Tuesday Notes: Real Flatlines, Specs, More

Haven’t done a Tuesday notes/thoughts column in a while. (Note, I have your questions for our first “The Shinbox”…it’ll take a longer to write out answers).


More than proficient...

• Didn’t think the through ball could make it?

The 5-0 shellacking that Real Madrid took at the hands of the Nou campers yesterday was certainly unexpected. While we tweeted about a number of things (beyond Messi, Xavi, etc.) that Barcelona had going for them–like David Villa being a perfect complement off the ball to Xavi and Xabi Alonso failing to demand the ball–were trumped by one tactical error by the normally spot-on Jose Mourinho.

The Special One bet that against a flat five-man backline, protected by three midfielders tucked in, that Barcelona (in something they failed spectacularly at against Mourinho’s Inter last year) would be forced to the flanks and then forced and baited into the over-the-top ball (sans Zlatan Ibrahimovic).

Didn’t work and Real Madrid got shredded. Xavi, for one continually found Pedro and Villa for through balls that compromised that tactic. And that, my friends, is the main story in this one.

• Beyond Appeasement

While many suggest the potential MLS schedule change to conform to the FIFA schedule is merely kowtowing to Sepp Blatter prior to Thursday AND that the schedule change has no chance of succeeding and further of being successful, consider this writer discenibly not in that camp.

I won’t go as far to say it will work, but consideration should be given and here are some reasons. One, it does make player movement that much easier and would push MLS into the player discussions that are going in May and August, etc.

Two, while some suggest it would be near death to go up against the NFL season at the start of the campaign, conversely, take the case of the Colorado Rapids who received nearly zero local attention in their playoff lead-up because of the Denver Broncos. It’s a double-edged sword.

Three, it’s not like the TV ratings have really been ablaze. If Fox and ESPN are not going to push the league in it’s current seasonal slot, might want to change it up there.

Again, I’m not a promoter, I’m just saying it’s worth consideration.

• Spec-tator no longer?

A Bundesliga report has West Ham sideline statue Jonathan Spector headed, possibly to FC Cologne, in January.

Excellent! Nearly anywhere for the US rightback would a be a good move as it’s hard to sell, “Multiple continuous DNPs for a relegation-bound EPL team” to other English suitors.

Carry on Johnny S.

• Trembling hands await Thursday

The big World Cup bid(s) announcement is Thursday.

Consider me in the camp of those that don’t put too much merit in the Qatar bid. Perhaps I’m wrong, but a country that rules out libation, has serious issues with “other nations” that might attend, sits in the desert during the summer (regardless of stadium plans) and has known ties to terrorism just doesn’t have, say, the right cache for me.

I think the Qatar push is likely one that pays a lot of football-associated officials up until bid time and pushes the US bid (and Australia bid–my 2nd favorite) to the most possible concessions and offerings.

• J.J. jonesing for playing time

US international Jermaine Jones has been sent to the reserves by manager Felix McGrath. McGrath has been at odds with the American-German star through his entire tenure that started in July of 2009.

With Jones having the never-ending shin injury last year, McGrath has never really seen him play at his best AND was forced to bring in his own type of players–Peer Kluge–to cover for Jones last year.

Let’s see where this heads.

• Probably for the better?

Stu Holden is scurrying to heal his injured thigh before this weekend’s match with Manchester City. Uh, Stuie, might want to sit that one out and make sure you’re 100% before being subjected to another Nigel De Jong tackle.

• Gary Smith, rightback converter

Marvell Wynne re-ups with Colorado. Awaiting terms…

That’s now two rightbacks, Drew Moor and Wynne, that Gary Smith has successfully pushed inside.

27 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan Rosenblatt on 2010/11/30 at 11:49 AM

    In theory, MLS moving to a fall-spring schedule isn’t so bad, as you outlined, but in practice it’s a logistical nightmare. I tried putting it all together for a piece a couple months ago and it’s just roadblock after roadblock after roadblock.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/11/30 at 11:57 AM



      • Posted by Ryan Rosenblatt on 2010/11/30 at 12:21 PM

        Well here’s the shorter version. You can’t play through the winter because of the weather. The most sensible option would be a Clasaura/Apertura season so the fall season isn’t completely ignored as unimportant, which would be fine, but the weather makes it so it is very tough to get all of the matches in. Playing into June is a no-go because going to an international calendar only to run into the Gold Cup every other year is nonsense.

        So, you’re talking about one half of the season running February-May. That can be done, but February also has nasty weather and in many parts of the country, you’re fighting matches being postponed because of unplayable pitches. To make it work you’re going to need undersoil heating in many stadiums, another expense for owners who are already losing money and even that wouldn’t stave off some postponements. Then, you’re talking about a second half of the season that starts in July or more likely, August and runs through November. That is do-able, but you’re going to have a longer first half of the season than second half, you need to reward teams for winning the first half of the season.

        If you’re going to go the Apertura/Clausura route, entering Copa Libertadores is possible and giving the winner of the fall season a spot as well as a spot in the playoffs is one option. With a longer spring schedule than fall schedule though, how do you make it even a little bit fair in the fall because some teams will be playing a much easier schedule than others. It doesn’t even out the slightest bit. You’re also talking about finding time on ESPN for the playoffs in the spring when they’re inundated with baseball, college basketball and NBA, making it extremely difficult to find a timeslot. Those are just a few of the issues.


  2. Good call on Stu Bolton. Reminded me of the appalled look on the faces of some of the Brits I watched the World Cup Final with after De Jong’s Bruce Lee moment. The Americans in the room shrugged and thought or said aloud “That’s about right” and the Brits were shocked/outraged. De Jong’s always been a dirty player– I’d prefer we keep the key to a more vibrant USMNT midfield this cycle away from him whenever possible.


  3. Woah, Jonathan Spector both denied a goal for his team by being offside as the ball glanced him going into the net, then scores a goal on a header. That would be awesome if the score holds up like this with Specs giving West Ham the win over Man U. It’s probably a lot to ask though.


  4. Posted by kaya on 2010/11/30 at 1:29 PM

    I totally agree with you about the competition from Qatar seeming pretty ridiculous… but with things like the IOC and FIFA, the ridiculous wouldn’t surprise me. I’d trust the US to pull the right levers for the Olympics but also could see us getting out-maneuvered in the FIFA voting. Regardless, I’m happy about our main competition compared to the 2018 situation.
    Any thoughts on the Diarra halftime sub for El Classico? I thought it seemed like doubling down on what had already proven to be a failed approach.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/11/30 at 2:45 PM

      Diarra being introduced is Mourinho basically admitting he got his initial XI wrong. Alonso is a great DLP but DM / enforcer he is not.


  5. Posted by ernj on 2010/11/30 at 1:54 PM

    At the half, Jonathan Spector 2, Manchester United 0. Dos a cero.


  6. Posted by Chris on 2010/11/30 at 3:17 PM

    Check out the first comment on that WHam thread that the TSG twitter posted:

    “Just seen the team. Kovac, Boa Morte and Spector in midfield.

    That is a hilariously bad team”



    • Posted by Chris on 2010/11/30 at 3:18 PM

      “Most depressing line in west ham history-” spector comes into CM to replace scott parker”!! ”

      It just gets better…


  7. Posted by Alex on 2010/11/30 at 3:46 PM

    The Inter game last year was a brilliant one by Mourinho. Pep and co. weren´t ready for it. This year, they were.

    I partied at la rambla last night after the game. check out my twitter for some pics.



  8. Posted by kaya on 2010/11/30 at 4:41 PM

    My fav W’Ham board comment:
    “There’s only 2 Jonathan Spectors”


  9. Posted by Iggystar on 2010/11/30 at 7:10 PM

    Well I’m ready tired of the Spector puns, good job The Sun.


  10. Posted by justin on 2010/11/30 at 11:54 PM

    i guess we have the answer to who to put up top to knock in the goals for the usmnt:

    Jon Spector!!!!!!!!!!

    just writing that gives me the same kindof feeling i had once when making-out with a really ugly girl after homecoming just because my mom made me take her because she was friends with her mom….


  11. Posted by dutchtwista on 2010/12/01 at 12:29 AM

    Felix *MAGATH*, not McGrath….guy’s a legend, and an American. respect that!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/12/01 at 12:44 AM

      I had a really good childhood friend named Fiachara McGrath…hence the mistake…respect…THAT!


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