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WMR
01-29-2009, 01:09 PM
http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/5200/ussoccerteamphotovsswednz5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Sacha Kljestan Hat Trick Provides U.S. Men With 3-2 Victory Against Sweden to Open 2009

- Kljestan Scores 11th Hat Trick in U.S. Men's National Team History and Becomes Second Player Ever to Open MNT Scoring Account With Three Goals

- U.S. Men Continue Undefeated Streak at The Home Depot Center With 7-0-1 Record


- The MNT Return to Camp on Jan. 28 in Preparation for Their Opening Final Round FIFA World Cup Qualifying Match Against Mexico on Feb. 11 at Columbus Crew Stadium

CARSON, Calif. (January 24, 2008) — Sacha Kljestan scored the 11th hat trick ever for the U.S. Men’s National Team Saturday evening to earn a 3-2 victory against Sweden to open their 2009 campaign at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

In a fairly tepid first 45 minutes, Kljestan provided the U.S. with a 2-0 lead going into the locker room. His first goal was a stunning 35-yard free kick that he placed perfectly into the upper left corner, before following up that effort by burying a penalty kick with five minutes remaining in the half.

With Sweden pulling a goal back in the 73rd minute, it was Kljestan once again who answered for the U.S., taking a feed from Brian Ching to bury a left-footed shot just one minute later. In the 89th minute, Sweden struck again to make things interesting, but the U.S. was able to kill off any last minute attacks for an equalizer.

The three goals by Kljestan were the first of his career with the full team, and put him in unique company as only the second player ever to open his national team scoring account with a hat trick. The only other player to pull off the feat was Aldo “Buff” Donelli, who tallied four goals in a 4-2 victory against Mexico on May 24, 1934, in the lone qualifying match for the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

“Getting a hat trick is pretty exciting for me,” said Kljestan. “I’ve never scored more than one goal in a game as a professional, so it’s definitely exciting. I’m just as happy about the win and I’m glad we held on in the end. It was great to do it [score a hat trick] here at the Home Depot Center. I have a lot of friends and family that come and support me every game, so that was pretty cool to have them here.”

The victory kept the U.S. undefeated in eight matches at The HDC (7-0-1) and was the eleventh straight time the U.S. has either tied or won their opening game of the year, with the U.S. also defeating Sweden 1-0 to start the streak in 1998. Overall against Sweden, the U.S. now holds a winning record with four victories and three losses in seven games.

Despite a fairly inexperienced roster, the U.S. was able to control the majority of the match and provide an effective attack, especially in the second half. Of the 18 players on the roster, 13 had less than 10 career caps, and six of the starters chosen by U.S. head coach Bob Bradley had less than 5 caps, including two – goalkeeper Troy Perkins and midfielder Robbie Rogers – who earned their first caps on the night.

The slow and controlled beginning of the match was jarred awake by Kljestan with his stunning free kick in the 17th minute that gave the U.S. the early lead. Ching, the leading U.S. capwinner on the roster (33), was brought down by Marcus Lindberg about 30 yards out and on the free kick Rogers ran over the ball allowing Kljestan to unleash his drive into the upper-left corner of the goal.

The U.S. continued to control most of the possession and doubled their lead near the end of the half with some nice possession play that led to a penalty kick. The ball was knocked out wide right where Ching was able to collect the ball and touch it to John Thorrington along the sideline. With Marvell Wynne involved in the attack, Thorrington slipped the ball through for him and he took one touch to get into the penalty area before getting tripped up by Adam Johansson. Kljestan stepped up to bury the penalty shot to the right of the goal as Dahlin went the opposite direction.

During the first half, the U.S. was able to thwart Sweden’s attack as captain Danny Califf and fellow central defender Michael Parkhurst controlled the backline, while midfielder Ricardo Clark also broke up numerous attacks. Wynne and Jonathan Bornstein were also staunch in their defending on the wings, while also choosing wisely when to dart up the sideline and join in the attack. Overall in the first half, Sweden only had two shots, and just one on goal, which came from Mikael Dahlberg in the 24th minute, a 18-yard effort towards the lower left post that Perkins was able to cover with ease.

Kenny Cooper came on to replace Charlie Davies to start the second half, and the 6-foot-3 forward almost tallied two minutes in when he got his head to a Rogers corner kick. The header got past Dahlin, who had challenged for the service, but Lindberg was able to clear it off the line and over the bar.

Despite controlling much of the play, Sweden pulled one back when Alexander Farnerud supplied a service into the penalty area for Daniel Nannskog, who lost Bornstein at the right post and finished past Perkins with a diving header.

The U.S. was quick to respond a minute later. Once again it was Kljestan getting the accolades with the finish, but the set-up by Ching was what provided the U.S. breathing room once again. Following a long ball from the back from Califf, Ching brought the ball down with an impressive first touch at the top of the penalty area between two defenders which allowed him to turn and then slip the ball to the left for the streaking Kljestan, who slammed his one-timer into the right side netting.

The action continued with Sweden getting another great opportunity a few minutes later, but Dahlberg’s header from six yards out bounced in front of the goal and bounced over the bar.

Sweden did tally their second goal of the night when Farnerud served in another dangerous cross and this time Dahlberg didn’t miss the opportunity, heading it off the right post and into the net.

Cooper had one final chance to give the U.S. another two-goal lead, when he slipped behind the Sweden defense for a breakaway against Dahlin, but his touch around the ‘keeper was too much and Dahlin was able to recover and make the save on his shot from a tight angle.

“It’s important to start the year off with a win,” said Bradley, who opened the calendar year with a victory for the third straight time since taking over in late 2006. “When you’re in a long camp, with three weeks and a lot of work, it’s nice at the end to have the reward of winning. From a coaching standpoint there’s always going to be things, at this time of year, that you feel good about, and there’s always going to be things that need improvement.”

Chris Wingert was the third player to earn his first cap with the MNT on the evening, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute for Bornstein.

The U.S. now looks ahead to their opening match of the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying against archrival Mexico on Feb. 11 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match, the first of 10 games in the final round – commonly referred to as the ‘hexagonal’ – will kickoff at 7 p.m. ET and fans can watch the match live on ESPN2 HD and Univision, or listen on the Futbol de Primera radio network.


http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/7530/kljestangoalxz2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Hoosier Red
01-29-2009, 03:05 PM
So I was trying to predict the lineup for Mexico. I've got to think that's going to be the one they're basing everything off of for the qualifying run.

GK: Howard
FB: Cherundolo?, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Bornstein?
Midfield: Beasley?, Klejstan, Bradley(defensive MF), Landycakes, Dempsey

Forward: Ching

Subs: Altidore, Adu, Davies, Clark,


Overall, It seems as though there are maybe 3-4 positions that will be open. In this setup, I imagine, Klejstan and Donovan would be the attacking midfielders and Bradley would be the central or defending midfielder.

WMR
01-29-2009, 03:20 PM
----------------Ching-----------------
---------------Donovan----------------
Beasley---Bradley---Kljestan---Dempsey
Pearce---Bocanegra--Onyewu--Cherundolo
---------------Howard-----------------

That's how I think it'll shake out after camp.

WMR
01-29-2009, 03:21 PM
If Cherundolo isn't in form by the 11th then I'd expect Hejduk to start.

I hope Adu makes the bench, despite his recent form.

I also really want to see Altidore make an appearance in this game.

NJReds
01-29-2009, 03:24 PM
If Cherundolo isn't in form by the 11th then I'd expect Hejduk to start.

I hope Adu makes the bench, despite his recent form.

I also really want to see Altidore make an appearance in this game.

Adu and Altidore must make this squad. When they play, good things happen.

Wynne impressed me with his speed in the Sweden game. For our slow-footed squad, I wouldn't mind seeing him on the bench, either.

Hoosier Red
01-29-2009, 03:35 PM
That's the general formation I was thinking of WillyMo.
Donovan as a reserved forward/offensive midfielder.

Wynnne was the defender I saw getting some moments on the bench.

Highlifeman21
01-29-2009, 11:45 PM
How can they march to South Africa? Isn't there a lot of water in the way?

paintmered
01-30-2009, 12:50 AM
How can they march to South Africa? Isn't there a lot of water in the way?

There's a song about marching to Pretoria...

WMR
02-10-2009, 11:14 AM
Well, I'm going to the game tomorrow in Columbus versus Mexico.

We got simply amazing seats. Section 126, which is directly at midfield, Row ONE.

This will be the fifth time we've been to see the USMNT.

Hoosier Red
02-10-2009, 12:07 PM
Have fun WilyMO,
I've only seen the national team once, but it was an absolute blast. We sat behind the goal to watch a 1-1 tie against Costa Rica in the '01 qualifying run.

WMR
02-10-2009, 12:23 PM
Have fun WilyMO,
I've only seen the national team once, but it was an absolute blast. We sat behind the goal to watch a 1-1 tie against Costa Rica in the '01 qualifying run.

Thanks dude. I'm going to try to get some good pictures. I'll post them here if they turn out any good.

I'm bringing a digital as well as my nice old-school camera...

Weather is supposed to be wet, which is good. The nastier the weather, the more the Mexicans hate it. :D

Hoosier Red
02-10-2009, 02:34 PM
I figure there will be at least one more game in Columbus, it seems to be the perfect storm of "more home grown audience" good stadium, and cold weather in February, March, October, November, and December.

Yachtzee
02-10-2009, 11:42 PM
Well, I'm going to the game tomorrow in Columbus versus Mexico.

We got simply amazing seats. Section 126, which is directly at midfield, Row ONE.

This will be the fifth time we've been to see the USMNT.

Enjoy the game. I was offered tickets through the Columbus Crew ticket office, but I just couldn't spare the money right now with starting a practice on my own.

camisadelgolf
02-11-2009, 01:33 AM
I was too late to get tickets. Have fun on my behalf. I have plans anyway.

dsmith421
02-11-2009, 02:02 PM
We got simply amazing seats. Section 126, which is directly at midfield, Row ONE.

Enjoy it. I'm at the top of 131. Sucks that it had to be the same night as the Xavier-Dayton game, but I'll live.

LoganBuck
02-11-2009, 03:30 PM
Should be entertaining with 50 mph winds.

redsfan1966
02-11-2009, 07:12 PM
I am not a soccer fan---but I must admit if I had the chance to go to this game tonite; I probably would. The potential chaos of rapid fans, wicked weather and unbridled patriotism is enticing.....

improbus
02-11-2009, 09:40 PM
This game should put to rest the idea that soccer is a soft sport. Yikes.

Hoosier Red
02-12-2009, 01:13 AM
What a turnaround Michael Bradley's had in the last 18 months. I don't think we'll hear WMR complaining about Bradley playing his son any time soon.

Even without the goals he had a pretty solid effort.

Caseyfan21
02-12-2009, 01:16 AM
Hah, I had no idea this game was going on until I was outside my house this evening and saw a group of like 10 guys going running by with an American flag chanting "USA! USA! USA!"

I live so close to Crew Stadium I can hear the fireworks in my house.

WMR
02-12-2009, 03:57 AM
Guys ... the game and atmosphere were freaking amazing. I'll post more later, but I had an awesome time (and the result wasn't too shabby either, haha).

HR: If Michael Bradley demonstrates that his overall ability (consistency) has risen to the level that he demonstrated tonight, you won't hear a peep out of me about nepotism ever again. He looked like a totally different player than the immature kid I saw a year or so ago. Being in Germany has evidently done him a world of good. Might have found the heir apparent to John O'Brien.

2-0!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

NJReds
02-12-2009, 11:44 AM
I love when the US beats Mexico in soccer. Donovan did a great job setting up both goals. Altidore will be a beast for the U.S. He did a great job winning the ball and getting it to Donovan to set up the second goal.

dsmith421
02-12-2009, 12:16 PM
That was fun, would have been interesting if the pregame monsoon had carried over.

The Crew Stadium people could have done better with the parking/traffic management. Most of my friends missed the first 10-15 minutes of the match due to ridiculous delays on 71. It looked like the main lot was off-limits due to the melted snow and rain, but they really should have had a better alternative plan.

We left Cincy at 3:40 and walked in during the Mexican anthem, to give you an idea of how big an issue it was.

WMR
02-12-2009, 12:42 PM
MATCH RATINGS: (6 - average)
Howard: 8.5 - Only one real shaky moment. Commanded his box well, made himself big early on, and showed some real leadership. Awesome keeper.

Pearce: 3 - Luckiest man in soccer? Seems to have the LB position by default. Was a constant liability in the back. Better side would have exposed him routinely. I would consider shifting Boca to LB and inserting another CB b/c we're very deep at that position.

Boca - 5.5 - OKAY match. Not his best and did a really horrific job on that early play that should have netted Mexico an early goal.

Gooch - 7 - Really nice match from Gooch. Very solid and provided support wherever it was needed. Absolutely love his size and he did a good job avoiding fouling the dive-prone Mexicans.

Frankie - 7.5 - Frankie was simply nuts last night. Shut down the Mexican attack whenever it ventured onto his side and made himself available going forward. Just an awesome, awesome effort from Frankie.

Dempsey - 6.5 - Decent game. Better defensively than offensively which is certainly different for CD. Shows the ability to hold the ball without losing it which is invaluable for this team ... a rare commodity for the USA. Needs to stop diving. We're not Mexico.

Kjlestan - 6 - Sort of invisible this game. Did some decent work defensively ... I do like the way his game contrasts to Bradley's in the midfield so I'd like to see this pairing given a bit more time.

Bradley - 9 - Man of the Match - Kid was everywhere. Did great work on defense, facilitated through the midfield, and scored two goals. Did none of the negative things that has plagued his game--and this team--in the past. Perhaps a corner has been turned.

Beasley - 7.5 - Great game. Worked hard the entire match and didn't show nearly as much rustiness as I thought he would. Was dangerous the entire time and gave the Mexicans fits.

LD - 7.5 - Very good game from Landon. Whenever he touched the ball, three Mexicans would converge immediately. There's a reason the Mexicans hate and fear LD more than any other American player. Their gameplan was clearly to make someone besides LD beat them... well, LD did his part anyway through the way he facilitated throughout the match. Was in on both goals and created our other best scoring chance by Dempsey that called on the Sanchez to make an excellent save. Kid is pure class. Hope he sticks at Bayern Munich.

Ching - 6 - Did good at holding up the ball ... Workman like performance ... Just nowhere near as dangerous as Jozy. Jozy needs to get some starts b/c Ching as our #1 striker will not win us any games in the World Cup.

Subs -
Jozy - 7 - good work on the 2nd MB goal. Showed speed and strength. Needs to start.

Bob Bradley - 3. His substitutions this game were pathetic. Ching was gassed by the 75th minute. Waiting until the 82nd minute to make your first sub when you've got plenty of good options on the bench and tired players on the pitch is flat out bad managing and he seems to do the exact same damn thing over and over. It will cost us dearly eventually if he keeps it up.

Referee - 8 - No issues at all with the ref. Thought he took an even-handed approach to the game and was consistent and fair. Was in perfect position to make the red card call on Rafa Marquez.

Red
02-12-2009, 01:10 PM
Us? What position do you play?

WMR
02-12-2009, 01:14 PM
Should be entertaining with 50 mph winds.

The weather was not bad at all during the actual game.

The wind was stiff, no doubt about that, but it didn't rain on us at all during the match.

Funnily, the rain picked back up right when we got back to the truck.

Yachtzee
02-12-2009, 05:47 PM
Us? What position do you play?

Twelfth Man? I'm not sure who you're referring to, but I have no problem with fans saying "us" when referring to their team. If it weren't for fans, the team would be irrelevant.

Caseyfan21
02-12-2009, 06:15 PM
That was fun, would have been interesting if the pregame monsoon had carried over.

The Crew Stadium people could have done better with the parking/traffic management. Most of my friends missed the first 10-15 minutes of the match due to ridiculous delays on 71. It looked like the main lot was off-limits due to the melted snow and rain, but they really should have had a better alternative plan.

We left Cincy at 3:40 and walked in during the Mexican anthem, to give you an idea of how big an issue it was.

The Crew Stadium parking and traffic people, overall, do a terrible job IMO. I would even expand that to the entire game day staff. I have been to a few Crew games and a couple concerts at Crew Stadium and it is always a traffic and logistical nightmare. Not even to mention that the people directing traffic and pedestrians in the lots seem to never be on the same page. They made pedestrians walk completely around the stadium at the last concert I went to in order to improve traffic flow that was still terrible. And the best one yet was I was told I could not bring in a bottle of water to the Crew Stadium last summer for a concert at the end of July. I protested and asked to speak to the supervisor where I informed him this was the first time in over 50 concerts and hundreds of pro ballgames where I was not allowed to at least bring in my water bottle container and fill up inside. Just a poor job managing that venue top to bottom in my experiences there.

I have been to a sold out concert at the Chicago Fire Stadium, Toyota Park, in Chicago, and the event management there is worlds better than Crew Stadium. I got out of that lot in no trouble after the show and also was never hassled by event staff.

improbus
02-12-2009, 08:56 PM
Unfortunately, Crew Stadium's location doesn't allow for a much better situation. They only have three real exits and no outlying places to park. OSU has about 500 different lots where people park, so do the Reds, etc... Crew Stadium has one real lot and filters out directly onto the freeway. That is a bad recipe.

improbus
02-12-2009, 09:05 PM
MATCH RATINGS: (6 - average)
Howard: 8.5 - Only one real shaky moment. Commanded his box well, made himself big early on, and showed some real leadership. Awesome keeper.

Pearce: 3 - Luckiest man in soccer? Seems to have the LB position by default. Was a constant liability in the back. Better side would have exposed him routinely. I would consider shifting Boca to LB and inserting another CB b/c we're very deep at that position.

Boca - 5.5 - OKAY match. Not his best and did a really horrific job on that early play that should have netted Mexico an early goal.

Gooch - 7 - Really nice match from Gooch. Very solid and provided support wherever it was needed. Absolutely love his size and he did a good job avoiding fouling the dive-prone Mexicans.

Frankie - 7.5 - Frankie was simply nuts last night. Shut down the Mexican attack whenever it ventured onto his side and made himself available going forward. Just an awesome, awesome effort from Frankie.

Dempsey - 6.5 - Decent game. Better defensively than offensively which is certainly different for CD. Shows the ability to hold the ball without losing it which is invaluable for this team ... a rare commodity for the USA. Needs to stop diving. We're not Mexico.

Kjlestan - 6 - Sort of invisible this game. Did some decent work defensively ... I do like the way his game contrasts to Bradley's in the midfield so I'd like to see this pairing given a bit more time.

Bradley - 9 - Man of the Match - Kid was everywhere. Did great work on defense, facilitated through the midfield, and scored two goals. Did none of the negative things that has plagued his game--and this team--in the past. Perhaps a corner has been turned.

Beasley - 7.5 - Great game. Worked hard the entire match and didn't show nearly as much rustiness as I thought he would. Was dangerous the entire time and gave the Mexicans fits.

LD - 7.5 - Very good game from Landon. Whenever he touched the ball, three Mexicans would converge immediately. There's a reason the Mexicans hate and fear LD more than any other American player. Their gameplan was clearly to make someone besides LD beat them... well, LD did his part anyway through the way he facilitated throughout the match. Was in on both goals and created our other best scoring chance by Dempsey that called on the Sanchez to make an excellent save. Kid is pure class. Hope he sticks at Bayern Munich.

Ching - 6 - Did good at holding up the ball ... Workman like performance ... Just nowhere near as dangerous as Jozy. Jozy needs to get some starts b/c Ching as our #1 striker will not win us any games in the World Cup.

Subs -
Jozy - 7 - good work on the 2nd MB goal. Showed speed and strength. Needs to start.

Bob Bradley - 3. His substitutions this game were pathetic. Ching was gassed by the 75th minute. Waiting until the 82nd minute to make your first sub when you've got plenty of good options on the bench and tired players on the pitch is flat out bad managing and he seems to do the exact same damn thing over and over. It will cost us dearly eventually if he keeps it up.

Referee - 8 - No issues at all with the ref. Thought he took an even-handed approach to the game and was consistent and fair. Was in perfect position to make the red card call on Rafa Marquez.

Great synopsis WilyMo. I would have given Landon a slightly higher grade (like 9ish) and Ching a lower one (5). Landon was absolutely everywhere and just killing the Mexicans with his deft touch. I have worried that the US lacks a true midfield playmaker with the retirement of Reyna, but Landon played that role about as well as possible. He was making passes to his forwards that they simply didn't have enough class to recognize and make the right cut. Landon played a number of balls forward that a world class striker would have gotten onto the end of. Instead, Ching played the classic American striker role: play the ball, not the space. He constantly waited for Donovan to make the pass instead of anticipating the pass. Hopefully, Altidore can grow into that role before 2010...

WMR
02-12-2009, 11:38 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Imp. I can actually see what you're saying exactly. I nicked Donovan just a bit b/c he did a bit of passing to the Mexicans and tripping over the ball (I'm sure the weather contributed to this).

Ching was ... ... ... ... well, Ching was Ching. I felt like he did everything he was capable of doing, which is admittedly quite limited, so I gave him an average grade. I agree that Jozy's maturation between now and 2010 is one of the biggest keys to success in South Africa.

dsmith421
02-13-2009, 11:09 AM
Unfortunately, Crew Stadium's location doesn't allow for a much better situation. They only have three real exits and no outlying places to park. OSU has about 500 different lots where people park, so do the Reds, etc... Crew Stadium has one real lot and filters out directly onto the freeway. That is a bad recipe.

If I'm going up there again for a game I know will sell out, I will get off at 11th Street and park on one of the side roads near the Fairgrounds. We eventually got sick of the wait and did that, 10 minute walk later we're in the ground instead of sitting on the Interstate.

improbus
02-13-2009, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Imp. I can actually see what you're saying exactly. I nicked Donovan just a bit b/c he did a bit of passing to the Mexicans and tripping over the ball (I'm sure the weather contributed to this).

Ching was ... ... ... ... well, Ching was Ching. I felt like he did everything he was capable of doing, which is admittedly quite limited, so I gave him an average grade. I agree that Jozy's maturation between now and 2010 is one of the biggest keys to success in South Africa.

My biggest problem with US Soccer and MLS has always been space. We have never really grasped the concept of playing to space and not to the man. It is by no means ironic that when players go to Europe, they start developing those skills (ala McBride). In a way, we play the iso game with our striker in the same way that basketball teams do. We have always had a strong ability to possess the ball, but we have a hard time manufacturing any real scoring chances from the ordinary run of play.

Hoosier Red
02-16-2009, 02:27 PM
Just throwing this out there, but does this make sense to anyone else?

I can definately see the benefits of it, but wonder how receptive Beasley would be to the move.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=soccer&entryID=3910409

1. The troublesome left back spot and DaMarcus Beasley. For my money, the most disappointing individual performance against Mexico was that of left back Heath Pearce (although to be fair, Sacha Kljestan and Brian Ching were also in the running). Still, Pearce was a huge defensive liability. Not only did it seem as though Gio dos Santos was able to beat him off the dribble at will all night long, but Pearce also had a hand in Mexico's two golden scoring opportunities. First, failing to tackle Nery Castillo cleanly in the box (with the loose ball falling to Dos Santos), and later letting Dos Santos sneak inside him at the far left post to miss from two yards out.

It's usual for a coach to live with a left back's defensive frailty if he makes up for it on the attacking end, but Pearce offers nothing special on offense. Though he has a willingness to get forward, even that aspect was blunted by the poor crosses he hit. Pearce supporters point to his supposed strong play against Argentina last summer, but as I've mentioned before, it needs to be taken into account that Pablo Zabaleta (usually a right back) played as a makeshift right wing in that game. Anyone who has seen Zabaleta play in the Premiership knows that he isn't exactly a tour-de-force threat moving forward.

The U.S. simply must upgrade at left back, which is where Beasley comes in. Beasley put in a pretty decent performance against Mexico, especially for a player who has seen so little playing time in recent months for his club team. The strengths he displayed in that match (constant back-tracking, an ability to help harass and tackle Mexican attackers, a high work rate) are exactly the reasons he should be tried at left back -- something I've long advocated. On offense, Beasley hit some nice crosses, but they were mostly hit from deep spots, before he reached the Mexican penalty box or byline, or from set pieces. In other words, the same spots from where a left back would have hit them.

Beasley doesn't really have the offensive potency or shooting ability that one would like to see at the international level, but as a left back he'd have superior offensive ability by the typical standards of the position. Defensively, you can't tell me he'd be a weaker link than Pearce at the spot -- Beasley's tackling ability is at least as good as Pearce's -- and it's no shame to convert to left back. Patrice Evra, Gael Clichy and Philipp Lahm are examples of former midfielders and wingers converted into outstanding left backs -- and in the case of Lahm and Clichy, they're every bit as diminutive as Beasley.

The other compelling selling point is this: Outside of Pearce, who are the other options for the left back spot? Jonathan Bornstein, Jonathan Spector, Cory Gibbs or maybe a shift of Carlos Bocanegra? None of these are exciting options. On the other hand, the list of players who could replace Beasley at left midfield includes Jose Francisco Torres, Freddy Adu, Robbie Rogers, Justin Mapp, Bobby Convey and Arturo Alvarez. If the goal is to get the best players on the field, surely it's worth moving Beasley to left back for a game or two to see if one of the other young midfielders or wingers is ready to develop.

ochre
02-17-2009, 12:54 PM
Sounds good to me. Could end up being Patrice Evra-lite.

elfmanvt07
02-18-2009, 10:17 AM
How tall is Beas?

And, speaking to another sentence, I personally don't view Bornstein as that bad of an option.

WMR
04-01-2009, 08:55 PM
US had what would now actually be a somewhat disappointing result versus Costa Rica on the road that ended in a 2-2 draw. We used to view a draw on the road in WCQ as an excellent result but expectations have been raised considerably for the USA in CONCACAF.

USA about to kick-off versus T&T for another WCQ, this time at home, in Nashville, on ESPN2.

Giving DaMarcus a run out at LB. Should be interesting. I'd LOVE to see him take the position and run away with it. His overlapping runs and crosses from that spot could be very dangerous if he could be adequate defensively.

Hoosier Red
04-01-2009, 09:13 PM
US had what would now actually be a somewhat disappointing result versus Costa Rica on the road that ended in a 2-2 draw. We used to view a draw on the road in WCQ as an excellent result but expectations have been raised considerably for the USA in CONCACAF.

USA about to kick-off versus T&T for another WCQ, this time at home, in Nashville, on ESPN2.

Giving DaMarcus a run out at LB. Should be interesting. I'd LOVE to see him take the position and run away with it. His overlapping runs and crosses from that spot could be very dangerous if he could be adequate defensively.


It was El Salvador wasn't it?

I love the idea of Beasley at left back, it's not like anyone else has played well there.

I'm having to wait until I get home to watch this one.

WMR
04-01-2009, 09:27 PM
It was El Salvador wasn't it?

I love the idea of Beasley at left back, it's not like anyone else has played well there.

I'm having to wait until I get home to watch this one.

I'm sorry, you're right, it was E.S.

WMR
04-01-2009, 09:28 PM
Jozy with a really nice finish to put the USA up 1-0 in the 13th minute.

Jozy is a special, special talent. Assist from, who else, Landon Donovan.

WMR
04-01-2009, 10:29 PM
Jozy's BIG TIME, baby!!!

WMR
04-01-2009, 10:55 PM
Jozy Altidore youngest player to score for the USMNT and, naturally, youngest to score a hat trick as well.

elfmanvt07
04-02-2009, 09:48 AM
Jozy looked great last night. I think the lack of a true striker's striker has been our only true weakness over the last few years. Brian Ching is good at creating chances, but he's best at drawing fouls, to be honest. I hope eventually to see Jozy and Freddy at the top for us, as I think they both have that elusive "it" factor. Beasley played very admirably at left back last night, and had a heck of a look at that header.

Hoosier Red
04-02-2009, 10:18 AM
Wow Trinidad and Tobago sucks at defense.

Beasley got beat a couple of times and gave up some nice crosses, but the guy he was marking easily looked to be the best player on the field for T and T.

I thought he did a great job moving up on offense though, and the US usually needs all the help it can get in the offensive attack.

Altidore had a great game, Donovan too, two of the goals were placed right at Jozy's feet.

I'm still somewhat of a neophyte with soccer but is there any point at all to a low cross from the wing. It happened often enough that it didn't seem like it could be a mistake but the pass never got past the defender. I'd think if you're on the wing, you want to put the ball up as high as possible, but maybe I'm missing something.

The only player I was moderately dissapointed in was Dempsey, but all the action appeared to be starting up from the left side so there weren't nearly as many quality build up chances on his side.

elfmanvt07
04-02-2009, 10:24 AM
I'm still somewhat of a neophyte with soccer but is there any point at all to a low cross from the wing. It happened often enough that it didn't seem like it could be a mistake but the pass never got past the defender. I'd think if you're on the wing, you want to put the ball up as high as possible, but maybe I'm missing something.


You're not missing much. Both are viable options. Typically, the way the U.S. likes to play, if you're in a set ball situation (like a corner or a set play from the deep wing) the ball's gonna be airborne. This is generally from the combination of number of bodies, angle of attack, and height of line players. Generally we're not afraid to bring up some of our taller players like Onyewu in such situations.

Regardless, the passes along the ground are much more geared towards our players' individual talents. Being as our goal scorers don't have a lot of height amongst them, most of them have learned to score on the ground. I think a good example of this is Beasley missing a no-doubt header opportunity, where if he would have chested it down, he would have a had an open look across the face of goal.

Basically, it just boils down to playing the strengths of your forwards and attacking midfielders. For us, that's physical play on the ground.

WMR
04-02-2009, 11:18 AM
HR: The best time to use a cross from the wing into the middle is when you're playing what is called an "early ball." In other words, on a break, when the defense is likely pulled out of position, it is better to play the ball on the ground than through the air b/c of the nature of the two types of service, a player has a higher chance of scoring on a ball played on the ground *IF* there is no defender on their hip. Conversely, if the defense is back and in position, a cross played on the ground is almost certainly a wasted opportunity because it is easily defensed.

What I REALLY love about this team is the complete absence of ego. Just look at the third goal last night. Bradley or Donovan could have easily settled for a shot but there is simply no person on this team who plays the game with any ego whatsoever. I love it. The philosophy reminds me of some of my favorite teams to play on growing up, especially some of my indoor teams. I honestly got no greater pleasure than setting up a teammate for a sitter.

Hoosier Red
04-02-2009, 11:57 AM
I heard Harkes make mention of a couple of times that the service was a step too late.

By the way, I really like Harkes as an announcer. Maybe its just the improvement from the horror that was Marcelo Balboa but I think he's provided pretty good analysis. A little bit too much "we" and "our" for my liking but that may just be me.

I also liked him calling out Pedro Gomez on the "Well I also got to speak with Jozy Altidore line"

Oh really Pedro, you also got to speak with Jozy, good for you.

WMR
04-02-2009, 11:58 AM
I have zero complaints with this crew, ESPECIALLY after Marcelo and O'Brien. Marcelo especially... wow... he was the worst.

westofyou
04-02-2009, 12:09 PM
In other games - Beckham again uses the, set play to make his mark as England wins 2-1 over the Ukraine, Belerus scored 5 goals, Spain makes one last run in extra time and beat the resilient Turks 2-1 and France takes Lithuania 1-0 - Italy tied Ireland (with 10 men) 1-1

WMR
04-02-2009, 12:10 PM
WOY did you see that Bolivia beat Argentina SIX to ONE?!?!?!?!? My lord.

westofyou
04-02-2009, 12:21 PM
WOY did you see that Bolivia beat Argentina SIX to ONE?!?!?!?!? My lord.

Missed that... wow..wow... that game was at a 11,500 altitude, BRUTAL, just brutal... that's got to play into that smashing loss.

improbus
04-03-2009, 09:26 AM
In other games - Beckham again uses the, set play to make his mark as England wins 2-1 over the Ukraine, Belerus scored 5 goals, Spain makes one last run in extra time and beat the resilient Turks 2-1 and France takes Lithuania 1-0 - Italy tied Ireland (with 10 men) 1-1

The English constantly rag on Becks and all he does for them is create goals. He might be he most overrated/underrated athlete I've ever seen. Every time they try to get rid of him, he saves them. Unreal.

improbus
04-03-2009, 09:30 AM
I'm not sure whether I love the turmoil in Mexico or that I am disappointed. I love having the rivalry. It might be the one game in any sport that I will NEVER miss, regardless of the circumstances. But, I do hate to see them flounder. It would be nice to have another CONCACAF team do well on the world stage.

WMR
04-03-2009, 02:18 PM
Screw Mexico. I wouldn't care if they never won another match.

MasonBuzz3
04-03-2009, 04:37 PM
The English constantly rag on Becks and all he does for them is create goals. He might be he most overrated/underrated athlete I've ever seen. Every time they try to get rid of him, he saves them. Unreal.

Beckham is still a good player. One of my colleagues with Chivas had a good analogy of him, Steve Nash. When he is placed on a roster with bonified finishers (AC Milan or England) he can create chances with the best, but his talent is wasted when paired with inferior talent (Galaxy).

improbus
04-03-2009, 05:36 PM
Screw Mexico. I wouldn't care if they never won another match.
I really don't agree. We need a tough opponent or two to prepare us for the World Cup Finals. If all we ever see is T&T, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, we are really going to suffer. Brazil needs Argentina, Europe needs its major players, and the US needs Mexico.

WMR
04-03-2009, 05:46 PM
I really don't agree. We need a tough opponent or two to prepare us for the World Cup Finals. If all we ever see is T&T, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, we are really going to suffer. Brazil needs Argentina, Europe needs its major players, and the US needs Mexico.

We've been kicking Mexico's ass for years now... they'll always be decent but you're nuts if you think I'm ever going to root for their dirty tricks playing team. I hate them more than I hate any other team in the world. We don't need them at all. We schedule plenty of world class opponents who do a better job of preparing us for big tournaments than kicking Mexico's ass.

We're also playing in the Confederations Cup right before we go to South Africa.

improbus
04-04-2009, 10:44 AM
We've been kicking Mexico's ass for years now... they'll always be decent but you're nuts if you think I'm ever going to root for their dirty tricks playing team. I hate them more than I hate any other team in the world. We don't need them at all. We schedule plenty of world class opponents who do a better job of preparing us for big tournaments than kicking Mexico's ass.

We're also playing in the Confederations Cup right before we go to South Africa.
I do agree that we play some tough opponents, but not too often in games that matter. Friendlies don't have the edge to them that a WC qualifier does and neither do things like the Confederations Cup. Teams aren't playing all of their best guys. They are experimenting with lineups and young guys. It's just not the same.

WMR
04-05-2009, 02:53 AM
Let me explain myself better... Honestly, I don't have any sympathy for Mexico because I know that Mexico will be fine. You don't have to worry about Mexico not searching for an answer to any problems that arise. They paid top dollar for Sven-Göran Eriksson and he was fired after their last qualifying loss (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/2009-04-02-2565202386_x.htm).

Here's the thing... I know that Mexico and their fans would HOPE and PRAY if such things were happening to the USA that they would continue to malign us. They would feel ZERO sympathy.

But I also know that Mexican soccer will always be at a high level because their country won't stand for anything less. There is just so much actual, fully bought and paid for bad feelings between these two teams...

improbus
04-05-2009, 09:12 AM
Let me explain myself better... Honestly, I don't have any sympathy for Mexico because I know that Mexico will be fine. You don't have to worry about Mexico not searching for an answer to any problems that arise. They paid top dollar for Sven-Göran Eriksson and he was fired after their last qualifying loss (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/2009-04-02-2565202386_x.htm).

Here's the thing... I know that Mexico and their fans would HOPE and PRAY if such things were happening to the USA that they would continue to malign us. They would feel ZERO sympathy.

But I also know that Mexican soccer will always be at a high level because their country won't stand for anything less. There is just so much actual, fully bought and paid for bad feelings between these two teams...
I agree 100%. I love to see Mexico squabble in house (the same goes for Tennessee football and Indiana basketball). But, I know that to some degree we need them to be at least decent.

improbus
04-05-2009, 09:21 AM
Here is what I like about Jozy. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time (he's the Anti-Eddie Johnson). That is all the US ever needed. We throw alot of balls into the box and control the ball an awful lot, all we've ever needed is a finisher. Ching is a target player (a poor man's young Brian McBride), and that really doesn't fit the US's style. Eddie is a disaster in an organized game (which is why he did well in MLS....zing!!!). I have high hopes for Jozy in 2010.

WMR
05-28-2009, 12:20 PM
Bradley Names 24-Man Roster to Train For FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Against Costa Rica and Honduras
- Team Will Gather in Miami Beginning May 26 to Prepare For Critical World Cup Qualifiers Against Second and Third Place Teams in the Group
- U.S. Seeking First-Ever Win in Costa Rica on June 3 at 8 p.m. MT, Live on the ESPN Networks and Galavision
- More than 40,000 tickets sold for USA-Honduras on June 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago

CHICAGO (May 24, 2008) — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 24 players that will train in advance of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras. The U.S. will be seeking its first-ever victory away to Costa Rica when they meet at Estadio Saprissa in the fourth match of the 10-game final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Kickoff on June 3 is set for 8 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on the ESPN Networks and Galavision.

Three days later, the city of Chicago will host its first World Cup qualifier when the U.S. welcomes Honduras to Soldier Field. More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s third home match of the final round, where the U.S. will face the team who delivered them their last home loss in World Cup qualifying, a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

The U.S. is in first place in the final round hexagonal with an undefeated 2-0-1 record. Costa Rica sits one point behind, while Honduras holds the third position. The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

“Clearly these next matches are very important in our efforts to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who is 9-1-1 overall in qualifying action. “Both teams have been very good throughout the qualifying process. We are certainly aware of the challenges of playing in Costa Rica, and Honduras has produced some great results, including two wins against Mexico. We are excited for the start of a very competitive summer for our team.”

The U.S. team will begin assembling on May 26 in Miami, and depart June 1 for San Jose. Several players will join camp following weekend club competition, including 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Tim Howard, who will lead Everton against Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 30 at Wembley Stadium, and DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu, who can win the Scottish league title later today and will play in the Scottish FA Cup final against Falkirk next weekend. José Francicso Torres will arrive late if Pachuca reaches the finals of the Mexican league playoffs, and the MLS-based players will travel to Miami following their league matches this week.

The roster boasts nine players who have appeared in all three of the USA’s final round qualifiers, including seven who have started every game. Three players: Michael Bradley – the ussoccer.com Man of the Match after scoring a pair of goals in the 2-0 win against Mexico – DaMarcus Beasley and Heath Pearce are tied with nine starts during the 2010 qualifying campaign. Following his record-setting hat trick in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1 in Nashville – he is the youngest U.S. player ever to put in three goals in a game – Jozy Altidore now leads all U.S. attackers with five goals in this World Cup qualifying cycle. Bradley, Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey all have four goals each. Dempsey is one game shy of his 50th appearance for the United States.

Landon Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 108 international appearances, the USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists is one goal shy of tying Brian McBride for the most career goals in World Cup qualifying (10). He recorded assists on all three of Altidore’s goals against Trinidad & Tobago, improving his career tally to 36 assists.

The U.S. defense has produced eight shutouts through 11 matches in this cycle. Tim Howard has presided over five clean sheets, while Brad Guzan has picked up the remaining three. Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been an anchor in central defense alongside Oguchi Onyewu, who is playing Anderlecht on Sunday in the second leg of a playoff to determine the Belgian league champion. Frankie Hejduk, a veteran of four World Cup qualifying cycles, has started all three final round matches at right back, providing a goal and an assist in the 2-2 away draw in El Salvador, marking the first time the U.S. has come from behind by two goals to earn a point on the road.

In addition to the 24-man roster, two players have been invited to participate in their first camp with the full team: Aston Villa defender Erich Lichaj and Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Following the two qualifiers, the U.S. will depart June 8 for South Africa to begin preparations for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The final 23-man roster for the event will be announced June 7 in Chicago. The United States has been drawn into a powerful Group B along with reigning world champions Italy, five-time World Cup winners Brazil, and reigning African Cup of Nations winners Egypt for the tournament, which will be played from June 14-28. The U.S. kicks off action against Italy on June 15 at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria, and then faces Brazil on June 18 in the same venue. The United States finishes group play on June 21 against Egypt at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.

U.S. Men's National Team Roster vs. Costa Rica and Honduras
May 26-June 6, 2009
Players P Ht. Wt. DOB Hometown Club C/G
Adu, Freddy M 5-8 140 06/02/89 Potomac, Md. AS Monaco (France) 12/1


Altidore, Jozy F 6-1 175 11/06/89 Boca Raton, Fla. Xerez C.D. (Spain) 9/6

Beasley, DaMarcus M 5-8 145 05/24/82 Ft. Wayne, Ind. Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 85/17

Bocanegra, Carlos D 6-0 170 05/25/79 Alta Loma, Calif. Stade Rennais (France) 65/10

Bornstein, Jonathan D 5-9 145 11/07/84 Los Alamitos, Calif. Chivas USA 14/1

Bradley, Michael M 6-2 175 07/31/87 Manhattan Beach, Calif. Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany) 28/5

Califf, Danny D 6-1 175 03/17/80 Orange, Calif FC Midtjylland (Denmark) 23/1

Ching, Brian F 6-1 195 05/24/78 Haleiwa, Hawaii Houston Dynamo 36/9

Davies, Charlie F 5-10 160 06/25/86 Manchester, N.H. Hammarby IF (Sweden) 5/1

DeMerit, Jay D 6-0 185 12/04/79 Green Bay, Wis. Watford FC (England) 9/1

Dempsey, Clint F 6-1 170 03/09/83 Nacogdoches, Texas Fulham FC (England) 49/13

Donovan, Landon F 5-8 150 03/04/82 Redlands, Calif. Los Angeles Galaxy 108/37

Edu, Maurice M 6-0 170 04/18/86 Fontana, Calif. Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 11/1

Feilhaber, Benny M 5-9 150 01/19/85 Irvine, Calif. AGF Aarhus (Denmark) 16/2

Guzan, Brad GK 6-4 210 09/09/84 Homer Glen, Ill. Aston Villa FC (England) 12/1

Hejduk, Frankie D 5-8 155 08/05/77 Cardiff, Calif. Columbus Crew 84/7

Howard, Tim GK 6-3 210 03/06/79 North Brunswick, N.J. Everton FC (England) 37/0

Mastroeni, Pablo M 5-10 170 08/26/76 Phoenix, Ariz. Colorado Rapids 63/0

Kljestan, Sacha M 6-1 150 09/09/85 Huntington Beach, Calif. Chivas USA 16/3

Onyewu, Oguchi D 6-4 210 05/13/82 Olney, Md. Standard de Liege (Belgium) 40/5

Pearce, Heath D 5-10 175 08/13/84 Modesto, Calif. Hansa Rostock (Germany) 23/0

Spector, Jonathan D 6-0 180 03/01/86 Arlington Heights, Ill. West Ham United (England) 12/1

Torres, José Francisco M 5-7 135 10/29/87 Longview, Texas C.D. Pachuca (Mexico) 4/1

Wynne, Marvell D 5-9 170 05/08/86 Poway, Calif. Toronto FC 2/1

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 9/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 19/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA: 1/0), Danny Califf (Midtjylland: 4/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 17/2), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 14/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 9/0), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United: 2/1), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Freddy Adu (Monaco: 5/1), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers: 24/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 9/4), Maurice Edu (Rangers: 4/0), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus: 0/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 9/0), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 13/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez: 6/5), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (Hammarby: 1/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 15/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 28/9)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
All-time Record: 24-8-4
World Cup Qualifying: 9-1-1

WMR
05-28-2009, 12:49 PM
I hope we get to see Adu and Altidore on the pitch at the same time.

NJReds
05-28-2009, 01:26 PM
I hope we get to see Adu and Altidore on the pitch at the same time.

I think they have to be. I'd like to see Wynne get some time as well.

I assume this is the team that will take on Italy, Brazil and Egypt in the first round of the Confederation Cup later in June.

WMR
05-28-2009, 01:29 PM
I can't wait to see Italy and especially Brazil.

NJReds
05-28-2009, 02:39 PM
I can't wait to see Italy and especially Brazil.

This should be the most exciting month for US soccer until the World Cup, assuming they qualify.

WMR
05-28-2009, 02:49 PM
I truly believe the US could go very far in this World Cup. This will be the best team that we have ever taken to a World Cup competition. I'm very, very excited.

M2
05-28-2009, 09:30 PM
1. Can the U.S. trade Adu to Jamaica for Ricardo Gardner? The U.S. needs a left back and Adu does very little to warrant the second coming label that he still seems to carry.

2. I really liked Landon Donovan on the left in the USMNT's last qualifier. In fact, I liked it so much it pretty much guarantees he won't be there in this game.

3. Who's the CAM? You can make the case for Edu playing the destroyer role and Bradley in a more advanced position. I'm sure of this much, Bradley's playing one of those two roles.

4. Check out a kid named Celso Borges on the Costa Rican team. He's rapidly becoming one of the best players from North America.

5. These two games are good tests for the U.S. as both Costa Rica and Honduras have solid squads with some star talent. At least one of these teams is also going to South Africa.

dsmith421
05-28-2009, 09:50 PM
I have a feeling Costa Rica gives us a beating, but we drill Honduras to stay on script for qualifying.

Caveat Emperor
05-28-2009, 10:12 PM
This should be the most exciting month for US soccer until the World Cup, assuming they qualify.

Not qualifying would be a truly embarrassing setback for US Soccer. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

NJReds
05-29-2009, 11:38 AM
Not qualifying would be a truly embarrassing setback for US Soccer. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

I fully expect them to qualify, but stranger things have happened.

WMR
05-29-2009, 02:23 PM
They're not going to miss the World Cup. It's simply not going to happen. This team is STRONG. The way they're able to go on the road in CONCACAF and secure victories is something that the USMNT has never really experience before.

A draw is viewed as being forced to settle while it used to be seen as on par with a victory.

Hoosier Red
05-29-2009, 02:30 PM
They're not going to miss the World Cup. It's simply not going to happen. This team is STRONG. The way they're able to go on the road in CONCACAF and secure victories is something that the USMNT has never really experience before.

A draw is viewed as being forced to settle while it used to be seen as on par with a victory.

I'd see it as a victory this week.

WMR
05-29-2009, 02:32 PM
I'd see it as a victory this week.

I agree. I'd be fine with a draw in this instance.

I'm just speaking broadly about when we play on the road in CONCACAF these days.

A draw and a victory would be what I would aim for from these next two matches although I think two victories is very possible and perhaps even likely.

Hoosier Red
05-29-2009, 02:57 PM
I just figured out, if the US does nothing more than win all its games at home, it can finish no worse than 3rd and would than qualify.

I really don't see any of the teams beating the US stateside.

M2
05-29-2009, 07:29 PM
I want the USMNT to win in Azteca. In fact I want it something fierce. Mexican soccer fans need their ridiculous sense of entitlement completely eradicated.

dsmith421
06-04-2009, 09:32 AM
Well, that was fun.

My favorite part was when the Costa Rican player took eight unmolested touches in the USA box and scored past a helpless Tim Howard. Again.

I also liked Bob Bradley's tactical plan for this match, which was to have all the midfielders and attackers gather in a circle around the ball and run directly at the goal. He apparently picked this up from noted tactician Emilio Estevez in the educational film The Mighty Ducks.

I think after the Honduras match (I'd take a point given how atrocious the US defense was last night) and the Confederations Cup (which could be an epic embarrassment) it's time for the USSF to reassess whether they are serious about competing in the World Cup or if they are happy with a mediocrity like Bradley running the show. Just my opinion, but I think it's time for a change in philosophy.

NJReds
06-04-2009, 11:13 AM
Well, that was fun.

I think after the Honduras match (I'd take a point given how atrocious the US defense was last night) and the Confederations Cup (which could be an epic embarrassment) it's time for the USSF to reassess whether they are serious about competing in the World Cup or if they are happy with a mediocrity like Bradley running the show. Just my opinion, but I think it's time for a change in philosophy.

No doubt. Except for Donovan and Altidore, I didn't see much effort from the team last night. Torres looks promising. Bocanegra has to go. Mastroeni is awful, too. Without Hejduk, the team was flat.

I thought Wynne deserved a shot. His speed is nice, his game is awful. Especially on defense.

The only thing that I'll give the team a break on tactically, is how do you play soccer on an astroturf field that played like concrete. It was fast, bumpy and ball was bouncing like a superball. FIFA, which is a very poor organization to begin with, should never approve a field like that for a World Cup qualifier.

They should rebound to beat Honduras, but their only hope is that Brazil and Italy treat the Confederations Cup like a holiday and not a serious competition. Both of those countries have players that won't even sniff their national team that would be superstars on the U.S. team.

Hoosier Red
06-04-2009, 11:22 AM
To me Torres looked awful last night. The first goal was pegged on a bad clearance by Beasley but the fact that it went off of Torres' face may have had something to do with it not being cleared. Than Torres just timidly followed behind as if he was going to ask for the ball back.

dsmith421
06-04-2009, 12:40 PM
To me Torres looked awful last night. The first goal was pegged on a bad clearance by Beasley but the fact that it went off of Torres' face may have had something to do with it not being cleared. Than Torres just timidly followed behind as if he was going to ask for the ball back.

Torres is all fart and no poo. He's got great close control and can dribble, but he never goes toward the goal and he created absolutely nothing last night. Couldn't figure out why Harkes was gushing over him, his failure to put in a tackle cost us the first goal and the remainder of his night was spent dribbling past one man and passing the ball backwards.

dsmith421
06-04-2009, 12:44 PM
The only thing that I'll give the team a break on tactically, is how do you play soccer on an astroturf field that played like concrete. It was fast, bumpy and ball was bouncing like a superball.

That really bugged me. I used to live in Costa Rica and have seen the national team play there before. They used to play their home matches primarily at the Estadio Mora, the home stadium of Deportivo Alejuelense, which has a decent surface. I realize they get more fans and a better atmosphere at Saprissa but it's garbage that the pitch is worse than the Kingdome.

Fortunately they are building a new national stadium in San Jose, so this is the last time we'll have to play at that dump.

NJReds
06-04-2009, 01:00 PM
To me Torres looked awful last night. The first goal was pegged on a bad clearance by Beasley but the fact that it went off of Torres' face may have had something to do with it not being cleared. Than Torres just timidly followed behind as if he was going to ask for the ball back.

Add Beasley to the long list of awful last night. He may be one of the most overrated players the US has ever fielded.

dsmith421
06-04-2009, 02:21 PM
Add Beasley to the long list of awful last night. He may be one of the most overrated players the US has ever fielded.

I'll give Beasley credit for at least making the effort to improve his game by persevering in Europe, something that Donovan was not willing to do. But he is just atrocious at this point.

M2
06-04-2009, 02:50 PM
The midfield difference between Costa Rica and the U.S. was staggering. Borges, Centeno, Wallace and Herron were making the U.S. look silly. Saborio and Ruiz also form a class pair of strikers. The Ticos are vulnerable in the back, but that doesn't matter if the other team rarely touches the ball. In a lot ways, Costa Rica is the team Mexico wants to be.

Hoosier Red
06-04-2009, 03:07 PM
I'll give Beasley credit for at least making the effort to improve his game by persevering in Europe, something that Donovan was not willing to do. But he is just atrocious at this point.

He needs to come back though. There's no point to sitting on the bench in Scotland.

WMR
06-04-2009, 03:42 PM
The fact that Bob Bradley is still our NT coach is just very, very sad on many levels.

USSF is satisfied with mediocrity, it seems.

What a depressing, deflating result. The team was not prepared to play and the tactics looked like something I might see at a U-10 game. I even emailed Sunil Gulati after the game. He emailed me back today...

WMR
06-04-2009, 03:44 PM
I think if the US doesn't win versus Honduras then BB is out.

Also, is there a US Soccer by-law that his damn son must play every minute of every match? We'll finally get a look at the squad w/o MB, but only b/c of suspension! :angry:

Hoosier Red
06-04-2009, 03:48 PM
I think if the US doesn't win versus Honduras then BB is out.

Also, is there a US Soccer by-law that his damn son must play every minute of every match? We'll finally get a look at the squad w/o MB, but only b/c of suspension! :angry:

I think its hard to criticize for MB playing. He's been the best midfielder all year and is getting good minutes with a top league team in Germany. Like most everyone though he did not cover himself in glory last night. I'm not sure I'll like seeing what the central midfield looks like without MB in it.

WMR
06-04-2009, 03:51 PM
I think its hard to criticize for MB playing. He's been the best midfielder all year and is getting good minutes with a top league team in Germany. Like most everyone though he did not cover himself in glory last night. I'm not sure I'll like seeing what the central midfield looks like without MB in it.

I will. It must really suck for guys who are also having good careers to know that they have ZERO shot to get any minutes unless Baby Bradley gets a red card.

Hoosier Red
06-04-2009, 03:58 PM
Who should play over him?

Ricardo Clark? Benny Falhaiber?
Even if you want to see Maurice Edu get playing time I'd rather it be at the Torres' and Maestroeini's expense.

Again, he's clearly been the best midfielder on the USMNT in the past 12 months. He's playing against the toughest competition and playing well. I'm pretty sure he starts most if not all games for his German team where his dad is not the coach.

WMR
06-04-2009, 04:15 PM
Who should play over him?

Ricardo Clark? Benny Falhaiber?
Even if you want to see Maurice Edu get playing time I'd rather it be at the Torres' and Maestroeini's expense.

Again, he's clearly been the best midfielder on the USMNT in the past 12 months. He's playing against the toughest competition and playing well. I'm pretty sure he starts most if not all games for his German team where his dad is not the coach.

Let's be clear... MB is not the real issue here, his dad is.

Do I think he deserves to play EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY MATCH? Hell no.

But his dad is the one with the tactics and the player selection.

WMR
06-04-2009, 04:37 PM
I generally like little Bradley and think he deserves a place on the team, now. Didn't always think that, though, and believe he got starts earlier he didn't deserve.

But even now, little Bradley's play seems to be a constant blind spot for big Bradley. When Mikey's on, fine, he should be out there, but when he is off, like tonight, Bob never pulls the trigger to replace him.

Why I never do business with family... you can't make the decisions you need to in order to succeed and still enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Hoosier Red
06-04-2009, 04:51 PM
Let's be clear... MB is not the real issue here, his dad is.

Do I think he deserves to play EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY MATCH? Hell no.

But his dad is the one with the tactics and the player selection.

And as I have said, there are plenty of issues with tactics and player selection. But if his name was Bradley Michaels you'd be complaining if he was being taken out for inferior talent.

His dad may be a bad coach, but playing his son has been one of the better decisions he's made.

WMR
06-04-2009, 04:53 PM
One other thing... MB hasn't been the best midfielder over the past year on the USMNT, Landon Donovan has.

Despite sometimes being miscast/misused by the Bradley Braintrust, he IS a midfielder at heart and is most productive when playing CAM.

I do think Landon is another one who has become entirely too complacent with his spot on the USMNT. The whole roster needs a massive shake-up. Bradley's favorites have no need to fear anything. Dempsey will continue to get capped until the end of time as long as BB is the coach, despite his form or effort on the pitch.

WMR
06-04-2009, 04:55 PM
And as I have said, there are plenty of issues with tactics and player selection. But if his name was Bradley Michaels you'd be complaining if he was being taken out for inferior talent.

His dad may be a bad coach, but playing his son has been one of the better decisions he's made.

The post directly above yours does a good job summarizing my issues with Michael Bradley (and in relation, his father). It's a more nuanced issue than it appears today.

Hoosier Red
06-04-2009, 05:08 PM
I understand the position is more nuanced. I just find it hard to pinpoint all of this as "blind spot" for his son.

I mean the guys only got three substitutes and one of them automatically has to be used on Pablo Mastroeini. Now if Pablo Mastroeini was Bradley's son I'd agree with you. Why the hell does he keep getting starts?

I'm not much to intelligently discuss tactics, but whatever they were last night, they didn't matter. When a team plays that badly it doesn't matter who's drawing up the plays.

But on the flipside, probably don't need to overreact, they never play well in Costa Rica, more than likely any realistic hope for a win was overstating things last night.

NJReds
06-04-2009, 05:33 PM
Here's the Italy squad that the US will be facing in the Confederations Cup:

Goalkeepers: Marco Amelia (Palermo), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Galatasaray)

Defenders: Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Andrea Dossena (Liverpool), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Lyon), Davide Santon (Inter), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan)

Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria)

Strikers: Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich)

Betterread
06-04-2009, 11:51 PM
Here's the Italy squad that the US will be facing in the Confederations Cup:

Goalkeepers: Marco Amelia (Palermo), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Galatasaray)

Defenders: Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus), Andrea Dossena (Liverpool), Alessandro Gamberini (Fiorentina), Fabio Grosso (Lyon), Davide Santon (Inter), Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan)

Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria)

Strikers: Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich)
Pretty underwhelming group. The Italians should go with youth, instead. With this weak Italian squad and a US squad with only one world class player - Dempsey - its looking like a pretty bland Cup.

M2
06-05-2009, 12:05 AM
Despite sometimes being miscast/misused by the Bradley Braintrust, he IS a midfielder at heart and is most productive when playing CAM.

I'll disagree with that. Donovan's bee productive up front and on the wing. Plus, I remember when Bruce Arena made him the CAM and I don't ever want to see that tactic used against an organized defense ever again.

WMR
06-05-2009, 12:14 AM
I just think considering him as a "forward" is a serious misdiagnosis of what he does on the pitch. When Landon is performing at his best he is a perfect #10.

M2
06-05-2009, 10:41 AM
I just think considering him as a "forward" is a serious misdiagnosis of what he does on the pitch. When Landon is performing at his best he is a perfect #10.

I think he's more of a classic wing. His strength is taking the ball and going at someone. A CAM distributes and makes sure the team holds possession in the attacking third. Donovan doesn't have that kind of vision or touch.

On the wing he can get the ball and pin his ears back. It allows him to blow by defenders who are back on their heels. In the middle you don't have the same kind of space to run. You've got to move the ball more than your feet.

I think he's an effective #10 when he's roaming as part of a strike tandem, not as the guy springing two other strikers. It really depends on what your view of a classic #10 is. If you want a #10 to play a Wayne Rooney support striker role, then Donovan can do that. If you want a #10 to be a Zidane type of conductor (which is what I think of when I think CAM), then Donovan is miscast.

NJReds
06-05-2009, 11:01 AM
Pretty underwhelming group. The Italians should go with youth, instead. With this weak Italian squad and a US squad with only one world class player - Dempsey - its looking like a pretty bland Cup.

How much younger should they get? Rossi, Dossena, Pepe, Quagiarella, DeRossi, Santon, Chiellni, Palumbo, Amelia ... they're all fairly new to the squad. He's not going to go w/the U21 squad.

NJReds
06-05-2009, 01:17 PM
Brazil's Confederation Cup Team. No Ronaldinho or Diego.

Brazil squad
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Gomes (Tottenham Hotspur), Victor (Gremio)

Defenders: Maicon (Inter Milan), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Kleber (Internacional), Andre Santos (Corinthians), Alex (Chelsea), Juan (Roma), Lucio (Bayern Munich), Luisao (Benfica)

Midfielders: Anderson (Manchester United), Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Josue (Wolfsburg), Ramires (Cruzeiro), Elano (Manchester City), Felipe Melo (Fiorentina), Julio Baptista (Roma), Kaka (AC Milan)

Forwards: Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Nilmar (Internacional), Robinho (Manchester City)

Betterread
06-05-2009, 11:17 PM
I think he's more of a classic wing. His strength is taking the ball and going at someone. A CAM distributes and makes sure the team holds possession in the attacking third. Donovan doesn't have that kind of vision or touch.

On the wing he can get the ball and pin his ears back. It allows him to blow by defenders who are back on their heels. In the middle you don't have the same kind of space to run. You've got to move the ball more than your feet.

I think he's an effective #10 when he's roaming as part of a strike tandem, not as the guy springing two other strikers. It really depends on what your view of a classic #10 is. If you want a #10 to play a Wayne Rooney support striker role, then Donovan can do that. If you want a #10 to be a Zidane type of conductor (which is what I think of when I think CAM), then Donovan is miscast.
Donovan can't play on the wing, because he can't cross it well. He can't play up top because he's physically undermatched.
He profiles best as a late game sub. He's got pace and (usually ill-placed) confidence with the ball. So if you're losing and you have nothing to lose, why not put him in the game and see if he can get behind the defense and create something. He can't get a starting place on a decent European squad.

Betterread
06-05-2009, 11:21 PM
How much younger should they get? Rossi, Dossena, Pepe, Quagiarella, DeRossi, Santon, Chiellni, Palumbo, Amelia ... they're all fairly new to the squad. He's not going to go w/the U21 squad.
Balotelli and Giovinco are glaring omissions. Also, D'allessandro (AS Roma), Motta (AS Roma) would be worthy to add, though less well known. All would be younger and more worthy selections than ones on that list.

WMR
06-05-2009, 11:30 PM
Donovan can't play on the wing, because he can't cross it well. He can't play up top because he's physically undermatched.
He profiles best as a late game sub. He's got pace and (usually ill-placed) confidence with the ball. So if you're losing and you have nothing to lose, why not put him in the game and see if he can get behind the defense and create something. He can't get a starting place on a decent European squad.

C'mon man, are you joking?

He's the greatest US-born soccer player of all time. He is class.

Betterread
06-05-2009, 11:39 PM
C'mon man, are you joking?

He's the greatest US-born soccer player of all time. He is class.
Not joking. Its what I think. I like Dempsey better. A lot better. I like Reyna as the best US player I've seen. Then Dempsey, then Bocanegra.

dsmith421
06-06-2009, 11:36 AM
C'mon man, are you joking?

He's the greatest US-born soccer player of all time. He is class.

My real opinion? Dude had the potential to not only be a great American soccer player, but a world-class soccer player. Unfortunately he was content with the former.

reds1869
06-06-2009, 01:38 PM
My real opinion? Dude had the potential to not only be a great American soccer player, but a world-class soccer player. Unfortunately he was content with the former.

Yep. LD just did not have the desire to be truly world class. It's a shame as he could have put American soccer on the map. His first stint in Germany was absolutely disastrous to his career and to US soccer.

NJReds
06-06-2009, 01:46 PM
Balotelli and Giovinco are glaring omissions. Also, D'allessandro (AS Roma), Motta (AS Roma) would be worthy to add, though less well known. All would be younger and more worthy selections than ones on that list.


I don't think that Lippi wanted to go with all youth, especially playing Brazil off the bat. The team is a good mix of youth and experience.

Balotelli is a head-case. He's been a disciplinary problem on the U21 team (didn't show up for the team transport to a match because he was out drinking the night before). He's got talent, but he's not going to get rewarded w/a callup until he shows some off-the-field maturity.

Pazzini should be on the squad; he's playing today in a friendly. Cassano is another headcase. D'Alessandro and Motta are close, but they still need to show more.

I couldn't tell you what is up with Giovinco. He can't get decent time w/Juventus, and with Nedved retiring they went out and replaced him with Diego instead of bumping Giovinco up to the starting role.

WMR
06-06-2009, 02:05 PM
Not joking. Its what I think. I like Dempsey better. A lot better. I like Reyna as the best US player I've seen. Then Dempsey, then Bocanegra.

What has Dempsey done to deserve such praise?

Calling his recent form for the USMNT "mediocre" would be kind.

WMR
06-06-2009, 02:06 PM
My real opinion? Dude had the potential to not only be a great American soccer player, but a world-class soccer player. Unfortunately he was content with the former.

Agreed. Doesn't change the fact that he's easily the most important player on the USMNT. The idea of using him as a "late-game sub" is beyond laughable.

OUReds
06-06-2009, 03:15 PM
Calling his recent form for the USMNT "mediocre" would be kind.

That applies to about everyone on the MNT since the Mexico game sadly.

improbus
06-06-2009, 09:47 PM
1-0 Honduras leads. Yikes. GREAT CROWD in Chicago!

improbus
06-06-2009, 09:53 PM
This is true North American soccer. Marginal skill, marginal passing, marginal spacing, but physical play galore, guts, and toughness. I love it. NA soccer is like a street fight, especially when we go to Central American countries.

WMR
06-06-2009, 11:23 PM
This is true North American soccer. Marginal skill, marginal passing, marginal spacing, but physical play galore, guts, and toughness. I love it. NA soccer is like a street fight, especially when we go to Central American countries.

I hate soccer like that and the US will never become world-class until they become more comfortable playing different styles.

Yachtzee
06-06-2009, 11:24 PM
USA wins it 2-1!

OUReds
06-06-2009, 11:44 PM
Great goal by Boca, nice game from Donovan and Clarke.

Loved the response when their back was against the wall.

WMR
06-06-2009, 11:53 PM
Great goal by Boca, nice game from Donovan and Clarke.

Loved the response when their back was against the wall.

As to earlier conversations in this thread: RICARDO FREAKING CLARKE.

Also: Another great performance by LANDON DONOVAN.

Really nice win.

Need to see more of Benny Feilhaber.

Need to see more of Feilhaber and Clarke/Bradley (YES BOTH OF THEM, NOT JUST YOUR SON, BOB BRADLEY!!!!!) :angry:

WMR
06-06-2009, 11:55 PM
Also, if Jonathan Spector isn't a member of the regular 11 for the foreseeable future, Bradley should be stoned.

Also, Bornstein was worlds better than Beasley. Beasley looks like he is done.

OUReds
06-06-2009, 11:58 PM
Need to see more of Feilhaber and Clarke/Bradley (YES BOTH OF THEM, NOT JUST YOUR SON, BOB BRADLEY!!!!!) :angry:

There isn't a coach in the international pool that wouldn't be starting Michael Bradley IMHO.

WMR
06-07-2009, 12:00 AM
There isn't a coach in the international pool that wouldn't be starting Michael Bradley IMHO.

Ricardo Clarke showed tonight that he is ABSOLUTELY deserving of minutes. Just facts.

OUReds
06-07-2009, 12:04 AM
Ricardo Clarke showed tonight that he is ABSOLUTELY deserving of minutes. Just facts.

Hehe I'm pretty sure that's the epitome of an opinion :)

Clarke had a great game, but Bradley is the better player overall I think.

Not to say there won't be plenty of minutes for Clarke to prove a point. Lots of international games this summer.

WMR
06-07-2009, 12:05 AM
Hehe I'm pretty sure that's the epitome of an opinion :)

Clarke had a great game, but Bradley is the better player overall I think.

Not to say there won't be plenty of minutes for Clarke to prove a point. Lots of international games this summer.

Nope, that's the facts. :) Check out some match ratings of his performance tonight if you need more evidence.

OUReds
06-07-2009, 12:08 AM
Nope, that's the facts. :) Check out some match ratings of his performance tonight if you need more evidence.

I will, and as I said, they will show that Clarke had a fine, fine game. Did Bradley pee in your cornflakes recently? He (the player, not the coach) is absolutely an asset to the MNT.

WMR
06-07-2009, 12:09 AM
I will, and as I said, they will show that Clarke had a fine, fine game. Did Bradley pee in your cornflakes recently? He (the player, not the coach) is absolutely an asset to the MNT.

I love Michael Bradley. I just want to see Ricardo Clarke get a legitimate shot to be a consistent contributor on this team. I could see a 60/40 split between Bradley and Clarke as far as the D Mid position (in favor of MB). Definitely don't want to see the two of them together and Mastro should NEVER be on the field at the same time as either of those guys. Gotta have a creative player skilled with the ball along with them such as Torres or Feilhaber.

What really gets under my skin more than anything else is seeing MB go for 90 minutes when he is CLEARLY gassed after 75. (3rd goal versus Costa Rica, anyone?)

OUReds
06-07-2009, 12:12 AM
I love Michael Bradley. I just want to see Ricardo Clarke get a legitimate shot to be a consistent contributor on this team. I could see a 60/40 split between Bradley and Clarke as far as the D Mid position (in favor of MB). Definitely don't want to see the two of them together and Mastro should NEVER be on the field at the same time as either of those guys. Gotta have a creative player skilled with the ball along with them such as Torres or Feilhaber.

What really gets under my skin more than anything else is seeing MB go for 90 minutes when he is CLEARLY gassed after 75. (3rd goal versus Costa Rica, anyone?)

Mastro showed absolutely nothing the past two games. I'm not a huge Feilhaber fan, but I was thrilled to see him replace Mastro today.

WMR
06-07-2009, 12:14 AM
Mastro showed absolutely nothing the past two games. I'm not a huge Feilhaber fan, but I was thrilled to see him replace Mastro today.

Yeah, maybe he'll recapture the form that we saw a couple years ago...

here's what I'd like to see...

ADU/FEILHABER and BRADLEY/CLARKE

Would much rather have seen Freddy tonight than Mastro one more time. Personally, I think his USMNT career should be finished.

OUReds
06-07-2009, 12:43 AM
Mexico lost at El Salvador today. They have to really be sweating.

WMR
06-07-2009, 12:52 AM
Mexico lost at El Salvador today. They have to really be sweating.

I LOVE IT.

Now all we need to do is go down to dirty, smog-filled Mexico City and beat their asses in Azteca. :D

Betterread
06-07-2009, 01:20 AM
Mexico lost at El Salvador today. They have to really be sweating.

Why? Qualification in CONCACAF is easy. 3 of 6 countries qualify automatically and a 4th may also make it. Even a mediocre Mexican squad will qualify.

OUReds
06-07-2009, 01:29 AM
Why? Qualification in CONCACAF is easy. 3 of 6 countries qualify automatically and a 4th may also make it. Even a mediocre Mexican squad will qualify.

You really really don't want to have to win a play-in against the 5th place S. American squad. If you figure Costa Rica and the US have the 1 and 2 spots, that leaves Mexico/El Salvador/Honduras fighting for the third. Mexico is behind both, and has lost to them both (albeit both away). They absolutely have zero margin for error from here on out.

I'd be sweating. If The US can beat them next game in Azteca, it would take a minor miracle for them to slip into the third spot.

Edit: Right now, the 5th place S. American team is Uruguay, ranked 17th in the world. Mexico is ranked 26th.

NJReds
06-07-2009, 08:38 AM
Good win for the boys last night. They really dominated play after the gaffe that led to the early goal.

Some observations:

- Agree w/WilyMo about Clark. He was outstanding last night

- The other newcomers looked solid as well: Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein, Conor Casey. Although I'm not yet sure what to make of Casey; his MLS numbers tell me that he needs to get a few shots. I'd like to see him at the Confed Cup.

- Dempsey is so frustrating. He has a lot of talent but he goes for style over substance too often and it cost the US two goals at least ... the one they gave up after his poor backheel in the midfield and the gimme that he missed when the score was 1-1. Calm down guy, you're not Dutch and you're not Brazilian. Quit with with the fancy stuff.

- Altidore has immense talent and he works really hard. But he lost the ball way too many times on first touches and he takes too long to turn on goal when he gets the ball with his back to the net. That said, he's 19 and has great potential; and I really like the way he supports the team on the defensive end of the field.

- Donovan and Howard are professionals through-and-through. I love having them anchor the leadership roles on this team.

- Adu MUST play, and should start in the Confederation Cup. It is time to see if he's going to be the man that drives this squad for years to come or if he's a bust. No better time than in a friendly tournament against Brazil and Italy. Let's see if he's got game.

- Guiseppe Rossi starred for Italy today. Talk about the one that got away. Dude, you grew up in Clifton, NJ ... why???

improbus
06-07-2009, 09:31 AM
I hate soccer like that and the US will never become world-class until they become more comfortable playing different styles.
I agree that they will never become better until they embrace another style. However, USA Soccer will need to start getting more of our elite athletes to do that. When the Reggie Bush's of the world start to play soccer, then we will have a chance. As it is now, we need to dumb the game down into a hard-work-off where we excel.

improbus
06-07-2009, 09:37 AM
Some observations:

- Altidore has immense talent and he works really hard. But he lost the ball way too many times on first touches and he takes too long to turn on goal when he gets the ball with his back to the net. That said, he's 19 and has great potential; and I really like the way he supports the team on the defensive end of the field.


