Top Stories

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Oscar of Chelsea and Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United

Photo by Matt West /


After Arsenal and Manchester City’s home victories on Saturday, the pressure is on Chelsea to maintain their pace in the title race with a victory against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s unbeaten 2013-14 home record and their recent streak of success against the Red Devils will both be on the line as a desperate Man United squad comes to town. David Moyes’ squad will be without both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, putting the pressure on Danny Welbeck to continue his good run of form against a tough Blues defense that has only allowed eight goals at the Bridge this season.

The day’s action from the EPL will begin in Swansea, where Michael Laudrup’s squad welcomes a Tottenham Hotspur team that can pull level with Liverpool in the race for fourth place with a road victory. While Spurs have won four of their last five league matches since their 5-0 loss to Liverpool, Swansea are getting dangerously close to the drop zone in the midst of a seven-match winless skid.

Elsewhere, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax will meet in a huge Eredivisie clash, while Atletico Madrid look to keep their unbeaten home record intact against a streaking Sevilla squad in Spain. In Italy, Hellas Verona will try to stay in the race for a European spot when they visit AC Milan in Clarence Seedorf’s managerial debut.

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):

8:30am – Swansea City vs. Tottenham – NBC Sports Network

8:30am – Utrecht vs. Feyenoord – Univision Deportes

9am – Genoa vs. Inter Milan – beIN Sport USA

9am – Bologna vs. Napoli – beIN Sport en Español

10:30am – Ajax vs. PSV Eindhoven – GolTV USA

11am – Chelsea vs. Manchester United – NBC Sports Network

11am – Toulouse vs. AS Monaco – beIN Sport USA

11am – Villarreal vs. Almeria – beIN Sport en Español

1pm – Levante vs. Barcelona – beIN Sport USA

1pm – Pumas UNAM vs. Toluca – Univision

1pm – Cruz Azul Hidalgo vs. Delfines – GolTV USA

2:45pm – AC Milan vs. Hellas Verona – beIN Sport USA

3pm – Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nantes – Univision Deportes

3pm – Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla – beIN Sport en Español


  1. MLS is making strides. MLS teams are making strides. It’s nice that MLS are signing there own developed players. I hope it continues because signing homegrown players is the future of MLS and the USMNT. That small player triangle of development is still forming, but on the right track. Coaching has got to come up to standards with the rest of the world like Europe, South America, and Brazil. The emphasis on crossing the ball as a primary means of attack has got to come to a close. MLS and the USMNT needs to be a more tactical and technical league by developing tactical and technical gifted players. MLS is closing the gap and raising the standards. MLS look at the Bundesliga, Serie A, and LaLiga.

  2. NSA suck. aren’t they doing the job the CIA has already done and failed in for the past 70 years

    get rid of all those useless govt agencies.

    Legalize marijuana and gay marriage and FREE SPEECH

  3. Breaking. The Galaxy are looking to sign Stefan Ishizaki, No he’s not Japanese. He’s Swedish??? Played on the Swedish National Team and currently is a winger with IF Elfsborg in the Swedish first division (Allsvenskan) Japanese father Swedish mother 31.

    Sounds like a solid veteran player.

  4. Moyes picks the wrong team again. No Kagawa after how he’s played the pas three times? Ashley young? Phil Jones who hasn’t played in how long? And you break him in in this game? Raphael missing mark on secon goal? Valencia not even staying in the basic position between the man and the goal resulting in the third goal. This is going to be a long haul to even try to get 4th for a CL spot. The need to over spend on the top 5 players like everyone else otherwise this could be the end of an era.

  5. How many times has that little Mexican come on and “save” Man U.?

    Jesus, has to be the best in the world at what he does in that position.

  6. One of my posts yesterday was fine, then in moderation, then deleted. It was awesome, it was in the article about Lewis signing for Cosmos

  7. Gooch was Man of the Match yesterday in his debut in the English championship. Pretty impressive

    Not saying he should be considered for a spot to Brazil but Congrats to him.

    Had he never got that injury back in Oct 09 (worthless game he shouldn’t been called in for) then he might have got some games for Milan. He was their 4th CB (but he would have got Cup/CL games). And you know he would have quieted Rooney in the WC. He did anyway while injured but imagine a fully fit Gooch. He ws a beast for Sporting Lisbon back in 2011-12. And he had some good games in La Liga for Malaga. He’s the most well traveled of any American athlete. imagine that autobiography will be.

  8. My posts from work go into moderation about 90% of the time. Maybe y’all just catching up.

    Anyway, Blues looking good today. If their strikers really start scoring, look out.

  9. First day in my life I am kinda sorta rooting for Man U – at least for them to take a point. So naturally, they are down 2….

  10. I know that TomG is a regular poster, but I don’t recall him posting anything that was terrible for moderation, . .

    even when he is wrong.

  11. both Bradley/Dempsey need to be playing in Europe. Would they have joined a Saudi club for $12 million a year? Or a Chinese club for 7 million?

    They may have been making 1 million at Roma or 4 million at Spurs, but they were encouraging clubs to view them as the progression of the US player and thus future countrymen would be given the same opportunity.

    • Meh, sounds like fan talk. These guys come one way and other guys will go the other way. It’s a business.

      Now I find it funny that you are making the strange equivalence of MLS to the Saudi and Chinese leagues. I am going to go out on a limb and assume you know nothing about MLS and say it is much, much better than those leagues you brought up.

      Should those guys be in Europe? I don’t know about should but it would be a huge plus for them to be there. Is it the end of the world that they came back to MLS? I personally don’t think so. I agree with you that there is a drop I just happen to disagree with how much of a drop it really is.

      • the point was the players leaving for $$$$$ paydays which those leagues offer to HUGE PLAYERS. They weren’t coming back to grow MLS, they came back for 6million a year, which is the sum so-so players head to China/Middle East leagues for

      • I agree with your clarification and it may very well be the case but if MLS stands to gain something from the transaction, which they envision and believe, then who are we to say otherwise? Just like any other club MLS valued them at the rates they are paying on the belief that by having them here will grow the game – directly by their input, indirectly by attracting other more talent players as well or both.

        The intentions of these players may very well be purely financial (for which I cannot blame them) but there are other possibilities and opportunities to be had in this transaction, which is why MLS chose to foot these kind of bills.

      • how much of it do you think has to do with MLS marketing intentions to combat the Klinnsman mantra to USMNT players in MLS to leave?

      • That direct correlation? Perhaps none. I don’t see MLS forking out millions just to thumb their nose at JK. I do see a marketing angle here for merchandise and ratings though.

      • Completely agree. Yes, it could be a growth strategy (if you can increase TV numbers, sell more merch and make clubs richer, then you can raise salary caps and allow more DPs and even non-DP players with higher salaries).

        JK certainly isn’t the first US coach to encourage USMNT players to go to Europe … it has been going on since Bob Gansler (even though back then no players were playing for any “name” teams). Of course the USMNT coach is always going to want his players to be challenged at the highest level so they continue to grow. Dempsey is almost 31 and other than some “maturity” to his game, I wouldn’t expect more growth no matter where he played. Bradley is younger but do any of us really expect him to suddenly become better just by staying in Europe and being a bench player? That is rather unrealistic.

    • Seriously? Players are not taking contracts based on “progression of the US player”. They play in Europe for selfish reasons (money, better competition overall, chance to push themselves). Every player has a ceiling which would be variable from club to club (depending on what else that club has at your position).

      As a player sitting on the bench stinks. You want to play. If provided the opportunity for higher pay and a starting job you are always going to look at it seriously and nobody’s opinion matters except your own and those it affects directly (wife / kids). I constantly get a chuckle out of fans who think they know best and what they think should happen based on some idealistic wishing rather than reality. Good young American players will continue to get opportunities in Europe, some will work out, some won’t. Dempsey and Bradley’s recent decisions didn’t close any doors for others.

    • I don’t know thatthe news about Napoli or Valencia was anything but rumor.

      And isn’t Valencia having all sorts of money problems? Or am I thinking of Deportivo? If I am Deuce, I am happy not going to a team in dire financial circumstances. . . like Boca, Edu and Bedoya and Rangers.

  12. Agudelo loaned to a Dutch club until May. But he has a contract with Stoke for a few years.

    Is it the $$$$ that makes so many Yanks wanna play in England? Is it the prestige of playing in the best league in the world? Is it that Italian/Spanish clubs overlook our MLS guys?

  13. I watched some of a Championship game, Leicester City vs. Leeds, Saturday morning and a Liga MX game Saturday night. Leicester is the top team in the championship, yet the quality of the play was so bad I couldn’t believe it. 95 percent hoofball — the ball barely touched the ground. Then the Mexican game, Monterrey vs. Queretaro, and the ball barely left the ground. It was so much more watchable. I was embarrassed for the English.

