The Weekend: Your Live Commentary

MLS in full swing….

Dempsey vs. United on Monday.

These two again...


106 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mbw on 2012/03/24 at 9:01 AM

    Mildly annoyed to see that Alfredo Morales didn’t even make the bench today.


    • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/24 at 11:18 AM

      Gave away two penalties in his last outing. I agree though.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/03/24 at 3:10 PM

      Why keep a guy from playing for the U23’s if you’re not even going to use him at least on the bench? Hope we’re not getting into Timmy Chandler territory where the club starts jerking around US Soccer.


  2. Posted by georgecrossnyc on 2012/03/24 at 9:56 AM

    Lichaj gives away a free kick with a wreckless challenge. Arsenal score directly.


  3. Posted by evan on 2012/03/24 at 1:00 PM

    which derby?


  4. Posted by Jared on 2012/03/24 at 3:08 PM

    Bunbury starts for Agudelo who is out of the qualifying tournament with a torn meniscus. Bunbury needs to start stepping up as he seems to have stagnated in the past year or so.


  5. Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 4:22 PM

    Canada just needs to be cracked once over the top….


  6. Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 4:39 PM

    Too many giveaways from Jeffrey and Diskerud, especially Jeffrey. Okugo might help, but he doesn’t do switching balls well–which appears to be the critical part of the gameplan here.


  7. Posted by Union on 2012/03/24 at 4:57 PM

    Is Bunbury on the field? jesus. Porter being a little too loyal to Akron or what?


  8. Posted by Crow on 2012/03/24 at 5:03 PM

    Oh my. Just realized I missed the first half- I thought it started at 8 ET instead of 7. So the game started at 6 CT?


  9. Posted by Union on 2012/03/24 at 5:12 PM

    Boyd should be in. No messing around. They need this game.


  10. Posted by Union on 2012/03/24 at 5:14 PM

    And now Bunbury gets caught offside. Get him out of the game.


  11. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/24 at 5:43 PM

    Good god, have we been terrible this half.


  12. Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/24 at 5:49 PM

    Good luck against Mexico, boys. You’ll need it.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 5:51 PM

      Can still very much win the group.


      • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/24 at 6:01 PM

        Not if Canada takes care of business against Cuba. In fact, failing to get out of the group is a much more likely outcome than winning it at this point.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:05 PM

          U.S. leads the group on goals scored at this point. Say what you will about Canada’s effort, but they were rarely offensively threatening and particularly won’t be when carrying possession. They’re in third place in the group.

          The winner of the group will likely be the winner of El Salvador-U.S. (if any).


          • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/24 at 6:09 PM

            Disagree here dth. Canada was relatively consistent in creating chances off the counter. They had more shots taken and on goal than we did through the 1st 75 minutes at least. I guess they figured out our mid-3 was below-average when it comes to strength. Porter even alluded to that weakness in the post-game comments on thursday.


            • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:13 PM

              Key phrase is “off the counter.” Cuba won’t allow Canada to counter because they’ll barely have the ball.

              And I disagree about chances created. Canada created some tame shots but if Hamid has an average game Canada scores 0.

            • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/24 at 8:09 PM

              Even so, I think it only looked like they were bunkering because our midfield wasn’t working as hard as they were on thursday. Not to mention that fullback is our weakest position clearly. Canada was quick and efficient in their movement of the ball after our front six, especially Jeffrey, gave up the ball.

              Those tame shots, and there were a little more than a handful of them, were still good chances created and could have been more dangerous if their frontmen were more clinical

            • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 8:14 PM

              Yeah, but the question isn’t why they were bunkering, but what happens when they try to take the game to their opponent? Feel free to run the tape from their El Salvador game–it gets pretty ugly.

              No, they weren’t good chances. They were tame shots from tame opportunities. If we had the same opportunities we’d be complaining and rightly so about a lack of offensive creativity.

          • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/24 at 6:11 PM

            The US is in third place on three points. Canada and El Salvador each have four. Barring a shock Cuba victory, we need to beat El Salvador just to get out of the group.


            • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:13 PM

              Yup, you’re right. Miscalculated the points.

            • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/24 at 6:13 PM

              Meant to add that if Canada takes care of business against Cuba as they should, we can’t catch them.

          • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 6:24 PM

            If Canada beats Cuba ( something they certainly can do) they wil have seven points. They should win the Group.

            If El Salvador and the US tie 0-0 (certainly possible), they will be tied on goal difference.

            The US will have scored two more goals so they still have a bit of a cushion but beating El Salvador by as large a margin as possible would be a good idea.

            This loss was a bad thing.


            • Posted by dikranovich on 2012/03/24 at 6:28 PM

              el salvador have four point from a win and a tie, usa have three points from a win and a loss. whats the question again????

            • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:28 PM

              El Salvador would have 5 points and the U.S. four in that scenario. It’s “win or go home” for the U.S.

  13. Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 5:50 PM

    Bill Hamid terrible on both goals. ooogly.

    Juan Agudelo clearly made a huge difference. His loss reminds me too much of the 2011 u-20 qualifying team losing Wood then Arreola….


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 5:53 PM

      Felt Porter got the tactics horribly wrong today. Was Corona injured? Thought he was good in the first half–in fact, I felt Corona was much better than Adu. Bunbury over Boyd also was quite a strange choice.

      On the other hand, going forward Valentin/Villafana should be the fullback combination. Would also like to see Okugo over Jeffrey; Jeffrey–like, say, a Jose Torres–looks pretty without pressure but lacks the composure when faced with high tempo. Okugo is much calmer.


      • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 6:10 PM

        Corona just gave an interview.

        He said Porter wanted more width because the middle was too clogged.

        Time for the pendulum to swing the other way now. Porter’s halo now a bit dented.


        • Posted by Crow on 2012/03/24 at 6:13 PM

          I didn’t see the first half but I have to agree that Corona should not have been taken off. At least, he’ll be fresher for the must win vs El Salvador.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:14 PM

          Well, that was a poor decision on his part. Corona was playing much better than Adu.


  14. Posted by Crow on 2012/03/24 at 6:12 PM

    Wow, I wish I would have missed the 2nd half as well. That was absolutely pathetic. I want Bill Hamid benched after that horrific goalkeeping. Let’s see Sean Johnson. I’d like to bench most of the defense as well but there is no depth. The wingbacks have been very poor. I’d really like to see Sheannon Williams. Boyd didn’t really do anything but I’d still like to see him more than Bunbury. Brek Shea and Freddy Adu have to step up and own these games- very disappointing.

    Was the offside call on the disallowed goal on Opara or because Bunbury was offside and was “obstructing the keeper”? Seemed to lose all momentum after that.

    Absolutely furious after watching this game. Unbelievable that this team faces a must win vs El Salvador just to get out of the group. I would have never imagined this team not even qualifying for the Olympics.


    • Posted by Alex on 2012/03/24 at 6:22 PM

      He seemed to be offsides at the time of the pass as well (Opara). Basically everybody was.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:30 PM

      Disagree with your assessment of the wingbacks. They were fine today, at least during the run of play. Haven’t really scrutinized either of the corners.

      Replacing Hamid with Johnson based on this game alone is probably kneejerk.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/24 at 6:31 PM

      As a Fire fan, I wouldn’t mind getting a look at SJ, but to be fair Hamid’s been as solid as a rock other than the gaffe today. I wouldn’t bail on him just yet.


    • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 6:35 PM


      Canada very smartly pulled the offside trap on the Opara non goal. Ike was not the only US player offside. Excellent play by Canada.

      Villafana should stay but the other three defenders were iffy.

      The midfield really missed Corona. I get the width concern but Corona was the wrong guy to pull. They seemed to miss his composure.

      Canada should be given a lot of credit for a very hard nosed, gutsy, disciplined performance. Tactically well thought out and executed..


  15. Posted by Union on 2012/03/24 at 6:13 PM

    That was pretty atrocious.


  16. Posted by dikranovich on 2012/03/24 at 6:27 PM

    the only silver lining out of this game was that canada put up a poor team against el salvador and still got a point, so that should suggest that el salvador will not be as tough as canada was. now we have to rely on corona to step up big against the countries of his parents. we are really going to find out what these guys are made of. they look a little hot headed and not focused.

    coach porter must not have a grasp of how to navigate a knockout round tourny style event. now it is win or go home, maybe that will give him some more motivation. i didnt feel good seeing claudio reyna on the sideline. the only thing worse would be seeing coach klinsmann on the sideline on monday. yikes!!!!!!!


    • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 6:42 PM

      “so that should suggest that el salvador will not be as tough as canada was.

      Oh yeah? I bet you all thought Canada was easy meat before tonight.

      The US better go like hell from the opening whistle and try to put as many goals past El Salvador as possible.


      • Posted by dikranovich on 2012/03/24 at 7:01 PM

        thats the point though martin, isnt it. i wonder if caleb porter, the man that had his eureka moment while sitting in on a barca training session, knew canada was making seven changes to their lineup before he handed in his lineup?


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 7:03 PM

          If he didn’t, it’s professional malpractice. Canadian fans were razzing the coach’s strategy–he started a second-choice lineup vs. El Salvador so he could keep his first-choice guys fresh for us.


  17. Posted by Union on 2012/03/24 at 6:30 PM

    Wow. What a bummer. Such a talented group too. Everyone needs to share the blame on this, but Porter’s tactics were shaky at best.

    -In terms of age, Shea isn’t a veteran, but the guy has more international experience than everyone except Adu, and he played afraid today. The vision is just not there outside of his patented cross.

    -Bunbury was almost as bad as Hamid. He had no business playing 55 minutes, I’m sorry. Did Boyd do enough? No, not at all. But Bunbury was offsides on the Opara would have been goal…aka..he was offsides on a SET PIECE, and he did absolutely nothing in the final 3rd. His runs were poorly timed and he seems to lack pace on the ball. Agudelo was sorely missed.

    -Freddy. He had a decent game and almost had a goal, but if you want to sum up his troubles..just watch a replay of today’s game. He is way better on the right wing, but he doesn’t have the pace to pressure the defense, and doesn’t have the size to make up for the lack of speed. Still, he was the least of the problems.

    -Mix/Jeffrey. What happened? Were they tired? I’m more surprised about Mix’s bad performance than by Jeffrey. Looked like they haven’t played 2 games in 3 days before. Not to mention the fact that the vision absolutely disappeared. No through balls, nothing. Really could have used Morales.

    -Defense. Was really bad. Won’t really go into it, bc at least we knew this was the weak link.

    -Corona – why take him out? Gyau needed to be in the game (Joe hasn’t shown as well as I expected, but he still created a lot of chances of the only ones to do so). But Corona was at least somewhat creative in the midfield.

    -Hamid. Poor Bill. Atrocious goalkeeping. But this is a lot of pressure for a young goalkeeper with a very inexperienced defense. Both goals were on him, but that first goal. Wow. What happened there.

    -Boyd. Its clear Boyd is used to playing with a stronger group of creative players who can get him the ball in dangerous positions. I think he needs to go the full 90 against El Salvador.

    In short, this was pretty sobering. After watching this group play against Mexico and Cuba, I was positive they would cruise to the semi-finals. They looked poised, well coached, and well disciplined. And then of course, it all fell apart today. Credit to Canada, but the US played an awful game. Real bummer, as the chances of them qualifying is now around 50% or less. Though, as DTH said, I wouldn’t rule out a Cuba team giving Canada a game. If for no other reason than Canada is posed for the same over confident collapse the US suffered from today.


    • Posted by Union on 2012/03/24 at 6:34 PM

      One last thought in this barrage. Taking Corona off seemed to me, like an inexperienced move by a coach relatively new to CONCACAF tourneys. Cuba sucks, but a hat trick is a hat trick. Corona was the US’s best player against Cuba, to take him out at halftime seems too reactive.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:38 PM

        Well, I think there needed to be another presence on the wings, so taking off a player in that band made sense. But it should’ve been Adu rather than Corona. So…partial credit, I suppose.


      • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 6:48 PM

        It’s a small sample size but perhaps Porter did not realise how critical Corona is to the composure of this team.

