Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stuart Holden on GMA = Stuart Holden Staying in MLS

Earlier today on his Twitter account, Stuart Holden announced that he was going to be on Good Morning America on New Year's Day Morning. While I have no confirmation of this one way or the other, I can think of no other reason for Stuart Holden being on Good Morning America except that he will announce that he is staying in MLS and not pursuing a free transfer to Europe at this time.

Today is December 31, 2009, the last day of Stuart Holden's contract with MLS. We know that Holden recently met with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and and rumor is that MLS made Holden an offer that would increase his salary to over $300,000.00 a year. Since that meeting with Garber, word trickled down the the Houston Dynamo made a revised offer to Holden.

When you take into account that Holden indicated that he would make his decision by the end of 2009, that he is going on GMA on January 1, 2010, that GMA is part of the ABC/ESPN family which holds some MLS broadcast rights, and that Holden is not one of the "bubble players" being called into the January U.S. Men's National Team Camp, the only logical conclusion is that Holden (and MLS) intends on using his appearance on GMA to announce his decision to re-sign with MLS and the Houston Dynamo.

In light of Burnley's interest in giving Holden a trial, I would not be surprised if, like Landon Donovan's deal, part of the announcement will include a deal to loan Holden to Burnley or another EPL or SPL side during the MLS off season.

I could be wrong, but New Year's Eve is a time for predications, and based on today's Twitter announcement from Stuart Holden, my predication is that Holden will be re-signing with MLS and the Houston Dynamo.

I've long advocated that one of the reasons that MLS should do everything possible to keep Stuart Holden is that he is the kind of player that MLS can easily use for branding purposes and increasing the league's profile. Making the announcement that Holden is staying in the MLS on a nationwide morning show on the first day of a World Cup finals year on a network that will be broadcasting the World Cup finals, is a smart marketing and branding move by MLS.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

World Cup Draw Eve

Well, it's World Cup Draw Eve and football fans around the world are waiting anxiously to see which group their country is placed into, which other nations will our beloved country have to be beat to move beyond the group stage.

Here in Houston, plans are already being made by many U.S. National Team fans to gather at Nick's Place - Italian Bar & Grill to watch the draw, despite the prospect of a rare early December snowfall. I watched the 2006 World Cup Final at Nick's Place, where Italy beat France and my wife and I acquired Gerardo, a precious pet who was a loving blessing for one short, but memorable year. Since then I have watched many a football match, as well as American football games and some boxing matches, at Nick's Place. In addition, 1560 The Game, home of The Orange Slice, broadcasts live from Nick's Place all day, every Friday.

So, if you're in the Houston area and want to watch the draw with passionate football fans, join us around 11:00 tomorrow morning. For more information on Nick's Place, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The 2009 MLS Season is in the Can

The MLS Season has come to a close with Real Salt Lake winning the MLS Cup. I've been a bit quiet these past few weeks, but tonight I unleash my thoughts on the Dynamo getting booted from the playoffs, the MLS Cup, the future of the Dynamo, and the impending new CBA.

Music: The theme song of course is from Robbie Williams, but there's Spoon at halftime and then the show ends with Abba v. 50 Cent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Houston Dynamo Round-Up

- Photo by Nigel Brooks

On Sunday November 8th, a crowd of over 27,000 football fans watched the Houston Dynamo battle Seattle Sounders F.C. to a 1-0 victory, giving the Dynamo their first playoff victory since winning the MLS Cup in 2007. The goal came from Dynamo's Brian Ching in the 6th minute of extra-time. This Friday, the Dynamo play L.A. Galaxy in the Western Conference Final at the Home Depot Center. The game will start around 10:00 pm central time and will be on ESPN2.

Instead of a boring write up/review of the match, here's some links to audio and video regarding the match, and the Dynamo in general.

Monday night I did a podcast with Richard Farley, Kartik Krishnaiyer, and Johnathan Starling, in which we discussed the Dynamo-Sounders match as well as other topics. You can listen to that podcast by CLICKING HERE.

