Archive for November, 2009

Starting XI: USMNT vs. Denmark

Ladies, Gentlemen and Other, please welcome your newish starting striker for the USMNT, Jeff Cunningham!

Pretty interesting line-up all-around with Hedjuk getting the nod, Spector staying central and Benny! presumably playing outside. The attack may not be better than Saturday, but it sure will be different.

Here’s the squad that will take the pitch shortly at NRGi:

GK: Guzan

DEF: Spector, Bornstein, Bocanegra, Hedjuk

MID: Clark, Bradley, Holden, Feilhaber!

ST: Cunningham, Altidore

BEN: Conrad, Goodson, Castillo, McCarty, Johnson, Hahnemann, Rogers

Orange Wedges: Who’s House?…Aarhus!

Orange Wedges is TSG’s game day post that kicks-off within 24-hours of game time
and is updated until kick-off.

The game may be meaningless, but TSG really wants one of these to end the year.

The USMNT takes on Denmark today in its 24th and final match of 2009. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30pm EST / 11:30am PST.

For those not in the City of Smiles, television coverage begins at 2:25 EST / 11:25 PST on ESPNClassic. Upon the conclusion of the 2nd leg of the Ukraine / Greece WCQ which is being shown on ESPN2, the USMNT match will be simulcast on both ESPNClassic and ESPN2.

The match can also be viewed on what has become the best part of ESPN online empire, ESPN360.

(Aside: The USMNT is on two channels for a November friendly versus Denmark, but couldn’t even get one channel for its World Cup clinching match versus Honduras…that makes sense.)

  • Well, no Sacha Kljestan in the eighteen, so that solves that issue. In more significant news, no Conor Casey either. TSG will post the starting XI when it is released about an hour before kick-off.
  • With the two new midfielders called in you have to wonder whether Bradley was guarding against a potentially nervous Mr. Victoria’s Secret as the Final 2 will be announced in his girlfriend’s “competition” today. (Please note sarcasm.)
  • Looks like the US will close out the 2009 campaign in cold, windy and potentially rainy Aarhus.
  • After Steve Cherundolo lost a disputed team shooting competition to Jozy Altidore prior to the Slovakia friendly, word out of US Soccer is that Carlos Bocanegra prevailed in today’s finishing competition. Have US Soccer and TSG been searching in the wrong place for the stand-in for CD9?
  • The game will take place at NRGi Park in Aarhus, the home stadium for Danish Superliga team AGF Aarhus and UMSNT’s own Benny Feilhaber

The New USMNT Kit For The World Cup?!

UPDATE II: The message board thread linked to below that included the screen capture has been deleted.

UPDATE: While we did receive a reply from our contact at Nike, there is no official response from the Swoosh.

As you may have seen already, there are some mock-ups of a new Nike USMNT kit for the World Cup floating around the internet and soccer message boards.

Today TSG has viewed what looks to be a vendor video for the kits which matches those mock-ups. (Here is a screen grab that is available on the internet because we like what we do here at TSG and want to keep doing it.)

TSG can neither confirm nor deny that these are, in fact, the new designs or if the video is authentic right now…but we’re working on it.

We already have a note in to Nike Soccer to confirm the kit design.

“How can i love one woman when i’m in love with 11 men”…

Always singing when you're winning

So I’m a Liverpool fan. For most of my life things have been pretty good. In the early years, they were winning the League, the FA Cup, European cup and the Milk cup (Carling cup). I loved my team but I was too young to be completely overwhelmed by wins or losses. Sure I was disappointed when they lost games but I got over it pretty quickly.

Internationally things were different. I’m English but I grew up in Switzerland and like a lot of kids those days my footballing heart was with Brazil. Their 82 and 86 teams were amazing. They boasted world class players like Zico, Falcao, Socrates, Careca etc… and were a pleasure to watch. Their 82 team is often considered the greatest team never to win the WC. They all came back in 86, seasoned, wiser and favored to win. I was 100% on their bandwagon though now my allegiance to my country of birth was playing a greater role. My ultimate dream/nightmare was for England to meet Brazil in the final. Obviously I would root for Brazil but I was fine with an England win. England as you may or may not know were divinely eliminated in the quarters by the “hand of god” (admittedly his second goal was pure class) and Brazil were eliminated by France, a day earlier, in one of the greatest matches ever played. They say no team deserved to lose that game and the footballing spectacle was one for the ages. It came down to penalties and when it was over I was in shambles. It was up until then the hardest and saddest two days of my life.

It was the first time a non parental scolding or physical injury brought me to tears. I was so invested in the Selecao, followed them with such passion that their premature exit from the WC was something that I couldn’t understand, I couldn’t grasp that it was just a game and everything would be ok…my life as I knew it was in ruins.

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Say It Ain’t So Kenny!

UPDATE: Our luck is turning! Coops out only 3 weeks. Can you feel it turning?


Can the USMNT stop dropping like flies? Please.

The TSG brothers had this unfortunate exchange this evening.

Kenny Coops, shelved?

Mark: “Kenny Cooper may have blown out his knee.”

Matt: “Are you kidding me?! So disheartening. I can’t take it anymore…I don’t want to live.”

(Well, that last part about “living” may have been absent.)

