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Wednesday kickaround: Spencer to Portland, North Korea inquiry, Ecuador's coach, Freedom in action, friendlies galore, TV listings

*The Portland Timbers, who will enter MLS next season, have hired longtime player and former Houston assistant John Spencer as their head coach. Good choice.

*FIFA is looking into reports that North Korea mistreated its team after the World Cup. Troubling.

*Ecuador has hired Honduras' World Cup coach. Your move, Catrachos.

*A day after a lukewarm endorsement of its coach and the hiring of a consultant, the Washington Freedom (5-8-5) faces WPS reigning champion Sky Blue (6-8-3) at Rutgers in New Jersey. Will the shakeup rally the Freedom?

*For the full list of international friendlies, click here.

*Soccer on TV:
Ireland-Argentina 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes
England-Hungary 3 p.m. Fox Soccer Plus
Mexico-Spain 4 p.m. Univision, www.univisionfutbol.com
(Read all about the Azteca showdown)
Norway-France 4:45 p.m. ESPN Deportes
Philadelphia-Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m. Direct Kick
New York-Toronto 7:30 p.m. Direct Kick
Copa Libertadores finals first leg, Chivas-Internacional 8:30 p.m. Fox Sports Espanol

By Steve Goff  |  August 11, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  FIFA , Freedom , Libertadores , MLS , Mexico , Spain , TV  | Tags: FIFA, Freedom, MLS, Spain-Mexico  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wrapping up Brazil's 2-0 win over the USA
Next: Video: Chicharito's goal against Spain at Azteca

Comments

World champion Spain stayed atop the FIFA rankings on Wednesday, and the United States dropped five places in the top 20 despite not playing a match.

Spain leads World Cup runner-up the Netherlands, with Brazil third and Germany fourth. The top 10 were unchanged after only two international matches involving lesser-ranked teams were played worldwide in the past month.

However, the U.S. fell to No. 18 because its four wins at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July 2009 dropped in value.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

*FIFA is looking into reports that North Korea mistreated its team after the World Cup. Troubling.
>>
Call Hans Brix!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b49Iwfp8U-U

>>
Ok, not a laughing matter, and I hope the reports are as off as yellow cake and centrifuge tubes!

Posted by: delantero | August 11, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I think someone mentioned this in recent days, but the US is losing a potential future striker as Yura Movsisyan should play for Armenia today. Soccer America reports it would take him 3 more years to become a US citizen and be USMNT-eligible.

http://www.reporter.am/go/article/2010-08-09-u-s--striker-joins-armenia-s-national-soccer-team

I wouldn't mind seeing tonight's MLS game between NY and Toronto, 2 teams which have playoff hopes. Maybe it'll be available via an internet feed.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 11, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say John Spencer?
Blues Explosion!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSsE65z5W0o&feature=related

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yura....Yura...not good.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"*FIFA is looking into reports that North Korea mistreated its team after the World Cup. Troubling."

While they're there, perhaps the FIFA guys can take a few pics of the Great Leader's three-stage rocket technology?

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | August 11, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking: is that you I see in one of these photos?

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/crowd-waiting-for-housing-589653.html

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | August 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Can't you tell I'm gainfully employed? :)

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Movsisyan's case just goes to show that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, which is good news for Honduras vis-a-vis Najar. However, is this a cap-tying event for Yura? (I believe that FIFA defines cap-tying in terms of participation in a "competition". Is a friendly a competition?)

Posted by: universityandpark | August 11, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

No -- FIFA changed the rule recently (hence all of Algeria playing in France). Friendlies don't count anymore for cap-tying.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

We need to get some fantasy leagues up and running...

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I think last night showed we don't need Yora Movsisyan, Findley is world class. What else can we want.....

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 11, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Then again, it may be a moot point, given that WC qualifiers are cap-tying, and it is only a matter of time before Yura is called up for one of them.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 11, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

However, is this a cap-tying event for Yura? (I believe that FIFA defines cap-tying in terms of participation in a "competition". Is a friendly a competition?)

----------------------------------------

I may be wrong with this, but I think the rule only applies if the player was originally eligible for two different countries. Jones & Castillo both were eligible for two different countries (Germany & Mexico). Yura is currently only eligible for Armenia since he is not a US citizen. I don't think he can represent the U.S. after he plays in this friendly. Armenia has a Euro champ qualifier next month, so that will most likely seal his fate anyway.

