Monday Kickoff: Notes on Holden, Chicago and the African Cup of Nations

Stuart Holden (

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Stuart Holden's European adventure is now taking him to Bolton.

The soon-to-be former Houston Dynamo midfielder is reportedly set to begin a trial with Bolton after initially heading to England for a trial with Burnley. Owen Coyle's move to become Bolton's manager has precipitated the switch for Holden.


The Chicago Fire formally announced the hiring of Carlos De Los Cobos as head coach on Sunday, and will present him on Monday in Chicago. De Los Cobos won't waste much time getting started. He is set to fly down to Florida on Monday evening to catch the final day of Combine action on Tuesday.


The African Cup of Nations will resume today with Malawi facing USA World Cup opponent Algeria, and with Ivory Coast taking on Burkina Faso.

As we all still try to make sense of the senseless attack on the Togolese national team in Angola, one journalist took the time to remind us that he saw this coming.

Also from the Daily Mail, Emmanuel Adebayor admits that Togolese players wanted to stay and play to honor their fallen comrades.


The club match of the weekend saw AC Milan easily dispose of Juventus, 3-0, on the strength of two goals from the rejuvenated Ronaldinho. Here are the highlights:


Look out for more MLS Combine coverage throughout the day, as well as a feature on U.S. national team call-up Marcus Tracy that will post later this morning.

For now, please feel free to share your thoughts on any of the above stories in the comments section below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- Houston Dynamo. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Notes on Holden, Chicago and the African Cup of Nations

  1. DLC says:

    El Salvador press is reporting Julio Martinez to Chicago is official : link to

  2. Chris in Belfast says:

    Wait a second… they were setting the stadium on fire?

  3. ZacIndy says:

    English journalist are the best. Tell me how you really feel Martin Samuel. He is exactly right.

  4. g-loff says:

    Interesting that Holden is looking to move to Bolton now. Hopefully the means Croyle really likes him and wants to bring him in as one of “his” players. I think will have a better chance there to get into the line up with a new manager and everyone having to “try out” for a spot rather than coming into a set line-up. That’s about all the positive I can see about a move to Bolton though…

  5. Chris in Belfast says:

    A friend over here pointed out to me that Bolton and Burnley aren’t really much different. If anything, Bolton’s a better place to head, with goal differential telling the tale. As long as Turf Moor remains an impossible place to play, Burnley will be fine, but that defense is weak. I honestly think Holden has a better chance of staying in the Premier League if he goes with Bolton and can manage to stay with the team.

  6. DC Josh says:

    Italians, bringing the tailgate inside the stadium since 1932.

  7. donturtuccio says:

    neither team is entirely safe, but I agree Bolton for the better D

  8. Chris in Belfast says:

    It goes against all my instincts as an aesthete, but you have to build from the back, particularly if you’re on a budget like these smaller teams. A commitment to beautiful football is all well and good, but if your defense isn’t stout enough to catch you when you inevitably give away possession to better teams playing pretty will get you nowhere.

  9. USMNT says:

    Malawi 1 – Algeria 0 (17:00)

  10. Mike from Linden says:

    How did Ronaldinho score his second goal? I saw it live but I could barely see it sue to all the smoke.

  11. OmarVizquel says:

    Have heard that World Cup-bound African teams are treating the ACoN with disinterest. The WC is the goal for these teams, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some dark horses slid past a team like Algeria.

  12. OmarVizquel says:

    From the looks of things, I anticipate being annoyed by Algeria come June. They seem to have a knack for, well, diving all over the place. Ghana ’06 redux?

  13. USMNT says:

    Regardless of how the African teams treat the African Cup of Nations the athletes understand there’s still competition in terms of who makes the final roster for South Africa.

    Update: Bougherra has been constantly caught flat footed against the speedy Malawi forwards.

  14. wilbur06 says:

    That is odd behavior for the African nations. This is the perfect tune-up time for these nations to prepare their squads for the WC.

  15. MiamiAl says:

    We’re going to be able to beat Algeria, no problem. They don’t look so hot in this first half…

  16. OmarVizquel says:

    Conor Casey take note!

  17. MiamiAl says:

    2-0 Malawi in the first half…

  18. garbaggio says:

    I’m surprised at how well AC Milan is doing this season. Pre-season consensus seemed to be they might drop to midtable in a rebuilding year with an untried young coach like Leonardo.

    I was going to add this to my earlier comment in the “Americans Abroad” thread but couldn’t figure out how to do it.

    Edgar Castillo played a full game in the Interliga catfight (Tigres v Jaguares). And Herculez Gomez made his debut for Puebla (subbed out for Carlos Ruiz in the 71′):

    link to

    Box scores:

    link to

    link to

  19. Al17 says:


    Could you be a lil considerate in posting a score? Some people would actually like to follow the matches later with a lil bit of suspense.


  20. Al17 says:

    Where do you guys come up with this crap?

    It’s why those same WC sides sent their “B” teams. Man, come on and use the brain a lil before making such a post.

    Trust me when I say that Cote d’Ivoire wants to win what would be there 1st ever Cup of Nations title at this tournament. Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria are also in that same boat.

  21. Aaron in StL says:

    Wouldn’t go that far… Ivory Coast and Ghana are fielding strong teams. This is the best chance for most of the teams to win any type of important trophy.

  22. cpd says:

    Will Ronaldinho make Brazil’s World Cup squad?

  23. OmarVizquel says:

    3-0 Malawi. Don’t read a soccer site during a game if you want suspense.

  24. Chris in Belfast says:

    It actually makes perfect sense to me. It’s just like what the US did with the Gold cup last summer. The ACN is held every two years, so this one doesn’t effect Confed Cup Qualifying. It’s a great chance to check your depth and see who in your pool can bring something to the 23 for the World Cup. There’s nothing at stake in this tournament for World Cup bound teams except bragging rights, so why not use is as a dry run for some up and comers or veterans who’ve been out of the setup for a while?

    I understand the opposite argument, which is to get the A Team as many games together as possible so they gel before the World Cup, too. It’s just a matter of what the coach thinks is necessary.

  25. Franky says:

    Couldn’t be happier about that scoreline!

  26. 123 says:

    Probably Dunga will insist playing Elano and Julio Baptista.

  27. OmarVizquel says:

    Algerians look quick and tough up front (this worries me a bit…), but the backline and goalkeeping just does not look interested today. Malawi looks spirited and eager. The USA will need to be up for it and not overlook Algeria. However, I’m not impressed by them today.

  28. Richard says:

    Is there any chance that this Danny Mwanga kid eventually becomes a US citizen and plays internationally for the US instead of Congo?

  29. ko'd says:

    @OmarVizquel–it’s still early, but that may be the comment of the day.

  30. ko'd says:

    this one, I mean: “3-0 Malawi. Don’t read a soccer site during a game if you want suspense.”

  31. ZacIndy says:

    i would hope he’d realize the biggest competitiion he could HOPE to get into is AfCoN and now I’m not even sure that the teams in AfCoN want to be there.

  32. afc says:

    I watched the game but wasn’t impressed with Algeria. They have quick players so they prefer the wings instead of playing down the middle. We will have to close down the wings because they got some good crosses in. I only watched the second half so I can’t comment on the whole game but there finishing looked very poor in the second half. They missed some clear cut chances. Also they really favor the backheel! Defending and goalkeeping were horrible, especially the keeper, not confident at all.

  33. ZacIndy says:

    This was the same team that said they were confident to go up against England, right? As a Yanks fan, I don’t want to be overconfident but they just dropped one to a team that hasn’t been part of even an continental championship since 1984. It appears they were lucky to be in WC qual. group with their main rival, Egypt so they had something to be fired up about.

  34. afc says:

    I don’t want us to get overconfident either. A lot can happen in 6 months but I’ll be watching their other games closely. However, I was very unimpressed. They had some good build up play but really lacked with the finishing.

    If we can really close down the wing play then we should be ok. We will have to watch for the quick breakaways down the wings. They have some quick players.

  35. afc says:

    Sorry I meant 5 months :)

  36. smokeminside says:

    True that….geez, what an amazing indictiment of the powers that be….thanks for link, Ives…

  37. ahm says:

    are you like the grand ambassador of everything AFCON? ? you respond to any comment about the tournament with ridiculous vitriol and if you actually wanted to disprove someone’s notions you’d be better off making a coherent statement supported by facts or logic, not angrily calling them stupid.

  38. ahm says:

    this teams seems tailor made for the US to play counter attack football against. quick and want to get forward but struggle finishing and defending? b-e-a-utiful

  39. Chris in Belfast says:

    From what I could see of the replay, he collected Beckham’s cross, settled with a couple of touches, and slotted the ball calmly past the keeper. A pretty miraculous pass from Beckham given the visibility.

  40. Hush says:

    Has anyone heard about Lee Nyuen’s trial in Arsenal? Any updates on this subject ives?

  41. speekeasy says:

    gotta love the smoke-filled stadium. i doubt that anyone could see that 3rd goal

  42. Josh.2 says:

    It wasn’t a trial. HAGL has a connection with Arsenal and every year I think they send two of their players over to train with the Gunners’ reserve side. It’s just training sessions, they’re not really looking to sign him permanently.

  43. WonsanUnited says:

    Yeah, it’s Italy. Stuff like that happens on a consistent basis.

  44. JR says:

    Bolton has a better D?

    The same team that was up 2-0 to Hull in the 2nd half and blew that lead?

    Holden to Bolton might not be the dream idea…

    Bolton wings are strong already. Lee and Matthew Taylor aren’t going anywhere.

    Lee is probably the best attacking option bolton have right now, fun player to watch

    CM – he’s not exactly the holding mid type player bolton are probably looking for. does he have better touch and vision than muamba, cohen, gardner…sure, but they probably get the edge on D

  45. Micah King says:

    Bolton are in danger of getting relegated. I don’t like this move. If they get relegated and if Holden wants to play for an EPL DIV 1 team, he will have to go to another team and impress. Why don’t Holden try Everton, Blackburn, or Stoke ?

  46. OmarVizquel says:

    Hey Al17, in light of the Algeria and Ivory Coast (2 WC-bound teams) performances today, want to talk about “crap” comments?

  47. OmarVizquel says:

    Nguyen won’t stop talking about it to anyone who’ll listen, though. Check out his Twitter background and avatar, and most of the recent interviews with him. You’d think he signed a 5-year contract…

  48. OmarVizquel says:

    Unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo, you don’t “try” certain teams. You play for whomever wants YOU.

  49. Hush says:

    That is not the case according to Arsenals blogs and sites. I know about the whole practice and joyriding at Arsenal. But his agent has said he is waiting on Arsenals decision. What does he mean by that? Google it. Even Lee’s myspace and twitter has some interesting info.

  50. OmarVizquel says:

    “I had a lot of feedback from their staff there, the main one was from the reserve coach. Steve Morrow was also keeping an eye on me during training. Basically they told me I had everything to play at Arsenal. Technically I’m right up there, and they saw putting me in there, that I didn’t hold the other players back. I wasn’t a step back; I was right there with them. And in most cases I was better than most of the reserve players, so they definitely liked what they saw and said keep doing what you’re doing, playing like you do wherever you go next. They said they’d keep an eye on me. That was basically it. It could have maybe been a different story if I would have had a European passport or work permit to play in England, than maybe they would have taken different steps, or taken further initiative, but just the fact that it was so hard for me to get a work permit made them want to wait and see on me.”

  51. cfig says:

    While it’s less than ideal playing with a good coach in the Championship isn’t necessarily a bad move, still a very good league with great coaching. There’s also quite a good chance that he could get picked up by another Premiership team if he has a good showing the rest of this season.

  52. Gene says:

    Where do you guys watch the African Cup of Nations? I was hoping to catch the Ivory Coast vs. Ghana game. Also, which other games might you recommend, as I know embarassingly little about African football?