Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

ThierryHenry1 (DAlvaradoSBI)

Major League Soccer teams will look to improve their league’s recent results against English Premier League sides in a trio of intriguing friendlies taking place across the country today.

The New York Red Bulls take on Arsenal today at Red Bull Arena in a match that will have special significance for Red Bulls star and Gunners legend Thierry Henry. A sell-out crowd is expected at Red Bull Arena for Arsenal’s first visit to the United States in 25 years.

The Chicago Fire will be playing host to Tottenham in another of today’s friendlies, while Brad Guzan and Aston Villa take on the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.

There is MLS action as well today, with Toronto FC taking on Sporting Kansas City and the struggling New England Revolution facing the Columbus Crew.

In Mexico, Club America will take on Club Tijuana in the day’s most compelling match-up south of the border.

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 Soccer TV schedule is after the jump):

TODAY’S SOCCER ON TV

12:30pm – BeIN Sports – Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle United

4:10pm – FOX – Manchester United vs. Roma

5pm – ESPN2 – New York Red Bulls vs. Arsenal

6pm – Fox Sports 2/ESPN Deportes – Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan

6pm – Univision Deportes – Club America vs. Club Tijuana

6pm – Azteca America – Puebla vs. Veracruz

7pm – MLS Direct Kick – Toronto FC vs. Sporting Kansas City

7:30pm – MLS Direct Kick – New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew

8pm – ESPN – Chicago Fire vs. Tottenham Hotspur

8pm – Univision Deportes – UANL Tigres vs. Club Leon

9pm – Telemundo – Pachuca vs. Monterrey

9pm – HoustonDynamo.com – Houston Dynamo vs. Aston Villa

10pm – Univision Deportes – Chiapas vs. Toluca

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26 Responses to Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

  1. Alex says:

    Excited to see Zelalem play!

    • bryan says:

      not exactly an exciting game from him. almost had a great assist but other than that, he seemed to connect play more than trying to create anything or take people on. which is too bad.

      • Francois says:

        He’s a central midfielder, who is 17 and trying to make an impression on the manager. As a cm, you don’t take people on too often, unless you want the ball to get taken from you in tight spaces. If you have watched him, besides this game, he is very creative and has great vision. You can’t play through balls 24/7.

        • bryan says:

          i’m well aware of who he is, obviously. that’s not the point. also, he was the RM in this game, granted with a lot of freedom to move around.

          i totally understand him not trying to take everyone on and playing safe balls as he is just trying to show Wenger he can be a solid team player. that, however, does not change the fact that i would have loved to see him try to take someone on at least once.

          and yes, i’ve seen him in other games where he HAS shown that quality. im simply saying it would have been cool to see it against NY.

          i’m not sure what your point is when you say, “You can’t play through balls 24/7.” did i say something to suggest otherwise?

          • TomG says:

            Well, yes. You said, “which is too bad.” That indicates that you were disappointed by his play. Personally, I was relatively impressed. He certainly did not look out of place in a highly skilled Arsenal side. That’s impressive in itself. RM in a 4-3-3 such as Arsenal plays is not a wing position. They essentially play 3 CMs which they use to combine, possess the ball and pass it up the pitch. That’s why they have essentially 4 good CM’s in Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and Cazorla. In this sense, Zelalem fit in perfectly. He played a ton of smart, safe balls that either held possession or opened up the field. I don’t remember a single turnover, and when he was in the position to combine or play a through ball, he did so. He may be more in the mold of Xavi than Ronaldinho. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Of course, there was very little ball pressure or physical play in this match, so we have no conception of his ability to handle the kind of play he will experience in the BPL. I have no idea if he’s ready in that sense. We will have to see. In my opinion, though, this was relatively promising.

            • bryan says:

              not disappointed in his play, just disappointed that i didn’t get to see that part of his game. i even said he connected play, just wish he had created more. that is not me saying he was bad.

              for sure, but Arsenal played a 4-4-2 a lot today and you could see him in a traditional RM position for most of his half. the commentators even pointed that out. he had times in a more CM position, but he ALWAYS made his way back to a traditional RM position.

              again guys, i think you are reading way too much into my comment. the OP said he was excited to see him play and i responded it wasn’t the most exciting performance. that does not mean it was bad, unimpressive, or that he looked out of place. my comment is simply saying he kept it simple rather than flashy. nothing more, nothing less. and yes, that in and of itself IS impressive because he could have gone out there and tried to boss the field only to fail. again, good performance, just not “exciting”, IMO.

              • TomG says:

                I see what you are saying now. That makes sense, though I thought his performance was very exciting, but then I love watching great vision, smarts, passing, combination play and technique as much as I love watching guys run at defenders. I have to respectfully disagree with your tactical assessment as that’s not what I saw at all. To me, GZ was constantly drifting inside. All his best touches were inside as his 2 near assists were actually both slightly to the left of the left goal post. I don’t think I saw his heels hit the chalk once all day. I also don’t see how to call it a 4-4-2 as Arsenal doesn’t play that formation and who were the 2 forwards??? Out of curiosity, when did you see GZ run at defenders? He hasn’t played more than a handful of BPL minutes in which he played very conservatively and he didn’t play any streamed youth matches that I’m aware of.

              • bryan says:

                Tom – fair enough, and i like those things too. i thought he showed smart and accurate passing, but only one real glimpse of his vision was the almost-assist (ridiculous save from Robles). which was sick. but as far as technique, he didn’t show anything out of the ordinary in this particular game. obviously he has those qualities, but today he played it safe. lots of lateral and back passes…which is totally fine…just not “exciting” which is why i responded in the first place.

                “To me, GZ was constantly drifting inside. All his best touches were inside as his 2 near assists were actually both slightly to the left of the left goal post.”

                absolutely, not trying to argue that. i said he had a lot of freedom. but he drifted inside because he was starting wide every time. he touched the chalk multiple times.

                “I also don’t see how to call it a 4-4-2 as Arsenal doesn’t play that formation and who were the 2 forwards???”

                for one, this is preseason for them, so it’s going to look different here and there. but more importantly, no team stays in one formation. that said, maybe 4-4-2 wasn’t the most accurate description because it wasn’t a typical 4-4-2. it did happen at one point though starting around 10 minutes in and crystal clear around the 12th/13th minutes. but again, that is beside the point. look at most of his touches in the 1st half, wide right. it’s that simple.

                “Out of curiosity, when did you see GZ run at defenders? He hasn’t played more than a handful of BPL minutes in which he played very conservatively and he didn’t play any streamed youth matches that I’m aware of.”

                Preseason last year. he was the star of their east Asia tour and it was that preseason that got people saying he was the next Cesc. and even that was highlights posted to YouTube. i certainly haven’t seen it live or on TV in a BPL game.

                and to be clear, i know he is a CM and that is the position everyone expects him to play. my comments today about RM were simply based on where he got the vast majority of his touches.

              • bryan says:

                should have known it wouldn’t take long for some US fan to make this:

                link to dailymotion.com

                i think this video sums it up nicely. when i watch that, i think “solid” but “exciting” is a bit strong, IMO. the video shows that the vast majority of his touches were wide right but he had a lot of freedom. and like you said, he drifted inside a lot and was constantly moving around. heck, he was playing LM at one point.

                like you and I both said, and like this video shows, he connected well enough and kept the ball moving. but nothing in here to point out and say, “WOW!” which, again, is totally fine with me given he had a solid performance. only a few giveaways in 45 minutes. certainly not complaining.

              • GW says:

                Right after Julian Green’s USMNT debut vs Mexico this site was flooded with similar commentary about Green’s future.

                And Zelalem is 2 years younger and has not yet declared for the US.

                I’m sure Arsene Wenger has been wrong about a player but I am not personally aware of another 17 year old US prospective midfielder with a good shot at the Arsenal first team in the next year or two. So Gedion has that air of “can’t miss” about him. Still, he might not pan out.

                Sebastian Lletget is 21, is already an American citizen (however is a friend of Rossi so he should be under suspicion), plays basically the same position for West Ham, another EPL team, has just as many league appearances for their first team as Zelalem has for his (0), and has been the next big USMNT thing since 2010. Or was until everyone forgot about him.

                But then Sebastian is not a hyped up dual national that the US is courting. And he is not at a glamour team ( the late OB Ladin’s fave team) like the Gunners. West Ham sucks.

                Everyone wants the hot new girl in town and forgets about the girls with the nice personality who have always been around.
                Names like Luis Gil, Mix Diskerud, Kelyn Rowe, Duane Holmes, Emerson Hyndman (remember his dad?), Dillon Powers, Alejandro Guido come to mind. Boring guys.

                The nice thing is that this go around JK will have two Gold Cups ( A team for the first one this time), the Copa America, the Olympics and hopefully, the Confed Cup to sort out all these players.

                And Brad Davis will move to left back for the USMNT in 2018.

  2. Btown says:

    is this eastern time?

  3. Citronomics says:

    Dang. Rooney with a blast. Preseason but still a terrific goal.

  4. bryan says:

    Corona and Garza starting against America. Arriola on the bench.

    • bryan says:

      Corona almost playing like a striker. interesting. Garza almost just got beat over the top after being caught forward. luckily the America player missed.

    • bryan says:

      Corona back into a midfield position. Garza passes out of the back to Corona who has a sublime touch to beat his man and start a counter. Corona sends a nice pass to the striker and America takes him out in the box. PK. 1-0 TJ.

      • Increase0 says:

        I just saw the score. TJ gave up a goal in the last minute of extra time. Brutal.

        • bryan says:

          no joke. i actually walked into the kitchen because i figured it was over and then i hear, “GGGGGGOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL,” and the crowd going nuts. such a bummer.

  5. TomG says:

    Bradley and TFC surprisingly picking apart SKC so far.

  6. beachbum says:

    TFC with some great chances in this one to go on top but have missed or been denied by the posts. Besler just sent off with second yellow 15 minutes to play

  7. TomG says:

    SKC with absolutely no clue how to handle Oduro’s speed as he’s been running past defenders all night. He finally draws a (questionable?) second yellow on Besler. MB with some wonderful set piece deliveries but Henry and co. showing very poor finishing.

    • beachbum says:

      agree with all, but SKC scores with 10 men

    • TomG says:

      Hahahaha! And SKC shows how a team usually trumps a mere collection of good players as they score completely against the run of play on a terrible TFC breakdown.

      • beachbum says:

        and can’t forget to thank TFC’s Jackson for his numerous almosts but no cigar

        • beachbum says:

          and Henry too lol!

          • TomG says:

            I’ve seen Henry badly miss 4 wide open headers this season. I think they’ve all been off of MB balls, too. I always liked the kid and his potential, but he’s killed TFC this season. He’s been nothing short of awful.

  8. TomG says:

    Man, Rowe put it on a plate for Fagundez a few minutes ago and Diego plays with it. Strike the ball, young man. Now Finlay scores for Columbus and NE’s misery continues.