Archive for the ‘World Cup Qualifying’ Category

A Little More USMNT and WCQ Aftermath

Now that the beer has settled and the U.S. victory settled in, here’s a few Monday bullets to consider and reconsider:

• As you know, TSG is a fan of Tim Howard whether he departs his line or not. Some are questioning Howard’s play and

10/12: Will the Guz give Timmy a much needed break on Wednesday?

10/12: Will the Guz give Timmy a much needed break on Wednesday?

positioning on the 2nd Honduran goal Saturday and why Howard didn’t take care of business against Suazo when he came out of net. That’s experience. Going to ground and through Suazo might have found Howard with a yellow or worse red card on the road and U.S. battling a man down to finish of Honduras.

Speaking of cards, the U.S. collection on the night? Zero. Put that feather in Bob Bradley’s cap as well.

• Sunil Gulati’s statement about U.S. player development on Sunday is absolutely on target.

Gulati: “We don’t have a lot of players playing at Man U and Barcelona,”

“We’re getting there. Those are some of the best clubs in the world, and it’s not like we have a lot of players playing there, so for people’s expectations to be that we’re going to go out and play like that, or have a high-level performance every time, it’s not the case.”

Was Gulati speaking perhaps of Sweden who are on oh-so-tenuous ground in their World Cup bid after a 1-0 loss to Denmark on Saturday?

Sweden’s strike pair? Barcelona’s striker extraordinaire Zlatan Ibrahimovic and former Man United target man Henrik Larsson; both failed to net for country. (Not to mention Sweden’s “Mike Bradley +” clone Kim Kallstrom who plays for French side Lyon.)

That being said Gulati remember a little notion called Project 2010?

• Or was Gulati speaking of Argentina where the infamous Diego Maradona needed a late strike from Martin

Palermo celebrates his liberation from Shawshank...or a win that was too close against Peru.

Palermo celebrates his liberation from Shawshank...or a win that was too close against Peru.

Palermo just to notch a victory against “powerhouse” Peru. Maradona celebrated with a 15-yard belly slide (1 min mark) like Argentina captured the World Cup, instead of just winning a game that shouldn’t have been in doubt. Argentina’s starting line-up boasted such questionable club player pedigrees as: Liverpool (Javy Macherano), Real Madrid (Gonzalo Higuain)….not to mention a fellow named Messi from Barcelona.

Oh and for Argentine fans, it seems Maradona finally brain cramped long enough to forget the Boca-Plate rivalry in getting former River Plate player Higuain on the pitch (where he should have been all along). The Los Blancos hitman Higuain rewarded the home side with a goal in his start. (Thanks for that note on Higuain’s history Adrian.)

You think Argentina would take Bob Bradley as head coach? Just asking.

• News now the Ronaldo will be out for up to 4 weeks after his re-injury in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary. CR, stirring trouble again, commented that he was less than fit on Saturday, while Real Madrid was slighlty softer then Mark Cuban would have been in their stance about Ronaldo’s inclusion in the side.

• A little lost nugget in Bob Bradley’s post-game presser was his classy reference to former USMNT captain and assistant coach Glenn “Mooch” Mynerick. It was a fitting tribute to the late former U-23 coach who passed away in October 2006 and who’s other coaching gig was with Conor Casey’s Colorado Rapids.

• Interesting video commentary from ESPN’s Tommy Smyth who calls for improvements from the U.S. backline and Charlie Davies in reaction to the USA-Honduras win, but doesn’t acknowledge the midfield. Not sure I’m there with you Tommy.

• Courtesy of Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing, a link to the online distribution success of the Ukraine-England qualifier.

• In our final salvo, don’t forget one last time to send around our link to get Billy Simmons to RFK for Costa Rica. Simmons’s BoSox are out of the playoffs, so the only thing stopping him is his wife. However, given the The Sports Guy ran an article extolling the virtues of October as being a great sports month and didn’t utter one word about soccer and the USMNT pushing for a spot in the WC finals, we aren’t holding are breath on this on. (Seems like soccer was just a distraction from getting him through the less-than-stellar sports months of July and August.)

• Oops, how did this link end up in here?

71st Minute Mayhem

For those who didn’t make it inside a venue to watch the match, here is a taste of what it was like. Though this is in NYC, it probably could have been any one of the thrity-seven locations across the continent. For certain, it was similar to O’Brien’s in San Diego except that our chant after Lando’s boot was “World Cup.”

(Can you tell I’m still jacked-up from the game that ended 24 hours ago?)

U-S-A!…U-S-A!…U-S-A!

