30 Days, 30 Questions for the USMNT

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10/7 Update: See the answers below to TSG’s 30 Days, 30 Questions for the USMNT. All questions were originally asked on September 11th when the article was published.

The members of the USMNT are off to their respective corners of the globe to hone their skills with their club teams. With a month-long hiatus before the final round of World Cup qualifying, we have some questions to ponder for the 30-days ahead. If you have any answers or some questions yourself, add them in the comments and we’ll run the best ones as a post over the weekend.


US Soccer…can they convince ESPN to put games on a premier channel so people don’t ask if the game was already played when I tell them it is on ESPN Classic.

Answer: Let’s just say if we grading this as a one-question quiz, US Soccer would get an “F”. Through their official USMNT soccer blog, they played the “Honduras Federation controls the rights” card and seemingly washed their collective hands of the mess. There may have been some attempt we don’t know about, but considering where we are, it is disappointing.

Gulati…what locations will he be scouting for the next friendly? Sheboygan? Nome?

Answer: Incomplete, but Gulati did respond personally to our request for information on the US-Honduras match and also talked about the US being seeded in the World Cup.

Coach Bradley…will Gulati take him to his tailor?

Answer: We will give you the answer as soon as he appears live on Saturday. Although we have been able to confirm that at one point in his life he did wear a suit.


Tim Howard…can he keep Americans Dempsey (9/13) and Altidore (9/23) off the score sheet on the other side of the pond and maintain his

Tim Howards says you guys have it easy...and what are you wearing?

Big T says you guys have it easy...and asks, "What are you wearing?

sterling form? (Bonus: Will the iron man get a rest?)

Answer: Dempsey was held scoreless on 9/13, but he and his mates picked up the 2-1 win over Howard’s side. Meanwhile Big-T pitched a shutout versus Hull on 9/23; a game in which Altidore was excluded from the 18. And no rest for the weary, Howard has gone the distance in all Everton contests since the band broke up after T&T.

Guzan…will the Polish-American (YEAH!) relieve American Brad Friedel (whose had a quite a fine campaign thus far) for Villa in its Carling Cup game on 9/23?

Answer: Guzan did make the start and five saves en-route to 1-0 shut-out win over Cardiff City.


Gooch…will he get enough / any time at Milan so I don’t have to write a post wondering if Marshall should start versus Honduras due to Gooch’s fitness issues?

Answer: No he didn’t and you guys are worried. However, the US is hurting at the center back positions with Marshall and DeMerit unfit for competition and Gooch has to be in there. (Bonus? w: If you want to see much more Gooch than you ever thought possible, pick up ESPN The Magazine’s “The Body Issue” that just came out.)

Spector…who’s going to get him a Jugs machine so he can work on his aerial defense?

Answer: Hopefully he got that Jugs machine as he hasn’t seen any action in EPL games for West Ham since the last round of qualifying. However, he did go 90 in West Ham’s Carling Cup match versus Bolton. For a good overview of Spector’s prospects at West Ham and a one-sentence review of his play at LB check out this post at West Ham ‘Till I Die.

Bornstein…who’s going to get him Taylor Twellman’s Kick Medic so he can learn how to put those lead passes in the right direction?

JB: "Thanks, Taylor!"

JB: "Thanks, Taylor!"

Answer: With Boca sliding up top again due to the aforementioned injuries we should know within about 20 minutes on Saturday night if Bornstein spent time with the Kick Medic endorsed by one of Cosmopolitan’s Hottest Bachelors.

DeMerit…can he get fit and get a shot in the EPL given the dearth of quality central defenders?

Answer: No and no, and the injury that is most threatening right now isn’t his groin. It’s his eye as as a result of a failed contact removal procedure.

Cherundolo…will his play at Hannover 96 propel him into more than just a roster spot when the team reconvenes?

Answer: Getting consistent minutes may have been enough with Spector spending most of the past 30 days riding the pine. TSG thinks Stevie will get the start at RB on Saturday.

Bocanegra…will Captain Carlos be rejuvenated or exhausted after a month of club play? (Bonus: Will he practice his dramatic reading of the FIFA Fair Play Code?)

Answer: Boca got some unexpected rest over the weekend after being sent off in the 16th minute of his club match on Saturday for pulling back an attacker when judged to be the last defender. In other news, TSG has learned that there is no truth to the rumor that Boca spent time on his dramatic reading skills with William Shatner.

Marshall…can he really measure and improve his skill by playing in the MLS when he is already the league’s best defender?

Answer: Marshall went down to a sprained knee ligament in practice with his club team shortly after the last round of WC qualifying. We’d feel better about it if that practice had been taking place overseas instead of in Columbus.


