Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Beckerman’

Orange Wedges: Coach Bob, Pick Me! Pick Me!

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 Cuscatlecos with 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.
  • For TSG’s full preview see: Tampa Play: Thirteen Still In Contention

The True MLS MVP (Most Valuable Pale)

Note from TSG: Late last week, Mark and I got into a little tiff on beers…and thus our Beer & Soccer Review Series was born.

TSG is kicking off the series with a kick*ss piece from Die Hipster Brewing Co.

Die Hipster is a San Francisco miniature-brew founded by my Black Sox soccer teammate Chris Hanson and Scott Riley. I’ve had their beer and all I can say is, “Tasty!” and “Arrange transportation beforehand.”

Who is the real MLS MVP?

So without further adu, Die Hipster Brewing and their take on MLS MVP.

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In deference to the upcoming MLS Cup,  Die Hipster Brewing is proud to introduce and announce the results of the 1st Annual MLS MVP (Most Valuable Pale).  We at Die Hipster have been brewing for years and have attempted many styles – from  the dull catenaccio of a partial mash ale to the Totaalvoetbal of an imperial bourbon porter.  In the process, we’ve all but completely overlooked pale ales, much like most of the globe has overlooked MLS.  To remedy this, we spent the summer producing three MLS-themed pale ales in the lead-up to an eventual group judging event to determine an MVP.

Our candidates were chosen based on their sheer “MLSness” (not to mention their paleness).

Riles & Hanson: Dropping science

These three beers are named for three of the hardest working MLS semi-stars whose play has earned them a few appearances for the USMNT but scant European interest and only, it seems, from the Scandinavian part of the continent, which will work doubly in their favor when the Minnesota Thunder finally get their MLS franchise.  In the meantime, their current MLS squads are happy to have them.

In creating recipes, we kept within pale ale style guidelines, but went for three different grain mixtures.  We used the same yeast (similar to Sierra Nevada’s) for all three.  The goal was nothing too crazy or involved, just serviceable pale ales that will do the job without wanting to make real money (read: euros) or get identified on the streets of America.

The Eddie Gaven

The first selection, we went with Eddie Gaven. To get ourselves in Eddie’s mindset, we channeled our inner Eddie Gaven and in a specific nod to Gaven’s highly respected and publicized devote and pious nature, we asked ourselves not “WWJD?”, but, with the holidays approaching, “What Would Jesus….Brew?!”

As a result, Gaven’s beer was a fairly basic but a little heavier on the hop schedule – Gaven’s game, after all, is nothing if not bitter – along with some dry-hopping to finish it off.  The result was a pretty robust pale that could be mistaken for an IPA in some circles. Not bad for the player who was the youngest to score for the, uh, MetroStars and sports that stubbly beard. Is that perma-stubble-plus?

The Kyle Beckerman

The second selection went to Kyle Beckerman.  Beckerman’s beer had a healthy dose of malt, owning the appropriate moniker ‘Special B’.

Unfortunately, an eighth-inch log of his hair proved difficult to procure in Sandy, UT.  This one was also dry-hopped and the ‘Special B’ livened up the overall flavor profile – almost like marking said shorter dude who hasn’t washed his hair in 15 years.

The Dax McCarty

The last selection was Mr. Dax McCarty.  In our best deadpan, Dax’s beer had to stand out from the pack.  To accomplish this, we replaced specialty grains with malted grains and flaked wheat.  The result was a much lighter and drinkable pale that we hope will make an appearance in the 72nd minute in a Friendly possibly against Slovakia.  And….wait, yes that just happened.  Pretty sure Slovakia’s Martin Skrtel is the only Slovakian player who has ever faced a red head on the field (Scholes) before Dax danced his way on.  Sadly the Dax pale was neither made with nor tasted like Ginger.

The Victor

So who won?  The same player that could also be the MLS Cup MVP:  Kyle Beckerman by the length of one of his dreads (read: in a malodorous landslide).  There were only a small percentage of votes cast for Eddie and Dax.  While we also voted for Beckerman, Dax has grown on us quite a bit and is a session pale we were really looking for.

Since our brewery is not a democracy, next summer, Dax will be made again. Perhaps just in time for his cameo in South Africa?

We’ll need nominations for two new challengers to get called up to participate in the 2nd annual MLS Most Valuable Pale. Please nominate below in the poll or the comments.

For more information on Die Hipster Brewing and the MLS Most Valuable Pale recipes.

From TSG: A sincere thanks to Chris and Scott for the good read. If anyone has any questions, about such things as oh “beer” and/or “procurement,” please email shinguardian@gmail.com and we’ll bundle up the emails, float the pigeon and get you a response.

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Weekend: Friendlyville, Playoffs, & Beckermania

soccer_ball-2490

Mark's Soccer Globe #8

So much soccer this weekend, that…yup…just checked my Swatch, we passed noon on hump day. We’re going with our weekend preview a day early to get everyone amped up and get the good comments flowing.

