Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

JuventusMilan (Getty)

AC Milan is in first place in Serie A at the moment, but unbeaten Juventus can retake control of the Scudetto race with a win today when the squads clash in Milan in the day's top match-up.

Milan is the home team today, but will face a tough task against a Juve side that has yet to lose a match all year. The absence of suspended striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and injured midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng will make it tougher for Milan to stop Juventus, which will come in confident having already beaten Milan in league play as well as in Coppa Italia earlier this month.

In Mexico, first-place Tigres take on Pachuca in the league's top match of the day. Jose Torres will look to put together another classy performance before playing for the USA against Italy on Wednesday. Surprising side Club Tijuana could catapult up the Primera standings with a win against Toluca tonight.

If you will be watching today's action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today's TV Schedule is after the jump): 

TODAY'S SOCCER ON TV

7:45 a.m. - Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv - West Ham vs. Crystal Palace

9:30 a.m. - GOLTV - FC Cologne vs. Bayer Leverkusen

10 a.m. - Fox Soccer Channel - Chelsea vs. Bolton

10 a.m. - Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv - Queens Park Rangers vs. Fulham

10 a.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Newcastle vs. Wolverhampton

10 a.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - West Brom vs. Sunderland

10 a.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Wigan Athletic vs. Aston Villa

10 a.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Middlesbrough vs. Reading

12 p.m. - Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3.com - Genoa vs. Parma

12 p.m. - GOLTV - Real Betis vs. Getafe

12 p.m. - DirecTV - Racing Santander vs. Sporting Gijon

12:30 p.m. - Fox Soccer Channel - Manchester City vs. Blackburn

12:30 p.m. - ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes - Werder Bremen vs. FC Nurnberg

1 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Ajaccio vs. Dijon

1 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Auxerre vs. St. Etienne

1 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Montpellier vs. Bordeaux

1 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Nice vs. Caen

1 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Evian Thonon Gaillard vs. Nancy

1 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Valenciennes vs. Lorient

2 p.m. - DirecTV - Malaga vs. Real Zaragoza

2:45 p.m. - Fox Soccer Channel - AC Milan vs. Juventus

3 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Lyon vs. Paris-St. Germain

3:15 p.m. - ESPN3.com - Academica de Coimbra vs. Benfica

3:30 p.m. - GOLTV - Corinthians vs. Botafogo

4 p.m. - ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes - Espanyol vs. Levante

6 p.m. - MLSSoccer.com stream - Orlando City vs. Toronto FC

6 p.m. - Azteca America/ESPN Deportes - Jaguares vs. Estudiantes Tecos

6 p.m. - Galavision - Monterrey vs. Puebla

8 p.m. - MLSSoccer.com stream - BC Hacken vs. FC Dallas

8 p.m. - MLSSoccer.com stream - Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake

8 p.m. - Telefutura/ESPN Deportes - Pachuca vs. Tigres UANL

10 p.m. - MLSSoccer.com stream - New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls

10 p.m. - Galavision - San Luis vs. Atlas

10 p.m. - Telefutura - Atlante vs. America

10 p.m. - Azteca America - Tijuana vs. Toluca 

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96 Responses to Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

  1. Tim M. says:

    Daniel Potts is on the Bench for West Ham, but no George John.

    Looks like he might be back in a Dallas shirt for at least another year.

  2. john.q says:

    any word on Ream today?

  3. Mig22 says:

    Man, I’m a Chelsea fan but as poorly as their playing, I’m having trouble seeing the logic of this being the main game on Fox Soccer. Then again, there aren’t a whole lot of better choices at 10AM.

    Sigh.

  4. malkin says:

    Probably find out in a half hour, but I’d think he’d be in the starting 11 after last week. Gonna be a heck of a test today that’s for sure.

  5. Mig22 says:

    Don’t know yet but it sort of dawned on me….there is a very young US player that is potentially a starting CB in the f’n EPL. Ream has his share of doubters (I don’t really have an opinion of his MLS play) but damn, he is 24 and right on the edge of being a Prem starter.

    Non. Trivial.

  6. nato says:

    come on DEMPSEY.

  7. nato says:

    our current centerback options are

    Bocanegra, Goodson, Gooch, Ream, Gonzalez, Cameron, John

    and of those I can only see Ream/Gonzalez or Cameron starting for us at the next WC. Has John decided on representing the USA or Greece?

