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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Dejan Lovran of Southampton slides in to deny James Milner of Manchester City

Photo by Javier Garcia / ISIPhotos.com

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Before their crucial meeting with league-leading Liverpool next weekend at Anfield, third-place Manchester City will try to maintain pressure on the high-scoring Reds with a home English Premier League victory against eighth-place Southampton.

Manchester City drew 1-1 with Southampton in their first meeting this season, but they will definitely want all three points from their encounter with the Saints at Ethiad Stadium, where they have posted 13 wins and just one loss this EPL campaign. Southampton have been up-and-down in form recently, routing Newcastle United yet losing to Tottenham Hotspur away from home, but they will be looking for their first big upset of the season this Saturday in Manchester.

Elsewhere in the EPL, second-place Chelsea can pull ahead of Liverpool for at least a temporary basis with a victory at Stamford Bridge against Stoke City. The Potters stunned Chelsea in their first meeting this season but have been awful on the road this season. Chelsea have dropped their last two matches to put their dreams of a double in jeopardy, and they will look to keep Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten league run at the Bridge going on Saturday.

In Spain, all three horses in La Liga’s race for the title are in action Saturday. First-place Atletico Madrid, who face second-place Barcelona in a Champions League showdown in a few days, lead off with a home match against Villarreal. Barcelona host last-place Real Betis later in the day, and third-place Real Madrid look to keep their high-scoring ways going in a road match at Real Sociedad.

Tonight, the rivalry clash between league-leading Cruz Azul and Club America highlights a slate of matches from Liga MX. The rematch of the 2013 Clausura final features a role reversal—Cruz Azul are the dominant force in Mexico right now, while Club America are fighting to grab a playoff spot with just a few matches left to play in the season.

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):

7:15am – Wigan Athletic vs. Leeds United – beIN Sports USA

7:45am – Manchester City vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Network

7:45am – Dundee United vs. Celtic – Fox Soccer Plus

9:30am – Augsburg vs. Bayern Munich – GolTV USA

10am – Newcastle United vs. Manchester United – NBC Sports Network

10am – Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal – beIN Sports USA

10am – Aston Villa vs. Fulham – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Cardiff City vs. Crystal Palace – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Norwich City vs. West Bromwich Albion – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Hull City vs. Swansea City – Premier League Extra Time

11am – PSG vs. Reims – beIN Sports Play

12pm – Barcelona vs. Betis – beIN Sports USA

12:30pm – Chelsea vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Network

12:30pm – Borussia Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg – GolTV USA

12:45pm – Heerenveen vs. PSV Eindhoven – ESPN3

2pm – Toulouse vs. Lille – Univision Deportes

2pm – Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid – beIN Sports USA

2:45pm – Inter Milan vs. Bologna – beIN Sports USA (Tape delay beginning at 4pm)

3pm – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders – NBC Sports Network

4pm – Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls – MLS Direct Kick

4pm – Rayo Vallecano vs. Celta de Vigo – beIN Sports en Español

5pm – Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union – MLS Direct Kick

6pm – Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC – MLS Direct Kick

6:30pm – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids – MLS Direct Kick

7pm – D.C. United vs. New England Revolution – MLS Direct Kick

7pm – Club America vs. Cruz Azul – Univision Deportes/Univision

8pm – Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas – MLS Direct Kick

8:30pm – Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake – MLS Direct Kick

9pm – Pachuca vs. Chivas de Guadalajara – UniMás

9pm – Monterrey vs. Santos Laguna – Univision Deportes

10:05pm – Club Leon vs. Queretaro – Telemundo

11pm – Atlas vs. Puebla – Univision Deportes

92 comments
  • Bac

    Good discussion last night on SBI regarding the current state/lineup of commentators and analysts around the USMNT….
    Then I watched Lalas spout off more verbal diarrhea of the mouth late last night… I swear it sounds like he’s looking forward to us getting blown out in Brazil- no joke…

    Like

  • Martin Vasquez

    Ridiculous. Berti Vogts is what happens to you. Soccer Saturday can’t come fast enough.

    Like

    • argh

      I want them both to win the title.

      Turn that 2 horse league in SPAIN into something far more respectable

      Like

  • Paul

    Rooney out of today’s game with a ‘bad toe’… could also miss the return game with Bayern.

    Like

    • Ali Dia

      Ah well.. best that he just rests up at this point. Rooney is a top player and I think he’s poised for a massive summer at Euro 2004.

