Alan Gordon 5

ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

Are you freakin’ kidding me? How’s this for a good karma kick in the head: U.S. forward Alan Gordon, only recently brought into the team, turns 31 today! On the day his country will fight for its World Cup life (even if they are the bigger kid in the fight), it is also the man’s birthday?

Paraguayan international Cristian Riveros turns 30.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

Check back here later to see if the United States is still in contention for the World Cup.

OK, maybe that ‘s a little dramatic. It’s unlikely, of course, that the United States will be eliminated in Kansas City tonight. But there is little margin for error. A loss against Guatemala tonight at Livestrong Sporting Park would mean the United States misses out on a World Cup for the first time since 1986.

In fact, this is the first time since 2000 that the United States will go into a semifinal round closer without passage already secure.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Joe-Max Moore

*Ahead on the blog today:

World Cup qualifiers will dominate the proceedings, as they should. Does anything else really matter today in the sport – here or around the world?

Twitter daps:


What you should watch on TV today:

Coverage for U.S.-Guatemala begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Otherwise, between beIN Sport and the various ESPN platforms (Deportes,, there are literally dozens of World Cup qualifiers available. (Not to mention the ones you can find on streams that are, how shall we say, “something less than legal.”)

If CONCACAF final round qualifying started today

The top two teams from each semifinal round group advance into final round qualifying. With one round of matches remaining (Tuesday), here are the teams currently “in.”

  • Guatemala
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Canada

PST background noise while blogging today:

Probably will just lighten the mood by re-watching the hilarious SNL iPhone complaint bit from the other night … several times.

We’ll leave you with this:

There will be five home matches in final round qualifying for the United States, assuming things go OK tonight, of course. The way the players are all talking about Livestrong Sporting Park, and given how the place will rocking tonight, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Jurgen Klinsmann’s team back here for one of them.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.