Posts Tagged ‘USMNT’

Sort it out, Klinsmann!

After the sort of debacle on Friday night in Kingston, losing to Jamaica for the first time, 2-1, the US Mens’ soccer team faces a game where if three points aren’t a must, they’re virtually 99% a must.  Dropping points to Jamaica on Tuesday wouldn’t eliminate the US from the World Cup in Brazil, but it would make their qualification task nigh impossible.

I would hope that Jürgen Klinsmann makes a few lineup changes, even if he were to stick with the same tactics which I also hope he changes, since we’ll be at home & should play with more impetus on attacking & going forward.  Klinsmann’s tactics on Friday were quite defensive (3 deeper-playing midfielders in a 4-1-2-1-2 “diamond” midfield) which I hope was in response to both Michael Bradley & Landon Donovan missing the match through injury & not a choice made regardless of players available.  Having the midfielders we had starting on Friday led to the inevitable very narrow formation width& play being done virtually all through the middle all evening.  Jermaine Jones’ handful of attempts to play wider & give some flank play to the US often amounted to nothing the last time out.

Klinsmann was selected to be the USA head coach in part to implement & encourage attacking play but in the loss to Jamaica did what virtually all coaches do when faced with a problem, especially when playing on the road- play it safe & conservative.  It is actually quite a rare thing that a coach, in any sport mind you, actually be daring for than brief, passing moments (this is why my LSU brethren should quit bitching about Les Miles’ shortcomings & enjoy him while we have him).

Klinsi should, given the players available, start Brek Shea on Tuesday.  However, looking at players Klinsmann selected for the two qualifiers with Jamaica, there isn’t much natural width on the roster:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos)

Practically all the midfielders, apart from Shea & Danny Williams, are more naturally central-playing midfielders.  Joe Corona, whilst sounding like a creation of a beer advertising campaign, can play as a winger, but he only has two caps to his name & I’m not sure Klinsmann would gamble playing both youngsters Shea & Corona.  Although if Klinsmann were to start with Corona, that would cap-tie him to the United States over Mexico, as he would have represented the US in a full official match.

Whomever Klinsi chooses to start on Tuesday versus the Reggae Boyz, I hope for the love of God he drops Stonernaldo (aka Kyle Beckerman).  Beckerman was complete rubbish on Friday & his performance was so awful, he should never see the field again for a US ‘A’ international ever again.

With that said, I would lineup like this:


Parkhurst / Cherundolo— Cameron — Bocanegra — Johnson —————

Jones —- Edu

Dempsey ——-Torres ———- Shea

Gomez / Altidore

But listening to his review of the match, I’m not sure how far Klinsi will deviate from his 4-1-2-1-2 / diamond tactics on Friday.  He doesn’t sound like he thinks he got the tactics wrong, just the execution of them.  It should be interesting to see how he’ll lineup with so much on the line in Columbus.

The match should be interesting emotionally as it falls on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks & US Soccer plans to honor three FDNY firefighters who are also part of the FDNY Soccer Club.  There will also be a moment’s silence prior to kickoff to honor those fallen on 9/11.

Right then.  So with the US of A not exactly backed up against a wall, more like being judo-hold twisted towards a wall, but being on home soil, I’m looking for the Yanks to pip Jamaica for the win.  The players should be sufficiently motivated coming off of a loss & Jamaica won’t make it easy.  I expect the Reggae Boyz to employ the same high pressing tactic to win the ball back but on the road I expect them to try to hold possession a bit more than going straight into counter attacks.  At least, after 20 minutes or so.  They may try to ride their luck & press early & try to grab an early goal & then sit back.   I think they’ll get a goal as the US will have to play an attacking style from the off.          USA 2, Jamaica 1

 Come on, you Yanks!


When your “highlights” video is only 42 seconds long, you know your team stunk.  It’s hard to describe how awful the US were tonight in their 2-1 loss to Jamaica‘s Reggae Boyz.  We’ve had much bigger losses in recent years but tonight’s performance was simply dreadful after the first minute of the match.  It was so awful I started losing interest from around minutes 70-85.  Tonight’s loss also makes the USA’s World Cup qualifying campaign quite tricky from here on out.

Where to begin with this debacle?  How about Jürgen Klinsmann’s midfield selection?  We allegedly were in some kind of 4-4-2 diamond but the midfield selections of Kyle Beckerman (Stonernaldo), Jermaine Jones & Maurice Edu often were too deep & left the top of the diamond midfielder, Clint Dempsey, & the strikeforce of Jozy Altidore & Hercules Gomez often isolated.  Never mind the fact that those midfield selections lacked imagination or impetus to go forward.  For all the hoopla surrounding Klinsmann’s appointment to head coach of the USMNT, he got all squeaky-bummed with his lineup tonight (really, Klinsi? NO wide midfielders? WTF?) & it backfired big time.

Compounding the poor midfield selection of Beckerman, Jones & Edu, whose games are too similar in deeper positional play, was the trio’s complete & utter shitstorm of a performance.  Jermaine Jones & Maurice Edu were very ineffective & their passing was quite dreadful at times.  Jermaine Jones at times attempted to drift out wide on the right to feign some width for the US but Klinsmann’s formations, tactics & lineup selection made Stoke City of recent years look like a high-flying winger-led team.  More worryingly, Jones & Edu looked slow in the tackle & often gave up fouls in poor positions, with Edu givimg up the foul for Jamaica’s winner (both of Jamaica’s goals came from freekicks).

Now, for Kyle Beckerman.  It’s hard to see what Jürgen Klinsmann sees in Stonernaldo.  I don’t watch much MLS so unless Kyle Beckerman tears it up there, Stonernaldo must have nudie pics of Klinsmann & a poodle or something.  Beckerman was in a word- sucktasticfuckingdreadfulshitstormerrificcrappygarbage.  It was a worse performance than old whipping boy of a left back, Jonathan Bornstein used to put in.  The announcers kept saying how he was in the lineup “to keep possession of the ball.”  Well, he failed.  Miserably.  He was too slow, couldn’t pass, couldn’t tackle, couldn’t keep the ball, couldn’t tie his own shoes, etc.  He was also at fault for the opening goal when he gave away a foul in a dangerous position after being too slow to get anywhere near the ball.  Then on the ensuing freekick it was his heel the ball deflected off of to wrong-foot Tim Howard for Jamaica’s opening goal.  He was simply shambolic tonight.  I know the US has injuries to Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley in the midfield but if Beckerman starts on Tuesday, I may turn the tv off in complete disgust.  He should never see another cap in his career.

The backline actually played pretty well in spite of the midfield’s efforts to leave them isolated like the attackers.  Clarence Goodson & Geoff Cameron paired well in the middle (Cameron has been playing really well of late) & Michael Parkhurst did fairly well in a surprise inclusion at right back following a knock picked up by Steve Cherundolo & Fabian Johnson did okay at left back defensively as well, but was lacking going forward & gave away the ball too often.

In short, the US played for one minute, the opening one where Clint Dempsey scored a goal after only 36 seconds, & then shut off for the next 89.  We looked slow, we looked like we couldn’t pass, our formation was dreadful, our tactics dreadful, even the execution was pathetic.  If you have bad tactics, sometimes you can overcome it with superior or even good execution but the only execution tonight should’ve been Beckerman’s national team career.  Zing.  Pow.  Kaboom.

To make matters worse Guatemala beat Guyana, 3-1, to vault over the US into second in Group A.  It’s not panic time just yet but after tonight’s loss, the Yanks have to win on Tuesday night otherwise it would be.  Guatemala will most likely beat Antigua & Barbuda in their match on Tuesday evening which would put them on seven points as well where currently Jamaica resides in the lead of Group A. If the US drops points on Tuesday we’d be third & at least two or three points behind second with only two matches to go.

I won’t even do ratings because I’m pretty much in complete agreeance with Brain Sciaretta of the NYT soccer blog.  Except I wouldn’t have given Bornstein that 3.5.  He would’ve gotten a solid 3 for me.  Worst performance for a national team player since I don’t remember when.

Here’s the “highlights,” for whatever it’s worth:

Early yays! turned into many later nays!

*          *          *          *          *          *         *          *          *         *

Turning elsewhere for a bright spot, my high school alma mater & perennial football powerhouse in Louisiana, whom I played football for as well from 1989-1992, John Curtis Christian, took on & crushed Plant HS of Tampa, Florida tonight to the tune of 33-3.  John Curtis Patriots went into the game ranked as high as #6 in the nation (by USA Today) & Plant was ranked as high as #7 (also by USA Today) & with their impressive & resounding victory over an overwhelmed Plant Panther team, the Patriots have thrust themselves into (mythical) national high school championship contention.

