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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

VanPersieVidic (Reuters) 

Manchester United takes on Arsenal today in FA Cup action, a match that is easily the best of a busy day of soccer action.

The Red Devils will be looking to keep Arsenal down after the Gunners' recent Champions League loss to Barcelona, but Arsenal will have a chance to knock off a United side with its own UEFA Champions League issues to deal with.

If you're in the mood to see a championship match, and don't mind staying up to see one, the Australian A-League will determine its champion tonight, when Brisbane Roar take on Central Coast Mariners in the league's Grand Final.

If you will be watching today's soccer action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today's TV Schedule is after the jump):


7:45pm– Fox Soccer Plus- Birmingham City vs. Bolton (FA Cup)

10am– Fox Soccer Plus- Derby County vs. Swansea City

11:55am– GolTV- Almeria vs. Atletico Madrid

12:15pm– Fox Soccer Channel- Manchester United vs. Arsenal (FA Cup)

12:30pm-– Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach– Arles vs. Lorient– Lens vs. Toulouse– Nancy vs. Caen

1pm Nice vs. Auxerre

1pm– Saint Etienne vs. Brest– Sochaux vs. Lyon

2pm-– Real Madrid vs. Hercules

2:45pm- Fox Soccer Channel– AC Cesena vs. Juventus

4pm-– Real Zaragoza vs. Valencia

4pm-– Ecuador vs. Bolivia (CONMEBOL U-17 Championships)

4:30pm- GolTV– Palmeiras vs. Sao Bernardo

6pm- Azteca America– Jaguares vs. Estudiantes Tecos

6pm- Telefutura– Queretaro vs. Puebla

6:10pm-– Argentina vs. Peru (CONMEBOL U-17 Championships)

6:30pm- GolTV– Deportes Cali vs. Millonarios

8pm- Telefutura– Pachuca vs. Atlante

8pm- Telemundo– Tigres vs. San Luis

10pm- Telefutura– Atlas vs. Chivas Guadalajara

12:30am- Fox Soccer Channel– Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariner (A-League Final)



  1. The BB nepotism argument never made sense to me.

    BB is a known hardass who apparently doesn’t believe in short cuts. Why would he give one to his son?

    Look at MB’s club career and tell me when he has ever been at a club where he has had to beat out a top flight vet, a guy who could maybe mentor him. Never happened as far as I can tell. Not even at AV where Petrov is toast and Reo-Coker is probably on his way out. MB was pretty enthusiastic about trying to get Jones on the team before the World Cup. Why? Probably because he knew right away the guy would have have significantly upgraded the MF and maybe, provided the veteran mentor for his son, even if it cuts his time. God knows MB needs one.

    Leading up to the World Cup I never had a problem with MB playing all those minutes. The team was already unsettled enough with injuries and instability. Alternatives to MB were either underwhelming or hurt, so you might as well play the guy who is going to be there so everyone else can get used to him. The Holden you see now is unrecognizable from what you saw last year. And I remain skeptical he will flourish outside what is a team set up perfectly for him. But he’ll get a chance to prove himself I’m sure. Edu plays in a league so crappy it’s ranked below Belgium and Denmark. Outside of the Old Firm games and the occasional big European game, Mo might as well be back in MLS. I’d be happier if he played in a real league.

  2. Dude, I actually agree with a lot of what you have to say.

    But READ MY COMMENTS and show me once where I said that Holden is going to single-handedly make the difference for the USMNT.

    What I said was about Bob Bradley, a damn important piece of the puzzle, not being able to be objective about who he decides to play, because one of those players happens to be his son. That is where “the conflict of interest” lies. I even said I would wait until the summer before making that judgement.

    If he continues to give MB 90 minutes every time out, while Holden gets 9 minutes, then I think that it is an indicator that we need to get someone in place who doesn’t have their son on the team.

  3. I’m not throwing insults. Saying Holden by himself is going to take the US to the next level is dog poop.

    What gives me hope for this new edition is the increasing depth, at seemingly all positions, will put more pressure on the starters to raise their games.

    I agree that MB is an image problem for BB but until very recently I didn’t think BB had much of a choice. He had trouble just coming up with 11 acceptable players. When the loss of a Davies and a Gooch, two average international players, destabilizes your entire team you know your depth is crap.

    Now, I see Edu and MB as slightly above average, pretty much interchangeable, and Jones and Holden as the keys. If Jones can get back to his best and Holden can translate his Bolton form to the US, then our midfield will be much more stable which has a settling effect on the back four. If your defense is secure, then the team as a whole will be much more stable and will have a chance at duplicating their SA Confederations Cup form. Their best games in that tournament were based on suffocating defense.

    I like to look at the USMNT as rationally as possible so for me, as long as they have a good plan and maybe Bielsa can add something, then I’m very optimistic about their chances.

    If there is a single player who can make a big difference it will be Jones because he’s a chippy, arrogant talented bastard and I’ve always felt the US were a little too vanilla.

  4. You’ve misconstrued my comment from the beginning. The point I was trying to make is that having the father of a player as a two term coach of the USMNT might not be the best situation for all parties involved, especially when he plays a role in which we have real depth and talent. I have watched the game before and I love the game, first and foremost because it is the ultimate team game. I also love Bob Bradley and Michael Bradley. I’m a real “fanboy” to quite honest. I also stated the moment of truth comes in the gold cup this summer. Hell, Bradley might benefit from 90 minutes against Argentina, and I could see how BB could justify. But the dude has played nearly every meaningful minute at CM for the USMNT for 3 years now, I think that we need to give some serious consideration to looking at other combinations in the middle. If we go with a 4-5-1, then maybe we’ll see how they pair up together. Hell they might be our best pairing in a 4-4-2. There is no need go and attack someone just because you disagree. I don’t think you understood my point from the start. You interpretted as you saw fit and went on the attack.

    We need every advantage that we can get, and if you’ve ever played on a team with the coaches son, you probably know that it normally sucks and puts both of them in a less desirable position and often messes up with the chemistry of the whole squad. MB is still a very young player with tons of room and time to grow into a great player and I think/hope that he will.

    Anyway man, I think we both cheer for the same team. At least you’re a passionate fan, but I don’t see the need to go throwing insults at people.

  5. Well, not commenting on the Colombian part of your statement (I don’t know who is Colombian other than Calero and Arizala, and Calero has been their keeper for how long now? and Arizala generally plays well), but in my opinion Pachuca’s problems this season stem from losing Dario Cvitanich and Damian Manso in the offseason. They lost a lot of creativity (and dangerous set-pieces) with Manso, and they could really use Cvitanich’s goals. Pachuca has only scored 5 goals in 10 games now and not scored for 300+ minutes.

    The funny thing about last night’s game is that Pachuca didn’t play particularly badly, in fact were outplaying Atlante for long periods of time, but still somehow lost 4-0. At home, no less.

  6. I never said we couldn’t play with the big boys. We already have. We do it by playing as a team, by sticking together and making the most out of our advantages. Those advantages do not include individual talent.

    The emergence of Holden, Edu, Jones and the rest means the US has an improved talent pool from what was available before the World Cup but so do most of our “big boy” competitors. Just look at the Argentina roster for the upcoming friendly.

    So you can delude yourself that Holden is a super star and will, by himself, turn the US into the real deal but where I come from we call that having champagne taste on a beer budget.

    If you must have a magic bullet, single move to make the US a “real player” pay attention to whether the USSF hires Marcelo Bielsa as Technical Director.

  7. Yes, we want him. In the long run though, we have a slew of good prospects.

    If he was the worlds emerging best left back, then I would worry.

  8. Don’t go stroking yourself for being the genius that always comes in and says we can’t play with the big boyz. Boring.

    I have watched every minute Holden has played this year, and I do very much see a budding star. He is a whole lotta positives and very few negatives, and far as your “perfect storm”, you gotta have the guts and skill that it takes to be able ride the waves -my man- to handle a perfect storm. Maybe you need start surfing.

    Stuey would go.

  9. Acuña will probably play for Mexico in copa America if the coach decides to call him up. It’s sad what is hapening to hercules gomez and torres team they dominate the ball well but dont score. Which is a stricker? Just beaten 4-0 to atlante it’s sad because pachuca used to be a good team and the only team to win a south American trophy. It’s the owner fault and the president of the club fault for buying some colombians that don’t export nothing. All the colombians that play in pachuca always fail.

  10. I’m just tired of the constant overhyping of Holden.

    He is having a great year. At this point he is certainly one of our very best and deserves a lot of credit and a larger role than he has had for the USMNT. He has done very well for an American player. And he may get better.

    But to say that Holden’s situation with the them might “seriously hold back the USMNT from being a real player in world football. ”
    is just so much dog poop.

    We’re about to play Argentina, a real player in world football. Tell me which one of our outfield players is better than one of their outfield players?

    Holden, as you yourself point out, is a complimentary player on a good Bolton team. He is not the difference between the US being a “real” power and a pretender.

    Bolton are good team but they are not a top flight side, they aren’t a proven European regular qualifier yet. Holden himself still has to prove consistency over time.

    For that the US still must look to Donovan and Dempsey. Over time, Dempsey has consistently found a way to excel under less than ideal circumstances. He and Donovan still remain our only two proven outfield difference makers.

    It will be a while before we have more or equal talent than a “real player in world football”. Until then the US still needs to rely on the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.

  11. Really? Ives bias? Arsenal was bested and it wasn’t close. Van Der Sar was great but he’s consistently great. I was rooting for Arsenal but there were few times in that game when it seemed like Arsenal was going to score/mount a comeback.

    If things had gone differently, if Van Der Sar was off his game, if etc…

    That doesn’t work in sports. It’s not bias to make fairly objective observations.

  12. I don’t think anyone would say Holden is a superstar, but he’s a complimentary player on a good EPL team. Sometimes he’s more than that.

    Perfect storm? Maybe. I’m not sure we should discount or overlook his doing well because he found a system in which he excels. Don’t most great players have a system in which they excel? Great players rarely play for bad teams, and if they do, generally they find ways for the system to work to their advantage.

  13. Well, he’s Scholes and has been getting away with this for longer than SBI has been in existence.

    Mr. Scholes has always been very pragmatic.

  14. Rofl

    This game is ridiculous!

    Juventus player on a fast break. He comes in on the left side of the box and flips the ball over to the right side where Del Piero is wide open. Piero rips a volley shot off the right crossbar/sidebar area and the ball flies back across the goal at the guy who passed it to Piero. The guy jumps awkwardly away from the way he’s running and deflects the ball in almost shaving the left woodwork.

  15. Bahahaha

    That was the greatest miss I have ever seen. That easily tops the MLS guy who tried to slide in and got caught when he hand-balled it on the line. I’m sorry but I cannot stop laughing. That has to be one of the greatest misses in the history of top flight football in any country.

    The Cesena player beats the keeper on a breakaway with a shot from 18 yards out. It goes off the right post and back across the face of the goal toward the other post. The guy continued his run to follow it up. All by himself, he gets to the ball about 2 or 3 feet away from the left post and missed the open goal so bad that he almost hits the right corner flag.

    Cesena – Juventus. Serie A is always good for something crazy.

  16. “this conflict of interest could seriously hold back the USMNT from being a real player in world football. ”

    This horse manure in the extreme.

    Holden has done well but, as you pointed out, he has a team with the proper scheme for him and manager that believes in him. It’s worth noting that most of Holden’s teammates are playing well. It’s just about a perfect storm. Holden has taken advantage of it so good for him but you sound dangerously close to elevating him to superstar status.

    Don’t be disappointed if the US does not humiliate Argentina even if Holden plays in his Bolton role for them.

  17. I would call that a pretty sneaky goal, smart veteran play. Others might call it illegal but if the ref is ok with it, then it’s a goal.

  18. Scholes should have at least been shown a yellow for his repeated hard challenges. Maybe the ref thought it didn’t matter as the game was almost over. Still, I think the ref has a responsibility to rein in reckless play on the pitch.

  19. Yeah.

    I would say that the official did a good job. But you cannot let that go, and it frustrates me beyond belief. It seems that Rooney, Vidic, and Scholes get away with murder on the pitch sometimes.

    They all have horrible tempers that flare constantly resulting in brash and intentional dangerous tackles that never seem to draw punishment.

    I mean it’s the 95th minute, and a player who is already on a yellow for several bad tackles appears to intentionally try to injure someone and it only results in a talking to? I’m not buying that.

  20. Was about to post a similar comment. Although irrelevant towards the outcome of the match, two footed violent challenges are straight red worthy. Not to mention that it absolutely appeared that it was with an intention to injure. It is sad that in most major matches it seems that ref decisions are a big talking point.

  21. What do you think he said?

    “Paul, like we talked about at the pub last night, stop trying to intentionally injure the enemy.”

    I mean come on he got upset and just went flying studs up at someone out of retaliation, only moments after taking out someone else.


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