Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

David Silva of Manchester City and Craig Bellamy of Cardiff City in action

Photo by Kieran McManus / ISIPhotos.com

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Three of the top four teams in the English Premier League are at home on this Soccer Saturday as the tight race for the title continues.

First-place Arsenal will look to make it five league wins in a row Saturday as they host struggling Fulham at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners currently hold a one-point advantage over second-place Manchester City, who will be looking for revenge at the Ethiad Stadium. Months after falling to Cardiff City in South Wales, the Citizens welcome the Bluebirds to Manchester, where they have crushed opponents by a combined score of 38-6 in 10 consecutive home victories.

The day’s action from England opens up at the Stadium of Light as Jozy Altidore and Sunderland aim to get out of the dreaded drop zone with a victory against Southampton, who have been up and down in form recently. After the middle stretch of matches, Liverpool will wrap up the Saturday slate with a home match against Aston Villa.

In Mexico, the most anticipated match of the young Liga MX Clausura season will take place at the Azteca as defending champions Club Leon visit America in a rematch of last season’s final. Later in the evening, first-place Queretaro visit Monterrey in another intriguing matchup.

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):

7:15am – Leeds United vs. Leicester City – beIN Sport USA

7:45am – Sunderland vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Network

10am – Arsenal vs. Fulham – NBC Sports Network

10am – Manchester City vs. Cardiff City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Norwich City vs. Hull City – Premier League Extra Time

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

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

10am – Real Betis vs. Real Madrid – beIN Sport USA

10am – Aberdeen vs. Inverness CT – Fox Soccer Plus

11am – Olympique Marseille vs. Valenciennes – Univision Deportes

12pm – AS Roma vs. Livorno – beIN Sport USA

12pm – Elche vs. Rayo Vallecano – beIN Sport en Español

12:30pm – Liverpool vs. Aston Villa – NBC

2pm – Nice vs. Ajaccio – Univision Deportes

2pm – Granada vs. Osasuna – beIN Sport en Español

2pm – Palmeiras vs. Linense – ESPN3

2:45pm – Juventus vs. Sampdoria – beIN Sport USA

4pm – Espanyol vs. Celta de Vigo – beIN Sport en Español

4:30pm – Santos vs. XV de Piracicaba – GolTV USA

6pm – America vs. Club Leon – Univision

6pm – Veracruz vs. Chivas de Guadalajara – Univision Deportes

8pm – Monterrey vs. Querétaro – UniMas

8pm – Pachuca vs. Club Tijuana – Univision Deportes

8pm – Boca Juniors vs. River Plate (Friendly) – Fox Deportes

10pm – Chiapas vs. Cruz Azul – Univision Deportes

10pm – Atlas vs. Atlante – Univision Deportes 2

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

315 Responses to Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

  1. Dough Boy says:

    Is Jozy in the starting XI?

    • Stir Crazy says:

      ……….In the Premiership, Altidore started and played 72 min and Cameron and Dempsey both went the full 90 for Stoke and Fulham

      In the Championship, Shea went 77 min for Barnsley while Gooch started for Wednesday and went all 90 min, as did Tim Ream and Danny Williams, both partaking in the 7-1 route of Bolton by Reading

      Duane Holmes, Will Packwood and Zak Whitbread all made the bench for their teams but saw no time

      Also, Adam Henley went 90 min for Blackburn.

  2. Observer says:

    Jozy has an earlier flick-on of a header. Nice pass.

  3. Observer says:

    Sunderland is looking like they do not want to press early.

    • Observer says:

      So far, Southampton are dominating this game. Sunderland have had very little possession. Jozy has not had the ball at his feet at all, I think (10 minutes in).

      • Leo says:

        Jozy’s had to drop back into the midfield and win the ball to try to get possession. Sunderland just looks poor today, I feel bad for him.

  4. Observer says:

    Great goal for Rodriguez!

  5. Bean says:

    That early goal may be problematic for the Black Cats.

  6. Nate Dollars says:

    since jozy is starting today, i’m assuming everyone who concluded that he was obviously second choice to fletcher after last game will now post comments about how they were wrong.

    • TomG says:

      Haters gon hate. These people are not motivated by a rational give and take with the real world but rather by the misery inside themselves that requires them to blindly lash out. Altidore experiencing any amount of success just causes them more misery. Sad.

  7. Nate Dollars says:

    every time i watch sunderland play, i always come away thinking, ‘you know, 17 points from 21 games isn’t too bad, actually.’

  8. Philly Union Rule says:

    How are Jozy or Fletcher supposed to score any goals when the midfield doesn’t exist? How many passes to feet does Suarez get in comparison?

    • Daniel says:

      Woah. Please dont mention jozy and suarez in same conversation.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Please don’t comment here ever again.

        Doesn’t feel so great, does it?

      • dude1 says:

        What part of this statement suggested Suarez and Jozy are equally talented? It’s true. Decent teams manage to get the ball to their strikers, or they are pretty much screwed.

      • usaalltheway says:

        Making a statistical analysis of two players playing in the same league in the same position is a perfectly reasonable comparison to make.

        That is how most of the numbers are derived.

        What exactly is the issue?

  9. Nate Dollars says:

    ha, was just gonna say, i don’t know why players bother making runs when adam johnson has the ball. and there’s his assist to borini.

  10. Leo says:

    Borini’s goal started with Jozy pressing the keeper. Beautiful finish by Borini, 2-1 Southampton in front.

  11. Bean says:

    Liverpool’s Fabio Borini loan has worked well so far.

  12. Leo says:

    Jozy finally received something and promptly fell on top of the ball. I think his feet were shocked.

  13. Clevelandfc says:

    I am so tired of Jozy falling down. I want to pull for him, but he is lazy and flops.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i agree that he flops (and not well). but i don’t see him being lazy.

    • Increase says:

      He is trying to hard to draw fouls. Its something Dempsey does a lot too. But Jozy just can’t sell them. He didn’t again just now. I think he got shoved on the shoulder and went down easy. He is never gunna get that.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Yeah…. the prerequisite to getting the benefit of the doubt on those types of plays is building a rep by making plays, putting the ball in the net…. proving that a goal-scoring opportunity was thwarted.

  14. Observer says:

    Jozy helped with the build-up of that last chance. Nice control and pass.

  15. J says:

    You can hear that the crowd has turned against Altidore. They boo or sarcastically cheer every time the ball gets close to him

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yup, i thought i heard the same thing. awful, simply because it’s not like he’s the reason the team sucks. wouldn’t ever assume this, but you have to wonder if it’s a race thing.

      • Bean says:

        I don’t think that it’s racism. Altidore’s wooden touch at times is frustrating for the Sunderland faithful.

      • J says:

        I don’t think it’s a race thing. If you get paid as much as he does and don’t score goals… AT ALL. They’re gonna be hacked off, they don’t want excuses

      • Nate Dollars says:

        Bean and J,

        i didn’t say jozy was playing well, and i’m certainly not making any excuses for him. i said that it doesn’t make sense to single him out for poor play; pretty much the whole team sucks.

        • Clyde Frog says:

          Wasn’t he their big summer signing? Assuming he was, that gets you singled out all the time.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            that i could see, but wasn’t he one of like 11 big summer signings?

            • Stir Crazy says:

              The thing though, is that this “team that sucks”, scores goals without him

              • Nate Dollars says:

                okay? how many goals did they score today without him? doesn’t he lead the team in assists?

                the team sucks, with or without jozy. and he’s one of their better performers.

    • Observer says:

      With 30% possession, I would assume that they would boo their whole team. Everyone needs a scapegoat, though. Who can be that? The American.