The Tampa take of the game where reading between the lines, Plant’s head coach Robert Weiner underestimated the Patriots in films:

“Honestly, they were a different team than we saw on film,’’ Weiner said.

“It’s not that you didn’t know the history …but they really were way more outstanding than any game I’ve seen them play this year on film.’’

Sorry, to burst your bubble Plant fans, but that’s coachspeak for “we got arrogant, thought we were better & overlooked this team.”  Weiner made multiple comments before the game remarking how John Curtis played “old man football” & ran schemes that were outdated & too old too work against Plant.

Our veer offense which we’ve run from some 40+ years now & it’s “old man football” style claims yet another victim.  Like I remarked to a friend back in December about the option- “it’s not schemes that win football games in the long run, it’s execution (of whatever the strategy is).”  Another scheme which was supposedly outdated & wouldn’t work was our “picket fence” punt return scheme, where players set up a “wall” or “fence” to one side of the field to help shield a returner & create a lane for the returner to run.  Well, that paleolithic punt return scheme scored on one occasion & had another TD called back on a flag on another.  How’s that picket fence working out for ya, Weiner?

When will people learn that smashmouth football NEVER goes out of style.  Running the ball down people’s throats will never go out of fashion no matter how many new-fangled supposed space age offensive schemes come along.  You would think after watching the SEC win six national championships in a row, people would start to get it.  Or watching year in & year out in the NFL that you at least need the semblance of a physical run game to win the Super Bowl.  Ad infinitum powerful running attacks with good blocking will never go out of style.

I won’t even address how the Plant Panthers came out in the second half, down 27-3 at the time, & proceeded to turn into a frustrated bunch of cheat shop artists.  Oh wait.  Too late.  Take your asses back to Tampa & wait for that LSU beatdown of Florida too, ya secretly candy-assed prima donnas!

Many thanks to for having audio of the game I could listen to & allowing me to listen to fellow alums, Kevin Fayard & Danny Wimprine broadcast (& cheer on) the John Curtis Patriots.  And, of course, congratulations & many kudos on a job well done to my former coaches, J.T. Curtis, Michael Robertson, & Leon Curtis & former teammates who are now coaches, Johnny Curtis, Jeff Curtis, Preston Curtis, Jerry Godfrey, et al.

“Old Man Football” wins again!

This helmet & school is your daddy

A trifecta of teams’ news for you today.  Man, I took the day off from work yesterday (9/6) because my sinuses were acting up pretty good & had all day to post something & I couldn’t get around ’til today (9/7) which is actually just before bed for me yesterday (9/6).  Um, which is still actually “today” (9/6) at the moment for me.  Got it?  Good.

LSU -24 vs. Washington

Once again, we’re bringing a Tiger to a dog fight, so once again I like our chances…

Ok, I’ll start with the LSU stuff because I don’t near keep up with the daily ins & outs of the Tigers as I should.  For all the immersion 24/7 of LSU football back home, I quite enjoy the sort of daily detachment I have from Da Tigahs up here in Anchorage.  I certainly enjoy being detached from the nitpicking of the team.

Hope you’re not too hungry because this is your only Tasty Nugget of the week right here in LSU-Washington.  I know, I know, “how the mighty have fallen!”  “What is the world coming to?”  “The Nuggetz ain’t what they used to be.”  “The Nuggetz have gone ‘pop.’ ”  And other sundry & assorted platitudes & clichés.  But it is what it is these days.

So did you like over the summer how The Hat, who has a penchant for eating grass, kicked the Honey Badger off of LSU’s football team (though he just recently re-enrolled in school following finishing a portion of his rehab program) for chronic smoking of grass?  Like how I used the double entendre pun with ‘chronic?’  Cunning linguists still aren’t impressed, however.  Anyway, eating grass got rid of smoking grass all the while the grass in Tiger Stadium got soaked for Hurricane Isaac.  So you can eat your grass, cut your grass, soak your grass & I think even lay your grass (another double entendre) but you just can’t smoke it.  Speaking of things that are smoked, that will be the Huskies as the Mettenchrist still looks spotty but LSU has too many horses in the stable & too many Mastodons that bring Blood & Thunder on the D-line that offset LSU’s concerns in the secondary.  But 24 points?  I don’t know about 24 points… hope I’m wrong.