Our global piece is dominated by American soccer this weekend and by that wonderful “soccer globe” to our left.

Look at it sparkle. We’re going global….

….but we start in the Land of the Free and Home of the Whopper: For you USMNT hounds who missed it, here’s the TSG Slovakia preview. I hope you, Dax, and Frankie all enjoy watching the game.

Let’s stay stateside or rather States-wise with (the) MLS:

» Friday night brings us Houston vs. Los Angeles from the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.

Wait, maybe I should just send you to ESPN’s piece right now that states that the key for Houston is to shut down David Beckham and Landon

ld_db

ESPN: Psst...Houston...to win you are going to need to stop Beckham and Donovan. TSG: No sh*t

Donovan. Let me guess ESPN, 11 guys a side to start the match also? Thank you, recess is over ESPN, please proceed to 4th period reporting where today we’ll learn how not to just state the obvious.

Are you kidding me? TSG has nary a few weeks of MLS under our belt….we can do better than that. My fingers are actually crossed right now. Go:

  • How about the Brian Ching going up for head dingers against rookie Omar Gonzales, who has pretty much played down to his age during these playoffs. Ching has the experience and the nastiness, Gonzales the strength and the youth.
  • Is Ricardo Clark fully fit in the midfield and able to injure David Beckham? For the little MLS, I’ve watched, I always see extremely “borderline” tackles by the Houston USMNTer on the English pretty boy. Don’t get me wrong, Beckham is some times too Roy Keane on his tackles, but my observations usually point to Beckham being the worse for wear after the affair.
  • Does Stu Holden involve himself in the game? First, let’s commend Holden, who TSG is a fan of, in that he plays to one set of his strengths for the USMNT (flying down the wing, big crosses, tracking back on defense) yet his club demands different qualities (linking play in the middle of the field, finding space). Quite dynamic for the Dynamo captain. We offered some criticism of the Iceman in the Seattle series for not more aggressively finding the ball.
Galaxy: You have the Iceman's attention

Galaxy: You have the Iceman's attention

Best way to neutralize Donovan and Beckham, Stu and company? Maintain possession. That’s right, Iceman, be dangerous…with the ball.

  • While many are worried about Becks and Donovan, what about Edson Buddle? The Galaxy striker while not extremely proficient around the net recently makes the defense work hard. You’ve got a big pitch, you’ve got a re-jiggered Dynamo defense with the suspension of Mike Chabala and now you’ve got the aggressive runs of Buddle coming at you. Watch Buddle vs. Houston Back 4–that’s a good match-up.
  • Turning tables, the Galaxy better watch out for Houston’s Buddle, Mr. Dominic Oduro. TSG has only seen Oduro twice, but, if I were a betting man, I might take the Oduro-Berhalter match-up over the Buddle match-up just mentioned. For all his experience, Berhalter was exposed against a Chivas attack that really wasn’t very technical adept in the strike zone. Oduro, playing off Ching and with Stu and Brad Davis (does he ever have a shot at a nattie team call-up?) trailing after Becks and Donovan are racing to catch up after a counter.That might present some problems.

» Saturday evening’s affair brings us the Cinderella Salt Lakers vs. the Chicago Blancos. TSG has less observations of these teams, so we’ll keep our comments brief.

  • Fresh off the US friendly in the morning, you can imagine all glassy-eyed USMNT fans will try to focus their peepers on the strikers: Chris Rolfe
findley

Has Findley captured a little Charlie-In-A-Bottle?

and striker-du-jour Robbie Findley. While Rolfe has had his shot, Findley only got a sniff. Both will likely be in contention for the right to be the last guy picked for the RSA playground. Findley’s been playing to fine form and, with the MLS going into hibernation, one more big impression, in the hometown of US Soccer no less, couldn’t hurt.

  • Having watched a few RSL games, I really like the play of Kyle Beckerman lately. The veteran in the middle has–in the games I’ve seen–been pretty much anywhere he’s needed. He has a unique ability to read where the RSL defense is going to break down and make himself available in support or to take on the offender. I’m going to call it Beckermania….props to you rasta man.
tummi

I dare say Blanco is just as agile as this fellow and definitely more visionary

  • Here is a question I’d like to ask Chad Marshall, Jay Heaps, Omar Gonzales, Bobby Boswell or pretty much anyone on an MLS backline. Why, really why, is it so freaking difficult to get the ball away from a 36-year-old with a history of injuries who looks like Tummi Gummi? Actually, nothing but respect from TSG for Cuauhtemoc Blanco as he signs off from the MLS. Guarantee if that man had played at, say, Inter or Valencia he would have had a lot more global fans.
  • Our brief read of a few rags on this match, many are talking about the prowess of Javier Morales being the key to Real unlocking the scoring, the player who has caught our eye the most on the offensive end for RSL is Russian Yura Movsisyan. We just checked the stats on Movsisyan and we’re astonished to find that he started 19 of the 26 games he played in this year. The biggest impact we’ve seen from the 22-year-old is when he’s come off the bench and completely changed the offensive complexion for RSL.