  8. GSScasual says:

    not to be rude, but that john question everyone has wondered about… so im pretty sure if that decision would be made, it would have already been a featured article if not a few.

  9. Lampard in the End Zone says:

    Ream is starting per BWFC’s twitter feed.

  10. david m says:

    Don’t forget Whitbread.

  11. jay says:

    Is this a reflection of current talent level or the idea that Gooch/Bocanegra are too old. Because I can’t imagine how you “can’t see” Bocanegra and Onyewu starting at the World Cup.

    As a USMNT fan and a fan of minor league baseball, I realize there’s a tendency to want to promote both the future and cohesiveness such that there’s a calculus made: we can’t win the World Cup in 2012, so we might as well start a youth movement, but soccer doesn’t work that way and you should know that by now. Bocanegra is clearly our best centerback. Clearly. The only one in the conversation as of now is Onyewu and he’s hurt. Boca is the odds on favorite to start at the World Cup and that’s okay. If someone steps up and takes the job, cool, but he’s performing on a level the other guys can only hope to attain one day.

  12. Mig22 says:

    Well, jay, I really think it’s fair to consider that when 2014 comes around, Bocanegra may be too old at 35. It’s not a certainty but the fact that he is clearly the best US CB now (and he is), doesn’t mean much two years down the road. It’s really a close call agewise don’t you think?

    Onyewu’s injuries are starting to become a concern as he is not longer a kid.

    So, to start to consider a WC without those two as starters may be a very good idea.

    Just some thoughts, Cheers.

  13. Beckster says:

    Fox Soccer Plus free today – at least on FIOS in DC area – so get to see Fulham!

  14. nato says:

    always injured, but deserves to be added for DEPTH

  15. jlm says:

    I don’t know Jay. I would say that Boca is performing at a level that at least one other guy has a good chance of surpassing over the course of the next two years. Consider that Boca’s form could be on the decline due to age (that is not a given by any means as some on here believe — lots of center backs perform at their peak level into their mid 30s) and the fact that a few younger guys are just starting to get their shot.

    I would say that Boca is not the favorite to start in 2014. I don’t think there is a single player that has better odds, but Boca vs. the field has to go to the field.

  16. JSmiley says:

    Soccernet has a headline that reads “Gook Double Earns Victory.” This is really nasty. The South Korean’s name is Lee Dong-Gook. If you were to refer to him with a single name, it would be Lee (as is present in the story). Some headline writer needs to sacked.

  17. jay says:

    Mig, no, I don’t think the 35 thing holds as much water here. What’s interesting is that right after 2010 World Cup, I was thinking they should kick him to the curb, because 4 years out I had a hard time picturing how he could be our starting centerback. 2.25 years out, it’s much easier to see that as he’s maintained a high level of European play and heck, if anything he’s gotten better on the USMNT team (I certainly didn’t think he stood out positively at the World Cup).

    JLM – I guess that’s semantics about my use of odds on favorite. You’re probably right, if I could take the field vs. Boca, I would probably take the field (though maybe that’s a 52/48 sort of deal). But if you were individually ranking everyone’s odds, he’d have the highest.

  18. Mig22 says:

    Well, it’s only 7 minutes in and I’ve seen Ream intercept two passes, get hit with one, and make two good distributions. Positioning has been a bit odd on the last two plays but he’s certainly been busy.

  19. Polo says:

    Better than dong double.

  20. alex says:

    still early but Ream really composed…..

  21. Mig22 says:

    I can see your point, sure. I guess it depends on how you view the SPL. :)

    In any case, Boca will clearly be the main man during qualifying this year.

  22. PetedeLA says:

    Both Americans are playing pretty well in the Hoffenheim against Wolfsburg game. Johnson is playing left back, Williams at central midfield.

    Johnson looks quite strong.

    Which is good for him, cuz Klinsi is at the game.

  23. Mig22 says:

    Any time a US player looks good at LB, I light a candle.

  24. Mig22 says:

    Ream is really getting an examination since Bolton can’t hold onto the ball. Even if they concede in the 1st half, Ream has played very well under intense pressure.