Posted by: barrett2301 | August 11, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

We need to get some fantasy leagues up and running...

Posted by: Reignking

I've got an BPL team on ESPN.com
if you've got any games holler.
I can try to pay attention this year.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I really, really hate the espn.com format. A few years ago, before all of the dumb icons, it used to be decent.

The EPL's site has a good one, too. I did both last year.

Wish I had a good La Liga one.

I can't access any of them right now...

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I hear you on ESPN fantasy continuing to suck worse and worse. The EPL site's game looks easy enough to register a team. If someone wants to set it up I'll join....

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

If they had it like the rest of their fantasy games, it would be great...

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

pretty sure you are correct barrett2301. and I beleive that extends to the youth teams, so if Najar suits up for the Honduran U20 team, he can't ever play for the US.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 11, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The EPL's site has a good one, too. I did both last year.
Posted by: Reignking
==========

This is a soccer message board. Please stop all the comments on Eat, Pray, Love.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 11, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a soccer message board. Please stop all the comments on Eat, Pray, Love.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 11, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly right! And my favorite color is blue.

Posted by: dcarmy | August 11, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm calling the INS, Anchor Daddy (sounds like a good fantasy team name)!

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Aviva Stadium is neat (Ireland v Argentina today).

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Najar is way too good a player for the U.S. to not do everything in their power to get him. Najar and Hamid have been the only bright spots for United this season.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 11, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Boskovic didn't make the trip to play NIreland?

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Reignking, I believe Boskovic asked to stay with DC.

Hernandez just scored against Spain. Mexico look dangerous and really fast. Dos Santos with a nice run too.

Since I am a Man United fan, I am absolutely loving Hernandez. Looks the real deal.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 11, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Worst thing about Chicharito is that we (Americans) will have to hear why Jozy sucks compared to him.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I did sign up to be notified at UEFA.com when the CL fantasy game goes live...

I don't know if I care enough to keep up with the EPL, but I could give it a shot.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Might have slightly jumped the gun on the Yura Movsisyan news if today's game doesn't actually cap-tie him. But it seems Armenia would soon use him in a Euro qualifier - assuming he looks OK.

But we shoulda definitely capped this Cheecharito kid, too. I heard his Dad was born in East LA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_East_L.A.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 11, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Fantasy" league and East LA... now I have Aldo Nova and Cheech and Chong on the brain.

I need some Molly Hatchet to clear my head.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | August 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps a bong hit?

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Born in a freaky way?

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Not in this temple, my friend!

Though I suppose one could make the case that listening to "Flirtin' with Disaster" is equally bad for the soul.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | August 11, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Bad for the soul???
God didn't put herb on this earth for us to just make rope out of it...
:)

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

El Choke-o!

Goal! Mexico 1, Spain 1. David Silva (Spain) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Xavi with a through ball.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"While they're there, perhaps the FIFA guys can take a few pics of the Great Leader's three-stage rocket technology?"

Can't. It's on back-order from Estes.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 11, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Great Leader -- not good for the Seoul.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Vitoria de Guimaraes striker Bebe, a relatively unknown 20-year-old from Portuguese football, for reported fee of £ 7.4 million.

The Guardian reports that Bebe was raised in an orphanage after spending part of his childhood on the streets and has represented Portugal in the homeless World Cup.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

http://premierfantasy.soccernet.espn.go.com
League Name: Soccer Insider
Password: Goff

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Yo, I just finished picking a fantasy line up for the EPL site.
does anyone want to create a league there too?

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

use the same info...I still can't get to it right now.

Posted by: Reignking | August 11, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

http://fantasy.premierleague.com/
League Name: Soccer Insider
Password:1334427-271332

Sorry about the password, they won't let you change them as far as I can tell.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 11, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

USSF continues to lose dual nationals to other nations' teams. Will Danny Williams (Germany/USA) be next?

http://www.yanks-abroad.com/get.php?mode=content&id=6583

It's sad to read that nobody at USSF seems to care about Williams. How hard is it to at least phone him and tell him the national team is watching his development and wish him luck for the new season?

Little wonder some of these promising dual nationals play elsewhere.

Posted by: runningcloud | August 12, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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