ten words or less #98

bayern are good… like “scary good”. if you don’t believe me, just ask roma.

The waiting game when publishing articles for other sites can be excruciating. I’ve got an article that I finished for one a few days ago, and I don’t know when it will go up. It might be tempting to reach out to the editor of that site and ask when it might go up. But as most writers will attest, you never want to get on the bad side of an editor — at least if you ever want to write for him again. So I wait. “Patiently”.

Luckily, I’ve got this nice links round up for you to keep you patiently waiting for new original content, too.

Del Bosque finally stepping down from Spain post in 2016. – nbcsports.com

How was this NOT a penalty? – youtube.com

I now want Bolton to be promoted so bad. – theoriginalwinger.com

One of the best of the flood of #ThanksLD videos. – mlssoccer.com

Sunderland doing right by their incredibly embarrassed traveling supporters. – bbc.com

The boy who might have jump started American soccer earlier. – wsj.com

Shakhtar’s stadium damaged by a bomb blast in Donetsk. – donbass-arena.com

I wish more MLS teams would do collabos like this. – amongmen.com

Michel Platini wants “white cards” for dirty mouths. – theguardian.com

If I could find a wife, you’d think DaMarcus Beasley could. – soccergods.com

About these ads

ten words or less #97

Landon Donovan's Final USMNT Match

With tomorrow being the final chapter in Landon Donovan’s US national team book — at least from a playing perspective — many in the sphere of American soccer are busy peddling homages to the man’s career. I’m certainly guilty of it too, though I wrote mine back in August. I had contemplated making this latest edition of TWOL my ten favorite odes to LD, but honestly it just felt like people making the same points over and over. So I scrapped that concept, however I did still manage to include my favorite of the bunch in link #1 below. Nestled below that? A smattering of some of the other excellent reads I’ve come across in the last week and a half.

Enjoy the links, enjoy Landycake’s last ever match in national team colors, and prepare yourself for a full run down on the #NewCrew event in Columbus last night in the next day or so.

Landon Donovan’s biggest obstacle to greatness? His brain. – soccergods.com

These guys built a Pool-Ball table, and I’m super jealous. – facebook.com

Why the USL PRO-MLS partnership is already producing dividends. – mlssoccer.com

Well that’s going to be awkward for United. – telegraph.co.uk

Four MASL clubs decided they’ll play by their own rules. – syracuse.com

The big chance for Indian football. – inbedwithmaradona.com

A cool visualization of the most recent MLS Salary release. – stathunter.com

Hurdles/politics have forced Sacramento to rethink their MLS approach. – empireofsoccer.net

The FA’s poorly thought out revisions for foreign work permits. – weaintgotnohistory.com

Reason #479 why Real Salt Lake are good. – sltrib.com

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 8

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 8

This week’s episode is something of a surprise milestone for the WSOTP Podcast — this is our 50th overall episode! Since neither D.J. or Jeremy remembered that fact until they sat down to record Sunday night, we don’t have anything too special planned for the occasion. Luckily, we get to celebrate by talking about the epic Wenger-Mourinho bout at Stamford Bridge, Spurs getting back on track against Southampton, and Champions League updates. Domestically, we’ll be talking about the intense MLS playoff races in both conferences, the MVP and Coach of the Year debates, Chivas USA’s shuttering/contraction and more Red Bulls drama. You’ll also get your normal weekly installments of Fulham Watch cataloging their plight in the Championship and the guy’s Winners & Wankers from the past seven days. That’s a feast for your ears if you ask me

Also, don’t forget to send us your topics and questions for next week’s podcast, either via an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or tweeting us or writing on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 7

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 7

We’ve got yet another full podcast for you this week thanks to a jam-packed weekend of action around the world of football. On the top of our minds was “Derby Saturdray” featuring the North London and Merseyside grudge matches, along with an interesting round of fixtures in the rest of the Premier League. We’ve also reached the point in the MLS season where things have gotten particularly interesting with the playoffs now just a month off, not to mention a very interesting week down the US soccer pyramid in USL PRO. D.J. and Jeremy also discussed “must have’s” for following the sport, talked of their Winners and Wankers for the week, and still made room for the second installment of our German football round up from correspondent Christopher Wieland. So strap on your headphones and ready your speakers for the latest edition of the WSOTP Podcast!

Have a topic you want us to cover or a question you want us to answer on next week’s podcast? Send an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweet us or write it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 6

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 6Premier League weekend recap: check. Champions League rundown: check. #MLSNEXT and MLS playoff hunt thoughts: double check. This week’s WSOTP Podcast has football discussion in ample supply. Listen in as D.J. and Jeremy pontificate on Özil’s resurrection, Manchester United’s capitulation, and Leicester City’s adulation. The guys also share their thoughts on the new MLS Logo — which D.J. wrote extensively about — and how things are shaping up in the MLS Cup Playoffs race. There was still time to discuss the first round of Champions League group action at the end, too. And believe it or not, all that and more can be found in a package significantly shorter than last week’s epic pod.

