Archive for October, 2009

Follow-up: Yanks, Rough Riders, the Militia?

And finally the long-awaited–cough, very long-awaited, follow-up to our nickname piece. If you haven’t read the first piece, it’s really a great and damn near mandatory starter for this second piece. Read the commentary afterward from TSG readers — it’s pretty hysterical.

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us_1

Quite a few nicknames out there to frustrate Her Majesty

First, thanks to all of you that contributed such well thought out and meritorious commentary in Part I of “let’s not root for Steinbrenner’s team.” (Note, I am a Yanks’ baseball fan by the way. Gosh, it’s already confusing.)

Your rooting passion was evident and by the volume and quality of the responses we know we struck a chord on a “need” for the USMNT that does not involve the striker position.

So here’s how we’ll break it down. We’re going to contribute a number of the responses below with as much depth and possible. We will add background on the selections and we will ask TSG readers to contribute to the mix so we can create the most knowledgeable bios to accompany the names for selection.

Then we’ll put up a poll on the right sidebar after we’ve chosen a few “finalists”….like The Bloodsuckers. Kidding.

Finally, we promise to put together a brief and send it to the USSF to see if there is a response of any kind. While this piece is tongue-and-cheek, we’re going to pursue it to its fullest.

Here’s our first tier of nicknames that deserved “a deeper look”:

  • The Buffalo (courtesy of Jared)
  • The Freedom Fighters (courtesy of Free Beer Movement)
  • The Militia (courtesy of Mark from TSG)
  • The Outlaws (courtesy of Dylan)
  • The Rattlesnakes/Rattlers (courtesy of Matt from TSG)
  • The Revolutionaries (courtesy of Jared)
  • The Rough Riders (courtesy of “Tuesday”)
  • The Sons of Liberty (courtesy of Andrew)

Here’s our second tier of nicknames that we want to keep in the mix, but we weren’t sure demanded a “brief.” If you are so inclined, please email shinguardian@gmail.com with a cover page and footnotes if you want to make a case:

  • The Rebel Yanks (courtesy of Jason Davis) — a little too close to tonight’s World Series representative from the American League.
  • The Rifleman (courtesy of Jared) — Note, you’re going to probably have to fight the NRA on this one….and they have guns…thank you, thank you……thank you!
  • The Minutemen (courtesy of Berg) — Hmm, a little bit of a not nice man innuendo here.

Note, most definitions within the “Summary” sections below come from Wikipedia.

Okay, let’s steel-cage-it:

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The Buffalo (or more appropriately “American Bison”)

Promoter: Jared

Summary: Straight out of the ‘pedia: The American Bison (Bison bison–what does that mean?) is a North American species of bison, also commonly known as the American Buffalo. “Buffalo” is somewhat of a misnomer for this animal, as it is only distantly related to either of the two “true buffaloes”, the Asian Water Buffalo and the African Buffalo. However, “bison” is a Greek word meaning ox-like animal, while “buffalo” originated with the French fur trappers who called these massive beasts boeufs, meaning ox or bullock.

buffalo

I, too, can counterattack.

Positives:

The American Bison is native only to the United Sta….wait a minute, the ‘pedia says Canada too? Not so positive….

Isn’t that just a face and animal you love?

Negatives:

Buffalo while strong and team-oriented animals do not connote, uh, “counterattack,” or Landon Donovan’s profile.

Since the USMNT plays in the CONCACAF, most games are in warm climates. Try wearing a thick, burly buffalo outfit/costume in Mexico City–not to mention how mangy it will become after beer is spilled all over it. Yeah, it’s a good chance you’re not making it back through customs with that smelly carcass.

Possible confusion that the nickname refers to Toronto Jr. in upstate NY, home of the barrel dropping waterfalls (and to four losing Super Bowl teams during my childhood.)

What the hell is a “Bison Bison?”

TSG 2 Cents: In hindsight, the Buffalo conjures up football, American football. Have opinions otherwise? Share ‘em below.

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The Freedom Fighters

Promoter: Free Beer Movement

Summary: Freedom fighter is another term for those engaged in a struggle to achieve political freedom for themselves or obtain freedom for others. Generally speaking, freedom fighters are seen as people who are using physical force in order to cause a change in the political and or social order. Note, those involved in peaceful means to achieve political freedom are typically called political activists as oppose to freedom fighters.

Positives:

In terms of the definition of obtaining freedom for others, you could argue the message is a big positive from a U.S. political message standpoint.

Negatives:

Conversely (to the positive) you could suggest it means Vietnam?

The old IRA and (tread lightly) Al Qaeda are commonly labeled freedom fighters. YIKES!

The High Times Freedom Fighers are a marijuana legalization group. I’m endearing myself to soccer moms by making this a negative. (Everything was just wrong with that statement. Here, just buy the t-shirt.)

Neutral, I think:

ussf_freedom

USMNT Superfan

There is the United States Freedom Fighters group that I cannot find any information on with the exception of this guy on the right who is some sort of member. I’m not saying this is positive or negative. I’m just saying….I don’t know what I’m say. It bears considering.

TSG 2 Cents: We like the motorcycle-beard get-up, but we need more.

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The Militia

Promoter: Mark from TSG

Summary: The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. Well, that sounds exactly like the defense in front of Timmy Howard during the Confederation’s Cup.

Positives:

From Mark, TSG:

“Not only is it representative of our underdog status on the world stage, but you already have a badass anthem by Gang Starr (with one of the sickest Primo beats). We can even try and get Nike to pay Guru enough money to re-do the lyrics.”

Negatives:

Many countries around the globe won’t like the idea that the “United States Militia will be in town to beat the home side on Thursday.” I’m just saying.

TSG 2 Cents: Perhaps a little bit too, hmm, military-oriented and it’s also my brother’s suggestion–my brother is a Jets and Mets fan I mean, c’mon. Nope, not feeling it.

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The Outlaws

Promoter: Dylan

Summary: One who is outside the law. Hmm….I thought the USMNT just stopped getting a red card a game. This is not starting off on the right foot.

Positives:

From Patrick, by way of Part I:

“Outlaws is actually pretty bad ass. Wild Wild West Imagery.

Can we have a new jersey contest next? Our jersey (and the corresponding tradition) sucks even more than our nickname. Seriously sometimes I don’t even recognize the old US jerseys until I can get close enough to read the names or see the crest (our crest also sucks, can we plz stick with the snake?). Argentina jersey’s? I know what those are a mile away.”

Negatives:

You’ve got 8 sports teams of varying ilk in the United States with that moniker.

You’ve got one very major and influential USMNT fan support group that rallied up some serious currency around that name.

TSG 2 Cents: This one goes to the Donahoo brothers, Justin Brunken, Justin Coughlan and company….you’ve earned it.

(AO photo courtesy of Trent at Trenthead.com)

outlaws

I mean, these guys just say "Outlaws"

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The Rattlesnakes

Promoter: Matthew from TSG

Summary: We’ve already got the emblem and the slogan. Beyond that, the species is indigenous to the United States and the snake was a major symbol of the American Revolution.

Positives:

Unlike the Buffalo–and no disrespect to the Great Plain’s beast–rattlesnakes are capable of quick counterattacks.

We’ve got the whole Don’t Tread on Me thing and the Deuce video. That’s a go.

Negatives:

You have a defunct Arena football team with the name “Rattlers” — in other words, the names been tarnished a bit.

Um, not good according to TSG reader Kaya:

“I think “The Rattlesnakes” sounds like an 8-9 yo boys’ team name. I eventually got used to a team called The Mighty Ducks, so I could get used to The Rattlesnakes, but it took me a while.”

Or TSG reader Andy:

“How has nobody mentioned yet that a “rattler” is a baby’s toy? The stereotypical baby has about three things: 1. A diaper 2. A bonnet and 3. A rattler! Can we please say no to Rattlers”

TSG 2 Cents: A lot of positive; a lot of negative. I must excuse myself from the proceedings on this one (since I suggested the name. Hi, I’m Matthew by the way.)

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The Revolutionaries

Promoter: Jared

Summary: The Revolutionaries obviously refers to the movement for independence of the United States via the Declaration of Independence and then the war against the British.

Positives:

Just think of the cheers when we kick Capello’s troops in the teeth in World Cup 2010. I can see fans chanting: “17….76….”

Negatives:

Perhaps a little bit too close to the MLS team the New England Revolution. In fact, “Revolution” would have been as good or better a nickname. Can’t the national team just commandeer the name? Doesn’t Federal supersede State in this case?

TSG 2 Cents: Look Boston, you’ve got the Patriots (and oddly “the Celtics” and some type of bears) and the Revolution. In the good name of Jay Heaps, can you please relinquish this quality nickname for the good of US soccer fans everywhere?

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RoughRiders1

I think I can get behind these guys....

The Rough Riders

Promoter: “Tuesday”

Summary: The Rough Riders regiment, consisting of over 1,250 men, from all over the United States was mainly composed of cowboys, Indians, and other Wild West types, and Ivy League athletes and aristocratic sportsmen from the East. Wow!

Also, the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action

Positives:

“A mixture of ethnic and class diversity,” says “‘Tuesday.”

From TSG reader Andy:

“If people weren’t so sensitive we could be The Rough Riders and just shoot our guns into the air all game. Unfortunately, my dream shall never be realized.”

Negatives:

The Rough Riders did battle in Cuba. Aren’t we trying to improve relations with that country?

It’s the name of a football team. A Canadian football team. Oh boy, that knocks it down like 479 pegs.

TSG 2 Cents: As a good friend of mine says about crab cakes, “what’s not to like?”

References an army of men from a diverse background grouped together to achieve an objective. Can you see Bob Bradley sporting Target sweatpants and a big Stetson? Now we’ve convinced you.

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The Sons of Liberty/The Liberty Boys

Promoter: Andrew

Summary: The Sons of Liberty was a secret organization of American patriots which originated in the 13 colonies during the American Revolution. British authorities and their supporters, known as Loyalists, considered the Sons of Liberty as seditious, referring to them as “Sons of Violence” and “Sons of Iniquity.” Patriots attacked the apparatus and symbols of British authority, including Wayne Rooney and John Terry (just seeing if you are paying attention).

Positives:

Well, it’s got the word, “Sons” in it. So we know we’re not referring to Mia Hamm or Abby Wambach.

References the American Revolution and patriotism — bueno! I mean good.

sonsliberty_sunderland

This flag ain't..."flying"

The Sons of Liberty quote “attacked the symbols of authority and power” — that belongs on a banner in the American Outlaws fan section.

Has a pretty decent sub-nickname of “Liberty Boys” — that’s pretty darn good. When they play at a stadium near you, then you could say you are going to watch the “Liberty Boys in the Hood.” (I’ll just shut up now.)

Played a major part in the Boston Tea Party following the lead of Sam Adams. So let me get this straight, they destroyed tea in favor of beer. Uh, check.

Negatives:

The “Sons of Liberty” flag is a bit of a reach. Ain’t no way we’re being called the Candy Canes, Pinstripers, or Sunderland F.C. Jr.

TSG 2 Cents: Lose the flag and you’ve got a shot. It’s a really good mix of rebellion and patriotism wrapped into one (or even two) nicknames. Yup, we like it.

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So have at it in the commentary. Fill in the blanks on the positive and negatives we’ve missed.

And thank you in advance for your contributions.

Oh, and for my final two cents, I’m fine with a bunch of the names: Rough Riders, Sons of Liberty/Liberty Boys, Rattlesnakes and Revolutionaries.

Any of these are better to me than the Yanks or Stars & Stripes. I want to buy some gear.

Sunil, “Dozy,” and Where in the World is Malawi?

Start your morning off right…as in grab a Blue Bottle coffee and realize David Beckham is a non-story.

P.S. TSG is feeling a little snippy this morning–like about the 2:30 mark of this clip here:

♦ TSG has just requested a Sunil Gulati interview, but the New York Times has a Q&A with the Soccerman-in-Chief this morning. You can be sure

that we won’t let him off the hook on the Honduran media rights issue like Jack Bell did.

SunilGulati_new

SG: Let us explain how watching a USMNT match is not just about economics...

♦ We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but which Danish Superliga American slots in next to Boca in Danishland on November 18th: Michael Parkhurst or Danny Califf….or is it Chad Marshall with Califf and Parkhurt deputizing? We say Coach B throws a roster invite out to Parkhurst first. Your thoughts?

♦ Too funny: Jozy, or “Dozy” as the English press is calling him, will be the player focused in the Q&A in the November issue of ‘City’, the Official Hull City monthly rag. The Q&A was “recorded” one day before JZA slept through and past warm-ups against Portsmouth.

Meanwhile, Skipper Phil Brown has challenged Jozy to “earn a spot” assuring JZA that his disciplinary stain can be wiped clean. We don’t often call out bloggers at TSG, but please disregard severely erroneous and sensational “reporting” elsewhere–Altidore’s days are “not numbered.” He’s on loan for a year, he’s 19, he’s cheap and he was brought to the Tigers at the behest of Brown.

Likewise, reports of Brown’s demise–as we commented a few weeks back (final paragraph)–are greatly exaggerated with a vote of confidence from none other than Paul Duffen, Hull City’s chairman.

♦ Next up for the American U-17 squad in group play is Malawi, who succumbed to the United Arab Emirates 2-0 on Monday. We know absolutely zero about the U-17 Malawi squad and we’re okay about this. See our review of the Spain match here.

♦ Well fresh off our “Ten National Team Trades We’d Like To See” column, it looks like one of the “players” in trade #6 (Sweden-Argentina) might be moving, in well, real life. Sergio Aguero London bound? Are Chelsea prepared to offer $42 million reasons for the  21-year-old La Liga to relocate in January?

Aguero….dazzling….

New Wing Added To TSG Comment Hall of Fame

Hal Block WingMatthew and I spent the better part of Sunday sequestered in a small windowless conference room somewhere in the Golden State pouring over hundreds of reader comments in the hopes of elevating some to the TSG Comment Hall of Fame.

Okay, it didn’t happen exactly like that, but we have selected a few comments for induction into all three wings of the HOF.

A new wing has been added to the HOF for “unique and exceptional comments.” Basically, this wing will house distinguished comments that neither fall into the Jimmy Conrad Wing for funny commentary or the Bill Jeffrey Wing for astute technical commentary.

This wing has been dubbed the Hal Block Wing after The Hal Block Soccer League in Ramapo, NY. This is the youth soccer league that Matthew and I played in while growing up.

The first inductee is Eric Wheatley of the Baltimore Brigade who posted a comment about bringing the #9 for the Ninth Minute Salute for Charlie Davies because “a couple thousand doing so would be epic.” Little did we know at the time that Eric’s idea and efforts at RFK coupled with TSG’s Ninth Minute Salute and promotion would lead to this.

New inductees into the Jimmy Conrad Wing and the Bill Jeffrey Wing are on tap for tomorrow.

Stu Holden on Honduras and Charlie Davies

APTOPIX Gold Cup Haiti USA SoccerThe Iceman is finally back with another blog post.

Stu talks Honduras, Landon Donovan dissing him on the free kick winner there and about his thoughts on Charlie Davies.

A good read; we’ll just link to it here.

 

U-17 Review: Good Plan, But Not Enough Horses

TSG has largely been focused on the USMNT, EPL and Americans Abroad.

Only recently did we dabble in the up-and-coming talent stateside, surveying the Rongen Disaster that was the U-20 tournament a few weeks ago

sarabia

Sarabia: Criminal in attack for Spain

in Germany.

