Monday, October 29, 2007

WEEKEND WRAP UP

Below are highlights of Freddy Adu’s goal, but here’s how the rest of the Americans in Europe fared this weekend:

England:

Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey both played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 1-1 draw against Roy Keane’s Sunderland. Fulham jumped out to an early lead, courtesy of Welsh international Simon Davies, and when Sunderland were reduced to ten men in the second half, the Cottagers looked to be on the road to a vital win away from home. However, Sunderland fought valiantly, and eventually equalized late in the game to earn a share of the points.

Tim Howard and Everton traveled to Pride Park on Saturday to face Eddie Lewis and Derby County, where the Toffees came out 2-0 victors. The clean sheet was Howard’s second of the season and the victory vaults Everton into the top half of the table, in ninth place. For Derby, trouble seems to be mounting with zero wins in their last five matches. However, they still remain only two points away from safety and will look to get back on track next week against Aston Villa. Benny Feilhaber did not dress for the game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Reading hosted Newcastle, and Marcus Hahnemann resumed his position between the sticks for the Royals, overseeing a 2-1 victory for Steve Coppell’s side. In a back and forth game, Reading took the lead through Dave Kitson, though they were later pegged back by a Michael Duberry own goal. The home side were not to be denied, and Shane Long scored with only his second touch of the game, after just coming on the field only seconds before, to secure all three points for Reading. Bobby Convey is just returning to fitness for Reading, having been out for a few weeks with an injury, and was an unused substitute in the game.

Finally, Jonathan Spector made a late substitute appearance for West Ham United in their 0-0 draw against Portsmouth. Spector came on in the 78th minute for Nolberto Solano, as West Ham survived a late penalty scare to salvage a point.

So, what do you think about this week's matches overseas? Let us know by making a comment below.

WEEKEND WRAP UP: PART II

Germany:

On Friday, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover played to a 0-0 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. Cherundolo played 90 minutes, and will likely be on the field again on Tuesday when his club travels to Gelsenkirchen to face Shalke 04. With both clubs tied on 18 points, the winner of tomorrow’s game will be thrust into the top four in the Bundesliga.

In the 2nd Bundesliga, Neven Subotic played 90 minutes in Mainz’s 1-1 draw against FC Augsburg. On Tuesday, Mainz travels south to face 1860 Munich and Gregg Berhalter, Josh Wolff, and Steve Purdy. Over the weekend 1860 beat Kickers Offenbach 3-0 and both Berhalter and Wolff were in the starting eleven. For the first time in his career, Purdy was called into the first team, after playing this season with the reserves. He was an unused substitute in 1860’s victory on Friday.

Holland:

Michael Bradley started and played 65 minutes in Heerenveen’s 4-0 win against VV Venlo. Brazilian scoring machine Afonso Alves was twice on target for Heerenveen, who on Wednesday will take on Ajax in the third round of the Dutch Cup.

Belgium:

Standard Liege drew 2-2 with KV Mechelen to remain both top of the league and unbeaten in the Belgian Jupiler League. American defender Oguchi Onyewu went the distance for SL, who will next face Excelsior Mouscron on Friday, November 2.

Sweden:

In the final game of the season, a Charlie Davies hat trick propelled Hammarby to a 4-0 victory over Gais. Davies’ three goals were his first in the league for the Swedish club, who finished sixth in the table this year, and can be seen in this video, accompanied by a tremendous soundtrack.

Scotland:

DaMarcus Beasley was inserted back into the starting lineup for Rangers, but unfortunately his club slipped to a 2-1 defeat away to Dundee United. Beasley was the source of Rangers’ goal, as he drew a penalty in the 51st minute which Daniel Cousin converted. However, The Tangerines earned a penalty of their own just three minutes later, and Barry Robson converted from the spot in what proved to be the decisive action of the game. The loss leaves Rangers three points adrift from rivals Celtic who top the Scottish Premier League table with 25 points.

So, what do you think about this week's matches overseas? Let us know by making a comment below.

FREDDY ADU (BENFICA)

The News: Freddy Adu scored his third goal of the season in the 87th minute to give Benfica a 2-1 victory over Maritimo in the Portuguese League on Sunday.

Of Note: The goal was Adu’s first in league play for his club, who climbed to second place with the victory. After going a goal down early in the match, Benfica equalized in the 18th minute, however they were reduced to 10 men after their goalkeeper, Quim, was red carded later in the first half. Adu came on late in the second half, and his timely finish from inside the six yard box sent the Estadio da Luz crowd into raptures. It caps an impressive week for the 18-year-old, who scored last Saturday in the League Cup for Benfica. In midweek, he appeared as a sub in Benfica’s victory over Celtic in the Champions League, and played a part in the build up to Óscar Cardozo’s winning goal.



