Archive for February, 2012

Italy vs. USA + More: Live Commentary

It’s the USA vs. Italy today in Genoa at Stadium Luigi Ferraris. Kickoff is at 11:30am PT on ESPN 2, 3, 4 and 37 and in Spanish on Galavision.

Jurgen Klinsmann, Genoa, Italy, Clint Dempsey

Jurgen Klinsmann used to man the attack for Sampdoria in the same stadium today that the US battles Italy...

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USA line-up - *official

 

TSG’s Official USA vs. Italy Preview: Azzurri Skies For The States?

Genoa's Stadia Luigi Ferraris

Stadium history//Video (worth a watch)

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men saunter onto the Stadio Luigi Ferraris pitch Wednesday in Genoa looking to ignite some offensive fireworks (pun intended) that were on display last time they were in Europe–a 3-2 win over Slovenia last November.

The States will also looking to tighten the defense; something they did against France that trip quite well.

With Klinsmann only having a two-day camp and one game evaluation and with a roster that seems to be continually morphing–Landon Donovan and Timmy Chandler were ruled out late Sunday night while Sacha Kljestan and Brek Shea were shuttled in–the Americans will likely have yet another new starting eleven. Oguchi Onyewu and Jose Torres join the scratches along with the aforementioned Donovan and Chandler.

The Klinsmann mantra of preaching consistency among player development–that is getting reps together–seems to be facing some challenges in the wake of mounting player injuries and solid play of some of the youngsters.

Boyd: "But, hey, I'm ready..."

On the latter note, the roster addition of the Borussia Dortmund reservist Terrence Boyd was described Monday to reporter Brian Sciaretti in Genoa. Said Klinsmman on Boyd:

“[Terrence Boyd] brings an energy to the group. He’s a high-pressure player. He goes at defenders, he goes at people. That’s what he loves to do. From there he wants to go in the box and finishes things off. I wanted to personally see him. I wanted to get a sense for him.”

On the former, the injury to Chandler in particular may create a positive shuffling of the depth chart as well.

And in particular, both the midfield and the defense will see turnover and re-jiggered player positioning among those already in camp.

The Italians enter to the game with much more team cohesion than the States and could boast as many as five players in the starting eleven who regularly start together at Serie A club Juventus. The US–who has struggled to develop any sort of an offensive attack against above-average opponents–save Slovenia–will be hard-pressed to score against the Italian unit as well.

(Note: The over-under line on tired Catenaccio references during the broaddcast and on Twitter Wednesday already has moved from 279 to 361.)

Let’s get to our customary preview. Per usual it goes:

TSG: What We’re Looking For

About The Opponent: Italy

11 At The Whistle

Gotta be better that 7-1, right? The US "forces" marching to their destruction by Italy in the 1934 World Cup in Italy....

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TSG What We’re Looking For

Leftback Chain Reaction:

The Timothy Chandler injury–while a pain in the butt–might be a blessing in disguise here for the US.

Where wil Fabian roll on Wednesday?

Pairing Chandler’s absence with: a) the original roster’s top-heavy forward focus, b) the lack of leftback prospect in camp currently beyond perhaps Jonathan Spector and c) the late addition of Shea, it seems highly likely that  TSG (no relation) 1899 Hoffenheim man Fabian Johnson will man the leftback spot for the Yanks.

Johnson represents perhaps the Yanks best option at leftback if only because he’s: a) left-footed has a left-foot and b) he’s seen some time there. Remember  Chandler does not play at leftback for Nurnberg and has been prone to positioning hiccups when deployed there for the States.

With Johnson at leftback and with Carlos Bocanegra likely to start in his customary captain’s spot, the US will have a pairing at leftback not seen since Klinsmann tested out Edgar Castillo at the spot a few months ago. Two left-foot dominant player comfortable playing the ball to the outside instead of in-cutting or relying exclusively on the holder to bail them out.

Despite Bocanegra’s obvious distribution flaws–and you should look for them on Wednesday and see how they impact the attack–the US should actually be able to move the ball up the left flank more effectively than any other time in Klinsmann’s tenure–if in fact Johnson is Wednesday’s solution.

