As rumors continue to abound, Landon Donovan places his LA crib up for sale. With two successful loan spells to Everton in the Premier League, it may be a foregone conclusion where he will go if he chooses to play in England.
But could the 30 yr old consider playing any place else?
The experiment with Bayern Munich did not last, and we all know about his time in Germany before that.
Perhaps Spain’s La Liga might be a destination, but there has hardly ever been interest from there.
There is one league that understands the quality of an aging star, however, and that’s the Italian Serie A. Should any offers be considered, Italy could provide the perfect home for one of America’s most important players.
Just look at Andrea Pirlo, the 33 yr old Italian playmaker was offloaded by AC Milan, unceremoniously, only to be picked up by Juventus who went on to win the Scudetto. Just how long did Paolo Maldini play anyway?
No disrespect to Everton, but in moving to England at 30, Donovan risks being injured more than actually playing.
Greenville, SC – The Lonestar Soccer Club of San Antonio, Texas field many competitive teams that compete in Region III of the US Youth Soccer National Cup tournament.
This year was no different but especially for the Lonestar 97B Red SAN who made it all the way to the semi-finals of the Region III Championship playoffs only to loose to the Gwinnett Co. Soccer Association Phoenix 97 Red.
GSA Phoenix went on to loose in the final to SAA Real Madrid Miami in penalty kicks but not before laying it down on the boys from SA with a 6-0 win in the semi-final.
The score for the semi-final loss was an aberration and certainly not representative of their performances throughout the State and Regional Tournament.
The State tournament saw them advance through tough opponents including two premier teams (Lonestar Red S & Houston Texans), while the Regional tournament had them up against four regional premier teams and the fourth place national premier team (GSA Phoenix).
LSC 2 – 3 OFC
LSC 2 – 2 Manchester United Houston
LSC 2 – 0 LA Fire
LSC 1 – 0 West Pines United Black
LSC 0 – 6 GSA Phoenix
Although the tournament ends with some of the most intense matches these young men have seen, the future looks bright and will add experience to their already blossoming careers.
Their next conquest is the Surf Cup tournament in San Diego, CA toward the end of July.
First published on IMSoccer News
The USL-Pro Charlotte Eagles continue their run into USOC play with a 2-1 quarterfinal win against the San Antonio Scorpions FC (NASL). The match was locked up at the end of regulation but an extra time penalty was the deciding factor that sees Charlotte advance to take on Chivas USA in the next round.
What FC Dallas slowly learned, the Scorpions quickly realized. Don’t expect the Charlotte Eagles to play like a team from the lower division who is on the road.
The Charlotte Eagles pressed on the gas early and resembled a free flowing offensive minded outfit committed to constantly attacking the opponents goal. In the first 20 minutes, Charlotte created several chances and ended up with seven shots in the first half. Their formation was fluid and resembled a 4-3-3, which switched to a compact formation when on the defensive side of the ball.
“We try to attack, we like to attack, whatever game it is we try to set the tempo and make a statement early and we defend as far as we can, but we’re coming after it,” said head coach Mark Steffens.
But as one would expect, any team who is offensive minded, can be left open to counter attacks and that was certainly the case with Charlotte. In the 16th minute Pablo Campos was released into the box near the byline and centered the ball to a semi-open Esteban Bayona who lazily swung his leg in an attempt to catch Charlotte keeper Irwin Clinton but he was easily in the right place.
Bayona would continue to keep getting involved in the offense at the outset but for all his work, couldn’t find the right connecting pass on several occasions.
Things came to a head for the Eagles when in the 27th minute Charlotte forward Nathan Thornton went on a run from deep within midfield and punished the Scorpions back line for allowing him through unmolested while he powered a 25-yard shot past Scorpions keeper Daryl Sattler. The goal was the first allowed by Sattler in USOC play.
After a few opportunities from the Scorpions, the attack continued for Charlotte and in the 35th minute a corner came in and resulted in a shot on Sattler’s goal who dealt with it but immediately got up and gave his defenders an ear full.
Immediately after on the other end, Pablo Campos was released on the right-hand side of the box from a short pass by Hans Denissen. Campos was patient enough to expertly get round the defender and take a shot toward the opposite side of goal that just rolled into the goalpost and deflected back into the traffic of the oncoming Charlotte defense.
After a yellow on Campos for diving in the box, Bayona was fouled on the left for a free kick. The cross ended up at the head of Campos whose header was saved by Clinton to end the half. The Scorpions were frustrated but they were not defeated and came out immediately in the second with an early shot from Campos once again, on the left side of the box. Campos finished with eight shots on the night and put in a 120 minute performance to score his team’s only goal.
Charlotte never wavered and in the 57th minute Charlotte continued to pester the Scorpions defense and Eagles forward Mauricio Salles broke free from San Antonio defenders and shot low and toward the feet of Sattler who smothered the ball.
Scorpions winger, Walter Ramirez, was putting in an encouraging effort on the left flank and even assumed defensive duties in order to allow Blake Wagner, at left back, to move forward in attack at times.
He wouldn’t finish the match, however, as he was subbed for Javier Saavedra to which he exited the game visibly disappointed. Meanwhile, Hans Denissen was replaced due to injury, and Esteban Bayona was replaced by Fabian Kling, who usually plays as a defender.
Despite the changes, in the 73rd minute, Scorpions midfielder, Jonathan Greenfield, pounced on a misplaced pass and rifled a shot on goal forcing Irwin to save wide. The resulting corner was cleared but ended up at the feet of Javier Saavedra, on the right, who sent the ball to the opposite side where campos leaped over two defenders to just direct the ball toward the ground where it rolled just out of reach of a Charlotte defender to equalize, 1-1.
