Archive for March, 2008


USMNT: USA vs. Poland Recap

I don’t have time to write a full recap right now but will have one up later once I’m home from work.

logline: a game the US should win.

result: USA 3 Poland 0

Goal Scorers: Bocanegra, Onyewu, Lewis






subs: Feilhaber for Pearce; Wolff for Ching; DeMerit for Onyewu


Don’t let the pundits (like Ives Galarcep) fool you. Many of them were calling for a massive mountain for the US to climb but that simply wasn’t the case. The US handled Poland pretty easily before the World Cup in ’06 and that was a better squad than the one Poland was trotting out this time around.

Many pointed to the Poles qualifying for the Euro ’08 tourney as proof of their strength but look at the group. Group A was abysmal. Portugal was the only good team in there. If you switched Azerbaijan for Scotland, Poland is sitting home this summer; simple as that.

My player evaluations will come later tonight (needless to say, the forwards will be suitably raped 😉 )

UPDATE: Sorry for the long delay. I fucked up and saved as a draft not as a post whoops.

Ching & Johnson: 2 – they sucked in every way they could suck honestly. I should give Ching 1 more point since he actually managed to put a shot on frame.

Donovan: 7 great service on free kicks. The breakaway can’t really be blamed 100% on him as Boruc played it pretty well.

Bradley: 8 his game was subtle and you really had to be paying attention but he was in passing lanes all day and had some nice thorough balls. (that usually went squandered by the front line)

Clark: 6 he was solid as usual. He’s never flashy. He gets stuck in and pounds on people. That’s his job and he did it.

Dempsey: 3 Did he actually play? I hadn’t noticed. He’s another player who needs to be dropped from the team if he’s not going to play for club. Playing on a reserve team in ANY league will never be as good as playing on the first team in ANY league. Sorry. Deuce needs to move on.

Pearce: 4 he had a pretty shit game honestly. He set up the one free kick but his clearances were utter shit and his defending was rough to say the least. He really shouldn’t be the option at fulback.

Cherundolo: 7 solid game from Cherry. He got forward into attack in the typical German style and defended well. We need to hope he remains healthy. He is too good to be missing out on.

Bocanegra & Gooch: 5 yes, they both had goals, but their defending it simply atrocious. Gooch is still getting burned far too much and looks clumsy more often than not. Boca is showing the rust not playing for club brings and needs to sit. With a player like Orozco waiting in the wings, there is no reason to hold on to those two like they are irreplaceable.

Howard: 9 solid game again from Timmy. Made all the saves he needs to make and distributed the ball well. I wouldn’t give him a 10 because a player needs to have a god like performance in a HUGE match to get a 10 (think: Zidane vs. Brazil in the 2006 World Cup –one of the greatest performances EVER)

Here are some video highlights from German TV:


America! FUCK YEAH!: USA U-23’s Down Canada to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing

Logline: America! Fuck yeah!

Formation: 4-2-2-1-1 (similar to Bradley’s occasional foray into a 4-2-2-2, but Adu was more withdrawn and free roaming, but it had the same freedom given to the fullbacks in Bradley’s 4-2-2-2)








MOTM: Probably the easiest choice all tournament: Freddy Adu. Scored two goals. Had several other chances on goal. Was basically a danger all night. Though pretty much every one was effective, he was the MOTM

Result: USA 3 Canada 0

USA moves on to the Olympic Games in the summer.


Not much to say. The US dominated possesion all game. HERE is a blow by blow RECAP from the AP that is pretty spot on.

No one was particularly bad. Kljestan had some unforced turnovers but he did so many other things well REALLY working his ass off and captaining the side well that it’s easy to overlook those in this case. (plus he is in pre-season in all fairness and was out at the beginning of pre-season due to injury if memory serves)

The move to actually allow someone to play further up in the attack with Altidore and to let the fullback REALLY push up into the attack worked wonders as Altidore was able to create dangerous freekicks all day that Adu capitalized on 2 times. It’s amazing what employing a more offensive minded tactical plan gives you isn’t is, Nowak? Still not wild about 2 d-mids, but since they are a strength of ours in the player pool, the decision to allow the fullbacks to bomb forward more made up for it to a greater extent.

The US moves on to play Hondouras in the final that is largely for the coaches to see who they have and who will and won’t make the Olympic squad. I believe it is on Sunday but I’m not even sure I’ll cover that since it’s not all that important of a game.


Great-Adu, Altidore, Orozco & Holden. These four should be on the squad barring injury. Adu and Holden in particular has fantastic tournaments. In fact, there is no reason Holden shouldn’t be called up regularly for the Senior team. He can play wide left or right with equal facility and very well looks like he can be the answer wide right for the Nats. Orozco simply looks like the future at center back as he is capable of defending without giving up free kicks in dangerous positions all day a’la Onyewu.

