michael essien

Chelsea to face All-Stars: Can MLS snap its losing streak?

3 Comments

FOX Soccer got the scoop earlier today, confirming what had been rumored: Chelsea is coming over for this year’s Major League Soccer All-Star game (Jul. 25, PPL Park in Philadelphia).

This will be the second time the Abramovites will participate in the event, having also appeared in 2006. On that night, MLS came away 1-0 winners at Toyota Park, with then-Dynamo midfielder Dwayne De Rosario scoring in the 70th minute.

The coach from MLS that day? Philadelphia’s own Peter Nowak, who could be selected to again this time out, given Red Bulls’ boss Hans Backe was chosen last year (when the game was in New York).

To give you an idea of how long ago 2006 was in soccer years, players take saw action that day for Chelsea include Geremi, Shaun Wright-Philips, Andriy Shevchenko, Arjen Robben, and Lassana Diarra.

While the results of these exhibitions don’t mean anything, you can’t help but wonder if MLS is hoping for something more competitive than the last two years. Two easy Manchester United wins (by a combined scoreline of 9-2) left some wondering if the format’s really worth it. It’s nice to get a big, prestigious opponent in for a marque event, but if it’s going to turn into an annual hammering for MLS’s best, the showcase’s novelty will be usurped by trepidation.

There are a few reasons to think this year will be different. First, if Thierry Henry continues to be THIERRY HENRY, he’ll be the most dangerous attacker MLS has had since the league went to this format in 2005.  As Titi showed this winter, he’s still capable of grabbing a goal again Premier League competition.

There’s also Euro 2012 to consider, the last day of which is July 1. Chelsea’s squad is dominated by players who can be expected to take part in UEFA’s championship: goalkeeper Petr Cech (Czech Republic); defenders Ashley Cole, John Terry, and Gary Cahill (England); midfielders Frank Lampard (England), Florent Malouda (France) and Raul Miereles (Portugal); and attackers Daniel Sturridge (England), Fernando Torres and Juan Mata (Spain).

Some of those players will appear in Philadelphia, especially if their nations don’t get out of group. Others won’t even make the trip to the States.

But let’s have some fun. Let’s assume every player that goes to Euro 2012 doesn’t play at PPL Park. What kind of team might we see from Chelsea?

How about …

G:  Ross Turnbull
LB: Ryan Bertrand
CB: David Luiz
CB: Jeffrey Bruma
RB: Branislav Ivanovic
M: Oriol Romeu
M: Ramires
M: Michael Essien
LF: Lucas Piazón
CF: Romelu Lukaku
RF: Gael Kakuta

Mostly kids mixed in with some regulars, and of course, that won’t be the team. Even if it is, MLS’s side will still have their hands full.

U.S. U-20 midfield star leaves FC Dallas for a role with Schalke

schalke04.de/en
schalke04.de/en
Leave a comment

Another Yank youngster has landed in Germany.

Weston McKinnie, 18, has starred for the United States U-20 team as well as FC Dallas’ Academy, and has been in demand.

[ MORE: Americans Abroad news ]

The club is Schalke, a Bundesliga outfit which has had an exceptional offseason. McKinnie joins the U-19 side, and is billed by Schalke as a midfielder who “can be deployed as part of a two-man central midfield or in the number 10 role.”

From Schalkeo4.de/en:

“He’s a player who convinced us with his robustness and game awareness,” said academy director Oliver Ruhnert. “In the US he is one of the best footballers for his age. He is also a youth national team player and has also captained his team. He brings a lot of qualities with him, especially to the mental side of his game. We are therefore convinced that Weston is capable of becoming a professional footballer. The transfer therefore makes a lot of sense.”

McKinnie, if you haven’t read his name before, is absolutely one to remember. The Schalke man joins a club with a good track record for Americans. Chad Deering, Thomas Dooley, and David Wagner have also represented the United States for the Miners.

WATCH and LISTEN: Our Deadline Day show, and the 2 Robbies talk transfers

Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe, The 2 Robbies
@The2RobbiesNBC
Leave a comment

Deadline Day was kinda nuts, am I right?

There’s a lot to digest, and we’ve covered a lot of it in this space.

But in case you need more — and who doesn’t want a bit more Premier League? — we’ve got a stream of Wednesday’s TV show covering the deadline, and the 2 Robbies talking transfers.

LISTEN: The 2 Robbies Transfer Deadline Day podcast

REWATCH: Wednesday’s Deadline Day show

Now onto the business of the Premier League’s nascent season. Who was boosted by today’s moves? Who took a hit?

Report: USWNT legend Heather O’Reilly set to retire from soccer

BIRMINGHAM, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Heather O'Reilly #9 of the United States of America reacts after scoring a goal against Haiti during the US Women's 2015 World Cup victory tour match at Legion Field on September 20, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

She has the seventh-most caps and the sixth-most assists in United States women’s national team history, and she’s also calling it a day.

Excelle Sports is reporting that Heather O’Reilly is retiring at the age of 31. The FC Kansas City player will likely play her final match in September, as the 2015 champs have all-but been eliminated from the playoffs.

[ MORE: Five big Deadline Day signings ]

O’Reilly had 230 caps, 46 goals, and 54 assists for the USWNT team. She’s one of only a few players to have more than 45 goals and 50 assists (Julie Foudy, Tiffeny Milbrett, Shannon MacMillan, Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly).

One of many successful products of Anson Dorrance’s UNC program, “HAO” spent her club career with New Jersey Wildcats, Sky Blue FC, and Boston Breakers before joining FCKC.

O’Reilly was left off the Olympic roster this summer, named as an alternate. She could’ve been useful — of course hindsight is 20/20 — and it’ll be odd watching more USWNT matches without HAO.

International roundup: Schweinsteiger, Keane say goodbye; Denmark bags five

Germany's national team throws their captain Bastian Schweinsteiger into the air after he played his last match for the national team in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Germany won the friendly soccer match against Finland with 2-0. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

Two mainstays of the international game are done with that part of their career following shutout wins on Wednesday, just two of several friendlies early in this international break.

[ MORE: Five big Deadline Day signings ]

Germany 2-0 Finland

Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.

Ireland 4-0 Oman

ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.

Denmark 5-0 Liechtenstein

It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.

Elsewhere
Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan