Michael Bradley scores 2 more, brings total to 18!

Bradley brings his tally for the season up to 18 overall, 16 in the Eredivisie. His goals started and finished Heerenveen’s scoring and provided Heerenveen with a huge 3 points as the season begins to wind down. The win gives the Frisians momentum heading into next week’s clash versus Ajax and possession of a three game win streak. Bradley hasn’t just surpassed DaMarcus Beasley and Eric Wynalda for most goals in a season for a Yank Abroad. He has destroyed it with several games still to go. The three points puts them up and tied for fourth and six points from 2nd. Between Bradley and the other youth phenom on the team, Miralem Sulejmani, have really made names for themselves this year. It’ll be interesting to see where they end up in the summer. For Bradley, a move is expected but Sulejmani could stay another year or so.

Check out his second goal – an acrobatic sidekick:

Advertisements

UCL Game 5’s: Rangers hang on – Beasley severely injured

Group E

Barcelona 2, Lyon 2

Barca clinched even without the services of Thierry Henry.  Could have won if it wasn’t for Brazilian veteran Juninho Pernambucano who snuck in a brace. His performance was overshadowed by the antics of Barca coach Frank Rijkaard (soon to be punished) and the penalty conversion of Leo Messi which put Barca in the lead 2-1. Juninho, however, should have had three and had that happened, the spotlight would have been all his.

VfB Stuttgart 3, Rangers 2

Beasley started and caused a bit of trouble but had to be stretchered off in the 50th minute. This came only 15 minutes after Lee McCulloch had to leave the game as well due to injury. Still the Rangers fought back to a 2-2 deadlock only to see their salvo go to waste after a Ciprian Marica 85th minute strike. There is no definite diagnosis on Beasley’s injury after his collision with the Stuttgart keeper Rafael Schafer, but manager Walter Smith has called it ‘serious’ and that doesn’t bode well. Without Beasley, it was fellow CONCACAF man Pavel Pardo who stole the show – scoring a goal and assisting on another.

Group F

AS Roma 4, Dynamo Kiev 1

It was the Mirko Vucinic show in the Ukraine as his double added with Panucci and Giuly strikes broke wide open an otherwise somewhat even game. Vucinic made his mark about 40 minutes in after captain Francesco Totti had to leave the game with injury. Kiev’s loss highlighted a pretty dismal day for Eastern European teams.

Manchester United 2, Sporting Lisbon 1

Maximum points. That’s about all you can ask from a Wayne Rooney-less team. It certainly wasn’t easy though as the Devils had to rely on Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics again. The Portuguese midfielder scored on a free kick 25-yards out in injury time against his own former club. Not bad for the dramatics.

Group G

Inter Milan 3, Fenerbahce 0

Three late goals from Julio Cruz, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Luis Jimenez sufficiently dispatched the Turkish champions. A quick start for the Turks has been all but wiped away as PSV sits only a point adrift and CSKA Moscow (Fenerbahce’s next opponent) are due for a win.

PSV Eindhoven 1, CSKA Moscow 0

A Jefferson Farfan strike in the 39th minute allowed PSV to continue fighting for a spot in the knockout rounds. They were helped by Fenerbahce’s dismantling at the hands of Inter Milan but the only problem is…..PSV has Inter Milan last. CSKA Moscow is close to ending a pretty miserable UCL run and this result was the perfect example as the Russians outshot PSV 15-4.

Group H

FC Sevilla 3, Arsenal 1

Both are through but FC Sevilla gained the momentum. That happens when you shut down a potent Gunner squad that hadn’t lost since April 2007. You could even say that Sevilla dominated – out-shooting and out-possessing Arsene Wenger’s boys. All that didn’t matter much though as Arsenal was already through to the knockout rounds.

Slavia Prague 1, Steaua Bucharest 1 

An Eastern European battle with a spot in the UEFA Cup knockout rounds on the line. Prague came in with the upper-hand and left with it intact. It took until the 78th minute to ensure that spot though.  Young Marek Suchy and center midfielder Michel Svec drove the game and provided some decency in an otherwise ugly game for the Czechs.

UEFA Champions League: Beasley, Adu and fifty more matches for you.

Yesterday’s Games 

 

Rangers 1, Crvena Zvezda 0

A last gasp Nacho Novo strike helped Rangers survive a physical onslaught and leave Ibrox with a 1 goal lead and a firm away goal advantage (in the sense that they kept Red Star to zero). DaMarcus Beasley worked a solid 70 minutes or so getting beaten, punched, and dropkicked along the way.

