Jozy, you can’t be serious

photo by: Scott Dungan

photo by: Scott Dungan

I looked in horror to see that Jozy had not even made the bench. I was about to write a post saying how flippin crazy Phil Brown must be, when I found the reason Jozy didn’t make the bench: he was late to the game. And Phil Brown is not – repeat not – a happy camper.

This is from the Sky Sports story:

Brown called the United States international’s behaviour ‘unacceptable’ and acknowledged Altidore would be hit in the pocket.

He said: “It’s going to cost him a lot of money, unfortunately.

“That for me is information that stays in house. The reason he wasn’t on the bench was our business.

“Jozy was on the bench until 2.10 when I decided to change it.

“It’s unacceptable behaviour, full stop.

“You prepare all week for a match day, mentally and physically. To ask a player to arrive an hour and a half before a game is not too much to ask is it?”

Not good Jozy – he is definitely going to have to work hard to get him out of the dog house. The big fear is that the fans begin to turn on him a bit. After that first game he has yet to set the team a light – but to be fair to him, most of his appearances have been off the bench and Hull are just flat out bad.


Lessons from the Wembley excersize

The U.S. team will of course probably never develop – nor should it – a single Wembley-like venue for its national team games. We are simply too big a country to play in one single location and it makes sense to rotate games around the country to increase exposure. The US team also already has a designated home base in the Home Depot center in LA. But in thinking in depth about an American Wembley a few other lessons came out it:

1. The US should play more in the Rust Belt. We picked Pittsburgh #1 and had Detroit at #4, but other similar cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee would make just as much sense, as would USL cities like Minneapolis and Buffalo/Rochester. All of these cities should strongly be considered for future friendlies and qualifiers. These cities have low Hispanic populations, big stadiums, and would give us the same sort of home field advantage as Columbus. It would also expand the game in an important sports region and hopefully playing in “blue collar” towns would help shed soccer’s elitist image.
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McBride: Fulham’s Next Manager?


Following the injury to Charlie Davies, there are growing cries for Bob Bradley to attempt to bring back Brian McBride to the national team (see this Matchfit post and Alexi Lalas said it last night on ESPN). I think this would not only be a mistake, but I highly doubt McBride would even entertain it.

In his post game comments last night after the Fire game, McBride refused to commit to even playing next year. He certainly could, but I think it is very far fetched to think a man who is uncertain whether he wants to play five months from now is the answer for our national team. I love McBride, but he is 37 – he would turn 38 at the World Cup – and that is just way too old, especially when there are some pretty decent options to replace Davies and partner with Altidore (even if you don’t like Kenny Cooper).

What I think is more likely than McBride starting in the next World Cup, is a move back to England next summer. Not as a player but as a manager.
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Gooch out at least six months – could miss World Cup

Its all gone Pete Tong for USMNT: Gooch out 6 months; Photo by Flickion

Its all gone Pete Tong for USMNT: Gooch out 6 months; Photo by Aflickion

And the injury news just keeps getting worse for the US Mens National Team, as a revised and significantly longer layoff of at least six months is now predicted for Oguchi Onyewu. The news was buried in the bottom of the release from the US Soccer Federation announcing a successful operation to repair Onyewu’s ruptured patella tendon. That definitely puts him in jeopardy of missing the World Cup, but if he can get on the training ground a month before the tournament, you have to include him in the sqaud. 

The timeline for his return, should everything go according to plan, would be mid to late April. That means it is extremely unlikely that he would get any game time with Milan to get himself back to full fitness, let alone shake off the rust, before the end of the Italian league season in early May. The only action Onyewu would get before the World Cup begins on June 11 would be in any late friendlies or scrimmages before the team makes camp in South Africa. Continue reading

Champions League roundup: East beats West

The Russians turn the Champions League on its head

The Russians turn the Champions League on its head

So much for the dull group stages of the Champions League. The group stage has recently seemed like a means to enrich the bigger clubs rather than a genuine competition, and this year looked to be no different with most groups having two clear favorites to progress. But after some shock results and a couple of upstarts from the east challenging some of Europe’s titans, this year’s group stage is shaping up for a very exciting finish. There is a genuine possibility that a couple of the big powers like Liverpool, Bayern Munich, or Inter could miss out on the knockout stages and previously unknown teams like Russia’s Rubin Kazan and Romania’s Unirea Urziceni could take their place.

Here’s how the groups shape up heading into the next round of matches on November 3rd and 4th: Continue reading

America’s Wembley cont… The finalists are….

See the initial post on where America’s Wembley should be… part three will continue tomorrow on lessons learned.

3. Washington DC


Bill Simmons rightly got excited about RFK after the Costa Rica game. Ives called the fans at RFK arguably the best he has seen at a USA game and as these videos attest the place sure was rocking. DC has a number of solid advantages – all of which came to light in the game against Costa Rica. Like Seattle, it has an inbuilt soccer fan base, culture, and infrastructure due to DC United and all the supporters groups. Therefore DC will always turn out solid support for the US.

DC also has great symbolic value. Playing in the nation’s capital is about as patriotic as you can get. It is also on the east coast and is a relatively short flight to Europe. Its climate gets cold enough (without being too bitterly cold) to give us an advantage against central American teams there in spring and fall – summer however is sort of brutal. It also has a big population – 9th largest region in the country with 5.4 million it has a big media market and is easy for fans from other east coast cities to get to.
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Liverpool should stick with Benitez

Liverpool need to circle the wagons; Photo by Jeremy Burgin

Liverpool need to circle the wagons; Photo by Jeremy Burgin

When a season filled with high expectations comes crashing down before the clocks turn back, a lot of questions will be asked about job security of the manager. Liverpool’s continued poor run of form has prompted a press storm in England calling for Rafa Benitez’s ouster. Some fans too are joining in, but even though Benitez does deserve some fair amount of the blame for the club’s predicament, Liverpool should stand behind their manager as the team tries to get back on track.

Twice as many losses in the first nine games as it suffered in 38 last year, and now four defeats on the bounce, two each in the Premier and Champions Leagues, put Liverpool’s hopes of ending their 20-year title drought are on the ropes. Worse still, the hated Manchester United comes to Anfield on Sunday and can add further misery to the Merseyside faithful. A loss to United would put Liverpool ten points adrift after just ten games. A terrible start to be sure, but with 28 games left, even a loss would not end their chance at the title.

Diagnosing Liverpool’s problem is pretty simple: a precariously thin squad heavily reliant on Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard. It’s fair to lay blame at Benitez’s door for that problem, but in assessing whether a new manager would benefit the club, it must be asked whether anyone else could change ails the club. This is not like Chelsea’s struggles under Luis Filipe Scolari, when the squad was rejuvenated by Guus Hiddink. I don’t see how a new manager could come in and magically heal injuries or create squad depth. Continue reading

Meat pies and orange slices

ochocincoChad Ochocinco is playing for DC United. He said it! Officially

Edu gets racially abused and he didn’t even play.
Some moronic 19th century Rangers fans racially abused Maurice Edu in the parking lot after Rangers awful champions league loss. He didn’t even play, as he is still recovering from knee surgery.

Why not 2 strikers Benitez? Rafa Benitez deserves to be feeling some heat. After Gerrard went off injured – how the hell do you play Ngog as a lone striker. He should have brought on Babel or Voronin at that point and gone to a 4-4-2. Liverpool lacks strikers to replace Torres as like for like. Almost every team would! And that’s exactly why you play with two strikers instead of one.

USMNT tid bits.
Goff talked to some USMNT sources revealing: 1. the US is struggling to book another friendly in Europe – we need to make both dates count (my quick check on Fifa revealed a number of teams with no friendlies scheduled) 2. Edgar Castillo will likely get called up.

Will Chang becomes 100 percent owner of DC United. We basically knew this was the case after Victor MacFarlane sold his stake. Thankfully, DC United is no longer tainted by its association with Christian Laettner. Come to think of it, DC hasn’t won a title since Laettner came on. The curse of Laettner? This probably gives Chang a bit more freedom of action.

Crouchy to get the wrath of Harry. Peter Crouch was caught doing his robot shitfaced at a London nightclub along with Jonathan Woodgate. This comes after Harry brought down the puritan hammer following incidents with Ledley King and David Bentley last year. Harry is reportedly livid. After seeing this video, I would not want to be Woodgate or Crouch:

The Recession and MLS

recession-bloggersKristian Dyer’s great piece at ESPN arguing that MLS is well placed to survive the recession is a good read. MLS has seen attendance drop but so have other major professional sports. Part of the rationale behind MLS’ slow growth model was to ensure that the league survive in the case of an economic downturn. Fortunately, the league didn’t get caught up in the economic boom of the last decade and speculatively splash the cash and should be very well positioned as we hopefully emerge from this recession.
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If America had a Wembley, where would it be?

The USMNT is in a constant struggle to find a venue to give them a true home field advantage. While some countries play in a designated home venue – such as England in Wembley, Mexico in Azteca – the US team is forced to constantly shuttle between locations – often playing in relatively small cities and venues. While many countries rotate where they play and don’t have a “national stadium,” it does raise an interesting question: If America had a Wembley, where would it be?
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