      Like

      • argh

        Time warp? He did accomplish that but never lived up to it in the English shirt

        Like

      • Ali Dia

        The apparent highest paid player in world football, and perhaps the world authority in getting pay raises by constantly threatening to leave. He genuinely does fall among the hardest working English players (no merit badge here I know), and is really more talented than the England setup can possibly allow him to prove, but to say he has achieved more than 75% of his potential would be very polite. His trophy cabinet would fit into a small corner of his former peer Ronaldo’s and would contain nearly nothing unique by comparison. But he’s still good. Just a B+ that could’ve been an A.

        Like

      • LIVE4U

        so true. He had 2 seasons where he scored over 20 league goals a season. To me he’s overrated. I mean he’s a great striker. Not top 10 (on his best day Yes) but usually top 11-15.

        4 goals in Euro 2004 and 1 goal in 2012.

        Now 2006 he was injured. 2008 England didn’t qualify. 2010 he was a basketcase. 2012 he missed 2 group games.

        He’s a BEAST in qualifying and sure he works well as a number 10 as well but he hasn’t delivered. As you said, he threatens to leave and they offer more money and suddenly he stays. Moyes should have let him go. Get Lewandowski or Costa or Cavani. All more worthy strikers. Heck even Benzema is slightly above Rooney’s level.

        Like

      • Increase0

        I thought 2006 was that Red Card? I swear there was a red card somewhere in a EC

        Like

  • argh

    5 best strikers in the world right now?

    Suarez? Ibrahimovic? Tevez? Costa? Sturridge?

    if we go with 10 i’d include

    when healthy- Falcao, Cavani, RVP, Rooney, Benzema

    Like

  • argh

    I can’t think of any world class strikers in Germany. I mean how good are Lewandowski and Mandzukic? anyone can give me an idea?

    and for this I don’t include Messi/Ronaldo as strikers. It makes things easier.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Lewandowski is great when fresh. Got got 4 goals in one game at the Champs league semis vs Real last year.

      Mandzukic is like Benzema. He is there to set up other players by making space but when he gets the ball he scores more often than Benzema. Bayern/Juv from last year is a good game to see the utility of Mandzukic.

      Adrian Ramos is pretty good. He is gunna get bought off Berlin for sure.

      Huntelaar is great when he isn’t injured.(11 goals in 13 games.)

      Throw in Muller if ya want but he isn’t a proper striker.

      Like

      • LIVE4U

        yeah I remember seeing Mario Gomez score like 28 league goals the past 2 seasons prior to Mandzukic who scored maybe 16 league goals and Gomez was forced out. So the Croat doesn’t score much but he plays more of a team role right? even now he only has like 17 league goals.

        Like

      • Ali Dia

        Yes. Lists like this are tough because eventually it tends towards the snobbish. Naming somebody who hasn’t won a major golden boot or had a big fee paid for them at least once exposes a person to criticism. You’re down to about 15 guys before you’ve even started. But yours is a very decent list of those guys, I’d add Lewandowski too, as well as (maybe) Balotelli, and even that will probably drive somebody nuts.

        Like

      • OHG

        I never got Balotelli.

        12 goals in 29 matches for Italy. 3 at Euro 2012. Okay that’s fine.

        His best club season was 2011-12 when he helped City win the title but his stats were 13 in 23 league matches, 17 goals in 32 matches overall. Now you might say well he has loads of competition with the squad.

        His best period was when he joined AC Milan early 2013 scoring 12 goals in 13 matches. That was when he was world class. He’s scored world class goals previously but his club stats never reflected that much. I know that stats aren’t everything but it does grade the players well. He’s a top striker but not top 10 if you ask me.

        Like

      • Ali Dia

        I can scarcely argue with this. People definitely want him to be better than he is, at least in terms of achievement. His best moments get lionized but there is rarely trophy to go with them, and when his engagement slips he is spectacular dead weight.

        Like

  • MiamiAl

    An 18 year old and two 19 years olds- Pierre Hojbjerg, Ylli Sallahi, Mitchell Weiser gets the start for Bayern Munich today against Augsburg. Hopefully in the not too distant future Julian Green might get some playing time…

    Like

    • Increase0

      Thats a super risky line up for Bayern. They want to murder manu. Ausburg is decent too.

      BTW Green was in the US this week so no one should get worked up about it.(Also Bayern are losing right now. Just sayin)

      Like

      • Karl L.

        How is that risky? They’ve already won the league and have a bunch of players that have played a lot of games
        This is the time to give some of them a break

        Like

      • Increase0

        Eh, you say that like they want to lose…. Oh it doesn’t matter but I doubt they want to lose.

        Like

      • Karl L.

        No. I say it like they want to rest some players that have a lot of wear over the season and a very important game coming up. Simple as that. No need for you to make things up.

        Like

      • Increase0

        I talked about risk in regards to the game at hand happening now. I called it risky.

        You said it wasn’t a risk as “They’ve already won the league.” This implies that that a loss is okay and as a loss is okay it is not a risk.

        I’m not making things up. I am talking about this game. You are talking about 2 things at the same time(League and Game) but failing to differentiate between the two.

        Like

      • Increase0

        Oh, I should also mention Kroos is playing and is likely to play again vs Manu. Its just weird he isn’t rested.

        Like

      • biff

        Can anyone confirm Green out for 3 weeks with a bad shoulder? I could not find it. If true, makes the call-up for a non-Fifa date friendly on another continent of an 18-year-old kid fighting to move up in the Bayern organization even more irritating. In looking for the shoulder story ran across this story.

        SmorgasBorg: Julian Green to World Cup with USMNT? In your dreams
        http://www.mlssoccer.com/worldcup/2014/news/article/2014/04/03/smorgasborg-julian-green-world-cup-usmnt-your-dreams

        Like

      • Bac

        Yes, report came out a few days ago that doctors said he needed 3 weeks rest, confirmed on his Dad’s Twitter.
        But why do you have to say it makes it more irritating, injuries happen, period. He could have just as easily gotten injured in training or in a game in his current situation in Germany.

        Like

      • biff

        @Bac: Irritating is probably a poor choice of words. True, he could have been injured while training with the Bayern reserve team or possibly this past week with the first team. But it’s likely the risk of injury would increase being jet-lagged after the long flight across the Atlantic and, quite frankly, playing against Mexico internationals, who, let’s face it, are much better than the 4th division players Green has been playing against. Playing a totally inexperienced and extremely nervous 18-year-old player against Mexico is like throwing a baby fish to the sharks. So, come to think of it, irritating is the right word. There was absolutely no reason to do it and I think it was a wrong and short-sighted decision by Klinsmann, especially after he made the same mistake last year with John Brooks, who after his premature call-up suffered a run of bad form. And now Green’s development is on hold at a time when possible, we don’t know for sure, but when possibly he could be developing with Bayern’s first team. The injury no doubt ends any hope of him making the 23-man roster for Brazil.

        Like

      • Bac

        1. It’s a shoulder bruise, nothing serious and he’s due back in training in a few weeks…before the 30 man roster is named, so it doesn’t eliminate him at all.
        2. There’s no way this sets back his movement with Bayern at all. If he gets knocked out for 3 weeks from an injury playing in Germany does Pep put him on the shelf indefinitely? No
        3. To say JK made a mistake with Brooks that set him back months is just totally unfounded. Brooks got a serious injury that knocked him out for a few months.
        4. You wanna talk about risk, how do you measure the risk of NOT doing something? Like seeing what the kid is capable of?
        – It’s not like we have attacking midfielders growing from trees right now
        – What nobody is talking about is why would he take that 23rd spot on the roster? Fact is, there’s been more than ample opportunity for several guys to step up and prove themselves worthy… and if someone gets bumped because Green proves to be more helpful, then they have nobody to blame but themselves.
        – If he gets into camp and doesn’t earn a spot on the plane, then what was lost? Nothing…

        There’s 2 schools of thought right now: Either he’s totally not ready… or …. Fans are so desperate for a superstar they want him no matter what..
        The ones that think he’s not ready are creating a narrative of comparisons and examples and reasons that he shouldn’t go 1000%
        The ones that want him are doing the opposite..

        Everyone except Seattle fans wrote Yedlin off after his brief appearance in Feb, now it’s like 50/50 after his 2nd cap. If he plays well the next few weeks that number will go up… WHY? Because it’s a position of desperate need..
        The same theory holds true for Green…

        Like

    • slowleftarm

      Hard work for the Green fanboys coming up with reasons why, with Bayern playing out the string in a meaningless game, JG still doesn’t make the bench.

      Like

      • Matthew

        out for 3 weeks with his shoulder injury he picked up against Mexico, you can check his father’s twitter or Brian Scarietta’s if you’d like

        Like

      • Increase0

        Don’t be grumpy slow. If he goes to the WC then you can be grumpy. Doing it now just comes of as spiteful.

        Like

      • Haussmann

        LOL I really hope Pep gives him him some minutes otherwise these people might pull a muscle reaching for excuses.

