Archive for July, 2011

Wednesday Bullets: Miller, MLS All-Stars, Bedoya, More

Some Wednesday bullets. Go:

Cameron, played in the back--or where he belongs--by Backe tonight?

• As if Houston’s current plight wasn’t sickening enough to it’s fanbase…you know at some point, media folks beyond TSG are going to have to give him stick for continuing to play Geoff Cameron in the midfield….

…anywho, point was that Houston could really use a Dominic Oduro-type right now. TSG, runs….hides….

• Tonight’s All-Star affair is missing Chad Marshall and that’s a travesty. While Marshall has yet to show the hunger and instinct to take his game beyond MLS or back to the national team where he was once a top prospect, he’s a consistent MLS performer, surefooted in distribution and nasty in the air.

If you’re asking who I drop? Not Omar Gonzalez, but perhaps Tim Ream on MLS performance alone? (Don’t get all crazy on TSG on this. Speaking strictly first half performance output here.)

• A big mystery as to who Hans Backe starts in tonight’s All-Star game against Manchester United. The buzz has been that Backe will go for speed–at that makes sense given that United aren’t close to top form and it’s speed that typically bothers it’s backline, Vidic and Ferdinand in particular.

Backe’s got a roster of 8 defenders, 6 midfielders and 6 forwards. To me, that easily says 4-3-3 with perfect redundancy.

That said I think you’ll see protection in the middle of the pitch and Backe use his wingbacks (Sean Franklin, Bobby Convey, Corey Ashe and I think either Cameron or Pearce) to get up the pitch in a hurry.

Here’s a gander at a possible starting line-up that takes into account the conjecture that Backe’s team will be speedy and unorthodox.

Backe's boys this evening?

• I might be slowly coming around to the idea that I’d like to take just a little look–nay, a peek–at Heath Pearce in the left centerback role for the US. Costa Rica at HDC would be just fine to prove that notion way off for me.

• The fact that Kenny Miller choose Cardiff–or better known as where Craig Bellamy goes to hide–says all you need to know about the state of the SPL right now. Pundits will argue that exposure in the SPL gets you into the EPL or perhaps a jump across the channel, but I can’t remember the last marquee signing of an SPL player by a major European club.

Kenny Miller had a deal to now-relegated Birmingham fall through. Anthony Stokes is stuck at Celtic. Conor Sammon went to the powerhouse known as Wigan. Aiden McGeady, perhaps the league’s top talent in 2009-2010 had to go all the way to Russia to play with Spartak Moscow.

Beware Alejandro Bedoya. Beware.

• This could be the most intrigued I am in almost three years to see where Freddy Adu lands this season. Remaining at Benfica with the history would be mistake.

• Sergio Aguero rumored to be penning a deal with Manchester City today. Ah, the Tevez Mancini never had.

At one point, many more of these were thought to be in the future for Krkic at the Camp Nou...

• Fantastic read by @Zonal_Marking‘s Michael Cox for ESPN on forgotten Barca man Bojan Krkic move to Roma.

Here was an exchange between Eric Giardini, our Serie A expert around here and TSG in the commentary on the unique financial nature of the deal–and possibly some creative accounting to counter forthcoming financial fair play restrictions.

Eric: You guys are smart, help me figure this transfer out: Bojan Krkic to Roma for 12m with Barca having to purchase him back next season at 13m UNLESS Roma forks over another 28m to keep him. The only logic I could think of was if Roma fails to qualify for Champions League then Bojan experiment didn’t “go as planned” and he is expendable/Roma won’t be able to afford him with the money gained from CL play. Other than that, I’m still trying to process it. I find it odd that Barca value Bojan the same/a little more than Fabregas.

TSG: That certainly looks like the straight business practice of roundtripping.

Because of the need to balance books, that’s additive revenue to both teams.

Instead of a one year loan for free essentially, Barca “makes” 12M in revenue this year and possibly 28M next year to offset losses. (Similarly for Roma who, possibly, make 13M next year if they don’t like him.)

This looks more Barca controlled or motivated than Roma.

Chicago Fire Secure Pavel Pardo; Release Kristic

"Pardo" me Kristic, my turn....

The Chicago Fire–all-star deficient this week–will bring aboard former Mexican international Pavel Pardo. The defensive midfielder will be added to the Fire’s roster upon pending Visa clearance. No terms we disclosed.

The Guadalajara, Mexico product will be eligible for selection by interim head coach Frank Klopas when the Fire host the Philadelphia Union.

Just a few weeks ago, TSG got a question on who might be a good fit and our choice was Dejan Stankovic, a central defensive midfielder for Milan. That pick was of course a reach and, in Pardo, hopefully the Fire get a man who can provide some backline protection as well as maintain the ball to huck it up field on the wing to Marco Pappa.

The 35-year-old CDM was most recently with Club America and was a Bundesliga champion with Stutgart in 2007.

The Fire release Bratislav Ristic to make way for Pardo.

MLS: Reviewing Preseason Predictions…It’s Not Pretty

Those who frequent TSG know we pride ourselves on accountability and the axiom, “you can’t look at a single observation, you have to look at the entire body of work.”

On the former, witness Defense Exhibit A below. We probably should have doctored up some of the predictions (Kenny Cooper for Comeback Player of the Year or Eric Alexander for Breakout Player), but we didn’t.

On the latter, we give you Brek Shea (check out our interview with him), the lead MVP candidate with multiple positive observations in the first half body of work.

And now, let us cringe:

(By the way, it’s “tie-up” columns like this where I think, might be time to redo that layout at TSG. But then I think. I need another coffee and the feeling escapes me.)

B-, C+? We're being kind...(click to enlarge)


• CJ Sapong, best rookie and biggest surprise wrapped in one? Brek Shea or even Rich Balchan might have something to say about that.

• Will the Philadelphia Union still have time to fizzle this year?

• Is Donovan Ricketts just a tad overrated given that the Galaxy defense has stumbled much more with Gonzo out, not Ricketts?

• What does the 2nd half see for Philly’s Sebu Le Toux?

• Best keeper? Perhaps the best question…

The Present & The Future?

Matt Mathai, again, with a candid pic from the past week’s action between Everton FC and DC United.

Tim Howard and United keeper Bill Hamid–a professed Howard fan.

"We've got the next 15 sewn up."

Live Commentary – Copa America Final

The Paraguayan national team photo

Howdy all,

Not the final everyone assumed 3 weeks ago, but it’s the final nonetheless. Paraguay have reached the final game by not even winning a game. 5 draws, 2 shootouts, 5 goals scored, 5 goals against. They’re hoping this one goes to penalties. Uruguay though are a talented team lead by the two pronged attack of Forlan and Suarez.

It’s a bright and sunny day. Look for the game to be played in the Paraguay half the entire time as they put up a collection of greyhounds to block the goal.

Your lineups

Uruguay: Muslera; Maxi Pereira, Luganno, Coates, Caceres; Gonzalez, Perez, Arevalo Riosm, Alvaro Pereira; Forlan, Suarez. Subs: Castillo, Silva, Godin, Gargano, Rodriguez, Eguren, Lodeiro, Abreu, Hernandez, Scotti, Cavani.

Paraguay: Villar; Piris, Da Silva, Veron, Marecos; Riveros, Ortigoza, Caceres, Vera; Valdez, Zeballos. Subs: Diego Barreto, Fernandez, Alcaraz, Caceres, Edgar Barreto, Martinez, Barrios, Estigarribia, Perez.

TSG Potluck: Pre$eason tours

Is MLS hampered by the European pre-season tours?

Potluck question from the venerable GeorgeCross (this was briefly discussed yesterday):

With many European teams coming stateside for their pre-sea$on tours, how do you think this hampers the growth of MLS / capturing non-MLS football fans?  Especially when United knock Seattle for 7.  It gives these fans an even bigger reason to say MLS is a joke, and this is the reason they don’t follow MLS, but a Euro team.


TSG Potluck: New Jersey or old?

Has heard at TSG studios during the final..."Why do their uniforms look like Elvish formal wear"? - Margo.

Potluck question from TSG commentor Eric:

With more and more Americans becoming fans of soccer, an increased number of jerseys are being seen on the streets. On any given weekend around DC, I can see a handful of jerseys, mostly USMNT or EPL clubs, just walking around and it has become “popular fashion” of late.

Jersey sales are huge business and clubs and manufacturers are very aware of this. Around this time every year, fans anxiously await to see the new kits for this season and decide whether or not they will splash the cash for a shirt that more often than not looks pretty much the same as last season’s.

A quick peak in my closet will reveal more soccer jerseys than shirts I can wear to work (I could provide a list but I don’t want to bore any of you), and I always say “Oh, I’m not getting X jersey this year”, but I always somehow manage to buy the most current shirt. Are you in the camp of having to have the latest jersey no matter what or do you just have one that you’ve been wearing for years?



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