Just as the Scorpions finished celebrating, Charlotte advanced the ball from their own half at lightning quick speed and shot the ball from a forced turnover in San Antonio’s box almost instantly going ahead if it weren’t for Sattler’s quick reaction save.
The play between Charlotte midfielder Juan Guzman and forwards, Mauricio Salles and Darryl Roberts proved to be dangerous throughout the night for San Antonio.
After that, Wes Knight rescued the ball deep in midfield and raced toward the box with only Campos to his right. Knight sent Campos into the box, and patiently waited for the return pass. When it was given, he was slightly off balance and shot the ball up and over the bar to finish out regulation time.
Both teams came out slow in extra time, until Wagner went on a tear through the Charlotte defense and shepherded the ball into the box and almost completed a glorious run until the last shot was snuffed out by the defense.
From that point, each team traded blows with creative efforts at both ends of the pitch. Charlotte continued playing with quality on every possession and picked out defensive lapses in the waining minutes to get forward with quite impressive passing into the first period of extra time.
The second period started with more of the same on both ends, and players on both teams were expecting to score at any moment. Until a handball penalty was awarded to Charlotte when Scorpions defender, Ryan Cochrane, handled a low flying cross into the box.
Mauricio Salles stepped up and sent Sattler the wrong way to finish an impressive match deep into extra time.
“We had a number of opportunities but we just couldn’t finish them and that ended up being the difference,” said Scorpions head coach Tim Hankinson.
As the ball was sent into the box, it appeared to skip off the ground and strike Cochrane in the hand but the referee was forced to call the penalty.
“When games go late, referees can decide the result and we need to do better in controlling the result. Let the players finish and decide the result, referees should never decide the result [of the match] and I think that he did tonight,” said Hankinson.
The Charlotte Eagles move into the quarterfinals to face MLS side, Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center in Carson California, Tuesday, June 26th at 7:30 p.m.
“The Home Depot Center will get the guys pumped, it’s a couple of weeks away so we have some time. We’re struggling in the league but I think this will unify our team but we’re excited to play Chivas,” said Charlotte head coach Mark Steffens.
First published at IMSoccer News
The Minnesota Stars FC and San Antonio Scorpions were each looking to continue their good form amid advancing in the US Open Cup. Minnesota has been on the road now since May 12th. This was their 3rd league game away and their 5th game on the road in all competitions since then. They will be on the road for two more matches, traveling to San Jose for their USOC 4th round game on Tuesday. After returning home the team turns around and heads out one more time to play Carolina in Cary, N.C. on a brutal road journey.
San Antonio, on the other hand, have enjoyed a relatively comfortable travel schedule hosting the Houston Dynamo midweek in their win against the MLS side which sees them advance in USOC play. They will host the Charlotte Eagles (USL-PDL) midweek before taking on Atlanta at the weekend for league play.
The starting lineup for Minnesota had only two regular starters, VanOekel (GK) and Simone Bracalello who has started half the games this season for Minnesota. That didn’t prevent the Stars from coming out early and testing San Antonio as they almost executed on some early opportunities.
But it was clear in the early goings, the game was a chess match between two squads who like to dominate possession. Both squads were very organized with Minnesota sharing a larger portion of possession forcing San Antonio’s defense to bunker down.
Minnesota began to have some early success on the right side of the pitch with some experienced flank play between Andy Lorei and Bracalello. The combination of the two players attacking the right side led to a few dangerous chances but the offense were frustrated by the disciplined San Antonio defense.
Chances for San Antonio often resulted from counterattacks but were undone with sloppy play moving forward. A clear header on goal from Wes Knight in the 19th minute was handled easily by VanOekel and was their most dangerous attack in the first half.
The trend continued in the second half with Minnesota pressing early and limiting equal possession, but San Antonio never quit making things difficult for the visitors. As the Bexar County club began taking care of the ball they started seeing more possession develop.
Scorpions forward Pablo Campos began presenting problems in the second half with the Brazilian’s physicality a difficult proposition for Minnesota’s back line.
Both teams were frustrating each other and enjoyed some equal possession. San Antonio went offensive and changed their tactics a bit by bringing on Esteban Bayona and playing with three up front on the attack.
To counter, Minnesota brought in Martin Nunez to slot in behind Devin Del Do in an effort to open up the attack for the Stars.
An injury to San Antonio forward Hans Denissen caused the Scorpions to alter their shape and adjust offensively. Just as the change was made, the ball was moved out to the right flank with Stars’ right back Evan Sassano sending a ball into the box for Del Do who had a direct header toward goal go just over the crossbar.
The match ended with both teams trading blows and having equal opportunities on goal without any reward. Minnesota head coach, Manny Lagos, received a red card for dissent and was sent off prior to the second half winding down.
“I thought we did really well at times, it’s not easy for guys playing a lot of minutes to come in and do well in a tough place like this and I thought we did a good job creating tempo and we had a few chances,” said Lagos.
“I thought we had two PKs that should have been called, unfortunately I reacted emotionally and I wish I hadn’t but I was disappointed both calls didn’t go our way.”
San Antonio defended their home but couldn’t wrestle the win away from the Stars while the games continue to add up for them.
“I was very pleased under the circumstances, our play wasn’t great, our conditioning wasn’t great, [but] we didn’t give the match away and we were patient. The chances were there for three and we understand the fight to become first is going to be difficult,” said head coach Tim Hankinson.
Both teams advanced in Open Cup play by besting two very experienced MLS sides and turn around in a 48-hour window of preparation for fourth round USOC action. Minnesota has now lost only 1 game in the last 19, going back to last season, and are still undefeated this year. They are now tied with the Islanders after their loss Saturday night to Carolina.
The Scorpions are one point back from the league leaders and are unbeaten in 7 games stretching all the way back to the home opening loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders.