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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

David Silva of Manchester City and Craig Bellamy of Cardiff City in action

Photo by Kieran McManus /


Three of the top four teams in the English Premier League are at home on this Soccer Saturday as the tight race for the title continues.

First-place Arsenal will look to make it five league wins in a row Saturday as they host struggling Fulham at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners currently hold a one-point advantage over second-place Manchester City, who will be looking for revenge at the Ethiad Stadium. Months after falling to Cardiff City in South Wales, the Citizens welcome the Bluebirds to Manchester, where they have crushed opponents by a combined score of 38-6 in 10 consecutive home victories.

The day’s action from England opens up at the Stadium of Light as Jozy Altidore and Sunderland aim to get out of the dreaded drop zone with a victory against Southampton, who have been up and down in form recently. After the middle stretch of matches, Liverpool will wrap up the Saturday slate with a home match against Aston Villa.

In Mexico, the most anticipated match of the young Liga MX Clausura season will take place at the Azteca as defending champions Club Leon visit America in a rematch of last season’s final. Later in the evening, first-place Queretaro visit Monterrey in another intriguing matchup.

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 TV schedule is after the jump):

7:15am – Leeds United vs. Leicester City – beIN Sport USA

7:45am – Sunderland vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Network

10am – Arsenal vs. Fulham – NBC Sports Network

10am – Manchester City vs. Cardiff City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Norwich City vs. Hull City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – West Ham United vs. Newcastle United – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Real Betis vs. Real Madrid – beIN Sport USA

10am – Aberdeen vs. Inverness CT – Fox Soccer Plus

11am – Olympique Marseille vs. Valenciennes – Univision Deportes

12pm – AS Roma vs. Livorno – beIN Sport USA

12pm – Elche vs. Rayo Vallecano – beIN Sport en Español

12:30pm – Liverpool vs. Aston Villa – NBC

2pm – Nice vs. Ajaccio – Univision Deportes

2pm – Granada vs. Osasuna – beIN Sport en Español

2pm – Palmeiras vs. Linense – ESPN3

2:45pm – Juventus vs. Sampdoria – beIN Sport USA

4pm – Espanyol vs. Celta de Vigo – beIN Sport en Español

4:30pm – Santos vs. XV de Piracicaba – GolTV USA

6pm – America vs. Club Leon – Univision

6pm – Veracruz vs. Chivas de Guadalajara – Univision Deportes

8pm – Monterrey vs. Querétaro – UniMas

8pm – Pachuca vs. Club Tijuana – Univision Deportes

8pm – Boca Juniors vs. River Plate (Friendly) – Fox Deportes

10pm – Chiapas vs. Cruz Azul – Univision Deportes

10pm – Atlas vs. Atlante – Univision Deportes 2


  1. Castillo and Gomez started for TJ. All three subs were US players, Garza, Arriola, and Corona. TJ loses 2-1. Villarreal not even on the bench despot injuries and suspensions. Baca on the bench though.

  2. You should hear the unedited audio feeds of NFL games between players and officials. You would think soccer players were saints.

  3. The bulk of touches gets now, unfortunately, come from headers or flick-ons from goal kicks. It’s clear his teammates aren’t looking for him on the break or when he’s in a dangerous position. Borini and Ki both opted not to pass to him on breaks in the second half when he was making runs. It’s a bit of a Catch-22, because the only way he’s going to get the ball now is if he can score a couple of goals otherwise.

    But if he ends the season with only 2 or 3 goals, I can’t see him staying with Sunderland another season, whether they stay up or not. If the fans and his teammates don’t support him, it’s not a good situation. Whatever happens, I hope he doesn’t join the U.S. contingent returning to the comfortable mediocrity of MLS. Not a positive trend for player development.

    • “I hope he doesn’t join the U.S. contingent returning to the comfortable mediocrity of MLS. Not a positive trend for player development.”

      AMEN. Mediocrity is the word for it.

      Jozy is in major trouble. I have said it before but got attack for it. The horror of pointing out the reality.

