Author Archives: The Soccer Guys

Japan Fighting For a Hurting Nation

The Japan Women's National soccer team have a lot to play. thier season was cut short after the devastating tsunami in March. This is an aerial view of Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force personnel and disaster relief crews searching Sukuiso, Japan for victims of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)

By Ryan Fleming

Many have said, including myself, that the tide of this World Cup is fully behind the United States Women’s National Team – seemingly guiding them through Brazil, France — the final swell is Japan. It’s time to say it, Japan might be the team of destiny in this World Cup.

A lot has to be said and already has been said about the USWNT. Coming from behind against an extremely talented Brazil team, with only 10-women, scoring the latest goal ever in the Women’s World Cup (122nd minute) then claiming victory in what seemed to be all too easy penalty kicks.

Defeating France, going up early on Lauren Cheney’s deflection, then playing determined, skillfull soccer after Les Bleues tied the score. Brazil hero, Abby Wambach and super-sub Alex Morgan scoring the US’s following goals late in the second half.

Japan though, has to be praised as well.

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Few Days Later, France and USA

By Ryan Fleming

Now that we’ve all had a chance to breath, to pick up those chairs we’ve knocked over, to put away our respirators, and to go to the local grocer to buy more tissues after the United States Women’s National Team pulled off, in simple terms, one heck of a win over Brazil. The Yanks now face a French team that showed guts, not more than the English team they beat in penalty kicks, but are arguably the most skilled team and possess the most skilled free kick specialist and some of the most deadly wingers in the tournament.

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Some USA Gold Cup Roster Analysis

Bob Bradley announced his squad for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

By Ryan Fleming


Bob Bradley, after all the delays, has finally released the 2011 Gold Cup roster for his US National Team. Now, that being said, naturally there are a few surprises included, or excluded in the roster.

Even with the surprises Bradley’s Yanks should be able to heave up their third trophy in four years, but if that’s the case, this teams going to have to play as a full unit and put all the second-guessing behind them.

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Few Things Before Toronto And Some Thanks

At the new BMO Field under the lights is where Colorado and Dallas will battle for the 2010 MLS Cup. (Photo Courtesy of owen_yeo)

By Ryan Fleming

A few thoughts before I head off to Toronto later tonight.

1. The game itself: It might not be the flashy, more glamorous teams of the MLS, but either way, I see these two teams matching up well against each other.
Kevin Hartman has the ability to be a game changer in goal for FC Dallas, but the midfield will be the key to the game, and with my playoff MVP, David Ferreira, commanding the midfield along with Dax McCarthy, I’m giving the upper hand to the Hoops.

Don’t be surprised if the Colorado Rapids can pull it out, though. If Omar Cummings played in a different league than the MLS, he would be getting more attention for his play. Colorado sure has a gifted player on their hands, and Dallas better be weary. The Jamaican international is a game changer.

2. My upcoming 12+ hour Greyhound ride: You might think I’m crazy, and even resort to names that would go against my better judgment. But believe me, I’ll endure the possibility of not sleeping, getting lost in Buffalo – where I’ll transfer at 3 a.m. – and the idea of missing my trip completely, rather than spend another $500 dollars I don’t have on a flight that frankly takes too long.

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FC Dallas, Colorado Looking to MLS Cup

Kosuke Kimura displays the MLS Eastern Conference Trophy after his Colorado Rapids defeated the San Jose Earthquakes last week. (Photo Courtesy Colorado Rapids/MLS)

By Ryan Fleming

Colorado has been there before. Dallas has not.

Dallas posted an unbeaten streak of 19 (20, if you want to count its 1-1 friendly against Inter Milan). Colorado had a mere streak of five – impressive in its own right, but not as dominating.

Come Sunday, dismiss all the numbers, all the stats, the “should-haves” and “did-nots,” and focus on the Rapids and the Hoops. No more analyzing the past, but hanging on the present as both sides battle for the MLS Cup.
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Bundesliga Bringing the Boom

Young German starts Philip Lahm (left), Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira defend a free kick in the World Cup this summer against Argentina. (Photo Courtesy sdhansay)

By Jonathan Gold

Quick, no thinking allowed: What’s the most entertaining soccer league in Europe? I guarantee you just got that wrong.

The Prem? Overpaid, overexposed, overcapitalized.

La Liga? If you’re not a fan of the endless financial pissing contest between Barca and Real, then you’re out of luck.

Serie A? Corrupt, slow, predictable.

Ligue 1? Sorry, too many racist shithead fans (at some clubs), the national apparatus is in utter disarray and all the talent goes to one of those other three leagues about 0.00145 seconds after it gets discovered.

Why didn’t you say the Bundesliga? Vas ist deine probleme? (Apologies, I’m 99 percent sure that doesn’t mean “What’s your problem?”)

All that aside, you should be watching German soccer. Yes, you. Particularly since the Revs season is over.

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Sunderland Making Mark on Title Race

Steve Bruce has led his Sunderland club to wins over Chelsea and Manchester City, along with draws against Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham. (Photo Courtesy Struway)

By Joe Meloni

Seven months from now, either Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United will claim the 2010-11 English Premier League Championship. While headlines throughout the world will inevitably hail one of the clubs’ star players as the deciding factor in the title race – whether to excellence or injury – another group of players, likely to finish in the middle of table, may provide the goals and moments that give us our champion for this season.

Sunday afternoon, Steve Bruce’s Sunderland walked into Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and lit the table-leaders up for three goals in a dominating shutout win. Entering the match, Chelsea averaged more than two goals per game, while allowing a tidy 0.42 goals per match in 12 Premiership games this season. In those 12 games, the Blues pieced together a 9-1-2 record, and stood three points clear of second-place Manchester United with a game in hand and five points clear of third-place Arsenal. For fans in North London and Manchester, a pass was issued entering the weekend to pull for Bruce’s Black Cats in hopes of preventing the gap between Chelsea and their rivals from growing.
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Rooney signs extension with United

After a turbulent few days regarding his future with Manchester United, striker Wayne Rooney signed a five-year contract extension with the club. (Photo Courtesy AtilaTheHun)

By Michael King

In an affair that’s become more bizarre than anything to hit the English Premier League in recent history, Wayne Rooney is staying with Manchester United. Is this just another example of manager Sir Alex Ferguson getting his way, or is Rooney’s commitment to the club genuine?

Answers to this question and others are far from evident. But is this behavior surprising from someone who has “Just Enough Education to Perform” tattooed on this right forearm?

Regardless of thoughts on anyone’s intelligence – or maybe emotional intelligence would be more appropriate here – the end of this saga should mark the return to brilliant soccer for Man U. Rooney’s alleged beef with the club surrounded its inability to secure enough talent to adequately complement his own. Certainly recent acquisitions Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Bebe don’t exactly refute Rooney’s claim that United is a club in decline.

But from Man U’s perspective, losing Rooney was the Armageddon scenario. Surely with its brand, resources and, of course, Sir Alex, United would survive and remain competitive in the long term. The decision to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid two summers ago for an obscene amount of money was driven by economics and the desire of the Portuguese international to play in his native Iberia.
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Thoughts on Bradley's Colombia and Poland players

By Ryan Fleming

Some quick thoughts on Bob Bradley’s choices for the United States Men’s National Team’s friendlies against Poland and Colombia.

  • The inclusion of Brek Shea in the squad is a big one. The FC Dallas midfielder has impressed throughout the MLS season and hand a huge hand in the Hoops’ unbeaten streak that saw them catapult their way to third in the Western Conference, only four points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy . His creativity earned him his first ever USMNT call-up. The 20-year-old also adds a unique hairstyle to a team that desperately needs some character.
  • Maurice Edu in the squad to me was a no-brainer. The midfielder has shown great work ethic and a sort of resurgence with the surprising Glasgow Rangers in the Champions League. If Edu continues to perform in the world’s most exclusive club competition, then thoughts will be running in Bradley’s head what he could do for the national team. That is, if he stays healthy.
  • Beside Shea, the only other MLS player to make the squad was Heath Pearce, Shea’s teammate in Dallas. “We understand this is a critical point in the season for teams in MLS,” Bradley said in a US Soccer statement. “Given the circumstances, we felt it was important that the MLS players be given as much opportunity as possible to remain with their clubs and continue to make important contributions as the playoffs approach.” While that may be true, taking two Dallas players four days before they take on Real Salt Lake in a huge game is not helpful.
  • Eric Lichaj also received his first call-up. The Aston Villa defender has seen match action once this season.

Ryan Fleming is an editor and writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at Ryan.Fleming@thesoccerguysonline.com.

This is What You Asked for Roberto

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has his hands full with several unhappy players and a Premier League that may be as deep as every. (Photo Courtesy Paul Blank)

By Joe Meloni

Forgive me, please, if my only reaction to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini’s plea with his players to keep their frustrations to themselves, was a loud, enthusiastic laugh. After backup goalkeeper Shay Given, who could likely start for at least half of the clubs in the Premier League, expressed hope to leave the Eastlands during the January transfer window, Mancini essentially went to the media to keep his players from doing so.

Hypocrisy at its finest. It’s funny that City – a club that spent more money than any other in Europe this summers – is demanding that its players stop making headlines for the wrong reasons. Essentially, Mancini wants his players to keep quiet because he thinks their complaints aren’t good for the time. In this regard, shockingly, Mancini is 100 percent correct. Still, the City players complaining most frequently – Given and striker Emmanuel Adebayor  – have every right to demand more playing time or ticket out of Manchester.
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