Author Archives: kickingitsoccer

New Post: Watch Bastian Schweinsteiger score on his MLS debut

By, Kyle Gibson

The Montreal Impact must not have read the scouting report on that new Chicago Fire player.

German legend and Manchester United cast-off Bastian Schweinsteiger needed just 16 minutes to open his MLS account, scoring a header on his home and league debut.

Schweinsteiger almost added a second goal late as well, but the Fire went on to win the match 2-1 anyway.

The silent treatment and shunning Jose Mourinho gave Schweinsteiger at Old Trafford this season was confusing, especially because the midfielder looked good in the handful of appearances he made. He never outwardly lost his class though, posting a heartfelt goodbye video.

Schweinsteiger was one of the best of his generation and in German history. Hopefully this is the start of a fun and successful second chance at a swan song in the Second City.

New Post: Watch the goals from the #USMNT win against Honduras

  By, Kyle Gibson

The United States Men’s National Team steamrolled Honduras 6-0 Friday in San Jose to climb up to fourth in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal.

For most of the bountiful U.S. goals, quality matched the quantity. As Stefon might say, this game had it all: free kicks, perfectly weighted passes, first goals, Tim Ream, etc.

The Bay area’s own Sebastian Lletget scored the first goal on the night, and first of his U.S. career, after a Christian Pulisic shot was saved into his path.

Captain Michael Bradley then capitalized on the space Honduras gave him at the top of the box with a very good goal.

The effectiveness of U.S. legend Clint Dempsey was up in the air before Friday’s match, due to his long layoff stemming from heart issues. Deuce showed he could still ball, though, grabbing the third goal off a great Pulisic pass.

Pulisic turned from provider to scorer in the second half, needing just about 15 seconds at the start of the half to make the lead 4-0. This 18-year-old is special, but you knew that.

 

Dempsey added a fifth goal a few minutes later.

The man of the hour then sealed the deal with a free kick, completing his hat trick and rounding out the score at 6-0.

I’d say that’s a job well done for Bruce Arena and Co.

New Post: Watch Liverpool youth player Curtis Jones’ sensational footwork, goal

Liverpool F.C.has several players  who can run at opponents and beat them 1v1 on the dribble and it looks like at least one player in the team’s youth ranks can as well.

Reds u-18 midfielder  Curtis Jones scored a goal Saturday against Blackburn Rovers that would make senior team stars Phillipe Coutinho, Roberto Fermino, Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum, Divock Origi and more proud.

Seeing a goal like this from a young player is encouraging, because academy players seem to normally play a conservative style of soccer. Jones not only bamboozles his marker on the run, but links up well with a teammate on the wing before getting the ball back to score the goal.

Jones had plenty of work to do after getting the pass back, as well. His quick footwork and presence of mind under pressure was fantastic. The finish wasn’t easy either, but he still managed to tuck it away.

Jones also scored a headed goal in the 3-0 playoff win. If he keeps this up, I would love to see Jones in the full Liverpool team in a few years.

Follow Kicking It Soccer on Twitter. 

 

New Post: This American youngster is turning heads

Kellyn Acosta is on fire for F.C. Dallas, and that Dallas burn is being noticed by U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bruce Arena.

The 21-year-old midfielder/defender has four goals in all competitions so far in this early season, including three in CONCACAF Champions League play.

Acosta has scored some quality goals as well. Take a look at this free kick from Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Pachuca.

Acosta also scored a very good goal in the opening week of Major League Soccer action against the LA Galaxy.

Hell, Acosta even has the approval of current U.S. Golden Boy Christian Pulisic.

Acosta has been selected for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier games against Honduras and Panama. Scoring threats from free kicks have long been lacking in the U.S. squad. Acosta’s brilliant goal against Pachuca is promising. His feisty play is an encouraging sign as well.

Hopefully the youngster will be rewarded for his good stretch of form and get a serious look from Arena in coming U.S. matches. A tweet from U.S. Soccer said the manager and his staff are keen on several of the younger players.

Players have to earn Bruce’s trust over time, though, so Acosta’s good play will definitely have to be sharp while he’s with the USMNT as well.
In crucial World Cup Qualifiers, Acosta might not get a nod from Arena, but turning the manager’s head in training and continuing to shine at Dallas could set him up for more opportunities with the national team down the road.

New Post: The Premier League finally has an American manager, Bob Bradley

In a move that had been expected by many, Swansea City fired coach Francesco Guidolin Monday after the club’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool at the weekend.

The replacement came as a shock to many as well, with American and former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley appointed to the position.

Bradley is the first American to be hired as a manager in the Premier League, considered by many to be the best league in the world.

Hiring Bradley came as a surprise to many of the team’s fans on Twitter, who doubted his experience and his previous coaching stops.

In a nutshell, that has been part of the problem for American coaches. Like soccer itself in the U.S., coaches from here do not get much respect. This is largely down to some still thinking American soccer feels like the wild west.

It is fitting justice, however, that Bradley was appointed to the job.No other American coach in recent memory deserves the title of being the first more.

To overcome the stereotype American coaches face is going to take a lot of stepping outside your comfort zone, something Bradley has been doing for years. I have always admired his fearlessness.

After taking over the U.S. from Bruce Arena in 2006 on an interim basis, Bradley acted like anything but an interim manager. He ran the team his way and gave plenty of new players their introduction, something Arena was not known for.

Upon being fired from the U.S. gig in 2011, Bradley could have shrank back into a cushy MLS job, like Arena eventually did with the New York Red Bulls. Bradley looked at the national team level again, though, signing on with Egypt and making them far more competitive.

