U.S. In Great Hands
U.S. In Great Hands avatar

The eyes of U.S. soccer coaches, fans and press were firmly fixed on Brad Guzan on Saturday in Aston Villa’s 2-1 win over Reading, and the presumptive U.S. number one for the upcoming internationals versus Costa Rica and Mexico, thrived in the spotlight.

Brad Guzan has had an outstanding season for Villa. (Getty Images)

Brad Guzan has had an outstanding season for Villa. (Getty Images)

With the news that Tim Howard’s back injury will almost certainly keep his long time, first choice keeper sidelined for the two big qualifiers, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann should feel secure with Guzan between the pipes. Saturday’s performance from Guzan in Aston Villa’s 2-1 victory, in this high pressure six pointer, versus fellow relegation battlers Reading, indicates that the Villa keeper can handle the pressure that comes with taking over from Howard.

Fox Soccer analysts Eric Wynalda and Warren Barton made the call before the match for Brad Friedel to be recalled from his long international retirement, despite the obvious disruption that a last minute change could cause for the fragile defensive chemistry in the U.S. backline.

For his part this is what the current Spurs back-up keeper had to say via twitter.

bradley h friedel ‏@friedel_b
GK situation US: YOU ARE IN GREAT HANDS WITH GUZAN!!!! If he was also hurt of course I would consider helping until Tim and Brad were fit!!

Saturday afternoon Guzan showed the qualities that should ease the panic in U.S. soccer circles of playing without Howard in these two very big upcoming matches. From the opening minute of the Reading game, when he was called on to make a diving save, Guzan was sharp. The burly Villa man commanded his box with authority, caught under pressure, made big saves and was always alert for the quick outlet pass to start an attack.

If Villa go down - they will definitely lose Guzan to another EPL club. (Getty Images)

If Villa go down – they will definitely lose Guzan to another EPL club. (Getty Images)

With a callow and sloppy defense in front of him Saturday, and all season long, Guzan has grown into a vocal leader, and was described on the Fox telecast as a “positive” keeper by match analyst Tony Gale.

Although Guzan hasn’t started for the United States in a couple of years, he practices with the current squad on a regular basis, so he won’t come into the Costa Rica match as a stranger to his back four. The former Chivas USA man has bided his time since his move to the Villains in 2008, serving as a backup, before beating out Shay Given for the number one job early this season.

Protected by a leaky defense prone to inexplicable errors, Guzan has played at a high level, despite poor statistics. Watching Saturday’s match versus Reading, the old sports truism, the best defense is a good offense, came to mind. Only in the opposite, the best offense is a total lack of defense, from the opposition. With neither team seemingly capable of playing basic defense, Guzan was called upon early and often. That Reading’s only goal for came from a dreadful own goal, says it all.

Last week, at the end of a first half in which the Villa defense had performed admirably, center back Ciaran Clark made an awful giveaway, gifting Manchester City with a goal. It would be the only goal of the game, and Guzan was selected Man of the Match, despite the loss.

So, while the loss to the U.S. national team of Tim Howard is not to be underplayed, the Americans should be in safe hands with Brad Guzan.

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Jago named Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee
Jago named Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee avatar

Congratulations to Gordon Jago, who recently became a 2013 Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee.

His list of accomplishments and contributions to North Texas soccer is endless. Besides his heavy involvement with NTSSA he has played a major part in the growth of the Sidekicks as a coach, general manager, general partner and team president.

During his 12 year-long coaching career with the Sidekicks he led them to a CISL Championship in 1993. He is also responsible for discovering indoor soccer legend, Tatu, in Brazil.

“I am very honored to receive the award for I have nothing but good memories of my years with the Sidekicks in the indoor soccer leagues,” Jago said in a press release. “It is a reward not only for me, but also to all of the assistant coaches, staff and players whose efforts made it possible for me to be selected.”

Read the full story on the NTSSA website: Click Here

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Apply for the William J. “Billy” Goaziou Scholarship
Apply for the William J. “Billy” Goaziou Scholarship avatar

U.S. Youth Soccer is now accepting applications for the William J. “Billy” Goaziou Scholarship for one male and one female attending a post-secondary educational institution for fall 2013.

The scholarships, $1,000 each, are for students attending for the first time. An application must be turned in by April 12, 2013 to be considered.

“U.S. Youth Soccer has many volunteers, coaches and administrators who have and continue to give back to the game of soccer through service, and we are very excited to honor a man who spent more than 25 years of his life doing just that,” said president of U.S. Youth Soccer, John Sutter in a press release.  ”Goaziou was a well-respected man within the soccer community and I know he would be very humbled to know that his legacy continues to give back to the game of soccer.”

