Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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By DAN KARELL

Sixty-six days after Manchester City lit up Tottenham for six goals in a rout last November, the two teams face off once more at White Hart Lane.

The last outing proved to be the catalyst for Andre Villas-Boas losing his job, but this time around, Tim Sherwood’s Tottenham come into the match knowing that a win could book them a place in the top four. On the other side of the coin, a win for Man City could lift them to the top of the English Premier League over Arsenal and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also in action today as they host a London derby against reeling West Ham United. In addition to Sunderland vs. Stoke, Bayern Munich travel to the nearby Mercedes-Benz Arena for the Südderby (South Germany derby) with Stuttgart. Bayern will be without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben in addition to the already injured Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Elsewhere in action on Wednesday, Barcelona host Levante in the Copa Del Rey, Lazio visit Napoli in the Coppa Italia, and Deportivo Quito host Clarence Seedorf’s former club Botafogo in the first round of the Copa Libertadores. Capping off the evening is a friendly match between Mexico and South Korea from San Antonio, Texas.

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 schedule is after the jump):

2pm – Stuttgart vs. Bayern Munich – GolTV USA

2pm – Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid – beIN Sports en Español

2:45pm – Tottenham vs. Manchester City – NBC Sports Network

2:45pm – Chelsea vs. West Ham United – Premier League Extra Time/NBC Sports Live Extra

2:45pm – Sunderland vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extra Time/NBC Sports Live Extra

2:45pm – Aston Villa vs. West Bromwich Albion – Premier League Extra Time/NBC Sports Live Extra

2:45pm – Napoli vs. Lazio – beIN Sports USA

4pm – Barcelona vs. Levante – beIN Sports USA

7pm – Deportivo Quito vs. Botafogo – Fox Deportes

9pm – Mexico vs. South Korea – ESPN News/UniMas

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

288 Responses to Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

  1. Joseph says:

    Altidore starting. Fletcher and Wickham in bench.

    • M says:

      Must have been that awesome performance from a few days ago that earned him this start.

    • David M says:

      Interesting. Poyet’s opinion of Jozy must be higher than that of Sunderland fans.

      • Joseph says:

        Might be a last chance situation. Has a better supporting cast around him today. let’s hope that culminates in to a much better showing.

      • GW says:

        Just about everything I’ve ever read Poyet say about Jozy has been positive.

    • Increase says:

      I really can’t work Sunderland out. But I will say this. All their strikers play like crap. That striker they sold to Dortmund? Ji Dong-won Scored against them as he is on loan at Ausburg. 2 minutes at another club and he scores.

      I’m not saying Jozy is playing well but Sunderland might just be a terrible place for Strikers.

      • bryan says:

        it’s funny you say that last sentence. i was watching ESPNFC after the last Sunderland game and they were discussing Jozy. Nicol brought up an interesting point regarding what an ex-England striker said in regards to Sunderland. i guess the guy basically said the system Poyet uses “kills strikers” and then goes into more detail.

        unfortunately i can’t remember the name of the player and Nicol didn’t go into too much more detail.

        • Chicago Josh says:

          The aforementioned player was Tony Cascarino

        • Nate Dollars says:

          tony cascarino, played in france, i think.

          • bryan says:

            yeah, a few clubs in France and multiple clubs throughout the UK.

            • Rory Miller says:

              Yeah, Sunderland fans HATE jozy. They sing that old Amore song fans used to taunt Zimora with.. Something like “When you’re sitting and row zed and the ball hits your head… that’s Altidor-ray”

        • GW says:

          Cascarino was an old fashioned center forward, what would today be called a goal scoring target man.

          First job: lead the line. That meant get your marker, usually the center half out of the picture and thus help create openings for your team.

          Second job: score

    • Citizen says:

      Altidore needs to start scoring some goals. The last time he struggled with club form he was playing for Hull City, who were relegated, and he came into the World Cup cold.

      • jones says:

        yes – even Ives finally admitted that the “Jozy situation” was a problem. (And I even went to horrid Goal. com to hear him admit it)

        • M says:

          yea and so soon after defending the move on his podcast

          • jones says:

            And I wasn’t one of those who dumped on the move since the beginning or said it was a disaster – I didn’t think it was a good fit but was optimistic.

            For a while now though it’s looked bad and I rolled my eyes during SBI podcasts.

      • John says:

        He was also 19 playing in a World Cup

    • jones says:

      So his nickname there now is apparently “Dozy” Altidore

  2. David M says:

    Why would NBCSN show a game in which no American is taking part while there are two games in which Americans are playing?

    • Jim in Atlanta says:

      You do know you can watch them online right lol. NBCSN website

      • MemRook says:

        Except you can’t. Cuz at the moment it’s not working. Ugh.

        • Darwin says:

          Didn’t work for me either…now my Verizon login is suddenly not supported. Watching this game (for the purist) on Roja… shoot me, and F-U NBC…

    • jones says:

      You really don’t know why?…

    • beto says:

      Stoke v Sunderland?! Lol

      Im a big Yanks Abroad fan but idk if i can sit thru that one!

      • jones says:

        yes, I tell myself every time that I should be watching another fixture yet I continue to torture myself.

    • Clyde Frog says:

      On the chance that this is a serious question, Americans present in rosters does not drive ratings in the US. Big clubs drive ratings.

      • Bean says:

        A nice cushion for Liverpool with Tottenham likely getting zero points today. It was getting tight for 4th place UCL spot. The rest of the season will be intense.

    • Bac says:

      For the first time ever, Comcast in my area now has the extra time live on demand… haven’t tried the online version, maybe that’s why its not working for some odd reason?

  3. Kevin_H says:

    Correction: A win for Tottenham would see them tied for 4th on points, but still ranked 5th due to goal differential. Unless they’re scoring over 26 goals today.

  4. Maykol says:

    So if the sunderland fans on twitter say altidore played like crap but the americans here say altidore played well, who i should i believe?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      poyet :)

    • bryan says:

      somewhere in the middle.

    • mike says:

      i would believe the people who have been following the team and the sport their entire lives. Not a bunch of eurosnobs who started following the sport in 2010. haha

    • SBI TroII says:

      Formulate your own opinion. Jozy may not be scoring but neither has Fletcher. And I doubt Wickham will either. Poyet’s system often leaves a striker stranded, so it’s up to him to figure out how to get them all involved with the midfield.

      • Maykol says:

        I would but i dont see many sunderland games. And the last one i saw he was terrible

      • AcidBurn says:

        Fletcher has 3 goals, 0 assists. Jozy has 1 goal, 1 assist. (Really 2 goals except for the one that the ref stole from him after he beasted up Sagna in the Arsenal game).

        So Fletcher has been responsible for 1 more goal than Jozy, not like they have RVP and Rooney sitting on the bench.

        Sunderland’s system provides no service to its strikers.

  5. Rich says:

    Saving Fletcher for the big Derby on Saturday?

    When few goals are scored by the forwards midway through the second half, do we see Wickham?

  6. Marcroi says:

    Someone please explain why JA is getting boos when none of the midfielders seem to know to pass the ball, other than Ki, and everyone who gets the ball launches 25-yard-shots, and why none of the midfielders make runs so that the box is always congested with 2 or 3 people around JA, and why no one seems to be able to score. I hope Poyet does bring in a winger and does succeed in getting Bridcutt. BTW, I am taping Chelsea and watching Sunderlund and Stoke.

  7. biff says:

    After reading stories about Di Canio’s attack on Sunderland players…

    link to dailymail.co.uk

    …I do have a theory on what has been going on with Jozy. And with Jozy starting tonight, Poyet is definitely making a statment to all the bad boy troublemakers on the Sunderland team who have been ignoring Jozy. Could be that Poyet has seen enough and with the Ugly Truth told yesterday by Di Canio then maybe Poyet has warned the team to including Jozy in the game. I betcha Jozy gets service tonight.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      that might be the most boring conspiracy theory i’ve ever heard.

    • M says:

      This explains a lot

    • John says:

      Personally I think Jozy’s struggles has more to do with Sunderland’s style but it is interesting that Giaccherini has also had trouble making an impact.

      • GW says:

        Jozy’s troubles have everything to do with transitioning to an unstable situation. The same thing with Giaccherini who is unquestionably talented.

        It’s tough enough to transition to a new league let alone the BPL. There is a very long list of very talented players who failed to make that jump.

        It would have been a miracle if Jozy had picked up where he left off with AZ, i.e. scoring in bunches.

        Did anyone really expect that?

  8. Marcroi says:

    Maybe Johnson will have a superior game and JA as well.

  9. Observer says:

    Jozy helps with the build-up. Looking decent so far.

  10. Observer says:

    Commentators are saying Jozy should have been in the box.

  11. Paul says:

    Anyone else not getting the Sunderland game? Live Extra is still showing “Coverage to begin shortly”. Help?

  12. Byrdman says:

    I try to see the glass half full. But jozy appears to stand on the 18 a lot

  13. Maykol says:

    I wonder if jermaine jones joining sunderland could save them.

  14. MemRook says:

    Is anyone watching Sunderland v Stoke via nbcsports live? It’s not working for me via laptop, mobile or tablet….all i get is a “cover to begin shortly” screen on every game except man city Tottenham, in fact.

  15. shawn says:

    sunderland loves shooting at the sky

  16. shawn says:

    jozy is kind of lazy

  17. MemRook says:

    It’s working now (nbc sports live extra)! Adam
    Johnson scores

  18. Paul says:

    NBC stream is up, and a goal!

  19. Adelai says:

    Everyone but Jozy is scoring.

  20. Increase says:

    Nice counter attack Colback….

  21. Observer says:

    Jozy is playing pretty well. The crowd applauded his hold-up play.

  22. shawn says:

    wtf is altidore doing, he has been running away from the ball all day

    • midwest ref says:

      Poyet conceded after the last match that in the first half, Jozy was making far post runs and Sunderland were making near post passes; and in the second half, Jozy was making near post runs and Sunderland were making far post passes.

      They can’t get on the same page.

      • Leo says:

        I was looking at a replay of one of his runs a couple of weeks ago…it seemed as if two defenders were following his run to the far post while giving Johnson the opportunity to launch a beauty into the upper 90.

        I could definitely be reading too far into Poyet’s latest comments about Jozy, but in my opinion, it seems as if he’s doing exactly as his manager is instructing him to do. Along with that, you’ve seen Sunderland begin to try to extricate themselves from the bottom three.

        If Poyet’s trying to stabilize the team so they can win some games, you can hardly blame him…I can’t tell if it’s just Jozy playing poorly or not, but my MO has always been to give him the benefit of the doubt, to a fault. I enjoy being an Altidore fanboy, simply because it’s fun to hear everybody down him (such as when Klinsmann was playing him alone up top and he wasn’t scoring any goals, then as soon as he had someone alongside, the goals started rolling in) and then laud him when he comes up with a crucial goal. I love those moments.

        Mark it, Dude.

  23. jones says:

    These commentators seem to have no idea what type of player Altidore actually is. Though we haven’t seen that player much so they don’t have much to go on.

  24. Adelai says:

    Andre Mariner is a terrible referee. Jeez.

  25. Dainja says:

    I know we’re all on here to over-analyze Jozy (haha), but poor Geoff just missed a pretty open header near the goal on a corner. Jozy is playing well though, drawing fouls and holding the ball up.

  26. Increase says:

    Geoff wasnt expecting that

  27. bryan says:

    Cameron with a hopeful cross in that Crouch almost got a hold of. then Cameron almost with a goal.

  28. Adelai says:

    Andre Mariner just booked a city player for being stepped on during a tackle he got the ball in. Replay shows Spurs player should have been carded.

    This guy is really bad.

  29. biff says:

    Stuttgart up 1-0 against FC Bayern in the 76th minute. Tense game. here’s hoping Stuttgart can tough it out.

