In 24 matches across all competitions so far, it’s fair to say Tottenham Hotspur are having a fairly inconsistent start to their 2014/15 campaign. Need proof? Here’s what the season has looked like so far:
Yeah, that’s pretty erratic.
However if you were to read the headlines, browse fan forums or soak in the Twittersphere, you might be inclined to think this season has been an utter disaster for Spurs.
But has it been? Admittedly, things haven’t exactly been sterling. Rather, things have been much like they have for the past few seasons: a cycle of ups and downs that can’t seem to be broken.
With the 2014 MLS season now in the rearview mirror, we could forgive you if you thought this week’s Pondcast would be on the light side. It’s not. An interesting weekend of Premier League fixtures kept D.J. and Jeremy extra busy, as did the conclusion of the Champions League group stages and an already hectic MLS offseason. There was also a need to chat about some potentially earth moving news that was revealed by our pal Chad from Reckless Challenge, and a serious rant against one notorious member of the American soccer community that spawned against it in our Winners & Wankers segment. And of course we made time for Fulham Watch and a few listener questions.
Should you desire to hear your question or topic covered on next week’s pod — and why wouldn’t you? — send it our way via email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]comorhit us up on the social media links on the bottom of the page. Just make sure to get it to us by this coming Sunday.
There’s been much talk about a changing of the tides in American soccer with the retirement of Landon Donovan. We’ve not been immune to the talk here at WSOTP either, and rightly so. And the tide continued its change today, as another of Donovan’s peers decided to hang up his boots… at least for the national team. That player in question: Houston Dynamo’s DaMarcus Beasley. But the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native — a man I had the privilege to play against and with during my formative years as well — hasn’t received near the spectacular send off that his long-time teammate did.
And in my humble opinion, that’s not exactly fair. He’s a versatile player, a man of many talents, and he’s overcome adversity to reclaim a place with the USMNT that many of us thought he would never recoup.
While he may not have been as talented or prolific as Donovan, it’s pretty easy to argue that Beasley’s career was just as successful. He earned the Silver Ball as the second best player at the 1999 U-17 World Cup, just behind Golden Ball winning buddy LD. A successful launch to his career in MLS with the Fire lead to a move to Dutch giants PSV, where he would eventually become the first — and only — American to play in the semifinals of the Champions League. He went on to make 107 appearances in Europe in a career that spanned the Premier League (Manchester City), the Scottish top flight (Rangers) and the Bundesliga (Hannover 96). He made a splash in Mexico with Puebla, too. And let’s also not forget all 121 caps Beasley earned with the national team, the seventeen international goals he tallied, and that he became the first ever American to play in four World Cups.
He’ll likely not get a testimonial or send off like his much heralded teammate, but I have a sneaking suspicion that RunDMB will just fine with that. And for that reason alone, we’re happy to give him the much deserved praise anyway.
With two entire rounds of Premier League matches, the Women’s World Cup Draw, MLS Cup Final, Champions League group scenarios and the release of the MLS Expansion Draft list all to cover on this week’s Pondcast – plus our normal weekly segments of Fulham Watch and Winners & Wankers — you might be worried that this could be a two-hour podcast. Luckily, the boys were able to stay disciplined, keep it tight and clock in at 80 minutes. So tune in for thoughts on the “WSOTP Derby” between Jeremy’s Chelsea and D.J.’s Spurs, the USWNT’s Group of Death, Expansion Draft surprises and much, much more.
If you want to hear your question or topic discussed on next week’s Pondcast, shoot us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]comorhit us up on the social media channels hashed out at the bottom of the page by this coming Sunday evening.
Yesterday marked not only the end of 2014 MLS season, but also the end of an era in American soccer. It’s been known since the All-Star break that this would be Donovan’s last season in professional football, but what wasn’t known was how he would cap his illustrious career. And as it turns out, he capped it with the most perfect of narratives: a sixth MLS Cup championship. (For those about to scroll to the comments section to tell me “It’s FIVE championships!”, LD has won six titles: four with LA and two with San Jose.)
I’ve written before about the bittersweet feelings I would feel upon the capitulation of the “Donovan Era”, and it admittedly still feels a little weird thinking about him being done. He’s my age after all, and it feels weird that anyone should be allowed to retire at 32. But make no bones about it: Landon Donovan is the best player this country has ever produced. While he’s been the subject of lots of recent scrutiny — for taking a break, for not loving the game anymore, not appreciating his privilege, etc. — he’s more than earned the curtain call he was given yesterday afternoon. While those criticisms may or may not be fair, I think the picture chosen for the latest Pic of the Week does an excellent job of capturing the joy of a man going out on top.
If I asked a group of fans to name the top active manager in football today, what names would you expect to see picked?
I’d expect we would see an avalanche of responses for José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. And rightly so: both managers have produced incredible results over the last five or so years. I’d hope Atlético’s Diego Simeone would get a few votes. And I’d wager Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp would get a few too — though given his side’s disastrous form, probably not as many as a year or two ago. Jogi Löw or Vicente Del Bosque? Ok. Manuel Pelligrini or Louis Van Gaal? Maybe. Hell, a few naive Arsenal supporters might even still be willing to throw Arsène Wenger out there, but that number is likely dwindling too. Jürgen Klinsmann? I kid, I kid.
But there’s one name I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he received little to no votes: current Real Madrid supremo, Carlo Ancelotti.
My reasons for believing that aren’t just anecdotal either. I’ve had literally had the hypothetical discussion above several times before. And rarely ever does Ancelotti’s name come up. Which is odd, because the guy’s track record is pretty damn impressive.
With a big match on the horizon this weekend in domestic football — you know, the MLS Cup Final — we thought it high time to gather the local readers/supporters together again with another watch party at our favorite local pub, Rhinehaus in Over-the-Rhine. So if you happen to be in Cincinnati this coming Sunday (12/7), be sure to swing by to have a pint with the #Pondcast team and watch as Landon does battle with Jones in the former’s last ever professional soccer match. In fact, if you are going to be in town, let us know you’re attending by RSVPing here.
In the mean time, entertain yourselves by following any of the ten links below that I dug up from around the wide world web over the last week.
On the latest edition of the Pondcast, the boys run the gamut of the footballing landscape. Not only do the delve into last weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures — including the Manchester sides’ returns to form, Soldado actually scoring for Spurs and why everyone seems to be picking on Liverpool — and the completion of the MLS Playoff semifinals, but there was also time to discuss the local soccer scene here in Cincinnati and Dayton. And worry not, the weekly Fulham Watch and Winners & Wankers segments are here as well.
Your question and topic submissions are still strongly encouraged. If you have some for future podcasts, shoot us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or send them our way on social media using the links at the bottom of the page, too.
In an off season where it feels there’s been a new franchise announced every week, it’s not all sunshine and roses in USL PRO.
Over the last few months, a plethora of new teams have been added to the third division league’s ranks. Those included six new MLS-owned sides — Seattle Sounders 2, Portland Timbers 2, FC Montreal, Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake), Toronto’s still unnamed side and Vancover Whitecaps FC 2. There will also be six new independently owned clubs in 2015: Austin Aztex (promoted from PDL) Charlotte Independence (promoted from PDL), Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Louisville City FC, Saint Louis FC and Tulsa Roughnecks. All told, that’s a nearly 86% increase in the number of clubs in the league.
That’s twelve reasons for everyone to feel rosy around the league. Unfortunately, there remains at least one area of uncertainty.
At the end of September, Wrong Side of the Pond exclusively revealed that the Dayton Dutch Lions would be leaving the Gem City and departing South for the Queen City of Cincinnati. The Dutch Lions have long struggled in a number of areas including attendance, media awareness and general finances. It was believed that a move south to the larger market of Cincinnati would help the club stabilize and eventually grow.
But as it turns out, the Dayton Dutch Lions future is far more grim than just a relocation.
Club football’s return this past weekend — both domestically and across the pond — meant the boys had plenty of football discussion on their plate for Episode 15 of the podcast. On that European side of the plate: City’s struggling wins, Geoff Cameron’s horror show in the booth and on the field, whether or not Liverpool should/will sack Brendan Rodgers and the rest of the Premier League weekend. On the domestic half of the plate: fresh hot takes on the MLS Playoff Semifinal first legs, thoughts on further MLS expansion, and a quick reaction to the USMNT’s loss to Ireland. We also offered desserts of our bi-weekly Bundesliga update from contributor Christopher Wieland, plus Fulham Watch and Winners & Wankers.
And don’t forget to drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]comto have us answer your questions or cover a topic of your choosing. You can always send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page, too.