Monday, March 28, 2016

Some Soccer News for Mar 28, 2016

It's Day 88 of 2016.

Mission accomplised. For Guatemala!

World Cup qualifying results:
-Fri Mar 25
Guatemala 2-0 USA - Gua goals by Rafael Morales + Carlos Ruiz.
Next match
-Tue Mar 29
USA v Guatemala - 6:00pm CT at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus OH on ESPN2.
  • When the USA wins on Tuesday a lot of this #PANIC will go away. But it changes very little of what has gone on in the last 4 years.

That game in Guatemala City was one of the bigger stink-bombs from the USA that we have seen in a long time. Yes the USMNT did create enough chances to win, but they barely put one more ounce of effort into the game then that. And there were so many questionable lineup/roster choices that the team was deep in a hole before they even kicked off.
Lets examine the causes of some problems:
1. Tim Howard hasn't played a game for Everton in 2 months.
2. Geoff Cameron has played 2 games at right fullback for Stoke this season. He plays nearly every club game a centerback or d-mid.
3. Michael Orozco hasn't played in a league game for Tijuana this season.
4. DeAndre Yelin is a fullback, but started at right midfield.
5. Mix Diskerud is an attacking midfielder, but started at defensive midfielder.
6. Michael Bradley is a defensive midfielder, but started at attacking midfielder.
7. Alejandro Bedoya is a central midfielder, but started at left midfield.
8. Now add to that 2 centerbacks being injured during training last week and being dismissed from the team: Matt Besler (concussion), John Brooks (knee something or other).
9. Fabian Johnson suffered a groin injury with his club the weekend prior but was brought into the team anyway. He has been sent back to Germany.
10. Jozy Altidore has had a injured hamstring for 6 weeks prior to this camp and only recently got back to training and played a few minutes for his club the weekend before.
  • How is it possible that you go into a CONCACAF road game with 10 issues?

Some major issues in the game itself:
  • Guatemala was desperate and playing their first competitive game under a new coach. So you knew what was coming - lots of pressure, lots of cheap shots and lots of fake injuries.
  • Goal 1: horrible backpass by Castillo to Howard leads to corner kick. No one from USA covering post on corner as the team had discussed in pregame. Diskerud flailing to stick with his man and ball goes off him and into the net in the 7th minute.
  • Goal 2: Guate goal kick goes all the way past midfield skidding toward the USA goal (Bradley says he did not touch it), old man Ruiz slides right between Gonzalez and Orozco (who appear to be napping) scoops up the ball and strolls in on Howard alone, he shoots through Howard's legs in the 15th minute.
  • Both centerbacks eventually are subbed out.
  • Defensive midfielder is eventually subbed out.
  • Those three positions and the goalkeeper are usually only subbed out for injury. Otherwise its generally seen as poor prep from coaching staff to start those players that needed subbing in the first place.
  • Dempsey, while a couple of times he showed some of his great quality in passing and discombobulating defenses, spent too much of the game on the ground and whining to the referee.
  • Bedoya was clearly out of steam with 15 minutes to go. Before that he was decent, but had 2 great chances for goals that he shot straight at the keeper.
  • Yedlin.... does he know how to play soccer? Sometimes I wonder.
  • Zardes had the touch of a bumper car.
  • Altidore was on the field for nearly 10 minutes before he even touched the ball. Finally had a great chance well saved.
  • Bradley had 2 chances from the top of the box that he put a mile (combined, half mile each) over the goal.
  • Diskerud was practically invisible while he was out there.

Other notes:
  • USA had not lost to Guatemala since 1988.
  • No one in CONCACAF is afraid of the USA now. No one.
  • On Monday morning at a press conference the USA coach said, "I'm not playing anyone out of position."
  • Alexi Lalas pointed out that the USA players look "uncomfortable" on the field these days. I can't think of a better word to describe this team.
  • Graham Zusi and Christian Pulisic have been added to the USMNT roster for the game in Columbus.
  • We are also hearing that Bedoya may be injured.
  • Sadly no defenders were added, they one area where the team actually needs help.
  • I hope that at the least US Soccer placed a call to DaMarcus Beasley about the Tuesday game, if not, its a shame.
  • USA record in competitive matches in 2015/16: 4W-4L-2D (Gold Cup, CONCACAF Cup, World Cup qualifying).
  • Good news for Tuesday: the USA has not lost a qualifier at home since 2001.

In the end you have to give Guatemala credit. They wanted this game. Ruiz again was a royal pain in the ass. And their keeper Paulo Motta had the game of his career.

What is at stake for the USA come Tuesday in Columbus Ohio (and Frisco Texas)? Let Jeff Carlisle of ESPNF spell it out for you.

A preview of what's to come in Columbus. By Steven Goff of the Washington Post.