    • biff says:

      and Bayern equalizes. damm

    • Increase says:

      Sometime Pep does really weird stuff. I don’t understand why Pizzaro and Mario are both on… Are Schweinstiger, Ribery and Robben all injured? I know Schweinstiger and Robben are…

      I think he had too many that play in the middle on. Kroos, Goetze, Pizzaro, Manz.

  30. Tom says:

    Is Lazy Out-the-door playin?

  31. TomG says:

    Jozy winning lots of headers and drawing accolades from the commentators for winning battles with Shawcross, but again is completely disconnected from the rest of the team. He only gets the ball in a crowd with his back to goal, outside of the box where all he can do is try to settle and get it to a teammate. To be fair, Stoke has dominated the ball, so no one on Stoke is getting the ball in the final third.

  32. Darwin says:

    Altidore’s game at halftime:

    1/5 passes completed
    1/2 take-ons won
    1/5 headed duels won
    1/4 tackles won.

    • Observer says:

      But, he is playing in the EPL/BPL, so he is automatically getting better as a player. Correct?

    • Chris says:

      I’m sorry observer but annoying comments like that are my domain :D Please cease and desist.

    • TomG says:

      Where are you getting your stats? They are way, way off. He’s won a bunch of headers.

    • bryan says:

      i’d like to know where these stats came from as well. in the first half, i saw him complete more than 1 pass. i saw him win more than one header. so i’m slightly confused.

  33. TomG says:

    Big Geoff had a brilliant play where he won the ball by flicking it over his head, sending the defender charging completely out of the frame. He then pushed the ball upfield and struck a nice cross that would have surely found the back of the net had it been 6 inches closer to Crouch. Unfortunately, he also missed a point blank, wide open header by inexplicably snapping his head a second early and having it bounce harmlessly off the top of his noggin. I love the big guy but he’s pretty poor in the air for such a big, athletic guy who plays in the PL.

    • Gary Page says:

      I think the missed header was one of only a couple of bad plays Cameron made all game. Outside of that he really looked good with dangerous crosses.

  34. Increase says:

    What was that free kick? No one of Sunderland seemed to know they were gunna do that….

  35. Adelai says:

    Uh so stomping on a foot like that isn’t a foul or card, Mariner?

    This is getting very one sided against City.

  36. a says:

    how has Jozy been doing today?

  37. TomG says:

    Jozy draws a red for Nzonzi on a beautiful duel.

    • TomG says:

      Jozy goes down a bit too easy there. I’d rather see him try to keep his balance and score, but probably to smart move against a guy with a yellow.

      • fischy says:

        A bit easy?

        You’re a master of understatement..

        • TomG says:

          One angle looked like a clear yellow. The other, it looked like he was barely touched. Not really sure how to read it, but with his drought, I want him to be selfish. Stay up and chase the ball. He did a great job of creating that opportunity. Be aggressive and see it through. He may just not have that killer instinct that’s so important for elite goal scorers. Of course, Suarez would have been diving and flopping around on the ground like a fish on land, and he’s as elite as it gets.

          • Gary Page says:

            On the replay from the side it clearly looked like a forearm shove on Jozy’s back to me. The foul got Stoke down to 10, so while I agree with your general argument, Jozy going down was crucial to Sunderland winning.

    • Gary Page says:

      Jozy actually drew a total of 3 yellow cards, the last leading to Nzonsi’s dismissal. Considering how well Stoke was controlling the ball and how well they played with 10, it felt inevitable that they would have equalized or won if they had not gone down to 10.

  38. Adelai says:

    Mariner wasn’t going to even give a foul there?

    Commentators just ripping him to pieces. Good thing that linemen is keeping this from being more of a shocker.

    Asst. referee is on his game.

    • Pete says:

      Except Rose got a touch on the ball first, pretty clear to see. But you have an agenda to push.

      • Adelai says:

        And you don’t know the rules. But nice try though. A scissor tackle from behind that makes contact with the player is always a foul. Touching the ball doesn’t negate the reckless play.

        • Pete says:

          Go read the guardian and bbc sports game commentary, across the board people are saying it was a terrible call. But keep your blinders on, it’s a good look.

  39. Increase says:

    Red Card is like a goal? Good job there Jozy.

  40. Chicago Josh says:

    “Altidore has caused so many problems with his strength and his desire.”

  41. Dman says:

    Disgraceful by Altidore

  42. TomG says:

    Nooooooo!!! Great chance by Jozy. Great save. Good, hard shot but maybe should have chipped the keeper?

  43. Adelai says:

    Jozy dives to get someone sent off. Garbage man.

  44. fair observer says:

    to be fair to Jozy, he plays fine, he’s 23 and still fine tuning his skill, he wins fouls (even as i typed this got nzonzi his second yellow) and he plays decent to good hold up play with his back to the goal. occasionally he waits in the box too much instead of making a run towards the winger (considering sunderland never cross, always playing ground passes back to top of box). just had a good shot that was well saved by stoke’s GK but im SURE everyone will berate him for not scoring. let it be noted, he took a good shot

    • TomG says:

      No question. If you watch him closely, you can’t find much fault with any of his touches or his effort off the ball. You can argue that his runs aren’t clever enough, but it’s tough to to judge that. He’s playing in a lone striker system where his job is mainly to hold the ball up and he’s not going to get many chances, but even so, he doesn’t seem to be completely on the same page as his teammates on the rare occasions he’s in a position to do something.

  45. Increase says:

    Before people say Jozy screwed up keeper just did a good job.

    • fair observer says:

      +1!!!!

    • TomG says:

      Yeah, I originally thought maybe he should have chipped the keeper, but no way on the replay. Maybe he needs to get a bit of lift on that shot to clear the keepers leg?

      • GW says:

        Hindsight is 20/20.

        I’ve seen lots of good goalscorers fail to get “a bit of lift on that shot to clear the keepers leg?”.

