Archive for September, 2010

What’s the deal with Jurgen?

Is he really a good coach?

So if Jurgen can stir up a hornets nest, so can I. I’m curious to know what the big deal with Klinsy really is. A lot of USMNT fans really really want him as head coach and I want to know why. I’m English, so first and foremost I support England, but having lived here for 20 years, I REALLY want to see the USMNT national team get to the next level in International Soccer. I just don’t see how Jurgen can take them there.

He’s had two managerial spells. One with the German National team and one with Bayern Munich.

With Bayern, he coached for less than a season (08-09) and was fired in April 09, with Bayern knocked out of the German domestic cup in the quarters, Champions league in the quarters and in third position of the Bundesliga, endangering their next years Champions League qualification.

He was given a squad that had won their domestic league the previous year and set them a few steps backward.

Germany's 2006 success had more to do with their fans, the players and hosting the Cup then their coach.

Klinsmann was more successful with the national team, at least on first glance. He took a young German team to third place at the 2006 World Cup and did do a good job of shunting out the older generation of players who had failed so miserably in the 2004 Euros, revamping Germany’s national footballing program on the way.

BUT, lets look at his results. Klinsmann’s first two years in charge did little to impress the footballing world, as they did poorly in friendlies building up to the 2006 World Cup (which Germany was hosting, so no need to qualify).

At the big dance, they won their group, but had less than challenging opponents in Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador. They then beat Sweden (a solid team, but no world beaters) in the first knock stage and then an average Argentinian team on penalties in the quarters. They lost 2-0 to Italy in the semis.

Keeping in mind that every game they played, they were spurned on by their home fans, and that they had a relatively easy route to the semi finals. I would venture to say that the players got them as far as they did and not him as a coach. When they needed him to do something different and come up with a tactical magical moment, he failed and Italy won late in extra time.

After the World Cup, with the German press and pubic in full support, Klinsmann decided to resign, saying he didn’t have the drive anymore and wanted to spend time with his family. Joachim Löw took over and has taken an even younger Germany to the next level, and they are one of the favorites at Euro 2012 and Brazil 2014.

Did Klinsmann realize that he didn’t really have what it took to take Germany further and intelligently decide to step down on top? The cynic in me says yes.

A fantastic striker and amateur diver, Klinsmann and the word defense aren't very synonymous

I’m not saying he’s a bad coach, but I really don’t think he’s what the USMNT wants. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Klinsmann would be a step backward from Bob Bradley, but I don’t think he offers anything special.

Klinsmann was a fantastic striker in his playing days and his coaching style is reflective of that. I don’t believe the word defense is in his lexicon. This is not what the USMNT wants. The US’s counter attacking style and speed is one of their strengths, but they do not possess the skill to just outscore their opponents. They need discipline at the back and Klinsmann cannot provide that.

Who would be perfect for the job. Honestly I don’t know. What perplexes me though, is why so many people think “California Klinsy” would be the savior of the USMNT.

Your thoughts!

Whose Parade Is Bob Reigning On?

This is a guest post by Jay Bell

The Sequel: Who's recast, who's cut?

The re-hiring of Bob Bradley means he is starting his job over again. We will see the same strategy in regards to the player pool that we saw in 2007. We are going to see a lot of young guys given chances at the US’s most shallow positions. Bob is still looking for a consistent left back and a striker who puts the ball in the net. In 2007, he concentrated on central midfield. Feilhaber, Clark, Edu, and Bradley were rotated in during the year. This time he’s likely to concentrate on centerback with plenty of young MLSers ready to compete for a spot.

So which guys are going to benefit from Bob’s new reign? Who gets snubbed?

POSITIVE EFFECT

From Salt Lake semi-pro to....Brazil 2014?

Justin Braun. Bradley gave plenty of minutes to Ching and Casey in the last cycle, much to the chagrin of US supporters. They still played a valuable role. With an athletic forward playing off of them, they were more successful. This position should open up as Ching’s knees crumble beneath him and Casey slows down even more. Other than Jozy Altidore it does not look like anyone else is looking to claim this spot.

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Klinsmann Stirs Hornet’s Nest

Hi there...again...

Update: Here is the story in full.

Perennial US Soccer “savior” Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with Sasha Victorine on the KC Wizards pre-game before their 2-0 win over Chivas.

The meat of the conversation: Klinsmann was again the apple of Gulati’s eye. This time the German made more concessions, but an inability to have full control of his technical staff led to negotiations breaking off. So says Klinsmann at least.

Awaiting video here. I’ve grabbed some of the Twitter feed of the KC Wizards after the break.

Begs the questions what Bob Bradley’s contract is and, again, what was Gulati’s goals and his current expectations after South Africa.

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Weekend preview

Can Holden hold the potent Villa midfield?

