Starting to percolate, that summer transfer season.
Zizzo had it going on in 2007...
• ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reports that Sal Zizzo–who was let go by Hamburg a few weeks ago–is headed to MLS. Zizzo, who is recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery will be available through a weighted lottery with Carlisle reporting that D.C. United and Kansas City have the best shot at claiming the midfielder.
• Univision is reporting that Jonathan Bornstein will join Mexican Club Tigres for the 2011 once he completes the 2010 campaign with his current club, Chivas USA.
• In other news, Ale Bedoya is nursing a foot injury and was forced to sit out his club Orebro’s last game.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 Cuscatlecoswith 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.
Nice touch. A drained USMNT, with Big T in a cowboy hat, thanks it supporters
“Adversity is the first path to truth.” – Lord Byron
The above quote was considered when TSG was writing an email to Charlie Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org) yesterday. Ultimately, CD9 received a different quote about “seizing fate by the throat”, but Lord Byron’s words proved to be excellent shorthand or even prophetic for last night’s match between the USMNT and Costa Rica.
These truths were revealed to USMNT fans last night:
♦Heart and courage are not in short supply for the USMNT
In a game that seemed to mean everything and nothing at the same time the USMNT exemplified what it will take for their injured mate to make his way back to the game he loves.
You want heart? A 95th minute equalizer with the US playing a man down by an oft-maligned left back…there you go.
The US was staring adversity straight in the face going into the game last night. No one would have blamed the US for whatever type of game they played given the events of the past 48 hours, especially after putting themselves in a two-goal hole midway through the first half. But the Yanks fight to the whistle no matter how many goals they are down nor how many men they have on the field.
Jeers turned to cheers for JB versus CR
♦The USMNT and Coach Bob Bradley play to win
Need proof? Bradley sent a clear message with his starting line-up. Eight of eleven starters, including iron man Tim Howard, carried over from Honduras. Only absent were Davies, Spector and Clark. The RB was most likely replaced by Cherundolo for performance while Feilhaber for Clark was an effort to control more possession at home.
More proof? After picking up an early yellow Jozy Altidore never left the pitch. Picking up a second would have led to a disqualification for the first WC match, but Bradley chose to remind Jozy of that (including telling him not to lift his shirt in celebration to reveal his “Davies” jersey) instead of replacing him. Bradley was rewarded for his choice as the youngster played a tremendous game.
Still not convinced? I’ll give you two final pieces of evidence. 1) Coach Bradley’s subs – offense, offense, offense. and 2) Late game hero Johnny Bornstein in his own words, “I don’t normally go up for corner kicks. Usually I stay back,but for that one, I was like, `I’m getting in there. This is a last-shot effort.’”
I think Bradley went convincingly for a win as a result being committed to win the region, out of respect for CONCACAF (and Honduras) and, if only a small motivation, Charlie Davies.
Quickly, for those new to this publication, I’m generally an optimistic commentator. I favor technical analysis and like to look for the unsung heroes of a match.
All I could say when this game was over was one word: bizarre.
Bizarre from Donovan and Dempsey talking righteously about “going to there to win” in the days leading up to the contest and then not rallying the troops throughout.
Bizarre from the calypso U.S. national anthem through the announced American starters.
Clark: Deciding the game
Bizarre from a swerver from Ricardo Clark from outside the 18′, deposited in the right center netting…for the game winner and only goal.
Bizarre through the US sitting tight and again staving off an onslaught from an inferior team to preserve a win.
The best analogy I can come up with on short notice here, is if you asked your kids to bake a cake. You lay out all the ingredients–break the eggs, measure the flour, preheat the oven. You come back one hour later and the cake is cooling. Great!
Only the cake is cooling…on the floor and barely edible, the kitchen is in shambles, your son/daughter is covered in melted chocolate chips and batter, the mixer is broken, the spatula got chewed up by the garbage disposal, and….you get the picture.