Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Castillo’

Boom Goes The Dynamite: DEN 3, USA 1

Jeff Cunningham flew into the line-up and produced the USMNT's lone goal.

A quick note on the title…”boom goes the dynamite” is a reference to one of the all-time best YouTube clips. The classic line comes at the 2:29 mark.

No “W” for the USMNT and not even a “D” as a listless second half saw a 1-0 US lead go by the wayside in the span of about 7 minutes for a 3-1 win by the Danish Dynamite.

Since it is a friendly and everyone knows about the USMNT absences due to injury, MLS playoffs and other things (Cherundolo / Dempsey), there is not much to glean at a team level other than the fact that the USMNT doesn’t look all that deep.

Perhaps one observation of note is that the US seemed to struggle in the one area where they fielded the most regulars, the mid-field. This shouldn’t be that surprising since the Junior-Rico combo out there today has struggled for some time.

Overall, it was a forgettable performance that saw the US on its heels most of the game with short stretches of possession that rarely crossed into the offensive-third of the pitch.

(Note: In the unlikely event you want to watch a replay, it is available on ESPN360.)

Awards

Best Play of the Game — Jeff Cunningham’s goal: Sure it was gift pass from the Danish keeper that set-up the chance, but Cunningham kept his composure and buried it with his left foot! (He’s a righty.) Given that the 33-year-old’s strike was the only goal in 180+ minutes of play on this European vacation, he’s deserves some recognition.

Most Unheralded Play Jonathan Bornstein getting a boot on the ball to stop the Danish counter in the first half: After a turnover in the mid-field the Danes tried to feed an outlet pass to their right winger. Bornstein managed to get his left boot on the ball and control. If the outlet pass had gotten through, the Dynamite winger had acres of real estate in front of him to set-up a great chance on goal.

The Golden Shin Guard Benny Feilhaber: Played inspired ball in-front of his hometown fans. Benny made smart passes (including a beautifully slotted ball to Cunningham), drew fouls, took a few shots and limited the turnovers as he went the full 90.

Preview Follow-up

Edgar Castillo.

Frankie's last hurrah?

As expected, Señor Castillo collected his first cap for his country of origin. Castillo entered in the 61st minute at left-mid (with Feilhaber shifting inside). The lack of any semblance of possession or rhythm down the stretch severely limited his touches, although he did have one nice feed into Altidore that set-up a shot for Rogers at the top of the area.

As a projected left fullback by most (except TSG Matthew) it was certainly interesting to see Castillo play in the mid-field in his debut. Only time will tell if that is Bob-O’s long-term plan for Castillo.

Okay, what’s going on now with the RB situation? Or should we call it the Specs situation?

TSG assumed Spector would man the right side, however he stayed in central defense with Frankie Hedjuk getting the starting nod. While Hedjuk is a fan favorite in part for his frenetic style, today’s start may have been his swan song for the national team as he looked over-matched all day and was borderline reckless at times. If Hedjuk’s 85th cap is his last, consider the captain’s arm band given to him when Boca subbed-off kind of like the gold watch at his retirement party.

While there is no additional clarity at the top of the RB depth chart with Cherundolo and Spector sitting 1-2 in some order, it should be noted that Heath Pearce didn’t even make it on the bench for either friendly.

Will a woeful attack see a new strategy…..

Bob-O did switch up the strategy today which was both a product of the personnel he deployed and the 4-3-3 Danish formation. Bradley and Rico formed a holding tandem in the mid-field and the US generally attempted to push the ball wide to take advantage of playmakers Stu Holden and Benny Feilhaber on the wings.  You also saw the central backs spread a little wider and work to get more involved in the attack to take advantage of Spector’s service abilities.

….or a new entrant?

Looks like the preview piece should have read “and / or” as both the strategy was changed and a new striker was deployed. The aforementioned Jeff Cunningham was awarded the start while Conor Casey didn’t even make the bench. Aside from the goal and brilliant hold-and-cross, Cunningham’s day was rather uninspiring although the lack of a cohesive attack plagued his chances.

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USMNT Aarhus: A Few Changes

Edgar Castillo

Show us what you got, Edgar.

MONDAY UPDATE: A Sunday night update to the US Soccer press release on the roster said that Jose Francisco Torres has been excused for personal reasons after being initially called into camp. According to Neil Buethe at US Soccer (US Men’s Spokesman and a very nice guy as well) this morning, there is no further information available through US Soccer at this time and no player will assume JFT’s spot.

Questions by TSG surrounding further inclusion of Torres and why Jeremiah White wasn’t selected, though Benny Feilhaber was, in his home stadium were met with a “No Comment – Coach’s Decision” as well.

—–

USMNT Bratislava took off this morning for Aarhaus, Denmark….well most of the squad did.

Dropped from the roster called up for yesterday’s 1-0 loss to Slovakia were Chad Marshall, Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey. Folks may be surprised that Dempsey was sent packing back to England. Since there are a number of plausible reasons we are not inclined to climb into Bob-O’s head before we have our first cup of coffee this morning, but we’ll revisit the issue later this week. Also of note, Soccer Insider reports that Chad Marshall’s knee is still not right.

With the MLS playoffs behind them, USMNT regulars Ricardo Clark and Stu Holden were added to the group.

Now that the Mexican standings are set, TSG fave Jose Francisco Torres is on a plane over to Denmark to continue his Saprissa redemption tour. Torres is joined by left back (we say left middie) Edgar Castillo. Castillo is set to answer the hype in his first call-up to the US mother ship. Let’s see those chops–and passport–young lad.

In other Sunday news:

  • Congrats go to the Salt Lakers whose playoff run continued by extinguishing the Fire on kicks. RSL generally clamped down on the Fire offense and was able to maintain possession in the midfield–the key to the game for them.
  • Uruguay made World Cup qualifying a bit tougher on the Costa Rica besting the Ticos 1-0 on the throw rug at Saprissa. This WC bid will be settled on Wednesday in Montevideo.
  • Here, let me write this next one like ESPN would to get you to “click” the story: “Is another America defender headed to the Premiership! To Man City no less!”…..Sorry to do that on a Sunday, reports have former Thomas Rongen whipping boy Neven Subotic, who now plays for Serbia after coming through the US “U-” series, possible going to Man City in the January window. We’re fine with Spector, but the depth would have been nice.
  • The friendly series was not kind to Arsenal yesterday, Arsenal superstriker and Netherlands national teamer Robin Van Persie limped off in Italy 15 minutes in to the 0-0 draw and is now expected out for 3 months. That leaves Arsenal without size up front as Denmark nattie Nicklas Bendtner is slated for groin surgery and at least a month on the shelf dating back to his Halloween injury versus Tottenham.

The USMNT…A Global Endeavor

In a recent post, a reader commented on the new additions to the national team player pool being “foreigners who aren’t good enough to play for their own countries” and lamented the fact guys like Edgar Castillo and Jermaine Jones could usurp priceless WC spots from “hardworking Americans” (whose first choice was to play for the US).

Jones & Castillo...settling for playing with the USMNT?

Jones and Castillo...settling for playing with the USMNT?

Putting aside the fact that Castillo was born and raised in New Mexico, the reader’s comment got me thinking about the subject. Essentially, when it comes to the national team, what is more important…

Fielding the absolute best team, even if it means “importing” players with only technical ties to America?

OR

Fielding a team that is wholly comprised of born-and-bred, flag-respecting Americans?

The issue will never be that black-and-white because there really is a continuum of “American” from born-and-raised to I-can-trace-an-acceptable-bloodline. So before you answer consider these backgrounds in the current MNT player pool which are decidedly all over the map…

Iceman would be just as comfortable juggling in a kilt

Stuart Holden – born in Scotland, moved to Houston at age 10, became a US citizen in 2006

Clint Dempsey – born and raised in Texas

Jozy Altidore – born in New Jersey, parents are Haitian

Robbie Findley – born and raised in Phoenix, dual citizenship (USA and Trinidad & Tobago), was in camp with for the T&T U-23 squad in 2006

Freddy Adu – born in Ghana, moved to the US at age 8, became a citizen in 2003

Jonathan Spector – born and raised in Illinois, secured a German passport to play in Europe

Sacha Kljestan – born and raised in California, father is an ethnic Serb from Bosnia

Tim Howard – born and raised in New Jersey, mother was born in Hungary

Benny Feilhaber – born in Brazil, of Austrian decent, moved to the US at age 6

Carlos Bocanegra – born and raised in California, of Mexican decent

Pablo Mastoeni – born in Argentina, moved to Phoenix at age 4

And what about former MNT players…

Goose

Goose in the land of watches, army knives and neutrality?

Marcelo Balboa – grew up in California, father was Argentinean (similar to Claudio Reyna)

Tab Ramos – born in Uruguay, moved to NJ at age 11 where

Jeff Agoos – born in Switzerland (to an American diplomat), grew up in Texas

Earnie Stewart – born in the Netherlands

Fielding the best team is the right choice for two reasons. First, elevating the level of play for the USMNT would be tremendous for a variety of reasons and second…

If America stands for anything it is the acceptance of and opportunity for all people. The current USMNT represents this and with its global ties really is a true reflection of America. And besides, “foreigners” aren’t given spots, they have to earn them…another hallmark of the American experience.

In addition, a second question has emerged more recently (which the aforementioned TSG reader later clarified as his main point of contention) as result of a recent FIFA rule change. Specifically, should players that fail to catch on with foreign national teams get a second chance to play for the USMNT if they have that opportunity via American ties?

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Edgar Castillo Called Up to Bench

Um, Edgar, wrong jersey buddy....

USMNT pre-viewing fan favorite Edgar Castillo has acknowledged that Bob Bradley will carry him on the roster for November’s series of Friendly’s.

The Toluca midfielder and wing fullback commented on that and his yellow card following his team’s draw on Sunday. (Thanks for the catch Connor.)

Per TSG comment’s last month–yes it is now November–Castillo will get a look at left back, but should probably receive some consideration for Ricardo Clark’s interior defensive mid position.

Hopefully, we’ll all bear witness to the role that most suits Castillo later this month and Castillo doesn’t get the same quick hook treatment that fellow Mexican Leaguer Jose Francisco Torres has.

And lest USMNT fans think it’s just the States looking elsewhere for World Cup help, with 26 caps for various German squads, Werder Bremen star striker Aaron Hunt seems to be on the menu for England. That would be a larger coup than Castillo was.

Fan Stats: Jones, Hedjuk…and Nguyen?

We’re rolling up our two polls today at the close of the halfway mark of round four of World Cup qualifying. The poll questions seem apropos.

Nguyen in action

Nguyen in action

What better intro than Lee Nguyen. Tucked into the “other” category for our first poll, “What absent USMNT player are you most interested in seeing on the pitch?” was a single write-in vote for Lee Nguyen–I think that’s the first time I heard his name since I saw him sub in for the US of A at Spartan Stadium in 2007.

Nguyen is a US U-23 rostered player who just missed the cut for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is currently playing in Vietnam after a cup of coffee at PSV Eindhoven (DaMarcus Beasley is an alum of the club). Nguyen is having a more than solid year with 12 and 16 through 24 games. More on Nguyen at Goal.com.

Nguyen plays like a mishmash of Shaun Wright Phillips, Jose Francisco Torres and Ji-Sung Park. Very staccato like moves, can keep attack in possession, and an indefatigable motor. Wow, I think someone just gave TSG our darkhorse Aaron Lennon-Jermaine Defoe-Theo Walcott X factor…though not in time for 2010. We’ll follow-up more on Nguyen at another point.

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