Posts Tagged ‘Olympics


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Formation: 4-2-2-1-1 (similar to Bradley’s occasional foray into a 4-2-2-2, but Adu was more withdrawn and free roaming, but it had the same freedom given to the fullbacks in Bradley’s 4-2-2-2)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


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’


CONCACAF Olypic U-23: USA vs. Panama

God fucking dammit….

Result: USA 1 Panama 0

Once again we come out in a 4-2-3-1 and once again we look bad in the first half though this time it was the first half of the first half that was shit.

Note to Nowak: 4-2-3-1 is bullshit. It is a bullshit formation for a team that fancies itself one of the big dogs of the region. It’s overly defensive and gives lesser teams a chance to press your team. There is no need to play 2 d-mids against Cuba and Panama. Sorry, there just isn’t. Are you really that worried that they will slice up your back line? If so, we need to pull U-17’s up or something because if 4 in the back with 1, ONE, d-mid can’t do the job then fuck it, we need to just quit now.

Altidore looked like he was left out to die once again due to this formation. However, the injection of people actually capable of playing on the wings, Gaven and Holden (man of the match) helped it a bit more than the disaster that was Cuba.

The second half looked better. It seemed Altidore figured out that he had to do all the work himself for the most part and made a number of stunning moves and great runs that many times were cut short by a referee who was apparently blind.

Holden was all over the place and needs to be called up to the senior team for the next friendly as he looks like he could be the answer Bradley is desperately seeking from the right midfield. That being said, I’m sure we won’t see him called up for at least 2 more years.

Panama played tough and had some chances. It’s hard to see how Hondouras beat them but that just gives us an idea of the kind of trouble we might be in when we face them on Saturday if this is the best we have.

We are playing at home, boys. Stop fucking around and get the job done. Nowak, I love ya buddy, but you need to pull your head out of your ass. Unlike the senior team, this team has the attacking quality to score goals. You simply need to unleash them.

Up next: Hondouras at 4pm PST. Televised on Fox Soccer Channel. We need at least a tie to finish second (not prefered) or a win to finish top of the group.

Orozco: you may come back. Well done.

Wynne: probably the most frustrating player in the pool. To his credit his name wasn’t mentioned all that often which as the old adage goes, the defender’s name is the one you never want to hear called if he’s doing his job right. He did have some flubs and it’s painful. His pace far outstrips that of anyone else we have at fullback. Bornstein is the only one close. Wynne’s occasional positional lapses are just enough though to keep him out as a regular. He’s one player I wish, more than anyone, would figure it out.

Zizzo: came on late. Started out shaky, but showed why he was one of my favorite players at the U-20’s last summer. He is another one who needs to get more looks on the right for the senior team.

Gaven: great game. looks like he’s fighting to live up to the great early promise he had.

Kljestan: was Kljestan. Solid.

Edu: played well at center back and is going to make it difficult for someone on the senior team. He is the best d-mid we have and his play at centerback surely must give Bradley pause when going through his baffling automatic inclusions of Onyewu every time. Gooch is a walking yellow card and gets torched far too much for my tastes. Though I guess having one great game against Mexico is enough for him to be lionized. (I should point out that the same people mocking myself and others for pointing out Bornstein’s great game against Messi as a ‘1 game pony’ are the same one’s who champion ‘1 game’ Onyewu and his yellow card parade –Eurosnobbery at its finest)

Adu: great game. Scored the PK that Altidore drew late in the first half. I hope he’s not a youth-level wonder. His appearances with the senior team have been a bit rough at times. I think once he realizes that he has a little way to go before he can pull the Cristiano Ronaldo act on national team players for Brazil the better off he’ll be. He is getting very close to exploding though. I just get that sense from him. Bradley just needs to put him out there and run with it.

Also on that note, he plays with Altidore better than anyone. Altidore is clearly the future up top. Adu is the man he plays off of best. It seems folly to ignore this.

McCarty: another solid game from the young FC Dallas midfielder. He is so tiny though it will be interesting to see if he can improve physically to become a force for the national team.

Sturgis: uh, OK. Not horrible, not great. Again, if I don’t hear your name too much it couldn’t have been all that horrible.

Seitz: decent game. He still isn’t showing the kind of class that is going to unseat Howard or Guzan (who I believe will ultimately unseat Howard sooner rather than later) it’s just unfortunate for him because he is a very good keeper who would start for dozens upon dozens of national teams, but the USA happens to be the Brazil of goalkeeper production.


Olympic U-23: USA vs. Cuba Recap

Single word review: Heinous.

The final score was 1-1 but should have been a much more convincing win for the US.

The list of players that really showed up to play are:

Freddy Adu

Dax McCarty


The result: 1-1

Seriously, the effort was piss poor. I would like to bag on Altidore but Nowak did him no favors by playing a MORONIC 4-5-1 (4-2-3-1 depending on how you look at it-same shit result)

Note to Piotr Nowak: a formation with a lone striker only works if you have people who can actually play on the wings. Putting people who are strikers by trade on the wings only works if your team’s name is Barcelona and the people you ‘toss out there’ are named Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry.

Altidore was left on an island and was beaten to death because there was positively no danger coming from wide positions. Terrible.

Cuba took Nowak’s tactical blunder and maximized their chances with a gift goal that looked like it should have cleared by Ianni; but I digress.

The first 15 minutes looked great for the US. Then we dove into long ball city and gave up the midfield dominance we built up and the game tying goal went in minutes after a wonderful strike by Adu found twine.

Seriously, we need to stop letting the players watch English football. The route one long ball dump fest that happened simply reminded me of 90% of the English Premier League. When we play like that nothing but bad things happen and it happened again.

The second half looked a little better once they decided to, ya know, play some possession football instead of dumping long balls deep all day. (oh and Nowak pulled his head out of his ass and dumped the failed 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 bullshit he employed in the first half)

Alas, it was too late by that point. People like Charlie Davies were more concerned with honing their diving skills than trying to finish chances.

On that note, Davies should be torn a new asshole for his despicable play. Every chance he got he dove. If we are going to be realistic, he should have been shown yellow twice and ejected. He’s pathetic. Normally players with great pace are accused of diving because it takes a lot less to take down someone moving quickly and it can look like a dive even when it isn’t. That wasn’t the case with Davies. He’d get the ball to his feet in good positions and just fall as soon as possible.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Davies but this sealed it. He has shown me so far that he has no faith in his finishing ability and just prays for fouls as a result of his dives all day. It pains me to say this, even being a Chicago Fire fan, but Chad Barrett outplayed him by a mile and should start next game and I’m not a big fan of Barrett as some of you may know.

The good was Adu. He played brilliantly and frankly, should have had the ball at his feet a lot more. Of course, Nowak’s long standing thought that Adu belong wide dating back to their DC United days is still in effect and still just as daft as it’s always been. Adu is a #10 player and should be employed as one at this level. Nowak prefers to put the play with the best handle on the ball and best distribution skills out wide in the nether regions instead and it will cost us again in the future if it continues.

McCarty was solid in the central midfield but was another player who was taken out of the game when we inexplicably switched to ‘Brit-ball’ and lost our way. Continue reading ‘Olympic U-23: USA vs. Cuba Recap’

MLS ASG in DENVER- by eBatty