Last season Eric Lichaj had a world class performance at right back marking one of the Premier League’s greatest, fastest, and strongest players in Gareth Bale. He had a strong 2011 Gold Cup for the United States as well and looked to find his place in Villa’s starting 11 until a hip injury put him out until recently. He then played this past weekend against a rising Chelsea and again put in a memorable 90 minutes. He scored his first Premier League goal making the game 2-2 with less then 20 minutes to go as well as took a long throw in that lead to the first goal. Unfortunately, Villa could not hang on and lost 4-2 when Ivanovic and Torres scored late for Chelsea. Keep your eye on this young right back, he has a bright future ahead of him.
After a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas followed by a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, the Red Bulls had to have gone into their first home game of the season a little nervous. One person that was not nervous was Hans Backe. Manager, Hans Backe, in multiple press conferences he made it clear that in his years as a manager he knew not to stress this 0-2 start. Seems as though he knew exactly what to do and what to say to his players. As soon as the Red Bulls took off their Get Well Soon Muamba shirts that they wore out of the tunnel, they put their game faces on and came out hard. Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper both scored 2 goals within 6 minutes. Both players scored 2 goals beating the Rapids 4-1, Cooper’s first goal of the night being his 50th MLS goal. This is just the win they were looking for to try and jump start their season and begin climbing the table.
After taking to twitter to ask our followers who they would like to have as their team’s captain, we compiled all the answers into a top 3 and are happy to share them with you here. So, without further ado, here’s our top 3 best captains for your squad!
1. Ryan Giggs
Let’s face it, if Giggsy was your captain, you’d be popping bottles of champagne like you were ushering in the millennium. Class Act. Hard Worker. Winner…just a few aspects of Mr. Giggs’ career. The 38 year old started his career in 1990 and has remained loyal to the club that made him a pro. He’s recorded over 900 career appearances while tallying 163 goals. Ryan Giggs is the epitome of a leader. He’s never been sent off while wearing a Manchester United jersey and was an English Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2005…before he even finished his freaking career. How badass is that? The dude has received awards for charity work and honors to the community, while serving as the perfect role model in United red. A captain embodies the goals of the team, the attributes of the team, and puts them into play on the field. Plus…he does this (Click the jump for Giggs’ FA Cup goal against Arsenal in 1999). Whatever Giggsy wants, he gets. He’s a leader, a badass (citing his manly chest fro), and a hard working, committed player. He’d be a great captain on any squad. Boom.
2. Steven Gerrard
Ahhh Stevie G. One of my favorite players, not only because he drops absolute bombs when I play FIFA on my PlayStation 3, but because he’s a phenomenal player, and a great leader. I’ve always thought he should be England’s full time skipper, but that’s another story. He started at Liverpool in 1998 and has been their savior ever since. Okay okay, they haven’t won a title in a while, but still, this dude is something special. At Anfield, the world revolves around this guy. And if you disagree, he’s got 149 career goals that say otherwise. And not to mention, 148 of those are amazing. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but there’s no denying that this guy’s good. He’s had some off the field scuffles…but let’s face it, anybody that gets into bar fights and knocks out the DJ’s teeth is worthy of leading my squad into battle any day. General Gerrard, reporting for duty…and worthy captain number 2. Check out his top ten goals (Click the jump).
3. Nemanja Vidic
This past weekend in an FA Cup match between Tottenham Hotspurs and Bolton Wanderers, Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed in the 41st minute suffering from cardiac arrest. His heart was not beating on its own until he arrived at a near by hospital in London. The 23 year midfielder is still in intensive care and is still considered to be in stable, but critical condition. Tributes, prayers, and thoughts of Muamba have been seen all over the soccer world. Get well soon Muamba has been trending on twitter lately, Gary Cahill after scoring a goal revealed a Pray 4 Muamba T shirt underneath his Chelsea kit, and in one of the classiest decisions I have ever seen Real Madrid wore specialized get well soon Muamba kit’s. Everyone keep up the faith in a speedy recovery to a great footballer and an even better human being. Pray 4 Muamba.
Last Season Finish: 9th
Top Scorer: Andres Mendoza (13)
In: Carlos Mendes, Ethan Finlay
Out: Andres Mendoza, Robbie Rogers, Jeff Cunningham, Emmanuel Ekpo
The Crew always seem to be my mystery team. For a team that usually contends for top spot in the Eastern Conference they just made the playoffs in the second to last spot, a play-in game against the Colorado Rapids which they lost 1-0. They have lost their leading goal scorer from 2011, in Andres Mendoza, as well as MLS’s all time leading scorer Jeff Cunningham, speedster Emmanuel Ekpo, and the face of the Columbus Crew for the past few years, Robbie Rogers. All of these players had come under some kind fire during the season. Rogers was in and out of form all season long and with rumors circulating about him moving abroad many questioned his loyalty to the club he became a little less popular at his first club. Mendoza before this year had a terrible scoring record and Cunningham had been virtually ineffective 2 goals in 21 appearances. Mendes brings depth and experience to the back four. Finlay is a highly rated striker coming out of the draft, playing for Creighton scoring 3 goals in the NCAA D1 Championship Tournament. I expect teams like DC United to push hard to take the Crew’s playoff spot this year. Lets see if Eddie Gaven is up to the task for grinding out results this season.