inevitable, I’m going to spike (e.g. not count) the rumor that has Carlos Pavon out of LA.  This one, however, does rate:

– Joseph Ngwenya to some Austrian joint (rated: 4).

EPL Daily 1.9: Yanks transfer news hits the other side of the pond…

BRAD GUZAN: Brad Guzan’s transfer speculaton hit SkySports for the first time adding credibility from both sides of the pond to his potential suitors. Celtic is the most recently named party interested in the shotstopper, while we have all heard the rumors involving Arsenal. Some other suitors include Liverpool, Auxerre, and Greek champions Olympiakos. In terms of playing time, Guzan’s best bet would be at Auxerre where 26-year old Olivier Sorin mans the net. They have Lyon-product Remy Riou as back-up, but neither have impressed much as Auxerre has sputtered to 15th place. Liverpool and Arsenal would be a grooming back-up role, as would Celtic. The difference with the Hoops, however, is that Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc has recently signed a new deal with a reported “get-out” clause in which if a suitor comes along and gives the right price (number set in the contract), Boruc would move on. Guzan could go in, learn under the wing of Boruc, and wait for his exit someday soon. Olympiakos could be an ideal place as well as age is what will wipe out the two top goalkeepers there now – Antonios Nikopolidis (36) and Tomislav Butina (33). The real question is: if Guzan leaves, what happens at Chivas?

TWELLMAN: Though Preston North End isn’t the EPL, a Twellman bid is something every American fan wants to hear about. PNE would be a fantastic place for Twellman to restart his European career, but the bid was already rebuffed according to Mike Burns. SkySports caught wind of it and placed the transfer fee at $1.5 million.

JOHNSON: Soccer365 has gotten us all confused now. What is different at Derby County (other than a record MLS transfer fee) now that Eddie Johnson would even consider a move to Derby? All things considered, a lot has happened since this article (1/4/2008) was published. Manager Paul Jewell brought in Argentinian striker Emmanuel Villa for $4 million making it unlikely for EJ’s destination to be Derby. There are others interested out there though……..

MOMO SISSOKO: Ever since Javier Mascherano came to Anfield, the big defensive midfielder from Mali hasn’t had the best of times. Raw talent left unused, however, never goes unnoticed as many of the top European clubs watched Momo has he grew not unhappy, but underappreciated, with the Reds. The problem with Liverpool is Mascherano is a question mark in his own right with his contract status pending, so expect Benitez to beg for Sissoko to stick around a little bit longer. Unhappy though? Enter Juventus…

CARLING CUP: Chelsea 2, Everton 1

Everton went down 1-0 early to a Shaun Wright-Phillips 26th minute finish, but all hopes were revived when Jon Obi Mikel unleashed a ridiculous studs-up tackle on Phil Neville which had him sent to the showers. Chelsea was left to survive 40 minutes a man down. Kind of funny isn’t it? – Chelsea fights to keep Mikel around for at least one more game heading into the African Nations Cup and the Nigerian gets himself sent off, offering no help at all. The Blues paid for it as Yakubu fired home a shot, upper-90 after a scrum in the penalty box with about 15 minutes to go. Then it happened…a goofy cross in injury time left Shaun Wright-Phillips unevenly matched in an aerial battle against the big Joleon Lescott. SWP jumped in full-force forcing Lescott in cringe, close his eyes, and head the ball into his own net. A 1-0 win will do it back at Goodison Park, but Everton will be without their rock in the back, Joseph Yobo. Chelsea will be hurting as well, but in terms of depth, one can never bet against the Blues.

Today’s Carling Cup Semifinal – Arsenal v. Tottenham (expect a young Arsenal squad to take the pitch against the Spurs)

Why Not an Interview with Jonathan Bornstein!

