Archive for November, 2010

USA 1, RSA 0: A Striker Scores in South Africa

Well, it may have taken five extra months, but a Yankee striker–one born in 1992 mind you–finally found the netting in South Africa in 2010. Eat your heart out Sunil Gulati.

A motley crew gets it done.

If you’re a fan of the USMNT, it’s hard to not be a little giddy as the States mildly corrected it’s last game in South Africa with a 1-0 win over the Bafana, Bafana at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

The first hero in this one is actually Bob Bradley.

Perhaps it was his roots as collegiate coach, perhaps it was merely just a bunch of eager-to-please youngsters happy to be there….either way the oft-maligned coach of the U.S. initiated a short camp and managed a group of single-digit cappers who bought into his philosophy (attention to defense) and, ultimately, outlasted the “A-” team from South Africa.

Nowhere, perhaps, was this more evident than watching Mix Diskerud (as TSG accurately predicted getting a run at winger instead of centrally) willing himself to play defense after his late-in-the-2nd-half entry.

Those who have watched Diskerud in Norway have seen two things beyond his offensive acumen. First, a league where defense is important but not paramount and two, a player who doesn’t always adhere to his defensive assignment. You can probably ask Thomas Rongen about that analysis as well.

But there was Diskerud, late in the game, fending off crosses, recovering when beaten, and in a specific moment, keenly focused on Brad Guzan to make sure his one-man wall on a worrisome free kick on the near flank was on mark and protecting his keeper.

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Misplayed? DeMerit To Whitecaps In Offing

More than one source and numerous web sites say that Jay DeMerit to MLS’s new north-of-the-border franchise, the Vancouver Whitecaps, is a done deal with the signing to be announced tomorrow.

DeMerit, set to be announced by purveyors of BC Bud?

A puzzling outcome for DeMerit, who gambled on not re-upping his Watford deal last year and betting a strong World Cup (solid if not spectacular as it turned out) could be parlayed into a big contract at a strong European league.

In September, DeMerit made a few statements in a British radio interview, including:

I’m just being patient, but I want to get something sorted out…..I’m not trying to chase an opportunity….I’m in the luxury of being able to choose what I want to do

and

If nothing happens, I’ll look to go back to the States in January

Just last month, we started to get signs that it was MLS-or-bust for DeMerit: an appearance at the Mall of America in Minnesota and visiting with the USMNT that was in town in Chicago.

So what happened?

Well, first, this is no slight on Vancouver, but DeMerit made it clear he wanted to stay in Europe.

It clearly appears that DeMerit, 31 in a few weeks, battling injuries the past few years fell victim to lack of leverage and home grown rules (Italy and England) being instituted across Europe.

Why offer a multi-year deal to an aging American central defender? Surely the next year, another foreigner will be available who is perhaps younger and maybe meets your native quota.

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Orange Slices: USA vs. South Africa

Our “Orange Slice” post is back.

Orange Slices is back!

Update…1pm ET

It’s nearly go time! and here’s your starting line-up for the States…guessing a 4-2-3-1:

G: Guzan

DEF: Lichaj, Goodson, Ream, Bornstein

CDM: Pause, Carroll

MID: Bedoya, Gaven, Rogers

STR: Findley

———-

Orange Slices is our game day, catch-all post that we update throughout the day and also serves as the place for you to drop comments like, “I can’t believe Bob Bradley started five centerbacks….what was he thinking?”.

Everything goes in here (links, photo, video) that seems interesting and pertinent.

The Yanks face Bafana, Bafana today in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town.

The USA’s final match of 2010 kicks off at 11:30 p.m. PT  live on ESPN2 and Galavision. ESPN2’s coverage will begin with a 2 p.m. pregame show.

For TSG’s full preview see: Preview: Bafana, Bafana vs. The Kids, The Kids

Another good preview from our friends over at Yanks Are Coming here. (Especially liked the section on Robbie Rogers)

Now more bullets:

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MLS: 11 At The Final Whistle Announced

Earning the "Best of...."

Don Garber announces the MLS Best XI: (3-5-2)

G: Ricketts

DEF: Olave, Borchers, Gonzalez

MID: Ferreira, DeRosario, LeToux, Morales, Donovan

STR: Buddle, Wondolowski

———

TSG’s Best XI:

A play on our preview columns.

Here’s our selections for the best of the best in MLS this year.

