Soccer Thursday: Your Running Commentary

Aron Johannsson AZ Alkmaar 2 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

If this week’s UEFA Champions League matches were not enough to satisfy your cravings, you are in luck.

There is a host of interesting matches on tap on Thursday, as the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 gets underway. One of the main games of the day pits Eredivisie heavyweights Ajax vs. Salzburg while another sees FC Porto tangle with Eintracht Frankfurt.

From an Americans Abroad perspective, Aron Johannsson should take to the field as AZ Alkmaar look to grab a win in their first leg against Slovan Liberec. Johannsson is coming off a goal-scoring performance over the weekend, so he will be trying to carry the momentum gained from that into the Europa League fixture.

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

Enjoy the action (TV schedule is after the jump):

12pm- Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Genk- Fox Soccer 2Go

1pm- Dnipro vs. Tottenham- ESPN3/Fox Soccer 2Go

1pm- Juventus vs. Trabzonspor- ESPN Deportes/Fox Soccer Plus

1pm- Chornomorets vs. Olympique Lyon- Fox Soccer 2Go

1pm- FC Esbjerg vs. Fiorentina- Fox Soccer 2Go

1pm- Dynamo Kiev vs. Valencia- ESPN3

1pm- PAOK vs. Benfica- Fox Soccer 2Go

1pm- Slovan Liberec vs. AZ Alkmaar- Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Real Betis vs. Ruban Kazan- Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Swansea City vs. Napoli- Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Maribor vs. Sevilla- ESPN Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Viktoria Pizen vs. Shakhtar Dontesk- Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Lazio vs. Ludogorets- ESPN3/Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Ajax vs. Salzburg- Fox Soccer Plus/Fox Soccer 2Go/ESPN3

3:05pm- Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. FC Basel- Fox Soccer 2Go

3:05pm- Porto vs. Eintracht Frankfurt- ESPN3

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25 Responses to Soccer Thursday: Your Running Commentary

  1. SBI TroII says:

    AZ Alkmaar game not on TV. This really grinds my gears.

  2. nato says:

    are people really overhyping the Iceman? He’s had what, 4 caps for the NT and scored maybe 30 goals in Denmark/Holland in the past 18 months and yet suddenly they wanna dump Jozy.

    It’s not that Jozy’s spot set in stone. God no. But he’s been having club problems, not NT problems. He just won Player of the Year for the USA. If he flops in the camp in May, then start Aron. Not before. Jozy has 66 caps with the NT. He knows what to expect from Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley.

    • John says:

      No doubt, with the year Jozy had for the national team in 2013, it’s his spot to loose. He’s still going to have the most chemistry with the guys on the feild. I was just listening to an interview with Bradley and he was saying he thinks Jozy’s really improved with his time at Sunderland. With that said if he just looks awful in the friendlies leading up to the World Cup, then perhaps it becomes a discussion. Either Johannsson will still need to play an important role as we’re going to need every weapon we have.

    • TomG says:

      Tough to say. I took the time to watch all of Jozy’s AZ matches last year, so I knew he was for real, but I’ve only seen the highlights froAJ’s AZ matches. The only full performances of him that I”ve caught have been his USMNT matches and he’s looked good in those but not dominating. He seems to have a nicely rounded game and does a lot of things pretty well. Good size, good quickness, pretty good shot, pretty good header, can hold the ball up a bit, good ball skills, can run at defenders a bit, moves well off the ball. I’m not sure if he does anything extremely well at this point. The only really special things I’ve seen from him are that one great shot and a few goals early this year where where he sprinted full speed with the ball at the defender and quickly cut it back, letting the defender slide by for an open look. It was pretty cool, but I haven’t seen him score like that in months so am wondering if it’s something that can be easily counteracted by scouting. He’s got a nice, gliding, effortless stride that reminds me a little bit of Torres. It seems to me like he doesn’t have any big holes in his game and will be a really good player, but we will have to see once he moves up in level.

      • Lost in Space says:

        To me Jozy & Aron are different types of forwards. Jozy is the type that wares down his opponents and distracts the CB’s. While Aron is the type to play off another, making the smart run away from the ball in order to open up space and get in behind or following up a play.
        Aron is the Dempsey type while Jozy is more of a McBride w/out the arial ability.

        • TomG says:

          Jozy has much, much better ball skills than BMac ever did, and BMac is a much better target. Theyre not all that similar. Jozy’s more like Emile Heskey.

          AJ has never played that role under the striker professionally, so we don’t really know. He’s get decent size and he leads the line right now for AZ. He’s pretty much a classic striker from what I’ve seen.

        • GW says:

          Mr. Space,

          Here is what Adam Johnson thinks:

          link to express.co.uk

  3. Kingsly Alexander says:

    Fox Soccer showing Ajax and Red Bull vs Swansea and Napoli or Porto and Frankfurt?

  4. bryan says:

    dang it, a lot of these games are on Fox Sports Go as well. but the one i want to watch, AZ, isn’t.

    • John says:

      pretty boring first half anyway

      • away goals says:

        Second half not much better.

        Still, both teams are able to keep the ball for sustained spells at least. It’s not gouge-your-eyes-out-watching-west-ham poor or anything.

  5. away goals says:

    Goal AZ in the 88th. 1-0 lead and an away goal. Johann not involved.

  6. Mike Bonfanti says:

    MLS just announced they purchased Chivas USA. Boom.

  7. John says:

    Ajax getting hammered at home by Salzberg. I would have thought they might have been one of the favorites for Europa.

  8. The Imperative Voice says:

    MLS purchase Chivas USA. That is all.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      SUCH good news! Has been so much potential there withering on the vine. Def savy and good for MLS and LA! I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble finding a buyer/investor

  9. Randall says:

    Chivas being sold is the biggest MLS news in a while, including what is going on in Miami or Toronto’s rebuilding. The only way to get to MLS 3.0 is to grow out of MLS 2.0, and this is a HUGE step in that direction. Well done Garber and all involved. This league has a huge future!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I’d save the plaudits til they are out of the woods. For now I think MLS has chosen to make Chivas their problem and perhaps see what they can do to settle the lawsuit and revive LA2. I know MLS says they are looking to stay in LA, talking with ownership groups, and in a branding transition. It could be like the Dynamo (minus the move) where a successful franchise gets revived by a shakeup.

      But, it could also be like the Mutiny or Fusion (or some other pro examples), where the league takes hold of the team, maybe even moves it, or folds it entirely. If Chivas has poisoned the well for the time being, MLS is not going to goof around, accumulate debt, and let one bad apple spoil the bunch. This is LA2′s chance to stabilize. We’ll see if LA2 can go anywhere without the easy Mexican branding. It’s a smart move but not exactly time to celebrate yet.

      I mean, put yourself in the shoes of a Chivas fan right now. Off to FMF? Do I root for Galaxy? Do I root for a team without much identity? I see it as like 1836, they need to come up with a Dynamo quick, pay adidas to shred the new jerseys if need be. I don’t think a lame duck identity year is what a struggling franchise needs. They need a rallying point and quick.

  10. Nick says:

    Could Altidore and Johannson up top together work? I’d love to see them run wild all over Ghana.