Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beas Completes Return from Injury

DaMarcus Beasley returned to the field on Wednesday as part of Rangers' 3-0 win over St. Mirren. After a lengthy layoff from injury, Beasley came on as a second half sub while Rangers made a push for late goals at St. Mirren Park. As it stands in the Scottish Premier League, Rangers and Celtic are tied on points with one game left. Celtic, however, have a +4 goal differential over their rivals. In order to take the title, Rangers will need Celtic to slip up and Walter Smith's side could do itself no harm by thrashing Aberdeen by five or so goals on Thursday...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hannover and Rostock Finish with Wins

Hannover 96 and Hansa Rostock finished their respective Bundesliga seasons with wins on Saturday.

Hannover dismantled Energie Cottbus, 4-0, behind three assists from Steve Cherundolo. Sal Zizzo also played 45 minutes in his second Bundesliga appearance of the season for Hannover, who finished the domestic season in eighth place in the table.

Rostock will be heading down to the 2nd Bundesliga next year, but Heath Pearce's team said goodbye to the German top flight with a win. Rostock came form behind to defeat VfL Bochum 2-1. Pearce played the full 90 minutes in the victory.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Watford Done

Watford's hopes of bouncing back to the Premier League next season have evaporated. Jay DeMerit's team was defeated soundly by Hull, 6-2 on aggregate, in the playoff semifinals. For Watford its surely a disappointing end to a season in which they looked to be viable contenders for automatic promotion most of the way through the season. A loss of form in the last few months caused Watford to slip down the table, and their promotion charge petered out this past week against Hull.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Last Chance Saloon for Watford

Jay DeMerit and Watford will have to overturn a 2-0 deficit in today's match against Hull if the Hornets want to have any shot at promotion to the Premier League. Watford was defeated at Vicarage Road in Sunday's Semifinal first leg so they'll have to get the crucial result away from home tonight.

The game can be seen live on Setanta Sports in the United States, with coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Kasey Keller Speaks

You may have heard that Fulham avoided relegation this weekend. Its kind of a big deal (note massive understatement). Here at ussoccer.com, we caught up with the legend himself, Kasey Keller, and asked his thoughts on Fulham's successful bid against the drop. Listen to Keller as he describes the satisfaction of their remarkable achievement and where this ranks in his career accomplishments in this exclusive podcast by clicking here.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Monday, May 12, 2008

Heerenveen Clinches UEFA Cup Spot

Heerenveen clinched a spot in next season's UEFA Cup courtesy of a 2-2 draw with NAC Breda. The draw gave Michael Bradley's team a 4-2 aggregate victory after last week's 2-0 victory for Heerenveen in the first leg. Bradley was suspended for that game, but he returned to the lineup today, and even tallied an assist on Gerald Sibon's second goal. The win means that Heerenveen will get another shot at the UEFA Cup, a competition that they played in this year as well. Back in October of 2007, Heerenveen was eliminated by Helsingborg 8-6 on aggregate over 2 legs in the first round.

Beas Back on Bench

DaMarcus Beasley was back in a Rangers uniform for the first time in 2008, as the U.S. midfielder was an unused substitute in his side's 3-1 victory over Dundee United. The win takes Rangers closer to rivals Celtic at the top of the table and Walter Smith's side are now within two points of the leaders with a game in hand.

The Scottish Premier League will take a backseat this week, however, as Rangers' most important game comes on Wednesday in the UEFA Cup Final. The Scottish club takes on Zenit St. Petersburg at the City of Manchester Stadium, coincidentally one of Beas' old stomping grounds with Manchester City. That game can be seen live on Wednesday starting at 2:30 pm ET on FSC.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fulham Redeemed

Fulham confirmed its Premier League status for next season by defeating Portsmouth 1-0 on Sunday. Danny Murphy's second half header was the only goal in a scrappy game and the win saved Fulham from relegation at the expense of Reading and Birmingham. News of the latter two sides winning their respective games comfortably was trickling to the field at Fratton Park, and Fulham knew that only a victory would save them from the drop. Roy Hodgson's side feverishly pressed the Portsmouth goal, and they were rewarded in the 76th minute when Jimmy Bullard's inswinging freekick was met by Murphy. Brian McBride and Kasey Keller played the full 90 minutes for Fulham, while Clint Dempsey started the game before coming off in the 72nd minute.

The news was not so good for Marcus Hahnemann and Reading, who were relegated as a result of Fulham's win. A fantastic effort from Reading in a 4-0 victory over Derby was not enough to make up the gap between the Royals and Fulham, and Hahnemnn's team was relegated to the Championship due to goal differential. Hahnemann made four saves in the loss, while Eddie Lewis and Benny Feilhaber both took part for Derby.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Everton and Tim Howard clinched fifth place with a 3-1 victory over Newcastle.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Heerenveen On Course

Heerenveen (without Michael Bradley) defeated NAC Breda 2-0 on Thursday in the 1st leg of their UEFA Cup playoff. The return leg is on Monday, with the winner earning an automatic berth into next season's UEFA Cup. Michael Bradley will return from suspension and be available for Monday's deciding game...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One Final Fight

Thirty-seven games into the season and Fulham finally seems to have exerted some control over an otherwise tumultuous eight month campaign. Last Saturday's victory over fellow relegation candidates Birmingham City lifted Fulham out of the drop zone for the first time since December 2007, and also gave the Cottagers that which they sought most: complete control over their Premier League fate.

Heading into the final 90 minutes the task for Fulham is simple – a win will keep them in England's top flight next year. Its sure to be an exciting weekend for the American soccer fan, as Fulham and its national team players could stay in the Premier League at the expense of their teammates and friends at Reading. Ahead of Reading by goal differential and Birmingham by a point, Fulham can nullify this weekend's many permutations simply by claiming all three points against Portsmouth at Fratton Park. If they can't manage a victory, then things get interesting:

For Fulham to stay in the Premier League:
A win against Portsmouth
A draw against Portsmouth, a Reading draw against Derby, a Birmingham loss or draw against Blackburn
A loss against Portsmouth, a Reading loss against Derby, and a Birmingham loss or draw.

For Reading to stay in the Premier League:
A win against Derby, and a Fulham loss or tie
A tie against Derby, and a Fulham loss

For Birmingham to stay in the Premier League:
A win against Blackburn and losses or ties by Fulham and Reading
A tie against Blackburn and losses by Fulham and Reading

In all these scenarios, Goal Differential is not taken in to account. What you should know:
Fulham at (-23) have a better GD than Reading (-29). Birmingham (-19) has a better GD than both these teams. Only when teams are tied on points does Goal Differential become a factor.

Should the Goal Differential be equal, Goals Scored is the next tiebreaker followed by a one-game playoff at a neutral venue.

The Dynamic Duo

Sky Sports scored a nice coup by sitting down two of U.S. Soccer's legendary goalkeepers - and at the same time, no less! - to talk about their long and distinguished careers for both club and country.

Always articulate and insightful, Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller spoke about their rise through the goalkeeping ranks, the fortunes of Blackburn and Fulham, and how two kids from the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest managed to earn over 35 years in combined experience in top leagues around the world. We even learned something new about Kasey, and he's been around U.S. Soccer for 18 years!

Click the links below and enjoy listening to two of the best ...

Brad and Kasey talk about their careers in Europe ...

Kasey talking about Fulham's fight ...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Heerenveen Ousted from Champions League Playoffs

Michael Bradley and Heerenveen succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Ajax on Monday, and have been eliminated from the Champions League Playoffs as a result. Monday's defeat made for a 5-2 aggregate defeat over the course of two legs, and now Heerenveen will have to right the ship ahead of a UEFA Cup playoff with NAC Breda.

Bradley was sent off in the 38th minute for his second bookable offense and will be suspended for the first leg against NAC Breda. The midfielder will be available for selection in the second leg of the playoffs. The winner of the tie earns a berth into next season's UEFA Cup.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Premier League Update

Fulham defeated Birmingham City in a must-win game for the Cottagers on Saturday. Needing a victory to keep alive their chances of avoiding the drop, Fulham rose to the task and beat Birmingham behind goals from Brian McBride and substitue Erik Nevland. Kasey Keller and Clint Dempsey also contributed to the winning effort, going 90 minutes for Fulham.

The win, coupled with other results (most notably Reading's 1-0 defeat to Tottenham) takes Fulham out of the bottom three. Ahead of Reading on goal differential and one point above Birmingham, Fulham can assure themselves of Premier League football next season with a win against Portsmouth next Sunday.

Some Links:

Here's a great article about Brian McBride from The Independent over in England. The piece details Brian's career from MLS to his time at Fulham.

In other news, Clint Dempsey has signed a contract extension at Fulham.

For Reading, their 1-0 defeat to Tottenham this weekend means that they no longer are in sole control of their Premier League fate. Marcus Hahnemann's team will need a win next Sunday (against Derby) and also need Fulham to falter in their game.

Everton slipped up this weekend against Arsenal, but Tim Howard's team is still sitting in fifth place thanks to Aston Villa's defeat by Wigan. Everton can still confirm European football next season with a point on the final day against Newcastle.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Heerenveen were defeated by Ajax 2-1 in the Dutch Eredivisie playoffs today, and Michael Bradley's club now face a one goal deficit going into next weeks return leg.

Heerenveen fought back to tie the match in the second half, but Jonny Heitinga's late goal swung the tie in Ajax's favor prior to Monday's match.

Check out the match report here.