Posts Tagged ‘Ricardo Clark’

The Jumble: Roundtable, Ref Respect & More

Just seemed like a good image for this one...

TSG is back with the Jumble!

…and this time we brought friends…

We’re going to do a little roundtable with some TSG commentators and some folks that write around the Internet and we’re going to separate it into three parts, one today and two tomorrow. Wow!

Beautiful. Let’s get going.

• Hoping the prognosis is “Africa” for Charlie Davies elbow surgery yesterday.

• A solid performance against Chelsea for Big Jeezy.

Donovan: Building a bigger name in Toffeetown

Lanverton earning his keep at Goodison.

Beyond USMNTers getting valuable minutes in the highest possible league.

Beyond learning about the opposition in first person.

Consider this….

Make your name in the EPL this season Mr. Altidore and Mr. Donovan and push your name further Mr. Dempsey and when you waltz on to the international stage on the south side later this year, you’ll have a much better standing, not quite a LeBron James treatment, but a better standing….with the refs.

Don’t thing stature and “brand equity” make a difference? Maybe ask the Ireland national team, or England after Ronaldo complained in 2006, or Diego “Come hug me, or the referee isn’t going to allow it” Maradona.

• Player affairs and DaMarcus Beasley’s car getting bombed? Soap Opera Week for the Yanks. TSG will follow-up on the racial overtones this year for Rangers…hopefully it’s not linked to the Beasley car incident.

And no without further ado I give you our commentator card game:

He’s a Newhouse student from Syracuse (my alma mater rock’on!…and the alma mater of Mike Tirico, Ian Eagle, Dick Stockton and others) and is kick-starting a blog on the Philadelphia Union. He may be a senior or a freshman, but  either ways he’s welcome. Howdy, Kevin Morris of C. Horridus, a blog on the Philadelphia Union.

He’s been a frequent contributor since the beginning and favors obscure reference to Brazilian blogs focused exclusively on the 3-5-2 formation. He coined the nickname Mr. Clean for Conor Casey and please don’t call Clint Dempsey a striker in front of him. We’ve been trying to get him to write outside of the comment section for a very, very, very long time, from our nation’s capital, “Tuesday.”

He writes the “The Yanks Are Coming” blog, but is headed to Teach for America in the land of James Booker, Irvin Mayfield Jr, and Bourbon St. He’s also a grad student in journalism at the University of Florida. Daniel Seco…..and posse…setting the screens and driving and dishing to Seco is the rest of the team at TYAC (…can I call them that?), Jon Levy a radio professional from South Florida and Doug Beard, a musical composer from Boca Raton. Love it…we sent a simple email and we got a team effort. Thanks boys.

The aforementioned triumvirate will now be referenced in this article as Team Seco.

…and then there is a little bit of Mark and I….let’s get going:

1. (USMNT) Beyond Jozy Altidore, the USMNT is likely going to need a knockaround guy up top for the post-up game. It’s likely Conor Casey. But should Brian Ching get the nod? Should we forget about both of those options and go with something else….if so, who or what?

The New Mr. Clean

Tuesday: It’s Mr. Clean himself, Conor Casey.

Otherwise we’re quite thin in attack and there’s a serious gap between Altidore and Davies and the rest.

Despite Casey’s lacklustre Confederations Cup performances at least you know he’s on the pitch, rumbling around like a cement mixer.

Brian Ching finally played himself off the team in Mexico City after a slow, painful decline at the international level. Along with Cunningham and Findley, other options that could possibly re-enter the mix include Kenny “Argyle” Cooper and Eddie “The Greek” Johnson, who would really have to start knocking them in to get Bob’s attention at this point.

Kevin: I like Brian Ching but I just think he’s in over his head at the international level.

Same goes for Conor Casey. To be honest, if Eddie Johnson keeps scoring goals I wouldn’t mind seeing him get called up. I know he’s inconsistent and can be very frustrating to watch, but if he can enter into a patch of confidence for  the World Cup he could be very effective–he does still have that world class speed, after all. He might not be so useful against a team like England, but against Algeria or Slovenia he could provide that extra little spark that we miss without Davies.

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Guest Post: European Pie in the Sky

TSG commenter and writer of Ninety Plus Connor Walsh contributed the following piece about US players heading overseas in a World Cup year.

McBride found success on both sides of the pond.

Every American soccer player wants a piece of it; many Americans have tried and failed in Europe’s frying pan, unable to compete, adapt, or otherwise acclimatize themselves to it.

In a World Cup year, is the added benefit of European training and the much larger stage that comes with it, a risk worth taking when a World Cup roster spot is at stake?

Major League Soccer has taken great strides in the last few years in terms of level of play, but no argument can be made when compared to it’s quality versus the majority of European Leagues. Regardless of how hard it may be for anyone to break into a top Euro side, Americans are received overseas with a certain stigma.

Only a few Americans over the years have achieved success in Europe and even then it’s moderate success at that.  Clint Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu, Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra, and Steve Cherundolo are the few names that come to mind.

The rewards for jumping ship to Europe are obvious. First, there is the pay.

