Your Running Commentary

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

RealBarcelona (Getty Images)


All eyes will be on the famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the Spanish capital Sunday as Real Madrid host Barcelona in another installment of El Clasico.

First-place Real Madrid have not lost in La Liga since the first Clasico of the season back in October, and they hold a four-point lead over Barcelona heading into their second league meeting of the season. Defending champions Barcelona have been at their dominant best at Camp Nou recently, but they have also dropped back-to-back matches away from home in La Liga — an area they will want to improve in order to stay in the race for another title. Superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are both in great form at the moment, so we could see a showdown for the ages today in Madrid.

Second-place Atletico Madrid, who enter Sunday trailing crosstown rivals Real Madrid by three points in the championship race, will play before El Clasico. Diego Costa and Atletico hit the road to face last-place Real Betis, who continued their disappointing campaign with a Europa League loss earlier this week.

In England, Tottenham Hotspur look to put more distance between themselves and Manchester United in their race for a Europa League spot when they host Southampton. AS Monaco will take on Lille in an important French Ligue 1 match later in the day, and AC Milan hope to end their recent struggles with a road victory against Lazio.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action. (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):

9:30am – Tottenham vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Network

10am – Inter Milan vs. Atalanta – beIN Sports USA

12pm – Aston Villa vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Network

12pm – Real Betis vs. Atletico Madrid – beIN Sports USA

2pm – Pumas UNAM vs. Monterrey – Univision Deportes/Univision

3pm – Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls – UniMas

3pm – Santos vs. Palmeiras – GolTV USA

3:45pm – Lazio vs. AC Milan – beIN Sports Play

4pm – Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – beIN Sports USA/beIN Sports en Español

4pm – Monaco vs. Lille – Univision Deportes

5:15pm – River Plate vs. Lanus – GolTV USA

7pm – Atlante vs. Toluca – Univision Deportes

  • Expat4455

    I believe in Brazil Klinsi will start against Ghana with a 4-2-3-1, We will know more in the second half of the Mexico friendly, or at least by the 2nd. send-off one.


    • Francois

      Are you serious? Xabi gets the ball and Iniesta runs into his legs. No hard contact, but Iniesta goes down hard. You can’t call that in that situation, all 3 penalties have been dubious.


      • Increase0

        I’m confused as well. If I was called on Carvajal maybe but it was on Xavi. But Xavi clear got the ball. to quote the guardian MBM

        “Andres Iniesta goes down and Barcelona have another penalty! He was sandwiched by Carvajal and Alonso but Iniesta made the most of it. I’m not sure about that at all.”

        Xavi was booked too. So seems to be on him. Dunno if it was for the foul or dissent.


      • Atletico Man

        AS has it as “Alonso takes down Iniesta” so pick your commentator.


      • Rich D

        Always a dubious situation when 2 defenders get split in the box.


      • beachbum

        just watched it again. it was a PK and should be called in that situation imo.


  • Expat4455

    Okay, Barca 4, Real 3. But, what chance would either side have against Sunderland?


    • Steve-O

      McBride, yes. Wynalda, no — absolutely not! Please keep him, Keller, Lalas, and Twellman away from television screens as much as possible. Cory Gibbs and Tim Howard aren’t exactly covering Americans in the studio and booth in glory either. Howard offers the occasional insightful comment on what might be going through a keeper’s head during the game — and I love hearing that type of commentary — but he is poor at offering illuminating comments about other aspects of play.


  • Bac

    Even though I don’t like Neymar, that was a penalty, but I don’t like that as a red card. His touch was taking him away from a direct line to goal and another defender was right there. I know it’s up to the application of the rule as denial of a goal scoring opportunity, but I think that rule should be applied on a breakaway… not like that. They get the penalty, hate the red.


      • Expat4455

        Am I wrong, don’t some teams, some very good teams I might add, play this formation?