Continually, should Johnson’s impress against the Italians, it may pave the way for Chandler to compete for more time on the right flank where–in this writer’s opinion–he naturally belongs and isn’t robbed from the offensive swashbuckling that his left peg handicaps him from on the opposite side.

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Video: MLS 2012 Dawning

Jay Bell is excited for the new campaign. Are you?

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Our USA-Italy preview up later today…..

Brek Shea & Sacha Kljestan Added To US Roster for Italy

Shea, back in effect...

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has added midfielder Sacha Kljestan and forward Brek Shea to the training camp roster ahead of the match against Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa. Timmy Chandler (left hamstring strain), Landon Donovan (bronchitis), and Jose Torres (right hamstring strain) have all been forced to withdraw from the squad.

Further roster additions may be made Monday afternoon.Interesting….

The Weekend: Your Commentary

Will the Deuce get loose?

Jordanesque

Welcome To The Big Time Terrence Boyd: The US Roster For Italy

The US roster to face Italy next week.

Cameron...moving up in the world...outta my way!

GOALKEEPERS (3) :Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (7) :Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)

MIDFIELDERS (6) : Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

FORWARDS (5) :Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

Team Building Exercises With Garth Lagerway

The Salt Lake's Dynamic Duo....

Jay Bell stops by TSG, does interview

The 2011-2012 offseason has proven to be one of the most eventful in MLS’ 17-year history.

MLS clubs flexed more muscle than ever in the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL transfer markets, especially in bringing in another 300 Colombians. Seattle and New York continued to raid Scandinavia and several clubs made seemingly sensible DP signings (Boyd, Portland; Robson, Vancouver; Salihi, DC), though Houston continues to be spurned by DP candidates.

Top teams and bottom teams alike made overhauls of their rosters. The Philadelphia Union will be almost unrecognizable to the team from last season. Chivas USA continues the transformation under Robin Fraser. The Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas had some roster turnover despite their high finishes in 2011. The Los Angeles Galaxy were busy, but ended up being busy re-assembling the super-team that everyone thought was done after the MLS Cup victory + Edson Buddle and Marcelo Sarvas.

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake has made some of the fewest acquisitions in the league, along with the Houston Dynamo, despite losing numerous players through various avenues. That list includes: Jean Alexandre (traded to SJ), Arturo Alvarez (free transfer), Nelson Gonzalez (loan ended), Robbie Russell (traded to DC), Collen Warner (expansion draft) and Andy Williams (retired). The team also released, waived or did not re-sign another five players.

Instead, RSL has decided to spend funds keeping some of its core players for the next several years and “replenishing” its roster with draft picks and players signed after trials.

TSG was able to speak with GM Garth Lagerway about RSL’s team-building philosophy as the team prepares for MLS, US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League competition in 2012.

Jay Bell, The Shin Guardian: Do you have a specific philosophy when it comes to players that you would like to bring in?

Garth Lagerway: Yeah, I guess we do in the sense that we always look at personality and how they behave off the field as well as how they play on it. We’re looking for good people as well as good soccer players.

Kreis is a big part of directing player traffic...

TSG: I think I have heard before, at least a few times, that Jason [Kreis] has met with a player before you have signed him. Is that a regular occurrence or does that just happen on certain occasions?

GL: It is an always thing. Jason or I or both of us will meet with every player before we sign them. It is the point of the process that we insist on in terms of getting to know them as people.

TSG: This was a big offseason for MLS. The league brought in a ton of players from Central America and South America. I think RSL was already leading the way with a lot of players like Saborio and Espindola. What do you think it says about MLS breaking more into those transfer markets and the way RSL was already doing that.

GL: I think back to my days with DC United as the color commentator and the South American players that they had there like Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno. Going back, I played with Carlos Valderrama in Miami. I think in the early days of the league Jorge Campos was a big player. I think that there is a pretty good tradition of signing Latin American players, so I don’t think we have re-invented the wheel or anything like that.

We have had success. We want to play a possession-style game and we have been very cognitive of going out and finding players that can play in our system. With that in mind, South America has proven to be a very fruitful market for us.

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