        Like

      • Chris

        What part of just traveled across the world/hurt himself are you having trouble understanding?

        LOL

        Like

    • biff

      As for the Green comments above, we don’t know whether Green would have been called up by Pep for today’s game against Augsburg. Maybe, maybe not. But I will say that minutes today against Augsburg in the Bundesliga instead of the Regional League Green has been playing in all season would have been much more beneficial for his advancement as a player than an arguably undeserved call-up for a meaningless USMNT friendly. Klinsmann calling him up, IMO, was a classic case of putting the cart in front of the horse. All that said, I am very glad Julian committed to the USMNT and I wish him luck and hope he is able to develop enough in coming years to earn a spot on the USMNT roster during the WC 2018 cycle.

      Like

      • The Garrincha

        Hey Biff.
        We should all hope Green is fit and ready to go for the 30 man roster.
        I actually think if they could have had JG up sooner and playing at the very least in the Ukraine match he would have been better acclimated.
        Green, has the ability I always saw in Mix, and anybody knows I was and still am a big supporter of Mix, because he has the skill to create for himself and others.
        That being said, I rate Green’s, ability to do this and put defenses on their heels a little higher.
        JB Corona, can do this in doses.
        GRINGO Torres, has the handle to do this, but he always seems to go nowhere, ineffectual, sorta in a circle, as if he was doing the mexican hat dance?.
        And please do not bring up D Williams, if he plays with just that one foot any longer it may just fall off?.
        In closing, Brek and “Money”, are not even the same player.
        physically and or otherwise.
        Breks, the big hammer you got in the tool box, but you never know when you have used it too much or not enough.
        And yes, I truly wish we could have both of them in the tool box.

        Like

  • LIVE4U

    why is it always that a majority of football games are held

    on Saturdays in England, Germany
    on Sundays in France, Italy, Spain

    Is it a cultural thing? Like church n football in the Mediterranean countries? But isn’t their church attendance at a shocking low in those countries? Just curious as to what EUROPEAN games play in the scheduling of these matches? Germany has games on Friday but why not the rest?

    Like

  • Gerard D.

    Another thrown elbow from Fellaini and he escapes a red card AGAIN. This guy is a thug. Period.

    Like

  • why dont I go ask

    If WONDO goes to Brazil and scores a few goals, could he get a move to the Premier League?

    Like

      • Ali Dia

        Correct, unfortunately. No EPL team is going to pay any kind of meaningful fee for him at 31, and he is too highly valued at SJ for them to offload him for a pittance. The only chance would be for him to let his contract expire and try his chances as a free agent…. which would be a pretty unattractive strategy.

        If Wondowlowski somehow did have a truly remarkable World Cup, it’s possible some team with a short-term need for a striker could come asking after him on a loan deal in January– hypothetical and unlikely as this may be, it’s probably the only chance that isn’t outright prohibitive.

        Like

    • Mike R

      Sure and he can score like crazy against B and C teams and not so anything against the first teams in the premier league.

      As long as we play Portugal, Germany, and Ghanas B teams in Brazil well see Wondo tear that tournament up!

      Like

      • GW

        Wondo can score against anyone.

        The question is can the US set him up, give him something to work with against the top teams?

        Like

  • Gerard D.

    And United almost get another goal after Chicarito kicks Williamson in the face and no foul is called leading to a fast break shot off the post.

    Seriously, no integrity in officiating in United matches.

    Like

    • Increase0

      This Juan Mata thing seems to be working. I’m not watching the game but something tells me Kagawa is good too.

      Like

      • bechbum

        Kagawa-Mata play well together imo, they know how to link up and release players, not something this ManU team does very well especially with Fellaini out there, the walking turnover

        Like

  • beachbum

    Hernandez has played well today imo, even with hitting the post on his 1v1 after Kagawa released him. He’s good, makes smart tricky runs, quick bursts

    Like

    • JD in FL

      I’d be interested in seeing him with MB90 in the central midfield for the USA. He’s looked good in the middle for Reading.

      Like

    • biff

      Looks like Moyes is finally learning how to play his players . Kagawa, Mata, Hernandez and Januzah all should be starting against Bayern on Wednesday, especially Kagawa who was starting for Dortmund back kin the days when Dortmund was regularly dominating Bayern. It is a shame that Van Persie is not fit. He could be a game changer and the suspect Bayern defense would not be able to handle him. But I also think Hernandez can be a royal pain for Bayern defenders and also thorn for Neuer if he strays too far from the net as he is wont to do. I think sooney simply got the day off today to recuperate for Bayern and will be playing next Wednesday like a wild man. He wants the win bad.