If you happen to have anything you would want us to cover on our next podcast, hit us up at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or tweet us using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 5

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 5

After taking off last week for the most pointless international break ever and with another full weekend of European club football now under our belts, there was a lot to talk about on Episode 5 of the podcast. So prepare yourself — this will be a long one.

Though we weren’t fans of the break, we did cover the USMNT’s first match of the new World Cup cycle as well as discussed some of the more interesting news that filtered out during the rest of the international break. The Premier League’s return this past weekend also required plenty of discussion, with hardly a dud among the nine matches that took place before we recorded. We also made room for our newest segment, a once-a-fortnight Bundesliga-centric update from our German football correspondent Chris Wieland (@TheSpareWheel). And let’s not forget our regular Winners and Wankers and Jeremy’s Fulham Watch segments, as those were in there too.

As always, if you have any questions or topics you want us to cover on future podcasts, drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or tweet us using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

ten words or less #96

Frank Lampard of Manchester City

just one of the cornucopia of stories that came out just this past weekend: frank lampard’s manchester city debut.

As Americans, we’ve reached a weird point in the soccer calendar. Just as we’re getting warmed up to and getting a feel for the European season, we’re getting to “squeaky bum time” in the MLS season with the playoffs just around the corner. And because of that, it sure seems like there’s more news pouring out of the sport than ever. But worry not, WSOTP has been scouring the web to bring you the picks of the litter. So dive into my favorite links from around the world of football from the last week or so, and stay tuned for even more content as the week progresses.

“Spurs are not for sale”, but a bid’s been received. – tottenhamhotspur.com

Joel Campbell has enough time to create a sports website. – sports.bycampbell.com

Robbing the rich and giving it to the… rich. – independent.co.uk

Gothamist get’s Don Garber to dish on all things MLS. – gothamist.com

Lighting up a pitch by capturing power from the players. – cbsnews.com

The 50 best players according to FIFA 15. – theguardian.com

Every USLPRO side pays for playoff travel expenses. – recklesschallenge.net

Don’t expect a soccer specific stadium in Boston anytime soon. – boston.com

Finally an alternative solution to watching Bundesliga in the US. – bundesligafanatic.com

So “Chivas TBD” might take a year or two off. – si.com

 

every cat only has nine lives

Fulham v Stoke City - Premier LeagueMaking the jump to Europe and finding success is no easy feat to pull off. Countless Americans have tried, and many of them faltered.

A limited number of players have left our shores and departed for the greener pastures — and paychecks — of the European game and been able to make a good name for themselves. Think Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundulo and Tim Howard, all of whom had great on field success.

For some, however, they see their bright starts fizzle away to obscurity. The first name that comes to mind is a guy like Maurice Edu, who had some monstrous performances for Rangers before devolving into a reserve at Stoke. Others like Adam Lichaj, Clarence Goodson and Jonathan Spector make for similar examples of promising prospects that developed into average careers at best.

Still others oscillate between successes and failures, such as Jozy Altidore is finding out after failing to impress in his time at Villareal, then finding his feet at AZ, and now struggling again at Sunderland.

But for many, it never really clicked in the first place. The best instance of this is Eddie Johnson’s disastrous spell at Fulham.

The margin for whether an American player — and all players moving abroad, for that matter — will end up a flop or a hit is razor thin. The variables that determine that are innumerable. It can range from the situation of the club he is acquired by to the manager(s) he plays under, the culture of the country or even the player’s mental strength. It’s a toss up, really. And a lot of things have to go perfectly for it all to pop off.

So when it was announced this week that Brek Shea would be leaving Stoke City on yet another loan after unsuccessfully securing any meaningful playing time for the Potters, I feared that he might be steadily on his way to joining the long list of American failures in Europe.

And if I’m being completely honest, I was actually concerned Shea might turn out this way back when he first moved to Europe in January of 2013.

However, before we get into why that was a concern, let’s chart his career trajectory a bit. Back in 2011, Shea had just logged an impressive 11 goal, 5 assist campaign for FC Dallas in his fourth season in MLS. He had broken into Klinsmann’s US side and had shown flashes of creativity and excitement in attack. Many were touting him as the brightest light of the new crop of players being ushered into the program. And it was around that time when the European clubs began to circle like vultures. Which made sense given that Shea possesses the exceedingly rare “Three S’s” of size, speed and strength. Ultimately he settled on a trial/training stint with Arsenal, which inspired me to write this piece on how big of a chance it could have proven for him. Things seemed very, very bright for the Texas native.

Unfortunately, no permanent move materialized and he followed that all up with a pretty lackluster — albeit injury-riddled — 2012 back in Dallas. But though his performances slagged, his off field celebrity remained large and social media following continued to ballooned. Some questioned whether all of that contributed to him being a bit distracted and was more concerned with maintaining his image. Yet despite all of that, Stoke City still came calling in January 2013.

And that’s where I started to question whether Brek might be making the wrong move at the wrong time.

