Archive for March, 2010

Bloodied McBride, USA, Unbreakable…

Our 2nd or so shot at inhabiting T-Shirtville, USA here at The Shin Guardian: McBride, USA, Unbreakable….

Has anyone, perhaps ever, embodied the spirit of US Soccer resolve more than Brian McBride?

One of my favorite images of US Soccer is one that came during the regrettable campaign of 2006, a smash-and-bash job by Italian Daniele DeRossi as he and McBride contended for a header during the group stage. While the hit came on a rather innocuous play, the resulting image, of a bloodied Brian McBride was apropos for the fervor and style in which McBride plays the game.

Steel

In that vain, we give you “McBride, Unbreakable” a retro shirt conceived by The Shin Guardian and concepted and designed by Prairie Rose Clayton an ardent US soccer fan who most recently had some of her artwork hung on the wall in Charlie Davies’ house. Thank you Rose.

McBride…Unbreakable:

*Zazzle is being a homer. We’ve moved the design over to Shirt Magic for now. I’ve purchased one and think it’s great.

* If it doesn’t work, let us know and we’ll take care of it for you.

* Purchase here.



Entry #6: Put U.S. On The Map

The Don’t Tread Challenge is TSG’s search for for the most insanely awesome video that gets fans fired up about USMNT heading into the World Cup. Voting will take place the end of March. For all entries, please click here.

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Put U.S. On The Map

by Mike Giunta

Yet another entry lost in the ether….

About the creator: Mike Giunta is a 19-years-old freshman at the University of Connecticut. He’s been playing soccer and following the USMNT his whole life. A native of Philadelphia, he couldn’t be more stoked that the Union are now in town.

Arsenal-Barca, Bordering on Classic Status

A treat today on Fox, open, attacking football from two of the best in the game.

Cesc knocks home the equalizer...

Arsenal vs. Barcelona did not disappoint in what is shaping up to be a doozy of a Champion’s League tournament. (Inter were 1-0 to the good against CSKA)

Quick question, how are everyone’s Champ’s League brackets doing?

Hopefully you’ve already caught some of the highlights. Arsenal, Barcelona at the Emirates today? A classic.

In case you missed it, Barca put on a clinic in the first half sending double digit shots in the direction of Manuel Almunia, but finding no joy.
For Arsenal, William Gallas and Andre Arshavin both were subbed out with injuries in the 1st half, while Cesc Fabregas picked up a yellow to rule him out of the return leg.

Zlatan's first was pure class...

The 2nd half would tell a different, but no less exciting tale.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic notched two seemingly insurmountable goals for Barca.

His first right after the half whistle on a long lead pass and subsequent chip shot. His second a miscommunication in the back between Alex Song, now standing in for William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen who went up field to create the space to mark Lionel Messi.

It was a tactical move to introduce Theo Walcott that abruptly changed the tide for Arsenal. As Barca failed to adjust, Walcott bombed down the left flank, creating three scoring chances in a manner of minutes. The third hit pay dirt as as Walcott banged the ball lower left from deep inside the box to ignite the Arsenal crowd and energize his teammates.

In the 80th decade, Cesc Fabregas made ran on to a ball and appeared to go down easily on a touch from the late-recovering Carlos Puyol. Replays showed the Puyol did, in fact, impede the shooting leg of the Fabregas.

Some other bullets:

• Look no further than today’s game to see why Bob Bradley keeps forcing the issue with Jonathan Bornstein and Heath Pearce on the left. Theo Walcott flat-out skinned the left flank of Barca today. As the half wore on, Arsenal consistently switched the ball to the right or switched to the left and back to the right to create space for Walcott who flew–that is the most accurate verb–by defenders consistently.

• Score it +1, -1 for Barca manager Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola made nothing less than a brilliant call in challenging the reshaped Arsenal central defense on the 2nd half whistle with a long ball over the top to a streaking Ibrahimovic. Despite contentions that Almunia misplayed–I saw some comments–Alex Song, playing out of position, failed to realize the threat and Manuel Almunia was left by his lonesome in a lose-lose decision.

