Columbus Crew roll dice with Gregg Berhalter hiring

Columbus investor Anthony Precourt purchased the Crew in July with a grand vision for his new club. He found himself in the market for a new coach by September. He wanted to use this opportunity to continue the cultural and the structural evolution he commenced when he took charge.

Precourt and club president Mark McCullers searched far and wide for the man to lead this charge. They discussed the opening with the cognoscenti of American soccer — US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and CEO Dan Flynn, former US Soccer secretary general Hank Steinbrecher included — and former Crew stars Guillermo Barros Schelotto (a candidate), Brad Friedel (also a candidate) and Brian McBride. They started with a broad list and whittled it down. And then they made their emphatic decision.

The two men extolled the virtues of former US international defender Gregg Berhalter when they named him head coach and sporting director on Wednesday. They lauded his desire to construct this club brick-by-analytical-brick. They noted the need for cohesive and consistent procedures to foster success year after year. They tasked him with the burden of two jobs and the responsibility of performing both of them well.


Former USA and LA Galaxy standout Gregg Berhalter will manage the Crew next season (Image: German Alegria/MLS).

“We talked a lot about different structures,” Precourt said during a conference call. “The structure needed to match the person’s skill set. I feel just overwhelmingly confident that Gregg was the man to handle both. He has a soccer mind. When you talk to him, you just see he has the perspective of a sporting director and a head coach. I think it’s efficient in terms of making decisions. It creates a sense of accountability.”

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Sam Allardyce breaks out slick dance moves

We’re going to file this one under: Things We Thought We’d Never See.

Just when the world thought the Gangnam Style trend was finally over, one of the last people you’d guess to hit the dance floor has breathed new life into it: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

The big man breaks out his best PSY moves on TV show A League of Their Own, and is surprisingly smooth and agile. Who knew Big Sam could groove!

This needs to be West Ham’s next goal celebration.

(H/T 101GG)


Leyton Orient coach bars team from playing FIFA 14 on match days


As far as excuses for a drop in performance go, this one should be top of the list.

English football league club Leyton Orient are flying high at the top of the third division in the country. With eight wins from their first eight games, two draws from their next two has left their manager angry, despite their unexpected lofty league position.

After such a brilliant start, you can surely forgive the players for slacking off a little?

Not Orient though. Their reaction to slump? They’ve banned players from playing FIFA 14 on the Playstation 3 in the club’s new team bus.

In a bid to improve his players’ concentration levels, boss Russell Slade has moved quickly to ban the game being played on match days, citing the following reason: “several hours playing football on a video game is not conducive to a good performance in the real thing.”

Orient’s communications manager Johnny Davies told British newspaper The Independent:

“The coach boasts a fold-out massage table, a coffee machine and Sky TV, but the most exciting thing for the players was a PlayStation 3.

“For the majority of the trip the lads, led by Lloyd James, got stuck into the new FIFA 14 game and at times even played as themselves against Oldham in preparation for the match the following day.”

And if the whole scenario wasn’t silly enough, as Leyton Orient’s main sponsor, FIFA 14’s logo adorns the team’s kits.


Valencia want to re-sign Juan Mata

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata seems to remain out of favor with the Blues hierarchy and could be set for a switch in January. Jose Mourinho believes the star is part of his plans, but how long will Mata put up with being on the bench or omitted from the squad entirely? He has been Chelsea’s leading player for the past two seasons and has rightly built up interest from elsewhere. Valencia have today been linked with an ambitious move to re-sign the Spanish International in January.

For this rumor and the rest of today’s transfer gossip, click here.


Klinsmann sent off against Honduras, could miss Gold Cup final

By Leander Schaerlaeckens

ARLINGTON, Texas – USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann could miss Sunday’s Gold Cup final after being dismissed for complaining and slamming down the ball after a series of non-calls in the United States’ 3-1 semifinal win against Honduras.

