Sequels are always worse than the first, but TSG has decided we’re dishonorably discharging our second volley on who’s on the plane to South Africa 2010.
So in that vain, here is the February installment of who’s got a foot rest, who’s sitting in the middle and in the way back, and who’s waving from the terminal for the USMNT come June 2010.
If you haven’t read the first one, read this one first so that you can end on the good one. Ha.
Bob Bradley: Tim Howard? Check. H1N1 vaccinations? Check. Bose noise-cancellation headphones for those damn vuvuzelas? Check. Game strategy from the TSG guys…man I love those guys? Double check!
Tim Howard: ….lifts his shirt to show a series of welts on his midriff. “I asked for just a little help on defense and they send me Senderos?! The guy hasn’t played since Rainiera was commanding Chelsea!”
Landon Donovan: Walks in wearing a sombrero, carrying a Corona, and sporting a t-shirt that says, “World Cup Bid 2022: It’s Aztacular!“
Lando just hit the lottery. (if you haven’t seen the clip)
Clint Dempsey:…bounds into the airplane, looking spry and revitalized, creating this exchange among coaches.
Pierre Berrieu leans over to Bob Bradley, “He’s looking positively 2006, isn’t he?”
Bradley nods his head, affirming.
Mike Sorber: “You think he’ll play defense now?”
Bradley, shakes his head the other way….”Not a chance.”
Michael Bradley: “Enough with the Father’s Day interview requests ESPN…seriously…what if we actually have to beat Algeria big to advance.” (Father’s Day falls on June 21st this year after the Slovenia game and two days before the Algeria game…get ready for the media deluge….)
Ricardo Clark: Just a stunning start to 2010 for the former Houston man, as he Montgomery Burns a transfer to the Bundesliga just to keep tabs on Jermaine Jones….only to find that Jones is shackled to the training table and that his new Frankfurt squad side is the surprise of the league.
Clark is beaming from his plush first class accommodations.
Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu: Strong side!…..Weak side!….Strong side!……Weak side!
Gosh, that Gooch-JDM pairing back together brings a tear to my eye….
DeMerit and Gooch are amped with excitement as they take a seat next to another and begin discussing the strategies that almost had the defense and the team raising the Confederation Cup.
(Loved “Remember the Titans”–one of my favorite rah-rah movies. Thought it was humorous how Disney went with “Left Side” for “Weak Side” in the clip, to–in my opinion–avoid any notion at of racial undertones…but I digress.)
Jozy Altidore: “I’m telling you guys, Zaki gave me the book on Algeria. We need to just keep looping those crosses in to me and Casey and we’ll knock them home. He said the Ivorians were partying until 7am the day before that game…..he’s really a good guy despite what people say.”
“By the way, you guys know I weigh just as much as John Terry and more than Rio…set me up boys…!”
Carlos Bocanegra: Bocanegra strolls in. Everyone wants to know about his psyche after platooning for the rest of the season at Rennes upon failing to find a transfer. Boca leans over to Bradley as he walks by, “Coach….I’ll play whenever, wherever you need me.”
Stu Holden: “My EPL stint didn’t get me in to first class…..”
Benny Feilhaber: “….pipe down youngster. Maybe if you had saved Bolton from relegation like Clint did for Fulham, you’d have a shot. But you platooned with an 18-year-old for crissakes….wait your turn!”
If you haven’t checked out TSG’s commentator KL’s take on the “State of the Bolton midfield..“…well you definitely need to.
Jonathan Spector:…has extinguished Ilunga on the outside for West Ham and is close to starting full time.
Steve Cherundolo: “Well you see Spec’s, Johnny B….when I started playing the shorts were like three inches higher, manbands were discouraged and getting cleated was part of the game. Heck, Nike wasn’t even making cleats!”
“By the way, the shoulder as good as new….”
Jonathan Bornstein: Double checks and realizes what cabin he is now in…he sits down casually, slinks low in his seat, dons the headphones and pulls his hoodie over his head….just in case
Conor Casey:….is juggling a soccer ball in the back of the plane…”One….Two…damn! Again…..one…damn!….One, two….thr…that one counts! That one counts! I’m up to three!”
Brad Guzan: <complaining> One bad month and now I don’t have a TV in the headrest in front of me. I can’t believe I’ve got to watch “Julie & Julia” here in the back.
Marcus Hahneman: Has his headphones on already and is laughing hysterically to Meryl Streep’s Julia Child impersonation.
Chad Marshall: I will put my hip on an attacker in the box. I will put my hip on an attacker in the box. I will put my hip on an attacker in the box. Somewhere Danny Califf is nodding….and adding a tattoo that says just that.
Robbie Findley: Next stop, starting line-up. RF15…man I need a better nickname. That one doesn’t roll off the tongue. It sounds like a freaking Viagra identification number…
Robbie Rogers: Is now toting a rolling suitcase as oppose to a carry-on….
DaMarcus Beasley: Damn, I’m getting dangerously close to the back of the plane here….
That’s 22, if you’re counting.
On the next tarmac:
There is a personal jet right next to Air Bradley One fueling up.
Up the steps in a few bounds goes a 5’10” stocky man with shades, a skully, sporting a “Only Baldwin the Eagle can stop me” long sleeve and accompanied by US trainer Jim Hashimoto. Slung over one shoulder is a Sochaux training bag.
The buzzing undercurrent has been going on for some time on the team–no one willing to concede to the hope the press stamped on his revitilization and recovery way back in January.
Oguchi Onyewu is grinning, a wide one, from ear to ear.
Mo calls up from the back, “Is that…is that who we think it is?”
Stu Holden answers, “I don’t know, but the flight attendants I spoke with last night say it has an Alter-G, a hyperbolic chamber and…and….a dance floor on that thing.”
Benny: “Oh snap!”
Pierre Berrieu: “Pipe down back there!”
Robbie Findley: “Hey why does he get his own plane?!”
A 6’1” tattoed man with a shaved head is seen striding without a limp and stowing away in the cargo bin. “Scheisse, it’s going to be cold in here until I climb into the cabin.”
Edgar Castillo: No ticket.
Alejandro Bedoya: Santiago Munoz didn’t come on this strongly in this short a time….
Jose Francisco Torres, Kyle Beckerman: Torres and Drederman are fighting over a standby pass…
Torres: “We need scoring!”
Beckerman: “Don’t make me bring up Saprissa!”
Torres: “Why you bringing up old sh*t….”
Eric Lichaj: Hey TSG wait until March and the Netherlands when I announce my arrival.
Jeff Cunningham: ….is frantically doing squats in hopes of bulking up his legs.
Clarence Goodson: I guess “just headers” is not going to get it done yet. Heels Marshall….I’m on your heels.
Frankie Hedjuk, Brian Ching: The recently tabbed Free Beer Movement spokesman and the Big Aloha are thowing back some cans of Bintang after an evening session at A-Frames off Kandui Island. They’re about to settle into the internet feed of the World Cup that is provided by running 500 yards of cord up to the highest point among the mangroves. (I know, I’ve been there…talk about jerry-rigged.)
Eddie Johnson: After a nice take and score to end January, EJ’s playing time has been uneven at best and his agent is begging him to take a shot at the new Turkmenistan Premier League. Ouch.
Jimmy Conrad: Turns out Jimmy’s red card the other night bans him from the pitch at HDC and the boarding area of LAX. Who knew? He’s decided to travel anyway to South Africa…as the lead personality for up-and-coming reality series entitled “Your whole life will change for the better.”
On the phone with Cunningham:
Kenny Cooper: “Look, I thought my best shot was to join a team called “Plymouth.” I mean you can’t get more patriotic than that, right?
My dad is ruining this for me….argh!”
Working on free kicks (read: On Sunset Blvd.)
Sacha Kljestan: One of these things is still not like the other.
Somewhere in Zeusland
Freddy Adu: Twittering that Aris will “get the next one”….and still upset at Mikey B.
» I know we have few observations of Bedoya, but from what we’ve seen, he’s got the combination of skills that the USMNT needs, strength on the ball, plus attacking ability. Sort of what we’re hoping for from Robbie Findley.
» As we mentioned in another column, Beasley and Edu play in the bruising Scottish Premiere League, Torres and Castillo in the ole! Mexican league…are Torres and Castillo’s offensive attributes enough to outweigh the physicality they would encounter in South Africa?
» Further on Torres, who is probably the most glaring man on standby: How often is Bob Bradley going to consider playing Benny and Torres–similar players–together. That’s a lot of defense to give up and it likely be the USMNT needing to come from behind by at least two.
» Before Brian Ching is clearly dismissed, consider the role that Jozy is playing at Hull. The youngster is playing the hold-up role. If the winner of the Casey-Ching battle is the back-up, you could argue that Ching mixes it up a little more…plus has some WC experience. That being said, the scales are clearly in Casey’s favor right now…but he’s got to stop missing the sitters (HON, HDC, 01/23/2009)