Well after a goal fest this week in the two euro competitions, we’re back to domestic league play.

EPL
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa host the Holden Wanderers.
This is caretaker managers, Kevin MacDonald’s last game in charge before Gerard Houiller becomes the gaffer.

I for one, wanted to see the Frenchman take over the USMNT national job. Amongst the footballing world he’s considered a tactical genius with impeccable knowledge of the game, but in the public eye he comes off more as a bit of buffoon. He’s got great pedigree winning trophies at Liverpool and with Lyon and was responsible for creating the dominant French side of the late 90’s and early aughts, but isn’t given that much respect. Hopefully he can take Villa to that next level.

Both teams coming off losses in the previous weekend, will look to right the ship with an emphatic win. The majority of play will take place in the midfield. Look for Holden to attempt to stifle A. Young, Petrov and Downing and that Elmander can continue his fine vein of form.

Lichaj hasn’t been making the bench let alone the starting 11 recently, but the season is still young.

Blackburn play Fulham at Ewood park. With the unfortunate injury to Zamora, look for Dempsey to play up top a little more and partner with Dembele. Sparky and Fulham remain one of 5 unbeaten teams in the EPL and will look to jump into the top four with a win.

Damien Duff has been proved fit and will provide nice width and balls for the Fulham strikers to latch on to.

Can Blackpool continue their dream start?

Chelsea host plucky little Blackpool, and anyone outside of Stamford Bridge will be pulling for the seaside town to pull the upset of the season. Already in 4th with two away wins they have exceeded expectations, but it’s early doors. Look for them to get thrashed but one can dream!

The big one this weekend pits two teams who haven’t had the best of starts. Man United host Liverpool in the North West derby. Both played midweek, though with different results. United were stifled by a determined Rangers side and Liverpool were comfortable 4-1 winners against Steaua Bucharest whilst also resting Gerrard and Torres.

For Liverpool, Joe Cole is back after serving his three game suspension and Torres and Gerrard should replace Ngog and Lucus, though I hope Meireles gets the nod over Poulsen.

United should be fully fit minus Valencia who suffered a season ending injury mid-week. Rooney with a clear head and no mean ol Everton supporters to make him cry should be back leading the line with The Berba.

The key to this matchup…Is Ferdinand fully fit?

In the Championship, Conor Doyle was a late sub in last weeks game against Hull. Will he get a full 90 against Barnsley? We say he should.

Juan Carlos...pick me please

Rest of Europe. A typically British statement, but there you are. Midweek, Jozy Altidore started and played a full 90 against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa Cup, but the Yellow Submarines were sunk 2-0. Altidore played okay but didn’t do himself any favors by failing to connect from a cross from fellow American Rossi late in the game.

Currently 6th (with one win, they’ve only played two games); on Sunday they go to Levante, who are rock bottom with two losses and 6 goals against them. If this is ever an opportunity for Jozy to stake a claim in the side, this is it!

After getting thumped 4-0 at home, Michaelbradleybach visit bottom of the table Stuttgart. The Bundesliga has been full of surprises this year and is a highly entertaining league to watch. I’ve been a M’gladbach fam for many many years, as I had an uncle who supported them in 60’s and 70’s, and with Bradders on board, all the more reason.

Dolo and Beasley visit winless Vfl Wolfsburg as their manager, the “wally with the brolly” McClaren is starting to feel the pressure.

Serie A is in full swing as his Ligue 1 and off course the MLS.

TSG: A Rollicking Good Discussion

(Or perhaps a “follicle-ing” good discussion)

We’ve got an eclectic bunch of US soccer supporters and USMNT player body parts today on TSG.

Stu Holden's hair...the early days...

Going to be a fun one on TSG today.

A huge roundtable discussion on MLS uniforms, Don Garber, US player features and of course U.S.S Bob Bradley II steaming to…Brazil.

Joining us is Heath Pearce…’s mustache, Stu Holden’s Hair, two of the crazier soccer supporters Korey Donahoo and Zack Strivins from the American Outlaws, our good friend Tuesday and our favorite coach @FakeBobBradley.

Let’s get started.

1) Do you support Bob Bradley’s 2nd go-around as USMNT head coach?

Korey, American Outlaws: Yes.  One would think that someone who has worn strictly sweat pants for his entire career will eventually get his team playing free-flowing, loosey goosey soccer.  Eventually…

@FakeBobBradley: I believe the correct question should have not “Do you support Bob Bradley,” but “Why wouldn’t you?”

Let’s face it folks.

Landon Donovan didn’t get beyond the Group Stage since 2002..that’s 8 long years. I gave him that opportunity for the game-winning goal.

And another thing if Junior doesn’t get the red card in the Spain game, I’m whupping up on Brazil in the Confederation Cup Final and essentially become the hero for two nations, the U.S. and Brazil because you know they’re firing Dunga after that Final and getting themselves a more respectable Bob Bradley-like coach.