Since there is no such thing as a red card for managers, only straight ejections, suspensions are not automatic and a disciplinary committee will take referee Walter Quesada’s match report into consideration and deliver a verdict within 24 to 48 hours, according to a CONCACAF spokesman.

In the 87th minute of the match, with the score at 3-1 in the USA’s favor, DaMarcus Beasley looked to have been fouled after losing control of the ball, which went out of play for a Honduras throw-in. An enraged Klinsmann had a few choice words for the referee, gesticulating and possibly swearing in multiple languages until the official sent him out of his coach’s box.

“It was just a reaction out of frustration because fouls had added up throughout the last half an hour, one really, really bad right before our third goal,” Klinsmann explained following the game. “And then came this foul on [DaMarcus] Beas[ley] with two guys going into him from behind and I just kind of overboiled it.”

Klinsmann chuckled at that point, having long since returned to his invariably laid back demeanor. Then he turned apologetic. “Obviously you shouldn’t then throw the ball down on the ground,” he said. “I apologize for that reaction. It was not meant against the referee, against nobody. It was just frustration because you fear the health of the player in that moment.”

“He sticks up for us players, so I don’t have any complaints about that,” said Beasley, the captain.

Yet for the coach’s contrition, his fate is at the mercy of other men. “That would not be good for us,” star forward Landon Donovan said of a possible suspension. “We’re very hopeful that that’s not the case. You never want to see a player or a coach suspended for a final so hopefully whoever reviews that takes that into consideration. Sometimes that happens in the game and we’ve all made those sorts of decisions at times so hopefully it doesn’t affect us.”

“It’s going to be a loss if he’s not with us on the sideline,” Beasley said. “But at the same time, he’ll be with us in spirit if he’s not there. I’m sure he’ll be cheering us on wherever he’s sitting.”



Thanks for the memories, Roberto


If Roberto Mancini was in any doubt about how his departure from Manchester City affected the club’s supporters he can worry no more. City supporters splashed out £7,000 ($10,500) to place an advert in Italian sports newspaper Gazetta Dello Sport to show their appreciation for his efforts. Will the same be happening in Chile next season we wonder?


Some players find it difficult to contain their emotions when they lose a match. Some kick a door, others take it out on one of their opponents, but rarely does a player decide to shove his own coach.

Well, that’s just what Oscar Cardozo did at the end of Benfica’s defeat in the Portuguese Cup final on Sunday. He later apologized for his actions, but manager Jorge Jesus surely had no doubt about who Cardozo blamed for the 2-1 defeat by Vitoria Guimaraes.


Manchester City looks into striker swap


It’s certainly going to be a busy summer for Manchester City.

Roberto Mancini’s departure has left them manager-less, and their relentless mission of European dominance will definitely continue into the coming months with some heavy investment.

First on the list appears to be Napoli’s Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan striker regularly tops the goal charts in Serie A, but he’ll come with a heavy price tag after building up a huge reputation in Europe. A possible makeweight for the deal has been touted as City’s top scorer this season, Edin Dzeko, who, despite the goals, still appears to be out-of-favor with the club.

As far as we can see that sounds a pretty good deal for all involved, but who else are City looking at? Also, what does the future hold for Gareth Bale, and where is Stevan Jovetic headed? Find out about these rumors and more over at today’s Paper Chase.


Rafa Benitez has turned on Chelsea supporters and confirmed he will not be at the club next season.

Benitez, who was once again targeted by a section of his own club’s support during their 2-0 FA Cup fifth round victory at Middlesbrough, was in defiant mood after the game.

He said: “I have been in charge in football for 26 years. I have won the Champions League, won the FIFA Club World Cup, the FA Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the Spanish league twice, nine trophies, all the trophies you can win at club level.

"A group of fans, they are not doing any favors for the team when they are singing and wasting time preparing banners. It’s because someone made a mistake. They put my title (as) ‘interim manager’, and I will leave at the end of the season, so they don’t need to waste time with me.

Read more here.