Top Stories

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

AltidoreNewcastle (Getty Images)


This Soccer Saturday will start with a bang as Newcastle United host USMNT forward Jozy Altidore and Sunderland in the always competitive Tyne-Wear Derby to open a day filled with action from all over the world.

The last time these two rivals met in English Premier League play, Sunderland notched their first win of the season thanks to a late goal from Fabio Borini. The Black Cats have continued to improve from their horrid start, as they have only lost two of their last 13 matches across all competitions, climbing out of the relegation zone in the process. On the other side, Newcastle United have only won once in their last five league matches and will need to find someone to step up in the midfield after the sale of Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain.

In other EPL action, seventh-place Manchester United will look to keep their momentum going on the road at Stoke City. Tottenham will try to bounce back from their big loss against Manchester City with a road result at Hull City, who have not scored in four straight losses after routing Fulham 6-0 in December. There will also be a battle of American goalkeepers at Goodison Park as Tim Howard and Everton host Brad Guzan and Aston Villa on Merseyside.

Elsewhere, first-place Barcelona will put their perfect home record at Camp Nou on the line when Valencia comes to visit. Manager Clarence Seedorf and AC Milan host Torino in Serie A competition, and second-place AS Monaco will look to maintain their position behind league-leading PSG when they visit Lorient. In Mexico, the derby match between nearby rivals Tigres and Monterrey will highlight a busy night of Liga MX action.

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 schedule is after the jump):


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

7:45am – West Ham United vs. Swansea City – Premier League Extra Time

9:30am – Schalke 04 vs. Wolfsburg – GolTV USA

10am – Stoke City vs. Manchester United – NBC Sports Network

10am – Barcelona vs. Valencia – beIN Sports USA

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

10am – Fulham vs. Southampton – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Everton vs. Aston Villa – Premier League Extra Time

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

10am – Partick Thistle vs. Dundee United – Fox Soccer Plus

10:30am – Lorient vs. AS Monaco – Univision Deportes

12pm – Cagliari vs. Fiorentina – beIN Sports USA

12pm – Levante vs. Rayo Vallecano – beIN Sports en Español

12:30pm – Hannover vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach – GolTV USA

2pm – Evian TG vs. Ajaccio – Univision Deportes

2pm – Getafe vs. Real Valladolid – beIN Sports en Español

2:45pm – AC Milan vs. Torino – beIN Sports USA

4pm – Malaga vs. Sevilla – beIN Sports en Español

5pm – USA vs. South Korea – ESPN2/UniMas

5:30pm – Racing vs. Nacional – GolTV USA

6pm – Club America vs. Atlante – Univision

6pm – Santos Laguna vs. Toluca – Univision Deportes

6pm – Veracruz vs. Puebla – Univision Deportes 2

8pm – Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Cruz Azul – UniMas

8pm – Monterrey vs. Tigres UANL – Univision Deportes

8pm – Pachuca vs. Atlas – Univision Deportes 2

10pm – Chiapas vs. Queretaro – Univision Deportes


    • I don’t know if you can. We only have a handful of games left before the world cup and several of these players are fighting for spots on the plane. I think the chemistry between Gonzo and Besler will be vital, as well as how well Evans does against quality competition. Cameron will steal either Gonzo or Evan’s spot so this game will be vital to see who gets bumped.

  1. What is this obsession that JK has with Parkhurst???

    I can’t be the only one who thinks he is terrible on the ball, out-of-form, slow and un-athletic right?

    Why no Yendlin? The rest seems like the normal group.

    Any predictions?

    • Wait isn’t Parkhurst a Right back? I bet he gets burned a few times on that side.

      But in theory Parkhurst should be a competent defender but… ya… I would rather let the youngins get blooded.

      • I totally agree.

        It’s a friendly and our fullback situation still isn’t resolved. Yendlin might be needed in Brazil, despite being too green.

