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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Manchester United stumbled out of the block with a season-opening loss to Swansea, but Louis Van Gaal isn’t standing by and settling for the team he has at Old Trafford.

Amid reports that Argentinian winger Angel DiMaria is on his way to the Red Devils, Manchester United will look for a victory on the road against Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland, which came back for a dramatic draw last week.

In Spain, Barcelona kicks off their season with a match against Elche. Neymar looks set to miss the La Liga opener, but Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta will be ready to go for new manager Luis Enrique.

The match of the day just might be in Portland, where the Timbers take on arch-rival Seattle in a key Western Conference showdown. The Timbers are fighting for a playoff place, while the Sounders are fighting to move to the top of the Supporters Shield race.

If you will be watching today’s soccer 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):

TODAY’S SOCCER ON TV

8:00 a.m. – Olympique Lyonnais vs Lens – beIN Sports Connect

8:30 a.m. – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Queens Park Rangers – CNBC

8:30 a.m. – Hull City vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extra Time

9:30 a.m. – Paderborn 07 vs Mainz 05 – GOLTV USA

11:00 a.m. – Saint-Etienne vs Rennes – beIN Sports USA

11:30 a.m. – Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Stuttgart – GOLTV USA

11:00 a.m. – Sunderland vs. Manchester United – NBCSN

1:00 p.m. – Eibar vs. Real Sociedad – beIN Sports USA

1 p.m. – Pumas UNAM vs. Club Tijuana – Univision

3:00 p.m. – Nantes vs. Monaco – beIn Sports USA

3:00 p.m. – Celta de Vigo vs. Getafe – beIN Sports USA

3:00 p.m. – Barcelona vs. Elche – beIN Sports USA 

5:00 p.m. – Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders – ESPN 2

5:00 p.m. – Levante vs. Villarreal – beIN Sports USA

6:00 p.m. – Universidad de Guadalajara vs. Club Leon – Univision Deportes

8:00 p.m. – Philadelphia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Univision Deportes

11:00 p.m. – Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit – ESPN2

85 comments
  • jones

    Cameron on the bench today for Stoke, not sure what this means – anyone hear anything new?

    Really, I feel like our players should just stay away from that club.

    Like

      • jones

        hm, maybe he has been given the opportunity to challenge for a starting spot in DM? Who is playing there now? (I don’t watch Stoke regularly)

        Like

    • MyNameIsAlsoVic

      I’ve unilaterally decided that SBI’s sunday gameday running commentary should also be a running social media commentary. So the big question of the day is whether Jermaine Jones will post pics/comments on instagram of his time last night at Chris Brown’s mtv party, the one where Suge K was shot. That would be a bad idea JJ

      Like

  • jones

    Also, looks like Spurs will be moving Michael Dawson on – would be a good upgrade for a lot of clubs. More stability in the lineup will really improve this team and I can see Lamela having a good year. And apparently Wellbeck is interested in a Spurs move but we will see if that actually happens.

    Like

    • Ali Dia

      Has somebody reminded Levy that he bought Lamela? Seems like he might’ve been out celebrating his big business last summer and bought Lamela on some kind of a bar bet. Now would be a good time to point him to these folks.

      30 million euros is a lot of money. Easily the most head-scratching move of the year for me… it’s not that I don’t like Lamela… a very credible young talent and you do sometimes have to pay more when a player has a pedgree that precedes him, which Lamela very much did in spite of an encouraging-but-spotty spell with Roma.

      But I don’t love England as a destination for him and Spurs would not be the club if I did. They warehouse midfielders bizarrely… like they sleepwalk between identities or something. It’s great that they seem to have some loyalty to their internally developed talent, but just unsettling how they simultaneously convey a sense that they have absolutely no idea where anybody else came from, or how long they might be likely to stay. The strange part is they seem to agree completely— it is like Lamela is is nobody’s responsibility and there never really was an idea for him until now. If he stopped coming to work entirely during the early part of this year, would anybody have noticed?Ponchettino is going to take a crack but I doubt he’ll stick it out for long if the kid doesn’t make him look really good really fast. Problems without owners have a way of finding ones, whether they are willing or not.

      30 million euros? It boggles the mind, and makes you wonder if you are missing the story entirely.

      Like

      • Kmac014

        Lamela is very much in spurs plans. Pochettino has moved him into a central role and the main presser in his system. Spurs putting a lot of pressure on him to do well and he will flourish. He dominated the preseason and has looked great so far this season. He came on and got two assists in their Europa league game this week to come back and win 2-1. He also had two assists today against QPR. He is spurs best player and levy and pochettino know it. Big year for him

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      • Ali Dia

        Good info then… thank you. Have scarecely spent 15 mins watching Spurs this season due to time demands so this is very helpful for me (just saw the highlights roll back from this morning– very lovely chip back across yes… looks like he has some confidence in him now)

        Let’s see how he does… pressure like that is no joke. I had seen enough of him with Roma to know he has great technical skills and attacking instincts… when he is playing well he can cause problems in a number of different ways. Never could figure out what caused him to struggle to sustain this, but it always felt like he was hitting a ceiling only he could see. At the time I just chalked it up to development or injury. Maybe a change of scenery will be helpful for him in this way… I suppose that’s why we watch.

        Cheers.

        Like

      • Kmac014

        I’m a huge huge spurs fan and last years problem was mainly injury. He was out with a back injury for almost the entire year. When he first got their it was a new team, new country, new language so u can see the initial struggle but yeah I can see y a lot of people think he is a bust especially with all the negative media attention he and spurs in General have gotten. The managers, especially Sherwood, were atrocious

        Like

      • WhiteHart

        I’d say after today he looked every bit worth the money today. Sometimes it takes a little while to settle into a league/team. Yes it’s more difficult when the manager is under a lot of pressure, but Lamela seems to have responded well to the new manager.

        Now if only we could get Soldado to score a few… Guy scored twice from open play last year and cost nearly 30mm, just goes to show that Jozy wasn’t the only striker last year that didn’t hit the ground running after lighting up a previous league.

        Like

      • Kmac014

        Soldado will never justify that price tag but I think he can have a good season. He might not get 20 goals but I think 20 goals and 7 assists isn’t out if the question. The dude can pass and knows the game

        Like

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts

      No afraid he was not among those deployed as starters or subs, but not sure on whether he made the bench.

      Like

  • Increase0

    Cleverly is gunna have a yellow in like… the next 10 minutes. He had had 2 really dumb obvious fouls in the last 5 minutes.

    Like

  • Diego's Maradoughnuts

    Classic Sunderland facepalm. I hope Besler is sitting in a bathtub full of small bills and prime KC meat having a laugh at this “opportunity” he let go begging to join the Blunderland back-line

    Like

    • AMPh

      I think that would qualify Besler as legally insane–laughing to himself, sitting in tub of meat and money. That said, I’ve long been an advocate of that sort of behavior.

      Like

      • argh

        Besler is making 600 K now. He probably would have been making 1 million had he joined.

        Like

    • Del Griffin

      Even weak Sunderland is worlds better than skc. Besler made a mistake for his development. If nothing than for the fact he would learn to play against top competition. I doubt we’ll be seeing much from him going forward though on the Nat’s.

      Like

      • Ravishing Rick Rude

        Yes one of the better CBs at the world cup and in MLS needs to play for a dumpster fire of a team that will be in a relegation fight again for the umpteenth time. He will get much better chasing prem league forwards and wingers as they score at will. Besler is the real deal unlike those jokers Sunderland calls a defense and if you dont see that then you better ask someone.

        Like

      • Louis Z

        “One of the better CBs at the world cup”? that may be a bit of a stretch.

        Like

      • Ravishing Rick Rude

        Fair enough, you can have your opinion and I can have mine, lucky for me most agree with me. He had a good tournament minus the slip versus Belgium, not saying he is world class.

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      • Bitman

        Sporting KC would lose nine of 10 to Sunderland, and would fail to make the top of League 1. He’s getting nothing in terms of development for staying there.

        As it happens, Sunderland could use a CB for the inevitable breakdown/slowdown/ of O’Shea and/or Brown that’s sure to befall them midseason. Besler would fit the bill.

        Like

      • Ravishing Rick Rude

        What are you doing over here, you should go back to your message board “pure football” which always cracks me up, what an oxymoron. Sunderland is one of the most pathetic soccer clubs I have had the misery of watching so I sincerely doubt they would dominate. The delusion is strong in this one.

        Like

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts

        You are talking about inevitable breakdowns that happened already. Wes Brown? This is a mediocre defender who didn’t get close to an England side that were/are rubbish. Ireland are even worse, although O’Shea can at least get a game there, perhaps a dubious achievement considering the foul belch of a side were the consensus worst team at Euro 2012 by some distance.