LSU 30, Washington 17

This is the kind of song that should be put as highlight music, not that dance-sounding crap

The US national team faces Jamaica tonight/tomorrow night… damn it, on Friday.  There.  The mighty US of freaking A plays Jamaica away in Kingston on Friday night in their third CONCACAF second round group World Cup Qualifier & currently lead Group A on goal difference after two matches.

The US has never lost to Jamaica enjoying  an 11-0-9 overall record, scoring 34 goals & allowing 12 in those 20 matches.  The USA’s largest win ever was a 5-0 in a friendly against the Reggae Boyz on May 16th, 2002.  Josh Wolff with 2, Clint Mathis, Landon Donovan, & DaMarcus Beasley were the goalscorers on that day.

The US also enjoyed a 5-1 win in 1999 but a draw is usually on the cards when the US travels to the isle of Jamaica & with key players Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley out with injuries & Clint Dempsey having not yet played in the EPL following his holdout with Fulham & subsequent transfer to Lasagnaham, I think I smell another draw.  A draw wouldn’t be bad at this stage of qualification but if a draw is what’ll happen then that definitely means it is in the USA’s interests to get the full three points in the return match with Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday.

I couldn’t tell you who plays for Jamaica these days so I had to go to their wiki page just to even get a name.  And looking at their recent roster, it’s no wonder I had trouble recalling any names.  Only two players play in England & only one of those, Adrian Mariappa, plays in the Premier League for Reading.  Although the other player who plies his trade in England, Nyron Nosworthy, has Premier League experience when he was at Sunderland.

But a national team in their home country, even in CONCACAF, is never to be taken lightly, so hopefully Jürgen Klinsmann will have the Yanks ready to play.  I still think this match has 1-1 written all over it.

Prediction:   Jamaica 1-USA 1

Finally, a few Arsenal tidbits to end this post.  We’ll start off with Andrei Arshavin turning down a move to Dinamo (or is it Dynamo?) Moscow.  The Russian transfer window closed yesterday, so it looks like Arshavin will be staying with Gunners unless a domestic loan is worked out with somebody.  Hey, doesn’t Liverpool need attackers?  Get those knuckleheads on the phone & tell them we have a hot tip on a diminutive Russian attacker named Kennady Dalglishikov & then plop Arshavin down on their doorstep & get the hell out of Liverpool before we’re forced to hear Beatles songs.  Ahhhh, the Beatles.  Just like Liverpool- once great & completely overrated in my book.

On a curious note, Arsène Wenger has blocked a loan move for reserve/U21 player (that U21 thing will still take a little getting used to), Conor Henderson.  The young Irish midfielder is coming off a knee injury that made him miss all of last season but there were several clubs that interested in his services on loan.  However, Wenger has stated he wants to see Henderson’s development continue at the club but to the slight annoyance of Henderson.  Henderson wants the chance to play first team football/soccer, a chance he obviously won’t get at Arsenal, so to keep him at the club & stick him in the reserves is a bit odd, even for Wenger.  I’m not sure what to make of it really.

Finally, those who want some good news, here’s some about Steve Bould where Wenger is singing his praises for the defensive work we’ve done so far this season.  The Arsenal blogosphere, myself included, has definitely noticed the how much better we look as an actual cohesive unit in defense these days & to a man have pretty much thought it was at least in part due to Steve Bould coming in as Wenger’s right hand man.  The defense is so far the overlooked part (because “Arsenal can’t score anymore!” sells more papers) of the season & we’re the only club in the league, the entire football league not just the EPL, to have not conceded yet.  Long may it continue & the likes of Adrian Derpham can sing the old “boring, boring Arsenal” songs all they want.

And, of course some “bad” news.  Apparently Bacary Sagna might be the next Gunner to leave.  Or not.  Or maybe so.  Or maybe not.  He apparently made some comments in L’Equipe that can be construed as him being upset.  Whatever.  If he goes, he goes & if he stays, he stays.  It ain’t rocket surgery.  If he goes I’m sure we’ll just get some other right back from France or maybe move Francis Coquelin there permanently or promote Nico Yennaris from the reserves.  I just can’t be bothered with this kind of shit anymore.  If you want to go join the silverware parade at the Mancunster clubs or €hel$ki than go do it.

Anyway, hopefully my sinuses get better since Anchorage has a Mardi Gras fest in the fall tomorrow, er, this evening.  Tonight.  The 7th.  Damn it.  Friday evening.  Whatever.

