The thing about writing about the world of soccer is that it really is a big world out there. With our own American sports everything is local. Even if we live in a country that is 3,000 miles across.
With that in mind here are a few items from around the globe that caught my eye over the last several days.
Jermaine Jones really has to start in the US midfield. So does Michael Bradley. Klinsmann should write their names in his line up card, but he might want to use pencil for Jones’ name, because there is always the chance that the Schalke destroyer could be serving a suspension.
Watching Jones play this past weekend against Bundesliga table toppers and neighbors Borussia Dortmund, it was clear that his tenacious d and overall talent level meant that he has to be on the field for the US.
Also clear, the man is a red card waiting to happen. After picking up a yellow, Jones never backed off, and was extremely fortunate to stay on the pitch when a late challenge, that should have earned him a straight red, was only judged a foul by the referee.
England’s F.A. Cup was bad news for American goalkeepers, and for anyone opposing goal line technology. First Tim Howard was left out to dry by Sylvain Distin’s awful back pass, as Everton were knocked out by rivals Liverpool. Then on Sunday Brad Friedel could only watch from the bench as referee Martin Atkinson gifted Chelsea with a goal that anyone in front of a television could see was simply not a goal. Step into the 21st century, please.
Staying in England for a bit, I had a thought that if 1/10 of the players linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and the like actually signed with them, there would be very few players left for anyone else.
As we continue to sift through the wreckage of the Olympic debacle, some positive developments have emerged. Joe Gyau and Josh Gatt re-signed with their European club teams, Hoffenheim and Molde. Gyau is knocking on the first team door at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, while Gatt, who was recalled by Molde, and so missed out on the Nashville choke, is a regular starter for the Norwegian champions.
Other members of that U23 side saw action in MLS over the weekend, gaining experience that they could have used before the Qualiyers. Freddy Adu looked good for the Philadelphia Union, again raising hopes that he can translate his undoubted skill into something more than an occasional highlight reel effort.
Kenny Cooper and Chris Wondolowski matched goals as Wondo’s SJ Earthquakes tied Cooper’s Red Bulls 2-2 in New Jersey. The two are tied with Thierry Henry for most goals in MLS, and are likely wondering, is Klinsmann watching?
Down Mexico way old favorite DaMarcus Beasley might be thinking the same thing. With four goals for Puebla goals this season Run DMB continues to rebuild his game and his reputation, and still just 30 years old, he may be worth another look.
One player who won’t be playing for the US is Cory Gibbs, and that is a shame. His latest injury takes him out of the Chicago line up, but a knee injury suffered against England in a 2005 friendly, and re-injured just before the 2006 World Cup, were the real killers.
In 2006 Gibbs was silky smooth center back, who had already played in the Bundesliga and in Holland, and was signed to play for Charlton, then in the EPL. Personally I thought that he was our most talented center back heading into Germany 2006. That knee injury kept Gibbs out of the 2006 World Cup, and he never played for Charlton. Gibbs has had a good MLS career, but it’s hard not to wonder what he could have accomplished but for the knee injuries.
Oh, one last thing. Is it just me or is anyone else sick of that Champions song they play before the Champions League games.