Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Free Kicks

News from all over, so I'll just pick a few random things to point out:

A pair of injuries have me a little bummed today - Jermaine Jones may need further surgery on his fractured shin, a blot to those who were hoping to see him suit up for the USA sometime this year. Juventus playmaker Diego is also out with a hamstring injury. He'll miss the Champions League opener against Bordeaux. Fortunately this injury is not as serious as was first feared, with Juve saying he'll only be out for one week. This gives young Giovinco a chance to shine again with both Diego and Del Piero out this week. Giovinco did well as Juve won for the second straight game at the Stadio Olimpico, this time beating Lazio two-nil. Felipe Melo also continues to be in good form and will be needed to match up against Bordeaux's Gourcuff.

With diving and simulation a hot topic recently, Eduardo was at it again, this time going to ground against the New England Revolution. Shockingly, Eduardo Lillinston is Mexican, and who'd think that a Mexican footballer would do such an unsporting thing during a game? Some are arguing that he should be suspended, and I wouldn't be against MLS following UEFA's lead and suspending players found guilty of blatant simulation. On the other hand... Arsenal forward Eduardo had his two game ban rescinded by none other than UEFA. Way to stick to your guns.

As a fan of DC United, I came away bitter this weekend after another home loss to Seattle despite DC owning possession the entire game, only to be foiled by the profligacy of the slowest striker pairing in MLS (the currently useless Luciano Emilio, and the useful-as-a-setup-man Jamie Moreno) and Fred's rapid descent into worst player in the league territory. Additionally, Danny Szetela continues to sit on the bench for apparently being a worse practice player than I can really conceive of. So much for his chances of returning to the national team picture.

If you're a US Men's National Team fan you'll be happy to learn that your TV viewership isn't worth much. The Honduran federation has sold the rights for US-Honduras in the United States to a company no one has heard of, who plans on televising the game on closed circuit tv. Apparently they think it's the 1970s and we're watching Ali-Frazier. There's a chance the game will be shown on tape delay. Of course, it's not like it will be impossible to find an internet feed - that's never the case - or you can just find your local pub - Lucky Bar to the rescue!

On the even more ridiculous side, Diego Forlan has revealed he was sold by Manchester United for defying Alex Ferguson regarding the length of his studs on his boots! Let it be known that you cannot challenge Sir Alex when it comes to boots, whether it's your choice of molded studs over replaceables or if the gaffer merely kicks the boot into your face at halftime. Of course his departure had nothing to do with taking 8 months to score his first goal or his paltry overall strike record.

Back to meaningful games, the Champions League group stage is about to begin, and while some big time match-ups are on the way, there will be a quite a few comfortable wins for the big boys against the minnows, and at least one observer thinks the Champions League may becoming the new Carling Cup, providing easy wins and predictability for the EPL's big four.

AC Milan could spring a big surprise in the UCL by showing up sans Ronaldinho. As if it can't be repeated enough, by the club's lofty standards Milan look pathetic this year and Ronny hasn't exactly recaptured his old magic. Is Leonardo really ready to drop him from the Champions League squad? US fans probably won't be happy at the sight of Oguchi on the bench next to the buck toothed one, but he hasn't forced himself onto the field yet, not a good sign prior to the big qualifiers coming in October.

And we couldn't leave out at least one bit of transfer news, with Celtic eyeing Tottenham striker Robbie Keane for a January transfer.

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