Up Next: Benfica play Paços de Ferreira in a League match on Saturday, November 3, before traveling to Scotland to face Celtic in Champions League Parkhead on next Tuesday, November 6.

Two goals in a week for Adu? Is he finally hitting his groove at Benfica? Let us know what you think by adding a comment below!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

TIM HOWARD (EVERTON)

The News: Tim Howard and Everton open UEFA Cup group play by hosting Greek side AE Larissa tonight.

Of Note: Everton just scraped through the first round, defeating Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv 4-3 on aggregate. Tim Howard played in goal for that first round game, and also minded the net for Everton’s defeat in the Merseyside Derby this past weekend. The Toffees are still smarting from what they feel were some poor referee decisions, but they’ll have to put the lingering effects of the loss aside for now to focus on tonight’s match against a team they’ve never faced before in European competition.

Up Next: Check out some facts on the upcoming match here. Also, the game will be aired on FSC at 5 pm ET (delayed)

FREDDY ADU (BENFICA)

The News: Freddy Adu became the youngest American to play in the UEFA Champions League proper when he came on in the 61st minute of Benfica’s 1-0 win over Scottish champion Celtic in their Group D match on Wednesday.

Of Note: Adu entered the game early in the second half while the score was still knotted at zero. The Portuguese club bombarded the Celtic goal for the duration of the second half, hitting the crossbar and the post, before Óscar Cardozo eventually scored the winner five minutes from time.


In the game last night against Celtic, Freddy was the first sub off the bench, and was also involved in the passing movement which built up to the goal. At 18 years, 4 months, Adu broke the record for the youngest American to play in the group stage of the Champions League held by Jonathan Spector (18 years, 11 months). That mark was set when he came on as a sub for Manchester United against Turkey's Fenerbahce in 2004.

Up Next: On Sunday, Benfica host Maritimo in a Portguese League match. Benfica have arguably underachieved thus far this year in the domestic league, and though they have yet to lose, sit at fourth place in the table due to four ties. The Lisbon club can go a long way toward rectifying their problems in their match this weekend; Maritimo currently are one point ahead of Benfica.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FREDDY ADU (BENFICA)

The News: Freddy Adu and Benfica take on Celtic in Champions League action on Wednesday at the Stadium of Light.

Of Note: Freddy Adu has yet to really break into the first team, but he is on the squad list for the match. With injuries to a few players - including striker Nuno Gomes - is there a chance Adu sees some playing time? We won't know for sure until kickoff tomorrow (oh, by the way, the match is only on closed circuit TV or UEFA.com broadband pay-per-view). Adu has been making an impact as he scored the tying goal in Benfica’s Carlsberg Cup match on Saturday (see earlier Adu blog entry for video of the goal), coming into the game in the 71st minute and ripping a first time half volley from the edge of the area to ensure they earned a replay in the fourth round of the cup.

Up Next: The game of course! Get all the starting line-ups and more here before the match and then follow online.

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (RANGERS)

The News: DaMarcus Beasley came on in the 72nd minute for Nacho Novo during the Rangers 0-0 draw against Barcelona in their Champions League clash this evening at Ibrox Stadium.

Of Note: The scoreless draw was a favorable result for Rangers, who now have seven points from three games and are tied atop Group E with Barcelona.



Up Next: Rangers get set to take on Dundee United away in league play on Sunday. Beasley, who is coming back from a slight ankle injury he suffered during the USA-Switzerland match last week, will be looking to crack the starting line-up once again.

KASEY KELLER (FULHAM FC)

The News: Fulham goalkeeper Kasey Keller will be sidelined until next February after suffering a torn bicep muscle in training.

Of Note: Keller, who had established himself as the first-choice ‘keeper after joining the team in August, will likely need surgery. About the injury, Keller said: “I feel absolutely destroyed, devastated. It’s hugely disappointing because things were going so well and then this comes along and now I have to start all over again. I just wanted to make my name here and I was doing that until I suffered this cruel injury.”

Up Next: Keller-less Fulham next face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Oct. 27 as they try to start digging out from their relegation hole.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ON TV TODAY

The News: DaMarcus Beasley and Rangers take on Barcelona in Champions League action live on ESPN 2 at 2:30 ET. The match up tonight between two of Europe’s most tradition-laden clubs marks the first time that they’ve met in a European competition.

