Posts Tagged ‘Cody Arnoux’

Quakes Shake Galaxy, Shimmy To 1-0 Win

TSG took in the San Jose Earthquake-Los Angeles Galaxy game from the stands Saturday at a sunny Buck Shaw Stadium and watched as the Earthquakes took the lead early and then befuddled a frustrated Galaxy side.

Wondo: Making $48K go a long way...

An acute angle strike by $48,000-per-year man Chris Wondolowski–he of the now 8 goals on the season–put the Quakes ahead and set the upset in motion.

However, if you witnessed the lead-up, then you know the credit, or discredit, goes to the Galaxy keeper Donovan Ricketts for failing to communicate with back-up leftback A.J. De La Garza on a cross into the box.

Both De La Garza and Ricketts avoided the incoming hot potato and Wondolowski was all too happy to collect the marble before it bounded beyond the endline and fire it low into the left corner pocket. San Jose was 1-0 to the good.

L.A. coach Bruce Arena was still perturbed at the early gaffe in the post game press conference adding, “I don’t know what Donovan (Ricketts) was thinking on that one. I think he thought the ball was going to go out. I’m going to have to ask him.”

The strike was all the Quakes would need on a day when it appeared they followed the blueprint on the whiteboard in their locker room to the letter. It read:

1. Score

2. Just f*cking win

Once San Jose had the lead, they sat extremely deep and clogged the midfield, resorting to relieving pressure on over-the-top balls to Cornell Glen who, though ably defended most of the day by the Galaxy defense and seemingly beset by a multitude of injuries big and small, battled until he was relieved by the league’s newest Designated Player Geovanni late in the 2nd half.

Despite a big "SuperCannon" banner draped from the stands, Busch raised his game and was a difference maker

Thanks to seven saves by keeper Jon Busch–one an intelligent wrong-handed punch in the 2nd on a ball that it seemed Busch thought would go out–the Earthquakes bend-don’t-break strategy only bent and the battle of California went to the uptown side.

The game certainly appeared to turn in the midfield.

Arena might have credited star Landon Donovan with his “man of the match,” but the Galaxy looked like a team–in midfield–that was far from the top of the table.

At one point in the first half, Sean Franklin waved and audibly called Michael Stephens off the ball, only to see the youngster play the ball and immediately turn it over.

On multiple occasions, Donovan seemed frustrated, either throwing his hands up in the air or constantly beckoning forward Mike Magee to move off him off the ball. (Mike Magee had a nasty case of USMNTitis on the days as well. Definition here.)

Omar Gonzalez could be heard hollering at one point up-the-field at Stephens, “Where the (blank) do you want me to go with that ball?”

I asked Arena about what seemed like a lot of confusion through the center of the pitch after the game:

“Coach, seemed like a lot of confusion in your midfield today and a lot of frustration coming with it. A lot of players throwing their hands up in the air or failing to move off the ball.”

Arena’s response? “Really? I didn’t see it. I didn’t see the gestures.”

San Jose midfielder Sam Cronin did though: “Yeah, I noticed their players getting frustrated. I think we were in good spots. They’re maybe used to getting more space, but we felt as long as they didn’t get behind us today we’d be alright.”

Cronin gave his side a “B+,” citing a good team effort for the high mark, and lack of possession which took it down from an A.

At the end of the day, a B+ effort gets San Jose a hard fought win over the league-leading Galaxy.

Other notes:

Canada's newest import...

• Asked Cronin about Cody Arnoux, his former Wake Forest teammate who recently signed the Vancouver Whitecaps:

“Yeah, I spoke with Cody, he’s excited by it (signing with Vancouver). He had a good time at Everton, but realized he wasn’t ready yet when he went over there. He’s got a good future up there and I think he’ll make it back to Europe.”

• Checked in with Ike Opara, a really nice and well-spoken player, who hobbled on crutches through the press area.

Opara on his broken foot:

“It’s coming along fine. I’m on schedule.”

On possibly missing an opportunity to join up with the USMNT when they faced Brazil:

“Aw, I’m not even thinking about that. I’m just focused on this (pointing to his injured wheel) right now.”

• TSG will be doing a profile on Chris Wondolowski shortly. If you have any questions just send them in.

• If you’re in the Bay Area and making it down to a San Jose, the team management does a great job with the facility it has and the pulled chicken sandwich is the way to go at the concession stand.

