Monday, August 28, 2017

Some Soccer News for Aug 28, 2017

It's Day 240 of 2017.


World Cup Qualifying is back and the games this week (Friday) and next (Tuesday) are big challenges.

-Fri Sep 1
USA v Costa Rica - 5:55pm CT on ESPN
-Tue Sep 5
Honduras v USA - 4:30pm CT on beIN

My USA WCQ Notes:
  • A couple of key injuries are the story for the USA. Right fullback DeAndre Yedlin and left centerback John Brooks both have leg injuries and were not called in at all.
  • Right fullback options are basically Eric Lichaj and Graham Zusi.
  • Left centerback options are Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.
  • There is also the issue that right centerback Omar Gonzalez is just returning from an injury at Pachuca, with 1 full game back.
  • Forward is a real bright spot, where all 5 guys are scoring regularly right now. The options and match ups are as good as they have ever been.
  • I am confused by not bringing in a young goalkeeper, especially Ethan Horvath who is the starter at Club Brugge now.
  • Midfield has plenty of depth if not the perfect form for some of the players right now as Acosta is inconsistent and Johnson just returned from injury.

What are the scenarios that get the USA to the World Cup? By Brian Straus for Sports Illustrated.

Geoff Cameron is a big key player now for this USA squad. Him and who else are the defenders for these two games? By Steve Davis for Four Four Two.

On DaMarcus Beasley, the Houston flooding, and other USMNT notes. By Grant Wahl for Sports Illustrated.

What Bruce Arena needs out of this USA roster for the 2 big games. By Jeff Carlisle for ESPNFC.

A review of this USA squad, which is surprisingly close to my thoughts above. (Great minds think alike.) By Brian Sciaretta for American Soccer Now.

USA Roster
  • G: Brad Guzan - Atlanta United, Tim Howard - Colorado Rapids, Nick Rimando - Real Salt Lake
  • D: DaMarcus Beasley - Houston Dynamo, Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City, Geoff Cameron - Stoke City, Omar Gonzalez - Pachuca, Matt Hedges - Dallas, Eric Lichaj - Nottingham Forest, Tim Ream - Fulham, Jorge Villafana - Santos Laguna, Graham Zusi - Sporting Kansas City
  • M: Kellyn Acosta - Dallas, Paul Arriola - DC United, Alejandro Bedoya - Philadelphia Union, Michael Bradley - Toronto, Fabian Johnson - Borussia Monchengladbach, Dax McCarty - Chicago Fire, Darlington Nagbe - Portland Timbers, Christian Pulisic - Borussia Dortmund, Cristian Roldan - Seattle Sounders
  • F: Jozy Altidore - Toronto, Clint Dempsey - Seattle Sounders, Jordan Morris - Seattle Sounders, Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes, Bobby Wood - Hamburger

Altidore, Bedoya, Besler, Bradley and Cameron all have a yellow card and will miss a game if they get another one.


CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying:
Hexagonal Schedule/results:
Matchday 7
-Fri Sep 1
USA v Costa Rica - 5:55pm CT on ESPN
T+T v Honduras - 7:00pm CT on beIN
Mexico v Panama - 8:30pm CT on FS2
Matchday 8
-Tue Sep 5
Honduras v USA - 4:30pm CT on beIN
Panama v T+T - 7:00pm CT (No USA TV)
Costa Rica v Mexico - 9:00pm CT on beIN

Hexagonal Standings:
(6 of 10 games played)
14 Mexico (+7)
11 Costa Rica (+5)
8 USA (+3)
7 Panama (0)
5 Honduras (-8)
3 Trinidad +Tobago (-7)



