Archive for March, 2011

Big Man On Crew Campus: Andy Iro

Jay Bell…is….on….fire. Jay peppers the Crew’s backline.

This interview recorded a few weeks ago.

Iro lept the pond to play college and MLS...

Andy Iro has emerged as one of the better centerbacks in Major League Soccer and is one half one of the best defensive pairings in the league.  Well, that was until the season actually started. Iro went from captaining the Columbus Crew in their two leg series against Real Salt Lake in the Champions League to an unused substitute for Columbus’ first two regular season MLS matches.

Iro is in uncharted territory for his career. Iro arrived stateside and became a mainstay for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos who were one of the best teams in NCAA soccer during Iro’s collegiate career. He was drafted by the Columbus Crew in 2008.  During that time, Columbus went on to have the best three year stretch in the club’s history. Now Iro is not playing during what looks like a rebuilding process for the Crew.

Prior to this misfortune we were able to speak with a light-hearted, proud and very honest Andy Iro about MLS, England and his hopes for being capped at the international level:

TSG: How did the offseason been going for you?

Andy Iro (AI): It was difficult. Every preseason usually is, just from a physical and mental standpoint. We just had to prepare for Real Salt Lake only four weeks into our preseason. We’ve basically had to speed everything up. Its been difficult. We have asked more of our bodies than we probably normally would. We were required to stay extra long periods at some places just so we could get quality training sessions in because of the weather in Columbus.

Its been a drain, but the last [preseason] game was last night. Preseason is officially over for us. Its time to start getting ready for the real stuff which is what we’re all waiting for.

TSG: How do you feel about the changes the team has made this year?

AI: I think a few months ago it looks all doom and gloom. Now we have gelled in the preseason. You see the character of players and you also see the quality of players. I think our comfort is growing with each other. The team is gelling nicely. I think when you bring in a lot of new guys, you don’t know how it will work. I think usually it takes a lot of time to adjust, but I think we have adjusted fairly quickly because we have good guys who are willing to listen and work and buy into what we are doing.

TSG: Does the team play with a different style now?

End of an era

AI: Yeah, I think so. I think last year we played to a certain style given the players we had. We definitely tried to get the ball to Guillermo a lot, but now that he is gone I think we share the ball a little bit more throughout all of the attacking players. We play to our players’ strengths.

So I think we are a better possession team than we have been in the past which is what I think coach wants. The league will see a completely different style of soccer from what they’re used to seeing from the Columbus Crew.

TSG: Did you feel like you were taking on a leadership role last season?

Called on to be big in the locker room this year....

AI: Last season we had a lot of guys who were experienced veterans, even if they were old by soccer standards, it was definitely a good team in the league for a number of years. So losing those types of guys and bringing in 12 to 15 new guys, some of the guys have been asked or required to step up. I believe and try to think that I am one of those guys.

TSG: How did you feel about wearing the captain’s armband during the Champions League games?

AI: It was a proud moment. I hadn’t worn the captain’s armband since college. It was definitely a proud moment for me. Any time you wear the captain’s armband, it is a proud moment. Being that it was my first professional game [as captain] it was definitely something special for me. Even if I am not to be captain throughout the season, it will still be something that I remember.

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Jay Bell: US vs. Paraguay Examination

Jay Bell checks in from Nashville

Bob changes it up....

Bob Bradley’s men had every intention of coming out and dictating the match against a team that was willing to invite pressure.  Paraguay was even more willing once they scored the game’s lone goal.  The US squeezed the match to their right side of the field to enable Timothy Chandler as much influence as possible and to push Clint Dempsey high enough and tight enough to essentially be a third striker. This was the US’s formation until Eric Lichaj entered into the match in the second half for Jozy Altidore, pushing Dempsey up top.

In this type of game, which the US will experience at the Gold Cup, the US needs more creativity. The US has shown an over-reliance on Landon Donovan, especially, but also Clint Dempsey when it comes to creating goals from the run of play. Very rarely is Michael Bradley trailing the play as he used to, Jermaine Jones is not making those runs either and Jozy Altidore has not been very effective lately unless he is receiving long balls and fighting defenders for possession.

Stuart Holden may have been able to create from the center, but without him, who will create chances if Donovan and Dempsey are not? The US could have benefited from the presence of Jose Torres (not called up) or Benny Feilhaber (injury) for this match.  Torres’ ability to switch the point of attack and Feilhaber’s aggressiveness as a super-sub could have changed the game in favor of the red stars with blue stripes, er, sashes.