My regular post-match report for Major League Soccer Talk is on the latest podcast, which you can listen to by CLICKING HERE.

Meanwhile, the folks over at World Football Daily have audio from Tuesday's Houston Dynamo press conference on their iTunes feed.

Now for some video:

Dynamo-Sounders from Chance McClain on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Todos Bailando - Carlos Tevez, Superstar

I just could not resist putting this up as filler for a Saturday afternoon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't Mess With UNM'S Elizabeth Lambert

As much stick as American fans of football a/k/a soccer get from the mainstream sports media and sports fan, I'm always shocked at how many fans of the Beautiful Game dismiss the women's game. Those of us who take even a passing interest in women's football know it is not a gentle love fest.

Take for instance the damage University of New Mexico's Elizabeth Lambert heaped upon BYU's players in the recent MVN semi-final. BYU ended up winning the match, 1-0.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Soccer Notes

The United States

The 2009 MLS Playoffs got underway last Thursday when Seattle Sounders FC hosted Houston Dynamo before a crowd of approximately 36,000 soccer fans. Although the end result was 0-0, it was a thrilling match with both teams battling hard to find the goal. The teams meet for the second leg of their first round tie at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas at 2:00 pm local time this Sunday, and fans should expect a nail biter of a match. Tickets are going fast but are still available through the Houston Dynamo website.

On Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Real Salt Lake got a surprising 1-0 victory over defending MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew. Salt Lake's goal came from Robbie Findley in the 88th minute. The teams face-off in Columbus on Thursday November 5th at 7pm central time.

On Saturday afternoon, the New England Revolution, who squeaked into the playoffs ahead of the Colorado Rapids, beat the Chicago Fire 2-1. The hero of the day for the Revolution was Shalrie Joseph who got the game winner in the 75th minute. The afternoon's first goal came from Chicago's Chris Rolfe in the 17th minute, while New England's Emmanuel Osei got the equalizer in the 47th minute. The teams finish the first round at Toyota Park at 7:30 central time on Saturday November 7th.

The final match of the weekend occurred at the Home Depot Center, home of both Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy, who were meeting each other for the first time ever in the playoffs. The match proved to be the highest scoring playoff match of the weekend and ended in a 2-2 draw. Chivas' goals came from Maicon Santos in the 4th minute and Maykel Galindo in the 50th minute. L.A. picked up it's first goal in the 14th minute, thanks to Mike Magee, while Landon Donovan picked up the second LA goal in the 41st minute. Chivas and the Galaxy close up the first round of the playoffs at 6:30 pm central time on Sunday November 8th - and of course the match will be at the Home Depot Center.

It's official, David Beckham will be returning to Milan during the winter transfer window on a loan from L.A. Galaxy and MLS. Beckham will play at Milan through the end of the 2009-2010 Serie A season. After the Italian top flight season ends, Beckham will likely be a member of the team that England fields at South Africa 2010. Beckham is expected to return to the Galaxy in July of 2010 or the remainder of the 2010 MLS season.

Chicago Fire's designated player, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, will also be playing elsewhere starting in January when he joins Mexican second division side Veracruz. It is possible that Blanco will rejoin the Fire in July.

Tom Soehn will not be coach of DC United during the 2010 MLS season. Soehn, who's contract expires at the end of this year, has decided to not seek a contract renewal. Reports indicate that Soehn will be involved in the search for his replacement.

MLS announced its finalists for the 2009 MLS Awards. Instead of reprinting it, here's the MLS Net article.


Are Inter running away with the Scudetto yet again? This past week Jose Mourinho's side beat a feisty Palermo team on Thursday, 5-3, and then beat Livorno, 0-2, on Sunday, giving them 28 points on the season so far, and a solid grip on the top spot on the table. Inter's closest challenger is Juventus, who have stumbled of late. Despite picking up a solid 5-1 victory over Sampdoria on Wednesday, Juve lost 2-3 to Napoli on Saturday. Right now the Old Lady has 21 points on the season, tied in second with Sampdoria who drew 0-0 with Bari on Sunday. Despite a rough start to the season, Milan has 19 points on the season.

Elsewhere in the World

Fernando Caceres, a member of the 1994 Argentina World Cup team, was shot in the head on Sunday when thieves carjacked him for his BMW in Buenos Aieres. Caceres is in critical condition and not expected to survive his injury. In addition to playing for the Argentina National Team, Caceres also played for River Plate, Boca Juniors, and Spanish side Zaragoza.

Currently in Mexico, the leaders are as follows: Toluca with 29 points in Group 1; Morelia with 28 points in Group 2; and Santos with 26 points in Group 3. Meanwhile, Chivas has only 15 points Group 3 and they have sacked their coach, Raul Arias, and are looking for their third coach of the season.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Dynamo beat Chivas to get the second spot in the west, have to face Seattle in the first round.

Music from Robbie Williams, Pearl Jam, and Public Image Limited.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Episode 5 of the Zygo Soccer Report

We had some technological glitches with the MLS Talk podcast this week,so here is my report from last Sunday's match between the Houston Dynamo and the L.A. Galaxy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Episode 4 of The Zygo Soccer Report

Main thing in this episode is Houston Dynamo Coach Dominic Kinnear's entire, unedited press conference following Sunday's 0-0 draw between the Houston Dynamo and L.A. Galaxy. Plus a little audio of Luis Angel Landin following the match.

Music featured in this episode is from The Judys, The Church, David Jordan, and Bombay the Hardway.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Houston Dynamo v. L.A. Galaxy: Postmatch Video

In their last 2009 MLS regular season home match on Sunday, the Houston Dynamo hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy in a physical 0-0 draw. Over 29,400 fans showed up at Robertson Stadium on a lovely fall afternoon to see David Beckham make his Houston debut. There might not have been any scoring in Sunday's match, but casual fans were treated to the kind of game that makes draws exciting. The Dynamo managed 11 shots, 4 of which were on goal but saved by the spot-on goal keeping of Galaxy's Donovan Ricketts. Meanwhile, Pat Onstad racked up 3 saves and Geoff Cameron made a bicycle kick save in the 52nd minute. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, star forward Brian Ching received a red card in the 84th minute, meaning he'll miss next weekend's season finale against Chivas USA in Los Angeles.

Here's some post game video courtesy of Erin Dutka:

My regular home post game report should show up on an upcoming Podcast from MLS Talk.

And, as always, tune into the Orange Slice on 1560 The Game - Independent Sports Talk Radio from Houston, Texas, which airs from 8-9 central time on Tuesday evenings. You can listen live online at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Episode 3 of The Zygo Soccer Report

This episode's topics include the tragic accident involving US National Team forward Charlie Davies, the US victory over Honduras, and the Dynamo victory in the Charities Cup on Sunday.

The entire press conference with Dynamo Coach Dominic Kinnear is included in this episode, as well as some audio of Luis Angel Landin, in Spanish.

Music from Joy Division, Lily Allen, Bombay the Hardway, and the Descendants.

U.S. National Team Forward Charlie Davies Injured in Fatal Car Accident

According to news reports and confirmation from the U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. National Team forward Charlies Davies, who plays club football for Sochaux in France, was injured in a one vehicle car accident on the George Washington Parkway early this morning. According to the U.S. Park Police, via News 4, the accident occurred around 3:15 am local time when a SUV traveling southbound made contact with metal railing on the bridge over Boundary Channel Drive.

Of the three passengers in the vehicle, one died, Ashley J. Roberta, 22, of Phoenix, Maryland. The survivors were transported to the Washington Medical Center MedStar Unit.

[UPDATE] Charlie Davies underwent several hours of surgery today for a broken femur, a broken tibia, fractured left elbow, facial fractures, and a lacerated bladder. Titanium rods were inserted in his tibia and femur. He is currently in serious but stable condition.

According to the USSF press release, Davies will be in the hospital for about a week. He will need additional surgery and extensive rehabilitation, with a 6 to 12 month recovery period expected.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this accident.

Official Release from USSF

Updated Soccer Insider Report from Washington Post

NBC News Story on Accident

Soccer Insider Article on Accident

Orlando Sentinel Article on Accident Article on Accident

ESPN Article on Accident

Sporting News article on Accident

WTOP Article on Accident

Another Article from WTOP

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Video from US victory over Honduras

Last night the US National Team secured their spot in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Check out my write up on this weekend's footy action concerning the US by clicking here. And, here's some video connected to last night's US victory.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Zygo Soccer Report Podcast - Episode 2

Episode 2 of my podcast is now available. This episode has a focus on the Houston Dynamo, including the raw audio from Coach Dominic Kinnear's press conference following the 1-1 draw with Kansas City Wizards this past Sunday.

This week's music includes CapaRezza, Goldfrapp, and Robbie Williams.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dynamo v. Pachuca: The Rivalry Continues

The international rivalry between the Houston Dynamo and Pachuca continues tonight at 9:00 pm central time as the Dynamo host Pachuca at Robertson Stadium in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. Over the past three years, these two teams have met five times, with each picking up two wins and only one match resulting in a draw.

These teams last met at Pachuca on September 16, in a match that saw Pachuca win 2-0. This weekend, Pachuca lost to Santos Laguna, 4-0, in league play, meanwhile, the Houston Dynamo had the weekend off. If Pachuca wins tonights match, they will lock in their advancement to the knock-out stage of the CCL.

Tickets are still available through the Houston Dynamo website. The game will also be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Premiere Episode of The Zygo Soccer Report

I've ventured off and have created my own podcast, enjoy:

Click Here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recommended Site/Podcast - Russian Football Now

One of the up and coming leagues in Europe is the Russian Premier League; therefore, I wanted to take a moment to recommend the Russian Football Now Website and suggest that you subscribe to the Russian Football Now podcast on iTunes. The hosts are Chris Riordan and Richard Farley. With the amount of money floating around in Russian football, this is not a league to be taken lightly, so learn a little about it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A FIFA International Labor Day Weekend in Football - US, Mexico, & Brazil Win

It's Labor Day weekend here in the United States and a FIFA International Break around the world. Despite the International Break for World Cup Qualifiers, there were still some league matches in the US, Mexico, and Brazil. Thankfully, the Houston Dynamo, with 3 players called up to the US National Team, had the weekend off.

Speaking of those countries, all three had crucial qualifiers this weekend. The US hosted El Salvador at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Saturday night. Despite the need to pick up 3 points, the US started flat and El Salvador's Christian Castillo scored the match's first goal in the 32nd minute. El Salvador's early lead was what it took to wake up the US National Team in general and Landon Donovan in particular. While Donovan did not score a goal, he did what a great 10 Shirt does by making both of the US's goals possible. In the 41st minute Clint Dempsey headed a Donovan free kick into the net and in first half stoppage it was a long cross from Donovan that Jozy Altidore headed in for the game winning goal.

Altidore had a goal called off in the 58th minute for because either Altidore nudged a defender or for a foul by Dempsey, there are conflicting stories as to the cause of the whistle. Jose Francisco Torres got his first national team playing time since the loss at Costa Rica earlier this year. Torres came close to getting a goal with a header in the 89th minute, but Miguel Montes managed to make the save and stop the bleeding.

Later Saturday evening, Mexico put CONCACAF and the rest of the world on notice that its National Team was back as it picked apart Costa Rica at Saprissa Stadium, 3-0. It was a big night for Giovani Dos Santos who scored Mexico's first goal and helped set up the other two goals. Meanwhile, Honduras beat Trinidad & Tobago 4-1. After last night's matches, Honduras and the US both have 13 points and Mexico and Costa Rica have 12 points, meanwhile El Salvador and T&T each have five points. Many are predicting that Costa Rica, which still has to play against the US in the US, will likely fall into the fourth position, which means playing against the 5th place team from CONMEBOL.