We’ll be back in the morning with the recap, stories and analysis, but tonight it is all about celebrating.

The USMNT is on it’s way to South Africa and the 2010 World Cup Finals.

It was an amazing atmosphere at O’Brien’s in San Diego complete with people standing in the parking lot and Charlie Davies dad.

The match itself was a tale of two halves with a 0-0 first half followed by a 5-goal second. Thankfully, the US tallied 3 of the 5 second half goals.

Conor Casey, the surprise starter manned up and  netted two. Lando curled in the eventual game winner on a free kick…not to mention his perfect assist on Casey’s second.

The victory chalice is raised at O'Brien's

The victory chalice is raised at O'Brien's

Starting XI

Big surprise…

Casey / Davies up top

Holden / Donovan / Clark / Bradley in the middle

Boca / Onyewu / Spector / Bornstein in defense

Howard between the pipes

Orange Wedges: Finishing Strong

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Orange Wedges is a running post that will be updated until the start of the match.

Saturday

  • Via Twitter:  JozyAltidore17 Ahh the time has come and the boys look ready as am I. Wish us luck as we try and qualify for our 6th straight World Cup! Show some love. I don’t know about you, but I am pumped. Looking forward to watching the game with a packed house of USMNT fans. Let’s go boys!
  • Headed out to O’Brien’s soon. In case mobile service is spotty the US starting line-up will be out 1 hour before the game ussoccer.com.
  • 3 Hours to kickoff and according to @ussoccer on Twitter the stadium is full! (oh for that to happen in the US.)
  • Break out the galoshes it’s pouring rain in San Pedro Sula.  The forecast doesn’t dip below a 50% chance of rain until late tonight. Not so great for the Yanks, with the hard tackling and linking play or Thomas and Palacios in the middle, Honduras will be ok with a “sloggy” field. The Americans on the otherhand are going to look to get the ball up the wing quickly as well as counterattack and mushy turf is going to slow that down. (Unless, of course, Charlie Davies mutha was a mudda.)
  • Not sure if we mentioned this yet, but the referee for tonight’s match is Roberto Moreno who also presided over the US-MEX game at Azteca. This is no bueno for the USMNT if he sees the game the same way he did back in August.
  • Nice to see someone finally say it. Brain Ching (via ESPN.com): “”But our mentality won’t change from the last few games. We want to attack and score. These are the types of games we must now start winning.” Thank you, Brian. It is borderline embarrassing for USSoccer.com to have an elaborate Scenario Generator producing all the ways the USMNT can back into the World Cup when they can get in by going out and playing great soccer that nets them a W and three points.
  • In Matthew’s post the other day he alluded to the yellow card issues that Bob-O may consider when constructing the line-up. Both Matthew and I think that he needs to put the best eleven out there. Period. (The time is now.) Here are the players carrying a Big Bird Feather into the match: (I really don’t like the phrase “yellow card jeopardy”…any suggestions?)Altidore, Bocanegra, Casey, Cherundolo, Clark, Donovan, Feilhaber and Hedjuk…..we are potentially talking six starters here, more likely five.
  • Steven Goff also checked in from Honduras late yesterday with some interesting quotes:Landon Donovan on playing in Central America: “”The unique thing in a lot of [Central American] countries is the passion of everyone in the stadium. Generally, when you play in Europe, you get a section of the stadium that is passionate – maybe 3-4-5-10,000 people. But here it’s going to be 25-30,000 — whatever the stadium holds — incredibly passionate people. You can just feel the difference in the energy.”Boca on the lack of TV coverage: “It’s sad.” He’s got that right!

Friday

  • Grant Wahl checking in from San Pedro Sula. He also Twittered that he was the only reporter with the stones to make the six-hour trip up to Tegucigalpa to see what was going on. Not too surprisingly, nothing much was going on in the capital, so he was eating at Chili’s. UPDATE: Unfortunately, sounds like Grant ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and was held-up at gunpoint. Lost his wallet and iPhone, but otherwise he report he okay.
  • American Outlaw Garrett Quinn has made it safely to Honduras. He sent us a note saying he will be “blogging extensively” so follow him on Twitter, his live stream and his blog (political views expressed are solely Garrett’s).
  • Game time is 7pm Pacific…do what you can to be at one of these 36 venues for the English feed. If you are at O’Brien’s in San Diego I’ll be wearing a black DTOM hat with the snake on the front…come say aloha. Matthew will be at Danny Coyles in SF…he’ll probably be rockin’ his lucky man-purse (I kid, Matthew).
  • TSG’s in-depth preview can be found here.