Having surgery to remove a bone in his foot and coming off an under performing season in MLS, it might have made more sense to stick it out in Dallas for a bit longer. Doing so might have helped him to regain his fitness and rebuild his confidence. Besides, joining European sides midway through the season is always a difficult task.

At the time, Stoke City were in a bit of a stutter themselves and only picked up a point during the entire month of January under Tony Pulis. Too, Pulis’ Stoke weren’t exactly renown for their attacking acumen. And for both reasons, the manager found himself under increasing pressure from both the fans and boardroom that eventually lead to his departure.

was moving to stoke the wisest of moves for brek?

was moving to stoke the wisest of moves for brek?

As an attacking player whose skills and tactical awareness still needed further honing, Shea’s moving to Stoke to play under Pulis just didn’t make much sense. Furthermore, choosing to go play under a manager who didn’t look like he would be in the job much longer seemed naive — though you could argue he might have thought the club’s poor run of form would give him a chance to break into the side.

The attack-minded Mark Hughes’ arrival at the Britannia Stadium in March might have seemed like a boost to Shea’s chances of success. But given that Hughes has only chosen him twice in the 18 months since then, it’s probably fair to say the Welshman doesn’t exactly fancy what he has to offer.

That said, Hughes hasn’t completely shut him out in the cold. The lanky winger was farmed out at the beginning of the year to Barnsley with the aim of getting him some matches. Although you could also see the move as means of placing Shea in the shop window too. And though he impressed on his debut for Tykes and made eight appearances for them, his loan was cut short and he was sent back to Stoke after a bust up with supporters. Predictably, Hughes didn’t give him a runout once he returned either.

Since, things have remained rather stagnant for Mr. Shea. Without much on-pitch time to sharpen his game since the move to England — and after failing to impress in his appearances in the pre-tournament tune ups — Klinsmann wisely skipped over him for the US’ World Cup squad. A lackluster appearance in the last friendly against the Czech Republic only served to reinforce that decision.

And now he’s gone out on loan again, this time to Championship side Birmingham City. Hughes even went so far as to say he didn’t see the American in his plans for the Potters, though perhaps impressing while on loan might be a way to change the manager’s mind.

But you get the feeling that if he disappoints at St. Andrew’s, Shea’s days in England might just be numbered.

Of course, this might be a bit premature. He’s never quite regained full fitness since moving abroad, and a consistent run of games has helped many a player to find form before. Maybe he’ll find his feet in Birmingham, and use it as a launch pad to greater success across the pond.

You hate to say that Brek Shea is a cat that’s used up eight of his nine lives in just a year and a half playing overseas. But his showings of late haven’t exactly been the kind that would convince you otherwise, and his manager at Stoke isn’t exactly the type to give players bonus chances.

And if that’s the case, he’ll be the latest in a long line of American players that just couldn’t cut the mustard abroad.

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 4

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 4As we ease into the most needless international break of all time — seriously, we’re just three weeks into the European season and a month and a half out from the World Cup — there’s still a mountain of news to talk about from the world of football. And on Episode 4 of this season’s podcast, the guys try to scale it. You’ll find D.J. and Jeremy providing the normal rundown on all the weekend’s EPL action, take a gander at the trashfire that is Toronto FC, and preview the US men’s friendly against the Czech Republic. And they would be remiss to not talk about the closing of the Transfer Window. As such, the guys will assess the major movements around Europe and the Premier League, picking the winners and losers of this latest “silly season”. We’ll also have our weekly Winners and Wankers to pick too.

So grab your favorite headphones and dial yourself in for the latest edition of the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

finger pointing

Sir Alex FergusonThings haven’t gone according to plan in the red half of Manchester the last couple seasons.

Sir Alex Ferguson sealed his legendary career two seasons ago with one last title before sailing off into the sunset that is the Old Trafford’s directors box. From there, the intensity of his gaze seemed to blind and break his hand-picked successor of David Moyes. Despite performing admirably with limited resources at Everton for a decade, Moyes was only able to guide more or less the same side Ferguson had guided to a title just the year before to an unthinkable seventh place finish.

Perhaps that’s a sign that Ferguson was the glue that held things together in that final season. He managed to eke out what might have been just enough to paper over the sizable cracks in the foundation, like an aging Rio Ferdinand and fading Nemanja Vidić, a weak midfield and a complete lack of depth.

Since then though, fans of the Red Devils and much of the punditry has been quick to point a thousand fingers at Moyes and the Glazers for ruining the house that Ferguson built. They provided explanations such as “Moyes wasn’t up for the stress of the job” or the “Glazers aren’t investing in the proper type of talent”.

While the first could very well be true, the second one seems a little far fetched. Looking at 2014 alone, the Glazers have approved the purchases of Juan Mata (£37.5m), Ander Herrera (£28.8m), Luke Shaw (£27m), Marcos Rojo (£16m) and now Di Maria (£63.9m). And that’s not including the £28m they authorized being spent last season on Marouane Fellaini.

So with at least one of those two common complaints now debunked, there could be another theory for explaining United’s demise that nobody seems willing to consider.

Continue reading