Tuesday: Champion’s League, Dale Murphy, More…

We’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming here shortly at TSG.

Dale Murphy...

• Kyle Beckerman, out for Wednesday Concacaf Champion’s League.

According to RSL GM Garth Laerway, “In the 37-game unbeaten streak at home we’ve played 10 times without Kyle Beckerman. We’re 7-0-3. So 10 out of 10 times when we’ve been in this position, needing the result we need we’ve succeeded.”

Take a step back. Yes, that’s a tribute to a few things. First, Jason Kreis and his system. Second, the outstanding centerback pairing behind him.

But consider this. Kyle Beckerman–the Dale Murphy of MLS–arguably not quite good enough for Bob Bradley’s USMNT A team. Beckerman, the lone holding midfielder for RSL.

The stat speaks to the power of playing with possession. Limiting chances for the other team when a key central piece of cover is missing.

By the way, loved that Real Salt Lake wore their Club America unis in Monterrey. That was too funny.

• Rumors abound that Jersey kid Giuseppi Rossi is wanted at the Camp Nou. Got to be honest. That’s be a near perfect pick-up for Barca with Rossi able to play up top on the inside or or outside. Yes, I’d like to see it happen.

Next level soon....

• A wonderful piece penned by Tim Ream in the New York Times blog. Ream talks about his mentoring by Mexican international and Barca alum Rafa Marquez. Take this season for it Ream and then apply it as you go to Europe to challenge. Same with you Juan Agudelo. Take the year and then go challenge yourself.

Yesterday, in the commentary, discussion on Liverpool’s up-and-coming backline bookends in Jim Flanagan and Jackie Robinson. They’re 18- and 19-years-old respectfully.

• Mentioned on Twitter yesterday. A “good” goal (1:48) by US national Chris Rolfe over the weekend up in Danishland, but why does the US soccer media feel the need to fawn over each time a US striker scores a goal abroad. Shouldn’t the US players be good enough to do that.

The disposition to “See Striker A score” and “anoint the return of said Striker A” to the national team needs to be curbed. Consistency is what should matter on the value meter. Ironically, or not, Rolfe’s goal game against the 2nd worst Danish league defense against a keeper that FC Nordsjælland was trying to replace at the beginning of the year. Yes, the curmudgeon in us is back.

• Business of soccer:

Last year we gave our MLS Player of the Week award to Lyle Yorks for his ability to hypnotize MLS into lining Benny Feilhaber’s pockets with no other suitors in sight.

This week, we will bestow the award early to Sporting KC’s Kyle Rogers who kicked of a Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo twitter follower-52-card-pick-up contest.

In case you didn’t know Kyle’s Sporting KC team plays at New York this weekend. So another case of a smaller team using bigger team’s marketing dollars to get their name out. Nice job Kyle.

• Die Meister! Die Besten! Les grandesequipes! The champions!

From Japan...with speed...

And then there were four…..UEFA Champion’s League back in action today with Manchester United taking on Schalke 04.

Key match-up in this one? Schalke’s right flank versus United’ left. Jefferson Farfan with an overlapping Atsuto Uchida (the first Japanese footballer to play for a team that reached the semi-finals of the Champion’s League) versus Nani and Patrice Evra.

Other than that, look out for two of the best false nines in the business, Wayne Rooney and Raul trying to wreak havoc on the other team’s defense.

(Oh, and we love reposting just how Javier Hernandez got smuggled into the EPL. Good read if you haven’t read it on TSG before.

• Stoke City versus Wolverhampton in the Barclays on Tuesday. Or two teams that love the foul the crap out of others.


More coming…

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/04/26 at 7:43 AM

    Ream’s piece was a just a touch over the top if you ask me. I’d like to know if Marquez is tutoring Ream in the art of taking cheap shots against rivals in games that are lost causes.

    Rolfe’s goal is well worth fawning over. I can’t remember a better goal from an American both in terms of lead-up and finish in recent times. No, it doesn’t merit an automatic call-up, but I haven’t personally seen anyone seriously claim it does.

    Agree about Ream and Agudelo needing to make the jump next year. I know a lot of commentators are urging Agudelo especially to stay in MLS at least a couple of years, but from a USMNT perspective I’d like to see them go earlier rather than later in the World Cup cycle.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/26 at 9:57 AM

      On Rolfe’s goal…Matador defense, Matador defense.


      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/04/26 at 10:03 AM

        Or a really nice piece of dribbling. In the eye of the beholder, I suppose.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/26 at 10:14 AM

          :> Nice dribbling but if someone rumbles down the precise center of the pitch that’s terrible defense. Never give up the middle.


    • Posted by Standard_Deviance on 2011/04/26 at 10:22 AM

      Yeah, the Ream article is definitely not well written, but it’s kind of cool to see a pro athlete blog this way. I’m sure other athletes keep blogs, but from the one or two I’ve seen, they don’t attempt much actual writing.

      What’s perhaps most interesting about the blog is that it’s almost unimaginable for a professional athlete who plays a major American sport to keep such a blog: he’d be too concerned about image, etc. So I think this is kind of a unique opportunity from a player/sport that can mostly fly under the radar, such that he gets less than 10 comments on his blog.

      Finally, I do strongly agree that, for the sake of their development, both Ream and Agudelo should probably make the jump next year. And I’m a RBNY fan.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/04/26 at 10:31 AM

        I agree with Ream. He’s definitely ready. Agudelo is a more interesting situation: I think it’s more important that he get the destination right than anything else. The most rumored team for him seems to be Atletico Madrid, which I think would be a bad idea.


        • Posted by Standard_Deviance on 2011/04/26 at 1:25 PM

          Good point, dth. I think it actually applies to both players: they shouldn’t leave just for the sake of it. Needs to be a situation where they’re likely to get good minutes against better competition.


          • Posted by dth on 2011/04/26 at 1:37 PM

            Well, I think Ream should be a little less picky about the team, because he’s older and there’s less time. Yeah, you don’t have to leave for the first team that offers but don’t dawdle either.


  2. Posted by John on 2011/04/26 at 7:47 AM

    Yesterday, in the commentary, discussion on Liverpool’s up-and-coming backline bookends in Jim Flanagan and Jackie Robinson. They’re 18- and 19-years-old respectfully.


    18 and 17. as in… too young to buy cigarettes 17.

    Full name Jack Robinson
    Date of birth 1 September 1993 (age 17)


  3. Posted by dth on 2011/04/26 at 9:31 AM

    The craziest part about the Chicharito story was that a year before he had his breakout year for Chivas, he was thinking about quitting soccer entirely.

    The other footnote to the Chicharito story is Chivas’s academy: within two or three years, they’ve produced Chicharito, Erick Torres (at 17 years old, 7 goals in 13 appearances), and the number one pick in the MLS draft Omar Salgado. Someone there is doing something right.


  4. Posted by Steve Trittschuh on 2011/04/26 at 5:22 PM

    I like Beckerman, he’s a good player. I think the only reason Coach Sweats doesn’t call him up more often is because he’s pretty stocked with possession/defensive type central mids.

    Still think Borchers should receive some more time with the Nats, and I definitely think Wingert at least deserves a look at LB. RSL is playing some real good soccer lately, especially on the defensive end.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/04/26 at 5:59 PM

      Borchers and George John of Dallas are definitely overlooked in the CB debate. John maybe a bit more so since he’s still young.


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