To apply for this scholarship, please visit the U.S. Youth Soccer website.

 

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Real Colorado Foxes announce open tryouts
Real Colorado Foxes announce open tryouts avatar

The Real Colorado Foxes have announced the details for 2013 open tryouts!

Soccer players 18-years-old and above can come out and show their stuff on March 17 from 2:30-5:00 pm at the Heritage Stadium Field for a chance to play on the team.

You must register if you plan on attending and pay a fee of $75. Walk-ups on the day of tryouts are accepted but the fee will go up to $85.

For more information and to register, please visit the CYS Facebook page: Click Here

Foxes

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Region C Kohl’s Cup a huge success
Region C Kohl’s Cup a huge success avatar

Last weekend Florida youth soccer players and their families flocked to Largo, FL to participate in the 2013 Region C American Kohl’s Cup for a fun weekend filled with soccer and friendly competition for all ages.

Watch this video to learn more about this nationwide event, and you can view a full photo gallery from the this past weekend’s fun on the FYSA Facebook page: Click Here

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Algarve Cup – Morgan To The Rescue
Algarve Cup – Morgan To The Rescue avatar

The final game of Group B concluded today in Lagos, Portugal with the U.S. WNT advancing to the Algarve Cup final with a 1-1 draw against a strong Swedish side.

Lisa Dahlkvist scored the opening goal for Sweden. (Getty Images)

Lisa Dahlkvist scored the opening goal for Sweden. (Getty Images)

After two clean sheet victories, head coach Tom Sermanni and the U.S. women  found themselves face to face with  former U.S. head coach, Pia Sundhage and her Swedish team hungry for victory.

The atmosphere hung with overwhelming tension, as both teams plunged into a battle that showcased exceptional speed, power and technical intelligence that turned the game into a nail biter to see who would advance.

Alex Morgan, who has been pretty quiet for most of the tournament, despite playing in all three games, heroically stepped up and supplied the equalizing goal the U.S. needed to advance.

“Luck was a little bit on my side today,” Morgan told USSoccer. “It was a good time for me to get my first goal at the Algarve Cup this year.”

The first half was a mélange of Swedish aggression, steady U.S. pressure, ground shaking tackles and a lone, powerful goal that put Sweden in the lead 1-0.

Lisa Dahlkvist scored early on with an incredible distance shot that set the bar for the rest of the half and made Sermanni a little nervous. After a U.S. clearance, she took possession and sent the ball screaming past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris into the top corner from 40 yards out.

The remainder of the half was a heated battle between Sweden and the yanks, as the U.S. stumbled to find their chance amidst the stealthy and resilient opposition.

Morgan came to the rescue once again and seems to always be involved in the big play (Getty Images)

Morgan came to the rescue once again and seems to always be involved in the big play (Getty Images)

They found their fire and footing in the second half, with Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe and Morgan striking from every angle, desperate to find the back of the net. The Swedes refused to falter, and stayed neck-and-neck matching U.S. skill, speed and possession at every step.

“Sweden came out hard and I think they were in a hundred (pressuring high on defense). We knew that the game would start fast-paced, hard and physical and it was pretty much like that for 90 minutes,” O’Hara told reporters.

Finally, at the 55th minute, a corner kick from Rapinoe resulted in a dangerous tangle in the box, but the U.S. women’s dogged determination was rewarded. Morgan surged forward with a beautiful header to equalize and give the U.S. the coveted spot in the Algarve Cup final.

The U.S. advanced to its 10th Algarve Cup Final in the past 11 years and will face Group A champion Germany on March 13. Check out GotSoccer for a full report.

Scoring Summary:   1    2    F
USA                           0    1    1
SWE                           1    0    1

SWE – Lisa Dahlkvist                                     4th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Megan Rapinoe)          56

Lineups:
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 9-Heather O’Reilly (23-Christen Press, 80), 7-Shannon Boxx (14-Whitney Engen, 85), 17-Tobin Heath (16-Yael Averbuch, 72), 15-Megan Rapinoe; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach (2-Sydney Leroux, 72)
Substitutions Not Used: 6-Crystal Dunn, 8-Kristie Mewis, 10-Carli Lloyd, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 19-Rachel Buehler; 22-Lindsey Horan
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

SWE: 12-Kristin Hammarstrom; 3-Emma Berglund (4-Annica Svensson, 69), 5-Nilla Fischer, 6-Sara Thunebro, 13-Lina Nilsson (18-Jessica Samuelsson, 62); 7-Lisa Dahlkvist (23-Hanna Folkesson, 74), 11-Antonia Goransson, 14-Johanna Almgren (15-Emmelie Konradssson, 46), 17-Caroline Seger; 8-Lotta Schelin (22-Olivia Schough, 79), 9-Kosovare Asllani (10-Sofia Jakobsson, 62)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Carola Soberg, 2-Malin Levenstad, 16-Carina Holmberg, 19-Susanne Moberg, 20-Marie Hammarstrom, 21-Sofia Lundgren
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 18 / 5
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 8 / 16
Offside: 5 / 8

 

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U-20 WNT Fall To Germany
U-20 WNT Fall To Germany avatar

The U20 U.S. WNT had a rough weekend, falling to Germany 3-0 in the second match of the 12 Nations Tournament in LaManga, Spain.