• Some comments from the TSG/Black Sox/DieHipsterBrew crew that I attended with:

• “That Gonzalez guy looks like he played the wrong sport…he should be playing rugby.”

• “Those hooligans (the “Ultras”) are so organized.”

• “De La Garza is very aggressive when he’s 1-on-1 with himself and the ball.” Um, okay

• “Mike Magee, following the lead of US nattie team strikers everywhere…”

• “Jeez…how much lemonade do they serve here? No beer, just lemonade.” (The ratio of lemonade vendors to all other vendors at the Buck is 135:1)

Because The Yanks Are Coming: Arnoux/Peterlin

I don’t know what I like more about this article:

Peterlin & Arnoux, doing the Yanks proud...

• That Cody Arnoux and Anton Peterlin are both being considered for roles at SPL club Motherwell

• That two more Americans are going to play in the notoriously physical Scottish Premier League and get a solid hard knocks education.

• That the story appeared in the BBC.

All good.

Check out  this quote on former Wake Forest standout Cody Arnoux:

“The two lads from Everton coped well, particularly Cody, who led the line and caused them problems.”

Upswinging for the USMNT attack? Charlie en route, Jozy playing big, Stu praised before his injury and now this.

P.S. folks Motherwell is a top of the table club….good stuff.

And Then There Were Four…

The lasting image of one of my favorite games of all time....

I tried. I really did this year to get in more NCAA soccer time. Wasn’t able to do it.

The crossover of the USMNT to the MLS got me watching the easier-to-find-on-the-dial MLS games rather than college soccer.

I did watch a handful of Indiana, Bucknell (not sure how that one happened) and Maryland games this year–mostly on late Friday evenings on Fox Soccer Channel with such very challenged broadcast teams.

I was able to catch a USF game in person–sadly USF after coming in a top 30 team slid terribly this year…7-10-2….the highlight was a win over Santa Clara midseason at home…luckily the game I attended.

Best part about the college game, in my humble opinion, the all out full effort of the players. It might be a lack of discipline, but the field often looks like eleven Carlos Tevez(es) running around.

Tomorrow is the final four and I’m going to try and dial up ESPN’s fine 360 product for what should be a good one: Wake Forest at Virginia. The other game pits undefeated and untied Akron vs. UNC.

For those that don’t know or remember this column way back when, the 2007 college final between Ohio State and Wake Forest, featuring such players as a sophomore Cody Arnoux and Marcus Tracy was one of the most enjoyable soccer games I’ve ever watched. (Check out the video at the end of the column for sure.)

The game was monumental for Arnoux as in his freshman year he booted a great opportunity and made up for it in this Final.

Feel free to comment below on the games throughout the season if you are an expert or fan.

How will Cody Arnoux fare? A statement on the EPL

Fan Danny B made the following comment in our Cody Arnoux post late last month.

1st in the lineage: Max-Moore

1st in the lineage: Max-Moore

Danny B’s comments, “I am an Evertonian, and I have to admit I have a fondness for Americans, particularly with the previous signings of Joe Max-Moore and Brian McBride on a loan spell, and now Tim Howard and our new recruits from MLS.

Thanks Danny. That’s now 3 different U.S. strikers that will showcase in the Toffee line-up in a decade if Arnoux can find his way onto the pitch for at least some mop up time in 2009.

A lot has changed since Joe Max-Moore made history with a stunning start for Everton in 1999.

Chiefly, in regards to striker play, is the introduction of stronger and more physically and offensively gifted defenders in the EPL.

Max-Moore and Cody Arnoux are virtually the same stature, both standing nearly 5’9” and tipping in at about 160lbs. Those are some slighter dimensions.

Take this!

Take This...

And This!

....And That!

However, Arnoux will be going up against fullbacks such as Kolo Toure, Brede Hangeland (gosh, imagine if we got him on the USMNT instead of his Norway allegiance), Nemanja Vidic among others. These athletes are comparatively bigger than their yesteryear counterparts.

I dare say a player like Gary Neville, a technically proficient defender in his day, would hard pressed to lock down a starting role in today’s game. (I’m sure I’ll get feedback on that comment).

Conversely, I think this is why you see players–specifically those with Iberian peninsula roots–like Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo himself departing to play in leagues where they don’t have to get ground down on a game by game basis by physically imposing defenders. I’m sure Ronaldo also wants the pomp, circumstance, food and women of Spain as well, but don’t think for a second that he doesn’t want to deal with less knock downs on a weekend basis.