Get out of his way...

Agudelo and Dempsey were the hardest working attackers on the pitch, but the final ball and the final shot were not there. In one particular instance, Clint Dempsey took a pass from Chandler at the top of the box and attempted to curl it in with his left foot. Agudelo just threw his hands up, but somehow without making too much of a show of it in a “hey, I was open over here, but you’re the boss” kind of a way. The cohesion and the chemistry was not there.

The crowd of almost 29,000+ was trying to will the team to a win. Rarely does a US team play in front of pro-US crowd of that size. They were dying to throw their hands up in celebration, but they were unable to receive that opportunity.

And what was up with the ineffectiveness on set-pieces?  Paraguay is one of the bigger teams the US will face, but set-pieces are normally a strong suit for the Americans. For one, Landon Donovan’s delivery was off. Too often his free kicks did not make it past the first line of defenders or sailed long. When the ball did reach a dangerous spot, no one took advantage of it. With Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, Demerit/Boca, Edu/Jones, etc. on the field, more was expected of the US.

The Americans were certainly pushing for a result as they lined up in several formations that will likely not be used again.  The US played with three in the back after Sacha Kljestan entered for Jonathan Bornstein and Jonathan Spector entered as a right mid.  The lineup morphed into a 3-4-1-2 with Spector and Kljestan as wide midfielders, Dempsey and Agudelo up top and Donovan in between the mids and forwards.

The US needed a moment of brilliance with only Donovan and Dempsey ever looking capable of providing it, while Bradley and Jones’ late stings giving hope to the crowd. For being the “better” team throughout the match, the US still did not earn a result against an organized and resilient Paraguay squad.


Same team, same problem: finishing.

Challenged in his role...

The team created chances and were much more efficient at it than Saturday. Despite bad performances from Maurice Edu and Jozy Altidore, there were still chances.  Clint Dempsey had several attempts in and around the box, Landon Donovan missed from a tight angle on the left and there were missed opportunities on free kicks.

Its no fluke that the US has gone two World Cups without a goal being scored by a striker. Agudelo was active, but he found it difficult to find space to shoot against a compact and organized Paraguayan defense. His more experienced partner, Jozy Altidore, had one of his worst national team performances in the same stadium as arguably his best.

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Snap Judgements: USA vs. Paraguay

Some quick thoughts on the US’s 1-0 loss to a stingy Paraguay side in advance of Jay Bell’s game review.

• The US may not have scored, but multiple parts had good performances

Clint the Chameleon....

The end results wasn’t there for the States. However, this wasn’t the “A” team.

This was a team of different parts that was patched together after the squad played a very focal point opponent in Argentina.

The Yanks certainly lagged in putting together consistent attacks and cohesion.

However, different parts–Tim Ream, Timothy Chandler, Clint Dempsey cutting inside–showed they had different aspects to their game. A greater oleo of skill sets if you will.

Coupled with this, you cannot argue that the team doesn’t play extremely hard for Bob Bradley and adhere to the game plan.

The execution wasn’t fully there tonight, but the buy-in was.

• The central midfield, excellent individually, was miscast for the task.

Gerardo Martino...

First of all, Paraguay’s Gerard Martino is no mug. The guy took an arguably under-talented side all the way to quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2010.

After being abused against Mexico, Martino changed nearly his whole side and decided to batten up the hatches.

Martino’s men pressured in two ways that he knew would disrupt the States:

First when the central midfielders were receiving the ball at the top of their offensive third and 2nd collapsing at the top of their defensive third to stymie the creation of Donovan and Dempsey.

I’ve taken a look around this evening at some other publications and I’m seeing very high marks for Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu. Okay, fine both played well. Michael Bradley in fact played excellently given that he’s had less than 200 minutes of play time in 2011.

Bradley, brandishing the equalizer, just misses...

But they didn’t “do” anything and that’s what the game play dictated they needed to accomplish tonight.

Countless times Bradley was asked to “create” out of the back.

It’s one thing to play a safe pass it’s another to go pick up the ball, move it, get it back, move it again.

The US’s strategy demanded a “creative” hub deep in the midfield, Bradley was very strong in making the safe pass, not the unlocking one.

This is not about Michael Bradley, but he’s not the guy tonight there. Edu less so.

A few different moments in the 1st half highlighted Bradley’s creative limitation.

First, he consistently dribbled backwards when he wasn’t under pressure, allowing the other team to reset their defense because they weren’t being pressured for the moment.

