By IVES GALARCEP
The month of December was a slow one on the U.S. Men’s National Team player depth chart front, with MLS winding to a close, and a lower number of Americans enjoying regular success overseas, but what the month has done is give us some time to reflect on how the U.S. team will shape up in the Gold Cup.
Terrence Boyd’s torn ACL did offer a shake-up at the forward position, and throws a bit more uncertainty into the forward picture.
The battle in midfield is shaping up to be a good one, both centrally and on the wings. With Brek Shea returning to MLS, and players like Teal Bunbury and Joe Corona also in the mix, the midfield picture may not really come into focus until the late spring.
As we get to the end of the year, here is a look at the latest SBI 23 for 2015:
By FRANCO PANIZO
This was not the Boxing Day match Tim Howard envisioned.
Everton lost Howard to an injury on Friday, as the veteran goalkeeper sustained a knock to his calf in the first half of Friday’s 1-0 loss to Stoke City. Howard was replaced by back-up Joel Robles at halftime, and while the injury doesn’t appear to be too grave, the American’s availability for Sunday’s visit to Newcastle United seems in doubt.
Adding literal insult to injury was that Howard conceded the game’s decisive tally in the 38th minute, beaten by a Bojan penalty kick that he nearly saved. The 35-year-old netminder finished the game at Goodison Park with one save.
Meanwhile, Geoff Cameron started, went the distance and received a yellow card at right back for victorious Stoke.
What do you think of Howard’s injury? Do you see him having any shot at playing on Sunday?
Share your thoughts below.
By DAN KARELL
A pair of London derbies headline a return to action in the English Premier League on a stacked Boxing Day schedule.
Chelsea attempt to remain atop the league’s standings when they host West Ham United to kick off the day’s action. West Ham and Sam Allardyce have defied expectations and are fourth-place in the table, and are proving their worth on a regular basis. Chelsea though seem a team that are the favorites to win this year’s title and will be tough to defeat at Stamford Bridge.
A surging Manchester United take on Newcastle United in the next round of matches in the day. Newcastle have lost two consecutive matches and have slid down to ninth-place, and are in need of another morale-boosting victory at Old Trafford. Second-place Manchester City visit Alan Irvine and West Bromwich Albion, who have just 17 points from 17 games.
The afternoon finishes up with Arsenal hosting South London’s Queens Park Rangers. Arsenal sit just four points out of fourth place and have won three of their last five games, though they’re still missing a number of starters including Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Theo Walcott.
Here’s a look at this year’s Boxing Day schedule:
By RYAN TOLMICH
Fernando Torres is set to try to reignite his career back where it all started.
The Spanish forward is reportedly close to a return to boyhood club Atletico Madrid, where the 30-year-old spent his youth days and first six years of his career.
Torres has spent the final months of 2014 with AC Milan, but has scored just one goal. The forward is now reportedly set to return to Madrid next week after the club agreed with Chelsea to take Torres on-loan until his contract expires in 2016.
Alessio Cerci is set to head to Milan as part of the deal, which will also see Torres take a major paycut.
Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Friday morning:
By FRANCO PANIZO
If you’re a big fan of English soccer, Santa Claus has brought quite the present.
A bevy of soccer will be played throughout England this weekend, making up most of the action over the next few days. Jozy Altidore and Sunderland are among the parties involve, as they play twice in three days with games vs. Hull City on Friday and at Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa on Sunday. Altidore will be looking to break back into the Black Cats’ lineup for the third time this season, and should have a good chance to do so given the short turnaround between the matches.
While Altidore attempts to earn another start, Tim Howard is line for two more. Howard and Everton host Geoff Cameron and Stoke City in a Friday battle of Americans before paying a visit to Newcastle United on Sunday. The Toffees have tasted victory just once in their last five league games, so they will be keen on trying to add to their win total in order to break back into the top half of the table.
The majority of the weekend’s tilts might take place in England, but some games will also be played in Belgium’s Pro League. Anderlecht welcome Westerlo in one of those matches on Friday, and Sacha Kljestan will be attempting to make his way back into the former’s starting eleven. Kljestan has been seeing more time as of late, but hasn’t been penciled into Anderlecht’s lineup since Dec. 6 and has just four starts in league play this season.
Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend: Continue reading
By IVES GALARCEP
As the year winds down to a close, it is time to look back and reminisce on the moments that will live long in the memories of American soccer fans.
My latest Goal USA feature took a look at the top moments, events and performances of 2014 in American soccer. The ones that will be remembered long after the year is over, and the ones that had the greatest impact on American soccer fans. It wasn’t an easy list to whittle down to five, and I’m sure everybody’s list will be a little different based on their own personal allegiances, but one thing we can agree on is that there were some moments and events this year that we won’t soon forget.
I settled on a top five for the story, but there were obviously so many more moments that could have made the list. Here are just some of the other events/moments/performances that could have made the cut, and may have made your cut: