USA vs. Ecuador: Live Commentary

About to get it on in Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. It’s the USA. It’s Ecuador. There are no marbles involved.

Some solid manu-et-manu match-ups though: Chandler vs. Valencia, Benitez vs. Bocanegra, Noboa vs. Williams–perhaps.

Starting line-ups shortly…as well as your commentary.

Dempsey rips around the corner...

165 responses to this post.

  1. Is thing a go?


  2. Posted by WatertownMA on 2011/10/11 at 2:47 PM

    With a shortage of reliable and quality center backs that can keep pace w/ speedy strikers, and a growing surplus of center midfielders, why not try Michael Bradley side by side w/ Bocanegra? Or turn Bradley into his heir apparent?

    What will the US miss or gain with Bradley’s absence from box to box / destroyer role. It seems that Bradley will not be a distributor or the creative playmaker…


    • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/11 at 7:21 PM

      the notion that junior can not distribute is an absolute myth, that really should be nipped in the bud from here forth. it hurts the morale of the team to try and down play junior and his all encompassing ability. that said, junior could play center back, but more likely with gooch. junior showed some panache tonight. more to come, alot more. italy is going to take his game to an even higher level, and at those heights, you dont debate about whether or not said player should be in the starting eleven. im sorry, but you dont. carlos would not have allowed that header, obviously.


      • Posted by syght on 2011/10/11 at 10:51 PM

        He distributed the ball alright, only from side to side and backwards. Did he even have a positive pass tonight? I’m not a huge Jr. hater, and I do think he should be starting for us, but only in that CDM role. He’s alright playing that more offensive mid position now until Holden is healthy or one of the youngn’s steps up, but he absolutely killed me with the non-positive passing tonight. And his set piece delivery was suspect too, save for the second free kick.


        • Baby Sweats’s side-to-side or backwards distribution doesn’t bother me – how many times does Xavi do the same thing for Barca – rather it’s the speed of thought that he’s shown in the last few years. In the 2007 Gold Cup he made his mind up before the ball got to his foot regardless of the amount of pressure being applied. Now it seems like he’s thinking about it too much which completely decreases the effectiveness of those sideways or backwards passes.


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 6:27 AM

            He also seems to be much deeper than he has been prior to WC2010. That makes those sideways and backwards passes even less effective because usually Xavi is making those passes either at midfield or in the opposition’s half.


          • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/12 at 3:42 PM


            Whenever people talk about player X’s passing aren’t you amazed that few people seem to ever take into account the other half of the equation.

            Your intended target has to do his job in terms of getting open and then receiving and retaining the ball. If he doesn’t do all of that, it doesn’t matter how well you pass the ball; it could well turn into a giveaway or go out of bounds.

            Xavi is a great passer of the ball no doubt but a large part of Barca and Spain’s ability to hang onto the ball for so long is repetition, familiarity and hard work. The core of those two teams is made up of guys who have played together in a very well established style in some cases, for many years. When you play together that often for that long under
            difficult circumstances, passing becomes almost telepathic.

            If you are seeing a veteran like Bradley “thinking too much” or hesitating, it’s usually because he isn’t sure about what is happening with his teammates.

            It’s quite fashionable for most fans to always assume the worst about a player, particularly Bradley but I’ve seem him with BMG make some wonderful passes. That was his club and he spent much more time with them than he does with his US teammates so it’s understandable they have a better understanding with each other and Bradley was more willing to take a chance with them.

            If you want an example from last night’s game watch Shea and Dempsey. There were more than a few times when Shea either went a second too soon or a second too late on passes from Dempsey. Had they connected on one or two of those, it would have been instant goal scoring opportunity.

            Just to be clear, I don’t think Bradley is a great passer but I’m pretty sure he can do his part of the deal. It just seems like he’s not sure about the guy on the other end so he does not pull the trigger.

            Regardless of the endless criticism, he wouldn’t have been signed by Chievo or start for them if he was as awful a passer as everyone seems to think he is. It’s Serie A for god’s sake


      • Posted by WatertownMA on 2011/10/12 at 4:11 AM

        Yes, Bradley can fit in the starting 11, however, where is he best suited per the holes on the team. There’s no argument that he’s a strong tackler / defensive player that can chase down opponents. Likewise, he scores the occasional goal yet appears to not create many goal scoring opportunities or advancing the ball. I don’t fault his possession-style passing. Yes, true, he will become even more fantastic w/ Chievo.

        Why can’t Bradley fit a John Terry mold, a center back that can get forward? I’d much rather see a Bradley making attacking runs than Gooch.


  3. Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 3:18 PM

    Only change from the Honduras game is Gooch for Orozco Fiscal… Disappointing to me at least.


    • Posted by Union on 2011/10/11 at 3:24 PM

      For a second I thought that Williams would be a CM, but I guess not. Happy to see he’s getting the start though. What is disappointing? Only lineup combination I see that could be better would be starting Bradley over Edu, or trying Agudelo out on the right wing and allowing Williams to start in CM in place of Edu. Otherwise, tough to complain.


      • Posted by Wallace on 2011/10/11 at 3:27 PM

        where did you find the lineups?


        • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 3:31 PM

          They announced the US lineup on Sportscenter.


        • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 3:44 PM

          Its on the US Soccer twitter feed.
          And I was expecting at least another attacking player. As fun as having 3 Dmids is…


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 3:49 PM

            We have 3 dmids in that lineup? Who? I count Edu and Beckerman. Williams is not a dmid. He’s a versatile midfielder that has played many different positions who prefers to play at central midfield.


            • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 3:58 PM

              I count him as Dmid. Or at least box to box, not an attacking mid by any means. And he’s not a winger at all. He just has a decent cross.

          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 5:14 PM

            Except he stays wide on the touchline. It’s not like he’s out there in the middle of the field. He certainly does a better job of staying wide and putting in crosses than Donovan.


  4. Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 3:40 PM

    What if JK is thinking that down the road he know who his cm’s will be so he is making sure that williams gets comfy with playing out wide. Plus down the road with williams out wide you give a good chance for your cm and him to swap freely and create different running options for your right side why shea keeps them stretched on the left


  5. Posted by jwrandolph on 2011/10/11 at 3:56 PM

    United States lineup (4-2-3-1): Tim Howard; Timothy Chandler, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo; Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu; Brek Shea, Clint Dempsey, Danny Williams; Jozy Altidore

    Substitutes: Nick Rimando, Jonathan Spector, Tim Ream, Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley, Edson Buddle, Juan Agudelo


  6. Posted by gary on 2011/10/11 at 4:05 PM

    Who did not dress?


  7. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 4:07 PM

    Interesting to think that you have representatives from the following leagues in the starting line-up (and this has been true for some time, but still something to note):


    You take Beckerman out for Bradley and you have Serie A as well.


  8. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 4:15 PM

    Tall-boy Brooklyn Lager tonight–only fitting


  9. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 4:22 PM

    A lot of effing idiots at Red Bull Arena – Mrs Cross and I went straight from work and are in work clothes. A few bandana wearing toolsmade some “negative” comments. Why do they think they’re so much better than other fans?


