Sigi Schmid

Late Cahill equalizer gives New York result in Seattle (Video)


This a good result for both sides, once you zoom out and see in the big picture. For New York, playing without their two best players, this draw will only look better on closer examination. For Seattle, while a late equalizer leaves the feeling of points lost, they’re still in-control of their Supporters’ Shield fate, a position which would have been slightly more precarious had they contrived to lose on Sunday.

But with the 1-1 result, the Sounders remain one point behind East-leading New York in the Supporters’ Shield chase, and with two games in hand, the Western Conference co-leaders remain  favorites to claim their first regular season title. This weekend’s results did see Real Salt Lake pull even with them in the West, but still holding two games in hand on their Rocky Mountain foes, Seattle can only be so disappointed with the weekend’s results.

Against New York, Sigi Schmid’s team took the lead just before intermission, finally coming good on a slew of late-half chances when Brad Evans converted from the spot. But Seattle lost their edge in the second, allowing New York to hit the woodwork twice before Tim Cahill, lost in the left of the penalty area, buried a late equalizer. The right-footed curler inside Michael Gspurning’s far post gave Red Bull a well-earned point from a match few saw them winning.

That’s because Thierry Henry, with a chronic Achilles condition, was a no-go. Jamison Olave was scratched, too, his knee costing him the battle of conference leaders on Seattle’s FieldTurf surface. Though highly-debated during the week, the decision proved prescient as a unexpectedly heavy storm saw Sunday’s match played beneath a downpour. In those conditions, without their two best players, New York have to be happy with the point, even if they failed to deal a blow to Seattle.

For the Sounders, the result may be disappointing, but they didn’t lose any ground. Against a backline that had not played together before this season, the team may not be satisfied with a draw, but now seven unbeaten and with only one loss in their last 11, the Sounders continue to position themselves for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.