Archive for the ‘Friendlys’ Category

England versus Mexico – International Friendly

Has seen thinner days...but the Mexican talisman is still a dangerous threat.

Tweet Tweet Tweet. Game over. A comfortable win for England with a mix matched starting 11. Mexico looked dangerous and pacy but need to work on defending set pieces. Martin Tyler says it all when he said that both teams learned what they needed to. Lunch time for me.

91:00 – Oddly Glen Johnson is the man of the match. Yes he had a nice goal and he woke up in the second half. I would have given it to King.

89:00 – DAMN Lennon is not slow. The Spurs winger screams toward the Mexican goal going through two defenders but they commit a professional foul on him. Baines gets a chance to make up for his poor first half but sends the free kick into the wall.

87:00 – Johnson makes his presence felt immediately by skipping by a defender in the box but his cross is blocked out. Promising from the young City player. Hope he gets more of a run out against Japan.

85:00 – Adam Johnson on for Milner. Lets see what the youngster can do. Er…did Andy Murray just come on?

81:00 – Lennon showing some nifty skill to keep the ball in play. Ball eventually bounces toward the Mexican box and Dafoe and Perez are in a one on one situation that Perez kicks clear but straight to Rooney who traps it, controls and sends the ball goal ward with the Mexican keeper miles off his line, but its headed out at the last second by a defender.

76:00 – Joe Hart has had a lot less to do this half than Green did in the first. Wonder if that has to do with the 4 in front of him, the better overall possession by England or Mexico’s lack of bite in the second half? As I write this, Barerra skins Baines and sends a cross that misses everyone. Close one. Walcott off, Lennon on.

72:00 – Blanco on and Dos Santos off. He has been Mexico’s best player i think.

69:00 – England playing better now as they are passing it well and Walcott is sent through but the ball is cleared out for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner. England’s main issues are at the back but so far this half they’ve done a better job at nullifying any attack.

65:00 – Barrera is doing a great job down the wing and sends in a shot but Hart catches it easily. Down the other end, Rooney sends a beautiful pass to Gerrard who is bundled over just outside the box. The requisite Beckham mention/tv shot is shown has it is in his territory. In the end Gerrard takes it and sends it inches wide. What would Beckham have done?

61:00 – AHHHH – Rooney has a tramp stamp. Huddlestone on Carrick off. Guardado on for Vela for the Tri Colores.

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Amsterdamned: Yanks Cue Attack Too Late

Robben 1, Donovan 0 today...

You may now call him King Jonathan of Holland.

In a game that could have used a little bit of Red Bull to push the excitement, the States succumbed, 2-1, to a Dutch squad that was allowed to dictate the tempo and run of play as they saw fit for nearly the entire competition.

While the Yanks did keep shape well, it came at the expense of creating any sort of attack as the front line for the Yanks was starved of capable service until around the 76th minute. The Yanks played to many of their stereotypes.

Kuyt, playing the roll of Dr. Evil....

A first half that saw the Dutch own possession and consistently threaten the US flanks was deadlocked through the first 40 clockturns, however in a blink of an eye a blown defensive assignment had Jonathan Bornstein reaching for an answer on defense and finding Arjen Robben’s Wesley Sneijder’s jersey as the wrong one. Penalty kick awarded, States down one heading into the break.

The 2nd half started out much the same for the Yanks only now it was Klaas Von Huntelaar playing the role of Robin Van Persie and causing havoc as a hub in the Yank’s defensive kitchen. A failure to close the Milan man down by sub Maurice Edu and Mike Bradley led to an errant Huntelaar shot….that unfortunately redirected off the star-crossed Bornstein. States, two-nil for the worse.

At this point, Bradley abandoned his Findley experiment up top and introduced Alejandro Bedoya for the RSL star. The entrance of Bedoya reconfigured the States to somewhat of a 4-4-1-1 with Donovan pushed to the role of CAM. With Beasley and Bedoya able to turn their men on the wing and Donovan able to make smart passes with Mike Bradley who joined the attack party from midfield, the Yanks sprung to life and displayed some of the offensive aptitude that you knew was lurking.

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Oranje Wedges: US Takes On The Netherlands

Orange Wedges is TSG’s “gameday” post that  is updated until kick-off.

Game faces?

The last international date before the World Cup features a full slate of friendlys with 70 teams taking to the pitch around the globe. Of course the game to watch will take place in Amsterdam where the United States will take on The Netherlands.
The match kicks-off from Amsterdam ArenA — the first European stadium with a retractable roof — at 11:30am Pacific on ESPN2.

The game represents the last national team data points for Bradley & Co. prior to selecting the World Cup roster. It could also be a confidence booster if the big boy squad gets a favorable result on the road against a top international side.

  • Don’t look for the US to depart from their counter-attacking ways. Said Captain Carlos: “We’re going to need to show a lot of patience and discipline. We know the Dutch are good on the ball, and they’ll probably have a bit more possession than us, so we need to be patient defending but still be able to get after them in a smart way.” (quote via ESPNSoccernet) Continue reading

Preview: The USMNT’s Amsterdam Litmus Test

Boy, do we have a treat for you this Monday morning.

Amsterdam, forever known as John O'Brien Land....

TSG was able to convince contributor “Tuesday,” who hails from D.C. and is a virtual wikipedia of soccer knowledge to contribute our Netherlands preview piece.

A nice break from the typical at TSG and a big thanks to Tuesday on a Monday for letting the editors over here sit back, grab our java and get a good read to start the week. Thank you.

Without further adu, Tuesday with the customary TSG preview:

As always, we’ll follow the following format:

TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
11 at the Whistle

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TSG Weekend Roundtable: England & You

TSG has been going full blast as we doctor up Operation schematics, cover the USMNT, prep our March Boarding Passes for the US Roster for South Africa, and get ready to unveil our Brian Ching Big Aloha shirt (coming soon).

Our 2nd Roundtable: All analysis, no oreo cookies...

In that vain, we asked some regular contributors to weigh in this week and help contribute to our weekend column. This roundtable’s theme: “England & You.”

First some introductions:

He’s a contributor to many a publication online, including EPL Talk and the San Diego Examiner, welcome SD resident Richard Farley.

Hailing from San Luis Obispo, the same school that brought you current Everton reserve starter Anton Peterlin, is Matt “Biggy” Biggerstaff. He writes–occasionally at–and sporadically is a good thing as he is gainfully employed by a friend of mine.

Our 3rd guest is Boston soccer man Patrick, a frequent column contributor who always keeps us in the know. Thanks Patrick. He also helped pen one of our most popular pieces: “What is American Brand Soccer?

From Die Hipster Brewing, the guys who brought you Eddie Gaven Pale Ale and will soon bring you a commemorative Jimmy Conrad brew, welcome Scott Riley. By the way, Dax II (Pale Ale) is out…email those guys if you are interested.

And bringing up the rear as always, I’ll contribute a few little bullets here and there.

Disclaimer: Most views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Shin Guardian….unless you think they’re really good.

Away we go:

Which one USMNT player would you like to see in the EPL specifically, playing to improve his abilities come World Cup 2010 who is not currently over there?

The new Maynor of Wigan?

Richard: Tossing out players who are too old and discarding players who would not see time in the EPL, Michael Bradley might be the choice, though he’s already in a major league.  There would be a whole new set of challenges if Bradley went to (say) Wigan, played for Roberto Martínez, and was coupled with Hendry Thomas.  I’m not sure there’s a logical choice amongst the other 50-or-so players in the set-up.

Biggy, CO: At this point, no one. As seen by Holden, unless a starting lineup spot is a lock, a move is a precarious move to make. Currently I’d much rather have everyone playing with their respective sides, with the emphasis on playing. Hypothetically speaking, Robbie Findley.

Riley, DHB: Does Danny Szetela exist?  Are we flush with medium size fast dudes?  If we are cultivating central defenders, Omar Gonzales from LA seems like he’s got the size and athleticism to compete.  We also need a pure striker but there is isn’t one that comes to mind that is appropriate for the EPL.  We can keep an eye on this Luis Gil guy for RSL as well. (Editor’s note: Hey Riles, you just stole two lines from our March Boarding Pass piece…thanks a lot.)

Matthew, TSG: Honestly, I’d love to see one King of Honduras Jonathan Bornstein man a flank at Emirates with a very offensive team around him. He’s in that Bacary Sagna/Ashley Cole mold in my mind and seems like a Wenger type.


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Ching Shines, Kljestan Strikes: US 2, SLV 1

Brian Ching collected his 43rd cap, 1 goal and 1 assist to lead the USMNT to the win.

The USMNT, featuring nearly all MLS players, notched its first win since early October with a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over El Salvador in Tampa Bay.

Following a familiar script against lesser foes, the US controlled most of the game, struggled in the offensive third, conceded a goal against the run of play and then came to life.

When the US last faced El Salvador in Rio Tinto Stadium in September it was a Jonathan Bornstein miscue that led to a goal by Los Cuscatlecos with the US dominating. Tonight it was Brad Evan’s defensive gaffe that produced the lone Salvadoran goal in one of the few forays into the box for the visiting team.

Though this match could be better called an audition for a few remaining World Cup spots, it was nice to see the US finally finish strong behind second half substitute Brian Ching. The Big Aloha’s head produced the equalizer off a Heath Pearce cross while his feet provided a one-touch assist to Sacha Kljestan who put home the game winner in stoppage time.

The win will play well on Sportcenter (hopefully) and is a good thing for a program coming off three lackluster performances. However, it should be noted that the Salvadorans play made one wonder if they stayed out late last night at the infamous Tampa Ballet. Well that, or maybe they just didn’t care.

Some players added to their resume for selection while others did not.

The more significant story for the USMNT is whose performance got them one step closer to packing their US Soccer duffel for South Africa. Of the 13 World Cup hopefuls Matthew mentioned in the preview

5 boosted their stock…Brian Ching, Robbie Findley, Sacha Kljestan, Clarence Goodson and Heath Pearce

2 held their spot…new Captain Jonathan Bornstein and versatile Robbie Rogers

2 didn’t help or hurt their chances…Kyle Beckerman and Jeff Cunningham

1 took (another) step backwards…Conor Casey

3 never saw the pitch (which probably isn’t a good thing)…Chad Marshall, Troy Perkins and Chris Pontius.

Before jumping to conclusions, it’s worth remembering the level of competition in this match and reading Bob Bradley’s post-match comments about Ching-Casey, the Netherlands roster selection and the World Cup roster.


» Best Play of the Game: The  Sacha Kljestan game-winner. El Sal’s Gonzalez mental mistake combined with Kljestan’s effort led to an odd-man rush by the USMNT. Mr. Victoria’s Secret then laid off a pass to Ching who dropped a nice one-touch back to Klestan for the finish.

One question: Was it me or did Montes (SLV’s keeper) look like he got shot in the back? He started to challenge SK, then dropped to his knees prematurely and fell down. Either way…it was a great give-and-go.

» Most Unheralded Play: Conor Casey struggled on offense playing the first 45 minutes, but his defensive effort kept El Salvador off the scoreboard midway through the first half. The visitors sent a free kick deep into the box that look destined to allude the defense in favor of an on-rushing Custcatleco. Just before the ball dropped at the far post, Casey rose up and used his noggin to get the US out of danger.

» Golden Shinguard: A number of candidates, but TSG is going with The Big Aloha. Ching scored and assisted on the two US goals and was a consistent target for the attack in the second half. Granted he could have been marked better, but that’s not his fault.

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Orange Wedges: Coach Bob, Pick Me! Pick Me!

Orange Wedges is TSG’s gameday post that  is updated until kick-off.

Though it won't repeat itself tomorrow, this happened the last time the US faced El Salvador.

With top division club soccer in the US nearing the nuclear option, soccer fans may witness that last meaningful match on American soil for some time when the USMNT takes on El Salvador in friendly tomorrow evening.

The game kicks-off from Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium — complete with giant fake pirate ship — at 4pm Pacific on ESPN Classic and Galavision.

Though the game is more of a tryout for end of the bench selections for the Yanks World Cup roster, fans can still hope that the team wakes up from its post-qualifying funk to show some semblance of quality and notch its first win since October.


  • Tonight will be the last match for the USMNT in their white and horizontal pinstripe jersey. Nike “unveils” the new kits tomorrow from what we understand.
  • At last count, TSG readers would overwhelmingly like to see Clarence Goodson start over Chad Marshall in defense and a Ching / Findley pairing up-top.
  • If the recent Honduras friendly brought back great memories for Jonathan Bornstein, then tomorrow’s match may bring the opposite as the last time JB faced El Salvador (9/5) it was his shank-a-roni on a clearance attempt that led to El Salvador taking a 1-0 lead. (Kyle Beckerman showed poorly in his limited time in that match as well.)
  • El Salvador travels to Tampa with an interim coach, José Luis Rugamas, performing double duty guiding his country’s U-21 team as well. Rugamas replaced new Chicago Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos who managed the Salvdorans through World Cup qualifying.
  • Somewhat ironically, the US will take the pitch against the Los Cuscatlecos with 20 MLS players and 1 Tippeligaen player (IK Start’s Clarence Goodson).
  • The appetizer to tomorrow’s main course will feature the men’s U-17 squad taking on Mexico at1:15pm Pacific. FYI for those heading to US-ES, your ticket is good for both games.
  • For TSG’s full preview see: Tampa Play: Thirteen Still In Contention

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