Even with the transfer window open, not much has happened so far except for the transfer of Ever Banega to Valencia. No one wants to hear anything about Danny Mills being sent to cellar-dwellars Derby County on loan or Goldenballs training with Arsenal. Instead, here is an interview with Jonathan Bornstein from about 6 months – I posted it on my old site and figured those who missed it, could grab a read. Plus, we haven’t heard from Bornstein in a while. I hope to start up the interviews again sometime soon. Enjoy.

Jonathan Bornstein

Jon Bornstein has had, so far, a whirlwind of a domestic and international career. 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year honors, then a goal in his first game with the US Men’s National Team. Bornstein has goals way above that, but for now his appreciation for where he is, what he has done, and who he gets to play with far exceeds the ambition he has. Undoubtedly, Jon has a bright future – he’s Cal-Pomona and UCLA product – and has taken advantage of the fact that has stayed local, surrounding himself with a family and friend support group. Drafted by Chivas USA in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, he was taken 37th and considered a ‘sleeper’ pick, if anything. His versatility proved key has he won himself a position in a formidable Chivas USA lineup. Just recently, Bornstein has been called up by former coach Bradley for his second stint at the international scene, the Gold Cup starting June 6th, 2007.

What kind of youth soccer background did you have growing up in California?In California I started out playing soccer in Carson. It was a little recreation league that my dad coached me at. After that I moved to Los Alamitos and played AYSO in region 159. After playing all stars and spring select, my parents figured I was good enough for club soccer and that is when I joined a club in Long Beach. From Long Beach I moved clubs to the Irvine Strikers when I was 15. That is where I feel that I became a much better youth player.

Being from California, attending UCLA, and on a squad of predominantly Hispanic players [Chivas USA], how is your Spanish?
My Spanish is nowhere near fluent, but it feels like I am learning more and more each day. I took Spanish while I attended high school and college, which helps out, a little bit. I always tell people that I can understand a lot more than I can speak.

You played for two colleges throughout your whole NCAA career, CSU Pomona and UCLA, how was the transition there?

The transition was rather easy. I felt that if I wanted to become a professional soccer player, I was going to need to transfer to a top of the line Division I school. Cal Poly Pomona was tough competition, but not as tough as UCLA. I knew a lot of the team at UCLA before I went there so all the friends I had on the team made the transition real easy.

How important is it to be so close to home? You have had the fortunate opportunity to stay in the same state (regardless of how gigantic it is) and that must supply you with a huge support system.

Yah, I love playing in southern California. It gives most of my family the opportunity to come see me play whenever they want to. For almost all of them, it is just a drive down the 405 freeway to catch a game. Not to mention all the friends and teammates that are able to come watch as well. I have always stayed local for soccer (school, club, etc…) and so I have built up quite a support group. I feel lucky to have been able to stay local.

What other teams do you follow closely? Players?

I try to watch as much soccer as I can whenever I get the chance. My favorite teams to watch are Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, and many other European Teams. I personally like it when Champions League is going on…exciting times. Some of my favorite players to watch are the guys who play on those teams. Ronaldhino, Christiano Ronaldo, Robben, and Messi, are just a few to name.

Who are you closest to on Chivas USA?

I would say that I am closest to Lawson Vaughn. We hang out a lot off the field and we even room together on the road. He is kind of a stinky guy, but overall he is a great guy. I am stoked we both got drafted when we did.

Any rookie horror stories that, after a year, you can now reflect on? Or were the veterans mostly upstanding gentlemen?

Overall I would say that the Veterans were very easy going and great guys to play with and learn from. Although throughout the year they make you get the goals, the balls, and everything else. There was one time when they played this pretty big practical joke on me. They set up this interview and had told me that I got rookie of the year. This was about a month before they actually announced the award winner. They put balloons by my locker, wrote it up on the board, told the whole team, and wouldn’t stop talking about it. After training, the interviewer came up to me and started asking me how it felt to win the award and as I was answering, they dumped a Gatorade jug on me and told me I got “PUNKED!!!” It was pretty embarrassing but all in good fun you know.

