Posts Tagged ‘national team


More people than ever are watching soccer on TV in the US…time to cut newspaper coverage..what?

According to SI a huge number of people tuned into this past weekends Euro 2008 final and the DC United vs. Galaxy match that preceeded it. (3.76 million and 1.2 million viewers respectively.)

These are fantastic numbers for a sport that no one allegedly cares about. The numbers are even better when you consider that for the matinee game, half of the potential audience was still shaking the sleep out of their eyes at kickoff.

I was deeply critical of MLS for allowing a game to kick off at 9am PST when one of the teams playing is from California but the numbers were pretty good with that difficulty.

The numbers really jump out at you when you look at the Euro numbers. 3.76 million viewers is staggering. Keep this in mind when viewing the numbers. The network, The CW, normally gets 4 million or less viewers in PRIMETIME. That is to say nothing of some other networks getting similarly weak numbers in those same money slots. To pull 4 million viewers on a Sunday morning/afternoon is nothing short of fantastic.

Sure it’s not NFL 1pm/3pm game numbers, that would be a lot to expect, but it is similar to ABC’s feature college game of the week according to THESE numbers. Numbers like the ones from the Euro final Sunday can only help gain more exposure of soccer in America on TV and mean more money for the league and SUM since we all know the kind of money that is thrown at college football. If soccer got half that money it would explode in quality in this country. With all that good news and obvious interest that can only mean news editors around the country would be looking to exploit the sectors of their markets that are hungry for the most popular recreational and youth participation game in the country right?


Nick Green, Andrea Canales and Luis Bueno have been covering the withering newspaper coverage of soccer in Los Angeles for a while. This is positively crazy considering the popularity of the game in this city. Granted, much of the interest comes from the Spanish speaking audience of this city, but there is still a sizeable English language fanbase who are apparently being ignored if these cuts come to pass.

However, I wonder if it isn’t more indicative of the newspaper publishing business in general. First the struggling economy has to be considered as these papers are largely publicly held and need to keep revenue on an uptick and profits in the black. This is usually done with job cuts. Who better to cut than the people covering the least popular events?

Add to this the fact that sports in papers are silly. Newspaper in general have the ‘you are getting the news 24 hours later’ onus hung on them but it is especially true of sports where you are reading stories about games that are 1 or even 2 days old. With the speed of the internet, many of these stories are coming out in real time.

Add to this formula the sheer bulk of soccer related blogs and forums on the internet that probably exceeds any other sport in terms of sheer volume of potential news sources and you begin to see how newspapers would cut those jobs. Do yourself a favor and type in ‘football blog’ or ‘soccer blog’ in google or even at you will see hundreds upon hundreds of them.

Ultimately, newspaper brands won’t fold and go the way of the dinosaur. They will simply reinvent themselves. The online presence will be the place for news and updates since that is where most people go for such things as it is. (do you know anyone that doesn’t check BBC, CNN, Foxnews, NBC for news online?) They will keep the print edition in a slimmed down form with collectible pull outs and opinion pieces that aren’t dated material like sports scores are and also to cater to restaurant guides and coupons and the like. It is bound to happen and many publishers including Felix Dennis of Maxim fame told Alexis Glick as much on a recent episode of Money for Breakfast on Fox Business Channel.

So while it may seem counter intuitive to dump the coverage of a sport that is clearly on the rise in the papers, it seems more of an inevitability than a move made out of spite. It is simply incumbent upon people to re-invent themselves and make their niche in the online world. Ives Galarcep made the transition from the tiny newspaper he was writing for to the online realm and seems to be doing well according to his own proclamations. If he can do it, pretty much anyone currently employed by a newspaper can do it. It’s no secret that I find much of his reporting to be left wanting as he clearly never researches rules before commenting on them and his analyses are clearly coming from the mind of someone who has never actually played the game on a competitive level. (which he hasn’t by his own admission) More than a few of the ‘scoops’ he does get often come from Latin American/Spanish sources first.

