- Anyone else still mad about last nights game 2 months ago
- @PhillyPhanSam Happy Birthday 2 months ago
- Zac looked horrible so did the defense and 3 months ago
- almost jack almost jack just keep shootin 3 months ago
- Happy Doop Day! Almost 12 hours till game time 3 months ago
July 16, 2013Posted by on
I am a Chris Wondolowski Hater. I got frustrated seeing Wondolowski’s name on the preliminary Gold Cup roster and hoped like hell that he would not make the 23, and then he did and I hoped he would never see the field. Of course now that he has “proved himself on the international stage” everyone loves Wondolowski. I’m here to through some cold water on all of that.
1 He’s Old
Wondolowski will be 31 by the time World Cup 2014 starts. He’s as old as Landon, Onyewu and Beasley. He’s as old as Herculez Gomez. Yes, some of these players are still core parts of the team but, unlike Wondolowski, they’ve been here before. They are all at similar points in their career arcs. Wondo’s age is catching up with him. He hasn’t put up nearly the goal numbers for San Jose that he’s been putting up over the past few years. Wondo is fading and whereas these players have already shown great moments in the USA jersey and have proved they have the potential and savvy to do it again…
2 This Was Wondo’s Moment Of USMNT Glory
Before last week, this was what Wondolowski was most known for in the USMNT jersey. He had never scored a goal. Klinsmann hadn’t seen fit to give him very much time. This Gold Cup was his last chance to prove he had anything. That Gold Cup was at the same level as this one. It was a B tournament and he couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities shown to him.
3. Belize, Cuba and Guatemala
I head someone argue that since Wondolowski had seven goals in three games he had outplayed Jozy Altidore who had “only” four goals in four games, and therefore deserved not only to make the roster, but to start for the A team. Jozy scored against Germany, Jamaica, Panama, and Honduras which included players playing at the highest level in North America, South America and Europe. Belize, Cuba and Guatemala fielded amateur players at the worst and players from their own National leagues at the best. When people argue that Wondo doesn’t cut it against international opponents it’s about the skill level not about the jersey. These teams are lower than MLS quality. Everyone should score against these teams.
4. Only Four Strikers
In 2006 and 2010 the US sent four strikers to the World Cup. This is more or less standard for World Cup rosters around the world. Jozy is a core part of the team and a lock to take up one of those spots. Gomez is only a half step behind him. Eddie Johnson is a much more versatile player, who has already seen what a World Cup looks like. He’s not a lock, but Johnson has been playing better for both the National team and in MLS all year. So there is essentially one spot left for a striker.
Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have both played the second striker position under Klinsmann. Dempsey has generally been listed as a midfielder on Jurgen’s rosters, but he has consistently played second striker. Donovan was consistently listed as a forward for Klinsmann’s teams before his sabbatical. There is still one spot open for a striker but if Landon is listed as a striker there probably isn’t a spot for Wondo and even if Donovan isn’t…
5. He Is Old
If given the choice between a player who has never been to a World Cup and is too old to be around next cycle, or a young player who has never had a chance at a World Cup and is a potential part of the next few World Cup teams, who would you rather have on the end of your bench? Wondo isn’t much better than Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Mike Magee. If these four players, and any other strikers to come out of the woodwork over the next year, (maybe McInerney, Luis Gil, Omar Salgado, etc.) are competing for one spot would you really pick Wondo over all of them?
Wondo has earned minutes and I believe that he gets his start against Costa Rica tonight, but he won’t be able to keep up this rate of scoring against the competition in the elimination stages of the Gold Cup. If he continues scoring regularly, he will likely have locked up the Golden Ball before we even get close to the final and will have earned an opportunity on a World Cup Qualifying roster, but a Qualifying roster is far from a World Cup roster. Wondolowski is probably on a better track than he was a week ago, but he really hasn’t proved anything yet. Goals against minor league teams don’t earn you a spot in Brazil. Wondo will get his shot, and I still expect it to be a waste of time, but what he has done so far doesn’t in anyway deserve anything.
July 4, 2013Posted by on
This year’s Gold Cup is a secondary tournament to the World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal for the United States, but 11 other countries have made their way to the USA for the summer. These nations and their teams are looking for success and making this tournament may even be a significant level of success for a few of them. The tournament’s format has stayed the same as past years. Twelve teams, including three from North America, four from the Carribean and five from Central America, have made their way here.
