Photo by ISIphotos.com
Good afternoon folks. As I make my way up to Connecticut for some ESPN matters, I wanted to let you all know that I will be appearing on the ESPN podcast, The U.S. Soccer Show, with ESPN.com's Jen Chang, Andrew Hush and David Mosse on Friday so give that a listen.
Here are some items to touch on before I head up I-95:
If you're a U.S. national team fan, or a New York Red Bulls fan, or both, you will have a chance to get a glimpse of the future on Friday when the Red Bulls Under-18 team faces the U.S. Under-17 national team in a friendly on Friday at 8:30pm at Lubetkin Field (campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology) in Newark. The Red Bulls Under-16 team will face a split-squad version of the U.S. Under-17 team at 6:30pm. Among the players expected to play is Red Bulls academy product and U.S. Under-17 striker John Agudelo. Admission to the games is free.
Speaking of the Red Bulls, if you're a Red Bulls fan who's praying you'll see the same lineup vs. Houston that you saw against San Jose, chances are you will. Okay, so there might be one or two tweaks, but it's a safe bet that the Red Bulls will trot out the 4-4-2 again and we will see the Angel-Kandji forward tandem doing its thing again.
The early word on Dilly Duka and Johnny Exantus is that they've looked good in training with the Red Bulls and that Duka is the more MLS ready of the two. Exantus has loads of potential and attacking skill, but is still a bit raw as far as knowledge of the game. Will either be signed? I still don't see Duka signing a thing before next fall's Under-20 World Cup. Exantus is another story. He is looking for a Generation adidas deal. Whether he will show enough to earn that offer is still undetermined.
The MLS/USMNT soccer writing beat took a hit on Thursday with word that Chicago Tribune writer Luis Arroyave will be leaving the Tribune soccer beat for a job as the newspaper's nightlife/celebrity columnist. In a business that has its share of phoneys, Luis was one of the most honest and genuine guys around. He will be missed (though I don't think he'll miss the soccer world when he's partying it up for a living).
Fire fans distraught over the thought of losing coverage of the Fire, you should know that the Tribune has lined up a new batch of blogs, one of which is a new Fire-specific soccer blog. Who will be writing it? None other than SBI correspondent Sam Stejskal, who will be leaving us to handle those duties.
Here's a reminder: Millwall faces Leeds today (2:30pm, Setanta USA) in the second leg of their English First Division playoff semifinal series. Zak Whitbread and Mike Grella just might get to do battle today, with one of the Americans set to move a step closer to promotion to the league championship.
That is all for now. Please feel free to share your thoughts on any of these topics in the comments section below (and feel free to use this post for your comments on Millwall-Leeds).