  25. jon says:

    ream is keeping his cool under intense pressure from chelsea’s attack

  26. Mig22 says:

    I noticed that Dempsey is playing midfield today. In the most recent Fulham games, he has been listed and has played as a striker. But with Pogrebnyak, Ruiz, and AJ all healthy, Deuce is again a middie.

  27. Mig22 says:

    This Brit doing color for Chelsea-Bolton is so typical of English announcers: all criticism, not much good to say. As a nation, they truly have a talent for sucking the joy out of the game.

  28. malkin says:

    He sure is playing well. Last week was a joke compared to what he’s going up against right now and he doesn’t look the least bit spooked. Come on, Timmy…makin’ us proud!

  29. TomG says:

    Whitbread should be ahead of Gonzalez, Cameron, and John at this point. You could make an argument for Cameron who possesses superior athleticism and skills,, but the other two can’t logically rate Zak. Zak is starting in the EPL while John languishes on the bench of a Championship club. Zak is sitting out with a hamstring problem while Omar has torn his ACL. Omar and John have also always had questions re their technical and athletic ability. Our top under 30 CBs would have to be considered Whitbread, Ream, and Cameron at this point.

  30. kev says:

    i know dude, ever since the Beatles broke up, they’ve slowly been worse and worse each year.

  31. Eric says:

    To be fair, international competitions have been sucking the fun out of the game for them for years.

  32. TomG says:

    Ream has snuffed out threat after threat today. That being said, a clean sheet would be nothing short of a miracle for Bolton given that their recent track record.

  33. Jeff says:

    Wasted chances, squandered opportunities, shocking efforts on goal, terrible touches. Often these guys are defenders and they can’t stomach anything but perfection from attacking players!

  34. GSScasual says:

    I wonder how many USNT “fans” are crushed because Ream is doing so well.

  35. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I think we’ve discovered the chink in that headline writer’s armor.

  36. Patrick says:

    And its a good thing, too. Fulham is much more dangerous with Ruiz and Dempsey on the flanks, especially since Dempsey likes to cut in from the left. Nw with pog and AJ healthy, we shouldn’t see much more of Dempsey as a forward…. At least for fulham

  37. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Dempsey has played one or two games this season as a striker. The guy is a midfielder, and I can’t understand why some Americans are so adamant that he be played out of position for the national team. (Not saying you’re one of them, Mig, just making a general point.) /minirant

  38. Frank says:

    You must have one candle

  39. Not me! Loving Ream and Miyachi’s performances! Nice play through the middle at the end by Miyachi, and solid for ream. Are they watching his pass and making weater the greeter to discourage his passing?

  40. Mig22 says:

    I think it’s an interesting question, really. He is actualy good in the air, can be play a *bit* of a target role, and does like to be abrasive and pushy. That, combined with his obvious nose for goal, make him a decent candidate as a USMNT striker. I’m not adamant about it by any means but given the Nats woes at striker, it’s at least worth considering.

  41. Mig22 says:

    David Luiz showing the world why every team should have a Brazilian. He is next week’s weather, a box of chocolates, the box with Schroedinger’s cat. You just don’t know.

  42. jon says:

    david luiz scored for chelsea, but it wasn’t on ream’s part.

  43. malkin says:

    Well Chelsea was bound to put it in the back of the net. And for those not watching, wasn’t Ream’s man or anything.

    Bolton are suddenly starting to turn it around a bit…including getting a corner that was started with a great poach from Ream.

  44. malkin says:

    blah. Well, game over, Bolton are done. Certainly can’t blame Ream. Only so much you can do when you’re a central defender playing for a high school team going up against Barca.

  45. kev says:

    whatever happened to Bendtner?

  46. Marlon says:

    Tim Ream looks a lot more like a player Arsenal would’ve been scouting today.

  47. steveo says:

    it burns bright for a few games and then melts down completely

  48. kev says:

    is it fair to say Ream just might be able to cut it at the PL level?

    we need Gonzalez healthy ASAP and in Europe and Cameron doing his thing and we just might have some centerback depth ready for 2014.

  49. Mig22 says:

    Well, kev, it’s early days but I think Ream looked pretty silky out there today. He had to make more plays in the first 30 minutes than a CB normally has to make all game.

    Good stuff.
    m

  50. Eric says:

    The way Chelsea had been playing lately, I was hoping Bolton could get at least a point out of this. With Ream committed to bolton, we need them to avoid relegation badly. Too bad Stu isn’t healthy enough to help yet.

