Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

Guzan (Getty Images)


Brad Guzan has a decision to make.

The U.S. national team and Aston Villa backup goalkeeper has been offered a contract extension by the English club, but a lack of playing time behind Shay Given could encourage him to move elsewhere. Villa manager Alex McLeish was impressed with Guzan during his seven Premier League starts earlier in the year, when Given was injured.

McLeish also said he understands that the American needs to "mull it over" before making any decisions. Guzan, 27, moved to Villa in 2008 but has struggled to get off the bench, backing up Brad Friedel for three years prior to Given's arrival. He had a successful two-month loan spell at Hull City last winter as well.

Guzan's current deal runs out at the end of the season, and the terms of the proposed extension have not been disclosed. He was welcomed back into the U.S. set-up for the national team's friendly with Italy on Wednesday — though he was not in uniform for the match — marking a return after a long international absence.

Here are some stories to kick off your Thursday:


Bahrain's 10-0 victory over Indonesia in Wednesday's Asian World Cup qualifier is under investigation, FIFA confirmed today. Suspicions were raised about the result when Bahrain had momentarily overturned a nine-goal deficit to Qatar to give themselves a chance to advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying. Qatar scored a late equalizer against Iran, though, to make the game effectively meaningless.

FIFA cautioned that this was a "routine examination" based on the extreme scoreline, the need for Bahrain to achieve such a lopsided victory and the two team's previous head-to-head results. The Indonesian side was largely inexperienced with several veterans banned as Indonesia suffers from internal divisions in its domestic league.

Starting goalkeeper Samsidar was sent off after four minutes and Indonesia had to finish the game with 10 men. They finished last in Group E with a -23 goal differential in six games.


Another clash between the Brazilian government and FIFA over regulatory powers for the 2014 World Cup have delayed preparations even further.

A Brazilian congressional committee has pushed back a vote on a bill that sets the legal parameters for FIFA's power in regards to planning their showpiece event. The main sticking point is FIFA's demand that beer be sold inside stadiums during World Cup games. Alcohol sales have been banned at Brazilian soccer stadiums for years.

The bill must first be approved by a congressional committee, which probably won't vote until at least next week. If approved, the bill must pass both houses of congress and be approved by President Dilma Rousseff.


Manchester United have exercised an option on striker Dimitar Berbatov's contract that should keep the striker at Old Trafford for another season. Berbatov, 31, has fallen down the depth chart in his five seasons at United and is thought to be looking for a move.

Manchester United can still sell the Bulgarian in the summer window. This move simply ensures that Berbatov can not walk away for free at the end of the season.


Do you think Guzan should accept the deal and stay at Villa? Are you suspicious of the Bahrain result? Fed up with Brazil dragging their feet with FIFA or is FIFA asking for too much power? Think Berbatov can still get it done for United?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, European Soccer, FIFA, International Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

  1. Kevin_Amold says:

    From what I read, it looks like the result is under investigation, not Bahrain itself. Do I misread?

  2. fischy says:

    Ummm…who had the most to gain by influencing the result? Some gambler who bet Bahrain would score 10?

  3. Party Pat says:

    Brad needs to move on and play somewhere. Soon he will be looking back on a career on the bench. Enough is enough.

  4. BFT says:

    Guzan needs to play. Two or more years as a backup is not going to do him any good, especially if he wants to make the squad for 2014. He’s getting into the US squad now, but two years from now, if he’s been riding the pine, and Hamid and Sean Johnson have been starting and improving during that time, he could lose lose out. Even if he needs to take a starting job in the Championship, (which I think he could certainly get) he needs to get out of Villa.

  5. Felix says:

    Its great for Villa to have a GK like Guzan who can come in and play well when the older Given gets hurt – but if I was Guzan I would leave. He needs to be playing now – he’s apprenticed long enough.

    That Bahrain result looked fishy to me as well – especially considering that the Indonesian GK got sent off within 5 minutes.

    I hope Brazil stands their ground. I don’t like how FIFA comes in and makes all these rules for themselves.

  6. John says:

    I read he makes like a million a season. What’s the hurry?

  7. biff says:

    Very interesting comment in a NY times blog published after the Italy match . Referring to Klinsmann, the reporter writes: “There’s talk of a rift with Landon Donovan, but if the U.S. keeps winning and playing well, it’s going to be: Landon Who?”

    I have not seen any any other news articles alluding to a Donovan-Klinsmann rift, but with Donovan’s continuing absences, I was beginning to wonder. And if the NY Times is publishing it…

  8. Mig22 says:

    Who was the blogger Biff?

    It is certainly an interesting question given the number of games he’s missed. It’s probably nothing but worth looking into.

  9. bottlcaps says:

    Agreed!. Waiting it out for a free transfer is a good career move. There are several Premier League, and some promotion bound Championship League teams that have expressed an interest in Guzan. Some will most certainly be for a starting keeper role.McLeish is almost required to give Given, an English national team goalkeeper a starting spot, so no matter how well Guzan plays at AV he is going to ride the pine in favor of Givens.

  10. bottlcaps says:

    This is just “soccer journalism” only worthy of the Sun or some other such rubbish rag.Why the NY times would pick it up make me wonder about their reporting.

    There is no riff. Donovan is out with Bronchitis and not even with the team in Tucson..yet. His prior absences where due to the Galaxy playing some big MLS playoff games, or due to an injury. Klinsmann has always been a big supporter of Donovan, In Germany, and now in the US and is careful about extending too much soccer and travel to Donovan or any other USMNT member.

  11. Shark says:

    Given is Irish not English. And has had a steller career mostly at Newcastle in the EPL and for his national team. Brad just needs to move on. Staying at Villa there is no guarantee of playing time. He is coming near his peak years and needs to play on a regular basis.

  12. Shark says:

    Yet you just said Given was an English national team goalkeeper…so your research and credibility are shakey already…as to a rif who knows and who cares? You certainly don’t know…nor do I…

    Klinsman was a bit irritated with him when he agreed to play for the USA and then return a week early for prep for the MLS Cup in November…so who knows…

  13. Shark says:

    Thanks Biff…loved the rating of the players…Bradley was a monster last night..:)

  14. Kevin_Amold says:


  15. Bradley's sons' son from the future says:

    a promoted team to the PL in the fall might want to go with him. It’s either that or the Championship. Loads of clubs could use him

    or perhaps he could head to Germany or Holland or France.

  16. Bradley's sons' son from the future says:

    Guzan could certaintly start for any club in the Championship. But less chance he will start for a PL club. He’s shown POTENTIAL but has only been in what maybe 15-20 matches in the past 3.5 years in England.

    maybe he could be the GK for a team like Norwich or Wigan-relegation bait.

  17. H2Oman says:

    Haha. Oh saweeeeeet…. nonsense drama…. guess we really are becoming a footballing nation!

    Pardon me but, I’ll take that one with a football sized grain of salt. A blogger doesn’t necessarily have any more more information or credibility than you or me. They ain’t all Ives. Personally, I wouldn’t and don’t ever go to a mainstream paper for my soccer news. Do any soccer fans?

    “There’s talk” means… the reporter doesn’t know a soccer ball from a volleyball, went online to do some research and read the same comments posted by paranoid conspiracy theorist readers I’ve seen the last few days.

    Crap come to think of it, you spose Rooney and Fergie might be sparring… hell, Donovan missed his last match at Everton… and hasn’t played with Galaxy… so now it’s Moyes and Arena too… he’s like a rabid dog… this “rift” is in epidemic proportions…. it’s spreading like…..bronchitis!

  18. PD says:

    I have long been a proponent of bringing along players slowly. However, while Guzan has spent several years apprenticing behind some very good keepers and is approaching an age where he needs to take the next step. I know the money is good at AV but he could be starting (and starring) in another league, especially in Belgium, France, Holland or Spain, possibly even a mid or lower tier Italian or German side. PLus, JK has stated pretty clearly he wants his entire national squad to all be starters on the club level.

    But of course this all depends on what BG wants as well. Dude is married, living in an english speaking country and making a very tidy sum. Plus, he is playing at a time where Tim Howard is the well-established #1, playing at a top level and remaining injury free, so breaking into that spot in the next few years would be like climbing Everest unless Howard gets hurt or has a real dip in what has otherwise been an incredibly consistent career. Plus, there are few younger keeper prospects who are better timed to “inherit” the position from TH at an age where they will spend several years at the helm.

    Lots of reasons make it difficult to fault him for being OK with his current situation. All that said, if he has aspirations to ever be a legitimate #1 and the steady #2 for the USMNT he needs to move.

  19. Rory says:

    But Donovan was essentially a Klinsy guy, right? In fact, I always thought if there was a rift in the team it was going to be between the pro-Bob guys and the pro-Klinsy guys. We know Donovan is a Klinsy guy, so I figured whoever was closest to Bob and Michael Bradley were likely the other side of the rift, and just going by everything else, I assumed that was Dempsey. I can’t imagine a rift between Donovan and Klinsy since they both owe each other so much (Klinsy for taking a chance on Donovan at Munich and Klinsy for Donovan’s promotion to get the job all these years).

