Backpost World Headquarters and most satellite offices went dark there for a few days—we were off securing Massachusetts beaches after the recent shark sightings, among other distractions.
But we’re back now, and ready to play catch-up: Here’s a look at the Top 10 Stories We Missed in the past five days:
10. Michael Bradley Scores in ‘Gladbach Opener
There were rumors that the 23-year-old U.S. midlfielder and son of national-team coach Bob Bradley would move to a bigger club in the offseason, but that didn’t happen, and it appears to suit both club and player just fine. Bradley opened the 2010-11 scoring account for his Bundesliga club, Borussia Moenchengladbach, hitting the net 38 minutes into their first-round German Cup game against Erzebirge Aue. Click here for the hightlights.
9. Bob Bradley Not to Villa, After All?
It seems that way, despite recent “reports” suggesting the U.S. coach would join fellow yanks Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj at Villa Park. Bradley’s agent, Ron Waxman, shot down the rumors last week. Stay tuned.
8. D.C. United is Toast
This didn’t necessarily happen in the past week, but now, at 3-14-3, the Red and Black—the original MLS dynasty—is all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs—for just the second time in the 15-year history of Major League Soccer.
7. MLS Youth Academy Signings
The league’s escalating designated-player arms race has gotten plenty of attention recently, and deservedly so, but there have been some notable acquisitions at the other end of the talent-pool spectrum in the past week, as the MLS youth academies are starting to bear fruit.
D.C. United, which already had academy products midfielder Andy Najar and keeper Bill Hamid on its first-team roster, added midfielder Conor Shanosky.
The Colorado Rapids signed striker Davy Armstrong while Chicago inked midfielder Victor Pineda.
These youngsters—all of them 17 or 18 years old—join Red Bulls striker Juan Agudelo, LA Galaxy forward Tristan Bowen, and FC Dallas’s four homegrown signees—Bryan Leyva, Moises Hernández, Rubén Luna and Víctor Ulloa—in the ranks of MLS academy players to sign professional contracts with the league.
These homegrown signings are arguably just as important to the future of the league as the DP blockbusters.
6. Real Salt Lake Blanks Columbus 2-0
The Red Bulls–LA Galaxy game (more on that later) hogged the headlines, but this matchup between Columbus, the top team in the East, and Real Salt Lake, the defending champs and the team currently nipping at the Galaxy’s heels in the West, is just as likely to be an MLS Cup preview as the glamour matchup in New York.
RSL midfielder Javier Morales stole the show with two excellent goals, good enough to win Player of the Week honors. Highlights here.
5. Geovanni Signs with San Jose—MLS’s 14th Designated Player
An attacking midfielder, Geovanni, 30, has one cap with Brazilian national team, and experience with Barcelona, Benfica, Cruzeiro, Manchester City and, most recently, Hull City.
He had a strong season at Hull in 2008-09, but fell out of favor during the Tigers’ relegation disaster last season. Will he help the young San Jose squad in its playoff quest this year?
4. Landon Donovan Stays Put
The MLS transfer window has slammed shut, and Donovan is still running the attack for the LA Galaxy.
This is huge for the league, as Commissioner Don Garber said a month ago, and we think it’s safe to say that Garber priced Donovan out of any transfer move: No team was going to shell out $15 million (or thereabouts) for a 28-year-old attacking midfielder.
So Donovan will finish out the season here, and if Garber’s dreams come true, that season will end with LD and a recovered David Beckham squaring off against Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, and Juan Pablo Angel in MLS Cup 2011 on ABC.
3. Toronto FC Whups Cruz Azul in CONCACAF Champions League
Fresh off a 4-1 trouncing of Pachuca, Mexican side Cruz Azul—“the Real Madrid of CONCACAF” with five CCL titles—may have been a bit overconfident heading into its 2010-11 group-stage meeting with Toronto. The visitors were surprised by goals from Martin Saric and Mista and a determined Reds side, which held on for a 2-1 victory. Big win for MLS.
2. LA Galaxy 1, Red Bulls 0
In arguably the most star-studded and atmospheric game in MLS history, with Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria joining a sellout crowd in the stands, and Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Juan Pablo Angel and Landon Donovan on the field (and David Beckham on the LA bench), the visiting Galaxy took advantage of a turnover by Marquez to score the game’s only goal.
New York was more effective in the second half, as Henry and Angel started to percolate, but they couldn’t find an equalizer. Afterward, Donovan had this to say:
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about the New York Red Bulls over the last month, and we wanted to reiterate to people who the best team in the league is.”
“They have been playing together for a while, and you could see that today. When this team is ready, we’re going to be able to compete with them. But we couldn’t compete with them today.”
Highlights here. The teams meet again on September 24 at the Home Depot Center.
1. Premier League Season Kicks Off
Week 1 of the 2010-11 Premier League season is in the books, and while it was a fairly sluggish opening round—when we’re in charge, we’ll push the season opener back to September, to give players a real offseason—there were some notable moments.
Chelsea—and Didier Drogba—picked up where they left off, with a rout for the Blues and a hat-trick for Drogba; Man U rolled over Premier League returnees Newcastle, 3-0; Stuart Holden hit the post for Bolton against Clint Dempsey‘s Fulham; Tim Howard uncharacteristically fumbled away Everton’s opener against Blackburn; Mario Balotelli signed with Man City; and promotion side Blackpool debuted spectacularly, routing Wigan 4-0 in front of manager Ian Holloway, who is sure to challenge Wolverhampton manager Mick McCarthy for top quote in the top flight this year.
Holloway produced the following, after an “ugly” win against Chesterfield a few years back:
“To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She wasn’t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let’s have a coffee.”
Click here for some of Holloway’s vintage work. Should be a good battle with McCarthy this season.
• John Rooney, brother of um, uh—Wayne; right, that’s it—is on trial with the Portland Timbers, a USSF D-2 team that will make the leap to MLS next season. Rooney is 19, and hoping to establish his career outside his big brother’s big shadow.
• The Vancouver Whitecaps are stockpiling talent in advance of their entry into MLS next year.
• Gonzalo Segares, for our money one of the best left backs in MLS history, rejoined the Chicago Fire.
• Philadelphia’s first-year striker Danny Mwanga continued to build his case for Rookie of the Year honors, bagging his seventh goal of the year in a 1-1 tie with Colorado.
All right, that should get us back up to speed. If we missed anything, let us know in the comments.
CONCACAF Champions League, Yanks Abroad, and MLS goodness to follow.