These twelve teams have been split into three groups. Group A includes Mexico, Panama, Canada and Martinique. Group B includes Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti. Group C includes the United Staes, Costa Rica, Belize and Cuba. Two teams will automatically qualify for the round of eight from each group. The top two third place qualifiers from all groups will be placed into the round of eight as well. The tournament then proceeds as a single elimination leading up to the final in Chicago’s Soldier field on July 28th. The only significant change to this years tournament is that the winner will compete in a one game play-off with the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup to be CONCACAF’s representative at the 2017 Confederations Cup. This is intended to give the tournament more weight despite being played in a summer which also includes World Cup Qualifiying.
Canada, Mexico and the United States are again automatic qualifiers for this tournament based on past performances and lack of competition in the North American region. Every Gold Cup in the past has been won by a North American team and second string USA and Mexico teams are the favorites to win the tournament as usual. Canada is the only North American team which has already been eliminated from World Cup contention and will have a very different outlook than the other North American squads.
The four Carribean teams, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Martinique qualified through the 2010 Carribean Cup in Antigua and Barbuda. Cuba won this tournament by defeating Jamaica 1-0 with a goal “from way downtown” in the 113th minute of the final. Haiti and Martinique also qulified based on performance at this tournament. Also of note, in July’s FIFA rankings Haiti was placed at 69, with no other Carribean nation until Cuba at 82. Cuba. Haiti recently tied an Italian team and held Spain to a one point victory as both teams prepared for the Confederations Cup. All four Carribean teams have been eliminated from the World Cup.
The Central American Region sends Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Panama after each team qualified through this years Copa Centroamericana. Belize gave a historic result in this tournament, reaching the semifinals and qualifying for their first Gold Cup while Costa Rica defeated Honduras 1-0. Honduras and Costa Rica, along with Panama are both still in contention for spots in the 2014 World Cup. Costa Rica has sent the core of the World Cup Qualifying team excepting Bryan Ruiz and a few others, while Hondura has left their starters at home and sent a team of players from the Honduran league along with Andy Najar and a few MLS players.
June 28, 2013Posted by on
Another American World Cup trip ends with another disheartening loss to Ghana. After being placed in the most intimidating group in Turkey, the US came home with only one point. The team showed well against Spain though being seriously overwhelmed by Spain’s attacking prowess. Jesé and Gerard Deulofeu’s Spanish side were clearly the class of the group and had no trouble against a USA side without a true centerback. Tab Ramos choice to not select a true centerback for the squad was the downfall of a team who out-possessed Spain and Ghana for large stretches of the game, but both opponents were able to take advantage of nearly every opportunity given to them in the USA’s final third.
Ultimately the result of the tournament doesn’t mean much. Our youth team got an opportunity to play against three of the top teams in the world and may even have faced better opponents than some teams that have moved on will see. There were definite standouts on the team, midfielder Luis Gil was the star of the Spain game, Cody Cropper was lights out in goal for the entire tournament despite backing a defense that surrendered nine goals in three games and DeAndre Yedlin showed that he can contain some of the best players at his age and attack against them in his own right.
This U20 tournament was always about establishing players and developing names that can show up in the senior pool in a few years ago. While it might have been nice to see them play a few more games, the games that they got were high quality opportunities. They got a chance to hone their skills against Jesé, Frank Acheampong, and Paul Pogba and did well with the opportunity.
If I had to bet on which of these players ended up with significant senior caps, I would put money on Yedlin and Gill. Gill was by far the best player for the US and martialed the midfield, although the players in front of him are all fairly entrenched, his skills and experience with Salt Lake that made him the best player on the U-20 team also make him the most likely to make an imprint on the senior team. Gil’s individual skill led to two of the three goals the USA scored in the tournament.
DeAndre Yedlin was another strong player exhibiting both skill on the ball and being the most impressive defensive player on the youth team. Yedlin’s rise has been meteoric, making his first appearance with the Sounder’s senior team in early March and immediately making MLS team of the week. He defended well and his forays into the attack were some of the US’s most impressive moments in Turkey.
Other players showed well also, Cody Cropper was the best player on the field, but in a strong goalkeeping competition, he may not see anytime with the senior team for a long time. Will Trapp and Mikey Lopez both impressed in limited time in the midfield and Jose Villareal and Daniel Cuevas had moments of individual brilliance but with the way youth teams work, only a very limited number of players make it out of even the best youth systems. Surprise players come out of nowhere. Established youth heroes get injured and sometimes they just disappear. This tournament is no guarantee of future success, or future failure, but the best we could hope for was to have our team face off with top teams from around the world. They faced the tournament favorites and gained the experience that comes with that. That’s really the best we could have hoped for.
June 20, 2013Posted by on
After a great month of qualifying from the USMNT, scoring all nine available points, we seem to have more answers than questions. A few players have solidified there spots on the team. No one will be arguing that Jozy should lose his spot after a record breaking goal scoring streak to break his dry spell. Matt Besler is our clear first choice centerback and while Omar Gonzalez has been getting maximum time besides him, he has not impressed. Klinsmann may very well keep Gonzalez at the position through next summer, but it is far from a given. Michael Bradley was already a key to the team, but his leadership on the field continues to establish himself as the most important player in stars and stripes. Geoff Cameron has shown himself to be absolutely invaluable to the team at three different positions. Cameron is the first off the bench at centerback, right back and defensive midfield and has played well enough at each spot to hope for a start somewhere. Even deeper down we see the DeMarcus Beasley and Brad Evans have cemented themselves in the fullback positions, though it seems unlikely that either will be playing those positions a year from now. If Timmy Chandler and Steve Cherundolo are able to find there way back into the squad they will be the favorites to hold down the fullback positions, but Evans and Beasley have definitely helped the team with spectacular play to keep those spots warm. Fabian Johnson has been moved to the midfield and seems likely to stay there given strong performances for most of the matches and a reluctance to move him to his more natural left fullback position. Graham Zusi has shown well on the right wing and would have been another player to set himself up as a starter if it weren’t for the specter of Landon Donovan on the Gold Cup roster. Zusi could very well outplay Donovan at the position and keep his spot, but if Landon comes to the senior team, it will be hard for Klinsmann to keep him on the bench.
With thirteen points from six games they look all but set to move on to Brazil. The team looks more comfortable than they have in years and is firing on all cylinders. They have looked to be playing the best soccer we have seen from them in years. The defense hasn’t been stellar, but the attack has looked strong and creative with solid service leading to a very good attack.
Noting that we can take another look at the situation at all of the positions and take a guess at who might still be around a year from now. Obviously all predictions are void if injured and I’d be happy to have a team full of sixteen year old superstars come out of nowhere and wipe out any projection I could make, but here are my projections for the 23. Bolds are players I’d be willing to bet money on, while the rest are just my choices to fill out the roster.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid
Fullbacks: Fabian Johnson, Steve Cherundolo ,Timothy Chandler, Edgar Castillo
Central Defenders: Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson
Defensive Midfield: Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, (Geoff Cameron), Maurice Edu,
Wing Midfield: DeMarcus Beasley, Graham Zusi, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson
Central Attacking Midfield:Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden, Joe Corona
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Terrence Boyd
June 18, 2013Posted by on
USA vs Honduras
Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy, Utah
The USA is finally in a very comfortable position in the group. They’ve got ten points through their first five games. Honduras is also in a position of strength. In fourth place and with seven points over five games they look likely to move on as well, but their position is not nearly as solid, but they do have a game in hand over Mexico who sits in third place. Honduras will need to make a good run to beat the Americans, but they will have a few key missing characters. Houston Dynamo’s star striker Oscar Boniek Garcia along with Honduras lead WCQ scorer and Revs’ striker Jerry Bengston, midfielder Luis Garrido, and starting defenders Maynor Figueroa and San Jose’s Victor Bernardez will all be missing from the team with either injury or yellow card suspension along with a few other less key players. The team was so depleted that only 15 players were available at a training camp in San Jose on Thursday.
F. Johnson Dempsey Zusi
Castillo Besler Gonzalez Evans
The USA has had to deal with a lot of switching due to injuries and suspensions lately. Once again this is a key issue in the run up to the game. Jermaine Jones has been cleared to play, and Klinsmann has said that is all it will take to get Jones the start despite Geoff Cameron’s fantastic play against Panama. Even if Jones is held back out of an abundance of caution, the Cameron who played against Panama isn’t a step down at all. Defensive midfield is a position of depth, and as our depth becomes neccesary it becomes obvious how deep we are there. Cameron’s showing at defensive mid have all but locked up a spot for him on the 2014 World Cup roster based on his versatility alone, but don’t be surprised if he digs out a starting spot somewhere on the field.
Beasley’s yellow card suspension seems to be more troubling. The best left back on the roster, Fabian Johnson, has established himself on the left wing and Edgar Castillo, the most significant left back depth hasn’t shown particularly well in that position. Castillo will most likely get the start and another opportunity in his natural position, but it’s unclear that he has earned that trust on the field for the national team. If not Castillo, Johnson could get the call at left back and either Castillo or Eddie Johnson, who have both played well on the left wing, could get the start in Fabian’s place.
Honduras’ attack is depleted and there centerback tandem is out. The USA should win this game handily.
2-0 with another goal from Jozy and maybe even a set piece.
June 14, 2013Posted by on
According to MLSsoccer.com, Jerry Bengston left the Honduras team at a stopover in Houston. The team was on their way to Salt Lake Utah to play the USMNT, but Bengston went to Boston to be with the Revs instead. It’s not a huge deal on the field as Bengston hasn’t done much for the Revs and he hasn’t even been playing for Honduras the last few games. It seems that he left the team in the south out of frustration over lack of playing time. He’s not quite the player that Blas Perez is for Panama, but another MLS striker will be missing from the USMNT’s Central American opponent this week.
June 6, 2013Posted by on
USA at Jamaica
“The Office” National Stadium, Kingston Jamaica
Televised on BeIn Sports
Mexico just took the lead in the Hex with six points, of course they’ve played one game more than everyone but Jamaica. The USA is two points back and in the playoff position, while Jamaica sits in the final spot with only two points. Donovan Ricketts and crew are under tons of pressure to pick up all of the points they can from this match-up and every game they’ve got left to have any opportunity to move on to the World Cup Finals. The United States isn’t gonna be an easy team to pick off though. Dempsey, Bradley and Howard lead a strong team coming off of a win against one of the best teams in the world into the Office and are looking for three points as well.
Evans Cameron Besler Beasley
F.Johnson Dempsey Zusi
Players to watch:
There are a few things to watch about Fabian Johnson in this game. First we’ll have to see whether his injury keeps him out of the game or from starting. If this is the case, Eddie Johnson seems to be the bet to start given his performance in the friendlies and Brad Davis’ weak performance as an already slow player. The next thing to watch about Johnson is how he combines with DMB behind him on the overlap. This game will go the way that Johnson’s left flank goes. If Beasley and Johnson cause mistakes in the back by poor communication and switching, Jamaica’s speed in the attack will take advantage. If Beasley and Johnson attack as well as they can they will tear apart whoever Jamaica puts at right back, especially if Jamaica continues to rely on national team rookie Alvas Powell who got torn up by Mexico at outside back like a younger more promising Johnny Bornstein.
Another spot to watch is the centerback position. This is a real toss-up, and honestly I expect Jurgen to stick with Gonzalez and Besler but given the speed of Jamaica’s frontline Cameron should get the cap. Cameron has speed that Gonzalez doesn’t and will be able to defend Jamaica’s counterattack much more thoroughly than the heavy-footed Gonzalez.
With the schedule congestion forced on Jamaica, they’ve likely got to make a few changes. With the way that the left side of their defense looked against Mexico, they’ve likely got to make a few more changes. Two players who were unavailable for them against Mexico will likely play key roles against Mexico. Veteran forward Jobi McAnuff will be expected to get the start on the wing after taking time away for family reasons. Jermaine Johnson will be expected back in the middle after a card suspension. Both men would have likely started against Mexico, but when considering the heavy feet of a team that played 90 minutes only Tuesday night and has another qualifier right ahead, they have to get new faces on the field. The biggest issue they had against Mexico was Powell. The USA doesn’t have the wing strength that Mexico has, but a bruised rookie will likely be benched for what amounts to do or die qualifiers for Jamaica and brought back in for friendlies later on.
O.Daley Marriappa Gordon Woodbine
Beckford R.Johnson McAnuff
Players to Watch:
Young attackers off the bench
Darren Mattocks and Theo Whitmore are both threatening young attackers for Jamaica. It’s unlikely that either of them will get the start, unless McAnuff is still unavailable but at least one of them will get time coming off of the bench. Those fresh legs up-top will reinvigorate the Jamaican counter. Besler and Cameron or Gonzalez had better be able to hold their line more effectively than they have shown if they hope to stop the speed of these fresh-legged Jamaican strikers.
On this bumpy pitch, with The Office vibing like it’s expected to it will be a tough match for the USA. A friendly against Germany’s B’s is tough, but it’s a very different kind of tough to go into Kingston and play in front of those fans and pull out three points. Even if they hit their stride, they won’t be able to pull away from a strong Jamaican side. The game will turn on the American left-flank where DeMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson will likely be bearing down on Alvas Powell. Of course it is just as likely that Jamaica runs their offense through Brad Evans and Omar Gonzalez. Whoever wins those battles will win those games and given the experience that MLS standouts Gonzalez, Cameron and Besler have against Johnson and Mattocks with Portland and Vancouver, it seems likely that that battle will go to the defense. If Alvas Powell starts again for Jamaica the results might not be so good for the defender. Beasley and Johnson showed well in their limited time together.
