I am hearing from multiple sources that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has cooled on owning a piece of MLS team in Miami. This may explain why most media reports indicate David Beckham has moved beyond Ross’ Dolphins Stadium complex for a temporary home. This should properly explain the recent hubbub of activity including LeBron James and other potential investors as well as looks at Marlins Park and FIU Stadium as temporary homes until a permanent soccer-specific stadium can be built. However, I am told Ross would still be interested in playing host to the team should such a need arise, but is not interested in investing in the club at this time.
Sporting Kansas City’s Dom Dwyer, an Englishman who attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, could play hero in this year’s MLS Cup as well as the USL PRO final (US third division). Dwyer, who was loaned on two different occasions to Orlando City of USL PRO this past season, was the hero of the 7-4 championship victory over Richmond scoring four goals. On Saturday, he notched the game winner for Kansas City in the MLS Eastern Conference Final Second Leg against Houston.
The Merseyside Derby was a great advertisement for English football but also The Swansea Way. Both managers, whose style was cemented in South Wales, played an open and entertaining game despite the high stakes, not only derby wise but top of the table wise. The Swansea Way has become a fashionable term in English football for a style that involves short, crisp passing and smart football.
Tony Pulis deserves another chance in the Premier League and it will be interesting to see if he takes Crystal Palace down pragmatically in an effort to stabilize the club or if he looks to spend money in January to try and give survival a go.
Hull City’s lack of goal scoring is now becoming a major problem. Steve Bruce has structured and organized the Tigers side well, and the additions of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore from Spurs have created a midfield that controls tempo in most matches. But Hull seems to be reliant on playing for nil-nil draws, and the defensive breakdown that led to Barry Bannan’s winning goal for Crystal Palace has been uncharacteristic this season. However, the goal may in fact prove to be an ominous sign.
Southampton threw away the match against Arsenal, but again showed a quality in midfield that will serve the Saints well the remainder of the season. This club is no flash in the pan, and I cannot see Southampton finishing lower than 9th in the table under any circumstance.
Last season, Sunderland benefited from fortuitous penalty calls and opponent indiscipline at critical moments in matches. The Black Cats Premier League status perhaps owes itself to such fortune this season as the club battles back from an awful start to the season, Gus Poyet is not receiving the type of luck Martin O’Neill did. Starting with the incorrectly disallowed Jozy Altidore goal versus Arsenal when Paulo DiCanio was still managing the club, the Black Cats have been on the unlucky end of several controversial moments — most recently the rather farcical sending off of Wes Brown in Saturday’s loss to Stoke City. Also controversially no sanction was given to Asmir Begovic who clearly caught Steven Fletcher with his studs in the second half of the game. Consistency dictated that the Stoke keeper be sent off if Brown was sent off.
One cannot help but feel sorry for Joe Cole these days despite his petulant actions in leaving the pitch when subbed out in minute 40. He was excited to play his former club (Chelsea) — a club he helped lead to three Premier League titles.
West Ham United are simply having a hard time given their personnel limitations to play either a traditional long-ball game or the more free flowing passing game that seems to benefit Ravel Morrison. If David Gold and David Sullivan want to ensure Premier League survival they may need to be willing to spend in January on the types of continental midfielders Allardyce had at Bolton. It may sound overly cliquish but West Ham needs a Jay Jay Okocha.
Spurs shocking capitulation at the Etihad resembled the types of performances teams fighting relegation give in tough venues. Erik Lamela, Spurs record signing, was particularly poor in his league debut as a starter. Sandro notwithstanding, the Tottenham squad quit after City’s third goal. A formation change may be in order for misfiring Spurs and that is a topic I will delve into deeper later in the week.
Few people at the beginning of the Ligue Un season thought Lille would be placed closest to PSG in the table at this point in the season. Salomon Kalou hasn’t scored goals at the rate he did last season but he is still fantastic in serving as a focal point in the Lille attack. Could he be a solution in January for Spurs misfiring strikers/midfielders?
At the beginning of the season, I had expressed hope that Dortmund could push Bayern Munich the entire Bundesliga season. However the lack of depth particularly on the backline has led to a defensive collapse for BVB. Now it appears like the club that has won two of the last three Bundesliga titles and reached last season’s Champions League final could be essentially out of both competitions in short order unless things change dramatically in the next few weeks.