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Europa League: Your Running Commentary

Clint Dempsey and Brad Friedel and Tottenham are in France today to take on Lyon in the second leg of their Round of 32 Europa League action.

Dempsey isn’t in the starting lineup for today’s second leg, but figures to feature in the second-half in Lyon. Friedel is in the starting lineup once again after starting in the first leg.

Tottenham is one of three English Premier League teams looking to book their places in the final 16. Liverpool and Chelsea are also in action, with the Reds facing a tough task after losing the first leg to Zenit St. Petersburg.

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

Enjoy the action. (Today’s Europa League Schedule is after the jump):


1pm- Fox Soccer Channel-  Lyon vs. Tottenham

1pm- Fox Soccer Plus- FC Metalist Kkarkiv vs. Newcastle United

1pm- DirecTV 481- CFR Cluj vs. Inter Milan

1pm- DirecTV 482- KRC Genk vs. VfB Stuttgart

1pm- DirecTV 483- Lazio vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach

3pm- Fox Soccer Channel- Chelsea vs. Sparta Prague

3pm- Fox Soccer Plus- Liverpool vs. Zenit St. Petersburg

3pm- DirecTV 481- Bordeaux vs. Dynamo Kiev

3pm- DirecTV 482- Benfica vs. Bayer Leverkusen

3pm- DirecTV 483- Steaua Bucharest vs. Ajax


  1. I’m sure there are reasons not to do it, but wouldn’t it add something to the Europa league if there was a Champions League qualifying birth in it for the winner (or even the finalists). It hasn’t happened as much this year, but it seems as though it would give the teams something worth fighting for.

    • Considering the Champions League winner can drop to the Europa League Round of 32 … it would seem like the EL winner would at least get a CL Playoff spot.

    • I know UEFA has discussed giving CL qualification to the EL finalists. I think there should be something more than just the tournament itself to play for in the EL, but it’s way too much that a team could, just an example, finish 3rd in Serie A, lose the CL Final, and not qualify for next year’s CL (if the CL winner was an Italian team who finished below them in Serie A); meanwhile, just an example, an EL Final of Rubin Kazan v. Newcastle would earn both teams automatic qualification for the CL. There’s definitely a solution better than that we can come up with to give the EL more meaning.

      What I’d like to see is every team that makes a European Final qualifies for some European competition in the next season; that seems pretty reasonable to me. So I’d propose making at least these qualification incentives be guaranteed to teams–

      Champions’ League Winner: qualify directly to the CL group stage

      Champions’ League Runner-up: qualify directly to the EL group stage (if they didn’t qualify for the CL thru domestic league position)

      Europa League Winner: berth in the 3rd round of CL qualification (if they didn’t directly qualify thru domestic league position)

      Europa League Runner-up: berth in the playoff round of EL qualification (if they didn’t directly qualify for CL/EL thru domestic league position)

  2. I must say that Dempsey looked considerably better today than in his last few starts. Much more active, working hard, offering himself, a couple of good chances — even though he didn’t put them away.

  3. Too early to imagine Chelsea vs. Tottenham in a Europa League knockout matchup? … after Chelsea sorta stole Tottenham’s Champions’ League slot.

  4. Does anyone look at E–N Socc-erN-et? the play by play gave an assist on Newcastle’s penalty. How do you get an assist on a penalty?

  5. Does anyone still look at the ESPN Soccernet Gamecast? I just took a look at the Newcastle game. Newcastle scored on a penalty. The note after the penalty said “the last goal was assisted by. . . ” How do you get an assist on a penalty?

  6. Dempsey has two good chances around the 75th minute that he can’t put away. More so than Holtby who didn’t do much in the 65 minutes he played.

  7. Siggurdson and Dempsey on at the same time always seems to be a lack of variety for Spurs to me. But, looking at their bench, I guess there wasn’t anything else they could do for fresh legs…

  8. Do away goals count in the Europa league? Might be a silly question, but I haven’t paid to much attention to this tournament in the past…

  9. I don’t see Dempsey on the bench as such a big deal. Squad rotation is normal for top clubs – to keep players fresh and to foster competition — both of which duece needs to play at his best. Anyone who expects duece to be an automatic starter on a club like tottenham, like a gareth bale, is delusional.

