Archive for December, 2010

Wednesday: Lanverton, Rafa, More

Some quick bits for Wednesday morning:

Not today...

• FC Stanky Legg

Update: Charlie Davies not in the 18 today for the match.

Charlie Davies and Sochaux head south to face relegation-hovering AS Monaco. Game time is 10AM EST, 1pm PST. Beyond Davies in this one, check out Monaco’s Park Chu-Young, who dazzled for South Korea in South Africa and has been linked to a January transfer to Premiership clubs Aston Villa and Fulham among others.

On the Davies front, the club has advised him to head on loan. Word is Charlie’s not having it. We are set to speak with the striker in early January.

Also in action Wednesday. Ricardo Clark and Hot Dog City play in the German Cup and Carlos BocaJuniors and St Etienne take on top’o’the table Lille.

Lando isn't as young as he once was...he needs the rest...

• Lanverton Breather

Smart move by Landon Donovan to rest his body this winter. If Donovan couldn’t bring it at the end of the MLS campaign, he’ll be stepping up to an even more physical EPL league where the pace of play is quicker and the time on the ball shorter.

Not a recipe for success, especially with the mounds of expectations that Toffee fans would have–who are desperate for offense and wide play–if he ditched the beach for Goodison.

Donovan will be on Everton radio Wednesday and his tweet last night make it certainly seem that Everton was the only option he would consider…and there might something a year out in the offing.

Conspiracy theory: Donovan tells Bababooey..I mean Bruce Arena…that he wants to push for a move. Arena reminds him that he hasn’t won an MLS Cup in Los Angeles (since 2005) and that he shortchanged his club team by having a World Cup focus in 2010.

Donovan agrees to defer for a year and tells Bruce he’ll give him the year. Arena stockpiles all his national team cronies for one last hurrah as he sunsets to the shuffleboard pavement up in Santa Barbara.

Okay a stretch, but still.

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Merry Christmas from Giuseppi Rossi & the Yellow Submarine

This oddly makes me a little uncomfortable. Unsure I can root for Villarreal going forward.

Bob Bradley Summons 2011 January Camp Class

Bob Bradley goes young and looks to unearth talent here early in the cycle. Cusp players like Heath Pearce, Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven are not called in.

But you knew already the US Ambassador to Brazil was going to be there...

More analysis forthcoming:

GOALIES:  Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson, Matt Pickens, Dominic Cervi


DEFENDERSOmar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Sean Franklin, AJ De La Garza, Ryan Miller, Ugo Imehlu, Anthony Wallace, Marvell Wynne, Zach Lloyd, (Ike Opara, invited, decline due to injury)


MIDFIELDERS: Brek Shea, Sam Cronin,  Alejandro Bedoya,  Jeff Larentowicz, Dax McCarty, Mikkel Diskerud, Eric Alexander


FORWARDS: Justin Braun, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Chris Wondolowski


• “I don’t like your cuffs. I don’t like your cuffs. I don’t like your cuffs.”

Distribution, distribution, distribution. Look for Bob Bradley to make moving the ball out of the back a priority for who he tries in central defense.

Brek Shea, might he get a look? The favored horses right now are Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez….after that the camp is wide open.

• And that leads to “Hold that ball!”

With Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey arguably cresting their prime here and incising attackers like Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya and even Robbie Rogers being a big part of the attack on the wings, it is imperative the US can find somebody up top that they can heave-ho it to and who can ward off defenders.

Jozy Altidore has the body, but his mindset says, “Theirry Henry” more than “Asamoah Gyan.”

Teal Bunbury and Justin Braun battle it out to see which, or rather if at this point, either can be a successful target striker–so desperately needed by the States–on the international scene. We say Braun can play nationally, but Bunbury’s got that better shot.

• Who’s picking it up for JB and HP?

Jonathan Bornstein’s gone south of the border; Heath Pearce gets a Jan Camp break. With Bobby Convey not in camp (you pretty much know what you have there) who’s stepping up at leftback from the likes of Ryan Miller, AJ De La Garza and Anthony Wallace. Perhaps the most fascinating battle in camp!

• Surprised omissions?

Geoff Cameron…thought he’d be there for sure. Maybe Bob Bradley is comfortable knowing what he has (which is why you likely see Robbie Rogers and Heath Pearce left out).

Bobby Convey, the talent is obvious…it’s not about  that. Perhaps Bobby Convey goes JC (Jeff Cunningham) and shows up later in the cycle if he continues to perform.

• Miscellaneous

» Looks like Marvell Wynne is going to see a lot of CB action?

» Great group of forwards…finally…huh?!

More analysis shortly…

Holden, #1 In The Readers’ Ratings

Holden, loved by everyone.

After every game, we as fans love to go through the starting 11 and the substitutes that come off the bench and give everyone ratings. Newspapers and online publications do the same, and I for one immediately gravitate to this section.

It’s a great forum for discussion and debate, and rarely do people completely agree.

Usually on a 1-10 scale, the numbers are meaningless. Aside from 1 being absolutely terrible and 10 amazing (2 numbers I’ve never seen given), the handing out of player ratings is arbitrary. Most journalists who give out these numbers tend to say it’s a quick after thought to round up a piece, or drive readers to view the report.

I for one, have never seen a “key” or explanation as to what each number represents. Does a goal automatically give someone a rating of 6 and higher? Often a casual fan watching on TV might have given Claude Makalele a 5, as that would seem average, and since he doesn’t really do anything spectacular, it would seem about right.

As all we soccer experts know, Claude Makalele was the cog and link up in the Real Madrid sides of the early naughts and Chelsea after that. He was often voted the MVP by his fellow players, because he was the guy that made the engine run, made everyone else look better and gave recognition to a role often left unsung.

Celebrating his goal against Wolves.

So a one game rating of 9 does not make a player Lionel Messi, and maybe they just happened to score a goal, but were pretty useless aside. A rating of 4 does not make a keeper terrible, just cause they let in 3.

What is a clear indication of a players worth in the fans and journalists eyes, is consistency, and in the other Guardian’s, reader match ratings after each league game, they rank Stuart Holden Number 1 (WITH AN AVERAGE OF 7.4!!!!). It’s a good and interesting read, and the final 11 in a 4-4-2 formation may not be the exact top 11 of the season so far (another topic of great discussion debate), but one would have a hard time arguing that these 11 were not having incredible seasons, and the fans have seen  that.

Is he the US midfielder the number 1 player in the premiership so far this season? Probably not, but he’s certainly up there.

Congrats to Stuart Holden and the other 10 for an ultimately meaningless accolade, but one we as fans are proud off!

The Guardian U.K. readers ratings so far…

G – Richard Kingson (Blackpool); D- Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton); M- Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham); F- Johan Elmander (Bolton), Andy Carroll (Newcastle).

Report: Nottingham Forest Set To Sign Robbie Findley

Fleet-footed Findley goes across the pond...

Sky Sports has the report–this one we think you can trust since it’s not The Daily Mail–that Robbie Findley will sign for Championship side Nottingham Forest. That’s a good move for the American striker and here’s hoping he can show a thing or two in English football.

Nottingham Forest currently sit at the 8th spot in the table.

As for Wolverhampton, this statement was released via their offical twitter earlier today, suggesting the EPL side passed on the US World Cup starter after they couldn’t get him in for a trial:

I wouldn’t read too much into ‘Forest steal Findley’ headlines by the way. Fair to say Wolves could have made a move……

(Note: The BBC is reporting this hasn’t happened yet, but Sky is usually spot on.)

More from the Birmingham Mail here.

Messi No Le Lanza!….Messi Don’t Dive


The took down the terrific Messi Don’t Dive video below. But here is another ditty showing the hits the Argentine takes in the line of duty:


Sorry we’re late to this.

This past weekend Heart Attack Ray Hudson issued an opine (2nd video) on Lionel Messi during Barcelona’s 5-1 thrashing of Espanyol….and recommended a little YouTube ditty on the star from Catalan country (1st video) showcasing Messi’s refusal to go down.

We would be remiss not to give Messi–and Ray Hudson–their just due, especially after we witnessed Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli yesterday seemingly get blown over by the wind on multiple occasions…..and the con jobs so often issued by other forwards and strikers.

And Ballon D’Or or not, he’s, right now, the #1 player in the world.

Messi Don’t Dive

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Finally, Phase II: The USMNT Needs A New Crest!

The 1950 one still musters up the air of authenticity even now...

First, your champion here is Nick Kern. Way…way…back in September, Nick sent us an email (below) about the need for US Soccer to replace their crest. We fired up the “Get-Fired-Up” machine–or you know the anti Dimitar-Berbatov-machine whatever you prefer–and gained a whole slew of valuable commentary. Nick even did a powerpoint.

And then Bob Bradley-Jurgen Klinsmann happened.

The the October friendlies and TSG Interview Week. And then the entire USSF machine got usurped by the World Cup bid process.

…and Nick…and you…waited. We did speak to USSF and they said that whatever the TSG audience put together the marketing team would look at.

So today…finally…TSG on behalf of Nick Kern and our audience will submit the following brief .ppt to USSF and see where it goes (and diligently follow-up). We’ll ask for written feedback including a potential roadmap to a new crest…and TSG will ask that they consult Nick Kern who so fervently followed up with TSG for the past three months.

It’s not like they have a World Cup to prepar….forget I said that.

Thanks for your patience Nick…and everyone.


From September 7, 2010…

Love receiving reader emails. Today, this one was funny, on point and made me think, “Yes, Nick, you’re right….unless Nike owns the rights to the old one.”

A plea from TSG reader named Nick. Should we rev up the TSG Stir-It-Up Machine?


Dear TSG,

I’m a loyal reader and first time emailer. As the on the field product continues to get better, one thing about the program continues to bug me….

The current logo (right) was adopted in the early 90’s and, as far as I can tell, was developed into a modern badge by 1995. “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” made it abundantly clear that Zach Morris and AC Slater had no place outside of the late 80’s/early 90’s and I feel similarly about our current badge.

The old style pentagonal soccer ball with the implied motion of a “vapor trail” is what bothers me the most. I’m happy that US Soccer restrained themselves from having the ball rip through a net or asteroid field, but it still looks ridiculous. The “US” font style also looks a dated (and not dated in the timeless classic sort of way.) Also, why not “USA”? Seems a bit informal to go “US”. Blue/White stripes (vs. Red/White stripes) and the triple star formation are not objectionable, but still somewhat of a WTF for me.




What should a proper badge look like? The 1950 version was far superior given its simplicity and classic look. A simple “USA”. The stripes are actually red and white bear some resemblance to another symbol of our great nation. It’s not as if US Soccer completely forgot about the badge either. They again saw the light of day when Nike got throwbacky on us in 2003, 2004, and most recently, in 2006. Hopefully, the older badget or one of similar quality would inspire better and more consistent uniforms from our friends in Eugene.

I ask you, TSG…scratch that, I *implore* you to lead a campaign to change the future of American soccer. I know I can’t do it alone. I need you. Your country needs you.

Can we make it happen?! Who’s with me….



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