        Jozy did not have anywhere near the amount of time to ponder what kind of shot to take as you seem to think he had.

        • TomG says:

          Nitpicky maybe, but when he’s struggling to score the way he is, you naturally wonder whether his finishing level needs to be that much finer than it was in the Eridivisie, especially when he gets so few chances.

          • GW says:

            I remember reading an interview with the great Eusebio. When asked about his shooting accuracy while on the move he said he just tried to hit it as hard, low and on target as possible. He generally tried to keep it away from the keeper. From what I saw of him everything he hit was a screamer. When you practice as much as Eusebio did shooting is a muscle memory,instinctive thing.

            I’ve never been a top class striker but I get the impression that players don’t have any where near the kind of last milli second fine tuning adjustment settings for their shooting that you seem to think they have especially in the bang bang situation Jozy was in.

            When you read ” the incompetent shot right at the keeper” more often than not that was the keeper doing his job.

            Keepers rarely get credit for sharp anticipation and smart positioning, probably because it is not as exciting as a spectacular save.

            A good keeper finds a way to anticipate and put himself in a place where more often than not players are stupidly “shooting right at him”.

            In this ongoing demolition and destruction of Jozy I find it fascinating that few people ever give credit to Jozy’s opponents for knowing how to play. The guys who defend against Jozy get paid too.

  46. biff says:

    oh man. Di Canio’s fault. that’s my theory.

  47. Dman says:

    I dont want divers wearing the USA jersey in Brazil….shape up Jozy, he could have stayed up, and had a shot on his dive

    • Waterlewd says:

      Me neither. Such a shame he thinks this is the best way to help this crap team.

    • Herschel Skywalker says:

      You people are insane. That was a legitimate foul and a dumb mistake on the defender’s part. That’s not Jozy’s fault. And given the group we’re in at the WC, I can only hope we have a couple of breaks to take advantage of. If you don’t want smart players who know how to take advantage of the few breaks we can expect to get, you just don’t want to win.

      • fair observer says:

        +4,789

      • Waterlewd says:

        Yes, I don’t want to win any game or any tournament by our players exxagerating contact and throwing themselves to the ground. It is shameful behavior and should be condemned. I don’t buy “that’s how the game is played by smart players” excuse. The game is won by scoring goals, so stay on your feet and try to get the goal. I hope to God our player never develop that attitude.

        • Byrdman says:

          But if he was fouled and goes down with the defender on a yellow it IS SMART. I am not saying embellish, but make sure you get the call, again IF FOULED. Dixx got fouled q few games back for USMNT, fought thru first contact which almost put him on the ground and then didnt get the call at all on the second foul. So we lost a penalty. I am all about fair play, but if fouled by a man on a yellow dont waste the opportunity.

        • Gary Page says:

          Did you even SEE the two replays? The one from the side showed clearly that the defender shoved him in the back with his forearm. Very few strikers would have failed to go down and only h8ers would call that a dive.

        • GW says:

          Then don’t watch any team in the World Cup.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        You can bet CR7 will bring his best Greg Louganis impression.

  48. TomG says:

    Jozy did a great job of winning the loose ball in the box, shielding the ball from the defender on his back and getting off a good, hard shot, but it’s just not happening for him, now. Johnson just misses on a slotted ball that would have been a tap in for Jozy. Ugh. He’s GOT to find the back of the net today.

  49. fair observer says:

    if altidore had missed that shot like johnson just did people would rip him apart, the only “problem” with jozy is that people watch him too closely. challenge: watch Johnson or any other player on sunderland with as big of a magnifying glass, sans borini who is their best player, and you can say that person is terrible too. im not saying jozy has played like messi, but guess what, he hasn’t been as horrible as people suggest

    • Increase says:

      Borini is doing really well on the left. That new left-back is a lot better than whoever they had before.

      • fair observer says:

        borini is Sunderland’s best player, talent wise, by far. Giaccherini is second yet he cant find his way on such a mediocre team as Sunderland.

    • Chris says:

      I tried to point this out to people during the last game and was mostly ignored. It’s quite obviously the truth though.

  50. fair observer says:

    marcos alonso is worse than jozy (remember M Alonso not marking anyone in the CO Cup game in 120′, Alonso alone let Man U score there). go watch the replay

  51. fair observer says:

    i just wish they’d leave 2 strikers in (jozy and fletcher), but of course he’s gonna take off jozy now………. such a shame.

  52. Dman says:

    Jozy does what he does best…fall on his face

  53. fair observer says:

    quiet surprised to hear the commentator actually praise jozy for his play today, that’s gotta be a first, they usually unfairly scrutinize him while saying NOTHING about any other players terrible play, can anyone say larrson, johnson, M Alonso, or Colbeck have played well today?….

  54. BigBlueAL says:

    Announcers had some nice words for Altidore as he was replaced at least. Thats a start lol.

  55. Chris says:

    Jozy with a nice applause as he exits the game. Decent game by him. Unlucky to not get that goal with a great save by the keeper.

  56. AcidBurn says:

    Poyet’s words to Fletcher: “get in the box, get in the box.”
    Why do I feel that if Fletcher gets in the box he actually gets some service?

    • TomG says:

      I think they have different roles. Poyet wants Jozy to run the channels, hold the ball up and distribute the ball. He wants Fletcher to get on the back shoulder of the defender, look to make a poaching run, and nod in a header on a cross.

  57. Javier says:

    Jozy does all the hard work. Now Fletcher comes in to reap the benefits of a 10 man side.

  58. Dman says:

    I can accept that Jozy is not having much luck, and is actually playing much better than his numbers suggest, I can accept that stoke is a Crap team that make the wrong decisions 80% of the time, and therefore Jozy sees very limited chances. But I cant accept jozy’s pathetic falling down all over the pitch whenever he gets touched, it disgraceful. If he is seen as a diver in the World Cup it will set soccer back in the states at least 4 years because one things Americans cannot stand is faking cheaters.

    • Dman says:

      sorry meant to say that Sunderland is a crap team –not stoke

    • Dan in New York says:

      I think you made your point five comments ago. You don’t like divers. We get it.

    • fair observer says:

      the funny thing is….. if you watch when he draws fouls he’s using his large body to gain positioning, then the opponent on multiple occasions just wraps up his arm (a common EPL move but still a foul). So where is Jozy “diving”. They even showed the second yellow on nzonzi from multiple angles to prove it was a take down, u must’ve run to the bathroom tho.

      as i type: colbeck with an amibitious but terrible ball up to Fletcher who is too slow to get to it…. then colbeck with a lazy fould 10 seconds later……… insert Jozy in any of these sentences and the net would be ablaze with hatred for him

      • Dman says:

        Your right I didn’t see all the replays, From the front shot it looks like jozy is in fine position to attack, gets a very very soft hand on his shoulder, and proceeds to fall on his face. He falls down much more easily than a big strong guy should. I want Jozy to do well, and I think he can be a great striker when his confidence is high, but his flopping is becoming distracting.

        • fair observer says:

          to reiterate… you should actually watch the game and replays…. he’s not flopping, he’s getting pulled down by the shoulder or arm on all of these fouls, pretty sure you need 2 monocles……

          • Leo says:

            Funny as hell, dude.

          • Dman says:

            link to cdn3.sbnation.com

            very Weak at best he was not PULLED down. he felt a very slight touch on his shoulder and he dove.

            • away goals says:

              Because jozy won the position battle, the defender’s only option was to slow him down with a tug on the shoulder. That’s not allowed.

              Jozy goes to ground to communicate to the referee that there’s no advantage. That’s how soccer works.

              If jozy had rolled around on the ground holding his face, we might have something to talk about.

              • Dman says:

                the defender barely touched him…Id rather see him stay up be one-v-one with the keeper and finally put one away scoring a proper goal., but that’s just me, I like the guys I root for to attempt to score rather than game the ref.

              • away goals says:

                It’s not “gaming the ref.” It’s performing a split second calculation that the defender who illegally impeded his progress, however slightly, now has the advantage.

                Obviously scoring a “proper goal” would have been the optimal outcome, but nzonzi changed his course enough with the contact that it wasn’t really 1v1 anymore. More like 1v1.5 as nzonzi could continue leaning on jozy throughout the play.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yeah, pretty much everyone hates lebron james and tom brady/every qb of the last decade.

      i can’t stand any kind of embellishment, but honestly, if we do well in the world cup (especially with this group), no american’s gonna care that one of our guys was diving.

      • John says:

        We seem to expect Jozy to stay up just because of his frame. If Johannsson was pulled from behind like that everyone would be saying of coarse its a foul.

    • Gary Page says:

      After having watched this game and all the replays on that play and watching soccer as much as possible for the last 40 years (the first 20 very little but World Cup on TV), I have to disagree completely and conclude you have no idea what you are talking about.

    • GW says:

      Dman,

      Go back and do a little research on the playing career of the man who manages the USMNT and then tell me that.

  59. Chicago Josh says:

    Sweet passed by Cameron to set up a scoring opportunity… And now he’s fowled after driving toward the box.

  60. bryan says:

    oh man, Cameron preventing Fletcher from getting on that. then makes a great pass up field. then wins the ball, dribbles nicely around the defender and gets taken out right at the top of the 18. free kick.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Cameron – best US field player in Europe. If he’s not in the starting XI at the WC then Klinsy’s got some player selection issues.

  61. SBI TroII says:

    Nice pass there by Cameron also draws a free kick right outside the box.

  62. TomG says:

    Man, Mannone is good. Amazingly good considering he’s the backup keeper.

    • Gary Page says:

      I remember about 3 seasons ago when Fulham played Arsenal and Mannone played goal as the Gunners had GK injury issues. Mannone made one great save after another and Fulham kept peppering away at the goal and Arsenal kept a clean sheet and won. It was the first I had ever heard of him and he was wonderful. I could never figure out why he wasn’t starting somewhere. Now he is finally getting a chance to show his ability. Kind of like Guzan. A lot of times there are good players who just need a chance.

  63. TomG says:

    Black Cats look awful the last 10 minutes, even a man up.

    • Chicago Josh says:

      Ever since they took Jozy out…. Coincidence?

      • TomG says:

        I don’t think so. They are not that good with the ball, and having Jozy playing hold up provides a nice outlet for them. Fletcher doesn’t hold up much. He just lurks off the back shoulder of the defender and looks to make poaching runs.

      • fair observer says:

        TomG and Chris are two of the only sane people on this page today. Jozy is no C Ronaldo but he’s no freddy adu either…… hahahaha. He’s a 23 year old striker that’s strengths are, well, Strength, Passing (to team mates that actually make good runs off of a hold up ST) and Shooting. the problem is he has to back track with back to goal to play holding ST and never gets a simple pass to his feet near the inside top of box where he wants to shoot from (Watch his goals for USMNT to see). If he gets the ball anywhere from the top of box to the PK spot while facing the goal he usually gets a good shot off.

    • Increase says:

      It’s shocking isn’t it. They can’t even play keep away for a bit with an extra player.

    • Gary Page says:

      As I was watching I was thinking that if someone just tuned in they would think it was Sunderland that was playing a man down. A really shocking display of ineptitude considering that Stoke isn’t that great themselves.

  64. TomG says:

    I think i’ve found the problem with Sunderland. They may all be color blind. I’ve never seen an 11 man team so anxious to give the ball away to a 10 man side as soon as they get it.

  65. Increase says:

    Nice Cross from Geoff and header went off the ball.

  66. TomG says:

    It’s hard not to notice that Sunderland was much, much, much, much better at holding the ball with Jozy in the match.

  67. John says:

    No one is catching Man City in the league this year, just too many weapons.

  68. Darwin says:

    Cameron is having a great game. Fletcher is having a shocker since coming on.

  69. fair observer says:

    colbeck with another give away…..

