It might be a tad early to proclaim 2013 as “The Year of Sacha Kljestan.” But the man sure is finishing 2012 with a mighty Belgian bang!
Anderlecht won again yesterday and now finds itself a full eight points in the lead of the 16-team Jupiler League. Kljestan went all 90 minutes in a 4-1 win over visiting Lierse. That’s 10 wins in a row for Anderlecht, which is also unbeaten in 15 consecutive league matches at home.
It may have seemed like U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann had little use for the California native previously; it has always been a little hard to define Kljestan’s best role, going all the way back to his Chivas USA days under Preki, and that has probably hurt the versatile midfielder along the way.
But he kept a good attitude about it all, and a glance at recent months doesn’t look so bad when considering Kljestan’s place in the international game. Kljestan appeared in each of the Americans’ last three matches, including two critical World Cup qualifiers and the fashionable 2-2 draw with Russia for finish out 2012, Klinsmann’s first full year in charge.
He may already be moving in front of Maurice Edu in the order of U.S. central midfielder (considering Edu’s alarming lack of status at Stoke City, where he has become a forgotten man.) And Kljestan may have lapped Jose Torres in the field, even if the two are fairly different players.
Landon Donovan’s status has something to say about where Kljestan lands in the order, as well. (On the other hand, he’ll need to peak over his shoulder occasionally to monitor the progress of Mix Diskerud, who appears to be coming up fast.)
Either way, being a starter for the runaway leaders of a mid-tier European league (Belgium) isn’t a bad place to launch for 2013.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) Officials in Honduras say thousands of soccer fans trying to force their way into a stadium for a championship match stampeded in panic when police fired tear gas, and at least four people and an unborn fetus were killed in the crush and 25 others were injured.
A spokesman for University Teaching Hospital says the victims died from suffocation and multiple broken bones from being trampled Sunday. Spokesman Miguel Osorio says a fetus died when its mother suffered severe injuries.
The stampede happened at the National Stadium as fans tried to push their way into the jammed venue to see the game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso.
About 600 police officers were guarding the stadium and used water cannon and tear gas trying to push back the crowds.
It is tough to explain how Huddersfield Town aren’t ahead at half time of the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Monday.
[ LIVE: Follow the action from Wembley ]
The Terriers had two glorious chances early on but Michael Hefele headed wide and then Izzy Brown — on loan from Chelsea — somehow put his effort wide from a yard out.
Reading only had a few forays forward but Jaap Stam’s men held firm with the score locked at 0-0 at the break.
Will David Wagner’s Huddersfield live to rue those missed chances?
Follow the second half live from Wembley by clicking on the link above.
The richest game in world soccer is here.
[ LIVE: Follow the action from Wembley ]
Huddersfield Town and Reading clash at Wembley Stadium in the Championship playoff final, one win away from the Premier League with the final promotion spot up for grabs after Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion clinched automatic promotion.
Whoever wins this match will alter the path of their club for the foreseeable future.
The winner will not only receive a place in the PL but also a huge sum of $218 million for next season and if they stay up for just one season in the Premier League it is estimated to be worth $372 million.
Below is the team news…
Click on the link above to follow live updates from Wembley, while we will have analysis, reaction and more during and after the game.
After a 25-year career at AS Roma, Francesco Totti was handed a fitting farewell on Sunday.
The hometown hero, now 40 years of age, called time on his incredible Roma career and looked overwhelmed.
[ MORE: Totti’s incredible career ]
Coming on for the 786th and final appearance of his stunning career, the all-time leading scorer for Roma (307 goals in all competitions) helped his team secured a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win over Genoa to seal second place in the Serie A table and an automatic spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Totti spurned big money moves to Real Madrid and Barcelona where he could have won the biggest trophies and individual titles in the game to stay at Roma. He won just one Scudetto with Roma but famously said that was worth 10 league titles had he played for another team.
[ MORE: Serie A final day roundup ]
Following the game it was all about Totti as his teammates and manager broke down in tears, and so too did Totti as he went on a lap of honor with his wife and children at a sold-out Stadio Olimpico.
Rome’s favorite son said goodbye and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Watch the emotional farewell in the videos below.
I know. I have something in my eye too…