Archive for the ‘US U-17’ Category

Orange Wedges: Coach Bob, Pick Me! Pick Me!

Orange Wedges is TSG’s gameday post that  is updated until kick-off.

Though it won't repeat itself tomorrow, this happened the last time the US faced El Salvador.

With top division club soccer in the US nearing the nuclear option, soccer fans may witness that last meaningful match on American soil for some time when the USMNT takes on El Salvador in friendly tomorrow evening.

The game kicks-off from Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium — complete with giant fake pirate ship — at 4pm Pacific on ESPN Classic and Galavision.

Though the game is more of a tryout for end of the bench selections for the Yanks World Cup roster, fans can still hope that the team wakes up from its post-qualifying funk to show some semblance of quality and notch its first win since October.


  • Tonight will be the last match for the USMNT in their white and horizontal pinstripe jersey. Nike “unveils” the new kits tomorrow from what we understand.
  • At last count, TSG readers would overwhelmingly like to see Clarence Goodson start over Chad Marshall in defense and a Ching / Findley pairing up-top.
  • If the recent Honduras friendly brought back great memories for Jonathan Bornstein, then tomorrow’s match may bring the opposite as the last time JB faced El Salvador (9/5) it was his shank-a-roni on a clearance attempt that led to El Salvador taking a 1-0 lead. (Kyle Beckerman showed poorly in his limited time in that match as well.)
  • El Salvador travels to Tampa with an interim coach, José Luis Rugamas, performing double duty guiding his country’s U-21 team as well. Rugamas replaced new Chicago Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos who managed the Salvdorans through World Cup qualifying.
  • Somewhat ironically, the US will take the pitch against the Los Cuscatlecos with 20 MLS players and 1 Tippeligaen player (IK Start’s Clarence Goodson).
  • The appetizer to tomorrow’s main course will feature the men’s U-17 squad taking on Mexico at1:15pm Pacific. FYI for those heading to US-ES, your ticket is good for both games.
  • For TSG’s full preview see: Tampa Play: Thirteen Still In Contention

Similarities: Riding Giants & Playing Giants

TSG North was sitting at a barbeque this past Sunday and fraternizing (actually socializing since their were some wahinae there) and having a discussion on the challenges and step development process of improving one’s surfing ability.


Joel Tudor is to longboarding as Fernando Torres is to striking

The progressions of surfing are very simple in terms of development/improvement.

Step 1: Consistently stand up

Step 2: Consistently turn on the wave

Step 3: Consistently ride the way

Step 4: Go bigger, if you like…

Of course, surfers are like donuts in that they come in all different types and flavors, so some people move aggressively along this line, some people move sporadically along this line and some people toe the line, but never get in the water.

The progressions and repetitions of each step, including the board selected for practice, is important in moving to the next step. Most, not all, beginners, rightfully, grab a longboard. The longboard is more forgiving on balance generally.  Once a surfer has their balance, they’ll graduate to a “fish” short surfboard which has the flotation of a longboard in many cases, but allows someone to get comfortable on a shorter and less forgiving board.  Then the water manager graduates into a shortboard which enables turning and when they go big, they move to a “gun” (narrower and now a longer board) to handle the size.

MLS or Arsenal?

As I considered 15-year-old Luis Gil’s supposed planned move pro in the MLS, the steps of surfing popped in my mind and my first thought was, “Oh wow, that’s all wrong.” I didn’t think this because the MLS is still an inferior league–I thought this because the progressions were wrong.

For a player of Gil’s ilk, he needs to be developing solid fundamentals against, predominantly, players physically similar to him. The path to the MLS through Generation Adidas–as is surmised for the U-17 midfielder–is not an ideal trajectory where, from my rough math, the path to the senior squad is typically 1 year and maximum 2 years. That would mean a player, in Gil’s case, that is all of 16 and 150lbs. could be going up for headers against Brian Ching in less than a year.

Go one level deeper and the MLS decision seems all the more tricky.

