Dooley? Earnie? Bruce Murray? Tony Sanneh? Which Former Player Could USA 2010 Use Most?

We continue the Jumble Part II by leading with a thought from the comment section.

Roy Wegerle: Topps in George's book...

TSG commenter George Cross hinted at a dandy of a post idea as he dropped the name Roy Wegerle as we discussed the impact that a certain Owen Hargreaves could have on the English side in 2010. Cross, an English nattie fan, went back in time to extol the abilities of Wegerle and how he would factor in the US side.

He said:

Yes, Hargreaves is Canadian. But I would argue that one of the most talented players to ever represent the USA was South African (his Mrs was a Yank!)…

How you could use his creativity and invention in the final third now!

A certain Roy Wegerle. The man had sublime skill. He would walk into the US team now, playing in the hole. We would be talking about ‘who would partner him?’ and ‘how to build the team around him?’ and ‘how to get the best out of him?’. Obviously, it’s just my opinion, but I think he was that good.

He was a bit like Glenn Hoddle – in those days “flair” players weren’t appreciated (in England). They were a luxury. Apart from Liverpool, who were a good footballing side, it was long ball, with a little and large combination up front – one to win the initial header or flick, the other to feed off it. Football has evolved immensely and I wonder how much he would command in the transfer market today.

I had the pleasure of watching him play quite a few times when he used to play for Chelsea, Luton* and QPR* in the late 80s / early 90s.

Thanks George for the trip down memory lane and thanks for kickstarting the idea on the piece we’re about to mention. However, I should probably reserve my gushing praise more for a Brit comparing a Yank to Glenn Hoddle.

Anyway, from George’s astute commentary TSG asks the questions, “Which former USMNT player could help the United States out most in World Cup 2010?”

As we consider the question on our side, we’re going to qualify our answer and suggest that this player needs to fit into the current US system. For example, TSG will avoid the urge, if possible, to move Donovan or Dempsey around the pitch to accommodate the new entrant.

So here we go, TSG’s top four followed by those from the Jumblers…

Honorable Mention: Ernie Stewart, Roy Wegerle, Ricky Davis

• Number 4: Hugo Perez

The 1991 US Soccer Player of the Year managed 73 caps and  netted 16 goals in those contests. Having more challenges in working overseas than let’s say, Clint Mathis, work permit issues forced Perez to bounce around 2nd rate teams instead of join the likes of Ajax and Serie A Parma.

The diminutive midfielder was a wonder on the ball and had a decent amount of striking ability to accompany it.

How does he fit for the USMNT in 2010. How about playing Perez off Donovan on the right side with the Dempsey Hub in the middle? What about a late game speedy attacking midfielder up the pitch…good addition.

Sanneh

• Number 3: Tony Sanneh

In the all-decade column perhaps TSG erred in not naming Sanneh our starter. Sanneh was a blanket on defenders in the 2002 World Cup; sticking with everyone and making critical tackle after critical tackle to cover a blown coverage by his cohorts. He also could bomb up the pitch and lace a header or two, just missing by a whisker a header to tie Germany in what turned out to be the final game of the tournament.

Beyond Sanneh’s defense, what makes Sanneh’s addition most attractive to the squad is his ability to carry the ball under pressure out of the backfield. Sanneh was a threat with the ball at his feet and able to beat defenders 1-on-1 on moving it up the pitch. With a defensive strategy that often relies heavily on the wing fullbacks and challenges in possession in the central midfield, this quality of Sanneh’s is, in short, priceless.

With Sanneh on defense we’ll go against our aforementioned predisposition. We’ll slot Spector out wide to the left and put Sanneh under Stu Holden on the right.

Backline solved, England shut down, semifinal run in a walk.

Number 2: John O’Brien

O’Brien likely doesn’t need a further introduction our publication. TSG built their “Team for All the Marbles” so to speak around him. His passing prowess, his assured tackling, his vision all robbed by chronic injuries, but when fit….I have no problem putting the former Ajax star up there just immediately south of the Essien, Makelele echelon.

Number 1: Roy Lassiter

McBride, the young one...

Just kidding Brian McBride, but I did consider Lassiter.

While Lassiter is arguably a Defoe Jr. (though he could never do it at the national level), McBride was the consummate pro who played defense like…like Hines Ward on a turnover and was always about making the right team play. I’m going to take McBride the early years when his speed was more of a factor here. Spector can volley him crosses for the left and McBride can slant off wide of Donovan a la Charlie Davies, though McBride will finish with his classic ball lashing instead of Davies stick-and-move.

