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Written by Max Silverstein | 02 June 2011




With the English premier league season coming to an end, it is now time for the transfer wire to start heating up as teams look to improve their current squads. One such transfer that is getting plenty of attention involves American goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Friedel has received interest from teams including Liverpool, Tottenham, and his current club Aston Villa. It appears though that Friedel will be moving to Tottenham Hotspur on a two-year deal as reported by Goal.com.

This move by Friedel may result in a real domino effect of goalkeepers in the premier league. Currently, Tottenham has Heurehlo Gomes as their number one goalkeeper but they have not been happy with his inconsistency. Gomes has shown the ability to be a prolific shot stopper at times, but in general he has given away too many cheap goals. Spurs fans may remember the latest blunder by Gomes, which occurred in a match against Chelsea on April 30th. The blunder helped propel Chelsea to a 2-1 victory over Spurs, leaving Spurs four points behind Manchester City, who were in the 4th Champions League qualifying position. 

By signing Friedel, Spurs are hoping to eliminate those goalkeeper lapses that have stricken them in the past. Friedel will provide a solid, consistent, veteran presence that will no doubt benefit Spurs. Carlo Cudicini is also in the mix at Spurs, as he just signed a one-year extension with the club. One would have to believe that with the addition of Friedel and the extension of Cudicini that Gomes' days in London are numbered.  

Friedel's move will also have an affect on where current USMNT player Brad Guzan will ply his trade next season. At this point in Guzan’s career he is just looking to get first team action wherever he can get it. Guzan was impressive in his loan deal with Hull City, which may result in Villa giving him a serious opportunity to claim the number one goalkeeping spot. If Guzan does not get the starting job look for him to seek out another loan to a team in which he can be the #1, which is most likely for a club in the Championship.

All things considered the move for Friedel appears to be a perfect fit for all parties involved. Spurs will receive its veteran goalkeeper to top off an already star studded squad which includes young starlet Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Rafael Van der Vaart, and the impressive central defender Michael Dawson. With this squad Spurs would be setup to make a push to win on all fronts. At the age of 40 Friedel is in the twilight of his career, a career in which he has enjoyed continued success, aging like a fine wine. This move will give Friedel his best chance to win some European hardware. Currently, Friedel only holds a league cup title with Blackburn from the ’02 season, but this move could result in multiple trophies including a heavily sought after Europa League championship.

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Written by Matthew Spitz | 01 June 2011




Despite only making 3 substitution appearances for Aston Villa after arriving on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach, Aston Villa is looking to sign Bradley to a permanent deal.

Reportedly M'gladbach want 10 million euros for Bradley, while Aston Villa is currently looking to obtain the American midfielder for about 6-7 million euros.

Bradley had this to say about his experience with Aston Villa,

"The experience at Villa was a really good one. Players go through different times in their career, where maybe you don't get everything that you think you deserve. Everything doesn't always go your way."

However, Bradley places great importance on playing time...

"It's important to find the right club, get myself settled and establish myself as a key guy. I was able to do that at Heerenveen and Gladbach. Now I have to find that right, next challenge and use these next years of my career to establish myself as an important player wherever that is."

 

Breaking News- Aston Villa manager, Gerard Houllier, has just stepped down

 

Staying at Aston Villa would be good for Bradley in my opinion. I know he didn't get playing time once he got there but there are couple of reasons why this will change next season.

First off, Bradley will only get more comfortable playing in England and training with Aston Villa. Bradley is an extremely hard worker; there has never been a point in his career where he didn't force his manager to start him because of his determined play. Bradley time after time has succeeded and his work ethic will once again translate into success in England.

Second, with Ashley Young's likely transfer to one of the EPL's top 5 along with the expected departure of Stephen Ireland, Aston Villa will have a void in the midfield. Not to mention Petrov is getting up there in age, which leaves an even bigger gap. Thus, Bradley will have more of an opportunity for playing time.

I also think there is some truth to the rumors that Villa was reluctant to use Bradley so that they could have bargaining power come the summer transfer window. Think about it, if Bradley played regularly his price would have gone up. Now that Bradley spent most of his loan time on the bench, Villa has more wiggle room in the negotiations.

Villa's staff saw Bradley train everyday, so he must have shown them something because most teams don't shell out big bucks for players that ride the bench. Not only that but team's don't normally show off a loan player in his new kit around the stadium and hold a press conference if he's not in the club's long term plans. Bradley will not only sign with Aston Villa, but he will be a difference maker next season.


