Weekend: Hull v. Everton & Some Other Fare

An abbreviated, short and sweet weekend preview from TSG this time around. The cheesy globe thing will be back next week.

JZA tackling the Dutch defense (not Heitinga)

• The main fare this weekend for Americans will be Jozy and the Tigers taking on Lando, Timmy and Everton Sunday at Goodison.

» Update: Opportunity for Donovan to switch galaxies to Goodison….from the official Everton site.

» For the second game in a row Altidore takes it to Dutchman Johnny Heitinga who pairs in the back line with Sylvin Distin in the center. It is Distin who might hold the key to keeping Jozy tamed as the centerback in his 30’s has found the fountain of youth. Not only has he helped shore up the Toffee defensive four, last week against Spurs he could be seen barreling up the wing on an overlap run; wow!

Hull for their part scored have not scored in the four previous away games. Yikes.

» Speaking of Jozy’s “attackability,” he’ll likely be paired once again with Jan Venegoor of Hesselink. Watch how Altidore uses the pairing in this one as I’m sure Bob Bradley’s staff will be there watching as well. He’ll also have Geovanni as well to dump off to, a player similar in style to Landon Donovan.

» For Everton, and the form they’re in, this should be assured win. Hull City’s defense behind stellar goalkeeper Boaz Myhill is leaky to say the least and is allergic to stopping pacey runs in the gaps. Could be a long day for Myhill there.

• Jonathan Spector and the West Hammer go up against Holden-less (sniffle) Bolton in yet another relegation battle for the Wanderers Saturday.

Emirates plays host to Burnley Saturday: An exercise in the beautiful game vs. by any means necessary. Can Arsenal at home dominate a team that plays physically?

• Wolverhampton sees Manchester United don their pitch on Saturday. The only thing in doubt here is if Mick McCarthy will rest his starting 11 or the full 18 squad.

Can't wait to see this again...

• AC Milan kicks it over to the Eternal City to take on Roma: Our Gooch Watch begins: One Oguchi Onyewu is back with the Milan squad in training we’ve heard.

Put your head down and get to to work big guy.

• The subject of much TSG debate, Mr. Michael Bradley and his Bo’Munchkins take on Borussia Dortmund and perhaps the best striker not to get a turn for his nattie team side yet, Lucas Barrios (11 goals in 23 games on the Bundesliga campaign) of Argentina.

• You think Jermaine Jones will be checking out “the competition” this weekend?

Schalke play Eintracht Frankfurt and USMNT starter incumbent Ricardo “Rambo” Clark looks set to cleat up and take to the pitch.

30 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dylan on 2010/03/05 at 8:27 AM

    Gotta a link on that Gooch info?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 8:28 AM

      Nope — email was sent to our shinguardian account.
      Will confirm, but seems likely so I put it up….


      • Posted by Dylan on 2010/03/05 at 8:41 AM

        Thanks, I appreciate it. I’ve been looking forward to this since October. I started watching AC Milan games when he signed with them. Hoping for a sighting that never really came. But during the meantime I fell in love with Milan and they are now the only team I regularly watch without an American. So I’m really excited to start watching for him again. Plus I think he is a big part of our defensive schematic. Thanks again.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/05 at 9:28 AM

          Guys, can you tell me more about Onyewu please? I have only seen him a couple of times, and he seems to me to be the centre back who attacks the first ball, rather than the “sweeper”. The reason I ask, is that DeMerit also seems to be the same type of centre back. So, after Wednesday’s game, I thought that the USA turned the ball over far too easily, and the midfield was bypassed too much, because neither DeMerit or Bocanegra seem to be ball playing centre halves. I just think that you have a decent midfield set up and your play woulfd be enhanced if the ball was played out from the back (on the deck). So, after waffling, I guess I am asking what Onyewu’s distribution is like? I apologise if this question is elementary or pedestrian – I am just trying to educate myself a little more on key US players!


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 9:47 AM


            We’re still working on that follow-up.

            USMNT play more side-to-side, so to speak, but DeMerit can usually be found much further up the pitch than Gooch.

            Something that will be fun for me is to try and watch Peter Crouch win headers against a fit Onyewu…..go back to late-night clubbing Robot.


            • Or DeMerit for that matter. Though DeMerit will probably be harrassing Rooney like a lower division defender trying to earn his side a money-spinning FA Cup Replay at Old Trafford.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/05 at 10:29 AM

              Do you think DeMerit is mobile enough to cope with Rooney’s movement? He seemed a little flat footed at times…

            • Rooney can trouble any defender… We’ll see how it turns out in a few months.

              Curious what you thought of Altidore’s 2nd half performance?

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/05 at 12:52 PM

              It’s a hard one to actually extract his performance in isolation – I think he made some good runs and did quite well holding the ball up. But the supporting cast let him down because I felt that if they were quicker to help him, then the USA might have had more possession in their third. I feel that the midfield were too far away from the strikers in general, but I guess you have to give credit to the Netherland for doing that. I do not necessarily blame him for losing the ball at all. I also liked that he went looking for the ball rather than scratching his arse – he tried to make things happen.

              One just has to remember that this was a step up in class from the EPL and that he is only 20 – when you think about that, then his future looks quite bright. He was definitely not the weak link in the US team, that’s for sure.

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 11:12 AM

              George – “Cope” is the right word.

              DeMerit is smart enough to cope with Rooney’s movement and mobile enough to at least push him towards help.

              I’m really looking for the impact of either Edu and Rico on Rooney and Gerrard as one of the early keys of that game.

        • Onyewu tends to play a bit more conservatively and is better positionally than DeMerit, who likes to attack the ball so they complement each other fairly well, despite being similar. The distribution had been one of the things that was holding Gooch back at Milan before his injury. We just don’t have a real ball-playing center-half. Spector is the best with the ball among our starting back 4.


        • I disagree with that. I recently watched all the replays of the Confederations Cup games. Onyewu’s distribution was world class. He won nearly every ball in the air and was extremely composed with the ball at his feet. If anything is holding him back at Milan it is the amount of experienced central defenders in front of him. GeorgeCross, Onyewu is similar to DeMerit in that he will win every ball, but Onyewu is about 6 inches taller, at least 30 pounds heavier, much quicker and faster as well. His weakness is sometimes his positioning, but I would (in a completely biased sense) take him over Terry or Ferdinand right now.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/05 at 12:57 PM

          I know I haven’t seen Onyewu too much, but I must say from what I saw, his distribution did not stick out. But one thing I can say for certain – it should improve at Milan – they will not tolerate losing possession. But on the other side of the coin, if Pirlo or Ambrosini comes short for it, then that won’t help him…


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 8:44 AM

    Owen Hargreaves to have a run with the Manchester United reserves, his plight makes Jermaine Jones’ look like he only has an ingrown toe nail or something:



    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/05 at 9:33 AM

      I would love it if he could get a run of games and prove his fitness – he is a true defensive midfielder. A fit Hargreaves would improve England, no question. But I doubt Capello will take him, especially as he is likely to take Ferdinand whose back is a little bit of a lottery. Don’t think Capello will take a gamble with two players (and we are quite strong in midfield).


  3. One note as per Everton v Hull City, Geovanni hasn’t seen much time since the beginning of the season. I think they’re finding it tough to find a place to slot him in as Hull’s defense can’t afford to move a central midfielder to a purely attacking role, he’s played a bit on the wing but he’s not as effective there. Jimmy Bullard also should be fit for Hull though he may not start, he’s had injury issues but is a HUGE boost in quality for their midfield when he’s in. Bullard reminds me of a more mature Holden actually, very poised on the ball, makes the smart pass and maintains possession well, and has a rocket of an outside shot.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 11:11 AM

      Good points Cfig.

      The Bullard effect can’t be discounted. After Myhill, probably Hull City most influential player.

      Bullard is a little less mobile, a little stronger on the ball, and less of a wing threat to Holden. I kind of see him more in a mold of a Claudio Reyna actually. Am I off?

      I think Geovanni will see the pitch more now that the Altidore is commanding attentino upfront. Geovanni is not a physical player at all so if Altidore can create space that is where Geovanni is effective.


      • Bullard reminds me a bit of Dennis Wise for some reason.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 12:07 PM

          For our audience on Dennis Wise:



        • He’s definitely less mobile, most likely due to his massive past knee problems, but a comparison to Reyna is probably fairly accurate. His composure is what really reminds me of Stu, while Hull’s midfield is usually a bit scattered he provides a stabilizing effect when he plays and they maintain far better possession.

          tuesday, I’m not familiar with a lot of English football history but I looked him up and I can see the similarities:-)


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/05 at 12:40 PM

          I have always disliked Dennis Wise – he’s a dirty street urchin. I think his one contribution to football was his set piece that led to Wimbledon’s goal in the 88 FA Cup Final… He has to be the most over rated Chelsea “legend” ever.


  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/05 at 11:34 AM


    I have to disagree with you on Onyewu’s distribution, I will agree with you that with Silva and Nesta in front of him, Gooch is a spot starter at best.

    Many think he’ll leave AC Milan after this year…however he’s a very cheap, capable back-up for them who presents a different dimension. He’s added bench strength for them at a reasonable cost.

    Back to the distribution. I think what you see with both DeMerit and Gooch are days when their distribution is error-free….not when it’s precisely “good.”

    Some our best centerback distribution on the USMNT has been done more recently by Jonathan Spector at Slovakia and Chad Marshall, of all folks, thoughout the Gold Cup.

    DeMerit and Gooch are very, let’s say, “unpolished” there.


    • I would agree with this assessment if it were made a few years ago, but I’m telling you Onyewu’s distribution was amazing at the Confed Cup. Against Italy he played a ridiculous left footed long ball over the top to Altidore I blieve (but I could be wrong). It was an amazing pass and the player would have been through on goal but he was off by a foot or so. My point in this is how many central defenders in the world could have played that same pass with their off foot? I don’t think many could have.


  5. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/06 at 11:34 AM

    Can’t you see Alexander Diamanti doing work on Manchester United or Chelsea. Always creating chances for West Ham today, Diamanti has little else to work with at West Ham.

    Quality players…as we’ve said before.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/06 at 12:22 PM

      His goal was very well taken indeed. Usually it takes something a bit special to beat Jasskelainen, and this was special.


  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/06 at 12:36 PM

    Wow. How on earth did Sam Vokes not score, unchallenged, from 6 yards out? All he had to do was “pass” the ball in the net… I wonder how important these two ‘extra’ points for United will be in the title run-in?


  7. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/06 at 3:49 PM

    So I just watched the replay of the Belgium-Croatia match on ESPN360. Belgium started a 6’3″ forward. Lukaku or Lukaka. Anyway, he’s 16. -____-


  8. Boca scored his second goal this week in a 1-0 win


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