How exactly does the sharing of Home Depot Center work? Do you see Galaxy players quite a bit?

We run into the Galaxy players just about everyday…in the hallways, in the gym, in the parking lot, and also out on the fields. I would say that the biggest thing that sharing the home depot center does is that it creates tension between the teams. That is why El Super Clasico is always so intense.

Is there anyway to explain to those not able to make a SuperClasico (let alone play in one), what is the atmosphere on and off the field like?

It is pretty hard to explain what goes on during a Super Clasico game, but let me just start by saying it is out of control. The atmosphere in the Home Depot Center is electric. The fans are constantly yelling and rooting for their team to win. Friends who have attended games have told me that they have even seen little fights break out. Honestly though, to play in one of those games is amazing and no real words could describe how it feels.

How has the transition from Bob Bradley to Preki been? We have heard there a great many similarities…

Overall, the transition has been rather smooth. Preki was our assistant coach last year so all the players got to know him pretty well. I think that he also picked up a few things from coaching under Bob last year and that is probably why they have many great similarities.

Are there any notable differences between your rookie year and your sophomore year in the MLS? Either on the field, off the field, in the off-season?

Well on the field there are a few differences. One of those would be my responsibility on the team. Last year I was a new player and was trying to adjust to the league and just being a professional. This year I have a better idea of what it means to play and so there is more expected from me. Off the field it is basically the same, other than the fact that I know most of the guys very well and therefore hang out with them more than I did last year because I was just getting to know them.

What is the worst stadium to play in fan-wise?

Fan wise, I feel that playing against the Galaxy, when it is one of their home games, is the worst to play against. They are always screaming foul things at you and trying to get inside of your head.

How amazing was it to score your first international goal in your first appearance for the US Men’s National Team?

It was truly one of the greatest moments of my life. Not only had a dream finally come true, which was to play with the National team, but I scored a goal in that game also. Not to mention that my entire family was watching because the game took place in my hometown (HDC). So I would say that it truly was an amazing moment in my life.

You have seen time at many positions and excelled at many, how much has your versatility helped your career? Did you have that versatility at UCLA?

I would say that my versatility is the only reason that I was able to see time on the field at all last year. Prior to last season, I had never played fullback/defense. All of the spots on Chivas were basically taken last year and left fullback was the only one that wasn’t set. Bob Bradley played me there in a couple pre season games and it turned out that I could actually play in that spot. So basically because I was able to transition to left fullback I was able to get on the field and see some success. At UCLA I also played all the halfback positions and forward so I would say I was versatile there also.

Coupled with the question above, what do you feel your best attributes are as a player? What did you work on most this off-season?

In the off-season I worked on my one on one defending and trying to get stronger physically. Those were two things that I noticed I needed improvement on. Other than that I felt that my best attributes as a player are my ability to get forward from a defensive position and the speed that I bring to the game.

Jon, thank you again and good luck with the rest of the season!

MLS Daily Sweeper 12.20: Atiba Harris Traded; RSL’s Future in Doubt*

* I think the punchline here is that this, literally, constitutes the biggest news of the day…at least in the soccer-playing world. Steve Goff’s Soccer Insider won blog of the year from someone or another – and that’s cool, ’cause he’s really good – but…I don’t know. It is what it is. I don’t think much about awards.

In totally unrelated news, I think I’ll can the Sweeper for tomorrow, my last posting day of 2007, in order to post the best look back on the year I can manage given the virtual war I’ve waged against my brain cells…the bastards must pay…

– Getting back to the soccer stuff, it is indeed true that Real Salt Lake (RSL) traded Atiba Harris for…let’s see…a six-pack of warm Joose. No, it was for a draft pick, the 37th overall…FYI, I’d take that six-pack…even without being completely sure Joose comes in six packs. Chivas USA Offside covered this and led with concerns about RSL’s team-buidling philosophy; RSLFM Report clocked the Harris trade plus much, much, much more. To follow up on some of the comments left on The Offside post, I’m of the camp that sees Harris as a midfield destroyer.

