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Mid-Day Musings (U.S. Under-17s to play in Jersey, Red Bulls notes and more)

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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'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).


  1. Tribune soccer beat not looking so good right now: an AP story on the Fire’s win yesterday in Toronto, and a three-sentence (uncredited) summary about the Red Stars loss to FC Gold Pride last night…

  2. I’m sorry, but Luis sucked as a soccer writer. Nothing but fluff and crap. Being a celebrity beat writer is perfect for a guy like him. Ives, you out scooped Luis on numerous occasion despite being hundreds of miles ways. Good riddance I say.

  3. The sooner our American Kids get some professional experience, the better U.S teams will be. So hopefully those two kids make the bull’s team.

  4. “I don’t mean to be rude or anything but the quality of crossing in the MLS is terrible, so I want to do what I can to help out. This is really more for youth players who are watching games on TV though. They don’t have any crossing role models in the MLS, or won’t once I leave,” Beckham on giving crossing training sessions to MLS players this summer.

    New motivation for Steve Ralston, Terry Cooke, And Van Den Bergh…and by the way, doesn’t Landon have more assists off corners already than Beckham did last season.

  5. I agree with Ajarov. Luis Ricosuave was no great shakes. Fire fans probably learned more about Ricosuave’s tastes in video games, professional wrestling and lack of dating success then we did about the team.

  6. For those who complain about ESPN doing that Sportscenter in-game thing, Aztec America or whatever channel I’m watching Indios-Toluca on just did a full on Coors Light commercial like that. So, get over it.

  7. Ives, thanks for having a word on our boy, Luis! He will be sorely missed… and properly ridiculed when seen around town.
    Welcome Sam, now don’t screw it up! ha.

  8. World B Free went to my high school. His real first name is Lloyd. I was a little kid when he was in high school. To say he was an unbelievable High School player would be an understatement.

    I realize this isn’t soccer related, but I just wanted to put in the good word for a guy who is still a legend at the local high school.

  9. ha! that is five minutes from Newark Tech (that where I went to high school). But now I live in Virginia, and can’t make it.

  10. Its bad enough that they named him “Dilly”, but the fact that his last name is ‘Duka’ just adds to the hilarity.

    Who does that to their son??

  11. Luis didn’t have enough Fire coverage…it was always about him. I hope Sam can get some good grass roots coverage of the Fire in the way the best blogs/sites do (SBI, Goff, Seattle Times, 3rddegree etc…).

    Too much fluff, not enough real meaty stuff – training reports, trailiast infos is the good stuff, and only a select few deliver. Chicago has been in dire need of solid coverage for ages.

  12. Great, just after I ripped his analysis in the previous article I find out this dude Stejskal is taking Luis’ spot. Interested to see how this one turns out…

  13. So you’re the Red Bulls and you’ve got 2 Generation Adidas contracts to give out.

    Who gets them?

    Duka & Exantus? What about Kassel? Are there other “MLS ready” kids in the system? And are any of them worth the roster spot?

    The CBA may change the parameters (more roster spots maybe), but for now…


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