- RT @WEXP_RADIO: The 15th Person to Retweet this wins a FREE pair of #EvilDead tickets to use at your leisure. 1 month ago
- Bring on adu I guess. Need a spark or something 8 months ago
- Quote of the night so far "Duka your family is here and they are mine" #doop #crew 8 months ago
- Enjoying this #elclassico just making tonights game better! 8 months ago
- Excited for tonight. The union walking away with 3pts 8 months ago
Monthly Archives: March 2011
March 29, 2011Posted by on
So two nights ago my computer fell on the floor and the entire screen went black and has yet to return. I’m writing this from a library and it is a very sad day. Basically from now until I get a new computer, or at least a new monitor updates from here will be much less frequent, maybe about once a week. It’s quite disappointing seeing as the season just barely started, but I’m a college student and don’t have nearly enough money to go out and repair the screen. So from now until probably mid-May my updates will be much less frequent.
Of course I don’t want to skip over the Union, but at least for this week and any other that the USMNT plays, I will probably be focusing primarily on the national team. The Union played great, it was real nice to see Ruiz get his first goal in Chester and especially nice to see the defense continue playing as well as they had in the first game. Of course this was a brand-new Vancouver team without some of their best players, due to national team duty, but it was a win and a good game nonetheless.
What I want to focus on is obviously the US-Argentina game this past Saturday and the US-Paraguay game tonight. I’ve read and heard a lot of talk about how great Juan Agudelo could be and also a lot of talk the other way. That Agudelo is just a kid and we have no idea how good he could be. That Jozy Altidore played pretty much this well when he was coming up to. Personally watching him play I got the impression that Agudelo was confident at times, but very much balancing on the verge of overconfident. I watched Agudelo take on three Argentinian defenders, and naturally fail to get through them. That’s hardly a negative that he couldn’t get through three defenders, only one player can do that consistently and he only faces Argentina in practices. The problem is that Juan did this at least twice with open players by his side. He made a few solid passes, but it was also glaringly obvious that his on-field vision was lacking and that his ball-skills, while very good, where not exactly what he thinks they are. Agudelo is a kid and should be looked at that way. If he plays well tonight, I think it’s much more likely Bob keeps him off the field entirely than that he starts as many are calling for but I deexpect another second-half substitution, and starts making smarter passes I could see him getting starts in the latter stages of the Gold Cup. I think the kid is far from a star, but Jozy Altidore is not all that far ahead of him so he could easily compete for a starting spot on the team. He played as we expected, confident but sometimes cocky, well but sometimes fool-hardy. In short he played like you’d expect a young player to.
My biggest issue with the praise being laid upon Juan is that he was far from single-handedly the reason that the US turned their game around in the second half. Jonathan Spector was being torn apart by Angel Di Maria, again as we should expect. Spector has never played particularly well against speedy attackers. Chandler came in and played very well, again he may not have locked down Di Maria entirely, but few do. There’s a reason he plays where he does.
The most important change made at half-time was the substitution of Jermaine Jones for Juan Agudelo, but I believe this for different reasons. From what I saw Juan didn’t light things up from the front. Rather adding another attacking player lit things up. Jones, Edu and Bradley should never be on the field at the same time. If this game teaches us anything it is that. Spain only plays Iniesta and Xavi, and Fabregas sits. No matter how good he is, he does not help to form the best starting 11. Bradley would be a very solid super sub, for Holden if we need defense, or for Jones or Edu if we need offense. Maurice Edu plays Center Back for Rangers, he played attacking mid on Saturday.
Bob Bradley basically replaced Stuart Holden with Maurice Edu because he was the next mid on the chart. Agudelo is not better than Edu or Jones or Bradley, but his position is more along the lines of what the US needs. Can you imagine what they could have done if they’d had Stuart Holden playing behind Jozy all game, rather than a combination of Edu and Agudelo? Obviously not much considering Holden barely has one leg, so he probably can’t run well at the moment, but if he were healthy he makes this entire discussion moot. The conversation is about whether it is more important to have your best 11 players on the field or your best team. This game showed me that it is more about having your best team. I don’t believe Juan Agudelo is part of the best team. I personally believe that Mixx or even Jose Torres would do better there maybe bringing in Clint Dempsey and using Chandler out on the wing if he continues to play well with his club.
Ultimately I believe Bradley’s starting lineup looks like this with everyone healthy
———Donovan –Holden ——Dempsey———-
With everyone healthy, the only substantial change I would make is to try Edu in the defense, I think that is the best way to combine the ideals of getting both your best 11 and your best team on the field. Edu has played in central defense at the club level and I’d like to see if he can do it on the international level.