      • I would argue that the mediocrity in US Soccer goes way beyond the players to the top of the organization. Who extends a coach’s contract before they’ve even had a real test? US Soccer has already taken a bye on Brazil, and I bet that we will see that attitude from the top down.

      • I don’t see how anyone can be mad about JK’s contract extension. Let’s just get this outta the way, if we start playing so terribly, we can always end the contract. Happens all the time. It just takes a bit of money. No big deal.

        Now consider the opposite. If we do GREAT at the WC, he’d likely get snatched up somewhere else. Would we want to lose him at that point?

        He’s likely getting offers all the time. So us extending his contract is like saying we’re pleased with him, and gives both parties the confidence that we like the direction we’re headed.

        And you, I, and all US fans should be happy. If people can’s see the improvement in tactics and play of this team, then they’re hopeless, and I won’t try to argue with someone who thinks this team is equal to our old offense with Brian Ching alone up top.

        This team has vastly improved, from Arena, to BB, to JK, we really hit our stride in 2013, and fans should feel confident about the team.

        Regarding your statement that US Soccer is rolling over for Brazil is absurd. Some fans have expressed that attitude, but do you realize that JK is down their training the MLS based players right now? Do you really believe guy as competitive as JK is going to just phone it in because he has some tough games? You don’t think he wants to prove he and this team are better than his predecessors of Arena & Bradley by beating our WC nemesis Ghana? That he doesn’t want to beat his old colleague Lowe & Germany? That he doesn’t want a chance to beat the Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo & Portugal? Really? You think he & all the young players trying to make the squad in Brazil right now are just gonna take a vacation until the next WC cycle? I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that point.

      • I agree for the most part but is there a chance he take a few younger players to give them experience knowing he is going to be there another 4 years? Does he give a roster spot to a player like Green only to cap tie him with no real plan to play him?

      • John,

        Do you know who Theo Walcott is?

        England brought him to the 2006 WC for what were probably some of the same reasons you are so excited about.

        He played 0 minutes. In 2010 he failed to make the team. Just a little while go he blew out his knee so he ain’t making the 2014 England.

        The point is England got 0 minutes of playing time in return for their development project.

        The guy who Walcott beat out for the 2006 England WC team was one of the Bent boys, either Darren or what’s his name. Anyway, I doubt that Bent could possibly have proved to be as big a waste of time as Walcott has been for the England WC effort.

        The World Cup is no joke and every one of the 23 guys better be able to contribute either on the field or off it otherwise he has no business being there. Because, like England did with Walcott, you could be sacrificing a valuable spot for a “developmental project” guy who may not develop.

      • Yes I agree, I think it would be a bad idea and would hurt the team. I’m just saying this is the down side of Klinsmann’s extension. I’m sure he wants to go as far as he can but who is too say 2018 starts to play in his decisions. I hope it doesn’t but who knows.

      • Just want to make sure that there are more than 300 replies on this Ives’ article. But seriously, you gave a very good assessment of the USMNT progress, Klinsi’s ability and the US type play with maximum effort. I’m rooting for the underdog US to at least get to second place in their group of death in Brazil!!

      • At least you have to admit the new contract gives him a bit more freedom and power to take some chances he might not have. Who knows maybe it plays off.

      • “Jozy is in Major trouble”…come on, stop being so dramatic. The sky isn’t falling. ..oh the horror of the reality (face palm).

      • This onanistic whining, moaning, weeping and gnashing of teeth over Jozy’s time at Sunderland is mostly pointless, though it is understandable given the comparative lack of USMNT news.

        To date he has been getting regular playing time, learning new roles, in other words, he is getting better all the time. Barring a new striker acquisition that looks likely to continue. Sunderland are looking at a Argentinean striker from Nacional Even if they get him it is likely Fletcher will have to be sold to pay for him. Fletcher is worth more on the market than Jozy. Palace or a team like that will want him.

        And as long as Jozy continues playing regularly until season’s end everything else is irrelevant. And if he is playing regularly that will mean he is playing at a certain minimum level of performance so his confidence should not be an issue. As for his goal scoring form, Jozy himself has proved that it does not necessarily translate over to the USMNT anyway.