A check of players in the Generation Adidas program since 2000 who entered before their 18th birthday and are making waves in world soccer (so to speak) is extremely limited. I count about 9 depending on how you evaluate Bobby Convey and Danny Szetela (in) and Brek Shea and Santino Quaranta (out) or about 8% “success” rate overall (9 “globally recognized players” vs. 110 overall players). Additionally, only 26% of the players (or 29 players) were less than 18 when they entered the program–clearly Generation Adidas doesn’t cater to that age group. *Disclaimer to the aforementioned data in that we may yet hear from 2 or 3 players in the under-18 range that will have global success (but that only pushes the ratio of success up slightly greater than 10%)

To bring you back to my surfing analogy, if Gil goes MLS in one year that would be like giving him a longboard and telling him to go ride a huge, nasty messy wave, like Ghost Tree.  As you are wont to do in bigger waves, you skip the fundamentals.  You rush to your feet as quick as you can and basically the get hell out of impact zone (or get ahead of the wave) as fast as you can. Nine times out of 10 you fail and in the process you don’t learn anything, except how to survive under water. I can comment on this because I learned surfing the wrong way and have atrocious fundamentals.

I would much rather see Gil (who I’ve seen sporadically) compete against a depth of players more similar to him physically and with comparable or better talent, say at the West Ham Academy or the Arsenal Academy (where he is also rumored to be signing) — playing matches against the likes of Cody Arnoux and Anton Peterlin. This would be like Gil picking up a fish and getting the reps to graduate to bigger waves.

Mind you, this post isn’t a knock on the MLS–players go abroad and come back much more frequently now so the MLS stands to benefit from overseas development as well. I would just rather see the cream of the USMNT future’s crop competing against the cream of youth globally to make the USMNT better until the MLS reserve squads are near or at par with the EPL and other Euro leagues.

U-17 Review: Good Plan, But Not Enough Horses

TSG has largely been focused on the USMNT, EPL and Americans Abroad.

Only recently did we dabble in the up-and-coming talent stateside, surveying the Rongen Disaster that was the U-20 tournament a few weeks ago


Sarabia: Criminal in attack for Spain

in Germany.

So you can imagine our surprise when we fired up the 360 today, took in the first 10 minutes from Nigeria and were greeted with a Jack McInerney run-on, a foul from Spain, a red card, and the US a man up for the remainder of the game.

Less than 3 minutes after that opening minute salvo, McInerney challenged the Spanish keeper on a free kick, collided with him Conor Casey-style, the ball dropped and McInerney tapped in for the score. 1-0 States.

Despite solid play the rest of the match that included quite a bit of managed possession, the final score told an inverse tale, 2-1 Spain.

The US U-17 team, in our rookie estimation, played a fairly decent team game but succumbed to a team that just had too much talent. Despite some individual mistakes, the only negative behavior I found the overall team culpable for was dropping man marking in the back against an extremely adept technical offense for the Spaniards. (see note on this at the bottom)

Other than that, I think Wilmer Cabrera’s team can be commended even though they failed to capitalize on being a man-up. They consistently took what Spain gave them (the flanks) and tried to move the ball from right to left after winning possession to avoid what can only be described as the

Continue reading

All Over the Pitch: Monday Musings

Just wanted to get some commentary out there this morning after going through the headlines, reviews and considering our pieces from Sunday evening.

♦ US U-17 is in action today against Spain on ESPN 360 (11am PST) and if I get a chance I’m going to check it out. Two of the three players I wanted

All eyes to be on Jack

All eyes to be on Jack

to watch aren’t in the squad, Charles Renken and West Ham United academy attendee Sebastian Lletget. That leaves me focused on  Jack McInerney who apparently doesn’t have all the physical tools, but still is considered a great prospect. Some in the commentary on TSG have suggested he’s the next Wayne Rooney — is that aggressive? For a preview of the US in the tourney, head over to Match Fit USA.

♦ Following up on our review of Fernando Torres performance right now and considering him a legend in the making. Is he not the best striker right now? Who else is up there with him? Maybe David Villa, Zlatan, perhaps Drogba (if he remains consistent). Rooney, Eto and others are clearly a step below.

Confirming the U.S. friendly in Bratislava against Slovakia on November 14th. That’s three planned friendlies against three quality teams: Slovakia (Fifa ranking #33), Denmark (#27) and the Netherlands (#3).

More on Jonathan Spector. Despite the visual rating here, commentary from West Ham fans suggest the US rightback played admirably against Arsenal.

Decent game review of the Fulham – Manchester City clash here. The point that USMNT fans should take note of? The importance of Jonathan Greening maintaining possession in the midfield that allowed Fulham to go toe-to-toe with the Citizens and finally draw. A good read.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers