Monday, April 28, 2008

Euro Leagues Winding Down...

With four games remaining, Hansa Rostock are fighting for their Bundesliga lives after this weekend's loss to Energie Cottbus. Rostock, on 27 points, is in 17th place two points out from safety. Above them are Nurnberg, occupying the final relegation spot with 27 points, and Arminia Bielefeld, who are currently safe with 29 points. Rostock face Hamburg on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Germany, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 played out a 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin. The tie keeps Hannover in 9th place in the Bundesliga.

After clinching the Belgian League title last week, Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege were unable to keep their unbeaten domestic season intact, falling 2-1 at the hands of Royal Charleroi SC on Sunday.

In a battle of 5th versus 6th in England, Tim Howard and Everton drew Aston Villa 2-2 to remain 3 points above their rivals in the table.

Also in England, Watford slipped up against Scunthorpe United, going down 1-0 at home on Saturday. Jay DeMerit's side is still in the race for a playoff spot, however, and a win in the final game of the season against Blackbool on Sunday can confirm their spot in the posteason.

Fulham Still Fighting

Fulham produced a thrilling fight back on Saturday to come from behind against Manchester City and keep their hopes of Premier League survival alive. The Cottagers were down two goals within the first half and hour after Stephen Ireland and Benjani put Sven Goran Eriksson's side on course for what looked like it was going to be an easy victory.

Fulham kept fighting, and in the second half substitute Diomansy Kamara clawed a first goal back in the 70th minute. The comeback was on, and in the 79th minute, Danny Murphy converted the rebound from his own penalty kick. At 2-2, Fulham continued to press for the victory and in injury time their efforts were rewarded. Kamara picked up a Murphy pass just outside the box, took a touch and smashed the ball into the roof of the Man City net to give Fulham a 3-2 victory.

With the three points, Fulham injected life into their bid to avoid relegation. Now with two games remaining, there's still a lot of work to do and the current table looks like this:

16. Bolton, 33 pts
17. Reading, 33 pts
18 Birmingham, 32 pts

19. Fulham, 30 pts.

Fulham plays Birmingham this weekend in a bona fide six pointer at the bottom of the table. If Fulham wins and Reading loses, the Cottagers could potentially climb out of the bottom three...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


U.S. soccer fans will be thrilled to hear that DaMarcus Beasley returned to full training with Rangers today for the first time since suffering a knee injury back in November. Beasley tore the PCL in his right knee during a Champions League group match on Nov. 27, 2007 against Stuttgart. Following surgery and a lengthy rehab with U.S. national team trainer Jim Hashimoto, Beasley has finally reached full fitness and has set his sights on being ready for the upcoming USA friendlies and the all-important start to the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. spoke with Beasley last week on his injury and recovery. You can listen to the full podcast here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Standard Liege Claim First League Title in Quarter Century

Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege defeated Anderlecht on Sunday to secure the club's first league title in 25 years. The 2-0 victory, coupled with Club Brugge's 0-0 draw, gave Liege an insurmountable ten point lead at the top of the Belgian table. With three games to go, the title is wrapped up and the final few weeks of the season will be cause for celebration in Liege.

Throughout the season, Gooch anchored a defense that was the stingiest in the Belgian league. In fact, with only seventeen goals conceded in the domestic competition, Liege boasts a better defensive record than the league leaders in France, Spain, England, and Italy.

Liege is also undefeated in the league thus far, having won 20 times and drawn 11. If the team can manage to keep up the streak for the last three games, it will mark the first time in 42 years that a team from Belgium's top flight has completed the domestic season without a loss.

Read more about Liege's victory here.

View more pictures of Liege players/fans/etc. going ballistic at the club's website here.

Picture from

Heerenveen Head to Playoffs

Needing a win to be assured of a playoff berth, Heerenveen turned in a high-scoring performance that has been customary of the 2007-08 season. Michael Bradley's team has scored 88 goals this season, and on Sunday they thrashed Excelsior 5-0 to finish in fifth place in the Eredivise.

Now come the Champions League playoffs, where Heerenveen will face 2nd place Ajax in a home/away first round clash. Heerenveen's 88 goals are second only to Ajax's 94, so this tie figures to be packed full of offensive chances.

The first leg, at home for Heerenveen, is on May 1 with the return leg slated for May 4.

You can find a full schedule of the Dutch playoffs here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Global Blogcast

The Global Blog put up an episode of a new podcast, creatively (or not) titled the Global Blogcast. This week we interviewed DaMarcus Beasley, in addition to previewing this weekend's upcoming games. Listen to the full interview/show here...


The Global Blog spoke to Michael Bradley today, ahead of Heerenveen's big match against Excelsior on Sunday. This weekend's game is the last of the Dutch Eredivisie season - the regular season that is - and with a win, Heerenveen can assure themselves of a place in the Champions League Playoffs.

Quick update: teams 2-5 in the Dutch Eredivise qualify for postseason playoffs to determine who joins the League winners in next season's Champions League competition. Last season, Heerenveen finished in fifth, but faltered in the playoffs and instead parachuted into the UEFA Cup. This year, Heerenveen is again in fifth place, and they can stay above sixth-placed Feyenoord with a win on Sunday.

Here's what Michael had to say leading up to Sunday's kickoff:

On whether it is good to be in a position to control their own destiny:

"For sure. It would have been nice to be higher up in the table, because I think there were some crucial times in the season where we dropped some points that would have been enabled us to challenge to win the league. That part is a little disappointing. Having said that, knowing that destiny is in our own hands and that we put ourselves in a position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Cup is a good spot to be in. You can't ask for a whole lot more."

