Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adu to Benfica finalized.

Freddy Adu has finalized his move to Portuguese club Benfica, according to the AP. Pending a medical, Adu will officially join the club, despite already taking part in training with the players. Adu is set to sign a five year contract.

Freddy deserves this. He put up with all the wunder kid crap that the league tossed on him over the last four years, dealt with trying to play different positions and formations and even dealt with being in Salt Lake. He deserved the move and I really hope he does well over there. I believe that this will do nothing but advance his current game and skills and give him a larger chance of making the SA 2010 US squad.

Hopefully some of the other younger US players will see Freddy's move and get the itch. Yes, I am talking to you Eddie Johnson.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 1 - 0 Club America

Ok, time to eat crow.

After the first SuperLiga match, I wasn't too thrilled with DC United, it's players or the coaches. I felt that the players had lost their heart and desire and played a very listless match against what should have been an easy opponent in Morelia. After two matches, I might be in the early stages of changing my attitude.

Unfortunately, due to attending a wedding Saturday night in Iowa, I was unable to get down to RFK for last nights victory over Club America. I did catch the match on the TV. I saw a huge difference in the Wednesday night match and the Sunday night match.

Our players started the match much better Sunday night, making better runs and causing problems for America's goalkeeper Armando Navarrete. Rod Dyachenko's 12 minute strike was a great team performance and is the type of brilliant flashes of light that keep people from saying dump Dyachenko.

Over all, I saw a much stronger DC United than the one on Wednesday night and a more composed and organized side. Our team defense was much better and our substituting helped kill off the match. It was a good result.

Marc Burch, IMHO, has staked his claim to the left back position. Over his last few starts, he has shown that he can hang with the rest of the guys and not get burned. Having him in a back line of Namoff, Boswell, & Vanney might do us well down the stretch in the MLS season.

DC United overall played much better. Their finishing remains something to work on, as I counted 4 separate sitters that somebody muffed on. Coach Soehn finally decided to use the subs (more likely a result of guys getting healthy rather than just deciding to sub guys out) which helped kill off the match. Rojas' red card, on TV, really didn't look that bad, not any worse than several of the other challenges in the match. I guess because he took the flying attack and had both feet ready to strike was the reason that Referee Carlos Batres gave him a straight red.

So now United sit on 4 points and are tied with Houston for the top spot in group B. As these two play each other Wednesday night, who advances out of group B could be interesting. If America drops Morelia, than both Houston and United advance with their current points. If Morelia defeats America and either Houston or United win on Wednesday night, Morelia and the winner Wednesday night advance. If United and the Dynamo draw & Morelia wins, then we probably need to call Stephen Hawking to have him figure out the tie breakers and such.

Good match last night, lets see more of that rather than most of what we have seen over the last few weeks.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SuperLiga Match Recap: DC United 1 - 1 Morelia

God damn am I disappointed.

I really want to know what happened. At what point did the entire club lose their heart and desire and their want to win? Was it after they pasted RBNY for four goals? Was it after they knocked four goals in against the Colorado Rapids? Did they ever have these qualities at all?

I saw a lazy club out there tonight. I saw Fred barely jog to balls that were kicked at his direction. I saw him stop and stand in place when he should have been running to try and create space for Gomez or anyone and give them a target to pass to. I saw Fred stop his runs, to stand and see what would happen next.

I saw Rod (Splinters in my Ass) Dyachenko fail to remain up in the forwards position during the first half and force Emillio to remain alone surrounded by four Morelia defenders. Once Rod was removed, I saw a poor man’s Jamil Walker come onto the field and basically look horrible (Nick Adderly).

Brian Carroll, please do us all a favor and quit your day job. I saw that Giant was hiring, I am sure you could find at least one job there you can’t screw up. Carroll’s passes were too soft, they were more like give away’s. He doesn't understand the concept of continuing a run to help the guy who you just tried to pass to. People wonder why a guy like Veron would make a world of difference in the United line up, it’s because Brian Carroll wouldn’t make the field with Veron starting in front of him.

DC United let their fans down tonight. Two simple tap in’s should have yielded a 3-1 score line and a victory. Instead, the simple art of just tapping the ball failed to make its way into the minds of two Brazilians and they decided to destroy the ball ala “HULK SMASH!!!” style. Instead a simple 1-0 match is given away to a wonderfully taken goal.

In the 30th minute I said to myself that the match would end up 1-1.

A quick way to try and assist the entire club on how to play soccer is to watch the game film, and see how Morelia moved. They were always running off of the ball and creating dangerous runs into the box. Even though half of their passes were snuffed out, they still had the mindset to make those runs and give the players a target to pass to, instead of standing still watching the ball get picked from their teammate.

So now we let 2 points go away and we now have to face the two tougher clubs in the group. I do not see United getting anything more than 1 point against America and I have a feeling that the Dynamo drop United like a rock. United will not make it out of the group phase.

Jesus, the two assholes who ran onto the field had more heart and desire than United did tonight. That is sad.

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Soccer News & Notes: 7/25/2007

LA Galaxy win first SuperLiga Match; FC Dallas Draw
God I love Landon Donovan! This guy has a nack for making people eat the same stuff that they throw at him. After the Beckham circus match Saturday night, pretty much everyone dropped Donovan on his head for missing the open header late in the match and basically being invisible through out the entire match. I even said that the Galaxy would finish dead last in their SuperLiga group.

Well, he proved me wrong and showed the rest of the media that he can still step up in matches. Donovan scored the match winner as the Galaxy, minus Golden Balls, defeated Pachuca 2-1 last night. As FC Dallas drew with Chivas de Guadalajara 1-1, the Galaxy currently sit at the top of the Group A standings.

FC Dallas draw with Chivas.
The other SuperLiga match of the night had FC Dallas draw with Chivas de Guadalajara 1-1, despite an apparent hand ball that lead to the Chivas goal that tied the score at 1-1. FC Dallas played a man short for the end of the match as Drew Moor was sent off for shoving Chivas captain Hector Reynoso.

I watched the first half of this match and I was shocked at how hard these guys were hitting each other. The hitting was fierce and the passing was horrible. FC Dallas had terrible passes through out the entire first half, and it made me wonder if it was only time until Chivas snuck in with a goal. Chivas themselves weren't that much better, but they did have faster build ups in the offense, which I thought would be the difference. I figured teh score would be 1-0 for Chivas.