  10. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 4:31 PM

    I think a rec league somewhere is missing its keeper…


  11. Posted by MasterBlaster on 2011/10/11 at 4:37 PM

    1. Why is the Keeper Wearing A Hat?
    2. Why is said hat have DirecTV on it?
    3. Is DirecTV even in Ecuador?
    4. WTF


  12. Posted by Steve dc-nj on 2011/10/11 at 4:40 PM

    Im at the game tonight great atmosphere. Cherundolo is our one glaring hole due to his lack of pace.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/11 at 4:52 PM

      Not so much here. There is 0 support for Cherundolo. He’s on an island.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 5:20 PM

      I’ve noticed Cherundolo getting beat a lot more than normal lately. He’s also been dropped a bit by Hannover, I think only playing about half their games so far.


  13. Posted by London on 2011/10/11 at 4:49 PM

    anyone have a good stream?


  14. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 4:55 PM

    Cherundolo’s touch hasn’t been the greatest tonight.

    Gooch has looked much more composed on the ball–can’t remember a time actually that he has seemed better on the ball.


  15. Posted by John Henry on 2011/10/11 at 4:59 PM

    I don’t think I’m wrong to say that Jozy has looked as good as he ever has. Still so much potential.


  16. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 5:01 PM

    Edu doing his best to create a new statistical category: “Whiffs”


  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 5:10 PM

    There were spots in the game where I thought the US played some nice one touch stuff, and the person on the ball had a few options.

    Difficult to make a direct comparison between this team and when I saw the US under Bradley (because opponents were better than Ecuador), but there seems to be fewer cheap US turnovers… perhaps due to said passing options?


  18. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/11 at 5:17 PM

    In general I think the us tactics were completely off that half.

    Dolo’s been an island either through edu being off in positioning or by Kljnsmanns two-man game strategy.

    Beckerman has been quite good as te backline hasn’t been pushed high enough and he’s has an acre or so of ground to cover


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 5:24 PM

      Beckerman should have been the guy replaced at halftime by MB90. If there’s one thing he can do it’s cover ground.


      • Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 5:30 PM

        Kinda agree cause right now we are playing with 2 Dm’s and we are getting lost in the mid


  19. Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 5:24 PM

    wow chandler on the left just screaming for the ball


  20. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/10/11 at 5:44 PM

    Edson who?


  21. Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 5:45 PM

    I’ve been impressed by Gooch tonight. A lot of good interceptions and he doesn’t just boot it upfield anymore. He also looks like he’s in playing shape as opposed to looking like an NFL linebacker.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 6:02 PM

      Gooch just beasted that dude for a wicked cheap shot. Led fist first going at Gooch.


      • Posted by jwrandolph on 2011/10/11 at 7:27 PM

        Best moment of the game for me. Best moment of the last several USMNT games.


  22. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/10/11 at 5:52 PM

    QUICK! Whens the last time Duece touched the ball?


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 5:55 PM

      I had forgotten that he was on the field.


    • Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 5:55 PM

      No JOKE i love are 2 dm mids right now!! there is such a gap and we keep losing the ball and can’t control. . . . PLZ if we bring bradley on make sure he is are only d mid cause he sucks at an attacking


  23. Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 5:54 PM

    Oh good, Ream gets beat to a cross for a headed goal…


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 5:55 PM

      I mentioned in the earlier thread that I wasn’t sure it was a good thing we’d see Ream tonight. Guess I was right. Time to leave him out of the team for a while.


  24. Posted by gary on 2011/10/11 at 5:59 PM

    Ream just looks tentative. Easy to say now but its clear that he is overwhelmed at this level


  25. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 6:00 PM

    That is why Ream doesn’t get more time at this level. Basics went AWOL.


    • Posted by fellaini's_fro on 2011/10/11 at 8:56 PM

      Cool. I can post on two things here. I thought Gooch busted his ass tonight. He hustled laterally and up the field. Looked great in defense and was making good passes and getting up the field, at one point being over the half line. He demonstrated that he deserves more call ups in the near future.

      And no one looked as disappointed than Gooch when Ream let that guy head the goal. The look on Gooch’s face was something to akin finding out you just got fired and your dog ran away on the same day. Spector was a nightmare heading balls right to the other team to shoot on goal. But Ream let the guy run right in front of him and didn’t react until he was right in front of him. Lalas had some harsh words, but felt he deserved another call up for his ability to pass the ball out of the back.

      I say not at the expense of solid defending.


  26. Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 6:10 PM

    Start following @Wynalda11 if you want to see some actual analysis as opposed to the US Soccer approved “analysis” from Harkes.


  27. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 6:12 PM

    The US has missed Donovan’s set-piece deliveries, that’s for sure.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 6:14 PM

      The set piece deliveries from a few years ago maybe. Lately he’s been pretty poor with those just as he has been all around.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 7:50 PM

        Perhaps Jared. But some of the balls in the second half were *wasteful*. Not sure how it gets any worse to be honest.


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/11 at 7:20 PM

      While Dolo was horrible its been a while since Donovan has been up to snuff. Such a waste to have all of these big guys in the box for set pieces if there is no service.


    • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 6:33 AM

      This is another aspect of the game in which Holden is dearly missed. His set piece delivery is awesome. I don’t know whatever happened to Donovan. Remember when he was taking set pieces for Everton. The quality of his delivery has dropped over the last year.


      I wouldn’t mind giving a Spector a chance on set piece delivery (when he is on the field). Please no more Spector at RB!!! Even let him play in CM, or leave him on the bench.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/12 at 4:19 PM


        Every one of the guys mentioned above had done well for a while at set piece delivery and then seemingly hit a wall.

        For a long time Donovan took every set piece and just before I was about to shoot him for non performance he started hitting some great ones. I thought Beckham shamed him into it. Then he hit that wall again. Holden is/was a great dead ball artist but I’m confident the curse would eventually hit him too. Bradley did well last night nearly bending one into the far right upper corner. Ronaldinho was obviously watching and went him one far better against Mexico.

        The nice thing about the JK era is that it isn’t one guy who takes all the set pieces throughout the entire game. Maybe that will ward off the curse and besides it’s best to be unpredictable.

        Dolo has always been good and then last night he could barely get the ball of the ground. In his case it seems he still isn’t fully fit after his injury at the Gold Cup Final which was probably more serious than anyone let on. He maybe healed from that but it has set his fitness back.

        He went the full 90 in Miami on Saturday and it really showed lst night. Plus. Montero ( I think that was his name) looks to me like he makes a lot of right backs look old.


  28. Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 6:14 PM

    Did we just hear a fabion Johnson name drop


  29. Posted by namescornelius on 2011/10/11 at 6:15 PM

    Gooch and Beasley were huge positives. Ream and Spector big negatives.


  30. Posted by Union on 2011/10/11 at 6:19 PM

    My thoughts:

    Tough game to lose. I hope people talk about this, but the drop off between the starting lineup and the bench is absolutely huge. I would argue that out of everyone Jurgen called in, only about 7 of them are up to the challenge of playing International football. And, no surprise here, but all of them except for Shea and maybe Agudelo, play in a top flight European league(sorry Buddle and Spector, you aren’t going to cut it). Hell, I’d even throw Edu into the bunch considering the Scottish league isn’t anything spectacular. Edu’s first touch tonight was atrocious. But nowhere near as atrocious as Buddles’, Beasleys’, and Beckermans’. Honestly, Bradley was okay, but I thought Beckerman was really bad. And how many times is Edu going to whiff on a volley?