Columbus Crew central midfielder Rodrigo Saravia impressed for Gautemala on Friday and hopes to do it again on his home field tomorrow. By Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch.


Olympic qualifying results:
-Fri Mar 25
Colombia U23 1-1 USA U23 - Col goal by Juan Quintero(PK). USA goal by Luis Gil.
Next match:
-Tue Mar 29
USA U23 v Colombia U23 - 8:30pm CT at Toyota Stadium in Frisco TX on ESPN2.
  • On the road with intense heat the USA got a good early goal and then played strong (and lucky) defense to keep themselves alive in Olympic qualifying. They had the ball stuffed down their throat for a good portion of this game, but hung on and at the end even relieved some of the pressure with a couple good chances of their own. It seemed like the USA was bound to finally crumble in the last 10-15 minutes but that did not happen at all. A very important tie on the road with an away goal (the first tie breaker) to boot.
  • Tuesday will be a big task for them, and don't be surprised if they get blitzed early.


The terror attack in Lahore that happened on Sunday is just disgusting - a children's playground in a park was the target. My heart aches for these people. From the Pakistani English language daily newspaper Dawn.


Feature story on Minnesota United goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock starting with his childhood in Yaounde Cameroon. By Andy Greder of the St Paul Pioneer Press.

Minnesota United has signed fullback Jeb Brovsky. A much much much needed signing. He was on the NYCFC roster in MLS last season, and in Norway at Stromsgodset before that.


NASL season begins on Sat Apr 2 with Carolina RailHawks v Minnesota United at 2pm CT. See the game on Ch 29 in the Twin Cities and everywhere else.

Team-By-Team previews by Ryan Tolmich of SBISoccer:
-Ottawa Fury
-Indy Eleven
-Fort Lauderdale Strikers
-Rayo OKC

Week 1 schedule:
-Sat Apr 2
Carolina RailHawks v Minnesota United
Fort Lauderdale Strikers v Miami
Tampa Bay Rowdies v Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC v Edmonton
-Sun Apr 3
New York Cosmos v Ottawa Fury
-Bye: JA


Who leads MLS in goals so far? Yeah, its Pedro Morales of Vancouver with 4, ALL from the Penalty spot!!!!

I am naming Mauro Diaz of Dallas as the MLS Player Of The Month for March.

Weekend results:
New York City 1-1 New England Revolution
  • New England could really use a guy like Jermaine Jones to unify and motivate them.
Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Houston Dynamo
  • Vancouver basically lined up in a 4-2-4! I love it. Rivero, Kudo, Manneh and Techera all in the starting 11 and all are forwards. Houston looked really good again, even though they lost.
DC United 0-3 Dallas
  • Dallas rumbled past DC. A thorough beating. Michael Barrios of Dallas will probably be named Player Of The Week.


Helluva story: For over a decade Fulham ownership kept the team financed and in the English Premier League, but less than 3 years after selling to American Shahid Khan the club is hurtling down toward the 3rd division - League One. By Paul Doyle of the Guardian.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, also owned by Khan, have not had a winning season since be bought the team in 2011.

The Bird Is The Word


Anonymous Rich said...

I wish Lichaj would get some USMNT looks again. He was a solid left back at the end of the Bradley era. I think he would fill a much needed void.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich. Lichaj is primarily a right fullback. But thats not your point. I don't know why Klinsmann is done with him. and what about the others that are in that same boat? It will always be this way on any team. The coach likes who the coach likes. I am sure there are players regularly on the team who you think should never be on the team.


9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get me started. Every time I watch the US national team I reduce my lifespan another month. I remember, when Arena and Bradly and even Mulutinovic were at the helmn each match was an adventure a never-say-die middle finger to expectations. Now I watch with all the enthusiasm of entering a flaming porta-potty.


10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont want to contradict your negativity toward the coach, but Arena and Bradley teams had some pretty uninspired stink bombs too. This is not exclusive. The difference is that they figured out ways to fix it and did just that on a regular basis.
Its not always gonna be pretty, but it has to be better then what we are getting from the current coach.


10:28 AM  
Anonymous Rich said...

I think I've reached a point where I don't care what the starting 11 is, just as long as JK picks an 11 and sticks with it a little bit. It seemingly won't happen...

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your note Bruce.

I remember those stink bombs, not everything was great all the time.

At the same time with those two and Bora the team looked composed, players looked comfortable in their positions, combinations of players got reps together to form effective partnerships, and by and large you could see and measure forward momentum.

Today when I watch the national team it is with a sense of frustration, not because of any false promise the coach had made, but the degrading product on the field. Those stink bombs by Arena were followed by success and progress. The stink bombs by Bradly followed by his firing. After a year like 2015...?


10:00 AM  

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