Archive for January, 2010

Quick Note: Stu Officially Bolton

Holden news..Davies major news...giddy-up!

The official release should come either this evening or first thing tomorrow

Stu Holden officially a Bolton Wanderer through 2010.

With the Charlie news, the Gooch news, Kenny Cooper donning the light blue for 1860, heck even the Brad Davis and Alejandro Bedoya news from Saturday, it’s a little upswing for the U.S.

The official release courtesy of courtesy of the Haptonstall Group and StuHolden.com:

Stuart Holden today signed a contract to play with the Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League through the end of the 2009-10 season.

“I am very happy to have the chance to play for Bolton in one of the greatest leagues in the world,” Holden said. “It is exciting to have this type of opportunity and I’m looking forward to being a Bolton Wanderer.”

Holden, 24, spent the past four seasons with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer during a time in which the team twice won the MLS Cup (2006 & 2007). As a regular starter at attacking central midfield for the Dynamo in 2009, Holden recorded six goals and four assists. His five game-winning goals were the most in the MLS.

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Holy Smokes! Major CD9 News

I just went back to our 9th Minute Salute piece that was broadcast….and found this:

CD, we hope and know you’ll be up doing the stanky leg in no time…regardless of what docs may or may not say.

What a jarring reflection.

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Oguchi Onyewu: “It’s sort of a Superman story…”

ESPN and Ives Garcelep with a phenomenal and mind-boggling piece on the road to recovery with Charlie Davies. Check it out here.

Soccer By Ives has some more background and detailed first person from Charlie Davies. Worth a read.

The man who silenced Mexico City

Saturday Redress: So What Results?

HDC Practice Pitch (Courtesy: US Soccer.com)

Some excellent points in the comments section in our previous review piece on Sunday…so we’ll republish them here and ignite more dialogue:

• TSG contributor Bob asks, “After watching the team practice in camp, were there any players that you believed should have played or should have been given more playing time?”

Well, here are a few:

» Contrary to some other words out there, Goodson paired Gonzalez in camp and Conrad paired Marshall. TSG should have seen the Marshall, Conrad pairing coming. We erred.

» Alejandro Bedoya who we thought played confidently–though sloppy on a few occasions–was part of the 1st team when we watched the scrimmage when Robbie Rogers was out. We probably should have picked up on that too. What we saw Saturday was a confident and stronger on the ball Bedoya. I also note that Bedoya was communicating a lot and even directing players–that is the mark of a player who knows his ability and is trying to create on the pitch.

Bedoya is on standby for South Africa at this point in our minds and may be–as we surmised beforehand–the short-term surprise of camp.

Cameron was a middie in camp, but didn't really distinguish himself....

» I know Geoff Cameron is a popular name, but with Cameron playing on the right midfield when we saw him, his touch and speed were off. Perhaps Bob had him in the wrong position. At best, we could have seen Cameron in the 18, but we’re not dismayed by him watching Saturday in street clothes.

» “Pearce looked a little clumsy in first touch reception on tougher passes and had, what they call at the NFL combines, ‘tight hips.’”

That was our comment from camp and it was appropriate. Heath Pearce’s playing time was just about right Saturda. He’s just not agile enough though his game is very smart. It’s a shame because he has a feel for the game, but his physical ability doesn’t necessarily match it. Case in point? A handball on a little bit difficult ball reception.

» Conor Casey–we’ll get back to him–looks the exact same in practice as he does on the field.

» In hindsight, we witnessed Sacha playing on the right wing. He didn’t establish himself in practice either.

» Nick Rimando clearly deserved to be the back-up from our brief look into camp.

» Brad Davis is one of those players that we though did everything well, but nothing great. Sort of like a Antawn Jamison.He was solid and without error in our reviews. Completely surprised by his impact on the game on Saturday. It was above and beyond. He had the right tempo in the game and was a major factor in creating late game chances. Probably not enough to fly standby right now, but certainly improved his standing with his game play.

Conor Casey, Conor Casey….what to think?

TSG is pretty sure Conor Casey is who he is. A beast of a body in the middle who can receive passes and sometimes distribute effectively. Occasionally, he’ll surprise with flair (Honduras, San Pedro Sula), but twice as many times his touch and straight-ahead speed will fail him (Honduras, Chicago…..Costa Rica, D.C.).

Casey: Strong in the post-up game. Too strong in the first touch game.

The reality is that Casey is on the plane. The USMNT beyond Jozy, does not have a big body to bang around in the middle. I’m not sure why Brian Ching isn’t still in the fold…given that Casey has really not outshined.

The USMNT, in our opinion, need a post-up guy beyond Jozy. Our best option is Casey. Any better ideas? From TSG, not at this time….unfortunately.