I think that you could make that indictment of the whole team. Our first touch is atrocious. We lose SO much possession because we have the touch of a yak (Donovan being the lone exception).

-Casey was tough and I would love to have him in a foxhole, but making a first pass? Not so sure on that one.

Yachtzee
06-07-2009, 01:03 PM
I agree that they will never become better until they embrace another style. However, USA Soccer will need to start getting more of our elite athletes to do that. When the Reggie Bush's of the world start to play soccer, then we will have a chance. As it is now, we need to dumb the game down into a hard-work-off where we excel.

I don't think US Soccer needs a Reggie Bush to choose soccer over football to improve. The US has a population equivalent to the whole of Europe, with the potential to produce just as many top flight soccer players as any UEFA league. Although the US has the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL drawing talented athletes, they have only one top flight soccer league, whereas Europe has the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and the Eredivisie competing for talent along with countless other national leagues and divisions.

Rather than worrying about trying to convince a Reggie Bush to play soccer rather than NFL, US Soccer needs to work on improving the development structure of US Soccer. What other countries have that the US lacks is an abundance of soccer academies and teams with youth development programs to start developing kids for the professional game at a younger age. The US on the other hand relies on high school and college programs to develop players. Thus players rarely see a consistent development philosophy and rarely play for more than a few years on a team with consistent goals and interests in mind.

Something else I'd like to see from US Soccer, MLS primarily, is the creation of a schedule that permits greater participation in international club competitions. The MLS has been gradually improving in this area, but I'd like to see them go whole hog in accommodating both international club play and FIFA World Cup dates. Expand the rosters to allow teams to build depth in order to handle the increased play as well. Better development and facing tougher competition on a regular basis will go far in improving the level of play for US players and the USMNT.

improbus
06-07-2009, 03:09 PM
I don't think US Soccer needs a Reggie Bush to choose soccer over football to improve. The US has a population equivalent to the whole of Europe, with the potential to produce just as many top flight soccer players as any UEFA league. Although the US has the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL drawing talented athletes, they have only one top flight soccer league, whereas Europe has the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and the Eredivisie competing for talent along with countless other national leagues and divisions.

Rather than worrying about trying to convince a Reggie Bush to play soccer rather than NFL, US Soccer needs to work on improving the development structure of US Soccer. What other countries have that the US lacks is an abundance of soccer academies and teams with youth development programs to start developing kids for the professional game at a younger age. The US on the other hand relies on high school and college programs to develop players. Thus players rarely see a consistent development philosophy and rarely play for more than a few years on a team with consistent goals and interests in mind.

Something else I'd like to see from US Soccer, MLS primarily, is the creation of a schedule that permits greater participation in international club competitions. The MLS has been gradually improving in this area, but I'd like to see them go whole hog in accommodating both international club play and FIFA World Cup dates. Expand the rosters to allow teams to build depth in order to handle the increased play as well. Better development and facing tougher competition on a regular basis will go far in improving the level of play for US players and the USMNT.
I agree to a point. We can certainly improve our training, but we can't manufacture world class players through training alone. We can't "create" Messi, Ronaldo, or even Beckham through better training methods.
The other big issue is $. Our players simply don't make enough money to attract the kind of talent that soccer needs. If Donovan was making the equivalent of the great NBA or MLB players, then maybe people would consider soccer more. If you are a two sport athlete, why would you pick soccer as your sport?

NJReds
06-08-2009, 11:02 AM
I agree that they will never become better until they embrace another style. However, USA Soccer will need to start getting more of our elite athletes to do that. When the Reggie Bush's of the world start to play soccer, then we will have a chance. As it is now, we need to dumb the game down into a hard-work-off where we excel.

Is Gus Hiddink available to coach?

M2
06-08-2009, 12:39 PM
Great discussion in this thread. Here's my two cents on a few of the subjects rolling around here:

- I'm with Betterread in not being a particularly big fan of Donovan. He's soft at all the wrong times and he hasn't added the skills (particularly in the passing and crossing department that would have taken his game to the next level). He also lacks tactical awareness. It makes him a tough guy to fit into the team because you want his speed and skills on the field, but he really doesn't have an ideal position against top flight international competition.

- I also agree with Betterread that Dempsey is a much better player. He's been far more successful at the club level. He was the best player the U.S. had on the field during the last World Cup. While he's not a perfect vessel, he's able to pose a consistent threat against top defenses.

- Ricardo Clark had a nice game on Saturday, but he's a depth player. Bradley's got the ability to distribute from the d-mid and get forward in ways Clark (who is primarily a disruptor) can't. Also, Maurice Edu should be #2 on the depth chart at that position, and possibly a starter if he and Bradley can form a productive tandem.

- Personally, I think the U.S. should grant statehood to Grenada so it can put Shalrie Joseph and Jason Roberts on the USMNT.

- I don't see any reason to put Freddy Adu out on the field at this moment in time. He certainly hasn't earned it. The purpose of a national team isn't to give work to players who aren't getting it elsewhere. I understand U.S. players are sometimes benched in Europe for nonsensical reasons, but the USMNT manager needs to establish that if you're not playing with your club, then you're not playing for your national team. For the U.S. to progress, it's got to demand players step up with their club teams. Beasley's game stalled from lack of work. Feilhaber's been stuck in neutral after two lost seasons at the club level. Meanwhile Bradley, Onyewu and Bocanegra have stepped up their games because they're central players for their club teams.

- Mexico's not just in trouble because of the standings at the moment. This is probably the worst Mexican team any of us have ever seen. They can't finish. Borgetti and Blanco are at the ends of their ropes. Bravo and Fonseca have disappeared. And no new strikers are emerging to take their places. Compounding the problem is that Costa Rica and Honduras are legit. They're as good as the middle of the pack in CONMEBOL. If Mexico doesn't sweep at home, it very well could end up in that fourth slot in the region.

- T&T is in a transition phase with an inexperienced coach, but it's got individual talent to burn and it's going to play spoiler in this qualification group before all is said and done. Costa Rica dodged a bullet on Saturday because Celso Borges decided it wasn't going to be his team's chances getting spoiled, but the U.S., Mexico and Honduras still have to travel to T&T and at least one of them is going home with a loss.

Hoosier Red
06-08-2009, 02:50 PM
M2 that's an interesting point.

I wonder if it would be a wake up call to the players like Adu, Beasley, and ALtidore if they didn't see playing time on the Natl. Team if they weren't going to see time on their European clubs.

That may make players reluctant to go to Europe for good or for ill.

NJReds
06-08-2009, 03:18 PM
I don't see any reason to put Freddy Adu out on the field at this moment in time. He certainly hasn't earned it. The purpose of a national team isn't to give work to players who aren't getting it elsewhere. I understand U.S. players are sometimes benched in Europe for nonsensical reasons, but the USMNT manager needs to establish that if you're not playing with your club, then you're not playing for your national team. For the U.S. to progress, it's got to demand players step up with their club teams. Beasley's game stalled from lack of work. Feilhaber's been stuck in neutral after two lost seasons at the club level. Meanwhile Bradley, Onyewu and Bocanegra have stepped up their games because they're central players for their club teams.

In essence, I agree with you. I don't know what's going on at practices and if Adu is getting better. He did come on against Costa Rica, but the game was all but over at that point. He wasn't on the Honduras roster. It certainly looked like he was making progress last year and he seemed to be playing well.

Unfortunatley, the US despirately needs talent. For that reason I think U.S. soccer should give him a shot in the Confederation Cup, a friendly tournament against top clubs, to see if he's going to be a part of WC2010. If so, all the better. If not, they can move on.

NJReds
06-08-2009, 03:19 PM
Here's the US Confederations Cup roster:

Goaltenders: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (Midtjylland), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

Midfielders: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Xerez), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Charlie Davies (Hammarby), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)

WMR
06-08-2009, 04:09 PM
The US can't afford to not play possibly their most gifted player with the ball at his feet just because he has a crappy club situation.

C'mon M2, still letting Clint live off his performance in the World Cup 3 years ago??? Let's talk about his recent form.

BTW: Landon Donovan became the ALL-TIME leader in goals for the USMNT during WC qualifying after his goal versus Honduras, passing Brian McBride.

Hoosier Red
06-08-2009, 04:13 PM
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=653303&sec=us&root=us&cc=5901
Current U.S. team no better than the 2006 version
By Steve Davis
(Archive)
June 8, 2009
Comment
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It is a quintessentially American trait to believe things are always on the rise.

Even in these days of coupon clipping, we're generally a bunch of red, white and blue optimists, forever convinced that tomorrow's haul will be more bountiful than today's in a world of blessed plenty.


Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Bob Bradley's U.S. team has struggled at times in its World Cup qualifying campaign.

This certainly applies to our soccer team.

As the national program goes, we've long been on the incline. Our little soccer tree grows a little more each year, sprouting ever more green and full. It's been this way for more than 25 years -- or so we thought.

Quick history review: The peach-fuzzed Americans defined "pedestrian" at the Italy 1990 World Cup. But, ciao! They were there! And that team was easier on the eyes than its gangly, mid-'80s siblings.

The Americans were unartful but certainly not terrible as World Cup 1994 hosts -- although that faux denim kit certainly qualified as an all-timer in the long, sad history of bad ideas.

The daffy 3-6-1 formation and a poison locker room not withstanding, talent had improved by France '98. Then things blossomed splendidly at World Cup 2002 in South Korea/Japan, as then-coach Bruce Arena's boys exploited the quirkiness of a tournament off European soil.

Then came 2006. Arena kept saying all was OK, that conceding early goals just made things appear worse than they were -- never mind that his team was, in fact, conceding those early goals. You could argue that qualification had come easier, that breaks had broken unfortunately in Germany and that the player pool was, despite it all, deeper than ever. None of that would have been an absurd stretch.

But here we are now, and it's high time to see this assumption of perpetual ascendancy for what it is: wishful thinking. Me? I've seen enough. I see no reason to believe that the national team has improved even a smidgen since 2006. Beyond a Lady Luck-blessed, cinchy draw, I simply can't find evidence to suggest that South Africa 2010 will play out any more favorably than the stumble through Germany 2006. And how'd that work out for everyone?

You could even argue that things have regressed a bit.

U.S. men's schedule
U.S. vs. Italy
June 15
Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa
2:25 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360

U.S. vs. Brazil
June 18
Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa
9:55 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360

U.S. vs. Egypt
June 21
Rustenburg, South Africa
2:25 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360


Coach Bob Bradley's men are bearing down on a spot in South Africa, so it's not like the program is on the skids. On the other hand, the Yanks were one big, brave Carlos Bocanegra moment from being perched way too precariously.

There is really no spot on the field where the Americans look even marginally better than 2006. Essentially, three members of the back four are the same in Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Oguchi Onyewu. If you argued that Cherundolo and Bocanegra have benefited from another three seasons in good leagues, I'd retort that they both turned 30 this year. So we'd call it a wash -- then probably find our neck muscles aching from nodding in agreement that left back remains the same sore tooth it's always been.

Michael Bradley has no doubt matured as a player in three years. That's one of the pluses. In fact, it's gotten to the point that the United States feels his absence; he was suspended for Saturday's game because he had collected too many yellow cards. Ricardo Clark was a force Saturday, a testament to how effort and simplicity can rule. But Bradley's passing and his instinctive midfield drive would have nicely complemented Clark's rangy ways.

Pablo Mastroeni is 32 and looked every bit of it on Honduras' goal Saturday, hopelessly chasing the play from behind. So you really can't look at the central midfield as a whole and stamp it "improved." In fact, given coach Bradley's continued dependence on Mastroeni, and considering Claudio Reyna isn't around to slow pace and create space, there probably has been a decline.

The outside midfield spots? Can we just admit already that DaMarcus Beasley peaked four years ago? Clint Dempsey is an industrious, reliable worker at Fulham. But something happens when he slips into a U.S. shirt; he never quite seems to figure out what he wants to be. (Although he can certainly still muster a big moment or two, as we saw Saturday.)

Landon Donovan is the same player from four years back. That's not bad. But is the United States any closer than four years ago to identifying his best spot? Donovan is most comfortable in MLS as a second striker, operating off a target man. But Bradley isn't using him there.

The talent at forward is a bit like a turkey sandwich -- it's a calorie provider, but not much to get excited about. Brian Ching is what he is. Jozy Altidore shows promise but will be only 20 at the South Africa World Cup. Beyond prodigies named Messi and such, teams just don't spring into a World Cup leaning on 20-year-old strikers.

Part of the problem has been Bradley's curious reliance on a core of certain individuals -- regardless of their form. Bradley has strained so diligently to make things predictable around the U.S. camp -- including an effort to shrink the first-team pool to help fuse familiarity -- that he hamstrings himself.

How else to explain Eddie Johnson's previous, repeated call-ups when he was playing about as often as Franz Beckenbauer -- and The Kaiser retired 25 years ago! How else to explain why, during last week's dreadful, ambivalent 3-1 fiasco against Costa Rica, we had to watch guys like Beasley, Altidore and Freddy Adu, none of whom were playing regularly with their clubs? These were the conquerors who were somehow supposed to muster the confidence, rise to the moment and tame a place called the Monster's Cave?

We've come that far from Arena's decree that players who were fit, in form and on the field at club level would earn caps?

Clark was Bradley's best player Saturday, yet he was called only when Maurice Edu was revealed injured. The Houston Dynamo's buzz-saw midfield has been most responsible for the club's May resurrection. And yet, Benny Feilhaber had been dusted off and granted the original call, ahead of Clark.

Beyond that important, misplaced tenet ("Form matters!") something else has been lost along the Team USA way: Previous American versions wore a useful chip on their shoulder. Other countries didn't respect the Yanks, and every match day was a fresh opportunity to stick it in their soccer snob faces. That will seems to have wandered.

The most inspired U.S. action in five years may have been the second half of a heroic night in Kaiserslautern, where a nine-man block of steely determination kept the entire U.S. World Cup effort from bleeding out, drawing memorably against Italy.

The talent pool hasn't improved significantly since then. Parlayed with the toxic drip of creeping complacency, the whole is suffering.

At the very least, this train is stuck on the tracks.



Steve Davis is a Dallas-based freelance writer who covers MLS for ESPNsoccernet. He can be reached at BigTexSoccer@yahoo.com.

