The US Falls To Ecuador, 1-0, In Anything But A Bullfight

So if the US beats Ghana in the Round of 16 at World Cup 2014 will the end justify the means?

Jozy was on the ball Tuesday...

The US players walked off the field on Tuesday night in Red Bull Arena with the fat kid on the other side of the see-saw as US manager Jurgen Klinsmann saw his match record drop, while the US dropped a 1-0 decision to Ecuador. Two goals for through five matches, four goals conceded. One win.

Ask yourself this question–an unfair one perhaps to the last manager–would you rather see Tuesday’s performance against Ecuador where the US dominated possession and statistically measured out far ahead of their opponent or would you rather see a draw against mighty Argentina with forward long balls raining down like misguided tailgate footballs?

There is no right answer and that really is an unfair question really as former manager Bob Bradley was never given carte blanche to reform the program while that is the edict–one of many success metrics that are unknown–of the new manager Jurgen Klinsmann.

If the perspective is taken that it is still a year away from World Cup qualifying then this was a positive performance.

This was a difficult match to review, but a succinct one to pick out some of the positive and negatives.

The Positives

The US defense came through with strong marks. Yes, Ecuador treated opportunities on goal like jelly beans at Easter. Yes, Tim Ream made a rookie mistake and was embarrassingly beaten for a header that should have never happened. [Hey Tim, mistakes happen, but when you thrust your arms down to the side and act like a kid who just had his baseball cards stolen, it doesn’t scream “future leader.”]

However, beyond that, the US was stout. Oguchi Onyewu ran with forwards and covered when Steve Cherundolo lacked some pace. Carlos Bocanegra played clean-up on the scraps that somehow got passed Timmy Chandler. It may not have been the strongest effort from Bocanegra, but the US backline was more cohesive and working in unison. If blame is shouldered by captain when the defense is disorganized, then credit must come on the reverse.

All-stop! Tim Chandler, only received one sheet of gloss.

Take a step back and realize the Timmy Chandler has contained Antonio Valencia and Eden Hazard over the past month plus for the States–on the inverse flank nonetheless! That’s special–whether you’re playing in Red Bull Arena or the Red Bull Arena parking lot.

On the right flank, Steve Cherundolo was challenged at times, but once again was flawless in his mental focus. Cherundolo is older and has been off-form and he like Bocanegra will give way to youth shortly, but consider this. “If you’re trying to learn to build possession an offense from the back, do you really want a leaky defense compromising that?”

Shea, a giant in the making...

Cries that Brek Shea should be converting more opportunities or still has ways to go are bunk.

Shea is a player developing right now. It’s exciting to watch. What’s perhaps more exciting is how Shea is reading the game, understanding when to attack and when to create width. It was no coincidence that after an initial look-off early from Clint Dempsey in the left corner, that the Fulham veteran started playing more and more balls to the active Dallas winger.

Shea’s impact was missed in the second half as DaMarcus Beasley arrived on the scene thinking he was a central midfielder thought he was tracking back like he was Frankie Hedjuk on speed. Sorry about that digression.

• Holding the pattern

32 of 40 passing for Kyle Beckerman who was precise in his positioning. Beckerman didn’t miss a tackle all night and only had three giveaways in his own half, all under duress.

The sentiment on Beckerman doesn’t seem to be shared by many and fans will lament a poorly placed pass set to go to Clint Dempsey in the 2nd half, but Beckerman continually made himself available in the right locations when his counterparts did not.

Jozy Altidore, doing what a target striker is supposed to do. Because Altidore made himself available, Dempsey was allowed to find the match repeatedly in the 1st half. Inconsistency continues to dote on Altidore, but last night may have been his best performance in a US shirt since…since….anyone?

The negatives

The US offball movement once Shea and Altidore left was an abomination. As Dempsey started to get denied the ball, Beckerman slowed down and Beasley went walkbout and walkout, the US offense turned into a colloidal mess in the attacking half.

Part of that can be attributable to Klinsmann moving to a two center midfield set in the midfield in the 2nd half.

With Beckerman–who took his pitstops on the attack–and Bradley revolving around a central fulcrum rather than one playing in front of the other, only DaMarcus Beasley seemed to be the linking option to higher up on the pitch. Remember when your soccer ball got run over by car when it caromed into the street that one time? That was Beasley driving that car.

Still a youngster...

Juan Agudelo came back, but all too often looked like a young player trying to figure out the offense in prime time. Wait, that’s exactly what he is.

Agudelo’s passing was off and he didn’t create the vertical spacing needed to open up the midfield.

The “other” central midfielder: The US central midfield spot opposite Beckerman’s holding role seems to be trouble spot right now. Maurice Edu was all over in the first half. Perhaps it was by design but all too often Danny Williams and Steve Cherundolo found themselves in a two-man game on the right flank in the first half.

Finally by the end of the first, Beckerman took the initiative to come up and provide an outlet. Perhaps Edu was tasked with remaining upfield, but he didn’t look comfortable in that role either.

As for Michael Bradley, it’s going to take some time to essentially reform the player who was once considered “core” and employed as the primary ball handler to more of a complementary role at least for now. This is the main reason why Bradley is a reliever right now.

That said, Bradley’s improvement from Saturday to Tuesday was noticeable.

The Chievo man’s free kicks were solid–in fact his second spot up bender from the left hash in the second half may be the best free kick the US went to put a head on this year.

Next, he moved off the ball more and made runs. Third he looked up the field more in possession; not enough, but more.

On defense, Bradley still took some wrong angles (you get the sense that Klinsmann favors positioning and containment). On the attack, Bradley had those moments of reverting to his former Tom Brady role–dropping extremely deep to pick up the ball or playing the safe pass when the US were down and Klinsmann was clearly urging the States to take chances.

In Klinsmann’s system, Bradley is a work in progress, but it’s nearly all mental–with the exception of needing to move quicker in possession–and if Bradley can inhabit that role with the right mindset and focus the States will be better for it and he’ll easily notch his way up to the top of the depth chart again.

Tactics: Hard to call this a negative because only Klinsmann and perhaps Sunil Gulati know the success metrics, but Klinsmann’s tactics were off in this one. If this were a critical tournament game, he should be held accountable.

The first half saw the selection of Edu in the second central midfielder role. Klinsmann pushed him so far up the pitch that Williams and Cherundolo were often left to fend for themselves on that flank. In the second, employing Beasley as an internal playmaker has never worked for any manager on any club.

Klinsmann’s insertions of Bradley and Beckerman as rotating point guards and Agudelo and Edson Buddle as target man up, and even down, the pitch did little to free up Dempsey who had to be relied on to be the lone creative force after Shea and Altidore departed.

And finally had this been a proper game, the States would have been


The US looked solid defensively for the most part on Tuesday with little true opportunities by Ecuador. Their positioning was better. Yet their attack was continually thwarted in the offensive third.

Another possible rendezvous with Ghana at the Cup is far away.

And quick aside:

Anyone catch that moment in the first half when Danny Williams played a ball from the deep central midfield back to Tim Howard; only he put it on Howard’s left foot.

Howard took a heavy touch and just got it away before the onrushing Ecuadorian player could deflect it.

The cameras cut a half-frustrated, half-grinning Howard pointing to Williams to the put the ball on his right foot. Great image.

100 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by scipio on 2011/10/12 at 3:26 PM

    Good analysis. The only qualm I have is your approval of Beckerman’s play. While I don’t think he was as bad as some posters on this site may claim, I wouldn’t go so far as to say he had a good game. He got tackled quite a bit, and many of his passes were off just enough to slow down an attack or progression. Maybe he would look a lot better if the US had more talented midfielders playing alongside him to take care of the ball and move it forward.

    One thing I did notice watching a replay of the game was how well Shea came back to help on defense. At the risk of expanding the Shea-love to obscene proportions, there were numerous times in the first half, immediately after the US lost possession, where Shea would come screaming in from behind to put an abrupt end to the Ecuador counter attack. There’s no way he can keep that up for a full game, but Shea was at least part of why our defense played so well and kept possession.


    • Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/12 at 3:59 PM

      which is why Shea should not get stuck out on the wing (except when it makes sense to go there, which he can decide for himself) and should, instead, be a central-forward mid player and leave the wing play to Chandler. That way he will also find it easier to get back into middle defence, recover the ball and charge back up through the center of the field.

      I didn’t really understand what we were supposed to learn from Tuesday’s outing that we didn’t already know. I’d rather have built on Saturday’s game to create more unity and chances with more numbers forward on attack. Against Honduras, Shea’s crossing pass for the goal came from the right wing where nobody was playing. He doesn’t get right if his job is to sit on the left sidelines and keep the linesman company while he is waiting for Chandler to approach him at which point he tells him tks for the ball,Timmy, now go home while I play left wing and, by golly, there’s nobody in the box!!!. What was the point? We already know this doesn’t work.

      We have 2 FIFA dates in November, after which there is one (1) FIFA date in February. If we don’t get our attack going down the middle around the 18 yard line now, when are we going to do it?


    • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 4:21 PM

      To me Beckerman is like a girl who at first I thought was hot, but all of my friends say… UM NO she is not. I don’t agree with them, though. Over time, though I realize she really is not that hot and agree that they were right, but still can see why I thought she was hot originally.


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

        This is hilarious. I’m like your friend who said um No she’s not. And while I still don’t think she is I see now why you thought so.

        His positioning is good and he’s stodgy back there.. and I don’t mind his sideways passing. But he’s just not fast enough or quick enough on the ball. Maybe he can learn the latter and make us both happier like the girl who loses that last 10 lbs..

        And while on topic I would have preferred to see Williams and Bradley


      • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/13 at 3:49 AM

        That’s a good one, need to take off your beer goggles when reviewing Beckerman. Or maybe, it’s like on Seinfeld with the two face, beautiful in one light but not in the other. 32 of 40 in passing terms is decent, per MLS chalkboards he was tackled 9 times for loss of possession which to me is a bigger issue than his decent passing stats.

        Here’s a question for everyone. What play do you remember most from Beckerman last night?

        For me, it’s the play where he goes upfield and turns it over resulting in Boca having to haul down a guy for a yellow. That type of play has major consequences if we’re in a tournament or in qualifying because Boca can only take so many cards before suspension. Whole point of a dmid is to protect the defense so they don’t have to take yellow cards on a player running at them with pace.


        • Everyone keeps quoting this “tackled for loss of possession” without seeming to understand that it includes incomplete passes. If he had 8 missed passes, that means he was actually tackled and dispossessed 1 time.


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/13 at 8:49 AM

            Why would that include missed passes? Missed passes was included in its own category. An interception shouldn’t be considered a tackle with loss of possession.


            • I have no idea why it includes unsuccessful passes but it does. If you look at the chalkboards you find it’s basically the number of turnovers, either from losing it in a tackle or giving it away with an unsuccessful pass.

  2. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/12 at 3:31 PM

    I have been asking my self that same Argentina question for two months now… I left the Meadowlands saying I would have been happier if we played like we did in the second half and lost 4-2 then the 1-1 tie that we got.

    The grass was clearly greener on the other side. Now I got to the other side and while I think I want to stay I am a little homesick.


  3. Posted by Mike on 2011/10/12 at 4:00 PM

    We still haven’t seen Klinsmann’s A side yet and people are already nostalgic for the Bradley era !?


  4. Posted by deezy on 2011/10/12 at 4:02 PM

    ok. So I think bradley is a better all around mid, and im pretty sure most would agree with that. So, if bradley can learn to hold back, and stay in front ouf the CB’s I say he strts over beckerman.
    2 other things. I like the formation we used.. A lot. But, it won’t work without a single CAM called into camp. Throw a healthy donovan in place of edu and our attacking display would be scary good.
    last thing: why won’t klinsy put agudelo on the right wing? Like you mentioned, jozy was playing great… Why take out an attacking threat? Why not create another dimension of attack? Imagine for a sec…


    • Posted by Scweeb on 2011/10/12 at 4:14 PM

      Here is my question is Beckerman just the holding replacement tell torres gets healthy? Cause if so is that why he is trying bradley in front instead of in the back cm role. Cause it kinda seems like JK was set with Torres in that spot and is trying to find players who will go around him.


      • Torres would be more in the role Edu was playing. JK is going with one pure destroyer type and looking for a box to box distributor from the role immediately in front of the destroyer (where Edu played). In front of that you have the creative attacker (Dempsey). It seems the Edu role would ideally be filled with a Holden or a Torres, possibly Williams?


        • Posted by Scweeb on 2011/10/12 at 4:30 PM

          So then MB90 is essentially trying out for torres/holden role?


          • I think he could play either in the 6* role (sitting in front of the back 4) or the 8* role (in front of the 6). He is versatile enough to play both.

            *my interpretation of JK’s setup


      • Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/12 at 6:01 PM

        These friendlies are important for finding role players too, people who don’t have all around skills but are good at one thing and can be used in special situations. It’s a team effort, and that gets overlooked in the crude grading systems 1-10 that you see on soccer blogs.


    • Posted by crazyMike366 on 2011/10/12 at 4:59 PM

      These games about depth, not winning. Klinsmann know who his top 15 or so are when healthy, but what does he do when his top 3 choices for that playmaker-mid – JFT, Donovan, and Holden – are out injured?

      Now we know Danny Williams fits in the midfield. He’s young, skilled, and a relative unknown, but now we know he can he handle himself on that stage. He makes the cut for qualifiers. We’ll call him #16.

      What about defense? Is Ream the first one off the pine? After that error, I’d probably say no. Time to call in Omar Gonzalez, George John, and Zak Whitbread. Next up are F. Johnson, Bedoya, and Sacha as the depth question marks in midfield. Two of the three will probably get a half in November at Beasley’s expense.

      Then he’ll throw players #12-30 in the January camp together. By the end of camp, he’ll have just #12-23, Donovan and JFT will be back and we’ll have a solid list going into the qualifying stage.


      • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/10/13 at 6:16 AM

        You’re not so crazy after all, CrazyMike.

        I also hope Benny and Adu make it into the January camp. Adu might become a Dempsey understudy (or late game desperation sub), and Benny might fight Torres for Edu’s spot.

        Because let’s be honest, Edu isn’t really suited for Edu’s spot.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/10/12 at 5:13 PM

      Jozy coming off might have had more to do with the whack he took in the head than the quality of his play in the first half.


  5. Posted by deezy on 2011/10/12 at 4:05 PM

    So I’m on my phone and donovan nor deuce showed up… Ld is the cam, deuce is the false 9


  6. Spot on regarding Edu. His passing never puts our attacking players in good positions (ball and defender arrive at the same time, does not make himself available, etc…) and he does not have the quickness or touch (at least not right now) to be effective in that advanced role. Perhaps Williams could slot into that role in the absence of Holden and Torres and Donovan or Bedoya could man the right side. I feel like if you solve that, we score one or two in that first half.

    I like Edu the player, but he needs to be competing with Beckerman in the destroyer role, or even possibly rotated in as a CB.


  7. Posted by Wixson on 2011/10/12 at 4:15 PM

    Very happy with our play last night, happy with the espn coverage especially audio by putting mic near ao section, it made a huge difference in production value, IMO.

    I may regret this but, I agree big time that this was jozys best game in a long long time, and not just from the attitude angle. Rather he held up the ball very very well, checked back at the right times, created space for others, passed well, and had a great first touch. I can definitely get used to that.

    Shea looked good as well, looking forward to the Chandler to Shea to dempsey to jozy combo play during WCQ.

    Edu had a stinker, and I like him but c’mon man….c’mon.

    Williams was a disappointment based on my unrealistic expectations. Flank is not his role at all, like he didn’t know what to do with the ball. He forced it down the line when he should have brought it inside, and vise versa. Central mid is his spot, and pending Torres-Holden return and edu form, he may be best slotted inside with landon out on flank.

    Hate Beasleys play, and for no real reason except that I can say it since I have the mic and the floor. So there.

    Making progress, happy with the product.


  8. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 4:24 PM

    George Cross, I was in the middle of contacting AO- what exactly happened last night- I wanted to pass that along with some other observations.

    Whoever suggested I use someone’s credentials to access ESPN3… THANK YOU!!!! I have ESPN3 now!!! My brother-in-law created another username under his Comcast account. I feel like a fool for not thinking of that myself earlier, but I have it now! Thanks Comcast! LOL


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/12 at 4:43 PM

      That was me in one of the earlier threads. It’s awesome to do that. Essentially, you’re screwing Comcast and ESPN.


      • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 5:55 PM

        Thank you- there is alot more soccer I can watch now and I can get back at evil Comcast and Century Link. You are the best!


      • Posted by SamT on 2011/10/13 at 10:43 AM

        I am no fan of Comcast, but I will point out that you’re not screwing them so much as you are screwing their paid subscriber base. Comcast will simply pass along their programming costs to a smaller number of paying subscribers. And by “paid subscriber base,” I mean, well, me. It’s not a ton, maybe $5 a month of my bill, but I’m definitely paying for you.


        • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 5:27 PM

          Sorry, I’m really not trying to screw anyone. I just want to be able to watch soccer. Century Link is the only ISP I can get- I’ve contacted them over 10 times about allowing ESPN3. I’ll refrain about ranting about Century Link and Comcast but I’ll refrain.

          Anyway, I’m going to be moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in a few months. Does anyone know of any good ISP’s (not Century Link or Comcast). I was disappointed to hear they don’t have FiOS or some Fiber Optic connection.

          Also- does anyone know of any good sports bars for USMNT or other soccer games?


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/12 at 7:13 PM

      Before kick-off, my wife and I were in line to get some drinks and food, just talking and being generally excited about the game / team / Dempsey / Klinsmann etc etc. Then 2 [AO?] bandana-wearing 25-30 year old guys joined the queue directly behind us. Not sure if they had been tail-gating [not like that is an excuse] but after a couple of minutes, they started to get into our personal conversation and then basically insulted us for not being real fans because we weren’t in USA kit. We ignored them, and they kept on about Yuppie this, Yuppie that, and how we probably couldn’t name one player etc. etc. [I wasn’t going to join another line because I wanted my beer and didn’t think I would have time]. So I turned around and said that surely our presence at the game should be enough, and then said that I probably knew more about their team than they did – and I wasn’t even American – if they actually wanted to put it to the test [by now, people around us in the other queues were listening in]. As for fandom, I eagerly pointed out that I had been to 2 WCs and 2 Euros, and games all over the World, starting from the end of the 1970s, so they should take down their one-dimensional snobbery a notch or two. I suggested that they shouldn’t just a book by it’s cover – and football fans can wear what they please, it doesn’t make you more of a “fan” [I gestured the speech marks with my fingers].

      All this aggravation because we don’t look like the Williamsburg hipster with tattoos and facial hair, draped in the USA flag [I am actually being facetious with *my* stereotype!!].


      • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/12 at 7:57 PM

        My goodness, what a bunch of tools. No wonder AO has a bad name with some people. I’ve never seen or heard anything like that before from attending games with AO or from hearsay. It would be bad enough for them to act like that if you had decided to join the section, but to verbally attack you like that when you were getting snacks.

        I guess its the whole axiom ‘a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch.’ Please accept my apologies for yourself and your wife for them. And thank you for attending the game. I am pretty animated at games- I usually get there several hours early so I can be in the front row. At the Gold Cup final, I was imploring our little group to get back into the game after Mexico tied it and took the lead- using every bit of my voice and energy. But I would never act like that towards anybody. That is very disappointing.

        Hopefully, over the next few years AO can sort through some of these issues and have a stronger presence at games while earning a better reputation.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/12 at 8:33 PM

          You do not need to apologise.

          When I lived in Boston and attended Revs games, I witnessed a lot of idiots and assholes from the Midnight Riders too, and their beloved Fort. What is it with US fans who belong to a supporter’s group? Seriously (no need to reply, don’t want to hijack the thread anymore).

          Apologies for the diversion, Matt / folks.


  9. Posted by dth on 2011/10/12 at 4:42 PM

    Edu is in his own way every bit the tweener as Bradley is. Coaches look at Edu–I suspect with the same hint of racial prejudice that gets young black athletes shifted out of quarterback and to wide receiver–and see a lungbusting Ramires type, constantly making aggressive runs to disrupt the settled defense. And to be fair Edu has the physical tools for it…but not the mental equipment. Edu wants to be a #6 but keeps on being played at #8.

    Personally I’d like to see another regista played in that hub spot. I know we saw Torres there, but I’d like to see some more experimentation. I’m referring, of course, to Diskerud. DON’T LEAVE US, MIX!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/12 at 5:17 PM

      Perfect role for Diskerud. If he has enough bite on the defensive side. He certainly has enough size.

      You know who *may* work there is Bedoya, but I’d have to see his passing in the role for a few matches first.

      Having interviewed Edu I can categorically say that he wants to be a #8. That question never aired in the interview [because it had some sensitive things about playing CB], but I can confidently say that Edu loves the holder/CDM role and fancies himself as such.


  10. Posted by dth on 2011/10/12 at 4:44 PM

    Oh, yeah, Jozy’s target stuff: more advanced than the simplistic English take on it: “GET YOUR CHEST IN FRONT OF THAT LONGBALL, SON.” More of an advanced hub for other guys to make runs onto. Well done. Knew you had it in you.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/12 at 5:18 PM

      How many times have we seen a heavy, clumsy touch from Altidore.

      Even when he makes a good touch it’s usually away from his defender, less moving in an attacking direction.

      The fact that I saw at least four balls that he brought straight down, controlled and placed. I had not seen that with any sort of consistency in any game for Altidore since, since probably Manchester United//Hull almost two years ago.


  11. Posted by Brian on 2011/10/12 at 4:54 PM

    You’re overhyping Beckerman. He was good defensively and was very disciplined in staying home right in the middle of the pitch and in front of thr CBs. He covered well and helped break things up. However, I recall getting soooo frustrated with him because it seemed like every time we made a foray forward and he had the ball or someone played him the ball, he would completely kill our possession and our attack with some weak a$$ noodle long ball that was easily intercepted by Ecuador. You keep throwing out this 32 out of 40 stat. How many of those 32 passes actually contributed something to the attack and werent just back passes or sideways passes? I like Rasta Kyle but I feel like Jones, Edu or Bradley would be better suited in that role.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/12 at 5:19 PM

      I accept everyone’s criticism of my Beckerman comments.

      That said. He had very little forward support, especially on the right.

      I would suggest–and this is not a jab–rewatching the game. I may be wrong, but he continually played the US out of trouble.


      • Posted by Scweeb on 2011/10/12 at 5:29 PM

        Here is my thing how do people think bradley would be better in this role?? cause when you watch him most of his passes are not attacking passes. Or he isn’t in an attacking possession.
        Maybe my oreos were tainted last night when i was watching the second half but to me bradley did more harm then good to are offensive game. Cause in the JK system its all about the attack. When it was Dady Bradley system it was hunker and play the counter. And that is what i saw bradley trying to play


      • Posted by Gregorio on 2011/10/12 at 8:27 PM

        I so want Beckerman to do well and get a Deuce like swagger, He’s got the look for it. but so far I’m underwhelmed but that could be fine. But we so need another marketable persona to stir up the “Mixx” ala Clint Mathis.
        Where have you go Chucky Davies, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.


      • Posted by Erik the Orange on 2011/10/13 at 6:01 AM

        I’m definitely going to re-watch. I do give weight to your observations, and after that game I was expecting to see a scathing review of Beckerman. Very interested to see what you saw…I think his missed passes in the forward third REALLY stood out for me because they were very poor misses. But, your stats say he only missed 3-4 passes….I need to re-watch.

        One analysis I was in total agreement with was on Brek’s new-found ability to read the game. Several times he gained the ball in transition, or a ball was fed to him as a release from pressure and rather than force the issue he took a touch, maintained possession, and waited for support. To me, that’s immeasurable, and I think it says a lot about his progression. Rather than trying to make something happen to establish himself, he’s doing the right thing by playing simply. Good for him.

        One criticism….Agudelo. Yeah, he’s young, but I don’t want to give him a free pass because he’s a “young developing player”. While I do believe that maturity plays a huge role in the way a player approaches games, life, etc, as a fan I don’t want to be saying Agudelo is a young developing player when he’s 22, 23, etc. I think it’s better to give him the right to be compared to other players that are new to the USMNT…Williams for example.


      • Posted by jb on 2011/10/13 at 10:11 AM

        You can put me in the (minority?) camp that thought Beckerman played well. He has all the right attributes to play that #6 and looks comfortable there. I thought the defense in the first half especially was as good as I can ever remember. Some of that was Chandler’s stellar play at leftback and some of it was Beckerman’s smart play breaking up counters.

        On a related note, I have to wonder where Bradley fits in, because I agree with an above poster that our attack seemed to die once he was introduced. Did Klinnsman intentionally have both Bradley and Beckerman sit deep? It seemed that we really needed one of them to push forward, and I have to think that was supposed to be Bradley. I think Bradley’s best position would be that #6, but I actually prefer Beckerman there. I know Bradley’s a great athlete, plays in Italy and all that, but I’ll take the steady play and positioning I’ve seen from Beckerman over the high risk/reward you get from Bradley.


  12. Posted by Chad on 2011/10/12 at 5:25 PM

    Great review TSG. My answer to your question: I’d rather watch this 1-0 loss than the shameful display vs Argentina. Watching the Argentina game was like watching a boxer back pedal around the ring as the crowd boos the lack of aggression. But, as you say, señor Bradley wasn’t given the mandate or the vote of confidence to change the soccer style (though I wonder if he would have wanted to).

    Just wondering when people think we’ll see angry Klinsy, if ever. After first loss in WC qualifying? when we fail to score in 3 consecutive games? When Chandler switches to the German nat team (joke)?

    2 more thoughts on 2 indiv. Performances:
    1. Agree with those who weren’t enamored of beckerman
    2. Can’t say enough about Onyewu’s game after he was considered finished. But I still think JK is right that we need to find a competent but fleet of foot cb


  13. Posted by Dylan on 2011/10/12 at 6:03 PM

    I thought Gooch had a fantastic game. I think he really put his name solidly back in the convo. Before last night, I thought the Gooch era was over, but I’m very curious to see if he can continue to impress again.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/13 at 4:06 AM

      I thought so too. I think I even said it on this site like 2 weeks ago. I thought he was improved in distribution as well.


  14. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/10/12 at 6:07 PM

    I thought that beckermans play was acceptable and would keep him in the team as my back up #6. I think Holden is #1 on the depth chart there when healthy. I also see bradley and edu there too, but used in this game as #8 to broaden their skills.

    One interesting thought I had was about how much of this team is building to camp cupcake. Now kinsman has several players that will be available for that camp that had been in for these.

    One last thing is I wonder if kinsman views right foot and left foot centerbacks separately on his depth chart


  15. Posted by randy on 2011/10/12 at 6:15 PM

    I think your analysis is incredibly astute. DMB’s pace and energy are great, but he doesn’t bring the focused attack and consistent danger of Shea. Gooch was truly a beast – didn’t know he still had it in him, but glad to see that he does. Beckerman’s value is often overlooked unless you know what to look for. My only complaint is that he was sometimes slow to get the ball off his foot. I can live with a couple of errant passes from him in the attacking end as long as he’s breaking up plays on the other end.

    It seems that the big weaknesses are still that attacking central role, and perhaps left back (although maybe Chandler is the answer). I’m starting to have some optimism about this roster, and system. Howard is still World Class. Backline improving. Beckerman fills a role that’s been missing. Shea/Donovan on the wings could be dangerous. Dempsey underneath is a good spot for him. And Jozy’s showing flashes again. A good central midfield option is needed to pull it altogether, and then the main issue will be building depth, and really building team cohesiveness.


  16. Posted by Izzy on 2011/10/12 at 7:24 PM

    I personally feel that Michael Bradley should be played in the deep-lying midfield/ distributive holding role that Beckerman was playing. He gets a lot of criticism for being a guy whose passes are frequently side to side, which makes me think that maybe playing as a deep-lying playmaker of sorts would work for him. He’s got a great eye for switching the point of attack, and you rarely ever see the guy actually lose the ball in deeper positions. It tends to be in plays where he’s trying to play a linking pass into the final third where he goofs.

    Having a player like him who can dictate play from deeper allows the U.S. to play someone who is oriented to having a more direct impact on the attack. This is not a Jose Torres, Maurice Edu, or Kyle Beckerman, but rather someone like Sacha Kljestan. I think Kljestan would be well suited for the role in front of the deeper-lying midfielder because of his combination of mobility and creativity. He has the box-to-box ability of Bradley, but the skill and creativity of Feilhaber. Something I noticed was a lack of creativity and drive from the central midfield in both matches, and Kljestan presents both those things, giving us numbers in the attack and another creative presence, which really can’t hurt.

    A moment of his I’ll never forget is his goal against the Netherlands in the Olympics where he played a simple pass to Freddy Adu and darted in behind the Dutch defense onto a return pass from Adu. Lo and behold, he was paired with Michael Bradley in a 4-2-3-1 formation similar, if not exactly like what we’ve got going on in this cycle.


  17. Good overall analysis. I didn’t read all the other comments as I usually do because most will call for this player or what didn’t work out. Tired of the same complaints including mine. Klinsmann is the coach for the next 4 years so lets see what happens.

    Here’s what I’ve gathered since Klinsmann has taken over:
    -All players are on a learning curve.
    -Have you noticed that most players have been moved to different positions?
    -Example: Michael Bradley has be put at CAM, CDM, CM and RM under Klinsmann.
    -Only Bocanegra (CB), Orozco-Fiscal (CB), Goodson (CB), Ream (CB), Cherundolo (RB), Shea (LM), Altidore (ST), Agudelo (ST),and Buddle (ST) have played the same position.
    -So that means every other player has played mutliple positions from Chandler (RB/LB) to Donovan (RM, CAM).
    -We all say Bradley is a CDM, Edu is a CDM, Torres is a small CDM or cannot play CDM, Chandler is a RB, Shea is LM and on and on. We seem to place labels on these players from their previous positions with the old regime or just because they play it for their professional club.

    During the Honduras game, one commentator noted that Klinsmann wanted players to not worry about what position they would be playing but to just play. I think its been hard for these guys to do that.

    My point is that in my opinion, he’s working with the core group (as he’s noted many times “keep the core together”) of the US team to have them understand what we are going to do and have time to work together before he brings in a any youth players that would have just as hard a time, especially if the veteran players are struggling.

    During the game, the commentator indicated in November the US will try and play 2 games again. If that is the case, MLS playoffs will be ongoing so we may see a pro-euro US team in November with guys from goalie-forward (no Donovan, Beckerman, or Shea, Rimando, Hamid). So for those expecting or hoping to see others in Europe get a call, that time may be coming.


  18. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/12 at 8:40 PM

    Great piece as we have come to expect. Excellent thoughful analysis even where we don’t agree.

    The Shea reality looks to be catching up with the Shea love. He reminds me more and more of Demps right before he left MLS. Like the bowl can’t hold him anymore.. but without the gangsta glares and tats….Looking forward to him growing into a solid wide player for this squad for yrs to come.

    I think your views on Bradley are spot on…Klinsi seems to be trying to break him so that he can mold him. I really believe that Mikey has much more to offer but needs to adjust his attitude and game to his reality before he can really break out. I’m sure there is some 90’s movie reference that you can cite but that’s not my bag…

    I do think your Beckerman love is a bit overdone but hey that’s what summer crushes are all about right? Except winter is approaching and Kyle’s holes are starting to show with repeated exposure. I do love his grit and the fact that he WINS balls in the midfield consitently. But his dwelling on the ball was a major factor in the O slowing down last night.

    I think we all were happy for Gooch last night. He was much better than we expected and it is nice to have someone back there that frightens people a bit. But you can’t pair him with boca as it turns into a lump it forward contest. Need to pair him with a good mobile CB as most have suggested. Edu as CB is just not realistic. The times hes been put in that role he has tremendous difficultyadjusting to the ball over his shoulder. That takes CB reps to develop and he’s not getting those with his club.

    Thanks for the time and entertaining thoughts.


  19. Posted by Gregorio on 2011/10/12 at 8:41 PM

    Here’s a question to provoke, Do you think its foolhardy to play Howard every game? I mean we know he’s a world class keeper but what if he goes down due to injury, ex. another clumsy challenge ala Heskey. I would think that JK wants to build confidence with a few wins first before trying someone else out there but all these games and the # 2 has not been battled tested. Who exactly is the # 2 anyway Hamid? Rimaldo? Guzan? Yedell? I think this needs to be addressed before we are faced with a dilema mid qualification. To be a further fire starter I think it perhaps borders on irresponsibility.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/13 at 4:15 AM

      How many coaches in the world worry about that? Not many because if you look across the board the keepers are frequently the guys that end up with the most caps. For the most part, they stay healthy and play forever. There is plenty of time to use those guys once qualifying starts (and passage to the next round is achieved). They can also be used in the Olympics next year to get experience.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/13 at 12:06 PM


      Howard plays because JK is trying to rework the team from the back forward. Keepers are the only ones who see the entire field and all the players the entire game. The team is in the learning phase and Howard needs to be one of the teachers.

      Also, it’s clear Howard will be the starter for a while so he needs to develop the lines of communication with the new defenders, let them know what is expected of them and so on. Defensive communication on the USMNT has been pathetic for a while now.

      If that is irresponsible so be it.

      JK expects Hamid to challenge Howard in a year or two so the issue of #2 is actually already settled barring any unusual developments.

      Howard has been very good these last five games and I suspect it is because these new responbilities have kept his head in the game, something he has had a problem with in the past.


  20. Posted by Arisrules on 2011/10/12 at 8:42 PM

    With a healthy Oneywu and Davies, how far do we get at the World Cup? Say what you will about Bradley, but he got unlucky.

    Look, our player pool is severely limited. Our defense is old. Our two best field player will be on the wrong side of 30 by the next WC.

    I still think Bradley should be starting in the midfield. To me he is head and toes better than the other CMs. He’s consistent. Sometimes he overplays his hand, but he’s there. None of these other guys are at all.


    • We still have yet to see Holden, who is extremely sound defensively (which Bradley often lacks) and a much more consistent attacking passer than Bradley. Torres is head and shoulders the best control passer the US has in its pool. Too often Bradley’s play is negative or horizontal, even when he has an attacking outlet to play to, and this is, as I seem to have gathered from most people, the major frustration with Bradley.

      Right now he is struggling to adapt to his role under Klinsmann, which someone earlier, sorry for not remembering who, pointed out. He no longer has the free reign that he had when his dad was coach, working box to box, not really maintaining a central position, rather just chasing the ball. Out of the CM’s that were brought to this camp, sure he should probably be starting amongst them, but with a healthy Holden and Torres I can’t see him making the 11 unless he really learns to play CDM.

      He’s still young, he has plenty of time to mold his role, I just personally believe he is being humbled by not being an auto selection anymore. Since he was such an integral part of the team before, and obviously is a fiery character both on and off the pitch (i.e. the Wynalda incident) he must have taken the realization that he is no longer one of the first names on the lineup sheet pretty hard. He will recover though, especially through playing time at Chievo.


      • Posted by Arisrules on 2011/10/13 at 6:43 AM

        Holden and Torres are never healthy. And people, including Klinsmann vastly overrate Torres, who to me is fine, but nothing spectacular. I’d rate Kleijstan and Feilheiber as both having better touch and control than Torres (who is soft, and was shit in that second game against whoever that was, never covering for his mistakes, and making semi-interesting passes). Should he be on the team? Yes. Is he some sort of Ozilesque passing maestro? God no. Lets not delude ourselves here, please. In fact, that Feilheiber wasn’t on this team is a complete and utter travesty. We saw how good of a player he was at the WC, and we really missed him at the GC as well.

        To me the ideal combo is Holden and Bradley though (holden playing deeper, bradley pressing farther up the field), with Feilheiber coming on off the bench as the first midfield option. We will never see it, because Holden is always injured (somebody analogized it to relying on John O’Brien in 2006, which is true).

        Second, these past two games, the midfield has looked much better with Bradley there than without him.

        As for offense, he already has more goals than Tab Ramos and John Harkes, just to put it in perspective. He has a good sense for the game, and he needs to be on the field.


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/13 at 12:24 PM

        Holden was hurt in March 2011. He came back, had a relapse of some kind and now has been shut down for another six months. Which takes us to March 2012.

        Everyone’s injury is different but it is reasonable to assume it will take him at least a year to get his confidence in the knee back. So it could be March of 2013 before we Holden back to his best, probably in the Championship with a relegated Bolton.. This will be about three months before JK has to finalize rosters for the 2014 World Cup, assuming we qualify and assuming JK hasn’t been fired by then.

        Gooch was hurt almost exactly two years ago and from other such injuries that I’ve seen a total time of two years to get back your confidence back from a serious knee injury seems pretty normal.

        Holden could still have another setback, or he could recover faster than usual, though that seems unlikely.

        The point is, if I’m JK I’d be a fool to assume I’d have a healthy in form Holden back in time for the 2014 World Cup. Regardless of his public support for Stu, I doubt JK is counting on him.


        • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 8:14 PM

          I’m afraid this is true. Holden is my favorite player other than Dempsey, but its going to take time for him to get back in form with his club, even before he gets to work his way into JK’s plans.

          And I do think Bolton will be relegated- its a shame- they were so entertaining to watch last year, but the entire team is a shell of itself. I’m hoping if they do get relegated, Holden could show enough beforehand to hopefully get picked up by some low level EPL team. Although, Coyle likes him so maybe it would be good to stay. With Holden now 26, and with all of these setbacks, I’m afraid the window for him to ever move to a bigger team may have closed. Look at Deuce- he can’t even get out of Fulham. The real shame about Holden is that all of his injuries have been caused by dirty tackles or incidents on the street.

          The only positive is I think JK would be quick to use Holden if he was ever to get back to form, because he seems like a JK type of player.


          • To be fair, the second leg break wasn’t a dirty tackle per say…it wasn’t legal, but it didn’t seem to have malicious intent behind it.


  21. Posted by Hodey on 2011/10/12 at 11:08 PM

    I once heard Jimmy Conrad talk about this… he said what would you rather have? A team that plays beautiful soccer but doesn’t always get results or team that plays ugly and defensive minded but gets the result more often?
    It’s a good point, I like to see us play like we did in friendlies like this, but when it comes down to qualifying and ultimately the world cup, I want results. I think most people feel the same way, but the current players we have don’t quite allow us to play a beautiful, attack oriented style and get big results. Not yet.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/13 at 4:28 AM

      Results do matter but the good thing about these friendlies is that it allows the US time to work on a different Plan A. The counterattack system is just a flip of the switch away after all the time that was drilled into the heads of most of these players. Klinsi knows that the US can get results with that formation but he’s hoping that by the time qualifying starts the new system can work against the minnows of Concacaf.


    • Posted by Erik the Orange on 2011/10/13 at 6:13 AM

      I was thinking about this too. Conrad’s comment, however, is based on knowing the end result of the game. I think a better way to put it is, do you think our team has better odds of winning by playing defend and counter, or by playing possession? For me, not only is the possession more entertaining to watch, I think it gives us a better chance. The USMNT feels waayyyy less Sybil-like when we’re not playing defend and counter. Dempsey gets to be Dempsey more often, and Jozy isn’t always playing one v. five in the opposing end.

      I want results too, and I really like winning. But for me right now, if this team plays the way it did v. Ecuador and loses, I’m fine with that. We’re in the learning stages right now, and if we just concentrate on getting a result in a friendly, I don’t think JK or the team learns much. That said, a few more goals sure would be nice…


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/13 at 12:27 PM

        You and Hodey need to be a litle more open minded.

        Good teams can play either way.


        • Posted by Hodey on 2011/10/13 at 7:57 PM

          Yeah I see you Erik, I know it always drove me crazy when I didn’t know what US team was going to show up. I definitely think the consistency has been there so far in these friendlies, I think we’re heading in the right direction, but I guess we’ll see.


  22. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/13 at 5:12 AM

    Statistically, Capello is England’s most “successful” manager if you look at his W-L-D numbers. But other managers has gone further in competitions. I know whatI would prefer…


  23. Posted by kaya on 2011/10/13 at 11:30 AM

    I’ve only watched the first half, but I liked a lot of what I saw. Actually, I’m sorry I was doubting Klinsmann so much (but I’m a natural skeptic.) Unfortunately, the patience bestowed on Jurgen (already much more than Bob could’ve dreamed of) will not last much longer.
    I saw the emergence of a system/plan that is no longer based off whatever particular player’s ability (and perhaps a weakness in the opposition), but one in which players will be able to integrate themselves into rather than trying to change the game with each roster/substitution. Seeing players move the ball into space/try 1-2’s/dummy the ball in the expectation they know a player will be in a space (as opposed to kicking the ball and hoping to win a 50-50 challenge) is a relief. I’m no master tactician, but I’m pretty sure the lack of this was the reason we were never able to dictate a game.
    Tonight I’ll go watch the 2nd half and probably see why so many people were dogging the team on FB =) Edu had a really bad game. That whiff in the closing minutes of the 1st half? Embarrassing!! Beckerman was positionally good, but he’s always going to be technically limited. Anyway, it’s still good to see him be serviceable in the position since clearly we still have a long ways to go to fill out a WCQ roster and a lot can happen in the meantime.
    I haven’t yet seen the Gooch staredown, and am glad he seems to be back to where he was pre-injury, but he simply wasn’t pressed much from what I saw and will always be a risk to be picked off when pressured. He obviously knows it as he frantically waves for midfielders to give him an option when he finds himself with the ball.


  24. Posted by ex_sweeper on 2011/10/13 at 12:41 PM

    I’d like to know why the U.S. is so impatient in the final third and whether you think that is contributing to our low scoring rate. Almost all of our attacks in the run of play seem to follow one of two patterns:

    1. Individual effort to run the ball up the wing, followed by a centering pass. Fails to find striker or shot into a crowd of defenders is blocked.
    2. Pass from the midfielder to the wing is lofted into the box with same result.

    When I watch really good teams I see them being very patient at passing the ball around the periphery of the penalty area, stretching the defense and waiting for an attacker to run into the resulting space for a killer pass. I rarely see us do that. The one exciting sequence of three passes that died at Edu’s feet was executed very fast in a very tight space. I’d guess that most players that aren’t named Messi would have blown that chance. We’d have better chances if we pull out some of the defenders.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/13 at 1:53 PM

      A quick-and-dirty response for you here:

      The low scoring rate can be attributable to:

      1) Not counterattacking at present — it was either by set piece or counterattack that the US typically scored during the past years.

      With that said, some reasons:

      a) The offball movement is delinquent. Either players don’t know what they are doing OR they haven’t grasped Klinsmann’s system yet.

      b) Beyond Dempsey there is no player that can create in tight spaces and either force defenses to collapse or great an advantage. (Shea is coming along here)

      c) The US defensive line needs to push higher up. Without it high, the holding mid is asked to cover a lot of ground and thus really can’t get involved in the offense. Good teams see their holding midfielder get involved within the flow of the attack often

      More later.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/13 at 7:27 PM


      After the World Cup Donovan made the single most cogent and perceptive comment I’ve heard about the USMNT player pool from someone who is in a position to know. And mind you, Donovan has always been regarded as being a very candid interview.

      He said that the US was not lacking in skill or talent so much as they were lacking in the intangibles, the game savvy. And their deficit in this area while seemingly small, was enough to cost them big games. The little things matter at the World Cup level. Every decent analysis of the Ghana game said that it was an extremely close match decided by some very small factors.

      In American sports we often talk about how rookies know they are finally starting to understand the game when it “slows down for them”. This can only come with very hard work, constant training and experience.

      It’s not an accident that two relatively inexperienced Bundesliga pros can come onto this team and look and play much more poised and fundamentally sound than native grown US players, some of who have been playing years longer than them. As JK says they have been playing nearly non stop at a high level for some time. That is the only way you can develop the savvy, the intangibles.

      So my answer to your question is the US only really has two players for whom the game has “slowed down” in the final third, Dempsey and Donovan. Jozy is slowly getting there, Shea is promising, Bradley is rarely in that position anymore and Gomez may in fact be there but, for now, he’s not in the picture.


      • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 7:35 PM

        Insightful comment- interesting. Hopefully, Bradley can regain his World Cup form, or someone from the central midfield.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/10/14 at 11:37 AM

        Sort of echoes Klinsmann’s comments he made – said players have skill and talent but when the intensity is turned up, too much is lost. Meaning USA will always compete with teams ranked 10-20, but against the better teams, will more often than not, lose out until this improves.

        Being creative is the hardest thing to do. Easier to play with two banks of four and try to break on the counter. Even Spain finds it hard, with all the talent they possess, witnessed by their consecutive 1-0 elimination stage wins in Euro08 and WC10… it is not something that’s going to happen overnight, and perhaps not even in Klinsmann’s reign.


  25. Posted by Bode on 2011/10/13 at 12:49 PM

    Slightly off-topic, but ZM’s article about Ghana transitioning from counterattacking underdog to attempting to control the game seems quite relevant to the current USMNT. Ironic that the USMNT’s current growing pains are so similar to the team that has haunted them in the past two World Cups.


  26. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 5:43 PM

    Leander’s preferred lineup (not considering injuries) posted on ESPN: Thoughts?

    In my view, the ideal U.S. lineup with no injuries or other restrictions at this stage would be:

    Tim Howard

    Steve Cherundolo Oguchi Onyewu Carlos Bocanegra Timmy Chandler

    Michael Bradley

    Landon Donovan Stuart Holden Brek Shea

    Clint Dempsey

    Jozy Altidore


    • Posted by Excellency on 2011/10/13 at 5:56 PM

      At this stage we should probably not be talking realistically about Holden since he is injured. In fact, maybe even Landon will need some rest to get back to 100%. Who wud you put in their place that cud actually play in November friendlies?


      • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 6:22 PM

        I’m going to echo what alot of others are calling for: I’ve been high on Josh Gatt since February or so when I first heard about him being an explosive winger and then saw him in action a little bit.

        I know less about Mix Diskerud but from what I heard and from the South Africa match, I think he deserves a call up.


        • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 6:23 PM

          I wouldn’t mind seeing what Danny Williams can do in the middle of the field as well, and am intrigued by Fabian Johnson- although I have not seen him in action yet.


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/13 at 8:00 PM

            Leander seems to be writing off guys like Williams and Johnson without ever giving them a chance yet he leaves a guy like Holden in there that is months away from any playing time. Of course we all want to see Holden in there but it’s not happening any time soon. That lineup though doesn’t seem like one that has given full viewing to all the American prospects as most reports I’ve heard have Fabian Johnson list him as the most talented of all the German Americans.

            If there were no other restrictions then I’ll take Neven Subotic at center back with Gooch and Giuseppe Rossi up front (that was meant to be tongue in cheek). Both of the guys have the same chance as Holden of suiting up for the USMNT in the next 6 months.


  27. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/13 at 7:42 PM

    Does anyone know if Jonathan Spector has been getting time for Birmingham in CM? Just trying to sort through all potential CM candidates.

    Does anybody know when the Olympic qualifying details will be announced- locations and times?


  28. Posted by Jared on 2011/10/14 at 8:27 AM

    Anybody know much about Joe Corona? He’s apparently decided that he wants to play for the US (I think he’s changed his mind between US and Mexico about 15 times so I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for him).


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/14 at 2:15 PM

      He’s created quite a few tweets today…. He was scoring at a good clip in Mexico but has slowed down recently, young player, new to Mexico’s top league.

      Carlisle seemed to think he might be a notch below Agudelo and Bunburry, Scaretta seemed to think he is a boarderline player for the Olympics.

      I am sort of a love it or leave it guy. I want a guy that wants to put on the jersey (or at least not to be the second choice).


  29. new to the site, but can someone tell me why everyone is so high on mixx? also danny williams has got game, he look like trash on tuesday but believe me him as a center attacking mid is what the doctor ordered. im fairly confident in how we’ll fare against our comp south of the border. PS yall think gonzalez gets the call in november?


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/14 at 12:24 PM

      Mostly because Mixx hasn’t played much yet. We LOVE potential on this site.


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/10/14 at 2:23 PM

      Welcome to the site.

      He had a sick assist against South Africa in the last Camp Cupcake which combined with the fact that feeds for his games are hard to find equals obsession. Also this site tends to attract the people that want to see a central player who can be Xavi who is going to direct a beautiful game rather than the typical site where they just want a pure goal scorer and ignore all the things that lead up to it.

      Although Mixx tends to be 2nd on the fanlove list to Josh Gatt.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/14 at 5:56 PM

      hutchiemcfly ,

      US fans always love the next big thing especially if they are attackers, play anywhere in Europe and we don’t see them play very much (see Mike Grella, Marcus Tracy, Matty Taylor, Jon-Paul Pittman, etc.).

      If you don’t play much you can’t make too many mistakes.

      In the USMNT fan’s mind one high profile mistake always trumps every other good thing you’ve ever done, regardless of the ratio. This is a function of the fact that the US plays so infrequently, compared to a club team, which magnifies great plays and bad mistakes, in the fan’s memory.

      Absence makes the heart grow fonder; the grass is always greener, the backup quarterback is always better, etc.

      Gatt is young and raw. He plays in a league that is ranked 25-26 in Europe, ten spots below the SPL (a pretty iffy league itself). My instinct would be to leave him alone and let him develop. His manager is Man U’s baby faced assassin himself,Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Olympic team seems like a good spot for him.

      If I’m JK I call up Solskjaer. I think they know each other from JK’s England days, They should talk about whether Gatt is ready. And while he’s at it he should ask him about Mixx. He would know as well or better than anyone. And maybe he could ask Ole to put in a good word with SA Ferguson to buy Mixx and Gatt and team them up with Brek Shea. That would save JK a lot of training session work, and US fans could get three for one in one EPL game, assuming they make it.


  30. Posted by CJ on 2011/10/14 at 6:32 PM

    To whom this may concern (ha),

    I hope this doesn’t come across as beating a dead horse but, in regards to the dual citizen players on our team, I’m having a hard time supporting non-Americans as an American. I’m not trying to claim I know what an american is, or set qualifiers, it’s just in the case of Timothy Chandler it seems he doesn’t much represent anything America aside from carrying a passport. He wasn’t born here, didn’t grow up here, and doesn’t currently live here (certainly never played soccer here).

    For me I feel like I’m letting my virtues and pride in my country take a backseat purely to support him for his talent, not his rights as a citizen. Does no one believe that our National Team should be a product of talent developed by our Nation?

    I’m not fully settled on this, it’s just I got this voice in my head kinda yelling from wayyy off in the distance to pay the issue some mind. I really like what Chandler brings onto the field and to the team. He is a great addition. I’m just not certain I can root for him wearing our colors, yet.


    • Posted by CJ on 2011/10/14 at 6:40 PM

      Or did I get his Bio wrong. Either way, let this opinion stand as a counter to supporting any player X, past, present, or future as a shoe in for our team, without at least a little consideration.

      (TSG I’m aware you did a piece on this, is there a better way to discuss than posting on an old pub?)


      • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/14 at 8:45 PM

        ”I’m not trying to claim I know what an american is, or set qualifiers,”

        Of course you are CJ, you just don’t want to sound like you do. You think you have an absolute right to determine what an American is even though rules were set in place for that by our government many years ago. You should be honest with yourself. Anytime someone says to me ” Now I don’t want to insult you “ I know they are about to.

        “Does no one believe that our National Team should be a product of talent developed by
        our Nation?”

        Chandler’s dad was an Ameican so our nation had some part in Chandler’s development. No dad, no Chandler, no right back for Nuremburg.

        I suppose you could make a case for your “US developed only” brand, in fact why don’t you start such a team?

        But would you allow first generation immigrants who were born here but may owe something of their soccer development to a foreign country? I think not, which leaves out guys like Reyna, Charlie Davies, Maurice Edu, Gooch, Carlos Bocanegra, Tab Ramos, Pablo Mastroeni, Celo Balboa and so one. However, such a US team would not be on an equal footing with most other national teams since many of them simply allow anyone with the appropriate passport to represent them. And US passport regulations are much more strict than they are in a lot of other countries.

        The only thing official about the USSF’s claim to be “our team “ is that a long time ago someone formed them and got official sanction from and membership in FIFA. Now there is an official body you “can root for”. The USSF are not an official governmental agency in a manner of speaking and represent the United States about as much as the Boston Red Sox officially represent the city of Boston or the state of Massachusetts.

        Landon Donovan is actually representing the USSF, not the United States if you want to get really picky. Though I have to admit USSFMNT is way too long.

        Which brings me to Chandler. Ironically, Chandler’s citizenship is the result of the fact that his father is or was a US army service man. A GI is about as legitimate a representative of the US government as it gets. Although did you realize that you don’t have to be a citizen to serve and die in the Army?