Almunia choose to come out and force the 6’5” foward to play over the top of him, the Swede did you perfectly with a chip shot that rolled over the left half of the goal line. (After review, Almunia got caught in no man’s land. If he stays in the goal, he likely thwarts any shot with Song catching up to Ibra; if he comes out he needs to commit and he likely forces at worse a back pass. Poor play upon review.)

- 1 goes to Guardiola for not making a substitution early enough to change the game complexion or just slow a barreling Arsenal down after the Emirates made it 2-1. Arsenal got comfortable with their ball movement and who to attack. The lack of substitution essentially put or left Barca on the defensive.

Champs League: Arselona, CSKA-Inter

Today…

Arsenal – Barcelona

Update: Cesc STARTS for the home side

Cesc...one word...use it.

• Will Cesc Fabregas play? Far and away the biggest inflection point in this one. We’ve mentioned it a few times on this publication, that is that Barcelona does two things well on defense: maintain possession and, recently, close down the other teams deep ball handlers further up the pitch. The midfield will be where this game is won.

• If Cesc is out, and recent reports have him starting, I’m curious to see what line-up Arsene Wenger goes with and how he attacks.

I think he’s got to have Bendtner in there for the long ball over the top if they’re having a problem moving it. Who’s Cesc’s replacement if he can’t go, Diaby?

TSG thinks Fabregas will play as he is that critical to Arsenal having success on the day.

• Further, personnel-wise for the Wengers, they’ll have Thomas Vermaelen back thankfully. He and Gallas, recently recovered as well, in the middle are a better pairing than Milito and Puyol for the Camp Nou visitors.

However, the Barca central defense does’t have to face a Lionel Messi. That’s why Alex Song as one of the defense middies in front of Gallas and Vermaelen is probably the most pivotal central defender in this one.

• For Barca, Iniesta is out. They too need to defend the midfield so as to not expose an average back line to the threat of what will likely be Arshavin, Bendtner and Nasri(?) on the right.

CSKA Moscow – Inter

• A lot less about about personnel in this one in my opinion.

CSKA is fresh as the Russian league is just kicking off. On the other side of the ball you have Inter, who seem to be emotionally drained after their big series with Chelsea. You have their draw with Roma this past weekend where Inter struggled to create offense and you now have the Special One commenting that Italy hates him and it’s not the place for him. Poor timing, pal.

• If your a USMNT fan (as I presume you are), you are going to want to check out this man below. His name is Tomas Necid and he’s shortly coming to a pitch near you….and that pitch would be Rentschler Field in Connecticut, as Necid starts and stars for the Czech Republic. You can consider Necid a scorer in the manner of a cross between a Clint Dempsey and Pippo Inzaghi. He always seems to be making the right run and always seems to pop up where the ball is in a great place to be smacked into the goal.

Yesterday…

Bayern Munich – Manchester United

No go if they don't go....

• If no Robben and no Ribery, then likely no relief for Bayern Munich. If I’m Sir Alex, I’m just stacking the middle on defense against Bayern, that simple. Note, Ribery, despite an ankle knock is expected to play.

• Will Nani dazzle on the main Europe stage with his new contracted freshly signed? He goes up against one of the best in Philip Lahm.

• Was Saturday against Bolton a coming-out party finally for the mercurial Dimitar Berbatov? This would be a great game to build on that last one.

• Munich manager Louis Van Gaal trying to get in Edwin Van Der Saar’s head by calling him a “manufactured” and not natural, goalkeeper. Are there many better?

Lyon – Bordeaux

• No Alou Diarra due to cards for Bordeaux.

• Great perspective, from who else but the “other” Guardian on the magnitude of the all French clash.

• More insights and links over at our friends at Ligue1Talk.com

Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice:

• Benny Feilhaber recovered and on the bench for AFG Aarhus’s match with Esjberg tomorrow.

• “Cesc It Ain’t So”: Fabregas struggling against the clock to participate in tomorrow’s showdown with Barca.

James Milner has already made the England squad as he well should. TSG thinks he should start over Gareth Barry (except on June 12th when we want the States to expose Barry).

MLS Jumble Finale: What Are You Looking For?

Is that your final answer?

The question: What’s something you expect out of MLS this year that others might not?

Connor, Ninety-Plus:  More than 50% of the clubs to turn a profit. Now with the expanded CBA in place, that inevitably means the league will spend more, but with all the sponsorships and soccer specific stadiums, and this summers World Cup beckoning, this could be a jolt to the financial hearts of MLS clubs should the US play well in South Africa.

Chris, Dynamo fan:  I think we’re going to see a lot more young talent being picked out of MLS to go play in higher caliber leagues in Europe. After the recent success of both experienced and young Americans abroad we’re going to have a lot more eyes on young MLS players that are capable of making the jump to that next level of play.

Growth and brotherly love...

Joe, Miami Monsters: I expect the MLS 2010 season to be the most intense and important for growth. We need a strong showing this season!

Charles, MetroStars: I expect that MLS clubs will draw more fans than last season and continue to grow and flourish. The fact that things are going so well in Seattle proves to me that any ownership/investor group that place fan satisfaction/club quality as the highest priority will reap the benefits. I believe that an MLS club might just have it in them to win another CONCACAF Champion’s League – preferably before another ten years pass.

MLS Jumble: Who’s Coming The Other Way?

Question: Which overseas player would you like to see in MLS this year and for what team?

Joe, Miami Monsters: Won’t happen till the World Cup is over but I would love to see Thierry Henry on the Red Bulls. He is still amazing and I would love to see him face up against some up and coming US players.

Arguez, pinballing around overseas...

Charles, MetroStars:  If he doesn’t get a fair run-out at his new Portuguese club Estoril, Bryan Arguez (44 caps, 2 goals for various US youth national teams) should consider a move to MLS at the end of the 2010-11 season. It’s been about 2 years for Arguez overseas now, and he has only made one first-team appearance since August of 2008. Perhaps he fits at San Jose, as the Quakes clearly need help. Allocation pending.

Villarreal's Senna: Sunsetting his career in the land of rain?

Connor, Ninety PlusMarcos Senna to Seattle Sounders FC.  If there’s one thing that Seattle lacks, its a talented, relentless destroyer to play behind Ljungberg.  Senna fits that bill.

Chris, Dynamo Fan:  The popular rumor is Thierry Henry to the Red Bulls which would be a nice headline grabbing move for a team that could certainly use another scoring threat. If we’re playing the game of ANY overseas player, I think someone like Didier Drogba would do well with the physicality of MLS and would make a great striker partner to Brian Ching for the Dynamo. He would most likely get sent off once every three matches or so, however.

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Just one more Jumble question left.

MLS Jumble: Shippin’ Out!

The question: Which MLS player will make the move overseas? Or, which should?

Any doubt Gonzalez is destined for Europe in the near future?

Connor, Ninety Plus: Which MLS player will make the move overseas? Landon Donovan.  Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I think he enjoyed England too much not to return soon.

Which one should?  Chad Marshall.  His potential is quickly rotting away, after raking in two MLS Defender of the Year awards, constant injuries caused his play to suffer for the Nats, and now his place on the plane has been lost to an emerging Clarence Goodson.

Charles, MetroStars: Any MLS player with the chance to sign overseas in a situation where they play first team football should go. Go for no less than 1 year, and if they’re not playing regularly no more than 3 years, before playing in MLS. The MLS player that should move to Europe is anyone that is out of contract and is offered a contract overseas, provided they are given a fair run-out to impress.

Chris, Dynamo Fan: Which most likely will: Omar Gonzalez of the Galaxy and Geoff Cameron of the Dynamo.

Which should: Robbie Rogers from Columbus and Marvell Wynne (now of Colorado). Both those guys show outstanding athletic ability but I think need that next level of training to be able to really excel (Rogers has spent a season in Holland). Wynne has world class speed and could be a top outside back if he can really learn to play the position.

Joe, Miami Monsters: Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers. Chad is ready to move up and showcase his defensive skills while Rogers needs to show that he can play along the best in the midfield.

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