The lineup I expect to see tonight looks significantly different from the lineup we saw Saturday, as many of the players are in the middle of seasons and their clubs likely wouldn’t approve of two games in four days.
Ultimately, if we can get the same kind of play tonight that we got in the second half of the Argentina game we’ll beat Paraguay and look good doing it. The bigger concern is getting a look at more players, a bit deeper on the roster and seeing how they play with at least a semblance of the top-team. I expect more substitution in this game, and definitely less familiar faces, but the starters will hold the key. The biggest problem is that this team has started so weakly in so many games recently. I think a part of this can be credited to Bob Bradley adjusting well at half, but at the same time why is he not making those adjustments before the game?
March 25, 2011Posted by on
Most of the news this week is about the upcoming games, Union and USMNT. In case you somehow missed it the Union home-opener is this weekend against Vancouver and the USMNT is taking on Argentina on Saturday (and Paraguay next week.)
For starters here is a video put together by USSoccer of past games against Argentina, including goals from names like Wynalda, Lalas and Johnson, and big saves by Keller Of course there’s the same from Messi, Riquelme and Crespo.
And of course Tim Howard’s absolutely dominating performance against Argentina in the Meadowlands in 2008.
For starters a few links on US players you might not know too much about who got called up for this game
Chandler and fellow German-American David Yelldell
A few articles on other players you may know a bit more about, or just other things related to the USMNT-Argentina game in any way.
Jay Demerit on the game and a few other things, along with an article on Lionel Messi
Brad Guzan, who won’t be playing at all for the US this summer
A look at how Bob Bradley makes these selections
Tim Howard talks about the 2008 game he played against Argentina in Jersey (highlights up top)
Maurice Edu: The Last Action Hero
Jozy’s from Jersey in case you forgot
The go-to Soccer By Ives piece (and comments) on who should start
A little eye into Cary Camp
A look at German-American soccer players, in light of Yelldell and Chandler
And a look at the Union Vancouver Game,
Nowak says the lineup is still changing
A “keys to the game” style preview of the game. I think these things are almost worthless but I know someone will want to read it.
Valdes is eager to please
A little bit of DOOP-troversy the Union have trademarked the word DOOP and its causing quite a scare around the supporter base. They’re very anxious to see how it turns out and what it means in practice.
Video of Chad Ochocinco’s practice with Sporting Kansas Cityhttp://www.nfl.com/videos/cincinnati-bengals/09000d5d81eea388/Kickin-it-with-Ochocinco
March 25, 2011Posted by on
The USMNT will take on Spain at Gillette on June 4th. Anyone interested in buying me tickets should do so because I want to be there.
More importantly the US has lined up a very legitimate list of teams to play against this summer. Obviously having all these teams in the US is a perk, but its also worth pointing out that the US is facing these teams. Between the end of the World Cup and this match up, the US will have faced Brazil, Argentina and Spain all in under a year. Of course they only played a handful of other matches but Chile and Paraguay are far from the bottom of the barrel. Both would compete and do well with the top teams in CONCACAF and dominate the bottom in the same ways that the US and Mexico do.
March 24, 2011Posted by on
I would like to restate everything I said about Chad Ochocinco’s tryout in Kansas City. He looked out of place yesterday. He had a bad touch, played pretty poorly all around.
The thing is I’ve decided that the reason I can accept this is because of the way Chad is handling it. He really wants to make this team. He is doing his hardest, and it very possibly might not be enough. That is exactly why this is a good thing. There are people out there who think that soccer players are not as “something” as football, basketball, baseball or hockey players. If nothing else Chad Ochocinco is proving that it takes a different ability to play pro-soccer. A different athleticism, a different knowledge and a whole different skill set. To see that Chad Ochocinco, one of the better football players in the country may not even make the roster of a team that is far from tops in MLS shows something. MLS takes every bit as much skill and athleticism as other American leagues. If Chad Ochocinco had blown everybody away and made the team, hypothetically, it would have been used to show that MLS is a joke and shouldn’t be taken as seriously as any of the other leagues in this country. The fact that he is on the fringe of making the team tells us the level of skill it takes to play in our league. Combine that with an understanding that MLS is far from the best soccer in the world and those people who still won’t watch our game may start to understand exactly the kind of talent, skill, athleticism and drive it takes to play in this league and elsewhere.
March 24, 2011Posted by on
The Union and Harrah’s Chester have struck a deal and hopefully Chester will be better for it. There will be post-game deals and parties at Harrahs and there will be Harrahs prizes awarded at PPL Park. The proximity of the two locations, both major establishment in Chester, makes this pact unsurprising, but it’s still interesting to see that it has happened. The deal is said to last “for several years.”
