- 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: June 2011
June 26, 2011Posted by on
Of course the entire attack went at Bornstein when he came in. Mexico knew he was the weak point and challenged him the whole game. Cherundolo has stopped everything in fornt of him all tournament. Yes losing Cherundolo was bad and definitely hurt the US chances despite the fact that they were up 2-0. Anyone who has seen this team for the last few years should’ve known the blowout was no longer called for as soon as Cherundolo went down. Of course other players didn’t play up to the standard they had set (Lichaj, Jones etc.) And yes Bob probably shouldn’t have brought Bornstein on. Bornstein probably shouldn’t have even been on the roster, and if Timmy Chandler had been willing to accept an invitation that, from what I have read, was sent out, we might not be having this conversation. Spector could’ve come in. Whitbread could’ve been on the roster. But they key here is that Bornstein is not a long term part of this team and his faults are not something we should get too concerned about. There is a fresh batch of youth on his tail and will be filling his spot before the next major tournament. Missing out on the Confederations Cup isn’t the best, but we grew a lot in this tournament. Ale Bedoya really showed up and earned a starting spot. Sacha Klejstan showed up and showed more consistent (although not all the way consistent) flashes of being a very useful player for this team.
At the moment our probable starting roster for the next period includes lots of players who weren’t in for the majority of the Mexico match. Not to say that injuries are an excuse, but they are a reason that makes this a loss thats not too hard to swallow. Jozy will come back, Cherundolo will come back, Stu Holden will come back. On top of that Timmy Chandler will be added into the mix and I fully expect him to start within a very short amount of time. (To be honest I think he may be on of the most talented player on the roster in not too long. I can’t say I expect him to surpass Donovan, Dempsey and Howard but I expect him to be that caliber of player quickly and debatably more ) Agudelo, Ream and Adu, who all showed flashes during this tournament will likely grow into better players. Jermaine Jones and Eric Lichaj have both looked better in every match then they did the one before (excluding the final where they both showed a slight step back against a much better team then they had been facing.) Mexico was the better team yesterday, but not by much and we’ve got a pretty significant band of reinforcements coming tomorrow.
Ultimately our starting roster looks a lot like this long term, with everyone available, and potential subs at those position in parenth.eses
Donovan Dempsey Holden (Adu, Bedoya Klejstan, Chandler)
Bradley Jones (Edu, Chandler)
Lichaj, Bocanegra, Goodson, Cherundolo (Chandler, Ream)
Three of those starters didn’t finish and an injury happened to come at our Achilles heel of outside back. We have no depth there at the moment and will need a bit more to sustain competitiveness in these kinds of tournaments. We can do it though. This wasn’t our best showing, but it gave us a lot to be exited for. Dempsey proved himself to be even better than I remembered. Altidore started looking back where he was before. Agudelo showed more consistent flashes when he was in. Bedoya established himself as acceptable. Jones established himself as good. And Freddy Adu showed up. Least interesting of all, we learned that Johnny Bornstein is bad.
June 18, 2011Posted by on
Basically that line uttered by Kanye summed up both last weeks Union game and the US-Guadeloupe game. Both the Union and the Nats could have scored almost 5 goals if they put away the chances they should’ve. Each team scored only one and the Union managed only a tie. Of course for the US a win is a win and pushes them on the face Jamaica tomorrow, but for the Union they only got a tie out of what looked like an easy win in the first half. A very arguable foul on the goal by Espindola of Salt Lake is what brought the game back even, but the Union were the better team by far. Very disappointing considering the performance but as many have told me, if you offered me a 1-1 tie with Salt Lake before the game I would’ve taken it. I think everyone is really starting to believe this team will do more than back into the playoffs.
Whether Carlos Ruiz stays or not I think is really insignificant for this team. Ruiz has been the lead scorer for this team, but Mwanga is stepping into that role quite comfortably while Jack is stepping right up behind him and Seba (who has been playing great) will surely put a few in between now and the end of the season. Really it would only be putting Jack back into the first-choice sub role he played last year. He’s been a step deeper on the chart as Mwanga has been seen starting many more games from the bench. Ruiz stepped in front of everyone at the start of the season, but I can’t wholeheartedly say hes played all that much better than Mwanga. The drop-off if Ruiz does end up in Mexico is not as great as some might fear. All it means is Jack is back.