The average pay in the Barclays Premier League in 2009 was $1.8 million/year.  The average pay in MLS did increase 12 percent to $129,395/year in 2008, but 119 players in MLS made the league minimum of $33,000/year or less (development players).  The large disparity in MLS wages also makes that number look much larger than it really is.  David Beckham makes the most of any player in MLS at $6.5 million/year guaranteed, but up and coming US star Stuart “Iceman” Holden of the Houston Dynamo made a paltry $34,728.75 in 2009.

Contrast that with Clint Dempsey, who is rumored to make around $36,865.71 per week staring for Fulham in the Premier League.  The gap is that big.

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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.

Questions Up The Center For The USMNT

After Charlie Davies injury another possibility no one wants to consider is that the USMNT could be without defensive stalwart Oguchi Onyewu when the World Cup kicks-off next June. In fact, the US is facing question marks all the way up the middle with the exception of Timmy Howard between the sticks.

Might this be Gooch's "uniform" come June?

Might this be Gooch's "uniform" come June?

ESPN had a story today entitled “Onyewu plans a speedy recovery from knee injury” in which Gooch stated,

I know my body and I know how hard I work to recover and how my body heals. I think I can be back in four months, realistically.

Well, USMNT doesn’t need Gooch back, the team needs him better. With the official recovery time-line at 6 months, that seems out almost out of the question. So the best case scenario is Gooch at the WC in summer of 2008 form which is good, but not great. And let’s not forget that the recent knee injuries in the USMNT player pool (Jones and Edu), though different, haven’t resulted in textbook recoveries.

Moving up the pitch, Jay DeMerit continues to be out with an eye injury. His recovery time is slated for a much shorter duration, but we are talking about an eye here. It’d be very surprising if he didn’t make it to South Africa, but he is most likely in the midst of about a six month layoff right now.

In the central mid-field the US could be perceived as down its two most able holding mid-fielders in Twitter-fiend Maurice Edu and International Man of Mystery Jermaine Jones. And third on depth chart, Rico Clark (with a minor knock of his own), has been nothing more than serviceable as a starter in the WC qualifiers.

Can Jozy earn the #1 Striker moniker he's been given before he flies to SA?

Junior seems cemented in whatever position he is supposed to be playing at the other midfield spot, but has struggled to develop any consistency with a mid-field mate and disappears for large stretches to the point that the defense just starts bypassing him.

Perhaps the biggest (and most obvious) hole sits at striker with CD9 being out, however, TSG discussed that already. But what about Altidore?

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Dynamo v. Sounders Review: Good Players, OK Play

TSG is officially 1 for 1 on MLS playoffs observations. It’s all downhill from here for us. Yikes.

Seattle vs. Houston can best best characterized as good individual efforts with team efforts lacking a bit.

Here’s some random comments that you will probably take us to task for (note, if you’re an avid MLS fan, you might find the commentary Clarks doing what he does bestrudimentary or please feel free to elaborate on things):

• The game was like a continual ping pong rally with the ball moving from counter attack to counter attack. I found it surprising that the Sounders playing at home didn’t try to really build their offense. They did–I surmise–a few times through Ljundberg but what I remember about the Swede when playing on that dynamite Arsenal midfield line is that he was an interior slasher, not a guy you really relied on for a lot of linkage.

Is he the best Seattle has in that vain?

• TSG liked the movement of Nate Jaqua on the field. The 6’3” central midfielder–playing as a bit of top of the offensive third target man–seemed to have a good sense of how to attack the Dynamo defense from his positioning on runs to his pass selection. He also did a good job of sealing off defenders for the most part and opening the pass he wanted. Haven’t really watched the guy before, but very impressive.

• Following up on the first point, I saw a lot of good moving in pairs and triples, but not a lot of good recognition of team. Many times, a switch field run or pass was not made that would have opened up some offense.

• Was, overall, disappointing in the finishing.

• If I had to use one word to describe the collective play over the last 20 minutes, I would say “immature.” Both teams either started resorting to chippiness or played the foul or apparent foul instead of the play. As a fan, I was disappointed in this.

• Impressed by the touches of Freddie Montero, but his game needs overall seasoning.

• Not impressed with Ricardo Clark. I would think that the midfield man–though I guess he was carrying a knock?–would have a better feel for his teammates at the club level. I didn’t see that. With Clark, I see a collection of skills, not a complete player. Having said that, Clark’s ability to track a man do and his on-man defense is more than solid.

• While it is clear that USMNTer Stuie “The Iceman” Holden is one of the best players on the field, I thought he really needed to take control of the game this evening. He darted into available positions on offense–and maybe this is the Dynamo’s offense–but I wanted to see a man of his skills dictate the play more.

• I liked the play of Patrick Ianni–I believe he called upon at the last minute for Marshall, correct?

In general, I saw a decent game of American soccer, but was longing for a lot better team play and recognition. I didn’t see any concerted effort to attack a weakness or dictate tempo by either team. Maybe that’s because good defense is favored by both teams.

Please weight in as TSG is a MLS playoff newbie.

Have a good one.

Oh, and lest I don’t mention it, as a player and fan, I have a contrarian view on the Onstad-Montero scrap. I don’t know many veteran goalies that actively look to challenge an outfield player unless there was a transgression. Montero embellished the bump as well. Onstad is more guilty of poor judgment rather than anything else.

USMNT: Rudderless, but Victorious, in T&T

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Gosh, so many places to start on this one.

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

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.

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