With the derisory and ironic chants of "Hodgson for England" from the Anfield crowd ringing fresh in his ears, following Liverpool's stunning and stultifying 1-0 home loss to then bottom-placed Wolves, coach Roy Hodgson committed probably the final fatal two verbal missteps in what has been a tortuous six-month reign.
With the 2011 Major League Soccer season completed and months of inactivity, regeneration and rest on the horizon, U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann's message that MLS-based players need to be maintaining their match and training fitness almost year-round to stay in the mix for national-team consideration has certainly been heard.
The Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew admitted that his side had been "lucky" to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, who "deserved a point at the very least." You needed the fingers of both hands to count the saves that the goalkeeper Tim Krul had to make at Molineux, including two impressive stops with his feet that kept Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher from scoring, and only a dubious call from the referee's assistant prevented a last gasp equalizer. It is still far too early in the season for the Premier League table to be much worth looking at, and Toon must navigate a course past Tottenham, both Manchester clubs and Chelsea in upcoming fixtures.
All the rumblings about Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury being the future, and perhaps even the present, of the United States forward corps must have ignited quite the fire under a couple of goal-starved American strikers this past week.
With the cancellation of Wednesday's friendly between the U.S. and Egypt in Cairo, it's an unplanned slow day in the world of American soccer. So let's open the mailbag and answer some of your questions:
On this week's episode of "The Transfer Season," one American gets his final clearance to go overseas, one gets freed from his manager's doghouse and a few more get their names on the transaction ticker.
Christmas is a time for sharing, a time for caring and a time for firing your manager before the yawning jaws of relegation snap shut. Since the weather put paid to seven of the weekend's nine fixtures, let's have a look at who's in the danger zone:
With the opening of the European transfer window less than two months away, the United States' friendly against South Africa on Wednesday will be an excellent time for a few Americans stationed abroad to receive some much-needed exposure.
Manchester United has had a very strange start to the season. The club has not lost in 11 games, which, in terms of games unbeaten, is its best start to a Premier League season. And yet, nobody could pretend United has been playing well, and it seems implausible that Sir Alex Ferguson's squad is only two points behind first-place Chelsea. The fixture list, of course, has much to do with it, and although United has beaten both Liverpool and Tottenham (it has six victories and five draws overall), Wednesday's clash with Manchester City will be its biggest test of the season by far.
This Premier League season is almost 10 games old, the first point at which it is really permissible to scan the table and suck your teeth as you read the names at the bottom. The last one you'll reach is West Ham United, which has taken six points from the first 27 available.
In what was a rather quiet week for American soccer players abroad, aside from Sacha Kljestan's second goal for RSC Anderlecht and Clint Dempsey's returning to the starting lineup for Fulham, one up-and-comer managed to make some serious career headway.
After all the hype and speculation surrounding a major transfer for Michael Bradley in the aftermath of the World Cup, the 23-year-old New Jersey native stayed put at Borussia Monchengladbach, and the Bundesliga club couldn't be happier to have him.
The World Cup is over and another summer of rampant transfer rumor-mongering is underway in the Premier League. The few clubs with cash are being linked with anybody and everybody -- but what positions should clubs be prioritizing as they hit the shops? Today, clubs M-W; the top half of the table was covered yesterday.
Hats off to Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, who surprised everyone -- perhaps even Didier Drogba himself -- by leaving his leading goal scorer on the bench against Manchester United and fielding the same starting 11 that had demolished Aston Villa the week before.
Bad boys. No, we haven't been holed up in Castle Limey watching tepid Will Smith action movies from the mid-1990s. Instead, we've been musing about the bad boys who are the subjects of the two biggest stories that have hit the headlines in the last couple of weeks.
After a summer of increasingly intensive thumb-twiddling and hours spent aimlessly wandering the corridors of Castle Limey, the excitement is at fever pitch as the English Premier League season returns this weekend. Last week we gave you our predictions for the season, and this week we're taking a detailed look at the first couple of fixtures following the big kick-off.
Awaking from our slumber after one of those tedious biennial summers without a showpiece international tournament, it slowly dawned on us: the Premier League is back at last! With only one week before the world's pre-eminent league kicks off, we headed for Castle Limey to dust down the dungeon-sized supercomputer responsible for our EPL predictions.