        Sunderland are full of these types of players. They are tramps who do just enough to get by and fall asleep constantly (can you imagine if the USMNT had conceded a goal like United’s? A goal-starved team cannot afford this)

        Sure there are some teams in the EPL and elsewhere who might take 8-9 out of 10 against SKC Not many, and Sunderland are absolutely not one of them.

        Like

      • Maykol

        Yes, that is how you get better, playing against better competition

        Like

      • Jacknut

        English players play against top competition. Where has it gotten them?

        Like

      • GW

        Mr. nut,

        Though the gap has closed in recent years, man for man England has more talented players than the USMNT does.

        But England do not play together better than the USMNT, so their results are very mediocre relative to their talent level.

        Oh and I’ll bet the England players are all a lot better off financially than their USMNT counterparts.

        Like

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts

        Indeed… and this is one of the big snakes in the grass for England. All their top players just fade into oblivion because they are fat and happy when their playing days are over.. They produce no coaches at all… scarcely one of the bunch of their internationals in recent memory has even looked at it.

        Their FA is the bigger culprit, of course, but the smarter countries and clubs look for ways to build nno-monetary engagement between the team/player before their playing days are over, so they can capture the value of their experience before it evaporates and leaves the system, along with the associated elements of organizational continuity that should feed back into the program

        Like

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts

      Having said that the clown show is happeneing all over the pitch. Sunderland should probably be up frankly, good opportunity for them here today.

      Like

      • Maykol

        Lol hey i remember a post you in response to a while ago. you said Sunderland wasnt even as good as many mls teams and some of their players were only usl and nasl quality. Lol come on man, lighten up on the delusion

        Like

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts

        I am a delusional and inconsistent man, Maykol. In real life I am indistinguishable in appearance and behavior from Uncle Rico. And if JK had put me and Landon Donovan and several USL players on that plane… we’d have beat Beglium. Not a doubt in my mind.

        So as to illustrate your point. I actually just finished a similarly angry diatribe about Sunderland in this very space about 10 seconds ago (see above). The point is that everybody is terrible but are guys, who are also sometimes quite terrible.

        Like

      • Maykol

        Yes because one player is completely going to turn around a team that was getting manhandled by belgium out there. And yeah i read your first post, in which you make it seem like sunderlamd got destroyed, when they actually only conceded once to a superior team. At this point i think you are spitting nonsense just to mess with me

        Like

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts

        I have descended into spitting nonsense today Maykol, that is definitely correct. It’s just boredom though nothing personal (I was actually pretty sure I was being ignored). But you have not thrown in the towel so you deserve a more focused answer… so here is how I’d tie the two together:

        Sunderland should be upset that they did not take all three points today. They may regret it in April. Not every day that Man U comes to town and plays this poorly, and whle a draw might seem like a decent result, it was a case of “points dropped” because they could’ve had two more (in my view).

        But this is not to suggest Sunderland are a good side. Quite the opposite… they are a bad organization with serious long-term limiitations that have trickled down to the competitive function. Because of this, they can’t afford to stare a gift horse in the mouth in these early parts of the year, when big teams haven’t settled in and perhaps can be ambushed.

        Sunderland are a garbage side, but they did not get destroyed today (as I believe they very will still may in the return later this year). Who you can beat on any given day doesn’t mean a whole lot– nobody mistakes Buster Douglas for a good boxer. But he took his opportunity when the Man called his name and made the champ pay the max for a bad day at the office.

        Like

      • Maykol

        Oh i think we can all agree that they are garbage… for a PL team. My original statement was aimed at you for your past statement in which you brought them down below MLS. That was the delusion that i wanted to address

        Like

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts

        Well you may need to track that one down then (an unenviable task I know). But if you rather save yourself the misery I will say here and now that Sunderland would finish mid table in the university of Phoenix intramural league.

        Like

      • Bitman

        A nice 15 mins from Jozy. Made an intriguing run that ended poorly (A pass or shot would have been better), flicked a header on that Wickham turned into an opportunity for Gomez, and made himself a bit of a bother.

        I like the slow increase of minutes Poyet is giving him. Think he’ll excel as a 20-25 minute player though of course I want to see him have another chance to start.

        Like

      • Fredo

        Yep, Jozy played well. Should have passed earlier on that last chance. But, it was time wasting mode.

        Like

  • Benjamin C.

