Thursday Morning Hitters

Some random Thursday morning hitters as Wednesday was a travel day for The Shin Guardian….LAX boo! Virgin America as always, yeah!

Look, we'll try Che Guevara back there if it works...

• Wondering why Bob Bradley hasn’t given a turn for Brad Davis at left fullback…bad idea? Tell it, Dynamo fans.

• Charlie Davies….training with Ashley Cole and Michael Essien…wow.

• Nigel DeJong insists he’s not going to hold back…watch out opponents.

• TSG is sticking to our proclamation that a work stoppage is not going to go down between MLS owners and players. TSG may very well go down with the ship, but we still can’t see it happening.

It’s not secret it makes zero sense…worse, as we wrote about oh so long ago…you’re denying the goodwill and free marketing here before the season gets going.

Let’s take a stab at solving it here…without knowing the particulars (TSG will probably get a ton of flack for this):

» MLS players, let your club rights be retained by that club in perpetuity.

Why? You can’t have a league without strength top to bottom on opponents. Your telling me someone might not jump at slightly less money to move from say Kansas City to Los Angeles. Players, let this one go.

News flash: Kevin Hartmann still got dealt this week…the system is tenuous, but not broken here.

» MLS owners, guarantee the contracts

Case closed. This is a no-brainer…if a player is going to commit themselves to training, being in-form, and working for the “non-exciting” wages they do, it’s a disservice not make the reward the guarantee since it certainly isn’t the dollar level.

If your general manger and their staff cannot pick the players appropriately, well that’s where the fault lies.

We’ll start with those ones to get the ball rolling and hopefully mediator George Cohen can do the rest.

• Did you get your Nike Soccer questions into us? Appreciate that….

Go ahead right passed me, Mr. Dempsey...

Big tree fall hard. You’re kidding right? Sol Campbell in the England squad. Hot route, hot route!

• We mentioned this at the end of our March Boarding Passes piece, but honestly with Anton Peterlin starting in the reserves at Everton isn’t that a more enviable situation for a young American from the States than Luis Gil going to MLS? Did that really help Freddy Adu?

TSG still believes that the ability to play against “like” players (physically, mentally, experience-wise) trumps the “dollars” of MLS and staying at home.

• TSG is going to get to the bottom of this ESPN Internet coverage…failure to update pieces,

• Consider this for a second, the last time that Bob Bradley has absolute full senior side ensemble together for a game at full match fitness was….July 24, 2009 against Spain.

• I still go with Higuain as the best pure striker right now, though “you” don’t:

40 responses to this post.

  1. The best pure striker depends on what you feel a striker versus forward versus winger are…i’ll get working on that round-table piece.


  2. F. Y. Both CDs!


  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 8:07 AM

    At *this* moment in time, as a central striker, I’d take Rooney over anybody in world football. He’s almost unplayable and it’s impossible to leave him out.

    I think if he can improve receiving the ball with his back towards goal and making space to get a shot in, and perhaps his left foot, then he’ll be pretty complete. He’s worked on his timing and positional sense, and he’s heading goals (which comes with his timing / positioning). And he’s only 24.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 8:42 AM

      One of the unfair criticisms of Wayne Rooney is my book is that hes only starting to assert himself this year in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo….

      To me, it goes the others way, Rooney was a team player and if you look at him being able to accomplish nearly the same as Ronaldo did (with Rooney as his sidekick…and Tevez,, others) to me, Rooney’s accomplishments this year are grander than Ronaldo’s great year of 2007-2008.


      • I agree that C. Ronaldo is a very selfish player. He scores a lot of goals, but he takes a lot of shots when passing might have been the better option.

        I’m increasingly impressed with Roo, who has continued to improve while maturing as a player. Rooney definitely has the potential to be mentioned in the same breath as the greats. He just has to deliver consistently on the biggest stage.

        That said Milan was truly dire, by all accounts.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 9:13 AM

          I agree with both of your comments Matthew and Tuesday. I think that Rooney tried to do too much and now he is more central and concentrating more of his efforts in that dangerous little pocket (for club and country) we are truly seeing what he can do. And I feel now that the United play as more of a team, rather than a team built around Ronaldo.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 9:18 AM

          While I think that Man United needed another dangerous players — even just a David Silva in the midfield…I agree on playing more a team.

          That’s also why I think Valencia was such a solid pick-up by Sir Alex…he by and large stays out wide and is a great crosser of the ball opening up so much more space this year for Rooney and others…anyone who does thing that Giggs brief resurgence wasn’t based on this is joking.