    • Different cultures value different aspects of the game thus resulting in different styles of play. That does not necessarily mean one is better than the other. But I get what you are saying from a neutral point of view one style can look more pleasing than another.

    • Unfortunately for your viewing pleasure, Leicester City (and practically any other Championship side) could beat almost any Mexican League team like a drum. That’s why Mexican players are happy to transfer to Champioship teams when they get the chance, and one day have the opportunity to play in the Premiere league. Let’s get real here…

      • People claim that MLS is about the same level as the Championship and since mid-table Mexican teams are much better than the best MLS teams I don’t think you have a clue what you’re talking about.

        Are there any Mexican players in the championship or did you mean to say MLS?

      • Check your premise. MLS is nowhere near the Championship. That’s why we send guys to the Championship to play, besides the money. MLS is maybe on par with League 1, and Mexican league maybe a little better.

      • He’s not deluded and you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about before making accusations. League 1 is not Ligue 1. Did you not notice the different spellings? League 1 consists of Wolves, Brentford, MK Dons, Walsall etc. He was right. MLS may be on par with those teams.

      • mexican players are happy to transfer to championship sides? since when? I’ve never seen a mexican player in the Championship but I’ve seen many in La Liga

      • As far as I know only one player has gone to the championship (Pedroza), so I don’t see why you think Mexican players are jumping at the bait to go to the championship.

    • The English don’t need your embarrassment. That is the style they play in the Championship.

      It doesn’t necesarily mean they don’t have quality. The Championship is about speed, speed and more speed, all in one direction, forward.

      The Boy band were named after the Championship’s style of play.

      I haven’t seen Leeds or Leicester play lately but just because you don’t like their style don’t think for a minute that a top team in the Championship could not beat Monterrey or Queretaro.

      • I always enjoy this black and white, 1s and 0s, absolutism that fans develop around teams and leagues. Of course a top Championship team could beat Monterrey or Queretaro … doesn’t mean they would every time but they could. This is no different than MLS teams beating EPL teams or USL teams beating teams from “better leagues”. It is no different than Championship teams beating EPL teams.

        I have to give LaLigaMX props because they have won where it counts in competitive games and have had quite a streak of late in CCL (which doesn’t mean MLS teams won’t break through in the future again as they did in 1998 and 2000). That said, if MLS is really going to be competitive in the long haul, as soon as they have the next wave of expansion done with, the next step needs to be raising salary caps slowly and steadily so that quality everywhere on the field rises, not handicapping themselves by only allowing 3 high paid players and a bunch of very low paid ones to fill around them … it is those “mid level” quality players that MLS lacks. I fully understand the reasons why this is and it is easy to get impatient with the artificial caps on pay and thus overall quality the league imposes, but as more money flows in they will be able to sustainably improve. I suspect MLS by 2025 will be a significantly different animal than MLS 2014 (just as 2014 is much different than 2002).

      • RAMONE,

        It is my impression that the average Liga MX team has a lot more money to spend on their overall player pool and has a larger, better player pool than their MLS counterparts.

        Which is why Tigres can send a second string team to compete in the CCL and still do very well.

        My impression is if you take the top MLS teams and compare them to the top two or three Liga MX teams maybe the starting 11 are comparable but after that the difference in depth gets quite significant.

        Is this accurate?

  14. I’m going to say something very controversial here — and I have nothing to back it up other than an “impression” — but that’s not the first time I thought Flores might have intentionally sabotaged his team.

    • I don’t know. He’s running in one direction and trying to make a ball running away from him go in the opposite direction. That’s tough to make the ball go anywhere but where it did.

  15. we love u Dempsey. U should have gone to a CL side. But the haters held u back. We need the ACLU to investigate the crimes against Yank footballers in Europe

  16. @ TomG

    I agree with you line of thought on the Dempsey situation. Perhaps Deuce is changing his game up (which players do when the age), or maybe everyone on a team as bad as the relegation fodder that Fulham is this year just plain looks bad. Not sure if folks had some superman expectation that Dempsey was going to waltz in a save the day for a club like that. There are a myriad of ways to look at and analyze this instead of the MLS angle, and I thank you for adding more dimension to the topic.

    • It is a few years down the line and players do have to make adjustments as they move on to the other side of 30. But a big part of why his game perhaps looks different is because in spite of wearing the same Fulham crest he is playing for a different manager w/ a different set of players in a different role, being asked to do different things.

