Archive for September, 2009

Sifting Through Muck: Honduras WCQ TV Rights

This piece is hopefully just Part 1 in the series.

Just like you were, TSG was extremely frustrated by the recent news that the USMNT would not be playing on an easily clickable channel come October 10th. Should the game still be played in Honduras, TSG and all the rest of the USMNT fans are currently on the outside looking in.

Is that a beer stain on the screen or is it just blurry?

Is that a beer stain on the screen or is it just blurry?

So we decided to do a little sleuthing, a little digging and ended up with mostly a lot of head scratching.

One thing this situation is *not* is unique. Apparently, the English vs. Ukraine Cup qualifier is also suspended in it’s own dilemna with the only option to watch the game currently being the world wide web-o-sphere for a cost per feed. Across message boards and blogs overseas it has been “reported” that a figure of $1.3M for the rights to the event was rejected. You can be sure if a $1.3M price tag is too high for the Three Lions then, anything approaching $1M for the U.S. should also be out of range.

Here is the litany of players and peripheral players we reached out to try and get a better understanding of the media situation over here:

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Wednesday Morning Hitters: Messi & More

• Quick reminder that Everton are in action at Hull City today. Will Tim Howard continue his iron man streak in goal for Everton? Is Altidore likely to feature? TSG says yes to both. Everton will want to keep their Carling streak alive and unless Craig Fagan gets a surprise start, JZA should take the pitch.

As for the game? Hull’s at home, but Everton finally has it going on. Pick Everton to place in this one.

• Also in action today, Villa takes on Cardiff City at home. Does Brad Guzan finally get some reps? Fulham head northward to Man City–will EJ even feature in the squad on the day?

Will the Guz get a shot?

Will the Guz get a shot?

•  No takers yet for El Hadji Diouf in our poll on the right for the most annoying global football player. Why does Diouf deserve at least one vote? How about his latest asinine move: Accusing a Goodison ball boy of throwing bananas at him when Blackburn visited Everton’s home turf Sunday? Diouf’s reputation precedes him, no bananas were found on the pitch, and no one near the episode saw one thrown. This story is just ridiculous.

• Take a look at this slicing run and goal from Barcelona great Lionel Messi in yesterday’s 4-1 putdown of Racing Santander. Either the announcer in the clip is so deflated as the score is already 3-0 for the visitors or he’s seen some other clips and considers this latest Messi masterpiece nothing above ho-hum.

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The Gooch Watch: Silva Out!

Silva....we're just one Nesta misstep away

Silva....we're just one Nesta misstep away

Update 1: Match starting now on FSC. Gooch in 18, but not starting.

We’re on full blown Gooch Watch over here at TSG.

And while we don’t wish injuries upon anyone other than Gio Dos Santos and the entire Mexican team (and maybe a few others–we’re kidding on all fronts here), we are “saddened” by the news from Goal.com that starting center defender Thiago Silva is out for what looks to be three games for A.C. Milan.

Before we call in Oguchi, he’s going to need to make his case, in practice, that he is a better selection than Kakha Kaladze who Milan looked to deal earlier in the year (mostly for financial reasons), but who also deputized for Silva on Saturday against Bologna.

We’re just one Nesta limp away from big guy getting himself some run.

On another note, both Jonathan Spector, for West Ham, and Michael Bradley, for Bo………Munchen!, played 120 minutes and 90 minutes, respectively today.

TSG Corporate Communications: Bob Bradley

Even a few camera guys are wearing button-downs here!

For crying out loud, borrow that cameraman's get-up

We’re still working on our Bill Bradley 20 questions piece. However, I just had to put this little blurb in here this morning.

From the TSG Corporate Communications files, my brother just txt’d me: “If we didn’t have to focus on the Bill Simmons campaign, I’d start a campaign to send Bill Bradley ties before the Costa Rica game.” Hysterical.

Can I induct my brother into the Jimmy Conrad Wing?

Don’t go get any ideas…oops, how did this get in here:

U.S. Soccer Federation

1801 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

Remember to keep pushing that Simmons campaign by the way. We’re still trying different avenues to reach out. Suggestions appreciated.

Getting the Ball Rolling on Honduras

We are less than 20 days away to the next US qualifier in Honduras. Thought it would a good time for TSG to take a few minutes to re-watch the June 6th USA-Honduras match on June 6th in Chitown and re-ignite the fervor and dialogue among the USMNT fanbase.

Did I mention I love ESPN360.com? What a great product.

It’s always fun to go back and watch USMNT tape months later to see the player changes and play progressions.

First Bob Bradley came out with an even more defensive on his home turf starting Ricardo Clark and Pablo Mastroeni in the midfield with Connor Casey pairing Altidore upfront.

Wow, seems a tad warmer and less friendly this time around

Wow, seems a tad warmer and less friendly this time around

The backline is probably what you should see on 10/10: Bornstein, Boca, Gooch and Spector. However, Cherundolo’s name, with his experience and continued playing time overseas might see him back in the line-up at the expense of Spector.

Some observations in retrospect:

- I loved the aggression the US came out with at the whistle. The Yanks really looked to link and score. Actually come to think of it, they may just have been only mildy aggressive however holding that June 6 match up against the light with the T&T one, the aggression is magnified that much more.

- That aggression was helped by Honduras playing defense to the U.S.’s strengths. Honduras played an extremely narrow midfield with their wing defenders collapsing inward. This allowed Pablo Mastroeni, of all players, to just keep milking the easy pass to the wing for the US to migrate (with Landon and Clint) nearly unchallenged up the pitch. Will Honduras stay as narrow in the rematch? Mastroeni literally looked like a qb hitting the running back out of the backfield for dump-and-swing passes all day long.

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Your Feedback on Some Monday Bullets

TSG has a few columns coming up this week:  a follow-up on our nickname piece, an update on the Honduras TV situation, a retrospective on the June 6th USA-Honduras qualifier game and more….but I have so many random comments for today that I’d love for our fans to weigh in on.

Why a Duke has served on this exchange for 35 years!

Why a Duke has served on this exchange for 35 years!

- Does anyone else think the recent transfer ban actions are a means of slowing down spending in soccer overseas? Just today FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that further scrutiny would occur on 15 recent transfer actions. Far be it from TSG or me to question whether there are transfer irregularities, but the news is somewhat “coincidental” when Real Madrid comes out today and says they are $327M in debt.

- Did anyone else actually enjoy the trash talking, both in the run-up and denouement, of the Manchester Derby? From the antagonizing billboards, to Sir Alex Ferguson’s diatribe against Manchester City just this past Friday, to Mark Hughes’s dressing down of Gary Neville over his injury time goal celebration on Sunday, this has the makings of an even better rivalry. Would you ever hear Yanks skipper Joe Girardi launch into putdown of the Red Sox heading into a series like Ferguson did? No way.

Need more? How about a study here about “the 12th man” on the field for United in stoppage time.

And then Carlos Tevez says Manchester United miss Cristiano Ronaldo. I’ve got news for Tevez though. Ferguson’s teams always start slow with or without Ronaldo. This year, beyond a loss to Burnely, they’re off to a flying start by their measures.

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USMNT: Lots of Benchtime This Weekend

A little late on my weekend wrapping here.

Not as much tape for Bob Bradley to watch this weekend. His son Mike Bradley went featureless for Bo’Munchen (see nicknames). Jonathan Spector took a seat for West Ham. Oguchi Onyewu dressed, but didn’t play in Milan’s Bologna win. Milan, with a 1-0 win, are hardly looking dominating these days and with the center back a position where full field fitness rarely is a necessity, there is reason to be concerned about Onyewu’s long term playing prospects right now. TSG thinks he’ll now feature October 4th at best.

Beyond the usual starters (Howard, Dempsey, Friedel, Davies & Boca), you had Altidore playing 64 for Hull City. Marcus Hahnemann is slowly watching his RSA prospects diminish as he can’t get on the field for Wolverhampton, same for DaMarcus Beasley. Jay DeMerit didn’t dress for Watford as well and the odds are that Boca is centrally located again  on 10/10 right now.

At least Jonathan Bornstein played locally against Seattle and Steve Cherundolo played 90 for Dortmund.

My brother did a great job already on the outstanding Manchester Derby. For my part, that pesky alarm that I switched off for Sunderland-Burnley (which turned out to be not-so-much of a yawner), I forgot to turn back on for the city of Manchester showdown. Needless to say I was bummed and relegated to highlights.

Quite a striking ability without the golf club

Quite a striking ability without the golf club

Craig Bellamy, though?! No Robinho, no Adebayor and Bellamy nails two. I have to tell you, despite their defense, I’m a Man City believer now when your possession midfielder (Barry) can pick up a goal and your 5th best striker knocks it in. With the returns of Adebayor and the pending return of the #2 scorer in the EPL two years ago (Roque Santa-Cruz), I’m not so sure that Robinho’s questionable attitude and play-when-he-wants to spirit stay around Citizens.

And how about Michael Owen knocking in the game winner. Earlier this year, when the Red Devils announced his signing, radio show World Soccer Daily called around to sport jersey outlets. You know how many Owen jerseys were sold across all outlets in the first week after his signing? Zero. Redemption.

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