GoodEdu, McCarty, Seitz, Kljestan, Wynne & Sturgis. All of these players had solid games. Kljestan just barely made it here because of the turn overs, but the work rate was exceptional. Edu was a calming force in midfield and broke up anything that resembled a Canadian attack. McCarty was solid as he’s been all tournament. Sturgis got forward in the attack and put himself in dangerous positions and defended well. Seitz basically had nothing to do all game but didn’t fuck up when he did so you can’t complain.
Wynne is someone I’d like to single out. He showed once again why he is so intriguing and infuriating. His crossing is still a bit weak but his positively blazing speed is something to behold. He defended well for the most part. However, he does get caught on the wrong side of the ball still on occasion but his ability to get forward was causing more problems than Canada seemed to want anything to do with. IF, and it’s a big IF, he continues his improvement like he did last year, he could be an absolutely electric tandem at fullback with Bornstein on the Nats. With their speed they will give any team nightmares all night long. I hope Marvell can attain higher awareness.

‘Bad’Spector. He wasn’t ‘bad’ per se but he is the prime example of why I hate seeing so many Americans going to England. Many of them end up at low-mid table teams like Fulham and West Ham where most of their matches are spent holding on for dear life against swarms of attacks and the first instinct is to revert into ‘Brit-ball’ (long balls over the top all day, automatic clearances out of touch even if it’s totally unnecessary) and it never ever works well. Especially when you are sending in long balls to a striker who much prefers balls played into his feet.

I have to give Spector a bit of a pass since he just flew in, but looking at everyone else in the first half the US is clearly turning more and more to a Dutch/German/Spanish hybrid style that is very continental in flavor. The semi-recent hirings of Rongen and Cabrerra in the youth levels are further evidence of this desire to shake the old Brit-ball style we had 18 years ago in Italy and before that. Bocanegra is as guilty of this shit too when he comes in, though unlike Spector, he often readjusts.

I like the added competition they get in England, but the style is simply not a winning style on the international stage. If they played for one of the Prem’s Big 4 it would be different as they all play more continental football, but that simply isn’t the case yet.

Davies: (came on as a sub for Altidore) for the love of fucking god, STOP FUCKING DIVING!!!! It’s one thing to draw fouls as a striker, but diving is being cracked down on, Chuckles and they are on to you. You got one yellow card for that shit and you really aren’t all that great at selling it either.

When you dive, you normally abandon an attack that could still have some promise. Stay on the fucking ball and get a shot on frame. If someone really fouls you, go to ground. If not, get a fucking shot on frame. It’s amazing that a player 5 years younger than you (Altidore) gets it and you don’t. Please stop the bullshit.

IncompleteEddie Gaven. He simply didn’t play enough when he subbed in for Adu. He had a great tournament though.

One other note; Brian Dunseth was great in the color analyst chair. Not a big fan of his beating cliched phrases to death at times, but he is good about not talking about mindless shit and staying on the game. He even seemed to have made Bretos better.

Final note: Kudos to Canada for making a nice go of it. In the end, their youth pool simply isn’t as deep and their Fed basically pays nothing and is in shambles. This team was cobbled together literally a week before the tournament. For them to come in and have two huge wins (one against a tourney favorite) and get to the semis from what was seen as the harder group. They continue to make baby steps but they aren’t going to go anywhere if the Canadian Fed doesn’t get their shit together soon.


CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP: 2nd leg Houston vs. Municipal

Logline: stupid fucking FSC only runs the game once and I miss most of it since it starts too early for people on the west coast to see.

MOTM: DeRosario (according to the announcers and the highlights)

Result: Houston 3 Municipal 1

Aggregate: Houston 3 Municipal 1

Houston moves on.


Well, as the logline stated, I missed pretty much all of the game because it starts at 5pm on the west and no one in LA gets out of work before 7pm pretty much.

From what the highlights showed and the announcers said, the 1st half was once again a cagey affair with few chances on offense.

The second half looked like it opened up a bit more. DeRosario being DeRosario took over the match and scored 2 times (once on a PK) and Houston added one more to salt the game away.

By the looks of things, Onstad came up big and really kept them in the match. It seemed like Municipal had a lot of great chances but Onstad was simply up for it.

Wish I could have seen the match.

Of the two MLS teams, I think Houston definitely had the tougher draw as Municipal is a very good team. Looking at the results, it seems to me that Houston is better poised to take the title if they make it to the final.

The Mexican teams finishing off their series’ and the opponents of Houston & DC will be determined then.

It’s shaping up to be interesting as DC and Houston look like they are much better prepared this year than they were last year.


DC United vs. Harbour View in pictures (kinda)

This site popped up ( I believe from the folks at The Offside) too damn funny.



Log line: Good 1st half, great second half

Match result: DC 5 Harbour View 0

Aggregate result: DC 6 Harbour View 1

DC United moves on to the next round.