The US played terribly against Panama so it was nice to at least see them look like they had touched a ball before against Guadeloupe, obviously Ream and Agudelo didn’t start. It made sense to put in Lichaj and he showed us just why. Putting in Wondolowski is a different thing entirely. My vote for last weeks formation is what I expect to come out this week.
Altidore hasn’t been the best in this formation, he’s not the greatest as a lone striker, but I think its more valuable to get Bedoya in and take Wondolowski off. Bedoya probably comes out for Klejstan later in the game and Edu comes on for either Jones or Bradley hopefully. I have always thought that the best idea is to put the team in this kind of formation. Dempsey is great from outside but neither Dempsey or Donovan provides real width on either side. I know its been used before and didn’t work out too well for us. Optimally I would have Stu Holden in Dempseys spot and Dempsey in Altidores with Timmy Chandler(pending that he stays at his current level) on replacing Bedoya. I really think this is the formation we end up with for ’14 so I’m just hoping for an early adoption.
Tonight is Vancouver which is hopefully much easier than Colorado or Salt Lake and turns up a W. Then comes Jamaica tomorrow which I see being a very good game. The US needs to turn things around and start finishing. Putting Lichaj in takes away worries about Bocanegras speed on the wings which would’ve been a real problem against a very fast Jamaica team. Hopefully two W’s this weekend.
June 6, 2011Posted by on
So as we all know the Gold Cup has officially started and the USA’s first game is tomorrow night against Canada. Bob Bradley has officially locked in his roster with Ale Bedoya replacing Benny Feilhaber. The next question of course is who in that lineup gets meaningful time on the field? Well here’s my answer based on my view of what Bob believes.
Deuce Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Timmy Howard all get the obvious starts. These have been the most important players for the US through the last cycle and will all likely be huge players when it comes to the next World Cup. As far as formation this doesn’t really decide anything but it will matter later so here is what I see Bob doing with these four and what I would like him to do with them (in parentheses.)
We know that our three defensive mids are three of the top eleven players on the team. We also know, and hope that Bob does too, that all three of them can’t be on the field at the same time. We all assume that Bob will go with Michael because he has the most experience with the team and has shown that he can play with them at a higher level than either of the other two. Personally I believe that Jones and Edu are both slightly better than Bradley but also slightly more defensive than Bradley. For me putting Bradley on the field is more about tactics than saying he is better than whoever sits. I hope to see Edu start alongside him but I have a suspicion Bob might go with Jones although I imagine they’ll split time pretty evenly.
The next question about these guys is where they go. I hated seeing the team in a 4-4-2. It simply doesn’t suit getting our best players on the field and doesn’t allow for the best team to take the field. My biggest problem with it is that, with the lineup we currently have, there is no player creating things from the middle of the field. The closest we would have is Bradley who has done so before for us, but we have players who are much more capable of this obviously the best option here is Stuart Holden but he’s out with an injury. After missing the World Cup and the Gold Cup I can’t wait to see Holden play to his potential in a big-time tournament. I, along with many others like Dempsey in the middle to fill his spot rather then going back to a 4-4-2. Although I still think Bob will go back to the 4-4-2 for the Gold Cup and count on Michael to create the attack.
Filling out the D
One would assume that neither Ream or Lichaj would start given the minutes they got against Spain but I’m not taking that into account as this is more of a “first team” for the Gold Cup rather than starters for Tuesday. I still doubt Bob starts either of them although I think they both could play their way onto the roster. I also fully expect Cherundolo to start at RB although the only reason I’d say he’s not a lock is because of his age and the fact that we really need some new faces along the back line. I expect him to start this Gold Cup but he’s not really the best option for four years from now so I’d rather start looking too soon than too late.
I fully expect Bradley to pick Onyewu for the start even though he hasn’t played well for club or country recently. I’d be much more interested in Onyewu taking a spot on the outside than seeing him in the center. I’d just rather see younger faces back there. The guys we had proved they couldn’t cut it in their primes. What makes us think they’ll be better four years later? That’s why I have Clarence Goodson. I think he’s better now and definitely better for the future.
I doubt Bradley puts Lichaj in despite the fact that he was one of the best players we put on the field in the first half against Spain. He earned it for me but I still think Bob is too invested in his guys to give up the spot. Spector gets it although I think Lichaj earns it sooner rather then later.
