Mind The Gap!: Klinsanity Makes History


What a kickoff piece for Will Parchman; his first for TSG. Parchman is an up-and-coming US footie writer who you should pay attention to.

Check out Will’s work–and Greg Seltzer’s–over at No Short Corners.

“This is thunderdome.”

Thanks for getting us started off right, Alexi.

THE GAP. Holy God the gap. This thing has dwarfed its own significance and taken on a life of its own. It was fine at first, but after a full day of bombardment I’m done with it now. This is not a benchmark. There’s no way it has meaning anymore, if it ever did. I’m watching Alexi Lalas talk about it on pregame and I’m reading his #BridgeTheGap Twitter hashtag and it doesn’t matter. I’m going to start calling it the chasm. The big ass yawning chasm, and I’m going to start telling people it refers to the amount of reality that lies between how good Orozco Fiscal is and how good Klinsi thinks he is. THAT’S a gap. Mexico is good, won a bunch of tournaments and congrats to them. Whatevs.

So anyway. That’s out of my system. Can we focus on how we have half-hour pregames on national TV now? Am I the only one still impressed by this? The production value is superb. Holy crap there are a lot of empty seats. I know it’s a friendly on a Wednesday, but, wha? That’s positive, though even if it’s half full it’s still awful. Mexico’s lineup just posted:

Ochoa; Meza, Rodríguez, Moreno, Torres Nilo; Zavala, Viniegra, Guardado, Barrera; Reyna and Hernández

The mini pea starts. Get your big boy pantaloons on, Geoff and Mo. Only real surprise in there is Viniegra, but the US has had an advantage in midfield for years. Nothing should change there. Ochoa had to hate watching the Olympics knowing Corona has his job whenever he wants it. Just a matter of the defense holding strong, which… belch. That said, looks like the USMNT starting lineup just game across the wire:

Jones, another yellow card, but a leader on the early team sheet.

Howard (c); Johnson, Cameron, Edu, Castillo; Jones, Beckerman, Williams, Torres; Donovan, Gomez Nothing

4-3-1-2. Relatively strong B side. Defensive-minded as expected. Danny Williams and Kyle Beckerman sit deep on the shelf to give Jose Torres and Jermaine Jones some freedom to “be.” Jermaine on the loose in the Azteca, THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Fabian Johnson is the hinge point. He starts at right back and gets to deal with Guardado all night. My site partner at NSC Greg Seltzer hates Johnson on the back line instead of at left winger but I don’t mind it. I think he can be positive there and think he has been in the past. Herc starting up top is… well, not surprising at all. Mexican golden boot winner and all. 95 percent chance Wondo plays and scores in the last 10 minutes. Boom. Chalk it up gents.

Scary graphic… Edu is the only defender on the roster with more than six caps. And he’s a “defender,” not a defender. Does Valencia know something we don’t? Are they sly or stupid? Or both? Did I just blow your mind?

Ah Taylor Twellman, rocking the checked shirt and polka dot pocket square. SYNERGY, TAYS. C’mon, bra. Seriously, can we all praise Ian Darke some more? Never thought I’d love a Brit this much. Tim Howard long throws and Ian Darke shouting fits go like milk and cookies. Cut-away to Donovan interview. How does ESPN’s sideline girl not ask Landon about his comments about retiring? Does anybody even know what he’s thinking anymore? He just has this attitude about him, almost like he’s saying things just to be “out there.” You’re not retiring, dude. Sit down. But play well tonight.

If you want to skip ahead…

ESPN hones in on a sad looking group of Americans in a sea of barren concrete: one dude in one of those ridiculous Uncle Sam hats and a few USA flags. Maybe 10 people total. For a story earlier this year, I interviewed a documentarian who’d made the trek to Azteca three years ago and said it’s a terrifying place for an American — inhospitable, poorly policed, horrendously outnumbered, mountainously steep, you name it. A couple months earlier I interviewed a guy who’d been to the Gold Cup final in Pasadena and the scene was eerily similar. Few things have made me more disenchanted as a US soccer fan.

Ten of 11 Mexicans belt out the Himno National. Meanwhile, two of 11 Americans singing the national anthem: Herc and Timmy. That kind of sucks. Donovan always looks like he hates music. And, while we’re at it, fun.

We’re about ready. Some quick things I’m looking for early: Edu settling in, the fullbacks not imploding, Herc linking with Torres and something profound from Twellman. I have no idea which of these to expect. Leggo.

‘1 – Jermaine Jones is already conceding FKs inside 25 yards. Oh God. This is going to be a long night.

‘3 – Takes an offside for the US to get its first touch. Good sign *sarcasm and such*. Herc and Donovan swapped places early. The top doesn’t need to collapse already. Will say this about Edu – no Mexican can match him physically. If he can stay resolute and not jump at ghosts, he should be okay tonight.


‘5 – Herc slithers in behind the center back and gets pushed down in the midst of his shot, which trickles wide. You’re not getting that call here, sadly. But that illustrates why he and Wondo are 1 and 1A as strikers. Incredible positioning, unreal ability to read unpredictable plays. Not particularly outstanding anywhere else, but you don’t need to be if that’s your game. Poach like an elephant hunter.

‘8 – Mexicans trying desperately to cut out the central midfield. More or less expected. Everything coming from Barrera and Guardado on the wings and funneled in to Chicharito in crosses and through passes. Puts an incredible amount of stress on Fabian and Edgar on the edges. Can’t pinch in too much or get beat one-on-one. There will be plenty of those situations.

’12 – A lot’s been asked of Edu and Cameron already. Results mixed. Cameron could’ve been called on a tackle in the box but he and Edu have looked sturdy on the deck. The US possession play, on the other hand, has been abysmal thus far. Not that we expected it wouldn’t be in the first 20.

’14 – Soon as I say that, Mo tackles Chicharito after getting beat 30 yards out on a lovely one-two and picks up a yellow. That’s not worst case, but… close? Matt Besler just started paying attention.

Ian Darke: “This is a monumental task for an experimental defense.” Er. Yeah. That’s one way to put it. Can we sit on possession for two seconds, guys? Just sit on it. Feel what it’s like to touch a soccer ball. It’s nice sometimes. LANDON. Long diagonal ball intercepted. Why.

Perfect … positionally…

’19 – Beckerman is essentially acting as a fifth defender now, an advanced sweeper. The danger here is that in central defense you have two former midfielders (and current midfielder in Edu’s case), so both are drifting waaaay high. Chicharito is loving this.

’20 – Jose Torres… he’s taking an extended Capri Sun and orange wedge break. We hope to have 11 men by halftime.

’23 – Geoff Cameron just skinned Chicharito one-on-one down the left channel and then distributed out. Not pictured on your screen: Edgar Castillo doing the Dougie past midfield. That’s what he does. Whips down the left touch line and then forgets his defensive responsibilities. Bad mistake to make against a team that lives on the flanks. He’s been otherwise solid.

’26 – Mo Edu just took an elbow to the face from Tim Howard. And he has a yellow. No goals yet though!

Yes, Ian, we miss Michael Bradley. We also miss Clint. And, while we’re at it, we miss Stu. *Weeping for our midfield* There is no tranquility there right now. No composure at all. Landon is only looking forward, while the rest are looking at quick over-the-top balls. The result: Mexico monopoly on possession, few chances and a really bland show. Meh.

Um, now what?

’33 – Jose Torres looks awful. Like, really, really awful. I used to really like him. I don’t know what happened, but he looks like he doesn’t want any part of this game. No creativity at all. No assertiveness either. It’s all speculative crosses across the six so far with Torres uninvolved.

How has Mexico not had any real chances so far? This game has existed almost entirely in the US half. Herc is so bored he’s decided to play midfield the last five minutes.

’40 – Slow game is slow. Favors the US right now. Good ol’ rope-a-dope here. Nothing of consequence happened in five minutes. Tim Howard is enjoying the scenery.

Twellman: “This is a win so far.” Ah yes. And boom goes the dynamite.

HALFTIME. Big gulps eh? Welp, 0-0. Must say, already better than I was expecting. Shaky, but good. Not that we had any chances of consequence, but then neither did Mexico. Would like to see the formation phase out Torres and that sucking void in the center and create perhaps a two-man shift further up the field. How perfect would Bradley be in that role now? I’m expecting us to break down in the final 45, but Cameron can essentially stamp himself as… THEY’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT THE DAMN GAP AT HALFTIME. Alexi said the word “gap” seven times in 30 seconds. Then Bob Ley immediately said it three times in 10 seconds. The gap is stupid. I’m sorry for ever using the gap for my evil purposes as a writer. Please forgive me.

’46 – Terrence Boyd and DA BEAZ on. Boyd I’m excited about, but maybe even more interested to see Beasley, who’s had a nice run in Mexico. Beaz comes onto the left for Donovan, who completes a meh stint. Gomez moves out right. Rawk. The ineffective Viniega out for Mexico. Mexico’s central midfield was wholly underwhelming, and he was a massive part in that. Lugo on as well.

Side note: Boyd is a great Twitter follow. Even better that he’s called the USA “The best country in the world.” What a dude.

’50 – Lugo is a dangerman. He’s already looked more dangerous than anybody in the first half, and he’s been on all of five minutes. Kyle Beckerman will be pushed.

’52 – Jones playing high, probably too high. The midfield looks like a misshapen triangle with Jones as its high point. Our essential problem: Jones running the creative show is not how this thing was planned out. All three central mids are destroyers. In need of Bradley and Dempsey yadda yadda… Hell, I’d take Feilhaber.

’54 – Edgar Castillo is collapsing. Very, very fast. Mexico is chipping away at the American left, and it’s wiiiide open. The ball pressure is fading. This will not do.

’56 – Geoff Cameron saves a free header from Chicharito by whipping his body around at FULL SPEED and heading clear inside the six. He falls into the net. The ball does not. My, my. Stoke City, you sly dogs. Meanwhile, Edu misses Zavala totally unmarked a minute later. This is, as the Brits say, squeaky bum time.

’60 – Graham Zusi on… noooooooo. Twellman: “He’s going to find those seams.” Hahaha. Okay.


’61 – Beckerman! Sweep the leg, Johnny! Just misses a freak 35-yard slide-tackle shot that flutters over Ochoa’s head. If that’s what it’s going to take… He’s looked solid tonight.

’63 – Cameron unlucky to pick up a foul at the edge of the box on Chicharito, who’s liquidity is absurd. He’s everywhere at all times. Not poor positioning from Cameron, just fantastic positioning from Cheech. It’s only his finishing that’s looked strangely suspect tonight. Guardado curls the free kick wide. How good is Timmy Howard? He had that shot covered up to a half foot WIDE of his post. Cat-like.

’66 – Fabian Johnson with some incredible coverage on a sure Chicharito goal. Johnson has been having a fine day on the right. That side is on lock. Elias Hernandez on the left has looked quite dangerous. Guardado… not so much.

’68 – K, seen enough of Beasley now. Leaving the back like exposed on the reg isn’t getting it done. He’s murdering Edgar Castillo right now. The equivalent of throwing your receiver a lofted pass over the middle with a hungry defender waiting on him.

’69 – Jermaine Jones card watch: alert level yellow. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

’70 – 20 minutes from a dr… I just jinxed it, didn’t I? Won’t say it.

’73 – Heard me say it before, but Bradley provides the pivot point in midfield. That’s not there right now, and Jermaine Jones is a poor approximation. He needs to be playing further back closer to Beckerman, not up even with the wingers.

’73 – Aldo De Nigris on. Saw him play in person in the Gold Cup last year and he wrecked shop in the air. Also seen him for Monterrey and he can disappear completely. We’ll see.

Ian Darke has said “goalless draw” four times in the last two minutes. If Mexico scores I will not take the blame for the jinx.

’76 – If Mexico scores I have no doubt Beasley will bear some of the responsibility. He is getting slaughtered. That side is wide as Nebraska.

’78 – Where’s Robbie Rogers??? Somebody get me a Robbie Rogers! We’ll take Brek for Herc instead. I hope I have cause to Brekkanize and not BrekkaHangMyHeadInShame. Right guys??


’80+.5 – Okay so I’m not crying. But figuratively. Brek Shea. My man with the inside move, Jonesey with a back heel and The Fiscal!!! The heck is going on? History? How did this happen?

’81 – Bunker. My God man, bunker for your lives. 11 defenders? 11 defenders. Azteca, the fortress, is stunned. A missile just whizzed past Ian Darke’s head. Pandemonium.

’83 – If somebody mentions the word “gap” in the next 10 minutes I’m going to lose it.

’84 – Is there a more hot-and-cold personality in US Soccer history than Brek Shea? He vacillates between our next big thing and our next big flop monthly. He’s on the next big thing track now (thanks to 10 minutes), but is anybody confident that will remain that way much longer?

’85 – Tim Howard with a nice scramble on the goal line to save a tricky deflection off Cameron. Deceptively difficult, and one of the things about Howard that’s most visible. His reactions are incredible. He was falling the other direction.

’88 – Shea with a brilliant ball in to Boyd at the far post. I’m serious, if Shea looked like this every day he’d be challenging for a spot on the left every game. He looks incredibly switched on.

’89 – Joe Corona on for Jones for the last few minutes. I dunno about this one guys.

’90 – “Howard has covered himself in glory,” says Ian Darke after another brilliant save on a Chicharito header bound for the net. I can’t believe how good Tim Howard is. Defies logic.