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TSG Presents: You Make the Call: Honduras

Anyone remember and miss those IBM TV ads that use to run during the  first quarter of Monday Night Football games? You know, the ones when MNF was on free TV and MacGyver defused a bomb with a cooking mitt in the hour beforehand. Dating myself now.

Hashed and re-hashed that is where we are on USMNT in San Pedro Sula. Now we just need your opinion. So have at it and add your commentary below.

Who wins this Saturday? The home town so-close Honduran side or the visiting Dempsey-less Yanks?

Will Coach USA walk away with a plane ticket or a headache?

Will Coach USA need to phone South African Airways or dial up an answer on Wednesday?

You already know the subplots, especially:

...or TSG pick Holden?

...or TSG pick Holden?

...or Benny Ballhandler....

...or Benny Ballhandler....

Will the start go to Paco...

Will the start go to Paco...

• Who fills Dempsey’s cleats? Is it a member of the Benny! & Stu show? Is it Feilhaber who has worked his way into the good graces again of Bradley (you’ve never been out of mine BF…you hear me!)? Is it Stu Holden who has been consistently impressive upon his call-up to the senior sqaud and wants to emulate Eric Cantona (3:14 min)? Or is it Paco Torres, everyone’s favorite Mexican leaguer who only gets air time south of the border? TSG needs more Torres coverage — coming up after this round of qualifiers.

• Will it be Stevie C, who was were last time….in 2001 as a 21-year-old or will it be Jonathan Spector, all of 23 who played the first game against La H?

Will 'Dolo start and remain unbeaten in Honduras?

Will 'Dolo start and remain unbeaten in Honduras?

• With Coach B worried about yellow card accumulation, which potential starter may be shelved at Estadio Olimpico? TSG says if you’re already worried about yellow card accumulation and worse, if you’re speaking about it in public, it sends the wrong message. Just don’t talk about it. Go get the win.

JZA: Coach, me yellow? I play forward.

JZA: Coach, me yellow? I play forward.

Let’s go U.S…..I’ll see you all after the clash, however I will be updating TSG after during and after the match. Big game here, even if TSG is one of the few pubs that think so.

*Note, in BB’s presser yesterday he suggests that it’s between Benny and Stu for the starting nod and that yellow cards will play a material role in his team selection.

My brother will be going kicking off the customary Orange Wedges running commentary / game day post later this afternoon.

30 Days, 30 Questions for the USMNT

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Hmm....

Hmm....


10/7 Update: See the answers below to TSG’s 30 Days, 30 Questions for the USMNT. All questions were originally asked on September 11th when the article was published.

The members of the USMNT are off to their respective corners of the globe to hone their skills with their club teams. With a month-long hiatus before the final round of World Cup qualifying, we have some questions to ponder for the 30-days ahead. If you have any answers or some questions yourself, add them in the comments and we’ll run the best ones as a post over the weekend.

Administration

US Soccer…can they convince ESPN to put games on a premier channel so people don’t ask if the game was already played when I tell them it is on ESPN Classic.

Answer: Let’s just say if we grading this as a one-question quiz, US Soccer would get an “F”. Through their official USMNT soccer blog, they played the “Honduras Federation controls the rights” card and seemingly washed their collective hands of the mess. There may have been some attempt we don’t know about, but considering where we are, it is disappointing.

Gulati…what locations will he be scouting for the next friendly? Sheboygan? Nome?

Answer: Incomplete, but Gulati did respond personally to our request for information on the US-Honduras match and also talked about the US being seeded in the World Cup.

Coach Bradley…will Gulati take him to his tailor?

Answer: We will give you the answer as soon as he appears live on Saturday. Although we have been able to confirm that at one point in his life he did wear a suit.

Keepers

Tim Howard…can he keep Americans Dempsey (9/13) and Altidore (9/23) off the score sheet on the other side of the pond and maintain his

Tim Howards says you guys have it easy...and what are you wearing?

Big T says you guys have it easy...and asks, "What are you wearing?

sterling form? (Bonus: Will the iron man get a rest?)

Answer: Dempsey was held scoreless on 9/13, but he and his mates picked up the 2-1 win over Howard’s side. Meanwhile Big-T pitched a shutout versus Hull on 9/23; a game in which Altidore was excluded from the 18. And no rest for the weary, Howard has gone the distance in all Everton contests since the band broke up after T&T.

Guzan…will the Polish-American (YEAH!) relieve American Brad Friedel (whose had a quite a fine campaign thus far) for Villa in its Carling Cup game on 9/23?

Answer: Guzan did make the start and five saves en-route to 1-0 shut-out win over Cardiff City.

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