Freddy off to Benfica?
The AP is reporting that MLS and Benfica have agreed to a $2 million dollar transfer for Freddy Adu, but Freddy and Benfica have yet to agree to personal terms of the contract. Freddy was back in the Real Salt Lake line up as they hosted Boca Juniors in an international friendly last night, which finished 1-1. Negotiations appear to be on going.

I really, really like this move, assuming that Freddy can agree to personal terms with Benfica. Moving to Portugal provides Freddy with the chance to face an entirely different environment and get alot more playing pressure on him, rather than marketing pressure. At Benfica, Freddy will have to fight for playing time in training, something that Peter Nowak was trying to get him to understand and what he said he figured out with his two week training session last year with Manchester United. He won't be the media darling of the entire league, like he head been over here. His game should improve greatly, assuming that he moves. I am just happy that he wants the greater challenge, unlike some other guys.

Eddie Johnson turns Derby down.
Speaking of Americans getting chances to move overseas, Eddie Johnson has reportedly turned down Derby's offer to joining the EPL side this season. Derby has just been promoted to the EPL and were looking to bring EJ in to bolster its offense. In 2005, Benfica offered MLS a reported $6 million for EJ's contract, but the league turned them down.

As I said before, I think that EJ should move, especially with his stock so "high." The guy has been lighting up MLS, 12 goals in 11 games, but his game needs to go higher, especially if he wants to truly be an international goal scoring threat for the USMNT. Playing in the EPL would have forced him to become quicker, not only on his feet, but in his head.

Poor decision EJ, poor decision.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Check out the website...just pay no attention to the group stats, as they seem to not even know where clubs are in their own tournament.

As this is a SUM event...why doesn't this surprise me?

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Copa Panamerica, so where was MLS?

I was pretty shocked to be reading reports of a soccer tournament being held in Glendale, Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium (UPS). According to the website for the tournament, it was a pre-season tournament that had the following participants:

- Club America
- Boca Juniors
- Cruz Azul
- Alianza Lima
- Caracas
- Deportivo Cali

The tournament had two groups of three with the winner of each group playing each other in the final. Cruz Azul knocked off Boca Juniors 3-1 and claimed the trophy and the $250,000 championship purse. All of the matches took place at the UPS.

As I was under the impression that all international soccer matches that occur in the US were under the guidance of SUM, I am trying to figure out why there wasn’t one or two MLS clubs taking part in this tournament? It’s not like it is a foreign concept to have MLS clubs take part in international tournaments during the regular season, the Galaxy just finished one and four other clubs are gearing up to start the SuperLiga tonight and tomorrow night. So why didn’t SUM/MLS get any of the MLS clubs in on the action?

I honestly think that this would have been a very good opportunity for MLS to get its clubs more international experience, much better than the All Star Game provides. They could have sent the Chicago Fire and Red Bull New York. The Fire could have used this tournament as the introduction of Blanco as well as the Sunday home match against Celtic. Blanco could have played his first match in a Fire jersey against his former club; that would have packed in the fans at the UPS.

Having this type of tournament in the US is the exact type thing that MLS/SUM should be working to avoid. If these two groups are trying to use the SuperLiga to try and convince the US Latin American community that the MLS clubs are worth watching, why have a tournament that showcases six non-MLS clubs on US soil? Why showcase the very clubs that the US Latin American community points to as the clubs they support?

I think that an even bigger question is why have the Copa Panamerica held in the US so close to the SuperLiga? If the Copa Panamerica is not going to have any MLS clubs participate, hold it in Mexico. Better yet, have the two tournaments merge and have the SuperLiga clubs and the Copa Panamerica clubs all fight it out for the $1 million dollar purse, giving the runner up the $250,000 for second place.

I like the idea of the Copa Panamerica and if I still lived in Phoenix, I would have been attending all of the matches. I don’t like that it was held in the US without any of the MLS clubs participating nor do I like that it was held so close to the SuperLiga. Having the tournament in the US is fine, just have one or more of the clubs from the first division in the US participate, namely MLS.

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Here it comes…SuperLiga!

Ok, so how long has it been since the inaugural SuperLiga tournament was announced along with the participants and the bitching? After all of the complaining, arguing and debates, we are finally set to see inform MLS clubs go against pre-season Mexican clubs with 1 Million dollars up for the winner.

So what should we expect? Should we see the MLS clubs wipe the field with their Mexican opponents? The Mexican clubs are in preseason form after all, so they should be rusty and ripe for the picking.

I doubt that we will see anything other than some interesting matches. Clubs on both sides of the Rio Grande should do well, but I think we will see something of a Houston vs. Pachuca final. Houston is playing very well right now and Pachuca seem to have everything falling into place for them.

I am worried about two of the MLS clubs, the LA Galaxy and DC United. The Galaxy will be entering their second straight international tournament in pretty much as many weeks. They lost 3-0 to Tigres and 1-0 to Chelsea this last week. Considering that they have already faced a pre-season Mexican club and fared poorly, how are they going to do against two of the better Mexican sides? The Galaxy are still trying to figure out who is playing which position and what formation works the best. Pavon picked up a knock in the Chelsea match and that other guy from England doesn’t seem to be ready to really play until maybe Saturday against Chivas. I was impressed with their defensive form against Chelsea. Xavier played out of his mind in central defense and Cannon saved their bacon 4 or 5 times. That said, I expect the Galaxy to finish last in their group, using the three matches essentially as a pre-season run at the new players and see which formation works the best and to get them back in form for the MLS regular season.

DC United on the other hand really haven’t had that much of a run of good form lately. In their last four matches, they are 0-3-1, having been shut out in the three losses and having blown a 3-0 lead at home n the draw. So now the injury depleted Black & Red have to face two of Mexico’s best then travel to Houston and face the MLS leading Dynamo, one of the clubs that shut them out in those three losses. Considering that Tom Soehn should have both Ben Olsen and Fred available (Olsen had to sit out the RBNY match and Fred gets an MLS sponsored vacation when United face the Revolution on August 5th) I expect them both to be in the lineup for Wednesday nights match against Morelia. If United can get three points against Morelia, a draw against America then hopefully they will not have to worry about their match against Houston. If not, I think based on their current form, United might miss out on playing passed the group phase in this tournament.

