It’s like the calm before the qualifier storm right now. Players around the world gathering to prep for the last of the matches to decide who goes and who’s disappointed.
Updated: Some Wednesday bullets:
• The England National must be envious of the USMNT goalkeeper situation. Fabio Capello’s choices for the leading role are, in no particular order, twilighting vet David James, who have been ambivalent at Portsmouth this year, Man United’s much maligned Ben Foster, who has looked shaky at best in Van Der Saar’s absence and is now the subject of a post-game spat with Fergie, and the highly untested Robert Green who has been decent for West Ham. Also in the mix for Capello’s last line are Paul Robinson (do you really see that happening?) and Joe Hart.
Some late Tuesday bullets:
• 84 caps walked into the U.S. practice facility in Miami today with Frankie Haircut recalled for the USMNT. Nice move Bob Bradley. If Hedjuk can impart any of his fiery spirit and knowledge through experience in unison, his recall will already be worth it.
I don’t see Hedjuk factoring (or maybe even traveling) Saturday, but stranger line-ups have happened.
• Still no word on whether the Deuceman will make a visit to the nation’s capital yet for the RFK affair. Here’s hoping it’s an easier decision for Bob Bradley after a ticket punch to RSA on Saturday.
• If TSG presented a position-by-position match-up piece on Saturday, you’d see “Major Advantage – Honduras” next to the LB review. While we’re Bornstein fans, Honduran Maynor Figueroa has been truly coming into his own in the EPL for Wigan.
The 5’11” 26-year-old played a big part in Wigan’s historic win over Chelsea two weeks and is migrating further up the pitch to support the offense and make his presence felt. Watch his play on Saturday.
• TSG reader Tres Hermanos comments that all three Palacios brothers could see the pitch in San Pedro Sula this weekend for the home side. Is that the first time three brothers have been on the pitch in a qualifier? We have no idea, but we’ll snoop around. If all three of player like the elder Wilson and with EPL tackle leader Hendry Thomas on the field, the US will be in for a very physical game.
• Robbie Rogers’s Twitter account seems to suggest he’s battling an ankle knock. We didn’t think Rogers was in the mix for a start in the Deuceman’s absence, but Roger’s twitterings are just another data point for BB’s evaluation.
• The calls for U-20 coach Thomas Rongen’s head are temporarily and probably permanently louder than the calls for Coach Bob’s. Big difference here beyond the obvious win-loss record.
While the USMNT have been inconsistent and tentative in their march to 2010, Rongen’s troops looked radically different from game to game, showing their potential against Cameroon and their immaturity and….yes, lack of coaching and discipline…against Germany and South Korea.
That being said, Sunil Gulati has to at least raise an eyebrow to the fact that both teams, with former MLS coaches at the helm, suffer similarly from a severe lack of offensive continuity and questionable game tactics.
On an alternate note, want to hear Bob Bradley talk about absolutely nothing in a podcast? Click here. (In Coach USA’s defense, I’m not sure how many times you can answer the same question asked over and over again differently as expect a different answer.)
• Those murmuring for MLS elder statesman and goal chief Jeff Cunningham to be given consideration for USMNT are casually forgetting Cunningham’s penchant for missing gimmes, his slight frame, his sporadic efforts, and his ability to wear out his welcome wherever he’s played. Cunningham’s time has passed. If a player of his ilk is in demand, what about a popover for MK Dons Jemal Johnson–of similar frame and inconsistency, at least he’s younger without the baggage.
• We’re not content at TSG merely to add for our readers that Jonathan Spector is unfit and not playing for the Hammers and will likely not start this Saturday. We want to know why? It seems ever since a few rough forays on the west side of the pitch, Spector has been a bystander for the Hammers last few EPL clashes. We’ve put the word out to a few West Ham reporters and bloggers and will update their commentary here should they add it.
• A friendly for Belenenses might see the first Freddy Adu start for his new side. Getting back on the road to relevance.