Chris Wondolowski

Evaluating striker form ahead of USMNT camp: Surprises for the 30-man?


With USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announcing 30 players for World Cup preliminary camp by May 12 — a week from Monday! — before culling the group to 23 by June 2, the time is right for plenty of roster thoughts.

And considering both Juan Agudelo and Terrence Boyd have found their striking stride for European clubs, has anything changed in Klinsmann’s mind ahead of camp?

Most would assume that, aside from how you classify Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, there are precious few locks at forward for the roster. Jozy Altidore of Sunderland seems one, even after his miserable season in the Premier League (He has a goal and an assist in 29 PL matches).

But after that? Eddie Johnson was once considered all-but-going to Brazil, but he’s looked ordinary since his trade to DC United. Aron Johannsson lit the Eredivisie on fire before a dip in finishing form that seemed to coincide with missing two penalties in a short period of time.

Now you have to consider Chris Wondolowski’s goal in the friendly against Mexico and strong form in MLS, the leaps and bounds of growth from Rapid Vienna’s Terrence Boyd and even Will Bruin’s hot start to 2014 with the Houston Dynamo.

Who are you betting to make the 30? The 23?

Check out this short list of form since MLS season began in mid-March (with a couple bonus names thrown in):

— Eddie Johnson, DC United — 7 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 12 shots

— Chris Wondolowski, San Jose — 7 games, 5 goals, 23 shots

— Aron Johannsson, AZ Alkmaar — 10 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 15 shots

— Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna — 8 games, 5 goals

— Juan Agudelo, FC Utrecht — 7 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 15 shots

— Ale Bedoya, Nantes — 7 games, 2 goals, 13 shots

— Jozy Altidore, Sunderland — 5 games, 0 goals, 2 shots

— Herculez Gomez, Tijuana — 5 games, 0 goals, 3 shots

— Julian Green, Bayern Munich II — 3 games, 0 goals

— Will Bruin, Houston — 9 games, 5 goals, 1 assist, 27 shots

— Jack McInerney, Montreal — 7 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 14 shots

— Andrew Wenger, Philadelphia — 9 games, 2 goals, 22 shots

— Mike Magee, Chicago — 6 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 19 shots

If we’re being honest, it’s hard to think EJ’s a lock simply based on experience. And if Klinsmann’s been watching club soccer as closely as we think — he is — can he ignore Boyd? Wondolowski? Bruin?

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

Leave a comment

Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

[ MORE: Klinsmann sends Johnson home ]

Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT future ]

Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

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

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
Leave a comment

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?