Archive for August, 2011

Debate: Klinsmann’s Depth Chart: Ready For Camping?

Note: We’ve learned that Klinsmann alluded to a single roster in his post-Mexico press conference. Apologies that we missed that.

USA vs. Costa Rica and USA vs. Belgium, right around the corner. Rosters are out sometime later this week.

Something Klinsmann was once very familiar with....

And folks we’ve settled on it.

With Bob Bradley potentially walking like an Egyptian, there were many suggestions made–some technological and many humorous–about what replaced our “Bradley’s Clipboard.”

Enter Jurgen Klinsmann and cue, “The Depth Chart.”

Simple, to the point, and with more than just a casual nod to the diving that the Kaiser used to do on a few stops around Milan and London in his playing days.

In short, effective, a tad cheeky and subliminal. Perfect.

Now, to the roster.

We admit, the new boss threw some real surprises for the Mexico friendly in August, his first of course–specifically Michael Orozco and Edgar Castillo. (Note: For fans to judge Castillo–whether he ultimately proves to be a national team player–on one game is pathetic. Two days of camp, new teammates….anywho.)

This time, about the only thing that can be guaranteed is that there will be more new faces to get a run out. Expect even more surprises.

We’ll take a shot here at who’s being called in for this one and please make the necessary corrections in the comments section below.

Please take the following with a MASSIVE DISCLAIMER. There is obviously no track record for Klinsmann’s suggestions.

It would be more appropriate to debate the merit of each player–rather than will they be called. The only leanings we had were towards a very split roster due to all the travel and geo-specific (as in players nearby) rosters for each friendly.

(A – All, CR – Costa Rica, B – Belgium)

G:

CR: Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson

B: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Samir Badr (I’m only adding him because of this fantastically awful video.)

———-

DEF:

You mean, you're coming, you're really, really, really coming! Woo-hoo!

A: Tim Chandler

CR: Omar Gonzalez, George John,  Michael Orozco, Heath Pearce, Sean Franklin, Edgar Castillo, Geoff Cameron

B: Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Eric Lichaj, Zak Whitbread

———-

MID:

A: Brek Shea, Kyle Beckerman

CR: Jose Torres, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Brad Davis, Robbie Rogers, Brad Evans, Luis Gil, Freddy Adu

B: Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Mix Diskerud, Josh Gatt, Alejandro Bedoya

———-

STR:

A: Juan Agudelo

CR: Justin Braun, CJ Sapong

B: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle

Omissions:

Michael Bradley: Needs a club desperately.

Tim Ream: Off form?

The skinny:

CAPS Lock: A great visual this time on just how savvy Klinsmann will be. George John–as risk to play for Greece–should be called in. Ditto for Mix Diskerud who has been called into Norway camp.

Bavaria: Will Klinsmann elect to bring in any waffling German-Americans like Fabian Johnson who commented this weekend that we would consider the United States.

Bradentowners: Any youngsters getting the call? Perhaps Josh Gatt. What about short-term reaches like a Joseph Gyau or Jonathan Brooks?

Bobby Convey: Oh man, came so close to putting him on. Even money on Convey right now.

Report: Emmanuel Adebayor, From Man City To Spurs

No longer a Citizen of Manchester...

For the second year in a row, take a bow Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspur.

Last year, it was procuring Rafael Van Der Vaart at a dirt cheap price when he was no longer needed at Real Madrid.

This year?

Emanuel Adebayor, precisely the striker that the Spurs needs (if he’s motivated) up top is near completion on a one year loan from Oasis FC.

Shrewd, Levy, shrewd.

Details at the Telegraph

The Weekend: Live Commentary Here

And folks, we’re back in full swing.

West Brom, only headed up with Peter O....

A full slate of….

…wait. A pesky players strike in La Liga. Probably best giving the bruhaha–again–between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Don’t know about you guys, but I kind of feel like this is one of those “Ow! Quit It” things.

A whole host of excellent fair still this weekend including:

» Saturday: EPL: Chelsea vs. West Brom: Peter Odemwingie re-inking shows Fernando Torres that it’s never too late to have a career revival and get paid. Blues fans are, uh, waiting on that revival Nando.

» Friday: Primera: Tecos vs. Pachuca: We almost need a fake prizefight poster for this one with Herculez Gomez on one side and The New Jose Torres (welcome back buddy) going for Pachuca.

» Saturday: EPL:  Sunderland vs. Newcastle: Enough with the Joey Barton baloney, this is the biggest and fiercest derby out there….to the Old Firm that is.

