Saturday, September 11, 2010

EPL/MLS Soccer Saturday

I'm really looking forward to watching Bolton visit Arsenal this morning (loving the new arrival of Fox Soccer HD on my cable box).  Stuart Holden is playing some of the best soccer of his young career and arguably of any of the usual suspects on the USMNT.  Many supporters of USA Soccer have been calling for a formation change away from the outdated 4-4-2, at least while the team is without a second dominant forward.  A formation change to a 4-2-3-1 would allow Altidore to play up top with Donovan, Holden, and Dempsey in an attacking midfield role.  Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu/Jermaine Jones as defensive/holding midfielders, and a back four that no one, including USA soccer, knows exactly how will evolve.  If Holden continues to impress in the EPL, he may force Bob Bradley to utilize the depth of the American midfield (relative to the forward position).

Two of Major League Soccer's best face-off tonight late as the Columbus Crew visit the LA Galaxy.  David Beckham may make his 2010 MLS debut after tearing his achilles while trying to secure a spot playing for England in the World Cup on loan to AC Milan.  The LA Galaxy were able to win games while Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle were in South Africa, but they have dropped off their incredible form to start the season (fatigue?).

This could be a preview of MLS Cup 2010 and both teams are in a good position to compete for the Supporters Shield.  Columbus has one of the deepest rosters in Major League Soccer despite not employing a single Designated Player.  They'll need lots of legs as the MLS season wears on and Columbus competes for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which will be decided vs. Seattle on October 5th, and the CONCACAF Champions league, currently in the group play stage.

After missing last week's game due to a Labor Day trip to Boston, it will be great to catch the Red Bulls host the Colorado Rapids.  The NYRB are coming off a tough 1-0 loss at Real Salt Lake, a result that reflected the handful of key contributors missing for international duty (starters Rafa Marquez,  Bouna Condoul, Dane Richards, and Roy Miller).  This afternoon's match comes down to New York's back four, particularly rookie standout Tim Ream, containing Colorado's Omar Cummings and Conor Casey - one of the more complimentary striker pairs in MLS.

I'll be keeping an eye on how Lindpere, Marquez and Tchani go after Mastroeni and if speedy Colorado defender Marvell Wynne sees the field despite a nagging hamstring injury.  Speedy actually doesn't come close to describing how fast Wynne is and how quickly he can make up space, as Irving Garcia discovered during a US Open Cup qualifier earlier this summer.  Only 24, Wynne is actually a player who could still work his way back into the national team picture if he can stay healthy and show he is a threat getting forward.  

More to come - enjoy a great weekend of soccer and football!    

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