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Soccer Clichés..Mine Ears Are Bleeding

Came back around to this post I’ve been meaning to riff with the TSG community for a while when I was going through our “Glossary” today.

I don't think I make it through a chapter of this one...

That section of TSG could truly use an update.

Anyway, threw out a few on Twitter and lo and behold a pretty big audience had some of their own ear bleeders that came back our way. The next list is in no particular order and I’ll note now that some entries below are just poor jargon, less clichés. (If I missed your name for attribution, send us a note.)

• “Plies their trade”

My all time favorite cliche when talking about soccer players and carpenters. It’s almost like it’s mandatory to use this term specifically for American players (cough) playing in European leagues.

I think I used this expression in the 1st post ever on TSG and then one and only after it. I still cry when I look back.

• “Burst onto the scene”

This is not soccer-specific, but again here it appears mandatory that if someone–usually it’s describing Charlie Davies trajectory or something–is bursting, just about the only place they burst is “onto the scene.” Um, okay.

How come the only other way I’ve ever heard of a player getting to the scene is by “arriving.” You either “burst” to get there or “arrive” apparently.

Heskey...yes, he can be considered a beast. Lionel Messi? Not so much...

• Blankety blank blank is a “beast”

Really? When I think of the imagery of a “beast” I think of a enormous figure who’s wrecking everything in their path with little regard for where it lands or who gets hurt.

You know what? Most soccer players don’t play that way or most likely they’d get a foul called on them or worse get a yellow.

Emile Heskey, he plays like a beast. Jozy Altidore? Sometimes. John Terry, sure, I think…not even positive there.

Juan Agudelo, nope. Jermaine Defoe? Never. Get my drift.

Peter Crouch, Jeff Cunningham, Fernando Torres, David Villa …none of these players ever make their mark on the game in a “beast-like” way

• “The two goal lead is the most dangerous lead” in soccer

First from TSG photog Matt Mathai:

Finally (for now) stop repeating the canard that a two-goal lead is the “most dangerous lead in soccer.” Bullshit. The only team that wouldn’t wish for a two-goal lead is the one that already has a three-goal lead. This is another bit of ‘punditry’ that makes you sound foolish. Enough, already

Couldn’t agree more Matt. Let’s see if you gave me a choice of A) “having a two goal lead and being worried about it” or B) “being down two goals but somehow being content, nay, excited that the other team thought were dangerous,” I’d go with A….every time.

"You have chosen your wording...poorly..."

• “Poisoned chalice”

First, unless you’re British, you have no right being even near this cliche. And frankly, name a time other than watching Indiana Jones you specifically considered those two words, “poisoned” and “chalice” next to one another.

…Waiting…

…Still waiting….

• “Transfer War Chest”

A good one from @Brookhattan on Twitter. Love it.

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Preview: Bafana, Bafana vs The Kids, The Kids

Nice to see some fresh faces for the USA in the Blue, White and NikeGrey huh?

They're....baaaaaaack!

In two days in Cape Town, the United States takes on South Africa in perhaps the least anticipated match in South Africa in 2010. The coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Galavision.

Actually, over 36,00 tickets already sold for the affair at Green Point Stadium. That’s like, what, 49 times what showed up for the last US friendly outside of Philadelphia?

We’ll do a little lighter treatment at TSG on this friendly. Don’t worry, we’ve got the preview here, Orange Slices forthcoming on game day, and a review. Just maybe a little bit lighter weight. Sugar-free TSG perhaps.

To the preview for this friendly that sees Coach Sweats call up the kids.

As usual, our customary preview goes: TSG What We’re Looking At, 11 At The Whistle, & Disclaimers.

TSG: What We’re Looking At

Bornstein's back! And he's likely the captain....

• There’s speed…maybe…speed on ‘dem flanks.

I’d like to see Jonathan Bornstein on the left flank. I’d like to see Eric Lichaj on the right flank.

I’d like to see the Yanks actively use a defender not named Cherundolo to put some pressure on the opponent offensively.

• My what an interesting midfield you have.

TSG’s Jason Price and I had this exchange in the comments upon the roster announcement:

Jason: Very little muscle in that midfield, no?

Matthew: Actually, I think quite a bit of physicality and muscle when you consider that Bedoya, Rogers, Diskerud all go 6’0′ or bigger with Pause as the CDM.

Linking and technical acumen…I think you have a case there.

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