  70. Darwin says:

    Anyone curious about stats, check out Squawka. They are usually pretty accurate, although I was unable to confirm the first half stats due to the NBC snafu.

    link to epl.squawka.com

    • TomG says:

      Cool, thanks.

      • TomG says:

        Though they’ve got Seb Larsson and John O’Shea as Sunderland’s top two players, sooooooo. Wow. That algorithm needs some serious tweaking.

        • Darwin says:

          Adam Johnson and Vito Mannone when I last checked.

          • TomG says:

            There’s one section that’s an algorithm based on stats and that’s where they have Seb #1. If you’re into stats, you may want to check out an article on Roker Report about Sunderland’s passing stats. It shows how Jozy is much better passer than Fletcher. It’s pretty interesting. Just google Roker Report By The Numbers: The Facts And Figures Behind Sunderland’s Passing

  71. Adelai says:

    City are ruthless.

  72. fair observer says:

    nice defense m alonso…….had positioning then just let his man go by him and almost get possession back. i really hope marcos alonso isn’t realated to Xavi alonso…. he’s ruining the family name. haha

  73. TomG says:

    Aside from a bad turnover, Fletcher has been invisible since coming on. I truly think the system is just not striker friendly.

    • fair observer says:

      yep…… although jozy manages to get involved yet people think he’s terrible. ( as i type, shot right at GK by colbeck…… people would have killed jozy for doing that…… as they did earlier….)

    • John says:

      I’ve said it a number of times but go back and look at all of Jozy’s goals for the US over the summer. They come from quickly getting the ball into wide positions and having players create chances while the backline is still recovering. That just doesn’t happen at Sunderland at all as Jozy is flanked by two forwards who just want to cut in and get a shot off.

      • fair observer says:

        YEEEEEEEEPPPPP

      • Gary Page says:

        Most of the commenters knocking Jozy are seriously lacking context and perspective. They write as if they have never seen Jozy play before this season at Sunderland. When judging a player it kind of helps to see him for more than half a season, dontcha think? For those who forgeot or didn’t know, Ives picked Jozy’s play in the Bosnia friendly as the outstanding game by a US player in 2013. When you can outshine Dzeko in his own country, you gotta have some talent.

    • Increase says:

      Prolly touched the ball 5 times in half an hour.. But apparently 8 passes 3 headers. So 11 times?

      Also is Chelsea the new Manu? They had an extra magic 2:45 to score past the injury time. I hate Eto. I hope someone else saw what he tried to do at the end of the game. That’s just so childish to run up and act like the Keeper kicked the ball. That’s like the 3rd time this season he has decided to ignore the rules of the game and put the ball in the net then pretend he deserved it.

      • away goals says:

        That’s not what he did. Often times on injuries when the ball is in the gk’s hands, the referee won’t officially stop the play. He’ll just let the gk gather himself.

        If there’s no official stoppage, then there’s no drop ball (for an injury) or direct kick (for a foul) so the ball is simply live. Eto’o was hoping that was the interpretation. Savvy play.

        • Increase says:

          I was under the impression a foul had been called… I admit though that I was distracted around the time I thought a foul happened.

          Still Childish though. Just like when Luiz Adriano scored on Anderlecht.

          • Increase says:

            correction it was Nordsjaelland

          • away goals says:

            Yeah it’s definitely a gray area, sportsmanship-wise. The argument in eto’o’s favor is that it’s not his fault west ham’s gk is unaware of the situation or rules.

            They obviously gave him plenty of time to recover from the injury, but he chose to put the ball on the ground.

  74. Dan in New York says:

    Wow, I don’t think Fletcher touched the ball since coming in for Altidore and nobody says anything. Sutherland is awful. They couldn’t beat DC United.

    • TomG says:

      Yes, Donald Sutherland. Great actor but an awful soccer player.

    • fair observer says:

      exactly, people just watch Jozy to hate on him yet dont realize there are plenty of terrible players playing poorly on Sunderland. Jozy is, fairly, middle of the pack. Borini, Giacc, Ki, AJ (at times), larrson (occasionaly) and Jozy are the only birght spots for Sunderland. and Wes Brown for the most part. the rest of the team is completely replacable…

      by the way, Dman, if you’re watching these post game highlights: do you really think Jozy is flopping, all of these are clears fouls. quit being a pointless hater-drone

      • Increase says:

        Giacc hasn’t done much recently. It’s odd he never gets to play. Although, he did as much vs Kiddminster as Jozy did.

        • fair observer says:

          true but in terms of talent moving forward and the season as a whole, if Poyet would put perhaps borini and altidore up top (borini as CF maybe), with Ki and Giac controllin middle and AJ and Larsson out wide, that would give SuNDerland the best chance IMHO. AJ should be on the left side since he is incapable of crossing with his right foot……. larsson is good at crossing (usually). Ki and Giac are good at possesssion in midfield and borini and Jozy can score, problem solved…. colbeck, fletcher, cattermole, gardner (he’s OK) and the rest can ride the bench …

      • Dman says:

        link to cdn3.sbnation.com

        that touch on the arm would not have knocked my grandmother down.
        And I am NOT a JOZY hater you fool… I want him to succeed but not to dive like greg louganis

        • GW says:

          Dman,

          Tugging on a shirt can get you a yellow and for Nzogi that was his second yellow and you know of course that means red.

          So in a sense you were right. That particular foul was not red worthy but hey, two yellows, you got to draw the line somewhere. I mean, in baseball, it’s three strikes and you are out not four correct?

          You do protest overmuch. None of the Brit sites found the red particularly noteworthy.

          Feel what you want but you are in a minority.

        • Increase says:

          Getting tugged can cost you a step of half a step. That’s why people do it because sometimes that little bit of distance is important. No he didn’t need to go down, but if he didn’t go down that doesn’t get called and the defender gets why he wants by cheating. You could say both played unfairly but one doesn’t get noticed without the other.

      • GW says:

        fair observer,

        Obviously Jozy’s form is the big issue here but they might want to think about the bigger picture and how that relates to the oft critcised lazy diver.

        Jozy plays for a team in trouble and Poyet’s job is to get the team going not necessarily individual players. Poyet is well aware of what Jozy can do and what Fletcher can do. He has made that pretty clear in various interviews.
        He is also in a relegation battle and while he has said he would love to pair the two of them up his first priority was to find some way to get the team going in the right direction.
        O’Shea and Brown have stabilized the back four and Ki has proven to be his best player and catalyst for the offense.
        Borini and Johnson appear to have gotten the scoring bug.
        Jozy has been charged with leading the line i.e. serving as target man, beating up the opposing defenders, pulling them wide with dummy runs, tiring them out; get them red carded, score if possible. etc., etc.
        In baseball they say when you are in a slump you can still play good defense and help your team.
        Joyz’s scoring form is off a bit for any number of reasons but he can still be very valuable by using that big body that everyone comments on and do all that stuff I just described because that just takes guts, commitment and hard work, no “touch” required.
        Later on when Sunderland is safe, maybe Poyet will play around with pairing up Jozy and Fletcher,
        But for the moment, whatever they have been doing is working. Sunderland has been on a good run that has taken them out of the relegation zone and they need to stay the course until they are assured of safety.
        Poyet is paid to guide Sunderland to safety not prep Jozy for Brazil. However, I happen to think this run, if Jozy continues to play well, will be very good for him because he is certainly going to be in some very tough games in Brazil.

        • fair observer says:

          sounds like you were trying to disagree with you yet i pretty much agree with you. simply put, my point was that Jozy is in fact playing decent (not horrible as some say) but the rest of the team’s cohesion isnt always there. Thus i was really just giving my suggestions to a lineup that would be their strongest: best scorers up top (borini, altidore), best crossers with curve out wide (AJ, Larsson), best (talent) possession/passing mids in the mid (Ki, Giac) and yes oshea, brown and whomever in the back 4. Im not saying the rest of the team are terrible just that Poyet does tend to play certain players out of position( AJ should always be on the left…..yet he plays on the Right usually, he refuses to EVER cross with his right foot- thus never giving service in the air). Ki is really an attacking minded CDM (think Fellaini), Giac can play both ways, off/def, so team them up in the middle with borini as the creating CF and jozy continuing to do as you say, decoy basically. the only change would be to actually pass it to him at the top of the box which they never do once a proper build has occured.

          But yes, i agree, Jozy plays how Poyet asks, strong decoy drawing attention. his haters fail to realize this and scrutinize him too much

        • TomG says:

          Yes, I think the system Poyet play is very hard on the strikers.

          • fair observer says:

            true but regardless, its the players that fail to create in the final third, not the coach, ya know? back in the second Man U game that Sunderland lost/won (haha) there was a particular play in the second extra time. sund had the ball around the top of the box, Jozy was open by about 10 yards, sitting right in the semi-circle, Ki had the ball with 2 defenders on him to Jozy’s left, Ki looked up and thought about doing the right thing which was teeing Jozy up for a wide open crack, Jozy was completely unmarked, facing the goal, waiting….. drooling…….. Ki decided to stare at jozy, look back down and take not 1 but 2 more touches moving right in front of jozy and took a crappy shot that had no chance…… Jozy just stopped and threw his hands up. I like Ki in general but the principle is the point there. the decision making is what’s hurting Sund. Ex: how many times have we seen AJ dribble down the wing and just pointlessly make 3 or 4 back and forth cuts while the rest of the team is just sitting in the box thinking ” does he want us to make a run towards him or is he gonna cross it, i have no bloody idea……” 5/10 times AJ just passes it back to Ki who back passes to the GK, Manonne, for a reset……. Sunderland are decent-to-great in the middle third to an extent but the decision making on the attack in the final third are usually terrible. too many CMs just having a go from 40 out (gardner, ki, AJ after cutting to the inside along 18′ line) instead of simply having the patience to play a crisp pass directly to the feet of whomever is up front (jozy, borini, even fletcher).

            AJ has found success usually when finding an open spot on the far side and the team successfully switches play (or off a ricocheted shot)

            Chef Borini literally has to cook up his chances from scratch (although he is more of that type of player, thus the CF/Cam position suiting him best)

            Giac hustles the most (like Barkley at everton) but just gets frustrated his teamates tend to ball watch as if they’ve never seen a good player before.

            Larsson get screwed when Poyet plays him as a CM (he has probably the best curve on the team…let the lad send in crosses….. rocket science….)

            colback……. i dont hate the guy but really is he the best option at doing anything but passing to the open man… he does nothing usually.

            Jozy is the type of player who ideally just wants to get a pass, play it back to someone and then as the Defense shifts to guard that second man, play it back to Jozy in the box (once he’s FACING THE GOAL) and he can shoot and generally finish….. instead he’s forced to retreat to the midline on the attack (is that really where you want your strong ST to have to come EVERY time???….) sure, hold up play is important but its what happens after he lays it off that gets frustrating to watch, the other player genearlly makes a poor decision, causing Jozy to appear like a useless ST rather than one who can thrive of a succession of (gasp!) more than just one pass.

            So while i actually applaud Poyet’s system (simple possession) which they’re doing a better and better job of each game, it comes down to the players actually using their brains.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Yeah, Sutherland would get creamed by DC United, his age alone makes it a mismatch.

      Sunderland, on the other hand, is at a much higher level than DC United.

      • TomG says:

        Yeah, DC was really bad last season, but I can’t see how an 80-year-old actor can compete against an entire professional soccer team, no matter how poor they are.

      • Dan in New York says:

        Sutherland, Sunderland. Whatever they’re called, they stink. These bottom EPL clubs are no better than the bottom MLS clubs. Jozy rolled the dice by joining Blunderland and they are certainly doing him no favors. From the 5-6 games I’ve seen, he’s one of the hardest working players out there but is the constant source of scorn. Fletcher is absolutely useless, gets a ton of money, and I’ve never heard him criticized. Bah.

