Archive for January, 2012

Report & Analysis: Sebastien Le Toux Goes To Bolton

Osi for the Giants...

When the New York Giants take on the the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, it will be a battle of the defensive ends that is a key to determining the outcome, positively or negatively, for both teams.

For the Giants, a return of a healthy Osi Umenyori to support Jason Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul on the outside means that the Giants can consistently collapse the pocket from the flank, contain lateral runs, and basically wreak havoc….or at the very least the 49ers will have to try very hard to stop this.

Rushing, with speed, of the edge is critical to the Giants defense and as it opens up holes for further (and more dangerous) penetration internally.

The same can be said of the impact that a speedy winger has on the game. In the Premiership, the first names that come to mind with “speed” and “flank” are Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott. Notice, neither is a great crosser of the ball and both offer little on some days that merely challenging the fullback.

Their role, however, is vital in both cases to opening up the inside play and scoring opportunities for a trailing Rafael Van Der Vaart in Lennon’s case or the stealthy Robin Van Persie in Walcott’s case.

LeToux: Bolton

Fox Soccer and Ives Galarcep reporting this morning that the Philadelphia Union’s Sebastien Le Toux is headed to Bolton in the January transfer window. For LeToux it’s obviously a step up and a bigger payday.

Bolton has suffered tremendously this year from two things.

First, the lack of protector and attack diverter in Stu Holden playing ahead of the central defense–Bolton has leaked goals this year like Pat Onstad defending the near post. Ouch.

Second, when a team comes under such heavy fire and doesn’t have the ability to ping the ball through possession up the field, they desperately need to keep the backline of the opponent honest. If there is no speed option up top or off the corner the opponent can play a defensive highline and like a boa constrictor slowly and methodically work the ball into an advantageous situation until it’s curtains for the opposing goalkeeper.

For Bolton last year, it was the midseason loan of Daniel Sturridge–playing off the corner and up top–challenging the backline that both catapulted Bolton higher in the standings and showcased Sturridge’s ability. If you notice, Sturridge is playing that same speedy, off-center role at Chelsea that he did last year at Bolton.

Wanderers’ manager Owen Coyle didn’t have that option this year. Ivan Klasnic–all 31 spry years of him–is the leading scorer up top and Chris Eagles is probably the closest thing to any speed.

Bolton lost their only speed and flash guy in Lee Chung-yong to a broken leg in pre-season and thus lost that ability to draw a defense out of its compact cocoon and create scoring changes.

The Union’s LeToux in this case is an excellent pick-up at the Reebok. Le Toux is versatile enough to play out wide or up top or move seemlessly along the frontline of the attack. The to-be former Union forward has great straight ahead speed and is adept at moving off the ball. Le Toux is also a solid finisher.

For the Union–where Le Toux sometimes appeared to jostle with coach Piotr Nowak about his best position–the loss will most certainly be felt. While young striker Jack McInerny seems to be coming of age–at least on international duty with the US U-23’s–the loss of LeToux, Justin Mapp and at least the idea or potential of class with Freddy Adu will completely change the complexion of how the attack ended 2011. The departure also thrusts the somewhat egnimatic Danny Mwanga into the spotlight at the focal point of that attack, a role he may not be quite ready for. Will Mwanga pick up the slack? And if not, who will?

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Related:

Can the Prem’s George Clooney Keep Bolton from Being The Descendents? January 9th, 2012

If Tim Ream Goes Bolton… December 28th, 2011

Are Bolton Playing Attractive Football Under Owen Coyle This Season? May 24th, 2011

SOPA? Shortly to be NOPA

Not the NY Cosmos MLS bid here...

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Imagine a world where Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner’s shady dealings weren’t illuminated…to all?

Or better? That Lionel Messi’s brilliance wasn’t on display for the world prostrate.

(Our two cents: SOPA was never going to come to be both politically and technically. Politically, difficult for a government representative to get behind an act that curbs public freedoms especially at a time where the economy is still wreaking havoc on the “not 1%.” Technically, for every limiter on the web there has always been and always will be a work around.)

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On Buddle, Rosey On Neymar & Yes To Pastries

….

•More for Moyes

A budding Prem player?

Edson Buddle set for a trial with Everton. Good move all around.

Buddle was going nowhere with Ingolstadt and neither was Ingolstadt. In fact, he was a liability in the compensation department.

The former Galaxy man didn’t get secured at West ham and now moves on to Everton looking to go for a ride (either on the pine or the pitch) until the end of the campaign.

Good moves. One may question why a player not picked up by a Championship side can be helpful a league up but Buddle’s skillset is precisely what the Toffees need and can afford–someone to take a beating up top and allow players like Landon, Tim Cahill, and Royston Drenthe to play off of him. Liverpool’s other team has sorely lacked that all season, diminishing the impact that the seemingly evergreen Cahill can have by moving up top where he gets banged by on by 175-200lbs centerbacks. Ouch.

Buddle–even if his goal scoring prowess doesn’t translate to the Prem–can take a beating. Just two seasons ago, Bruce Arena nearly ran the striker into the ground because he had no capable back-up. how did Buddle respond in a season where he was often called on to hold the ball by his lonesome and with some World Cup mileage? By scoring the first goal against Seattle in the playoffs that year and generally looking up to the task despite some wear-and-tear.

Again, good move if it goes through.

•Neymar’s Rose Ceremony

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Yes the Bachelor was on at TSG headquarters last night. Ghastly!

here’s a solid idea for an award-winning footie reality show. have a little fun with it. Start with say 10 suitors (front office men) all dolled up and pining for the services of a Neymar or Mario Goetze. Each week, one or two get expunged because they don’t secure that dastardly rose–maybe it a jock strap, that would just be funny.