Speaking of CONMEBOL, the biggest match of the weekend was Argentina playing Brazil in Rosario, Argentina. Argentina has been struggling in its effort to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals, and last night was no improvement as they lost their first home qualifier match since 1993. Brazil secured its place in South Africa 2010 with a 3-1 victory over their biggest rival. Meanwhile, the Albiceleste need to come out strong at Paraguay on Wednesday and finish up qualifying with matches against Peru and Uruguay in October. Argentina owes some thanks to Colombia for beating Ecuador, 3-0, keeping Ecuador from moving past Argentina in the CONMEBOL standings.

One of the week spots for the US National Team Saturday night was its back line, who's trouble clearing the ball in the second half made for some very tense moments. However, word came out this weekend that Edgar Castillo, who was born in New Mexico but has played for Mexico, is no eligible to play for the US National Team. If Bradley is smart, he'll bring Castillo in to shore up the back line for the final qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Serie A Match Day 2 - Diego and Inter Shine while there is Only One Draw

This past weekend proved to be a big one for Diego and Inter, as Match Day 2 of the Serie A 2009-2010 season is in the books.

Earlier this year, before the big Kaka and Ronaldo transfers, Juventus managed to lure Diego away from Werder Bremen, and that move paid of big time this weekend as the young Brazilian's brace gave Juventus a 3-1 victory over a struggling Roma. Diego's countryman Melo picked up the third and final goal for Juventus. Having dropped their first two matches of the season, Roma is once again having a rough start and according to Roma fans have already started gathering outside of Roma's training grounds at Trigoria demanding the firing of Spalletti. Of course, the issue at Roma is money and it is unlikely that Roma can afford to fire Spalletti and hire a new coach. The problem for Roma these past few seasons has been a leaky defense, and so far, it appears that the money has not been there to seal those leaks.

Meanwhile at the San Siro in Milano, the Derby della Madonnina took place on Saturday, and although Inter struggled against Bari last weekend, they came out strong and picked apart Milan in a 4-0 victory that saw goals from Thiago Motta, Milito, Maicon, and Stankovic. Meanwhile, Mad Dog Gattuso was awarded a red card in the 40th minute.

Elsewhere in Italy, it was a 0-0 draw between Bari and Bologna, which was the only draw of the weekend. Fiorentina managed to hold back Palermo for a 1-0 victory, Napoli picked up its first victory of the season beating Livorno 3-1, Genoa traveled to Bergamo and managed a 1-0 victory over Atalanta, Siena also managed an away victory beating Cagliari 3-1, Parma picks up a crucial 3 points in a 2-1 victory over Catania, Lazio keeps its good form in a 2-1 victory at Chievo Verona, and Sampdoria manages a 3-1 victory over Udinese.

Match Day 3 takes place on Sunday September 13th as the league breaks for World Cup Qualifiers. A couple matches to pay attention to that weekend include the return of Juventus to the Stadio Olimpico where they face Lazio and Roma's visit to the Tuscan side of Siena as they search for their first points of the season. Another match that could figure into who goes to Europe next year is Genoa hosting Napoli.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Racism Continues to Blemish the Beautiful Game

Earlier today, Maurice Edu, an American who plays his club football for Rangers, sent out the following message over his Twitter account:

Its sad n embarassing that people follow me so they can write racist comments...smh...its '09 people, let's grow up n mature a lil bit

It is sad and embarrassing, and it's also very ignorant and pathetic. Sadly, racist chants, jeers, and noises such as monkey noises have been spewed forth from the terraces and stands at football matches in Europe and other parts of the world for way too long. In 2006, FIFA was finally moved to start its "Say No to Racism" marketing campaign, but it still seems too early to tell if that marketing campaign has had any impact.