» Saturday: EPL: Arsenal vs Liverpool: Both teams somewhat flush with cash here in the short term, Liverpool spent like Real Madrid on acid in 2011 while the Emirates are seemingly smoking the profits behind closed doors.

» Saturday: EPL: Swansea vs. Wigan: The media-dubbed “Swanselona” look to bring their ticky-tac up to the Prem against a team not named Man City with a Spaniard carrying a semi-automatic. Don’t put a ton of stock in this one, it’s not going to be on Wigan’s awful pitch.

» Saturday: MLS: New England vs. New York: Not exactly the Red Sox-Yankees here. The battle for midtable mediocrity….in Thierry Henry’s team. If you told me at the beginning of the year that the Red Bulls would: sign Teemu Taino, keep Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez relatively healthy and have Henry golden-booting it and that they would suck at this time of year, I would tell you to go to ThinkTaylor.org. (Great work by Twellman on ThinkTaylor.org by the way.)

LA fans are just fine with Keane's baggage....

» Saturday: MLS: Los Angeles vs. San Jose: The Robbie Keane debuted for the Galaxy. You know who benefits? Everyone, but especially Mike Magee, the guy will get even more chances on a platter but once again he’ll help out the opponents keeper.

» Saturday: MLS: Portland Perlazas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: Solid move there by the Timbers today in getting creative Eric Alexander into the fold. With the dazzling Perlaza surrounded by Nagbe, Zizzo and now Alexander for Timbers that’s good for the future.

Oh and Hasli won’t stand out with those tattoos in Portland. He’s easily out tattooed probably by 80% of the fans.

» Sunday: Ligue1:  PSG vs. Valenciennes: Pastore, that is all.

» Sunday: EPL: Bolton vs. Manchester City: No way Aguero goes for more than 3 in this one. Actually, Bolton vs. Manchester City (both fast starters last year) headline the top of the table with identical goal difference. This one is an early test for just who Manchester City. Will the Citizens be pumped up at the Reebok?

» Sunday: EPL: Manchester United vs. Tottenham Spurs: We’ll eventually get to this one on Monday, but….DeGea or Gomes…odds on who has a complete meltdown first this year?

(There are plenty more…you guys write them in the commentary and I’ll add them up here.)

(Poll coming)

Bo’Munchen: Michael Bradley Out To Pasture, Favre’s Foals Look To Gallop

Chris McClintick returns–(Are you getting college credit for these features yet, Chris?)–to TSG with a feature on Borussia Mönchengladbach (or as we affectionately call them around here “Bo’Munchen) minus one Michael Bradley.

Favre's Foals....

Taking charge of a bottom-of-the table team during the second half of a season is a daunting task when the single expectation and only possible positive outcome is survival.  Unfazed by this ominous challenge, Lucien Favre accepted Borussia Mönchengladbach’s head coach position on February 14th last season, inheriting a squad with only 16 points in 22 matches, and quickly transforming the mentality, and philosophy that ultimately led Gladbach to safety.

The nickname, “Die Fohlen” (The Foals), harking back to Gladbach’s young, prolific, and trophy-laden sides of the 70’s, couldn’t be more relevant with Lucien Favre at the helm.  Throughout his career, Favre has been known for his introduction and development of young players.  While coaching in the Swiss Superliga, the top tier of his home-nation, Favre was responsible for the exposure of youth players such as Steve Von Bergen, Almen Abdi, and Gökhan Inler at FC Zurich who eventually broke into the Swiss national squad.  Using this young blood, as well as his dynamic, attacking, and organized system of play, Favre led Zurich to two consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007, the former being the first for the club in 25 years.

Although the current Gladbach squad hasn’t entirely lived up to their thriving predecessors of the 70’s, the former Hertha Berlin skipper’s trust in youth has not only spurred what papers in Mönchengladbach dubbed “The Great Escape”, but also a continuation of their impressive form in the first two weeks of their 2011-12 Bundesliga campaign: a 1-0 upset of Bayern in the Allianz Arena, and a 1-1 draw against the resurgent Stuttgart.

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Aiden McGeady: Will He Ascend To Robbie Keane’s Throne For Ireland?

Will the baton ever be passed from Robbie Keane to Aiden McGeady?

Editor’s Note: It was an odd, intermixing week for American and British Isle footie.  Midweek, the historic club Glasgow Rangers of the beleaguered Scottish Premiere League made successful for two Americans, Alejandro Bedoya and Carlos Bocanegra. A play for stateside revenue as much for competition.

