Our usual Monday morning bullets coming out of the weekend:
• Hull City manager Phil Brown has the support of new Hull Chairman Adam Pearson…for one game that is. Pearson commented that Brown will be skippering the Stoke City game…and that’s the only definite.
• That’s, count’em, 5 losses out of 6 games in October for Rafa Benitez’s Reds–the lone victory a 2-0 defeat over Manchester United last Sunday. With Liverpool heading to Lyon on Wednesday, I’m going to make another contrarian point of view here that: Yes Liverpool are missing a number of players including Steven Gerrard, however the talent compiled at Liverpool and their ability to beat Manchester United with many of those injuries already in place tell me it’s not just a depth thing.
Trailing by a home game already in the Champion’s League, Liverpool typically come up big with their backs against the way; but this might be the ultimate test for them.
• Speaking of Liverpool, you can see the Deuce’s goal that sealed the deal against the Reds here. An independent observation on quality ‘Pool defender Jamie Carragher who pushes the limit on his tackles. Jamie, you’re going to get deserved cards here and there for the style of your play combined with your declining athleticism. Take them like a man.
• Just a gorgeous goal as we mentioned Saturday for Cesc Fabregas. You can view it here. While I think the announcer used a bit of hyperbole calling it one of the greatest goals in EPL history (the circumstance certainly wasn’t there), you can’t deny the talent of Fabregas who so often plays the role of Chris Paul, but could easily be a Kobe Bryant.
• Shout out to the USA U-17 team, who play an aggressive, offensive brand of soccer not normally seen out of States’ national teams. That being said, it is the US defense that pitched another shutout Saturday in a 1-0 win over UAE. By the way, we made a Agbonlahor McInerney reference after 60 or so minutes of the Spain loss, right now, with his tap in Saturday, Jack McI is looking a little closer to Pippo Inzaghi (minus the annoying complaints to offsides officials) by picking up scraps instead of really creating chances.
Who have you been most impressed with on the U-17 squad? Well, TSG will choose a lame answer first of being impressed with the coaching and tactics of Wilmer Cabrera. On the field, we like the left side of the US sqaud with Polak and Shinsky. Though Shinsky has been spotty in possession, we’re a fan of the youngster’s creativity.
Now that the US are through to the sweet sixteen, we’ll have at least one more observation of the up-and-comers.
• Uh-oh: Our Eric Lichaj Watch got off to an inauspicious start this weekend as the American suited up for loanee side Lincoln City. Seven minutes from time, according to this article, Lichaj received a straight red card. That’s all we can comment because TSG obviously did not see the play. Not the first tally we were looking for in our Lichaj Report.
• Spooky defense? That Chivas-Los Angeles game. Ugh…yuck. Observations: (remember TSG is an MLS “novi”, plural for novice(s), we’ll call ourselves “novi”)
Cuesta for Chivas USA should be brought out to the far barn and put out to pasture. As TSG is wont to say, we’re fine with mistakes of execution from time-to-time (that is trying to make the right play and your physical talent not allowing it), but boneheaded plays? in the playoffs? Not fine with this. If you look at Cuesta’s clearance attempt, he was attempting an overhead pass up the field in the box on a tough ball. Just…clear…the…ball. See Bornstein, El Salvador. Never works.
We’re not faulting Omar Gonzales by his lonesome…as much as the entire Galaxy defense for spooky play. The first goal by Santos, with OG defending (those are tough initials for a defender) was just picture perfect. Gonzales rightfully played Santos to take away his left foot, yet the Chivas man just launched a beauty of a bending grass-cutter for the first goal. That’s the shot you want the striker to attempt and is parried harmlessly 19 times out of 20.
Sacha Kljestan looked like a field general for this game, mostly though because no one was pressuring him. Is this the playoffs? With time on his feet, Kljestan was in January 2008 form for Chivas. Keep climbing Kljestan and stay focused on your game; you’ll get another shot.
All in all though a sloppy game with highly disorganized defense; not what I expected at all.
• We’ve mentioned it before, but we wouldn’t be responsible to our USMNT fans, if we didn’t mention it again. In Group 5 of our Davies’
replacement piece, is/was Robbie Findley. Yet another big goal for the RSL striker. While it may have been a token call-up before for Findley–El Sal was in RF’s home stadium, and T&T is where Findley’s roots are–now his next call-up would be undeniably meritorious. Big 1-0 winning goal for the RSL striker as Columbus sat back like Costa Rica in RFK in trying to earn the draw away against Salt Lake.
Let it be noted that Findley’s goal was a header as well; one of CD9′s areas of deficiency.
Out of our Group 5 strikers, the pecking order has to be Findley, Rolfe………………………………………………..Adu. Findley on an impressive goal scoring streak, Rolfe netting what was a tougher rebound goal in Chicago’s loss yesterday, and the Subdued Freddy Adu only able to find the net on PlayStation (since he hasn’t been on the pitch for Belenenses).
• And a final note for those curious or pushing DaMarcus Beasley to reclaim a USMNT roster spot. Beasley is barely a spot player for Rangers these days–dressing this weekend, but not playing in the abbreviated game against Dundee United and it seems like his head is elsewhere. Beasley tweets regularly about his new business venture. Not sure he’s in the offing for the USMNT, nor should be.
More later today from TSG. For those new to the column, for some reason we love putting up pictures of the Hull City tiger…I think Mark started it.