In this modern era of social media when some players are now more accessible then ever, at least in the digital communication sense, it's disappointing, but not that surprising, that some ignorant morons are using the technology to send their hate directly to players like Edu. Edu, being a gentleman, hasn't divulged the Twitter names of these people, cause if he had, I'd publish them here.

While we cannot specifically call out the idiots that have harassed Edu, those of us who love the Beautiful Game and attend matches on a regular basis can call out and humiliate anyone who makes a racist chant or jeer in our presence. Do not be afraid to publicly shame such people - after all, they are obviously not afraid to act like an idiot in public.

Last season after a Dynamo - DC United match, a fan yelled racist insults at United goalkeeper Louis Crayton. Houston fans in the area pointed the offender out to security and he was duly taken away and banned from attending Dynamo matches. In the days following the incident, one poster on Big Soccer stated that while not condoning what was said, other fans should not have pointed the offender out to the authorities. This "no snitching" attitude is just as bad as the racism and echoes the stupid mentality of Firms and Ultras in Europe, especially in Italy where opposing Ultras will team up to fight the police.

Trust me, you are not a snitch for calling out racism, you're a good human being.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Serie A Split from Serie B is Official, plus a Serie A Week 1 Round Up

At the end of last season news filtered out of Italy the Serie A was following the lead of the English Premier League by voting to split away from Serie B. This move was officially approved today and Serie A will now operate as its own separate entity, no longer having to share revenue with Serie B.

The 2009/2010 Season of Serie A got underway on Saturday when Bologna hosted Fiorentina in a 1-1 draw. Later that evening, Milan, which has struggled in the preseason, picked up its first Serie A victory for new coach Leonardo in a 2-1 win over Siena. Pato, who started the match, picked up a brace for Milan.

On Sunday, Jose Mourinho's Inter hosted the newly promoted Bari, which, to the dismay of Inter fans, put up an unexpectedly strong fight against the reigning Scudetto champions. Recently acquired Samuel Eto'o picked up the first goal of the match by converting a penalty kick in the 56th minute, but Bari's Vitaly Kutuzov found the equalizer in the 74th minute when he shot the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Prior to the Bari goal, Eto'o had a great opportunity to pick up a second goal in the 67th minute, but his shot just barely missed when it went left of the post.

In Torino on Sunday, Juventus, my choice to win the Scudetto this season, managed to pick up a 1-0 victory over Chievo Verona, a squad that hovered close near the drop zone all last season. In Genoa, two clubs hoping to finish in the top four this season battled it out in a 3-2 affair, giving Genoa the victory over a Roma side hoping for a better start to this season then last season. The Eternal City's other club, Lazio, had a better day then Roma by getting a 1-0 victory over visiting Atalanta. Lazio's goal came from Tommaso Rocchi, who scored the game winner in Lazio's upset of Inter in the SuperCoppa earlier this month.

An American derby of sorts occurred down in Sicily as Palermo managed a 2-1 victory over Napoli thanks to a Fabrizio Miccoli penalty kick in the 75th minute. This match featured two coaches who spent time playing in MLS: Walter Zenga and Roberto Donadoni. Sunday was Zenga's first match as coach of Palermo while Donadoni took over the reigns at Napoli after getting fired from the national position. Zenga, who has coached the New England Revolution and Catania, among other teams, has shown interesting but as to yet unfulfilled promise as a coach. While this victory suggests Zenga might have found the right fit at Palermo, it should not be forgotten that in his first match as coach of Catania in April of 2008, Catania defeated Napoli 3-0.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Udinese and Parma settled on a 2-2 draw, newly promoted Livorno held Cagliari to a 0-0 draw, and Sampdoria managed a nice 2-1 away victory against Catania.

Next weekend features two big matches in Italy with the Milan Derby on Saturday and Roma hosting Juventus on Sunday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Debut of Serie A 2009-2010

This weekend marks the start of the 2009-2010 Serie A season, and with most of the Serie A transfer news being about high profile departures to La Liga, it appears that this season will once again highlight the existence of a certain parity that is hard to find in most major European leagues. I've already gone on the record elsewhere, but let me make it clear here, I expect Juventus to win the Scudetto this season. It won't be easy for Juve, Inter is still strong and teams like Genoa and Napoli seem on the cusp of making a big push in the table. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if newly promoted sides like Parma, Bari, and Livorno will survive the season. If the deal to sell Bari to an American businessman goes through, it'll be interesting to see what they do in the January transfer window.

I give Juventus the edge in the Scudetto since I believe Inter's main focus will the Champions League. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if Leonardo can keep AC Milan in the top four this season.

Finally, now that Serie A has split from the rest of Italian football in a manner similar to the EPL break-away, it will be interesting to see if there is an influx of money into the Serie A clubs and how that impacts the January transfer window.

Here's some matches to look for this weekend:

Siena v. Milan (Can Siena survive the season or end up relegated? Milan has had a rough preseason, so a strong start is important.)

Palermo v. Napoli (A battle between two teams looking for European spots. This will be the debut of Zenga at Palermo.)

Genoa v. Roma (These two clubs missed out on top four finishes last season, and both will want to break into the top four this season.)

For those in the US, Fox Soccer Channel will air the following Serie A matches (all times CDT):

11:00 am - Bologna v. Fiorentina
1:30 pm - Siena v. AC Milan

12:00 pm - Inter v. Bari

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is Landin Joining the Houston Dynamo?

It's no secret that the Houston Dynamo have been patiently scouting Mexican soccer players and have had their eyes on one player in particular, Luis Angel Landin. After making a failed attempt to acquire Landin from Monarca Morelia this past winter, it appears that persistance has paid off and the Dynamo are on the verge of acquiring the 26 year old striker who has been on loan to Cruz Azul.

According to MedioTiempo, Cruz Azul has made medical information concerning Landin available to MLS and Landin traveled to Houston on Tuesday. Local Spanish language media has reported Landin sightings in Houston today.

Sources have indicated that Landin will be joining the Dynamo and that the MLS club will make its official announcement later this week. At this time, it is unclear as to whether Landin will come to Houston on a loan or a full transfer.

Once the signing becomes official and the details are released, look for a more detailed commentary about this signing at the MLS Talk site.

Special thanks to Brian Balboa from 1560 The Game - KGOW - for his work on this issue.

Tonight, the Dynamo start their 2009/10 CONCACAF Champions League campaign when they host Metapan at Robertson Stadium. The match starts at 7:00 pm local time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Good to Be Charlie Davies

This summer, U.S. National made the move from Hammarby IF of Sweden's Allsvenskan to FC Sochaux-Montbeliard in France's Ligue 1 after have a breakout performance with the U.S. National Team at this past Summer's Confederations Cup in South Africa. Davies made his debut for his new club today and what a debut it was.

After going down 2 goals to Bordeaux in the first half, including an own goal, Sochaux decided to field the young American striker for the full second half. The decision paid off for Sochaux, to a degree, as Davies picked up his first goal in France in the 61st minute. Davies picked up the brace when he scored a left footed goal in stoppage time. Unfortunately, Bordeaux had already picked up its third goal in the 80th minute thanks to a Maroune Chamakh header.

Davies, the only American to score in Wednesday's Qualifier at the Azteca in Mexico City, has proven he has the ability to score in France and contribute to his team, which beat AJ Auxerre 1-0 last weekend. It will be interesting to see if Davies makes the start next weekend against Montpellier or if he plays the role of super sub. Either way, if Davies form continues in France, that's a good sign for fans of the US National Team.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ryan Cochrane Returning to Houston

This morning Steven Goff broke the news that Houston Dynamo Defender, Julius James, was traded to DC United for a draft pick. James was initially picked up by the Dynamo in last Fall's trade that sent midfielder Dwayne DeRosario to Toronto. James has good raw talent, but seems to have had trouble adjusting into the Dynamo defense. While Houston Coach Dominic Kinnear did not say anything bad about James at Sunday's press conference following Houston's 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire, body langauge and tone suggested Kinnear was not happy with James' progress.