      • GW says:

        Not Kiefer.

  75. John says:

    I wonder if Chelsea are kind of wishing they had a creative attacking player to bring off the bench right now.

    • Increase says:

      Did you see that play by Eto? Childish. Has done things like that multiple times this season. I have decided I don’t like the fellow at all.

      • biff says:

        +1, I am not a fan of his either, trouble-maker wherever he goes, including his national team. And after the game running to the ref complaining that his silly act goal did not count. And how can 4 minutes of added time end up being nearly 7 minutes?

        • Increase says:

          Apparently Fergie time is now Jose time. Just magic some extra time on the clock to let the favorites win.

        • biff says:

          Agreed. And Eto’s silly stunt actually prolonged the game and the game should have been called, and Eto should have seen a yellow card for interfering with a goal kick. Unbelievable.

          • away goals says:

            Wasn’t a goal kick. I’m not sure eto’o was wrong. That ball could have been live.

            Similar to nani’s goal against spurs a few years ago following a clear handball from the united player. Ref never stopped the play (chose to play advantage), spurs gk set the ball down as if to take a free kick, nani tapped it into the open net.

          • biff says:

            i thought it was a goal kick. could be wrong on that. but what Increase was referring to was eto’s goal against the Schalke goalkeeper, which was legitimate. and since then I have noticed all goalkeeper all over are being more careful.

            link to youtube.com

            • Increase says:

              Ya, he has done a lot of that this year.

              But I’m thinking of one in the Premier league. I swear he toe poked the ball away from a keeper bouncing it on the ground and got a goal. Ref didn’t know the rules it seems.

              link to mirror.co.uk

  76. Darwin says:

    Well, Sunderland and Fulham switch places. I’m not sure how I feel about that after a decade of supporting yanks there. I guess Al-Fayed DID sell and they DID pull down Michael Jackson’s statue… Bottom line is that they can go down, as long as Stoke and Sunderland stay up.

  77. Darwin says:

    Man, Swansea at 11 is only 5 points clear… this is going to be a dogfight.

  78. biff says:

    Another good game from Sunderland, which is now just one win away from becoming a mid-table team.

    • Darwin says:

      Aston Villa could feasibly be relegated at this point.

    • Chicago Josh says:

      Hardly a “good game” for Sunderland. They were sheit…that was winnin’ ugly.

      • biff says:

        I did not see the full game, but did watch the first 35 and then parts after that. And Sunderland was cookin’ for the first 35 minutes, Stoke did not know what hit them. Sunderland was bossin’ Stoke and Jozy was bossin’ Shawcross. But Jozy’s miss. Yeah. Jozy’s miss. I already saw the ball in the back of the net…Sigh.

      • GW says:

        CJ,

        When you are in a BPL relegation battle there is no such thing as winning ugly.

  79. fair observer says:

    in terms of talent moving forward and the season as a whole, if Poyet would put perhaps borini and altidore up top (borini as CF maybe), with Ki and Giac controllin middle and AJ and Larsson out wide, that would give SuNDerland the best chance IMHO. AJ should be on the left side since he is incapable of crossing with his right foot……. larsson is good at crossing (usually). Ki and Giac are good at possesssion in midfield and borini and Jozy can score, problem solved…. colbeck, fletcher, cattermole, gardner (he’s OK) and the rest can ride the bench …

  80. Darwin says:

    What Sunderland fans are saying.
    Because we all need this:

    “I’m backing Altidore again tonight but for me this is his last chance #safc”

    “The_12th_planet: Last chance saloon for Altidore tonight. Haway lad your time is now #safc”

    “We got 2 get behind @JozyAltidore and think 2 nite is goin be his nite #safc”

    “Steven fletcher actually looks like a Sunday league player at times #lazy #safc”

    “So many average performances. Fletcher isn’t hungry”

    “Ki was unusually poor tonight, Celustka/Fletcher were dreadful, Altidore’s best game for us so far, Mannone – the Don #safc”

    “Altidore much better than Fletch today, still go with Scocco for the derby #safc”

    “Another piss poor Fletcher performance that man isn’t doing it for me Altidore for all his criticism was far better. #safc”

    “if Jozy would have stayed on, you have the power & movement & maybe you would have another goal. Why he’s a better option #sunvstk #safc”

    “Well played tonight Jozy, the goals will come. Keep the faith #SAFC”

    • John says:

      Jozy and the rest of them just need to focus on putting together a team effort to stay up. Yes it’d be nice if Jozy would knock in a few, However I think if he just keeps his head up and continues to fight that says alot more to me then taking the easy way out and going somewhere else. This summer isn’t going to be easy and I think this could prepare him much more for the struggle it will be.

    • Leo says:

      Thanks Darwin, nice addition.

    • ATX_Colin says:

      good post

    • Joe C. says:

      I agree with those above me, this was a great post!

  81. Bean says:

    Interesting line up for Mexico. Diego Reyes of Porto FC gets his shot tonight.

  82. John says:

    Is there any other national team that play most there home friendlies in anouther country?

    • Bean says:

      Strange how popular Mexico is in US. LigaMX, and El Tri ratings here are amazing.

      • John says:

        Its not really that strange, I was just wondering if theres any simuliar situations around the world.

      • Creg says:

        It’s because beaners like yourself watch it. Don’t get a hard on frijol, because it will be three and out for your mexiculos. The only reason they beat Costa Rica 1-0 was because Costa Rica had 9 players. you little beaners are ridiculous. You guys think you are going deep in the Wold Cup??????? LLOOOOLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see you guys get reamed up the butt. I bet the girls would get a good laugh at looking at your little frijol, just pathetic. But first yu need to wet your little bean. Try it with an ant. It would still be too small .

  83. Fredo says:

    Korea’s backline is awful tonight. Too much ball watching, not picking up runners, disorganized. I’m hopeful the US can get some goals on them on Saturday.

    • John says:

      I’m not a huge Wondo fan usually but I actually think this kind of match could be one where he could capitalize.