          Ronaldo was a great linker and moved to a point forward role in the center of the pitch…now Man United has more width.
          I do think Man United picks up Benzema at some point.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 9:29 AM

          I think once Valencia truly finds his feet and United, he will fly. He has shown glimpses of what he can do, but once he shows a little bit of consistency, then he will be awesome for United. I think Sir Alex will bring in a successor for Giggs – Nani and Tosic haven’t really impressed, and I can see them being sold off soon. They should have picked up Victor Moses when they had the chance.


  4. With players like Lichaj, Peterlin, Duka, Gil and Sebastian Lletget (EU passport – CAP HIM NOW before he pulls a Vieri!) emerging to mix with the younger members of our first team squad (Dempsey, Donovan, Feilhaber, Torres, Holden, Edu, Bradley, Altidore, Davies, Spector and maybe Onyewu if he drinks the AC Milan water) and the young players who have started to get into the mix this cycle (Bedoya, McCarty, Gonzalez, Orozco, etc…) the next couple World Cup cycles are going to be sweet. This summer we have the potential to do really well – quarter-finalists again is definitely realistic – but the next World Cup we could be a semifinalist and who knows what happens then. We could just really use a few more defenders as promising as our young attackers.

    While we’re getting excited about the 2010 World Cup, we also need to be concerned with what happens next with a program that might be ready to take a leap into being a contender. Perhaps we should develop a fan’s manifesto for US soccer or something. Not that anyone could actually agree on what it says.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 9:21 AM

      In another 2 years, Sebastian Lletget will be eligible for UK citizenship! If the US can have Stu Holden and Freddy Adu, we can get Lletget!


      • Oh George… Adu, that’s a good one. And Scottish Stuey, you say?

        You can keep your dreams of Lletget turning out for your Olympic side – this one’s not getting away. He’s been part of the U17 residency program and he’s got John Spector to keep an eye on him.


        • Yup, it happens to every country. I think a good performance this cycle means next cycle we will get to the point of critical mass where players might make different choices, seeing the US as a contender.

          Ultimately, you can’t hang on these things too long – its a players choice, as much as we’d like to have them in our side. In the meantime we’ll probably lose a promising dual national like Michael Hoyos of Estudiantes to Argentina. We just need to develop more talent than we do now and the losses won’t seem as big a deal.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 10:49 AM

          Tuesday, in your other post, you mentioned the residency programme. Australia has a similar one at their Institute of Sport (AIS), and due to these concerns, they make players legally obliged to represent Australia (or at least give Australia first refusal). Would stop players from enjoying the US professional coaching and resources and then pissing off to play for Italy! No, Guiseppe, I am not pointing a finger at you!


  5. As for MLS, they need to start realizing their place in the soccer world. They’re not going to be able to hold on to their very, very best players forever so they should be far more focused on developing the next generation of talent. The success of Donovan and Dempsey only increases the leagues credibility as a talent incubator but MLS must realize they cannot compete with the top European clubs and even those top clubs will probably not be able to sustain the current level of wages and transfer fees forever.

    As things currently stand, MLS is using control over it’s players to make up for it’s lack of buying power. Eventually this will make more and more promising young players balk at playing in MLS, hurting the league. More and more players will just leave on a free when their contracts are up so the league gets no compensation. Eventually MLS must realize that transfer fees are one component of profitability.

    I wholeheartedly agree with guaranteeing contracts – at the lower salary levels contracts should not be difficult for MLS to insure in case of injury or whatever. Should simply be a cost of doing business. They also have to recognize the need for a system to offer the rights of unwanted players to other teams without a trade – there’s currently no incentive to move surplus players beyond their trade value which is very low if you get no playing time.


  6. Posted by KL on 2010/03/11 at 8:46 AM

    am I the only one who thinks it’s disconcerting to see CD9 training with Ashley Cole? That’s like letting the Russians see your play book during the Cold War. We gotta hold on to our secret weapons! I joke, I joke, but seriously, glad to see Chuck working toward full sprint and ball movement.


    • No, not at all… They’re hanging out after doing their rehab, not training together in a team environment. I think it’s a great thing for CD to be hanging with pros of the very highest quality. Besides, Chuck likes to pull out to the left, so A.Cole would be on the opposite side of the pitch. Why do players returning to their old club score so often if having trained together is any kind of disadvantage?

      Bones heal quickly – it’s just agility, strength and fitness that must be regained. Sounds like the elbow is the lingering injury, which was lucky. I hope that Charlie’s rehab continues to go well, his sprinting is up to snuff and we hear he’s back in training with the team very soon!