  51. Steve says:

    Does anyone find it odd that we might be featuring three Tim’s in defense in 2014?

  52. Joe Creighton says:

    Wow. 3-0. Bolton ship has sank.

  53. Joe Creighton says:

    Could happen. 3/5 Timmy.

  54. Joe Creighton says:

    Torres just looks lost.

    I feel for the guy.

  55. Ted in MN says:

    Hard to blame Ream for them though.

  56. Jeff says:

    Wow, what a pathetic effort from Fulham a man up. They’re being dominated in all but the score.

  57. A.S. says:

    Love Ream and the right back both point at Lampard just before the cross on Lampards goal, but neither picks him up. Whoops!

  58. Mig22 says:

    The team just doesn’t seem to work with him well. I really feel for him too because he works so hard, makes good runs, and it just doesn’t seem to gel.

    Drogba today danced his way around the box, made good turns, very good passes, and was so much more integrated than Torres has been. It’s frustrating because Torres has every bit as much talent (more in some phases) than DD but it just doesn’t work here.

  59. Ted in MN says:

    Well in all fairness, a late runner heading in from the right should be covered by the rightback with some help from a midfielder. Ream isn’t the one you’d expect.

  60. Joe Creighton says:

    He’s played okay. Put himself in good positions, nothing really notable about his performance which is the way you want it.

  61. Eric says:

    You’d be surprised how often a team who’s suddenly a man down will start to play better because the team focuses more and know they have to play better to get a result.

  62. Marlon says:

    I thought his distribution was pretty notable. His defending was par.

  63. marco says:

    Chelsea took over 25 shots, can’t be just the backline.

    Sparky refused to shake Jol’s hand after the match. Let’s see if SAF and his ESPNsoccernet lackys call for his dismissal.

  64. Jeff says:

    Very true. But that was ridiculous. I had to check back twice to remind myself which team was down a man.

  65. Eric says:

    Agreed that it’s not an excuse thought. Fulham looks like they got complacent because they were up a man and a goal.

  66. Patrick says:

    Sparky has hand countless confrontations over handshakes. Had a big bust up with Mancini last year I believe.

  67. Citronomics says:

    Agree Mig. I think Dempsey has qualities that make him a viable candidate for USMNT striker (not saying he should be penciled in permanently or that’s his best role). At least this season, many of his EPL goals are the result of smartly timing his runs in the box, positioning and being aggressive in outplaying his markers. Until USMNT strikers develop/consistently demonstrate higher caliber play for our 4-3-3, don’t see why we wouldn’t consider Deuce for the striker role.

  68. Watching Nuremberg vs W. Bremen on ESPN360. Looks like Timmy Chandler is playing right mid, pushed up really high at times almost as a forward. There is no commentary on this match, it’s strange watching it this way. I would actually prefer to hear the German commentary instead of nothing.

  69. atd says:

    But some sweet Curtis Mayfield playing in the stadium at halftime. Just mooove onnnn upppp!

  70. GW says:

    “the fact that he is clearly the best US CB now (and he is), doesn’t mean much two years down the road. It’s really a close call agewise don’t you think?”

    That argument applies both ways to everyone currently in the running for the centerback positions.

    Just becuase you are younger, it does not mean you are going to get better. It’s simply too early to be so definitive about who will man those slots in 2014.

    It is not uncommon to find good World Cup teams with 30-35 year old players, especially in the centrback positions. Experience counts for a lot in such tournaments. Typically you find a mobile center back paired with a stationary, more physical type. Pique and Puyol come to mind.

    In that sense the Gooch/Boca would be more classic if either one were more mobile than they are.

    It may be that by the time 2014 rolls around one of the younger, more mobile Under 23 types may have had a break out year somewhere and may force their way onto the team.

    The centerback situation is long way from being settled as far as 2014 goes.

  71. CroCajun says:

    We are still two years out. A lot can happen in two years. Ike Opara is still an unknown commodity based on his injuries his rookie year, and Boss largely wasted a year looking for a good club situation.

    We are also leaving Danny Williams out of the discussion.

    Ream, Gonzo, and John have a long way to go before they get in Gooch or Boca’s league, but they are on the right track. Hopefully one of them figures it out.

