The club future of U.S. international Clint Dempsey remains unresolved just days before the start of the English Premier League season. Dempsey’s current club, Fulham, opens the season Saturday against Norwich live on U.S. TV (Associated Press file photo).
Clint Dempsey’s future is just one of several unresolved questions that could have a huge bearing on the English Premier League season, which begins Saturday.
“I am surprised an Arsenal or a Liverpool haven’t made an offer,” Warren Barton, soccer analyst with Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer told me in an interview Monday. “He will still have a white shirt on to start the season, but don’t be surprised it that changes in 10 to 14 days.”
Despite the failure of the Merseyside club to flash the cash for Dempsey, Barton thinks the team that fired Kenny Dalglish this season will improve greatly under new management.
“If they can keep everybody healthy like Newcastle did last season I think they can compete,” Barton said. “Will they win? I don’t believe so. But they will get back into that top five.”
Which would be a relief for Liverpool fans after recent struggles.
I take an extended look – with Barton – at the EPL in today’s column.
Single tickets for the club’s first-ever visit to Southern California have yet to go on sale, with the MLS club hawking packages as usual initially.
The Galaxy-Spurs connections surely didn’t hurt setting up this game.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to open our U.S. tour against the current MLS Cup Champions, LA Galaxy,” said Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy. “With one of our former strikers Robbie Keane and David Beckham, who spent time training with us at Tottenham Hotspur, lining up for the Galaxy, there is a strong relationship between the two Clubs and we are looking forward to the chance to renew old friendships.”
This will be the fourth consecutive season in which the Galaxy host a major international friendly at The Home Depot Center and the second straight season that the club will take on one of the Premier League’s top clubs. Last year, the Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw with Manchester City before falling on penalties as part of the Herbalife World Football Challenge. In 2009, the Galaxy played to a 2-2 draw with AC Milan at The Home Depot Center while they beat Boca Juniors 1-0 there a year later.
Does this mean Spurs are the MLS All-Star game opponents, too, I wonder?
Robbie Keane scores against Newcastle United Sunday, but couldn’t prevent the Birmingham club losing 2-1 on Tyneside (AP Photo).
*An uninvolving Super Bowl Sunday on this side of the Atlantic Ocean (even the commericials were pretty dull, I thought) was saved by a gripping game on the other side of the pond, as Manchester United fought back from 3-0 down to tie Chelsea in a game (among the best we’ve seen in the EPL this season) seen live nationwide on Fox.
The “game before the game” marks the second live Barclays Premier League game in two weeks on Fox. On Jan. 22, Fox drew 1.3 million viewers nationwide for Arsenal’s 1-2 loss to Manchester United, making it the most watched live EPL match ever on U.S. television.
Rob Stone, Eric Wynalda and the insufferable Piers Morgan host.
Arsenal-Blackburn Rovers is at 4:55 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2
Norwich City-Bolton Wanderers is at 11 a.m. Saturday (delayed) on Fox Soccer Plus.
Dempsey vs. Donovan: The two Americans faced off today in the FA Cup (AP Photo). Wonder if they exchanged jerseys.
Landon Donovan continues to excel for Everton with a headline-grabbing game today. Associated Press sports writer Stuart Condie has the story:
LONDON (AP) — On-loan forward Landon Donovan led Everton to its first ever FA Cup win over Fulham and a place in the fifth round on Friday, setting up both goals in his team’s 2-1 win at Goodison.
Fulham had progressed in the FA Cup on all four previous occasions it had been drawn against Everton, and led again against the Toffees through Danny Murphy’s 14th-minute penalty.
But Donovan, in the sixth game of his second loan spell from the Galaxy set up a 27th-minute equalizer for Denis Stracqualursi and then provided the assist for Marouane Fellaini’s 73rd-minute winner.
“Landon’s been great since he’s been here,” Everton assistant manager Steve Round said. “He’s a real diamond of a guy, he’s a very intelligent footballer and the lads all like him. You’ve seen the quality of his end product, whether it be from crosses or set plays. “He’s a top player.”
Rafael van der Vaart scored a 42nd-minute goal for Tottenham in a 1-0 win at League Championship side Watford in Friday’s other fourth-round match.
But Donovan provided arguably the day’s standout performance, helping his side to victory over a Fulham side containing his United States teammate, Clint Dempsey.
Teammates on the last two U.S. World Cup teams, Donovan and Dempsey had not faced each other since May 2006, when Dempsey’s New England Revolution beat the Galaxy 4-0.
This was only the seventh time they had played against each other overall.
After Murphy scored a penalty awarded for a handball by Netherlands defender John Heitinga, Donovan crossed for Stracqualursi to head firmly past Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale.
Dempsey, who has scored two hat tricks in his last three games for Fulham, headed over the bar at the start of the second half following a cross by Bryan Ruiz before Donovan went close with a shot across goal from distance.
Donovan set up the decisive goal with a deep cross to the far post, from where Fellaini guided a header back across Stockdale and into the top corner.
Fulham beat Everton on its way to the 1975 FA Cup final — one of only two finals the west London club has ever reached — and edged out the Toffees in a replay in the teams’ most recent tournament meeting in 2004.
Maybe. Which is a little curious because Robbie Keane had previously publicly said he would not seek a MLS offseason loan to ensure he was fresh for Euro 2012. Here’s the Associated Press story:
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Teammates with Landon Donovan on the Galaxy, Robbie Keane could soon be playing against the American in an English Premier League match.
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish said Thursday that his club has opened talks with Keane with a view to signing the 31-year-old forward on loan until March, when the Major League Soccer season begins.
If the Ireland captain completes his move to Villa Park over the next few days, his debut could come on Jan. 14 against Everton — the team Donovan has just joined on loan for the same period.
“We are certainly pursuing it and, at the moment, both parties are keen,” said McLeish, who wants the move concluded by Monday.
Keane is currently training with his former club, Tottenham. He scored three goals for the
Galaxy in the 2011 season and helped Ireland qualify for this year’s European Championship.
“Robbie has got massive experience as a striker. That’s first and foremost. He is a great
character as well,” McLeish said. “Players can enlighten the dressing room as well, and these factors are all so important in this professional game.
“He is capable of hurting other teams with his team play. But, as it just so happens, he is also one of the brighter guys around football and has been for a long, long time.”
Keane has also played for Liverpool, Leeds, Coventry and West Ham in the Premier League, and also had a spell with Italian team Inter Milan in the 2000/01 season.
Thierry Henry is also trying to secure a move back to the Premier League during the MLS
offseason, with Arsenal set to confirm the signing of its former captain once an insurance
agreement is reached with the New York Red Bulls.
Landon Donovan was scheduled to link up with the flagging Liverpool club today – earlier than planned – and could find himself in the squad for the New Year’s Day game against West Bromwich Albion, according to this report.
The game will air live in the U.S. at 4:30 a.m. Pacific on Fox Soccer Plus.
It really wasn’t that bad Juan Pablo Angel – the Galaxy won (AP Photo).
Playing against an undefeated opponent and coming off a bad road loss, the Galaxy devised a conservative game plan that featured a deep-lying David Beckham and a safety first perspective. The Galaxy throttled this game, getting the win and the three points before heading on the road for three games.
I needed a laugh after forgetting to DVR today’s Liverpool-Manchester United game on Fox Soccer Plus – a channel I’m paying $15 a month for. Catching the end of Chelsea pulverizing soon to be relegated Blackpool didn’t cut it.
Just don’t expect to see United’s Wayne Rooney and other World Cup-bound stars in action on the tour (AP Photo).
United will play the game July 28 in Houston as the fourth and final game of a U.S. tour.
Other dates, opponents and locations:
*July 16 Vs. Glasgow Celtic in Toronto
*July 21 Vs. Philadelphia Union in Philly.
*July 25 Vs. Kansas City Wizards in Kansas City
It’s the first time United have visited North American since 2004, MLS officials said. Has it really been that long?
“It’s great to be going back to North America,” said United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “I enjoyed the last two tours there in 2003 and 2004 immensely. The quality of the facilities is outstanding and there is real enthusiasm in the crowds. It’s especially pleasing to be going in a World Cup year, when interest in football will be at its height.”
One caveat, according to MLS:
“United are committed to fielding all of their players for the North American tour who are not obligated to World Cup duties.”
So no Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, etc., then.
United roster will include Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar, Dimitar
Berbatov, Michael Owen and John O’Shea.