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Mid-Day Ticker: Donovan wins Silver Boot, Serie A talks stall and more

Photo by Michael Janosz/

Lost in the shadows of Chris Wondolowski's spotlight is the fact that Landon Donovan captured Major League Soccer's Silver Boot with a league-leading 16 assists.

The Los Angeles Galaxy captain set a career-high in the category, besting his previous high of 13. He outlasted Dallas' David Ferreira (13) and Houston's Brad Davis (12) to take home the honor.

Donovan, who also scored seven goals for the Galaxy this season, nabbed his final assist in somewhat controversial fashion as he appeared to body-check FC Dallas' Jackson off the ball before setting up David Beckham for the equalizer in L.A.'s 2-1 victory over FCD on Sunday.

Here a few more stories from the soccer world:


Talks have reportedly broken off between players and owners in Serie A, meaning the stike that was averted back in September could become a reality once again.

The players' union reportedly walked away from the bargaining table after talks were supposed to carry on through the end of next month.

"An agreement with Serie A is a long way off," players' union representative Sergio Campana said in a statement. "There has not been a single step forward since September."


Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov will miss the next two months after suffering a knee injury in Villa's 1-0 loss to Sunderland over the weekend.

Petrov scored in Villa's season-opening victory over West Ham and started every match for manager Gerard Houllier this season. Nigel Reo-Coker is expected to pick up his minutes while he recovers.


The sale of English League Championship side Portsmouth by Alexandre Gaydamak has been approved by the Football League.

As a result of the sale, the club has been taken out of administration, meaning the transfer embargo on the team has been lifted. An ownership group headed by Hong Kong-based businessman Balram Chainrai can now go forth with rebuilding the team that was relegated from the Premier League to the League Championship at the end of last season.


United States backup goalkeeper Brad Guzan spoke to Sky Sports about getting the start in Aston Villa's Carling Cup match this week. Check out the brief interview:



What did you think of Donovan's season? Think he should be in the MVP discussion? Hope a Serie A strike is averted? Do you see Portsmouth being promoted back to the Premier League next year? Excited for Guzan to get more playing time?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. FWIW man, I realize what I wrote may have implied something you didn’t mean at all, and I’m sure that’s the case. I’d also agree that Howard has mental lapses, like the derby game with Liverpool last year on Kuyt’s goal. I just felt like it’s something we all need to be mindful of when talking about soccer players. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard an English announcer (usually a former EPL player) refer to an African footballer as “undisciplined,” and I think it’s just imperative to be aware of subconscious double standards.

    I also didn’t mean to get on my high horse about it, just trying to call it as I see it. I think we US fans are pretty spoiled with our keepers, so sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective on the overall quality we enjoy at the position. Hope that clears any confusion up

  2. Amen to fatigue.

    He should avoid the side show of playing for Everton this year.

    Not like Everton won’t be in the same position and still begging him to come play next year.

  3. Howard is a good to sometimes great keeper. He is prone to lapses in concentration. I have followed him since his early Man U days and the main issue with him seems to be that every once in a while he loses concentration, which is the only way I can describe what happens, and then has these high profile mistakes. He certainly has everything phsyically that a keeper wants and he has plenty of high profile, high pressure experience.

    When he moved to Everton, it seemed like he wanted to prove his Man U doubters wrong so he was focused and great for a long time.

    In South Africa it seemed to me that he was in a funk because he had a very uneven to poor tournament. Evaluating goalkeepers is always difficult because so many factors besides them go into their performance, the stength of the defenders they have, the strength of the opposition, etc. The US defense is not the best but Howard is a big part of that. The best goalkeepers are often leaders of their defense. He has been the one constant presence in their performance, good or bad.

    The first goal in the Ghana game is largely laid at Rico’s feet but Clark lost the ball at the halfway line and Demerit had plenty of time to either shut down Boateng or minimize his threat. The shot that Boateng ultimately produced was good but manageable and Howard, who should have been on top of the situation from the get go, was, quite simply, out of position on that shot. If Howard was the top flight keeper that everyone wants that you claim him to be then there is no way that shot beats him. In America we call that a choke.