The Offside Rules flags Austrian Markus Schopp’s retirement…an event that came a year too late, really. But SF gets to the important stuff as well: Red Bull New York now has some rebuilding money for that defense.

3rd Degree fleshes out some chatter into a report on some promising players that FC Dallas might sign from brother-club Club Atletico Paranaense of Brazil

– Turning to the bigger picture – e.g. the U.S. Men’s National Team – Clemente Lisi compiled a list of eight players who deserve a look-in with the full national squad for And, topping that list….dammit: Eddie Robinson. So, yeah, I give up: Robinson deserves a shot. It’s not like the defense looks strong and settled of late; anyone who has watched the U.S. in 2007 should appreciate that – and that goes double for the center. So, by all means, give “E-Rob” his shot.

– Fun stuff now: The Black Panther Blog linked to a site where one can discover his (or, presumably, her) Brazilian soccer name. Mine was “Beta.” And, as always, my number was 13.

– Finally, for some reason or another, Oz City has been poking around alternate logos for the Kansas City Wizards. They did something yesterday (I think), but it was the big rollout of options posted today that finally prompted me to post it. No offense intended to anyone on that site, but all the options look freakin’ awful…or, more politely, none fit my scheme. Personally, when I think “wizard” I think heavy metal – hence, something inspired by the first image one gets in a google search for the word “wizards”; again, that’s not the actual image, but inspiration for it. Even within what I presume to be the sporting world, the Waco Wizards came up with something better. Still, something like this, or even this, comes closer to what I’d paste on the Wizards’ jerseys.

Then again, I’m a big fan of the current, um, “rainbow theme” and all that implies…even if it lacks the “Welcome to the Bathhouse” vibe that makes Columbus Crew’s badge the pick of MLS.

Daily Sweeper, 12.7: Who Is This Owen Perkins*? (+ Meat Cyborgs)

(* I want to begin by noting that I’m only having fun with Owen Perkins’ work for; he’s the guy who wrote their “5 Questions” piece about the Colorado Rapids. In all honesty, I just don’t get angry enough about soccer to shit all over someone’s opinion. Make fun of it? Good Lord, yes. But shit on? Not sincerely, no. In any case, the ire in this piece are directed at the Rapids’ organization and not at Mr. Perkins.)

– Who the hell is this Owen Perkins? I’ve been staring at his name trying to find the anagram for “Fernando Clavijo” that I know is lurking in there, but no luck so far. As many of you no doubt know, are getting into their season reviews (and why read theirs when you can ride mine; look at the sidebar) and the “5 Big Questions” pieces heading into 2008. Having read Perkins’ piece (of poop), I can find no explanation for such a thoroughly chirpy look ahead unless Perkins is Fernando Clavijo freelancing under a pen-name. So, by way of public service, I’m re-writing Clavi…er, Perkins 5 Questions piece, but with the proper answers to replace his gibberish:

What do the Rapids need to do to reach the MLS Cup final in ’08?

Wrong question, doofus. The Rapids missed the playoffs this year. This should read, “What the hell do the Rapids need to do to reach the playoffs in ’08…and to stop insulting their supporters, who lapped Job in the suffering stakes some time in July.

What was the team’s best moment in 2007?

They had good moments? Try the final whistle to the final game of 2007.

Who made the most improvement over the course of the season?

OK, he got this one right. Colin Clark.

What reserves are most ready to move into the team?

These are the guys who won their second consecutive reserve division title? OK, make those guys the new starting eleven. Can’t hurt, right?

What area of the team needs the most improvement?

Just the soccer part. The rest is going swell.

And then I read rumors about the team mulling a trade for Pablo Mastroeni. Yeah, why the hell not? I mean, it’s not like Kyle Beckerman’s gone or anything.

In a semi-related note, this kind of thing has inspired a major shift in editorial policy…more on that later… Continue reading