I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m blasting the guy, really I’m not, but I think he is about average as far as reporters of soccer go; nothing great nothing terrible. If he can find success, there must be others who could make a similar successful transition to the online realm.

Internet ad revenue is starting to boom. I can attest to that. I have a modest website (see link in upper left of sidebar) that is 100% supported by AdBrite ads and it more than pays for the upkeep and leaves a little bit (not enough to live on) left over for some beers. If a tiny website with modest at best pageviews can be self sustaining someone with an audience and a voice on a subject (soccer) they love can certainly cut through the bits and bytes of the internet and succeed.

In short, it’s not time to lament the loss of newspaper column space for soccer, it’s a dying medium in that regard anyway, it’s time to look forward and take the step toward innovation or reinvention…or go take a job as a bag boy instead.

Be bold, or grow old wondering “what if?” for the remainder of your life. A lesson for soccer and a lesson for all of life. That used to be the American way. Let’s keep that going, shall we?

Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans.


US vs. Barbados results / thoughts

Here comes the score so if you TiVO’ed the game don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know the score. Of course if you are on a sports site looking for this sort of thing you are a moron for looking at it as you should expect to see a score, right?

Well the US began it’s World Cup qualifying campaign by blitzing Barbados 8-0..yeah, 8-0.

Reading that it probably sounds like everything is fine in Whoville but it’s not. Here is the line up we started with and tell me what is wrong with it:






Have you spotted the errors yet? I have. I’ll give you a few more minutes with that and also give you this article from Yanks-Abroad, a site I often disagree with but am finding myself agreeing with a whole lot more in THIS CASE.

I have been a Bob Bradley supporter. I think he is great at motivating people and getting the most out of them. However, watching this game it is clear he is a bit tactically retarded, or simply gun shy.

There is NO EXCUSE for playing a 4-4-2 (with 2 FUCKING d-mids AGAIN!!!) against Barbados. I’m sorry there isn’t.

Even if you want to start out this way and wait til you have a few goals to experiment I guess I’ll accept that, but it never happened.

A game like this is PRIME real estate for trying out new formations that you MIGHT need to use if you find yourself a goal down or understaffed etc. Basically what I’m saying is this game was BEGGING for a 3 back formation and yet, you are still sitting 5 behind the ball…against fucking Barbados…a team that had a website begging for players. Continue reading ‘US vs. Barbados results / thoughts’


USMNT: USA vs. Barbados roster

The roster for the USA’s ‘monolithic tilt’ against Barbados has been released. It looks like this:

GOALKEEPERS: Dominic Cervi, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard.
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra, Dan Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Frankie Hejduk, Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce.
MIDFIELDERS: Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Eddie Lewis, Pablo Mastroeni.
FORWARDS: Brian Ching, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson.

Allow me to be the first to say that I should and everyone else should stop making wise cracks about Barbados. Sure we SHOULD win, but Barbados isn’t exactly San Marino, they play defense. Oh!

Beside, we only beat them 7-0 and 4-0 last time. Continue reading ‘USMNT: USA vs. Barbados roster’


US vs. Argentina roster for the USMNT

Here is the roster for the USMNT vs. Argentina on Sunday 6/8

GOALKEEPERS: Dominic Cervi, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard.

DEFENDERS: Dan Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Frankie Hejduk, Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce, Drew Moor

MIDFIELDERS: Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Eddie Lewis, Pablo Mastroeni.

FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Kenny Cooper

Kenny Cooper and Drew Moor weren’t on the original list. This is a SHAM that Cooper wasn’t called in immediately but Eddie “I can’t head a ball into a wide open goal” Johnson gets called in AGAIN.

If Bradley is smart and has any sense in that fucking head that thought his son wasn’t gassed after 65 minutes, he WON’T start EJ and give Cooper a chance with Donovan up top.

In fact once has to wonder why Altidore didn’t make the list. He was supposedly healthy. Perhaps Villareal asking that he not play as a ‘courtesy’ since he will be gone for the Olympics.


USA vs. Spain the aftermath

What can be said about the US vs. Spain other than it was a tale of 2 halves (kinda)?

The teams were pretty evenly matched in the first half, though if we are going to be fair, Spain was likely keeping the foot slightly off the gas so as to avoid injuries prior to the Euros this weekend.

Still, there weren’t a ton of embarrassing performances. Even Eddie Johnson looked almost like a professional footballer (in the first half). The back line held together fairly well also stifling most attacks, though no one is going to convince me that Onyewu is the best option. He is still very SLOW. He is a nice target to have on set pieces, but do we REALLY want a centerback who’s best quality is his height on set pieces? Because in all honesty we have two of them in Bocanegra and Onyewu. (though I think Boca beings a bit more to the table defensively)

Time to give Orrozco some run, Chief

However, the true story for the US was the emergence and the brilliance of Freddy Adu. He was dangerous all half. Causing havoc for the Spanish backline and even gave defenders as vaunted (and rightfully so) as Carlos Puyol all they could handle with artful passes and runs into the heart of the Spanish defense.

Unfortunately for Freddy, his passes went for naught as they were still being sent to EJ who squandered them basically at every chance he got.

Of course it all came crashing to a halt when Puyol was beaten and lunged at Freddy stepping on his foot.

The second half, while not a disaster, was not pretty. Negative play. Returning to the dreaded ’empty bucket’ formation. Lack of possession. Michael Bradley playing the full 90 when he clearly didn’t have enough gas to go more than 60 and it showed when he was one of the people torched on Xavi’s brilliant goal scoring run. (P.S. can we stop playing Michael Bradley as a d-mid, Bob? He is playing out of position and it shows)

The forward play became non-existent and the introduction of Josh Wolff showed us that these last 2 matches should be his farewell to the national set up.

Another troubling performer is Clint Dempsey. He has absolutely sucked the last 4 months or so for club and country. It’s time to sit him. I’m seriously getting sick of Bradley picking much less playing, players based on past reputation. It’s a shit way to select a side and an even more shit way to get the most out of players when they know they can go out and go through the motions, do shit and still get picked.

One other thing that needs to be addressed is the style of play. We have REALLY regressed hard into a shit, route 1, Brit-ball cunt style of playing. A year ago around the Gold Cup we looked like a team more interested in keeping the ball on the ground and holding onto it more. No longer.

Maybe missing Donovan and some others has meant that much, but it’s disturbing nonetheless.

Hopefully this weekend when we play Argentina we get Donovan back. Kenny Cooper is expected to play which is a LONG overdue call up as he has been RIPPING it up and the new Villareal man, Jozy Altidore is expected to figure into the scene as well. If Adu is healthy all 3 of those players prefer a possession ground attack to the shit long ball automatico stuff.

The big positive to take away is we played more positively than we did against England and Spain is a light years better team than England is.

There are still things to address (Bradley’s negative tactics, playing players out of position, poor substitutions, his sudden loss of touch when making halftime adjustments, players developing worse and worse first touches among other things) However, nothing that should stop us in the first couple rounds of World Cup qualifying…I hope. I’m sure Bradley hopes as well as there are already a ton of people calling for his head and I gotta say…I’m starting to agree with it a bit.


USA vs. Spain Roster Set-and it sucks.

Her is the roster for the US vs. Spain via USMNT Blog:

Goalkeepers (3): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton FC)

Defenders (7): Carlos Bocanegra (out of contract), Dan Califf (FC Midtjylland), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock)

Midfielders (6): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Lewis (Derby County), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)

Forwards (4): Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Nate Jaqua (out of contract), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (out of contract)

Another piece of shit roster. It was nice to see him drop Rico Clark after having a horrible game against England. Which was surprising I must admit.

However, where are the fucking goals going to come from is Donvan is out? Dempsey looked invisible against England, so much so that I even forgot to mention him in the recap. Also, Josh Wolff has no business being on the field for this.

Also, for the love of all that is holy, Bob, do not play Gooch and Boca in the center of defense.  Spain’s attack has TONS more pace than England’s and Gooch has the speed of an oak tree. Orrozco was called up and should be given a look. He played great from a very good Mexican club and looked great in the Olympics.

On a side note: why the fuck hasn’t Jorge Flores been called up into the youth teams yet? He is on FIRE for Chivas USA and if my sources are correct he is eligible for the US and Mexico. Do you wish to lose ANOTHER player to El Tri because of shit scouting, sticking with your old standby players and lack of action? This kid should be capped NOW. Hell, he should have been brought in against Spain. I’m not saying he is the cure all, but he is a tireless worker on the LM with fantastic pace. Let’s not waste that.

With this roster I’m looking at 3-1 Spain. I have a feeling we’ll sneak in a late garbage time goal. However, with what I am sure will be the bullshit empty bucket formation and lack of quality up top, I am pretty sure we are fucked no matter what the score is unless El Nino ruptures both Achilles tendons in warm ups.


England vs. USA recap

I’m late with this and don’t have much to say about this piece of shit game.

The US lost 2-0 and it was a deserved result given a few factors that I would like to talk about.

1) Bradley calling in a team with 1 decent striker (Donovan–even though he is more of an AM or SS than a striker if we are going to be honest) and 3 stiffs (Eddie Johnson, Josh Wolff & Nate Jaqua) Donovan was injured and unavailable and the results showed.

Wolff absolutely sucked and EJ had one good chance on goal and otherwise sucked. Jaqua came in for a cup of tea at the end of the match and had no real chance to ultimately suck like he would have.

2) These are combined: Employing the empty bucket formation (4-2-2-2) and playing Michael Bradley out of position.

Bob: enough with the fucking empty bucket. It’s a ridiculously defensive minded formation that is negative in every way possible. It opens up the team to counters and just sucks.

Compounding that madness, is Michael Bradley being asked to play as a D-mid when he is a center mid–and excelled in that role for Heerenveen. A lot of people think there is no difference between the two roles but there really is. Michael isn’t the world strongest defenders, he’s good but not great. He is great at getting into the attack, linking the midfield to the front line and yes, scoring some goals (he had what, 18 in all competitions this year? That’s a lot, Bob)

Of course, rather than use that attacking prowess, we use Michael in a way that accentuates his weak points and leaves his strong points in the shadows. Dumb, Bob. Dumb.

Also, regarding the formation, it’s a friendly. A FUCKING FRIENDLY. Experiment. You claim you were experimenting with new blood, which was bullshit. Why not experiment with the formation? It’s not like England wasn’t every beatable with the right personnel and attack minded formation. We have held our own against Brazil and Argentina the last year and both of those nations are light years ahead of England in terms of class. Sorry England fans, but it’s very true.

3) Bring on fucking Adu. Stop sitting him til the 80th minute. Start the fucking kid and lets see what he can do. This will require you to dump the bullshit empty bucket, but it could benefit us. He showed some flashes but had no real chance to impose his will on the match since it was over by the time he stepped on the field.

4) related to #1, call up Altidore. Fuck what Osorio says about worrying about Jozy wearing down. Who gives a fuck about RBNY? I don’t. I care about the USMNT playing well. I would say the same thing if Jozy was in Chicago. Hell, I’ve often advocated Rolfe getting another look and gladly would have relished seeing him against England, Spain and Argentina.

There are probably a ton more I could list but it’s making want to vomit. The roster for the Spain friendly came out and it’s basically the same old bullshit. I will comment on that in another post.

MLS ASG in DENVER- by eBatty