    • Any other year and you might see a more experimental lineup i.e. Gil, Yedlin, etc. However, Klinsmann has made it abundantly clear that every game from here until the summer is to prep the players who have the best chance to go to Brazil, as shown by this starting lineup.

      • My sentiments exactly. A strong performance is a must for both, and then they must stand-out in the beginning of the MLS season.

      • With Danny Williams starting to string together some solid performances with Reading, Beckerman might also help himself with a good match.

      • I don’t know….

        Williams has fallen out of favour. He would have to have a lot more games similar to the one today to be considered.

    • Meh. How many chances is Davis gonna get? Ditto with Wondo.
      I do like Gonzo, Besler, and Evans playing together though, they look like locks for Brazil so you might as well get them used to playing with each other. I’m wondering if/when Yedlin comes in and where they play him. I could see him going on the wing and then falling back when Evans going forward, and vice-versa.

  2. I’ll bury this at the bottom of long thread of comments where no one will ever find it, bu…I’m almost feeling sorry for Man U.


    • Oops, phone fail!
      It’s a shame NBC lost MLS rights. The production of the uswnt game last night on fox and the EPL games today was drastically different. I hope they get it together for MLS.

  3. “I’ve definitely let the boys down in front of goal and I’ve been freezing up a bit, but I’ve been trying to do other things to try and make an effect.”

    That about sums it up. Let’s hope he gets his confidence back and gets back to finishing instinctively instead of thinking so much. He seems such a thoughtful and humble guy and that’s fantastic, but I’d love to see a bit more selfishness and arrogance on the pitch from him. I think the top strikers have almost an irrational, thoughtless belief in themselves.

    That being said, he was A hugely dominant force today. If he keeps up this kind of performance, some goals will come and his confidence will soar.

    • Mr. T.

      I assume you are referrring to Jozy.

      Jozy is not a top striker now nor has he ever been one. He is too inconsistent.
      His time at AZ and his struggles earlier this season show that he requires a certain kind of structure to be successful. And he needs a manager who really “gets” him.

      This does not mean he cannot develop into a really fine striker for Sunderland and the USMNT. From here on out I suspect he will become an indispensable part of Sunderland’s attack if he isn’t already.

      And I think he will go on to score quite a few goals for both the US and Sunderland.
      But I doubt he’ll ever be in the very elite class of a guy like Suarez or Lewandoski.

      In fact, Clint, for example, is a better scorer and always will be as long as his body holds up.

      Jozy appears to be too nice a person, too team oriented. It’s a very fine line but that is all it takes at the level we are talking about. Deuce is a much harder character and a lot of these top players are not the most pleasant of human beings, if you can call them that.

  4. Barcelona just lost… Both Madrids won’t lose this week. They wont be top by the end of the weekend. I have never liked Barcelona… don’t really know why but some of it is the horrible jerseys. Those Jerseys are indefensible.

  5. If anyone wants to know….

    Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes play at 2:00
    Aron Johannsson and AZ play at 2:45


    The U.S. plays at 5:00

    • Fulham’s defense is horrible. Unless drastic changes are made there, they are doomed. Guys will run into the box with the ball and defenders will lay back 3 yards off them. Also, they leave big gaps in their back line. No wonder they lose so much.

  6. Stoke-Man U a great and wild game and Cameron getting better deep in the second half defending like a madmam as Stoke tries to hold on for the win. And Cameron’s great cross set up the go-ahead goal.

    • Stoke has not lived up to their reputation for boring football this season. They have had some of the most entertaining matches this season.

      • I missed the game. Does Stoke City still play “Earthquakes style” of soccer under Mark Hughes? Wondering now that Tony Pulis is at Crystal Palace do we start referring San Jose to ” Crystal Palace of MLS” this year?

      • They still play English style football, very physical, and fast, but they have started to play the ball on the ground much more than under Pulis. Players that Hughes has brought in are better suited for a better game. Just like any club with a strong aerial forward, they still do put balls over the top, but increasingly they play on the ground.

        They have been tough to beat all season, and have only lost twice at home.

  7. If anyone is wondering…

    Brek Shea is beating players off the dribble and is playing some decent passes.

    Nothing special, though. His side is down to 10 men.

  8. Manchester looks very mediocre despite the amount of talent that they have in Rooney, RvP, Mata. Stoke at Britannia are a tough tough team.

  9. If you’re going to criticize Jozy’s touch, passing, dribbling, etc., when you think it’s poor, then you should acknowledge when they’re on point, not just move on to the next thing you can criticize.

    I’ll admit, Jozy’s lack of goals annoys me. If he could stick away even simple chances, people would be so much less all over him.

    That said, you would have to be a fool to not recognize Jozy’s contribution to the team today despite his lack of goals.

    No doubt, today helps his confidence. He was great. There are always things to work on, but I honestly feel like if he gets that goal that is evading him he’ll really get rolling.

    • great post, balanced realism. the only thing I’d add is that the team is really looking to him now and they weren’t before, or couldn’t, whatever it was. That has changed this year 2014 and even within the past couple of weeks, where his teammates are playing him the ball when they simply weren’t before. Jozy was at least as much frustrated as lacking in confidence, moreso I’d say. But Poyet has been clear what he wants and who he is believing in, and his team has turned it around and are now winning on the road

    • You know what, the only opinion that matters right now is Poyet and Klinsmann and I think both of them are very happy with how well Jozy played. For those who doubt Jozy’s ability to score, go watch a video of the US-Bosnia game.

      • Poyet today, “Jozy Altidore had an excellent game for us and it was just a shame he couldn’t get a goal but there were positives for us all over the pitch.”

    • I thought Bridcutt did well today. He does lack a little size and that might hurt them going forward. With that said, it did not hurt them today as Newcastle was very physical. I think Bridcutt will get pushed around more than Sunderland would like, but I could see him replacing Cattermole if he continues to play like he did today. I mean no reds from that spot is a plus . . . right?!

      • He’s much quicker than Catt. He covers a lot more ground. Poyet seemed to loosen the reins a bit on the whole team, maybe knowing that Bridcutt had the speed to recover.

  10. Will Packwood looks set to go 90 for Birmingham, again. In the next cycle, Packwood and Brooks will provide great cover (if not more) for Besler and Gonzalez.

      • That is what they were saying in 2009.

        Then Bradley had to go to South Africa in 2010 with with two starting centerbacks who had not recovered fully from their injuries.

        Let me know how that list looks in the winter of 2017.

      • A year or so ago, if you would have told me that Cameron will be our starting right back at World Cup, I would have probably laughed. He has settled into the role very well. I agree, his crossing has improved immensely. He can get forward and contribute. It is frustrating at times to see comments on this board saying that he can’t. That might have been the Cameron from a year or so ago, but not the Cameron of today. I think he is our best option at RB and the gap is widening on a daily basis.

  11. In my opinion, best game yet by Jozy. This is the second game in a row where he has absolutely BULLIED the opponents’ center backs. Also the second game in a row he didn’t convert a golden chance. But hey, all people around the league will see today is that dee-lish back heel to start the second goal, in highlights. I think today just cemented him as the starter.

  12. So Clint is going to sit on the bench behind Holtby on a different team this time? Sucks for him. Holtby won’t do anything either though, he is so overrated.

      • +1 overrated and grates on the nerves. I can imagine how Clint feels about him. And Holtby left Schalke in a big mess last January, demanding a move with contract running down and Schalke only got 1.5m and then a year later begging to go back–if Schalke pays 10m to Tottenham to get him back. Draxler to his credit is insuring that Schalke will get market value for him when he leaves.

  13. While watching Jozy has been a bit of a soap opera this year, watching Geoff Cameron has been an absolute joy.

    Among the most underrated players in the EPL.

    • Cameron’s first season with Stoke was very good as well. He is a tackling machine. He was second only to Zabaleta for tackles by defenders in his debut season. He was not phased at all by the big name players that he was up against.

    • Yeah, Cameron having yet another solid game against top quality attackers. He schooled Evra once, swiping the ball. Stoke up 1-0 at halftime. But Man Ur has had chances, unable to convert. Cameron holding back offensively, has not seen much of the ball in attack. And actually, Stoke is mainly playing long ball, not much attack and is lucky to have the lead.

      • They’ll have to come out a bit now. The mancs just equalized. They could sit back before, with a lead, but now they must decide on a tie or a win.

      • Excited to see what Cameron will do at the WC with quality attacking players ahead of him. He and Donovan along the right flank sounds like an exciting proposition.

        It’s amazing to hear people still ask about Evans, Dolo, Yedlin, and Chandler. For me, RB is no longer a question mark for the USMNT. Cameron has been immense.

        Seems to never get the respect he deserves though.

      • I have been saying for some time that I think Klinsmann has played Cameron in the middle and Evans at RB in order to have skilled backups at those positions. He knows how well Cameron can play RB as I’m sure he watches all the Stoke games and every EPL game with a US international. I may be wrong, but I think we will see Cameron at RB in Brazil.

      • good to see you here on the running commentary laying it down

        Geoff really showing he can hang, week after week, at a position of need for the USMNT. will be interesting to see if Klinnsman yields on this and begins to see Cameron as the RB our team needs instead of a CB

  14. Skysports gave Jozy a “9” in their ratings today and they are usually very hard on him. Clearly they didn’t hold the miss against him because he was dominant in all other aspects.

    • 9s in British ratings are nothing like 9s on SBI or ESPN or wherever. There are 3 players on Sunderland that got a 9 and 5 that had an 8.

      • Why would that make a difference?

        I would rather have Jozy playing well and have Englishmen perceive him as being decent. British ratings are probably the ratings Americans should care about the most.

    • It’s amazing really.

      He completes a few passes and he’s had a great game. No, he had a bad game. His job is scoring goals. That miss is what sets the top flight strikers apart from the championship level strikers like Jozy.

      • Good for them. You know what that means in the grand scheme of things? 0 goals. He blew a sure-fire goal.

        1 goal in 21 appearances. That’s what that means. If they hadn’t blown so much money on Jozy as their big signing he’d be on the reserve squad.

      • Are you a fan/supporter of the USMNT?

        If so, does it really matter if he doesn’t score? He didn’t score in the last World Cup, but he helped immensely with every win and draw we had.

        Obviously, the goal of the game is to get goals. But, I would take a no-goal scoring Jozy like today over the one-goal scoring Jozy that played against Chelsea.

      • Guess we’ll be thankful you’re not on the coaching staff.

        By the way, how comfy is the couch you occupy every Saturday morning?

      • Yeah, it matters. It matters because every time Jozy Altidore shanks a perfect chance he hurts all American players. Every time Jozy Altidore shanks a perfect chance, he moves a step closer to the bench permanently.

        Don’t think for one second that if Jozy hadn’t been the marquee signing of the summer that he wouldn’t have been loaned out or dropped from the game day roster already.

        This isn’t the MLS where you can go Clint Dempsey and suck for a quarter of a season and everyone will hold hands and sing kumbaya with you.

        This is the EPL where you get one or maybe two shots if you’re lucky to make a difference.

        And he continues to blow his.

        An EPL player should be able to complete some freaking passes. The fact that people get excited on here is maddening.

      • Obviously, I won’t be able to change your opinion of him over the interweb, so just hate Jozy as a player then.

        Being “able to complete some freaking passes” is a skill that all players of the EPL should have.

        I agree!

        But, making key passes in the final third that help his teammates have shots on target is different, and I don’t think you know the difference between the two.

        Sure, the man will be judged by how many goals he has scored, because that IS what a striker is supposed to do. BUT, I personally do not care if he scores. He is easily the best striker the US has. He plays to the teams strengths — whatever team that is.