  72. biff says:

    After a wild finish, Nurnberg held on for the win, meaning, with Hoffenheim’s win, two big victories today for teams with USMNT players. The wins put both Hoffenheim and Nurnberg within sniffing distance of Europa League slots. I think Hoffenheim, with the new coach, has a chance to pull it off–would love to see Williams and Johnson in Europa competition. Nurnberg would probably need a miracle to make it. I keep thinking how great it would be to see Gonzales on Nurnberg’s backline.

  73. CroCajun says:

    hahaha.

  74. Francois says:

    +1 quantum mechanics for the win haha

  75. PD says:

    Can’t help but add my two cents here in what has been a great discussion. Center back (and center mid) are two positions after goalie that truly benefits from age and experience. As long as both stay healthy I see Gooch and Bocangra as out CB pairing with possibly Ream, Goodson and possibly Parkhurst, Cameron, and Gonzales fighting to fill out he depth chart. It’s also why I think that Jermaine Jones will be around in 2014, but that’s another post.

    While talent, pace and individual skill are a must-have, the ability to read the international game, keep your head, hold the respect of your teammates, be a mentor off the field and an organizing force on it all come with time. I think that Bocanegra, while not the flashiest player in the team, is an undisputed leader. Experienced, effective, talented, smart, and classy and clutch. That’s a tall order to fill and while I think there are several players who have the potential to grow into the position, no one comes close right now in terms of demonstrating it consistently on the international level (that’s not a knock on MLS). Same goes for Gooch, who, when healthy, is simply an undisputed starter (and is still improving his game BTW). Again, there are other players who on paper have the potential to be this good, and that’s great. I cannot wait to see how they rise, but at the moment we’re just not there and until we are it’s premature to talk about alternate lineups without it simply being conjecture. The only other player that has demonstrated that he comes close is Goodson.

  76. not cool says:

    riiiiight. witty racism is still racism.

  77. PD says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that Dempsey himself says that he prefers playing as a second striker more than being out wide?

    some other thoughts:

    In a 4-3-3, isn’t the idea of playing “out wide” kid of moot since there is so much freedom to roam? Plus given that his (admittedly incredible) workrate usually favors offense rather than defense, it stands to reason that the further up the field you put him the more of a return you’ll get for his effort (this isn’t a criticism of his style, I believe very few players can be all things and while he doesn’t an admirable job tracking back it’s not really one of his strong points).

    With all that in mind I’m not so sure that playing him forward and central is necessarily putting him “out of position” but rather capitalizing on his strengths.

  78. PD says:

    who is this Miyachi guy? can we cap him?

    I kid, i kid….

  79. Jamie Z. says:

    Lyon and PSG in the middle of a barn burner. 3-2 Lyon at the half.

  80. fischy says:

    Hard to understand how the AR missed the call on what should have been Milan’s second goal. He’s in perfect position to see it, and it’s not even close. The ball was WAY over the line. If he was paying any attention, he had to have seen a lot of daylight between the ball and the post. This isn;t just a case for goal-line tech, it’s an argument for replacing the ARs with computers.

  81. Jamie Z. says:

    Jermaine Jones out of Wednesday’s Italy match with a calf injury, by the way.

  82. Missoula says:

    You apparently missed the joke. Check the recent espn fiasco

    Sent from my iPad

  83. CroCajun says:

    Great points and I think we are underestimating the intangibles that Boca brings to the table.

  84. CroCajun says:

    Guess it’s down to Bradley or Williams then.

  85. TomG says:

    Yes, too bad. It would have been a good test for him

  86. TomG says:

    Looks like Mixx went the full 90 in a 2-0 win for Gent. Good to see him incorporated so quickly. It would be a good move if he impresses and it becomes a full transfer. He’d likely get some Europa League action next week.

  87. TomG says:

    Oops year not week.

  88. Jamie Z. says:

    Or Bradley AND Williams.

  89. ... says:

    Joe Benny Corona scored for Tijuana, opening goal; Toluca just equalized and it’s 1-1 in the 27th.

  90. Michael F. says:

    I thought Ream played well. Distribution and the way he took the space was very good. Even his defending was good. I may have my my blinders on but it didn’t look like any of the goals were his fault. Am I off base here?

  91. louis z says:

    I hope williams gets the nod.

  92. jlm says:

    not at all. you are on point. ream was good today. very good first pl start for him.