viajero's Comments

Posted Tuesday June 26, 2012, About: Stoke City eyeing Dynamo Cameron
Yes, I want in. Though I am leery about friending everyone who participates because my FB page does include stuff from my private life. But I can friend you to get started. Please let me know how to find you on FB.
Posted Tuesday June 26, 2012, About: Stoke City eyeing Dynamo Cameron
Where are you guys these days? That Bayerndidn'tstopplaying website seems to be completely dead.
Posted Friday June 08, 2012, About: Donovan: Galaxy players have lost hunger
I thought I had answered this one a way back. Anyway, here's the lowdown on Jairo Arrieta:

He first got noticed when he was a controversial late call up for the Athens Olympics, despite being a complete unknown with little first division experience. He was then an even more controversial starter in place of Alvaro Saborio for Costa Rica's final critical group game. But he did a more than creditable job as an integral part of the Tico's 4-2 upset of the strongly favored Portuguese (one of the tournament favorites), including helping set up Sabo (who had come in off the bench) with the game winner.

But what had looked like a promising start to his career never amounted to much; mixing good seasons with mediocre ones and never getting a real shot on the senior national team or even at one of the big Tico clubs. He got a reputation as a tricky speedster with a penchant for wasting even the easiest of chances. Saprissa finally did pick him up only after Vergara offloaded almost their entire starting line-up to Europe. They initially used him as something of a counterattacking specialist when the game called for one.

Then out of nowhere, Arrieta seemed to relaunch his career last year when he suddenly got red hot and started scoring almost at will (including several spectacular highlight reel goals). He still has his speed and technical skill, to which he added a greatly improved goal scoring instinct. Unfortunately he went completely cold at the beginning of this season and after a poor start in which none of Saprissa's forwards scored at all, Guima sat Arieta and several other veterans down in favor of the young guys, who promptly led the team into the playoffs. Given this success, Saprissa seems to have decided to go heavy with the young players for next season (many of whom are also coming off very good U20 World Cup performances), which made several veterans like Arrieta somewhat superfluous.

Despite losing his starting spot with Saprissa, Arrieta does have the potential of matching up very well with Vargas or another more traditional center forward type in a 2 man forward line. Arrieta is at his best when he's free to roam around destabilizing the opposing defense.

Of course it would have been even better if the Crew had been able to bring in one of those promising young players instead, but I doubt any MLS team could afford them as Saprissa seems bent on waiting until they can be sold at a much better price to Europe.
Posted Friday June 08, 2012, About: Donovan: Galaxy players have lost hunger
So with Concacaf starting up today, these are my picks for who gets through from each group:

Group 1
USA
Jamaica

Group 2
Mexico
El Salvador

Group 3
Honduras
Panama

The only real upset I'm predicting is in Group 2, where I pick ES over Costa Rica, because the Ticos are being hit hard by a combination of injuries and poor form for most of their key players.

In Group 3, Canada does have a shot of beating out Panama, but I don't see it as likely.
Posted Tuesday June 05, 2012, About: Donovan: Galaxy players have lost hunger
Ecuador made the mistake of pressing up in MF (which is what had worked for them so far), leaving a lot of space for Messi and company to make their runs. They should have know better as both Chile and Switzerland had recently tried the same tactic against Sabella's Argentina with almost equally disastrous results. The only way to slow these guys down is to do your best Chelsea imitation and park the bus with 9 or 10 guys in your defensive third. This is what Bolivia did successfully in the previous qualifying round, coming away with a point for their troubles (and who would have thought that Bolivia's only point this far into qualifying would have been gained on the road in Buenos Aires and not at home in the altitude of La Paz?)
Posted Monday June 04, 2012, About: Donovan: Galaxy players have lost hunger
South American Qual Roundup:

Argentina's first half against Ecuador was something else. Ecuador came into the game having given up only 2 goals in qualifying so far, but Argentina's star forwards just tore them apart with Messi finally at his very best for Argentina.

Chile and Colombia both got valuable wins on the road, in part because their goalkeepers made several outstanding saves early on when the home teams (Bolivia and Peru) were pressing forward. The player that impressed me most out of those two games was Arturo Vidal, picking up where he left off with Juventus. The guy is a beast. Not only was he all over the place holding the Chilean midfield together in the absence of Gary Medel, but he somehow still had the oxygen to dash all the way down the field to score Chile's second in the 80+ minute (not a minor thing given that they were playing in La Paz at almost 4,000 m).

In the other game, Venezuela did the usual in picking up points in Montevideo. Uruguay may be the best in South America these days, but they haven't been able to beat Venezuela in years.

At this point, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia are the only ones who look to be in real trouble. Assuming that Argentina and Uruguay qualify, this means that one out of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela is not going to make it. Ecuador is probably the weakest of those 4 right now, but given their big home field advantage in Quito, they can't be counted out.
Posted Monday June 04, 2012, About: Donovan: Galaxy players have lost hunger
I think Valencia's signing of Andres Guardado has to be seen in this context. Because they already have a good left back in France international Mathieu, they often played Jordi Alba farther up the field as a left MF/Winger - which is the position that Guardado will be playing next season. With the Mathieu-Guardado combo on the left, they can afford to let Jordi Alba go.
Posted Monday June 04, 2012, About: Donovan: Galaxy players have lost hunger
I've seen him deliver several truly outstanding performances in the last couple of Copa Libertadores, but I do agree that he needs to mature a bit more. The kid is still very young and I'd give him a bit more of a chance before calling him Robinho II.
Posted Monday May 21, 2012, About: Red Bulls: Agudelo wanted trade
LAG in last place in the West. Who would have thought?
I think this Agudelo trade to Chivas USA could be good for him. At least he might get some more playing time.
It sounds like they may be going after another Spanish coach, Wigan's Benitez.
In all fairness, it was Aguero who started the play with a run up the middle and the pass to Balotelli, who then did well to toe poke it back into Aguero's path.
Posted Wednesday May 09, 2012, About: Montreal closing in on Di Vaio
This has been a very exciting second half. Athletic has created and wasted numerous good chances to get back in the game. But at the same time, Falcao, pretty much all on his own, has continued to create havoc on the counter. He just pulled off a magnificent play in which he ended up sending a shot off the post.
Posted Wednesday May 09, 2012, About: Montreal closing in on Di Vaio
And of course, shortly after writing the above, Falcao makes Javi look really bad on two successive plays.
Posted Wednesday May 09, 2012, About: Montreal closing in on Di Vaio
I wouldn't blame Javi in particular for either goal. They were both simply superb individual efforts by Falcao. Highlight reel stuff.
Posted Wednesday May 09, 2012, About: Montreal closing in on Di Vaio
What a great goal by Falcao. He sure seems to come alive in the Europa League.
Posted Wednesday May 02, 2012, About: Arsenal closing in on Vertonghen
When you look at the entire season, I definitely agree. But my impression from watching Juve's last few games is that Pirlo has slowed down just a touch lately. Fortunately for them, Vidal has stepped it up. His performance in the victory over Roma was particularly impressive (2 goals and an assist), netting him an average rating of 9 out of 10 from among ESPN and the major Italian sports daily's (according to ESPN anyways).
Posted Wednesday May 02, 2012, About: Arsenal closing in on Vertonghen
Just after posting the above, I saw the news come through that only two Lazio players have gotten longer suspensions that will carry through what remains of this season (Andre Dias and the GK Marchetti). I guess that on review of the tapes, those were the only two who actually touched the ref. Still, when you add those two to all the injuries and Lazio is in trouble.
Posted Wednesday May 02, 2012, About: Arsenal closing in on Vertonghen
Not sure how many of you have been following Serie A, but this end of season has become very entertaining.

First you have a red hot Juventus overtaking Milan (on the backs of an Arturo Vidal who has been nothing less than incredible over the past month, adding goal scoring to his repertoire as the midfield motor of the team). But nothing is settled yet and this could go down to the wire.

Meanwhile, I had pretty much given Napoli up for dead after those successive losses to Chelsea, Lazio and Juve, but they've come roaring back and after yesterday's win over Palermo, are somehow actually in the pole position for that third and final CL spot. It helps that Cavanni has started scoring again.

Of course it also helps that Lazio, already beset by injuries, pretty much completed their self-destruction in Udine. For those who didn't see the game, in the last seconds of injury time with the game already lost, a fan in the stands blew a whistle, which caused most of the players to momentarily hesitate - except for the Udinese guy with the ball, who raced down the field and scored to make it 2-0. The Lazio players promptly went nuts and started shoving the ref all over the place. And it wasn't just the players, as the Lazio President up in the box actually started shoving the Udinese President around (when's the last time you saw that?). Anyway, with the long suspensions sure to come, I wonder if Lazio is even going to be able to field much of a team for the rest of the season. And suddenly the team that seemed heavily favored to make the CL is in serious danger of being out of Europe entirely.
Posted Tuesday May 01, 2012, About: Arsenal closing in on Vertonghen
They were completely dominated from beginning to end. That 1-0 was quite deceptive.
Posted Friday April 27, 2012, About: Man United target Lucas
Here's the lowdown on Jairo Arrieta:

He first got noticed when he was a controversial call up for the Athens Olympics, despite being a complete unknown with little first division experience. He then was an even more controversial starter in place of Alvaro Saborio for Costa Rica's final critical group game against CR's Portugal. But he did a more than creditable job as an integral part of the Tico's 4-2 upset of the strongly favored Portuguese, including helping set up Sabo (who had come in off the bench) with the game winner. Not much was made of the fact that he was a non-entity when CR was promptly overrun by eventual gold medalist Argentina in the quarters, as none of the Ticos looked good in that game.

But what had looked like a promising start to his career never amounted to much; mixing good seasons with bad ones and never getting a real shot on the senior national team or even at one of the big Tico clubs. He got a reputation as a tricky speedster with a penchant for wasting even the easiest of chances. When Saprissa finally did pick him up, after Vergara offloaded almost their entire starting line-up to Europe, the fans were less than happy. And he ended up being something of a counterattacking specialist when the game called for one.

Then out of nowhere, Arrieta seemed to relaunch his career last year when he suddenly got red hot and started scoring almost at will (including several spectacular highlight reel goals). He still has his speed and technical skill, to which he added a greatly improved goal scoring instinct. Unfortunately he went completely cold at the beginning of this season and after a poor start in which none of Saprissa's forwards scored at all, Guima sat Arieta and several other veterans down in favor of the young guys, who have promptly led the team into the playoffs. Given this success, Guima seems to have decided to go heavy with the young players for next season (many of whom are also coming off very good U20 World Cup performances). Several veterans like Arrieta are now seen as superfluous, which is probably why he was available.

I do think though that Arrieta does have the potential of matching up very well with Vargas in a 2 man forward line. They complement each other quite well, with Vargas more the traditional center forward who is good in the air, leaving Arrieta free to roam around and do what he does best, which is destabilize the opposing defense.

Of course it would have been even better if the Crew had been able to bring in one of those promising young players instead, but I doubt any MLS team could afford them as Saprissa seems bent on waiting until they can be sold at a much better price to Europe. And I doubt that the best of the young guys would be interested in the MLS given that it is seen as something of a dead end career wise, as opposed to a launching pad for bigger and better things.
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