Mark: “If that’s the case, I’m leading the campaign to shut down our top 18 until May.”

To the best of current reports, USMNT hopeful and FC Dallas alum–wait why wasn’t he stationed in Slovakia and Denmark this week–Kenny Cooper may be out, for awhile. Coops is rumored to have blown out his ACL in practice. For a striker in particular, that is not best injury to sustain.

We’ll update you when there is official news, let’s just hope it doesn’t become official

A few weeks ago, Sunil Gulati made an excellent point in the press that we’ll reproduce here as the context present itself..

“We don’t have a lot of players playing at Man U and Barcelona,”

“We’re getting there. Those are some of the best clubs in the world, and it’s not like we have a lot of players playing there, so for people’s expectations to be that we’re going to go out and play like that, or have a high-level performance every time, it’s not the case.”

Gulati’s comments ring even more true as some of the USMNT’s most talented players continue to suffer from injuries. Whereas a team like England has a Joleon Lescott to fill in for a Rio Ferdinand, a team like Brazil can turn to Pato or the Hulk for striking power and a team like France can turn to Alou Diarra with Jeremy Toulalan battling fitness concerns, the USMNT does not have the same luxury.

Not now and not lurking in the ranks.

Let’s hope the run of unfortunate circumstances ends in 2009 and stops just short of something major to Coops. Let’s hope we don’t have to cross him of the striker-in-need list just yet.

Maybe we just need to keep a little horse placenta around?

Wrapping Up 2009…And Hopefully Denmark

USMNT Aarhus: Late day training

USMNT Aarhus: Late day training

It is nearly time to cue the end of the year pieces.

After an uneven, nail-biting and ultimately euphoric World Cup qualifier run, the USMNT is in Aarhaus, Denmark set to take on the Danish Dynamite this Wednesday to close the 2009 campaign. By the way, yet another kick*ss nickname for a team.

Per our column yesterday, excused from the team’s Slovakia roster are: Steve Cherundolo, who was last seen rolling off the field on Saturday and has an emotional situation to attend to; Chad Marshall, whose knee continues to bother him after playing a single game in the last month; and


Uh, no, Danish Dynamite...not DYN-O-MITE!

Clint Dempsey, presumably to get some pitch time for more midfielders.

The man nearly all TSG fans wanted to see on the starting pitch once added to this roster, Pachuca’s José Francisco Torres, was called up, but then excused. Odd in it’s own right, Torres also only played 45 minutes of Pachuca’s contentious affair this past Saturday with U.A.N.L.

Bee-lining eastbound for the Yanks are the Dynamo’s Stu Holden and Ricardo Clark and a man who now needs no introduction, Edgar Castillo, who is making his way to Coach USA’s roster for the first time. Here, here! JFT’s roster spot will go unfilled.

Taking on the Yanks will be the Dynamite who did more than just survive (and top) a difficult WCQ group that included both Sweden and Portugal. The Danes dismissed Sweden in their last 2nd to last WCQ qualifier, dropping the Swedes and blanking them on the goal sheet. In September, Denmark’s defense was just as stiff in limiting a Portugese squad that included Ronaldo, Deco and Nani to a single goal in a 1-1 draw.

Alas, Denmark’s November star has lost some luster as Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is scheduled for groin surgery and Liverpool central defender Daniel Agger is taking a breather…er…rather…bowing out with an undisclosed nagging injury. Five additional players that started in the last legs of Denmark’s qualifying run, including Ajax striker Dennis Rommendahl, were absent from the Dynamite’s 0-0 draw against Ji-Sung Park and South Korea this past Saturday.


Poulsen: An important cog at Juve

Actually trotting out to the pitch Wednesday for Denmark in a starring role will still be Danish player of the year in 2005 and 2006, Christian Poulsen who cleans up the middle for Juventus. In a little bit of interesting trivia while Poulsen shipped in to Juventus from Sevilla he spent the bulk of his earlier career at German side Shalke 04…where his replacement in central defense was none other than Jermaine Jones.

Others to watch out for Vladimir Weisse-style (as in little known players that cause problems, see Slovakia: Saturday), are Thomas Kahlenberg (Wolfsburg) and Duncan Rasmussen (Danish side Bronby). We know Johnny “Be Good” Bornstein is up to the task though….yup just coined a new TSG nickname. (Note: ESPN reporting that Kahlenberg won’t play; we’ll find out — he started and played Saturday against South Korea).

On the flip side of the ball, if the USMNT thought they had a difficult time finding offense in Bratislava on Saturday, they’ll not find it easier this time around. Only 5 goals against the home side in the WCQ trials (again in that group that included Sweden and Portugal) and heady Stoke City keeper Thomas Sorenson in net. If you’ve read TSG over the past two months, you know that we think quite highly of Sorenson who has been tested more often than perhaps any other EPL goalie in the last two years.

Let’s get right to our customary preview.

    1. TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
    2. 11 at the Whistle
    3. *Disclaimers

TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”

Overview: As we saw in Bratislava, Coach USA is looking to be competitive in the first half and investigate new players in the 2nd half. Coach USA’s recent roster additions (only Castillo, new, amongst the group) suggest that he’ll employ that strategy again.

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