      In principle, the idea of loan to PL is appealing and certainly has something to be said for it w/ higher level of competition and all but…. in light of the last 2 years for Clint being a in a perpetual state of trying to adapt to new cities, teams, managers, team mates, systems, injuries etc. this just doesn’t seem to be the best decision to me. Dempsey is obviously a resilient dude… I just can’t help but think he would have been better served settling in a bit at Seattle and w/ the USMNT. That said, he’s there now so hopefully he finds his rhythm there and gets it rolling a bit.

      • Clint is an elderly, over the hill, out of shape American player in an unfamiliar role, with relatively new teamates and he is struggling a bit.

        People are going way over the top on the criticism based on this one game. He was supposed to be that rusty; it’s why he is on loan.
        It is supposed to help him get better. Did anyone expect he was suddenly going to unlock their defense with a series of probing, inch perfect passes? And who would he make those passes to?

        The fact that Fulham are starting him tells you how desperate Fulham are. It’s not Clint’s fault that he should probably still be on the training ground. It’s good for him, maybe not for Fulham.

        It should be noted that Clint was playing for Fulham, a pretty bad team right now, against Arsenal, a team playing very well at the moment and one that is better than Chivas USA or even FC Dallas.

        Arsenal are perfectly capable of making a lot of players and teams look less than good.

      • ‘Arsenal, a team playing very well at the moment and one that is better than Chivas USA or even FC Dallas’

        what a eurosnob.

      • ha, i didn’t think i had to use the “/sarcasm” tag for that one.

        but i guess there are people out there who honestly would’ve had a problem with your statement, so my bad.

  17. Worried about Dempsey after watching him yesterday. He played well enough but I didn’t see that drive, furiousity, or passion he used to play with. I like when he had a point to prove. He hasnt looked good for quite some time now(not saying there aren’t justifiable reasons) and I’m hope he finds it again.

    • I think the whole transfer saga killed his spirit. He must have expected to have suitors lined up after his final year at Fulham (he was tremendous) and when none came calling with the expected offer or at the expected level I think it really got to him and left him psychologically vulnerable. Then, he finally gets a spot at Spurs but is not a regular first choice. I think that destroyed his confidence, being told/shown that he’s simply not up to the level he aspired to reach.

      He should have, as I was screaming at the time, stayed at Fulham and continued to keep his game elevated. He simply overplayed his hand and was shown his value on the open market. So what if the best Fulham could realistically do was Europa league and a deep domestic cup run, it’s still better than spending 90% of your energy chasing wayward MLS passes and making runs that the passer can’t pick out.

      • Yeah, stay and fight for a spot – the easy mantra bandied about these parts when trying to fill in words until you get to the “MLS sucks” punchline.

        Let’s forget the fact that Jol is an idiot who clearly destroyed the Fulham team that Dempsey did so well on. Let’s also leave out the fact that players that Dempsey was either equal to or better than went on to bigger teams seamlessly. Let’s also leave out the fact that Dempsey went chasing Champions League ball, which he almost achieved by the way. Dempsey achieve great things in his stay and is a fighter we all know that, as he proved himself year after year and never got the respect he probably thought he had earned and deserved.

        So, for whatever reason, now he’s in MLS and the hind-sight has never been clearer.

        Dude’s been fighting for a spot and he’s proven time after time that he warranted it on all teams he’s been on. These guys are professional athletes and they have egos. Watching your replacements come in and seeing the signs that you are being crowded out of playing time is not an easy thing for them. But Deuce has proven that he is a fighter and maybe he just had the shits of it or maybe he was thinking about his family and future or maybe he just wanted to come back home. I am sure you guys know why. But fight for his place he did – his whole career and he’s made his name that way. Even on the USMNT.

        I know many see that it’s better to have him on a demoralizing relegation worthy Fulham team instead of a top MLS team. Cool I get that. But Dempsey is a fighter and not that he has to – he will prove it again this year.

      • No idea what triggered the moderation there so going to try it line by line. Seems like Deuce is trying to remold himself as a playmaker rather than a cut throat, launch yourself headlong into the box at every opportunity goal scorer.

      • Not sure if it’s a fit. He IS an extremely creative player, but that creativity has alway manifested itself in creating goals for himself, not for others. I’m not sure if his creativity can just shift gears like that.

      • There was always a desperate quality to him where he would throw himself into the fray and come up with something on the spot to create a chance, but playmaking is more calculated and controlled.

      • It’s a real problem.

        What did you write?

        Try writing it again without using so many letters. Use zeros for o’s, use dollar signs for s, use @ for a’s and so on…

        Ives, what is going on with this place??

