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

29 responses to this post.

  1. I’d love to see some nice hold-up play and distribution from the “Big Aloha”. I hope he gets a good look. Even though he’s the poor-man Brian McBride he still has some of those skills and since we haven’t seen any better out of CC lately it’s worth a shot.

    Ching needs one last serious look from Coach Sweatpants before SA. Today’s the day.

    Same for Findley. I’ve seen enough of Cunningham and I just don’t see the “Charlie in the Bottle” potential. JC heading away from that and doesn’t have the potential to head in the right direction. Catch Findley on the upswing and keep grooming him at the top int’l level.

    USA! Come on you YANKS!


  2. Posted by Sam on 2010/02/24 at 6:47 AM

    What do you think the crowd ratio will be on this one? Hopefully it’s not as bad as the Honduras game. Although from my experience at the USA-Honduras Gold Cup game this past summer, they are very nice and tolerant people (at least as far as humorous drunken trash talking goes.)

    I just hate that pretty much every game is an away game for the USA.

    International friendlies always have a great atmosphere, so let’s all hope that FL USMNT supporters show up and give some love.

    One more thing, we have only lost to ELV once, and that was in 1992. I hope we win. I’m getting sick of losing games to test out players. You’ve got to play to win no matter the contest. We need some momentum going into the world cup and 4-6 straight losses doesn’t really establish that. Even if the losses that have mounted in the past half year are all with our B-team– it’s f-ing USA and if we don’t have the mentality that we will win everything all the time no matter the contest or the odds then there is a far more serious issue at hand than a simple friendly against an underpowered opponent.


    • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/02/24 at 7:44 AM

      Sam, I disagree almost totally with your last point. I don’t care about losing these games. It makes zero difference to me or, more importantly, to Bradley & Co. The only reason we’re playing them is to test fringe players, and if we learn something about a player or a combination of players, that’s worth a WHOLE lot more than whether we beat a B team with our C team. The coaches are looking for hustle, commitment, and understanding from the players they’re evaluating. If a fourth-string keeper gives up a silly goal because he didn’t communicate well with a sixth-string center back, well, that’s a teaching moment, nothing more. Only one player on tonight’s roster (Bornstein) has the remotest chance of seeing the field in South Africa.

      The wins become more important when we get into May, because you’re trying to get the starters into a rhythm and a good mindset.

      I’m leaving for Tampa in a couple of hours. Looking forward to it, even though I suspect it’s going to be an ugly game.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/24 at 7:49 AM

        I agree with you Matt. It’s not like Bradley is fielding an experimental team during a FIFA-sanctioned break where all players are available. In that scenario, I’d agree with Sam’s concerns. Plus it is another chance to see whether players can follow the basic game plan, instructions, and tactics.


      • Posted by Sam on 2010/02/24 at 8:42 AM

        Well, yes, I see your point absolutely. However, look at how Wolverhampton got fined by the FA for not fielding their best side against Man U earlier this season. I know were in cathartic iron-out time but this is getting ridiculous.

        Obviously, I’m no expert and a lot of the opinions I have about soccer elicit many responses from friends of “you have no idea what you’re talking about.” Yet, I would rather see a few hopeful players within the context of a more competitive side than the opposite of this.

        Perhaps its impatience but I’ve been seeing the side that I care most about getting trounced all over the globe since the Gold Cup Finals and I would like to see a convincing victory

        I personally believe winning each and every game is more important than playing out hypotheticals.

        Either way, I’m totally jealous of you being able to attend tonight’s match. Good Luck.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/02/24 at 10:08 AM

          Sam, look at it as a bonus game. I wouldn’t mind if England’s fringe players had a little get together, playing a minnow such as Scotland or Wales!


  3. I wish US Soccer would advertise these games a bit more. half of my buddies didnt even know there was a game tonight


  4. Posted by Swa on 2010/02/24 at 11:14 AM

    The fact that it’s a B squad doesn’t make it any less depressing. And if we’re expecting to learn positive things about certain players or a combination of players then a win over El Salvador under an interim coach is not too much to ask I think.

    And if we’re calling in fringe players, I don’t know anything about him but is Hunter Freeman worth a look? He’s a teammate of Goodson in Norway and played in the Olympic qualifying tournament. Can’t find info on whether he’s an outside back or center back but he’s another name to throw into the mix.


  5. Posted by Swa on 2010/02/24 at 11:16 AM

    Obviously it’s too late now and for a while but just potentially another name.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/24 at 1:49 PM

      We just came in contact with a guy that works at IK Start…going to get more information soon.


  6. Posted by Dylan on 2010/02/24 at 2:00 PM

    I’d love to get a look at that U-17 game.

    I have started to become an advocate of Findley, or at least to see him with the starters, I want to see how someone with his speed can play off of Donovans passes. He may be able to give us some of what we lose without Charlie.
    During the few Real Salt Lake games I watched I noticed he liked to test the back line and try to get behind them, I think he might do well to have some world class service from players like Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, and he also may benefit from the developing hold-up play of Altidore.


  7. Biggest USMNT news today is that Holden started for Bolton and was the only Bolton player not to score an own-goal in their FA cup replay vs. Tottenham. Stu seems to have survived the 3 substitutions and is taking the free kicks, apparently with some verve according to Sky Sports commentary tea leaves. Anyone actually watching this game that can comment?


  8. The new kit “launching tomorrow” is garbage. All week’s soccer section has been about this big unveiling of new shoe and clothing technology. All they did today was talk about their new shoes and then interview Cristiano Ronaldo for 20 boring ass minutes. Thanks for the buildup and no finish Nike, reminds me of highschool all over again.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/02/24 at 5:12 PM

      I frankly don’t really know what there would be to get excited about for new nike technology, but your analogy certainly makes this sound uber frustrating =)


      • They were supposedly going to “launch” all of the World Cup Kits while discussing their new technology…so it wasn’t the technology that I was looking forward to. The analogy was intended to invoke that sentiment.


  9. I want to see Robbie Findley bag a goal or two and do the Captain Morgan stance as his goal celebration. That would be freakin’ sweet.


  10. awkward line-up…kinda worried….:(


    • Agreed. Interesting that Bobbo thinks Bornstein is worthy of the armband for this game. I wonder how that impacts his decision making tonight vs. last time against El Sal.


  11. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/24 at 5:22 PM

    USMNT trapping way up the field to start…good move on the surface…nice job Coach Sweats….


  12. Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/02/24 at 5:56 PM

    It’s a Becklejsterfuck!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/24 at 6:02 PM

      Haha…too funny…Kljestan needs to come back to the ball a little…he makes such succinct passes, but is lazy about getting to the spot.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/24 at 6:03 PM

      Conor Casey should have a beeping sound like a dump truck backing up…he’s going more in reverse than forward.

      I swear I saw him drop the ball of to….Bornstein?


  13. Great comeback, but is there a player from the Crew who’s not a greedy bastard? Pearce, Ching, and Goodson with great performances.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/24 at 7:46 PM

      I would go with “good” performance…Mark will be along shortly with the recap…

      El Salvador looked they went clubbing into the wee hours…they couldn’t care less…hard to evaluate players..but I do think Pearce and Goodson played well.

      Ching as well, but he should have been marked better too.


  14. Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/02/24 at 8:29 PM

    That’s it, Klejstan starts against England. We’re doomed.


  15. Posted by bw on 2010/02/24 at 9:30 PM

    i was most impressed with pearce. not so much defensively, but offensively. a few really nice saves from the GK, but damn our finishing was off tonight! first half everyone wanted to pass instead of shoot. i’m so glad we squeaked out a win, otherwise i’d have to be sooo pissed at the many many missed opportunities. i’m moving Friday, so i’m happy to leave this house on a W haha. =)


  16. Posted by Swa on 2010/02/24 at 10:19 PM

    I ‘m so glad this site exists for intelligent commentary. The writers are good enough but the comments are just asinine. Couldn’t catch the game as it was senior night here at Nova, but sounds like Ching and Goodson played their way into seats in coach and Pearce got himself on the flight to Hamsterdam with a chance to usurp El Rey de Honduras in the left back pecking order? And as much as I was rooting for Findley his poor form combined with Cunningham and Casey has to be good in that maybe Bobbo will start looking towards Deuce up top. (As the horse placenta pulsates through his veins).


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/02/25 at 12:34 AM

      Noone’s taking JB’s spot. Apparently he can play CB also, although he was going up against some middle-school sized forwards. Wait till Ruud comes marchin in.


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