Archive for March, 2011

Weekend Commentary & MLS Game Day: Week 1!

Sorry, we’re late for a live post. Couldn’t be helped.

Drop your commentary here accordingly. Sorry for the delay.

Jay Bell will have a long-form interview Soophah Doopah Kenny Cooper this week.

 

Video: “THE” MLS Season Preview

The Shin Guardian hosts….and Jay Bell Pictures Presents….you’re motion picture season preview:

From Coast-To-Coast, Sam Cronin Cruises

TSG’s Jay Bell chats with San Jose midfield cornerstone Sam Cronin

Sam The Man...

You think Sam Cronin and perhaps the thought “solid, perhaps unspectacular, midfielder” comes to mind. But a more appropriate label might be “settling.”

Watching Cronin man the midfield hub for MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes it’s easy to see the impact that Cronin has on the game. He doesn’t get flustered and quietly keeps the team on an even keel–that wasn’t easy task last year through the gritty run to the playoffs, the euphoria around Chris Wondolowski’s breakout campaign, and the challenge of integrating new parts on the fly–midfield mate Khari Shephenson was brought on mid-campaign as was Brazilian Geovanni.

I had a chance to catch up with Cronin in advance of their home opener at the Buck where they welcome MLS powerhouse RSL and unsurprisingly Cronin’s answers reflect his playing style, metered, well-thought out

To Sam:

TSG: How has your first offseason with San Jose been going?

Sam Cronin (SC): Its going good, man. We had a couple changes in the offseason, but mostly its the same core group of guys as last year.  We had a good finish to the year last year.  We think our team got a little better in the offseason.  Offseason has been good and we’re excited to get back at it and hopefully progress and get better for this upcoming 2011 season.

TSG: Has this offseason been kind of different from your first two in Toronto?

SC: Yeah, its been warmer.  That is probably the main difference.  Any offseason is nice.  Get home, do some things with friends during the year and enjoy the down time and just rest your body for the next season.

TSG: Is there a different dynamic with San Jose than there was with Toronto? There always seems to be controversy going on with TFC.

Cronin with a little razzle-dazzle while in Toronto...

SC: Yeah.  San Jose is a much more stable team, in regards to team, the coaching staff and the general manager.  I think its 4 seasons for San Jose?  They have had the same head coach, same general manager and everything.  It always helps and leads to success.  Its good to have [AT&T issues] that know what they want.  We’ve been doing a good job of building things and we think this might be our breakout year this year.

TSG: When did you first know you were being traded to San Jose?

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New Addition: The US Roster For Upcoming March Friendlies

Coach Bob Bradley, or Coach Sweats if you prefer, went with unique roster in competing with

-Deadpan- Two careers that have paralleled one another (too good a pic not to show again)

CONMEBOL opponents in March.

The roster sees the following:

G: Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, David Yelldell

DEF: Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Tim Ream, Jonathan Bornstein, Zak Whitebread, Timothy Chandler, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector

MID: Stu Holden, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan

FW: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskeruud

STR: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Juan Agudelo

Of note:

* TSG: Way off in our projections. That said, you’re seeing a decidedly more progressive Bob Bradley with this line-up. In 2007, you wouldn’t have seen a just-recovered Agudelo make the camp. Here he does.

Next question: Will Bob Bradley entrust key roles to those that need three-year maturation and growth or will he ween himself off veteran and gradually make those switches.

* Timothy Chandler. Listed as a defender.

* You can now say that Tim Ream is being groomed for that distribution role out of the back. Who he pairs with? Still up in the air. Would Omar Gonzalez have made it if fit?

* Sacha Kljestan, playing a much deeper role for Anderlecht, where will he get the look.

* Not one true–and I mean textbook–winger on the roster. No Ale Bedoya, no DaMarcus Beasley (not that he would have made that). Look for Bradley to do the Cherundolo-Donovan train on the right side.

Who plays left? Does Stu Holden switch over there or does Benny Feilhaber reclaim that role? Will Coach Sweats go with a 4-2-3-1 and who hubs the middle of the “3”….could it be Diskeruud?

Bengals’ Chad Ochocinco To Train With KC

Chad Ochocinco is taking full advantage of the NFL (National Football League) lockout.

Who's the better potential DP?

He’s joining the other footie league. At least on trial.

The Bengals wide receiver will train with Kansas City’s Sporting KC for a four day tryout. Following the tryout next week, Sporting Kansas City will determine whether to extend the trial period.

His first scrimmage will be this coming Tuesday, March 22nd. He does fit the mold of a Peter Vermes striker.

Johnson has often opined on his soccer skills and this past summer he headed over to Barca and other clubs in La Liga (on what may not have been a tourist trip??).

Great move by a very strong marketing team at Sporting KC. Well played–especially with the new LIVESTRONG Stadium launching this campaign.

*And if you remember, Chad Johnson was in our All-Non-Soccer Soccer team.

Quotes from the press release:

“We’re always searching for players who can help our team and bringing in new talent,” Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. “We know that Chad is an exceptional athlete and that he loves the sport of soccer, and he did play a lot when he was younger. We’re excited to see how his skills will translate once he arrives next week and begins training with our team.”

“Due to the NFL lockout, I’m excited to be able to follow my childhood dream of playing for a Major League Soccer team,” Ochocinco said. “Thanks to Sporting Kansas City for giving me this opportunity.”

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Rewind: About The Azteca

The US March camp roster is rumored out today.

While you wait, a dip back into World Cup qualifying with a behind the scenes look at USA vs. Mexico (The Charlie Davies game) from August 2009. Good stuff.

 

First Kick: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders Going Live

And the MLS season is all systems go. The Los Angeles Galaxy hop up to Seattle this evening to take on the Highlighters in the opening game.

Seattle has not given up a goal or lost a First Kick yet!…which is a ridiculous stat since they’ve only played in two.

Drop all your thoughts here as the campaign gets underway. Hey Chivas fans….you’re still undefeated!

These two teams are real....tight....

For the Galaxy, Juan Pablo Angel & Omar Gonzalez are out; Donovan Ricketts is likely to miss the match as well.  (You already know how TSG feels about Ricketts).

Seattle will see Steve Zakuani confined to the bench and likely see Uruguayan Alvaro Fernandez take his place. Given Zakuani’s current form and TSG’s belief in Fernandez, that’s a solid temporary exchange.

As for the game, all about the midfield in this one. Can Seattle find their way through a Galaxy midfield that outworked and outplayed them last time they played up in Space Needle Central?

Can Osvaldo Alonso help out on Donovan–likely to be pushed up to forward in this game at the outset–and in term link through the middle?

Will John Harkes explain to us the role of the #37 car?

Let’s go.

After the break, last time up north. Close your eyes if you’re a Sounders fan.

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