      • Steve-O

        Arguably, the vast majority of the teams involved in world football play this formation. However, there has been a tactical shift within the last 6 months where more and more teams are starting to use a 4-4-2. Still, the 4-5-1 is bound to be the most popular formation at this year’s World Cup because international football always lags behind club football and it’s easier to implement sweeping tactical changes more easily over the course of a long season rather than a couple of weeks.


    • Steve-O

      That’s his preferred formation and depending on the success he has having within it, he may or may not change to a 4-4-2 with double pivots in the second half. He has also experimented with a 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield as well as a 4-1-3-2 with the carrileros shifting slightly higher up the field to offer greater support to the wide players and the attacking midfielder.


      • Steve-O

        Scratch that last part. I was still thinking about a standard 4-4-2 with double pivots and traditional wide midfielders. What I meant to say was that the carrileros — the shuttlers on either side of the diamond — push up in midfield to help support the two forwards and the attacking midfielder.


    • John

      Since the Honduras loss last year, 4-2-3-1 has been the formation we usually start off in. Some point to dropping the 4-3-3 with 3 defensive midfielders for the 4-2-3-1 as when things kind of turned around, certainly in qualifying for the US.


    • Bac

      That’s become his standard starting formation, but it more or less morphs into a 4-4-1-1. The teams that execute the 4-2-3-1 the best have a true 10 as a playmaker who can do everything. We don’t have that, we have guys that operate more like a 2nd forward, primarily Deuce, and Donovan plays more like a withdrawn forward when he plays in the middle than a true 10.
      What’s funny is under Bradley’s standard 4-4-2, everyone would always want Deuce moved up as the 2nd forward, which he would do late in games. Now he’s up there but nobody is convinced we’re in the best lineup…
      $h!t I don’t know….


      • GW

        Mr. bac,

        I’m sure the USMNT coaching staff is as up to date on the latest tactical trends as the fans are. After all they have computers too:


        All these formations only make sense if:

        1. You have the players who can play them
        2. The time to practice

        For instance In the Ukraine game there was a back four who had never played together, particularly the CB pair.

        Given that the Ukraine team they were playing was a very good, veteran team who had just missed qualifying for the World Cup and had been together for some time, the 2-0 score was actually not a bad result. And if you watch this USMNT team whenever they have a run of games close together like they did last summer starting with that rout by Belgium, they tend to follow their bad opening game with better performances and get better thereafter, which only makes sense.

        Which makes the send off games a real big deal.

        The point is none of us are on the training ground so we don’t see how the various formations work out (or not) in training.

        My guess is keeping to a basic, familiar, starting formation, in this case the 4-2-3-1, only makes sense. After all these things can morph any time into a 4-4-2, a 4-5-1. a 3-5-2, a 4-3-3,a 4-6-0 or any of their endless variations, in an instant after the opening whistle.


      • Bac

        Yea I agree with everything you just said 100%. Did something I said not sit right with you? I was just pointing out a few examples about his formation question.
        Speaking of which, I’ve said that I’d like to see Bradley sitting deep in the middle of a 3 man midfield, where he’d have space to control the game, I think he’d thrive.. but unfortunately we don’t have the personnel to make it happen right now….
        As far as my example about how we line up with Deuce as a 10, it’s just different than say how an Ozil or a Mata type is expected to play… but since we don’t have anyone like that, it plays out differently for us.. but it’s still probably our best approach which I agree with you


  • Jack Del

    Wow. That post-game presser was more insane than the game.

    Here comes a long suspension for C. Ronaldo. Might have just cost Madrid a shot at the title.


      • Jack Del

        C. Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos both explicitly said that La Liga fixed the match for Barcelona.

        It was a shocking press conference.


      • Matt

        Theyre just afraid to admit they arent as good as Barca and never will be


      • Gary Page

        Unless you have conclusive proof that will stand up in court, that is an astoundingly stupid thing to say. You would think they had more sense. Wow.


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