Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

DortmundLeverkusen (Bundesliga)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

While catching red-hot Bayern Munich is definitely Borussia Dortmund’s ultimate goal, they will face a different kind of tough challenge Saturday in their drive back to the top of the Bundesliga table.

Third-place Dortmund sit three points behind second-place Bayer Leverkusen, their opponents for Saturday’s clash at Signal-Iduna Park. Both clubs have bounced back from humiliating shutout losses and will enter the six-pointer with some momentum in their race to catch the defending league and European champions.

The day’s action will start in England, where defending English Premier League champions Manchester United look to rebound from their midweek home loss to Everton in their trip to face Newcastle United. Man United’s local rivals, Manchester City, will visit a Southampton side that has come crashing back down to earth after a hot start to their second EPL campaign.

In the final EPL match of the day, USMNT striker Jozy Altidore will try to build off his midweek goal against Chelsea when his Sunderland squad hosts Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs are hoping their midweek victory against Fulham can end their slide down the league table and give them an extra boost in their quest to return to the Top 4.

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):

7:45am – Manchester United vs. Newcastle United – NBC Sports Network

9:30am – Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich – GolTV USA

10am – Southampton vs. Manchester City – NBC Sports Network

10am – Stoke City vs. Chelsea – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Liverpool vs. West Ham United – Premier League Extra Time

10am – West Bromwich Albion vs. Norwich City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Crystal Palace vs. Cardiff City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Leyton Orient vs. Walsall – Fox Soccer Plus

10am – Sant Andreu vs. Atletico Madrid – beIN Sport en Español

10am – Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Leicester City – beIN Sport USA

12pm – Livorno vs. AC Milan – beIN Sport USA/beIN Sport en Español

12:30pm – Sunderland vs. Tottenham – NBC Sports Network

12:30pm – Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen – GolTV USA

2pm – Celta de Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao – beIN Sport en Español

2:45pm – Napoli vs. Udinese – beIN Sport USA

4pm – Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake – ESPN/UniMas

4pm – Xativa vs. Real Madrid – beIN Sport en Español

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, Your Running Commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

148 Responses to Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

  1. manicmessiah says:

    I am tired for this early start, I turned on my tv and thought it was Man United vs Brazil.

    My mistake. I should just call them United, because there’s only one of those in the country. Not like there’s any other United playing in this game.

  2. Neal says:

    Any complaints about the rugby lines on the field at Old Trafford?
    And, yes, I do realize they are nowhere nearly as obnoxious as NFL gridiron lines

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Funny…. I had the very same thought looking at those last week. American soccer fans are very much into self flagellation.

      It also occurs to me that the linesman has to secretly love having them there. Like training wheels.

  3. JMart says:

    I’m loving the rugby lines at Old Trafford!

  4. Big$ says:

    I can’t wait to see Liverpool and Luisito Suarez!!! I love Coutinos form. Sterling looker food last week. Skyrtel and After and the rawest duo in the Premier. The whole team looks great. I never liked Liverpool before this year but now I Am cheering for them. Altidore plays until 10 I hope I can stay awake for that one. I am excited for my first piano lesson today! ! Yeah!!

  5. Big$ says:

    * looked good….Agger are ^^

  6. Lu says:

    Did anyone really think Moyes was the ideal replacement for Sir Alex? Not that. I’m complaining. Not a Man Utd fan

  7. RP says:

    I’m wondering where all the Man U bandwagoneers are going to jump to..

    And it’s crazy.. they been talking about Moyes for years as replacement but he may be gone in half a season..

  8. ABC123 says:

    Said it last week, shall say it again.

    Moyes should be sacked soon before United fall too far. If they miss a European spot of any kind, it could be devastating for the club financially.

    • frank from santiago says:

      hahahahha…..couldn’t happen to a better or more deserving team. All the years of BS calls and stuff they got away with during the ferguson years are coming back to them in one season………love it.

      • jefpal says:

        Silly I think for supporters to blame Moyes, though I’ll give them that he doesn’t seem to be coping well with the mounting pressure. It’s a team full of issues and in desperate need of refreshing. The gamble on Van Persie staying healthy worked out last season, and they got performances from Giggs and Scholes that belied their ages, but it was all destined to come crashing down whether Fergie stayed or left. They might’ve had more confidence in the manager, but they were always doomed this season.

  9. RP says:

    The scans to the crowd are enjoyable

  10. ABC123 says:

    And boom.

    Newcastle have won at Old Trafford for the first time in 41 years.