-Sat Aug 26
Chicago 1-2 Minnesota

My MNUFC Notes:
  • Game highlights [VIDEO]
  • I am so glad I was at this game!!! Thanks to my awesome traveling partners Charlie, Rich and Doug.
  • FIRST ROAD WIN! That was an important win for the Loons. On the road in Chicago.
  • Loons are no longer the worst team in the league in Points Per Game. They are on 1.00 ppg, while LA sits at 0.92 and Colorado is at the bottom with 0.88.
  • Going in I thought this was a winnable game, even prompting me to predict a 2-1 win the night before.
  • Chicago looked exactly like I thought they would: disjointed enough on defense to allow quality chances and very little confidence that they could score enough goals to win.
  • No Ramirez again. Still out with the hamstring injury.
  • Danladi bagged both Minn goals. Great for him. Very needed after several underwhelming performances in a row before this game.
  • The assists for both goals came from the right side of the field with Finlay getting the 1st and Thiesson getting the 2nd. Both did a great job to set up the goals.
  • Imagine the potential when Finlay and Jerry get enough time together on the right side of the field and really start to click and work as one. They will be hard to stop.
  • Loons defense looks shaky but they pulled it off. A real nail biter.
  • A one point late in the game I asked those around me. "How many shots can a bullet proof vest handle before the Kevlar breaks down?" That's how many times Chicago fired at the Minn goal. But they held tight.
  • Molino had another very bad game. So many poor passes and weak effort. Jogging back on defense, taking the easiest defensive position instead of the best one over and over again. THEN in the last 10-15 minutes when Minn needed some real composure to hold the lead and get the 1st road win it was Molino who led the charge. Especially when it came to holding the ball, making the right run, connecting on the perfect pass, pointing to spots for teammates - acting like a god damn high priced veteran! Thank you Kevin Molino, you earned some respect back.
  • The coach needs to dig deep and use his knowledge as a former striker to find new offense for this team. They only had 2 shots on goal in Chicago. Luckily they both went in.

And then there is this:

  • The Dark Clouds bought this brick in 2006 or 07 or whenever the stadium was being built - it was for a charity. Now it has paid off. Like a Trojan-Horse, we were on the inside all along!

-Sat Sep 9
Minnesota v Philadelphia Union

Examining the Minn United roster building budget 3/4 of the way through season 1 in MLS. By Sam Stejskal for Four Four Two.

Loons headed off to play for their national teams:
  • Boxall - New Zealand
  • Calvo - Costa Rica
  • Molino - Trinidad + Tobago
  • Taylor - Jamaica
  • JVenegas - Costa Rica



My MLS Notes:
  • How is this for a special player? Diego Valeri has 16 goals this season, and has scored in 6 games in a row!
  • Toronto. Yeah. A winning machine. They will be tough to stop.
  • With a tie and loss Dallas has fallen below the playoff line. Considering they were many people's favorites to challenge for MLS Cup this has come as a shocking descent into mediocrity. They just don't have the real striker they need to take them over the top, and an injury here or there has kept them off balance. Plus, since their key playmaker Mauro Diaz has come back from a long term injury they just haven't been the same high quality team.
  • Seattle has thundered up the charts just like they did last year and are now #1 in the West.
  • With a 1-1 tie New York City claims the local derby for 2017. By Andrew Das for the New York Times.

Week 25 Results:
(17 games)
-Wed Aug 23
Columbus 2-0 LA
DC 1-0 Atlanta
Dallas 3-3 Houston
Toronto 3-0 Philadelphia
Salt Lake 4-0 San Jose
Vancouver 1-1 Seattle
Portland 2-1 Colorado
-Fri Aug 25
New York Red Bulls 1-1 New York City
-Sat Aug 26
DC 1-0 New England
Philadelphia 2-2 Atlanta
Columbus 2-1 Dallas
Orlando 1-2 Vancouver
Chicago 1-2 Minnesota
Salt Lake 4-1 Colorado
-Sun Aug 27
Montreal 1-3 Toronto
LA 0-3 San Jose
Seattle 1-1 Portland

51 goals in 17 games = 3.0 gpg.

Points Per Game standings - Top 10:
  • 2.07 Toronto
  • 1.81 New York City
  • 1.60 Kansas City
  • 1.58 Chicago
  • 1.56 New York Red Bulls
  • 1.56 Seattle
  • 1.52 Vancouver
  • 1.50 Columbus
  • 1.50 Atlanta
  • 1.46 Portland


Lets check in on the big Dom Dwyer move from Kansas City to Orlando and see how things have gone in the short run (a little over 1 month.)
  • Orlando: 0 Wins, 2 Ties and 3 Losses. With Dwyer playing 207 minutes and scoring 0 goals.
  • Kansas City: 3 Wins, 1 Tie and 1 Loss. With 8 goals scored as a team.
  • During the 24 games Dwyer was with KC they averaged 1.42 goals per game.
  • Since Dwyer left KC they are averaging 1.60 goals per game.


Premier League: 10 talking points from this weekend’s action. From the Guardian.


All of my columns for 1500ESPN.

The Bird Is The Word


Blogger Rich said...

Man, who'd have thought KC would be playing better and Orlando would have been playing worse, after the Dwyer trade...

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rich
There is one person out there who thought KC would be better off without Dwyer and that is Peter Vermes.


9:04 AM  

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