On Sacha Kljestan:

From Tuesday and Matt Mathai in the review piece:

Tuesday: “Sacha Kljestan is a player who is now very far from cutting it at any level higher than MLS. He is not in poor form, he just isn’t very good and never was. How many times does he have to prove it? The hat trick was one of those freak things that happens in footie sometimes. It won’t happen again. Let’s put it in some perspective: Sweden is not going to the world cup and has plummeted from being ranked in the low teens to the 40s over the last four years. Added to that, Sweden’s line-up was every bit as experimental as our 2009 Gold Cup Squad . Excepting that match, in 2009 we lost every match against non-CONCACAF opposition in which Kljestan appeared and were 1-1-1 within CONCACAF. In 2008, Kljestan had a 16 minute appearance in the 0-0 draw vs. Argentina but otherwise didn’t appear against non-CONCACAF opposition: his “run of form” came against the likes of Cuba, T&T, Barbados & Guatemala. The only wins against non-CONCACAF opposition in which Klejstan has appeared came against China, South Africa and Sweden (x2).”

Matt Mathai: Klejstan (sp?) was terrible. He had almost no influence on the game, besides a negative one. He did a lot of standing around, and a fair amount of aimless running into heavily defended areas. It was almost like he was trying to play his way off the team. I think he’ll have the rest of the friendlies to show he belongs. Things don’t look that good for him, but I’m guessing he gets taken along anyway.

Tuesday, I think there are some meritorious comments here for sure. That being said, we should use the Dempsey axiom on Kljestan in my opinion. Kljestan is not designed for the US system….he’s the exact inverse of Stu Holden. Kljestan is not a down the line and cross player on the wing and he’s not a motoring central midfielder who combines one touch passing with recovery defense.

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Home Recycle Center: Hondo Lays It On

TSG decided to take in last night’s game from the edge of the American Outlaws Supporter section 137.

137? AO. 138? Somewhat Honduran. 139? Extremely Honduran.

If you’re unfamiliar with the American Outlaws, they are a USMNT supporter group that started in 2007 and for last night’s friendly probably had close to 150 people eating up rows in the far corner. The American Outlaws were kind enough this past summer to reach out to The Shin Guardian saying they loved our writing (A big “Thank You!” back) and wanted to offer it via links to their constituents.

Thanks AO. We enjoyed the camaraderie and it’s a great group you’ve created to support the United States. Thanks for a memorable experience off the field!

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My brother drove past the Home Depot Center earlier in the day before yesterday’s 3-1 Honduras answer to San Pedro Sula and commented, rather snidely, “They didn’t even have the game up on the broadcast board.”

Well, that might have been just as well.

What?! What! You're giving me a yellow for this?!

In a game where the U.S. wasn’t looking for a result so much as looking at the result of a few weeks of work, a 17th min sending off of  World Cupper Jimmy Conrad changed what could have been a competitive fun trial of players into a struggle for quick and precise ball movement on a narrow Home Depot Center field.

Conrad was booked for a debatable but understandable yellow on a break in the opening minutes. However his 17th minute sending off was, in this writer’s opinion, clearly not warranted without a warning. Forget that this was a friendly, a lay off pass to Carlos Pavon saw the offender’s head down as he drove a ball over the top of the crossbar…were Pavon to play the ball across the goal face or were he to even look up to make a pass….or were the tug on Jerry Palacios a clear and direct action to the Honduran stumbling…maybe a yellow would have been warranted. Not a yellow, and this writer’s analysis is not colored.

You make the call on Conrad’s yellow… did the tug warrant a yellow? Was it after the play? Check the :40 mark here:

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Orange Wedges: The USMNT Is Back

Orange Wedges is TSG’s gameday post that  is updated until kick-off.

Fond memories from the last time the US played Honduras.

The USMNT takes the pitch for the first time in 2010 for a friendly versus Honduras tomorrow in Los Angeles (Carson). It has been 66 days since we last saw the US squad put on a forgettable performance in Denmark, but this is a new year…a World Cup year!

The match will kick-off at 9:oopm Eastern / 6:00pm Pacific time and can be viewed on Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura. TSG will be converging on Carson to watch the match live from in the American Outlaws section at the Home Depot Center.

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Rewind: The Sacha Kljestan Invitational

Wow…a full year ago that the USMNT invited over Sweden for some friendly action in Carson, California.

Sacha Kljestan netted the 2nd hat trick to kick of a career in USMNT history and there were a number of other, now eye-popping milestones and memories:

• Danny Califf captained the team, it was also Robbie Rogers first cap.

• Tomorrow’s starting wingfulls could be the same: Marvell Wynne and Johnny Bornstein

• Charlies Davies started and was relieved by Kenny Cooper

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