Alexi Lalas

Alexi Lalas: a U.S. setback, but not the end of the world

Leave a comment

Former U.S. center backs Alexi Lalas and Jimmy Conrad weighed in on Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Honduras during a Google Hangout on (Those are huge now, you know.)

Conrad, now the face of KICK TV, seemed to think the bigger blow to U.S. World Cup prospects were more consequential than Lalas. Said Lalas, an ESPN analyst:

I think before this game a lot of people were talking about how this could very easily be a loss. But I think everybody had some good perspective and understanding that it’s not the end of the world and it is not the end of the world right now.”

He mentioned the same choice we are all talking about today: Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to start such an untested back line: Lalas said managers get paid to live and die by their roster and lineup selections.

Fair or not, people are going to go back and ask was it right to start a back four that had never played together, especially in the middle with two guys that had never played together, over captain Carlos Bocanegra, and that’s a valid criticism. But I think when you really look at it, I’m not sure Carlos Bocanegra would have made the difference out there, not the 2013 version of Carlos Bocanegra.”

Conrad, by the way, reckoned that Bocanegra would have made the difference, perhaps his experience being enough to preserve the 1-1 draw, at least.

The 15-minute Google Hangout is here.

Fox Soccer Channel’s Rob Stone was also on the hangout – sharing an earpiece with Lalas, by the way, which is kinda of unstable. He mentions what we talked about earlier today, how the United States is clearly missing Landon Donovan.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.