Jumblers:

Kevin: Would it be too much of a cop-out to say Brian McBride? He would single-handedly solve the problem up front–and, damn it, I just miss seeing the guy suit up for the Nats.

(We allowed a late buy-in here for TSG Comment Hall of Famer Nick Sindt.)

Nick Sindt: I’m a huge McBride fan, but I have to say Thomas Dooley or Ernie Stewart.  Dooley brings instant class and aplomb to the D-mid role allowing Bobbo more freedom to choose a Box-to-Box or CAM to partner him, whomever is on form.

Ernie Stewart gives us another Landon type who can play wide or as a second striker, though his scoring record isn’t the greatest he got into the proper positions to shoot or set others up (at least from my limited viewing).

Tuesday: Charlie Davies.

But I assume you’re talking about the guys who are officially retired.

There are only three possible choices, and they all come from the overachieving 2002 vintage: Claudio Reyna, John O’Brien and Brian McBride.

Always loved Claudio’s ability to change the point of attack, but tends to be a player that slows things down – with cooler conditions during the Southern Hemisphere winter that’s less important to this time around.

The 2002 Cup was John O’Brien’s pinnacle as a player and the most he ever showed of his massive potential due to constant struggles with injury. Brian McBride is everything we wish Conor Casey or Brian Ching could be. Whether we’re talking John O’Brien pairing with Mike Bradley in central midfield and to provide left back cover or slotting McBride in up top really depends on whether Charlie Davies completes his miracle recovery. It’s true we could still have McBride himself, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea unless we can run 8 years back off his odometer.

Team Seco:  It has to be Brian McBride.

I would love to say Claudio to add a calming presence but we have a glut of mids right now.  We really need a solid target man who wins headers and can finish with either foot.  Unlike the rest of the US frontman options, Bake is football smart and absolutely clinical.  Nobody could mentally pick apart a backline like #20 could.

—–

Surprisingly, no nods for Murray, Ramos or–the man of the week–Harkes. None for Max-Moore or Whinealda either.

More Jumble in a bit….

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39 responses to this post.

  1. Shocked the nobody mentioned recently deposed USMNTer Frankie Hejduk……

    Reply

  2. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/02/04 at 6:00 AM

    I’ll comment on the other stuff later, but I remember being so excited with the news that Wegerle was going to be an American and would be eligible for the USMNT. Here was a ‘string-puller’ and elegant player who could raise the level of play all around him.

    The first USMNT game I ever saw in person was the USA – Ireland match on rainy summer night in 1992 at RFK stadium. We kicked ass that game, and Wegerle was got his first cap there.

    That tournament (US Cup) was the first indication that we might actually be building a competitive team, something that was in real doubt after the shellacking we got in WC ’90.

    After he came to play for DC United, I met Roy a few times and he was quiet, classy, and a great professional.

    Great memories. Thanks.

    BTW, if you want info about that USA-Ireland match, here’s a link:

    http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Other/2006/05/USA-Vs-Ireland-05-30-1992.aspx

    Reply

  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 7:43 AM

    I would have to agree wit Tuesday and Seco. McBride and Reyna would also HEAVILY feature IMO. But my reason for including McBride apart from his blindingly obvious ability, is also to compliment Wegerle – what’s the point of having somebody like him, with his footballing brain, and “string puller” (as Matt says) if the No. 9 isn’t on the same footballing wavelength? It would be a shocking waste of a resource. So while individually, their talents deserve a place in the US starting XI, collectively it really is a no brainer – especially if you start layering in Demsey and Donovan dovetailing in the offensive third.

    As much as I rate Howard, what about Freidel? In my opinion, he has to be the best player the US has ever produced?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 8:35 AM

      Hardly debatable that Friedel isn’t the best US “club” player of all time. Longevity in the top league with top teams.

      I have no issue with Friedel, but I have a pre-disposition to keepers that can become one of the 11 of the outfield players. Friedel is a little statuesque and that is why I favor Howard.

      No one marshalls a backline like Friedel and no one “makes themselves bigger” in the EPL with the possible exception of Van Der Saar.

      I wrote more in the decade piece.

      I think Friedel would have more difficulty in a league like La Liga, but not saying he would not be class….

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 9:54 AM

        MatthewSF: I understand your parameters and agree somewhat with you. However, as a keeper myself, I *have* to call you out on the “Friedel is a little statuesque and that is why I favor Howard” comment. I would argue that BF’s positioning, ability to narrow down the angles and stay tall means he doesn’t have to fling himself around the goal mouth – that is a last resort in the GKing community. Case in point – you don’t see (in no particular order) Van der Sar, Kahn, Seaman, Shilton, Zubizarreta, Zoff, Maier, Schmeichel, Buffon making “spectacilar” saves – but their goalkeeping ability (not just shot stopping) was / is such a position which people seldom praised them for.

        Sorry for being sidetracked easily (again).

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 10:35 AM

          No great points — I’m not talking about being active in front of the goalmouth. While I generally defend Tim Howard for coming out sometimes he’s too active when the ball is beyond the 18 in the center of the pitch.

          I’m talking about a back pass under duress or having to come out because Fernando Torres got loose.

          My personal preference is for a keeper who at least has the ability to have that as an option.

          Another example, you’re seeing a lot of teams now play much more aggressive up the field back lines if they know they are going to have a good shot to lose the game.

          If have you have a keeper that can come out on the ball over the top further or more comfortably than a more rooted goalkeeper, that’s a very big advantage.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 11:04 AM

          You must be talking about Fabien Barthez….

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 11:15 AM

            That’s cold.

            Reply

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 11:24 AM

              My point is how can somebody with that label from the manager, not get a mention from the fans?

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 11:27 AM

              Oh…George — I wrote “That’s Cold” to your Barthez comment.

              I actually thought I had put Ramos, Harkes and even Murray and Balboa in the post.

              I think most of our audience is probably 20-30 I would imagine and has more observations of the 2000’s…I also think Harkes’ commentary style might have done him in here…

  4. Posted by Doug Beard (Seco) on 2010/02/04 at 8:40 AM

    George C: I love the Wegerle call! I would like to think that US soccer is just about ready for him now.
    I saw him a few times in his horrid QPR strip (sorry: those blue horizontal stripes are never in) but never for Luton. Out of curiosity (i.e. want of knowledge!) did he play on the plastic pitch? If so, how did he fare? I could just imagine how difficult a time defenders might have had keeping up with his touch on the fast stuff.

    Matt M: I remember watching that game and nearly crapping myself when Ramos one-timed home.

    Hats off the TSG boys for the invite and job well done!

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 10:15 AM

      Doug: I saw RW play on the artificial stuff for Luton but not QPR. I’d say that it was definitely a help for any skillfull player back then because the surface was truly flat (not like the lush pitches in today’s modern stadia). I think that to really appreciate the speed and bounce, you’d have to have seen it live as words cannot explain the difference. But, he was an outstanding player, and very exciting. It was a long time ago, but I do remember his technique, and he was two footed. He always seemed to have so much time on the ball. But he couldn’t head the ball for shit… (and in those days, the ball wasn’t necessarily played on the deck all the time).

      But I’d also say that I am not too sure if the plastic pitch would be as advantageous today just because how defending has become more of an ‘art’ (which can be witnessed in the transfer fees paid for defenders, whereas back then, it was all about strikers / advanced midfielders).

      FYI – “those blue horizontal stripes” are Hoops (hence their nickname!).

      Reply

  5. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/02/04 at 9:36 AM

    Will nobody speak for Ramos? IMO he, O’Brien, and Donovan are the most skillful players we have seen.

    Ramos was a great passer, had excellent vision, wasn’t afraid to shoot, and had real bite when he tackled. The pity is that he didn’t have the right team around him when he played. He would do well in our team now.

    I know the question on the table is which player we could use the most, and I think the answer is pretty obviously McBride. His presence would fill a huge gap in our team. (I’d also like Paolo Maldini as our left back, but that’s a separate soccer fantasy)

    O’Brien might be the smartest player we’ve had. It’s a crying shame that he was so fragile.

    Finally, a note about Sanneh. I smile every time I see him mentioned in these contexts. When he came to DC United from Minnesota (I think) we were very impressed by his speed. That was it. He didn’t understand defense, his idea of tackling was to drag down attackers with his hands, and his shots on goal…weren’t. His nickname was ‘Feet of Stone’ because he had the worst first touch I’ve seen in a professional player (maybe except for Roy Lassiter.) He improved a great deal over the years. He scored a lovely header in our comeback win in MLS Cup ’96, but I was still surprised at how well he did at the national team level.