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Written by Matthew Spitz | 01 June 2011




After appearing on mlssoccer.com's ExtraTime Radio, Jozy Altidore seemed to be upset with the interview. Today on twitter he said, "@MLS_Insider or not please dont ask for an interview again. thanks".

In the interview, Jozy talked about the chemistry he had with Charlie Davies and the need for that type of chemistry to exist amongst forwards for success. He also mentioned that contractual issues at Bursaspor caused him to miss some matches. Furthermore, Jozy said that he is willing to take a step backward and play for a lesser team if that means playing time. He thinks he is ready to make his stamp in Europe and realizes that Villarreal might not be that place just yet.

Side Note- Jozy has 3.5 years left on his Villarreal contract

Here's the link to the interview, start listening at the 10:35 mark for the interview, but the podcast starts debating about Altidore at the 4:45 mark (scroll down on the site and click on the Jozy Altidore episode to start the podcast)...

 

To me, Jozy did not especially sound upset during the interview. There was never a point where he was noticeably frustrated, but if you listen carefully it could be interpreted that he was put off at times.

I thought the guys were asking excellent, purposeful questions. At no point in the interview did I say to myself, that question was out of line. They were just asking Jozy the obvious, tough questions. Such as, why aren't US forwards scoring? What is your situation in Turkey? Why are you receiving sporadic playing time? By no means are these questions disrespectful to Jozy, so I'm not really sure what he's mad about. Nonetheless, the US striker seems to be on edge. Hopefully, he takes this energy onto the pitch and scores some big goals during the Gold Cup.  

What probably made Jozy upset is that some guys on the podcast ripped him a little bit before he came on the air. They talked about his lack of playing time and production in Turkey, causing a stunt in his development. However, other people on the show did come to his defense. Either way, Jozy should be able to handle some of this criticism.

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Written by Matthew Spitz | 01 June 2011




US midfielder Jermaine Jones impressed during his loan spell in the EPL with Blackburn Rovers so much so that Rovers manager Steve Kean intends on signing Jones permanently.

Kean said,

"If we can keep him at the club that will be fantastic. Jermaine is happy, his kids are in school. Hopefully he can see what we have done and we can get him on the books."

"We will sit down with Schalke in the next couple of weeks as he has been outstanding for us."

Jones came on loan from Bundesliga club Schalke after he had a falling out with then manager Felix Magath. As a result Jones was loaned out to Blackburn in January and made 15 starts for the team, helping them survive relegation.

 

This would be a great move for both Jones and Blackburn. It was clear that Jones fit in perfectly ever since making the move, flying around the field making important tackles and providing great outlet passes. His physical style of play in the midfield meshes well with the tough natured Premier League. With a fully supportive manger such as Kean, there's no telling how well Jones will play next season. I see him having an all-star esq season, scoring about 5 goals and being an anchor in the midfield that will lead Blackburn to a mid-table finish.

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Written by Ramzi Bensaid | 31 May 2011




New England 0-1 LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy continued their impressive run of form, defeating NE 1-0 at a crowded Gillette Stadium. Omar Gonzalez came extremely close to getting an early lead for the Galaxy in the 25th minute as Matt Reis was barely able to tip his headed effort onto the crossbar, before Benny Feilhaber did enough to clear the ball.

The Galaxy found a breakthrough when Miguel Lopez's glancing header went into the net as a result of a David Beckham cross. Landon Donovan and Sean Franklin were involved in the buildup as well.

Benny Feilhaber created a couple of chances for the Revolution with tantalizing crosses but he couldn’t produce anything for the scoresheet before being subbed out with an ankle injury in the dying minutes of the match. Feilhaber has not been specifically diagnosed yet, but he was seen in crutches and with a boot on his injured foot after the match.

New England still came within inches of an equalizer and would have scored if it were not for AJ De La Garza clearing the ball off of the line. Within seconds it looked like the Revs would grab a goal, but the combined effort of De La Garza and Donovan kept Shalrie Joseph from burying the ball home.


Chicago 2-2 San Jose

San Jose grabbed the lead early in the second half from a corner kick very much against the run of play. The marking was so poor that two other San Jose players might have been able to finish it if Ramiro Corrales hadn’t. US National Team goalie prospect, Sean Johnson never had a shot, as it sailed right into the lower corner.

My only question is why don't more teams put a player on the back post in corner situations? It always seems to lead to a disastrous result for the defense if the ball finds a player making that back post run.

After a Chicago goal, US forward Chris Wondolowski had a great chance to put his team ahead in the 60th. A ball played in from the left gave Wondo the opportunity to score with a flick-on from the corner of the 6 yard box, but Johnson was equal to the challenge and saved the point blank effort. However, Wondo wasn’t to be denied, as he found space between the Chicago center-backs in the 74th minute and subsequently used his head to perfectly direct the ball into the back of the net. Again Johnson had no chance on the play, as San Jose went up 2-1. It was Wondolowski's 6th goal of the season.

Here is Wondo's goal (he is on the US Gold Cup roster)...

Former US International Cory Gibbs equalized with a great diving header in the 80th, showing why he was put on 2006 WC squad (before injury ruled him out). The game soon after ended in a 2-2 draw.

 

Portland 2-3 DC United

The Portland Timbers played their 6th home game of the season having won the previous 5 when they took on United Sunday. The good news for the home side was that Charlie Davies and Dax McCarty would be out because of injury, but this did not stop United from grabbing the lead in the 13th minute and ultimately winning the match.

United were the far better side creating the majority of the chances in the first half.

Then in a matter of minutes in the second half, Kenny Cooper showed why he always is in the conversation about US national strikers, and also why he was left off the Gold Cup roster. First Cooper scored a goal from a curling free kick, but it was called back as Cooper was well offside. Then, Cooper did a great job winning a penalty as he was hauled down in the box after winning position on a long throw-in. Cooper stepped up and hit a strong penalty, but it was too close to United Keeper Bill Hamid. As the Timbers scrambled to put in the rebound, the referee blew the whistle to let everyone know that the keeper had come off of his line too early and that a re-kick was necessary.

This was the correct call as Hamid was well off the line when the ball was struck, but when was the last time a keeper actually stayed on the line?

Given a second chance, Cooper went the opposite direction with his kick and again Hamid saved it, but once again the flag went up because Hamid came off his line early. Eventually, Timbers coach John Spencer told Cooper to leave the 3rd attempt to Jack Jewsbury, who buried it.

That was definitely tough for Hamid, having made two strong saves and knowing that almost every keeper comes a bit off their line on penalties, but the linesman made the correct call both times. Just look at where Hamid is when Cooper strikes the first and second penalties (watch video below).

Here is the whole controversy...

 

I think what got Hamid was Cooper's stutter step during his run-up. I feel like most keepers will kind of take a little hop away from the line and they usually get away with it, but Cooper's delayed run-up caused Hamid to be obviously over the line.

 

Just a few minutes later Cooper was subbed out after a disagreement with Coach Spencer about having not been allowed a third crack at the penalty.

Maybe this disrupted the Timber’s flow because soon after they conceded a penalty goal and then another goal, showing that United was not missing Davies and McCarty too much.

Portland bundled one home through Hamid somehow in the 88th minute and had a couple of chances to tie in stoppage time, but DC United held on to hand the Timbers their first home loss without arguably their two best players. Side Note- US U20 stud, Perry Kitchen scored his first MLS goal for United in this game.

 

Toronto 2-6 Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Union ran rampant north of the border. After Gabriel Farfan grabbed the lead in the 2nd minute, Justin Mapp added a second in the 11th. Kyle Nakazawa seemed to put the game out of reach with another goal right before the half. However, Toronto came out revitalized as Maicon Santos put 2 goals in during the first 15 minutes of the half. Justin Mapp silenced the comeback though with a beautiful strike just 3 minutes after Maicon Santos brought FCT back into the match. Potential future US international Danny Mwanga added two goals in the last 20 minutes to complete the route.

Here are Mwanga's goals..

 

Colorado 1-1 Sporting KC

Pickens made a good early save as Sporting KC came out the aggressor. Conor Casey put the Rapids in front, catching a poor pass back from the defender to his keeper. Pickens later did make a huge save with Omar Bravo in alone, who initially sent him the wrong way but Pickens managed to bat the ball away with a strong left hand.

Here is Casey's goal...

Larentowicz missed a golden opportunity to put more distance between the two sides as the KC defense again cheaply gave the ball away. Conor Casey picked it up, gave a great ball to Larentowicz that completely took the defender out of the picture, he lined it up and just put it high.

In the 67th it looked like Teal Bunbury was in, but a great sliding tackle from Marvell Wynne took the ball away, which kept him from even getting a shot off when a goal looked imminent. Later, Bunbury did a good job of winning back the ball after being outnumbered 3-1 in the midfield, he played out to Ryan Smith who still had quite a bit to do in beating Pickens with a laser to the far post. Bunbury missed a chance to steal all three points in the 90th minute when a headed free kick fell kindly to him but the opportunity was ballooned over the net from 6 yards out.

For more US player updates of last weekends MLS games click the read more button...

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