Posts Tagged ‘Heath Pearce’

MLS: Rowdy Friends & Thursday Night

All my rowdy friends are here on Thursday night.

HP: Mighty big TSG spotlight on you tonight, fella...

I’m really starting to like these primetime MLS games on Thursday nights.

How about you?

I’m also as excited as when I grew up with the Monday docket of MacGyver at 8pm and Monday Night Football at 9pm on the East Coast and had IBM’s You Make the Call as the first commercial in the 1st quarter.

Tonight, Sounders again okay primetime, this time against FC Dallas. A few questions on this:

• What’s wrong with this juxtaposition: Seattle has trouble scoring and Fredy Montero is rumored to be headed to CSKA Moscow. Closing the book on that one…wait…you know half these rumors are just agents out there trying to drum up demand. I can see this one as Fredy’s agent saying, “Okay who’s really far away that no else will be able to get a hold of?”

• Good test here for Heath Pearce. Can he shut down Freddie Ljundberg, but also get ahead in the attack?

I feel I might have, let’s say, put-off a few of you with opining on my love of the current style of play from the Los Angeles Galaxy. I’m not ready to choose a team; not sure if I ever will. I do know that this season MLS because of the TV production, improved quality of play and the forthcoming World Cup has been more watchable for me than ever before.

I’m going to need something to get me into MLS and I’ll have a column on what it is shortly.

Jumble: Oh, No! Not That Leftback Enquiry Again

Does this question really need an introduction?

Much has been made about the Yanks vaunted left back position. Who do you favor as the lead in the depth chart there: Boca, Bornstein or Pearce….and why?

Bocalicious?

GeorgeCross: Personally, I think that Bradley has given Bornstein more than enough chances to make that position his own, and he has not come anywhere near the required standard – to be perfectly honest, his inadequacies would be highlighted week in week out in the Prem, let alone international football and the World Cup.

Pearce is a little tricky because I have only seen him play a few times for Dallas – I saw him play quite well, but did not think he was anything too special.  Not sure he has enough ability to bridge the gulf in class – might not be so evident in the group games against Slovenia and Algeria, but I question Pearce in the knockout stages.

Therefore, Bocanegra to get the green light, not because he is brilliant, but simply because he is the best option that the USA, sort of a minimax strategy – minimise the maximum damage that an opponent could inflict – rather than looking for an offensive left back. He might not have Bornstein’s legs, but you will not see him getting caught out positionally as much, and he won’t be as naïve in conceding ‘tactical’ fouls in and around the box – again, the further the USA progresses, the tighter the games become, and it really is about these millimetres and centimetres  that can make all the difference.

Just...about...sums...it...up....

McKee, “Spectator-Capped”: Spector/Gooch/DeMerit/Boca! (ConfedCup lineup = best).

England will bring speed/skill regardless of our choice.  We need Boca’s headers in attack with LD10 and CD9 ahead of Boca – keep the game in their half to check England’s pace.  Cards/injuries? Use Dolo right, Spector left, Goodson center as needed.   Pearce? Bornstein – not convinced

Shoaff, Black Sox: Pearce: so slow.  Bornstein: so not ready for the World Cup.  Boca: needed in the middle, especially with the injury to Gooch.  The solution: Jonathan Spector. Plays left back for West Ham and is our most versatile defender.  If Cherundolo is healthy, they both play—Cherundolo on the right, Spector on the left.

Rogers, Hillcrest Road: I don’t know who is tops on Bradley’s depth chart, but I’m liking Pearce at that position right now. His play in the last couple of friendlies was really solid. He showed a great ability to contribute to the attack with smart, timely runs and great balls from the wing. Bocanegra is too solid in the middle, in my opinion, to put him on the left. Also, he seems to have trouble with speedier players, so putting him out there against Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips or Theo Walcott could spell trouble.
McKee, Spectator-Capped: Spector/Gooch/DeMerit/Boca! (ConfedCup lineup = best).  England will bring speed/skill regardless of our choice.  We need Boca’s headers in attack with LD10 and CD9 ahead of Boca – keep the game in their half to check England’s pace.  Cards/injuries? Use Dolo right, Spector left, Goodson center as needed.   Pearce? Bornstein – not convinced

Michelot, Ligue1Talk: I like Pearce. He’s “aged” well, as if MLS had given him new legs. He looked good against CONCACAF teams and he is better offensively than the other 2. Good balance between offense and defense. Play Boca in the middle where his lack of speed is less detrimental.

Arbogast, Notre Dame: Talk about choosing amongst unappealing options. Since you have to pick someone, I’m going with Bocanegra. Bereft of anything better, I’m going with experience and smarts to carry the day. With DeMerit’s rise, you can feel real good about your central defense even without Boca (assuming Onyewu is back and fit).

Wrapping Up 2009…And Hopefully Denmark

USMNT Aarhus: Late day training

USMNT Aarhus: Late day training

It is nearly time to cue the end of the year pieces.