  11. ABC123 says:

    Moyes has now dropped as many points in his last 8 matches as SIr Alex dropped in his last 31 matches.

  12. Nate Dollars says:

    cameron starting, no shea.

    jones, fabian, dolo on the bench.

    ream and danny williams starting, lichaj on the bench.

    • ABC123 says:

      Jones is suspended I believe.

    • jones says:

      So Stoke didn’t like what they saw from Shea last week? I didn’t see the cameo. Time for a move.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i don’t really follow stoke, but i heard he didn’t look very good.

      • MidWest Ref says:

        Admittedly,I don’t see too much of Shea. When I do, he doesn’t look elegant, or for that matter all that talented.

        What he does seem to do, is come off the bench and clumsy his way into a good moment for his team-particularly for the USMNT. That is not enough to keep a place on an EPL team, even Stoke, particularly under Hughes.

        He may be a championship player, who gets a bit part on the USMNT due to his size, speed and athleticism.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          One of the biggest problems with him going to the EPL was the timing of his move. Taking that large a jump up in competition after a run of poor form, falling out with his manager and then a prolonged injury is hardly the way you’d want it to go. And Shea seems streaky and on the side of a bit of frail confidence. Would have liked to have seem him get a good running start heading there.

          As has been often repeated…. he needs some time playing meaning a loan very badly.

          • midwest ref says:

            I don’t recall that Shea had a falling out with either of his managers. Pulis was up front that Shea was not in his immediate plans and wanted to give him time to acclimate to the EPL. Pulis threw Shea on as a forward in a couple early games, because he didn’t have any other options. She then got hurt and has been in purgatory ever since. I don’t think that he is Hughes type of guy, so Hughes wont use him.

            • AtléticoUnionCity says:

              I think he was referring to his falling out with Shellas Hyndman, manager at FC Dallas prior to making the move to Stoke City.

        • Hogatroge says:

          It was foolish of Stoke to deny Shea an emergency loan. Now their player is going to finish out the winter on the bench. Whether he’s in their plans or not, his value to the team or on loan has dropped.

          Admittedly, the preseason injury couldn’t have been timed any worse. Shea visibly improved in form throughout the Gold Cup (with the Cuba match being a rock bottom low) and was doing extremely well for Stoke in the next few preseason matches before getting injured in a friendly against the Philly Union.

          Shea has the ability to contribute to a low-tier EPL side like Stoke, but he needs to be healthy, get his head right, and be given an opportunity (probably on loan at a Championship side first).

          Being thrown into the fire in an EPL match after a long injury layoff is almost a setup for failure. It didn’t help that the whole team was playing sh*tty.

      • John says:

        I think Marko Arnautovic was injured being the reason he made the bench, now he is back

  13. jones says:

    Anyone know what’s up with Fabian? He wasn’t in the 18 for their last one and now he’s on the bench. Lingering injury?

    • Chicago Josh says:

      I seem to remember seeing something about multiple injuries: first and abductor muscle strain, and then a calf? Not surprised he’s not playing.

  14. Bac says:

    Seems like every lineup Moyes puts out there has got square pegs in round holes every week. And his subs rarely improve things.
    Yea they miss Scholes big time, but with the talent they have, they look like crap.
    Meanwhile, Martinez has Everton flying high…..

    • Increase says:

      Carrick is injured and he is their only proper midfielder as far as I am concerned. All the others are not that great Dmids and crappy wingers.

  15. Big$ says:

    Big Ups to Nelson Mandela a true visionary, great leader and by many accounts a beautiful human being. Freeeeeeeedom!!!!!!!!!

  16. Citronomics says:

    Anyone have a link to Bedoya’s goal yesterday v. Marseille? The one in Ives’ posting didn’t work or was removed, and surprisingly NSC does not have it up.

    • Joe C. says:

      Just found this one: link to soccerhighlightstoday.com

      What a strange goal.

      • Citronomics says:

        Thanks Joe C,

        Looks like the shot just trickles into the net with the goalie taking a breather. Maybe the goalie assumed the shot was blocked?

        Anyways, great to see Ale contributing to Nantes success in Ligue 1.

      • SilverRey says:

        That’s on a fine line between a deflection and an own goal…

        Either way, not sure it’s worthy of pointing to your name/# on the back of the jersey. Still happy to see him get two in two games!

    • Hogatroge says:

      I am so hoping that Bedoya manages to click with the Nats. I know he’s probably safely in the picture, and he’s been decent in the last few matches, but he hasn’t made the same kind of contributions that he’s been consistently making for Helsingborg & Nantes for the last calendar year.

