Which player scored the most impressive goal over the weekend?
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
Haji Wright (SonderjyskE)
Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
Tyler Boyd (Besiktas)
Julian Green (Greuther Furth)
Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen)
DAVID SMITH - Monday, July 13, 2009
The weekend comes a few hours too early

Few will argue that perhaps the best part of the weekend is starting it early. This is especially true in Europe during the summer months, where people jump at any opportunity to get out of their offices on Friday while the afternoon is still young. Coincidentally, this usually makes getting information from clubs in the old country about breaking announcements past lunchtime an exercise in futility. Naturally, there are always some Friday afternoons when club press agents seemingly hit the "send" button on major or simply curious news as a last act before ducking out for the weekend, leaving those of us in the media either digging deep into our black books or left stewing till Monday morning in the search of more information.

This Friday we got hit twice.

Don't drink the water in Düsseldorf?

In one of the stranger twists in the seemingly neverending quest of Sal Zizzo for regular playing time, his seeming loan destination for the 2009-10 season, Fortuna Düsseldorf of Germany's second Bundesliga, announced on Friday afternoon that the player would be headed back to Hannover showing symptoms of gastro-intestinal flu. Zizzo's loan was made public in the media and by Hannover (although curiously never by Fortuna) more than a week before, allowing many YA fans to breathe a sigh of relief after seeing his career in Hannover go nowhere. While one certain porky strain of flu has proven in recent months to be enough to obstruct intercontinental tournaments and cooperation beteween federations (the FMF must still be seething), this must surely be the first instance of the flu scuttling a transfer or loan deal.

Whether it's off all together or simply delayed till he's better, the curious aspect is the length of time over which this came out. Hannover had confirmed eight days prior Fortuna's announcement that Zizzo was undergoing his physical in Düsseldorf on that day. Perhaps the physical was delayed. Perhaps Zizzo got an unusually long-lasting G-I flu bug. Maybe we'll never know, but at the very least, the questions are left to cook, unasked until Monday.

(and before anybody complains, I just confirmed with a friend from Düsseldorf - she says it's perfectly safe to drink the water)

The worst kept secret in Sochaux

The long-rumored transfer of Charlie Davies from Sweden's Hammarby IF to French Ligue 1 club FC Sochaux was finally announced by both clubs late on Friday afternoon, ending a saga that had stretched back to the previous winter transfer period. While the transfer doesn't come as so much of a surprise, the way it played out in the Swedish and French media in the final days leading up to the announcement began to take a feel reminiscent (albeit on a smaller scale) of many of the more publicized transfer "sagas" throughout Europe. Statements leaked to various media sources attributed his management of a quickly ballooning list of suitors and hints of previously unexpressed dissatisfaction with aspects of his situation at Hammarby seemed curiously directed towards lubricating or bluntly pushing negotiations.

Davies, for his part, has kept mute on any specific of his transfer possibilities prior to the announcement, even under direct inquiry during his time at the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup. As a player who we at YA have spoken with on several occasions, Davies is the sort of player whose main objectives are always on the field, so his lack of participation in any public posturing is both admirable and no surprise.

Regardless of any flea circus surrounding the transfer, Davies will spend the 2009-10 season competing in Ligue 1, in a move which few will argue is fantastic for both the player as well as the national team.

Europa League footnote

Already in mid-July a first YA has come and gone in European competition, with Jamath Schoffner's Käerjéng 97 of Luxembourg suffering a brutal knockout blow, being KO'ed by Cypriot powerhouse Anorthosis Famagusta (who were themselves responsible for several memorable shocks in the group stage of last year's Champions League) by an aggregate 7-1 score in the first qualifying round of the Europa League. Starting right back Schoffner went the distance in both legs, with game notes giving no indication that Steve Cherundolo or Jonathan Spector should be looking over their shoulders. After losing the first leg in Greece by a painful 5-0 scoreline, they salvaged a respectable result in the home leg, holding it together for a final 2-1 loss which ended on a high note with an injury-time consolation goal by Käerjéng's Alessandro Fiorani.

While the Luxembourg National Division will likely not be included in our week-to-week coverage, we'll certainly keep an eye on Schoffner in case anything noteworthy should arise. And if we by chance have any readers in the country who can tell us a little more about the league, please don't hesitate to drop us a line - who knows, we could become the first English-language sports outlet with a dedicated Luxembourg correspondent.

Eddie Johnson sighting

After his Cardiff City stint didn't exactly work out as planned, many thought a return to MLS from Fulham was a given. Not so fast.

While not exactly a Champions League final, Eddie got his preseason off to a good start with a quality goal in the Cottagers' preseason tour of Australia after a 20-yard run and schooling a defender against Melbourne Victory.

We'll keep an eye on Eddie and hope to get to talk to him soon as part of our English season preview feature coming out in few weeks.
Tom M
Saturday July 18, 2009 5:01 am
Eddie might have a chance at becoming the number 4 striker at Fulham now Bobby Zamora is gone, and is looking like Dio Kamara is on his way out as well, and Nevlands contract runs out over the winter transfer window.

Eddie always looked useful in the Copa America as well, as he was the only one there giving it his all it seemed, and scored against a top class stocked Argentinian side.
Friday July 17, 2009 1:55 pm
I am feeling that Zizzo will NOT what I expected...and this heart issues are not getting him better. I hope for him he plays in a different league, come back to the MLS where he would have the playing time or go in Belgium, Swiss, Sweden, Scotland...leagues that can help him develop.
Wednesday July 15, 2009 7:44 pm
@ Lawless - Hey I'm not crazy about the forward situation either but go easy on Conor man. He's really not that bad of a player. I've seen him play in person and I can say that he has skill that you wouldn't expect from a man his size. If he was at Fulham and Johnson was with Colorado you wouldn't be complaining. Johnson is done. He's not a smart enough player. He's Charlie Davies without the football brain and passing ability.
Wednesday July 15, 2009 5:16 pm
You know, if y'all want wanna ante up for the first Luxembourge dedicated correspondent, I'd be MORE than happy to oblige! Seriously though, it's too bad his club has already been eliminated. That woulda been a fun Cinderella story to watch.
Wednesday July 15, 2009 12:23 pm
@Skeptical Epileptic: First, there is some advantage to different US prospects taking different routes. Some work, some don't, but not every path has to be the same. Would Zizzo have developed better in MLS or in Scandanavia? Maybe, maybe not.

Second, Eddie Johnson is an interesting case. The biggest issue with Eddie has always been his mentality. The fact that he was working hard at Cardiff is a good sign. If the man actually starts for Fulham and starts scoring goals, like Dempsey, folks are going to have to eat some crow.

Cyprus is a divided country, between the Greek side which is internationally recognized, and the Turkish side, which is only recognized by Turkey. It isn't a surprise for a team from the Greek side of Cyprus to play a home game in Greece.
Skeptical Epileptic
Tuesday July 14, 2009 11:44 pm
Zizzo's situation just proves what Adu's situation already showed -- if you still need some development time, you just aren't going to get it at a top-tier club. They don't have the time or patience for you. Davies got a great situation -- bootstrapped by a lower league. Pearce almost had it, too, but seems to have played his way back to Scandinavia.

I'll note that Eddie Johnson has made himself something of a fan favorite at Cardiff, and he seems to have developed his game at least a little while he was there. Is that good enough to get playing time at Fulham? Beats me, but it probably still isn't enough to earn playing time with the US.

Lastly, am I the only one who wonders why a Cypriot team played the home leg of a CL Qualifier in Greece? Is their stadium not up to specification, or are we fudging nationalities here?
Tuesday July 14, 2009 11:08 am
Anyone who reads this article and doesn't lose it over Zizzo's slow descent into nothing don't realize how awful it is for US soccer. Someone who had the potential to be a true modern winger with speed, skill, and precision.

As for Johnson... he only does enough so that we don't forget about him. That isn't enough for the national team. (Well, Ching is the same way, but nothing can part Bradley from his favorite defensive forward.
jackii lawless
Tuesday July 14, 2009 3:03 am
Bring back eddie johnson over casey connor for christs sake . At least eddie has world class speed (granted thats all he has) but at least he can get behind a back line, what the **** was connor doing at the confed cup ??? remember eddie johnson showed decent agist spain a year ago . Give him another call up

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