The international break usually means a dearth of club news, so we’re left with fantastic stories like Vito Mannone considers himself a “better keep in every way,” following his loan spell at Hull in the Championship last year.  Mannone certainly has acquitted himself in the last two matches following Wojciech Szczesny’s absence through injury but let’s slow down a bit, Vito, eh?

“I think I have improved in every part of the goalkeeper position,” Mannone told Arsenal Player.

“In my mind as well, I came back stronger and stronger [from my loan spell]. Especially after the mistake at Olympiacos – it’s never easy to come back, but when I’ve got my back against the wall, I don’t mind. I just roll up my sleeves and try to work because I know I can do well.

I’m not dismissing the Italian’s new-found confidence or belief but despite two good displays, he still is a clear  backup to Szczesny for me.  Mannone still looked a bit bothered on high balls in the box at times against Liverpool but his shot-stopping has been good.  Either way, here’s to hoping Mannone’s improvement continues & he plays well until Szczesny’s return.

Arsenal released their full playing squad lists for the UEFA Champions’ League & Premier League yesterday as well.  There’s 54 names on the full list, which for the Champions’ League includes a 25-man ‘A’ squad where interestingly, 17-year old Serge Gnabry has made the cut.  The youngster did well in pre-season & has done well also in the reserves early on, but likely will make his first team bow in the Carling Cup.  However, if Arsenal do well enough in their CL group perhaps Arsène Wenger will give the young German a run out in the final group match if we’ve qualified for the knockout stages by then already.

Andrei Arshavin made the list despite rumors of the mercurial Russian leaving the club before the Russian transfer deadline on Thursday.  I don’t have the CL roster rules in front of me but if Arshavin were to leave the club, I believe the club would be able to fill that roster spot with someone else without having to wait until the spring registration window (provided we make it through the competition that far, of course.)

And for the last bit of Arsenal news, let’s all take another gander at Abou Diaby’s Man of the Match performance against Liverpool over the weekend:

Not Patrick Vieira, but Diaby was Vieira-esque on Sunday

Moving on to some national news & it’s for the US.  USA!  USA!  USA!  Right.  US Soccer released the USMNT’s 24-man roster for their upcoming qualifiers against the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica on Friday & next Tuesday evenings:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos)

No real surprises in that group really given the injuries to Michael Bradley & Landon Donovan, & it looks like Jürgen Klinsmann is definitely set on moving Maurice Edu to the center of defense.  Klinsmann must no doubt want a defender who has a bit of ball-playing ability at the back as he looks to implement a more possession-based system than American teams are generally used to.  We’ve definitely never really had central defenders that were that good on the ball except maybe Marcelo Balboa & even ‘Celo was never going to be mistaken for Franz Beckenbauer or anything.

Molde FK winger, Joshua Gatt had been originally named in the roster & would’ve possibly made his USMNT debut, but he was withdrawn due to an injury in his last match with his Norwegian side.

I would also guess that captain Carlos Bocanegra moves out to left back & Klinsmann would go with a central defense pairing of Geoff Cameron & Maurice Edu.  Or maybe he pushes Edu up into midfield & starts Goodson next to Cameron?  From the players named & being a bit short in the midfield with Bradley & Donovan’s absences, I would imagine Klinsmann would go with a lineup of:


Cherundolo — Edu — Cameron — Bocanegra

– Jones — Beckerman

Williams —- Dempsey ——- Shea


Friday’s match in Kingston, Jamaica will be televised on beIN Sport, which apparently is some new exclusive soccer network that I bet I don’t get.  Yep.  I don’t get it.  Sounds like I’m finding a feed on Friday.  Tuesday’s “return” match in Columbus will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 8 PM ET/4 PM AT.

Oh, by the way, I would be remiss if didn’t mention the USA’s recent win over Mexico IN Azteca last month.  It was the first time in history the US defeated Mexico in the seething cauldron that is Azteca.  The Mexicans can cry all they want about the match only being a friendly, but they know damn right having the kind of record where they had never lost against us, ‘The Gringos’, in their home stadium, drives them up a freaking wall.  Uno a cero, bitches.  Add that one to the historical wins list with “Dos a cero,” when a match DID matter the most.  You mad, Mexico?  Boo-hoo!

Uno a cero, perdadores!