Too slight?

Too slight?

Getting back to Arnoux, I think for this to work for him, he’s going to need to prove and learn to play against a much stronger defender. At Wafe Forest, Arnoux was crafty and smart with his runs. If he can’t take a hit in the EPL, he’s going to do just fine.

The Yankees, Manchester City & USMNT Strikers

Curious title?

If you’re a major league baseball fan, the name Johan Santana was on your mind heading in the 2008 season. Santana was a coveted commodity from the Minnesota Twins, who were looking to deal their ace pitcher before he hit free agency at the end of the year.

The Robinho of pitchers

The Robinho of pitchers

The Yankees, per usual, were considered players in the sweepstakes. However, Brian Cashman, the Yanks GM, balked at the asking price for the starting pitcher (two highly touted pitching prospects) and threw in his hand. Fast forward to 2009 and Cashman is inking contracts for two of the prized free agency (C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett) to enormous offers.

Cashman was asked the difference in spending on the two pitchers this year vs. spending for Santana the year before. His response?

“We didn’t need to give up anything so it was completely additive.”

The asking price, though monetarily higher, was overall less because the Yanks didn’t have to give up any prospects. Starting pitching is that valuable that prospects and proven players are hoarded. Remember that.

But what does this have to do with anything?

Manchester City is a team that has always played second fiddle to Manchester United in the northern England city and in the English Premier League.  Premier League titles since 1990? Manchester City F.C. 0, Manchester United, 11. Enough said.

Taking a number at Man City

Taking a number at Man City

Last year, Manchester City changed ownership to one with deeper pockets. After taking their shopping cart and marching around Europe, they will see no less than 6 and up to 9 1st team strikers take the field as practices begin, including such high profile players as Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Robinho. The USMNT–who we will get to in a moment–would be transformed as a national club with the addition of just one of those strikers.

And that really is the point.

Man City is being a considered a bit of a laughing stock around the EPL right now with the press and even United manager Sir Alex Ferguson poking fun at them for assembling a group of parts that may not go together on the field.

But Man City is not stupid.

Strikers are the starting pitchers of soccer. And by buying them up (without giving up anyone, like prized middie Steven Ireland) Man City has done nothing but been completely additive with the talent on their squad. They know that the glut it too big to work and they know that eventually one, two or maybe up to 5 of the strikers they possess will be sullied by the experience and look for a transfer.

At that point Man City will be dealing from strength and have the most valuable commodity out there. Proven starting strikers who can put the ball in the net.

In two years, Man City will probably have agreed to transfer some of that squad for quality around the pitch that they don’t possess. (Let’s hope it’s for back four help because they are sorely in need of an injection).

And now rounding out this piece, as mentioned before, could you imagine if the USMNT possessed the depth of quality strikers that Manchester City currently boasts. Shouldn’t the U.S. value strikers similarly?

While Bob Bradley has certainly done a fine job of building a defensive minded squad. It’s up to Bob and the rest of the US Soccer program to develop a wealth of strikers at their disposal. The U.S. has consistent veteran and developing quality on the wings, on both the “A” and “B” teams, if you will, with Donovan and Dempsey and Holden and Rogers. However we continually see the U.S. unable to move the ball through the middle of the field. While part of this is attributed to Bradley defensive-minded pairings in the center pitch, the other part of it is lack of effective strikers that opponents fear to drag defenders deeper in positioning. What I am telling you is nothing new of course.

The U.S. saw just a glimpse of what striker quality could do earlier this year in the Confederations Cup — not with prized youngster Jozy Altidore finally on the pitch, but with Charlie Davies making deep runs. It was truly a revelation in the Spain game to see what the U.S. can do with just some speed up top. I can’t remember ever seeing the U.S. in a major game have the picture perfect counter goal that led to the second U.S. score between Landon and Charlie.

Please sir may I have another!

Please sir may I have another!

With Davies, the U.S. actually can play a through ball to put on pressure as opposed to just the up-and-over. And Davies is just one option.

That’s why I, and other fans, should continue to not be content merely with just additions of Altidore and Davies. Frank Dell’Apa (noted Boston Globe and ESPN columnist, and a member of the Massachusetts Sports Hall of Fame I believe) is a writer I typically agree with. However his article earlier this week, I think was off point. Dell’Apa hailed the “new breed of U.S. striker. with Altidore and Davies.

Yes, it is true that the U.S. is better off at striker now than it may have ever been, but that’s like telling a child that it’s okay to pass a test with a 66.

I’m not lamenting the quality of Davies or Altidore (or Ching, Cooper, or anyone else).

My message is: Do you see what just a small threat upfront can do to:

- add excitement for fans

- take pressure off the defense

- open the midfield

So when I see Bob Bradley in the Gold Cup running out Brian Ching time-and-time again, (note: I love Brian’s game. I do. But I know all about it already. I don’t need it in the Gold Cup), or when I see Conor Casey come out against Brazil and Spain, or when I see more recently with Davy Arnaud being left in the game too long, I question some of the U.S. strategy in player development.

Do you remember what was loudest fan cry from the 2006 World Cup and criticism of Bruce Arena? It was not getting enough minutes of Eddie Johnson. It wasn’t that Eddie was the answer, it’s that Eddie was hope up front.

Two years ago for me, I wanted to see Edson Buddle to get a shot whether right or wrong. Er, please don’t comment

Last year, I was clamoring for Kenny Cooper at least to get a look.

The Ferrari of strikers?

The Ferrari of strikers?

I’d like to see the U.S. really focus on developing the striker position, so that we see the results in 2014. I’m not sure “how” and maybe I’m too naive that we have other options.

Let’s see Adu up there maybe just as a look see. Let’s see Dempsey take a few more runs out there.

Earlier this week, I had a column on Wake Forest soccer. Let’s see Cody Arnoux and Marcus Tracey get a shot.

What about Jemal Johnson? How do we get Gabriel Ferrari involved if he’s good enough for Series A already?

Like I mentioned, I’m probably a bit naive on all the inner workings, but I know we need to get some more starting pitchers developed.

Everton adds another: Cody Arnoux joins the fight

Cody Arnoux

Cody Arnoux

Update: Read more TSG coverage of Everton here.

My support for Everton football just got a bit stronger — American Cody Arnoux is foregoing his senior season at powerhouse Wake Forest and joining Everton FC.

That makes this the second American signed by Everton just this year–little known Cal Poly alum Anton Peterlin was the first–to go with vet Timmy Howard between the wickets.

Everton has now clearly established itself as the EPL’s America FC wrestling the title from Fullham who set the tone (and consequently had many Americans in their corner) over the past few years. While the Fullham side still boasts Clint Dempsey and a renewed Eddie Johnson (plus alums Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegro), Everton has, count ‘em, three American born-and-bred players. Certainly another great step for American soccer.

While I personally enjoy watching some of the sensational international flavor that Everton has to offer: Aussie Tim Cahill is stellar in the air, Moroccan-born Belgium international Maroune Fellaini has the flair (and the hair) for the dramatic, and pint-sized South African Steven Pienaar can slalom through defenders with the best of them, the real story here has to be the program that Wake Forest has built. If you haven’t had a chance to watch any NCAA tournament soccer over the past few years, I encourage you to try and take a moment and watch the Demon Deacons come together for 90 minutes–the fighting spirit that 2007 and 2008 Coach of the Year Jay Vidovich has instilled is second to none.

wake-m-soccer-logo

Among just a sampling of the former and current players that Wake Forest counts among their locker room alum are:

Sam Cronin — featured in the U.S.-Haiti Gold Cup game last week

Michael Parkhurst – USMNT defender who will probably get the nod at CB today against Honduras

Cody Arnoux – bringing his 32 goals and 16 assists from last season with him to Everton FC

Marcus Tracy – Forward and now starter for the top Danish squad AaB

Ike Opara – 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year who runs with the U.S. U-20 squad

Pat Phelan – MLS New England Revolution starter

and a personal favorite….

Julian Valentin

Valentin is an alum of Wake Forest and the Los Angeles Galaxy, however he is probably best known for a vicious hit he received in the 2007 NCAA Championship game (one of the best college or pro games I have watched). Valentin went head first to defend a loose ball near the Wake Forest 18 and received a cleat in the face that is one of the worst if not the worst cosmetic injuries I’ve seen in soccer.

Kudos to a great Wake Forest program and to Cody Arnoux. Take a peek at that 2007 Championship game between Wake Forest and Ohio State here, along with the facial to Julian Valentin at the 1-minute mark of the clip. Apologies as the clip is grainy.

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