Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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Photo by Rick Osentoski/ISIphotos.com

Wednesday night represents a big night for MLS teams both in league and CONCACAF Champions League play, but prior to that, a pretty intriguing mid-week slate of European matches takes center stage.

In addition to Spanish powers Real Madrid and Barcelona being in action, some Americans Abroad should take to the pitch as well. Michael Bradley is getting his first start with Chievo Verona, while Clint Dempsey's Fulham will try and knock Chelsea out of the Carling Cup in their third-round matchup.

If you will be watching any of Wednesday's afternoon matches, please feel free to share any thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below. Enjoy the action (TV schedule is after the jump):

WEDNESDAY'S AFTERNOON SOCCER ON TV

2 p.m. – ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes – Racing Santander vs. Real Madrid

2 p.m. – DirecTV – Malaga vs. Athletic Bilbao

2 p.m. – GOLTV – Atletico Madrid vs. Sporting Gijon

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Channel/ESPN3.com – AC Milan vs. Udinese

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv – Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Liverpool (Carling Cup)

2:45 p.m. – FoxSoccer.tv – Chelsea vs. Fulham (Carling Cup)

2:45 p.m. – ESPN3.com – Chievo Verona vs. Napoli

3 p.m. – FoxSoccer.tv – St. Etienne vs. Toulouse

4 p.m. – GOLTV – Valencia vs. Barcelona

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109 Responses to Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

  1. Chris says:

    What are your thoughts on how long some of these USMNT players should chase the dream over in Europe? Why not return to MLS at some point and strenghten the league = increased ticket sales and marketability for MLS = eventual higher player salaries?

  2. 20 says:

    Michael Bradley is starting according to twitter sources

  3. 20 says:

    Bedoya and Bocanegra also starting for Rangers, Dempsey rested for Fulham. Edu also rested

  4. wilbur06 says:

    an increase in eventual hypothetical player salaries are a lot less enticing than an immediate increase in pay.

  5. Murph says:

    Right now our players need to be challenging themselves on the best teams, in the best leagues possible. Right now that’s not MLS, but we’re getting there.

    Unfortunately, right now at least, English (obviously), German (obviously), Italian (obviously), Dutch, Portuguese and even Scottish (at least the team itself) are better than what’s currently in the MLS. This is where they should be playing. Give the MLS another 10 years and it will be a closer conversation.

  6. William the Terror says:

    How can that be?All the commentors on this blog say he sucks, and they are some of the finest soccer minds in the world (sarcasm).

  7. jp992751 says:

    Bradley in the starting line-up…the only bald man on the pitch so it will be easy to spot him.

  8. jp992751 says:

    Bradley is slotted in at Right Mid.

  9. hfc21 says:

    Does anyone know of any other website to catch the Chievo game for free?

  10. Predicto says:

    links 2 football dot com

    with no spaces

  11. hfc21 says:

    THANK YOU!

  12. Troll says:

    The only reason he’s starting today is because his dad is the coach. Don’t be so naive.

  13. MidWest Ref says:

    14 minutes in and Chievo hasn’t scored – Bradley must being playing awfully. Sarcasm

  14. Predicto says:

    I can’t find Falkirk v Rangers – anybody with a link to that one?

  15. Good Jeremy says:

    ESPN3 has it, depending on your internet provider.

  16. Brit says:

    I love MB, but he does seem to be just jogging along so far…

  17. Mingjai says:

    Can he play left back…?

  18. ko'd says:

    What game are you watching? He is in the center.

  19. Predicto says:

    Brit commentators on Chievo v Napoli talking quite a bit about Mike Bradley.

  20. jonk says:

    Best of luck. League cup games are always difficult to find regardless of the country and Rangers website doesn’t even list a tv option for this game.

  21. Good Jeremy says:

    Bradley is pretty sloppy, hopefully he picks it up a little. He is playing out of position and guarding a pretty slippery guy so that’s not doing him any favors either.

  22. jonk says:

    I believe he wrote “any other website” precisely because he can read the listings above but doesn’t have access to espn3.

  23. jonk says:

    I’m watching and he’s playing centrally and to the right. More to the right when Chievo are on defense.

  24. wilyboy says:

    This is ESPN. Of course they’re talking about the one American.

    I think Bradley’s a good player, but I have to say he’s a conundrum. He doesn’t tackle efficiently enough to be a sole destroyer, he’s not a good enough passer to be a true central midfielder.

    I think he needs to find one part of his game, and make it truly exceptional. He can’t depend on being a vital cog, and whatever he is is the best we’ve got. That’s not good enough anymore.

  25. Predicto says:

    yeah – like the commentor said, ‘his main job is defense and he’s doing well getting back. Keep your passes short on the ground and simple’

  26. abc says:

    Janusz Michallik is a Brit commentator now?

