Archive for April, 2010

The Weekend….

Apologies for skipping the last few weekend previews.

Once again Saturday, I’m out of pocket again. I don’t know what the means, I just know people say it when they’re not going to be around.

Oh no you can't against TSG this weekend....

I’ll be trying to catch the following games:

EPL: The Holdens vs. Hotspur on replay.

Is there an American you’re more excited to see on the pitch this weekend?

(Update: Holden misses the cut….not in the 18…buh-bummer. Did TSG, and Bolton fans, fall prey to a little buzz generation/late season ticket sales bid by Bolton?)

MLS: Dynamo vs. Kansas City

Amazing, Vermes, not Kinnear has the horses in this one. Everyone loves Dom Kinnear, some suggesting that he’s a candidate at some point for the US Men’s role. I didn’t pay attention to him much this year so I want to get some observations in.

In Vermes, he’s going up against a hard-nose who now has a plethora of attackers at his disposal. Meanwhile, the Dynamo will be weakened up the middle due to that major loss of Cameron.

Very interested in this one.

Bundesliga: Rico Clark vs. The Shin Guardian

Well it’s really Frankfurt vs. TSG Hoffenheim. I watched Maurice Edu last weekend; liked what I saw. What’s intriguing about Clark? Man, he can close on offenders. You hear that Walcott? You hear that?!

I believe this is on replay on The Tres.

EPL: Chelsea v. Liverpool

Going to try and get up for this one after some soccer team shenanigans Saturday evening. I’m a casual Everton fan, but I don’t really root for Liverpool to lose.

This game is about pride as a player. You may not like your coach. You may have seen that your teammate Lucas Leivi actually tweeted that the “team was coming apart” before he was shut down.

This game is about your pride as a player. I’m looking at you Mr. Gerrard.

——

Hey, can someone tell me where the Thursday and Friday night MLS games went. Those games were really getting me into the league. C’mon…whoever…

On Charlie: Skill Gets Him There….. ……Sentiment Draws Our Heart

I wasn’t going to address yesterday’s Bob Bradley comments, but many of you asked TSG to. Our lowest readership comes Friday evenings, so it’s a good time to sneak this one out there.

I really think there is a little too much over-saturation of the Davies’ situation right now; we’re culpable contributors mind you.

Candid...

TSG was invited to yesterday’s event in NY; we tried to make it–couldn’t make it happen. Our apologies.

So the comments and interactions I’m reading are all secondhand. In reading through the reams of copy–if transcribed correctly–it sounded like a refreshingly candid Bob Bradley.

Here’s specifically what Bradley said, courtesy of Grant Wahl:

“Let’s say it’s 100 steps to get back to the same level [that Davies played at before],” Bradley said. “Back to some version of regular training, you can decide what step you think that is. Is that step 60? Is that step 80? And eventually with any athlete those final steps are the hardest steps. So we still need to see where that goes. I’m so thrilled and excited that this is a great story. And Charlie is, as everybody knows for us, a popular guy. He’s a guy that everybody likes. You can’t help but feel that way about him.

“The only part that’s coming up is this: There’s going to be a decision on our end that is simply about the World Cup. I know that’s been one of his motivating forces in this whole thing. Regardless of how that particular decision goes, it’s gonna be important … If at the end he’s at step 80 and we think in order to start that camp he needs to be at 85, that can’t get in the way of him getting back to step 100. So it’s a tricky part because, look, I know what’s on the table right away. I know that a lot of his drive has been with that goal. And that means something to all of us. But at the end of the day, we still have to assess completely where he is as we make decisions, even for the camp.

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Operation: Recovered!

How could we not issue our 2nd update to the visual Match Fit Index; what with CD9 scoring goals, Bob Bradley commenting in the Big Apple yesterday, and (sigh) Ashley Cole hounding wingers on the pitch. (Last visual)

For those unfamiliar, TSG has the MFI, with four designations: Medic! (You don’t want to go to the Medic!, trust us. CD9, Gooch…they’ve been there this year), Training Table (A 6-to-8 weeker….could go either way), Magic Spray (Spritz, spritz….you’re good to go), Match Fit (Energizer…..bunny).

On the chart below….one Charles Desmond Davies is not in Tweezerland…he’s under Match Fit status. And so is Gooch (or as John Harkes calls him Onyewu Oguchi) and even Iceman Holden!

In the schematic below if you’re Magic Spray or better….you’re on the Match Fit list.

As of April 30th

Some Updates:

Both Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand are expected in the line-up for Manchester United this weekend

Steven Gerrard: Have you heard the news? Yet another scandalous, um, scandal just three fortnights before the World Cup.

Charlie Davies: Scoring goals and taking hits….in practice….but still.

Oguchi Onyewu: Not sure what is more impressive. That he’s got no restrictions on training or he used Twitter to deliver the news.

Stu Holden: Likely back for the final two Bolton fixtures….sure sounds like Owen Coyle’s got big plans for Mr. Haircut.

Ashley Cole: Back and in full effect.

Aaron Lennon: Still battling, but will likely be battle-tested.

Bookending: Buddle Golazography

Ballin'

A little delayed here…TSG practices another motto beyond the multiple obervation.

“Zig when others zag.”

So we avoided the Buddle deluge a few weeks ago, but guest poster B-Mac wanted to make certain we served up a plate of Buddle scores, even if it was cold. Since we did it for Herulez Gomez and even Eddie Johnson a few days ago.

So B-Mac…go:

Smokin’ Buddle

Edson Buddle; on fire. Galaxy fans could not have imagined a better start for Buddle than 7 goals in his first 4 games. Buddle has been impressive this year, but not all goals are created equal. So let’s evaluate the impressiveness of his goals, accounting for skill and finishing. I will use a scale of 1-10 for impressiveness, with a 1 equal to getting the tally for a deflection off your ass and a 10 being this wonder-strike from Maicon Friday.

» Nothing spectacular, but strong finishing to head the ball to the top-left corner where no keeper could ever save it. He loses some points by being left wide-open by some horrendous New England marking on the set-play, but solid nonetheless

Score: 5

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Europa Cup semis – Part deux

Liverpool need another from Benayoun

Congrats to Fulham who played an inspiring second half to come back from a goal down. Congrats to Madrid who kept on pressing. Should be a great final but I believe Fulham will come out trumps!

TWEET TWEET TWEET - Its over. Forlan’s goal did it. I think Liverpool the way they played in the first half deserved to go but Benitez changed his tactics and their defensive mindset ensured that Atletico are the deserving finalists. Well a fitting end to Liverpools season. They still have a chance at 4th but not with the Spaniard in charge.

120:00 -  Only extra time left to play. Deggen has been terrible. The only positive if Liverpool lose is that Benitez will have to leave. He might take some players with him but at least he will be gone.

117:00 – Commentators blaming ash cloud…thats dumb. Blame Benitez. I know he told them to be more defensive in the second half. Forlan off Camacho in.

112:00 – Deggen almost responsible for Atletico’s second goal as he fails to close down Simao who sends it just over the bar….Pacheco looking to come on for Liverpool, Benayoun off. Who needs creativity right now. HOW ABOUT TAKING OFF A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER!!!!

110:00 - Great attacking move by Benitez as he takes off Mascherano who has been Liverpools best player and replaces him with…wait for it…a defender. Hopefully Benitez will prove me wrong but really, YOU HAVE ATTACKING PLAYERS ON THE BENCH YOU DOUCHE!

108:00 - Atletico are taking their foot off the pedal. Liverpool pressing but their final ball is letting them down.

106:00 - Second half underway!

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Group C Analysis Silver Style

Nate Silver, statistician extraordinaire, who first came to prominence with his mathematical system to evaluate MLB players and then with his 2008 presidential predictions, has thrown his hat and statistical analysis to predict Group C at the upcoming World Cup. He’s taken conventional wisdom and backed it up with stats and simulations (not the diving kind).

Personally I don’t think its too hard to project the final placings in this group but I do find the statistics interesting in that after all the simulations, Algeria still have a 1 in 4 chance of advancing. Basically no game is going to be easy and England and especially the US have to watch out for sneak counter attacks, park the bus mentality and tough physical play to deter them off their game(s).

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A Statesman To The Europa Final?

Some Thursday bullets: (Root canalitis is making us less than heady on a lengthy, researched column–witness yesterday’s grammar-less Liverpool post)

Standing in Dempsey's way...

• We’re almost there for Clint Dempsey and Fulham to Europa Finals. A big one today at the Craven Cottage for the McBrides. A 0-0 tie last week at Hamburg essentially means winner take all on Thursday. Wouldn’t it be nice for the Deuce to go Juventus on us?

Want to learn more about how Fulham excelled this year? An excellent column here by the Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson on how former Inter Milan manager Roy Hodgson has got Fulham firing on all cylinders.

Oh…you wanted to see that Deuce strike again before today’s game:

• TSG reader Antonio made a great comment comparing yesterday Inter v. Barca thriller to the U.S. v. Spain Confederation’s Cup match. For my part, I loved the match. I’m a fan of defensive soccer–probably through my own upbringing of playing wide in the back.

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