Archive for May, 2008

25
May
08

MLS Week 8 & 9 –yeah yeah yeah I’m late again

Work has kicked my ass once again. Quick week 8 recap:

Houston wins, DC continues to suck.

Fire lose for the first time in forever.

LA stomps FC Dallas and manages to get Steve Morrow Fired; oh and expect a lot more of this from LA. They can flat score goals.

Chivas finds their touch.

Colorado and TFC continue to look solid.

Columbus stumbles and the Revs heat up a bit.

San Jose…c’mon is still and expansion team.

KC vs RBNY isn’t worth talking about since the average attendance of both teams combined couldn’t fill Buck Shaw Stadium (that place has a max capacity of about 11K BTW)

On to week 9…

First on my mind of course is the grudge match of Chicago vs. RBNY. If you don’t know the tale of deceit regarding Osorio’s leaving Chicago as coach after having a cup of coffee and then tampering to try to get Conde to go with him, there is a pretty good chance you didn’t really wanna follow the league in the first place and should go read something else.

Well, it ended up not bring much of a grudge match after all. Chicago pounded the living shit out of RBNY 5-1 and in all honesty could have been 6-1 (the Altidore missed PK call wasn’t missed at all. He dragged his leg and took a dive and the ball was no where near him so shut the fuck up RBNY fans) I thought that it would be a 1-1 affair since, like all sports in the US, teams in the Midwest tend to be very defensive minded and that falls off a bit to the East coast and is completely forgotten in the West.

In any event, here is a video that sums up CHICAGO this season as they once again move to the top of the table: CLICK HERE

LA Galaxy. Their defense is looking a bit more interested in stopping opposing teams and their offense looks as deadly as ever. They beat KC 3-1 including a 70 yd. Beckham wonder bomb at the end that is much harder to do than many people have been crediting it with for some reason. (probably retardation) Check out the highlights of the best match from Saturday HERE. Oh and don’t look now, but LA is at the top of the West. Am I the only one dreaming of an LA vs. Chicago final? I’m sure that’s what the league would PRAY for.

Chivas USA has won 2 in a row for the first time in a long time. I have to say that they look like they are officially back. They are playing their brand of flowing possession football again and should make a run again.

DC is still having their problems. They were tonked by TFC away but redeemed themselves a bit back at RFK when they came from behind. Soehn is still in trouble. They need more from Emilio. He scored this week, but it’s not enough from him yet. He simply isn’t imposing his will.

New England beat Columbus which temporarily put them at the top of the East until Chicago whooped on RBNY (yes, I’m going to mention that as much as possible)

San Jose beat Houston in a battle of current and former Quakes. Houston is truly in a shambles this year. The time for blaming the early season tournament starts is long gone. They need help at forward and quick.

Dallas beat RSL in the first game of the post-Morrow era. It was a pretty tame game. Good, much needed come from behind result for them at home, but whatever. Win a few more and we’ll care again FCD.

All in all it’s an exciting week with lots of drama from the teams with the biggest, most marketable players (Chicago and Galaxy) which is good for the league. Parity seems to be raising its head again; though Chicago still looks a class above most and I’m not convinced that Columbus has fallen off the wagon despite a lackluster loss at home.

Expect more crazy results coming up with the summer friendlies starting. LA is going to lose Donovan and Beckham this week. Their availability will be questionable at best especially after the beating Beckham took last season trying to play international matches and league games. The Wednesday slot should help, but I wouldn’t expect either to play heavy minutes next weekend.

The rest of the teams are affected by the call ups in one way or another and it is a time for clubs who are on the outside looking in to make a move on teams with their best players away on international duty. If you can’t take advantage of that, you aren’t going to make it very far.

For more videos and highlights go to : MLSnet.com

25
May
08

US vs. England Roster

Sorry I’m late again. Benn busy at work. This site doesn’t pay me…blah blah waaaah!