        As a USMNT fan I care only about Jozy relative to the World Cup.

        After the World Cup JK can dump him and bring on the bright shiny new boys most of you all love better anyway. Like AJ, the great new hope, or the ones who hold their hands over their hearts for the national anthem, or who don’t half crouch for the team photo.

        Sunderland relegated? So what, assuming Sunderland don’t cut him loose, Jozy will be in the Championship the season after the World Cup and who cares where he is then. He will have another three years to win a place back on the team or not.

      • Its nearly impossible for us to look at each player in such different teams and circumstances and know how it’ll fit and effect the national team. It’s going to be up to JK to look at these guys in camp and see where is everyone is at. This is where I think Klinsmann contract is a good thing as he’ll have more freedom to put together a team he wants and not one perhaps we want.

  4. Ok, I’m not one to complain about diving, but I just got quite worked up over Suarez’ dive vs Guzan. It just shows such a lack of… I don’t know – a lack of something that I think athletes outta have.

    So here’s my suggestion for dealing with it: give up on trying to card dives during the game and go heavy on reviewing games on video, after the match, and giving out 1 game suspensions.

    • The root of the problem is the lack of respect the refs get from players.

      In the NFL, the NBA and the MLB the refs are almost Gods on the field. You cannot challenge them, talk trash or be disrespectful in any way shape or form.

      That culture is what is needed.

      I like your idea but I would prefer the shock and awe: Give out reds like crazy. Oh, you get in my face for a foul? RED CARD! Oh, you fake a dive? RED CARD! And so on…

      It would cause chaos in the league for about a month but then after that, there would be no more problems.

      They really need to let the players know who the boss is.

      • I think you overestimate the ref-respect in MLB and the NFL, at the very least. The amount of flak the NFL refs take is right up there with soccer refs, and the MLB umps have a certain amount of abuse that they’ll take, but no further, much like soccer refs. I’m not saying that a few more yellows for dissent wouldn’t be a good idea, mind, especially in MLS.

        @Eric W – totally agreed on the diving bit. You can’t expect a ref to catch every snivelly dive, but through the wonder of video archival, you can absolutely get those suckers dead to rights after the fact. Bring on the post-match reviews and keep our strikers on their feet!

      • I haven’t seen an NFL game in over four years, but when I did watch I don’t remember, not once, a player getting in the face of the refs.

        I have literally seen players accost the refs with impunity. They get in their faces and scream.

        When has that ever happened in the NFL and didn’t result in am immediate expulsion from the game and a fine later on?

        I do know that in the MLB there is more $hit talking but there are limits and the ref is the boss at the end of the day.

        I don’t see ANY of that in soccer, whether it be in Europe, South American or the States.

      • Point taken, partially. I would still say that there’s a significant amount of face-screaming done by NFL coaches, but you’re right, there’s a much lower amount of flak from players.

      • You know, I had forgotten about the coaches.

        That is another issue.

        I actually have less of a problem with coaches doing it. One person, who is responsible for most of what happens on the team, should be given that right. He may get kicked out of the game or fined but I don’t see the problem if the coach has that “right”.

        I hope that made sense.

      • Players scream at officials all the time in every sport. Baseball, basketball, football.

        As in soccer, if a player contacts a ref he is ejected in those sports as well.

        The major difference is the sport itself. In football the clock (either the game clock or play clock) runs between plays, and teams have to huddle and receive the next play call or be penalized. There’s typically no time for arguing like there is in soccer, where there is no play clock or short clock of any kind.

      • Players do not treat refs the same in every sport. That is a misnomer.

        And when poor behavior, such as screaming, pushing, and hitting, does happen, the consequences are much different.

        I have literally seen players hit refs while watching soccer matches. If that happened in the NFL, that player would be kicked out of the league or at least have to pay a huge fine, make a public apology and be suspended. Not so with soccer.

        The MLB is the worse I have seen but the ref is always the boss at the end of the day.

      • Please post a video of a professional soccer player striking a ref with impunity. I have never seen it. I have seen a player sent off for yelling in the face of a linesman, though.

        Also, look up the proper usage for “misnomer”, because, to quote The Princess Bride, You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • Brett,

        I’ll try and find it for you.

        I saw it here in Brazil. I was literally taken aback.

        Also, you are correct about misnomer. I was using it wrong. Thanks for pointing out the mistake while referencing the Princess Pride.

        “Inconceivable” 😉

      • Jozy has had his chances to impress with Villareal, Hull and now Sunderland and he has failed miserably.
        I just don’t see how a better team would come calling.
        He can always go to a lesser league or come home to MLS for a big payday.

      • he has not failed miserably with Sunderland and in fact continues to play and Poyet continues to use him.

        further, what’s been best with him at Sunderland is he is not quitting but instead being mature about his situation which has always been a favorite knock on him from some observers. He’s toughing it out which is awesome, and whether you are aware of it or not, Poyet’s utilization of Jozy underneath as a linking player vs. as the lone striker up top has been in the middle of his team’s turnaround…not the only reason but certainly a nice part of it.

        did you know that? basically, the team’s pathetic midfield play and service has been partially addressed by dropping Jozy into that role. Pretty freakin cool

        of course I want him to score too. how many times today was he serviced the ball into a position to strike?

      • All good points.

        Jozy does need to do better.

        That being said, it seems like there exists those on here who just love to hate on European leagues and players in Europe clubs.

        I have noticed that spilt lately.

        Either you are “MLS is a great league and our players would be better here”, all while ignoring reality and facts against those of us who recognize that the best leagues and players on in Europe and that is where we need to see our boys play for success with both the USMNT and our players.

        The MLS trolls and fanboys are usually the most ill-informed and nasty on these threads.

        The rest of us tend to get along despite differences in opinion and outlook.


      • I don’t see the MLS argument.

        Having our players there won’t help the league.

        There needs to be several internal changes to the league better it will get better. Having a few stand-out players won’t help.

        The MLS is a joke. It’s just the reality. Until the pay more money, get away from the single entity system, work on development and get rid of the play-off system, it’s going to be a sub-par league at best.

        Why is that so hard to see? It’s not a personal thing against Americans. It’s just the reality.

      • usaalltheway

        “The MLS is a joke. It’s just the reality”

        Your comment reflects the same sort of extreme attitude that you accuse MLS fan boys of having. It puts you on the same level with them.

        MLS is league that is slowly rising and getting better. It is stable. One of its big attractions to South American players is that they can be sure they will actually get paid.

        I have yet to see any sober, credible person claim that it is on par with the EPL or the other big leagues in Europe nor have I seen any credible person claim the USMNT is better off with a strictly MLS current player lineup.

        I have yet to see anyone show me the US player ,other than Donovan, who has spent his entire career in MLS and become a star of LD’s skill level.

        But without MLS the USMNT would be in much deeper trouble. It gives the team a much stronger base.

        Much of the confusion stems from the free and easy comparisons people here make between club and national team soccer. The two have very different dynamics.

        Club teams are about long term while national teams are short term. In most leagues you play 30 plus games. In the EPL there are 38 league games. Put the USMNT as a club team in the EPL and it would be battling relegation.

        However, in a cup tournament, the USMNT can beat any team in the world on a given day. In the World Cup you are talking about 3 games in the group stage and 4 more if you get to the final, 7 games in total. The US is good enough right now to get hot for at least a 3 game run.

        Upsets are not uncommon in the World Cup. The best thing about the US’ group is that none of these teams are South American so preparation and mindset, which JK seems big on will be the key, not necessarily sheer talent.

      • GW,

        I have to response here, so I hope you read this.

        I see your point. I am being extreme about the MLS. It’s more of my disgust with these MLS fanboys and their stubbornness.

        Looks like I lose this time. 😉

        You make some good points.

        My point still stands that the MLS will only improve once the players make more money, they get rid of the play offs and especially the single entity structure of the league.

        I’ll try to lay off the MLS a little more.

      • I think each player’s situation deserves its own analysis, there is no one size fits all.

        as for the snarkiest posters on here, the eurosnobs take the cake imo. No contest 🙂

        and calling MLS fans ‘fanboys’ and ‘MLS trolls’ seems pretty weak my friend. The best thing about those posters is that they not only enjoy the Euro leagues but also follow MLS while the eurosnobs watch one MLS game or two and then comment as if they somehow know the league (and they don’t). The MLS posters are more rounded and informed when it comes to understanding the USMNT players, my opinion. those are my thoughts

        this is a repost because my initial post got stuck in moderation

      • The salary cap in the MLS does make it hard for teams but the league is constantly changing and evolving. The collective bargaining agreement is up after this season and the cap will change. History can hinder the way you see the future…everything changes in due time. Right now your views are accurate but in the near future they will be out dated.

      • Cool man.

        I hope you are right.

        A better MLS would* be great for the USMNT (which is all I really fundamentally care about anyways).

        Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.

        Some think that is what this MB90 was all about.

      • I can see how newcomers to the site see this big split. I’ve been on this site for a really long time & I’ve seen the situation develop over a really long time, and imo there’s always been a contingent of “eurosnobs”.

        Years ago the mls supporters would say something like, “Yes obviously euro leagues are better, but if you want the sport to grow in the US you should support your domestic league.”

        It’s not an ‘either-or’ thing, it’s a ‘both’ thing. But the loud contingent of eurosnobs would keep on picking on MLS, and never saw the growth & improvement of the league over time. It really is a lot better, but still has a long way to go.

        So I think over time the MLS guys started getting louder as a response to the Euro guys. I think to call the MLS guys the trolls, without acknowledging the initial trolling by the Euros isn’t fair. I can’t believe that anyone REALLY believes that MLS can compete with the top X number of leagues in Europe, but I believe it IS better than it gets credit for.

        Now, the two sides really started to get more heated is when US players started coming BACK to mls. Starting around when Donovan didn’t get a permanent deal at Everton, and definitely with Demps to Seattle.

        I believe that the Euro leagues are better (obviously) but what is best for each player is a case-by-case deal. For example, DeMerit comes back & Edu coming back, I’m all for it. I think Onyewu should come back. They aren’t getting any better being benched over there.

        Dempsey overseas I think he’d stay sharper. But at his age & the contract I get it. With Donovan we’ll never know if he had fought it out in Europe. I’m disappointed about Bradley, (but excited to seem him play here)

        So the crux of the MLS guys’ argument is that Playing Time > No PT.

        I’d rather have US players on the field, be it in MLS or ANY league. If a player is playing in Europe, they are probably better off there.

      • We can go back and fort all day about why his season has only produced one goal in 21 games and why his team is bound to be relegated but, at the end of the day, do you see any other premiership team coming after him? Who?
        Toughing out is nice but somewhat expected from professional players so I don’t think any team will take that into consideration when looking for a new striker.

      • interesting stat: over all competitions this year, Jozy leads Sunderland in assists, and is second in total points (assists and goals combined) to Johnson

      • Nice post. I very much agree with this assessment.

        I said in a post a while back that as hard to watch as his time in Sunderland has been, in some ways, it is exactly what he needs to fully develop as a well rounded player. Human nature is, Its always nice/easier to be put into a position to play to your strengths and avoid your liabilities. But… you will never progress this way. Jozy is being challenged in ways as a player and person that directly address what have been his perceived weaknesses in the past and yet he continues to work hard and do the little things/dirty work that managers admire much more than fans. As I said in that past post…. if he can push through this, perhaps knock in a few goals to reward the effort and his confidence, it will serve him very well.

        In Brazil, our group in particular, I would expect he will see lots of time there playing under similar circumstances… a pretty defensive posture, be isolated at times with limited service and opportunities that he needs to make the best of. As fun as his time in Holland was to watch, it did little to prepare him for this style of game.

    • He should go to Barcelona or somewhere he can get service.
      Liverpool would be another good option. Look at what Luis Suarez does when he gets support with his teammates.

    • In the EPL, he’s less effective than Heskey, who fulfilled the big hold up lunk admirably.

      But if you think Heskey would have scored 30 or more goals in any serious league, you’re crazy.

    • i’ve heard this before, and i don’t get it at all. heskey was a great hold-up player who could be depended on to occasionally create something out of nothing; kind of a *broke* man’s drogba.

      jozy’s nothing like that. hold-up play is still one of his weaknesses (although he’s improving), and he doesn’t really create for himself; he does well with fast-paced team attacking, and he can create for others, though.

      i really don’t see the comparison between the two players.

  5. I’d be interested to see Dempeys stats after this game, he’s quietly linking the ball nicely, although Fulham has done their best Sunderland impression of not being able to move the ball forward through the midfield. This is certainly not the same team Deuce left two years ago.
    He does look a step slower than he used to be, but he’s had very good touch and passing with the ball today… a far cry from playing on Seattle’s cement turf.

  6. I just realized that Arsenal has 4 Germans now. Maybe 5 if Draxler shows up. Man, that would be awesome. Draxler is awesome. Sad for Schalke though if it happens.

  7. How exactly does one pronounce Ozil?

    The British commentators seem to always say it like ER-ZIL not OZ-ZIL. That seems wrong to me but I don’t know a thing about the German language.

    • Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve watched almost every game this year and its never the same from game to game and announcer to announcer. My friend and I,when we pronounce it, just change between two or three different ways.

      • So then the commentators are really getting it wrong, if what you say it true.

        They clearly say ER-ZIL, like the “er” ending of singer and the “zill” part of Godzilla. ER-ZIL.

      • British commentators routinely butcher names.

        The “ER” is close-ish to the right way. If you learned abotu Goethe in high school, you’re teacher probably taught you:

        Making the O (w/ umlaut) sound kind sounds like there should be an “r” at the end, but there’s really not.

        Imagine saying the “er” without an r at the end (not a sound made in English) and then adding a “tsil” pronouncing both the T & S.

      • Took 4 years of German in high school while living there the whole time. Hogatroge is 100% correct. Its a difficult sound to make if your American or probably any other non-Deutsch speaker. I never mastered it. Hats off to theses particular commentators for even getting this close.

      • Ya kinda “Oh tzil”

        Needs more T

        But thats German and his name is Turkish. But thats how the Germans say it sooo… ya.

    • “O” (with an umlaut) sounds a bit like trying to say “Ooh” without pursing your lips.

      “z” in German sounds like “ts”

      “il” sounds the same as in English.


    • Oot-sill.

      The umlaut “o” is sort of halfway between our “double-o” sounds (as in “book” and “soon”) and the ‘z’ should have a very sharp, aspirated dental-fricative. Commentators tend to say it however they feel comfortable.

    • The commentator tried to pronounce the Turkish (and also German) ‘Umlaut’ ö = oe which is in Özil’s resp. Oezil’s name. This umlaut is to be pronounced similar to the vowel sound of ‘hurt’.

    • Dempsey just got criticized for not losing the ball…. while Berb was praised for being some form of demi god. Lovely. Dempsey has done more for Fulham than Berbatov every has…. senseless.

      • That is a great observation.

        It would be best for him to accept that he is no longer “that” player he was and just enjoy his money and playing time in Seattle.

        It’s too bad that the USMNT loses the old Dempsey but given his age and family concerns, I doubt anyone would hold it against him.

      • agreed Observer. He’s in the middle of the field and is linking up and distributing, finding the creases like he always does then crashing forward into the box. Did the same for Seattle

      • sorry beach, but I think you need to take your rose tinted glasses off. he is not fine, he is playing like he is going to a marathon right after the game, I don’t think he has gone full speed the whole game. and his passing? either to an open wide player or a square back pass, I don’t think this is anywhere the old Demps that we used to know and loved.

      • Shiner,

        He’s still working his way back to game fitness.
        And I imagine this Arsenal team make a lot of guys look “a couple of speeds below everybody else”.

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