Archive for May, 2010

Hard Goodbyes: 4 Hours Till the Whistle

Harder goodbye? Vote below….

OR

Biding Time: The “Best Of” CONCACAF

Okay, that “Orange Slices” column is not going to hold us all day while we wait for our first USMNT action in nearly two months.

Commenter GeorgeCross, a UEFA native, gives his us this little fun piece to debate while we’re waiting.

Just for a little bit of fun, I thought it would be cool to name a ‘dream team’ from each of FIFA’s Confederations. (Our first in the “Best Of” series)

Obviously, the list of players is exhaustive, so there’s not one right answer.  My aim was to perhaps debate a little, and perhaps learn something – a TSG member might throw out a name that most of us ignored, forgot about or hadn’t even heard about.

Logic:  each player’s country has to be at The Finals and the player has to be part of said country’s provisional 30-man squad.  In addition, I have take the liberty to chose a   4-4-2 diamond  over a 4-3-3 formation.  And I have also picked the best players (IMO), rather than a team to beat a specific opponent. To begin, we’ll start with CONCACAF. A little tough as I have only a few squads to choose from.

GeorgeCross … I’ve taken the liberty of adding my on-the-fly suggestions to yours below.

Goalie:

GeorgeCross: Tim Howard, USA

TSG: Tim Howard, USA

Defense:

GeorgeCross: Carlos Salcido, MEX – Oguchi Onyewu, USA, Rafael Marquez, MEX –  Ricardo Osorio, MEX

TSG: Carlos Salcido, MEX – Oguchi Onyewu, USA, Jay DeMerit, USA  –  Maynor Figueroa, HON

The Spurs strongman makes both lists...

Midfield:

GeorgeCross: Stu Holden, USA – Wilson Palacios (CDM), HON – Clint Dempsey (CAM), USA – Andres Guardado, MEX

TSG: Clint Dempsey, USA – Wilson Palacios, HON – Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo, MEX – Landon Donovan, USA

Forward:

GeorgeCross: Carlos Vela, MEX – Landon Donovan, USA

TSG: David Suazo HON – Carlos Vela, MEX

Honorable Mention:

TSG: Rafael Marquez, MEX – Giovanni Dos Santos, MEX – Jonathan Dos Santos, MEX – Jozy Altidore, USA – Michael Bradley, USA – Stu Holden, USA

GeorgeCross: Pending

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Have at it folks … just seven hours until the whistle.

Orange Slices: Beat The Republic

Our “Orange Slice” post is back.

Go time!

Orange Slices is our game day, catch-all post that we update throughout the day. Everything goes in here (links, photo, video) that seems interesting and pertinent. Honestly, I hate attempting to do a column on gameday. This–the match–it’s what we’re all here for.

The USA takes on The Republic today at Renstchler Field in Hartford, CT. Coverage begins at 4:30PM PST. Game time is 5pm PST.

For TSG’s full preview see: Preview: Who’s Bob Czeching Out?

• I harp on Soccernet quality, but never Jeff Carlisle. One of TSG’s favorites has an excellent, in-depth, non-frothy piece on Landon Donovan.

• I’ve received this question in email and I’m sure I’ve seen it in the commentary somewhere: The USMNT will be boarding for South Africa in D.C. (not Philly) — no other details are known at this time.

• Update:  From Steve Goff at the Washington Post:

“The very early — and very unconfirmed, unofficial — buzz is that several regulars will remain in street clothes. The names I hear are Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Carlos Bocanegra. Other veterans will be in reserve.”

*Note (no disrespect to Steve at all) – the last buzz from the WP was that Freddy Adu was in the 30-man roster.

• The USMNT will be wearing their new home Nike Grey, White & Blue jerseys for the game.

• The weather will be around 80° F when the USMNT takes the field. Altitude (ha) will not be a factor as Hartford, home of some great pizza, is only 75 feet above sea level.

• 23 men dress, 6 subs allowed.

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PSA: TSG Corporate Announcement: New team players and one man’s World Cup goal

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• A very “cool” move by Bob Bradley, inviting the pride of the University of San Francisco, Bill Russell to USMNT training. Well done Sweatpants (who’s wearing shorts in these pictures).

• Carlos Bocanegra had a little-seen chat on ESPN on Monday. One statement caught our eye, “I’m hoping that Finley will be one of the surprises of the tournament. I think he’s got something special to take guys on one on one.”

Might Carlos know something that we don’t know?

• Landon Donovan on SportsCenter, says the US can go to the World Cup finals.

Question here, why doesn’t the US trot out another young face with Donovan? A Stuart Holden, a Michael Bradley? Everyone knows Donovan. Want to interest casual fans….introduce them to a new star!

• The US last played Czech…yes…in 2006. 3-0 to the bad. Tomas Rosicky–two goals in that one–is not with the team for their American roadtrip; neither if not-so-gentle giant Jan Koller. Lowlights here.

Continue reading

Preview: Who’s Bob Czeching Out?

Ah, such a loaded title to this column in so many ways.

Um, last time didn't go so well....no Koller this time

For those of you who are going to college, in college or graduated college like I did many moons ago, the USMNT road trip to South Africa has just commenced. The car is packed, gas topped, snacks mustered and the USMNT is moving. The team is saddled up and just about to get dialed in on the freeway.

Well, most of the team.

For seven players, their chance at another cap in 2010, barring a spate of injury, ends tomorrow.

What you’ll likely see from Bob Bradley is a mixture of veterans and players on the cusp. The veterans to provide the supporting cast for Bob Bradley to evaluate some of those seven against the best to Czechs have to offer. You need to judge players versus the best quality.

Actually, judging by Saturday’s loss to Turkey, the Czechs might be pulling a Juventus in this one as well; I digress.

Coach USA and his staff will really be grading out two primary things in this one: 1) the aforementioned abilities of the unsettled roster spots and 2) perhaps more critically, how those who’ve been injured–Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Eddie Johnson even–perform under game conditions. This encounter is not about solidifying the starting eleven so much as seeing who gets into it on Turkey Day in Philadelphia and beyond.

I’m guessing that Tim Howard likely gets a breather in this one–could be the next one, but Howard’s from New Jersey, much closer to Philadelphia.

Okay, let’s kickoff our first USMNT preview since March…and let’s get our World Cup road trip started….

As always, we’ll follow the (now-patented) TSG format:

TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
11 at the Whistle
*Disclaimers

TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”

Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell are back! But are they fit?...and will they start?

• How’s Gooch?

Duh and “Next!”

• Who’s going where on the backline?

If I’m Bob Bradley here, I want to see the fitness of three guys I will likely rely on in South Africa on June 12th. I’ve got less than three weeks to get a stand-in ready, so my first priority here is checking out my senior staff in that back.

There have been murmurs that Boca and or DeMerit might sit this one out. I obviously can’t comment on medical reports or player fitness, but if they’re good to go, I say Bradley plays them. Get that first real-time look so you know if you need to get someone else ready for June 12th.

If they don’t play, well, there’s your storyline Wednesday morning.

Continue reading

And Now A Word From….Ourselves

A brief message from corporate here.

Yup, we're "corporate"...big time!

TSG is very pleased to bring you a few announcements today:

• Please welcome Matt Mathai and Brian Mechanick who will be adding their talents to TSG over the next week.

You’ve seen both of their work before on TSG….and frankly if they got together and created their own publication, TSG proper would have as many readers as….as….the Rocky Mountain News? Ouch.

Your man on the scene...

» Brian will help us cover the USMNT the next few weeks. You know him from such features as “2006 vs. 2010” and the immensely popular “Choosing Your USMNT Jersey Is No Trivial Matter.

Brian is from Philadelphia, played fullback and FIFA growing up and is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur, the Union and of course “C’mon You Yanks!”

He’s also interested in locker boxing….I have no idea what that is.

» The TSG community bore witness to the incredible eye of Matt Mathai late last week.

Visionary, seriously, read on...

Matt issued a photo documentary on TSG and now this week he’ll be capturing lasting images of the tune-up series for TSG. Thanks Matt.

Matt was born in Malaysia and lived in India until I was 13 then moved to the District of Columbia.

He has degrees in Economics, Computer Science, and Engineering Management (gosh his parents must be proud), but he employs none of them in his day job. (Huh?)

Matt attended his first US Soccer match in 1991 (USA-Ireland at RFK.) and was a pretty early member of Sam’s Army (ca. 1995).

Matt also founded the Screaming Eagles, DC United’s first supporters club. Wow.

Matt’s watched, played, coached, refereed, and now, photographed soccer at various levels for many years.

Awesome….we’re happy to have both of you!

Stunningly handsome, amazingly objective, guaranteed to go blind...

• Meet the web’s Martin Tyler. One man, 32 teams, no sleep.

Well, you know him already. Our live commentary man Shaun Webb. I’ve known Shaun for almost ten years now and a nicer and more genuine guy you won’t find. But…that’s not what I am here to announce today!

Shaun is going to attempt the unthinkable, seemingly the unattainable!

Shaun is going to attempt to offer live commentary on (nearly) EVERY SINGLE WORLD CUP GAME!

Yes, folks, for once I typed something without error.

For West Coast residents that means getting up at 4:00-4:30 every morning.

I’ve decided that the TSG community–if they so desire–should start sending or at least start thinking of sending Shaun some “care packages.”

You know, a cacophony of Red Bull, Skittles, grilled cheese sandwiches (I think Shaun likes these), pajamas, coffee, donuts and advil.

I’ll make Shaun’s address available shortly.

The Don’t Tread Contest IS ABOUT TO GO….DOWN!

That’s right…stay tuned. We’ll need your vote and support…and along the way the USMNT is going to pick up some pre-USMNT fans. That’s right.

One last thing…

….TSG will be helping community member Antonio with his high school project….seriously.

“Magic” Gomez? Yup, That’ll Stick

Thanks to TSG writer Brian for sending us the vid. Shouldn’t these guys be looking at tape or something.

England vs. Mexico: Breakdown

Zonal Marking is a great site that a few folks in the TSG community interested me in.

Stringbean on the scene yesterday...

They have a great summation of yesterday’s friendly vs. Mexico.

Check it out here.

Conclusions by the English site:

• Aaron Lennon currently presents a better option on the right wing than Theo Walcott

• The central midfield of Milner and Carrick spent the game confused.

TSG comments:

• That defensive central midfield is the best place for the Yanks’ strength (Donovan and Dempsey) to attack.

• If you look at the first picture in the post *and flip it* vertically you can see how Bob Bradley may consider using Clint Dempsey, tucking him in behind Jose Altidore while Landon (who probably is a little more narrow) is a “lone winger” out on the left side.

Stay tuned Wednesday for some tactical review from TSG.

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