    • TomG says:

      That was what the commentator said, but I hadn’t heard any such thing and he said it directly after Jozy made a nice play to build the attack which Larsson utterly squandered with a weak header. It was Larssons header that predicated the crowd’s reaction, nothing to to with Jozy, whose touch was three passes before. I believe it is the color commentator’s issue, not the crowd’s. If anything, they’re groaning at Larsson getting the ball which is understandable.

  16. TomG says:

    The ball bounces neatly at O’Shea’s feet in the box but instead of simply clearing it out or controlling it, he inexplicably invents a third option and decides to bend over nearly 180 degrees and head the ball awkwardly over the endline causing the corner that led to the Saints’ second goal. What a crazy decision.

  17. mb says:

    Jozy is playing poorly. The EPL magnifies his weaknesses. He is not active defensively. He is not very active offensively. He is either lazy or really “tactical”. When he has time, he gets rid of the ball like a hot potato. When he’s pressured, he tries to demonstrate his strength and looses the ball. Very hard to watch. Of course he doesn’t have much support but he should be much better than this.

    • Observer says:

      Great lay-off by Jozy!

    • Observer says:

      In your reply to your post, Jozy has actually looked decent today. Not great, but decent.

      • Roy says:

        I wouldn’t go as far as decent. He has been as equally bad as others. We have to work too hard to find the good parts of his play for Sunderland. No one that big should fall down that easily.

        • Observer says:

          I know other people feel unhappy about him falling down, but I do not really consider his falling when evaluating his performance.

          He has looked great in the air. He has won many headers, but most have been to no avail because no one is helping him up top.

          It seems like his role is to make Southampton’s line drop as far back as possible, which is why he is not seen in the defensive half.

          Would you consider this performance (link to youtu.be) bad by Altidore? He is basically the same player.

          • Roy says:

            We’re judging his performance for this game, primarily. What he did last year or in MLS doesn’t really matter now. I think a lot of people who were unhappy when his Sunderland move was announced are looking correct now. Jozy needs to play with a bit more meanness.

            • CroCajun1003 says:

              The guy is playing consistently in the EPL. Is this not what all the Eurosnops want?

              • usaalltheway says:

                No, he actually has to BECOME European now. Not French or English or German but EUROPEAN.

                Then it will be okay. ;)

    • MidWest Ref says:

      i don’t see how you single out Jozy based on the terrible first half played by Sunderland. Southhampton came out firing (must have had an extra Red Bull before the game) and Sunderland had an extra helping of eggs and sausage.

      Lets see what happens in the second half before we single our American out for either criticism or praise

  18. Bean says:

    Strikers take a lot of heat from everyone when they aren’t scoring goals, regardless of race, or ethnicity. Get goals and the pressure will recede.

  19. Observer says:

    Jozy just had a great lay-off, and he just won a corner. Not a bad start to the half.

  20. Observer says:

    Jozy has looked good in the air today. If he can replicate the header that lead to Bradley’s goal, I would think that most fans would be happy with his performance.

    link to youtu.be

  21. Increase says:

    If any one wants something positive about today, a certain player has won alot of headers he normally doesn’t. Which is odd and they have to nothing be his head has been on them.

  22. TomG says:

    I remember the color commentators voice now. This guy has a total hard on for Fletcher and just keeps badgering Jjozy all match, calling for Fletcher to come in over and again. He’s completely biased. The play by play guy is fine.

    • Increase says:

      Ya, its dumb. He keeps saying Adam Johnson is confident in possession but what he means is that he doesn’t pass and keeps the ball. Oh he got an assist but the last 3 times he had the ball he just ran into 3 bodies and expected to get through somehow.

    • Marcroi says:

      Agreed and he just called for Fletcher again after Poyet’s substitutions.

    • MidWest Ref says:

      the same thing happened with dempsey last year. . . he is the only scorer for tottenham except for Bale, but the announcers pick apart his game while praising Defoe and Siggursdon . . . tough not to infer anti-american bias by the epl color commentators

      • usaalltheway says:

        There is no question regarding bias. They are biased. Incredibly so.

        There is no way around it. Only Howard and Guzan get respect from the British.

        • TomG says:

          Don’t group them all together. Some are excellent, some are awful, just like American commentators.

          • usaalltheway says:

            I wasn’t making a qualitative comment on the commentators.

            I was pointing out that the British, in a general sense, think poorly of American footballers. Some of their ire (if that is the right word) is based on reality. Some of it is just bias because they are Americans.

            Although Jozy has had a horrible go of it in the PREM, Dempsey was great. Last season, he got so little respect despite his performances.

            That was my general point.

            On a side note, I can’t stand 99% of commentators, regardless of nationality.

            • t says:

              It is also possible that Americans are biased watching Americans. Altidore isn’t good/scoring enough so those watching in Europe turn a blind eye – why shouldn’t they? – and he therefore hasn’t earned much respect yet. I don’t see the anti-yankee argument. So many players were actually local heroes over there – Keller, McBride, Donovan, Friedel… and others were at least thought very highly of – Reyna, Harkes, Demerit, Dempsey, Howard, Guzan, Olsen, Convey, Moore, Wegerle … So I don’t think one case makes that a rule, even if there were a slight prejudice in the air.

    • Stir Crazy says:

      That what the dynamic of a commentator and a “play by play” guy is supposed to: one mans opinion. Nothing else.

      And can you blame him for pointing out so something that’s so blatantly obvious? Jozy is sucking hard, wether you blame in on the team or himself, he just is right now. Fletcher on the other hand has been on crap teams these past few seasons and taken it upon himself to score goals, something Jozy hasn’t been able to figure out how to do.

      • TomG says:

        He’s not supposed to give his opinion, he’s supposed to give analysis based on reality. When he is constantly portraying the action in a way that is contrary to what is actually happening, the same way you are doing, he’s not doing a good job. Anyone can give an opinion, but dumb, biased and unsupported opinions like his and yours are worthless.

        • Stir Crazy says:

          lolzzzzz! your really serious right now. It’s genius. Thank You

          “constantly portray the action in a way that is contrary to what is actually happening when he’s supposed to give analysis based on reality and not supposed to give his opinion”.

          Genius, well please let me and the scientific community know when this has come to fruition, because as far as I know, to analyze information is to do so after it’s already been processed through the prefrontal cortex of our brain, and in such case, any comments are already predisposed to opinions subconsciously, which would make it impossible to be completely objective on any level, never mind the one your comment seems to suggest, wherein a person transcends reality, time and space, to occupy another persons mind on some level of existence, all just to satisfy one ego. Seems a bit tedious, idk about that.

          But maybe you would know though. I mean, to call my assertions that Jozy isn’t playing well and that you can could hardly blame Sunderland fans and/or the announcer for wanting Fletcher because of his recorded scoring prowess on bottom table teams “dumb, biased and unsupported” (all of which, being a Jozy homer you would know first hand), is so idiotic and hypocritical it’s lunatic.

          So if your reasoning really does make so much sense to you, you probably are “special” and do have otherworldly gifts. But please, put it to good use and, for starters, visit each and every USSF member and conspire to change our crest to the Centennial edition permanently. Thanks

        • GW says:

          Mr T.,

          If you watch other sports programs the “color” commentator is there precisely because they have an opinion.

          Usually they are former players who can give the viewer the benefit of their “inside” knowledge based on their playing days.

          Their view of “reality” may well be different from yours. That does not mean they are wrong or worhtless.

  23. Increase says:

    Borni pulls a Jozy falls over for a foul but it gives away a chance on goal. How did a giveaway near Southhampton’s goal give away a chance to score. Lordy Sunderland where is your midfield.

    • dude1 says:

      Jozy does flop occasionally, but usually when he’s on the dribble and shoulder to shoulder. A lot of this falling down is due to the fact that he’s got his back to defenders who are pressing so hard on his upper back because he’s stronger, eventually making him lose his balance when he tries to get the header. Refs are never going to call a foul, though they would a lot earlier if defenders did that to normal players.