        Let’s hope it is not a fatal mistake otherwise Porter’s reign as the Golden Boy of American soccer may be cut brutally short.

        USMNT fans love to crucify former saviours.


        • Posted by Paul on 2012/03/24 at 7:36 PM

          Wait, we have saviors? I thought we just had players and coaches of varying degrees of incompetence, whose inabilities were exposed at higher levels of play. (Taking from the first verse of the US fan/journalist blogosphere hymnal.)

          Guys, get a grip. They need to win to proceed. The game is winnable, the players had a bad game tonight. We know their quality–we have seen it in other matches, we have seen it in the players’ club play. Plug and chug whatever stats you want, given the quality of our team, there is greater than a 50% chance we qualify against El Salvador.

          Keep calm and carry on.

          (If and only if we lose to El Salvador: now panic and freak out.)


          • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 7:39 PM

            Reasonable fans recognize there aren’t saviors. Search twitter for the realization that several fans don’t think this way.


            • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 8:19 PM

              Speaking of “people expecting saviors” or other varieties of overly-high expectations, Grant Wahl mentioned “talk” of medalling at the Olympics. Who was talking that way? Someone probably prone to seeing Jesus in his grilled cheese. Olympics are loaded with good teams–Brazil, Uruguay, Team GB, Spain all definitely have more talent than us; Mexico, Japan, and Switzerland are in the same general class. Madness to think medalling is especially likely from that.

          • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 7:56 PM

            Oh I’m pretty sure we blow El Salvador out of the water. If we don’t then this team has no business being in the Olympics anyway.

            However that then sets up a premature meeting with a Mexican team looking for revenge.

            And this time they will be taking the game seriously and won’t quit early.

            Regardless we will soon see if these guys and their manager are the real deal or just a bunch of soft pretty boys.


            • Posted by JW on 2012/03/24 at 9:43 PM

              I love how inevitable we think Mex is. They’re not. They miss out on the Olympic dance about as much as we do. They might still come in second, or *gasp* third. It’s happened before.

            • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/03/25 at 6:00 PM

              Inevitable or not, Mexico it will be.

      • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/24 at 8:23 PM

        Canada went with a 4-3-2-1. They basically said you are not bossing us in the middle of the park, which is interesting because U.S.’s strength is on the wings, which in turn is even more weird because we didn’t play it out there nearly as much as we should’ve.

        This was the perfect game for creating triangle passing ovements around the oppositions fullbacks to get Shea, and later Gyau, to the byline for some service. I would have taken off Jeffrey at the half for Gyau and went with a 4-4-1-1 with Freddy behind Teal. Give aways in the middle were killing us all game long, so why not stick to the wings? In a 4-4-1-1 Freddy could combine in the hole with either wide mid and the CM next to him to overload the fullback. Too easy. Oh well on to the next one


        • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/25 at 12:30 AM

          Porter seems to agree with you:

          Post-Match Quote Sheet:
          Canada 2, USA 0
          2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying
          March 24, 2012
          U.S. U-23 Head Coach CALEB PORTER

          Overall thoughts on the match:

          “We’re obviously very disappointed. We knew going into the match that we were going to face an organized team, a team that was going to sit with numbers behind the ball and look to exploit us on the counterattack and on set pieces. We knew we were going to have to be sharp and break down the numbers. We knew we were going to have to put out the fire on the break and be organized on set pieces. We didn’t do well on any of those things. We had our looks. Their goalkeeper certainly had a great game, made some saves. Credit to Canada. They were organized and put some fresh legs in there. That helped them fight hard to the end.”

          On Canada disrupting the USA’s flow:

          “We never really got into a rhythm. We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. We didn’t use the width we talked about at haltime. We put Joe Gyau on and talked about creating 2 versus 1 situations wide. We didn’t do that well enough. When we did, the final pass was off or the run was off. We continue to be vulnerable on counterattacks, and obviously we gave up two goals on set pieces. So we’re all disappointed. The reality is we need to move on. We need to get back to work tomorrow. We can’t dwell on this. No one’s going to point fingers. The guys are going to stick together. We know what we’re capable of. They know what we’re capable of. This isn’t the end of the world. This isn’t the way we wanted it to play out, but everything is still in our hands. If we beat El Salvador, then we’re though [to the semifinals].”

          On Canada utilizing a different lineup than its El Salvador match on Thursday:

          “We were a little surprised when we saw the start sheet and we saw seven new guys in the lineup. That didn’t change our approach. But credit to Canada. They put some fresh legs in there. They sat in and made it difficult on us, and they had some pace on the break that gave us some problems.”

          On playing against Canada’s 4-3-2-1 formation:
          “They set up in a Christmas tree – a 4-3-2-1. That’s not a shape they’ve used. That’s a shape you use to really stop a team, and they did that to shut us down. Essentially we were 3 versus 5 in the middle. Also, it allowed us to have a 2 versus 1 advantage on the flanks. We talked about exploiting that, and I didn’t think we exploited that well enough. We did have some looks. Brek [Shea] had a run a few times and Freddy [Adu] and Zarek [Valentin] were overlapping a few times. But mostly Brek was the guy who provided much of our penetration. They did a good job of cutting out the crosses, but I thought our runs could have been better in the box. In that type of game, if a team’s going to play that way you’ve got to play out wide.”


          • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/25 at 8:36 AM

            So Porter knew what the problem was even before half-time, which begs the question, was it the players’ fault that they didn’t execute the change of game plan, or was it the coach’s fault that he didn’t enforce the game plan? I think it’s the former because Porter from what I’ve seen is a very vocal guy. Didn’t see much talking from the team captain on where play/passes should have been directed during the run of play.


            • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/25 at 7:31 PM

              Of course the players are to blame but Porter got outcoached and out manuevered by Canada.

              The Canadians deserve a ton of credit. Fonseca and his boys took the US to school, gave them wedgies, and stole their lunch money. Go over their roster and they have half the talent on paper the US does and that is being generous.

              Compare the amount of time they have had together and the US had far more preparation time.

              Fonseca flooded the midfield, brought in seven fresh players and brutalized our pretty boys. I like to think I follow soccer pretty closely but I can promise you I have never heard of any of these Canadian players ( FC fricking Edmonton??) before last night and you certainly can’t say that about the US players.

              One possible response would have been to bring in Body for Bunbury and drop everyone else into midfield. First and foremost you have to control the midfield and get the ball. That wasn’t happening in large part because our midfield was getting overrrun and Porter took no steps to remedy that. I get the width thing but Gatt is a winger who likes to cut back inside, which sort of begs the question.

              And besides being outnumbered our midfielders were not fresh. Adu and Diskerud were pale shadows of themselves. They are not Stuart Holden and don’t seem to have great “engines” as the Brits say. So why not use our much ballyhooed depth? And of course Joe Benny was missed in the second half.

              What is it that they say about good managers? Usually it is something like they put their people in the best position to succeed.

              In that regard, Porter failed miserably. You can’t make up for that sort of overall system failure/screw up by screaming from the sidelines during a game. AVB of Chelsea was like that and …..oh he doesn’t work their anymore does he?

              You do it before the game or in the locker room at half time.

              Does this mean we are done?

              No, they can and should beat El Salvador and if they do that they can redeem themselves by beating Mexico (who just beat Honduras 3-0 and are in that semifinal game and will be our opponents unless Cuba beats Canada).

              Tough road but doable. I hope Porter is a fast learner because he can still save this thing but Canada and Fonseca showed up Porter for what he is, a raw rookie at this level. This ain’t the NC fricking AA anymore.

  18. Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:52 PM

    One thought: the previous, elder generation can’t really play pretty but has a winning mentality, a gritty mentality–in some cases that mentality’s been earned and developed over many disappointments (e.g. Donovan). This generation can play pretty but doesn’t have that same mentality. They’ve got Spanish disease, circa 2000-06.*

    *(obviously they are much worse players than those of Spain at that time. My point still stands. They have to get the grit to go along with the skills.)


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 6:56 PM

      Should note that Adu is probably the biggest all-flash/no-grit player on this team. Not entirely his fault, but deserve’s got nothing to do with this.


    • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 7:32 PM

      Funny you should mention Spain.

      This game was sort of reminiscent of the US 2 Spain 0 game in the 2009 Confederations Cup with Canada being the US and US being Spain.

      Ironic really.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 7:37 PM

        Yeah, like that game the possessive side focused on pumping in crosses to a guy who’s notably terrible at attacking aerial crosses (Torres, in that game; Bunbury, in this game.)


      • Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/24 at 8:25 PM

        Kind of, but not really. Canada sodomized us on set pieces, fundamentals really, maybe mental fatigue.


  19. Posted by crow on 2012/03/24 at 7:05 PM

    Did that one Canadian player flip the ref the bird? I wasn’t real impressed with their time wasting and countless times mouthing off but maybe I was just on edge due to the poor play.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 7:10 PM

      Dunno, but the AP game story says Bonsu picked up a red card after the game. Very nice for us if true–a rare good break for us. (We sucked, but we were also unlucky–in particular the offsides calls in the first half were awful.)


    • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/24 at 7:44 PM


      After he was red carded, the player gave the ref (on camera no less) what I know to be the Italian salute.

      Apparently the French use it too.

      “”- French Gestures

      This is the most vulgar French gesture. It means “Up yours!” (or worse) and is the French equivalent of holding up your middle finger.

      Hold your arm out with your hand in a fist, then smack your other hand onto it just above your elbow so that your hand swings up. Also known as le bras d’honneur.”

      My guess is it would hurt his chances for appeal..


  20. Posted by dth on 2012/03/24 at 7:15 PM

    Chris Schuler is highly impressive for RSL. Broken record at this point, but no one seems to mention this. (For example, I’d take him over either Opara or Kitchen if Schuler were age-eligible.)


  21. Posted by evan on 2012/03/25 at 10:05 AM

    dude you are clueless


  22. Posted by Union on 2012/03/25 at 10:40 AM

    I don’t even know what that means.


  23. Posted by Jared on 2012/03/25 at 10:40 AM

    Huh? How is faith going to make up for a lack of talent?


  24. Posted by Antonio Henry on 2012/03/25 at 11:28 AM

    This comment has no place here. You should know this by now, dikranovich.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/03/25 at 12:18 PM

      Then why didn’t you just say that? Why bring in faith and conservatism?

      They are lacking in talent. We saw that with how toothless they were with Bunbury in for Agudelo.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 12:28 PM

        Talent isn’t the problem here.

        Compare the two teams objectively. Canada brought four guys who don’t have a club and were cut by MLS teams. They brought a guy who’s playing for a u-23 team in Singapore. They brought a college player. Their goalkeeper plays for a second-division Canadian team. Their backup GK plays for a second-division American team. Basically the U.S. has much, much more talent. It comes down to coaching and mentality, really.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 12:30 PM

          Excuse me–two college players. Again, talent here is not the problem. Coaching, execution, and a few elements of bad luck/flukes were.


        • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/03/25 at 2:59 PM

          Stay with me for this tangent….

          The current odds for the ManU-Fulham game tomorrow makes ManU about a 5-1 favorite to win the game outright. That basically means that 1 out of every 6 games the ManU won’t win.

          I don’t know the answer to this question but in general, what were the odds for a game like US – Canada. Lets for argument sake say the US was as big a favorite as ManU is tomorrow.

          Clearly the loss was devastating to qualification, that said, I didn’t watch the game live (had commitments) but looked at twitter and read articles (including this site) before watching it this afternoon. In general the US preformed much better than I had expected. Hamid made a horrible decision on the goal, backing up and letting the Canada player get their first. The second goal was bad but nor surprising given the score and time left. I thought the US created more chances, had much more possession, etc. I don’t want to take away from Canada but I do feel like if we played them 10 times we win 7. Last night wasn’t one of the 7.

          Lets not take one incident and extrapolate it to draw conclusions about a lack of heart, lack of clutch, etc. The same way we shouldn’t take the Cuba game and call for Corona on the senior team. Calm down and carry on.


          • Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 4:48 PM

            Here are the European odds from Bet365:

            USA 1.25 Draw 5.00 Canada 9.00


            • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/03/25 at 5:08 PM

              The odds imply 80% chance of victory. Figure in the casino’s rake, Bet365 had the US as probably a 70% chance (remember unlike football where you pay 11-10 on game lines like 1.25 calc in the vig). That feels about right after watching it. US wins 7 out of 10.

      • Posted by dikranovich on 2012/03/25 at 1:03 PM

        jared, i did say the truth might hurt a little. i dont know. the last couple months its barca this barca that. i read that porter had his eureka moment at a barca training session and i want to barf. and people are buying this load of BS. and im not just talking about the barca dung either.

        what is there a place for here, if you cant discuss what the real ills are of the whole system.

        come forth and seek penance, then go and multiply, so we can win this freaking thing. lord have mercy.


  25. Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 11:40 AM

    One last note on the Olympic thing: one big weakness I’ve noticed from U.S. coaches being exposed recently is their rotations–we seem to be bad at rotating players in short rest situations. Porter, obviously, was caught out by that today; Bruce Arena lost the CCL essentially because he couldn’t rotate; Schellas Hyndman ran his team into the ground last season for the same reason. The only American guy who seems to be able to figure this out is Jason Kreis; other than that the coaches don’t seem to get this.

    It’s a perfectly predictable weakness for American coaches to have given their background: by and large, the idea of competing on multiple fronts or having sufficient depth to rotate has not been true until recently. Nevertheless it is true now and coaches will have to adapt.


    • I completely agree. I thought our biggest weakness against Canada is that we looked tired across the board. I think if just a couple of our first choice players were held out of the Cuba match, and maybe we rest one or two more players that had gone the full 90, we would have had a lot more energy.


      • Posted by mbw on 2012/03/25 at 4:20 PM

        And now he’s gotten himself stuck in a Gold Cup ’11 situation where he’s going to have to field a first-choice lineup for the third group game instead of giving the top-level guys a break before the knock-out stage.


  26. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/03/25 at 12:44 PM

    You’re done dikranovich. I’ve given too many reprieves.


  27. Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 1:17 PM

    Kenny Cooper is so good when he doesn’t see Eric Hassli in the mirror.


  28. Posted by Jason on 2012/03/25 at 1:19 PM

    Wow. Horrific start for Colorado


  29. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/03/25 at 1:20 PM

    NYRBs off to a flier!
    Disappointing attendance though.


  30. Posted by Union on 2012/03/25 at 1:26 PM

    Non-U-23 related (but in a way, kind of related)….. I am always amazed at how much time MLS players have w/ the ball at their feet. The game is just so much slower. I’m not knocking it, but I honestly think this element of the game is a huge hinderance to some of our young MLS players who we hope to develop into good players at the international level. Unless the ball is in the final 3rd, guys have 3-4 unchallenged seconds with the ball at their feet.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 1:47 PM

      Honestly, I don’t think that’s as huge a hindrance as you’d think. If you watch the Mexican or Brazilian leagues, you’d be amazed at the lack of pressing–it’s much more lax there than here.

      The big issue with MLS is developing creative players. We’ve had players from other parts of the field go overseas and be successful pretty recently, so the issue you identify doesn’t seem to be hurting Americans abroad. (e.g. Holden, Ream…)


      • Posted by Union on 2012/03/25 at 1:52 PM

        I’m referring mainly to forwards, but I think the Holden/Ream/Dempsey/Landon examples are too much of a crutch for those of us who are fans of the MLS. There are just as many players who have fallen flat overseas that I could cite to counter the success stories. Mainly bc they never were able to adapt to the speed of the game or the technical ability required. And I hear you about Mexico/Brazil, the latter of which I admittedly haven’t seen much of. BUT. The difference is, you don’t see central defenders launching the ball up the field to no one in particular in the Premira Division, like you do in the MLS. W/ the NYRB, it seems to boil down to technical ability and age more than anything. But man, there is some sloppy soccer.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/03/25 at 2:02 PM

          I don’t think it’s a crutch at all. I would guess that most transfers fail, generally speaking, for whatever league you want to look at. So I don’t think improving the ratio of successes to failures is the key, but rather improving what they’re valued at. We need more $10 million+ transfers (of which there’s only been…one in MLS history so far?) and the rest will sort itself out.


