giovedì 28 agosto 2014

Jordan Morris gets USMNT call-up

The unexpected happened. USA’s head coach Jurgen Klinsmann make Stanford’s standout Jordan Morris, the 2013 U.S. Developmental Academy Player of the Year, the first collegian on a USMNT roster since MLS has been in existence and the first college based footballer to be called since the ‘90s, according to Top Drawer Soccer writer Will Parchman. Morris was in the USA’s U-23 squad held in Nassau, Bahamas, this August for a training camp in view of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. There have been a lot of surprises in the 22-men roster Klinsmann released for the upcoming friendly game against the Czech Republic. Rubio Rubin, Alfredo Morales and Joe Gyau, as well as Fulham youngster Emerson Hyndman, are between the new talent that will have a big chance to impress. By the way, Morris’ pick remains the biggest surprise on this bunch and he has already stolen the spotlight. "We have watched Jordan through our Youth National Teams and in the Development Academy…and he is a very promising player," Klinsmann told A former member of Seattle Sounders Under-23s team playing in the USL PDL, Morris was set to play another season at Stanford before turning pro, an eventuality now hard to happen. Unanimously regarded as the biggest USMNT prospect currently playing at college level, Morris,  at 6-0 for 185 pounds, is a sized forward, suited to hold the ball up. But he’s also touted as a dribbler, loaded with the tools to do everything with the ball on his feet. Morris tied Pac-12 for the lead in goals in 2013 and quickly showed the skill and awareness that earned  him comparisons with Clint Dempsey.  Robert L. Kehoe III praised Morris’movement off the ball and defined him a player able to run with the ball suited to play out wide in a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 formation. The road to 2018 is long but should Morris continue to progress he could get the call and become a key for the USMNT next World Cup.

martedì 26 agosto 2014

Crystal Palace should be in rush

Their caretaker manager has expressed his interest in taking the job on a full-time basis. Now, the locker room too have spoken: Julián Speroni, the veteran netminder and a big voice into the squad, has revealed that the Crystal Palace team want Keith Millen to stay at Selhurst Park. As Speroni told, Millen has Premier League experience and he knows the club as he worked under both Ian Holloway and Pulis. The former Bristol City manager gained locker room’s trust and surely knows the players. Millen, an assistant coach to former manager Tony Pulis, took the job in a temporary basis since former Stoke manager abruptly left the club just a couple of days before the start of this Premier League campaign. Millen believes he can still land the job although, since Pulis’ departure, a lot of names was linked to Selhurst Park. The early favorites, Malky Mackay and Tim Sherwood, for many reasons, are no more in the race. Former West Brom boss Steve Clarke pointed out that he had any contact with the Palace while both Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon are a shot in the dark right now. Palace co-chairman Steve Parish recently told he is “in no rush” to land a new manager. He should be. Against West Ham, Palace produced their second consecutive poor performance, collecting a second straight defeat in so many Premier League games having also lost their opener 2-1 at Arsenal. Club needs to bring on two or three players before the transfer window closes. Should Parish be convinced that Millen is the man, he would secure him the permanent manager’s job. Otherwise, if Millen does not get the job, Parish should quickly secure a new permanent manager, possibly before next Monday 11pm, in the way to change the roster according to new manager's philosophy. Regardless of who the next manager will be, Parish has to let him time to take the lead on transfer targets. The controversial resignation of resignation of Iain Moody, the club’s technical director, doesn’t help. Moody knew the scouting department and he was experienced at recruiting players. So the next manager will have to do his job. The fact Parish doesn’t panic after the turmoil is a good thing. But the time is now running out.

venerdì 22 agosto 2014

Maybe Vincent Tan was the hero and not the villain

So, maybe, Vincent Tan wasn’t the villain in this story. The breaking news that Malky Mackay and Ian Moody had exchanged text messages ‘disrespectful of other cultures’ during their time at Cardiff, despite the efforts of Moody and Mackay’s lawyers to get the story pulled, made Tan’s decision to sack his former manager in December 2013 more understandable. At that time Tan, the owner that invested as many as £150m into the club, was highly harassed by fans and media for the decision to sack the Scot manager replacing him with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. After his abrupt firing Mackay launched a legal claim against Tan for £7.5m, questioning his dismissal. But, later in May 2014, he was forced to drop the action and to apologize “without reservation” to Tan. Mackay was obviously trying to avoid a FA investigation. It didn’t work as Cardiff sent a 400-page dossier, including text messages and emails, to the FA. If true, the text messages put in a bad light both Moody and Mackay. At the same time, the offensive texts sent by Mackay, the improper language he utilized, which surely are a serious matter, risk to move to the background another point. In fact, Tan didn’t argue just the obscene text messages and their content but also the way former Cardiff City manager and head of recruitment spent his money. Under Moody and Mackay, Cardiff spent about £50m, with a large amount of cash burned in compensation paid to player's agents and other unnecessary, according to Tan, expenses. Above all, the failure of £11m striker Andreas Cornelius to make an impact with the team was highly questioned by the Cardiff’s owner. But other transfers too was scrutinized. That said, should those allegations be confirmed,  they consequently will made hard for Mackay and Moody to find another job, as the next potential chairmen will have to think about all the potential controversies that could follow before to knock on their door. Crystal Palace’s quick decision to end the anticipated appointment of Mackay as replacement to Tony Pulis and Moody’s resignation from his post at Palace this Thursday, are both a clear signal in that sense. This is not just about the type of language Mackay utilized but also the unclear misconduct he had during the transfer market. So Moody and Mackay’s future in football is in jeopardy while the Daily Mail’s story seemed to prove that Tan wasn’t so wrong when he fired Mackay.

