Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Soccer News for Jul 13, 2017

It's Day 194 of 2017.

RIP to Neal Patterson, one of the very special group who invested in and turned Kansas City soccer into something amazing with Sporting KC. Thank you Neal. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, team.


Chuck Blazer has died. Say goodbye to the Cocaine Santa Claus of FIFA and CONCACAF. The man who started the avalanche of the US Justice Department arrests of FIFA and soccer execs world wide in 2013.
  • His obituary. From the New York Times.
  • In the first sentence he is called a "bon vivant."
  • And then there was this: "He was said to have kept two apartments at Trump Tower in Manhattan, one for himself and the other mostly for his cats. Sometimes he carried a macaw on his shoulder."
  • In real life some might he say he was a genuine Prince of Darkness.
  • Blazer's blog was a source of endless entertainment for me.
  • For years I harbored a secret dream to work for Chuck for even just 1 month to see the madness first hand.


Important topic: After 10 years has the US Soccer Development Academy been worth the very large investment? By Beau Dure for Four Four Two.



USA had to bite down hard on the old mouth guard and grit out a 3-2 win over Martinique in the Gold Cup. Mar. Tin. Ique. For fucks sake.

My USMNT GC Notes:
  • Game highlights [VIDEO]
  • Only Brad Guzan, Omar Gonzalez and Kellyn Acosta started both games so far.
  • And for the 2nd straight game the USA had no one who could pull the strings for the offense and cut the attackers loose.
  • The first half was a real snoozer again.
  • Zardes had a real rough first half considering all the great chances he had to change the game. We counted at least 8 or 9 times he could have made something happen with a shot or a pass and only twice did he do any damage. That number is way too low.
  • The second half started off all USA and they jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
  • But Bruce Arena made a tactical error at that point - bringing out Acosta and subbing in Bedoya, which failed miserably. Within 10 minutes Mart had tied the game at 2-2.
  • Remember when Klinsmann put Bedoya in the defensive midfield role and it failed miserably? This had the exact same result.
  • Disaster was averted a few minutes later with a 3rd USA goal.
  • Zardes made up for his first half fumbling with a great cross for the last goal - he was so cool and calm, making exactly the right pass at the right time. Perfect ending for him.
  • Arena fixed his d-mid issue too by inserting McCarty to shore up the midfield in front of the back line.
  • Nothing Guzan could have done about the 2nd goal - it took a huge deflection.
  • But that first Mart goal saw Guzan at his slowest - not able to get 1 step to his left and down to the ground fast enough to prevent a decently hit ball (from a long way off) from going right through his hands. He's obviously spent too much time in England and their goalkeeping errors rubbed off on him.
  • No matter what you say, the 2nd half of that game was very very entertaining.
  • Agudelo took a lot of chances and probed the Mart defense many times but never really threatened the goal.
  • Just one time I would like to see the very talented Agudelo leave every ounce of energy he has out of the field. He never gets there.
  • Besides Morris nabbing 2 goals I can't think of another USA player that had a great game. Mediocrity all around.


Gold Cup Group Stage Schedule:
-Sat Jul 8
USA 1-1 Panama - USA goal by Dom Dywer.
-Wed Jul 12
USA 3-2 Martinique - USA goals by Omar Gonzalez + Jordan Morris(2).
-Sat Jul 15
USA v Nicaragua - 6:00pm CT on FXX
FristEnergy Stadium - Cleveland

USA Roster
  • G: Brad Guzan - Atlanta United, Bill Hamid - DC United, Sean Johnson - New York City
  • D: Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City, Omar Gonzalez - Pachuca, Matt Hedges - Dallas, Eric Lichaj - Nottingham Forest, Matt Miazga - Chelsea, Justin Morrow - Toronto, Jorge Villafana - Santos Laguna, Graham Zusi - Sporting Kansas City
  • M: Kellyn Acosta - Dallas, Paul Arriola - Tijuana, Alejandro Bedoya - Philadelphia Union, Joe Corona - Tijuana, Dax McCarty - Chicago Fire, Chris Pontius - Philadelphia Union, Cristian Roldan - Seattle Sounders, Kelyn Rowe - New England Revolution, Kenny Saief - Gent, Gyasi Zardes - LA Galaxy
  • F: Juan Agudelo - New England Revolution, Dom Dwyer - Sporting Kansas City, Jordan Morris - Seattle Sounders