Benfica 2, FC Copenhagen 1

We all expected minutes, but I don’t think anyone expected Freddy Adu to enter Champions League competition just 37 minutes into his first match. The 18-year old had his problems – mostly nerves and positioning issues – but at times seemed to really flow with the game, which unfortunately was not up to snuff for a Benfica that knows they’re much better than that how they played. Portuguese great Rui Costa provided the brace – one in the first and one in the second half – to help Benfica head to Copenhagen with a goal lead in tow. Canadian Atiba Hutchinson got the goal for Copenhagen.

 

Lazio 1, Dinamo Bucharest 1

The Romanian champions head back home feeling good about this one as Lazio, as I heard, looked like utter crap. It certainly didn’t help matters in the last 20 minutes when 2 men were sent off – goalscorer Massimo Mutarelli (2nd caution) and Valon Behrami (straight red). True star of the game was Dinamo goalie Bogdon Lobont – long time Romanian international – as he was bombarded throughout much of the game and kept the Romanians in it.

 

Valencia 3, Elfsborg 0

Vicente, David Villa, and Fernando Morientes provided the firepower, while Elfsborg fizzled away from home. I had mentioned the word minnows and they played like some. The score should have been 5, 6 to nothing but the Valencia frontmen missed several sitters. Expect Valencia to make it to the semifinals this year – on the performances of Silva, Vicente, Villa, Morientes…wow, these guys could

 

TODAY’s MATCHES

Toulouse vs. Liverpool

Rafa and his new boys will be tested by a Toulouse team coming off a sound victory over defending champs Olympique Lyonnais.

 

Spartak Moscow vs. Celtic

I can see Spartak winning this one and eventually moving on as Celtic hasn’t caught their stride as of yet.

 

Tampere United vs. Rosenborg

The Finnish champions versus the Norwegian champions in an all-out, down-and-dirty Scandinavian battle.

 

BATE Borisov vs. Steaua Bucharest

Bulgarian champions versus the Romanian runner-ups…not many will be watching this game, but if Steaua plays anything like Dinamo Bucharest did yesterday – it could be a good one.

 

Fenerbahce vs. Anderlecht

Roberto Carlos’ new squad looks to dispatch of the Belgian champions and probably will do so.

 

FK Sarajevo vs. Dynamo Kiev

I love these Eastern European match-ups, but look for Shevchenko’s Kiev to dominate in this one.

 

FC Zurich vs. Besiktas

Switzerland vs. Turkey. Zurich looks to rebound after starting the Swiss Super League season off with a loss.

 

Ajax vs. Slavia Prague

Ajax is very vulnerable right now – getting thoroughly destroyed in the transfer market by fellow Eredivisie contenders. A new transfer kitty, however, came in with the sale of Wesley Sneijder for $37 million. Does that effect this game? No. Not yet at least.

 

Red Bull Salzburg vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

The Ukranian powerhouse now boasts Copa America’s and the Gold Cup’s revelation – Nery Castillo and they look to use that against the Austrian champions.

 

Werder Bremen vs. Dinamo Zagreb

Bremen lost a lot this offseason but still should have enough to beat Dinamo at home. Away – however – is a different matter.

 

FC Sevilla vs. AEK Athens

Ryan’s team takes on a new-look AEK Athens team who lured Rivaldo from Greek champions Olympiakos. Frederic Kanoute, however, signed on until 2010 boosting the morale and calming the nerves of many supporters. Look for Sevilla to show they’re ready for the upcoming season.

 

Sparta Prague vs. Arsenal

Everybody is talking about how Arsenal is going to have an even worse year than last year. They could be right – and Sparta Praha certainly isn’t going to help one bit. It’s Tomas Rosicky vs. his old team.

The 2nd Leg of the Third Round of Qualifying will take place on August 28th and 29th, 2007.

UEFA Champions League: Third Qualifying Round Kicks Off

Rangers vs. Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
Ibrox

DaMarcus Beasley and his new club will face the Serbian champs at home in the first leg. With already one goal in the competition and the possibility of more racial taunts coming today, we could probably expect a hat-trick from Beasley (only mildly joking). Beasley and Jean-Claude Darcheville’s pace should prove invaluable and ultimately the deciding factor as (incoming generalization) most Serbian defenders have strength but little speed. If Alan Hutton can actually stay on the pitch this time, it would make it much easier for them. Red Star snuck by the Estonian champions FC Levadia Tallinn on away goals in the 2nd round of qualifying, while Rangers beat Montegrin champions FK Zeta soundly.

Benfica vs. FC Copenhagen
Estadio de Luz

The Danish champions look to spoil Freddy Adu’s potential Champions League debut. In various news sources, it looks as if Adu could get the last 20 minutes or so to work with as they stressed that he has only had 7 full days of training. Veteran Swede Marcus Allback (also a former Aston Villa striker) will be the one to cause havoc in the Benfica danger zone. Benfica will most likely not have the full service of Nuno Gomes, but looks to counter that with home advantage and hopefully an impact from new youngster Angel di Maria. Watch the young’uns shine.

Other matchs:

 Lazio vs. Dinamo Bucharest

Italian Serie A stalwarts versus the Romanian champions. Look for Goran Pandev to make his presence well known, while Dinamo will threaten with the likes of Catalin Munteanu (the La Liga/Atletico bust) and former (yet very brief) Fulham Frenchman Fabrice Fernandes.

Valencia vs. Elfsborg

Sharks vs. Minnows in this clash of the Spanish giants with the Swedish champions. Elfsborg’s drive is purely on the backs of Swedish internationals Samuel Holmen, hometown (Boras, Sweden for those asking) hero Matthias Svensson and former So’ton man Anders Svensson. Add that to the recent quenching of a 40 odd year Championship thirst last year. When compared to Quique Flores’ Los Ches, you see the contrast. David Villa, Fernando Morientes, and new signing Nikola Zigic will look to stamp out any hopes that Elfsborg has at Estadio Mestalla to reach the group stages. Zigic is a rather fresh signing though, he’ll most likely not play.

(My) MLS News Wire:

Today’s Top Three:

– Tucked inside Ryan Hunt’s weekly wrap of Major League Soccer (MLS; the column is titled Free Kicks), there’s this interesting detail about the rest of Chivas USA’s schedule: ” Of [Chivas USA’s] 13 matches left, 10 are in the Home Depot Center.” Why does that matter? Check the standings and look under the “Home” column on Chivas’ line: yessir, 6-0-1, with 2 goals allowed.

– Kevin McGeehan’s column for USSoccerplayers.com brought offered a mental anti-acid for anyone who agonizes over the “Beckham Effect.” Yes, Virginia, you can make money in soccer…just not that often…

– Confused by the totality of the playoff scheme: Luis Bueno explains it all – specifically, how the seeding stacks up if 5 teams from one conference make the post-season

And, for the record, word of “ape chants” being directed at DaMarcus Beasley, well, that’s just straight-up bullshit. I would have flagged it here, but a refreshing number of people have already made the correct call. Still, call that the official position of this space.

DMB shines for Rangers…FK Zeta fans do not.

DaMarcus Beasley was welcomed to his new club Rangers last Saturday with a 3-0 win against Inverness CT. This game didn’t go off without a hitch however as Beasley was quickly introduced to the physical play that is Scottish Football.

Most clubs are trying to keep tabs on Celtic and Rangers, who are always fighting for the top of the league. Based on the fact that teams can’t spend nearly as much as those two clubs, sometimes clubs use other tactics to even the score. This normally means very physical play, to say the least.

He quipped after the match “It was the first game and I was up against guys who were definitely bigger than me.”

Well Beasley didn’t have to deal with any Scots on Tuesday, but instead settled into his new Rangers kit netting the loan goal against FK Zeta in a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night.

Rangers move on to the third round 3-0 on aggregate.

Beasley managed to put in a low hard shot in the 81st minute from about 22 yards out. The goal wasn’t necessary for the Gers to move on, but it was a shining moment for Beasley with his new Scottish side.

Rangers boss Walter Smith said after the game, ‘Our squad has plenty of new players, and I must say they did well. ‘

I didn’t get a chance to see this game, but look forward to the opportunity to watch Beasley at Ibrox this season.

The definate losers of this game were the FK Zeta fans. Remember that whole push to get rid of Racism in Soccer? Well apparently it didn’t reach the Zeta fans. Beasley and teammate Jean-Claude Darcheville were subject to racist actions during the game.

Beasley addressed the incident after the game.

‘That’s something FIFA and UEFA must fight with, and solve.’

This is the 21st century, and we are still having trouble with it. ‘That’s not normal, not just for us, black players, that’s not normal for all other normal people.

‘I’ve faced that kind of situation throughout my whole career in Europe, not so much during my playing days in England, but even in Holland I’ve had similar problems.

I can’t imagine what players must go through during these racist chants and taunts. Yelling at another player because he is on another team is one thing, but bringing race into the equation is simply out of the question. UEFA and FIFA need to investigate and fine the team.

But no matter how rude and degrading the chants were, Beasley ended up getting the last word, without saying anything.