I would term RSL’s offensive pre-Yura insertion as “assiduous” while I would term RSL offense post-Yura insertion as “zippy.”

Does TSG not have enough observations to make that claim?

beckermania

Beckermania, coming to a pitch near you!

  • Yup, that all TSG is qualified to offer on this piece. You, the fans, that read our publication have many more observations. Have at it in the comments.

We now cross the pond to World Cup playoffs.

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USMNT: Common Sense in Defense

Clark

Clark

Bradley

Bradley

Michael Bradley, Bundesliga, age 22, 34 US Caps

Jermaine Jones, highly touted, Bundesliga, age 27

Ricardo Clark, Serie A Livorno perhaps?, age 26, 33 caps

Sam Cronin, 2008 Herman Trophy Finalist, age 22, 2 caps

Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake Captain, MLS Allstar, age 27, 9 caps

Maurice Edu, Scottish Premier League powerhouse Rangers, age 23, 4 caps

Edu

Edu

JJ

JJ

I’ve got some old news for you guys. You all play the same position.

The math: 6 viable options, 1, yes 1 (see Issue 1 below) starting nod. Chances of making the staring XI (all things being equal which they, of course, are not): 16.7%

Take that 16.7% and let’s consider some observations at TSG (and probably in many other locations and hopefully in Bob Bradleys office) on the US’s “Summer of Soccer” 2009:

Issue 1: The USMNT is extremely challenged by employing two defensive midfielders — hence this two defensive pairing in the middle needs to end. It can’t be Bradley and Clark. It has to be defensive holder and Benny, Dempsey, or even Freddy Adu.

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As Predicted, ESPN.com Misses The Mark

While Ives Garcalep (www.soccerbyives.net) filed a fair game report on the U.S. meltdown against Mexico, the same cannot be said for ESPN soccer editor Jen Chang.

While I generally feel that Chang’s commentary is right on (calling out BB’s strategy of two defensive midfielders, arguing for overseas players over MLS players), his commentary on yesterday’s game was just plain off.

Chang calls out the Americans for letting Mexico recover it’s swagger by not fielding a strong Gold Cup team. He further excoriates the U.S. depth and suggests that beyond Stu Holden and Troy Perkins, yesterday’s performances by Kyle Beckerman and Chad Marshall among others undid all the work they put in earlier in the tournament.

My first issue is that I did not hear from Chang the entire tournament. Maybe he was recovering–like nearly THE ENTIRE US FIRST TEAM–after a long arduous tournament against top competition in a different time zone. Really Jen, you wanted the U.S. to trot out it’s first team in a weak Gold Cup field where no team brought all their top talent after playing 5 games in 3 weeks just days before? Further, after many had been away from their club teams and the top level play we want them to get before 2010.

Also where was your analysis early on? The U.S. struggled against Haiti and even Panama at times. That they would struggle yesterday was more likely than the phenomenal 1st half display the team put on.

To suggest that players like Marshall and Beckerman did themselves a disservice is another egregious mistake without mentioning that a) their play was strong in the first half and b) Javier Aguirre was so concerned with his team’s first half play against a second rate U.S. squad that he brought in Carlos Vela to pair Giovani Dos Santos to start the half. That’s two, count’em, two EPL strikers to take on the U.S. jv team.

Further, it is play against quality competition that coach Bob Bradley can use to measure his arsenal of players. He just saw his “A” team against Spain and Brazil less than a month earlier. What did the “A” team have to prove in the Gold Cup? What player insights would be gained against mostly inferior competition for players that taken on 3 of the top 10 teams in the world?

A better angle if you wanted to call out the USMNT team would be to discuss the eerie parallel between Brazil piling on the U.S. in the 2nd half of the Confederation’s Cup final game with yesterday’s second half implosion. As this blog can well atest, I have been critical of Bob Bradley’s halftime adjustments and considerations in such situations and again yesterday we saw the U.S. come out not ready to handle an invigorated Mexican attack. While the manner of attack was flashy and the score finally obnoxious, the U.S. had a similar behavior against Haiti, giving up two goals in the course of ten minutes after half time in a decidedly different manner.

At least this time Bradley tried to change up the team (admittedly too late) with early insertions of Kenny Cooper and Santino Quaranta.

The story of yesterday is not the Yanks letting Mexico regain their confidence (if Mexico has to rally around beating the U.S. “B” team just a year before the World Cup that’s a bigger problem) or how certain players canceled out their entire tournament. It’s about measuring the Gold Cup team in aggregate (by achievement and by the next step of growth necessary) and a disturbing trend of coming out tactically unprepared in the 2nd half.

Yesterday’s post-game opinion saying ESPN would miss the mark

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