    Dempsey, Chandler, Williams, Shea, Gooch, ‘Dolo and maybe Jozy were in a league of their own tonight. I thought everyone else underperformed significantly. The first half was great, but when you sub out a lot of these guys and replace them with Buddle, Beasley, Spector….the drop off is going to be noticeable. Agudelo is okay, I still like his touch more than Jozy’s. But he seems to be out of position too often. Though, admittedly, he was upon on a few runs and Beasley chose to shank the ball over the goal instead of make the pass.

    Oh well. Despite this game pissing me off, I honestly think the US has a really good squad if they lineup like this going forward:

    ‘Dolo, Gooch, Boca, Chandler

    Shea—–D.Williams,——– F. Johnson—–Donovan


    With Johnson playing up and Williams staying back.

    Until Holden gets healthy, I have to think this is the best option

    (note that F. Johnson is, in my opinion, the most skilled out of the 3 german americans)


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 6:24 PM

      I thought that with the exception of central midfield, the US starting lineup all performed pretty well. I think with Donovan back in the fold, we’ll see Williams in the middle at the expense of Edu.

      If Beckerman sees the field anymore then there needs to serious questions asked of Klinsmann. Supposedly, Beckerman is supposed to be there to shield the defense and make simple passes. He gave the ball away a lot including one play where he gave the ball away, got caught way upfield which forced Boca to haul down a guy and get a yellow. Another poor performance and he should go right back to Camp Cupcake duty. There is no need to develop him at that position because of his age and the depth of younger players.


      • Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 6:33 PM

        Biggest problem with Beckerman is every second half he is paired with bradley who is also a dm and there is a big gap. So he goes up and were is bradley not covering. When he is back were is bradley he is back or even behind him


        • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 6:40 PM

          Well, he was paired with Edu in the first half and wasn’t much better. He and Bradley definitely have no idea how to play together and Bradley still seems to roam all over the field after the ball when he needs to pay more attention to positioning. He ended up behind the defense a few times tonight.


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/12 at 9:53 AM

            This of course will be labeled as “Bradley hating” but at some point that has to just go away.

            Last night was evidence again the primary issue is that Bradley just wanders the field and was dropping deep into where Beckerman played the first half like it was his. Beckerman didn’t thrill last night and i understand the long term view that he is not the right guy but to be posting on here how wonderful Bradley was last night is almost hallucinating.
            On rewatch you’ll see again that his vaunted defending hardly ever results in him winning a ball. Alot of energy and then generally he “funnels” the guy to the next defender. That’s another word for poor defending. That makes his choice as a CDM difficult and if he’s not going to play box to box then he really doesn’t have a role in this system. I can’t believe that JK told him to go deep and take the ball where Beckerman was the whole first half. so Beckerman is now the forward CM? Somebody needs to clear Mikey’s head about what he does and where he does it because it’s getting old and not pleasant to watch.


            • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/12 at 4:47 PM

              “Alot of energy and then generally he “funnels” the guy to the next defender. That’s another word for poor defending. ”

              Maybe where you are from.

              Bradley has his flaws, most notably a general slowness of his play about one half to a third of the time. It’s as if he goes into practice speed when everyone else is in game speed but not all the time.

              It’s sort of odd.

              However,the thing you describe is not “poor defending”, it’s basic Defending 101. And it is usually described as “jockeying” not funneling though that may be just as good a term.


              “Defensive Jockeying in Soccer Football.
              23rd February 2011

              Jockeying or putting pressure on the player with the ball is an important aspect of defending. Players, and in particular young players, have a tendency to “dive in” at the ball, often missing it completely due to the quick feet of the attacker, when they should hold back and jockey the attacker with the ball.

              Jockeying is being as close to the ball as possible, within a short distance, and just close enough to be able to tackle. At this distance the defender is in control of the situation, being able to manipulate where the attacker will go and what he will do.

              The defender should be in a low position with both knees bent, turned slightly at an angle from the attacker. The dominant foot of the defender should be furthest away from the attacker and with an even body weight the defender can move as close to the attacker as required, being then able to show the player inside or down the line.

              Having the dominant foot back enables the defender to make a clean and easy strike for the ball if a good opportunity arises.

              It’s important to encourage players to stop attacking the ball while defending. By lunging at the ball the defender becomes unbalanced and is easily skipped past by the attacker. However if the defender quickly takes up the position and jockeys the attacking player, he forces the attacker to make a decision, not only does this give the defending team time to regroup but it also puts a doubt into the attackers mind, increasing the chance that the attacker will make a mistake.”

            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/12 at 7:52 PM


              Excellent primer on how youth football should be played. I will reinforce not “diving in” with my local U14 team. However at the intl level you are required to “win” a tackle occasionally in the CDM role, (you can Wikipedia “Mascherano”, “Makelele”.and others as examples of big boy defending). And “jockeying” is all well and good but not when you allow the attacker to go past you straight at your defender.
              Once you’re done copying and pasting another pedantic junior football lecture, go back and watch his play both last night and throughout his club and country career and honestly tell me that his “jockeying” is effective for the club.
              I have no hatred for Michael Bradley but have observed these weaknesses in his game for yrs now. My chief concern was, and remains, that he is not disciplined positionally nor is he a good on ball defender. I don’t think his dad did him any favors but not reining him in and I think his career is suffering for that lack of structure to his game. He created a bunch of confusion between he and Beckerman last night by tring to dominate the ball out of the back and if you can’t see that I’m not sure what you’re watching.
              I still believe he has value to the MNT in a box to box role until and if Holden returnns but his jack of all trades skill set should not guarantee him a starting spot in this squad.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/12 at 11:46 PM


              “his jack of all trades skill set should not guarantee him a starting spot in this squad.”

              You might have noticed he hasn’t been starting. I’m not convinced Bradley has a future with Klinsmann’s team.

              “However at the intl level you are required to “win” a tackle occasionally in the CDM role, (you can Wikipedia “Mascherano”, “Makelele”.and others as examples of big boy defending).”

              It’s funny you say that. Bradley does occasionally win tackles, I’ve actually seen him do that but positional sense is much more important to international level defenders, not that Bradley has any.

              My argument with you is not over your judgment of Bradley but rather the idea that what I call jockeying and you call funneling is something only for youth teams and not big boy internationals. I haven’t seen much of Mascherano but I did see quite a bit of Makalele and I can tell you he would not agree with you. In fact, the term “Makalele role” usually refers defensive midfielders who rely largely on intelligent positional sense and safe passing. The value of basic concepts don’t change as you move up in skill level. Good positioning is always important whether it’s the World Cup or a youth league.

              The reason I find your mentioning Makalele ironic is because if you read the criticism of him it sounds a lot like people’s criticism of Bradley. Not that MB is in Claude’s class. What I’d really like to know is what his long time teamates like Dempsey, Donovan, Boca, Dolo, Howard and Gooch really think about playing with MB, though I suspect we’ll have to wait until they retire.