Summer Green was a standout for the U17's. (Getty Images)

UNC’s Summer Green was a standout for the U17′s. (Getty Images)

The German women had a clean sweep, scoring all three goals before the first half buzzer sounded. The U.S. managed to keep them back in the second half, but unfortunately, were not able to get up on the board.

Annabel Jager opened scoring within five minutes of the start when the U.S. lost the ball in its own defensive third.

She then scored her brace at the 35th minute off of an assist from Theresa Panfil after the U.S. struggled to keep possession once again.

The third goal came in the final minute of the half after U.S. defender Mandy Freeman committed a foul in the box and was shown a straight red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Lina Magull converted the penalty to make it 3-0 and cement the German win.

The U20 women will conclude their stay in LaManga with a game against Sweden today. Stay tuned for a full report.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                         0 0 0
GER                         3 0 3

GER – Annabel Jager (Melanie Leupolz) 5th minute
GER – Annabel Jager (Theresa Panfil) 35
GER – Lina Magull (penalty kick) 45

Lineups:
USA: 1-Jane Campbell; 15-Cari Roccaro, 3-Morgan Andrews (14-Katie Naughton, 69), 7-Mandy Freeman, 12-Zoey Goralski (5-Hanna Gardner, 12); 20-Andi Sullivan, 4-Katie Cousins (6-Isabel Farrell, 42), 10-Rose Lavelle; 8-Darian Jenkins (13-McKenzie Meehan, 69), 16-Amber Munerlyn, 9-Summer Green (2-Makenzy Doniak, 60)
Substitutions Not Used: Ashley Meier, Morgan Stearns
Head coach: Michelle French

GER: 2- Merle Barth (19-Vivien Beil, 46), 3- Jacqueline Klasen (17-Wibke Meister, 46), 5-Liesa Seifert (14-Daria Streng, 46) , 6-Lina Magull, 7-Annabel Jager, 8-Sara Dabritz, 10-Melanie Leupolz (9-Fabienne Dongus, 68),11-Linda Dallmann (20-Sarah Schulte, 77), 12-Merle Frohms, 13- Marie Christin Becker, 18-Theresa Panfil (15-Manjou Wilde, 68)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Meike Kamper, 4-SarahRohmert, 16-Sharon Beck
Head Coach: Maren Meinert

Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 4 / 13
Shots on Goal: 2 / 8
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 7 / 17
Offside: 1 / 4

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Tim Howard Ruled Out For U.S. Qualifiers
Tim Howard Ruled Out For U.S. Qualifiers avatar

The bad news continues for the USMNT with Friday’s news that goalkeeper Tim Howard will be unavailable for the upcoming qualifiers versus Costa Rica in Colorado and versus Mexico, in Mexico City.

Howard's injury couldn't come at a worse time. (ISI Photos/Kieran McManus)

Howard’s injury couldn’t come at a worse time. (ISI Photos/Kieran McManus)

Howard hurt his back in F.A. Cup action for Everton against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday February 26, causing Everton’s longtime number one to miss his first English Premier League match for the Toffees since 2007 the following Saturday. Howard was just two games away from catching Everton goalkeeping legend Neville Southall for the team record of 212 consecutive league games.

Initial reports had Howard making a quick return to action, but on Friday Everton coach David Moyes revealed that Howard, “has broken two bones in his back.” In an indication of how serious this injury could be, Moyes added, “we don’t think he’ll be out for the season.”

Moyes referenced Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini, who suffered a similar injury to Howard’s. “I read that Coloccini could be out for seven weeks but we are not sure how long Tim will be out because, obviously with a goalkeeper, he has to dive around and hit the ground.”

Moyes went on to say, “He has two fractures, but they are not bones that are supporting anything. It is off the spine. They are not weight bearing.” Moyes concluded, “the bones will heal themselves, but it’s not good.”

Guzan has played at a very high level - even if his team's statistics reflect otherwise. (Getty Images)

Guzan has played at a very high level – even if his team’s statistics reflect otherwise. (Getty Images)

It is not good for the U.S., but Aston Villa netminder Brad Guzan is in fine form for the Villains and will be expected fill in capably. The unsettled nature of the U.S. backline, particularly in the center back positions, is a potential problem with Howard out. Guzan and his defenders will have to quickly establish a rapport as they try to avoid mistakes in these two crucial World Cup qualifiers.

The United States hosts Costa Rica March 22, in Commerce City, Colorado, before traveling to Mexico City to take on Mexico on March 26.

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U-20 WNT Ties With Norway
U-20 WNT Ties With Norway avatar

Morgan Andrews was a standout at U-17 level. (ISI Photos)

Morgan Andrews was a standout at U-17 level. (ISI Photos)

It’s been a busy month for soccer over in Spain. The victorious U23 U.S. WNT returned home as the U20 U.S. WNT arrived in La Manga for the 12 Nations Tournament, where they ended the first of three matches in a 1-1 draw against Norway on March 7.

Forward Amber Munerlyn scored the lone U.S. goal in the 62nd minute off a cross from midfielder Katie Cousins, nabbing her first international goal and sparking that glimmer of hope for a first match win.

But alas, chances of victory turned sour as a determined Norway found the back of the U.S. net. Andrea Thun equalized at the 89th  minute to seal the draw.

The U20 women will face Germany March 9 and Sweden March 11 for their final tournament matches. Stay tuned for a full report.

-U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team vs. Norway
Date: March 7, 2013
Competition: 12-Nations Tournament
Venue: La Manga Club; La Manga, Spain
Weather: 63 degrees, cold, windy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                         0 1 1
NOR                        0 1 1

USA – Amber Munerlyn (Katie Cousins) 62nd minute
NOR – Andrea Thun 89

Lineups:
USA: 24-Morgan Stearns; 15-Cari Roccaro, 3-Morgan Andrews, 7-Mandy Freeman, 12-Zoey Goralski; 20- Andi Sullivan, 6-Isabel Farrell (10-Rose Lavelle, 46), 11-Ashley Meier (4-Katie Cousins, 46); 8-Darian Jenkins (13- McKenzie Meehan, 64), 16-Amber Munerlyn, 2-Makenzy Doniak (14-Katie Naughton, 73)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Jane Campbell, 5-Hanna Gardner, 9-Summer Green
Head coach: Michelle French

NOR: 1-Josephine Ervik, 2- Vilde Boe Risa, 4-Carlotta Fennefoss, 6- Lisa Fjellstad Naalsund (18-Therese Asland, 76), 7-Guro Bergsvand, 8-Guro Reiten (19-Amalie Velve Eikeland, 55), 9- Andrea Thun, 10- Synne Hanson (13-Cecilie R Kvamme, 55), 11-Mia Voltersvik (20-Maren Eithun Hauge, 64), 14-Andrine Tomter, 16-Nora Byom-Nilssen (15-Ingride Bakke, 86)
Substitutions Not Used: 5-Mali Lilleas, 12-Siri Ervik, 13-Cecille R Kvamme, 17-Hanna Maanum,
Head coach: Jarl Torske

Stats Summary: USA / NOR
Shots: 12 / 3
Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
Saves: 2 / 8
Corner Kicks: 7 / 0
Fouls: 1 / 8
Offside: 1 / 2

 

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Algarve Cup – U.S. Too Strong For China
Algarve Cup – U.S. Too Strong For China avatar

It was a cake walk for the U.S. WNT in their second Algarve Cup match against China PR in Albufiera, Portugal this morning, earning another shut out win 5-0.

Lindsey Horan got her first senior cap for the U.S. against China(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Lindsey Horan got her first senior cap for the U.S. against China (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Goals were scored by Sydney Leroux, Ali Kreiger, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Whitney Engen in a series of graceful plays that really showed the style and finesse of the team despite rain fall and poor field conditions in the first half.

Sermanni mixed it up, taking out most of the players that had appeared in the first match of the tournament, including Abby Wambach, while 18-year-old Lindsey Horan saw her first career cap and Engen got her first career goal.

Jill Loyden, who had a record shutout against Iceland, is out of the tournament after breaking her left hand during training yesterday. Nicole Barnhart took over as protector of the U.S. goal and made an impressive showing with a complete shutout.

The soggy first half took off as both teams fought for possession. The U.S. played smartly and the Chinese came on strong, keeping firm pressure on the U.S. back line.

They pounded defense trying to find a way in, but a magnificent save by Barnhart prompted an aggressive U.S. counterattack. Leroux snatched the ball midfield and drove it all the way in, scoring effortlessly with no Chinese defense to be found.