  24. TomG says:

    Ref isn’t calling anything but the most obvious fouls.

  25. Observer says:

    Another great header by Jozy! Almost an equalizer for Sunderland!

  26. Observer says:

    Great run down the right flank by Altidore. Passes to the middle, but no one was there!

    • Increase says:

      Well someone was there but far post not near post. still decent.

      • Observer says:

        Johnson has looked pretty bad, except for the one assist. He tries to weave his way through 2,3 or 4 defenders time and time again.

  27. TomG says:

    Gus is getting schooled tactically today, maybe? Saints are getting the ball in huge amounts of space while no space or flow at all for Cats.

    • Increase says:

      Maybe its tactical but the players aren’t doing him any favors much better 2nd half.

    • Gary Page says:

      What I can’t figure out is why Poyet will play only one striker at home against a lesser team. It’s almost like he thinks the best they can do is get a draw. That’s no way to avoid relegation; you have to win these kind of games at home yet he plays defensively.

      • GW says:

        Southhampton are not a” lesser” team.

        If you let them overrun you in midfield they can play you right off the field.

  28. TomG says:

    Larsson off thankfully.

  29. TomG says:

    Great win there by Jozy over two Saints.

  30. J says:

    Fletcher warming up

  31. Increase says:

    Johnson! Runs right into… nothing with a fullback clear down the line. Huzzah! But commentator compliments him.

  32. Jamie Z. says:

    And that’s a day for Jozy.

    • David JS says:

      I’d be livid to subbed there for Fletcher if I were Jozy. “Yeah Jozy, we want you to do all the hard work, run around and get beat up without a sight of the ball for 70′ and we’ll sub you off as soon as soon we actually start creating anything!”

  33. John says:

    Well I’m sure watching Dempsey in a bit will be just as much fun….

  34. usaalltheway says:

    One hell of a strike by Johnson.

    Looks like Sunderland can get a point out of this.

    Also, the comments about Jozy seem like the same exact comments running for weeks now. They are almost word for word the same.

    Why did you go to Sunderland Jozy? Why?

    • Skyman says:

      My thoughts exactly. Poor decision

      • bottlcaps says:

        While it was ultimately Jozy’s decision to transfer to Sunderland. There was an amazing amount of pressure from Alkmaar for him to take the deal. It was quite a bit more than the other teams had offered AZ, and they wanted to cash out. The fact that DiCanio was stroking his ego, by pursuing him to no end and coupled with AZ need for cash, has Jozy out the door faster than he would have liked.

        The fact is that JA wanted to stay at Alkmaar and Verbeeck wanted him to stay, but the club wanted the money and Jozy departed followed not long after by Verbeek, whose sometimes contentious dealings with former USMNT and TD at AZ, Ernie Stewart, sealed the move.

        The fit at Sunderland was terrible for Jozy, as DiCanio must have only viewed scored by Jozy and NOT how he scored them. The offensive formation was terrible and DiCanio realized he neither had the players nor the money to change things around. There really is an art to being a target forward like DiCanio wanted Altidore to be, but Jozy has not found the art yet and continues to struggle in an offense that is not suited to his style or skills.

  35. Bean says:

    Another goalless match from Altidore. That has to weigh heavy on the strikers mind.

  36. Observer says:

    I would say Jozy Altidore played average, if not a little above average. He won many headers — which is a great thing! As a fan of the USMNT, I want Jozy to be great in the air (link to youtu.be).

    He had a few great runs, but other than that, looked average.

    Nothing looked bad from his performance today.

  37. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Ridiculous. AS soon as Jozy leaves, the rest of his team decides to start playing. Gee, service and pressure. Jozy must feel cursed.

    • Observer says:

      What are you talking about?

      Sunderland have looked pretty good this whole half.

      • David JS says:

        I interpreted his comment to mean Jozy got hung out to dry alone up to while they had 30% possession, then get withdrawn as soon as they decide to make a game of it. How can a striker ever get any confidence with an approach like that?

        • Tony in Quakeland says:

          You took it as intended.

        • David JS says:

          Should’ve read: Jozy got hung out to dry alone up top while they had 30% possession, then gets withdrawn as soon as they decide to make a game of it.

          And I couldn’t agree more. Ridiculous is right.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        If by good, you mean better than the unbelievably abysmal display in the first half, sure.

    • David JS says:

      +1, I made basically the same comment word for word a little higher in this thread.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        96th minute, stole the ball and pass to Fletcher in the box. Did Jozy get a single ball even remotely as wide open as that?

        • David JS says:

          Yep…being a crap team’s scapegoat must not be much fun for Jozy, but he should be stronger for it in the end. Just gotta try to keep his head up.

        • beachbum says:

          I cannot recall one ball for him like that, and Fletcher’s first touch on that ball sucked

    • John says:

      I thought it was once they took Larsson off, he was awful

      • David JS says:

        Why they keep playing him in center midfield is beyond me. Decent wide player at times but he’s complete crap in the middle.

    • usaalltheway says:

      One could really get the feeling that the team doesn’t like him.

      I have made that statement before but I got attacked for it. I think it’s true. They don’t like him, AT ALL.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Like him? I don;t think that enters into anything. If anything at all, Jozy is being asked to hold up the ball, which has never really been his game. When they make a late sub like this, its to add more attack, which in turn means asking the sub to not hold up, to make runs instead. i think the response, if it is triggered by the sub at all, is triggered by the change of approach.

        Liking or not liking has nothing to do with it.

        • usaalltheway says:

          I disagree. Have you ever played sports?

          It matters BIG TIME if the other players on the team like you.

          • Tony in Quakeland says:

            Have you played professionally? The sports world is full of teammates who hated each other – and were great as teammates.

            If you seriously think that a relugation threatened team makes an effort based on liking or not liking… well, I don’t know what to tell you. If you said, “They have no confidence in him” I would say you have a case to make. I wouldn’t necessarily agree, but you could say that lack of confidence makes a subtle difference, at least that’s possible.

            But liking? Who cares about liking? And if you are going to argue that personal feelings from the players affects the play, you need to cite some evidence.

            • usaalltheway says:

              Someone needs to relax.

              Either you are drinking too much or too little. ;)

              Or are letting this get to you a little too much man.

              Take a minute, breath deeply and later we will talk. I do want have the conversation because I think you have a sense of things but not when you are steaming like this.

        • Stir Crazy says:

          So if he doesn’t hold up the ball and he doesn’t create scoring chances for himself, what does Jozy do well exactly

      • Chris says:

        You should know the feeling well.

      • GW says:

        “usaalltheway says:One could really get the feeling that the team doesn’t like him….. I think it’s true. They don’t like him, AT ALL.”

        Well, it is true that you think that. That does not make it true.
        If I see a forward not seeing a lot of the ball I usually think it’s because his team has trouble getting it to him.

        You seem to be implying that their dislike of him causes them to not pass him the ball. Unless you have inside information there is no way for us to know that the Sunderland players hate Jozy so much that they would cut their own throats by doing this. And if the Sunderland players are that unprofessional then they deserve whatever they get. They have enough trouble doing well with 11 men why try to play with 10?

        You must think Poyet, who would be in the best position to know if this were happening, is blind. Yet he continues to give Jozy significant playing time.

        When a team is losing there will not be a lot of happy faces around. And whatever the truth is if Jozy scores or otherwise contributes to the team doing well everyone will like him a lot more.

    • TomG says:

      To be fair, the team looked much better after Jozy came on last week, so perhaps they are a second half club. Also, the Saints spent a ton of energy bossing the pitch in the first half so look as if they’re beginning to tire.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i saw it as a purposeful tactical change. throw on a fresh striker, and go for the win.

