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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

Lionel Messi 3 (AP) 

Good morning all. There is a full slate of soccer action on TV today, with FA Cup games and Serie A clashes leading the schedule.

From the early-morning Fulham-Swansea City match, to Barcelona's latest attempt to maintain its unbeateable form, there is something for everybody to watch. U.S. soccer fans will be especially interested in the Bayern Munich-Hertha Berlin match, which should feature Landon Donovan.

If you will be watching today's matches, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below (Today's full slate of games on TV after the jump):

Saturday Soccer on TV

7:45am- Setanta USA- Fulham at Swansea City

9:45am- Setanta USA- Middlesbrough at West Ham United

10am- FSC- Hull City at Sheffield United (FA Cup)

11:30am- GolTV- Bayern Munich at Hertha Berlin

Noon- FSC- Torino at Lazio

12:15pm- Setanta USA- Chelsea at Watford (FA Cup)

2pm- GolTV- Barcelona at Real Betis

2:30pm- FSC- Bologna at Napoli

2:55pm- Setanta USA- St. Etienne at Paris St. Germain

4pm- GolTV- Malaga at Valencia

4:30pm- FSC- Coventry City at Blackburn (FA Cup)

6pm- Telemundo- Cruz Azul at Monterrey

6pm- GolTV- Paulista vs. Palmeiras

8pm- Telefutura- UNAM Pumas at Pachuca

8pm- Fox Sports Espanol- Puebla at Monarcas de Morelia

9pm- Telemundo- San Luis at Tigres

9:15pm- Setanta USA- Manchester City at Portsmouth

10pm- Galavision- Tecos at Necaxa

Comments

  1. Nicole? I can’t even count the times I have been away from my Valentine on Valentines Day let alone anniversaries, birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. He volunteered.

    Too bad Donovan’s header didn’t go in–spectacular save on Drobny’s part. Good point on the speed, but I would argue that Toni might have slipped that one by Drobny IF he had been there to receive the ball.

    Read the Sport Bild. The storyline is Poldi’s comeback needed. As much as I want to see Donovan succeed, this is Der Bundelsiga and they don’t mess around. Sure hope he gets the start next weekend and puts one in the net.

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  2. He’s virtually always been away from Bianca on Valentine’s Day – at times he’s been with the national team, at other times the team he was on has been away in preseason.

    Donovan’s “problem” yesterday is he’s not very big, has always relied on speed and quickness; thus, it will take time to adjust to the more physical challenges. Not to mention, Klose was supposed to take over the “big man” role when Luca Toni went out, not Donovan.

    I’ve got to say, on the breakaway with Ribery. Donovan covered some ground on that play at top speed. Where was Klose in that play? Where would Luca Toni have been? Maybe they don’t even get the opportunity to score in the first place without Donovan’s speed.

    And if Podolski is suddenly fit and ready to play – then he’s the one who’s been a wuss and a crybaby throughout this whole thing. And that’s exactly why Klinsi wants him gone. At least Landon is putting it all on the line here, risking everything.

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  3. Here too, no hateration was intended. I believe Landon is the best we’ve ever produced, by a long margin. And I strongly disagree with those who feel he choked in 2006 — criticism which I think has pushed back his development half a decade. But the long and short of the matter is that Landon has had confidence and focus problems throughout his career, and they need to be dealt with.

    I’m surprised no one has guessed that his problems last night stemmed from spending Valentine’s Day away from Bianca . . .

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  4. nicole’s last comment made me laugh.

    i hope donovan gets some more minutes with luca toni injured… im as big a donovan lover as any “fanboy” but i feel like he needs to assert himself alot more if he wants to stay at bayern. something tells me that even if bayern doesn’t work out, another club will come knocking. whether its a club of bayern’s caliber is questionable, but right now i think all landon needs is to be playing consistently in a quality league, like spain, germany, even england or italy. (not that england or italy are any worse than spain or germany, but i just feel like he fits more in those leagues)

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  5. Can Bayern afford not to keep Landy now that Luca Toni is injured? I’m not sure what the extent of the injury is but Jurgen has always said he wants another striker in case of injury. I think the Toni injury helps out Donovans case even with a sub par performance.