      Like

      • beachbum

        could be, should be fun viewing. Robben-Ribery something special and MU backline needs to be sharp and Fellaini can’t suck again, if deployed again, the way he did last week or Bayern might make the game ugly imo, just counter MU to death. If MU can score first that game will be amazing, could be anyway

        Like

      • biff

        Sheesh. And I did not mean Wayne sooney, but Wayne Rooney getting the today off to day to recuperate for Wednesday.

        Like

      • Laszlo

        Mata can’t play in the CL game on Wednesday. He’s cup tied – played in the CL with Chelsea last fall.

        Like

  • biff

    Bayern lost their first league game of the season. Only saw the last 20 minutes, but Bayern down 1-0 was playing a desperate game fighting for the equalizer. They actually looked human for a change and Pep was not a happy trooper. If Man U can whip Bayern on Wednesday and knock Bayern out of the Champion’s League, then this would be great news for the USMNT, would more than likely increase chances of the USMNT surviving the Group of Death.

    A lot of pundits felt Bayern’s misfortunes in 2012, the loss to Chelsea in the CL Final at home in Allianz Arena and Dortmund humiliating them 5-2 in the Pokal Cup final, weakened the confidence of the Bayern players and was a key reason for Germany’s shock loss to Italy in the 2012 European Cup. Bayern has to be nervous now ahead of Man U. Could be epic.

    Like

    • GW

      It could also piss off the German players royally and make them want to take it out on whoever they play in the World Cup.

      That would be the next meaningful prize for them if they go out of the Champion League.

      Like

    • MiamiAl

      I disagree. We want Bayern Munich (47% of German National team is made up of Bayern players) AND Christiano Ronaldo to have as long a season as possible. We should want them to have as little rest as can be given between the last meaningful game and the start of the World Cup, and to do that, their respective teams need to be in the Champions League Final.

      Like

  • OHG

    what happened to Torres?

    does he need to go back to being a Blonde?

    He scored 75 league goals in 5 seasons when he was in Spain. He was a pretty damn good striker there. He scored 65 goals in 102 league matches for Liverpool.

    Was it injuries? He’s scored at Euro 2012. But that didn’t jump start scoring for Chelsea. He’s racked up loads of assists at Chelsea though but he isn’t a world class striker for the past 3 seasons. It’s just strange as he’s only 30 years old now. 10 years old ago he was seen as potential for world class. 5 years ago he was world class. 2.5 years ago he was seen as a FLOP.

    Like

    • Michael Stypulkoski

      It’s no secret what happened to Torres. He was never the same player after his knee surgery in April 2010. It isn’t as if he forgot how to play after moving to Chelsea; people forget that his last year with Liverpool was one to forget, with just nine goals in all competitions. To be fair to him he did register twenty-two last campaign, so there’s obviously still some ability there. He just isn’t the world beater he once was, and it can be traced back to that surgery.

      Like

  • jones

    Something that’s been bugging me: What was the deal with Stoke and Mo Edu? Did he ever really comment on it besides “it is what it is?”
    We know he is quality and he never had such a difficult time getting on the field with his other teams. As far as I know, there have never been any comments that he is someone who doesn’t consistently work/train hard (unlike another American on the Stoke books). Just seems like they didn’t like him for whatever reason. Perplexing, especially since his defensive workhorse style seems to suit them.

    Like

    • OHG

      He never commented but it was a bad move. Just bad,

      should have gone to France or Turkey

      Like

  • Curtis

    Pure speculation on my part, but seems like it would have to be an injury — thought he was solid if unspectacular in the first half.

    If it is a knock, really hope it’s just a precautionary move and nothing serious.

    Like

    • Beckster

      Thought he looked slow and did not put in a very good performance in first half – may have been because of a knock – who knows. If not, his replacement just gave away a penalty so Geoff should be back in good graces again.

      Like

    • Maykol

      I dont see anything about injury. I didnt see much of him, but i did see he made 2 good tackles on Torres

      Like

    • James

      I would have guessed an injury, but they did a double replacement at half, which makes me think maybe it’s tactical

      Like

  • ryryry

    Wilkinson has been turrrible since replacing Cameron. Horrible cross and now a penalty.

    Like

  • John

    Jones with a yellow in each of his last 3 starts, today only taking him 33 minutes

    Like

  • Kory

    We’ll, apparently Julian Green hurt his shoulder by falling down with nobody around him during the Mexico game.
    It was funny at the time but not so much anymore.

    Like

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