On whether qualifying for either European tournament will make the season a success:

"At Heerenveen we definitely have to make sure that UEFA Cup is guaranteed. We have been in that tournament for a bunch of years in a row. For a club that is going in the direction that Heerenveen is, that has to be the standard. If we can qualify for the playoffs, we have some games to see if we can get ourselves into the Champions League. Last year in the playoffs we beat Ajax at home, but didn't do well in the second leg. Hopefully we can make a real run at that this year."

On the team's form at the moment:

"We've been a little bit up and down. Like a lot of teams, you get to games at the end of the year and you are playing teams that are fighting for their lives in terms of relegation. Down the stretch we have had mixed results, but we are in a good position going into the last game of season. The atmosphere at home will be special. We have one game left to get ourselves into Europe, so I'm looking forward to it."

So it comes down to one game this weekend when Heerenveen host already-relegated Excelsior on Sunday. Be sure to check back here after the weekend to see the result...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Its been an up and down week for Heath Pearce and Hansa Rostock. On Saturday, the team earned an invigorating victory away to Karlsruhe to lift the team out of the relegation zone. Yesterday, however, Rostock fell at home to Werder Bremen, 2-1, after crawling back into the game and even equalizing in the second half. As it stands, Rostock is still out of the relegation zone, but only just. In 15th place, Heath Pearce and teammates are still ahead of Duisburg (and safe from relegation) by two points, but they've also played one more game. Check the full Bundesliga table here...

Heath Pearce had an assist against Werder Bremen last night...

Heath also tallied an assist in the victory against Karlsruhe on Saturday ... full highlights of that game:

Rostock's next game is a bona fide six pointer - the team faces Energie Cottbus, who are currently two points ahead of Hansa Rostock in the table. That game kicks off on Saturday...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Update

Fulham recorded its first away victory since 2006 this weekend, defeating Reading 2-0 to reinvigorate the Cottagers' hopes of beating the drop. Brian McBride scored the winning goal (his 3rd of the season), while Kasey Keller made six saves en route to posting a clean sheet. Clint Dempsey started for Fulham, and went 85 minutes before being replaced by Carlos Bocanegra. Marcus Hahnemann was on the losing side for Reading who, despite the loss, remain above the relegation zone.

They're only just out of trouble, however, as Fulham and Bolton victories this weekend have closed the gap in the relegation fight. As it stands right now:

16. Reading, 32 pts
17. Birmingham, 31 pts
18. Bolton, 29 pts
19. Fulham, 27 pts

At the other end of the table, Everton and Tim Howard slipped up in their quest for fourth place and tied Birmingham 1-1.

Jonathan Spector played 90 minutes in a losing West Ham effort - they were pegged back by Bolton with Kevin Davies scoring the lone goal of the match.

Over in Germany, Hansa Rostock earned a vital 2-1 win over Karlsruhe. Heath Pearce came off the bench in the second half to set up Fin Bartels' winning goal in the 84th minute. The win takes Rostock out of the relegation zone for now (they're ahead of Duisburg by 2 points) ...

Hannover were victorious as well, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1. Steve Cherundolo played all 90 minutes for Hannover, who are in action during the midweek against Borussia Dortmund.

Gooch and Standard Liege stayed the course for the league title: their victory this weekend keeps them seven points clear of Anderlecht, with the two teams to play next weekend. In fact, if Liege beats Anderlecht and third-placed Club Brugge does not win, then Liege will be 10 points clear with only three games remaining. THAT would mean, of course, that a party 25-years in the making begins immediately in Liege ...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekend Results...

Obviously inspired by his podcast performance, Oguchi Onyewu popped up to score the winner for Standard Liege this weekend. His club beat Mouscron 1-0 on Saturday to inch closer to the Belgian League title...

In Germany, Heath Pearce played 90 minutes for Hansa Rostock this weekend, but his side were upended by a 52nd minute goal from Halil Altintop. The 1-0 loss plunges Rostock into the relegation zone on the Bundesliga table - they're currently in 17th place. With 24 points, Rostock is two points away from safety and they'll need a win this weekend when they travel to face Energie Cottbus. Also in the Bundsliga, Hannover96 was on the losing end of a five goal thriller with Wolfsburg. Steve Cherundolo's team went down 3-2 and is now in 10th place. Sal Zizzo was on the bench for Hannover.

Over to England, where things are going from bad to worse for Fulham. On the end of a 3-1 loss against Sunderland this weekend, the Cottagers are treading water in 19th place. Clint Dempsey came off the bench, while Brian McBride and Kasey Keller played the full 90 minuts. The only good news for the team from this weekend, is the fact that both Birmingham and Bolton lost as well. Up Next? A massive game with Reading away from home.

Tim Howard and Everton picked up some points on Liverpool in the fight for fourth place, courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Derby County. Howard kept his 18th clean sheet (in all competitions), and made 8 saves in the victory. With the three points, Everton climbed to within a victory of Liverpool, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.

Reading were on the wrong side of a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle, though Bobby Convey made his return from injury. The midfielder came on as a sub in the 60th minute.

Finally, the Dutch Eredivisie playoffs are beginning to take shape over in Holland, and Heerenveen looks to have consolidated its place in the postseason. Saturday's win against WIllem II put Michael Bradley's club on 57 points and that gives them a six point cushion from 7th place. With two games to go, that means that Heerenveen just needs one point to be assured of qualification...