SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 1 Edition) | Soccer By Ives

Its that time again people, time for you to send your soccer (and pop culture) questions my way and time for me to answer as many questions as I can over the next hour or two.

Want to talk World Cup bids, Barcelona-Real Madrid, the MLS off-season, Jonathan Spectors brace against Manchester United or new TV shows and albums? We can do that. Want to talk U.S. national team, UEFA Champions League or the NCAA Tournament? We can cover those as well.

Send your questions my way and I will get the party going.

Lets get started (QA is after the jump):


Evening Ticker: Spector bags a brace, Hahnemann loses starting job and more | Soccer By Ives


On a snowy night at Upton Park, Jonathan Spector emphatically ended his poor run of form.

Given the chance to start for West Ham for the first time in more than three months, Spector scored twice in the first half of his clubs shocking 4-0 victory over his former team, Manchester United, in the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup on Tuesday.

Spector scored his first goal moments after being whistled for offside, which negated a would-be West Ham goal that he helped set up. He ran onto a chip from Victor Obinna in the area and nailed the header to open the scoring in the 22nd minute.

Fifteen minutes later, he pounced on a loose ball in the box, finishing with his left foot to double the lead. Spector, who played a central midfield role as opposed to fullback, had only scored once in his professional career before Tuesdays brace.

Highlights of the goals and a few more stories from around the soccer world are after the jump:


Marcus Hahnemann has seen this story play out before. Only the last time he was on the other side.

A year after winning the starting goalkeeper job at Wolverhampton from Wayne Hennessey, Hahnemann finds himself on the bench after manager Mick McCarthy has elected to stick with Hennessey as his starter after making the change ahead of Wolves 3-2 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

Wolves has yet to record a clean sheet this season, leading McCarthy to make the switch. He told The Guardian (UK): (Hennessey) had a tough time and then Marcus came in. But wed not kept a clean sheet, wed not been winning games and it was my decision to change it. I think Ive justified it.

After Hahnemann, 38, won the starting job from Hennessey last season, he performed well enough to earn a spot on the United States national team roster for the World Cup. He has been rumored to be considering a return to Major League Soccer, and this development wouldnt figure to sway his thinking in the other direction.


Jose Mourinhos week was further dampened after UEFA handed down a one-match suspension and a fine of almost $52,000 after the organization found him to be guilty of ordering two players to purposefully get sent off in Real Madrids last Champions League match.

Mourinho allegedly told Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso to get second yellows so they would be suspended for Madrids meaningless group-stage finale as opposed to picking up another yellow down the line and missing a knockout-stage match.

Mourinho will be banned from the touch-line for Madrid final group stage game against AJ Auxerre. If he is found of improper conduct again within the next three years, an automatic one-game suspension will go into effect.

Ramos and Alonso were fined, but they wont be forced to miss any more matches after sitting out the game against Auxerre.


Another trade has gone down in the Major League Soccer offseason, with Toronto FC shipping midfielder Joseph Nane to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a third-round draft pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.

Nane played in 11 league matches in his rookie season out of Old Dominion University.

Impressed with Spectors performance? Hope Hahnemann returns to MLS? What do you think of the punishment handed to Mourinho? Like the trade for Colorado and/or Toronto?

Share your thoughts below.

Carling Cup Semifinals Set | Soccer By Ives


Arsenal hasnt won a trophy since it hoisted FA Cup in 2005, but the Gunners have a golden opportunity to end their trophy drought in this seasons Carling Cup. Arsenal will face Championship side Ipswitch Town in on of the competitions two-legged semifinals next month, with a berth in the Feb. 27 final at Wembley on the line. West Ham United and Birmingham City will contest the other semifinal.

The Gunners defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 in their quarterfinal match on Tuesday, outshooting the visitors 12-2 and looking comfortable in the process. Now, with a favorable semifinal draw and its two potential final opponents currently placed 14th and 20th in the Premier League, Arsenal is the odds on favorite to win the competition.

For that, the Gunners can thank West Ham, which emphatically defeated Manchester United 4-0 in Tuesdays other match. Defender Jonathan Spector started in midfield for the Hammers and netted the clubs first two goals. It was a dream appearance for the American, who has seen next to no playing time since Avram Grant took over as the clubs manager.

West Hams victory over Man United wasnt the only upset of the round. Ipswitch got a 69th minute goal from Grant Leadbitter on a penalty kick and held on to defeat Premiership side West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on Wednesday. Ipswitch is currently in 17th place in the English Championship, 24 places below West Brom. Thats the largest gap between opponents in any of the quarterfinals.

Also qualifying for the semifinals on Wednesday was Birmingham City, which defeated its crosstown rivals Aston Villa 2-1 in dramatic fashion. After exchanging first-half goals, the clubs remained tied at 1 until the 84th minute, when Nicola Zigics shot deflected over Brad Friedel and into the Villa net. Despite being thoroughly outplayed by Villa in the second half and managing only three total shots on goal, City held on for the victory.

First-leg matches of the Carling Cup semifinals are sheduled to take place during the week of Jan. 10. The return legs will be played during the week of Jan. 24. Ipswitch and West Ham will host the first-leg matches.

What did you think of this weeks Carling Cup action? Surprised by the upsets? Hoping Spector gets a look at defensive midfield with the USMNT? Share your thoughts below.

Montero signed as Seattle’s third DP, who else will follow suit? | Soccer By Ives

The Seattle Sounders bought out the rights to Colombian striker Fredy Montero on Wednesday, and secured his services for the long term by making him the clubs third Designated Player.

Montero joins Blaise NKufo and Alvaro Fernandez as Seattle DP players, and is the second MLS player in two days to have their contracts graduated to DP status (Real Salt Lakes Alvaro Saborio being the other).

Is it a wise investment? In a word, yes. The 23-year-old striker was the Sounders most dangerous attacking weapon the past two years, all while facing the distraction of a potential transfer. Now, with his future secured in MLS, Montero will be able to focus on helping the Sounders win its first MLS Cup title.

With Saborio and Montero being newly-minted designated players, the real question is what other players will be able to parlay performance into DP status. Will Toronto FC give Dwayne DeRosario the money he is looking for? Will Colorado use the DP mechanism to keep Omar Cummings around? Will other MLS teams look to lock up their young standout with big new contracts?

What do you think about Seattles move to lock up Monteros services?

Share your thoughts below.

Qatar to host 2022 World Cup | Soccer By Ives

Qatar has been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. The middle Eastern nation beat out the United States among others for the bid.

My early take on this decision? FIFA cant be serious can it? Qatar was favored for some time by bookmakers and its clear they knew something. The USA bid for 2022 was the most viable and made the most sense, but FIFA voters went with the highest risk bid.

Its thoroughly devastating news for American soccer because a 2022 World Cup in the United States would have meant a tremendous boost for the game in this country. Perhaps it is even tougher to take considering Qatar seemed like the weakest of the bids.

What do you think of the news? Devastated? Going to boycott 2022? Getting your sun screen ready?

Share your thoughts below.

World Cup Voting Breakdown | Soccer By Ives

Shortly after both Russia and Qatar were announced as the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host nations, FIFA released how the vote for each event took place.

It was revealed that England didnt progress past the first round of voting for 2018, coming up with only two votes, while the likes of Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal progressed, only to be defeated by Russia in the second round of voting.

For the U.S. bid, while they progressed through four rounds of voting, it was never very close. Australia came up with just a single vote the low for the day, while Japan and Korea Republic were voted out in rounds two and three, setting up a final vote that Qatar won 14-8.

Heres a complete look at the vote for each World Cup bid:


Round 1: England 2 votes, Netherlands/Belgium 4 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 9 votes (as no absolute majority was reached, the candidate with least amount of votes, England, was eliminated)

Round 2: Netherlands/Belgium 2 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 13 votes (Russia obtained an absolute majority)


Round 1: Australia 1 vote, Japan 3 votes, Korea Republic 4 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 3 votes (Australia eliminated)

Round 2: Japan 2 votes, Korea Republic 5 votes, Qatar 10 votes and USA 5 votes (Japan eliminated)

Round 3: Korea Republic 5 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 6 votes (Korea Republic eliminated)

Round 4: Qatar 14 votes and USA 8 votes (Qatar obtained an absolute majority)

What do you think of the voting results? Surprised to see the U.S. receive little support?

Share your thoughts below.

Generation adidas team defeats Real Madrid reserves 2-1 | Soccer By Ives

Goals from Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew) and Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City) led the way as the MLS Generation adidas side won 2-1 over Real Madrids reserve side on Thursday.

Duka and Bunbury tallied in the first half to open up a 2-0 lead. Real Madrid Castilla then pulled a goal back in the 68th minute. Despite a team that only brought two listed defenders, the MLS side was able to hang on for the win.

Starters for the Generation adidas squad included Duka, Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, Ike Opara and Stefan Frei. Rising star and Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil also made a short substitute appearance in the second half.

Next up for the squad is Rayo Vallecano on December 7.

What do you think of the result? Happy to see MLS Generation adidas players win one in Spain?

Share your thoughts below.

Rodriguez leads U.S. U-17s to victory | Soccer By Ives


PHOENIX He was a redwood among twigs. And at times, a jet among blimps.

Mario Rodriguez, the United States U-17 boys national team starting forward, used his unmatched strength and deceptive speed to give Korea Republic as much trouble as the realm of reality had in trying to contain him.

Rodriguez played a part in both of the United States goals in a 2-1 win over the Korea Republic Wednesday night in the teams first of three matches in the Nike International Friendlies tournament held in north Phoenix.

Rodriguez utilized his pace to go by defenders but also used his power to hold onto possession, which frustrated the opponent. Each of Korea Republics first three yellow cards were drawn from fouls on Rodriguez in the second half.

I think it was clear thatMariohad a good game from the start, US U-17 coachWilmer Cabrerasaid. He was creating options, he was strong, he was fast and going at players. And it was good for him to gain that confidence. Last year, he played here and wasnt that confident. But now hes improved and he showed some confidence.

The US controlled the game for much of the first half, at times playing Barcelona to South Koreas Real Madrid. The US scored the first goal in the 10th minute off of center midfielder Matt Dunns left foot. But the ball wouldnt have reached Dunn unless Rodriguez headed down a wayward cross to Marc Pelosi whose header found a wide open Dunn at the opposite post.

Rodriguez then combined his skill and speed for his teams second goal 27 minutes later. The North Hollywood, Calif. product took a pass from about 25 yards out, dribbled forward and split two Korea Republic defenders with three touches before rocketing a shot into the goal.

I was in the moment, Rodriguez said of his goal after the match. I was really into it. I wanted to score. Im a forward, so I have to score.

It looked like it was indeed going to be a Barcelona-style blowout but just three minutes later, Korea Republic cut the lead in half. Shim Gwang Uks right-to-left outswinging corner kick to the far post found Shin Il Soo, who headed the ball for a goal.

From there, possession was more even throughout the game and the much taller Korea Republic gave the US fits on every corner kick. Still, it was the US that created the most chances, the last and best of them came in the 82nd minute when Pelosis free kick strike from about 35 yards out was parried over the crossbar.

After the match, Cabrera said he was pleased with his teams performance.

The team started off the game very well, we were in control for 40 minutes, he said. But after a soft goal, it gave them a boost. The second half was very tense. But they didnt have one chance in the second half. We created them. It was a tough game but it was good. This game is at the international level. This is the first game in a year. For the guys, the performance was good. They held the game for 90 minutes. I think it was very positive.


It wasnt all good for Rodriguez. He could have scored a goal in the 18th minute when he beat Korea Republics last field player to a through ball and touched it around the goalkeeper. But instead of taking the ensuing touch toward the open goal, he tried to go forward more and was cleanly tackled in the penalty box.

Rodriguez also suffered a slight injury to an ankle in the 72nd minute and left the match. He said the other player kicked his Achilles and at the same time he had a cramp. He was limping after the game but he said, Im ready for the next game.

Several US players showed skill on the ball, including central attacking midfielder Alejandro Guido, defenders Andrew Souders and Kellyn Acosta and right midfielderEstebanRodriguez.

When asked who impressed him, Cabrera pointed out Dunn, who is fromDallasbut currently plays in FC Kolns youth system inGermany.

Its good to see Matt Dunn, hes not with us (in residency), hes in Germany but he settled very quick with the team and had a chance to score a goal and play well, Cabrera said. Overall, they were good as a team but its good to see players like Mario getting a lot of confidence.

Cabrera also liked how his team worked together.

They were organized the whole time, he said. They tried to play the ball on the ground, they tried to pass, tried to move. We tried to move the ball in their half and we created options with crosses, with shots, with intensity. So it was important that the team never looked like we were never in control.

Obviously, they were difficult in set pieces but as we talked at halftime, we sort it out. And in the second half, we had no problem.

Cabrera was also asked what he wants to see from his team heading into the tournament.

We need to prepare ourselves forWorld Cupqualifying, he said. We started with this group a year ago. They were very young.

(This years games in Phoenix) are going to show us who is improving and whos ready to compete. And not everyone will wear a national team jersey. Theyre good players in the club level but we need to be sure that when you put on the national team jersey, youre good enough to show personality and show what you can do at the international level.

The US playsBrazil, which drew Turkey in a drab and physical scoreless affair in Wednesdays early game, on Friday, which will also be televised by Fox Sports Channel.

Its a different game, Cabrera said of the matchup vs. Brazil. Obviously, Brazil is a good team. And at this age, Brazil, Argentina, Germany,Spain, all their players play professionally and play for their clubs. So they have more experience and more confidence and they can show that kind of skill. But were ready and thats what we want. We want to play them and we want to see if we can play at the same level.

Cabrera wouldnt commit whether the same starting 11 would play Friday.

Well see how they finish, how they feel and the recovery part, he said. We brought 20 players who were at a better level (than the rest at residency) and hopefully we can use them all.