WMR
06-08-2009, 04:21 PM
He's way wrong that the talent pool hasn't improved. The depth in our talent pool is way, WAY deeper than it was even a few years ago. Now, getting a manager who will call in young cats with something to prove rather than sticking with "old guys" like Mastro who serve as under-talented comfort blankets for our stupid manager is another issue entirely.

Hoosier Red
06-08-2009, 04:28 PM
I'm curious WilyMo you were very optimistic until last Wednesday, what was it in the last 4 days that's made you turn so hard on Bradley?

I mean we knew Mastro was going to play didn't we?

NJReds
06-08-2009, 04:30 PM
The 2002 World Cup was a mirage that set peoples sights on success way too high.

It was a bizarre, and perhaps worst officiated tournament in the history of tournaments. I still think there was something fishy going on.

- Portugal underestimated the US and paid. It was 3-0 before the Portuguese started fighting back. The US held on 3-2.

- They tied Korea, which actually turned out to be a great result based on how far Korea made it in the tournament. Although some of those games may have been fixed.

- They were destroyed by Poland, 3-1 ... down 2-0 in 5 minutes.

- Portugal advances over the U.S. w/a tie, but get a dubious red card about 20 minutes in; and another about 1 hour in. Down to 9 v. 11, Korea only just manages to keep Portugal from tying the game late.

- The US gets the best possible draw in the second round ... Mexico, who they own outside of Azteca. Win 2-0. One of the goals is punched in, but it's not called by the officals.

- In the QF, the US plays well against Germany, falling 1-0. Should have had a penalty shot when the German defender clears the ball off the line with his hand late. No call.


I will give them credit for jumping on Portugal, handling Mexico and fighting valiently v. Germany. However, the World Cup is a tournament that Spain and Holland have not been able to conquer. To think that the US would win it by 2010 (the stated goal after 2002) was laughable.

WMR
06-08-2009, 04:34 PM
I'm curious WilyMo you were very optimistic until last Wednesday, what was it in the last 4 days that's made you turn so hard on Bradley?

I mean we knew Mastro was going to play didn't we?

I've always wanted Bradley gone... I just can't let that ruin the 'experience' of rooting for and watching the USMNT, if you can see what I mean.

For the record: I HATE HATE HATE HATE ***HATE*** Bob Bradley as our manager. :D Doesn't make me scream any less loud when they score, however. ;)

Yachtzee
06-08-2009, 04:56 PM
I've always wanted Bradley gone... I just can't let that ruin the 'experience' of rooting for and watching the USMNT, if you can see what I mean.

For the record: I HATE HATE HATE HATE ***HATE*** Bob Bradley as our manager. :D Doesn't make me scream any less loud when they score, however. ;)

Maybe he's Bob Boone in disguise. Both named Bob and their initials are B.B. Coincidence? I think not!

WMR
06-08-2009, 05:04 PM
Maybe he's Bob Boone in disguise. Both named Bob and their initials are B.B. Coincidence? I think not!

You just blew my mind.

M2
06-08-2009, 05:04 PM
The US can't afford to not play possibly their most gifted player with the ball at his feet just because he has a crappy club situation.

I've never been all that impressed by Adu. He also looks beyond rusty to me. Kid needs to play at the club level and probably take some ownership of the fact that his crappy club situation is in no small part of his own making. DCU and RSL were happy to see him go. Benfica had no use for him. Monaco had no use for him. A trend is forming and it's not a good one. I might put him on the Gold Cup roster, but that's about it.


C'mon M2, still letting Clint live off his performance in the World Cup 3 years ago??? Let's talk about his recent form.

Sure, let's talk about that. He was one of the best players at Fulham this season and led the club to a Europa Cup qualifying slot. He's the only attacking USMNT player making any kind of positive impression in a major European league at this moment in time.


BTW: Landon Donovan became the ALL-TIME leader in goals for the USMNT during WC qualifying after his goal versus Honduras, passing Brian McBride.

Good for Lando. Still doesn't make him a fish suited to playing in a big pond.

WMR
06-08-2009, 05:10 PM
I've never been all that impressed by Adu. He also looks beyond rusty to me. Kid needs to play at the club level and probably take some ownership of the fact that his crappy club situation is in no small part of his own making. DCU and RSL were happy to see him go. Benfica had no use for him. Monaco had no use for him. A trend is forming and it's not a good one. I might put him on the Gold Cup roster, but that's about it.



Sure, let's talk about that. He was one of the best players at Fulham this season and led the club to a Europa Cup qualifying slot. He's the only attacking USMNT player making any kind of positive impression in a major European league at this moment in time.



Good for Lando. Still doesn't make him a fish suited to playing in a big pond.

Adu showed me quite a bit in his limited time versus Costa Rica. Definitely enough to merit some more minutes, IMO.

I'm more interested in discussing Dempsey's form for the USMNT. He missed a sitter Saturday as well as committing the turnover that led directly to the Honduras goal.

The USMNT is going to go only as far as LD takes them. That's my overall point concerning LD. Like it or not, he is the 'bellcow' for this team.

Hoosier Red
06-08-2009, 05:21 PM
I agree with that, though Landycakes better up his game. It's one thing to be the top gun in Concacaf, (even Bob Bradley can coach the team to that point) but its another point entirely to compete with Europe, South America, and Asia.

M2
06-08-2009, 05:58 PM
Adu showed me quite a bit in his limited time versus Costa Rica. Definitely enough to merit some more minutes, IMO.

I'm more interested in discussing Dempsey's form for the USMNT. He missed a sitter Saturday as well as committing the turnover that led directly to the Honduras goal.

The USMNT is going to go only as far as LD takes them. That's my overall point concerning LD. Like it or not, he is the 'bellcow' for this team.

I'd rather see Torres, Feilhaber and Kljestan get minutes than Adu.

Dempsey also won the header that led to Bocanegra's goal on Saturday. He's not perfect, but when it comes to making a play 1-v-1 on a top defender, Dempsey's the absolute best the U.S. has got.

Honestly, I don't think Donovan's that important to the team's overall fortunes and I think it can be argued the U.S. might fare better without him. What makes him important is he keeps getting a lot of offensive responsibility heaped on his narrow shoulders. He's good with PKs, but I think that masks his run of play deficiencies. If Bradley is counting on Donovan to create in the middle then I agree with you that the team rises or falls on his level of play. If he's off on the wing or a roving support striker, then I'd say he's no more important than any number of other players.

More to the point, I don't think the USMNT isn't making much noise in 2010 if Lando's leading the charge. In fact, I'd say it's critical for others to step up to create holes for him to run into.

WMR
06-08-2009, 06:00 PM
I'd rather see Torres, Feilhaber and Kljestan get minutes than Adu.

Dempsey also won the header that led to Bocanegra's goal on Saturday. He's not perfect, but when it comes to making a play 1-v-1 on a top defender, Dempsey's the absolute best the U.S. has got.

Honestly, I don't think Donovan's that important to the team's overall fortunes and I think it can be argued the U.S. might fare better without him. What makes him important is he keeps getting a lot of offensive responsibility heaped on his narrow shoulders. He's good with PKs, but I think that masks his run of play deficiencies. If Bradley is counting on Donovan to create in the middle then I agree with you that the team rises or falls on his level of play. If he's off on the wing or a roving support striker, then I'd say he's no more important than any number of other players.

More to the point, I don't think the USMNT isn't making much noise in 2010 if Lando's leading the charge. In fact, I'd say it's critical for others to step up to create holes for him to run into.

That's a reasonable take. We disagree quite a bit on a number of issues, but I can certainly see where you are coming from.

EDIT: I was thinking about this a bit more... the thing that I must vehemently disagree with is the prospect of the USMNT actually being better without LD on the pitch. That is insane, IMHO.

WMR
06-08-2009, 08:15 PM
This is a really fascinating thread that touches on some of our own conversations vis a vis Landon Donovan.

http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1060151

Yachtzee
06-08-2009, 08:22 PM
This is a really fascinating thread that touches on some of our own conversations vis a vis Landon Donovan.

http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1060151

Who are you over there? FreddyAduRocks? ;)

WMR
06-08-2009, 08:30 PM
Who are you over there? FreddyAduRocks? ;)

LMAO! I'm LetsGoYanks. You can find some real good discourse on BS although you've got to root through more trolls and noise. Our soccer discussions are much more "intimate" over here. BS is HUGE.

That thread that I linked is an example of the absolute best that BS has to offer, IMO.

Yachtzee
06-08-2009, 08:36 PM
LMAO! I'm LetsGoYanks. You can find some real good discourse on BS although you've got to root through more trolls and noise. Our soccer discussions are much more "intimate" over here. BS is HUGE.

That thread that I linked is an example of the absolute best that BS has to offer, IMO.

I lurk there quite a bit, but the knowledge of some over there is a little intimidating and then there are others who would probably be booted from the Sun Deck over here. I prefer posting over here because I know the soccer fans here are knowledgeable, but won't jump down my throat if they don't agree with me. You, M2, Betterread and others really have some great insight on individual players that I don't have because I don't always have the opportunity to watch them (although I've been getting more now that I have FSC. Now if I could just get Setanta and Gol.tv. . .).

WMR
06-08-2009, 08:39 PM
I lurk there quite a bit, but the knowledge of some over there is a little intimidating and then there are others who would probably be booted from the Sun Deck over here. I prefer posting over here because I know the soccer fans here are knowledgeable, but won't jump down my throat if they don't agree with me. You, M2, Betterread and others really have some great insight on individual players that I don't have because I don't always have the opportunity to watch them (although I've been getting more now that I have FSC. Now if I could just get Setanta and Gol.tv. . .).

:beerme:

Hehe, the dichotomy between this thread and BS is pretty amazing. lol.

I want Setanta as well. I saw the games that were on this weekend and my mouth started watering.

What I'm really desperate for, however, is for these channels to be offered in HD. The day they're in HD is the day that I have every single one of them.

Brits are damn lucky with their SkySports HD.

Yachtzee
06-08-2009, 08:48 PM
:beerme:

Hehe, the dichotomy between this thread and BS is pretty amazing. lol.

I want Setanta as well. I saw the games that were on this weekend and my mouth started watering.

What I'm really desperate for, however, is for these channels to be offered in HD. The day they're in HD is the day that I have every single one of them.

Brits are damn lucky with their SkySports HD.

I'm looking forward to the World Cup in HD for sure.

Anyone see Bob Bradley complaining about artificial turf? http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news;_ylt=AtV1MEUZ_z18T9LsuivqQvYUwLYF?slug=ap-us-bradley-turf&prov=ap&type=lgns. I think it would have carried more weight if it came before the US got beat on Costa Rica's turf. Of course I had been under the belief that FIFA doesn't like games on turf anyway. Is that not true? I seem to recall the Meadowlands having to install a grass field for the World Cup.

improbus
06-08-2009, 09:00 PM
I tried out Big Soccer but found it to be a very condescending board. But, because soccer doesn't have a solid statistical base, it is very easy for discussion to turn into shouting matches.

Yachtzee
06-08-2009, 09:13 PM
I tried out Big Soccer but found it to be a very condescending board. But, because soccer doesn't have a solid statistical base, it is very easy for discussion to turn into shouting matches.

Very true. Discussing the quality of soccer players is similar to discussing the quality of offensive and defensive linemen in the NFL. There just aren't a lot of stats that tell you how a person is playing unless you watch them on TV and make a concerted effort to watch that player both when he's on and off the ball.

M2
06-08-2009, 09:26 PM
EDIT: I was thinking about this a bit more... the thing that I must vehemently disagree with is the prospect of the USMNT actually being better without LD on the pitch. That is insane, IMHO.

What can I say. I'm a wild and crazy guy.

My take on Donovan has always been that he's fine at slash and burn, but he's not particularly adept at playing a possession game. Nothing wrong with that. That describes a lot of good players - Bastian Schweinsteiger for instance.

Don't get me wrong, I'd start Lando, out on the left wing, but I don't think he's particularly adept at being the quarterback or lead striker in an offense, which are the two roles the USMNT has placed him in much of this decade. In 2002, Reyna was running the offense and McBride was the target man. They created holes for Donovan to run into.

Because of the way Arena and Bradley have run things, Donovan's been asked to do what he's not that great at, which isn't his fault. Yet a side effect has been that no one's had a consistent shot to claim either of those two roles. Partially that's because no one's an obvious or ideal choice to fill those roles, but part of it is also that Donovan's been occupying those roles at various intervals and it's gotten in the way of others developing in those roles.

Donovan's sort of been in the way of the guys he needs to truly unlock his own game (ideally he'd be a Ray Houghton type - an important guy, but not THE guy). So, just my speculation, I think there's a good case to be made that you'd see some guys emerge if Lando wasn't in the mix.

You'd have a better team if you kept Donovan in the mix and made sense of things, but sometimes losing a key player helps a club make sense of things (Barca got better this season after it parted company with Ronaldinho, Real Madrid won two league titles immediately after Ronaldo and Zidane left and retired, respectively).

M2
06-08-2009, 09:32 PM
Brits are damn lucky with their SkySports HD.

Funniest SkySports spoof ever:

Mitchell and Webb (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF_uOgyBK1c)

WMR
06-08-2009, 09:34 PM
What can I say. I'm a wild and crazy guy.

My take on Donovan has always been that he's fine at slash and burn, but he's not particularly adept at playing a possession game. Nothing wrong with that. That describes a lot of good players - Bastian Schweinsteiger for instance.

Don't get me wrong, I'd start Lando, out on the left wing, but I don't think he's particularly adept at being the quarterback or lead striker in an offense, which are the two roles the USMNT has placed him in much of this decade. In 2002, Reyna was running the offense and McBride was the target man. They created holes for Donovan to run into.

Because of the way Arena and Bradley have run things, Donovan's been asked to do what he's not that great at, which isn't his fault. Yet a side effect has been that no one's had a consistent shot to claim either of those two roles. Partially that's because no one's an obvious or ideal choice to fill those roles, but part of it is also that Donovan's been occupying those roles at various intervals and it's gotten in the way of others developing in those roles.

Donovan's sort of been in the way of the guys he needs to truly unlock his own game (ideally he'd be a Ray Houghton type - an important guy, but not THE guy). So, just my speculation, I think there's a good case to be made that you'd see some guys emerge if Lando wasn't in the mix.

You'd have a better team if you kept Donovan in the mix and made sense of things, but sometimes losing a key player helps a club make sense of things (Barca got better this season after it parted company with Ronaldinho, Real Madrid won two league titles immediately after Ronaldo and Zidane left and retired, respectively).


This is exactly what makes soccer so intriguing to me. Discussing these types of nuances of the game is fascinating...