Second, around the 33rd minute, Timmy Chandler made a clearing run up the right flank. He drew two defenders with him.

Bradley played him a looping ball over the top–with two defenders closing and no support and no means of going forward. What was Chandler to do with that ball? What could he do?

Around the 43rd minute, Landon Donovan was on the left flank working out of a jam. Jonathan Bornstein had made a run before him, but was covered. Donovan desperately needed somebody, anybody, Bianca?!, to come to his aid, but no central midfielder made himself available.

In fairness to Bob Bradley, I’m not sure he felt that he had that guy on his roster, but then why did he bring in Sacha Kljestan? Was Jermaine Jones in the doghouse after Saturday night? Or why not pull in Jose Torres for the friendlies.

To reiterate, safety first Bradley did, but the US doesn’t play the Spain game and just ping it back and forth with players coming back and showing and moving.

Paraguay’s defense was begging to be abused by a player in the position who could find the right ball.

Don’t think this bullet’s on target? Try this, Bradley inserts Jermaine Jones for Mo Edu at halftime. I presume Jones is going to man the hub. Bradley keeps M. Bradley there for another 10 minutes.

Then he switches the two  (or makes them more complementary) and things are start flowing a little better.

• The mature striker is not the one with the most caps.


I swear I remember reading it somewhere: the comparison made that “Eddie Johnson had seven goals in his first six World Cup qualifiers too” followed by something along the lines of comparing Juan Agudelo’s first matches in the Stars & Stripes.

Honestly, that sentiment needs to end now. Pay attention to the game.

Here’s the thing on Juan Agudelo. If he doesn’t get there, he’s still starting from a better foundation than any other striker, save perhaps Charlie Davies, in the US system since Brian McBride.

Agudelo shows a feel for the game–I won’t say he’s beyond his years. It’s a feel that he was brought up playing soccer somewhere in South America or Europe.

He understands the game. He thinks ahead. He makes valuable plays.

He makes valuable plays – say that again.

Scoring is a by-product of this. Make the smart runs, goals will follow. Seal off a defender as a target and turn him, goals will follow.

Comparisons to strikers such as Jeff Cunningham, Eddie Johnson and Robbie Findley (if there are any) are ludicrous. Eddie Johnson and Jeff Cunningham scored goals because someone played them in and their speed put them in position to finish.

Very different.

In Juan Agudelo, US fans witnessed a striker who came back to find the ball in midfield and made himself available. One who knew when to use flair.

Frankly, I don’t care if Juan Agudelo scores another goal for his next, I don’t know seven US games, because he does everything a striker is supposed to and I know at some point when he returns to form, given his education of the game, he’ll start scoring again.

On to Jozy Altidore….

Might we remember March 29, 2011 as the inflection point after a reflection moment acknowledged by Jozy on Twitter Tuesday evening.

His comment:

Key words “Need to improve” I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Altidore acknowledge that.

Did it take the wondrous work of Juan Agudelo supplanting Jozy’s spot at the top of the striker pecking order for the realization to kick in?

Or was it–and you could see it on the edge of your TV screen–that Jozy really was confounded on where to move all night when he wasn’t getting the ball.

Conversely to young Juan, Jozy didn’t know hot to make himself available and valuable.

• You really are witnessing a different Clint

Clint Demspey found the game Tuesday night, it didn’t find him.

Dempsey looked masterful in possession, continually challenging the defense for Paraguay. It’s what makes players of his ilk: Dennis Bergkamp, Dirk Kuyt, even a Herculez Gomez so valuable.

You can’t typecast their game, they just morph into what’s needed.

Dempsey still needs to work a little bit on keeping it intact when he’s frustrated, but whereas this may have been a game for Landon to be sprung for a counterattack, the Deuce was able to create out of nothing and he can do it against many different defenses.

And that is a very valuable skill in the game of soccer.

• Glimpses of backline potential

Tim Ream, cool and calm on the ball. Revelatory as a potential major cog going forward.

Tim Chandler and Eric Lichaj–speed. Especially for the Nurnburg man.


(Oh and I can’t ignore. Might Bobby Convey have helped tonight…okay going to hide under the bed now.)

Live Commentary – USA versus Paraguay

Will the real Bradley please stand up!

The US played a lot better and Sweats made some very positive changes from the last game. A disappointing result, but there are some good take-aways, namely Ream, Chandler and Lichaj. They all shone brightly as did Deuce and Agudelo. The rest of the US squad were pedestrian. If Bradley played like he did in the last quarter the whole game, i think we would have had a different scoreline.