  17. Citronomics says:

    Nasty strike by Oswaldo!

  18. usaalltheway says:

    This Stoke v Chelsea game is quite lively.

    2-2 at the beginning of the second half. Stoke just blew their 2-1 after going down by 1 in the beginning of the first half.

    • usaalltheway says:

      Stoke WINS!! 3-2

      Mourinho looks PISSED leaving the pitch. He didn’t even give Hughes a proper congratulations.

      • Increase says:

        I’m shocked he gave one. I think he doesn’t like his team. Defensively they aren’t his style at all.

  19. Increase says:

    Bayern lost Robben, a starter. Musta been a hard game right? Right?

  20. WG says:

    Jozy in starting XI today.

  21. Chris says:

    Do we know how Cameron was? Stoke just beat Chelsea.

    • biff says:

      Cameron was a beast defensively for 95 minutes against several world-class attackers, was not at fault on Schurrle’s two goals. Offensively he was generally good, some excellent passes that his teammates failed to take advantage of, but, alas, a a couple of off-target crosses. I think when Hughes upgrades his team in January and/or next summer, he will be keeping Cameron, who might end up being a transfer target in January for some mid-level teams.

    • Increase says:

      He did a great job vs Hazard. He wasn’t really near Schurrle either time. One was on the right side. One was rebound off a corner left middle. Neither really where he should be.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i’ll have to temper biff and increase’s comments above. i thought cameron did some things very well, but he gave the ball away a bit too much (very dangerous for a defender up the field), and provided hardly any service from the flank.

      he wasn’t at fault for either of the goals, and i still think he was good overall, esp. considering he was defending against hazard mostly; just not that good.

      • biff says:

        I do remember two give-aways around midfield which I think over 95 minutes is reasonable playing against a quick and excellent team like Chelsea. But Cameron also won the ball several teams and he was a Rock of Gibralter on the right wing. An excellent defensive game under huge pressure the whole game.

        Give-aways now and then are a fact of soccer, Nate Dollars. I remember one time, even Michael Bradley playing for Roma gave the ball away :-)

        • Nate Dollars says:

          ‘I remember one time, even Michael Bradley playing for Roma gave the ball away’

          YOU WATCH YOUR MOUTH

  22. Fan Futbol says:

    Stoke City beats Chelsea 3-2!

  23. Bitman says:

    Altidore and Fletcher both in for Sunderland. Should be interesting.

    • TomG says:

      I finally gave up on the Sunderland move last weekend and now Jozy’s started two in a row. I’m back to giving it a proper chance.

    • CroCajun1003 says:

      whoop whoop. let’s do this. merica!

    • usaalltheway says:

      Let’s see these two actually work together for a change.

      I have this sneaking suspicion that Fletcher doesn’t care for Jozy.

      GET SOME JOZY!!!!!!

      • CroCajun1003 says:

        Fletcher said some really nice things about Jozy in an article that came out about 2 weeks ago. Praised his effort and attitude.

        • usaalltheway says:

          I read that too.

          However, I got this feeling it was more of a backhanded compliment than a genuine compliment. I could just be reading into things that aren’t even there.

  24. jones says:

    But ugh, Adam Johnson – he had a poor substitute appearance the other day so why give him the start?
    Poyet sure likes to mess with his lineups…

  25. Shawn Wallace says:

    why play adam johnson!

  26. manicmessiah says:

    Too many players playing for Man United based on what they could be instead of what they are.

  27. usaalltheway says:

    Nice run by Jozy through the midfield.

    He recovered the ball about 8ish yards from the top of Sunderland’s box, bossed his way through three of Tottenham’s players in the middle of the pitch and was only stopped after he was swarmed by the entire defense.

    Yeah, Jozy sucks…..

    • Increase says:

      Sunderland has issues with having runners go up the flanks. They are getting better at it though. People just don’t make runs on that team.

  28. jones says:

    Not really into the hospital scrub-blue kits

  29. Francois says:

    Jozy looks good, as usual. Hopefully he bags another goal today.

  30. Francois says:

    Jozy puts Colback through, but he spurns the chance.

  31. Citronomics says:

    Nice layoff by Jozy in the box to setup Colback,, who should’ve done better there.

  32. CroCajun1003 says:

    So far Jozy looks to be the only creative spark Sunderland has out there. Taking on a bit of the playmaker roll.

    • usaalltheway says:

      I too am seeing that.

      He is very much the “connecting” player (for lack of a better term).

      Not to mention that run through the center of the pitch. He is a beast.

