Ben Olsen isn’t the only one upset around D.C. United

2 Comments

We aren’t the only ones wondering if United manager Ben Olsen was shifting a wee too much of the blame on the players for the death spiral that has been D.C. United’s 2013 season.

The players are wondering about some of the personnel choices – and I think we can all agree that a back-and-forth like this, a division of thought and unity, is not going to help anyone.

Olsen made two significant changes before the most recent loss, the one that matched a club record for winless streaks, now at 10 matches. Well, perhaps one and a half; Carlos Ruiz got his first start in favor of usual first-choice striker Lionard Pajoy, but that’s probably only a halfsie on the significant scale.

But removing Dwayne De Rosario from the lineup, that’s checks the box under  “major move.” And it didn’t set too well inside some corners of the locker room.

The manager and his top player are trying to patch things up, but none of this moves United any closer to rescuing a season in free fall.

Here’s where it started: De Rosario told the Washington Post that Olsen did not believe the former league MVP and Ruiz were a good fit. “De Ro” indicated after Saturday’s contest that he was not one bit happy about it.

If you look at our track record as goal scorers, as creators, it’s not a bad problem to try at least once. … There is talent in this locker room, but I don’t know if we are using the talent to the best of its ability.”

Here’s the thing: The result wasn’t good (a 2-0 loss to the highly capable Portland Timbers). But Ruiz was quite lively, creating several opportunities with his movement near goal and typically feisty hold-up play.

In short, he was better than Pajoy or anyone else who has gobbled up minutes at striker while Ruiz languished and, eventually, wondered what in the heck was going on.

It does make you wonder what United’s season might have looked like at this point if Ruiz – yes, yes, I know, he’s not the name most MLS fans want to see – had been playing more regularly. Olsen has always preferred Pajoy for all the hustle-bustle defensive work off the ball.

But Pajoy has two goals in 12 games, among the reasons United  is 19th of 19 teams in scoring.

So, it’s fair to wonder what things might look like with Ruiz, the best goal scorer at RFK, even at age 33, playing alongside the team’s top creator, De Rosario.

Chelsea loans Miazga back to Vitesse for second-straight season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Matt Miazga is back again in the Netherlands.

Chelsea announced Friday that it had loaned the American international to Vitesse for the second-consecutive year on a season-long loan. Miazga made 19 starts last season in all competitions and another 10 appearances for Vitesse off the bench, with one goal scored in the run to the KNVB Cup title, the club’s first in its history,

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Despite his rise through the U.S. youth ranks and success with the New York Red Bulls in 2015 before moving to Chelsea, Miazga only made his first U.S. Men’s National Team start at the 2017 Gold Cup, playing the full 90 in the USA’s 3-0 win over Nicaragua.

Miazga went straight from the Gold Cup back to Vitesse to join up for preseason training.

“I look back with pleasure on my first year at Vitesse,” the 22-year-old Miazga told Vitesse’s website. “I felt very welcome and we have all made historic success. That success will be expanded this coming season and I will continue to develop myself. That’s why I returned as soon as possible after winning the Gold Cup. We are going to compete for the second prize in the club’s history. ”

While it’s disappointing that Miazga won’t be able to challenge for a place at Chelsea next season, he could do worse than facing the challenge of the Eredivisie’s huge array of talented attackers, and after another year of seasoning, he could be ready to play in England, with or without Chelsea.

More importantly for him, with the World Cup coming up, even though he’s on the fringe of the World Cup roster right now, getting regular matches in the Eredivisie will help his cause more than playing for Chelsea’s reserves.

Pulisic: Dortmund can win the league

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic isn’t short on confidence these days.

The rising star for the U.S. Men’s National Team is currently in preseason training with Borussia Dortmund, and he believes his side can push Bayern Munich for the title. Bayern has won five-straight league titles, but the last team other than Munich to win was Dortmund itself in 2012.

“We’ve got a big chance to win the league this coming season,” Pulisic said, via German publication Kicker.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Pulisic has been firing on all cylinders so far in preseason. During Dortmund’s tour of China, Pulisic had three assists in a 3-1 win over AC Milan, and he also started and went the full 90 against Bochum on July 22 back in Germany.

The 18-year-old is coming off a breakout season for the Black and Yellows, scoring five goals with 13 assists over 43 games between the Bundesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League.

“Last season was a good step in my development,” Pulisic said, noting he wants to be “more dangerous” in the attack. “I want to build on that.”

Of course, Pulisic followed the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup, taking the title for the sixth time. In less than a year’s time, Pulisic will likely be on the field, starting for the U.S. at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the hopes and dreams of many Americans on his shoulders.

“(It was) a good victory,” Pulisic said of the final.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Bale’s agent laughs off speculation

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It appears Gareth Bale has no plans of following Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez out of Real Madrid this summer.

“It’s a ridiculous, stupid story,” Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett told the BBC, following reports that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane wouldn’t promise Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo that they’d staying with the club this summer.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game live ]

Of course, these prompted counter reports that Manchester United could take advantage of possible instability at the Santiago Bernabeu and swoop in for Bale, but it seems that Bale is not for sale.

Bale played just 27 times for Real Madrid last season in all competitions, scoring nine goals with three assists while dealing with multiple injuries. His entire career at Real Madrid in fact has been plagued by injury, but ahead of a World Cup year with Wales still in contention for a spot in Russia, Bale will be extra motivated to stay fit this season.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from around the world:

(more…)

Neymar storms off after training dustup with teammate

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Neymar just won’t stay out of the headlines.

As his long-rumored “will he, won’t he go” transfer saga between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona continues, Neymar stormed out of training on Thursday after getting into a tussle with teammate Nelson Semedo.

A video from the Daily Mail shows Neymar pushing Semedo before walking off and removing his training bib.

Neymar has reportedly agreed to personal terms with PSG over a move to France, but PSG have yet to come up with the nearly $260 million it would cost to trigger Neymar’s release clause. The news of Neymar possibly leaving Barcelona came as a shock, as he’s been content since joining the club to play slightly in the shadow of teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

If this fight is any indication, Neymar’s head could be turned and should PSG trigger the release clause, Neymar could be heading to Paris once Barcelona returns this weekend from its American sojourn.

In spite of all the transfer speculation, Neymar has dazzled for Barcelona on its tour of the U.S., scoring three goals in two games and delighting the thousands in attendance.