I hope we see youth served during the upcoming Confederations Cup.

improbus
06-08-2009, 09:37 PM
What can I say. I'm a wild and crazy guy.

My take on Donovan has always been that he's fine at slash and burn, but he's not particularly adept at playing a possession game. Nothing wrong with that. That describes a lot of good players - Bastian Schweinsteiger for instance.

Don't get me wrong, I'd start Lando, out on the left wing, but I don't think he's particularly adept at being the quarterback or lead striker in an offense, which are the two roles the USMNT has placed him in much of this decade. In 2002, Reyna was running the offense and McBride was the target man. They created holes for Donovan to run into.

Because of the way Arena and Bradley have run things, Donovan's been asked to do what he's not that great at, which isn't his fault. Yet a side effect has been that no one's had a consistent shot to claim either of those two roles. Partially that's because no one's an obvious or ideal choice to fill those roles, but part of it is also that Donovan's been occupying those roles at various intervals and it's gotten in the way of others developing in those roles.

Donovan's sort of been in the way of the guys he needs to truly unlock his own game (ideally he'd be a Ray Houghton type - an important guy, but not THE guy). So, just my speculation, I think there's a good case to be made that you'd see some guys emerge if Lando wasn't in the mix.

You'd have a better team if you kept Donovan in the mix and made sense of things, but sometimes losing a key player helps a club make sense of things (Barca got better this season after it parted company with Ronaldinho, Real Madrid won two league titles immediately after Ronaldo and Zidane left and retired, respectively).
I understand what you are saying, but you can't take our one world class player off the pitch just because he is a square peg. He reminds me of Beckham for England. The English knock him for his diminished athleticism (if he ever had it to begin with), his limited defensive capabilities, and all of the baggage that comes with Becks, but the guy continues to knock in or set up big goals time and time again. Every time he is on the pitch, something good happens for England.
I would say the same for Lando. He might not be a dominant player, he may not fit the US style, but he is the only player who can conjure up that great goal. Altidore isn't there, Dempsey requires help, but give me Landon bearing down on a Mexican defender and I will be happy. He has 4 assists on the season and no other player has more than one.
He doesn't really fit the US system, but we don't have the quality to replace him either, so I say stick with him and see what happens.

M2
06-08-2009, 09:48 PM
This is exactly what makes soccer so intriguing to me. Discussing these types of nuances of the game is fascinating...

I hope we see youth served during the upcoming Confederations Cup.

It really is a chemistry set of a sport.

FWIW, I think we might see a breakout player emerge from Gold Cup. Some kid might just go there and play (e.g. Robbie Findley).

Betterread
06-08-2009, 09:53 PM
The idea of using him as a "late-game sub" is beyond laughable.
Why is this role so horrible. I really like when a squad has a pacy guy come on at about 75 minutes and just go create and try to get behind the defense.
Anyway, he hates US soccer and desperately wants to prove himself in Germany, which he once again has been unable to do. Even though I'm critical of him, he's in a frustrating position. He has nothing left to prove in the US, but he keeps failing when he tries to go to the next level.

M2
06-08-2009, 09:55 PM
He doesn't really fit the US system, but we don't have the quality to replace him either, so I say stick with him and see what happens.

That's what I would do too. My priority list would be:

1. Establish a system (psst, steal from the Germans)

2. Sort players like Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley - who are going to be on the team - into their optimal slots and let others win the open spots around them during the next year.


Anyway, he hates US soccer and desperately wants to prove himself in Germany, which he once again has been unable to do. Even though I'm critical of him, he's in a frustrating position. He has nothing left to prove in the US, but he keeps failing when he tries to go to the next level.

I'm convinced there's a job opening for someone out there in terms of placing U.S. soccer players with the right international teams. It didn't take any special insight to figure out that Munich didn't have a regular job for him. Somebody needs to buy him a map of Germany and point out where Cologne and Frankfurt are located.

WMR
06-08-2009, 10:06 PM
That's the thing... it's not too late for LD to go to Europe. He's still just 26. BUT if it is going to be in the cards for him then he must do it soon.

M2
06-14-2009, 03:49 PM
The Confed Cup match between Spain and New Zealand is on right now. Fernando Torres has a hat trick inside of 17 minutes.

reds1869
06-14-2009, 05:03 PM
The Confed Cup match between Spain and New Zealand is on right now. Fernando Torres has a hat trick inside of 17 minutes.

New Zealand is really wishing they had played rugby instead. :eek:

WMR
06-14-2009, 06:03 PM
Jermaine Jones is going to play for the USMNT!!!!!!!!!!

OUReds
06-14-2009, 06:26 PM
Jermaine Jones is going to play for the USMNT!!!!!!!!!!

I read that, and forgive my ignorance, what's his story? I see that he plays midfield for Schalke, but where in the midfield? Is he a sure-fire starter?

Edit: Looks like he plays right midfield for Schalke. Are we talking about Jones on the right, Dempsey on the left, with Donovan and Bradley in the center for the midfield?

improbus
06-15-2009, 09:08 AM
Excited for todays game (I love being a teacher). Any thoughts?

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 09:55 AM
Excited for todays game (I love being a teacher). Any thoughts?

Should be interesting. I'm getting work out of the way early today so that I can watch the game. If Italy takes their usual approach for cup/championship play, it should be a low scoring affair.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 03:37 PM
Anyone watching live?

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 03:39 PM
Interesting ball they're using. The HD closeup almost looks like it has dimples like a golf ball.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 03:47 PM
Cameronesi made a nice run, but was unable to find his man on the cross. Italians are playing the stout defense they are known for.

M2
06-15-2009, 03:47 PM
The U.S. is moving the ball much quicker through the midfield. Italy's much more dangerous with delivering a dangerous ball.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 03:52 PM
Those horns the fans are blowing are worthless

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 03:57 PM
Michael Bradley with a nice tackle at midfield, gets it down to Donovan and starts a run. Donovan puts it through to Bradley who cuts it toward the goal. Saved by Buffon. If he could have gotten more on it, it might have put the US up.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:00 PM
Howard gets a nice save on the header. US needs to tighten up their marking in the box or Italy will make them pay.

At the other end, Altidore had a golden opportunity as Buffon overcommitted, but he tried to dish it off to Donovan instead of taking the shot.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:02 PM
Girlardino is taking on seat on just about any contact, but the ref isn't calling it, yet.

Howard saves a tough one and then punches out a corner.

Girlardino and Onyewu having a nice cuddle in the box on the corner.

improbus
06-15-2009, 04:04 PM
Uh oh, red card for Clark..

M2
06-15-2009, 04:04 PM
Dumb challenge by Clark that should have been a yellow card and instead draws red.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:05 PM
Gattuso is the first pull out the acting job to get the ref to card Ricardo Clarke. It was a late challenge, but didn't look like he was intentionally playing man instead of the ball.

Grosso gets a yellow for an elbow to Donovan's face.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:09 PM
Bornstien almost gets an own goal, but Asst. Ref had whistled offside.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:10 PM
Altidore draws a penalty!

improbus
06-15-2009, 04:10 PM
Goooooooaaaaaallllllll!!!!!

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:11 PM
Donovan delivers on the penalty! 1-0 US!

Playadlc
06-15-2009, 04:11 PM
Wow.

M2
06-15-2009, 04:12 PM
One thing is for sure, Lando knows how to convert a penalty.

Hoosier Red
06-15-2009, 04:12 PM
Okay, 11 guys form a wall in front of the goal. What? It will only be for 50 minutes or so.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:12 PM
Iaquinta tries to get on his bike for a goal and almost takes out a US player instead.

M2
06-15-2009, 04:12 PM
Bradley blasts one at Buffon. Exactly what the team needs. The Italians can be rattled if you put a lot of shots on them.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:13 PM
Okay, 11 guys form a wall in front of the goal. What? It will only be for 50 minutes or so.

We only have 10 due to the Clarke red card.

Hoosier Red
06-15-2009, 04:14 PM
We only have 10 due to the Clarke red card.

Well the strategy probably wouldn't work than. :)

OUReds
06-15-2009, 04:14 PM
I'm usually the first to cry about the refs, but the challenge by Clarke was inexcusable, and frankly probably deserved a straight red card.

Other then that the US has looked great though.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:18 PM
Donovan trying to make it through a wall of 6 Italians doesn't quite get through.

Halftime.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:20 PM
What are they saying in that Messi commercial? "They say his feet taste like timber in a crackling fire?"

M2
06-15-2009, 04:21 PM
Feilhaber's having a nice first half. Jozy's using his physicality to put some pressure on the Italian defenders, even if his feet look a bit rusty.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:25 PM
Horrible decision by the referee. You don't kill a game that is flowing so well with a Red card in that situation. Elated to be ahead, but it should be 11 v 11.

And is John Harkes retarded? Why does he think he's in that booth if not to give his opinion?

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:25 PM
I'm usually the first to cry about the refs, but the challenge by Clarke was inexcusable, and frankly probably deserved a straight red card.

Other then that the US has looked great though.

I would say the elbow to Donovan's face is more deserving of a red than Clarke's challenge. At least Clarke looked like he was trying to play the ball. There was no reason for the elbow.

M2
06-15-2009, 04:27 PM
There was no reason for the elbow.

Italian players require no reason to elbow a guy in the face.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:29 PM
Watched some of that Brazil-Egypt game. Couldn't believe how well Egypt played them. I wonder if this is a preview of how some of the African teams will play in the World Cup on "home turf."

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:30 PM
If the US doesn't win, I'd love to see an African champion.

OUReds
06-15-2009, 04:30 PM
I would say the elbow to Donovan's face is more deserving of a red than Clarke's challenge. At least Clarke looked like he was trying to play the ball. There was no reason for the elbow.

If Clarke was trying to play the ball, then it was an absolutely epic fail.

Agree that the elbow could have been a red card also though.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:33 PM
I actually really liked the lineup that BB went with. Bradley had a hell of a half. Some real bone-jarring tackles and was positive with the ball.

Landon was his typical class. He played a ball around the 10th minute where he got creamed right after making the pass (a one toucher, to boot) and it demonstrated just such delightful sight and understanding of how players should move on the pitch.

Jozy creates havoc and, more importantly, fouls.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:35 PM
I would say the elbow to Donovan's face is more deserving of a red than Clarke's challenge. At least Clarke looked like he was trying to play the ball. There was no reason for the elbow.

Very poor officiating. After awarding such a soft Red, he should have immediately looked for the "equalizer."

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:37 PM
I see Jermaine Jones replacing Rico Clarke in this lineup.

He is an awesome destroyer who is also very skilled with the ball in the MF. He will give this team some nasty bite.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:39 PM
Dempsey needs to pass.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:39 PM
The USA has never beaten Italy, IIRC.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:41 PM
Zambrotta tries to body slap Altidore.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:42 PM
Note to announcers: It was Materrazzi, not Zambrotta who received the Zidane headbutt.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:43 PM
The turncoat checks in for Italy.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:44 PM
Guiseppi Rossi comes in, traitor! :)

M2
06-15-2009, 04:44 PM
I believe the name Giuseppi Rossi translated into English means "the one who got away."

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:45 PM
UMM damn.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:45 PM
Shazbot.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:46 PM
nm

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:47 PM
Alright, go for the draw. haha.

M2
06-15-2009, 04:48 PM
The U.S. needs to apply more pressure in the midfield. It's slacking off a bit and giving Pirlo and De Rossi too much room.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:49 PM
Howard's getting pissed.

M2
06-15-2009, 04:50 PM
Howard's getting pissed.

I didn't see a pint in his hands.

NJReds
06-15-2009, 04:52 PM
The U.S. needs to apply more pressure in the midfield. It's slacking off a bit and giving Pirlo and De Rossi too much room.

The ref ended this game with that awful red card. A great team would have trouble defending against Italy for 60 minutes, much less the US.

The US played well up to that point when it was 11-on-11.

Thank goodness for Oneywu. What a great game he played.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:55 PM
I didn't see a pint in his hands.

He could probably use one, having to work most of an Italy game with only 9 guys in front of him.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:55 PM
The ref ended this game with that awful red card. A great team would have trouble defending against Italy for 60 minutes, much less the US.

The US played well up to that point when it was 11-on-11.

Thank goodness for Oneywu. What a great game he played.

Game's not over yet. :)

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:56 PM
Luca Toni on. Italy going for the win.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:58 PM
Ouch. De Rossi scores 2-1 Italy.

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:59 PM
Fark. Well, hope the ref gets awarded MOTM.

NJReds
06-15-2009, 04:59 PM
Game's not over yet. :)

Now it is. Don't want to see this official in this tournament again. You can't have an itchy trigger finger with the red card in a tournament.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 04:59 PM
Did Onyewu get a piece of that?

WMR
06-15-2009, 04:59 PM
"That ... is not good"

Epic commentary from John Harkes.

WMR
06-15-2009, 05:01 PM
What a disappointing result from a game that started so promisingly.

I did see some good things from this match and it was an, overall, encouraging performance.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 05:01 PM
Chris Rock, I mean Beasley comes on.

NJReds
06-15-2009, 05:01 PM
Did Onyewu get a piece of that?

Don't think so. Nice shot from DeRossi. It's been target practice this whole half. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends 3 - 4 to 1.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 05:03 PM
Don't think so. Nice shot from DeRossi. It's been target practice this whole half.

The US has rarely gotten the ball past midfield this half. I think playing ten men this long against the reigning World Cup champs, they have to be hurting out there. Surprised they didn't bring in subs earlier.

WMR
06-15-2009, 05:08 PM
My freaking God how much more blatant do you need???/??/??

Freaking HOSER ref.

WMR
06-15-2009, 05:08 PM
This ref is pathetic.

NJReds
06-15-2009, 05:09 PM
I can't understand how that's not a penalty.

WMR
06-15-2009, 05:09 PM
LOL and the Italians get the ball back after the player committing the foul pretends he is injured. Perfect Italian soccer.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 05:12 PM
Nice 'stashe, Sasha.

NJReds
06-15-2009, 05:15 PM
How does Bradley hold his third sub until 5 minutes left? What a dope.

Gus Hiddink is a free agent, recently let go as the adviser at Chelsea. If the US Soccer Federation had any smarts, they'd get him here for whatever the cost.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 05:16 PM
Kljestan and his 'stache just miss on a curving shot.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 05:19 PM
Tim Howard with a big save.

NJReds
06-15-2009, 05:20 PM
The wrong American has 2 goals.

Yachtzee
06-15-2009, 05:21 PM
Man this stinks.

WMR
06-15-2009, 05:22 PM
Let's hope Bob Bradley keeps "assessing" his players. :rolleyes: