1. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by oneupper
Problem is, beating Ghana may not be enough to classify.
A tie between Italy and Czech classifies the Italians and the Czechs (if the US wins, of course). It would leave the US and Czechs with 4 points and the first tie breaker is the head to head.

True, but they can't control that.

I think Italy will handle the Czechs, but it might be wishful thinking.

Edit: I think the first tiebreaker is goal differential. The Czechs are +1; the US are -3, so almost no hope there. The second tiebreaker is goals scored. The third is head to head.

3. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

I thought the first tie break was goal differential?

4. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by MWM
I thought the first tie break was goal differential?
I thought it was too..

Is there a scenario where the Czechs and the Americans move on to the next round? The Czechs have a +1 GD and the Italians have +2 GD while the Americans have a -3 GD. Say, if the Italians lose 3-0 and the Americans win 3-0, wouldn't that move Italy out and the US in as well?

This goal differential stuff might make play extermeyl interesting on Thursday, where the U.S. might have to press with a goal lead to try and make up lost points.

5. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by oneupper
Problem is, beating Ghana may not be enough to classify.
A tie between Italy and Czech classifies the Italians and the Czechs (if the US wins, of course). It would leave the US and Czechs with 4 points and the first tie breaker is the head to head.
The problem is, those games are played at the same time. I don't think the Italians or Czechs want to leave it up to fate if they end up with a tie, especially with Brazil lurking for whoever ends up taking second place.

6. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Outshined_One
The problem is, those games are played at the same time. I don't think the Italians or Czechs want to leave it up to fate if they end up with a tie, especially with Brazil lurking for whoever ends up taking second place.
If they leave it up to a tie, and Ghana wins, the Czech's would be out.

The Czech's, Ghana and the US must play for a win. Italy could advance with a tie, but as you said, there is some incentive for avoiding Brazil.

7. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
I actually came away from watching the match with a newfound respect for Donovan. Due to the U.S. being on the man disadvantage, he had to spend more of his time in a center-midfielder role as opposed to his normal striker position. I thought he acquited himself extremely well on defensive help patrolling the area right around the edge of the box -- he forced several plays back to the outside and kept the middle area clear.

He literally left everything he had on the pitch -- I sincerely hope that he and the rest of the squad are ready for a battle with Ghana.
There's the rub: Landon has been RARELY used as a second forward throughout his career and especially with the nats. He plays his best soccer as an Attacking Midfielder. In other words: A 4-1-2-1-2

Ideal Lineup:
Cherundolo Onyewu Conrad (w/ injuries/suspensions) Boca

Reyna

Dempsey Convey

Donovan

Brian McBride Eddie Johnson

The 4-5-1 has not allowed us to generate enough offense (Donovan as withdrawn forward paired w/ McBride). Donovan generally gets sucked too far upfield and stops being the catalyst and becomes the point man, where he is much less effective.

The sendings-off versus Italy forced him to take a bigger midfield role where he was simply class. Hopefully Bruce will take notice and actually come out to beat Ghana with something very close to the line-up I suggested b/c we need more offense.

And yes, the first tie-breaker is goal differential. We could advance with a tie between Italy and Czech if we beat Ghana by, I think 4?

All teams will play to win, but if word got to the Italians or Czechs say in the 75th minute that our current result was not in question and would help them one way or the other, they might pull into a defensive shell if the result would ensure their passage into the next round rather than try anything risky.

HOWEVER: NO ONE, I mean NO ONE, wants Brazil. (Except us, we'll take 'em!) LMAO

8. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Just to confirm that the first tie breaker is goal differential then head to head.

From a neutral perspective the game between Italy and USA was not a good promotion for soccer. I agree that the Italians have probably had the worst performance of any team in the World Cup (the Australian commentators agree too). However, given the directives from FIFA the cards were justified, Italy probably should have had a few more because the current FIFA directive is that diving should be a yellow card. Tackles from behind are also meant to warrant an automatic yellow.

In general I must say that the standard of refereeing so far leaves a lot to be desired. Without Colina, Meier et al this current crop seem to be way out of their depth.

9. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

I'll never be convinced that the straight red on Mastroeni was anything but pure garbage. Yes he should have been more careful. Yes the ref was likely looking for an opportunity to equal things up. That doesn't justify a wretched call by the ref. In the EPL, I think it's 50/50 if that's even a yellow.

I also wonder about the offsides call on McBride. By the letter of the rule it is indeed offsides, but I can name many examples where with exact same play, the goal is allowed to stand (the last Blackburn-Liverpool match with Cisse replacing McBride come to mind).

Leaving aside the Italy match, given that we absolutely must have a win, I agree with WillyMo's lineup. It leaves the defense compromised, as Dempsy/Convey/Donovan can't compare with Beasley/Mastroeni/O'Brien when defending, but given that there are rumblings that O'Brien isn't match fit and how clear it is that Beasley can't play wrong footed opposite Convey, that lineup gives the best chance of winning.

The only alternative would be to slot O'Brien for Mastroeni to keep up the 4-5-1, but I think you must get Johnson on the field so the midfield can play balls to his feet and have him turn and run at people. It's the perfect compliment to McBride's skill in the air.

10. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by WilyMoROCKS
There's the rub: Landon has been RARELY used as a second forward throughout his career and especially with the nats. He plays his best soccer as an Attacking Midfielder. In other words: A 4-1-2-1-2

Ideal Lineup:
Cherundolo Onyewu Conrad (w/ injuries/suspensions) Boca

Reyna

Dempsey Convey

Donovan

Brian McBride Eddie Johnson

The 4-5-1 has not allowed us to generate enough offense (Donovan as withdrawn forward paired w/ McBride). Donovan generally gets sucked too far upfield and stops being the catalyst and becomes the point man, where he is much less effective.

The sendings-off versus Italy forced him to take a bigger midfield role where he was simply class. Hopefully Bruce will take notice and actually come out to beat Ghana with something very close to the line-up I suggested b/c we need more offense.

And yes, the first tie-breaker is goal differential. We could advance with a tie between Italy and Czech if we beat Ghana by, I think 4?

All teams will play to win, but if word got to the Italians or Czechs say in the 75th minute that our current result was not in question and would help them one way or the other, they might pull into a defensive shell if the result would ensure their passage into the next round rather than try anything risky.

HOWEVER: NO ONE, I mean NO ONE, wants Brazil. (Except us, we'll take 'em!) LMAO
Nice ideas - but the reason that we play a 4-5-1 is that we don't have 4 true midfielders to match up with Czech. Italy or Ghana. If we play a 4-4-2 with Onyewu left unprotected ....(wow, this guy is underwhelming - maybe he's young and will get better)Also, Johnson is hurt. Unless he gets better in the next few days, he won't make a difference, he is not the player he was during MLS (why didn't we carry Twellman on the team?)We have not had a good WC - even guys like Donovan and Reyna who I thought were stalwarts have disappointed. Can we find some magic against Ghana - I am hoping for it. So far, Mastroeni is the USA's best player, which was why the referee's red card was so harsh. If a guy is playing well, I thought the Refs typically gave him the benefit of the doubt (i.e. why would he mess a guy up if he's so good).

11. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Wow, some harsh criticism of Onyewu there. After 2nd viewing of the Italy-USA match, he was easily 2nd MOTM behind Donovan.

Johnson is hurt? How did he get hurt? He's barely seen the field. He's had probably our 2nd best shot attempt of the tournament behind Mastro's blast.

More like Pope unprotected: The guy was overmatched from the start, but Bruce loves his solid vets. Hmm, haven't seen that b/f in other sports.

The performance VS. Italy and a good effort VS. Ghana will make this a great WC for the US IMO.

Mastro's Red was the one I had the biggest problem with. Give the guy a yellow, AT MOST, but a straight red was so lame and undeserved.

12. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Nug, sounds like Mr. Harry Kewell has a colorful tongue. How are Aussies reacting to his potential suspension in the all-important match VS. Croatia?

Congrats, btw, on the comeback VS. Japan. And you guys gave Brazil everything they wanted and then some.

Speaking of the Selecao, they have been underwhelming, to say the least, but they've appeared a different side when Robinho takes the pitch. Wonder if they'll give him a run in their final match.

13. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Onyewu can be analyzed and debated. What I saw is that he took Luca Toni out of the game by holding, grabbing and elbowing him constantly. While it was effective, it was a pretty cynical performance. Someone else might see a tough, physical defender - his comparison is a Sol Campbell (without Sol's offensive abilities - did I just say that??) I like defenders like Nesta.
Eddie Pope is past his prime and should not be starting for his country at the WC.
If I sound too critical, I'm sorry. I'm very disappointed in the US performance - we haven't even found the net in 180 minutes. I really hope the Ghana game will be a different story.

14. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Onyewu can be analyzed and debated. What I saw is that he took Luca Toni out of the game by holding, grabbing and elbowing him constantly. While it was effective, it was a pretty cynical performance. Someone else might see a tough, physical defender - his comparison is a Sol Campbell (without Sol's offensive abilities - did I just say that??) I like defenders like Nesta.
Eddie Pope is past his prime and should not be starting for his country at the WC.
LOL, hehehe, me too, too bad we don't have any that are close to being that good!!

I like Gooch because he's the best we got and he plays with the kind of bite that I like. LOL, Toni was giving as good as he got. Watch the replays of the Italian goal, Toni has Gooch in a bearhug, that alone should have disallowed the goal.

What really sucks is Cory Gibbs getting hurt. He would have relegated Pope to the bench where he belongs. (And I love Eddie for his career with the Nats, but the truth is plain to see.)

15. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by WilyMoROCKS
LOL, hehehe, me too, too bad we don't have any that are close to being that good!!

I like Gooch because he's the best we got and he plays with the kind of bite that I like. LOL, Toni was giving as good as he got. Watch the replays of the Italian goal, Toni has Gooch in a bearhug, that alone should have disallowed the goal.

What really sucks is Cory Gibbs getting hurt. He would have relegated Pope to the bench where he belongs. (And I love Eddie for his career with the Nats, but the truth is plain to see.)
I'll grant you the point that Onyewu is not intimidated, which bodes well for his future. He's also the prototypical big athletic defender you need.
I liked Gibbs too. The silver lining to bad tournament performances is a new squad and new starters.

16. ## Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

Don't discount Onyewu's ability for technical growth: I've seen him cross fields with ease and can actually make some insightful passes from time to time. I see both he and Clint Dempsey earning EPL offers after the WC.

I'm really thankful Gooch didn't draw that second yellow vs. Italy. Berhalter and Conrad VS. Ghana?? ::

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