Saturday, December 22, 2007
Of Note: Fulham relieved manager Lawrie Sanchez of his duties on Friday, and the Cottagers fought for a hard-point today against fellow strugglers Wigan. Leading Fulham from the sideline today was caretaker manager Ray Lewington, and he inserted Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra into his first starting 11 for the club.
Up Next: While the team faces three games in the next eight days, Fulham’s search for a manager continues. The early favorite to take the vacant position for the Cottagers is former player John Collins. However, if Lewington guides Fulham to a few good results over the next week, he will undoubtedly increase his chances of taking the role permanently.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Everton v. West Ham - With Saturday's 2-0 win, Tim Howard and Everton made it two victories in a week over West Ham. On Wednesday, Everton defeated the Hammers 2-1, earning their place in the Carling Cup semifinals for the first time in 19 years:
Saturday, the scoreline was different but the result was the same. Yakubu has been in menacing form recently, and he again grabbed the winning goal for Everton. Defensively, Howard kept his third consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League.
Everton have been in great form lately, but they'll be put to the test over the holiday period. They face Manchester United away on Saturday, before hosting Bolton and Arsenal on the 26th and 29th.
Derby v. Middlesbrough - Derby County remain marooned at the foot of the bale, after a brilliant volley from Tuncay handed Middlesbrough a 1-0 win over the Rams. Benny Feilhaber and Eddie Lewis did not play in the game.
Jay DeMerit and Watford slipped to defeat at home to Plymouth, and as a result were overtaken at the top of the table. DeMerit went the full 90 minutes, as he looks to be fully recovered from a calf injury earlier this season. With the loss however, Watford drop to second in the Championship table, one point behind West Brom.
Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege drew Dender 0-0 in Belgium on Saturday. Gooch was part of a backline that kept its seventh clean sheet of the season, however the tie means that Standard, despite being undefeated, are still three points behind Club Brugge at the top of the table.
Michael Bradley and Heerenveen have moved up to third place in the Eredivisie after a 5-1 thrashing of NAC Breda. The impressive result puts Bradley and his club ahead of Feyenoord on goal differential, and they remain a mere two points behind leaders Ajax.
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover, meanwhile, were on the other side of that 5-1 scoreline, losing heavily on Friday to Energie Cottbus.
Heath Pearce and Hansa Rostock will undoubtedly be lifted by their 2-0 win over VFL Bochum on Sunday. Pearce came on in the 84th minute to help close out the game, and the win lifts Rostock out of the bottom three, giving them a nice boost before the month long winter break.
Freddy Adu came off the subs bench for Benfica, but couldn't turn around a 1-0 loss to Belenenses. Benfica now sit 10 points behind leaders Porto.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Convey was effervescent on the left-side of midfield for
- Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 were on the winning end of a seven-goal thriller with Werder
on Saturday. The 4-3 win lifted Hannover into fifth place and denied Bremen a chance to move to the top of the Bundesliga table. Cherundolo, as always, was deployed at right back for his team, who were powered to victory by a Mike Hanke hat trick. On Friday, Bremen Hannoverface Energie Cottbus as they look to end the first half of the season on a positive note. After the weekend, the Bundesliga takes a long winter break before resuming in early February.
- Heath Pearce started and played the full 90 minutes for Hansa Rostock, but his team was on the losing end of a 3-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. Pearce was on the left side of defense for his team, and played a complete game for the first time in over two months. The loss leaves
at 16th place and in the relegation zone. However, with a win against VFL Bochum on Sunday, Rostock can get out of the dreaded bottom three before the winter break. Rostock
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Of Note: The U-17 residency grad struck three times in the opening half (watch below), taking the midfielder’s season tally to ten goals in all competitions. Equally important were the three points that Heerenveen earned today, a result that keeps them fourth place in the league behind and just five points behind the leaders. After the game, Bradley was awarded a large bouquet of Roses, and he gave an interview to a TV station about the game. He talked about the team’s performance, his goals, the good form of Heerenveen this season and how excited he is to get home so he can check out this entry on U.S. Soccer Global! OK, so maybe not the blog part, and we’re actually just assuming on the rest as well - the interview is in Dutch.
The news is filtering through to the Development Academy Nike Friendlies and everybody is pretty psyched. Bob Bradley was in the tent hitting up the internet to see if he could find some pictures. People were also wondering if this was the first hat trick by an American international playing in Europe, but in fact that’s not the case, as Charlie Davies scored one earlier this year. Remember this video?
Up Next: Heerenveen face NAC Breda on Saturday December 15, but we’ll be sure to put some highlights from today’s game up as soon as we can get some good ones.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Of Note: Howard and his defense earned a clean sheet for the third game in a row, while Everton's Yakubu banged in a hat trick to spur his team to victory. Howard had a relatively light day, and needed to make only two saves over the course of 90 minutes. Clint Dempsey started for Fulham, and played 65 minutes in what was a tough day for the London side.
Up Next: The defeat for Fulham leaves the Cottagers struggling in the wrong half of the table before they host Newcastle next week. Everton, on the other hand, are hitting their stride, and couldn't be in better form ahead of the tough stretch of holiday games. They have six more matches in December, including tough ones against Arsenal and Manchester United.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Manchester United vs. Derby County (10 a.m., Setanta) – It just doesn’t get easier for the poor Rams who, after last week’s lost to Everton, now face Champions Manchester United. Benny Feilhaber was not involved in that match, and he’ll be hoping to break into the squad for Saturday’s glamorous trip to the Theatre of Dreams.
Reading vs. Liverpool (12 p.m., FSC) – Reading take on Liverpool in the late kickoff on Saturday, and with only one win in their last five, the Royals could do with a good result. A tie or a win could set the tone for a good December for Steve Coppell’s team, who face lesser opponents for the next four weeks leading into the Christmas period. Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann will likely be in the starting lineup for Reading, as they have been the last few outings for the team. And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out this article on Bobby’s work off the pitch in England. Oh, and a random note: the Reading scout at the Development Academy Nike Friendlies right now is senior-team fullback Nicky Shorey’s dad. Yup, random.
Blackburn vs. West Ham (11 a.m., FSC) – West Ham travel north to Ewood Park on Sunday, and the Hammers could push further into the top half of the table with a victory over Blackburn. Jonathan Spector has been one of the first subs off the bench in recent games, and he’ll look to help his team earn three solid points before next week’s double date with Everton – the two clubs face off in the Carling Cup on Wednesday and the Premier League on Saturday.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Of Note: Aalborg’s failure to take at least a point means that even with a win on the final matchday, they’ll be unable to qualify for the round of 32. Nonetheless, the small Danish side has done its fans proud thus far in the competition – AaB’s elimination of Sampdoria in the previous round was one of the stories of the tournament.
Up Next: AaB close out this year’s UEFA Cup campaign with an away fixture at Hapoel Tel-Aviv on December 19.
Of Note: Watford lost on Saturday in DeMerit’s first game back, but on Tuesday the Hornets managed a 3-2 win, stretching their lead at the top of the table to four points. Prior to the game, DeMerit spoke to Watford’s website about his return from injury and Watford’s need to build on their good results from the first half of the season.
Up Next: Watford and DeMerit will look to make it two wins on the trot when they face fellow promotion challengers Stoke this Sunday.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Of Note: These two teams have never met before in European competition, and AaB need a good result to maintain hopes of qualification for the next round. The Danish club endured a tough 3-2 loss to Tottenham on the last matchday, despite holding a 2-0 lead at halftime of that game. Getafe are managed by Danish legend Michael Laudrup, and the Spanish side is competing in the UEFA Cup for the first time. With three points from their first two games, Getafe currently sit in third place
Up Next: The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET. Read the match preview here, and follow the live text updates at UEFA.com.
Of Note: With today’s shutout, Howard kept his second successive clean sheet for the Toffees. This time, he didn’t have much to do, and only had one save to make over the course of ninety minutes. In-form midfielder Tim Cahill grabbed the winner for Everton, who advance to the round of 32 with one game still to play in Group A.
Up Next: Howard and Clint Dempsey do battle on Saturday when Everton hosts Fulham at Goodison Park.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Of Note: Everton have a few injury doubts ahead of the match, namely Tim Howard who is under the weather with the flu. With eight games coming up in the next 24 days, manager David Moyes may not want to risk his starting goalkeeper. In the bizarre format of the UEFA Cup, the top three teams qualify from five in the group, and the Toffees currently top the table in Group A. As such, Everton needs only one point from its last three games to progress to the next round.
Up Next: As usual, the game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET. Read a match preview here, and follow text updates at UEFA.com.
Of Note: Freddy Adu was an unused substitute for Benfica, who progressed to the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup courtesy of two first half goals from striker Oscar Cardozo.
Up Next: Benfica parachute into the Round of 32 for the UEFA Cup, but they'll have to wait until mid-February 2008 before they take the field in that competition. Currently, the group stage is still going on, and Benfica won't know its opponent until all the matches are completed.
The News: In one of two CL games tonight, Freddy Adu and Benfica travel to
Of Note: Benfica have no possibility of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League. However, should they win, they will finish in third place in the group, guaranteeing them entry into the next stage of the UEFA Cup. Shakhtar need a win, coupled with a heavy Celtic loss to
The News: Clint Dempsey and Fulham succumbed to a 2-0 loss to Manchester United last night.
Of Note: Dempsey started up top for the Cottagers, and though Fulham threatened the United goal a few times, they couldn’t turn any opportunities into goals. Eventually, a Ronaldo brace proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Up Next: With the loss, Fulham remain in 14th place and they now face a shorter-than-usual turnaround before Saturday’s match against Tim Howard and Everton.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Hansa Rostock 0 – Hannover 96 3: Heath Pearce and
NEC Nigmegen 0 – Heerenveen 1: Michael Bradley and Heerenveen were victorious in rainy conditions on Sunday. The victory keeps Heerenveen in fourth place, five points behind Feynoord, and seven points behind the leaders PSV.
Benfica 0 –
Portsmouth 0 – Everton 0: What looked to be one of the best games of the weekend on paper failed to live up to its billing, and turned out to be a fairly uneventful draw. Everton lacking the punch they had last week during their seven goal victory, and couldn’t convert any of their chances. At the other end, however, the Toffees were tight at the back, led by Tim Howard’s seven saves, and they earned a clean sheet to preserve the draw.
Reading 1 – Middlesbrough 1: Bobby Convey started on the wing again for the Royals, while Marcus Hahnemann took up his familiar post in the net, where he made 10 saves.
West Ham 0 – Chelsea 1: The Hammers were undone by a late goal from
Not too much else of note to talk about, other than to remind everybody about today’s big game! Fulham travels to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, in a game to be televised live on Setanta. Extended coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET, though the actual kickoff isn’t until about an hour later. Be sure to check back here after the match for highlights…