So you can imagine our surprise when we fired up the 360 today, took in the first 10 minutes from Nigeria and were greeted with a Jack McInerney run-on, a foul from Spain, a red card, and the US a man up for the remainder of the game.

Less than 3 minutes after that opening minute salvo, McInerney challenged the Spanish keeper on a free kick, collided with him Conor Casey-style, the ball dropped and McInerney tapped in for the score. 1-0 States.

Despite solid play the rest of the match that included quite a bit of managed possession, the final score told an inverse tale, 2-1 Spain.

The US U-17 team, in our rookie estimation, played a fairly decent team game but succumbed to a team that just had too much talent. Despite some individual mistakes, the only negative behavior I found the overall team culpable for was dropping man marking in the back against an extremely adept technical offense for the Spaniards. (see note on this at the bottom)

Other than that, I think Wilmer Cabrera’s team can be commended even though they failed to capitalize on being a man-up. They consistently took what Spain gave them (the flanks) and tried to move the ball from right to left after winning possession to avoid what can only be described as the

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All Over the Pitch: Monday Musings

Just wanted to get some commentary out there this morning after going through the headlines, reviews and considering our pieces from Sunday evening.

♦ US U-17 is in action today against Spain on ESPN 360 (11am PST) and if I get a chance I’m going to check it out. Two of the three players I wanted

All eyes to be on Jack

All eyes to be on Jack

to watch aren’t in the squad, Charles Renken and West Ham United academy attendee Sebastian Lletget. That leaves me focused on  Jack McInerney who apparently doesn’t have all the physical tools, but still is considered a great prospect. Some in the commentary on TSG have suggested he’s the next Wayne Rooney — is that aggressive? For a preview of the US in the tourney, head over to Match Fit USA.

♦ Following up on our review of Fernando Torres performance right now and considering him a legend in the making. Is he not the best striker right now? Who else is up there with him? Maybe David Villa, Zlatan, perhaps Drogba (if he remains consistent). Rooney, Eto and others are clearly a step below.

Confirming the U.S. friendly in Bratislava against Slovakia on November 14th. That’s three planned friendlies against three quality teams: Slovakia (Fifa ranking #33), Denmark (#27) and the Netherlands (#3).

More on Jonathan Spector. Despite the visual rating here, commentary from West Ham fans suggest the US rightback played admirably against Arsenal.

Decent game review of the Fulham – Manchester City clash here. The point that USMNT fans should take note of? The importance of Jonathan Greening maintaining possession in the midfield that allowed Fulham to go toe-to-toe with the Citizens and finally draw. A good read.

Weekend Redux: Reds Fire, Rapids Expire

A wonderful weekend of soccer just concluded. I happen to have the time to catch the marquee match-up at Anfield, Rapids-RSL and some of the West Ham vs. Arsenal.

Let’s jump right in.

• Liverpool knocks over Manchester United, 2-0

» You can’t start commentary here without talking about the play of Fernando Torres. He consistently threatened the Man U’s backline all day long, testing the offsides barriers and commanding possession. He gave Nemanja Vidic fits, so much so that Vidic “earned” his third straight red against Benitez’s side.

Torres to Ferdinand: Take a seat and I'll beat up Johnny Evans

Torres to Ferdinand: If you're done being embarrassed, take a seat and I'll start busting up Johnny Evans

But that’s not it, Torres went toe-to-toe with Vidic–at 25 mins of the first half winning corner that had Vidic just flabbergasted–and won on strength and then literally danced around Man U’s left center and left flank (more on that later). The Spaniard also tracked back on defense and with a little more than 20 minutes left parried a dangerous free kick that would have challenged Reina.

I’m not old enough to make this claim, but for his shear combination of strength, finesse and precision, Torres is, in my book, one of the greatest to play the game.

» What in the world has happened to the left side of Manchester United’s defense which was leaking like a sieve all day long. Rio Ferdinand is just a slim shadow of the player he used to be and Patrice Evra so disinterested that he thinks it’s a privilege that Sir Alex is allowed to play him. TSG never makes these statements in isolation and today again both Evra and Ferdinand looked marginal to average at best.