        • Posted by Martin on 2012/03/25 at 7:58 PM


          I would agree with dth.

          You have to look at the sample size from a percentage point of view.

          How many Brazilians over say the last thirty years have gone to Europpe and “failed”?

          I have no idea but I’ll bet it is a lot.

          I am pretty sure the majority of the Mexicans who have gone to Europe have failed. Talent alone is only one, and probably not the most important, of many factors that go into why a player going abroad fails. After all they would not even get a trial if someone in authority did not think they had the basic minimum level of talent.

          “The difference is, you don’t see central defenders launching the ball up the field to no one in particular in the Premira Division, like you do in the MLS. W/ the NYRB, it seems to boil down to technical ability and age more than anything. But man, there is some sloppy soccer.”

          Of course EPL defenders and defenders in other leagues make clearances. Remember that most of you rarely see the lower level teams in the top divisions.

          American fans seem to think all European soccer is technically sophisticated beyond belief compared to the brutal MLS and I just don’t see that.

          What is true is that the average top flight European team ( and even teams below the top flight) has a lot more competition for places.

          And what is also true is the most important thing for an American going abroad is going to the right club ( see Altidore, Jozy, Holden, Stuart, Onyewu, Gooch. for examples.)


          • Posted by bmullis on 2012/03/26 at 7:36 AM

            “Of course EPL defenders and defenders in other leagues make clearances. Remember that most of you rarely see the lower level teams in the top divisions.”

            I’ll be the first to say I’m no expert, but I think the difference in mentality seems to be: is the first thought to clear the ball or build from the back?
            I watch a good amount of Bundesliga, including lower level teams, and I still see more emphasis on building from the back and possession than I do in the average MLS game I see. Yesterday in the Koln v Dortmund game, Koln was absolutely outclassed in the second half, but defenders were still looking to control the ball out of the back most of the time versus just clearing it–and they’re pretty far down the table.


            • Posted by dth on 2012/03/26 at 8:53 AM

              It obviously varies from league to league and from team to team within the league; also, certainly, the MLS clears too often. But I’d guess–without stats I can’t back this up, of course–that EPL and Championship teams clear about as frequently as MLS teams do.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/03/26 at 9:52 AM

              You can’t just look at the defenders, because it takes the team to playout of the back like that. You need players who can actually receive the ball to feet when being ‘marked’. The top players in the top teams make it look easy, but they’re unbelievably ‘comfortable’ on the ball and fantastic one / two touch players.

              But some players are too quick to launch low percentage balls forward

  31. Posted by Union on 2012/03/25 at 1:37 PM

    One last thought on NYRB/COL. I hate to say this too, as I know people here won’t agree, but I sympathize with Henry’s frustrations. It’s no secret that one of the MLS’s (and America’s) biggest issues has always been creative vision in the final 3rd. The final touch/decision making is so atrocious with NYRB. I’m not saying that Henry’s negativity is helpful or necessary, I’m just saying, I get where it comes from.


  32. Posted by Crow on 2012/03/25 at 5:39 PM

    (head in hands) A couple of SOB’s on twitter are saying: “Wait till we have our whole team back! Nobody will be able to beat us!” Umm… the only guy missing from the lineup that Nowak plays is Williams and sometimes Adu… and they were at the Portland game. Oh wait that’s right- the rain and turf is why the Union lost I forgot.

    I admire loyalty to the team but I think its ridiculous to accuse people of not being true fans if they say that would like Nowak to be fired. I never liked the Nowak hiring from day one but kept my mouth shut until near the end of last year when the erratic behavior and bizarre lineups were messing with my sanity. Now after this offseason and the beginning of this season its past ridiculous. I’ve grown apathetic just to cope with the season. What a shame after waiting 15+ years for a team.


  33. Just a reminder people. One game does not mean the world is going to end. Pretty much every single one of “my teams” had a bad game on Saturday. I woke up Sunday morning and they all still had something to play for.

    Let’s keep a level head, toss out the issues and go forward.


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