Eddie Johnson response to Brian Ching’s criticism? “Scoreboard”

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Brian Ching did a guest-hosting stint on a Houston podcast last week, and said Eddie Johnson is the sort of player who thrives in contract years.

On Thursday morning, Johnson responded by saying that Ching is just jealous and should look at the scoreboard.

Certainly Johnson is no stranger to controversy and Ching seems guilty of breaking something akin to hockey’s “code” in talking about an ex-teammate.

So what exactly did Ching say? And what was Johnson’s response? Does the latter make any sense?

First, Ching’s comments, thanks to the great Dynamo Theory:

“Played with him, you know, and he is one of those guys that every time he is getting close to playing for a contract or proving himself he goes out and he does his work and you’re like, ‘Wow okay!’

“But once he gets that contract or DP status he tends to disappear a little bit. It’s kind of like he is fighting so hard to prove that he’s good that when he gets there he just kind of stops doing the things that made him successful. That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about Eddie playing with him…

“If I was to sign him I would say ‘Hey here’s $10,000 a goal. You’re making $50,000 or you’re making $100,000 you want money score goals.’ He that kind of guy…He loses that drive, that mentality once he gets rewarded or gets his contract.”

EJ’s response:

The takeaway? A lot of hot air.

Say what you will about Ching’s choice to air his opinions (as a broadcaster), but it’s hard to find a lot of merit in Johnson’s jealousy argument. The only time the two were on the same team was with the United States — at times — from 2004-2010.

Ching scored 11 times in 45 matches, while Johnson has 19 goals in 63 matches. That gives EJ the advantage in goals-per-appearance at .30 to .24. Not a massive difference, but an edge nonetheless. Johnson is also correct that he has more caps than Ching.

But a lot of this is apples and oranges. Ching played nearly his entire career in Major League Soccer, while Johnson has bounced from team-to-team around the world in a journey that’s gone from the U.S. to England to Wales to Greece and back to the U.S. Both were snubbed from World Cup teams: Ching at 32 and Johnson at 30.

And how about the jealousy point? Who played more during their time on the national team before Ching’s cut from the 2010 roster (that Johnson made) effectively ended his time as an international?

2004:
Ching 4 apps, 2 goals
Johnson 3 apps, 5 goals

2005:
Johnson 6 apps, 3 goals
Ching 6 apps, 0 goals

2006:
Johnson 11 apps, 1 goal
Ching 9 apps, 2 goals

2007:
Johnson 11 apps, 2 goals
Ching 5 apps, 1 goal

2008:
Ching 7 apps, 4 goals
Johnson 6 apps, 1 goal

2009:
Ching 11 apps, 1 goal
Johnson 2 apps, 0 goals

2010:
Ching 2 apps, 1 goal
Johnson 3 apps, 0 goals

Totals (2004-2010):
Johnson 42 apps, 12 goals
Ching 44 apps, 11 goals

Not exactly margins for jealousy, though Johnson has probably had the more recognizable career. Still, isn’t this a case where Johnson is better off leaving well-enough alone, to rise above it? That’s not his reputation — and maybe Ching should’ve kept his opinions to himself — but bickering with Brian Ching? Yes, EJ’s three goals in three games is making his awful start to the season look a lot better — four goals in 17 matches total — but easy, big man.

As for the incentive-laden contract jab, that’s above my pay grade this morning.

Heath, Smith sidelined with injuries for USWNT

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CHICAGO (AP) Forward Tobin Heath and defender Taylor Smith are sidelined with injuries that will keep them out of the U.S. women’s national team training camp in Louisiana ahead of two upcoming matches against South Korea.

Heath is nursing an ankle injury and Smith her shoulder. Both women were hurt in the NWSL championship match last Saturday, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Monday.

The Americans play Thursday at New Orleans and Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Neither player will be replaced on the roster and coach Jill Ellis will have 18 players dressed for each game.

Report: Sam Allardyce, Laurent Blanc want to be next USMNT boss

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Yep, this is true.

Sam Allardyce has thrown his hat into the ring with the U.S. national team searching for a new manager, and so has former Paris Saint-Germain and France boss Laurent Blanc.

[ MORE: Latest USMNT news ]

According to ESPN, sources close to Allardyce say he is up for the USMNT challenge which would “enable him to impose a long-term strategy and secure a legacy in a nation regarded as a growing force.”

