The big news for The Daily Wiz came last night when the blog officially added Alex Englen as a senior writer. Most of you probably know Alex from the Sporting Kansas City blog, The Front Men. He's done some really fine work there, and when I initially decided that I wanted to add a blogger or two to The Daily Wiz roster, Alex was on the short list of Sporting bloggers I really thought could bring a lot to the table, so as you can imagine, I'm beyond excited to have Alex joining the website.
We're looking forward to continuing to improve The Daily Wiz in every aspect, and we have a lot of cool ideas in the works for 2012.
On to the Daily Links....
Sources are reporting that English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers are after New York Red Bulls center back Tim Ream, which quite honestly, doesn't make much sense to me... at least not right now.
I understand that Ream has tons of potential, and that he distributes the ball extremely well from the back, but there were way too many times in 2011 where Ream lost his concentration and quite frankly, made some bone headed plays.
My only thoughts on the Ream to Bolton talk? If Ream had trouble with his form in Major League Soccer, why in the world would he have any sort of success in England... in quite possibly the best soccer league in the world?
Speaking of Premier League, America's own Clint Dempsey scored his first hat trick against Charlton in a 4-0 Fulham victory in the FA Cup.
Maybe I'm crazy but I think Dempsey is better than US counterpart Landon Donovan at this point in time. What say you?
Generation Adidas signee Andrew Wenger won the Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the best male and female players in the country.
I know the majority of the mock drafts out there have forward Darren Mattocks going number one to Montreal (it's hard to argue against Akron's track record as of late), but I think if I were Jessie Marsh Wenger would be my pick. Mattocks has a ton of upside, but Wenger is pretty much a shoo-in to be a perennial MLS All-Star in a year or two.
At the Soccer By Ives website, they mention the fact that Dartmouth product Luckymore "Lucky" Mkosana had a very good outing in his first MLS combine match. I found this interesting mainly because on the latest "From The Byline To The Back Post" podcast Mike Kuhn mentioned that he thought Mkosana might be a player that could very well interest Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes. Definitely a player to keep your eye on if you get a chance to watch the combine matches later today.
Check out all of The Daily Links after the jump...
Well, what a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been for me, especially in the blogging department. I have some exciting news for everyone and it may seem abrupt but I have decided to join forces with The Daily Wiz and become a senior writer there. Along with Justin Mayhugh (manager of TDW) I will be covering all aspects of SKC as I did on this blog. Only difference is, TDW and SB Nation provide me with a much better platform than this site does to express my views on Sporting and will get my news out to a larger audience. Being part of it was something I could simply not pass up.
English Premier League club Bolton has made a formal transfer offer for New York Red Bulls and U.S. national team defender Tim Ream, a source told ESPN.com Friday. The sides are close to an agreement, with the transfer fee likely worth somewhere between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to a source close to negotiations. Incentives for game appearances could inflate the final value of the deal. "There's not such a big gap between the sides," the source said. "There's been significant progress in the last couple of days. Right now both sides are optimistic." After offseason training stints with Bolton and West Bromwich Albion in December, a deal looks imminent.
It was an FA Cup Saturday full of excitement for Americans, headlined by Clint Dempsey's first professional hat trick sparking Fulham's 4-0 third round rout of Thames derby guests Charlton. The US star deposited a Danny Murphy slip pass on seven minutes to open, dialed up his "CONCACAF Connection" to convert from combo play with Bryan Ruiz just past the hour and, finally, blasted a penalty kick earned by the Costa Rica attacker with nine minutes left. Dempsey now has seven goals in his last nine outings and 12 on the campaign across all competitions — just one shy of his career-high.
Generation adidas signing Andrew Wenger may not be here in Florida for the MLS Player Combine taking place this week, but he still made the headlines. The Duke standout was presented the MAC. Hermann Trophy on Friday night after an outstanding junior season. He beat out forwards Billy Schuler (North Carolina) and Ethan Finlay (Creighton) to capture the prestigious honor given to the top player in college soccer.
That a Dartmouth player is at the MLS Combine is an accomplishment in itself. That a Dartmouth player shone on the first day of the event, which is notorious for being rough for most participants, is even more impressive. Both those scenarios are where forward Luckymore "Lucky" Mkosana has found himself after a strong second-half performance in the first game of the 2012 MLS Combine on a chilly Friday evening in South Florida. Coming off the bench at halftime, Mkosana helped lift adiPower (red) to a 3-2 win over Prime (green) by scoring a goal and then setting up the game-winner near the end of the 80-minute match.
Yes, now comes the 20-20 hindsight, I suppose. Should MLS teams reconsider the value of pimping out their valuable talent to overseas sides that, in some cases, probably couldn’t spell MLS if you spotted them the "M" and the "L." In other words, they don’t necessarily hold MLS in high regard and could presumably make choices that aren’t in the best interests of the stateside clubs. I say, "poppycock." These loan arrangements do have value, especially for younger talent. We can debate the value of Thierry Henry’s coming spell at Arsenal, but even that has residual value in global exposure for a league that could still use some. (Not nearly as much as 10 or even 5 years ago, for sure, but spreading the word of MLS quality remains a work in progress.)
Never was a 5-v-2 soccer drill a more life-altering event. Connecticut midfielder Tony Cascio, who is already signed to an MLS contract after completing his college eligibility, recounts the story of being in training with Real Salt Lake’s senior side a few summers back. "There I was, stuck in the middle of a 5-v-2," Cascio told MLSsoccer.com on Friday night about the way the RSL players kept the ball away from him for an extended sequence. "They were just super smart. Not overly athletic. They didn’t look athletic." For Cascio, who reveals he never thought himself as MLS talent before that summer, the drill taught him a valuable lesson: "That I had to work on my mindset. You can be athletic and good, but a lot of the game is mental."
His dad and older brother may have played in the Mexican top flight, but MLS Player Combine invitee Gienir Garcia is not interested in following in their footsteps. Although he’s playing for the reserve side of one of Mexico’s biggest clubs, Cruz Azul’s Hidalgo side in the Mexican second division, Garcia believes that MLS is the place to be. "I watch soccer here and I see how it’s growing, and sooner or later soccer here is going to pass Mexican soccer," Garcia told MLSsoccer.com. "I like the rhythm of the game and the physicality here. It’s quicker and more dynamic [in MLS]."