              From Wikipedia:

              Florentino Pérez infamously poured scorn on Makélelé’s footballing abilities and proclaimed that Makélelé would not be missed:
              “ We will not miss Makélelé. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.[5] ”
              His opinion differed from that of players like Zidane, who remarked the following after Makélelé was sold and Beckham was bought:[6]
              “ Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine? ”
              In his autobiography, published in 2006, McManaman described Makélelé as the most important and yet least appreciated midfielder at Real. Retired former Real Madrid player and captain Fernando Hierro also criticised Pérez for both Makélélé’s departure and the manner of his departure, saying:
              “ I think Claude has this kind of gift – he’s been the best player in the team for years but people just don’t notice him, don’t notice what he does. But you ask anyone at Real Madrid during the years we were talking about and they will tell you he was the best player at Real. We all knew, the players all knew he was the most important. The loss of Makélelé was the beginning of the end for Los Galacticos… You can see that it was also the beginning of a new dawn for Chelsea. He was the base, the key and I think he is the same to Chelsea now.[7]

      • Posted by fellaini's_fro on 2011/10/11 at 9:02 PM

        Agreed on some points regarding Beckerman. His passes at times are atrocious. Either too far right or left of his target, but my main complaint is that his passes often do not have enough weight. His teammate is expecting a pass right to his feet, crisp like and it comes up short and the defender has enough time to get around and intercept the pass, thereby causing a great counterstrike opportunity because his pass was bad and then his upfield too.


  31. Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 6:20 PM

    Gonna go play some FIFA with the USMNT and make them win a bunch so I can feel less crappy. With Stuart Holden in the line-up.


  32. where is everyone seeing so much fabian johnson that allows them to be such experts? anyone have a youtube link or something?


  33. i love that chandler can go 90 miles per hour, then look like hes dead, and then as soon as he needs it, go full out again.
    he looks dead, but hes still got gas left. i wonder if opponents fall for that..


  34. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/11 at 6:56 PM

    Great: Gooch
    Good: Gooch stare, Chandler, Altidore, 1st half defense
    Smart: Whoever steals Ream’s shoelaces
    Bad: Dolo, Edu, Beckerman’s passing, Spector
    Really bad: Klinsman’s decision to put Edu in anything other than the 6 role.

    I really tried to focus on Gooch’s distribution and was very happy with it. Ream just looked like he didn’t want to be there to me. I am a little concerned but not yet worried about Dolo.

    Really liked the 4-1-3-2. Switch Donovan for Williams and put remember that Torres/Holden will be sitting in the role Edu played tonight and I you get a pretty solid line-up.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/11 at 7:04 PM

      Put Williams in the Edu role tonight. He’s been solid the past 2 games and says central midfield is his best position. He can’t be worse than the combination of Beckerman and Edu.


      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/11 at 7:18 PM

        I would like to see that going forward. With the current roster you couldn’t move Williams inside. Who would play right? Williams did great given his lack of familiarity with the team and the fact that he was playing out of position.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/11 at 9:09 PM

      BTW, the numbers don’t back up poor passing by Beckerman. Connected on 32 and missed 8 — 3 in the defensive third, most moving forward.


      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 4:17 AM

        The 5 missed passes going forward were what I noticed, Felt like they were less missed passes and more like clearances (low percentage passes that attempted to go from the 6 to Atlidore or Agudelo). A couple of those left me saying what was that, where I don’t remember a single time saying “nice pass” to myself.

        Point taken that initial observations can be very deceiving. I was actually in the Beckerman should start camp before yesterday.


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 4:48 AM

        Except when he misses a pass it frequently puts the team under pressure. The worst being the pass that led to Boca having to drag a guy down as Beckerman had given the ball away for an easy counterattack.


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 5:07 AM

        Per MLS chalkboard, Beckerman was also tackled 9 times that resulted in loss of possession. That’s not acceptable for the defensive mid.


        • Posted by justin on 2011/10/12 at 7:52 AM

          that was driving me crazy during the game. No reason for the DM to get tackled. I would rather have an intercepted pass than a tackle for loss of possession


      • Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/10/12 at 10:49 AM

        I am leery of that completed pass stat. Does that mean that a player on the same team touched the ball before the other team, or that a player on the same team actually was able to do something with it? Cause beckerman definately just passed people into crappy situations. Actually a lot of people did that in this game.


    • Posted by s44 on 2011/10/12 at 2:26 PM

      “Really bad: Klinsman’s decision to put Edu in anything other than the 6 role.”

      What’s bizarre is that Bradley already tried this, and it worked just as poorly. What keeps bringing this idea into these coaches’ heads?


      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 3:10 PM

        I am going to chalk it up to a lack of CMs given that we were carrying 5 6’s (Edu, Beckerman, Bradley, Williams, and Larenowicz), no Donovan, Dempsey up top which removes him as a CM choice. Would have loved to see Bedoya in Williams spot and Williams in Edu’s.


  35. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/11 at 7:01 PM

    Bradley Junior still plays like he is playing for Bradley Senior. 5 dribbles that don’t create any danger and then the safe pass. It seemed like most of Bradley’s passes went to Spector.


    • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/11 at 7:30 PM

      there are not many players in the usa fold that can make the passes junior made tonight bernie. how about that little floater down the wing that, i think aguedelo latched on to. junior showed bight tonight, usa would have won if he started.


      • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 7:43 PM

        Agreed, maybe not every pass is “dangerous”, but at he least he was passing to his own team and not losing possession on the dribble *cough*EduandBeckerman*cough*


        • Posted by scweeb on 2011/10/11 at 7:51 PM

          Disagree he couldn’t decide if he was a back line defensive mid or attacking mid. He was constaly all over the place and every time he was were beckerman was at. He looked like he was still playing for his DAD and not for JK.


          • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/11 at 8:42 PM

            i hate to be repugnant, but i dont see how anyone could have watched michael bradley tonight and not thought he was one of the better players on the pitch for the usa. bocanegra looks to keep the armband for the near future, but that will just allow junior to grow even bigger for his eventual place as captain of this team.

            you can see how he directs players on the field. junior has the ability to see several moves ahead and that makes him a special player. its like when he got beat on a play and still got back to pressure the shooter. that people, is a very special talent. we wont even talk about the little killer crossover move he showed tonight, or his little bit of pep and speed that was in his step.

            by the same token, brek shea is so headed to man u. he straight up showed valencia that he is and will be even more of a specimen as time goes forward. valencia has five years on shea. project just three years ahead and shea will be on another planet. (5)


            • Posted by fellaini's_fro on 2011/10/11 at 9:18 PM

              Not sure about him. It seemed like to me that he was the calm in the storm. The ball came to him, things slowed down and then he made a safe pass. Or in a pinch when another player was in trouble he would be there to take a pass.

              The occasional pass to someone who was in position to be a scoring threat was far in between.

              Just my feeling watching him. However if you have plenty of other dangerous options he doesn’t need to be. Does he?

            • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/11 at 10:01 PM

              i dont know what is the beef then. the point of possession soccer IS to make the safe pass.

            • Posted by syght on 2011/10/11 at 11:01 PM

              Yeah, I have to respectfully disagree. You’re bugging on MB90. I like him, but he didn’t have any positive passes other than that FIFA LB+Y lob pass for Agudelo. Nothing spectacular there for me. A nice pass, but doesn’t make up for the 8493284293 lateral and back passes he made. Substitutions were a big part of it, true, but the team played so much slower and less creative when MB90 got on the pitch. He’s just so plodding in the offensive half, sigh.

            • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/12 at 12:43 AM

              Because Edu’s offensive passes were money right? And from what I saw, our lack of offense attributed to Ecuador keying into Dempsey and shutting down service to him.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/12 at 5:24 PM


              Bradley is a good player and should only improve in Italy but I’m not sure he has a place in Klinsmann’s team.

              The simplest way to explain this is to ask you if you watched Mexico vs, Brazil immediately following the US game?

              It seems to me JK is interested in approximating Mexico’s high tempo style of play. One reason why I believe he likes it is because it allows a team with inferior talent to play with a team with superior talent.

              Had Guardado not channeled his inner Shannon Boxx and had Brazil not gotten two moments of genius from Ronaldinho and Marcelo, Mexico basically dominates the game.

              Lately Junior has been quite slow in his play. You would call it deliberate and I might call it hesitant. It could be because for most of MB’s time it has been Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley + one or it could be because MB is the plodding idiot most of his detractors seem to think he is. Whatever it is, he is a currently a shadow of the dynamic player he was in the 2010 World Cup.

              I happen to believe that once MB gets his legs back he can play any tempo you want but there is still the question of whether he can accept a lesser role( if that is what happens) in a midfield where he was for so long the dominant character. Last night you could practically see other USMNT players shrink from him and that isn’t always good.

              JK will insist on the kind of team togetherness you see from Mexico because, even with the dramatic infusion of talent into this squad, our talent remains sub par in international terms. If you doubt me, look at Mexico. Last night if it had been the US instead of Brazil the score might have been 6-1 in their favor. Yet Brazil, who weren’t playing well, needed only a seconds worth of Guardado screwing up and a few more seconds of genius from Ronaldinho and Marcelo to win. The US doesn’t have that kind of genius. We have to do it the long hard dirty way.

              Anyone who does not think JK will have a long hard slog before this team gets anywhere near as good as he wants it, is just fooling themselves.

          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 3:13 PM

            Now that we are a decent bit post game I am curious if Bradley played deep by design (switch to a 4-2-XX-XX) or just being out of position. We had a pretty ugly line-up formation wise late in the game.


        • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 4:29 AM

          I think Edu played pretty poor in the 8 role. He really should be a 6. That said, Bradley came on in the same role as Edu. He got no where near as forward, and had nothing but safe passes to the defenders basically moving us into a 2 Dmid formation. By doing so we saw a gap form between Dempsey Altidore and everyone else. I thought the linking was horrible once Bradley came on and he actually played a worse 8 than Edu.


          • Posted by justin on 2011/10/12 at 7:50 AM

            totally agree. Edu was bad on the ball, but you have to credit him on his courage and mentality to get forward. He doesn’t have all the skills, but the team played better when he was making mistakes in the attacking part of the field than when bradley wasn’t making mistakes in the defensive half


            • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/10/12 at 9:32 AM

              I agree EDu took more risk going forward than MB but we need a combo of both. I like MB but it seemed he fell into his familar role and the team did as well. It was awful to watch MB trot back to get the ball from gooch or spector ten feet from him with his back to the goal, and then watch him if possible, turn painfully slow to then bring it upfield. it was like ole times, real slow & static. By the time he turned he was under pressure and then had to lay off to try again, Ugh. In fairness to him thats what he does well but the whole team seemed to wait on him or worse defer to him like the defenders did, except the surprising Gooch who tried to do something, (Credit to him, and I always slag him)
              Anyway they need to change this mentality & bad habit, bad for the team & MB. I think MB has more to his game than this, but it could be what was out there too in terms of support

  36. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 7:57 PM

    Statistically–and of course take this for what its worth–the US outperformed Ecuador in every significant category, and watching the game it felt that way as well. Tough goals to lose on as Ream was just plain lazy on the play…but, those are the type of moments you want to sort out during exhibition games.

    Couldn’t help but think throughout the first half that if Donovan was exploiting the space that Williams should have been exploiting the offense would have been much more fluid. Would rather like to see Williams in the Edu/Beckerman role and Holden as the main central hub (if or when healthy), with Shea and Donovan on the wings, Dempsey as a withdrawn forward and Altidore spearing the attack.

    Beasley has atoned for himself and could be a nice weapon off the bench. He’s offers what Rogers offers off of the bench, but with some prefrontal cortex.

    Gooch was awesome tonight. He just stands people up in the air, and his distribution and even pace were pleasantly surprising tonight. Had a lot of life in him.

    Also, would really like to see Fabian possibly play RB or LB opposite Chandler causing havoc.

    Really like what I saw in the first half–second half, with all the subs, it seemed to take the team awhile to reestablish a rhythm. Regardless, definitely seeing a team that is starting to gel around a philosophy and playing much more composed football as a whole. Scoring is certainly an issue, but I feel that’s the final part to come when adopting new schemes, and emphasizing organization and possession. Add in that we haven’t really seen much of Donovan, Dempsey, Shea, and Altidore together as a unit with Jurgen and I’m not too concerned–though it remains an area of interest in upcoming exhibitions.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 8:05 PM

      Agree on Onyewu looking solid defensively. Disagree with his distribution – plus he looked so awkward with the ball at his feet tonight. But overall, I think he did well. Fitness permitting, I see Onyewu-Bocanegra being the first choice CB pairing for the WCQ next June. Unless Klinsmann unearths yet another German who qualifies to play for the US…


      • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 9:38 PM

        John Anthony Brooks!!… too soon?

        But you can’t tell me that seeing Gooch with dribbling with the ball in the opponents half wasn’t at least entertaining as hell. My friend and I couldn’t stop giggling at him


        • Posted by justin on 2011/10/12 at 7:46 AM

          i think we’ll see some CBs be rotated in through different camps. I’m excited for the January camps and olympic qualifiers, then we’ll see who klinnsman really has his eye on.


        • Watched the game today after avoiding all news of it for the past 24 hours. When he beat the one defender in stoppage time I damn near fell out of my chair.


  37. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 7:57 PM

    I was sort of expecting Klinsmann to give Rimando some minutes today. Obviously Howard is the undisputed US keeper, but…


  38. Posted by arisrules on 2011/10/11 at 8:20 PM

    We have a flawed playing pool. We need a very strong tactical coach to improve it. It’s not clear to me that JK is that guy. We’re really screwed as Dempsey and LD slow down over the next year or two.

    I still think Bradley should start. For me he was the best CM over the past two games.

    Good to see Gooch back closer to his form. If he was healthy at the WC, it would have been a different tournament for us.


    • Posted by justin on 2011/10/12 at 7:44 AM

      I agree that we need a change up in who is on the field, especially at cm and on the right side.

      However our playing pool won’t necessarily be improved by a tactical coach. We have who we have… That is unless you are referring to player selections.

      I don’t think jurgie has done a horrible job at formation. He DID put dempsey at CAM for the past two games. And although edu had some poor play, edu pushed the ball up the field alot better than bradley did in the second half. And fiscal didn’t even dress, and is probably on the same list as castillo now.

      However, some negatives are that no right wingers were called in and half the team was CDMS.

      I believe we should look at the good and the bad. I’ll give klinsman a C on these friendlies. But he shows alot more potential still on where he can take the team as opposed to bradley who had reached his creative limit in the gold cup.


  39. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/11 at 8:22 PM

    Trying to remember [and forgot to DVR game] – for all of the possession the US had [especially in first half] how much did they *actually* create?

    Somebody else mentioned the depth thing above, but the same issue remains re. substitutions: quality does not replace quality.


    • Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 8:52 PM


      I would generally agree with you there on the first point. I don’t think they’ve put all the pieces together and it shows in the attacking half/third of the field. I felt at times that they were oscillating between there old run-and-gun selves and there new more restrained probing possession game–though I think they looked better this game than they have in other contests, at least in the first half, attacking wise. But yeah, the lack of goals has been due to a lack of solid creation despite more possession–though my feeling is, is that it has more to do with confidence in Jurgen’s approach than a lack of overall de facto creativity; that is, I think the goals will come.

      Also, I’ll have to watch again with Gooch and his distribution, but I guess I’ll meet you half way and say that he looked better with the ball at his feet than he ever has in the past in my view…Also made some decent forays past the centerline late in the game, demonstrating mobility that was a relief to see.


      • Posted by fellaini's_fro on 2011/10/11 at 9:14 PM

        I don’t think Gooch is going to make anyone forget Busquets as a CB, but as Jake said, I think he looked much better than he has in a long while. Remember when he came into the Gold Cup and all he did was boot the ball long and away everytime it dropped to his feet. He did a little of that in the second half, the whole team did. But he dribbled some, made a few moves with the ball past the centerline and also tried to hold possession more often than not.

        In all honesty, his worth is being a well conditioned, 6’4″ defender who will take you out and make you want to never be tackled by him again. I don’t think some of the Ecuadoran players will forget.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/12 at 5:34 AM

          I’ll conceded that. In the run up to the WC he hadn’t recovered from his injury 100%, plus he wasn’t getting regular minutes. Now he is fit and regularly playing at Sporting (?) shows enormously. But just saying that I don’t see Onyewu being that ball playing CB you guys crave.


          • Considering the guys who are supposed to be those players (I’m looking at you, Tim Ream. Sit back down on the bench, sir) haven’t exactly shown quality in their playing time…Gooch may still be the best option back there, if he’s going to play like he did last night.


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 9:39 PM

      Replay of the match is on ESPN 3 if you have it.


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/11 at 9:44 PM

      And other than long shots in the first half, the one clear chance was the slick give and go between Shea and, Chandler? or Dempsey? and then his centering pass was just given away by Edu (figures). That was one of our most threatening chances.


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 4:57 AM

        That was such a great play by Shea and Dempsey with the one touch passing. It made me wish we had Holden in there. He wouldn’t have passed it directly to the keeper.


        • Funny, the ESPN commentator called Edu’s horrible pass in front of the net a “shot”. Obviously, it was not. If you watch enough USMNT it’s easily recognized as the typical Maurice Edu give away. This time in a crucial area. I don’t think JK was fooled by the intention. The key to possession is not doing dumb stuff like that… passing the ball to Edu.


        • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/12 at 1:19 PM

          For the life of me I don’t understand why that happened. You’re at the top of the box with no pressure, and you try and one touch pass to a Shea which would’ve put him at a bad angle?? He should’ve hit it. I’m pretty sure he would’ve had time to take a touch and hit it. I know there’s a certain Box-to-box midfielder in our plaer pool who relishes those opportunities…


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/12 at 2:36 PM

            when he actually plays box to box and not side to side I agree completely.


  40. Posted by Union on 2011/10/11 at 8:37 PM

    Good news is, the starting lineup, with the addition of Donovan and Fabian Johnson (who mark my words, will be starting), will make for a very good team. I’d also like to see Adu in the mix, who clearly has the talent and speed of thought to play really well with what is becoming a fairly skillful group of young players.

    Bad news is, our defense is not getting any younger and while Boca, Gooch and ‘Dolo all performed well, I don’t need to remind anyone how old they are. Plus, I worry that those 3 would get torched by a more skillful side. Dolo in particular looked shaky against the really fast, but really raw right winder on Ecuador (was it Benitez?). Making matters worse, unless Johnson plays Left back (and again, I would be very surprised to see a skillful player like him relegated to defense when his natural/preferred position is center midfield), there don’t seem to be any immediate solutions. I love Ream’s passing, but his marking in the middle is just plain bad. I hope he works at it, bc again, his distribution is great. Maybe Edu can be someone to think about, bc he is just not skilled enough to play anything but the 6 and we have better guys than him to do that.

    And I just want to say it again, Buddle, Beasley, Beckerman should not, IMO, be seeing the field for the national team anytime soon. There are just, simply, better options.

    Honestly, while I think there this team at full strength can be just as good as the team that beat Spain, I do worry about the lack of depth. There are just not enough options to fill a roster.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/12 at 5:32 PM

      I’m just curious but have you actually seen Fabian Johnson play?

      I haven’t and he has been mostly hurt since he announced his switch.


  41. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/11 at 9:15 PM

    Oguchi Onyewu was a beast tonight. He seemed like the only player who cared out on the pitch. That is good to see. With all this talk about Orozco, Ream, and the need for a defender who can move, distribute, and keep possession, etc. etc, it is forgotten that the main attribute of a defender is being able to defend!!! I’ve always been a Gooch fan. I was very critical of him in the Spring saying he is not ready to be back, which was right. Now he is ready. I’d rather have him on the pitch now than Bocanegra. And Ream- I’ll admit I was calling for him in the Spring. Now, I hope we don’t see him again for a couple of years.


  42. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/11 at 9:32 PM

    There was a comment from an AO member in the last post that the vulgar chants have been cut out. Ummmm no! I think this game was the worst that I can remember. USA aint nothing to f%%% with was audible (you could hear it the entire way across the room) right before half. The rest of the game, ESPN cut it out as soon as you could hear it. I heard the YSA chant twice during goal kicks as well. (I”ve never understood why the YSA chant is viewed as so much worse than anything with the “F” bomb, but hopefully both can be done away with). So I guess no more banners next game yet again.

    I feel bad for AO because they are doing what they can, it seems, to stop the chants, but the idiots continue. I guess that is the mixed blessing with getting new people to join. I don’t know why it is so difficult to come up with new inventive chants/songs. For three years, I’ve been trying on forums, posting videos, posting lyrics- finally AO seems serious about it. The same corps may not be together every game like a MLS supporter section or a college supporter group, but songs/chants/lyrics can be posted on the website and e-mailed out. I want AO to succeed because at times it seems like they are the only fans who care about the team (at the games).

    It’s unfortunate George Cross had a bad experience with AO (that’s the impression I got). Were you in the AO section George Cross?

    I will give my strong opinion on this subject. I know not everyone here or USA fans in general wants to make noise and cheer and be as colorful as many fans, but I support AO strongly. I wish there was no need for a supporters section. I watch an Argentina national team game or England, or a Santos or Borussia Dortmund game. Everybody is cheering. For whatever reason (culture I guess- I remember seeing a headline how a 20 year+ Cleveland Browns season ticket holder got his seats revoked for STANDING during a game) American fans are some of the “lamest” (in my opinion) in the world. I like being involved in the game. And yes you can cheer/sing/chant and watch the game at the same time. I’ve done it.

    It’s not just the “noise”, though, it’s the numbers. I attended the USA/Colombia game last year in Philly. There MAY have been 500-1,000 American fans at that game that weren’t in the supporter sections. At many games, the AO section seems to account for 30-80% of the entire American crowd. So, I get angry when people discount AO. At least they are at the games, trying to support the team.

    I traveled cross country for the Gold Cup Final. The support for the American team was absolutely pathetic. It was embarrassing.

    Does AO have flaws?! Yes definitely- I just mentioned some at the beginning of my comment. But at least it seems they are trying to progress and learn- kind of like the American team itself.


  43. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/11 at 9:46 PM

    My favorite John Harkes moment of the night- Harkes getting defensive explaining why he did not reach 100 CAPS as a player.


    • Posted by justin on 2011/10/11 at 10:55 PM

      ha, that was pretty good


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 4:36 AM

      Was I the only one that thinks Darke hates Harkes? Harkes seemed particularly snappy and defensive towards Darke comments. There was also one where Darke said something and Harkes instead of replying said something to the effect of “I said that 5 minutes ago”


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 5:02 AM

        I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Darke is not a fan of Harkes. Harkes offers no insight into the game and rarely shuts up. Darke is from the school of letting the game do the talking and is a true pro. I don’t think Harkes can spell pro.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 5:00 AM

      That was awesome. I loved how Harkes was like “It was over 13 years, we only played 4 or 5 times a year then, I couldn’t leave my club”. Any other excuses, chief? No mention of the fact that you would have hit 100 if you hadn’t banged Wynalda’s wife?


      • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/12 at 6:49 AM

        hold on just a minute here. jared, when you dis john harkes, you are doing so to one of the great american players ever. you are dissing a guy who bled for his nation every time he put on the jersey. just remember jared who you are talking about. from what i recall, harkes was reported to steve sampson by roy weigerle, with regards to his involvement with wynaldas wife. so basically you are relying on hearsay to form your opinion on a person who was so great in his countries jersey. i mean, jesus, this is not just about john harkes. its about michael bradley, its about distribution, and nit picking. its about a lot of things. usmnt has to fight through a lot of bs, that much is for sure.


        • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 7:02 AM

          Big deal. Just because you were a good player doesn’t mean that I can’t criticize you for your incompetence and you indiscretions. Wynalda and Sampson have both confirmed that it happened. The only person denying it is Harkes and the reasons for that are pretty obvious.

          It actually is about Harkes considering these posts are specifically about Harkes. Not sure what MB90 has to do with Harkes having an affair in 98.


        • Posted by crow on 2011/10/12 at 7:18 AM

          I remember as a kid not liking Harkes when he was a player for whatever reason. Now I like him even less. In my opinion he is an embarrassment.


          • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/10/12 at 7:25 AM

            i would like to respond further, but im afraid i would be cited for flaming. at least you are honest and you really never saw harkes play, except when you were a kid.


            • Posted by crow on 2011/10/12 at 7:39 AM

              I was 9 during the 94 world cup and 13 during the terrible 98 world cup. I was filling out March madness brackets at age 6 fairly successfully. I soaked up everything I watched.

              I’m not saying harkes wasn’t a good player. I’m saying I didn’t like him. And I like him less and less as the years go by. Cobi Jones was my favorite player ever until Deuce. I liked Balboa as well. In the studio I like Wynalda and Jones much more than Harkes.

      • Posted by dth on 2011/10/12 at 9:25 AM

        Yes, that was hilarious.

        Also hilarious the extent to which Harkes was loving him some Clint Dempsey. I can never shake the impression that Harkes actually hates Clint Dempsey (see: Harkes’s exasperated commentary in Confed. Cup 2009.)


        • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/10/12 at 9:46 AM

          I have to say I was one who followed the bad press on Sampson when he dropped harkes for the WC. harkes was one of a few recognizable players for the US back then. He got a lot of press for playing in England, it gave us a little credibility. I was one of those swayed by public opinion about Sampson’s percieved incompetence. I must atone, I was an asbolute misguided boob, sorry Steve, please forgive me, you are a real man. Sampson took all sort of hits for it and he never revealed why, It was wynalda on the FSC show who confirmed it last year on air. Sampson is a true stand up guy. Harkes might’ve had football skills but his choices on air and off air haven’t been met with pludits.


        • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 4:18 PM

          The Confed Cup is when I began to really develop a strong distaste for Harkes and he lost all credibility in my eyes.


  44. Posted by il canoniere on 2011/10/11 at 9:49 PM

    I have read a few pro journalists now down on Altidore’s performance tonight. I don’t get it. Someone help me out here. I thought Jozy put in a very strong 45 minutes. It seemed to me that nearly every dangerous sequence we generated in the 1st half involved Jozy drawing one to three defenders and then springing a teammate. As for his lack of chances on goal, there were several times when he made dynamic diagonal runs into the 18 (the kinds he is making for AZ on the regular) only for Shea/Williams/Chandler/Edu/Dempsey to hold the ball too long or fire from long range.

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that our offensive production stagnated in the 2nd half without Jozy.


    • Posted by justin on 2011/10/12 at 7:31 AM

      true true
      agudelo is good, but he didn’t play that holding role that we needed him to play. he was not pushing the back line, and tracked back way too much.
      buddle… just played bad

      jozy is good, and held up the ball pretty well. his creativity with dempsey in the final third is still not yet on the same page. They need to be playing together up top as much as possible to get that chemistry before qualifying starts…


    • Posted by dth on 2011/10/12 at 9:24 AM

      I absolutely agree. Loved the link up play last night. The turn-and-pass to Williams and the one-two with Brek Shea–great stuff there.

      I think some journalists have a script in their head that goes:


    • I think the dropoff to Agudelo is far less than the dropoff from Shea to Beasley, but yes, Big Jeezy had himself a pretty good game. He pressured the ball, his hold up play was the best I’ve ever seen from him, and he made some very intelligent and creative passes – see the backheel to Brek on the one-two play up the left early in the game.

      That said…he’s not a quality finisher. He looked good last night – better than he has in a long time – but he’s still not a dynamic scorer, and we are hurting for guys like that. The list goes Deuce, Landon (on occasion), and…that’s it.


  45. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/10/11 at 9:49 PM

    btw…how long has MLS been tracking game data for USMNT? Discovered it the other night and was very pleased.

    Though statistics can be used and interpreted in a variety of ways–and also can be difficult to aggregate meaningfully if you are taking atomized individual distribution etc. and collectively interpret that performance with with ten other players (9 really in this case) and their own data, the spatial information that you can derive from the chalkboard is incredibly helpful to synthesize one’s thoughts about a game and either confirm or disprove perceived trends while watching the game.

    Anyway, good to see that its available and relatively accessible through MLS. Looking forward to the TSG tactical analysis, as I found this game to be somewhat difficult to assess at a superficial level. Optically, things looked relatively good, but intuitively something wasn’t clicking.

    Did anyone else think that Jozy was particularly deep at times when receiving the ball–was this a function of being more closely partnered with Dempsey, such that he could drop deeper on his side of the field? Either way, US can’t seem to unlock dangerous through balls to Altidore, and especially so if he is caught up in the midfield.