Christen Press continues to show that she is a threat in-front of goal. (Getty images)

Christen Press continues to show that she is a threat in-front of goal and scored her team leading 4th goal of the 2013 campaign. (Getty images)

Midway through, the U.S. continued to pick up momentum and the Chinese slowly began to deteriorate. The second U.S. goal came at the 32nd  minute with a well executed play by Alex Morgan and Kreiger. Morgan crossed to Kreiger, who sent the ball sailing into the far back post to bump the U.S. lead 2-0.

The rain subsided and the sun began to peek through the dreariness at the start of the second half. It must’ve been a good sign for the U.S. because Rapinoe struck like a snake in the first minute, scoring the third U.S. goal off of a Chinese deflection.

The U.S. took the reigns and ran with the game after that. Press came through at the 64th minute with a remarkable shot, blasting the ball right past the Chinese goalie into the top corner to mark her fourth career goal.

The Chinese continued to putter out and the end drew closer. Engen saw her chance during a struggle with opposition and volleyed the ball in from 10 yards out to add one more goal and cement the score at 5-0.

The U.S. will play their third match of the Algarve Cup against Sweden March 11. Tune in to GotSoccer for a full report.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                             2 3 5
CHN                             0 0 0

USA – Sydney Leroux                                  14th minute
USA – Ali Krieger (Alex Morgan)                    32
USA – Megan Rapinoe                                    46
USA – Christen Press (Alex Morgan)             64
USA – Whitney Engen (unassisted)                84

Lineups:
USA : 18-Nicole Barnhart; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 14-Whitney Engen, 8-Kristie Mewis; 17-Tobin Heath, 16-Yael Averbuch, 23-Christen Press (22-Lindsey Horan, 74), 15-Megan Rapinoe; 2-Sydney Leroux, 13-Alex Morgan (9-Heather O’Reilly, 67)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Crystal Dunn, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 19-Rachel Buehler; 20-Abby Wambach, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

CHN: 1-Zhang Yue (12-Wang Fei, 52); 4-Li Jiayue, 5-Wu Haiyan, 6-Zeng Ying, 11-Pu Wei (capt.), 16-Wang Chen, 19-Zhou Feifei, 21-Wang Lisi, 23-Ren Guixin (20-Wang Shuang 3rd,10-Ma Xiaoxu, 63), 25-Zhang Rui, 27-Li Ying
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Qin Qingfei, 14-Lu Yueyun, 15-Lei Jiahui, 18-Hang Peng
Head coach: Hao Wei

Stats Summary: USA / CHN
Shots: 24 / 3
Shots on Goal: 14 / 3
Saves: 3 / 9
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 12
Offside: 2 / 3

 

 

 

 

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EPL Week 29 – Red card, Pay rise, FA Cup, and so much more…
EPL Week 29 – Red card, Pay rise, FA Cup, and so much more… avatar

News

UEFA to take action against Man Utd

Nani's card was for dangerous play - well Madrid's GK Lopez outright punched Vidic in the face - which clearly was dangerous play - yet no action was taken. (Getty Images)

Nani’s card was for dangerous play – well Madrid’s GK Lopez outright punched Vidic in the face and got no where near the ball – which clearly was dangerous play – yet no disciplinary action was taken or penalty given. (Getty Images)

UEFA has started disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United following their defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The European soccer governing body is taking action over Nani’s red card and the “non-fulfillment of post-match media obligations” by United after the game.

Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir controversially sent off Nani in the 56th minute of the game after the Portuguese winger accidentally hit Alvaro Arbeloa in the ribs while trying to control an up field pass.

United were winning 1-0 at the time, but went on to lose the match 2-3 on aggregate. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reacted furiously to the decision and did not appear for the post-match interviews, with assistant Mike Phelan taking his place.

In addition, no Manchester United players stopped to talk in the “flash zone”— an area where the waiting media can talk to players – UEFA requires that minimum of two players per team should stop and talk to the media.

Fines are the mostly likely sanction for United for their failure to adhere to their media duties, while UEFA will decide whether Nani’s automatic one-match ban for his red card should be extended.

Meanwhile, Reds defender Rio Ferdinand will avoid punishment for sarcastically clapping in the face Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir at the full-time whistle.

 

Coloccini could miss the rest of the season

Coloccini absence will leave a huge hole in Newcastle's defence and leadership. (Getty images)

Coloccini absence will leave a huge hole in Newcastle’s defence and leadership. (Getty images)

Newcastle United Captain Fabricio Coloccini could miss the remainder of the season after breaking two vertebras in his back while making a flamboyant overhead kick clearance.

