Friday, May 26, 2006

Depositing The '06 News

Gibbs out, Berhalter in. So it's not good news for Team USA as defender Cory Gibbs injured his right knee bad enough in the game v Morocco that he has been dropped from the squad and replaced by former Energie Cottbus captain Gregg Berhalter. This really bums me out personally cuz I am a big fan of Gibbs and I had picked him as the Du Nord Player To Watch for this World Cup. My faith in Gibbs was high, whereas by faith in Berhalter is really low. Can you spell A-G-O-O-S? Damn, I hope not. So who becomes the break out player to watch now?
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Saturday evening Minnesota Thunder action, and the Free Beer Movement will be in full effect! Join us for Minnesota v Portland at the National Sports Center in Blaine (north metro). 7:30 kickoff. 3pm start on the tailgating, cuz the women's team, Minnesota Lightning, make their debut at 5pm. Here is where the tailgating will take place. And here is where our seating section is.
-If you are here in or near the Twin Cities and don't attend the match I am going to become very upset with you.
-I posted a Q & A that I conducted with Thunder coach Amos Magee over at the Blue Sky Soccer.
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The USA Send-off Series matches continue Friday night from Cleveland.
I will be over in St Paul watching this one at the Sweetwater (in the Kelly Inn), so please come and join up in the rabble-rousing!
Friday May 26 v Venezuela - at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland at 6pm central on ESPN2
-2 articles from the Cleveland Plain Dealer ahead of tonight's match: U.S. men chasing a World Cup of riches - AND - Guiding U.S. 'a blast' for Arena
-The Akron Beacon Journal on Landy Cakes: Happy To Be Kicking
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Then catch the final Send-Off Series match:
Sunday May 28 v Latvia - at Rentschler Field in Hartford at 6pm central on ESPN2
-The One-Time-Only USA Don't Tread On Me Jersey will be unveiled next Sunday in Connecticut when our boys take on Latvia. US Soccer is taking pre-orders for this very limited edition shirt right now, and promise to have them to you before the World Cup! (Thanks to Sasha for finding us an image of this shirt.)
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US Soccer has three new video clips and an audio interview with Kasey Keller leading up to tonight's game.
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The only known starter for the USA tonight is goalkeeper Tim Howard. The other 10 spots are a mystery to all of us plebes, but you can be fairly accurate in guessing that it will be a lot of different players from last Tuesdays match v Morocco.
-Ives Galarcep of the North Jersey Herald on Howard's turn in the nets tonight.
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Jere Longman of the New York Times on Eddie Johnson's search for his once awesome scoring touch.
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ESPN began their 5 day series of short new reports on Team USA called All Access, and can be seen at the Soccernet USA page. To find the video clip must scroll down the right side of the page to "Motion Video".
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We haven't heard from Beau Dure in quite a while, but he has a feature on USA & DC United's own Captain Caveman. Midfielder Ben Olsen in USA Today.
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And speaking of Beau Dure and USA today - they have a soccer weblog called Soccer Sweep.
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That same weblog has a great link to a World Ranking that in my opinion looks a lot more like reality - The World Football Elo Ratings. Designed by the people who do the World Chess Rankings. In this set up the USA and Mexico are tied for 14th. Sounds about right to me.
-I just did a pretty unscientific thing, but its interesting none the less. I took those Elo ratings and lined up the 8 groups by average ranking to see which group looked to be the toughest. By this system, the USA is not only NOT in the Group of Death, they aren't even in the second Group of Death. They are in the third. Here they are:
Group C average 16.25
2 Netherlands
8 Argentina
26 Serbia & Montenegro
29 Cote d'Ivoire
- - - -
Group F average 17
1 Brazil
16 Croatia
24 Australia
27 Japan
- - - -
Group E average 22
5 Czech Republic
7 Italy
14 USA
62 Ghana
- - - -
Group D average 24.75
9 Portugal
14 Mexico
18 Iran
58 Angola
- - - -
Group A average 26.5
11 Germany
21 Poland
35 Costa Rica
39 Ecuador
- - - -
Group B average 26.5
3 England
12 Sweden
31 Paraguay
60 Trinidad & Tobago
- - - -
Group H average 33.25
4 Spain
33 Ukraine
40 Tunisia
56 Saudi Arabia
- - - -
Group G average 37.25
6 France
28 Switzerland
35 South Korea
80 Togo
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Luis Beuno of Sports Illustrated gives us an update on Mexico's preparations.
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The New York Times on World Cup security.
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MLS matches this weekend (all times central):
Salt Lake v Colorado - 3pm on ESPN2
New England v Houston - 6:30 on HDNet
Kansas City v DC - 7:30pm on Direct Kick
Chivas USA v Chicago - 10pm on Direct Kick
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MLS Single Table
21 Dallas
15 DC
13 Houston
13 Kansas City
11 Columbus
10 Chicago
10 New England
10 Colorado
8 New York
7 Salt Lake
7 Los Angeles
4 Chivas USA
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Frank Dell'apa of the Boston Globe has news on New England forward Pat Noonan's return to the team's starting line up this weekend v Houston.
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The KC Soccer Journal has a Q & A with Wizards midfielder Davy Arnaud.
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The Bayern Munich team that plays Red Bull New York on Saturday is not their full team, but when you look at this roster you can see that they are still a very formidable lineup:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Drehe
Defenders: Bixente Lizarazu, Georg Niedermeier, Stephan Fuerstner
Midfielders: Sebastian Deisler, Jens Jeremies, Andreas Ottl, Hasan Salihamidzic, Mehmet Scholl, Markus Steinhofer,Rainer Storhas
Forwards: Roy Makaay, Claudio Pizarro, Paulo Guererro
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The rest of the USL First Division matches this weekend:
Friday
Toronto v Miami
Vancouver v Seattle
Saturday
Charleston v Atlanta
Virginia Beach v Rochester
Minnesota v Portland
Seattle v Vancouver
Sunday
Montreal v Miami
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Simon Kuper of the Financial Times with a long and powerful piece on Germany, the Nazi's and football: The dutiful game
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Brazil at practice. (from Lance)
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I stole this map from another site (That's On Point) with a highlight showing where Togo is in Africa. What I did not realize was that 3 World Cup qualifiers Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast are all side by side. Kinda cool for them.
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Valencia have signed Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes. I can't imagine too many in the Northwest of England are disturbed by this as Morientes delivered nothing on his hefty promise in his year and a half at the club.
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JS Kabylie have won the Algerian league title. That's who I had my money on!
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And, Andriy Shevchenko has really left AC Milan (this article is from the teams website). He has not signed yet with Chelsea, but we all know it's inevitable.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Ken said...

I'm glad Keller isn't playing tonight. Keller getting injured before the WC starts would be the worst possible thing for the US, and after watching last nights England/Belarus match, it's not out of the realm of possibility for something like that to occur.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Oh, and the only reason that Group E polls 3rd based on the World Football Elo Ratings is because Brazil raises the average for their group by being ranked #1. And Ghana brings Group E's average down being the 2nd lowest ranked team in the tournament. The only reason that group E would not rank as the 1st or 2nd group of death in the WC would be if the US crashes and burns in the 1st round (proving they don’t deserve their FIFA ranking). If that does not occur I put Group E as group of death #2.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Financial Times piece on German football was great. And I have been to both Togo and Ghana!

Donovan

7:21 PM  
Blogger tom said...

Wolf,

You are a horrible atrocity, what with your "science" and "math." Puttin' fancy numbers together to make less fancy numbers is the devil's work. Oh, and the only reason that Group E polls 3rd based on the World Football Elo Ratings is because Brazil raises the average for their group by being ranked #1. And Ghana brings Group E's average down being the 2nd lowest ranked team in the tournament.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really hoping the Elo ratings were done by Jeff Lynne.

matthew

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting about the average rankings. Note that the U.S. has the highest ranking of any "3rd best team in a group." (Which goes back to the crappy pot they were in when the draw was set up--not really fair.) Group E has 3 teams ranked higher than the 2nd-ranked team in Group F, so I would concur with others who say it's the 2nd group of death.
I really wish FIFA would change the way they do their finals draw, by the way.
-Z

7:00 PM  
Blogger kebmodee said...

being a third tier team, the us got totally screwed with the draw. i guess mexico getting the top seed over us is reasonable tho. our shoddy 98 performance didn't help our ranking. we need to win our group to avoid brazil who will most likely win their group. or do you secretly want a rematch of the WC 94 game on july 4th? and what do you think our chances of beating brazil are, realistically? 2/10?

8:53 AM  
Blogger hartley said...

Gooch is the player to watch for the US. It's not IF he has a good WC [as in the case of Eddie Johnson], but HOW GOOD a WC he will have. Gooch stands to be courted by several big clubs from several countries. And he will begin fulfilling his dream of redefining the position of central defender.

8:40 PM  
Blogger kj said...

A better comparison would be to use the raw rankings to determine group averages. The results aren't wildly different, mind you:

C - 1846.00
F - 1845.25
E - 1814.00
D - 1772.50
B - 1771.75
A - 1759.50
H - 1734.75
G - 1723.50

1:43 PM  

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