94:00 – Wow… a last ditch shot from Jones as he sends a piledriver, but right at Villar. TWEEEEET TWEET TWEET. Game over.

92:00 – Huge mistake from Jones as he gifts the ball to Barrios who sends a low shot inches wide. Sloppy play from the US defender.

91:00 – US playing with a lot more urgency, but is it too little too late?

89:00 – US ping it around nicely, as Bradley makes great runs off the ball to free space up for his team mates as Agudelo runs the show. Unfortunately, Paraguay are up to the task.

88:00 – US’s set pieces have been poorly taken and none of them have really troubled the Paraguayan defense.

86:00 – Bradley with a wonderful shot that Villar spectacularly saves. That is much better from Bradley. This is what we want from him. To take initiative!

83:00 – Game has slowed down a bit. Prime time for a comeback!

80:00 – Bradley gets turned around off the ball as does Chandler. They both try to make up for their mistake and eventually get the ball back but tee up a Paraguayan in the process. His shot is bravely blocked by Ream.

78:00 – A beautiful strike from the Paraguayan striker (name escapes me) as he strikes in wonderfully and it hits the post and goes out. Lucky for the US as Yelldell was beaten.

76:00 – Donovan with a huge miss. Ball trickles all the way across goal from a thrown in. Donovan from 5 yards away tries to hammer it as hard as he could, when composure was called for. Should have been better from the face of US soccer.

73:00 – Lichaj playing very well as he is making some good attacking runs…isn’t he supposed to be further back than Chandler? He’s brought down and the USMNT get their 200th free kick. None of them have been particularly dangerous.

70:00 – WHO GAVE THESE COMMENTATORS PENS!!! They’re pretty awful.

69:00 – US break nicely with Agudelo at the center of it, as he grabs the ball and sends it to Donovan who is offside. He knows nothing about it and sends a random shot nowhere.

67:00 – Chandler and Lichaj combine wonderfully as the Aston Villa defender (currently on loan at Leeds) charges down the flank and set up Dempsey who skies it high as the is confused by a deflection and leans back. Nice move that, but better finishing would have leveled the game.

66:00 – Not much going on in the last 5 minutes. Yelldell finally gets called into action.

61:00 – Lichaj comes in for Altidore and goes back to the right as Chandler moves up. Interesting as Deuce slots in behind Agudelo.

58:00 – Jones and Bradley have a game of head tennis. It doesn’t end well.

55:00 – Donovan brings the ball up well and lays off to Dempsey who is immediately challenged by 2, then 3 and then 4 players. He gives it up. The commentators seem to praise him for this.

53:00 – Ream and Chandler must be automatics in the next game. Ream has more composure and skill then any other of centerbacks and Chandler is very dangerous going forward.

51:00 – Chandler showing great touch and speed and sends in a  dangerous cross. Another corner for the US.

50:00 – Some nice passing from the US starts with Jones sending a splitting pass to Donovan who one times it into the box. It goes out for a corner.

46:00 – Agudelo starting things off brightly as he runs at the defense. He passes to Altidore who pass back to Jones who sets up Agudelo. He is softly brought down in the box. Ref is correct in no penalty. US get it back and Altidore cause some problems and Villar has to make a quick save of a deflection. Bright start for the USMNY.

PEEEEEEP PEEEP and Paraguay kick it off.

Substitutions – Yelldell on for Hahnemann and Jones on for Edu.

PEEEEP – Half time – The US commentators are saying a lot of positive things, but the one I vehemently disagree with, is saying that the partnership between Edu and Bradley is good. WHAT? They are both non-existent and Bradley has give the ball away more than he has not. He is a MUCH MUCH better player than he is currently showing. Bornstein is making amends for some early mistakes and the attacking four are showing some nice interplay. Hopefully that can translate into some goals in the second half.

46:00 – 2 minutes of extra time. US certainly playing with better possession and more confidence the on Saturday, but haven’t really troubled Paraguay with any of their attacking forays.

43:00 – Hahnemann gets tested twice in 15 seconds by some long range shots and is equal to the task. Tim Ream is playing well, but Bradley is not and seems to be confused as to what his duties are.

41:00 – Another free kick for the US, about 35 yards out. Donovan sends in a ball to the far side of the goal, that Demerit charges in for but heads over. That proves to be his last play as he is clearly hurt and Bocanegra plays him in a straight swap.

38:00 – Bornstein makes a good run and sends in an even better cross. The clearing header bounces to Bradley, but he is immediately closed down (take note US defenders). Junior passes to Dempsey but his shot slices well wide. Good job by Bornstein though who is getting better as the game goes on.

33:00 – Rain coming down. Paraguay are not doing much in terms of moving forward and concede another free kick. Paraguay defend it well, but can’t string any passes together and US get the ball back.

31:00 – US playing intelligently, but their skill is betraying them as Bradley sends a smart ball over Chandlers head and into touch. The US are doing a much better job of keeping the ball then in saturday’s contest. It would be hard not too.

28:00 – US settling down a bit as they are passing the ball around. A lot of slippin’ and sliddin’ going on. US seem most dangerous on set pieces of which they are getting quite a few.

26:00 – Ream sends in a ball down the center of the pitch, that Edu lofts up in the air and Demspey takes it on the volley from about 40 yards out. Its a mean dipping shot that Villar does well to hold onto. Great strike!

23:00 – Chandler shows some great speed and positioning and runs up the wing with the ball. He starts to fall, but luckily the Paraguayan defender fouled him just outside the box. Good opportunity for the US. Donovan sends in a good ball, but Villar, unlike his Argentine counterpart holds onto it firmly.

21:00 – US as is customary come back immediately with some nice passing, but Dempsey’s floaty header goes wide. Back on the attack, Jozy wins a corner. It’s poorly taken and headed out but he first Paraguayan defender.

20:00 – I will say this until i’m blue in the face, but when you constantly give people space it becomes infectious. There was too much room for the smaller Paragyuan players in the US box.

18:00 – GOOOOOOOAALLLL – Cardozo. Off the corner, the US defending is hopeless as Demerit attempts to clear with a diving header, takes out Edu and the ball falls to the Paraguayan striker who roofs it into the back of the net. Nothing Hahnemann could have done. Paraguay 1 – US 0

17:00 – Bradley gives the ball away again and Paraguay quickly attack, but Bornstein to the rescue as he give sup a corner

15:00 – Agudelo shows good ball skill and twists and turns to give himself some room to shoot, but his effort was well blocked.

12:00 – Good to see the USMNT defending up on high. Donovan gathers ball at midfield and brings the ball up with options, but stupidly chooses Bornstein who comically falls/slides and sends the ball ballooning into the stands in an attempt to pass I believe.

7:00 – Clearly Dempsey is already getting frustrated and is coming back deep into his own half to pick up the ball. The US are giving the ball away too easily, by making awful obvious passes.

5:00 – Paraguay get a free kick 35 yards out, but it is poor and hits Altidore in the thigh.

4:00 – Well the US haven’t really learned much as they get burned down the wing and a great cross is headed just wide by the Paragyuan forward. The US are giving the ball up too easily.

2:00 – The US already showing more attacking verve in the first 90 seconds then they did in the first and most of the second half against Argentina. Positive already, though Edu is beautifully tackled by Da Silva.

1:00 – Wow that was an awful way to start the game, as the US kick it immediately out of bounds.

Agudelo put away an opportunistic strike, can he continue his good form?

TWEEEEET – And the US kick it off

So apparently it’s a 4-4-2 with the US employing their two best players out wide and out of the way…smart.

Either Clint Dempsey either is wear eye shadow or hasn’t slept well  in ages!


Back soon with the kick off!


Paraguay Line up: Villar; Cáceres, Mareco, Da Silva, Miguel Samudio; Vera, Molinas, Riveros, Estigarribia; Pérez, Cardozo

USA Line up: Hahnemann; Chandler, DeMerit, Ream, Bornstein; Donovan, Bradley, Edu, Dempsey; Altidore, Agudelo. Loosk like a 4 -2 -2- 2
SUBS: Spector, Bocanegra, Jones, Kljestan, Yelldell, Lichaj, Diskerud.

Sweats decides to rest some of his tried and true, which means no Howard in goal or Gooch in the back. Bocanegra on the bench. Bradley obviously likes what he sees (he would be blind if he didn’t) in his second half substitutes against Argentina, Chandler and Agudelo, who both earn a starting nod. Dozy Altidore will partner the young Red Bull striker up top with Deuce and Donovan providing support. Bornstein is out on the left, so at least this should be an entertaining game!


Hello all fans (and possibly haters) of footie.

Welcome to the second round of international friendlies. USA welcomes Paraguay at home of country music, Nash-Vegas!

Orange Slices: US vs. Paraguay

UOrange Slices! USA vs. Argentina


G: Hahnemann

DEF: Chandler, DeMerit, Ream, Bornstein

MID: Donovan, Bradley, Edu, Dempsey

STR: Agudelo, Altidore

The need for SPEED.

Update: No Benny Feilhaber, Oguchi Onyewu (rumored hip issue) or Tim Howard tonight. Surprising on Howard, but we shall see. All but guarantees Boca and/or DeMerit are in the line-up.

Orange Slices is our game day, catch-all post that we update during the day before the match

Welcome to game day!

The United States Men’s National team led by Bob Bradley and Landon Dominator, don the red and blues today for their 2nd consecutive CONMEBOL opponent in World Cup quarter-finalist Paraguay.

Will they Mix it up?

Will Reams come true?

Isn’t it Sacha a good opportunity to introduce new players?

The ear-piercing puns end there; the play begins here!

Kickoff  is set for 5p.m Best Coast and 8 p.m. ET.

Haven’t got your fix: TSG’s Official USA vs. Paraguay Preview


English TV Broadcast: Fox Soccer (Wynalda and Sullivan at 4:30, Dellacamera and Martino at 5pm.)

Spanish TV Broadcast: Telefutura

Live at the stadium: TSG’s Jay Bell

Live Commentary: Right here at TSG, courtesy Shaun Webb

If you’re outside of the States, we’ll try and locate a good stream for you.

Weather forecast:

Not a cloud in the sky…BZZZZZZ! Wrong answer. Sidelines shots will likely see more than a few scattered fans in garbage bags. Not exactly galoshes weather, but the skies are supposed to cry around 6pm local time. 60º otherwise

More here.

Surf forecast:

Inland, March, c’mon! Although the National Park Service has instructions on how to approach the wildlife in the nearby Smokey Mountains.


JOLAZO!: Last time in da House, one Big Jeezy Jozy Altidore lit it up bagging all three goals as the US made the Soca Warriors of Trinidad & Tobago look like fools back on April 1st, 2009.

The line-up backing Jozy at L.P. Field that day:  1-Tim Howard; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Sacha Kljestan, 84), 12-Michael Bradley, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 10-Landon Donovan, 11-Brian Ching (6- José Torres, 81), 17-Jozy Altidore

Where have you gone Pablo Mastroeni…and José Torres too for that matter.

That said, as this excellent piece points out today, echoes some of the concerns that have been wafting through TSG’s home office about the young American striker current in Turkey. Thanks to Charles Gooch at the Kansas City Star for the link.

Local Yocal: Shout out to local team USL team, the Nashville Metros, founded in 1989. An alum of that team? None other than current San Jose Earthquake keeper Jon Busch.

Captain America: Who’s the third leading scorer currently on the US roster for this encounter? That would be Captain Carlos Bocanegra. A haul of 12 goals in his national team career (just seven short of Dempsey mind you) and with his play-on header against Argentina, the Californian collected his 8th assist.

Supporting cast: Marketing, what marketing…two critical acknowledgements today and US Soccer should acknowledge as well.

A great effort to promote and create interest for this game was done by @soccerinTN on Twitter–relentless on promotion and if the US split the haul that the account helped generate for the game, well, easily a shiny new HDTV.

And the American Outlaws, profiled here by SI yesterday.

Pressed: This morning’s pre-match press conference:

This Summer: Manchester United US Tour II

Looks like there’s some gold in them stadiums.

So young, yet so old, yet so good...

Manchester United headed westward again this summer to take on the best and brightest in MLS…and the world:

13 July v New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, Boston

20 July v Seattle Sounders, Qwest Field, Seattle

23 July v Chicago Fire, Soldier Field, Chicago

27 July v MLS All-Stars, Red Bull Arena, New Jersey

30 July v Barcelona, FedExField, Washington DC

On an unrelated note, now I remember what Gigg’s do up top reminds me of:

Tea Biscuits: England vs. Ghana

Will England get jammed up?

England starts with Andy Carroll up top (what an ideal target striker in my book) and he’s book ended in a 4-4-2 by Stuart Downing, finally starting to realize his potential, and Ashley Young.

The middle band is Wilshere, Barry, Milner followed by a backline of Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill and Baines. Joe Hart keeps the wicket.

GeorgeCross this post is for you if you’re floating around on TSG today.

God save the Queen, because Ghana brought some heavies:

G: Kingson;

DEF: Pantsil, Addy, Vorsah, John Mensah,

CDM: Annan, Agyemang-Badu,

FRONT 4: Adiyiah, Gyan, Muntari, Asamoah