      • There excited he completed a creative pass that was critical to the build up of a goal and overall played a strong game today. Not that hes a PL player make completed passes. The fact that you ignore this simple but important distinction make your argument seem so much more trivial.

        Furthermore he’s been on a poor run of form and people should be happy to see him turn a corner. Instead your obsessing over his blown chance and trying to construe it as the most defining part of his performance today.

      • “It matters because every time Jozy Altidore shanks a perfect chance he hurts all American players.”

        [cut to meeting of directors of anonymous eredivisie club]

        director 1: hey, what do you think of this diskerud kid?

        director 2: yeah, i don’t know…didn’t you hear altidore shanked another perfect chance last week?”

        director 1: yeah, you’re right. screw this guy.

      • We could discuss the role of a striker in an offense, particularly the lone strike position Jozy plays at Sunderland, but it would probably be a lost cause.

        I ask you though, hypothetically, if Jozy doesn’t win all the balls he did today. If he doesn’t make all the passes and put in the hard hold-up work. Yet, he somehow scores a freak deflection goal where the ball essentially bounces off of him and lands in the net, and Sunderland loses 2-1; would you consider this a better performance than the one he put forth today? Is scoring individual goals really more important than doing the little things that help the team win?

      • Madden’s Chin says:
        “His job is scoring goals. That miss is what sets the top flight strikers apart from the championship level strikers like Jozy…….You know what that means in the grand scheme of things? 0 goals. He blew a sure-fire goal.”

        On Sunderland Borini and Johnson are doing the scoring. Jozy, while not scoring much, has “created” quite a lot of their goals with his assists and by doing the other things a typical English center forward does, things no other player on their roster is likely capable of.

        Scocco does not play that way and is unproven in the EPL, Fletcher appears either out of favor or if rumours are true, has Achilles issues. There is of course, Wickham.

        But more important is as you say “the grand scheme of things”.

        With Sunderland playing that possession style that Jozy seems to be a very big part of, they have won three league games in a row, and gone five w/o losing. And they have climbed out of the relegation zone for the moment. And Jozy seems to be improving.

        He doesn’t have to score, he has to make sure Sunderland keep playing well and winning.

        I don’t see Poyet fixing something that ain’t broke and that he took so long to get going until he has to..

      • No such thing as a sure fire goal. See today for example or any of a hundred strikers that you rate higher than Jozy.

      • Jozy is held to a lower standard than most strikers. I agree that he held the ball up well today, and loved his heel-flick that culminated in a goal. In the end, and when it comes to Sunderland, and other clubs measuring his success, it will be due to his ability to score goals for the club.

      • Poyet appears to disagree with you tho we would all like him to score goals, but Poyet has changed Jozy’s role and is now having his team look to play thru Jozy more than at any time he’s been there. it’s pretty cool. the goals will come because of all of this imo. That was Sunderland’s most dominant game yet this year, and on the road. Some of those prick Sunderland home fans need to look in the mirror to identify the losers and get with the program

      • You and some other people seem to forget that the object of the game is to win. If a striker wins a dangerous free kick or penalty, passes for the winning goal, draws a red card from the opposition because of good play, you know what? That is success. It really doesn’t matter if yiou win 1-0 or 4-0. Also, consider some players with great skill, such as Adu, but who can’t make a mark because they don’t do those little things. Chicharito has a great scoring record, but almost never starts. Why? Maybe because he doesn’t play D or pass well, or whatever. There are a lot of players who look flashy but really hurt the team in the long run and some who don’t look outstanding, but do all those other things that that make the team successful. This is true in all sports.

      • bean,
        Who are these center forwards that Jozy is being held to a lower standard than?

        Lewandoski? He’s at another level. Suarez and Sturridge? Different kind of players.

        Very few players score as much as those guys do and put in the work that Jozy does.

        You are stuck on semantics. As long as whatever it is Jozy does is contributing to Sunderland doing well, and it looks like it does, Jozy will play.

        When Jozy came to Sunderland Di Canio brought him in to score but forgot about putting the players and structure around him that he had in Holland.

        So Jozy, playing by himself, did not score.

        Poyet comes in and changes everything and asks them to play a higher tempo, quick passing game, more like what Jozy is used to. And the hot players are Johnson and Borini, so Jozy’s role is to clear out the middle for them to cut in

        Right now Sunderland’s offense is not geared to providing Jozy with the prime opportunities

        And given how well everything is going, there is little reason to deviate from what is working.

        And Jozy’s first season isn’t over.

        Most sane and sober people would judge Jozy after the season is done, especially now that he seems to be reviving.

      • “His job is scoring goals.”

        no, his job is to help the team win, however he does it. that’s it. when all’s said and done, as long as sunderland keeps playing well, do you really think poyet cares about jozy’s scoring stats? hell no.

        and he had a great game.

      • He may be helping the team, but he’s not helping himself. Eventually they’ll find a striker that can also score goals as well as pass the ball.

      • i agree, which is why scocco coming could very well mean bad news for jozy. i was simply adding nuance to madden’s pub league opinion that jozy’s job is to “score goals”.

      • “Eventually they’ll find a striker that can also score goals as well as pass the ball.”

        Yeah and that guy might be Jozy.

        Jozy’s history is clear; put him someplace that knows how to use him and he scores.

        It happened at AZ and it happened with the USMNT.

        Now that Sunderland has finally gotten their act together it could happen with Jozy.

      • Scoring is the only thing?

        (1) Touch
        (2) Passing
        (3) Athleticism


        Just to name a few. Those things set PL and CL strikers apart as well.

      • People do say that about Heskey. And honestly if Jozy gets as good as Heskey he can have a rather good career and be rather effective for the US.

        Heskey was weird… did everything well but score.

      • Actually, every rational observer disagrees with you. Every player rating has him as a 7 or higher. I think maybe Jozy slept with your girlfriend or something. You’re always so irrationally hateful.

      • that Jozy has stood tall and kept fighting is THE story on his season so far as he has demonstrated a level of maturity and toughness many said he couldn’t achieve and didn’t have, and now has earned Poyet’s full trust in the Sunderland story.

        if some folks cannot see it it’s on them, reveals their lack of vision and ability to see what’s happening and has been happening for what is now months at this point

        Jozy hasn’t become Pele but he’s playing well and fitting in reliably and even winning over some of the English!

  15. Altidore finally earning his wages……. Sort of.
    Missing those easy goals makes him the odd man out.
    Scocco scores next week and it’s lights out for Jozy

    • Seriously? Jozy IS the focal point of that attack. So Poyet is going to blow up a team that’s taken ten of the last twelve points just because they won 3-0 instead of 4-0?

  16. Pulled up this Gooch v Brek battle on firstrow. Haven’t seen the other barnsley games, but interestingly enough it looks like they’re using Brek on the right wing.

  17. If Sunderland’s interest in Geoff Cameron was genuine, that might be a good move Cameron this summer. I am starting to love Sunderland’s style of play. Building attack from the back, calm passing under pressure, and one hell of a great counterattack. In any case, if Cameron can keep up his good form this spring and add to that a strong World Cup, there will be demand for him.

  18. Crazy how one game can change everything. Go from Sunderland is the worst team ever. Going to get relegated…Jozy needs to leave blah blah blah. To wow Sunderland is now in the top half of the table and has a league cup game against Manchester City that they can win. Gotta love sports.

    • + 1

      Fans linger in the moments while managers go for the long play. They’re on the up right now and could go on a down just as easily too. The point is it’s never over until it really is so the fat lady doesn’t sing as often as fans tend to do.

    • Yea just like San Antonio were up 3 points in game 6 last year about to sun the championship with like 2 seconds left…. Then…..

    • Because there are so many teams bunched together at the bottom half, a couple of wins and a draw and they can shoot up. If a team could get like 3 wins out of 4, say, they can go from bottom to middle practically that quick.


Leave a Comment