Some Saturday Soccer Observations

Some Saturday Soccer Observations

European Soccer

Some Saturday Soccer Observations

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Jefferson_farfan_1_ap

Good evening folks. After a day of sun, and the requisite nap that comes with sunning, I wanted to offer up some observations as well as news tidbits to keep the day going for those of you who have turned to SBI for your soccer fix.

Peru reduces suspensions, stars set to return

Reversing what was clearly a dumb decision a few months too late, the Peruvian Football Federation has reduced the suspensions of Jefferson Farfan, Claudio Pizarro and Santiago Acasiete.

What a surprise. Apparently it was a thorough investigation, and not Peru’s terrible World Cup qualifying results, that led to Peru reducing the suspensions of some of its best players. Believe that one and I’ve got a Llama fur wall rug to sell you.

I wonder what Andres Mendoza did to have his suspension upheld. Is there a Youtube video we don’t know about? Or is the Federation figuring it still needs to send a message and can get by without Mendoza since Pizarro, Farfan, Guerrero and Nolberto Solano should be able to create enough of an attack.

Here are some other observations and notes to chew on:

A blast from the SBI past

Here is a very good story by ESPN.com colleague Justin Rodriguez on one-time MetroStar Kevin Knight, who moonlights as a firefighter when he’s not playing for the Richmond kickers. Knight’s one season with the MetroStars was my first season covering the team and I remember him as a good guy and mature professional even back then. We were both rookies in the pro soccer world back then and here we both are a decade later.

I’ll never forget that one of Knight’s chances to play for Bora Milutinovic’s MetroStars came in a terrible 6-0 loss to Kansas City, a game where Milutinovic threw out a 3-6-1 formation that had no chance of winning and simply laughed his way through a loss even more embarrassing than any of this year’s Red Bulls blowout losses (sources told me back then that it was Milutinovic’s way or protesting the lack of help from the league and front office in building a good team). Knight deserved better back then and it’s good to see him enjoy a long career and good life.

France did what?

It may have happened several days ago but I never did get a chance to discuss the French Football Federation’s unbelievable decision to retain head coach Raymond Domenech after a winless Euro 2008. Yes, I get that he helped France reach the 2006 World Cup final, but the 2008 Euro squad played terribly and Domenech has made countless head-scratching decisions (such as leaving David Trezeguet home) since the World Cup.

It’s a sad decision because France actually has a very strong generation of young players that could propel France back among the world’s elite. I just don’t think Domenech is the man to get the most out of that generation. Didier Deschamps could have been that man, but now we’ll never know, or at the very least we won’t know now for a few more years.

The 90th minute

And finally, I’ll leave you with this thought. With the European transfer window now open, and players changing teams left and right, one popular line we keep hearing from European managers is "when a player wants to leave, you have to let him leave." I would love it if just once someone like Martin O’Neill or Alex Ferguson said, "If a players wants to leave, you have to let him leave, unless you’re in that American league."

Along those lines, has anyone else found it interesting (more like ironic) that Wilman Conde and Taylor Twellman, two MLS players who were are desperate to leave their current clubs have played a combine nine matches and made a combined six starts so far this season? Maybe those European managers know what they’re talking about.

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