After an uneven, nail-biting and ultimately euphoric World Cup qualifier run, the USMNT is in Aarhaus, Denmark set to take on the Danish Dynamite this Wednesday to close the 2009 campaign. By the way, yet another kick*ss nickname for a team.

Per our column yesterday, excused from the team’s Slovakia roster are: Steve Cherundolo, who was last seen rolling off the field on Saturday and has an emotional situation to attend to; Chad Marshall, whose knee continues to bother him after playing a single game in the last month; and

dynomite

Uh, no, Danish Dynamite...not DYN-O-MITE!

Clint Dempsey, presumably to get some pitch time for more midfielders.

The man nearly all TSG fans wanted to see on the starting pitch once added to this roster, Pachuca’s José Francisco Torres, was called up, but then excused. Odd in it’s own right, Torres also only played 45 minutes of Pachuca’s contentious affair this past Saturday with U.A.N.L.

Bee-lining eastbound for the Yanks are the Dynamo’s Stu Holden and Ricardo Clark and a man who now needs no introduction, Edgar Castillo, who is making his way to Coach USA’s roster for the first time. Here, here! JFT’s roster spot will go unfilled.

Taking on the Yanks will be the Dynamite who did more than just survive (and top) a difficult WCQ group that included both Sweden and Portugal. The Danes dismissed Sweden in their last 2nd to last WCQ qualifier, dropping the Swedes and blanking them on the goal sheet. In September, Denmark’s defense was just as stiff in limiting a Portugese squad that included Ronaldo, Deco and Nani to a single goal in a 1-1 draw.

Alas, Denmark’s November star has lost some luster as Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is scheduled for groin surgery and Liverpool central defender Daniel Agger is taking a breather…er…rather…bowing out with an undisclosed nagging injury. Five additional players that started in the last legs of Denmark’s qualifying run, including Ajax striker Dennis Rommendahl, were absent from the Dynamite’s 0-0 draw against Ji-Sung Park and South Korea this past Saturday.

poulsen

Poulsen: An important cog at Juve

Actually trotting out to the pitch Wednesday for Denmark in a starring role will still be Danish player of the year in 2005 and 2006, Christian Poulsen who cleans up the middle for Juventus. In a little bit of interesting trivia while Poulsen shipped in to Juventus from Sevilla he spent the bulk of his earlier career at German side Shalke 04…where his replacement in central defense was none other than Jermaine Jones.

Others to watch out for Vladimir Weisse-style (as in little known players that cause problems, see Slovakia: Saturday), are Thomas Kahlenberg (Wolfsburg) and Duncan Rasmussen (Danish side Bronby). We know Johnny “Be Good” Bornstein is up to the task though….yup just coined a new TSG nickname. (Note: ESPN reporting that Kahlenberg won’t play; we’ll find out — he started and played Saturday against South Korea).

On the flip side of the ball, if the USMNT thought they had a difficult time finding offense in Bratislava on Saturday, they’ll not find it easier this time around. Only 5 goals against the home side in the WCQ trials (again in that group that included Sweden and Portugal) and heady Stoke City keeper Thomas Sorenson in net. If you’ve read TSG over the past two months, you know that we think quite highly of Sorenson who has been tested more often than perhaps any other EPL goalie in the last two years.

Let’s get right to our customary preview.

    1. TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”
    2. 11 at the Whistle
    3. *Disclaimers

TSG’s “What We’re Looking For”

Overview: As we saw in Bratislava, Coach USA is looking to be competitive in the first half and investigate new players in the 2nd half. Coach USA’s recent roster additions (only Castillo, new, amongst the group) suggest that he’ll employ that strategy again.

Continue reading

Not speculating: You choose Spector (63%)

"I rule the right flank"

"I rule the right flank"

With 135 out of a possible 212 votes, you vote for John Spector to be your starting right back for the USMNT right now.

TSG thought the victory would be a bit of landslide for Spector after his strong showing in the Confederation’s Cup, including his cross to Clint Dempsey that got the U.S. started against Brazil and on the way to winning the 1st half at least.

However, we didn’t expect second choice Frankie Hedjuk to command nearly 27% of the vote with 58 votes for the RB nod.

Fan Larry says, “Frankie until Kevin Alston is ready and available”

Fan Mark says, “Frankie gets the nod due to his tremendous work rate and his leadership qualities.”

And Fan B.T. goes so far as to add, “Frankie is an emotional leader. Hiw will to win is unmatched. Any team that has the chance to play him and does not, will have regrets.”

Bringing up the rear was Steve Cherundolo with 18 votes and 8% of the vote.  Others receiving votes were: Heath Pearce, Danny Califf, hyped youngster Kevin Alston and Dallas standout Drew Moor.

Finally, there was a lone vote for “Your Mama.” We’ve never seen her play, but let’s trot her out there is you think she can hang.

See all the commentary here.

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