The GMs so to speak talk shit about one another, get in cat-or-dog fights, and have one-on-one dates with said youth sensation all attempting to win the heart of The Sensation (okay, that’s what we’re calling.) The teams even get to bring in player for challenges. Really want that Sensation, maybe Rooney has to shave his new rug or Frank Lampard has to go on a cleanse. Love it.

Okay, just told you that the Bachelor was emanating from TSG’s TV last night. Moving on….

• Say “Yes” To Pastries

First of all, ain’t nothing wrong with cupcakes. Ask Kyle Martino.

Our friend Steve Davis with a rant against the moniker “Camp Cupcake” for the USMNT’s January Camp.

C’mon Steve–that is more upsetting to you then say Sepp Blatter still in charge or violence at the African Cup of Nations? Just giving you a hard time Steve, but the players are comfortable and openly refer to Camp Cupcake as such and really soccer in the US of A needs more spice–and sweetness–rather than less.

• Good On This: Active, Not Reactive from Jurgy K

El Capitan...

Jurgen Klinsmann in an interview with FIFA and his first piece of commentary was….symphonic.

Klinsmann with a “We are moving away from a reactive style of play to a proactive style.”

If you remember, this was TSG’s biggest point of (negative) contention with previous regime. While the excuse was often made that bringing players together quickly for a camp was the reasons that play was uneven, the reality is–with the exception of Mexico–the US has too much talent against other CONCACAF foes not to dismantle and dictate play to the weaker ones.

In fact, if you recall, TSG made it one of Bob Bradley’s key questions to answer at Gold Cup 2012. Bob didn’t fare well. And it was a hallmark of Jurgen Klinsann’s opening moments.

An interesting interview with the Kaiser, though I disagree with Klinsmann’s second statement that the US is training harder. Really? Prove it.

• Miscellaneous

Eric Lichaj–remember him–back for the Aston Villa reserves.

Robbie Rogers gets his first action for Leeds.

MLS supplemental draft today.

 

 

Video: The USMNT U-23 Tune-Up

Got to build the confidence somewhere.

Low and highlights of Friday’s 4-0 senior side win.

Saturday Commentary: Manchester 2, Bolton 0

Bolton nearing defeat at Manchester United. The dawning of the Tim Ream eta?

MLS Draft Review

We need to crowdsource you’re feedback here.

Let it rip. Especially you John. On Soopa Doopa and everyone else…

Eastbound and down....

Wednesday Bullets: Friedel-Lando Rd 1, Mosey Edu, Tim Bolton…

Wednesday:

• Tim Bolton

Wheater: No Rafa...

Reports say that Tim Bolton deal is etched.

Ream will battle former Middlesborough phenom David Wheater for playing time at Bolton with Wheater getting the first call obviously to replace The Overrated Gary Cahill. Wheater is a little bit like an Omar Gonzalez. Tall fellow, susceptible to speedy play, strong in the air, not the most offensively accomplished.

To this writer, he also appears to have bouts with confidence issue–Ream is of course no stranger to these.

Who you calling yellow, Friedel?!

• Landon-Brad Take I

Landon goes up against Brad Friedel today–finally–in the Prem.

This would normally be the type of game where Everton come out victors. A midweek game, during a grueling early January stretch where everyone’s counting out the Toffees just before they make their second half of the year run.

Not this time though.

The Spurs are home. Big help. They’ve got the motivation of drawing even with mighty United if they get three points here. And they’re relatively healthy.

What to look for in this one?

Two things: 1) The Spurs lone key injury is Scott Parker. Nobody has been bossing the central midfield for Everton this campaign. This is a game where Fellaini should be able to step up, something he hasn’t really done all year and continually 2) with Parker out, can someone get behind the Spurs backline.

Your best candidate there is Donovan and then you make have your Great American Moment.

• “leeds, leeds, leeds” smh

Unfortunate....

Robbie Rogers heading to Leeds as yet another club takes a chance on a player with all the tools, but none of the calculation. Jared Dubois put it aply on Twitter with this comment, “Robbie Rogers to Leeds. There’s a sucker born every minute…”

Columbus Crew faithful call him, “The Unicorn,” mythical, mystic creature that no one is sure exists.

TSG will say he’s got the Lady Big Hat Effect.

You know what we’re talking about.

A girl walks down the street, flowing blond locks drifting out of a enormous and enveloping chapeau. Legs? Check. Figure? Oh, yes.

And then she comes closer and you realize–again–you’ve been fooled. That hat is distracting from what lies just below it. You move on.

...but true. (Yikes!)

Will Rogers change his complexion at Leeds? (You also of course have the “Lady Big Hat, Big Coat” effect….that’s a player like Edgar Castillo. You’re so desperate to glance at a good looking woman that just one small piece of something. her hair or her chest catches your eye. For Castillo that was of course, “plays leftback.”

If you’re a follower of the US team, it’s been clear for over 4 years now, that Rogers possesses traits to succeed at higher club-level then Columbus Crew part-timer and international team stand-by. Rogers is done in by the same things time and time again, one dribble too many and typically in the wrong direction.

Can he grow in a different environment? Will he grow up in a different environment?

• Mosey Edu

Sochaux with a new bid launched for Maurice Edu? Go eastward young California to the land where Carlos Bocanegra once prowled.

Edu plays, right now, in about 8-12 consequential games a year–whenever ‘Gers plays Celtic and whoever they play in European competition. That’s no way to build a resume at a young age. Move on.

Bold move...finally...

• Boyd move

Perhaps heading westward? Former Rangers player Kris Boyd to sure up the forward spot for the Dynamo. Would be a tremendous signing. One that the management in H-town could finally hang their hat on.

 

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