    I went up to Foxboro to see the US take on Holland before the ’02 Cup, and was amazed by how composed Sanneh looked. He made Zenden look like a local club player. I knew he was going to do well, and was both surprised and very pleased.

    Reply

  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 10:20 AM

    Nobody has mentioned John “Captain for Live” Harkes…

    Reply

  7. Posted by Evan on 2010/02/04 at 12:04 PM

    This is kind of off topic, but do you guys remember when Eddie Johnson was good? When that guy was scoring, I thought he was the future, now that I look back, I realize that all his goals game against Panama and Jamaica and other mediocre CONCACAF teams

    Reply

    • Still, I’m 100% in favour of giving Eddie Johnson a run-out in Amsterdam. I suspect after a couple years in the club and international wilderness he might actually be a better player than he was back then.

      Reply

      • Posted by Evan on 2010/02/04 at 6:19 PM

        Not sure thats saying much, I think we were all just delusional

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 6:31 PM

          EJ is so very tantalizing…the one thing about him is that he’s got the right stride for a striker who challenges the backline and he doesn’t get slammed off the ball like Jeff Cunningham…

          after Slim Shady’s display a few Saturday’s ago…my current pecking order is: Robbie Findley (since EJ’s had his shot), EJ, Cunningham….

          Reply

        • Posted by Evan on 2010/02/05 at 1:44 AM

          And thats the thing we always focus on when we see EJ, we think of his potential. We remember how he burst onto the scene scoring 8 goals in his first 8 games. To me, it was all down hill when he got that turf toe injury. He had been playing well and was a lock to start every game, but then he got hurt, and when he came back he wasn’t the same. Previously he was confident with the ball and took on defenders and generally found ways to score and be dangerous for 90 minutes. After the injury, and when he came back, he had a 2 goal season for Kansas City as well as a showing at the world cup that didn’t live up to the hype. The main difference that I have seen in his play is that he is so content to play a simple back pass instead of taking anyone on. Also you will see him drift back to find the ball a lot which is fine to keep possession for some players, but this is not what you want from a man with the speed to stretch the defense. I am really not sure at all why he was even selected for the 2006 world cup squad at all. Everyone was so excited about his potential but honestly with the run of form Taylor Twellman was on in early 2006, I think he should have been taken, and I was surprised when he wasn’t. Back to my original point tho, until he starts scoring goals I don’t think he should be considered, and I don’t even think the one he did score this past weekend was that well taken. I watched the video a few times and wasn’t sure if he got a touch on the ball before it goes between the keeper’s legs. If he did, I say that it was a good goal, if not then I don’t. Either way, a goal is a goal, but more production is required.

          By the way I am only replying to my comment because I can’t reply to yours.

          Reply

  8. Thanks George for your take on Wegerle’s career in England. We Yanks had nothing like the access to televised football that we do now, at least in the sort of backwoods where I grew up. I remember the occasional match on foreign-language channels on weekend mornings but nothing like the upwards of 50 matches likely to be televised over a weekend these days. That meant that our knowledge of players like Wegerle and Harkes plying their trades abroad was generally not first-hand so we’re limited to what we could see of their play on the National Team. That is, when they bothered having that on television or we could actually make it to the match. It’s hard to judge the couple of more talented players alongside the rest in those early years. Yes, our history is short and we’re plagued with amnesia.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 5:18 PM

      No problem Tuesday. I must admit, when people found out Wegerle was American, people couldn’t believe it. But when it was known that he was actually South African the reaction was “ah, that makes sense”…

      Reply

  9. Of course McBride. Brian Mac + surgically reinforced face = trouble for England. Try breaking his cheekbone now beeeotch! Though maybe (a sentimental choice on my part) the US could have used the late Joe Gaetjens. The only US forward to sink England in a game that mattered.

    An unrelated thought: The United States should make their kits for the 2010 World Cup exactly the same as the ones from 1950. That kind of psych-out could give the USA a slight edge in Rustenburg. Any edge would be welcome.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 2:45 PM

      “The United States should make their kits for the 2010 World Cup exactly the same as the ones from 1950. That kind of psych-out could give the USA a slight edge in Rustenburg. Any edge would be welcome.”

      Classic!

      Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/04 at 5:14 PM

      Joe Gaetjens? You mean the Haitian forward to score for the US against England? However, the 1950 kit comment was mildly amusing!

      Reply

      • And Wayne Rooney isn’t Irish? Matthew Le Tissier wasn’t born in the Channel Islands making him eligible for England or France? Come now. By your definition the only Americans eligible to play for the national team are the Hopi, Cherokee, Lakota, Sioux, Choctaw….etc. Please dismount from the imperial high horse.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/05 at 3:59 AM

          Wow – zing! – somebody can’t take a little banter! We have Owen Hargreaves who was born and raised to English parents in Cananda. What’s that all abooot?

          Channel Islands is a tricky one. They are British Crown Dependencies, but not part of the UK. Le Saux was from Jersey (where Nu Joisy was named after).

          Rooney might have Irish bloodlines, but he was born in and raised in Liverpool. The real travesty in Owen – he is Welsh. He was born in an English hospital as it was the closest maternity hospital to his north Wales home (they lived JUST across the border), and both his parents are English. Even though he spent his entire childhood in Wales, he was not eligible. The there is Giggs who is half Welsh and half English, moved to Manchester at 5 or 6, but doesn’t feel English?!

          I saw an article regarding Deco retiring from international football after the World Cup and club football when his contract runs out (2011). But he is going back to retire in Brazil. I think that says it all for this Brazilian-born Portugeuse international.

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/8498817.stm

          I personally think it is wrong that Deco, Senna Eduardo, Hargreaves, Caromonesi are eligible to play for Portugal, Spain, Croatia, England and Italy. It is clear that other than Hargreaves the others wouldn’t be good enough to represent Brazil and Argentina, their country of birth.

          It’s a touchy subject, and I am not getting right-wing about it. But where is the pride for fans if the talent on the team is ‘imported’ rather than ‘domestically produced’?

          MatthewSF: maybe we could have a piece of the sporting integrity of international football. Who should be eligible to play for ABC?

          Reply

        • I would love to see that piece, especially since Freddy Adu is Ghanaian (sp?), Stuart Holden is from Scotland, Gooch’s parents are Nigerian though I’m not sure where he was born. These players can all claim some citizenship to the US since they’ve lived in the States for a few years. The more befuddling ones are the David Regis expirment in ’98. Judas Rossi & Mauro Camoranesi (who’s only been in Italy since the 000-2001 season) playing for the nerrazzuri. Or, T&T stocking up on English rejects Zamora and the white guy who used to play in the Championship but now plays for the LA Galaxy. This list could probably grow into the hundreds if I keep looking on Wikipedia instead of working.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/05 at 7:46 AM

          I have no issue if a player such as Holden moved from Scotland to the USA at age 9 and feels more American. After all, he has spent his formative years here in the USA. Guiseppe Rossi is the other side of the coin for US football.

          It’s the whole ‘not being good enough’ to represent the country that you should be representing and getting citizenship elsewhere and playing for them, especially Brazilian-born X playing for Y.

          But I do wonder if Hargreaves would “feel” English and play for England if Canada were a top top team.

          All I know is that if I have kids (and in the unlikely event they turn out to be professional footballers), I would encourage them to represent the USA – as this is where they have been born and bred.

          The Irish have been snaking their fingers up and down family trees for ever, trying to expolit the GrandParent Rule.

          I guess FIFA needs to be more black and white about this issue as there are too many grey areas.

          Reply

        • Posted by Mark T on 2010/02/05 at 7:59 AM

          Guys, check out this piece. Not comprehensive, but some good discussion.

          http://theshinguardian.com/2009/11/03/the-usmnt-a-global-endeavor/

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/05 at 8:32 AM

            From the department of useless commentary….Mark I looked for that piece for 15 minutes up here in TSG North…good piece.

            Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/05 at 8:24 AM

          Thanks Mark. Good read. I agree with one poster’s comment about desire to play for X, but in my opinion, there has to be an eligibility.

          The Deco thing pulled my chain to be honest – it clearly illustrates that he has earned his money and wants to go ‘home’ to Brazil

          There is also some controversy in Australia where there are a lot of “Yugoslavs”. Šimunić was educated at the Australian Institute of Sport , but he decided not to play for Australia, instead play his international football for Croatia (country of his parents’ birth). Australia have now changed their rules – if you want AIS education, then you’re legally obliged to play for Australia.

          In addition, I would say that this should be extented to the whole team, not just the playing staff. And as much as I am a fan of Fabio Capello, that would mean arrivederci…

          Reply

        • Sorry about that George. I get a bit sensitive about the US and it’s players, because it’s difficult to get the rest of the footballing world to respect us. USA 1:0 ENG from 1950 is one of the few feathers that we’ve managed to earn for our national cap, and I became aggrieved that someone from a football culture as old and as successful as England would deny us that small accomplishment. I really ought to do a better job of governing my passions, before they become the end of me.

          I realize that over the years the situations of Perez, Regis, Adu, etc. make it hard for the rest of the footballing world to take us seriously.

          You’re right, of course that the issue of eligibility should be more clear and FIFA (and for that matter CONCACAF) should take steps to make that happen.

          That being said, Arsenal at one point more resembled France, and now even in Liverpool there aren’t so many Englishmen in the team.

          A big problem, what to do?

          One of the hallmarks of America is supposed to be that pretty much anyone who wants to be American that badly can do so without too much craziness and hardship. This is a strength of our country, but also a weakness…in cultural terms. There are times I feel like I have multiple personalities, as my Dad was from South Carolina, but I don’t consider myself a southerner, and we have heritage that is English, German, and possibly Irish and Native American. The sad bit is that trying to identify with and honor all of that is fairly difficult, and makes for sort of a cultural black hole in terms of identity. What truly constitutes an American? Which traditions from which cultures should I (or any of us) uphold? I really don’t know what constitutes an American. And after I watch some things I see in the news, I don’t know if I want to know.

          Also, I was trying to honor the memory of Gaetjens (It is presumed he was murdered by the secret police in Haiti when he disappeared in 1964) as he should’ve been granted US citizenship, but for some reason must have been denied, or perhaps he never applied, I don’t know which. The USA government made a mistake in not offering him citizenship at the outset for being willing to take up the banner of the USSF. I believe that Gaetjens was a dishwasher putting himself through accounting studies at Columbia University. I’m pretty sure he played for amateur side Brookhattan.

          Please accept my gentleman’s apology for unnecessary vociferousness.

          Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/06 at 7:17 AM

        Charles, thank you but totally unnecessary.

        I think we all have sub-cultures and you’re right, that’s what makes America great – the fact that each and everyone of us has a different story. I am an English-born Indian who moved to the US aged 31 (on a work visa and ended up getting married to an American). But I personally identify myself as English. But that’s just me.

        But in footballing terms, I cannot understand how 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generations of ABC don’t support their birth country or the country that has given them and their family so much opportunity and would rather represent somebody else. IMO, it just ain’t right. The USA is my “second” team, as you cannot just flick a switch and change alliance (nor would I want to). If we stay in the USA, my kids will be USA fans.

        I am yet to go to a US men’s game, but from what I have seen and read about, is that a US home game, isn’t really a home game in terms of support /12th man / home field advantage.

        I have said before, the USA, Australia, Russia, the African-quartet are knocking on the door. Only a fool would ignore that.

        Re. your respect comment, I think the reason that I get annoyed with American soccer fans, is more to do with the band-wagoners, rather than the proper fans who support their team, not just when the WC rolls around.

        Reply

  10. [...] Two parts of the series have been posted so far: here and here. [...]

    Reply

  11. Posted by MikeD on 2010/02/09 at 5:42 PM

    I’m surprised that nobody’s made a case for Eddie Pope circa 2002, or Clint Mathis during that ridiculous run of form in 2001.

    Eddie Pope in his prime was as good a defender as the US has seen. Much preferable to an unsteady Boca.

    For about 8 months Mathis was as dangerous an offensive threat as the US has ever seen. Knee surgery and Doritos took his explosion away from him, but when he had it, he was absolutely dynamic.

    Combine the injury trouble of Mathis, O’Brien and Beasley and you have a big part of the reason why the US struggled in 06. Those were the guys that were supposed to step up along with Landon. Only Landon survived unscathed.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/09 at 5:59 PM

      You know, very astute points here.

      While USMNT is suffering probably 1 major injury (Davies). You had Mathis, O’Brien, and Beasley — who finally did contribute.

      I still, however (and not that this is the intention of this comment) believe that Bruce Arena was utterly under-prepared for that Cup run.

      Reply

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