Topping the soccer headlines this Wednesday morning...
Uruguayan star Diego Forlan going from Atletico Madrid to Inter.
US midfielder Michael Bradley (son of the former coach) is heading to Chievo Verona from Borussia Moenchengladbach. He is the only American in Serie A.
Clint Dempsey will miss the US v Costa Rica friendly Friday night in Carson, Calif, with back spasms, but is expected to join the team for the game at Belgium next week.
Finally, US/magicjack goalkeeper Hope Solo will be on Dancing With the Stars. Small window of opportunity for these US women to capitalize on the World Cup. Go, Hope!
The City of Manchester, England is a happy place today! On Sunday, Manchester United crushed Arsenal 8-2 (no, that is NOT a typo...8 to 2, which sounds more like part-time work hours than an EPL score!) and Manchester City beat Tottenham 5-1. Edin Dzeko scored FOUR goals for Man City and Wayne Rooney had a hat-trick for ManU. Arsenal had not given up eight goals in 115 years -- since 1896 -- and the Gunners have just one point through three games, the worst start for the club since 1991. ouch!
Over on this side of the pond, Western NY Flash beat Philadelphia Independence in PKs in the Women's Professional Soccer championship. A crowd of 10,461 was on hand, biggest crowd for a WPS final in the league's three-year history. That is great news. Let's hope MagicJack owner Dan Borislov and the WPS execs can work things out so we have a team close by next season.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers lost 2-0 to Tampa Bay on Saturday night, and are hanging onto the sixth playoff spot by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins. They have two home games coming up -- Sept. 3 vs. Montreal and Sept. 7 vs. league leader Carolina -- and are hoping for big crowds to root them into the playoffs. For tickets, call 954-606-0400 or go to www.strikers.com
What's on your soccer-loving minds as we enter September and the European leagues get going? Share with the group!
Emerging from the UM scandal stories to report that it was not a good Saturday for South Florida soccer teams. The Strikers lost 2-0 at Carolina, and MagicJack lost 2-0 at Philadelphia in the WPS semifinal. Philadelphia advances to the final against Western New York.
MagicJack beat the Boston Breakers 3-1 Wednesday night at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. World Cup stars Abby Wambach (2 goals ) and Megan Rapinoe (1 goal) led the way. MagicJack advances to semifinal Saturday at Philadelphia.
It's a big week for women's soccer in South Florida.
MagicJack, the Boca Raton-based Women's Professional Soccer team, hosts a quarterfinal Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel) against the Boston Breakers at FAU Soccer Stadium. MagicJack is led by Women's World Cup stars Abby Wambach (who doubles as player-coach), goalie Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Shannon Boxx, and 36-year-old mother-of-two Christie Rampone. MagicJack finished third in the six-team league with a 9-7-2 record. Boston finished fourth at 5-9-4.
Solo is recovering from a right shoulder injury, and has been replaced by Jill Loyden.
The winner advances to a semifinal at second-place Philadelphia (11-4-3), and that winner plays first-place Western New York Flash (13-2-3), the team that features Brazilian star Marta, U.S. forward Alex Morgan and Canadian Christine Sinclair.
League attendance has jumped nearly 90 percent since the World Cup. Average attendance before the World Cup was 2,714, and it has been 5,176 since. MagicJack crowds have been between 3,000-4,000. Tickets are available through TicketMaster.
On Friday night, the University of Miami women's team takes on 9th-ranked University of Florida at Cobb Stadium. Anytime the Canes and Gators face off, it's a good time. It will be the UM debut for coach Tom Anagnost, who was hired from Central Michigan University.
I attended MagicJack's final regular-season home match against the Philadelphia Independence with my family this afternoon, and was thrilled to see the crowd of 3,063 on a sweltering day. The crowd included lots and lots of young female soccer players, like my daughter and her cousin. MagicJack won 2-1 after a 45-minute lightning delay that halted the game in the 57th minute. Both MagicJack goals were scored by fiesty and speedy forward Lisa DeVanna, a member of Australia's national team. Unfortunately for the fans, US World Cup stars Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe did not play for MagicJack. Wambach is the player/coach, and she did coach, but didn't play. Shannon Boxx and Christie Rampone did play, which was fun to watch, but it would have been more thrilling if all the World Cup players were on the field. With all due respect to the rest of the players, a lot of the people in the stands went primarily to get an up-close look at the players they saw on TV during the World Cup last month. They wore Wambach jerseys, and it would have been a real treat for those fans if they could have seen their heroes play -- if only for a half.
Amy Rodriguez, a U.S. World Cup forward, scored the lone goal for Philly, which entered the game as the league's No. 2 team.
MagicJack is back home Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for a first-round playoff match against Boston. Tickets through Ticketmaster and FAU's athletic department.
Brazilian star Marta scored two goals to lead the Western New York Flash to a 2-1 win over magicjack at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton Wednesday night. Sophie Schmidt scored for magicjack in the 71st minute with an assist by US World Cup player Christie Rampone. The Flash leads the league with a 12-2-3 record. Magicjack is 8-7-2. Both have clinched playoff spots. MagicJack is home again Sunday at 4 p.m. against Philadelphia.
So, what do you think of the Klinsmann era after one game? Here's what I think...
The U.S. looked disorganized and a step slow the first half against Mexico, and was lucky to be trailing just 1-0. Edson Buddle, the lone striker, didn't get the ball much, and nothing seemed to be clicking. Second half -- particularly the final 30 minutes -- things changed. It all got going when subs Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea entered the game. They jump-started the Americans. Agudelo is aggressive, and unafraid, and a very promising forward who made some nice runs and passes. Brek Shea was a terrific add (despite his '80s hairdo). His beautiful cross in the 73rd minute is the reason Robbie Rogers had such an easy tap-in to tie the score 1-1. Shea also had a nice shot in the 83rd minute that could have been the game winner had the Mexican goalie not made a save. Rogers also brought energy to the US offense, and he appeared to be sprinting toward a second goal when Torrado dragged him down by the shirt (a red card in a regular game, but not in a friendly).
Landon Donovan remains the best US player on the field. Smart, fast, opportunistic, great passer.
What I liked most of all is that Klinsmann SMILED! A lot. He seemed loose and after the game said he "Had fun'' in his debut. A coach having FUN? Is that legal? Klinsmann is known for his enthusiasm, positive attitude and infectious energy, and we got a glimpse of it last night. He has accomplished nothing yet. A 1-1 friendly with Mexico means very little. There's a long road ahead for the US as it heads into World Cup qualifying next summer. But, if those final 20 minutes are an indication, I am optimistic. You?