Case in point, about 55 mins in a horrible play by Evra gifts the ball to Benayoun who rumbles to goal. Evra is seen just jogging back into the play; somewhat incredulous.

As for Ferdinand, Fernando Torres abusive run against him on the game winner about 60 mins in was indicative of how the oft-injured Ferdinand has lost a step and lost strength. You know how you know when a player is slowly losing it? He starts to complain to the ref incessantly. Ferdinand used to be average at best in his ref discussions, now it looks like he is looking for some sort of courtesy from the zebras. Your time has gone Ferdinand.

» Speaking of losing it, the Paul Scholes is very quickly heading to the over-35 req league — fast. Scholes often trailed the play and was a non-factor today. Going forward Scholes will be dubbed at TSG, “The fading Paul Scholes”

» In other news, Dimitar Berbatov has earned the nickname “The very average Dimitar Berbatov”

» Wrapping these points up, without Gerrard the Anfielders had the depth to take it to the Traffords. The game, in my opinion, was really won with Benitez’s line-up selection.  Aurelio, Benayoun, Torres and Kuyt capably backed by a resurgent Lucas and industrious Macherano. Fergie’s backline played high and was at risk from the through ball and counter all day. The central midfield of Giggs, Scholes and Carrick couldn’t link anything and the last 20 minutes of the game saw long ball after long ball USMNT style in an attempt to get some offense going.

Real Salt Lake defeats the Colorado Rapids

(Note: tried to watch Galaxy – Earthquakes, but it didn’t make the tele — if someone has a report, would love to hear it.)

» The best USMNT striker on the field Saturday night was clearly Robbie Findley over Conor Casey. Casey had a sloppy game and didn’t seem in sync with his club. Meanwhile, Robbie Findley netted a brace and showed excellent offensive runs and command of the ball. After a 15th  minute header, Findley had a highlight real goal just before the half as we gathered in a long lead pass in time to juggle it over the Rapid’s goalie and then slot it into the bottom right.

Coming off that brace, Findley moved the ball excellently in the 2nd. We still lacks some strength, but he’ll see another call-up from Coach B.

See Findley’s highlight goal at the 2:15 mark.

» Did Colorado already quit on their coach? I found their lack of effort and execution appalling. It was clear that the Rapids were eager for the oft-season.

» Former USMNT hopeful Drew Moor looked slow as his hips were turned twice on the 3rd RSL goal.

West Ham battled back against Arsenal for a 2-2 draw

» Yank’s Johnny Spector was in the right full position and was matched up alternately against the likes of Arshavin and Van Persie and did a very admirable job. Good job in Specs getting the start and making use of it. Specs had other player responsibilities for the two Emirates goals.

• Other bullets:

Amr Zaki who?

Amr Zaki who?

» Fulham battled back to tie Man City, 2-2. Remarkable given that Fulham find the back of the net less than DaMarcus Beasley. Clint had his typical seeing-eye header that bounced and then dodged the valiant effort by Shay Given.

P.S. If you want to see the lamest goal celebration ever, check out Lescott’s score where Adebayor tried to get the credit. Beyond lame.

We changed our minds, it’s better than an Amr Zaki start. Twice this year, we’ve commented to look out for Hugo Rodallega. The Colombian national, fresh of a transfer from Necaxa of the Mexican league, is making DW Stadium forget all about Zaki who came out roaring last year for the home side, but then fizzled after a bout with I’m-too-good-itis. Rodallega netted a brace against Burnley on Saturday. Look for the 26-year-old to put his national team back on the map in the coming years–he’s that good.

» If the Slovakia friendly November 10th does happen for the US, you may see star Marek Hamsik (who we discussed Friday) come in as a future member of Chelsea. Rumor has it he is the guy for the Blues come the January transfer window.

» Just another piece of evidence that superstar Lionel Messi is not too fond of Diego Maradona skippering his national side.

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