lunedì 18 agosto 2014

Defensive woes frustate Rapids once again

Offense sells tickets, defense wins championship. This old football related mantra is often true also in soccer. For their fourth consecutive game, Rapids forget it as Colorado allowed easy goals that helped D.C. United to beat Pablo Mastroeni’s side 4-2. Colorado look as they have completely forgot how to defend. The Rapids have now registered four straight losses and earned just five points out from their latest eight games. Add to it the fact that Colorado lost their captain and defensive anchor, center back Drew Moor, that suffered a right knee sprain. Season started differently, and the initial Colorado Rapids’ 3-2-2 record after seven games looked promising, although it exceeded the expectations considering the team’s youth. Instead, as the season went along, we have seen this team suffering classic growing pains with Mastroeni, the seventh Head Coach in Colorado Rapids history, making the usual mistakes you can expect by a rookie head coach. The fluidity with which they shift from one shape to another is astonishing. Experimentation is good when it works. You know, usually this is the issue with a tinkering manager: the final result is the only thing matter and it is that which separates a dumb from a tactical genius. Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers played 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2, ever producing good results so the Northern Irish is quickly became a soccer guru and one of the most highly-rated young managers in the game. At Colorado, Mastroeni’s tinkering with players' roles and formations produced mixed results so media and fans started questioning the head coach’s shakeups. Earlier in March, following a 3-2 home loss against Sporting KC, Mastroeni opted to change his 4-4-2 narrow pattern in favor of a 4-4-2 diamond formation. True to be told, they also played in a 4-2-3-1 at the start of this season. By the way, under this new  tactical understanding, Rapids went undefeated in a three-game span. But, after a huge loss against Seattle, once again Mastroeni went changing his team’s shape. It didn’t paid dividends. All those changes failed to fix Rapids’ defensive woes and also didn’t add to the team the needed offensive flair. For Mastroeni all this tinkering seemed to be more the consequence to see which formation works rather than the result of a pondered decision based on the will to get out the most from his footballers’ skills. Obviously, this is a rebuilding year in Colorado. This is a long process and you’ll probably start to reap the benefits next campaign. Right now, the Rapids experienced any growth during this season.

venerdì 15 agosto 2014

Burnley 2014-15 Preview

The three  new clubs promoted to the Premier League have to face many adversities in the way to become acquainted to their new tier. They have to fight to avoid to be back soon there from they have come. It’s easy to predict. Burnley  too hope to build a Premier League legacy to avoid to become a yo-yo team. With the league’s lowest budget, the Clarets won’t repeat the fate they faced in 2009-10 when they were relegated. To do it, Sean Dyche’s side added six preseason signings spending just about £3.5m to bring on Marvin Sordell, Matt Gilks, Lukas Jutkiewicz, and veterans Steven Reid, Matt Taylor and Michael Kightly. Finishing 17th is club’s goal for this season. It would be a huge achievement as many pundits predicted Burnley as  relegation fodder. On the paper, no expects the Clarets will be out from the bottom three next May. Dyche hopes to prove this criticism wrong. He will rely on the talent of Danny Ings up front, should he stay, and on a solid defense that allowed just 37 goals in 46 league games last season. Centre-back Jason Shackell, midfielder Dean Marney and Ings will be a key part of Clarets’ hopes to survive. Obviously, face powerful Premier League’s offenses is a risky business, but the Clarets have not to compete against Chelsea or Manchester City. Instead, they will be focus to challenge the five or six other sides that will be involved in a kind of mini-tournament at the bottom of the table. From a tactical viewpoint, Dyche, the ‘ginger Mourinho’, has grow under the legacy of Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest. Dyche gained a lot of respect for the things he accomplished since joined Burnley in 2012. Dyche played a 4-4-2 system last term and this is the formation he would line up at Turf Moor this campaign. Team spirit and compactness are Dyche’s side strengths. However, the manager could switch to a more defensive 4-5-1 formation throughout the season, especially in certain games. No matter which kind of system Dyche will use, he should favor a balanced approach, so we do not be surprised if we will see this team  sitting at the back and playing quick counter-attacks through the channels. Apply some pressure high up the field with the team without the ball is also no out of question as Burnley were extremely good  chasing the ball last term. Those will be team’s guidelines trying to stay in the EPL. It will be a tough task but there’s no doubt Burnley will give everything to secure their fans another term at this level.