MOTM: Lots of people you could go with here, but for sheer work rate and his assists and a goal I have to go with Fred

Recap in brief

Not too much to say. The game was much smoother. It probably had as much to do with the better field conditions as it did with DC being closer to in-season form.

Harbour View is a very athletic and physical team though their lack of tactical awareness and technical skill is what undid them in the end.

Gallardo is looking like he was a great pick up. He made a number of great passes and a few others that are a little off season rust away from slotting through for wonder assists. He is also adept at pickup fouls in dangerous positions and nearly had a wonder goal off the volley after driving a free kick into the wall.

Emilio finally reawakend from his sleep and chipped in 2 goals.

Fred was the real story. He was a man possessed in the second half and was spraying passes around all over the place and even had a nice finish to cap the scoring.

Over all you could tell about 30 minutes into the first half that DC was on the verge of taking the match by the scruff of the neck and dragging it home.

Usually I find some things wrong but there isn’t too much to complain about if you are a DC fan. They had some careless turnovers early on but how much can you complain about a 5-0 pasting in an international competition?

Harbour View could make noise at some point with their athleticism and pace, but they need better coaching and better technical skills. They have shown that they are tough at home though.

Houston Dynamo plays next and are also going into the second leg tied on aggregate. It’s looking like it’s going to be another Mexico vs. MLS semi finals. We’ll see if MLS can break through to capture another Champion’s Cup (it’s been a while since they have)

Of course, seeing as the winner of the the new Champion’s League will go to the FIFA Club World Cup and not the Champion’s Cup winner, I expect MLS will win this as it seems every the Club World Cup was put on hiatus MLS won.

Well see what happens.


Video: McBride Saves Fulham vs. Everton

I’m not a huge fan of the EPL (I mostly watch La Liga and Bundesliga from Europe)

However, I’ve always been a fan of Brian McBride and today he kept Fulham’s slim hopes of avoiding relegation alive.

Dempsey last year, McBride this year? Could be. Could be…

Watch it quick cause the EPL is pretty anal about clips being posted so don’t expect it to last long.


USMNT: USA OLYMPIC U-23 vs. Honduras U-23 Recap

Log line: Better. Still a lot left to do.

Score: USA 1 Honduras 0

Starting US lineup:








Formation: 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 (I’m tending more towards the latter as Findley was advanced a bit too much for me to call it a straight 4-5-1 and the play suggested it more often than not)

1ST HALF: The US came out looking a bit more composed than they have the past coupld of matches. That said, they still looked a bit too unaggressive in the final third.

The forward play was very hit or miss. Mostly miss when it came to Barrett and hit when it came to Findley (when he’d actually float back into the match that is). In fairness to Findley, his role was to roam a lot more than he is normally used to. He has played wide right for Real Salt Lake a number of times and is still learning to position. I think if he is going to have a future on the senior team that will be his place. He has the pace and the vision to play there once he masters it. His ability to finish and his deft touch, put on full display during a chance in the first half that was not a goal only due to the heroics of the Honduran goalkeeper.

Honduras were on the defensive for the most part but they certainly made the most of their chances and had at least 2 occasions in the first half where they could have taken the lead. The offside call on the disallowed goal when Cervi came WAY too far off his line was an extremely lucky break for the US.

2ND HALF: started off with another Honduran near goal before the US settled down again and took the game back into their grasp. Nothing spectacular but they took hold of the match. There was a penalty early on when Davies came in for Zizzo (I would have pulled Barrett instead but…) and was pulled down in the ares. Davies, despite only being on for less than 5 minutes, lobbied to take it and missed wide.

The rest of the second half was more of the same. Ebb and flow. US controlling most of the possession with Honduras getting some half chances here and there looking dangerous on all set plays as they seemingly had free headers every time out.

DEEP into stoppage time, Davies hits the ground again (and it wasn’t a dive again!) but this time Gaven (who should have taken the first PK) steps up and ices the game for the US and put us at the top of Group A.

Man Of The Match: tough call really. no one really stood out head and shoulders. Davies winning 2 PK’s would normally be a lock but the missed PK and some dumb dives takes it away from him. Findley played well as did Holden as did Gaven and Orozco. I think I will have to go with Gaven for his good play and showing Davies how to tuck in a PK.

UP NEXT: second place team in Group B. Haiti is in the driver’s seat right now and with as bad as Mexico and Canada have been playing, I’m going to have to go with them to take it. Mexico just doesn’t look like they have the youth team they had a few years ago. (yes, I realize there are 4 or so players who had to stay with their clubs, but the US is in the same situation so there is little excuse especially in the weak group they are in)

PLAYER NOTES: Continue reading ‘USMNT: USA OLYMPIC U-23 vs. Honduras U-23 Recap’

MLS ASG in DENVER- by eBatty