  27. William the Terror says:

    30 minutes in and Bradley has not scored a hat trick and he has committed 2 fouls. He just can’t play atthis level and should come home, get a job in a 7-11 and play in a park league.

  28. abc says:

    I’m a fan of Bradley and defend him from the haters, but I do agree with this. All except for the last part, I’m not sure it’s not good enough, he’s still ahead of Edu and Jones imo.

  29. Predicto says:

    ahh – didn’t know this was ESPN3…

  30. jp992751 says:

    I imagine the only game Bradley is playing in..must need to check he has pushed into the center but he is playing on the right.

  31. jonk says:

    Phwew, Bradley almost got burned for a goal. He was tracking the runner in a give and go, but still got beat and allowed his mark to play the ball across the goal mouth.

  32. jonk says:

    Yeah, I imagine he’s only pushing into the center occasionally because he’s not used to being deployed on the right.

  33. Mig22 says:

    MB had a good 15-20 minutes and a less good remainder of the half. But Chievo as a whole don’t seem to know how to pass from the back. Also, Napoli is pretty good and is closing down amazingly quickly.

    I will say that MB is almost playing Right Back because Cesar (or Jokic?) is continually caught a bit forward. MB’s getting the job done but it’s a big ask to ALWAYS be chasing back to fill that hole at the right back.

  34. jp992751 says:

    If the last midfielder between the touch line and the center midfielder is center than yeah I guess you are right.

  35. Citronomics says:

    According to ESPN gametracker, Chievo “leads” Napoli in fouls by 9-1 so that’s a good indication as to which side collectively is showing more positive play. Not surprised MB is having to help contain and cover.

  36. Predicto says:

    A bit of a rough first half outa the way for MB. He should settle down in the second half – & I hope the coach is patient.

  37. abc says:

    The first half of this game was more dull than 90% of the 0-0 MLS games from early this summer.

  38. marco says:

    In the few minutes I watched, Bradley was a logical outlet 5 times, yet Chievo played around him 4 of the 5, and lost every possession, not unlike what was happening at Gladbach. Still early, hope it doesn’t continue.

  39. Dave says:

    play in a park league…you must be a family member too to so exaggerate his talent.

    (this is not sarcasm, but a level of facetiousness that goes beyond mere sarcasm)

  40. the corner apex says:

    Haha! Just watched the first half of Chievo Verona vs. Napoli and the ref just called half-time with 7 seconds before the full 45. That’s the first time I’ve seen that.

    My impressions of Bradley: largely invisible the first 35 minutes punctuated by moments of lack luster touches, passes, and tackles. The final 10 minutes (maybe less due to the official) Bradley linked better with his teammates and recovered better defensively. He even initiated the final Chievo breakout of the first half.

  41. montana matt says:

    What are you guys talking about? No one is hating on Mike Bradley. You guys live in some alternate universe where US fans think he sucks, but the truth is, most US supporters know he’s one of our most important players.

    Your overly sarcastic posts are annoying, and an overreaction to recent, justifiable criticisms of MB90’s current form. I think everyone is rooting for him to succeed at Chievo, and most US fans are realistic/positive in their assessment of his situation.

    The Sarcastic “Mike Bradley only plays because his dad’s the coach” jokes are not at all clever either. That meme has been stale since 2007. Find something worthwhile to post.

  42. jonk says:

    It is Italy after all.

  43. soccerhorn says:

    I’m a huge Celtic fan, but sorry, the SPL is no longer stronger than the MLS. The two Old Firm sides, sure, but the rest of the league is way off.

  44. soccerhorn says:

    lighten up. We’re supposed to be serious here? It’s a freaking soccer gossip site!

  45. malkin says:

    that’s what he said.

  46. Mig22 says:

    I would say his touch was very good in the first half when he was given the ball with even 1/2 step to work with. His passing was indifferent but Chievo as a whole suffers in this given the lack of space and movement. Interesting role they have him playing…alone back there.

  47. MidWest Ref says:

    A little over the top big fella. Bill the Terror and I were exchanging humorous entries based on the common theme of others here on the board. glad to hear that you want Bradley to succeed, because sometimes it is hard to tell if others do. Perhaps it is an internet issue where Schaudenfraude is easier than accurate analysis.

  48. marco says:

    Real Madrid one shot on goal against Racing. Jose is wasting all that talent by imposing his negative style.
    I hope Real can him soon.

  49. Murph says:

    Bradley’s play is improving as time goes on.

  50. Predicto says:

    MB picking it up – and pushing forward. Has anyone had a shot on goal yet?

  51. frank from sf says:

    agree,yes.please.

  52. leftcoastmetro says:

    Yeah, Chievo had one. And he’s definitely gaining some confidence now.

    Chievo just subbed out two players and neither was named “Michael”.

  53. Dinho says:

    Uh oh…here comes Cavani…. good night Chievo.

