Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Spector’

Bob Bradley Calls 18 For RSA Friendly

Can’t help but think of the parallels between Bob Bradley and Tom Coughlin this morning as the roster is unveiled.

Bob Bradley and coaches

The braintrust....

After the 2007 season, the Giants head coach was bashed both by player (Tiki Barber) and the media as being too strict in his coaching and failing to change with the times (most specifically, a hard core displine-focused game and practice methodolgy and an inability to connect with his players).

Much like Coughlin, Bradley has gotten another shot this year after seemingly being passed over (before re-signed) for the national team role.

While I’m not sure Bradley has “changed” all the appreciably much in his first few months under his new contract (just like Coughlin only moved a little bit, I think with today’s roster there is an acknowledgement that fresh game planning and player selection is important to having success in his second term.

In the October friendlies, you got a look at a 4-3-3 with new players deployed in new roles.

With today’s annoucement you’re seeing a departure from Bradley’s reliance exclusively on veterans and his long standing notion of introducing younger players during a longer camp as oppose to one off friendly. Most specifically, you’re seeing Bradley change his thinking on the striker role.

Like a Bull out of hell....

Whereas 2006-2010 saw Bradley continue to focus on veterans in the role that would adhere to the system and only play a “youngster” (Charlie Davies, Robbie Findley) when their ability hits him over the head–yes I just used Findley and ability in the same sentence.

Today’s perhaps most exciting call-up is that of New York Red Bulls tyke Juan Agudelo who had only flashed ability during the MLS regular season before issuing some fine technical ability in the Red Bulls playoff series loss to San Jose.

But not only Agudelo, Bradley went for youth with KC forward Teal Bunbury who one time was considered all but lost to his Canadian heritage.

Kudos to Bradley for taking a shot on a youngsters up top.

The roster:

G: Brad Guzan, Dominic Cervi

DEF: Tim Ream, Clarence Goodson, Gale Agbossoumonde, Jonathan Bornstein, Nat Borchers, Eric Lichaj, Jonathan Spector

MID: Mix Diskerud, Ale Bedoya, Robbie Rogers, Logan Pause, Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll

STR: Robbie Findley, Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo

Other notes:

• Look all I’m saying is that Tim Ream played leftback in college and Bob Bradley has a history of playing defenders in positions other than the ones they play for their clubs.

• Can’t wait to see where Mix Diskerud fits in and plays. I’ve watched him a play a handful of game on the interior for his club team Stabæk and I think he’s got the ability to play both inside and out.

• Interestingly selection of Agbossumunde here, if only because Bob Bradley insistence on using more veteran types (Jimmy Conrad) at centerback. Where will the ‘Boss play?

• Your captain for the clash? Either Jonathan Bornstein or Jonathan Spector in our mind. Likely Bornstein who sported the armband last January during the Honduras friendly.

• You can count on Teal Bunbury getting in the game. In fact with just 18 named you can count on all players getting some run. One, the friendly doesn’t matter. Two, you don’t take a player all the way to South Africa and then not play them.

• Interesting that there is no Justin Braun on this list. Don’t understand that one.

Monday-P-L: Specs Gets In, More…

We’ll just use this column today to update Americans in the Premiership and all other mild goings-on during a global holiday week.

Specs: Shaky in return at LB today

• One game in the book thus far, Jonathan Spector subbed in for Herita Ilunga at leftback in the 20th min. Specs, who’s been per our last columns, the 5th defender looked a little bit rusty and slow.. He did however, get beat for a Jermain Defoe strike attempt that Defoe rushed to the rebound and knocked home late in the 2nd of the 2-0 loss.

Specs is looking more and more like a central defender to me these days or a right back that needs cover in defending against the Defoes and Robinhos of the world.

Another game note, TSG fave Luka Modric (pictured as well) had a beaut of a goal in his first starting assignment since coming back from a broken leg.

Clint Dempsey is playing a more reserved role on the left flank today against Chelsea. Zoltan Gera has gone up to the forward role and already produced, giving Fulham a 1-0 lead 20 mins in at the Bridge. Dempsey would have gotten beat up on his crossing and down the line runs today against the Blues. Update: 2-1 Drogba, with an onslaught by Chelsea in the 70th minute decade. Goal for Didier, own goal on Smalling for Fulham. 2-1 Blues.

• Hurry up Landon Donovan, it took Everton 82 minutes, the last 20 or so with Burnley down a man to score at home against the EPL newcomers. Yikes! Disclaimer in that Luis Saha is out of the 18 for this one–shows you his impact. The game closes 2-0 Everton, seven saves for Big Timmy Howard and a late goal from South African Steven Pienaar.

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Rumors, Playing Time & An Elf That Can Cross It

There is a good chance we’re getting the USMNT Jan camp roster announcement tomorrow I would surmise.

A few pre-Friday weekend bullets for you:

• Jack Rodwell goes off with an injury for Everton yesterday. Ayegbeni Yakubu headed to the African Cup. Oh yeah, Landon Donovan is going to get run…real soon.

No automatic joy ahead at West Ham for Specs this January....

• Speaking of Everton, iron man Tim Howard given the day off Thursday (thankfully) in the Europa League, now ready to take on red-red-hot Birmingham Saturday in the Premiership.

• Jay DeMerit playing for more than country pride in South Africa. With DeMerit out of contract at the end of the season and his club Watford headed to administration, there’s a great shot that DeMerit will have a new club at the end of the year. Audition time!

• Jerome Rothen, who we mentioned in our Stuie article this week, apparently leaving the Rangers according to many sources. Rothen plays on the wing….hmm….Stu, you made that decision yet? Door’s open…

• USMNT now officially to face the Netherlands in Stonerville in March; it’s confirmed. The news went around everywhere this week….I thought we confirmed this game a long time ago, no….nope? did we space….damn I’ve got the munchies….if you’re headed to Holland though, three tips for you: 1) Rent a bike. 2) Try the fries 3) Check out the graffiti…some of the absolute best in the world and 4) Coffee shop does not mean coffee shop.

• The American Outlaws Seattle chapter found a story yesterday that suggests a US friendly against Tunisia in May. We’re passing it along. In our mind it was either Morocco, who the US lost to in Nashville right before the ’06 World Cup, or Tunisia to prepare for the Algerians, so this sounds plausible.

• More on how the African Cup impacts USMNT player fortunes in club ball next month:

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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.

Your Vote: Gooch the Biggest Concern

Our poll is now closed.

Gooch: The Milan Man in the middle

Gooch: The Milan man in the middle

We asked you, “Which USMNTer’s fitness concerns you the most heading into Honduras 10/10?”

In a poll that meandered between Mike Bradley and Oguchi Onyewu in the lead for awhile, the Gooch came out overwhelmingly on top as Bradley played a full 90 this past Saturday.

Gooch owned 50% of the vote with Bradley next at 23%.

My vote was for Jonathan Spector. Spector played exceedingly well in the earlier qualifier against Honduras and has not seen much time for the Hammers since the T&T game. I would have liked to have had him in there on 10/10. However, if you’re Bob Bradley, you have to consider Steve Cherundolo–not just for his speed relative to Spector, but now for his fitness.

Alas, Spector only got 7% of the vote.

goochpollOn a side or final note: Seems like the USMNT is either pretty banged up or managing time off the bench. If you think the U.S. starters for Saturday’s match are the following:

Howard, Cherundolo, Gooch, Bornstein, Donovan, Bradley, Clark, Holden?, Altidore and Davies

then you’re missing from the Confed Cup final: Spector, Demps, and Demerit.

Further, you’ve got Altidore and Gooch with little to no playing time lately and Bradley who just got back on the pitch.

That’s six former starters from South Africa that will not see action or come in having seen little action lately.

….Oh, in a similar vain, let’s not forget ironman Tim Howard, who’s churning the mileage, but runs better than a Toyota Landcruiser.

“We’re Happy We Got The Result”

I’m not sure if Bob Bradley wrote “we’re happy we got the result” in the talking points passed out to the players or they just picked that up from his post-game talks. Either way, that sound byte was practically the mantra of players and coaches alike in the last round of qualifying for the USMNT.

Recently, US Soccer posted two behind-the-scenes videos on the match with El Salvador with pre-, during and post- game insights from Jonathan Spector and sure enough the mantra finds its way into the commentary.

Part 1: Pasta and Chicken
This first video is about the pre-game meal, bus trip and warm-ups.

More video after the jump.

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Late Commentary: Spector Behind the Scenes

Holy smokes! Why didn’t anyone Twitter us on how solid Part II of Jonathan Spector’s video interview and commentary on the El Sal match was on

Some feedback on the clip:

• Let’s get more field level video from U.S. Soccer. This doesn’t cost anything and the fans will love it. I don’t even care if it’s edited or they play some strange macabre music in the background to start the clip (what was that?). Want to get more fans interested and promote the USMNT more, let’s get more behind the scenes video.

• How about some Bob Bradley halftime speech in the clip imploring his wing fullbacks to get further up the pitch and their teammates to find them up the pitch. Can’t fault Bob in rattling the sabre there.

• I watched the entire clip and I don’t think I saw any American “talking” or “communicating” on the pitch once. Is it me or does this cement that the USMNT needs more on field chatter?

• A great quick crowd shot of the American Outlaws.

Below is Part II of the Spector video(s) focused on game footage:


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