GK – Dominic Cervi (Out of Contract), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton)

D – Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham), Dan Califf (Midtjylland), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

MIDFIELDERS – Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley ( Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (TFC), Eddie Lewis (Derby County)

FORWARDS – Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nate Jaqua (Out of Contract), Eddie Johnson (Fulham), Josh Wolff (just let go by piece of shit 1860 München-Bayern is your daddy)

Thoughts? I think it’s a bit soft. The lack of Altidore is a bit shocking. The forward crop that has actually been called in is absolute shit outside of Landycakes. Dempsey was a ghost the last 12 weeks of the season or so. No need to comment on the shit that is Jaqua, Wolff and especially EJ.

Kinda screams 4-5-1 all over it. I am happy that DMB is healthy again. He was sorely missed and should cause some problems on the left wing.

I am also happy that the undeserving Feilhaber is off the squad. I’m not happy that he had to tear his meniscus at Toulon to have it be that way though since I think he does have potential. I just don’t think players who aren’t playing or that have no team should be called up. We aren’t Brazil, Germany, Argentina or Italy but we do have enough talented players that we don’t have to take players currently sitting on the scrap heap.

Which brings me to Cervi. It is a fucking joke that this kid is on the team. He hasn’t played a single minute of professional football and judging by his performances in the U-23 tournaments this year, he has no business getting call ups to the senior team.

I fully realize that he is the 3rd keeper and 99% sure won’t see the field but still; it’s the principle.

All in all it’s probably a squad that is more than capable of getting a draw against England or perhaps a fluke goal win, but I don’t see this lineup imposing it’s will and romping over England the way we did over Poland. Anything can happen though I guess.

16
May
08

USMNT Player Pool Announced

So the player pool for the upcoming friendlies has been announced. (check it out after the break)

Once you scan it, you won’t see too many surprises other than Troy Perkins. What the fuck has he done to deserve a call up? He is a solid keeper but c’mon. Cervi is in that same boat as well. He looked shaky in the U-23 Olympic Q’s and has no club after turning down the offer from Chicago. Jaqua is another one who is there to fill out the numbers.

The big questions I have are: where is Subotic? Is he officially deciding to play for Serbia? Also, what’s the deal with Torres of Pachuca? He has looked very good and is an American. Is he being lured by El Tri? Bradley has to start putting more pressure on these two way players. The US has already lost too many players like this (Rossi). If they don’t get more serious about identifying and involving youngsters like those players early on we will never make any progress. Just look at how long it took for them to take a real look at Orozco who looks like he’s possibly our best centerback.

Please pull your collective heads out of your collective asses USSF. You have enough money to get to work on this shit. Stop sucking the dicks of bullshit go nowhere youth clubs that happen to have some dough and get out there and really look for players. It also wouldn’t hurt to set up a youtube like system where young players can upload videos of themselves playing to even help you along with the process.

One can only hope the continued development of the MLS academies will help this as well. There are already reports that there are 3 players in the Chicago academy who were considering moving to Mexico before the academy opened, who are absolute stunning talents. One of them is even a true #10. Imagine having that on the USMNT for once? Thank god the situation was averted (for now) in Chicago.

However, how often does this go the other way? Look no further than Chivas “USA” who has academies all across SoCal but try to place all the players with El Tri and or FMF teams rather than US soccer. This is a problem and one MLS needs to address. I’m sure that once MLS is a bigger cash cow than the FMF that the fans of Chivas d. Guad wouldn’t be too happy if their academy system was switched to train young Americans to go play in MLS clubs and the USMNT.

I ‘get’ that MLS is still a league that feeds into bigger leagues, however, Chivas USA’s youth system is doing more than that at the moment. They’ve had a number of promising youngsters who’ve never seen time with CUSA but went straight to C d Guad. That is unacceptable. It as bad as the rumored shadow clubs Arsenal and several Dutch clubs run in Africa.

Other than those issues, the roster looks solid. One can only hope Adu gets a chance to shine. One can also hope Bradley can bring the magic he’s had for Herenveen. I also hope Feilhaber gets no playing time as he has no business being on a national team roster if he can’t get playing time at Derby. His last few appearances in the national shirt have shown as much. Benny: get playing time at the club level, somewhere, anywhere and then get called back in. It’s time to consider a move to MLS for a couple seasons to find your head and find your form. Leaving HSV was the dumbest move you’ve made in your career.

Johnson is another one who has no business seeing the field. Playing reserve games for Fulham is no substitute for competitive action in a league. Plus you have been dreadful lately. Bradley needs to stop calling in players based on potential only.

That’s all for now. Check out the player pool after the break.

Continue reading ‘USMNT Player Pool Announced’

16
May
08

MLS week 6 & 7 thoughts…yeah I know I’m late

So as those of you who read my entertainment blog know, I have been busy prepping the Cannes film festival. (yeah, people ask me whether should be made or not. Weird right? Too bad they normally make the ones I’m not too keen on first. Oh well)

As such, I haven’t been able to pay much attention to this blog since, well, it pays nothing since WordPress.com doesn’t allow ads and the other sites do pay me (a little bit).

Anyway, here is a quick list of thoughts and let me start with a quick note on the start of week 8 with the RSL vs. Colorado game.

It was a pretty tight match. The level of play is the highest I’ve seen in the ‘Rocky Mountain Cup’ since it’s inception. This holds true league wide.

Colorado is looking like the team to beat out west and RSL is looking much improved. However, playing in the west it is looking more and more like they won’t make the playoffs again. It’s a shame because they do have some exciting young players. The Argies they added last year have been fantastic.

On to the past two weeks:

First, LA is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. To expect anymore or less the rest of the year, barring a major move, is folly. They have all the offense in the world. In fact, I am pretty confident that they could blast just about anyone off the field when they are even half on. However, the problem continues being defense as evidenced by their home loss to TFC a few weeks ago. They continue this streak of poor defending and it has been costing them, especially against RBNY who are a vastly overrated side.

LA needs to find a leader. They give up a ton of goals immediately after scoring and it is clear they need someone to holler at them and tell them to focus. 7 years ago a team could over celebrate and get away with it. However, the level of play and competitiveness for spots has increased to such a degree that it isn’t possible to take too many plays off without being punished. You only need as DC United…

…who got the living shit kicked out of them by Chicago on MLS Thursday a week after Chicago beat the shit out of New England for a second time this year. (where’s the excuses for your side this time, Nicol?) DC United has had a pretty strong history of having some talented players, but also having players who drift in and out of matches at times (look at their woeful recent playoff history) The fact of the matter is, the better teams in the league no longer allow you to take plays off anymore. Again, 4-5 years ago this may have been the case, but it simply can’t happen anymore.

The 2 best teams in the league by a country mile are Chicago and Columbus for this very reason. They keep their foot on the gas even if they are having a bad game and more often than not, they have been putting teams to sleep.

The real tragedy is the fact that if current form holds, the league’s failure to structure the playoffs in a straight 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5 format will mean Chicago and Columbus will have to knock one or the other out of the playoffs and play a lesser western team in the final. I know that’s getting way ahead of ourselves as things change almost weekly in MLS due to the relative parity (though it’s looking less pared this year)

However, my complaint stands. The straight table playoff should be the format but it won’t be now that the league tries to do everything possible to get LA into the post-season. Look at the change to the format this year. Last year’s race for spots was the best ever because they made it the top 2 from each conference getting in and then the next best 6 irregardless of conference. However, that was changed to the top 3 and then the next 2 this year which pretty much brings it back to what it used to be. It was a move clearly aimed at aiding the western conference and LA in particular and it’s shameful.

MLS: you won’t be fooling anyone. If LA makes the playoffs as the #3 in the west 20 pts behind 3 other eastern conference teams that would have made it if not for the rules changes, it’s not going to impress anyone. There are a billion other things you could do to give them a competitive advantage. Hell, if you raised the cap $500K they could get 2 high quality defenders and they’d be one of the best teams in the league. They’d probably dominate. Doing it this way just sucks.

I digress. Continue reading ‘MLS week 6 & 7 thoughts…yeah I know I’m late’




MLS ASG in DENVER- by eBatty