  38. Brent from Waco says:

    Is it me or do Bourc looks fatter than I remember?

  39. Increase says:

    Did anyone just see Fletcher like… do a belly slide in the box? What was that about?

  40. Chris says:

    At least Jozy is overseas training and playing with the greatest players in the world.

    He will be in top form for the World Cup.

    • Observer says:

      THIS idea is so absurd. Do you really think that by playing with a lower-tier team and having no service is going to make Jozy a better player?

      • TomG says:

        In some ways, yes. Playing against the best competition can only help him against the likes of Germany this Summer. He’s not going to get much service there either, after all.

      • John says:

        He is being sarcastic I believe playing off all the comments about Bradley’s move

        • usaalltheway says:

          +1

          Chris is a troll.

          I usually don’t like to use the word but his behavior on here reflects it.

      • usaalltheway says:

        Chris is implicitly mentioning Bradley’s move.

        It’s sarcasm. Nothing more.

        The important word is the preposition. It’s “against” not “with” that matters. Sunderland is not world-class but many of it’s opponents are.

    • Chris says:

      John is right. I’m just harboring annoyance from earlier comments still ;D

      To be frank, I’d LOVE for Altidore to be back in MLS at this point.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i agree, although i’d say he’s playing *against* the best players in the world, not *with* :) . his confidence may be lower than we’d like, but he will be very sharp.

      another commenter remarked that the premier league is exposing his weaknesses. i don’t think that’s a bad thing; i think he’s being made to improve on those weaknesses.

  41. TomG says:

    Great goal by Johnson. The guy has some tools, no question, but his unwillingness to move the ball sensibly the great majority of the time drives me crazy. The very next good attacking sequence, he had the ball on the right and a teammate wide, wide open at the corner of the box, but instead he decides to try to run at his man on the sideline and turns it over. He helps his own stat line, but kills the whole attack and prevents his teammates from getting the ball in a good position.

    • Increase says:

      Ya, I saw that as well. Hes not bad… just mindless. Why wouldn’t he put it our right and let that guy get a clean cross in. Who knows.

    • John says:

      Considering he just fired away for the first half of the season missing everything, I guess he finally starting to even out.

    • GW says:

      They say the same thing about Arjen Robben.

      Guys like that you take the bad with the good and hope there is more good.

      • TomG says:

        Tell me you didn’t just compare Adam Johnson to Arjen Robben?

        • GW says:

          Mr. T.

          Of course, I did.

          Johnson is very capable. He was highly regarded at Manchester City. He is an England international with 11caps and 2 goals. He is hoping his recent revival will get him back on Hodgson’s radar.

          He also plays on the right wing even though he is strongly left footed.

          And like Arjen, he can be infuriatingly selfish with the ball.
          They do not share the much higher level of ability Robben has but Johnson has 7 goals for Sunderland this season, 5 in the league, which makes him very important to Sunderland, just like Robben is important to Bayern.

  42. Jacob ATL says:

    I don’t know guys, Fletcher defffffinitely has done more than Jozy in terms of leading the line and scoring goals, which is what the color guy said Jozy wasn’t doing well.

  43. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Completely random comment: don’t know if any of you saw Searching for Sugarman, but every time the announcer says Rodriquez, the song “I wonder” pops into my head….

    By the way, if you have never seen Searching for Sugarman, get it and watch it. Don’t look up anything about it or read anything. Just watch it. You will be so glad you did.

  44. Increase says:

    BTW if West Ham lose by 7 this weekend. Sunderland is out of the relegation zone. Also that scoreline is not as insane as it sounds. They lose 5-0 to Forrest and 6-0 to City.

    Somehow… it looks like Sunderland will make it.

    1. If they stay up Who thinks Mr. Altidore should stay and tough it out.(Even if they stop playing him for a while.

    2. Who thinks he should leave no mattter what? Is this even possible with his record right now?

    • usaalltheway says:

      He needs to stay.

      It’s really a lose-lose situation. Sunderland can’t or won’t play to his strengths and it seems obvious at this point the team doesn’t care for him, at least as a player.

      If he leaves, it will curse him as a player. No one will want to touch him. I could be wrong on that one. It’s just the feeling I get from it.

      Despite it all, this will make Jozy a better player.

      • Increase says:

        Thats what I was kinda thinking. He has to stick it out. If he doesn’t, it will haunt him. Personally and careerwise. Blah, no good answers here. Part of me wants them to go down so He can get some time in the Championship. Then have a magic promotion, but… thats not that simple.

        • usaalltheway says:

          Yeah, it’s a bad place to be in.

          Thanks for being respect BTW. This place is getting overrun by tr0lls as of late.

          • Increase says:

            Urg I know. It started like 3-4 months ago. I’m not sure what happened. I feel like people feel there is only 1 correct answer in Soccer. So its their opinion or nothing. How boring would soccer be if there was only 1 way.

    • the original jb says:

      I think Jozy should transfer to a team with better players and a system that plays more to his strengths. And I don’t think it has to be a team from a top 4 league, though I suspect there will be teams from a top league that will give him a shot because of his physical skills. But its his mental game that needs improvement, the ability to stay sharp even when you dont see much of the ball. And I’m sure that isn’t easy.

      • usaalltheway says:

        +1

        Great comment.

      • Increase says:

        Interesting. I would like that too but.. I can’t think of where. Maybe wolfsburg. They need decent players on the Cheap.

      • dude1 says:

        Some sports writer made a comment about his first touch, which I think is accurate. You can’t make your career as a pure hold up player if you need a touch to steady yourself.

        Therefore, he needs to play in a league, and for a team that will get him the ball in space as well. We saw in this game in one play that he’s able to make dangerous plays when he can settle into the dribble and size up the defense. But if they expect him to just put his back to two defenders and have all his touches be in that situation, he’s not going to be successful, not because he can’t hold up the play, but because it’s tough for him to do anything more than make a simple back pass.

        • beachbum says:

          funny comment considering what he’s brought to that team’s buildup play is his ability to one touch pass accurately.

          • dude1 says:

            One touch pass is not the same as first touch. He’s good at making an incoming ball bounce back to a player he’s aiming at, but when it comes to controlling it immediately (killing the ball’s momentum) and trying to do something with it (not simple pass) he has trouble, especially when it becomes predictable for defenders and he’s doing it the entire game. That’s just not who he is. He’s more comfortable when given time and space to turn.

          • dude1 says:

            Comment in moderation, probably because I referred to the difference between a one touch pass from a heavy pass and k#lling the ball’s momentum with a single touch. For Jozy to be successful for an EPL team as bad as Sunderland, he’s going to have to control the ball, and make something happen. He has the strength and skill to do this, but he doesn’t have the first touch to set him up in this frantic, high pressure league. The Dutch league left him more time and space to show his strenths- but that one moment when the ball is coming in and the defenders are on his shoulders isn’t helping him do that.

            • Gary Page says:

              Playing only one striker up top makes a huge difference. He rarely has any support and the defense can gang up on him without fear. If you have two strikers then they can play give and gos and make runs off one another. I have seen many games change when a team changes formation from one striker to two. I think it is Poyets tactics, especially in the first half, which affect Jozy’s lack of opportunities.

        • zeus says:

          There is also an issue of the choices of runs that Jozy tends to make. I think you can really see his lack of confidence in those choices.

          The biggest difference I’ve noticed between Jozy and Fletcher is those runs. Jozy too often elects to make the back post run, which I interpret as a deferential run. As if he’s hoping to be there for the 2nd ball on a team that is rarely capable of playing the 1st ball, especially on a team where there is rarely a supporting player coming in to fill the space. Therefore nothing ever materializes for that back post run. Fletcher tends to make the near-post or center channel demand-the-ball run. Based on the body language I interpret this as low confidence on Jozy’s part and a certain I-am-the-alpha/I-am-the-tip-of-the-spear attitude on Fletcher’s part.

