Posts Tagged ‘Michael Essien’

Oh Look! I’ve Found a Free Superstar

It’s like having the Get Out of Jail Free Card in Monopoly.

Nay, it’s stronger than that. It’s like having the 1st pick in the NBA or NFL draft. Nope, that player is not a given.

Ah, I got it. It’s like Peyton Manning or a vintage Kurt Warner went on waivers right before your Fantasy Football playoffs and there is no cost to picking them up.

Benny! Essien! On the same team?! The tears are streaming down my face...

What if the USMNT could add one player….any player from the international scene right before the World Cup. Who would they add? Who would you add if you were playing Bob Bradley?

TSG took a look. Here’s are five of our suggestions:

1. Fernando Torres

The skinny: How could we not name a striker here for the USMNT? In Fernando Torres, the USMNT would arguably have the best pure striker in the game today. The selection of Torres as our first superstar we would pick up on waivers doesn’t end on that statement.

The luxury of Torres is not only that he can get goals any number of ways, it’s that he can play in any formation up top. He can come up the pitch to receive the ball to drive to the whole. He can go balls-out and slam home a header or <salivating> he can run off Donovan…wow!

Torres needs less service than probably any other striker. I just heard the collective USMNT fan base exhale, “Hooray!”

In short, he can fit in with less than 150 days to World Cup glory in anyway Bob Bradley needs him. He fits the style of the USMNT team or he can help create the new one.

Fit rating: 100 out of 100 (um, what team can’t fit Torres in)

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2. The big bad “Bison” – Mr. Michael Essien

The skinny: Those of you that read TSG religiously (“We’re watching you.”) know that Chelsea’s Makelele Plus, Michael Essien, is this writer’s favorite player. We tried oh-so-hard to put Essien number one on this list, but we could not ignore the El Nino effect.

The USMNT got a taste of Essien as Ghana shut down the States to advance in World Cup 2006. This time, he’s on the Yanks’ side.

With Essien in the middle, it hardly matters who he is paired with. Imagine Benny freelancing off Essien’s cover. Pairing Mike Bradley would work as well as MB could show his offensive wares up the pitch..

With Essien as destroyer, locking down on errant wingers and strikers and then turning the table to manage possession, the USMNT could afford to take more offensive chances, in turn putting more pressure on their group stage opponents.

Fit rating: 98 (Essien’s counterpart would need to learn real quickly how to be more offensive on the pitch without cluttering another offender’s space. Wait a second…what if the USMNT get Jermaine Jones as well. Two d-backs, still Benny up top, Donovan and Demps to the wings…and Jozy up top….problems solved.)

This clip doesn’t even represent his main skill set!

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Rise Up: Free Benny Feilhaber!

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(Whew, it took some Mission: Impossible moves to get our pics back from confiscation and our message out before Saturday against El Salvador.)

Without further ado, we give you our mancrush piece. Our final salvo.

A few weeks ago, we got a great email in our inbox from a TSG fan named Greg. This happened to coincide with some readers to our publication from ESPN.com to our post entitled, “Paging Bob Bradley: Let’s get Benny and Stu some more run!”

What you don't see is the skywriting in the background

What you don't see is the skywriting in the background

Well now TSG is pulling out all the stops. We’ve ordered about 10,000 vuvuzelas with “Free Benny Now!” on them in an effort to get the U.S. linking midfielder some more playing time, some more starting XI time to be precise. To borrow a catch phrase, “Yes, We Can!”

Those vuvuzelas are not coming soon by the way–budget, economy, you know.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to blare the message. Heading this piece up top, is a pic of my brother Mark from TSG “protesting” outside Soccer House in Chicago. Now it is true that Mark went to Chicago on other professional business (or so he claims), but his commitment to the cause cannot be questioned.

Following below here is the exchange I had with Greg on our profound “love” for Benny Feilhaber. Consider it our man-crush piece. We love you Benny, in the we-want-to-watch-you-on-the-pitch, inflicting-some-serious-offense-against-the-other-team sort of way.

Clark, Bornstein: Lots of love for Feilhaber

Clark, Bornstein: Lots of love for Feilhaber

Now, our exchange with Greg and a little hidden way that you too can contribute to our vital cause. Oh, and huge thank you to Greg, who is an extremely astute commentor on our publication. Thanks Greg for the question and exchange–if we ever get around to TSG, uh shinguards….well the first pair is going your way.

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Hey Guys,

Just found your blog today through a link. I was immediately drawn by your focus on Feilhaber. When Benny first stepped on the scene in ’07, I thought he was promising, and this past summer has solidified my view on him (I think he’s as important as you guys do). What I’m hoping is that you guys could give me your description on Feilhaber. Why do you guys think he’s such an impressive player, in general and for the US?

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Greg,

Thanks for reaching out. Thanks for the kind words as well. Glad you liked our blog — might I ask where you saw it?

If you’re talking about Benny, I really think this piece here sort of sums it up.

Beyond that, in Benny Feilhaber, you’re talking about one of the few players who is just extremely comfortable in possession of the ball. In our minds, not a lot of players have this ability and certainly not on the US team. A player like Landon has to be, or let’s say is exceedingly more comfortable attacking with the ball or laying it off ; Landon is not going to work the ball to create multiple opportunities.

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