Saturday, June 20, 2009
As you can see, no Dempsey and no Beasley. In fact, Beasley should not even be on the bench, his play vs Brazil was pathetic, end of story. And Dempsey needs to learn that he's not Ronaldinho, you can't play like Brazil against Brazil, what the hell do you think they see in training everyday? And the attempt at a bunny-hop and the behind the leg cross late in the game is just showboating and a good way to get your ass benched in any other place. I assure you if he did that for Fulham, Hodgson would have him on the bench so fast...AHH! Pisses me off, anyway. I think this lineup gives the US a legitimate shot at winning, maybe not moving on the semi's, but a win would certainly help to clean the bad tastes out of our mouths from that Brazil game. Id also like to see a lil Freddy Adu cameo in this one, no action as of yet, and can really create chances when he runs at people. Charlie Davies also deserves another look.
In light of the tournament which starts on July 3, here is the preliminary roster released by US Soccer yesterday:
GK - Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann, Troy Perkins, Luis Robles
D - Jonathan Bornstein, Danny Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj, Chad Marshall, Michael Orozco, Michael Parkhurst, Heath Pearce, Marvell Wynne
M - Freddy Adu, Davy Arnaud, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Gaven, Stuart Holden, Pablo Mastroeni, Robbie Rogers, John Thorrington, Jose Francisco Torres, Jeremiah White
F - Jozy Altidore, Conor Casey, Kenny Cooper, Charlie Davies
This group of 30 must be reduced to 23 by the day the tournament starts. If I were behind the wheel, here are the 23 guys id choose to rep the red, white and blue:
GK: Brad Guzan, Luis Robles, Marcus Hahnemann
DF: Jonathan Bornstein, Danny Califf, Jay DeMerit, Steve Cherundolo, Eric Lichaj, Heath Pearce, Michael Parkhurst, Michael Orozco
MD: Freddy Adu, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Jose Francisco Torres, Jeremiah White, Robbie Rogers, Davy Arnaud
FW: Jozy Altidore, Conor Casey, Kenny Cooper, Charlie Davies.
Now, it must be said that there are several snubs from this roster that I believe need to be said: Sal Zizzo, Danny Szetela, Jemal Johnson, Eddie Johnson, Chris Pontius, Frank Simek, Zak Whitbred? All these guys are playing quality football for their sides, and instead we get call-ups like John Thorrington, Conor Casey, Pablo Mastroeni, Eddie Gaven...bewildering to me, but hey, I'm not making the calls, so in the end, it doesn't matter what I think. A starting 11 from this squad could look like this:
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Who can we expect to see on the field, well with the absence of Ricardo Clark, here is my starting 11 for the U S of A:
Bocanegra went the full hour of training today and will be a game time decision, but id imagine that he'll be ready to go so he'll take over for DeMerit. Feilhaber steps into his more natural CM spot after starting on the flank against Italy, and Donovan slide to right midfield, with Davies taking his place up top. Overall, this could be the best team the US could field right now (depending on who your favorites are for the RB and LB spots). Until Jermaine Jones gets here (more on that later), Feilhaber and Clark are the 2 CM's we have that I would play, Kljestan is more of a CAM/wing who needs space to dribble into and attack. Also with Maurice Edu out 3 months after knee surgury, Clark and Feilhaber are the ones to go with alongside Bradley.
Who starts for Brazil? Heres a good rendering of how they'll go:
---------Gilberto Silva-------Felipe Melo-------------
Yea...international superstars all over the place. Interesting not to see Maicon or Ronaldinho included with this group, but still, thats an extremely intimidating line-up. Keep in mind though, one of Michael Bradley's coming out games was vs Kaka and Brazil in 2007. Brazil's attacking style should leave plenty of room for guys like Donovan, Davies, Dempsey, and Altidore to run into and score, but for the US to have any chance they'll have to finish the chances that they squandered in the Italy game.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
For 57 minutes, the US, with a man down due to a harsh red card on Ricardo Clark's first foul of the game, outplayed Italy. The US defended in numbers, kept organized, kept shape, stayed disciplined, and counter-attacked with great success, until the time came to SHOOT the ball. Had Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore not squandered chances in the first half, we may well be sitting on a different pedestal this afternoon. Instead, we watched as Giuseppi Rossi came on in the 57th minute and in the 58th cracked a one in a hundred shot into the upper 90. Never mind that the referees decision to change the game in the 33rd minute would ultimately come to haunt the tired Americans late, but the fact that the Americans were beaten by an American is why this loss stings so much. But enough of hatred toward him, he's a great player that Benedict Rossi, that Judas of American soccer, that backstabbing....enough before i herniate. Here are my player ratings:
Tim Howard (6): Tim can't be faulted for any of the goals. Rossi's first was a rare hit the likes of which are seen once and then never again. De Rossi's was shielded by Onyewu, and Rossi's second another hammer that no keeper would've saved. What Howard did deliver was a solid performance, and kept the Americans in with a chance late in the game.
Jonathan Spector (6): Spector should be the starter from now on in my opinion. He showed great instincts, physical grit, and ability to read the game, which is crucial against a team like Italy. Could've gotten forward more, but when Clark was sent off that opportunity was thrown by the wayside. Good performances against Brazil and Egypt will cement him as starter.
Jay DeMerit (5.5): The Watford man cemented his No. 3 CB spot with his admirable stand-in due to Carlos Bocanegra's injury. Bringing his physicality to bear on the Italian forwards all game and showing why he's the captain at Watford. However, Rossi's first goal should've been stepped too, and was made a buffoon on Pirlo's move at the end, due to fatigue.
Oguchi Onyewu (7): Gooch was an absolute beast against Gilardino and Toti, rendering both useless in the air. Showed quick feet in situations and good hard tackles when things got dangerous. With Carlos out, the US needed someone to step up and be a leader on the back line. Onyewu did just that.
Jonathan Bornstein (6): Glad to see the Chivas man back in the mix after a long spell of injuries and poor form. Even I as a Heath Pearce supporter was impressed with the way he shut down Camoranesi and Zambrotta for the majority of the night. Had his shaky moments, but for the most part, played his part in keeping service from coming in.
Clint Dempsey (4.5): Clint needs a break from soccer. In two consecutive games, the Fulham man has put the US in bad spots and it cost them, this time a hospital pass to Benny Feilhaber who was covered by two men allowed Italy to equalize. Showed his typical hot flashes and good possession, but in my opinion, he tries to showboat to much in his own half and it costs the US dearly.
Michael Bradley (6.5): An admirable performance from the young Bradley against Pirlo. He made crunching tackles and distributed the ball quite well against a highly organized Italy side. Should have buried his chance in the first half though.
Ricardo Clark (5): Played well and tackled hard until his boneheaded tackle on Gattuso would change the game. The red card was harsh and a yellow defiantly deserved but the fact of the matter is that he should'nt have put the referee in the position to decide if he plays or not.
Benny Feilhaber (6): Playing out of position for most of the game doesn't help much, but he showed the flashes of brilliance that was his trademark prior to the disaster that is moving from Hamburg to Derby to Aarhus, not to mention being injured along the way. But his ball to Jozy was imaculate and can't be blamed for Rossi's goal, Dempsey put him in a bad spot.
Jozy Altidore (6): Got physical with the CB's of Italy and showed his flashes of brilliance especially his move to draw the penalty on Chiellini. But his decision to pass instead of rifling the ball into the net in the first half is mind-boggling.
Landon Donovan (7): Another Italy game, another red card, another Donovan performance to be heralded. Donovan was a thorn in the Italian defense's side all night long. Though his delivery on set pieces needs to improve, he was robbed of a pair of assists when Bradley and Altidore misfired in the first half. Delivered cooly to put the US ahead with his 40th international goal.
Fans of Kentucky basketball, who had been enjoying a wealth of good news and fortune over the past months, were awe-struck with yesterdays news that Jodie Meeks will remain in the NBA draft, despite having no commitments from teams that he'll in fact be chosen in the first round. Meeks' decision doesn't leave Kentucky short on talent by any means, but if he'd have returned, he'd easily have made UK the No. 1 pick to win the National Championship next year. Instead UK is left with a wealth of youth and talent the likes of which have never been seen before, just would've been nice to see Jodie cutting down the nets next season. Best of luck to him in his professional endeavors.