      • CroCajun1003 says:

        He’s all but demanding the ball out there. Don’t know if we’ve seen that from him before. So far I’m liking what I’m seeing from the Jozy/Fletcher partnership

        • usaalltheway says:

          Why do you like the partnership? I don’t see any reason to think much of it.

          Given that Jozy does play better with a partner, what about this partnership makes you feel that way?

          Jozy is good. If he played for Everton or even Tottenham he would score many goals.

    • Increase says:

      His passes are a bit off sometimes but he is so much faster at moving the ball and wants to keep the ball moving. AZ did that but it was Maher playing this role.(Maher was really good at it.) But almost everyone on AZ was expected to make opportunities for others.

    • M says:

      Joey is a fairly decent midfielder, who knew? He controls the ball, makes smart passes, breaks up plays and is good for the occasional run into the box. So calm on the ball.

      • usaalltheway says:

        +1

        His passing as has always been one of his strongest points. He is in fact a great midfielder. He is sharp, calm, passes well and is great at finding space.

  33. AL says:

    Is there a play where Altidoe doesn’t complain about something?
    You’re not that good, dude. Just shut up and play.

  34. CroCajun1003 says:

    Jozy just got frustrated with Larson for not playing the ball to his feet when he was at the top of the box with his back to goal.

    He’s playing w/ a lot of emotion right now.

    • usaalltheway says:

      I also saw exactly that.

      Very selfish play on Larson’s part, especially considering he blew a chance after getting the ball from Jozy.

  35. Francois says:

    One and only negative of Jozy’s play today: he needs to improve his movement, and workrate offensively. Working harder to get into scoring positions will help his goalscoring record.

  36. Dave says:

    Altidore and Walker. Good theater.

  37. shawn says:

    Gooooooaaaaaaallllllllll

  38. Francois says:

    Haha Hugo Lloris is soooooo bad. I can’t believe he starts over Brad Friedel, even with his age. AVB strikes again!

  39. James says:

    Jozy did a nice job in the run up to that goal.

  40. Citronomics says:

    Wonder how Friedel would’ve done on that cross… Nice diagonal ball by Jozy to spark the sequence and well taken shot by Johnson.

  41. away goals says:

    boom sunderland.

  42. CroCajun1003 says:

    Jozy combines with Larson in the middle, sends a beautiful outlet pass to the RB. Cross comes in, goalie miss plays it. Johnson finishes. 1-0 Sunderland.

    Jozy spraying the ball all over pitch today.

  43. Adam Johnson says:

    How ya like me now?

  44. usaalltheway says:

    ANOTHER own goal. :(

    Great, just great.

    Sunderland is just too much to take. How bad can they get?

  45. MJC-DC says:

    Why are English announcers afraid to call a dive a dive? … Call them out, make people accountable for this terrible habit it will only improve the quality and fairness of the game.

    • AL says:

      Same reason people claim Dempsey and Altidore are not divers. Afraid of the reaction they’ll get.

      • Hogatroge says:

        I’m not afraid to say Dempsey and Jozy dive occasionally. That said, Jozy also takes more hard fouls than Deuce because he’s stronger and opponents know they can get away with it.

        You’d dive occasionally, too, if you had to deal with that.

        • MJC-DC says:

          This is the line we need to draw. Going down if a foul is legitmate is acceptable. No contact = dive. This is no easy feat for a ref to get right 100% of the time, especially given the speed of the game. This is why I advocate for fines/punishment after the fact if a dive is missed.

      • MJC-DC says:

        Doesn’t matter who they are, few things are black and white to me, we live in a complex world. This however is. Who cares what reaction you get if your advocating for something that is absolutely right.

  46. CroCajun1003 says:

    1-1 at halftime.

    Armchair analysis time. Having watched Sunderland all year, I don’t see why everyone speaks so highly of Fletcher. Other than winning balls in the air, he doesn’t offer much. He seems more often than not out of ideas in the final third.

    I’d like to see a Jozy/Borini partnership in the future. Borini has a bit more flair and creativity too him. I think he and Jozy would really play off each other well. Let’s see what happens.

    • jones says:

      Borini did pretty well with Jozy against Chelsea and I’d like to see him replace Fletcher soon. Fletcher hasn’t really been in the game.

    • usaalltheway says:

      THANK YOU!!

      I have been saying that Fletcher isn’t much of a striker as well for months. If you go to Sunderland boards, they act like he is the Scottish Messi while TRASHING Jozy.

      Jozy is clearly the better player. It’s not even close.

      • jones says:

        Jozy offers so many more dimensions with his combination play and speed/power.

        The commentators were saying something dumb at the beginning about how Fletcher was their “leading scorer” and they needed to keep him fit. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a good player too, but I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.

        • usaalltheway says:

          English fans and commentators have a massive bias against Yanks. It’s just an ugly reality for our players.

          You are dead on with Jozy having more dimensions. Fletcher is great in the air, whereas Jozy is not. The rest is ALL Jozy. I don’t think much of Fletcher based on this season’s performance. He is simply not good.

    • Increase says:

      Fletcher is better in the Air. A lot better really but thats about it.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Fletcher just has a knack for scoring against the run of play. Jozy actually contributes to the run of play.

        • usaalltheway says:

          +1

          Just don’t tell Sunderland supporters…they’ll want to lynch you.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          this. often it’s not about who is the objectively better player (not that i’m claiming either is), but about who fits the game plan. if your plan is to lob balls forward on the counter and see if you can nick a goal on a set piece, jozy’s not really your guy. fletcher is.

  47. usaalltheway says:

    Now THAT ONE was an own goal.

    Good one there. Sunderland, you suck.

  48. CroCajun1003 says:

    Sunderland gives up an own goal. 2-1.

    But that play started when Johnson won the ball in the attacking third, played it back to the CM, and the CM plays an absolutely terrible ball straight to the defender to give up possession. These guys are absolutely clueless in the final third. Passes like that is the reason why Sunderland loses games.

  49. Francois says:

    Another own goal. Wow. What a shocker.

  50. ThatKidNandez says:

    Rimando makes a move to Sunderland in january haha?

  51. Adam Johnson says:

    I score and play D. MOTM for Sunderland yes?

  52. Bean says:

    Sunderland are very adept at own goals with their 5th of the season. Top of the league by a good margin. Always very likely to put the ball in their net.

  53. CroCajun1003 says:

    While we’re harping on bad Sunderland players, I don’t understand the constant praise of Larson. He reminds me a bit of Brad Davis. He’s got a sweet foot for set pieces, but that’s about it. He’s playing RM atm, but is tucking in and essentially becoming a third CM. The only runs on the right come from the RB.

    Say what you will about Johnson, but at least he’s performing his tactical duty. So far all the Sunderland breakouts have started on the left. There is no presence on the right. The goal was scored by a move that started on the left, moved to the center, then went right when the RB overlapped.

    Replace Larson w/ Giaac.

  54. ThatKidNandez says:

    Defoe’s gonna boss at Toronto

    • Increase says:

      Hit the post what 3 times this game? I know its not a goal but thats still impressive.

      • ThatKidNandez says:

        Very impressive. He was unlucky not to score today. Ryan Nelsen’s gonna bring toronto back. He’s trying to sign Gilardino at the moment. The toronto bandwagon is coming.

      • Joamiq says:

        Defoe should have done better though. Did well to hit the frame at least on a couple of those attempts, but was also wasteful with some other good service. Really should have scored one or two today.

  55. Paul says:

    Sunderland CANNOT string passes together. Its watching a bad JV team when they are passing the bad or trying to control the ball out of their own half.

  56. Paul says:

    that was a mis-communication on a through-in

  57. Ryan says:

    Jozy has been excellent for Sunderland today. Everything they’ve done going forward has come through him. He’s been industrious without the ball and surprisingly inventive when picking up the ball short. I’m not worried about him. If anything, he looks hungrier than ever. Also, this actually has been a relatively encouraging performance by Sunderland. If they play like this against lesser teams, I think they’ve got a fighting chance of staying up.

    • usaalltheway says:

      +1

      My only caveat is that Sunderland can’t make it happen in the final third and that Fletcher isn’t getting it done. Sunderland needs, more than anything, one decent attacking midfielder. I mean anyone who is halfway decent.

      Jozy was fantastic today.

    • jones says:

      They didn’t look bad against Chelsea either. Definitely seeing improvement.

  58. Paul says:

    Sunderland does not move well into spaces or anticipate movement

  59. Francois says:

    Anybody know AJ has looked today?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      saw about 30 minutes (he was just subbed off).

      looked very energetic and involved; always pressing defenders and keeper. also tried to use his chest to ricochet a teammate’s wayward shot into goal. he missed, but the idea was impressive.

  60. Joamiq says:

    Jozy played very well today. He didn’t have to spend the entire game with his back to goal, which helped. He looked pretty frustrated out there – needs to channel those emotions more positively. Picked up an unnecessary yellow.

  61. Fredo says:

    Go Wiz!