To prove himself in Europe, Bradley went into the club coaching wilderness for the last two years, first with Stabaek in Norway and then Le Havre in the second tier of France. Bradley  almost guided the latter to French Ligue 1.

More than any American coach, Bradley has shown a tendency to step outside of what is known. He faced a tough task with Swansea, which currently sits one place above relegation with just one Premier League win, which came on the first day of the season against promoted side Burnley.

There are a few good players, such as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer, but the team’s spiritual leader Ashley Williams left in the summer, causing a big hole that was not immediately able to be filled.

Bradley has two weeks now to put his stamp on the club before a tough trio of games — Arsenal away, at home to Watford and Stoke away.

Many might not believe in him right away and things might be ugly, but Bob Bradley does have the experience and the confidence to lead a club in the Premier League.

 

 

 

Premier League Preview: Top 4, Bottom 3, Golden Boot and Fantasy

By, Kyle Gibson

It’s almost Christmas in August. The Premier League is finally upon us. New superstar managers, new superstar players, huge egos and more!

Let’s get into a quick preview, featuring the predictions Champions League sides, relegated sides, Golden Boot winner and my Fantasy EPL side.

Champions League Teams and Champions

4. Chelsea – Antonio Conte is a badass. His Italy team could have won the Euros if Germany did not beat them in penalties. I kept thinking they would win it, but I’m not sure of the back line.

3. Arsenal – Such a talented team, but Arsene Wenger still did not sign the top-of-the-line striker the club needs. Olivier Giroud looked so good at the Euros setting up Antoine Griezmann. Give him someone to work with!

2. Tottenham – “Lads (retches, sweating profusely) it’s…Tottenham.” That line from Alex Ferguson now has a different meaning. This Tottenham team is talented, deep, well drilled and only finished third last year on the final day. Spurs did not make huge changes over the summer, but did not need to.

Spurs needed a backup for Harry Kane and got that with Vincent Janssen, who scored 27 league goals for AZ last year. Adding Victor Wanyama also provides more steel in the midfield.

Many have seen the Spurs falling off, but I see the club improving.

1. Manchester United – I wish i wasn’t jinxing my favorite club. I’m just buying into the hype. Jose Mourinho has so much to prove, after the debacle last season with Chelsea.

The club worked through its central defense slightly with the emergence of Chris Smalling last year. Adding Eric Bailly in the off-season should really help.

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrihk Mkhitaryan are the elite level signings the club has been lacking.

This all should culminate in a spellbinding year for United. Pau

Relegated Squads

20. Hull City – Ownership in turmoil. Manager Steve Bruce left just a few weeks ago. Selling their best players and not replacing them.

19. Burnley – I still think they are too small of a club, but they are a very solid team and probably the 21st best in England.

18. Swansea City – Sold the team’s heart and soul in Ashley Williams. Borja from Atletico was a solid signing, but too little. Plus, Swansea bought Leroy Fer, who relegates almost every EPL team he is with.

Golden Boot Race

Harry Kane – 24 Goals

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 22 Goals

Jamie Vardy – 20 Goals

Sergio Aguero – 20 Goals

 

My Fantasy EPL Team

I believe that I will win.

Goalkeepers – Kasper Schmeichel, Adrian

Defenders – Hector Bellerin, John Stones, Wes Morgan, Antonio Valencia, Patrick van Aanholt

Midfielders – Anthony Martial, Danny Drinkwater, Andre Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Phillipe Coutinho

Forwards – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Callum Wilson,Jermain Defoe

New Post: Three keys for the #USMNT tonight against Costa Rica in Copa America

By, Kyle Gibson

After a subpar start against Colombia in Copa America Friday, the U.S. Men’s National team returns to action Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Costa Rica.

One would assume that Colombia will beat Paraguay, but the United States essentially needs a win to keep Costa Rica at one point, forcing a necessity for a Ticos win against Colombia in the final contest.

Here are three keys for Tuesday’s match-up.

1. Do not concede an early goal: 

This is a problem I didn’t include in the last game for fear of being redundant. After all, allowing early goals has plagued the U.S. in big games for years. Cristian Zapata’s eighth-minute goal from a corner again exposed the team’s penchant for allowing early goals, while also highlighting the team’s sometimes glaring set-piece weaknesses.

Costa Rica is one of the most solid teams in the tournament, so the U.S. can simply not afford to be chasing the game for long stretches.

2. No Jermaine Jones:

Jones completely lost the plot for much of his time in the game. Feeling a youthful vigor that doesn’t match his aging skill set, Jones would often rush forward, trying to take speedy Colombian defenders on. This led to plenty of dispossession and often seemed to confuse Jones’ teammates.

I would play Darlington Nagbe instead. Nagbe has been impressive in his appearances for the squad so far and has plenty of speed and technical ability.

3. Will the real Michael Bradley please stand up? 

I mentioned Bradley as a key in my last post too, but I sincerely believe that as Bradley goes, so goes the team.

Often, Bradley did not display his trademark judgement on Friday and his passes were not crisp.Hopefully for the Yanks, Tuesday will be much better for Bradley.

Bonus: We need to talk about Clint. 

Clint Dempsey just doesn’t have “it” anymore. The skill, above average speed and love of “trying s*&t,” as he used to call it, just does not seem to be present anymore in the 33-year old.

If healthy, the central spot Dempsey is filling would more than likely be filled by Jozy Altidore. I don’t think Jurgen Klinsmann will do this, but I think Bobby Wood would be much better in this spot.

Follow @KyleisGibson on Twitter.