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  6. Isaac, if you ever go on England or Portugal or Brazil or any national team boards you’d see a lot more condemnation of players going on than what goes on here

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  7. i think im ready to write off donovan already. he was invisible today, and has been in all his bundesliga matches so far. thing that stood out most today for him…..his lack on finishing ability. that will never change either.

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  8. Don’t count Landon out just yet.

    He did have his best chance so far to prove he belongs today, and he did fall well short of proving that fact, but let’s remember he flew into the US a couple of days before the Mexico match, played a full 90 in poor conditions, flew back across the pond on Thursday, and then played more minutes than expected today. So let’s at least give him credit for the positive things he was able to do and remember that the guy, who admittedly doesn’t travel very well, might have just had some heavy legs today.

    Stay in there Landon. Eventually the rewards will come. Bayern have a hefty schedule and they’ll need him to play because they didn’t bring anyone else during the window and Poldi is still not match fit.

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  9. Oddo’s red card suspension was 3 games – so it’s over. He’ll be back.

    Too bad Donovan doesn’t get to play AGAINST Bayern Munich; with their crappy defense, he could get a hat trick!

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  10. did luca toni’s injury look bad? didn’t get a chance to watch the game but read he hurt his ankle. if he’s out for a week or two..donovan will get more chances to show his worth, including the champions league in about 10 days.

    and anyone know when oddo comes back from suspension? read lell was mainly responsible for herta’s first goal..oddo would shore up right back better than lell

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  11. Nicole – Now your talking. I feel bad for him as well. Am his biggest fan over here and still praying for the ray of light to shine in the coming matches. The team sucked as a whole, and am sure will pay the price in tomorrow’s training session.

    You may have a point in him staying here in Germany, not sure where though. Werder could use his services and so could Shalke.

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  12. DeMerit should transfer to a Blackburn or Stoke. He is Premier League quality, but at least he is captain for Watford and they have a chance of promotion. But always sucks he is injured during call ups.

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  13. And Der Ami – why are you getting on my case? I speak honestly, just as you do. I don’t think I’m hammering away at you; just providing alternative ways of thinking. If you’ve taken offense at my posts in the past, I’m sorry.

    Yeah, I wanted Landon to score and be the hero. Sadly, I’m afraid his dream is over. I feel bad for him.

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  14. The “problem” for Donovan is far more than a daily fight for playing time. He is trying to prove he deserves to be more than a loan. Today he didn’t do that. That’s not hate, that’s reality.

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  15. I’m afraid this game blew any chance of Landon getting bought by Munich. If he would have scored and helped the team win, they would have bought him. Coming close, unfortunately, doesn’t do it.

    He didn’t suck by any means. And I still wish Lucio hadn’t tried that header towards the end; Landon was right behind him sizing it up for a much better shot but Lucio took it instead.

    Ribery can be pissed all he wants – what kind of crap wasted effort with the ball was that when Luca was WIDE OPEN. The whole team made mistakes – but of course, they’re already bought. And if you want to be pissed at somebody: try Lell. That would be good.

    But this was a golden opportunity for Landon to seal the deal, and he did not seize the opportunity. I still say he’s good enough to play in Germany, but his time to impress is limited. And I’m afraid he’ll unfortunately have to come back.

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  16. Jay DeMerit played 90 minutes in Watford’s FA cup tie against Chelsea. Chelsea won 3-1 and were actually down 0-1 with 20 minutes remaining. Annelka had a hat trick for Chelsea.

    The announcers here in the UK kept singling out DeMerit and saying what a great game he was having. He did play well which was good to see.

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  17. The Donovan bashers are always lying in wait it seems… he wasn’t great, but he played a competent game and almost had a really nice goal. Some here have been criticizing that he played one/two touches every time he got the ball. That’s not a negative. Obviously you want him to run at some people, but Berlin did a good job defensively, and there really wasn’t room for any Bayern players to make runs. He took what the defense gave to him, and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially for a new player trying to find his role… Say what you will, but Donovan wasn’t the problem for Munich today

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  18. histrionics

    One entry found.

    Main Entry: his·tri·on·ics

    Pronunciation: -niks

    Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction

    Date: 1864

    1 : theatrical performances

    2 : deliberate display of emotion for effect

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  19. I would not expect anything other than skepticism from any other fan than USA when watching LD. he will shut them up just like McB did.

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  20. Jey – Tab is no doubt he best we have ever produced, but Landon when he is on, is a close second.

    Carl – It is a game of inches, and Landon was given more than “inches” but choked.

    I was in the Pub and folks were staring at me as I was cheering him on, and the Bayern fans went histerical when he missed. Let’s pray he sticks one next weekend.

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  21. Special1 – Couldn’t have said it better. I want him to succeed, was initially skeptical, but the friendlies gave me hope, and this game could have sealed his fate in Hoeness’s mind. He was hesitant, timid, tired…probably b/c he got a pc of booty before he flew back and lost the majority of his testosterone.

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  22. haha of course he would have scored against mexico its mexico. but then again maybe he doesnt score against mexico. there isnt really a point to compare because its relative. im no landy fanboy by any means (i rate tab ramos as being the best us player ever) but there is a difference between being overly critical to the point where you just look ignorant and making valid points. yes landon didnt have a great game but it wasnt completely horrible either. it was an average game where yes he was timid (its like what his 3rd bundesliga game) and where he had some goals robbed and thats that. no he didnt make his “case” but i dont think he hurt it either. I think schweinstieger missed a pretty good “sitter” as did ribery. both were far easier goes at goal than either of donovans more opportune shots. i mean the keeper stopped 1 v 1 shot with his leg. how many times does the ball roll past this sort of attempt at a save? more often than it doesnt. landon made a decision and got unlucky and that is all it gets down to.

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  23. Of course he blew the second chance, Donovan was one on one with the keeper, he took too long to decide which post to aim for and went with a hesitant, weak shot to the far post. You need to power that one in or chip it, and Donovan couldn’t make up his mind. If anything that moment was reflective of his entire game, Donovan was unsure of himself, delivered wayward passes, and was too unnerved to take up good postions.

    Honestly critiquing his game is not about hating, we all want a US Nats player to do well. But blindy rationalizing a poor performance just makes me think the fanboys are out in full force.

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  24. No hate here, i’m actually rooting for landycakes, but bottom line is that could be the performance that sends him packing in uli’s mind. I agree with previous posters, he was timid off the ball, almost looked like he didn’t want the ball at all. Close and If translate to “see you in LA becks!” Bayern overall looked old and slow.

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  25. I watched the whole game and Donovan played so-so. But aside from Klose and Ribery and ze Roberto who on Munich played better? . Especially in the start of the second half it was one misplayed pass after another all over the field. The service coming from the back was horrible. At least Donovan put his chances on goal. That was a very lackluster effort by the entire team.

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  26. Geesh, the haters are out tonight.

    Valid points: too timid and willing to give the ball up too often.

    Stupid points: he “blew” two chances. He certainly didn’t. Both were on target and required nice saves from the keeper.

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  27. I really want to see Donovan succeed overseas but even I have to admit his performance was very poor today. His play directly led to at least five turnovers and he wasted the best chance of the game with a weak shot. I understand that players have on and off days but Dononvan is trying to convince Bayern that he is worth the investment but sloppy passing and poor ball control will only hurt his chances.

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  28. It was a pretty decent header by Donovan in the 2nd half, and a good save by the goalkeeper of Hertha. I am wathching the reply on Goal TV. I don’t think Landon is playing badly. I do think he is a bit afraid of making a mistake, which is understandable, considering he is under a microscope.

    FWIW, none of the Bayern’s high-priced and high name talent seems to be doing anything coherent on the field. I just watched Lucio miss a very easy header right in front of the goal. It can happen to anyone. I am no Donovan apologist, but some of this overtly harsh criticizm is way off base.

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  29. lol what is it going to take for people to stop being overly critical of players performances? i mean did donovan really play that bad? no. did he play great? no. he was no better or no worse than anyone else minus klose on bayern. how many other bayern players just blatenly squandered their chances? i think donovan got robbed on his best goal chances and that is part of the game. if one goal had of gone in there would be no talk of how poor his play was. what it gets down to is hertha was defensively pretty solid today and their keeper had a really class day. any other day donovan scores a couple goals and everyone is happy.

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