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Teammate brawls: Osvaldo’s fight top of the pile?

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Following Southampton’s decision to suspend striker Daniel Osvaldo for two weeks for an apparent training ground punch up with teammate Jose Fonte, that got me thinking…

Wouldn’t it be fun to take a look back at some other memorable soccer punch ups from the past?

No time for hesitation, lets get stuck in.

Lee Bowyer and Kieran Dyer

This is perhaps the most famous fight between soccer teammates, ever. It took place in front of 50,000 plus fans at St. James’ Park, who looked on in disbelief as both Bowyer and Dyer swung at each other like madmen before being separated. Both were shown straight red cards for violent conduct in the subsequent 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, as the former England internationals lost the plot during a season of struggle for Newcastle. The term ‘windmilling’ sums up their fighting style. They’ve clearly never heard of the ‘Queensbury Rules.’

Eyal Berkovic and John Hartson

Back in the late 1990’s Harry Redknapp had assembled an extremely talented squad at West Ham United. He had a good blend of playmakers and bruising enforcers… and it was one of each that went toe to toe in a training ground bust up of epic proportions in 1998. Little Israeli playmaker Berkovic was taken out by bustling Welsh striker Hartson in a practice match and as the latter tried to help Berkovic up, the Israeli reacted angrily and punched Hartson in the leg. Cue an Eric Cantona-esque karate kick from Hartson that demolished Berkovic.

Joey Barton and Ousmane Dabo

One of soccer’s bad boys had to get in here somewhere (Joey Barton could have his own bust up top five…) and his fight with Man City teammate Dabo was shocking on so many levels. Barton spent four months in prison for the brutal attack and was sold to Newcastle upon his release. Barton battered Dabo and had to be dragged away by multiple players as this was a step too far, even for him. Barton showed no remorse: “Where I come from there are no rules. You fight until it’s over.” Yikes.

Oguchi Onyewu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

USA, USA, USA… Sorry, got a little caught up there. But remember when Onyewu was an AC Milan defender a few seasons ago? Okay, good. Well, you may have not remembered that Onyewu stuck the indomitable Zlatan flat on his backside in a training ground altercation. Zlatan’s a big dude, but why on earth would he ever mess with Gooch? Only one winner, and the American defender won hands down.

NOTE: For the record Osvaldo was said to have landed a headbutt on Fonte and then punched him. Rumors of the Italian international wielding a sword around Southampton’s training ground are off the mark. We think.

Klinsmann blames Costa Rica loss on Mexico hangover

Jurgen Klinsmann

The United States lost their third straight match on home soil tonight, the first such losing streak since 1997.

Following an extra-time loss to Mexico on Saturday, the U.S. failed to compete in a friendly against Costa Rica, putting in another poor performance as the side continues to struggle.

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In his post match press conference, Jurgen Klinsmann said his team was still shaking off the loss against Mexico, and couldn’t recover in time for tonight’s game.

Yes, the United States’ match against Mexico went 120 minutes. Yes, it was a very tough game both physically and mentally. However, it’s time for Klinsmann to stop making excuses.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from the USMNT’s loss to Costa Rica ]

Of the starting XI against Costa Rica, only four started against Mexico. Of the six substitutes Klinsmann brought in today, only Bobby Wood played in the Mexico match, and for less than 25 minutes.

The problem isn’t that the U.S. lost tonight; it’s that they didn’t even show up. What Klinsmann needed to do was walk into his press conference and say, “We didn’t come to play tonight. We stunk. That can’t happen and we need to be better. It starts with me.”

[ PLAYER RATINGS: Howard’s return highlights poor performances from USMNT ]

Top teams don’t dwell on past results. Top teams rebound quickly and back up poor performances with strong performances. When a top team would have bounced back, the United States fell flat.

Clearly the argument is, well, the United States isn’t a top team. But isn’t that what Klinsmann was brought in to do? To help develop the USMNT into a top team? The least they could do is act like one, and that starts with the manager.

College Soccer Update: Tragedy strikes USC Upstate with horrible car accident

USC Upstate
USC Upstate
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No interviews today. No star players and programs. Just mourning.

USC Upstate lost four students earlier this week, two of them men’s soccer players, in an early morning car accident this weekend. A fifth was injured when the car they were driving in ran off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire.

James Campbell and Mills Sproul are the soccer players who’ve left the pitch for the final time.

[ MORE: College soccer news ]

USC Upstate’s athletic department held a candelight vigil on Monday, and honored both players with online memorials.

From Campbell’s, entitled “James Campbell Was an Intense Player Whose Competitiveness Made Those Around Him Play Harder”:

While Kyle Juell and James attended different high schools, they played club soccer together. “James was intense and passionate on the field,” Juell said. “He was the kind of aggressive player you wanted as a teammate. He was fun and warm and full of life and he cared so much about his teammates.”

From Sproul’s, entitled “Mills Sproul Put the Needs of Others Before His Own and Was Accepting of All”:

Mills’ teammate Deon Rose said that Mills was like the brother he never had.

“The first time I met him, I knew that he was special,” Rose said. “Not because he asked me if we had beaches in Canada or how Canadians survived without Chick-fil-A, but because he had an unconditional love for everyone and everything.”

Our thoughts are with the USC Upstate team, and entire community. Rest in peace.

Three stars of the week

1. University of California Santa Barbara — The Gauchos leapt from “receiving votes” to No. 14 in the nation. The Gauchos have won five-straight, all in-state, by a combined score of 13-3.

2. Joey Piatczyc, West Virginia — The midfielder leads the nation in assists with 12, one coming in Tuesday’s upset of Penn State, a match in which he also scored his first of the year. The Mountaineers shocked PSU with a 3-0 home win in Morgantown.

3. Francis Atuahene and Colin McAtee, Michigan — The Ghanaian freshman is a lightning bolt, and keeps producing goals along with the redshirt senior McAtee, who hails from San Diego. The Wolverines beat Duquesne 3-0 on Tuesday.

Other notes

— Creighton dropped two of its 24 first place votes, one each to North Carolina and Stanford, but remains the No.1 men’s team in the nation.

— Wake Forest hasn’t allowed a goal in three matches, against quality competition in NC State, South Carolina and Boston College. There were stretches in the 2-0 win over South Carolina where they looked unbeatable.

— Speaking of the Demon Deacons, they’ll face dangerous UNC on Saturday in what will be a cracker.

— Also No. 1:Florida State (Women’s D-1), Gannon (Women’s D-2), Trinity of Texas (Women’s D-3), Pfeiffer (Men’s D-2), Franklin & Marshall (Men’s D-3).