      • Posted by KL on 2010/03/11 at 9:32 AM

        Just jokin around tuesday. I also think it’s great to see Chuck chillin with the greats. Can’t wait to see his level of involvement once he gets back to his club. According to the manager, he will be inserted as soon as he is ready, no later, but no earlier thank goodness. What do you think a realistic goal is? 4 games of activity before the season ends? That gives sweatpants something to look at before camp. From there CD9 can increase his activity further as they do real speed scrimmage in camp.

        Mark my words, 58th minute June 12th… Brian Ching off, Charlie Davies on. Wild cheers from across the world ensue, 7 mins later he nets one, putting the USA up one.

        oh what a wonderful world I live in, if only it were so. (sly laugh) =)


  7. MLS worked for Jozy Altidore, Micheal Bradley, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Bobby Convey (before he started to suck), Ricardo Clark and many other USMNT stars


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 11:43 AM


      More the age range I am speaking of here. MLS is great…for players of a certain age and at a certain point in the body development cycle.

      Here’s my point: I fail to see how Luis Gil at his age and with his body still maturing benefits from being thrown into MLS games and going up against the likes of Conor Casey as oppose to going overseas and playing with players more his age and maturity under the careful supervision of the senior side.

      Those you mentioned it worked for, but only Jozy I believe was under 18 when he started in MLS…my point is the age…not that the MLS is not a great developmental league (Stu Holden…older and more mature as well).


      • Fair enough, although Michael Bradley was 16 as well and he was fantastic the one season he played (he was hurt for the other)


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 12:19 PM

          “Project 2010 is a blueprint U.S. Soccer executives created in 1998 to ensure that the United States men’s national team could become a legitimate threat to win the FIFA World Cup by the 2010 FIFA World Cup”


      • Posted by Peter on 2010/03/11 at 3:40 PM

        His age, I think, is the reason staying here is possibly the better idea. He’s 16 and like 4 months. Peterlin turns 23 in a couple of weeks. Unless Arsenal or whomever is planning on moving his whole family over there, that’s a really tough decision to make. I know it’s been done, but the difference between 16 and 23 is the difference between being a man and capable of living on your own and being a kid who’s thrilled about the idea of driving a car. I don’t know either of them, obviously, but my feeling is that it’s a much better idea for a 23 year old to move overseas by himself than for a 16 year old.


  8. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/11 at 12:16 PM

    The mesut ozil show comes on at 12:05pct. Match of the day imo


  9. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 12:23 PM


    Oh damn…I knew we couldn’t hide that from you….can opener….worms:

    “Project 2010 is a blueprint U.S. Soccer executives created in 1998 to ensure that the United States men’s national team could become a legitimate threat to win the FIFA World Cup by the 2010 FIFA World Cup”


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/11 at 2:05 PM

      Somebody mentioned Bradenton, so I had to look it up. And then I stumbled upon that gem!


  10. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/03/11 at 12:27 PM

    Higuain clearly proved yesterday that he is the worlds best striker (insert tongue in cheek)…he’s very good but no way close to being the best


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 12:31 PM

      I’m on the Higuain train as well…AND I’M NOT GETTING OFF

      Off day yesterday…he’s hit 5 posts/crossbars in the passed two games or everyone would be singing his praises right now.

      Conor Casey would take THAT success rate in a second.

      Rooney is the best player; Higuain best striker; Messi best attacker…everyone good with that for March 2010?


      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/03/11 at 12:39 PM

        5 posts/crossbars… that means he’s very good at just missing! Like i said he’s very good but if he was the best striker then those 5 misses would be goals. Strikers get 1 or 2 chances and they need to bury them…not like Andy Cole who needed 10 plus to get one. He might be the one of the best forwards and might have a good strike rate in Spain but to be considered the best, he needs to score one of those two striking opportunities he had yesterday.


  11. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 12:44 PM



  12. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/03/11 at 12:50 PM

    This is catchy..might have to get on at the next stop!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 12:51 PM

      Odds on Higuain for Golden Boot WC 2010: 5 to 1?


      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/03/11 at 12:55 PM

        am terrible with odds…the chance of him being golden boot winner on the same team as messi…decent…as long as he can tap them in when everyone collapses on Messi


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/11 at 12:56 PM

          Sort of like Higuain being the Berbatov to Messi’s Rooney….oh wait…that doesn’t work.


  13. Posted by 723FootballFilms on 2010/03/11 at 1:21 PM

    I don’t believe in judging players on current form because it can change so rapidly. IMO Rooney definitely is on the best form, but Fernando Torres is still the best pure striker in the world.


  14. […] Real Madrid- Atletico Madrid at the Bernabéu. Los Blancos game away with a 3-2 win courtesy of TSG Euro-music man Gonzalo Higuain with the game […]


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