        At any rate the majority of these dual nationals you so despise are children of US servicemen. Since you can’t root for them, then I guess you have a pretty low opinion of our servicemen and the job they do for us abroad.

        Unfortunately for you CJ the fact is an American is someone who is a US citizen and has a passport. End of story. And just so you know, getting that passport for an immigrant is pretty hard. I assume you are native born. If so that means you did nothing at all to become an American. That means you can’t relate to people who have had to give up, suffer and slave to be one.

        That person may not have an ethnicity, religion, facial features or cultural background you “can root for” in which case, don’t root for them. Do not root for a culturally impure USMNT. This is America and you can root for whomever you want. That’s one of the things that makes it a great country.


        • Posted by CJ on 2011/10/15 at 5:37 PM

          I think my opinion is entitled to be heard and encouraged without being lambasted for things I didn’t say. If you’d like to challenge my point, don’t make it a personal attack on me, just make your point and let it prove itself. Shoot, TSG corrected me once for that, and I take it into consideration when I post now.

          I have nothing against, race, ethnicity, gender, hair color or whatever qualifier you created as a way to speak in hyperbole against the opinion I shared. I have good friends from varying ethnic backgrounds and am not the person you’ve attempted to bring down in your rant.

          “However, such a US team would not be on an equal footing with most other national teams since many of them simply allow anyone with the appropriate passport to represent them.”

          This statement is exactly what I wanted to counter with the point I made. Like I said I don’t fully stand behind what I said, my opinion isn’t set in stone on it. I was trying to pose a question like a student might in Phisolophy 101, “Is it okay to pull the plug on your father if he’s a vegetable and his quality of life is gone?” Don’t just jump to a conclusion because I’m willing to write/ask about a hard question/topic.

          The reason I quoted that specific line from your reply is that I find it foolhardy to support an action simply because others do it. So what if it’s harder to win that way? The team of players we field not including Citizens who’ve never kicked a soccer ball in America, or even spent more than a vacation here would better represent our nation’s soccer product we both know that, you just want to live in a P.C. world where everyone plays by the rules written by our government.

          What if the government is wrong, or to be less dramatic, the entitlement the benefactor of a serviceman receives should extend to citizenship (which I did not question) however, not to their eligibility to play for our Nation’s representative sports teams without further qualification. I don’t know what those qualifications should be, I’m simply stating that I don’t believe Chandler should just be given a free walk on to the team because his dad is American.

          I understand your point on the USSF not being a legit Federal organization, and I know they’re out to gain support, so a winning product is most enviable to them. But it only flies if we support it. I don’t support any other nation’s player, playing for our team when it appears they’re only on the squad because it is at the international level and their first choice team would never take them on.

          I’d be curious to know if Chandler could choose to play for Germany or the United States, guaranteed starting position who he’d pick first… maybe I’m wrong but if my dad was really from Norway (some family heritage), I don’t think you’d see me selecting Norway first if I was in that same position. My emotions, my childhood, my soccer, my friends and everything I’ve known is from the viewpoint of an American. Do you think he calls himself an American among his friends? That’s the point I’m tying to make. Call me names if you’d like, I think it’s a legit point. No I do not know him personally, his story or his viewpoints, but he’s a talking point and I’m speaking from an intuitive perspective, not one of mere fact. I’ll admit that. Can you handle that?


          • Posted by Martin on 2011/10/15 at 7:29 PM

            “However, such a US team would not be on an equal footing with most other national teams since many of them simply allow anyone with the appropriate passport to represent them.”

            You’re talking about soccer, which is a competitive sport. The rules for national teams is as I said above.
            What you are saying is you want the US to play by a different set of rules from everyone else. I’m suggesting that to voluntarily limit yourself in this way will result in a substantial competitive disadvantage. It would be like competing in the Tour De France without proper doping.

            You want the US to be the national team equivalent of Athletic Bilbao or Chivas De Guadalajara. The difference is they are private clubs and the US is supposed to be about inclusion not exclusion.

            “The team of players we field not including Citizens who’ve never kicked a soccer ball in America, or even spent more than a vacation here would better represent our nation’s soccer product we both know that,”

            “better represent” ??? Present a more accurate picture of how things really are maybe. “ Here we are, we’re substandard but we’re willing to get our brains beaten in just to prove we are more intellectually and spiritually honest and true than you are”. That may be a laudable thing but why go through the effort of organizing a national soccer team to show it?

            I always thought the American ideal was about wanting to improve. Chandler and his ilk are within the rules so that’s what the USSF does.

            ” you just want to live in a P.C. world where everyone plays by the rules written by our government.”

            Now who is jumping to conclusions?

            “What if the government is wrong, or to be less dramatic, the entitlement the benefactor of a serviceman receives should extend to citizenship (which I did not question) however, not to their eligibility to play for our Nation’s representative sports teams without further qualification. I don’t know what those qualifications should be, I’m simply stating that I don’t believe Chandler should just be given a free walk on to the team because his dad is American.”

            One of the things about being a citizen is that all of us have certain rights. Chandler passed the biggest and most important barrier,that of qualifying for a passport in the first place. Once he did that he was a citizen and could do all the things good and bad that we all do. Why should he be discriminated against because he wants to play soccer for the national team?

            You want to stop him? Stop him from getting a passport in the first place because after that it’s Katy bar the door.

            As for what Chandler says to his friends, that’s really none of our business. That’s what’s great about America. We are supposed to have a right to our own private thoughts.


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/16 at 5:36 AM

            One thing that bothers me with your viewpoint is your attempt to define what an American needs to believe/have experienced in order to be American. America’s foundation was built by the effort of immigrants from across the world who came to the US for a better life. Most of those first generation of immigrants kept to themselves and stayed within certain areas with other immigrants from their countries. Were they not American? That’s essentially what Chandler is, a soccer immigrant who is coming here to get a chance to play at the highest level.

            I’m also pretty sure that what you want to do is quite illegal. You can’t refuse to hire someone based on many numerous factors that are discriminatory and not allowing someone an opportunity to play on the team after meeting the necessary requirements because he’s not “American” enough is definitely one of them.

            I dislike how you continue to say that Chandler shouldn’t be given a free walk onto the national team because his dad is American. That’s not why he’s given the opportunity to play for the team. He gets that opportunity because he is American.


          • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/16 at 5:39 AM

            One other thing, if I was in a position where I could play for either the US or Germany and was guaranteed a starting position I would choose Germany because I’d like the chance to win the World Cup. Should I be banned from playing for the US?


            • Posted by CJ on 2011/10/16 at 6:05 AM

              You guys both make good points. I like the way you both focus on inclusion over exclusion. He is an American and you make a good point if that. I don’t have anything against first generation immigrants. I think our country has a place for everyone and it’s been the 1st generation of families who built the foundation of many contributing citizens. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my families 1st member to immigrate.
              The team is something more to root for as a fan and less a product o f our environment.

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/10/15 at 3:45 AM

      Chandler/Williams/Johnson or any of the other German American contingent are just as American as anybody else on that team. They have US passports and their parents were US service members.

      How do you feel about Gringo Torres or Edgar Castillo? They grew up in the US but got their real development in Mexico.

      Here’s another hypothetical (which obviously can’t happen but I think it’s an interesting point). How would you feel if Giuseppe Rossi played for the US? He grew up in the US but was developed by Parma/Man Utd.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/17 at 12:14 PM

        The US should be like any other country, take advantage of the players they can that want to play for the flag.

        In the American case specifically, the better the team, the higher profile soccer has in the States and thus attracts more kids.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/15 at 8:37 AM

      You’re welcome to your opinions but you should really get those voices in your head checked out.


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