  10. Dempsey has been mostly solid at the Spurs, which in the past few weeks has been carried by one named Gareth Bale. Most of Dempsey’s weak spells this season has come during games when most other Tottenham players also were having weak games. Adebayor has been a total flop and Defoe, after starting the season on a hot streak was very weak and I think those weaknesses at the forward spot have not helped Dempsey.

    Holtby has started well, but in the past he has not really played the same position as Clint, as been more of a playmaker which Clint is not. Plus I don’t think Holtby is going to follow through on his strong start.

    All that said, Clint took a step up to another level with Tottenham and it ain’t gonna be easy to keep a starting spot. That should be the goal, but I think he could be happy as the first or second sub. But if Tottenham qualifies for CL, I think chances are good Tottenham is going to spend money this summer and bring in fresh talent and it could get uncomfortable for Clint.

    • +1 on that last paragraph. if tottenham make champions league, i think it’s a pyrrhic victory for deuce, because i could see him being one of the first players to make way for the new guys. (and yes, i know, ‘never count him out’, etc.)

  11. Everyone needs to relax with the Dempsey “bust” comments. In fact, based on today’s 1st 1/2 they miss his movement and ability to drop back into the midfield. Holtby and Demps are very different players and really aren’t comparable. I’d expect Demps to be subbed in in the 2nd 1/2.

  12. Please stop saying a USMNT player “needs to be rested” when they get benched. It’s nonsense. A lot of players play far more games than USMNT players and they don’t need a “rest.”

    Dempsey needs to play better and he certainly doesn’t “need a rest.”

    • SO you really don’t think the fact that Dempsey has played a ton of minutes in the past month, and Holtby hasn’t played many, might lead Villas Boas to play the fresher player? Dempsey doesn’t NEED a rest, but you can argue he’s more fatigued right now than Holtby is and AVB might want Holtby’s fresh legs in on the road while having Dempsey as a bench option may be better, especially if you’re in need of a late goal.

      • You can’t deny the fact that Dempsey has been very poor for Tottenham this season. Whether it’s his own fault or for some reason his teammates seem to be ignoring him most of the time is somewhat irrelevant. He has just not been able to find his place on the team.

      • C. I’d give him that grade. He’s scored a bit and assisted a bit. Missed a few chances. He’s just not a Flashy player that many big clubs demand and their fans have wet dreams over. That being said he has played his role and helped the team. He was never going to score 20 goals and have 10 assists and replace Van Der Vaart in such a regard but he has done okay.

      • Dempsey has been “very poor”? I’ll deny that and add that he was never going to contribute like he did at Fulham, different role all together. I think we would all like to see him do better/ score more goals…this is simply a much better team with much better players and he has a unique role within this set up, clearly his manager understands this better than you.

      • Yes, Dempsey has been poor. Hence–he has been dropped to the bench.

        His role in this case is that the manager doesn’t think he’s good enough to start.

        Seriously, the excuse making on this site is exactly what Klinsmann was talking about being wrong with American soccer.

        What player strives for a “unique role” of not starting?

      • Seriously, have you ever watched EPL teams in the Europa League/UEFA cup? They almost always use 2nd team players/bench players, especially on the road. Dempsey started the first one because they had last weekend off.

        Or you could make knee-jerk reactions. That’s cool too.

      • i’m curious if you think that alex ferguson thinks that tom cleverley (or ryan giggs, i guess) isn’t as good as phil jones, seeing as jones got the start against madrid.

        or maybe it’s not “that the manager doesn’t think he’s good enough to start”; it really is his role, for that game, at least.

      • A,

        You could not possibly have less credibility. Within a month of Deuce moving to Tottenham, you were here spouting in SBI’s comments very adamantly that he had no chance of making it in Spurs squad, and that he would 100% be sold or “traded” in January or next summer at the latest. It was bizarre then, it’s still bizarre to me now, but it’s clear that you have an opinion that is formed by something other than the events taking place in our physical reality. I really don’t understand it, because I find most of your comments pretty well informed, but your comments about Dempsey and Spurs have been preposterous since the jump.

      • Or it indicates that Holtby is rated over Dempsey.

        When’s the last time you ever heard a coach say, “I rate this guy as one of my best players, but I’m going to sit him for a big match.”

        Bottom line is that Dempsey’s play hasn’t been stellar, and scoring wonder goals while playing poorly the rest of the game might fly at a smaller club, but it won’t with a club like Tottenham.

      • i haven’t noticed him scoring ‘wonder goals’ this year, but i have noticed him scoring game-winning goals. are those the goals you are saying won’t fly at tottenham?

      • I am calling the game-winners wonder goals because of their importance.

        But this isn’t Fulham. You can’t play poorly for the majority of the game and expect a goal at the end to suffice for contribution.

        Demps drifts in and out of matches pretty regularly. You can see his teammates disengage from him during the match and play around him. When he’s on–he’s top shelf. But for some reason he just doesn’t stay engaged the entire time.

      • ok, i get what you’re saying, but i stand by my point. if the goal at the end of a ‘poor’ game is moving them up the table, then i think that’ll work, at least short-term.

        the real answer is: tottenham has so many midfielders that, unless avb wants to play someone out of position, everyone’s part of a rotation (except bale, of course).

      • i think the ability of holtby/deuce/4 other players is pretty much a wash right now (i know, different positions), and so i think avb will continue to rotate everyone, depending on what that day’s game plan is.

      • It would be good if Clint would score at a rate of one every other game from here on out.

        Deuce’s future at Spurs will depend pretty much on how much he scores. And on how well Holtby settles.

        The rest of his game is not appreciated at Spurs and besides Holtby has more of that “game”, is younger and is more expensive.

        Spurs went through a lot of trouble to get Holtby, a more natural replacement for what Van De Vaart and Modric used to bring.

        Deuce should continue to be a very valuable reserve if only because he likely has little re-sale value; at least to any of the other CL contenders.

        But Clint has beat the odds before and besides, he is only one injury away from having his value rise dramatically.

      • I don’t know as much about Holtby, but I think it’s too early to tell.

        The main problem seems to be AVB’s failure to bring in another striker (instead of yet another midfielder). They could really use another traditional striker up top.

      • “When was the last time…” Well I suspect the LAST time was, Friedel over Lloris, but the reality is it happens all the time.

      • These kind of comments are indicative of someone who watches a few games and looks at scores, but doesn’t really follow Dempsey’s career or understand the nature of European football. To give a full explanation would require more time and effort than I want to give, so here’s the short version. Dempsey’s role at Tottenham is much different than it was the last two years at Fulham and more closely matches that of his early years at Fulham. He had no pre-season and came after the season started, so it wasn’t until about a month in that he was really match fit. Additionally, it takes a while to fit a new player into your team. Since he became match fit, I would estimate that he has started two thirds to three quarters of the games, excepting a week and a half or so he was injured. Despite the late start, he is the third leading scorer and third in assists on the team. He has scored more than Adebayor who is undoubtedly paid much more. As Ives pointed out, since the start of the year, he has played almost every minute until this game, including FA Cup and Europa League games. He is not playing as well as last year, but then, hardly anyone in the league is right now outside of guys like Suarez and RVP.

  13. O/T

    but when do you guys guess the likes of McMath, Johnson, Hamid and Meara will be playing in Europe? and do you think it will be the PL? Since it’s mostly our top goalkeepers or those in transition head there?

  14. Dempsey has to do something quick or he’ll be spending most of the rest of the season on the bench. At least, he should be well-rested for USMNT games.

    • He needs to be rested. Besides I’m sure he will be super-sub for a few matches when Defoe returns next March. It’s not so bad. He’s shown that he can change a game when he enters.


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