A report from France Football states that Blanc is also interested in replacing Bruce Arena, who resigned last week following the USA’s shock defeat at Trinidad and Tobago which saw them miss the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hmmm. After Jurgen Klinsmann’s time in charge of the USMNT, are the days of big name foreign managers over?

These are two relatively high-profile names with experience of managing national teams (in Allardyce’s case one game with England before The Telegraph sting scandal) but neither have experience of Major League Soccer or the unique challenges of CONCACAF.

Allardyce often talks fondly about his year spent with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the NASL during his playing days and has used many techniques he picked up from the U.S. sporting realm in his lengthy coaching career which has spanned Premier League clubs Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham United, Sunderland and Crystal Palace.

Yet the scandal which cut his ill-fated time in charge of England short will likely raise eyebrows if he is to be considered for the U.S. job and his direct style of play is not to the taste of many purists out there.

When it comes to Blanc, his ultra-defensive style of play may turn off those in charge of U.S. Soccer too but there’s no doubting his record with a title win at Bordeaux in 2009 before he took France to the last eight of EURO 2012, and then led PSG to three-straight French titles from 2012-13, is impressive.

The fact that these two managers have reportedly thrown their hats into the ring suggests just how highly the job is regarded worldwide, even if U.S. Soccer fans believe the program is currently at an all-time low after the embarrassment of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

In his conference call with reporters last week U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) president Sunil Gulati refused to rule out anybody for the USMNT job, stating that no specific profile (American, non-American coaches etc.) is preferred in their search for a new manager.

Many U.S. fans are hoping for a domestic manager to take charge with Peter Vermes, Ben Olsen and Jesse Marsch all mentioned with their vast knowledge of the U.S. national team and MLS setup.

Let’s wait and see what happens but after the Klinsmann era, one would suggest that USSF would be slightly hesitant to go overseas in their search for a new U.S. national team manager.

Champions League score predictions – Week 3

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We are entering the meaty part of the UEFA Champions League group stage with double headers coming up in the next two matchdays.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

The five Premier League teams in the UCL are so far unbeaten with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham all winning both of their opening two group games. Liverpool has two draw so far but Jurgen Klopp‘s men are still looking likely to make the knockout stage.

Below is a look at the 16 matches across the UCL on Tuesday and Wednesday as we make our score predictions for each game.

[ MORE: Champions League standings

Don’t be afraid to let us know your score picks in the comments section below.


Tuesday’s UCL games

Group E
Spartak Moscow 1-2 Sevilla
Maribor 1-3 Liverpool

Group F
Man City 2-0 Napoli
Feyenoord 1-3 Shakthar Donetsk

Group G
RB Leipzig 2-0 FC Porto
Monaco 2-1 Besiktas

Group H
APOEL 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday’s UCL games

Group A
Benfica 1-2 Manchester United
CSKA Moscow 1-2 Basel

Group B
Anderlecht 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain
Bayern Munich 2-2 Celtic

Group C
Chelsea 1-1 Roma
Qarabag 1-3 Atletico Madrid

Group D
Barcelona 3-1 Olympiacos
Juventus 2-1 Sporting Lisbon

Report: Leicester City fire manager Craig Shakespeare

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Leicester City have pulled the trigger much early than many expected.

Official confirmation has yet to come from the club but multiple reports state that Craig Shakespeare, who only took charge permanently of the Foxes over the summer, has been fired after eight games of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

Claudio Ranieri‘s former assistant coach has reportedly been fired by the ruthless Leicester owners with the Foxes for winning just one of their opening eight Premier League games of the season.

That form sees the Foxes sat third from bottom and only on six points. The last three times Leicester have gained six points or less in their opening eight games of a PL season they have been relegated.

Stats like that would have surely alarmed their Thai owners.

The last time Leicester went six PL games without a win Ranieri was fired but this is still a shock considering  Shakespeare, 53, had been in charge for only four months.

Shakespeare was in interim charge at the end of last season after Ranieri was fired in February and led Leicester to seven wins from their final 13 games which saved the then reigning champs from relegation.

However, he never seemed like the long-term man to lead the shock 2015-16 PL champions back to the upper echelons of the Premier League and he is now on his way out of the King Power Stadium.