      • Brett,

        You are projecting way too much about Dempsey.

        Guess what? Fulham are not Manchester City or Chelsea.

        You are assuming Fulham would have stayed at the level they were at when he was at his best; casual observation would tell you they haven’t improved and are now in danger of relegation. My guess is Clint saw that coming and maybe that is why he moved to Spurs who have much more resources.

        The move to Spurs netted him a very nice pay raise.

        His year at Spurs had him put in 40+ appearances and 12 goals across all competitions. Throw out his first year at Fulham, an adjustment year, and that is what his average was for his Fulham time. It was only a disappointment if you thought he was going to replicate his big year especially when you realize what he got at Spurs he earned the hard way.

        His big Fulham year was a monster but it was an anomaly.

        Very few players can do that sort of thing back to back. Names like Messi and Ronaldo come to mind but, leaving their talent aside, they are also at clubs that have the resources to back them up and support them.

        That is not Fulham who would not have been stupid enough to build their team around a 29 year old unlikely to repeat his performance.

        It is more likely that had he stayed at Fulham he would have gone into the next season with diminished support , a lot of guys had left, and the other teams looking to shut him down as Fulham’s only credible threat.

        At least at Spurs he had a guy named Bale to draw attention from him.

        Fulham had been punching over its weight for a while. It was going to catch up with them eventually. Dempsey was like the proverbial rodent leaving the sinking ship. He was 29 and not getting any younger. A pro athlete has only so many peak earning years.

        Subsequent events suggest that had he stayed at Fulham he would have been a lot worse off than he is now.

      • When someone starts a post with the words “I think”, it becomes unnecessary to point out that the person is engaging in conjecture.

      • Brett, no offense. but that is absolute fricking bullstuff. First, plenty of teams were interested in Clint in his last year at Fulham after he ended up in third place in goals scored in the Premier League. Now a few points.

        1. Fulham’s wage structure under previous ownership was among the worst in the Premier League. Clint had every right in the world to take advantage of demand for his services and earn a better salary.

        2. At the time Clint wanted out, a lot of players were unhappy at Fulham, be it from Martin Jol or general management. Players were jumping ship.

        3. Most likely Clint had wanted to leave Fulham a year before he did, but he knew how hard it was to leave Fulham. Do an Internet search on Mark Schwarzer, who was wanted by Arsenal. Fulham dug in their heels then to keep him, made life rough for him until he finally signed the extension. There have been other players who wanted to leave Fulham who were treated this way. In Clint’s case, after he stayed one more year, he apparently was under the assumption that the door would be open for him for a graceful exit. But it wasn’t. Martin Jol did everything in his power to try to keep Clint from going and to force him into signing a contract extension. Liverpool, for gosh sake’s wanted Clint, and this would have been a dream come true for Clint and then Jol and Fulham started issuing statements that Liverpool was tampering with one of their players and Liverpool was forced to back off. In my mind it is unforgivable what Jol with the apparent backing of former Fulham management did to Clint. They pulled every dirty trick in the book to try to force Clint to sign the extension and in the process it damaged his reputation…

      • Part 2 🙂

        4. As for Tottenham, Clint last year was a solid important player for them and it was clear to me that his game improved while there which translated into better performances for the USMNT. As for what happened last summer, let’s not forget that AVB was a joke of a coach, a jittery looking man on the sidelines and not much older than Clint. AVB brought in a million players over the summer who were going to transform Tottenham into a Top Four team and AVB no doubt told Clint that Clint was no longer in his plans. I personally wish Clint would have stayed in Europe. And make no mistake, there were teams that would have had him. But I can understand a man on the wrong side of 30 maybe feeling beat down by it all and then comes the chance to secure his family financially. (And I will add, no way that Dempsey’s situation can be compared with mikey-cakes, who wandered from club to club in Europe and was never loved at a club like Clint was at Fulham and never played in European competition and at 26 years old cashed in for a payday he really doesn’t deserve and he showed his true color.

        5. I warned on this board in December that I thought Clint was making a big mistake to risk by going back to Fulham on loan. Clint, as USMNT captain, should right now be down in Brazil with the team bonding with guys, especially the young guys, and providing leadership and I am seriously wondering whether Clint simply did not want to join the trip because a certain other player was there and decided go to Fulham and keep Klinsmann happy. it ain’t over till it’s over and still a chance Clint can salvage the loan but the pressure is building with each game and it is going to get harder and harder to succeed.

      • Good points Biff. The only point that has questionable merit is the “certain other player” bit…..could be true but a conjecture for sure.