Of Note: Both clubs have won their first two Group E matches, though Barcelona currently sits in first place on goal difference. The two teams had contrasting results at the weekend: Rangers comprehensively defeated Celtic, 3-0, in the first Old Firm Derby of the year, while Barcelona crashed to a 3-1 defeat at high-flying Villarreal. Additionally, both clubs have key players sidelined for tonight’s game. For the Glasgow club, forward Jean-Claude Darcheville and holding midfielder Brahi Hemandi will both miss out, while the Catalans lengthy injury list includes long term absentees Samuel Eto’o and Deco, as well as Yaya Toure, Edmilson, Gianluca Zambrotta, and Rafael Marquez. However, Ronaldinho does return for the 2006 European Champions, who despite the injury omissions, still boast a frighteningly potent attack that has thus far banged in seventeen goals in La Liga, good for the most in the league.

Up Next: Well, the game doesn’t start until this afternoon, but the probable lineups are listed here, and you can find a good preview for the match right here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

NEVEN SUBOTIC (MAINZ)

The News: Neven Subotic scored his first goal as a professional in Europe as Mainz defeated SV Wehen 3-1 on Sunday.

Of Note: A former U-20 player for the United States, Subotic has appeared in all 10 games for Mainz so far this season. His goal on Sunday, which proved to be the eventual game winner, catapulted Mainz into third place, one point behind Borussia M’gladbach and Freiburg who are tied atop the German 2.Bundesliga stadings. Subotic has been everpresent for Mainz’s defense, having played 90 minutes in each of their games.

Up Next: Mainz host FC Augsburg on Friday, Oct. 26, before traveling south on Tuesday to play Josh Wolff, Gregg Berhalter and 1860 Munich in a cup match.

LEE NGUYEN (PSV)

News: Lee Nguyen is training again with PSV, following an extended period on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

Of Note: Lee has been slowed this season by a shoulder injury. The club were cautious about binging him back, but the 21-year old has finally resumed training with the first team in Eindhoven.

Up Next: PSV has started the season well, and currently sit in second place in the table, behind Feyenoord. The club has yet to lose a match in league play, and will put that record on the line next Sunday when they travel to Rotterdam to face their rivals in a top of the table clash. Prior to that, however, PSV will turn its attention to Europe, where on Tuesday they play host to Fenerbahce in a Champions League Group G match up.

JOSH WOLFF (1860 Munich)

News: Josh Wolff returned from injury to play 58 minutes in 1860 Munich’s 3-0 loss to SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Sunday.

Of Note: Wolff, who had previously missed the last three games due to a leg injury, returned to the starting lineup, and showed no lingering affects from his recent absence. He was replaced in the second half by Timo Gebhardt

Up Next: 1860 will look to get back on track when they host Kickers Offenbach on Friday the 26th.

FREDDY ADU (BENFICA)

News: Freddy Adu appeared as a sub and scored in Benfica’s Carlsberg Cup match on Saturday, coming into the game in the 71st minute.

Of Note: Down 1-0, Freddy scored the equalizing goal for Benfica in stoppage time. His first time half volley from the edge of the area ensured that the Lisbon team earned a replay in the fourth round of the cup. The goal was Adu’s second in the competition, after he scored a similarly late equalizer from the penalty spot in the previous round. Benfica went on to win that match in penalties.

Up Next: Benfica resumes Champions League play on Wednesday when they host Celtic at the Estadio da Luz. A result for the Portuguese club is vital, as they remain pointless in Group D after losing the first two matches. The top two teams from each group advance to the next round.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (RANGERS)

THE NEWS: DaMarcus Beasley gets his first minutes in an Old Firm as Rangers cruise past city rivals Celtic with a 3-0 win to pull level on points at the top of the SPL table.

OF NOTE: Following the USA's 1-0 midweek win against Switzerland, Beasley entered in the 75th minute as Rangers shutout Celtic in the first of three scheduled meetings between the Scottish superpowers this season. Nacho Novo scored a pair of goals sandwiching a finish by team captain Barry Ferguson. Over 50,000 fans packed Ibrox Stadium to witness one of the greatest rivalries in sport.



UP NEXT: Rangers face their biggest test in nearly 20 years when they welcome mighty FC Barcelona to Glasgow on Oct. 23 for their first meeting in this year's Champions League group phase.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Games on TV this Weekend

European club football recommences this weekend after domestic leagues were put on hold this past week for the international break. With a full slate of games on TV, U.S. Soccer Global breaks down the ones that feature our guys:

(All times are ET)

Saturday:

7:40 am: Everton v. Liverpool (Setanta) – What better way to start out the weekend than by watching one of the most hotly contested games in world football? The 204th edition of the Merseyside Derby will be played at Goodison Park, where Tim Howard and Everton will look to improve on their current position of 10th in the table. Timmy talked to Everton’s website about playing in the derby. You can read the full interview here.

4:30 pm: Blackburn v. Reading (FSC, delayed) – In a battle of U.S. international goalkeepers past and present, Brad Friedel and Blackburn take on Marcus Hahnemann and Reading at Ewood Park. Rovers have been steadily climbing the table this year and currently sit in sixth place, tied with three teams on 15 points. Meanwhile, Reading have gone a long way towards reversing their poor start to the season and have clawed their way to 12th in the table on 10 points. Bobby Convey is an injury doubt for the Royals, but Hahnemann, who contributed 45 minutes to Wednesday’s clean sheet against Switzerland, will likely get the nod for Steve Coppell’s side.

3 am: Fulham v. Derby Country (Setanta, delayed) – Nothing seals the deal like a nightcap of soccer. At least that’s what we’ve always thought here at the blog. Maybe that explains something. Regardless, if you’re up late, be sure to catch the re-run of this game which could feature five American national team players. For the Cottagers, Kasey Keller, Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey could all see time for a Fulham side in need of a positive result. Coincidentally, Derby County needs the exact same thing, as they currently prop up the table with only five points. For the Rams, Eddie Lewis and Benny Feilhaber could both have a part to play.

Sunday:

8 am: Hannover v. Wolfsburg (Gol TV) – Change pace a bit with the Bundesliga, where Hannover take on Wolfsburg from the AWD-Arena. Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 currently lie sixth in the table, after back-to-back wins have significantly improved their position.

11 am: West Ham v. Sunderland (FSC) – Finally, Jonathan Spector and West Ham United play host to Sunderland in this brunch-time kickoff. West Ham have solidified their spot in midtable, but losses in their last two games have their demanding fans on edge again. For Sunderland and Roy Keane, any point will do. Spector spoke to West Ham United's website about getting his chance in the starting XI. You can read the interview here.

As always, keep refreshing U.S. Soccer Global all weekend long. We’ll try to bring you updates, videos and news as they happen around the continent.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

JOHANN SMITH (DARLINGTON)

The News: Johann Smith, who was forced to miss the recent Under-20 World Cup with an injury suffered just days before leaving for Canada, will go on a one-month loan from Premier League side Bolton to League Two’s Darlington.

Of Note: The speedy winger, still rehabbing the third-degree sprain of his ankle, will look to gain experience and get back to match fitness during the loan, which includes options for extension. The move from Bolton is the second loan for the 20-year-old in two years, after appearing 14 times for Colchester United in the 2006-07 season.

Up Next: The Quakers, who have started the season nicely and sit in second place in the table, travel away to Bradford on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

DAN CALIFF (AALBORG BK)

The News: Aalborg have been drawn into Group G with RSC Anderlecht (BEL), Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG), Getafe CF (ESP), and Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)

Of Note: One of two representatives from Denmark in the Group Stage, Aalborg advanced by getting past Italian side Sampdoria on away goals. They will face two-time UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur, as well as an Anderlecht side that has played over 80 matches in tournament history and has the 1983 cup in their trophy case.

Up Next: Aalborg open up at home against Anderlecht on November 8 at Aalborg Stadium

TIM HOWARD (EVERTON)

The News: Everton are drawn into Group A of the UEFA Cup along with AZ Alkmaar (NED), FC Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS), 1. FC Nürnberg (GER), and Larissa FC (GRE)

Of Note: After getting past Ukrainian club FC Metalist in the first round, Everton are entered into an intriguing group that includes Tony Sanneh's former club FC Nürnberg, an AZ Alkmaar team coached by former Barcelona, Ajax, and Dutch national team boss Louis van Gaal, and Larissa FC from Greece, the team that knocked out fellow U.S. international Brad Friedel and Blackburn Rovers.

Up Next: Group play kicks off Oct. 25 with Everton hosting Larissa FC at Goodison Park

BENNY FEILHABER (DERBY COUNTY)

The News: Benny Feilhaber earns his first start for Derby County in a 1-0 loss to Reading

Of Note: Benny's debut in the starting XI came in his third appearance for the Rams after entering as a reserve against Newcastle and Arsenal. Derby were held scoreless for the sixth time in nine league games this year, the loss keeping them at the foot of the EPL table.

Up Next: Feilhaber joins forces with his national team brethren for a week-long training camp in advance of the USA's match against Switzerland on Oct. 17 in Basel

Thursday, October 4, 2007

UEFA Cup Wrap-Up

The News: The first round of the UEFA Cup was completed today with teams squaring off in the second legs of their home and away ties.

Of Note:
Helsingborg 5 – 1 Heerenveen: Despite taking a two goal lead into the second leg, Michael Bradley and Heerenveen were unceremoniously eliminated from the UEFA Cup after today’s 5-1 loss left them two goals adrift on aggregate. Henrik Larsson opened the scoring for Helsingborg in the 20th minute, and the Swedish cup scored four more unanswered goals, before Heerenveen notched a late consolation in the 89th minute. Now Heerenveen turn their sights towards the weekend where they face SC Heracles Almelo in Eredivisie league play.

Standard Liege 1 – 1 Zenit St. Petersburg: Standard failed to overturn a three goal disadvantage from the first leg, and were eliminated from the UEFA Cup 4-1 on aggregate. Oguchi Onyewu opened the scoring in the 37th minute, but was sent off later in the half for his second bookable offense. Despite constant pressure in the second half, the Belgian Club couldn’t find the net again, and when Zenit scored a late equalizer in the 81st minute, Standard Liege’s fate was sealed. Despite being out of European competition, Gooch and his club remain in excellent form domestically, having not lost a game thus far this season. They’ll put their undefeated record on the line again this weekend when they face Germinal Beerschot on Sunday.

Everton 3 – 2 FC Metalist Kharkiv: Everton came from behind twice in a 3-2 victory that saw them advance into the group stage of the UEFA Cup. After the first leg ended even at one, the Toffees found themselves with their backs against the wall early, when Metalist Khariv scored the opening goal. After halftime, however, Everton turned it on, and scored three goals in forty-five minutes to ensure their passage into the next round. Tim Howard was between the posts for Everton, his second successive start after recovering from a dislocated finger. On Sunday, Newcastle travel to Goodison Park for an afternoon kick off as Everton tries to maintain their solid position in the Premier League table.

Up Next: It's the end of the line for Michael and Gooch, but for Timmy and his teammates they move on. Everton finds out who they face next on Oct. 9 when they hodl the drawing for the group stage.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (RANGERS)

The News: Rangers pulled off a remarkable 3-0 against Ligue 1 champions Lyon. DaMarcus Beasley, starting his first Champions League match of the year, was integral to his team’s victory, notching an assist and a goal as Rangers made it two wins from two games in Group E.

Of Note: The Stade Gerland has been a stronghold for the French champions in recent years, but Rangers dispelled any lingering doubts about their pedigree for Europe’s premier competition with an assured and organized performance. The Glasgow club got off to an excellent start when DaMarcus Beasley’s inswinging corner was headed home with a thumping effort by Lee McCulloch in the 23rd minute. For the rest of the first half, Lyon had the majority of the possession, but couldn’t capitalize on any of their opportunities. Brazilian playmaker Juninho came closest to leveling the score when he struck the bar from a trademark free kick on the stroke of halftime. In the second half, Rangers came out and hit Lyon for two quick goals. In the 48th minute, the away side doubled their lead through Frenchman Daniele Cousin. Within four minutes they had increased the margain to three, after DaMarcus Beasley controlled a long ball from Cousin, rounded the keeper and slotted it home with his left foot. Though Lyon continued to press, and even finished the game with an astounding 32 shots and 14 corners, Rangers’ defense held tight and the game finished 3-0.





Up Next: Rangers have a tough few weeks ahead of them. This Saturday, in the Scottish Premier League, they face third place side Hibernian, who haven’t lost a match yet this year. After the international break, Rangers face their biggest rivals Celtic on the 20th, before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League on the 23rd.

Monday, October 1, 2007

KASEY KELLER (FULHAM)

The News: Fulham, led by goalkeeper Kasey Keller, earned an impressive 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. With that point, Fulham move up to 16th place in the table.

Of Note: For the first time this year, Fulham’s defense kept a clean sheet against the opposition, as Keller rolled back the years to produce some of the fine saves that helped him make his name in the Premier League years ago. After starting midweek against Bolton in the Carling Cup, Keller was again inserted into the first 11, this time against London rivals Chelsea, who themselves were looking to shake their recent poor form. Aided by a strong performance by the back four, including stand-in captain Carlos Bocanegra, Keller and Fulham kept Chelsea’s high powered attack at bay and earned an impressive point on the road. After Didier Drogba was dismissed for his second bookable offense, Fulham created a few excellent chances but were unable to convert any, with Clint Dempsey coming close to a goal late in the game. Last year, Fulham also earned a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.


Also, you can check out this interview with Kasey on Fulham’s website, where he talks about his career, and coming back to London. Read it here.

Up Next: Fulham face Portsmouth at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Portsmouth is coming off an unbelievable 7-4 win against Reading in a match that set the record for goals in a Premier League game.