Overall, my opinion of this tournament hasn’t really changed. I think that it is a great idea and one that will hopefully grow with each season that we see it. Based on Commissioner Garber’s statements on MLSnet.com, I think that it will:

“Matt from Chapel Hill, N.C.: What are your expectations of SuperLiga this year? Will it ever go to a Home and Away format? Will it expand? Will it be on TV in English?

Don Garber: We're launching SuperLiga in a reduced format this year and still have some work to do to determine the future structure of the tournament. I certainly hope we can achieve a home and away competition with expanded teams but this year have to determine the tournament's success before we move forward.” - MLSnet.com

The biggest thing that will determine its future is if the first run is a success. In order for the tournament to be a success, the current fans need to get behind it. It seems that a lot of MLS fans are shunning this tournament because the teams were selected instead of teams that won some type of qualification to get in.

I think that once the matches get started, there will be plenty of fans in the seats and we will see this tournament become a success. As MLS/SUM/MPD begin planning the next SuperLiga, hopefully they will take any mistakes from this one and eliminate them and expand the tournament to include more clubs. I would ultimately like to see MLS/SUM/MPD begin to invite the top two clubs from Costa Rica as well.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 0 - 1 Red Bull New York

Just when we thought we were beginning to pick up speed, the wheels have officially come off the United Express.

Yesterday's match at New York was really a continuation of the second half against FC Dallas. Our play was pretty poor and we had trouble doing the small things like string passes together properly. The RBNY midfielders only had to keep Gomez from really getting any space at all and that led to our entire offense choking on the astro-turf.

I am beginning to feel that the problem is that we don't have enough guys to do the right jobs. We have the guys to work with, Gomez, Fred, Moreno, Gros, Olsen, Emillio; they are all capable of taking it to anyone in the league. That said, once one of them falls off the map, the players who are forced to step in just don't have the same shoe size. Because of this problem, I think that I have a solution, assuming that all of the none talk that United's front office has been doing concerning Veron means that he could become the United DP.

I suggest, assuming that Veron is signed by United, that Soehn begin to use a rotation system among Gomez, Fred and Moreno. Have Veron anchor the midfield with Olsen on his right and Gros on his left. Have Emillio start up front in the forward position. This is where we begin to see the rotation fill in. The second forward role and the attacking midfield role will be constantly rotated through the three of these guys. One week, we see this formation:

Namoff - Boswell - Vanney - Burch
Olsen - - - - - - - - - Gros
Fred - - Emillio
This gives us two guys on the wings who have proven that they can get up the side of the field and also know how to provide enough defensive support out there to give the defenders enough time to position themselves properly.
Veron can anchor the midfield and help bridge between the defense and offense. In this line-up, he will partner with Gomez and help with the launch of the attacks. Have Fred up front with Emillio. Fred and Gomez can switch on and off in and out of the midfield as they see fit.
Using this rotation, and assuming that he is healthy, we have Moreno to come in off the bench. He comes in at half time or the 60th minute and adds a spark to the side. He did it several times last year, most notably completely changing the USOC match against RBNY at RFK last year.
The basic idea is that if Veron were to be brought in, a player of his skill and caliber can essentially free up an entire player to be rotated in and out of entire matches. Gros could get a week off and have Fred take his spot, with Gomez, Moreno and Emillio up front. Olsen could get a week off in the same fashion.
Right now, United can really only count on Emillio, Moreno, Olsen, Gomez, Fred, Boswell, Vanney, Namoff, Perkins, & Gros. After these guys, there is a severe drop off in performance and production. Brian Carroll, Clyde Perkins, Rod Dyachenko, Jay Nolly & Nick Addlery are really not on the same level as the first group of players and when these guys are called in to replace any of the other guys, we begin to really lose our shape and composure. By simply adding Veron, this would give us an extra player to rotate through the line ups which will allow for other players to be rested at points through the season.
So the only question is where do we find $20 million for the Argentine midfielder?


Friday, July 20, 2007

Veron to DC United?

The guys over at the Sideline View have found some very interesting reports of how DC United might be using their Designated Player Allocation slot. Appartently, Juan Sebastian Veron is in talks to either return to Estudiantes or move north and join DC United.

I don't know if this is anything more than a rumor, but if this is true...holy shit would this strengthen the club. Imagine a starting line up like this:

McTavish - Boswell - Vanney - Gros
Olsen - Gomez - Fred
Emillio - Moreno

I think that this would be a good move. I will keep an eye out for more info on this.

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Match Recap: MLS 2 - 0 Celtic FC

Ok, so this isn't much of a recap. I only watched the first half and evidently saw the only goals of the game. Angel's goal was great and Toja showed the same skills that he showed at RFK last Saturday.

So the All Star Game is over for this season, and we head up to Toronto for the next one, woopie.

Now down to the real topics:

- I lost count at 30: the number of times the announcers said Beckham in the first half.

- In the first half alone, the ESPN crew showed Beckham 8 times.

Honestly, if he wasn't there, what the hell would the ESPN crew have had to talk about?

I did like the interview at halftime. Rob Stone was given some pretty stupid questions to ask, but Beckham did answer then very well. I liked how he mentioned that he is here for five years, not just for this weekend. Say all you want about him, but I have never seen him look like a moron in any interview I have ever seen.

Can we get back down to business?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

The All Star Game is Dead…Long Live the All Star Game

Tonight Major League Soccer will conduct their 13th edition of the MLS All Star Game. This year’s contest takes place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field just outside of Denver, Colorado. Building on several past All Star Games, a group of MLS All Stars will take on a foreign club team in a friendly match, Scotland’s Celtic being the opponent this year.

The MLS All Star game is a blending of two very different spheres. In one you have the sport of soccer which is a very international sport and one that is still trying to secure proper footholds in the United States. The other is the idea of an All Star Game. This idea is something that pretty much every professional sport in North America has and one that fans seem to expect as a way of celebrating the best individuals in each sport. The All Star Game has worked well in the past for MLB, NHL and NBA. The NFL Pro Bowl (All Star Game) has never really taken up a spot along side these other three events as this game is held after the season is over, is always held in Hawaii and rarely has an exciting match up as players never fully play at the speed and brute force of the regular game.

Unfortunately, I believe that the MLS All Star game is just as dull as the NFL Pro Bowl and in it’s current incarnation, should simply be scratched from existence in favor of a different mid-season event altogether. MLS has furthered my thinking by moving the All Star Game to a Thursday night match and by essentially overshadowing the match with the arrival of David Beckham.

I like the idea of having the foreign clubs come over here and playing friendly matches against our players, it provides great opportunities for both sides involved in each match. The foreign clubs get great pre-season workouts against MLS clubs who are in midseason form and the MLS clubs get to face off against some of the best players in the world. What I would like to see is every team in MLS taking part international friendly matches, instead of an All Star grouping against one club.

I know that several MLS clubs are scheduled to play against other foreign clubs this summer, but considering the opportunity that is available, why doesn’t MLS/SUM get the entire league involved? They could take the two weeks that is set aside for the All Star Game (the week before and week after) and schedule some really good international friendlies at all parts of the MLS map.

We could see Columbus hosting Morelia one week then hosting FC Sydney the following week. The New England Revolution could host FC Porto then follow it up with a match against Colo Colo maybe. The LA Galaxy could just keep with what they have scheduled this year, Tigres then Chelsea. These matches would be ways for local fans to get exposed to foreign clubs and get the MLS players different styles and coaching methods to learn against.

If MLS didn’t want to just go that route, they could have each club host their own four club tournament along the lines of what LA is doing or the Amsterdam Cup that Ajax hosts every year. Have four clubs play two matches each, it takes only about a week and it still provides good competition. These matches would most likely make a whole helluva lot more money for Sum than the All Star Game does.

Having a group of the “best” players in the league play against a foreign club that is in preseason form, really doesn’t do the league itself any justice. This year’s match has the potential to be a real black eye, considering the opponent. Last year Celtic faced off against DC United and was lit up for four goals as they lost 4-0. If DC United can score 4 goals (and 2 came while most of United’s reserves were on the field) the All Star Team should be able to do much better.

Hopefully tonight’s match doesn’t turn into a black eye.


Soccer News & Notes: 7/19/2007

Heinze remaining with United
Sir Alex Ferguson announced that Gabriel Heinze will not be moving to Liverpool this summer. Manchester United rejected a £6 million offer for the Argentine defender.

This is a smart move in my opinion. Not only has Gabby shown through his work in the Copa America that he is still a world class defender, but he also came through in several clutch situations for United at the end of the EPL season last year. There was a spell where Heinze was just about the only fit defender SAF had in the squad. If United is truly going to make a run at the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup as they also defend their EPL Championship, they are going to need as many versatile players as possible. Keeping Heinze gives them a lot more depth in the defense.

Justin Moose goes under the knife.
DC United midfielder Justin Moose is recovering from Hernia surgery in Germany. He will be sidelined for about three weeks.

Hopefully this doesn't lead to more problems with the DC United bench. Yes Moose isn't one of the main players in the squad, but considering the number of matches that DC United will be playing over the next few weeks and our lack of depth, having a guy who would provide extra support out of action could be a problem. I hope he has a speedy recovery.

Chivas USA out of USOC
Chivas USA were bounced from the US Open Cup last night, 3-1 by the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders will face the Colorado Rapids in the next round of the tournament.

Are we seeing the first true signs of how MLS clubs just don't care about the USOC? According to the USOC website, out of a total 12* MLS clubs (yes I know that only eight took part in the fourth round) only three are left. If this type of result was seen in England, with only three EPL clubs remaining going into the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup, the press would be murdering the EPL and the clubs. I would say that we have pretty good odds that we will see a non-MLS club win the USOC for only the second time since MLS has been formed. Somebody explain to both Gulati and Garber that having the MLS clubs piss this tournament away is actually a bad thing.

* Edit - I changed this to say 12 as Toronto FC does not take part.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

San Jose Earthquakes Return

Yup, Don Garber announced it, yadda yadda.

This is a better move for the league than any other city. Like I said, they already have the original built in fanbase setup and ready to buy tickets. I also liked the idea of having the club float their home matches around the Bay/Silicon Valley area the first year. I am not sure exactly how that would work for the front office or the season ticket holders, but having the club move around it's target area gives more chances for more potential supporters to see noth only the club, but the other clubs in the league.

So we hit 14 clubs next season. Hopefully we have 14 clubs for 2008 as well as 2009 and wait until the 2010 season for the 15th & 16th clubs. I also hope that unless RBNY has started to draw more that 17,000 fans to a home match on average for a season, that NYC be kept off the expansion list.

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MLS Developments: Expansion & Coaching

If everything that is being reported is to be true, than MLS will add the San Jose Earthquakes back to the Western Conference next season, upping the league to 14 clubs. I like this because the fan base is already built up and with the new DPA rule in place, Lew Wolff has the perfect opportunity to bring in a Designated player into the club at the ground floor. It will also be a good thing to have a regional rival for Salt Lake.

So with San Jose rumored to be rising from the ashes, take that report and then go read this article and consider how these two might actually be intertwined.

With San Jose returning to the league, they are going to have to find a new coach for the Earthquakes. In my opinion, if these two reports are not false, I honestly am expecting to see Frank Yallop either get fired from the LA Galaxy or leave on his own and end up becoming the San Jose Earthquakes head coach once again. As the LA Galaxy would now be in the market for a new head coach, who better to guide Beckham through the rigors of the MLS season that his former coach Capello himself?

Think of it for a moment. Capello has international name recognition that will allow the Galaxy to further itself overseas as it extends its brand. Beckham and Capello repaired their relationship before Becks left Real Madrid, so if Beckham wanted him to be his coach, I am sure that Lalas and AEG would be more than happy to do everything that they could to bring him over to California.

Most of this is based on speculation about San Jose. Considering Don Garber should be announcing the expansion sometime later today during his State of the League address in Denver, we should know more as the day goes on.

That said, with Beckham playing for the LA Galaxy makes having Capello the head coach a very high possibility. Then again, I also know of a pretty successful European coach who lives in LA and is currently without a coaching job...maybe Klinsmann would be interested in coaching Golden Balls and Landycakes?

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USA Moves Up 2; Brazil Reclaims #1

FIFA released its July rankings today and Brazil moved up two spots to retake the #1 spot in the rankings. This is mostly based on winning the Copa America championship last Sunday. FIFA has also devauled the 2006 FIFA World Cup results by 50%, which also helps Brazil.

Along the same line, the USA moved up two more spots in the rankings, to #14. This is based off of their CONCACAF Gold Cup championship. Had the USA actually won a match in the Copa America, I think we might have seen the Yanks take over the #13 spot.