Tuesday, TSG: This is going to end badly. Unfortunately we’ll need to wait 4 years before it does.

Zach, American Outlaws: Hellz yes I do! AO supports anyone who can go to work, watch TV
(film), eat tacos, sleep, come back to work (game), and then finish up
celebrating all while wearing sweatpants. In all seriousness I love
the guy and wish him the best. He’s hard-nosed and all-American. Great
bald man for the job.

Mmm...are those apple pie crumbs?!

@HeathsStache: Well, this is definitely one of those, you wax my mustache, I’ll wax your mustache type situations. In order for me to fully support Bradley he needs to do two things. First, make Heath Pearce a regular part of the national team. Second, get Sunil Gulati to allow mustaches to earn national team caps. I work very hard on the field making Heath look good so it only seems right that I’m properly recognized for my efforts.

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MLS Reserve League: A Test of League Strength

This is guest post by frequent TSG contributor Connor Walsh

In April 2005 Major League Soccer took the huge step of implementing the Major League Soccer Reserve Division, and its first match saw Chivas USA defeat San Jose 2-0. In 2008, amid a failing economy, the league was disbanded due to costs and organizational and logistical obstacles.

Fast-forward several months from now, March 2011. An only slightly better economy doesn’t seem to be affecting MLS on the corporate front.

The recently renewed Adidas sponsorship deal has been expanded so that the $200 million pact is worth $25 million per year through 2018. It replaces, mid-contract, a 10-year deal for $150 million, or $15 million a year — a 66 percent increase in annual value. Add two brand new franchises with their own stadiums (Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC), two other brand new stadia for existing teams (Kansas City Wizards and San Jose Earthquakes), with plans to add another franchise (Montreal) and yet another soccer specific stadium (Houston Dynamo) in 2012 and MLS is looking stronger.

Keep in mind the league makes $40 million a pop for a new franchise
fee (that’s $160 million over the course of the last two years).

Garber points to a return for reserve squads...

But enough of the numbers and statistics; this brings me to the reinstatement of the MLS Reserve League. Recent remarks by MLS commissioner Don Garber and MLS general managers and coaches suggest that with the new Adidas deal comes the revival of the reserve league. “The goal will be to make a very direct link between our academies, our reserve league, our youth programs with a lot of the other youth programs going on in this country,” said Garber.

An unnamed source within the league said that there is currently a lot of talk about reorganizing the reserve league into regions, probably East, Central, and West, which makes for an interesting schedule; a double round-robin of 10 games each.

But that creates problems of its own, as some officials want more than 10 games. After all, the full teams play three times that amount. But more than 10 games would likely require traveling beyond the regional “limits” which increases costs and would likely require a team to stay longer at away games so that reserves can play their match, which was usually on a Sunday morning or afternoon following the full team’s Saturday evening match.

The revival of a reserve league likely means an increase in roster size for the full side, which is something else both coaches and fans have been calling for. Most are hoping that the old problems don’t rear their ugly faces, as assistant coaches and semi-pros were sometimes needed to help fill out a game.

“While you could argue that having a reserve league is better than nothing, the way it was set up really limited what you could do,” said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid. “There wasn’t enough time to work with those players and not enough games.

“You need 16 or 18 players, and a coaching staff primarily for that team, and a support staff. We didn’t have that. Then you had to keep track of a guy’s minutes so you didn’t go over the limit.”

An important part of the reserve league would be making sure that every team in the league can support one.

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Wednesday Champs recap

The Gunners were rampant today

Goals galore in today’s matches without a bore draw amongst them.

Both English clubs in today’s competition had an easy time, though Chelsea’s score was a little flattering. 2 of their goals were clearly due to poor defending from the Slovak side and Cech was dodgy all night, but an emphatic away victory is a great way to start the campaign.

MSK Zilina did have moments of great attacking and fluid passing, and if they can shore up their defense, should be able to give Spartak Moscow and Marseille some difficulty. The other Group F game was a 1-0 win for Moscow.

Arsenal breezed through their game against Braga, running out as 6-0 winners with Vela and Fabregas picking up a brace each. Like Group F, the other game was also a 1-0 win with Shakhtar Donetsk coming out on top.

The other notable games today pitted Bayern against Roma and Real Madrid against Ajax.

Last years finalists started off the campaign well against the Italians with a well earned 2-0 win. Young and old scored as both Muller and Klose found the back of the net.

Mourinho too started off well as Real were 2-0 winners away from home. In honor of Matt’s favorite player and scorer of the second goal, please enjoy the montage of Gonzalo Higuain.

Finally, Ibra is starting to prove he can score in midweek, putting two past French outfit Auxerre in a 2-0 win for MEELAN.

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