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soccerjohn
Fairfax, VA
Played 35 years, but never professionally. My opinions are strong and worth at least twice what you paid for 'em!
Recent Activity
To me, what Henry did is pretty low. But the answer isn't instant replay, or a match replay. I think the answer is to penalize cheating after the fact, in a manner commensurate with the deed. If a review panel determined that Henry intentionally handled the ball that led to that goal, he should be banned from the first three games France plays in the WC. I completely understand the outrage here. I go ballistic when I see the ref-jobs done to the US in international games. But the fact remains: Ireland had a full slate of qualifying games and two playoff games to try and reach the WC. Henry's cheat isn't the reason they're not going to SA. It's just the most recent.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2009 on Henry's Infamous Handball at Soccer By Ives
I think you may be right about MLS fostering a style of play that sets players back. I also think this subject may be moot in the long run. As Mathieu says, Ching > Casey. But I'll go one better: if we don't find a good alternative at forward, Dempsey will be up there with Altidore and Holden will be at wing. Holden at wing > Casey or Ching at forward.
I'm not going to tell you I think the kid was a reincarnation of Zidane. Still, he did manage to trap balls that were passed to him, pass the ball to another guy in the same jersey (usually), and hustle. In a game where you could say those things about maybe four other US field players, I came away relatively impressed.
After seeing Casey play for the Nats, I have resumed training in anticiation of my own call-up. Like Casey, I can't trap, pass, dribble, or shoot well enough to play at an international level. But, I'm faster than he is and, unlike Casey, I'd run my ass off if BB sent me out there. Given that the MNT appears to be so hard up for forwards that Casey is considered a good option, I just want to say that I'm willing to come out of retirement (from my over-40 club) and do whatever I can for my country in this time of need!
More on Altidore: He's got undeniable potential, but he's also got a history of inadequate performances and of riding the pine for his club teams due to attitude/immaturity. Starting him after a clunker like he offered at Slovakia--especially when the US badly needs to know what else it's got in the way of forward options--seems counterproductive in the long-term. Altidore plays well when he's hungry. He played great after Davies' accident. He played great in a sub stint following his recent benching at Hull. But it seems like he needs external motivation. Betcha a dollar that if he comes in as a 70th minute sub in this game he'll play like gangbusters.
1) I think seeing what Castillo can offer at left back is priority #1 for this game. 2) Altidore can't be allowed to think he's a lock to start no matter how he plays. Anyway, we already know what we can hope to get from him. Let's see what other guys can do. 3) We've got lots of options at RB, so let's see how Spector can do in a second test at CB. --------Cunningham---Johnson Rogers---Feilhaber---Bradley---Holden ---Castillo--Boca--Spector--Heyduk --------------Guzan I also was intrigued by McCarty's stint vs Slovakia and hope he gets quality minutes, maybe subbing Feilhaber at 60-70 mins. Feilhaber doesn't seem to have the conditioning to go hard for 90, anyway.
I'm disappointed to see Torres and Castillo out of the roster. It's easier to undertand Holden's absence, but that's also pretty disappointing. Those are the three guys I really wanted to see. Unless one of the new guys really shines, it'll be hard to evaluate him because the team that's around him will be so different from the team that qualified.
I think it's less important to look at guys who haven't been particularly on the radar than it is to get long, good looks at Torres, Castillo, and Rogers. Even Holden hasn't had much opportunity to show what he could do as a starter. We also need to see how Altidore and Dempsey do together up top (as starters). If Edu can play, by all means get him out there. We've got lots and lots of questions to answer before digging for guys who BB didn't think warranted a look during qualifiers.
Gotta keep Donovan at the wing. No question.
Tough loss, and not what I'm used to seeing from a US side playing a world power. The US had a clear edge in possession and created lots of chances for themselves. The Italians simply made more of theirs.
Thanks for the info, Aaron. If this is true, it'll be a big boost to his prospects for returning to top form.
Toggle Commented Oct 31, 2009 on Edu closing in on comeback at Soccer By Ives
I'd like to see a lineup that gets some of our young talent on the field together and tests assumptions about how the MNT has to play to win. Anyone think it'd be worth trying a 3-5-2 with Rico Clark or Michael Bradley playing DMs and Feilhaber or Torres playing OM? ----Dempsey--Altidore ---------Torres Donovan-----------Holden -----Clark---Bradley Bornstein--Boca--Dolo If Donovan and/or Holden are unavailable, maybe we could see what Torres and Feilhaber look like on the field together.
Would be nice, but I think there's a three-year waiting period.
It seems unlikely that the strong response was due entirely to the most recent incidents. Not that I have any insider info, but based on the amount of time he's spent on the bench this season I'd have to say that Jozy was far from his coach's good graces prior to last weekend. As for whether Jozy will see the pitch again, I suspect that depends entirely on how well he plays. Coaches play the guys who help their teams win, period. Jozy's got all sorts of talent; it'd be great to see this motivate him and be a lesson that helps him grow as a professional.
Toggle Commented Oct 27, 2009 on Brown gives Altidore a life-line at Soccer By Ives
Really glad to hear the news. I read somewhere that Davies was a nationally competitive high school wrestler. The kid is tough.
I think you're right that Bradley will be in the lineup, but disagree with your seeming criticism of the choice. Bradley contributes much more to the defense than Feilhaber and contributes well to the offense when he's allowed to go forward--as he would in a 3-5-2. Bradley actually possesses and distributes fairly well when he gets forward. Can't comment too much on Torres because we haven't seen him.
Point is good. I thought Jones would be back by mid-November, but just read that he'll be out at least through November. I suppose Edu is really wishful thinking, too. He was supposed to be ready by now and is (still) expected back relatively soon. He originally had targeted September. But it must be said that even if he played this weekend he'd likely not be ready for the MNT on the 14th.
I love the opponent. Here's my wishlist: 1. Play in Europe. 2. Torres starts. 3. If they're healthy, Edu, Jones, & Castillo see action. 4. Dempsey & Altidore start up top. Bonus: If Edu, Jones, & Bradley are all available, try a 3-5-2.
Might a 3-5-2 be the answer? If Edu and Jones are both fit and in good form, the MNT will have two really good defensive CM's available--players who are too good to leave on the sideline if it can be avoided. Put Bradley in front of them and it might not be a beautifully fluid offensive team, but it'll probably create better ball control and distribution than we've seen from the current lineup--and it will sure as heck disrupt opposing play through midfield, which is where we've gotten killed against good attacking teams. Here's a lineup that would scrap like heck on the defensive side of the field, be strong on set plays at both ends of the field, and be capable of scoring goals against the run of play: ----------Dempsey--Altidore --------------Bradley Donovan------------------------Holden ----------Edu---------Jones Bornstein------Boca---------Spector/Dolo --------------Howard
It seems to me that the RM/ACM game revolved around Brazilian players and around old guys. The Brazilians were a mixed bag. There was some truly putrid goaltending by Dida. Ronaldinho showed tantalizing hints of what was, but ultimately contributed little. Kaka seemed to hustle but offered little inspiration. Marcello seemed like one of RM's most dangerous attackers! Pato finished well when he had the chance. Seedorf played really well; he seemed to be the one who generated the best chances for Milan. Raul was opportunistic and had a great work rate for RM.
Nice improvement. Keep up the great work Ives!
Sure, there are important "if's" to consider, foremost among them health and actual performance *on the MNT*. However, I think Jones has the potential to make a huge difference to the team. At the level these guys are playing, small differences can have a big impact on the game and I think this is likely to be more than a small upgrade over Clark. I expect the defense to be under less pressure directly (because of his D) and indirectly (because he'll do better at initiating the attack). The player in front of him, whoever it is, will be able to risk more ball control because he's behind them. If he's healthy and plays well with the team, I think Jones will make a big difference in the entire way the US can play.
What I'd like to see is Donovan have a year like he had and someone else *deserve* to win it.
Ives, I love your site. Great observations by you and others. I'm late to the game here, but have skimmed all the comments and hope I might have a couple of things that weren't done to death above... 1. Gooch was great for the most part, and I loved seeing how even a short time with Milan has increased his willingness to hold the ball and attempt a directed outlet. Unfortunately, I think he had final responsibility for the gamewinning goal. Yes, Donovan got beat--but he was gassed. Yes, Boca was a spectator, but he couldn't afford to stick a foot in because of his yellow--and he probably expected Donovan to have the legs to keep up. But if you look at the replay after the rebound off Demerit, you'll see a flatfooted Gooch belatedly trying to get to the ball. It's something he did at the Confed, too. I'm not hammering the guy--he was our best player vs Mexico. But he's got to maintain better focus. 2. Davies: world-class finish. Good run, good first touch, class finish on a big stage. Looked relaxed, not lucky. 3. I'm not a Bradley basher (jr or sr), but we went into a ridiculous shell after our goal. It gave a dangerous Mexican offense time to get off its heels and regain momentum. I do think Bob needs to get a pair sometimes. You can't expect to beat a good team without applying pressure. 4. The US certainly didn't play well enough to win. But the ref amplified an already huge home advantage. Mexico had fragile confidence and was playing for its qualifying life. No, the US didn't overcome--but I think Mexico would have had a hard time playing with such aggression and flair in a fair game. In a closely-matched contest, the accumulation of small difs can have a huge effect.