Dempseywill Bob Bradley apologize for kicking his dog?…will his heart make the return trip to the States come October?

Answer: With Deuce out for Honduras and, most likely, Costa Rica we won’t know, but his lackluster performances won’t be forgotten.

Donovan…can he do whatever-it-takes to sustain his run of tremendous play?

Answer: Just named MLS Player of the Week. How’s this for form…

Bradley…T&T was a step in the right direction. Can he continue to curb his tongue and allow his play to do the talking?

Answer: I know you are told never to answer a question with another question, but then again I don’t like to go by the book. So…if a bottom of the table Bundesliga team doesn’t consider him their most crucial midfielder, should his position in the starting 11 be considered untouchable for the U.S. squad?

Holden…will he send Bradley daily tweets asking the coach what he needs to work on to secure more time on the pitch?

Answer: The newly minted Dynamo Captain may have tweeted up a storm in the last month, but Dempsey’s injury guarantees he gets more playing time and hopefully the start.

Torres…will he start his own Twitter account to do the same?

Answer: Similar to Holden, with Deuce down, Torres moves up in the list.

"I will not lose the ball." "I will not lose the ball." Repeat: "I will not lose..."

"I will not lose the ball." "I will not lose the ball." Repeat: "I will not lose..."

Clark… will he sleep with a soccer ball to help him improve his ball security?

Answer: Not sure if Clark picked up tips from Freddy Adu, but he did speak with FIFA and remarked that, “You’ll always be criticised for something.”

Feilhaber…will he learn of Matthew’s man-crush and file a restraining order?

Answer: To my knowledge, Matthew has not been served (except in bar shuffleboard this past weekend in Portland by me.)


Davies…will he work on a new dance move in addition to his skill set over at Sochaux?

Answer: Davies has been straight doing work for Sochaux since the last round of qualifying and it sounds like he is going to stick with the Stanky Leg for the time being. And, in case you hadn’t heard…he thinks the US can win the World Cup…next summer. Let’s see if Charlie’s can back up his brazen talk (which we like) on the pitch by leading his team into qualification this next next week.

Altidore…how will he improve playing in the world’s best league?

Answer: Wrong question, it should have been “Will he earn enough time to improve?

Ching…clearly eclipsed on the senior team by the Altidore / Davies combo, how will he mentally prepare himself to be a valued second half sub going forward?

Answer: We’ll see if he is used / needed in the coming days. In the meantime, he has committed to four more years with the Dynamo and looks to remain Forever Orange.

Casey…will he save some of his goal scoring for the national team?

Answer: Casey is tied for the MLS lead in goals at 16 including a game-tying PK on Sunday. How much does he have?


Edu…will he demonstrate enough fitness to get a call?

Answer: Hasn’t been able to get on the pitch. In his own words, “I know u guys been asking for an update, my injurys getting better but still needs time…dunno an exact return date but hopefully soon”

Jones…although the paperwork is done, will he get the FIFA sign-off as well as play his way into shape in time for a much anticipated USMNT debut?

Answer: Had another set back in his repaired wheel and the USMNT faithfuls “Jermaine Jones Watch” stretches into another month.

Castillo…newly FIFA-approved, can he keep track of his (U.S.) passport for the next 30 days and will Bob let him use it?

Answer: Nope…as you know by now, Castillo didn’t get called into camp. Bob-o is going with what he knows; hence the last call-in of Hedjuk.

Cooper…will a few more goals for 1860 Munich convince Bob to give him a look over Casey and / or Ching?

Answer: Scored his third goal for TSV Munich on 9/23 then got the call. We’ll see if he gets any time. (By the way, he isn’t beating Charlie Davies in a foot race anytime soon, but it did look like he had some burst in that link/clip.)

Adu…can he play some of the best football of his life at Belenenses to resurrect a flagging national team career?

Answer: Incomplete. Finally starting to get some time and seems to be extremely committed to working on his craft.

Pearce…finally back with a club (FC Dallas) can Pearce play his way into the conversation at LB?

Answer: Not looking likely at this point, but he just started Tweeting!

Extra Extras

Simmons…will he get the message and be at RFK come October 14?

Answer: Despite our efforts to reach The Sports Guy in other ways, we have still be unsuccessful. We’ll let you know if anything changes.

Soccer in America…will the popularity of soccer continue to grow now that the NFL is back on the field?

Answer:  The lack of a television broadcast for the Honduras game is a big bump in the road for sure, but we can get past that. Let’s see if the US puts the full-court press on snagging the World Cup now that Chicago got punked in Olympic bidding.

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by garbogas on 2009/09/11 at 11:40 AM

    I think the better question for Feilhaber is if he’ll slip some food poisoning into Rico’s food several days before the Honduras match?

    For Jones, I’ll respond with another question. If Jones doesn’t get approved/called for either of the last two qualifiers, what are the chances Bradley still considers calling him up for friendlies before SA?

    Finally, Simmons. I’m afraid his latest fling with soccer may be just that, a fling. Much deeper and emotionally satisfying than his 2006 fling, but perhaps a fling nonetheless. With the NFL starting again and baseball approaching the postseason, all the ingredients are there for soccer to fade into the background. Simmons indirectly touched on the subject saying that it was great to have something (EPL) to fill the empty sports weekends in August. My point is this – it may be a losing battle, but I think proactivity is needed to keep Simmons engaged with Soccer. Brothers TSG, if you have any of stages 2-25 of your Simmons campaign ready, I say it’s go-time.


  2. Posted by Lamb on 2009/09/11 at 11:57 AM

    Great write up, guys!


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/11 at 12:07 PM

    I already have a restraining order.


  4. GIVE US KENNY COOPER!!!!!!!!!!


  5. Okay, you guys were proved right about Dempsey. Still – he scores a lot of goals… where are we without the goals he’s scored this summer. Hmm… I get the impression Dempsey doesn’t want to play for Bob Bradley – what do you think? He seems like the type who would carry that sort of thing onto the pitch with him, doesn’t he? While I think somewhat sensibly Bob is scared of trying anything different in qualifying and getting a bad result, I too would like to see a change for Dempsey – either rest him in favor of Torres/Holden or pair him with Davies or Altidore up top.

    What did you guys think of Honduras? I think Palacios is an absolute monster, he’s what you’d get if NFL middle linebackers decided to play soccer instead. That’s a nice way to think about what a defensive midfielder is supposed to do as well – patrol the holes and passing lanes as they open up to snuff out the danger. Did you see him organize that midfield? They put on a defensive clinic for about 75 minutes.

    Note to Bob – defending well is a team thing, not a collection of individual battles. Watching that made me realize that our back four should be playing about 10 yards narrower and are trying to pressure too much out on the flanks. Anyways, I wrote about how to organize a nice tight back four on my blog if anyone’s interested.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/11 at 4:24 PM

      On Deuce:

      As I said in my preview piece, you’ll see Deuce until he stops scoring goals (I probably should have added creating).

      Best best, you’ll see him away to start for sure in Honduras–too important a game. If the US is sitting comfortable, watch to see what Bradley does in RFK — maybe a Holden start there and maybe a trial for Dempsey up top.

      Honduras is just another chance for Deuce. All he needs is one and the fans will give him a break and I think he’ll get rolling again.

      As for Palacios — big part of the Tottenham start this year — you’ll see him Saturday on Fox Soccer against Man U if you have it.. He’ll have to do more with Modric out for sure.

      If you’re speaking of lineback sized men you might be thinking of his partner in the middle Tom Huddlestone (he of the huge head, lead foot on set pieces, and mammoth size) — He’s as big as Gooch and plays up the pitch with an ability to strike.

      (Note: Unfortunately I missed the most recent Honduras game).


  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/11 at 8:45 PM

    @i like tuesday. whats your blog address? i’d totally want to see what tips you have as the high school soccer season is a couple months away. it would be nice to get some tips outside the coach’s perspective and maybe develop the chemistry with the rest of my back-line buddies early


    • Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/12 at 6:59 AM

      Click on “I Like Tuesday” in the top line of his comment box that starts with “Posted by”




      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/10/07 at 8:32 PM

        I don’t really think it matters any more. since we have a new CB i was moved up to defensive mid. ugh the last thing i need is more ground to cover but at least i get a chance to score more often.


  7. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/12 at 8:16 PM

    Low probability on Heath Pearce I think. Bornstein/Spector acquitted themselves much better against Zelaya, Tinto and Williams.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/14 at 11:50 AM

      Based on the current player pool, I don’t think there is going to be ONE answer at LB before next summer. We could see match-up defense with Boca / Bornstein / Castillo (assuming he is the real / half-the-real deal) all seeing time on the wing.

      Boca’s versatility at center and left should allow Bob to take two exclusive LBs, no?


  8. […] 30 Days, 30 Questions for the USMNT – (09/11) […]


  9. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/07 at 3:06 PM

    To Mark, my brother at TSG:

    Number 1 — you’re not going to impune my abilities by suggesting that you didn’t receive your customary beatdown on the shuffleboard table

    Number 2 — I thought you gave up that subscription of Cosmopolitan a few years ago?

    Number 3 — Agree on Davies — you need a resume like Howard’s or Donovan’s before you pop-off on winning the World Cup — c’mon Charlie — like the aggression just not the public relations


  10. Shouldn’t it read that GL’BACH are “a past & future Bundesliga 2 team”.


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