Coloccini , 31, made the clearance during Newcastle’s 4-2 home win over Southampton last month.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew compared the Argentinian center back to England great Bobby Moore earlier in the season after a series of sensational performances for the Magpies. However, in January he put in a transfer request citing personal reason, though the request was denied.

Manager Alan Pardew said: “There’s no treatment he can have. It’s going to be between three and seven weeks.”

Coloccini, who joined Newcastle from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna for $15.5m in 2008 and signed a new four-year contract with the club last year, has returned to his native Argentina for a week to receive treatment on the problem from the Argentina national side’s medical team.

 

Suarez gets Pay rise

Suarez is definitely Liverpool's player of the season and an EPL potential.(GETTY IMAGES)

Suarez is definitely Liverpool’s player of the season and an EPL potential.(GETTY IMAGES)

Liverpool striker Luiz Suarez has received a substantial pay rise that takes his weekly earnings to more than $150,000 under the terms of his incentive-based contract.

The Uruguayan international is thought to be the first beneficiary of the incentive system put in place by the owners, Fenway Sports Group, which rewards players for reaching certain targets.

Suarez was believed to earn $120,000 per week but the striker’s impressive form for the reds has triggered the improved wage. The striker joined Liverpool from Ajax for $34.3m and has scored 28 goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season.

FSG introduced the policy in an attempt to incentivize players and avoid paying over the odds to members of the squad who are not performing as expected.

 

Preview and Predictions

There are only six EPL games to look forward to in week 29, as it is also the FA quarterfinal weekend. Nevertheless, there are still some tasty fixtures to look forward to with Liverpool hosting Tottenham the pick of the EPL games, while Manchester United versus Chelsea is the tastiest of the FA cup quarterfinal clashes.

Score

Score

My Prediction

SATURDAY
Chelsea v West Brom 1-0 2-0
Everton v Reading 3-1 2-1
Man Utd v Norwich 4-0 2-0
Southampton v QPR 1-2 2-1
Stoke v West Ham 0-1 0-0
Sunderland v Fulham 2-2 1-0
Swansea v Newcastle 1-0 3-2
Wigan v Liverpool 0-4 1-2
SUNDAY
Tottenham v Arsenal 2-1 1-2
MONDAY
Aston Villa v Man City 0-1 0-3

A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.

Last week I got SIX correct results with ZERO perfect scores, giving me a combined total of SIX points.

An average score but nowhere near the highest total of 13-points set in week 14, lets see if I will fair any better in this EPL and FA Cup pick and mix weekend.

Predictions

My Prediction

SATURDAY
Norwich v Southampton 2-1
QPR v Sunderland 1-0
Reading v Aston Villa 3-2
West Brom v Swansea 2-2
Everton v Wigan (FA Cup) 2-0
Man City v Barnsley (FA Cup) 4-0
SUNDAY
Newcastle v Stoke 2-0
Liverpool v Tottenham 3-1
Millwall v Blackburn (FA Cup) 0-1
Man Utd v Chelsea (FA Cup) 3-1

 

SATURDAY

Norwich v Southampton

Southampton will be hoping to beat the odds and avoid relegation. (Getty Images)

Southampton will be hoping to beat the odds and avoid relegation. (Getty Images)

Both of these clubs lost last weekend and are still not guaranteed Premier League soccer next season, although Norwich should be fine with an eight-point cushion between them and the drop zone.

Everything looked to be going so well for Southampton just a couple of games ago, they had just beaten champions Manchester City 3-1 at home and it looks as if new coach Mauricio Pochettino methods were working a treat.

However, two successive defeats, first away to Newcastle and then at home to fellow relegation candidates QPR, have put the Saints back in the mix and only three points above the drop zone.

Southampton really need to take something from this game as their next two home games are against Liverpool and Chelsea, which will be incredibly tough, but they have already shown they can take on the big boys with their win over Man City.

Norwich are eight-points above the drop zone and should be safe, they went on a bit of a poor run at the beginning of the new year, but then got a fine 2-1 win against Everton a couple of weeks back.

Southampton play some decent stuff and certainly carry a goal threat—the Saints have scored more away than any other side in the bottom 12—but Norwich are a tough cookie to crack at home, as Manchester United, Arsenal, and Everton will all testify having lost at Carrow Road, and I expect them to edge this game.

Prediction: 2-1

 

QPR v Sunderland

QPR's Ryan Nelson (L) quit playing for the club to go and mange Toronto F.C. and will surely be missed as they fight agains relegation. (Getty Images)

QPR’s Ryan Nelson (L) quit playing for the club to go and mange Toronto F.C. and will surely be missed as they fight agains relegation. (Getty Images)

QPR’s Ryan Nelson (L) quit playing for the club to go and mange Toronto F.C. and will surely be missed as they fight agains relegation. (Getty Images)

A couple of weeks ago it looked like QPR were down and out, but a good win over Southampton last week, coupled with results elsewhere going in their favor and the Hoops’ great escape act looks to be on again.

QPR only lie four-points away from safety and have a real chance of escaping, as they still have to face the three teams that sit above them in the league. However, it will still take a monumental effort as the Hoops have only won three of their 28 games in the EPL this season.

Sunderland are on a poor run, having only won once in their last five game, and will want to turn the corner soon or they too could find themselves in the dogfight at the bottom of the table.

The Black Cats have struggled for goals all season and do not look to be playing with the same desire as they did last year. They have improved in recent weeks, but the results are still not coming.

Every game between now and the end of the season is basically a cup final for QPR and I expect them to go all out for a win here. Sunderland will probably try to keep it tight, frustrate QPR by getting in their faces, and hope to nick a goal. But I think QPR really needs a win ahead of their big game away to Aston Villa next week and I expect them to get it.

Prediction: 1-0

 

Reading v Aston Villa

USA's Brad Guzan has been solid for Villa but unfortunately the  rest of their defense has let them down. (Getty Images)

USA’s Brad Guzan has been solid for Villa but unfortunately the rest of their defense has let them down. (Getty Images)

This is perhaps the biggest game of the weekend as 19th place reading take on 18th place Aston Villa in a game that both sides have to win.

Reading won three out of four of their EPL games earlier in the year to give them a real shot at staying in the EPL, but are now without a win in their last three games.

But the Royals have scored an amazing 22 goals at home this season—which is better than any side outside the top 12—and is why they always have a chance when playing at the Madejski Stadium. But they have also conceded 27 goals at home and their poor defending is reason they are in trouble.

With two tough away games to Manchester United and Arsenal up next, Reading simply must win or face the prospect of being isolated at the foot of the table.

Aston Villa looked to be making progress with a great draw away to Everton and an important win at home to West Ham, but successive defeats to Arsenal and Man City have left the Villains still in trouble with time running out.

Villa has flirted with relegation on several occasions since the advent of the EPL in 1992, but has always avoided the drop in the end. On those occasions it was felt that they were too good a side to go down, but I don’t get that same feeling for Villas this time around, and Middlesbrough, Man City, and Newcastle have all shown that the old cliché is not always true by being relegated with fairly decent looking sides.

With so much at stake this game may end up in a stalemate, as neither team can afford to lose. But I have a feeling reading will take this in a thrilling EPL encounter.

Prediction: 3-2

 

Everton v Wigan (FA CUP Quarter-final)

Everton's Midfielder Fellaini (L) has not been as dominant for them as he was at the beginning of this season. (Getty Images)

Everton’s Midfielder Fellaini (L) has not been as dominant for them as he was at the beginning of this season. (Getty Images)

Everton hopes of snatching a place in the Champions League look to have petered out in recent weeks, but the Toffees are still in contention for a top five finish.

I think the Toffees will concentrate all their efforts from now until the end of the season on trying to win the FA Cup, and if they can nick fifth place and a spot in next year’s Europa League then great, but either way it will have been a terrific season for Everton, who it must be remembered are run on a shoe-string budget.

Wigan may have preferred to be playing in the EPL this weekend, as staying in the premier league is top priority for Wigan, who currently lie just outside the relegation zone thanks to a better goal-difference than Aston Villa.

However, the Latics are only one game away from a showcase semi-final at Wembley, and the game may be a good way for them to relax and forget about the pressures of the league.

I expect this game to be a entertaining old fashioned game of soccer with both teams going for a win, however, I think this game means more to Everton and I expect them to run out comfortable winners in the end.

Prediction: 2-0

 

SUNDAY

Liverpool v Tottenham

Bale has recently been compared to Messi and Ronaldo. (Getty Images)

Bale has recently been compared to Messi and Ronaldo. (Getty Images)

This is perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend as both teams had excellent wins in their last outings and seem to be in great form.

Liverpool has clicked in recent weeks and still has a shot of taking fifth place in the league. The team’s resurgence in form seems to have coincided with the return of midfielder Lucas, whose place in the team has allowed Reds captain Steven Gerrard freedom to roam the field and create chances for others.

New Signings Daniel Sturridge has settled in well and scored goals to alleviate the burden on top scorer Luiz Suarez, while fellow newcomer Brazilian Philippe Coutinho also looks to be performing well too.

Tottenham are perhaps enjoying their best spell of form this season and are sky high on confidence after beating arch-rivals Arsenal in last week’s north London Derby.

The north London side are unbeaten in 2013 and have perhaps the best player in the world on current form in Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has scored 11 goals in his last nine games for club and country, and does not look like stopping anytime soon.

Liverpool have not faired well against Spurs in recent seasons—Spurs have won six of the last 10 meeting, with Liverpool’s last win over them coming in January 2010.

But the Reds are in good form and I think Spurs are due a bad performance.

 

Prediction: 3-1

 

Manchester United v Chelsea

Rooney will be out to prove his critics wrong. (Getty Images)

Rooney will be out to prove his critics wrong. (Getty Images)

Both these side suffered disappointing results midweek in Europe, but have a chance to turn things around with a win in the quarterfinals of the World’s oldest cup competition, the FA Cup.

Speculation has been rife about Wayne Rooney’s future at Old Trafford after the England international was dropped midweek against Real Madrid, but the decision seemed to be more a tactical rather than personal one, and I would not be surprised if Rooney is giving a staring role against Chelsea on Sunday.

Chelsea have been terribly inconsistent since the New Year and face a real battle to hang on to their Champions League spot in the league. But the Blues have a terrific record in the FA Cup—Chelsea have won four of the last six FA Cup finals—and the competitions seems to be their only realistic chance of any silverware this season.

Rafael Benitez enjoyed a fiery relationship with Alex Ferguson when he was manager of Liverpool and famously criticized Fergie in his much mocked  ‘facts’ speech.

This should be a compelling encounter with both teams attacking and playing at 100mph. Chelsea have a great record in the competition, but their players do not seem to be fully behind their manager and that is why I cannot see anything other than a Manchester United win here.

Prediction: 3-1

 

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CYS Grade 8 Referee Clinic open for registration
CYS Grade 8 Referee Clinic open for registration avatar

Crown Mountain Park and Basalt Soccer Cub are hosting a Grade 8 Referee Clinic March 22-24 in El Jebel, CO. Check out details below, and for more information and to register, please visit the Colorado Youth Soccer website. 

  • Friday, March 22nd: 6:00 – 10:00 PM

  • Saturday, March 23rd: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

  • Sunday, March 24th: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Description: Grade 8 U.S. Soccer Federation Referee: (17 Classroom hours-Must attend all hours/all days) – Entry Level Course. This certification will allow you to work appropriate level recreational, competitive, youth and adult games as a center referee or assistant referee. The minimum age to become a Grade 8 Referee is 14 years at the time of registration. A referee exam of a 100 questions is required with a passing score of 75%. Upon successfully completing the referee-training course you will receive a black referee badge with a current year. Fee $75.00

Please register by: Wednesday, March 13th (late registrations taken only with online confirmation & fee due at date of class

Clinic Location: Eagle County Building, Sopris Room, 20 Eagle County Drive, El Jebel, CO 81623

Participants will need to provide their own studying utensils, snacks/water/lunches, and be prepared to have classes both inside and outside.

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Indiana ODP girls nab 2nd place at Championships
Indiana ODP girls nab 2nd place at Championships avatar

Indiana Soccer’s ODP 1996 girls competed in the 2013 U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Championships March 1-3 in Frisco, TX and grabbed a 2nd place finish against Cal South.

Congratulations on this great achievement! Check out a re-cap below and for the full story visit the Indiana Soccer website: Click Here

1996 Girls (Semifinal Match)
Indiana defeated Georiga, 3-0, in their semifinal matchup. Kellee O’Shaughnessy put Indiana up when she found the back of the net in the 21st minute. Emily Coudret doubled the lead with a 51st minute goal, and O’Shaughnessy capped the scoring with a left-footed strike in the 84th minute to give Indiana the 3-0 victory.

1996 Girls (Final Match)
The Cal South 1996 Girls used an early goal and solid defense to earn their second straight title with a 3-0 win over Indiana. Hailey Harbison opened the scoring with a 4th-minute goal. The teams battled for much of the match before two wonderful strikes in the final 10 minutes of play from Chloe Hemingway and Christina Settles put the game out of reach and secured the championship repeat for Cal South.
Courtesy of ISA/U.S. Youth Soccer

Courtesy of ISA/U.S. Youth Soccer

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UYSA members: Get ready for Soccerfest!
UYSA members: Get ready for Soccerfest! avatar

Are you ready for Soccerfest?

Come out for this fun event at the Utah Valley Convention Center, Saturday March 16, 2013 from 9am-3pm.

There will be prizes, family, friends and tons of fun soccer related activities for everyone to enjoy!  Also, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to win a big screen TV!

Find out more by visiting the UYSA website: Click Here

Courtesy of UYSA

Courtesy of UYSA

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