          I am a huge fan of Jozy’s and think that overall he is likely more skilled than Fletcher, but in games I’ve watched lately I seem him making poor choices about the spaces he fills on the rare occasions where Sunderland flows into attack. As a striker you are a lot more likely to receive the ball if you are driving into the box like a freight train at the most dangerous point of attack at the most critical moment.

          With that said, if he does do that Johnson is going to shoot from 40 yards or dribble into a cul-de-sac on the wing 90% of the time. But his odds of receiving a dangerous chance will about triple by moving from back post (I estimate around a 3% chance) to near-post/center-channel (around a 9-10%) on any given attack.

          • Joe C. says:

            I’ve been wondering if some of the stuff Altidore does that people don’t like is the result of Poyet’s tactical decisions or coaching. I think one could argue that Jozy is the favored of the two (especially with all the Fletcher transfer talk) and if he is, we have to wonder why.

            I might submit that some of the things Jozy does, like make those back-post runs, are things Poyet has asked him to do for the sake of the team. The sort of actions that don’t make Jozy look good on paper, but that help the team win and ingratiate him to his coach. Just thinking aloud here.

            • usaalltheway says:

              Another great comment!

              Good stuff guys.

              Keep it coming. I like learning from you guys.

            • zeusbrowne says:

              I think there’s a good chace you’re right, but it’s impossible to know for sure unless Poyet or Jozy come right out and say it.

              And if that’s the case, is Fletcher making the runs he does AGAINST the coach’s instructions (seems unlikely)?

              It would seem likely that when they’re playing individually up top in a platoon, as they have been, they’d be playing to basically the same set of instructions from the coach.

              So for the moment I’m hesitant to attribute the diffence to explicit instructions from the coaching staff.

              • Joe C. says:

                Oh yeah, I’m not saying that’s definitely what’s happening at all. I’m just wondering if there’s a possibility for an alternative reasoning. And, of course, I would love that to be the case instead of a lack of confidence/whatever.

            • GW says:

              The Fletcher transfer talk is due to the fact that there is probably more demand for him.

              If you are looking for a classic aerial threat British center forward, like Palace is, he is probably an easier fit than Jozy.

              He is rated at 9 million pounds while Jozy is rated at 6 million pounds.

          • usaalltheway says:

            Quality comment.

            I like what you are saying.

            I am going to pay more attention to those runs.

      • Stir Crazy says:

        FRANCE

    • beachbum says:

      stay. I’m impressed with this team under Poyet, and Jozy’s role under Poyet.

    • Leo says:

      Sunderland just parted ways with their director of football, and Poyet has come out publically to say how he wanted Huddlestone and how he wouldn’t have chosen the players Di Canio brought in. I’m sure that must give Jozy a ton of confidence.

  45. David JS says:

    For this morning’s entertainment, search “altidore” on twitter. Needless to say, Sunderland fans don’t seem to rate him.

    • John says:

      Onyewu getting a start?

    • Increase says:

      Oh man, I hate social media… People are not nice through the media of computers. They lose all humanity. If I was famous, I would never have a personal twitter. Just a minion who updates things unrelated to my actual life.

      • usaalltheway says:

        +1

        People can be real j$rks on social media. And comment sections.

        Have you ever seen Bill Maher’s New Rules on that?

  46. usaalltheway says:

    Did I hear that correctly? Fulham have never beaten Arsenal?

    Can that be right?

  47. hmm says:

    will Jozy ever get a goal or is he saving 4-5 for Brazil?

    • Benny says:

      He’ll get some more goals and save the rest for Brazil. Most importantly, his hold up play is getting better and better which can pay big dividends in the WC. The important thing is to apply what he is learning at Sunderland to the National team.

  48. Observer says:

    Commentators just said Berbatov is not playing as well this year, but “you have to look at the players around him. He seems to get all of the criticism for the team, which is unfair.”

    Hm…. sound like someone we know?

    • usaalltheway says:

      But Berbatov isn’t an American.

      That is the reason for that.

      Why it isn’t obvious to everyone at this point is beyond me.

      Oh well…

      • Maykol says:

        Everybody hates Jozy for being american? Stop being paranoid. People hate on him cause hes played like s*** in so many games

        • usaalltheway says:

          Perhaps.

        • beachbum says:

          Poyet seems to like him. Any comment on that?

          • Maykol says:

            It seems poyet likes him i guess. I mean not evernody hates jozy. And while he has played awful a lot he is still one of the teams better players. I believe hes leading assists if im not mistaken, so any coach would be a fool not to play him

          • usaalltheway says:

            Jozy plays a better striker than Fletcher in Poyet’s system.

            And Poyet seems to have always been positive on Jozy.

            Also, the club paid major $$$. It would be silly to not play him.

            However, I am convinced the other players dislike him and I know the fans think he is awful.

            Sunderland was not the place for him.

        • Benny says:

          … or a reflection of the side for which he is playing.

    • Madden's Chin says:

      No?

      Berbatov still has 5 goals in 16 matches… and has kind of earned the benefit of the doubt having well over a 100 EPL goals to his name including 5 seasons of 12 or more goals.

  49. Observer says:

    Shea has looked good so far for Barnsley today. He missed a shot that he should have put on-frame, though.

  50. Observer says:

    Is Dempsey even on the field? I do not think I have heard his name once.

  51. Observer says:

    Dempsey shows his strength. Good passes by him so far.

  52. usaalltheway says:

    Fulham is playing with purpose.

    Dempsey is invisible but Fulham is playing well.

    • Shiner says:

      He looks tired. A couple of speeds below everybody else.

      • usaalltheway says:

        That is a great observation.

        It would be best for him to accept that he is no longer “that” player he was and just enjoy his money and playing time in Seattle.

        It’s too bad that the USMNT loses the old Dempsey but given his age and family concerns, I doubt anyone would hold it against him.

        • Observer says:

          I don’t think I am watching the same game as you guys. He looks fine.

          • usaalltheway says:

            I haven’t seen much from him.

            I could be missing something. I just don’t see much from him.

          • beachbum says:

            agreed Observer. He’s in the middle of the field and is linking up and distributing, finding the creases like he always does then crashing forward into the box. Did the same for Seattle

            • Louis Z says:

              sorry beach, but I think you need to take your rose tinted glasses off. he is not fine, he is playing like he is going to a marathon right after the game, I don’t think he has gone full speed the whole game. and his passing? either to an open wide player or a square back pass, I don’t think this is anywhere the old Demps that we used to know and loved.

      • GW says:

        Shiner,

        He’s still working his way back to game fitness.
        And I imagine this Arsenal team make a lot of guys look “a couple of speeds below everybody else”.

  53. ATX_Colin says:

    Disagree, Dempsey looking good, linking up well and showing for the ball nice. Teammates are looking for him as well.

    • Observer says:

      Yeah, the commentators have not been calling his name in-between passes, but he has been working hard in the midfield.

    • Increase says:

      Dempsey just got criticized for not losing the ball…. while Berb was praised for being some form of demi god. Lovely. Dempsey has done more for Fulham than Berbatov every has…. senseless.

  54. usaalltheway says:

    How exactly does one pronounce Ozil?

    The British commentators seem to always say it like ER-ZIL not OZ-ZIL. That seems wrong to me but I don’t know a thing about the German language.

    • Scott says:

      Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve watched almost every game this year and its never the same from game to game and announcer to announcer. My friend and I,when we pronounce it, just change between two or three different ways.

      • usaalltheway says:

        I see…

        So then, on one really knows then?

        • Scott says:

          They do the same thing with Cazorla. Some times it is Cazorla and sometimes Cathorla.

          • usaalltheway says:

            Too funny!

            I guess it’s true that English speakers are horrible at foreign languages.

            • Benny says:

              If they use ‘th’ pronunciation, they are using a Peninsular Spanish pronunciation. If they use the ‘s’ pronunciation, they are using a standard American Spanish pronunciation used in all of Latin America.

        • Spectra says:

          When Ballack was on with Lalas at the Euro’s he always said it like oooze-ill. Although it is a turkish name not german

    • Observer says:

      Well, if the ‘O’ in his name has an umlaut, then the ‘O’ sounds like the the ‘o’s’ in ‘boo’.

      (b)Oozil

      • usaalltheway says:

        So then the commentators are really getting it wrong, if what you say it true.

        They clearly say ER-ZIL, like the “er” ending of singer and the “zill” part of Godzilla. ER-ZIL.

        • Observer says:

          I took four years of German in high school. I may not be fluent anymore, but I do remember pronunciations.

        • Hogatroge says:

          British commentators routinely butcher names.

          The “ER” is close-ish to the right way. If you learned abotu Goethe in high school, you’re teacher probably taught you:
          “GER-ta”

          Making the O (w/ umlaut) sound kind sounds like there should be an “r” at the end, but there’s really not.

          Imagine saying the “er” without an r at the end (not a sound made in English) and then adding a “tsil” pronouncing both the T & S.

          • Swifty says:

            Took 4 years of German in high school while living there the whole time. Hogatroge is 100% correct. Its a difficult sound to make if your American or probably any other non-Deutsch speaker. I never mastered it. Hats off to theses particular commentators for even getting this close.

      • Increase says:

        Ya kinda “Oh tzil”

        Needs more T

        But thats German and his name is Turkish. But thats how the Germans say it sooo… ya.

    • Hogatroge says:

      “O” (with an umlaut) sounds a bit like trying to say “Ooh” without pursing your lips.

      “z” in German sounds like “ts”

      “il” sounds the same as in English.

      “OOH-tsil”

    • Brett says:

      Oot-sill.

      The umlaut “o” is sort of halfway between our “double-o” sounds (as in “book” and “soon”) and the ‘z’ should have a very sharp, aspirated dental-fricative. Commentators tend to say it however they feel comfortable.

    • Anne says:

      The commentator tried to pronounce the Turkish (and also German) ‘Umlaut’ ö = oe which is in Özil’s resp. Oezil’s name. This umlaut is to be pronounced similar to the vowel sound of ‘hurt’.

  55. John says:

    Tim Ream and Bolton having a rough one down 4-0 at half to Reading

  56. gtv says:

    Deuce very calm on the ball today. Has made some nice passes and if not for a poor pass into him, was in on goal at least once.

  57. TomG says:

    Just an absolutely gorgeous tiki taka goal by Cazorla, Wilshere and Giroux.

  58. Bean says:

    Berbatov, and Duece have been shutdown

  59. Increase says:

    I just realized that Arsenal has 4 Germans now. Maybe 5 if Draxler shows up. Man, that would be awesome. Draxler is awesome. Sad for Schalke though if it happens.

  60. Bac says:

    I’d be interested to see Dempeys stats after this game, he’s quietly linking the ball nicely, although Fulham has done their best Sunderland impression of not being able to move the ball forward through the midfield. This is certainly not the same team Deuce left two years ago.
    He does look a step slower than he used to be, but he’s had very good touch and passing with the ball today… a far cry from playing on Seattle’s cement turf.

  61. AcidBurn says:

    Jozy = poor man’s Emile Heskey. Ugh.

    • usaalltheway says:

      :(

      Jozy needs to score. Maybe some crazy magic spell will do it.

    • dude1 says:

      In the EPL, he’s less effective than Heskey, who fulfilled the big hold up lunk admirably.

      But if you think Heskey would have scored 30 or more goals in any serious league, you’re crazy.

    • GW says:

      An in form Emile Heskey would have been a certain starter for Sunderland and the USMNT.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i’ve heard this before, and i don’t get it at all. heskey was a great hold-up player who could be depended on to occasionally create something out of nothing; kind of a *broke* man’s drogba.

      jozy’s nothing like that. hold-up play is still one of his weaknesses (although he’s improving), and he doesn’t really create for himself; he does well with fast-paced team attacking, and he can create for others, though.

      i really don’t see the comparison between the two players.

  62. John says:

    The lesson from today is spend all your money on a midfield. If you don’t have that nothing else matters.

  63. Bean says:

    Let’s go you Reds! Get together already.

  64. Nihal says:

    Jozy needs to leave.

    • John says:

      Don’t see how thats going to happen

    • beachbum says:

      why?

      • Shimano says:

        Jozy has had his chances to impress with Villareal, Hull and now Sunderland and he has failed miserably.
        I just don’t see how a better team would come calling.
        He can always go to a lesser league or come home to MLS for a big payday.

        • beachbum says:

          he has not failed miserably with Sunderland and in fact continues to play and Poyet continues to use him.

          further, what’s been best with him at Sunderland is he is not quitting but instead being mature about his situation which has always been a favorite knock on him from some observers. He’s toughing it out which is awesome, and whether you are aware of it or not, Poyet’s utilization of Jozy underneath as a linking player vs. as the lone striker up top has been in the middle of his team’s turnaround…not the only reason but certainly a nice part of it.

          did you know that? basically, the team’s pathetic midfield play and service has been partially addressed by dropping Jozy into that role. Pretty freakin cool

          of course I want him to score too. how many times today was he serviced the ball into a position to strike?

          • usaalltheway says:

            All good points.

            Jozy does need to do better.

            That being said, it seems like there exists those on here who just love to hate on European leagues and players in Europe clubs.

            I have noticed that spilt lately.

            Either you are “MLS is a great league and our players would be better here”, all while ignoring reality and facts against those of us who recognize that the best leagues and players on in Europe and that is where we need to see our boys play for success with both the USMNT and our players.

            The MLS trolls and fanboys are usually the most ill-informed and nasty on these threads.

            The rest of us tend to get along despite differences in opinion and outlook.

            Thoughts?

            • Rich D says:

              Maybe both sides have a point?

              • usaalltheway says:

                I don’t see the MLS argument.

                Having our players there won’t help the league.

                There needs to be several internal changes to the league better it will get better. Having a few stand-out players won’t help.

                The MLS is a joke. It’s just the reality. Until the pay more money, get away from the single entity system, work on development and get rid of the play-off system, it’s going to be a sub-par league at best.

                Why is that so hard to see? It’s not a personal thing against Americans. It’s just the reality.

              • GW says:

                usaalltheway

                “The MLS is a joke. It’s just the reality”

                Your comment reflects the same sort of extreme attitude that you accuse MLS fan boys of having. It puts you on the same level with them.

                MLS is league that is slowly rising and getting better. It is stable. One of its big attractions to South American players is that they can be sure they will actually get paid.

                I have yet to see any sober, credible person claim that it is on par with the EPL or the other big leagues in Europe nor have I seen any credible person claim the USMNT is better off with a strictly MLS current player lineup.

                I have yet to see anyone show me the US player ,other than Donovan, who has spent his entire career in MLS and become a star of LD’s skill level.

                But without MLS the USMNT would be in much deeper trouble. It gives the team a much stronger base.

                Much of the confusion stems from the free and easy comparisons people here make between club and national team soccer. The two have very different dynamics.

                Club teams are about long term while national teams are short term. In most leagues you play 30 plus games. In the EPL there are 38 league games. Put the USMNT as a club team in the EPL and it would be battling relegation.

                However, in a cup tournament, the USMNT can beat any team in the world on a given day. In the World Cup you are talking about 3 games in the group stage and 4 more if you get to the final, 7 games in total. The US is good enough right now to get hot for at least a 3 game run.