      • i think he’s referring to the theory that dempsey and donovan don’t get along (donovan being the ‘certain other player’).

      • The team, the coaches, the weather, the exchange rate….. we can come up with hundreds of excuses but at the end of the day Dempsey is playing in MLS and looks way out of place with Fulham let alone Liverpool.
        His name alone got him this loan but Fulham fans are not going to put up with his mediocrity much longer.

      • Simply trying to neuter the valid counter points of others in this discussion, by characterizing them as weak and apologetic, does not give you the high ground or make you right.

      • It’s really sad.
        I think it’s more of a inferiority complex. Wanting to belong and making themselves believe American players can do no wrong and it’s always somebody else’s fault.
        This is the main reason why American players can’t make it in top teams. Blaming somebody else is a lot easier than to work extra hard.
        No matter what they’ll always be stars at home.

      • not true. it’s not always somebody else’s fault, but sometimes it is, and some cannot appear to see those instances and see only the faults

        and some posters appear to be able to see all of that stuff: faults, strengths, etc. it’s not hard to figure out who is who over time.

      • yep, american players can’t make it in top teams because some internet commenters have an inferiority complex.

      • “My god, such apologism. I’ve never seen people go so far to defend mediocre performances.”

        You haven’t been around very much have you?

      • I do not think the transfer had as much do do with his player. Rather he is just out of sync. Coming to the Sounders mid-season and after the EPL season, it took him time to sync with the new team.. and then injuries. The guy plays hurt, How many soccer players do that? Now his loan to Fulham is the same way. Mid-season loan AFTER the MLS season with a two month break. Hard to get into rhythm after only 2 games.

        The biggest beef everyone had with AVB wherever he went, was that he tries to reinvent the wheel. All his teams HAVE to be molded with HIS players. He did not want Dempsey as much as the Tottenham board did.Ultimately his selling of popular and good players like at Chelsea, did not pan out. The same with Tottenham..his players were no better than the ones he let go. His style was no better than what was played before. In both teams he took out the spirit of the team and failed to replace it.

        AVB is not a “bad” coach. But his is not a “great” one. His success in Portugal was a bit lucky,and the talent levels there are nothing like the EPL. He failed in the EPL…twice, with good teams. But Dempsey is a professional and I’m sure the disappointments at Tottenham will be left behind. The next 6 months will be a lot better, he will come back to the Sounders, fit and ready.

      • We will see. Ultimately that is a nice narrative if you are a Sounder or Clint Dempsey fan. It is true that many MLS transfers struggled early on only to find their footing in their second year. That said, Clint looks so terribly out of form from his peak days that there is no certainty he will be as productive as his salary suggests he “should be” nor fans expect either. MLS training camp starts for most teams next week. February will be the start of preseason and then the regular season for Seattle starts 3/8 … that is 6-7 weeks.

        6 months?? When is he scheduled to come back to the Sounders? Does he look fit and ready? Is 6 weeks of time and 5 weeks of camp really going to make a difference in his current form or is that really just wishful thinking? Or is he skipping camp with the Sounders and staying in England until mid season (and is that just another built in excuse when he rejoins the team and is out of sync with the team again??)?

        People may want to blame MLS for his demise, but I suspect the real issue is that he is just in a massive funk – whether that translates to career spiral for the almost 31 year old or just temporary remains to be seen. 31 does not mean he is almost done by any means, and I fully expect he will have more productive periods than he was having last season (if he doesn’t … oh, wow – that will get his coach fired and SHOULD result in him riding the bench, but it won’t since he is the marquee name an ownership will insist he play).

      • Never mind. Answered one of my own questions (yea Google). He is on loan until the end of February so skipping training camp and most of the preseason with the Sounders. So, yes your 6 month timeline may be right on as it may take him another 5 months of regular season to make up for lost time. I am a Timbers fan, so I am rather enjoying his struggles (though conflicted about it as also want to see the USMNT go far in 6 months and a Dempsey on top if his game is essential to that happening).

    • Seems like he’s trying to remold himself as a playmaker rather than a cut throat, launch yourself headlong into the box at every opportunity goal scorer. Not sure if it’s a fit. He IS an extremely creative player, but that creativity has alway manifested itself in creating goals for himself, not for others. I’m not sure if his creativity can just shift gears like that. There was always a desperate quality to him where he would throw himself into the fray and come up with something on the spot to create a chance, but playmaking is more calculated and controlled.


Leave a Comment