  54. malkin says:

    MB90 is back?

  55. leftcoastmetro says:

    Yeah, Baby!! :)

  56. Murph says:

    Hmmm, appears Bradley has a hand in every chance on Goal.

  57. leftcoastmetro says:

    On the Italian-language stream (actually a Naples channel), the commentator just screamed a “Mamma Mia!” as Bradley almost scored on a header. That’s an achievement unto itself.

  58. Midwest Ref says:

    Isn’t that a common theme for American ballers: they are ‘tweeners.

    Dempsey is not necessarily a forward, but he has more attacking chops than a true midfielder.

    Donovan is not a true #10, but somewhat of a winger too.

    Etc. etc.

  59. leftcoastmetro says:

    Hamsik’s in – now wer’e playing almost the real Napoli.

    Goal!!!!!

  60. leftcoastmetro says:

    Horrible brainfart by a Napoli defender on that one. Bradley wasn’t involved but he was very nearby – seems to be playing closer to net in this half.

  61. William the Terror says:

    thank you! MB is actually my favorite player in the US pool. people forget that he scored both goals when we beat Mexico in the last round of WC qualifying. they forget his great goal against Slovenia (without which we never get out of our group) and they overlook the fact that he was, in my opinion, our best player atthe last world cup. I’m sick to death of seeing people on this blog heap abuse on him. this thread was entirely sarcastic and it was stated as such.

  62. eric says:

    Awful attempted clearance by Napoli. Chievo puts a screamer past the keeper 1-0 Chievo.

  63. Joamiq says:

    Happy birthday to Ives!

  64. beachbum says:

    this is what I have seen. too.

  65. beachbum says:

    Napoli pushing forward with numbers now, could open up the counter for Chievo in the 80th

    and Zuniga is being left to be defended by MB almost by himself…stupid if you ask me. Who can mark Zuniga by himself? Michallik has brought this up on several accassions already

  66. beachbum says:

    it’s like MB is playing right back, on an island

  67. Murph says:

    Is it me or are they having MB play RCM and RB?

  68. beachbum says:

    is it really?

    Happy Birthday!!! what, 29 again?

  69. MB90 not having a great game.

  70. Murph says:

    He’s actually doing just fine so long as they don’t shift him to Right Back.

  71. Good Jeremy says:

    Zuniga is making Bradley look pretty silly, but he has done it to a couple others as well. Bradley has also been dumping a lot of balls 20 yards downfield without an open target, but I assume if that was not part of the gameplan he would have been yanked by now. Pretty forgettable performance though.

  72. TomG says:

    I thought they were pretty funny.

  73. beachbum says:

    he’s got Zuniga looks like, so wherever he goes, MB goes. Zuniga’s been roaring up that left flank of Napoli’s, so looks like MB playing RB. that’s what I think I see. you?

  74. beachbum says:

    he’s got Zuniga looks like often, so wherever he goes, MB goes often. Zuniga’s been roaring up that left flank of Napoli’s, so looks like MB playing RB. that’s what I think I see. you?

  75. beachbum says:

    he’s got Zuniga looks like often, so wherever he goes, MB goes often. Zuniga’s been roaring up that left flank of Napoli’s, so looks like MB playing RB. that’s what I think I see. you?

  76. Midwest Ref says:

    and what is more MB actually sings the national anthem at USMNT games. As I get older, I appreciate little things like that. My wife is sick of me pointing out that players from other countries almost always sing (or at least move their lips), while ours stand silently. Nothing wrong with that, but good for MB for belting it out!

  77. MidWest Ref says:

    He is starting in a top 4 league against a Champions League team – good for MB

  78. RK says:

    La Liga is interesting today…RM ties 0-0 on the road and Barca is down early, 2-1, at the Mestalla.

  79. jonk says:

    And Chievo get the win against a superior Napoli side. Bradley didn’t look great, but he did his job defensively and his passing and holdup play should improve as he gets more matches.

  80. jonk says:

    Superior in the table, that is, since Napoli didn’t play all their starters.

  81. MF says:

    I was hoping for a much better performance than that… Had high expectations. Would not be surprised to see Bradley on the bench next match, he has looked out of sorts most of the game..i hate seeing the lofted passes to nobody.

  82. Predicto says:

    I thought 2nd half was much better from MB. Played conservative defense and gave some bite – but also looked dangerous going foward winning balls and pushing up. Looked dead on his feet though by about 85min.

  83. MidWest Ref says:

    Thanks TomG. Bill and I will be here all week. Make sure to tip your waitress

  84. TomG says:

    Starting, going 90 and winning against Napoli certainly reflects well upon him. Especially in a shutout where he is playing a defensive role. That’s a huge win for Chievo.

  85. He looks slow and keeps letting people get behind him. I am not a hater just think his lack of minutes is showing. Chievo in a whole doesn’t look too sharp.