    Interesting story today at mlssoccer.com on FC Dallas about rookie ace Tesho Akindele. He is about to get his U.S. citizenship and is apparently undecided on his senior international future. Could also represent Canada (where he was born and who he has represented at the youth levels) and Nigeria (through family).

    Like

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger

      I love Jozy but let’s not go overboard. Hopefully he starts over Fletcher next match.

      Like

      • Increase0

        He actually ran at somepoint. I dunno If I could say that about Fletcher.

        He had a good run but Wickham managed to get 3 defenders between him and Jozy rather than move to space and draw a defender somewhere.

        Like

      • Fair Observer

        +1, though i wouldnt’ve been mad at a long shot top of box once jozy saw wickham was making a terrible run to get in the way

        Like

  • bryan

    Solid 20 minute shift from Jozy. Two notable, surging runs but just couldn’t get the final pass. But great runs to show good power, speed, and touch. Looks like his hammy is back. Overall, positive contribution.

    Like

  • Increase0

    A British man just say Jozy had pace. Hmm, I mean… hes not slow but I don’t think of him as fast.

    Like

    • Fair Observer

      he’s def not a burner but he’s always had adequate to good speed, just never gonna completely blow by anyone.

      Like

    • TomG

      Definitely good speed for his size. He’s not fast for a wing like Walcott, but for a big, burly forward, he certainly has nice wheels. He’s a matchup problem in that he’s too strong for the quicker, leaner defenders and too fast for the Mertesackier type of guys.

      Like

    • Increase0

      Di Maria isn’t at all. He is excellent player and Manu do sorta need a body on the right I think? He isn’t vital like say…. Khedira.

      Manu should really be buying Khedira, who would be a third of the price.

      Like

  • GTV

    Decent shift by Jozy. Showed restraint not to foul when MUFC we’re threatening @ the end. Couple of threatening moves offensively. Not bad overall.

    Like

  • Ali Dia

    I’ve really seen enough. Jozy has to move…. watching this– it should be obvious for anybody that this player will never accomplish what he is capable of here (and in fairness they might really just be better off getting some big Scottish lump and some change back for their rainy day fund, aka operating budget). .

    Jozy was full of class touches in his cameo but this not how this team gets by. They don’t have nice things because they don’t know what to do with them. Just hand-me-downs and unbreakable basics. It starts in the boardroom, where the owners showed how much they learned from last season’s miracle escape by awarding themselves the summer off and procuring almost no new talent. And this is what will always be the problem. None of our players should have to be in an organization with no vision– they are actually vary rare. Just get out… too many other places you could be .

    How painful it must be watching this team running multiple set pieces for friggin’ Lee Cattermole?!? Simply because he put his concrete hoof through a ball that didn’t wind up in space last week! It’s a really horrible fit that benefits neither party. Sunderland may well stay up but who cares really? I just wish they’d lose the cell numbers of everbody they know with access to USMNT players, and just go back to paying Roy Keane to haul Man U rejects up there by the pound.

    Ugh. These rants don’t help. Too early to start drinking?

    Like

    • Ivan

      You lost me at Jozy and class touches. The man has the first touch of a serial rapist.

      He is a powerful center forward with very limited technical ability. And that’s about it. Sunderland fits his just about right. If he can’t cut it there, what are we talking about here?

      As to United, it’s like speaking about a dead man: either good or nothing. Moyes IN?

      Like

      • Ali Dia

        I forgot to thank you for the reminder, which was delivered with just enough time to stroll down the the bar and reopen my binge. My girlfriend will almost certainly start cheating on me in order to get my attention soon.

        Like

  • AH

    Barcelona starts the season with a delay because a black cat was running all over the field and they couldn’t trap him. .

    Like

  • AMPh

    First third of the POR-SEA game done. Demps and Martins on the board. Seattle looking like the team with better ideas, and more of a spark. That said, Timbers have been threatening from time to time, and have like 8 corners already.

    Like

    • AMPh

      Wow, and partly because Garber pulled their name out of a hat? Sigh, come on MLS. Anyway, stoked to hear he’ll be playing soccer again, and am very happy he came to our league.

      Like

  • Pace

    I love mls, and I defend it to the death, but jeez that is a stupid system. Pick out of a hat!?

    Like

  • Will Smith

    Messi tracked back and make at least three tackles. He’s an amazing player when he’s on his game. Oh almost forgot –two goals as well.

    With Messi, Neymar, and Suarez, Barcelona now has the unquestioned current best players from three countries which have each won multiple World Cups. Has this ever happened before?

    Like

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