Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Runny Nose Rudolph News

-US Soccer put out that list of players invited to train during January in prep for the World Cup. All but one player are from Major League Soccer. The list (alpha by position):
Brad Guzan - Chivas USA
Kevin Hartman - Los Angeles
Matt Reis - New England
Jonny Walker - Columbus
Chris Albright - Los Angeles
Jimmy Conrad - Kansas City
Todd Dunivant - Los Angeles
Frankie Hejduk - Columbus
Ugo Ihemelu - Los Angeles
Chad Marshall - Columbus
Heath Pearce - Nordsjaelland
Eddie Pope - Salt Lake
Freddy Adu - DC United
Brian Carroll - DC United
Ricardo Clark - Houston
Clint Dempsey - New England
Landon Donovan - Los Angeles
Justin Mapp - Chicago
Kyle Martino - Columbus
Pablo Mastroeni - Colorado
Pat Noonan - New England
Ben Olsen - DC United
Santino Quaranta - DC United
Steve Ralston - New England
Brian Ching - Houston
Nate Jaqua - Chicago
Eddie Johnson - Dallas
Chris Rolfe - Chicago
Taylor Twellman - New England
Josh Wolff - Kansas City
-Three questions for you, the reader, about the list above:
1 Any surprises on this list?
2 Who was left out?
3 And if you coached this team and had to play a game tomorrow, who would your starting 11 be? (see mine at the bottom of today's news)
-Word out of Warsaw says the USA will play Poland in Kaiserslautern Germany on March 1. This is the same stadium where the USA will play Italy in Match 25 of the group stage at the World Cup on June 17.
-Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union Tribune writes today about the Belgian Jean-Marc Bosman, who filed the lawsuit 10 years ago that eventually led to free agency for players in Europe. Sadly Bosman is penniless and living with his parents.
-Two from Rob Hughes at the International Herald Tribune today: Blatter sours Ronaldinho's gala (that dude Blatter could ruin anything) - and - Fans bewildered as agents run club (about London's Queens Park Rangers)
-Here's a rerun courtesy of my pal Nealinho. David Arvizu of the USA U-19 team scored a hammering scintillating mesmerizing bicycle kick goal against Dallas at the Nike Friendlies last month in Florida. Go to this page. Then click on the second photo, which is of Arvizu in midair, and a window will pop open for you to choose your video viewing choice. (It's at the very end of a 2 or 3 minute clip.) Take a look, marvel at the skill, and get a napkin to clean up the drool. The rumor is that Nike are offering him a bigger deal then they gave Adu.
-Enyimba won the Nigerian league championship.
-The Madbrit from the Soccer Times raves about, what else, the English Premier League. I like this writer and usually find him fun and entertaining, but this one is a little stale.
-Speaking of the EPL. Man Oh Man do they have a lot of games coming up: Full slate of matches on Dec 26, Dec 28, Dec 31 and Jan 2. Wow! Hope yer ready for some football!
-FIFA has a feature story on young Mexican goalkeeping sensation Guillermo Ochoa.
-Our mustachioed friend Frank Dell'apa writes about the new USA players contract for Soccernet.
-I missed previewing this yesterday but the Quarterfinals of Englands Carling Cup are yesterday and today. Scores from last night:
Wigan 2-0 Bolton
Birmingham 1-3 Man United
Todays matches:
Doncaster v Arsenal
Middlesbrough v Blackburn
I would assume there will be a Semifinal draw after today's games. (I'm thinking tomorrow most likely.) Does anyone care?
-Jarrett from TriSoccerFan left a comment yesterday saying he figures the MLS All-Star opponent to be Barcelona instead of my guess Chelsea. He and I have bet $1000 (chump change to rich dudes like us) to see who is right. My charity is the Mens Recovery Project, and his is the United Auto Workers Union. If we are both wrong then we each donate the $1000 to George W Bush's reelection campaign.
-At midday tomorrow US Soccer will announce their winners of the annual Soccer Athletes of the Year awards. 4 awards are given out: top Male & Female, and top Young Male & Young Female.
-Feature story on KC's Kerry Zavagnin at the US National Soccer Players Assoc site.
-PSV won easily last night to advance into the Quarterfinals of the Netherlands national cup race, the Gatorade Cup, beating Twente 3-0. DaMarcus Beasley started and was singled out for his great performance on the PSV website.
-Of the 18 teams in the German Bundesliga, 8 have fired their manager during this season already. Isn't that a bit extreme?
-There sure hasn't been much publicity about the Match Against Poverty, to be played Thursday night in Dusseldorf Germany, and run by the United Nations. The team captains are Zidane and Ronaldo. There is a huge list of star players on hand, and if you can believe this: Freddy Adu!
-Big Apple Soccer is reporting that former Metrostars midfielder Chris Corcoran has signed with Limavady United in the Northern Irish Premier League.
-A note from US Soccer called Soccer Shocker: German interior designer, Matthias Blume, is trying to turn FIFA's trash into his treasure by selling the 32 scraps of paper with the names of the World Cup finalists. Blume found a bag with the scraps of paper in the trash as he was helping to dismantle the stage used by FIFA for the Final Draw. As of Monday, bidding for Brazil was at 162 Euros, while Italy was at 103 Euros and USA was at 102 Euros.
- - - - - - - -
If I was USA coach, my team would line up in the 4-4-2 Brazilian style formation (4 backs with outside backs pushing all the way up and down, two d-mids, two a-mids, and two forwards. The a-mids and forwards would be almost interchangeable) like this:
Matt Reis
Chris Albright - Chad Marshall - Eddie Pope - Todd Dunivant
Clint Dempsey - Pablo Mastroeni
Landon Donovan - Freddy Adu
Eddie Johnson - Taylor Twellman