  86. Midwest Ref says:

    If results stay the same, RM and Barca are even on points, behind Valencia.

  87. Kenny_B says:

    I’m sorry, I have to step on the Montana Matt’s side in this conversation. You commence your comments as being (sarcastic), but there does seem to be some bitterness to it that is confirmed in this latest post.

    I think it perfectly reasonable to criticize MB’s 100% selection record with his dad as coach without going overboard and saying something stupid like he doesn’t belong on the team.

    IMO, MB was given every opportunity to succeed, unquestionably, even when he played poorly. His competitors were frequently put with “B” team players and given a very short leash. That’s my opinion.

    None of these things take away from the fact that MB is clearly a talent and clearly deserves to be on the NT and obviously has earned his starting gigs in Germany and Holland and now hopefully Italy.

    I’ve seen a lot of posters that have remarked similar things about MB’s NT status. It’s a tad bit unfair to place those folks in with people that are just trying to stir the pot saying MB can’t play (very few on this site have said he flat out cant play).

  88. Steve says:

    Bradley definitely had a healthy number of sketchy moments (that horrific back pass in the first half just about cost his team a goal). But at the end of the day, I suspect he did pretty much what his manager told him to do out there. Nothing wrong with a clean sheet victory against friggin’ Napoli.

  89. RK says:

    And Levante, Betis, Malaga, and Sevilla…

  90. RK says:

    And Rangers loses…

  91. montana matt says:

    I get that you were being sarcastic, it’s just that the point you are trying to make has no basis in reality, and yet you spout it off like fact. You said:

    “I’m sick to death of seeing people on this blog heap abuse on him (Bradley).”

    When do people heap abuse on Bradley? I read SBI daily, and there is virtually no hatred towards Bradley amongst US fans. It’s a manufactured scenario that you’ve concocted, (because it’s funny, I guess?) that there is a large segment of the US fan base actively rooting against/antagonizing Bradley.

    Yes, when Mike Bradley first debuted with the Nats people suspected his call up had something to do with his father being the coach (it did), but in 2011 I don’t think there are any voices saying that Bradley isn’t one of the better players in our pool. He gets no more and no less criticism than any other prominent players on the USMNT.

  92. hogatroge says:

    I agree… I love Edu, but he’s even more inconsistent than Bradley. He’ll follow up a beautiful tackle or great run with some really sloppy play.

  93. hogatroge says:

    Valencia’s really the only team in La Liga that’s hung with Barca results-wise for the last couple years. Last year I believe it was a draw and a 1-0 Barca victory.

    Somehow, though, Valencia keeps choking big against Real.

  94. hogatroge says:

    It’s like the 5th game of the season and the guy hasn’t played regularly for a club in over a year. Sheesh!

  95. hogatroge says:

    Anyone have luck catching the Rangers game?

    How did Bedoya look?

  96. liberoo says:

    Good call. My wife watches the anthems more than the games and counts the singers to “determine” who will win. I love the recent tendency for more US players to actually sing (or look like it).

  97. liberoo says:

    If I remember correctly, his first cap was under Bruce Arena.

  98. liberoo says:

    Seems like a great first start for Bradley – going 90 in his first start is not something that happens without the approval of the coach. I can’t help but wonder how much his playing might improve without the extra emotional weight of the nepotism calls (imagined or otherwise). He seems the kind of the player that would be impacted by the extra mental noise (for better or worse). I have high hopes for the move to Chievo.

  99. MicahK says:

    Do not forget about the la liga in Spain.

  100. MicahK says:

    OKAY, JEEZ!!! WE GET YOUR POINT!!! -______-

  101. abc says:

    Bradley looked rusty at times, it was definitely an inconsistent performance from him. Still, it’s good to see MB90 going 90 again.

  102. Tom Patton says:

    you know, I am no big flag waver but I agree with you 100% on the national anthem point. My wife, who is from Latin America,always comments on the same thing when we play national team matches. Only Boca,Howard and Bradley sing.

  103. Wonders if anyone will get it says:

    None of the Spanish sing their anthem and they do just fine…

  104. MicahK says:

    Bedoya was proably fail like he is for the nats.

  105. Jamie says:

    I would definitely say it is a common theme amongst our players.

  106. Artie says:

    Very clever, sir. Perhaps they have forgotten the extensive lyrics?

  107. bryan says:

    dude, get off it. they had a bad game, but he is most certainly NOT playing negative. the exception could be argued for Barca games last year. But even this season, so far, Madrid attacked Barca and out shot them in both games.

  108. hogatroge says:

    Can’t speak for performances prior to this past Gold Cup, but in his last 3 or so USMNT caps, he was most definitely not “fail.”

    Maybe you’re thinking of Felipe Bedoya, Manuel Bedoya or MicahK Bedoya?