Mexico and Uruguay made the largest moves; Mexico jumped 16 spots to move into #10 based on their runner up finish in the Gold Cup and their third place finish in the Copa America. Uruguay moved up eleven spots to #19 based on their fourth place finish in the Copa America.

I guess even with the new formulas, the same skewed results and rankings still show up in this system.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 3 - 3 FC Dallas

I really wish we had lost this match.

I really do. We were up 3-0 at the 47th minute mark. You do not give away a 3-0 lead like we did. Can somebody say focus?

Ok, so my background in soccer, other than being a fan is pretty small and short. I played goalkeeper for three years in high school and never played after my senior year. I graduated from Hampton High School and during my senior year, I would always hear my coach screaming out at us as we we losing, "Your giving it away Hampton!" During tonight's match, I kept looking for Tom Soehn to be screaming pretty much the same thing at his players as they gave away the match to FC Dallas.

The first half and the beginning of the second half we wonderful. We were attacking, got a great early goal and a gift of a goal at the end of the first half. The goal at the start of the second half was a direct result of FC Dallas not being ready to start the second half. After that, the wheels fell off.

Was it Jamie's hammy pull? I doubt it. I did think that Kpene had just about the worst performance in a United jersey that he has ever had, but he wasn't playing defense, so I cannot blame him. I cannot also blame Emilio. Yes, I sad Emilio. The guy had two of the goals, but in the second half, he had a great run on Sala and instead of passing to an open Fred, it looked like he decided to try for the hat trick and take the shot himself. I believe that had he passed the ball, the score would have been 4-1 at that point and the match would have finished much differently. That said, none of these guys played defense.

I blame the four defenders. I really do. All three goals were the result of sloppy play on the side of our defense. Several fans on the Metro tried to convince me that the Ref was horrible and didn't give United one call the entire night. I agree, but when you have a 3-0 lead in the second half, the ref could step off the field and you should still be able to win 3-2 at the very least.

We screwed up and gave away 2 points tonight. I have never been so upset at a draw before in my life. Tonight was harder to accept than the 5-2 drubbing LA gave us last year, or the 4-0 drubbing Chicago gave us in the playoffs two years ago.

I hope that Tom Soehn has his guys re-evaluate things and get their minds focused on their job. We have a trip up to the Swamplands next Sunday, then we return after a short week and start the SuperLiga against Morelia. We started this MLS season with three loses, then a draw, then we rattled off 3 straight wins during a 6 match unbeaten streak. We have just picked up our third draw of the season, after two straight loses; hopefully we will return to our winning ways: starting in New York.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Get a Move On EJ

So here is the problem. Eddie Johnson appears to be the #1 USMNT striker. This is something that I really, really don't understand and cannot quite come to accept. My thoughts on this guys International form are pretty apparent: I think he sucks.

That said, he does seem to have two things on his side; his age (he's 23) and that a lot more people disagree with me and think that he is a good forward. Those two things should allow him to either continue to be a USMNT forward for a while. So with EJ's spot on the USMNT roster almost as established as Landon Donovan's, I really wish he would do something that Lando failed to do; move to Europe.

According to reports, Derby County has a large amount of interest in signing Eddie from MLS. As Derby County has just been promoted to the EPL, they are looking to increase their presence up front and EJ seems to be in their plans. However, regardless of this interest, the Kansas City Wizards don't appear to be interested in listening to any offers. I think the biggest problem here is that EJ is not going anywhere, period.

What was it, three years ago when EJ burst onto the scene, dropping 3 goals on Panama at RFK Stadium? I was there, I saw it. My brother asked me who he was and I didn't have an answer. Shortly after that introduction, word came through the wires that Benfica had offered $6 million or so for Eddie's contract. MLS turned them down. That was strike 1. Eddie should have gone over to Portugal at the first offer. Had he done that, it would have been sink or swim.

So fast forward to the summer of 2007. We are hearing reports that EJ is being courted by another European club, but this time in England, the EPL no less. What should EJ do?

EJ should go, and he himself should have the sense enough to know that moving across the pond to play in England is the next logical step towards becoming a better forward. I would hope that he would relish that chance to go over to England and play against Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and the other great clubs over there. If he learned anything at the Copa America is that the international defenders are much faster and skillful than the MLS defenders and if he wants to be on top, he needs to start playing against the better defenders.

Now I understand the desire of MLS and Kansas City to want to keep him, they think that he is a good player and having good American players in the league it a vital part of keeping the league going. Based on that, EJ and the USSF should step in and make requests for the transfer. Bob Bradley should be on the phone with Don Garber explaining how sending EJ across to England would actually help MLS. It would show that MLS has players that are good enough to take the international club stage.

The future of the USMNT is directly linked to the players getting better. With all respect for MLS, there is only a certain amount of growth that can happen for US players who stay in MLS. Clint Dempsey realized this, and he basically forced a transfer to Fulham. DeMarcus Beasley realized this as well and jumped at the chance that PSV offered him and fought tooth and nail to remain over in Europe rather than return to RSL. Eddie Johnson needs to recognize this and get the wheels moving on a transfer overseas.

Ric Flair once said -"If you want to be the Best, you've got to beat the Best."

If Eddie Johnson wants to be the best, hell, he has to at least play the best. Playing in MLS ain't the best.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

DC United out of USOC

DC United were dumped from the USOC last night by the Harrisburg City Islanders 1-0. I was constantly checking BigSoccer.com for updates on DC United's USOC match. As the match was not on TV and the radio feeds weren't the greatest, this was my only real way of following the match. United fell short of advancing in the tournament and I am a little bitter about this.

Yes I understand that considering the schedule that United is facing in the next month or two, having one less tournament to play in while we have league matches, SuperLiga matches and Copa Sudamericana matches might be a good thing, but there is still a part of me that says that we should have sent a better squad for this match. However, I truly think that this result brings up several other problems that are larger than DC United.

Sending a reserve squad to the USOC match should not have been a problem, as an MLS reserve squad should not have had any problem with a third division side. If the reserves aren't good enough to step in and show why they are in the United uniform and the City Islanders aren't, why even have them in the club? Common sense says that the first division side should have better players from top to bottom; but we found out last night that maybe common sense isn't always right.

I think that the biggest problem with this entire tournament is that we don't have the different groups all getting on the same page with the scheduling. USSF, MLS, USL, USL2, PDL and whomever else takes part in the tournament should, IMHO, be able to get together far in advance and schedule these matches out to ensure that each side gets the best chance at the match. If you look at other leagues around the world, the EPL being one of them, the FA and the EPL work together to ensure that the scheduling for the FA Cup matches do not fall at awkward times in the clubs schedules.

You don't have situations where Chelsea play a league match on a Thursday night, then another league match Sunday night, then an FA Cup match Tuesday night; just as the Houston Dynamo did this last week. The end result was the Thursday night match was the best of the three performances, the Sunday night match was a rather boring affair, and the Tuesday match had reserves. Why can't this be done here?

Is it too hard to schedule the USOC matches for the weekends? Before MLS even sits down and sets their schedule, they should be able to get the USOC schedule from the USSF and build the match days into the MLS schedule, so that USOC matches are not crammed inside of weeks where the clubs are resorting to sending nothing but reserves. Doing so would not only allow the MLS clubs to send their best sides, but they would still have the opportunity to get new guys into the matches, without having to use an entire B team.

One of the problems with the USOC is that really, nobody cares about it. It is a less than meaningful tournament that awards the winner a $100,000 cash prize. Well, the SuperLiga is going to award a $1,000,000 prize to the winner, so which tournament would you rather win if you were a club?

When I mean nobody cares about the USOC, I really mean that MLS doesn't care. The clubs really have no incentive to win the tournament until they reach the later stages. If the USSF actually gave their own tournament some other form of meaning, like maybe a higher cash purse or negotiated a spot in the InterLiga for the USOC champion, maybe the MLS clubs, the ones that the USSF needs to cater too, might care about the tournament.

Give the USOC some weight, something other than a trophy and a relatively small check. If the USSF does that, than the tournament could really be something and in turn, have some really good matches.

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Day Recap: Several matches, different results.

Last night was a busy night for watching or following soccer. The U-20 FIFA World Cup is in full swing and the USA went head to head with Uruguay and after 120 minutes, they gutted out a 2-1 victory to setup a Quarter Final match up with Austria. At the same time, the Copa America Semi-Finals were in full swing as Argentina dashed Mexico's hopes of making their second straight tournament final with a 3-0 victory, setting up the CONMEBOL dream final of Brazil vs. Argentina.

I have to admit, last night was the first U-20 match that I have watched of the tournament. I figured that after the rave reviews I have seen about how organized and effective the USA was against both Poland and Brazil, I would check the team out for myself. I was a little disappointed in the performance that I saw. I expected a better looking side, when I saw a side the reminded me of the US squad that was sent to the Copa America.

Yes their team defending was pretty good, but the longer that match went on, the more I knew that it was going to be Uruguay scoring first. Based on that, along with the fact that the USA never really looked dangerous in the second half, I figured that the USA would get dumped out of the tournament 1-0. We were very lucky to get that goal to send it to extra time. Once we got that goal, I saw an entirely different USA team take it to Uruguay. I saw better runs and I finally saw Feddy Adu make himself known in the match. Overall, the extra period was way better than anything I saw for the first 90 minutes.

While this match was going on, I was flipping back and forth between the U-20's and the Copa America match. I really wasn't that impressed with Mexico for the half that I saw. Argentina seemed to be giving Hugo's boys a lot more space than they deserved. Guardado's strike that hit the post was very well taken, but I didn't see anything else from Mexico that made me feel that they were going to break down the Argentine defense. Argentina on the other hand, was making great runs in the box with Messi and Teves giving the Mexico backline fits.

So now CONMEBOL has their dream final of Brazil vs. Argentina. I have to believe that Argentina will pull this one out. Brazil has been sleep walking through this tournament and Argentina has been focused and dedicated towards winning the tournament. I see Argentina picking up the Copa America title.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New LA Galaxy Uniforms/Logo

I am not sure if anyone has really seen these before, I personally haven't been scouring the internet to find this out before they unveil them later this week:

So I guess this is what LA will be wearing for the rest of the season. I am still wondering Beckham won't be wearing #7 again.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 0 - 1 Houston Dynamo

D over at DCenters has been keeping track of Karma points lately and claimed that we used up several on our 1-0 victory over Kansas City at midweek. I believe him now as tonight's match at Houston has been one of the worst displays of soccer I have seen from United in a long time.

Houston is a great club; they defend with numbers and can break out on a counter like the best of them. Houston swarms players when they get the ball near the 18 yard box, so they really cannot get any type of shot off. 500 plus minutes of clean sheets pretty much says it all.

That said, United really didn't help themselves in their efforts to get a point tonight. Their passes were soft and off target. When their passes actually had any weight on them, United players could not control the pass to save their lives.

Before anyone says that part of United's problem was that they were playing their second match of the week and both on the road; fuggetabout it. Houston was playing their second match within three days and both of them had been in the heat and humidity of Houston. So you can toss the number of games in a week out the window.

Now United has a full week off for training, rest and the return of Jamie Moreno. Hopefully the week off and Moreno returning gives us a better shot at taking the three points off of FC Dallas, who just picked up three points off of Chivas USA.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

DC United Alumni: Nelson re-signs with Rovers

Ryan Nelson, former DC United Captain who led DC United to their 4th MLS Cup Championship, signed a new contract with Blackburn Rovers of the EPL.

It is good to see that Nellie is still doing well and has been elevated to Rovers Captain. Too bad he isn't still marshalling the United backline.


Quick match Recap: Houston Dynamo 4 - 0 RBNY

This is gonna be quick, as I remembered that last night was Thursday and ESPN2 had MLS. I switched over from the USA vs. Columbia match just in time to see both of the first half goals that Houston scored. Damn did Houston look good. That game last night could have easily been 6-0.

DC United travels to Houston this Sunday evening to face the defending MLS Cup Champs. Considering that Boswell should be in the starting 11, our defense shouldn't be as soft as the Red Bull defense was last night. I am worried about the heat though. It killed several of the RBNY players and most of them lost their drive in the first half. I hope Soehn has the guys hydrating right now.

Houston looks like they have sorted out whatever it was that was causing them to suck; RBNY seems to have caught that bug and are a far cry from the club that was dropping 4 goals on clubs and shutting them out. As tight as the East looked, it appears that DC United & New England are the ones starting to pull away. Houston & FC Dallas are looking more and more the class of the West, but Chivas is looming and even though they look horrible, LA has got to be considered a dark horse, with Donovan returning, Pavon coming into the fold, and I heard they are getting an English midfielder who can cross.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Match Recap: USA 0 - 1 Columbia

Well, thank god that this is over. An entire group of guys who are green as Dollars play the worst game I have ever seen played by guys in the Red, White & Blue. I hope that they learned something.

