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.

Team Seco: Kenny Cooper, pretty please!

If given the chance to work into the side by playing with the A-squad, I think Cooper can most closely fit Bradley’s wants.  Casey has never, ever looked in sync to me.  Conversely, Ching understands that Bobbo is looking for a robust target man and does his best to fit the role, but he is a lump.  He cannot play with the ball at his feet and he cannot finish his chances.  Cooper can be silky with the ball and powerful off it.  I would like to see a concentrated effort to work CK into the role.

Mark: If the World Cup started tomorrow, there is no doubt in my mind we’d see a Casey-Altidore pairing.

Unless Bob-O changes up the offensive strategy (e.g. tucking Deuce in under Jozy), that is probably what we get in SA. Keep in mind Bradley went with Casey in the Confed Cup. Add that to his WC finals clinching performance and I really don’t think Ching has a chance. Like most everyone else, I am hoping Findley show something in the next three friendlies, but I don’t see him as, at best, a match-up play.


2. (MLS) How will the new Philly Union fare on and off the pitch in this, their inaugural season?

Kevin: If both the d-mids can produce (if Miglioranzi doesn’t get injured and Stahl lives up to his hype), then the Union’s defense will be a very, very tough nut to crack.

In the attacking third things will be a little more uncertain. Both Salinas and Jacobson on the wings are good players but not necessarily season-long starters. Fred needs to return to his old form. Danny Mwanga may be ready for primetime, but I wouldn’t count on it–which means the Union will need another striker badly.

Team Seco: The Philadelphia Union are poised to have an amazing first season by traditional expansion team standards. They have the perfect manager for a largely young squad in former U.S.A. U-23 coach Piotr Nowak.

Philly fans stake their support...

In addition to a promising cast of young draftees the Union have added proven professionals like the Danny Califf and Brazilian midfielder Fred. Add this nice nucleus to the fact that Philly’s supporter’s group, The Sons Of Ben, will be passionate and boisterous all year and you’ve got the makings of a great first year for an expansion franchise.

All this being said, this team will not be Seattle Sounders Part Two. The Sounders’ expansion season was the exception to the rule, as was their ridiculous level of fan support. The Union didn’t bring in the likes of Freddy Ljunberg, and though Danny Mwanga has the potential to lead the MLS in goals, he won’t do it as a rookie on an expansion team. Look for the Union to challenge for the playoffs but eventually miss out.

Tuesday: It’s a like pop quiz and I forgot to study!

It’s the age-old winning vs. entertainment question: Philly Union are building from the back and look like they could manage the playoffs. Michael Orozco and Danny Califf is as solid a centre-back pairing as you find in MLS.

In Jack McInerney they have a young American player who could get some press attention if he contributes. The look like they could find themselves in the playoffs.


3. (MLS) Who will be the most surprising new draftee in the MLS this season?

Duka, christened into MLS....

Tuesday: U-20 World Cup stand out Dilly Duka.

He was taken 8th in the draft, so he might not be expected to make a big impact right away.

To me, he’s a player that will play up to the level of his team-mates so it won’t hurt that the Columbus Crew was champion of the regular season table back in 2009. Interesting factoid: his team-mate Guillermo Barros Schelotto made his professional debut before Dilly was out of diapers (unless he was extremely precocious).

Matthew: I don’t know if he’ll be the most exciting newbie this year (now that a trade is bringing in some competition), but I think when you look back in a few years he’ll be up there at the head of the class.

I’m a big fan of Ross LaBauex. I got a chance to watch a number of tourney games this year as well as few late FSC games and I was very impressed with LaBauex.

I think LaBeaux has a few things going for him. Number one, I think he hasn’t even dented all of his potential. Number 2, I think he sat in the shadow of Jonathan Villanueva a little or he would have shined further. Number 3, he’ll be able learn now from players like Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz.

LaBeux reminds me of a Viera or a Toure. He will likely never reach the echelon, but he’s got ability.

Kevin: I think Corben Bone could make some teams feel very, very sorry they didn’t take him earlier in the draft.


4. (USMNT)  Of *new Americans abroad in 2010…which USMNTer will have the biggest impact: Choose from Rico, Stu, Landon or add your own….(TSG tossed a bit of a softball here in retrospect).

Tuesday: I’m taking the easy way out.

Landon Donovan has finally found a system that he can play and excel in. Previous European forays weren’t successful because teams saw his talent and hoped to mold it into what they needed. Donovan has always been stubbornly his own player but he has matured without losing his physical weapons, and acquired new skills under some expert tutelage, and finally seems capable of making the leap towards becoming a world class player. Unfortunately the new contract he just signed with MLS may make a permanent move impossible, leaving Lando’s mission in doubt.

LD City: Earning plaudits and brand equity abroad...

Team Seco: It’s hard not to say Lando, who has already slotted in nicely.

Even before he stepped on the pitch for a competitive match Everton captain Phil Neville claimed Donovan to be a “perfect fit” for the Toffees. Moyes will use him wisely.

Clark’s pace, power, and zero-BS policy all suit the Bundesliga nicely; he should feel at home in a city with a sizeable American contingent.  He is being brought in as a man-for-man replacement for injured defensive mid Zlatan Bajramovic, so I suspect he will be given plenty of support from the Frankfurt staff.  Also remember Rico is in Germany on advice from Bobbo and his boy.

I fear Owen Coyle will first concern himself with sorting out Bolton’s current squad.  Stu will be lucky to see significant minutes any time soon as Bolton already possesses a fabulous young right winger in the form of Chung-yong Lee.  Sadly, Stu is looking like a poor man’s version of the big-money-signing South Korean. Still, OC might try to find a place for Stu on the left by moving the versatile Matthew Taylor to back/wing-back or sliding him to the center which is where the Wanderers could use some tinkering.

Matthew: I’m going to go with a tie here only because I want to talk about Rico. So Donovan and Clark.

Donovan for that aforementioned reason at the top of the post of building his international stature for say, getting taken down in the box by a trailing Rio Ferdinand.

On Rico, German precision is not a stereotype. It’s accurate. He’ll get fierce competition in the Bundesliga and be forced to work on his ball reception and movement in the middle. No player, not even Stu who will arguably see less time, can learn more this year than Rico can in the short time.

Mark, Kevin: Landon!


We’ll be back tomorrow with columns to conclude our second Jumble.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Re: Altidore strike partner – One problem with both Cooper and Casey, is that they are painfully slow. It is agony to watch them lumber up and down the pitch. Are either of them really a threat on set pieces? These two may create more problems than they solve. If they represent our best choices for center forward at World Cup time, it’s probably not a good thing.

    Re: Philadelphia pass/fail – I believe this club will either dramatically exceed expectations, or achieve a mid table finish in their conference. Seitz and Perk are both very good goalkeepers and it’s always good when there is competition for first team places. Califf and Orozco are fine defenders, and it looks to be a tough proposition to score goals against what appears to be a solid defense. The midfield looks to be also quite good. Nakazawa as a US U-17 showed extremely good ball striking ability on set pieces. Salinas is pacy, and Miglioranzi has a wealth of experience. If they use former California Golden Bear Andrew Jacobsen at defensive midfield he will shore up the holes and assist the back four quite nicely. Stahl I don’t know that much about, but if he played at UConn, he probably has the goods – Joe Morrone’s legacy continues at Storrs. The big question is will the strikers score goals consistently? McInerney was technically sound at the U-20 World Cup, but underwhelming. Outside of Alejandro Moreno, does anyone in their stable of forwards look like they’re going to score any goals?

    Re: Most impressive MLS rookie – Andrew Wiedeman/FC Dallas. This kid just scores goals. If he’s given a runout, I doubt that he’ll disappoint.

    Re: New yanks abroad/greatest impact – Donovan. He is starting matches, and has scored a goal. He has the confidence of his manager and teammates.

    Clark is good, but it remains to be seen what happens when the player he is replacing has healed from injury and recovers his match fitness.

    Holden has skill and quality, but is unlikely to get the chance to demonstrate it in the first team. I’m not happy about predicting this, but I believe he will be mired in Bolton’s reserve team until the end of his contract at the Reebok.


  2. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/02/03 at 5:35 PM

    Maat and Mark you know exactly why I’m commenting on this. Nice to be back but seeing as it is finals week among other important things that february seniors have to do, I’ll add more commentary later.


  3. Posted by Bob on 2010/02/04 at 12:36 AM

    If Holden becomes nothing more than a reserve player, was his move a mistake or will he learn more in practices and reserve games than he would have by starting for a MLS team? It seems that it may have been better for him to join a Coca-Cola team in order to get some regular playing time.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/04 at 12:58 AM


      Great question. The only issue with the Holden move in my book is if it impacts his conditioning or stature for the World Cup.

      I think Holden will get some time outside of the reserves. It’s just tough that Bolton doesn’t have a few games cushion on the relegation zone.

      Holden had zilch to prove with the Dynamo…if he wants/wanted to get better, he needed to get overseas.

      Also, I’m happy he didn’t go to the SPL where I could see someone breaking his leg…just ask Edu….


  4. Posted by Bob on 2010/02/04 at 12:39 AM

    It looks like its Lando after all. Rico is out for 4 weeks with pulled calf muscle.


  5. […] parts of the series have been posted so far: here and […]


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