CONCACAF powers USA, Mexico find frustration in Gold Cup group play

July 17, 2015

“With the United States’ recent success against big-name international competition, the team and its fans could be forgiven for thinking the CONCACAF Gold Cup would be a breeze. The U.S. did win the toughest group of the competition, but the results were far from comfortable. A draw with Panama in the meaningless group finale followed one-goal wins over Honduras and Haiti that secured Group A, but the U.S. never looked entirely comfortable in its trio of matches. After smash-and-grab victories over the Netherlands and Germany in June, the Americans continued a troubling pattern of inability to dictate matches when opponents sit back.” SI

Altidore off of USA’s Gold Cup roster; Beasley among Klinsmann’s adds
“Time has run out on Jozy Altidore, whose recovery from a hamstring injury didn’t progress fast enough to warrant an extended place on the U.S. national team squad that will make a run at a second consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Altidore was among three players cut Tuesday by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who had the option of making up to six changes to his 23-man tournament roster following the conclusion of the group stage. Altidore will depart along with defender Greg Garza and midfielder Alfredo Morales. They’ll be replaced by veteran defender DaMarcus Beasley—who’s coming out of international retirement—forward Alan Gordon and midfielder Joe Corona.” SI

Can Louis van Gaal Get the Best out of Bastian Schweinsteiger for a Second Time?

July 17, 2015

“In the midst of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s departure, there has been a sense of disappointment amongst the Bayern Munich fans. As a much-loved figure in the Bavarian capital, Schweinsteiger’s exit leaves a somewhat sour taste for them. And yet for all of his achievements at Bayern, and all of the trophies he has inspired, manager Pep Guardiola could no longer guarantee his continual place in the side. A therefore disgruntled ‘Basti’ may have needed to content himself with a place on the bench, and as an instigator of accomplishment and an icon amongst the Bayern faithful, that, clearly, wasn’t an option he entertained.”> Licence to Roam

Tactical Philosophy: Besnik Hasi

July 17, 2015

“Born in Gjakovë, Kosovo on 25th December 1971, Besnik Hasi started his football career at Liria Prizren (then a team playing in the Superliga of Kosovo), before moving to many different clubs in Balkan leagues, and then in 1994, found as he recalls his 2nd home: Belgium. In 1994 he signed for the KRC Genk, where he played 141 games, winning the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Cup once each.” Outside of the Boot

Tactical Philosophy: Andre Breitenreiter
“Andre Breitenreiter, the footballer, was horribly unlucky. His luck started out undeniably positive as at only 17 years old, he lifted the Deutscher Pokal in 1992 with Hannover 96. Then plying his wares in the second tier, Breitenreiter became an overnight sensation. ‘The Lightning Bomber’ as he was known in Germany, made the jump to the Hamburger SV in 1994 and at 19 years of age, scored a 19 minute hat-trick in the now defunct Inter-Toto Cup against Danish side Ikast FS. His Bundesliga debut came against, of all the sides, Bayern München. His brace helped Hamburger SV to the victory. Andre Breitenreiter, the footballer, had arrived and tragically his luck decided to strike two days after that momentous victory over Bayern when he broke his cheekbone and jaw and was sidelined for the rest of the season.” Outside of the Boot

Lionel Messi’s idol just retired

July 17, 2015

“Pablo Aimar, the curly-froed magician, and the one player who could make even the great Lionel Messi blush, has retired at 35 after a series of debilitating injuries. Aimar recently penned a farewell letter to his River Plate teammates after he was left off of the team’s Copa Libertadores squad by coach Marcelo Gallardo. The past few seasons had been torrid for Aimar as he underwent three ankle surgeries, a sadly recurring theme in what’s been a career hampered by injuries. Though younger fans of the game may not be know him well, it’s not hard to see why Messi idolized Aimar, an effortless player who seemed born to dance on the field. An entertainer rightfully nicknamed ‘El Payasito’ (the clown) for his effortless ability, Aimar was a fan favorite everywhere he went.” Fusion (Video)

A Tale of Two Transfers: The Divergent Perception of Raheem Sterling and Morgan Schneiderlin

July 17, 2015

“Earlier this week, a long-rumored transfer finally reached completion, as one of the best young players in the English Premier League ended the impasse with his former club and forced his way to a top-four team. And really, who could blame him? For the past couple of seasons, due to his relative youth and inexperience at the top level, he’d been making a weekly salary of less than £40,000 — well below market value. Rather than accepting a significant raise, he refused to extend his contract in order to pressure his then-current team into selling him to a bigger club. With the clock ticking on a contract that had only two years left to run, an agreement came about … and Morgan Schneiderlin officially moved to Manchester United. In other transfer news, Raheem Sterling moved from Liverpool to Manchester City.” Grantland

West Bromwich Albion – Like Clockwork

July 17, 2015

“As West Bromwich Albion prepare for their sixth consecutive season in the Premier League, it’s fair to say that they have managed to have rid themselves of the unwanted tag of being a “yo-yo” club that constantly bounces between the Championship and the top flight. However, the fight to retain their Premier League status has not been without problems in the last two years. They narrowly avoided relegation in 2013/14 when they finished in 17th place, while Albion looked in some danger last season before the Tony Pulis effect kicked in with the results under the experienced manager enough to guide the team to mid-table security. Chairman Jeremy Peace said that this was ‘testament to the relentless intensity that (Pulis) brings to the challenge’ and the team’s improvement fully justified his decision to bring in the Welshman in January.” The Swiss Ramble