I learned the following:

- Kyle Beckerman must never, ever be allowed to wear the Red, White & Blue, again! He was so ineffective in the midfield that the USA might have been better off playing with 10 men.

- Eddie Johnson is dead to me. I have said it before and I am hopefully going to say it for the last time. Eddie Johnson doesn't know how to play forward on the international stage. He is slow, cannot think of what to do next and doesn't understand what his position is supposed to do. Ray Hudson himself said that Johnson was frustrated because he couldn't find anyone to pass to. He shouldn't be passing at all. He should be getting the ball and running at the goal. Hell, he even had an empty net and he refused to take a shot when he had the ball. Eddie Johnson no longer deserves to wear the Red, White & Blue.

- US depth isn't that great. Well, it isn't much deeper than the second level. The First team is set and we saw what would be considered the second team in the match against Trinidad & Tobago. After the second team, we really have got a bunch of guys who don't really have an understanding of how the international game is played.

Overall, I have to say that the expected results from this tournament came about. We seemed to wilt and collapse alot easier than I expected us to do. The match tonight was ok for the second half, but if Bradley had started our "Copa First team" then I think we would have picked up the 3 points.

Honestly, I think that the biggest problem with our squad wasn't who we left off for summer break, it was who we sent to the U20 World Cup. Had Bradley been able to get Adu, Altidore, Szetela & Bradley into the squad and see how they could work with the likes of Clark, Feilhaber, DeMerit & Conrad I think we would have a better learning environment and a better over all squad.

Ok, so now that the Copa America is over, I hope that the players go back to their clubs and apply what they have learned. I hope that Boswell uses his experience to help solidify the DC United back line. I hope that Jay DeMerit goes back to England and either with Watford or with whomever he is sold to, gets to apply all of the experiences towards having a stronger season.

I also hope that the coaching staff is done tinkering. Something is always good to be said of trying out several different formations to see works the best together. I think that Bradley should have a much better understanding of what that formation is and should use the last few matches of 2007 to get those same group of guys together and have them train together and play as many minutes as possible.

If it were me, this would be my starting 11:

Spector ---- Conrad ----- Onyweu ---- Bocanegra
Donovan ---- Feilhaber ---- Beasely
Twellman ---- Ching

Not sure how the coaching staff will approach the Sweden, Catalonia & Switzerland matches. Hopefully the rumored matches against South Africa and Mexico are going to be secured, as they would both be great chances for road matches which should challenge the players. I would also like to see Adu, Altidore, Bradley, Cooper (once healthy) and Szetela called into those squads. If these guys are going to be a part of the 2010 World Cup, might as well get them involved now. They have got to be better than Beckerman, Gaven, Bornstein & Johnson.

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USA vs. South Africa: November 17th, 2007?

According to SuperSoccer.co.za, the USMNT will travel to South Africa to take on the 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

"After a three-month tour Bafana Bafana will then return home for the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge against the USA on November 17. No venue has been confirmed for this match as yet." - SuperSoccer.co.za

USsoccer.com has yet to report/confirm this match up.

Assuming that this match up is scheduled, I like it. It adds to the already very well scheduled tail end of the year with the Sweden match on 8/22 in Sweden, the 10/14 match against Catalonia in Barcelona and the 10/17 match against Switzerland. If at all possible, it would be equally as good to schedule a second match either in South Africa or in an other African nation. FIFA does have November 21st set aside for official matches, so why not use it as well?

We should expect to see a Euro based squad for this/these matches as the MLS Cup takes place on the 18th. I guess the USSF could call up players who have already been eliminated, so Donovan can put his name in the hat right now!

How much does a flight to Jo-Burg cost?

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Ok, I realize that the USMNT squad that is taking part in the Copa America isn't exactly the A team that won the Gold Cup. Yes there are several guys who have worn the Red, White & Blue that have under 5 caps for the squad. I understand that calling them a "B-" squad would be an accurate title.

These things aside, CONMEBOL really has no ground whatsoever to blast the USSF for sending this squad to the Copa America.

According to ESPNsoccernet.com, CONMEBOL general secretary Eduardo Deluca told The Associated Press on in a telephone interview on Wednesday -

"We like for the continent's most important competition to be respected with the best players."

Deluca needs to understand what he is saying before he says it, that or become tennis buddies with Alexi Lalas. CONMEBOL nations have been short changing the Copa America for the last 8 or so years. When was the last time a full strength Brazil actually showed up for the tournament? If I am not wrong, this is the first year that Argentina has actually sent it's first team to the Copa America in several years.

I realize that the Copa America is the championship of South America, but does Deluca realize that we aren't members of his confederation? We were invited guests. Had the CONMEBOL officials said that as per stipulation for the invite, the USSF must send it's best team to the tournament, I think that they would have done as best as they could to send the best team. However, they didn't and the USSF IMHO, did the right thing and is using this tournament just like the US Military uses live fire exercises; they are giving less experienced guys a real taste of what they will get in World Cup Qualifying and in the World Cup.

The USSF, as they are not a member of CONMEBOL actually had other reasons for not bringing Deuce, Bocanegra, Howard, and other European based players. As the Gold Cup, and not the Copa America is the USSF's regional championship, the European based players only had to be released for that tournament. Other players like Feilhaber & DeMerit play for clubs that recognized that having their guys play in the Copa will benefit their clubs, so they released them. As for the MLS based players who didn't make the squad, (Donovan for example), that has more to do with MLS and the fact that Donovan's club sucks without him, as exhibited by them finally winning once he returned to the team.

I am happy that the US has been given such a valuable oppritunity to get real world experience on the international level. Would I have honestly liked to have seen the first team play down there? You bet your ass I would. I think we would have tied Argentine, beaten Paraguay, knocked off Columbia, dropped Mexico another 2-0 score line and made it to the Semi-Finals and either faced Brazil or Argentina again. That said, considering the situation that the USSF was in with the Gold Cup, the MLS season, European based player availability and the need to get new players into the fold, I think that they made the best decision.

On a different, but same note concerning the Copa America and player selections, I think that CONMEBOL should re-examine its schedule to allow for more players to play. Namely, I think that CONMEBOL should look at trying to shift the Copa America to the same year as the European Championships. If they did that, it would give their players a chance to get a full summer off the year after the World Cup and before it, along with giving European clubs less of a complaint for releasing players. I think that the one group of people who would be able to get this done is the media.