Prediction : USA 1- Jamaica 0
Johnson to Johnson with substitute Eddie scoring a late game-winner after Fabian reverses a Jamaican counter attack.
June 4, 2013Posted by on
While announcing their new shirt sponsors today, New York Cosmos Chairman Seamus O’Brien mentioned that the team is in constant communication with Don Garber. This wouldn’t have been news a few weeks ago, but now that New York FC has been announced as a second team in NYC, it seems highly unlikely that the Cosmos will be moving up to MLS any time soon if ever, yet they say they are in constant contact with Garber. Do you think MLS should be interested in the Cosmo’s brand still? Think Orlando, Atlanta, Minnesota etc. deserve a shot first? Wanna poke holes in O’Brien’s argument that New York can sustain three MLS teams?
August 8, 2012Posted by on
Jurgen hasn’t announced his rosters, and neither has de la Torre. It’s expected that much of the Mexican roster will come from the Olympic squad which is currently making a run at the Gold Medal. Unfortunately Jurgen doesn’t have that luxury and will not be able to call in new names who have shown well in a high level international competition. Instead it seems he will have to call in as many regulars as possible for a match at Azteca stadium, one of the most notoriously difficult stadiums for any team to play in. It’s well noted that the USMNT has never won a game at Azteca and it seems odd that the FMF would give them any more opportunities to do so, and shake a bit of the lore off of it, in something as unimportant as an August friendly. Then again these decisions always seem to come down to many anyway.
Any expected roster for a match of this level will surely involve every piece of the central core of the team who is available. As it is a FIFA date, that should be everyone, but I wouldn’t count on recent transfers coming in. Jurgen has shown a preference to let players settle in with clubs. That would likely mean Michael Bradley will be staying in Italy and Terrence Boyd will be staying in Vienna, along with any of the other USMNT regulars who may be looking for transfers (Dempsey, Bocanegra and Edu.) So that throws a bit of a wrench into the plan of calling in all the regulars.
GK: Howard, Guzan, (I expect Guzan to actually get substantial minutes as he’s the back-up for the rest of WCQ and could use a little just-in-case time with the team) Hamid (Many are calling for NYRB Meara, but if he’s losing his starting spot for club I don’t see why you call him in for this. Johnson and Rimando both make more sense with more sustained succcess)
D: Goodson(surprising he’s the first name in but I had CBs on the mind and he’s the only one we can really count on at all) Cherundolo, Lichaj(shocked he wasn’t called for WCQ), Johnson, Bocanegra (Because he’s about the only player who hasn’t commited to leaving Rangers yet), Parkhurst, (cause I don’t want Onyewu in camp again, he showed poorly since he came back from injury) Chandler (Yes I think he’s one of the best player’s in the pool so I will give him a call until he says no firmly. Many suggest waiting till qualifying, and I’m sure Jurgen knows the situation and will handle it in an appropriate way)
M:Jones, Beckerman, Edu, (I see these three starting with Bradley left in Rome.) Kljestan(although if he couldn’t get a call for WCQ why would he get one now that he’s not starting. He is scoring in UCL), Torres, Dempsey (unless of course he gets his transfer), D.Williams, Corona,(almost entirely because the space left by Bradley is gaping. I’m not sure Corona gets a call for a full strength game. He didn’t get any minutes in WCQ, but that’s not exactly unexpected. I think he sticks around like Jurgen has shown he likes to do with newly integrated players.)
F:Gomez, Altidore(even though Alkmaar may not be willing to give him up), Donovan, Young MLS Player To Be Named Later (Probably one of the younger players in the pool, I expect this to go to an MLS standout,not an Eddie Johnson or Kenny Cooper. Wondo is the only older MLS player whos really earned a look and I’m reluctant to even give him that.), Wondolowski (I hate giving it to him, I already feel like he’s to old to be playing for the USMNT, but his pace in MLS is so high that you have to call him in and see if you can make it work. Gomez did and has almost cemented the starting spot, so give him a bit more time. I don’t want him to take time from a younger player, but there’s not a clear player he’s taking time from.)
and for those who don’t want to read my ramblings
GK: Howard, Guzan Hamid
D: Goodson, Cherundolo, Lichaj, Johnson, Bocanegra, Parkhurst, Chandler
M: Jones, Beckerman, Edu, Kljestan, Torres, Dempsey, D. Williams, Corona,
F: Gomez, Altidore, Donovan, Young MLS PTBNL, Wondolowski