Filling out the O
Here are the questions I’m personally more interested in. I think Bob probably sticks with Jozy Altidore and Juan Agudelo up top. If he’s sticking with a 4-4-2 its the only real option he’s got, but if he were to try out the 4-2-3-1 formation they’ve used recently he might get a more interesting team. Obviously Juan or Jozy has to stay in as a striker. I probably have them split time pretty evenly, with Juan being a bit of a second but coming in to nearly every game. The kid is talented and really the game against Spain was the best all-around game I’ve seen from him in the Red, White and Blue. No he didn’t score and didn’t create any particularly enticing chances, but he was there with Pique and Ramos and whoever else was on him every minute he was in and kept with them. He held his own and looked very confident on the ball. Spain was better and the ball rarely got to him and he lost it too often (of course taking into account it was Spain makes this whole loss look a lot better.) I’ll say Jozy for now but I also acknowledge he may be on his last legs for now. Juan’s making a run and unless he starts lighting things up its Juans job to grab.
I’d probably put Bedoya on the wing out of the players that Bradley called up. Then again this is my blog so I can do whatever I want. If I were running the USMNT I would send Robbie Rogers home and bring in Timmy Chandler. Bedoya’s not a bad choice, considering the circumstances but I really can’t explain how much I want to see Timmy Chandler on the field.
Sidenote:Although I totally understand the idea of Chandler staying home for rest. This has been a very active season for him. It makes sense, but I still wanted to see him play. If he can play as well as he did in the Paraguay and Argentina friendlies he may be the most exciting addition to this team in a long while. I grew up playing a position like his so I have a bit of a bias (hooray transparency!), but I’ve always thought defenders who can attack are the most exciting players in the game. I’d love to have him playing at fullback, but the way he played in front of Lichaj against Paraguay makes me more interested to see what they can do together when he’s on that wing. Ultimately I’d like to see him play at left back with Dempsey in front of him and Stuart Holden in the middle, but with injuries that’s not possible just yet.
June 5, 2011Posted by on
Before last week Justin Mapp had never impressed me; I had always considered him one of the most disappointing players on the roster and was really hoping somebody would come and take his spot. I heard a lot of talk about how last weeks game showed what Mapp can really do and I still figured it was just Toronto. They’re defense was so terrible that anyone could have done what he did. I gave him the two great shots he got on, but the rest of his play was just picking apart a very bad defense. Nothing to get too excited about. Then we lost Ruiz and Nowak decided to sit Mwanga (more on that later.) To put it simply I was concerned about what our offense could do with Le Toux not scoring all that much and McInerney starting beside him, which is exactly where my change of heart for Justin Mapp came in. For the first 20 minutes he played spectacularly and absolutely tore Colorado’s defense’s apart. He was the reason McInerney started off as well as he did. Of course then Mapp got hurt and McInerney slowed down a little. McInerney kept playing well after Mapp left, he just wasn’t getting the same quality chances.
Of course after all that was done Jack Mac eventually came out and Danny Mwanga came in and had a few great chances finishing one from way out. For what it’s worth Mwanga looks very confident out there and seems to have really found the groove that he was in last year. With the offensive struggles we’ve had this year and the fact that the defense has carried us does anyone even remember that we expected the exact opposite? Everyone expected Danny Mwanga, Carlos Ruiz and Sebastian Le Toux to really carry this team. They haven’t done it yet but Carlos was starting to find his place before he left and Mwanga is starting to get things together now. When you combine that with the impressive play of Justin Mapp over the past two games (not the biggest of sample sizes, but a very good streak nonetheless) who hopefully doesn’t miss much time with a groin injury, the Union attack really starts to look pretty formidable. Of course until he puts a few in the net there will still be the fact that Seba hasn’t scored. Ignore that. He’s still one of the best players on the team. He’s put balls on the frame, just off the frame and made great runs where poor passes kept him from easy goals. He’s taking good shots, they’re just not going in. It’s nothing to get upset about. Seba is still involved with nearly every threatening attack the team puts together. He has twice as many assists as anyone else on the team. He’s not playing poorly he just hasn’t been scoring. Then again if all the balls he shot that deserved to go in the net went in the net he might have 8 or 9 goals by now. He’s been unlucky, and I honestly believe that once he gets two or three in and people get off his back about it he will light the net up as much as he did last year.
June 5, 2011Posted by on
After a little bit of confusion, here is a new and improved Broad Street Hooligans T-Shirt. I’d have to say that I like this shirt a lot better than the originals. Here’s the image and the above link will take you to where you can go to get your own.
June 4, 2011Posted by on
2-Spector 5-Onyewu 15-Ream 14-Lichaj
16-Kljestan 7-Edu 13-Jones 19-Rogers.