Think of it, the South American, Mexican and US based media outlets that get the broadcast rights to the European Championships and Copa America would have a soccer bonanza on their hands. With the time differences in match scheduling, they could lock fans into their TV's for the entire day. They can start the morning with the Euro Championships matches, then have a 30/60 minute recap show. Follow that with the Copa America preview show and two Copa matches that evening. Of course, this is assuming that the two tournaments start at the same time.

Having the Copa America every 4 years on the same schedule as the Euro Championships would allow for more rest with South American players and then Brazil could have it's entire first team for the tournament. This might also lead to a change to the South American World Cup qualifying, which could be shortened to allow for the tournament.

Instead of all 10 teams playing each other, have two groups of 5, with each side playing 8 matches. The top two sides from each group advance to the World Cup and the two third place finishers face off in a home/away series that determines who plays the 4th place CONCACAF side for that extra World Cup slot.

Oh well, a guy can dream.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Just about that time...retirement?

It always sucks to come to a sad realization when you figure out that you can no longer do what it is you love. My grandfather had a really hard time accepting that right before he died, he was no longer capable of driving, his reflexes were just too slow to handle a car. It was hard for most of my family to watch him try and drive, and it was even harder once he recognized his situation.

I think Kasey Keller is in this very same type of situation and I am not alone in this thought. Keller has said that if he doesn't get the right type of job offer, that he might retire from soccer. He says this as he also says that he has received several different offers, which makes me think that he hasn't been getting any starting offers or ones that aren't in Top Flight leagues. I would not be surprised if he does retire this summer.

I am not saying this simply based on the CNN/SI article or based on Adam Spangler's piece on Keller, I am saying this after watching him have more an more trouble in the goal this summer on the national stage than I ever remember Keller ever having. Last night we saw these problems allow two goals. Keller has lost a step and in soccer, if you aren't able to pounce on a ball, especially as a goalkeeper, you are done.

The first goal, I have to believe that the Kasey Keller of two or three years ago would have been off his line faster and disrupted the play. In all fairness, had his defenders actually done their jobs (Bornstein, don't watch the ball roll bye you, kick at it son) his job would have been a little less risky in goal. However, that last goal was less of a perfect strike (it was a great free kick) and more to do with the fact that Keller's feet just weren't fast enough.

Sadly, I think that despite the fact that the USA is still technically alive and could still make the Quarter finals, I really think that Brad Guzan needs to get the start this Thursday against Columbia. If this trip to the Copa America is really a learning situation for these guys, Guzan has got to get a game. Considering the reality of the situation, Keller should be on the bench.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Match Recap: USA 1 - 3 Paraguay

Well, that sucked.

I sort of feel like I need to crouch into the corner and keep repeating to myself, "Go to a Happy Place, Go to a Happy Place."

I know that these matches are being used by Bob Bradley and the USSF to get guys prepared for World Cup Qualifying. I know that over all, these matches mean just about the same as the January match against Denmark did, in the overall scheme of things. I know that the match against Argentina was not going to be a good one for our players.

That said and done, damnit, this still sucks watching our guys go out there and fuck themselves. Paraguay didn't do anything spectacular, they didn't destroy the USA and they sure as hell didn't really impress me. They did the one thing that the USA didn't do, they converted their chances.

In the 8th minute, Ben Olsen put the ball on Kljestan's forehead right in front of the goal. What does Kljestan do with it? He watches it go bye. Eddie Johnson had so many situations where he was at the top of the 18 yard box with the ball and what did he do with the ball? He passed it back. Justin Mapp, once he was brought on, thought it was Mapp vs. Paraguay and lost possession almost every time he tried to run the ball into the net.

I really don't know. Do our guys have it in their heads that they are not allowed to take a shot at the goal? Do they think that if they have the ball in an open space more than 5 seconds, the pitch will open up and swallow them? Do they think that when they pass the ball it is ok to just roll it across the field? I believe they do, because they did these things over, and over, and over again tonight.

Jonathan Bornstein really needs to understand that if he has a break away up the left side of the field, he needs to run balls out towards the end line. If there is anyone on his team that understands that he needs assistance, they will make a run up the center of the field and once he gets up the field, he will either have the chance to cross or get a free kick. He doesn't need to stop or slow down halfway through his run and let the defender dispossess him. If he changed that of all of his plays, he will be a better left sided threat out of the back.

I know that these matches are to have these players cut their teeth in the international field of play, but when they are failing to even realize when to pass and when to not pass or even take a shot at goal, I am grasping at straws as to what they are learning.

Half of the moves, check that; 90% of the moves that Justin Mapp tried during the 20 or so minutes he was on the field, he did at too slow a pace. He was so slow when he would try and cut on a defender that the defender just stepped with him and took out the play.

I like Bob Bradley. I wouldn't have selected him as the Head Coach, but I like what he has done with the squad and I think he will do a very good job with the USMNT. That said and done, I want to know why he isn't getting his guys to react quicker? Are they incapable of realizing that something isn't working? The lone US goal was a wonderful build up through the middle of the field and one that came about when the US players moved forward and attacked the goal. Why didn't Bradley tell his guys to continue to do that? Other than the goal, we pretty much always tried to go down the sides with the attacks.

The biggest sin (if you will) was that I saw more guys get the ball about 7 yards from the 18 yards box and immediately pass the ball back towards the US side of the field. They wouldn't try and hold it for a second or even try and find a guy who might be making a run. They would do the "safe" thing and pass it away from the Paraguay players. Once they realized that the US players weren't going to really move towards goal, the Paraguayan’s just moved their entire line up towards midfield and we normally lost the ball.

Why didn't Bob yell at his guys to press the ball? Why can't EJ or Twellman understand that they would get better service if they actually made runs at the goal, instead of standing inside the 18 yard box, hands on hips, with two defenders around them?

I expected Argentina to beat us. I expected the US to beat Paraguay. I now know that we are seeing that Bob Bradley is having more trouble with lesser players than he did with the first string guys. I really can't see the USA getting any type of result here. I guess it is a learning experience.

Side Note - Can the USSF schedule a friendly against Paraguay later this year or early next year? This is the type of side we should be getting matches against. Preferably in Paraguay, but hell, if they want their Euro players to not travel as far, how about in Portugal?

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