                Upsets are not uncommon in the World Cup. The best thing about the US’ group is that none of these teams are South American so preparation and mindset, which JK seems big on will be the key, not necessarily sheer talent.

              • usaalltheway says:

                GW,

                I have to response here, so I hope you read this.

                I see your point. I am being extreme about the MLS. It’s more of my disgust with these MLS fanboys and their stubbornness.

                Looks like I lose this time. ;)

                You make some good points.

                My point still stands that the MLS will only improve once the players make more money, they get rid of the play offs and especially the single entity structure of the league.

                I’ll try to lay off the MLS a little more.

            • beachbum says:

              I think each player’s situation deserves its own analysis, there is no one size fits all.

              as for the snarkiest posters on here, the eurosnobs take the cake imo. No contest :)

              and calling MLS fans ‘fanboys’ and ‘MLS trolls’ seems pretty weak my friend. The best thing about those posters is that they not only enjoy the Euro leagues but also follow MLS while the eurosnobs watch one MLS game or two and then comment as if they somehow know the league (and they don’t). The MLS posters are more rounded and informed when it comes to understanding the USMNT players, my opinion. those are my thoughts

              this is a repost because my initial post got stuck in moderation

            • beachbum says:

              I replied but it’s in moderation for some reason.

            • Rich D says:

              The salary cap in the MLS does make it hard for teams but the league is constantly changing and evolving. The collective bargaining agreement is up after this season and the cap will change. History can hinder the way you see the future…everything changes in due time. Right now your views are accurate but in the near future they will be out dated.

              • usaalltheway says:

                Cool man.

                I hope you are right.

                A better MLS would* be great for the USMNT (which is all I really fundamentally care about anyways).

                Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.

                Some think that is what this MB90 was all about.

            • bb says:

              I can see how newcomers to the site see this big split. I’ve been on this site for a really long time & I’ve seen the situation develop over a really long time, and imo there’s always been a contingent of “eurosnobs”.

              Years ago the mls supporters would say something like, “Yes obviously euro leagues are better, but if you want the sport to grow in the US you should support your domestic league.”

              It’s not an ‘either-or’ thing, it’s a ‘both’ thing. But the loud contingent of eurosnobs would keep on picking on MLS, and never saw the growth & improvement of the league over time. It really is a lot better, but still has a long way to go.

              So I think over time the MLS guys started getting louder as a response to the Euro guys. I think to call the MLS guys the trolls, without acknowledging the initial trolling by the Euros isn’t fair. I can’t believe that anyone REALLY believes that MLS can compete with the top X number of leagues in Europe, but I believe it IS better than it gets credit for.

              Now, the two sides really started to get more heated is when US players started coming BACK to mls. Starting around when Donovan didn’t get a permanent deal at Everton, and definitely with Demps to Seattle.

              I believe that the Euro leagues are better (obviously) but what is best for each player is a case-by-case deal. For example, DeMerit comes back & Edu coming back, I’m all for it. I think Onyewu should come back. They aren’t getting any better being benched over there.

              Dempsey overseas I think he’d stay sharper. But at his age & the contract I get it. With Donovan we’ll never know if he had fought it out in Europe. I’m disappointed about Bradley, (but excited to seem him play here)

              So the crux of the MLS guys’ argument is that Playing Time > No PT.

              I’d rather have US players on the field, be it in MLS or ANY league. If a player is playing in Europe, they are probably better off there.

          • Shimano says:

            We can go back and fort all day about why his season has only produced one goal in 21 games and why his team is bound to be relegated but, at the end of the day, do you see any other premiership team coming after him? Who?
            Toughing out is nice but somewhat expected from professional players so I don’t think any team will take that into consideration when looking for a new striker.

          • whoop-whoop says:

            Nice post. I very much agree with this assessment.

            I said in a post a while back that as hard to watch as his time in Sunderland has been, in some ways, it is exactly what he needs to fully develop as a well rounded player. Human nature is, Its always nice/easier to be put into a position to play to your strengths and avoid your liabilities. But… you will never progress this way. Jozy is being challenged in ways as a player and person that directly address what have been his perceived weaknesses in the past and yet he continues to work hard and do the little things/dirty work that managers admire much more than fans. As I said in that past post…. if he can push through this, perhaps knock in a few goals to reward the effort and his confidence, it will serve him very well.

            In Brazil, our group in particular, I would expect he will see lots of time there playing under similar circumstances… a pretty defensive posture, be isolated at times with limited service and opportunities that he needs to make the best of. As fun as his time in Holland was to watch, it did little to prepare him for this style of game.

        • Benny says:

          Have no idea what you are talking about

    • Kaiser says:

      He should go to Barcelona or somewhere he can get service.
      Liverpool would be another good option. Look at what Luis Suarez does when he gets support with his teammates.

  65. JB says:

    Gooch went the distance today!

  66. John says:

    AJ puts one in just before half,

    • John says:

      One of the few headers i’ve seen him score, it wasn’t great but goes in off the post

      • Joe C. says:

        How does he look today? He’s been rather quiet of late it seems, but I still think that kid has a lot of potential.

  67. Eric W says:

    Ok, I’m not one to complain about diving, but I just got quite worked up over Suarez’ dive vs Guzan. It just shows such a lack of… I don’t know – a lack of something that I think athletes outta have.

    So here’s my suggestion for dealing with it: give up on trying to card dives during the game and go heavy on reviewing games on video, after the match, and giving out 1 game suspensions.

    • usaalltheway says:

      The root of the problem is the lack of respect the refs get from players.

      In the NFL, the NBA and the MLB the refs are almost Gods on the field. You cannot challenge them, talk trash or be disrespectful in any way shape or form.

      That culture is what is needed.

      I like your idea but I would prefer the shock and awe: Give out reds like crazy. Oh, you get in my face for a foul? RED CARD! Oh, you fake a dive? RED CARD! And so on…

      It would cause chaos in the league for about a month but then after that, there would be no more problems.

      They really need to let the players know who the boss is.

      • Joe C. says:

        I think you overestimate the ref-respect in MLB and the NFL, at the very least. The amount of flak the NFL refs take is right up there with soccer refs, and the MLB umps have a certain amount of abuse that they’ll take, but no further, much like soccer refs. I’m not saying that a few more yellows for dissent wouldn’t be a good idea, mind, especially in MLS.

        @Eric W – totally agreed on the diving bit. You can’t expect a ref to catch every snivelly dive, but through the wonder of video archival, you can absolutely get those suckers dead to rights after the fact. Bring on the post-match reviews and keep our strikers on their feet!

        • usaalltheway says:

          I haven’t seen an NFL game in over four years, but when I did watch I don’t remember, not once, a player getting in the face of the refs.

          I have literally seen players accost the refs with impunity. They get in their faces and scream.

          When has that ever happened in the NFL and didn’t result in am immediate expulsion from the game and a fine later on?

          I do know that in the MLB there is more $hit talking but there are limits and the ref is the boss at the end of the day.

          I don’t see ANY of that in soccer, whether it be in Europe, South American or the States.

          • Joe C. says:

            Point taken, partially. I would still say that there’s a significant amount of face-screaming done by NFL coaches, but you’re right, there’s a much lower amount of flak from players.

            • usaalltheway says:

              You know, I had forgotten about the coaches.

              That is another issue.

              I actually have less of a problem with coaches doing it. One person, who is responsible for most of what happens on the team, should be given that right. He may get kicked out of the game or fined but I don’t see the problem if the coach has that “right”.

              I hope that made sense.

          • Brett says:

            Players scream at officials all the time in every sport. Baseball, basketball, football.

            As in soccer, if a player contacts a ref he is ejected in those sports as well.

            The major difference is the sport itself. In football the clock (either the game clock or play clock) runs between plays, and teams have to huddle and receive the next play call or be penalized. There’s typically no time for arguing like there is in soccer, where there is no play clock or short clock of any kind.

            • usaalltheway says:

              Players do not treat refs the same in every sport. That is a misnomer.

              And when poor behavior, such as screaming, pushing, and hitting, does happen, the consequences are much different.

              I have literally seen players hit refs while watching soccer matches. If that happened in the NFL, that player would be kicked out of the league or at least have to pay a huge fine, make a public apology and be suspended. Not so with soccer.

              The MLB is the worse I have seen but the ref is always the boss at the end of the day.

              • Brett says:

                Please post a video of a professional soccer player striking a ref with impunity. I have never seen it. I have seen a player sent off for yelling in the face of a linesman, though.

                Also, look up the proper usage for “misnomer”, because, to quote The Princess Bride, You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.

              • usaalltheway says:

                Brett,

                I’ll try and find it for you.

                I saw it here in Brazil. I was literally taken aback.

                Also, you are correct about misnomer. I was using it wrong. Thanks for pointing out the mistake while referencing the Princess Pride.

                “Inconceivable” ;)

  68. hmm says:

    maybe Jozy is under a curse. we need to break it and suddenly he scores 8 consecutive hat tricks

  69. hudson says:

    The bulk of touches gets now, unfortunately, come from headers or flick-ons from goal kicks. It’s clear his teammates aren’t looking for him on the break or when he’s in a dangerous position. Borini and Ki both opted not to pass to him on breaks in the second half when he was making runs. It’s a bit of a Catch-22, because the only way he’s going to get the ball now is if he can score a couple of goals otherwise.

    But if he ends the season with only 2 or 3 goals, I can’t see him staying with Sunderland another season, whether they stay up or not. If the fans and his teammates don’t support him, it’s not a good situation. Whatever happens, I hope he doesn’t join the U.S. contingent returning to the comfortable mediocrity of MLS. Not a positive trend for player development.

    • usaalltheway says:

      “I hope he doesn’t join the U.S. contingent returning to the comfortable mediocrity of MLS. Not a positive trend for player development.”

      AMEN. Mediocrity is the word for it.

      Jozy is in major trouble. I have said it before but got attack for it. The horror of pointing out the reality.

      • SuperChivo says:

        I would argue that the mediocrity in US Soccer goes way beyond the players to the top of the organization. Who extends a coach’s contract before they’ve even had a real test? US Soccer has already taken a bye on Brazil, and I bet that we will see that attitude from the top down.

        • bb says:

          I don’t see how anyone can be mad about JK’s contract extension. Let’s just get this outta the way, if we start playing so terribly, we can always end the contract. Happens all the time. It just takes a bit of money. No big deal.

          Now consider the opposite. If we do GREAT at the WC, he’d likely get snatched up somewhere else. Would we want to lose him at that point?

          He’s likely getting offers all the time. So us extending his contract is like saying we’re pleased with him, and gives both parties the confidence that we like the direction we’re headed.

          And you, I, and all US fans should be happy. If people can’s see the improvement in tactics and play of this team, then they’re hopeless, and I won’t try to argue with someone who thinks this team is equal to our old offense with Brian Ching alone up top.

          This team has vastly improved, from Arena, to BB, to JK, we really hit our stride in 2013, and fans should feel confident about the team.

          Regarding your statement that US Soccer is rolling over for Brazil is absurd. Some fans have expressed that attitude, but do you realize that JK is down their training the MLS based players right now? Do you really believe guy as competitive as JK is going to just phone it in because he has some tough games? You don’t think he wants to prove he and this team are better than his predecessors of Arena & Bradley by beating our WC nemesis Ghana? That he doesn’t want to beat his old colleague Lowe & Germany? That he doesn’t want a chance to beat the Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo & Portugal? Really? You think he & all the young players trying to make the squad in Brazil right now are just gonna take a vacation until the next WC cycle? I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that point.

          • John says:

            I agree for the most part but is there a chance he take a few younger players to give them experience knowing he is going to be there another 4 years? Does he give a roster spot to a player like Green only to cap tie him with no real plan to play him?

            • GW says:

              John,

              Do you know who Theo Walcott is?

              England brought him to the 2006 WC for what were probably some of the same reasons you are so excited about.

              He played 0 minutes. In 2010 he failed to make the team. Just a little while go he blew out his knee so he ain’t making the 2014 England.

              The point is England got 0 minutes of playing time in return for their development project.

              The guy who Walcott beat out for the 2006 England WC team was one of the Bent boys, either Darren or what’s his name. Anyway, I doubt that Bent could possibly have proved to be as big a waste of time as Walcott has been for the England WC effort.

              The World Cup is no joke and every one of the 23 guys better be able to contribute either on the field or off it otherwise he has no business being there. Because, like England did with Walcott, you could be sacrificing a valuable spot for a “developmental project” guy who may not develop.

              • John says:

                Yes I agree, I think it would be a bad idea and would hurt the team. I’m just saying this is the down side of Klinsmann’s extension. I’m sure he wants to go as far as he can but who is too say 2018 starts to play in his decisions. I hope it doesn’t but who knows.

          • Adi from Oregon says:

            Just want to make sure that there are more than 300 replies on this Ives’ article. But seriously, you gave a very good assessment of the USMNT progress, Klinsi’s ability and the US type play with maximum effort. I’m rooting for the underdog US to at least get to second place in their group of death in Brazil!!

          • John says:

            At least you have to admit the new contract gives him a bit more freedom and power to take some chances he might not have. Who knows maybe it plays off.

      • Rich D says:

        “Jozy is in Major trouble”…come on, stop being so dramatic. The sky isn’t falling. ..oh the horror of the reality (face palm).

        • GW says:

          This onanistic whining, moaning, weeping and gnashing of teeth over Jozy’s time at Sunderland is mostly pointless, though it is understandable given the comparative lack of USMNT news.

          To date he has been getting regular playing time, learning new roles, in other words, he is getting better all the time. Barring a new striker acquisition that looks likely to continue. Sunderland are looking at a Argentinean striker from Nacional Even if they get him it is likely Fletcher will have to be sold to pay for him. Fletcher is worth more on the market than Jozy. Palace or a team like that will want him.

          And as long as Jozy continues playing regularly until season’s end everything else is irrelevant. And if he is playing regularly that will mean he is playing at a certain minimum level of performance so his confidence should not be an issue. As for his goal scoring form, Jozy himself has proved that it does not necessarily translate over to the USMNT anyway.

          As a USMNT fan I care only about Jozy relative to the World Cup.

          After the World Cup JK can dump him and bring on the bright shiny new boys most of you all love better anyway. Like AJ, the great new hope, or the ones who hold their hands over their hearts for the national anthem, or who don’t half crouch for the team photo.

          Sunderland relegated? So what, assuming Sunderland don’t cut him loose, Jozy will be in the Championship the season after the World Cup and who cares where he is then. He will have another three years to win a place back on the team or not.

          • John says:

            Its nearly impossible for us to look at each player in such different teams and circumstances and know how it’ll fit and effect the national team. It’s going to be up to JK to look at these guys in camp and see where is everyone is at. This is where I think Klinsmann contract is a good thing as he’ll have more freedom to put together a team he wants and not one perhaps we want.

  70. Madden's Chin says:

    You should hear the unedited audio feeds of NFL games between players and officials. You would think soccer players were saints.

  71. jerome says:

    Here is the latest Jozy score chart:

    link to i.imgur.com

  72. bryan says:

    Castillo and Gomez started for TJ. All three subs were US players, Garza, Arriola, and Corona. TJ loses 2-1. Villarreal not even on the bench despot injuries and suspensions. Baca on the bench though.