Today, the Flying Donkey's traveled to the south of Italy where they faced Napoli. The Neapolitan side ran the show and won through first half strikes courtesy of Miguel Britos and Edinson Cavani. Michael Bradley played for 75 minutes but was relatively ineffective. The Napoli midfield pairing of Gokhan Inler and Walter Gargano dominated the center of the pitch and left no space for the Chievo midfielders to operate. Chievo have now slipped to 14th place in the Serie A table, 9 points above the relegation zone.
Going into the match, I was hopeful that Chievo could come away with at least one point. Napoli hadn't won their last 5 Serie A matches and Chievo were in good form since the start of the new year. Unfortunately, the Stadio San Paolo is not an easy stadium to play in, and Chievo paid for it.
Can't put the blame on Michael for this match, but Napoli ran through Chievo. Gargano and Inler were ever-present in the midfield and didn't let Bradley and company have much time on the ball. This would have been a great opportunity for Michael and Chievo to show their quality against a feared team in Europe, but it wasn't meant to be. We'll see if Chievo and Bradley can bounce back next weekend away against Genoa.
The elite American duo of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey were at it again on Saturday, displaying their class in the World's top league.
*Landon Donovan shows what the addition of a speedy winger with tremendous crossing skills can do for a team. The quality of Everton as a football club has reached new heights during Landon Donovan's short loan spell. Although the Toffees are only 2-3-2 in league play when Donovan starts, Everton's two victories have come against Manchester City and Chelsea, and any spectator can easily recognize the improved performances of David Moyes' side.
On an individual level, Donovan has been on a tear, as he racks up assist after assist. Today was no different as Donovan helped Everton deliver Chelsea a finishing blow in the 71st minute with his deft passing skills. Donovan collected the ball outside the box, made a move towards the center of the pitch and played in Denis Stracqualursi with the softest of passes. Stracqualursi took it in stride, streaked towards goal, and beat the monster that is Petr Cech to seal the game for the Toffees.
Here is Donovan's assist...no comments
Jozy Altidore ended his two month scoring drought, as he found the back of the net twice in AZ Alkmaar's 6-0 win over ADO Den Haag. Jozy came on in the 76th minute and it didn't take long for him to get to work, scoring in the 85th and 88th minute. Alkmaar's 6-0 destruction places them atop the Dutch Eredivisie table, tied with PSV for first place.
Jozy now has broke his personal season goal-scoring record with 11 goals across all competitions. His previous high was back in 2007 when he played in the MLS for the NY Red Bulls, scoring 9 goals that season.
Check out the match highlights and Altidore's goals...
US will face Brazil for the 4th time in the past four years on May 30th at FedExField in Landover, Maryland (ESPN2, ESPN3, and Univision). This will be the first time the US Men's National Team plays at this venue, which holds 82,000 fans.
"When you talk about Brazil, you are speaking of one of the most gifted football playing nations in the world," said US general Jurgen Klinsmann.
"It is our goal to be able to match up against teams like Brazil on a consistent basis, so this is an amazing opportunity. FedExField is an awesome facility for soccer as we have seen from the games they have hosted, so we are excited to play our first game in the stadium," Klinsmann added.
This will certainly be a great match in preparation for World Cup qualifying and hopefully the US can use it to improve upon their current 1-15 record against the international powerhouse. This is the second scheduled match against a top 10 opponent in 2012 as the Yanks will face Italy on February 29th as well. The US men's team is currently on a three game win streak and solid news has been making its way from across the ocean of stellar club play from a couple key players so US fans have a lot to hang their hats on as the Italy and Brazil friendlies approach.
A busy week down south began as Tigres traveled down to Chile to participate in the Copa Libertadores for their second leg of the qualifying round. Choosing to field what was labeled a reserve team by critics, Tigres coach Tuca Ferretti gave three Americans an opportunity at first team ball. Jonathan Bornstein, as well as youth products Victor Garza and Juan Pablo Ocegueda, got the opportunity to showcase themselves.
*Coming into the match down 1-0 on aggregate, the visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for them, the home side scored in quick succession in the second half to show Bornstein, Garza, Ocegueda and the rest of Tigres the door out from Copa Libertadores and back to the Mexican clausura where Club America awaited them. Tigres won that contest, yet Bornstein was back on the bench while Garza and Ocegueda returned to the the U-20 squad.
*Elsewhere, super sub Herculez Gomez entered Santos Laguna’s match against U.N.A.M. Pumas in the 76th minute coming on for Mexican international, Oribe Peralta. Los Guerreros (Santos’s nickname) held out to win the match 2-1, despite a late Pumas surge.no comments
Yesterday, Chievo Verona fell to Parma at home. The Flying Donkeys were undone by a Luciano own goal in the second half, shortly after they equalized. After the 2-1 victory, Parma move up to 27 points joining Chievo and Cagliari. General Bradley featured for the entire 90 minutes and had a solid match.
Not too much to comment on. Bradley has been consistently performing for Chievo in the center of their midfield. If not for the own goal, the match could have gone differently but it wasn't meant to be.
The USMNT v Italy is around the corner and Bradley should be restored to the center of the US' midfield for that match. Bradley has been positively reviewed in Italy and I find it hard to imagine him not being included in any of Klinsmann's plans.
The time has come, I have returned to present you the latest installment of video of the month – Nothing too special, just an insane scorpion kick. Erlan Meallas, a striker for Nacional Potosi, recently scored the goal of the year in my opinion. I don’t even think it is possible to honor this beauty with a proper description. Just check it out and admire the ridiculousness of a scorpion kick from about 20 yards out.
Read more for some bonus footage to see who the king of the scorpion kick is and whether or not it was better than Rooney's famous bicycle kick.
Yesterday it was announced that US attacking midfielder Mikkel Diskerud would be moving to Belgium to play for KAA Gent. Diskerud left Norwegian club, Stabaek, who currently find themselves in financial trouble to join Gent on loan. This deal gives Gent the option to make Dikerud's move permanent by years end, which would trigger a 3-year extension.
Here is Diskerud's press conference- introduction to the club....
Today Chievo Verona grabbed an away win against Novara thanks to goals from Pellisier and Thereau. Novara pulled back a goal but couldn't muster enough strength and the match ended 1-2 in favor of the Flying Donkeys. The General, Michael Bradley, played the entire match and was composed and solid as always. Chievo hosts Parma this weekend and it looks like Chievo could pull another 3 points and solidify their place in the top half of the Serie A.
Good looks from Michael. I've been saying now for a couple of weeks that he has really settled and has adapted to the Italian game. I think Michael should be an undisputed starter for the US Men's National Team at this point- he is a great all around midfielder, who is improving every aspect of his game week in and week out in Italy. Forza Michael.
Edson Buddle is back with the LA Galaxy. The US striker’s European odyssey started out with goals coming in bunches for FC Ingolstadt in the German 2nd division, but a reported falling out with the coach combined with the club's financial troubles quickly soured the adventure.
Despite rumblings that Buddle might pop up in the Premiership or in Belgium where KV Westerlo offered him a contract, the 30-year-old elected to return to the Galaxy where he struck 44 goals in three and a half seasons. Buddle now has a chance to reach the century mark for his MLS career after hitting the target 94 times throughout his first 10 years in the league.
To give you an idea of what Buddle means to the Galaxy, the organization is making the mighty Robbie Keane change his number from 14 to 7 so that Buddle can have his old jersey back.
Buddle’s return home from Europe is by no means a failure. The New York native started out strongly and it seems that politics more than anything kept him from succeeding in Germany, not to mention the club's poor performance on the field. There is no doubt that Buddle could have found further success in Europe, but that continent's loss is the MLS’ and especially the Galaxy’s gain.
While questions remain about the Galaxy’s midfield (with the loss of Juninho) and defense (Oh Omar) there is nothing to worry about when it comes to the fire-power of the reigning champions.
On his ESPNLA column, Scott French stated his belief that this might be the acquisition that allows the So Cal club to repeat. “How big is this?” French asks. “The Galaxy might have just won another championship.”