    I’d put Guzan out there because either it pushes Timmy to focus more and replicate his early move to Everton days or Guzan takes the job and doesn’t give it up. Either way it’s good for the team. Given his service that may sound harsh on Howard but there is little margin of error with keepers.

  4. FWIW, at first I thought the “code” thing, too, then saw your handle and thought about the various posts of yours here and elsewhere I’ve read over the years and decided it seemed highly unlikely.

  5. I hope to see Landon in England again soon. Not that I don’t like him in MLS, or think that MLS should be home to this country’s best, but he’s done his part and should get the chance to shine abroad. Lets take back some of our younger players not getting looks abroad.

  6. “That just sounds like code to me.”
    I certainly didn’t mean to suggest anything along those lines. Actually, I was referring to more subtle things like reactions, anticipation, and such. Things which are more intuitive than anything else. I feel as if Howard gets beat on some shots because he’s either slow to pick up the flight of the shot or not in the best position. He’s a fine goalie, but there are a lot of goalies who make more spectacular saves than he does.

    It’s news to me that Guzan is taller than Howard. Howard also seems bigger in goal — not like freak-of-nature Brad Friedel, but still… I don’t have any metrics to back me up, but I’d bet his wingspan is bigger than Guzan’s. Maybe it’s just Guzan’s stockier upper body, but his arms seem shorter, and I always thought he was shorter.

  7. That’s completely ridiculous. Howard may not be at his world-beating best at the moment but he’s paid his dues and has played big in big games for us before. No reason to bench him. Come on.

  8. I would place Tim Howard in the “savvy, intelligent and mentally tough” category. He shouldn’t be penalized when discussing his qualities because of his athleticism and shot-stopping ability. That just sounds like code to me.

    Guzan’s got great promise, but a blip in Timmy’s form does not suddenly make them equal. Just remember that pretty much in country, or club for that matter, in the world would gladly trade their #1 for him

  9. “Hmmm….I guess starting keepers don’t bother with playing well or being impressive….”

    See World Cup 2010, Howard,Tim

    “If he plays well, it’s because he’s a talented, smart keeper.”

    No argument there

    “Howard has always been inconsistent. What he has is great size, wingspan and athleticism. Guzan can’t match him on any of those metrics, but he can learn to play the position with more finesse. I wouldn’t say he’s there yet.”

    You reinforce my point. Howard’s biggest issue lies with what is going on between his ears. Savvy, intelligent, mentally tough keepers last much longer than keepers that have only their physical gifts to rely on.

    The USSF website lists Guzan as 6’4″, 210 and Howard as 6’3″, 210 so maybe Guzan can match Howard in some of the physical aspects.

    Whatever the case, Guzan is hardly undersized for a keeper.

  10. He plays well in his limited minutes for the US and Villa because, besides being a talented, smart keeper he doesn’t know when he will get another chance so it’s important to be impressive every single minute.

    Hmmm….I guess starting keepers don’t bother with playing well or being impressive….

    If he plays well, it’s because he’s a talented, smart keeper.

    Howard has always been inconsistent. What he has is great size, wingspan and athleticism. Guzan can’t match him on any of those metrics, but he can learn to play the position with more finesse. I wouldn’t say he’s there yet.

  11. It’s probably just rubbing off on him. Just like anyone, you spend enough time in a place, you start to talk like them. I am sure he doesn’t switch accents on purpose.

  12. At that level and by this point in his career it’s mostly about mental discipline for Guzan. He plays well in his limited minutes for the US and Villa because, besides being a talented, smart keeper he doesn’t know when he will get another chance so it’s important to be impressive every single minute.

    Friedel is still great but at his age you just never know so if Guzan is patient he’ll have a job for a long time. With the US Howard is becoming increasingly inconsistent and right now I’d take Guzan over Howard if it was an important game.

  13. Yeah… it’s disgusting.

    I guess we think of it as… if Donovan was in Mexico he would answer the questions in spanish, Guzan answers the Brits in british.

  14. Guzan is 26. He is learning a lot behind Friedel, but it makes you wonder if he needs to get solid first team minutes. He performs well when called upon despite the lack of consistent time.

  15. Poor Guzan, hope he has another good Carling cup and gets a loan out of there.

    Always thought Bradley would fit in well at Villa, though I don’t think the January window is soon enough to help them cover for Petrov.


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