Today–after news leaked out a week ago–the venerable Robbie Keane–Mr. Ireland–official is unveiled as Bruce Arena’s newest weapon up top for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

In a fascinating way, one player–for Ireland–ties those two moves together.

Aiden McGeady. McGeady is the heady and dangerous Ireland attacker who many think will one day usurp Robbie Keane’s role on the national team. Continually, McGeady, prior to a move to the nether reaches of Russia, cut his teeth in the SPL and per the player himself fled to avoid the fishbowl effect of playing under the Old Firm microscope.

And now we welcome Irish writer RONAN QUINN with his first examination on TSG. 

Aiden McGeady, Ireland’s Finest?

McGeady for Celtic....

It is fast approaching a year since Aiden McGeady left Celtic, and the frenzy that surrounds the Old Firm in Glasgow, for the Russian capital. In that time, he has secured a definite starting berth in Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland team on the left side of the field, while impressing Russian fans and European suitors alike playing on the right wing. Is he finally becoming the player Ireland had hoped for and fulfilling his massive potential?

And firstly, why all the fuss?

Well, his natural talent has been obvious to any Scottish Premier League observer since he emerged onto the scene with a debut goal against Hearts. Other European fans may have witnessed his Champions League debut against AC Milan which caught the eye more notably, coming against illustrious names like Costacurta, Maldini and Nesta. Not bad at eighteen years of age.

It was no surprise then, that following the sale of Shaun Maloney, he became a main contributor for Celtic in the following seasons. The team won three consecutive league titles, while McGeady’s individual flourish earned him both Scottish player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in the same season. McGeady was also impressing on a bigger scale with massive performances against Benfica and AC Milan in the Champions League. He recorded incredible stats in 2007-2008 scoring 8 goals and making 24 assists. Lionel Messi himself even took time to praise McGeady stating, “Aiden McGeady is a fast and skilful winger and someone I rate highly. He’d be successful anywhere in Europe.”

As the greatest deity of modern football rightly points out, McGeady is fast and skilful. He has more tricks and treats than Halloween, is good with either foot and is not a bad finisher by any means. Add to that his incredible balance and you have a very talented player.

Despite all of this, McGeady still had his fair share of critics. And there are valid criticisms to be made. Questions have always been raised about McGeady’s defensive qualities, or lack thereof. At times for Celtic he showed no interest in tracking back with an opposition player at all, and was rarely seen on the defensive end. One could argue that it is not his job to defend and he could be afforded creative license, but the fact is that, in every team he has played in he has been asked to work defensively, and it is a perceived lack of effort prohibiting him.

Trapattoni: Two-way or no way.

This brings us nicely onto Trapattoni, and McGeady’s performances for the Irish national team. Most of you familiar with Trapattoni will know he requests two-way footballers in every position, and he demands his team be solid first and foremost. This lead the Italian to drop McGeady from the line-up at the end of the World Cup Qualifying Campaign for the ridiculous Stephen Hunt, whose work ethic was preferred as it far exceeds normal human capabilities. Clearly something to be improved upon for McGeady.

Another flaw that can be found in McGeady’s game is his decision making. This may seem like an outrageous statement given the player’s statistics, but it is something that can still be seen in his play. Often times he delays passes, passes up goal-scoring opportunities and fails to deliver a final cross, much more so for Ireland than at club level.  He also has a tendency to drift out of the game at times when Ireland could use some relief work from his flank.

Compare this to the talismanic goal-scoring of Robbie Keane for example, who always seems to deliver for his country, and McGeady has a way to go.

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Video: Groovin’

A bit of a sequel to yesterday’s video–Messi, old school Ronaldo–but please again support The Beautiful Game.

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More promoters of social change and the Beautiful Game courtesy TSG community member Chris Singer:

» Grassroots Soccer
About: Vision a world mobilized by soccer to create an AIDS free generation. Have had over 420,000 youth graduate from their HIV-prevention programs. Mostly works in Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia) but has global efforts as well.

» HavServe: Haiti Soccer for Development (Youth Soccer Program)
About: The importance of soccer in the Haitian society and the game’s status as the country’s “favorite national pastime” make soccer and physical education programs effective tools for combatting Haiti’s development challenges such as extreme poverty, conflict, HIV/AIDS, and for helping achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

» Play Soccer
About: A unique sports-oriented program that empowers youth to lead change in some of the world’s most-underserved communities. Projects in Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, Malawi as well as Appalachia in the United States.

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