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West Coast Update: France spoil’s Beckham’s 100th, Barbados advances and John O’Brien surfaces


Good afternoon West Coast readers (and good evening to those of you on the East Coast). Today’s busy slate of soccer action gave us plenty of news, results and tidbits to digest. Here are some of the highlights:

France spoils Beckham’s 100th

Franck Ribery’s 32nd minute penalty kick spoiled David Beckham’s 100th appearance for England as France held on for a 1-0 victory in Paris. Beckham didn’t just play, he actually started for Fabio Capello’s squad, which managed just two shots on goal (France only had three).

Barbados edges Dominica, will now face USA

Dwayne Stanford came on as a second-half substitute and scored the only goal in Barbados’ 1-0 victory and 2-1 series aggregate victory against Dominica on Wednesday. The win pushes Barbados into the second-round of CONCACAF qualifying against the United States. The first match of their home-and-home series will take place at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on June 15.

Grenada puts up 10 on U.S. Virgin Islands

There aren’t many teams in the world that the Grenada national team is going to blow out, but it was made clear on Wednesday that the U.S. Virgin Islands is one of those teams. Grenada scored 10, yes 10 goals, to post a 10-0 victory in their World Cup qualifying match. Perhaps as shocking as the scoreline is the fact that New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph started for Grenada and didn’t manage to score a goal.

John O’Brien (Surf)aces

For all of those fans wondering where former U.S. national team midfielder John O’Brien was, and when he was getting back on the field, there is finally some news on him. O’Brien is now playing beach soccer. No,it’s not some new fly-by-night pro beach soccer league. He’s just playing soccer for fun. It seems the stories about his retirement from professional soccer are true, unless his comeback is going to include some beach work (hey, it worked for Rocky). At the very least, I hope this tidbit puts to rest those questions about O’Brien.

Villa blast topples Italy

The day’s best match-up featured Italy and Spain, which came down to one stunning strike from Valencia forward David Villa. His curling volley into the top corner of the net gave Spain the 1-0 victory. Here is Villa’s goal:



  1. Fantastic goal. The kind you dream about scoring when you are practicing your volleys.

    Still, the goalie (was that Buffon?) nearly got to it. That would have been almost(but not quite) on par with Gordon Bank’s save from Pele in the 1970 World Cup.

  2. @Garrett

    I thought your post was hilarious! I’m talking about the press giving JOB some retirement love. Ask the guy if he has retired from non-beach soccer and if he has, do a nice piece on his career. It’s what he deserves, since it will be so easy for people to forget that he was ever there, playing at the highest level and representing the US.

  3. Honduras beat Colombia 2-1 I know most of you really dont care but the reason I brang this up is because I saw the thrashing USA gave Poland and I heard Mexico barely got by ghana with a pk that was given to them this is the 3rd SA team Honduras has beaten ecuador,paraguay, and now colombia if mexico continues their poor play I cant help but be so damn optimistic that Honduras wins atleast one of the games against them in WCQ later this year especially since were in the Concacaf group of death with jamaica and costa rica, does anyone know who the US will face in group comp ?

  4. It was a facetious remark poking fun at the stupidity of all the questions people have asked about JOB over the years.

    Honestly, the only one I intended to be a good laugher is the ‘offspring’ line, and I guessed I missed the mark on that one.

  5. Great to hear about JOB.

    If he’s [laying soccer in the sand, I’d think that his knees must be feeling better. Might have to head north to try to see him in action. As the poster above mentioned, JOB deserves the utmost respect from all MNT aficionados.

    Viva JOB!

  6. that highlight fails to show Cannavaro’s AWFUL clearance that led to that volley…that friggin idiot

    for those of you that didn’t see it, the ball was played in the air into the box…..which is useless for Spain since they have the shortest players ever….so Cannavaro was alone at maybe 10 yards from goal….he heads the ball to clear it, but clears it to the top of the box where Villa is standing and he blasts that ridiculous volley…so Cannavaro, i guess, deserves an assist on that goal

    overall it was an entertaining game. the tide turned at the half when the subs were made. italy dominated the first half, and probably should have scored a goal or two….casillas came up big at times, and a goal was disallowed. then toni was taken out at the half for borriello, and italy was not connecting on their crosses. Spain took control in the second half, and villa was giving barzagli all sorts of problems on the left side (right side of the D). buffon came up big on probably 3-4 times in the 2nd half. hell, he almost reached that one Villa strike too…..he’s ridiculous!

  7. Make a comeback John!!! Red Bull could use you and your cultured left peg. Of course we’d expect your contract to be incentive laden for playing time.

    As for the NFL player, I believe you’re referring to Robert Edwards, former Georgia Tailback.

  8. You know, I still think he deserves better treatment from our nascent US soccer press than, “He’s playing beach soccer.” I got to see quite a few of O’Brien’s games at Ajax and for a brief period of time he was, far and away, the most talented American to play the game. It just seems like his retirement, even at such a young age, should be treated with a bit of respect, especially since it seems directly related to injury and not a lack of talent. I’m one of those annoying people that keep asking the O’Brien question because if you had a chance to see him play in person, you’d want to know when you could see the next opportunity.

  9. It’s a shame that our sport is still so minor that a significant national team player could just disappear as JOB did for more than a year.

    Sad end to a promising career. He was a very gifted player. Hope he has fun in the ‘after life’.

  10. So for a guy so injury prone, beach soccer has got to be about the worst possible surface imaginable to be actively playing on. Who was the NFL star that ruined his career by twisting his knee all kinds of funny due to that surface merely catching a pass?

  11. I wouldn’t want Anelka on my team. He has world class talent that never shows on the pitch, because he is lazy and only cares about himself. His career is a pathetic shadow of what it should have been when he broke onto the scene.

    Talent-wise he’d dominate in MLS, of course. For a couple of weeks, until he demanded a raise to $10 mil a yeah followed shortly by a demand of a transfer.

  12. Anelka? Didn’t someone publish that he is like the all-time most expensive player with all the fees clubs have paid for his services?

  13. I bet John O’Brien’s dad is the coach of that beach soccer team… only way he’d get a starting spot.

    BTW, since Michael Bradley started but didn’t score in today’s friendly, can we start accusing Pops Bradley of nepotism again?


  14. j1–

    I’d put Anelka’s chances of coming to the US at age 32 just barely ahead of John O’Brien’s chances of playing in South Africa for the US. Barely.

  15. – March 26, 2008

    Chelsea ace Nicolas Anelka has opened the door to a move to the USA’s MLS at the end of his current contract.

    “I will be 32 at the end of my Chelsea contract. If they want to keep me I will stay,” said the French ace.

    “Otherwise you never know. I can move to USA or come back to Paris Saint Germain. It is an option I can’t exclude.”

  16. Ives,

    These are some of the potential questions you might get in next weeks Q&A section:

    “Could you give an update on how John O’brien is doing in his beach soccer league?”

    “Could JOB’s beach soccer be called a ‘pub-league’ a la the MLS?”

    “If John O’brien keeps training on the beach, is there any chance he’ll come out of intl retirement to lead the US for WC2010?”

    “Does Ajax have a beach soccer team, and futhermore a Beach Soccer academy for JOB’s future offspring to train at?”

    “Does this make the US a favorite for the beach soccer world cup?”

  17. Love those exciting 1-0 games with sides out shooting their opponents 3-2 on shots on goal. If only they could crank out the goals like the U.S.! 🙂


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