The last important item from the USA v Martinique game last night:


Gold Cup

16 year old Canadian Alphonso Davies has been stealing the show so far in the tourney. He has 3 goals in 2 games. He was subbed off in game 2 for an ankle injury precaution that doesn't look to be serious.

French Guiana basically threw in the towel before Game 1 even started. They sent out a player they KNEW was ineligible in their starting lineup. By Jonathan Tannenwald for
  • This is clearly another example of that fact that no matter how hard CONCACAF says it is working to change its image for better, it is essentially still a local day time TV show with a segment featuring clowns performing balloon tricks.


Group A
4 Can (+2 GD)
4 CR (+1 GD)
1 Hon (-1 GD)
1 FG (-2 GD)
-Fri Jul 7
French Guiana 2-4 Canada
Honduras 0-1 Costa Rica
-Tue Jul 11
Costa Rica 1-1 Canada
Honduras 0-0 French Guiana
-Fri Jul 14
Costa Rica v French Guiana
Canada v Honduras

Group B
4 USA (+1 GD) (4 GS)
4 Pan (+1 GD) (3 GS)
3 Mar (+1 GD)
0 Nic (-3 GD)
-Sat Jul 8
USA 1-1 Panama
Martinique 2-0 Nicaragua
-Wed Jul 12
Panama 2-1 Nicaragua
USA 3-2 Martinique
-Sat Jul 15
Panama v Martinique
USA v Nicaragua

Group C
3 Mex (+2 GD) (3 GS)
3 Jam (+2 GD) (2 GS)
0 El S (-2 GD) (1 GS)
0 Cur (-2 GD) (0 GS)
-Sun Jul 9
Curacao 0-2 Jamaica
Mexico 3-1 El Salvador
-Thu Jul 13
El Salvador v Curacao
Mexico v Jamaica
-Sun Jul 16
Jamaica v El Salvador
Mexico v Curacao

-Follow the entire Gold Cup here.



MNUFC has signed Nicholson and Boxall already, and the story is out there that Brandon Allen is coming on loan from NYRB II. So what does this mean. With the first two we won't know for a while yet. Are they high quality? Can they contribute anything? Starters? Depth? Are they a step up from the typical Euro players that were signed and mostly failed in January? We just won't know for a while. What we do know is this, the team doesn't need more depth players. They need genuine starters who can push several of the current guys to the bench where they belong. In other words, they already have the depth players they need real quality to put on top. And initial reaction is that none of these 3 are top quality difference makers.

The hope is that Sam Nicholson will be a change of pace from other signings this season, and I don't mean speed, although that would be nice too. By Andy Greder for the Pioneer Press.

Michael Boxall returns to MLS for a second chance. By Megan Ryan for the Star Tribune.

Your basic bag of mid-week team notes. By Ryan.

Stadium Cam [really more of a Big Top Liquor Cam]


US Open Cup

Quarterfinals schedule:
-Mon Jul 10
San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 LA Galaxy
-Tue Jul 11
Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Dallas
-Wed Jul 12
Miami v Cincinnati - postponed due to weather - date TBA
-Thu Jul 13
New England Revolution v New York Red Bulls


Cobi Jones is now helping run a NPSL team called City Of Angels FC - a team with some interesting connections. By Jamie Jackson for the Guardian.



Kenny Saief who made his USA debut in a friendly against Ghana and looked promising will have hernia surgery and be out for 2 months. He plays for Gent in Belgium.


My columns for 1500ESPN.

The Bird Is The Word


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