March 24, 2011Posted by on
Here it is. The Red USMNT Jersey’s are officially out. The new motto which is yet to be decided will presumably be on the back, but here is what the kit will look like for this week. Pretty much what we expected, a red version of the World Cup kit, but I’m a big fan of the look.
More images here at US Soccer’s Facebook Page
March 23, 2011Posted by on
I want to see this movie, and I’m sure there are enough American soccer fans out there who want to too. I don’t really know Demerit’s story all that well, although I’m told its a good one, and I’d definitely like the opportunity to hear it straight from Jay. The problem is in the licensing and distribution fees. They can’t distribute anything until they get past FIFA’s licensing agreements. Just a few minutes of FIFA play (international or club) costs them thousands to put in the film. Of course its not like they can just take all of the soccer out of the film, as Jay’s story takes place in large part on the field that obviously doesn’t work.
If you could pass this video around to everyone you can think of, or at least just post it on Facebook, maybe we can find a US Soccer fan who is capable of actually bringing this thing out. There’s got to be someone all we have to do is find them.
“We are finished with the documentary film on Jay DeMerit but do not have the licensing rights to take it to theatre or dvd. We are not a Hollywood production company. This film was made by Jay’s friends who want his story to be told. If anyone is interested in partnering for finance or distribution, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“Trailer produced by: Diesel Films http://www.dieselfilmsinc.com
Voiceover by John Heffernan
Cinematography by Zach Salsman
Special Thanks to Chuck Church!”619-318-9996
March 23, 2011Posted by on
For anyone looking for a great way to actually look into what Union life is like on a day to day basis, or the life of any pro-athlete really, this is worth checking out. Jordan Harvey is apparently doing a blog for csnphilly.com. So far we have images of Calliff and Harvey playing backgammon in a Greek Starbucks, and Le Toux kicking back with a viewing of Eat, Pray, Love. If that doesn’t get you interested I can’t imagine what will.
March 22, 2011Posted by on
Everyone knew that Jay Demerit would be called up to the USMNT for this weeks friendlies. Everyone knew the Whitecaps would be missing their captain and starting central defender against the Union on Saturday. What we did not know until more recently is that Michael Boxall would be called up to play for New Zealand, replacing star-defender Ryan Nelsen.
Boxall, the Whitecaps other starting central defender, was called up as an injury replacement over the weekend. This hole right in the middle of the defense could be just what Sebastian Le Toux, Danny Mwanga and Carlos Ruiz need to start getting their attack in rhythm.
It seems that the pair will be replaced by Greg Janicki USSF D-2 2010 Defender of the Year who will be returning from injury, so the holes may not be all that big, but injuries to the back-line have been a problem for the expansion side and that can only benefit the Union in this game.
Along with losing both starting center-backs, the Whitecaps will be without both of their starting wingers from last weekends 4-2 win over Toronto. Davide Chiumiento and Russell Tiebert will both miss the game with leg injuries, although Tiebert would have missed the game anyway as he was called up to the Canadian U-20 team which he plans to join as soon as he’s healed up.
March 21, 2011Posted by on
I’ve read a lot of talk about how disappointed people were when the Union signed Carlos Ruiz. I for one decided that I had read enough about the legendary and nickname-worthy diving of El Pescadito. I thought I might as well wait until the first game of the season and see what happens. I figured everybody deserves that opportunity before we tear them apart.
I loved what I saw from Carlos Ruiz. I saw many people complaining about his play in the game (The Brotherly Game backed down a bit on their statement later) and in particular the play where he was carded for a careless elbow to the face of Andrew Hainult in the first half of Saturday’s game. The incident is about 2:20 in to this highlight video.
Ruiz went up hard and won the ball. If you want anything less from any player, I can’t imagine why. There may have been a time or two that Ruiz went to the ground with a bit less than a foul but is there any player who has never done that and made it to play professionally? More often than not Ruiz went to the ground on legitimately hard tackles only to garner harsh looks from the referee and diving chatter from the announcers and fans alike. It seems like El Pescadito got to town long before Carlos Ruiz even had a chance to touch the ball.
His reputation came before his actual play and counteracted much of the good he did. Ruiz played well. He may not exactly be in the best shape, but he started the game very well and will surely be better conditioned as the season rolls on.
The only problem I saw with Ruiz, other than his conditioning, was with the formation. Although the Union reported that Ruiz and Le Toux were both playing striker that was far from how it worked out in reality. Le Toux was roaming into a more trequartista like position, leaving Ruiz alone up top. Ruiz is not the force he once was and should not be alone up top, especially if that means excluding Mwanga from the game. Mwanga will do more in a Union jersey than Ruiz over the long term and his growth should not be stunted for a player of Ruiz’s age. If Le Toux will be playing as deep as he did against Houston then Mwanga should join Ruiz up top.