Not known for keeping draft picks, it appears that the Houston Dynamo have traded that pick to San Jose Earthquakes for Ryan Cochrane. Cochrane, a former Dynamo who was acquired by San Jose in the 2007 Expansion Draft, has indicated on his Facebook page that he is headed to Salt Lake City. The Houston Dynamo are currently traveling to Salt Lake City where they play Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening. A friend commenting on Cochrane's status wished him success in Houston and told him to give them hell in Houston.

Cochrane originally joined MLS in 2004, playing for the San Jose Earthquakes, which was moved to Houston, Texas prior to the 2006 MLS season. A member of the Dynamo squads that won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007, it was clear in 2007 that Cochrane was interested in returning to the Bay Area so it was no surprise that he was selected by the Expansion San Jose Earthquakes in the Expansion Draft. For whatever reason now, it appears one former Dynamo is returning to Houston.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rocchi Leads Lazio to 2-1 Shocker Over Inter Milan in the SuperCoppa

For the first time since 2000, S.S. Lazio has lifted the Italian SuperCoppa after a shocking 2-1 victory over Inter Milan at the Bird's Nest in Beijing, China. Like the Community Shield in England, the SuperCoppa kicks off the Serie A season by pitting the winner of the Scudetto and the winner of the Copa Italia in an exhibition match. In light of the 2010 World Cup finals set to begin in South Africa next June, Italy moved the SuperCoppa up a week so that it fell on the same weekend as the Community Shield.

Coming into today's match, most pundits expected Inter Milan, who beat Roma on penalty kicks in last year's SuperCoppa, to beat a Lazio side that has struggled to get a sniff of the top of the table in recent seasons. Despite dominating the match, Inter was unable to stop two Lazio goals that occurred in the span of 3 minutes in the second half.

Francelino Matuzalem, who had a nice shot on goal early in the match, managed to get the ball into the net when Julio Cesar clearance bounced off of Matuzalem's face in the 63rd minute. Three minutes later a cross from Matuzalem to the chest of Lazio Captain Tommaso Rocchi, who had beaten the offside trap, knocked a nice shot past Cezar, giving the Biancelesti the winning goal.

Inter's newly acquired Samuel Eto'o picked up Inter's only goal in the 78th minute.

The question now is whether today's SuperCoppa will have any effect on how either of these sides approach the 2009-2010 Serie A season which begins next weekend. Inter is looking to defend the Scudetto and make more headway in the Champions League, while Lazio is looking to finish, at the very least, in an Europa League spot.

On the weekend of August 22nd Inter will host newly promoted Bari, while Lazio hosts the always difficult Atalanta.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pachuca Setting the Tone Early in the Primera Division de Mexico's 2009/2010 Apertura

Thanks to the 2010 World Cup finals, the Primera Division de Mexico's Apertura has started a little early this year, and Pachuca is off to strong start. Despite winning the league during the 2008/2009 Clausura, Pachuca lost to Pumas, 3-2, in the finals. To date, Pachuca is the only team in Mexico's top flight to have played two games, and they've won both of them. They beat Tecos UAG, 3-2, in their season opener and beat the newly promoted Queretaro, 3-1, last night.

Looks like Pachuca is on course to maintain its spot as one of the top teams in Mexico. Meanwhile, Pumas has lost its only match of the early season. Looks like Mexico's top flight league will provide more great football this fall, football that US Soccer fans should pay attention to.

Additionally, Pachuca beat Guatemala's Deportivo Jalapa 3-0 in the first leg of CONCACAF Champions League qualifying, all but setting up a rematch with MLS's Houston Dynamo in the Group Stage.