This isn’t speculation, the list was just released by the USMNT. Upon first glance I saw Lichaj, Ream and Agudelo starting and was impressed that Bob was giving the youth a real look for the team. Then I noticed Altidore was playing which almost definitely means a 4-4-2 which isn’t great news. Hopefully Agudelo starts behind Altidore and they keep the 4-2-3-1 going at least a little bit. 4-4-2 could win the Gold Cup, but it won’t beat Spain. Our real goals should be bigger than just winning Gold Cup. My next thought was how does this potentially change for the Gold Cup if these players play well. Obviously Deuce and Donovan come in at wings for Rogers and Kljestan. Ream hopefully splits time with Bocanegra and Lichaj keeps his spot. Of course my biggest hope is someone gets dropped and Timmy Chandler starts at the other Fullback position. This is obviously not a first team lineup, which is fine. The focus is on Canada and not on Spain as it should be but its nice to see the youth Bob put in to get this start.
June 2, 2011Posted by on
Forward Chris Agorsor was released by the Union today. This opening of a roster spot, combined with the lack of interest in Benny Feilhaber has led some to believe that the Union have plans for a new addition this summer. Whether that be a DP, a homebound USMNT player or even just a young player they want to get a better look at, Agorsor’s spot will not likely sit open for long. From his statistical record, scoring multiple goals in preseason in Greece, it is not likely that he was cut purely for being bad, he was doing well enough but it seems to me at least that the Union have interest in filling his spot.
June 2, 2011Posted by on
I seem to have forgotten about this site a bit recently. I was in the dregs of Finals with a broken computer and wanted to spend as little time as possible in the school library, but there are a few things I’d love to discuss, obviously the Gold Cup and the Spain game are huge and I’ll try to put up a piece on them before the Spain game comes around. In short, the roster looks exciting but it’s disappointing not to see a player who is already at the top of my list on the US Squad in Timmy Chandler. Anyway more about that later. Also I’ve been writing a short weekly piece for Yanks Abroad Video Highlights for anyone interested in a look at potential USMNT members playing in MLS.
What I really want to discuss is the Union’s current turn back to last years offensive form (combining with this years defensive form to lead us to the top of the table). Although they may have faced two of the worst teams in the league the past few weeks, they did put up 8 points against them. Mwanga has started to get started and Seba can’t be too far behind. Justin Mapp played great against Toronto (although everyone plays great against Toronto) but what I am really excited for is the same thing everyone else is excited for. I’m looking to take a nice “GM” to the Supporters Shield. Gabe and Michael Farfan have turned out to be two of the more surprising players on this squad. We expected defensive improvement with Valdes, and Mondragon joining a more united back-line and a more established Sheannon Williams. We expect (although they haven’t scored as much as we’d like they’ve been doing great work and will surely get a few before the end of the season) a great season up-top from Seba, Mwanga and Ruiz, but the Farfan twins in the middle of the pitch (and everywhere else) along with Keon Daniel have really been impressive.
Michael played great at mid before going back for Jordan Harvey, where he played even better. Then he scored a potential goal of the week if he hadn’t been beat out by Carlos Ruiz golazo. Gabe Farfan has been all over the field and done just as much as his brother with only slightly less recognition. This pair is only 22 and if they keep improving they could have great careers ahead of them. Along with these two is the slightly more veteran Keon Daniel at 24 who has gotten a little less time, and substantially less print but he has done nothing but impress me when he gets on the field. The most distinct memories I have of him were the perfect overlaps and pinpoint passing between Daniel and Michael Farfan against Portland.
We have all heard many point to the veteran leadership really being what helped to improve this team so quickly, but we would be remiss to forget just how young most of this team is. To give an idea of that, the players under 25 on this team (along with the above mentioned) include Sheannon Williams, Danny Mwanga, Roger Torres, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo, and Kyle Nakazawa. All of whom play significant roles along with Zach Pfeffer, Chris Agorsor, Zac MacMath and the rest of this years draft class who have shown promise despite not yet playing for the team. This is not “our year.” Not to say we shouldn’t play like it is, we have a a chance to do something significant this year, but also for years to come. If this team stays together they will be a good team for a long time, someone in the front office and in the scouting department is doing things right.
I also wanted to mention Kyle Nakazawa’s Team Dinner to benefit Aspergers Awareness through the Ascend Group of Philadelphia. It looks like this will be an annual thing and is another sign of the great things this organization does for the community.