  46. Posted by Jeff L on 2011/10/12 at 5:41 AM

    Why is no one talking about Williams? I thought he was worthless on the right. I saw a lot of stepovers that produced nothing and just stalled everything out. I was not impressed at all and I don’t see what putting him in the middle will do. Compare what you saw from Shea to what Williams did. Two different stories.


    • Posted by Bode on 2011/10/12 at 6:13 AM

      Agreed. It was apparent to me that he was being played out of position. Whenever he was matched up 1-v-1 with the Ecuadorian fullback, he felt obligated to try to take the fullback on but didn’t have quite the experience or the natural moves to do it quickly– he would have to think about it and the move would break down.

      It seems to me that he would thrive more as a one-two type player, which made it even more confusing why there was almost no midfield support on the right flank. I could have seen him laying it off to bradley or edu and making the run behind the fullback to get to the endline, but I don’t think he was ever getting there by dribbling.


      • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/12 at 9:14 AM

        I wonder, how many crosses has D. Williams gotten off in these 2 games? I remember less than 5.


        • Not many. He hasn’t pushed around the corner much. There’s been a few times where he’s beaten his man vertically but Dolo didn’t give him the ball back – either the passing lane wasn’t there, or he just didn’t see it.


    • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 6:23 AM

      Yeah, he wasn’t very effective on the right. From what I’ve heard he is more of a central midfielder- I’d like to see what he can do there- especially after the generic play out of the central midfield over the last few games (and with the Holden and Torres injuries). I blame this on JK for not calling in enough outside options- Gatt, Bedoya, etc. WTH replace Donovan with Buddle?


      • Posted by justin on 2011/10/12 at 7:26 AM

        For sure
        I think the second half was a result of who was called in for the roster. You could tell that buddle, agudelo, and dempsey all tried coming back for the ball in the middle of the field. There was absolutely no width.

        Then you could tell in the first half that play dominated on the left side of the field. I know shea/chandler played great, but I think we played down the right so much just because we didn’t trust ourselves on the right side.


  47. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/10/12 at 6:25 AM

    Two goals in five games now. I know we shouldn’t overreact to friendlies, but this is getting pretty frustrating.


    • Posted by crow on 2011/10/12 at 7:46 AM

      Lack of goals has been a problem since the World Cup with this team. It seems that the team was producing more scoring chances under Bob, but is controlling the ball better under JK.


      • Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/12 at 9:12 AM

        The one time we scored goals and had many chances and shots was when Shea played central mid giving Chandler more space to come forward. That was against Honduras.

        I was disappointed to see Shea playing wide left and choking off chandler’s move. He needs to get central and go left-right-center. Similarly, all William’s “wide” moves were a waste. Dolo can fill that space with Donovan and we’re done.

        How many plays did you see from the top of the box? Edu’s spectacular whiff? What we he doing there while the attackers were off arranging dates with the linesman’s duaghters?


  48. Posted by crow on 2011/10/12 at 6:52 AM

    I know there were some comments made above- what is up with these crazy South American goalkeepers? It looked like they got the guy from a pick up game in Harrison. That was awesome. Didn’t the Uruguayan keeper wear a Batman outfit or something one time?


  49. Posted by fellaini's_fro on 2011/10/12 at 8:25 AM

    I know this might sound like ball washing. But I love coming on here for the post game analysis from everyone here. Great insight and when someone disagrees there is no flaming, but rather a gentlemanly ” You make great points, but I respectfully disagree and here is why.” The trolls at other sites make visiting them horrible.

    Mathew you posted that the stats don’t bear out that Beckerman was a poor passer last night. But the eyeball test, inexperienced as it might be. Felt like most of his passes were under weighted or over weighted which caused the passee to have to work harder to corral it in. Jmo.


  50. Posted by dth on 2011/10/12 at 9:22 AM

    Two points I noticed: it’s really good to finally have two good defensive fullbacks. It’s something Bradley could never quite pull off (at least until 2011 Gold Cup Lichaj/’Dolo), as he always had one liability per fullback tandem. My theory about fullbacks on defense is that they’re like corners in the other football: you REALLY notice when you have bad ones. I think part of the reason Onyewu looked so good was that he rarely had to get stretched laterally–the fullbacks did a great job of either not getting beat, or funneling appropriately.

    The other thing I noticed was Edu and Williams. Williams, to me, drifted too centrally, which was bad–little width on that right side, for one, and for two, it wasn’t the aggressive kind of driving an inverted winger does. I think he’s just a natural CM. Which brings me to Edu, who I thought dawdled on the ball too much. I would like to see Bradley and Williams be given more of a shot at that box-to-box role, if a driving box-to-boxer is what Klinsmann wants. (If Klinsmann wants a regista in the Tom Cleverley mode, what the hell is he doing not calling up Diskerud?)


    • Yeah, exactly right. The goal resulted as much from Spector’s 20 minute episode of poor defending from the right back position as it did from Ream’s moment of zen meditation as the cross came in.

      Even though we’ve all been giving it to Ream for the goal, I thought Bocanegra didn’t have his greatest game – a second poor one in a row for me. Way too many long hopeful balls forward made Gooch’s distribution look very good. Actually, it really was pretty good. Onyewu was up for this one and his aerial prowess really did the trick against a team that’s going to cross the ball.

      But guess what kids, we still need a plan B at center back if we’re going to try to maintain more possession. Territorial advantage was a problem in this one – there was too much space between the lines in possession, making the typical pass longer and riskier than when there’s less vertical space. If we’re gonna try to keep more possession, there hasn’t been much hint of that the last two games.

      And that Beasley character really didn’t add much on the left. He does take his defensive responsibility seriously and still has the speed to break. Why oh why does he always manage to pop the ball into the air on his first touch, giving defenders time to close him down.

      And poor Mikey Bradley. Really one of our best players, but after managing to beat an opposing player only to lay the ball back to Spector. It’s no wonder we’ve played best with our backs to the wall – that’s the only time he seems to find his forward drive. He plays with the same energy and determination when it’s 0-0 that he does when it’s 0-1, then he’s worthy of a spot in the 11. More instinct, less thinking.

      Also. Not worried about not scoring goals and instead very pleased with how few we’re conceding thus far. The attack will start to come good.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/10/12 at 2:22 PM

        Jonathan Spector a poor defender at fullback? WHO COULD’VE PREDICTED?

        (goes back, watches US-Argentina, US-Brazil, etc.) Oh, yeah.


        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/12 at 2:31 PM

          That was a real head scratcher…here’s hoping Lichaj gets healthy soon.


        • Posted by Alex on 2011/10/12 at 4:01 PM

          If Spector has any role in this team its at CM. Like where he plays for at his club. Watching him isolated on the flanks is not fun. Especially against a player that had really been pushing Steve Cherundolo to his limits.


        • Heh. Thanks for that dth. I needed the chuckle.


  51. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 3:25 PM

    Following on Matt’s tweet today, if Klinsman wants to have a quick/fast/distributing CB and a thug/presence CB I would much rather see Bradley or Edu paired with Gooch than see Fiscal in CB again. I feel like that could actually work. Bradley played Edu as a CB late in games when we were down at the WC.

    Any particular reason why this couldn’t work at least as well as trotting out Ream or Fiscal?


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