Blogger Kevin-- said...

Forgive the dumb question, but where are Reyna, DMB, Onyewu, etc.? Are they already "in?" Hurt?

As for those listed, here's who I'd roll with, based almost exclusively on personal preference, and almost zero empirical evidence (ie Jaqua, 'cause he's from my part of the world, and Conrad for his sense of humor).:


Albright, Conrad, Hayduke, Pope

Lando, Ralston, Quaranta, Mastroeni

Jaqua, and either Twellman or Johnson

12:43 PM  
Blogger hartley said...

Left out: Kerry Zavagnin. Yes, he had an average year. But he never confuses his assignments. He doesn't attack simply out of desire.

From the list, here's my starting XI:

Albright - Conrad - Marshall - Dunivant
Noonan - Donovan - Mapp
Jacqua - Wolff

Let me just add, Eddie Pope has been tremendous over the years but his time has passed. Just look back over the match against England in Chicago. Nuff said.

1:05 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

you are absolutely right about eddie pope playing terribly for the usa v england
i was at the game, and was embarrassed for him
after the game arena called him on it too
and you know what?
7 days later against costa rica he played one of the best games he has played in years
so i think on any given day he can still do it
and i will have him on my team so that he can prove it

there are no euro players called in cuz they are all in the middle of their season
arena will have them together as a full team twice in march
on the 1st v poland in kaiserslautern
and on the 22nd v germany in dortmund

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Ethan said...

I like your (and Brazil's) formation Bruce! If only every team played like that, we would have 4-3 games all of the time (or if Mourinho had his way, he would turn it into a virtual 6-2-2 and every match would be decided by a header from a set piece).

One change from your line-up: give Clark a chance to show what he can do instead of the more attack-minded Dempsey.

One question for you: Could this formation help eliminate the US hole at right mid?
Reyna-O'brien (or Mastroeni)

This would also help with the LB position, since Eddie would have fewer defensive responsibilities.

5:07 PM  
Blogger hartley said...


Good analysis on Pope. I still wouldn't have him at this point. There's a big difference between playing very poorly against England and well against Costa Rica.

Now, had Eddie turned and played well against Mexico or a team like the Czech Republic, then I would be right there with you. Costa Rica can be dangerous, but they are not England or even Mexico. And I'm not taking Eddie to task for that one match alone. His play for RSL wasn't all that great during the season either -- at least not what I think some would expect from him.

Bruce will most likely have him in the squad. I would not. Oh, well. Go United States!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Flatlander said...

That's a sad story about Bosman. He seems to have become soccer equivalent of Curt Flood.

11:08 AM  

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