  20. Chuck says:

    The benefitiary would have been Bahrain if Qatar lost their game. They needed to win by 8 and Qatar to lose their game in order to qualify for the next round. Qatar drew 2-2 in Iran and would have been uber suspicious if they lost and then Bahrain went through despite their abysmal (previous) goal difference. Smells really fishy indeed, like that 1978 world cup match between Argentina and Peru.

  21. Kev says:

    If I were Guzan, I would be “thanks but no thanks” to that contract extension and move on to a club that he will start at.

    Aston Villa seem to just string him along. Between proving himself behind Friedel when called upon in the cup matches, (Remember when he took the team to the final of one of the english cups only to be put on the bench for the final? That was the biggest slight I have ever seen)and then when Friedel finally moves on, it seemed as though the time finally came. But no, they go ahead and sign Given.

    Given gets hurt, proved himself again.

    Not to mention, had a good spell on load with Hull in between all of that.

    I obviously am just a fan but from my point of view, I think he should move on. I think he could start with another EPL team. He has proved himself in every opportunity there – done his time backing up, move on!

  22. Edwin in LA says:

    Considering Indonesia had a -23 goal difference I don’t see how it’s fishy when a team is pushed to the bring of elimination that they would lose 10-0?

    Unless there’s some highlights to notice any illogical plays I don’t think anyone can say this is suspicious

  23. Bradley's sons' son from the future says:

    Howard is our no1

    Guzan is our steady backup but needs to start ASAP if he wants to be on the roster for 2014

    Come 2014 Hamid and Sean Johnson probably will both be in Europe and thus on the roster. Come on Brad.

  24. Edwin in LA says:

    He never returned anywhere, Donovan never left the Galaxy. That was just bad communication on both sides because it was obvious the Galaxy would want him concentrating on preparing for the final in 2 weeks, not a meaningless friendly, if it was a qualifier like Keane had to play, I bet you anything Landon would have played. He was hurt in October and missed time with the Galaxy as well not just the National team. Now he is sick with Bronchitis what is so hard to understand about that?

    It’s like everybody forgets these little facts? Landon has a bad rap, for some reason I don’t know why because despite the fact that he did have moments in which he went missing for a big game like in 2006 he has been great for us since 07

  25. Kevin_Amold says:

    I just want to know if Bahrain itself is under investigation, or the match. The headline made me think that Bahrain itself was under investigation.

  26. Ted in MN says:

    link to

    Those are you’re highlights. It looks fishy to me, but I’m biased.
    Also, your logic makes no sense. Indonesia does have a -23 GD but 10 of those are from one game.
    -13/5 games equals losing by 2.6 goals per game as opposed to there -10 from this game. That’s a gap of 7.4 Goals.
    That is really really fishy.

  27. Ted in MN says:

    Nick Rimando needs to see if he can head to Europe so he can get some respect. Most underrated player in the USMNT pool imho.

  28. Ted in MN says:


  29. Shark says:

    I meant to say he would retrun after the game to get ready for the MLS Cup…which he didn’t do…

  30. biff says:

    Sorry, did not post the link. Here it is:

    link to

    More in a second, in case the link gets zapped.

  31. biff says:

    Well, the blogger is, in fact, an NY Times sports reporter. And, actually, the blog looks the same as a news article. Generally, the Times would not runs a pure rumor, would try to get some sort of confirmation on it. But maybe there are different ground rules for a “blog” than a normal news article. Personally, I applaud the Times for publishing this. Don’t USMNT fans have the right to know what is being whispered in the background. I certainly want to know.

    In any case, the proverbial genie is now out of the bottle and I imagine that we will see some news articles in coming days exploring this issue. A golden rule of journalism, J-101 so to speak, is you always give someone mentioned in an article the opportunity to respond. And if the Times is not going to do it, then other reporters should be calling up Donovan and Klinsmann and ask them point blank.

  32. biff says:

    ha-ha. good one. I guess I do have the reputation now. That New York Times reporter would put some of the MB supporters on this web site to shame. I think MB could score three own goals and get a red card in the first three minutes of a match and the guy would rate MB 7.5–and, of course, name him man of the match :-)

  33. biff says:

    +1 I thought the same thing. I even went back to refresh my memory to make sure that Donovan had played in matches that also featured MB. And, yes, they have been the same camps. There is one only other big player that Landon has not yet played with under Klinsmann. We’ve all seen the SBI posters who swoop in now and then post those rumors about a spat. I had always thought it was BS. But who knows. And this is another reason we need free flowing news about the team. We need a good reporter (hint-hint) to call up Donovan and Klinsmann and ask whether any truth to the rumor that was reportered in the nation’s newspaper of record.

  34. Jamie Z. says:

    I don’t understand why anyone here thinks this nonsense is worth commenting on, much less investigating.