Four minutes of extra time. Gotta praise the refs tonight. They’ve avoided being reactionary, no easy task in Azteca. Just saw a fat, green laser pointer hit Howard’s face. Wouldn’t expect anything less.

’93 – Hold the ball, Beckerman. Quit with the long balls. Nearly there.

FINAL – 1-0. Made history? No big deal. Made history.


– Geoff Cameron. 100% prime beef. CB find of the 2014 cycle. He and Mo Edu were shaky at times but more or less tremendous as a sum of their parts. Not saying Edu has a history in central defense, but he looked good when it mattered. Valencia may be onto something.

– How was THIS the team to break the winless streak in Mexico? A makeshift back line, no pivot point in the middle, very little conviction up top, a lot of scrambling and yet the defense holds. Both fullbacks were sturdy enough and neither flank collapsed.

– If there was any doubt, Tim Howard is the MVP. Always. What a beast.

– Jose Torres is dead to me. Honey Badger don’t care if that sounds harsh. Beasley too. Rotten.

– Brek Shea is a dude. This is just what you get with him. He may switch off next week, or he may continue this run the rest of his career. Honestly? Neither would be entirely surprising.

– Kyle Beckerman is a heck of a holding midfielder. He looked less useful at times tonight because Klinsmann didn’t play a forward hinge player in midfield (partially because he didn’t call one in), but he held his ground. Rarely was in bad positions. Almost never, in fact.

– I called out Orozco before the game. I take full credit for his goal. Full. Credit.

– The results keep coming under Klinsmann. And damn the gap. Damn it to hell.

101 responses to this post.

  1. That was quite the entertaining read, well done.

    Beckerman gets unfairly called out by the eurosnobs but at current I think he’s our strongest (healthy) holding mid. He doesn’t do anything spectacular but he’s consistent, plays fairly mistake free and does his job well. I much prefer him there to Edu, who did his job at centerback decently tonight but for me makes a better backup than a starter in a full strength squad.

    My boy Cameron will be sorely missed in orange. If he wasn’t already in Europe he’d be headed there after this game, fantastic performance.

    Timmy…no words.

    Shea needs a new club.

    And Boyd is going to be a monster. If we ever shift into a 4-4-2 with he and Jozy both in form, God help the opposing centerbacks.


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/08/16 at 4:25 AM

    Ridiculously good read Will. Especially that Castillo doing the Dougie line. :>


  3. Posted by Eric on 2012/08/16 at 5:25 AM

    ’20 – Jose Torres… he’s taking an extended Capri Sun and orange wedge break. We hope to have 11 men by halftime.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.


  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/08/16 at 5:34 AM

    Not be Debbie Downer, but DaMarcus Beasley inability, failure, disregard, whatever to track back last night nearly lost the US the match.

    Edgar Castillo got exposed because he had to keep an eye for a trailing runner to track back on. Beasley was woeful in protecting over Castillo … which makes Castillo’s effort all the more important/brilliant for me.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/16 at 6:57 AM

      I noticed that as well. It seemed like Beasley still thinks he had the speed he used to have where he could spot a player 15 yards and catch up to him. I only noticed him when he was running full speed to catch up to a Mexican player streaking down that wing.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/08/16 at 7:10 AM

        Oh i don’t think it was his calculation of his speed. I think he’s Frankie Hedjuk up the pitch .. but worse, completely oblivious to his position.


  5. Posted by Eric on 2012/08/16 at 5:35 AM

    Absolutely agree on Beckerman. The dude is just absolutely rock solid. Can anyone fully explain why he gets so much hate? Is it because he’s in MLS? Because he doesn’t make bone crunching tackles? The dreads? I don’t know but he’s always in the right place, cutes out passing lanes so he doesn’t have t tackle all the time and is a better passer than he’s given credit for.

    Also, Shea needs to get out of Dallas. Head to Europe or go join a better coach in MLS. The potential is so high for this kid but he needs to be in a better situation. I wil say though that the goal partially occurred with Shea taking a bad touch after he beat the guy.

    Finally, I’m not sure what to do with Torres. The skill is there but I just don’t see how his skill set can be effective in the US most of the time. He doesn’t make penetrating runs or passes enough to be a true playmaker. He doesn’t help set a tempo because he only goes at one pace: three touches, play, three touches, play. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of urgency to his game most of the time and he doesn’t offer anythng defensively. Anyone have a thought where he could actually have a role?


    • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/08/16 at 9:14 AM

      There was a rumor a few weeks ago after Adu didn’t travel with Philly that there would be an even swap of Adu for Shea — or one disaffected, underperforming talent for another. In Philly, we nearly rioted with gladness over the rumor, but were sad to hear that it wasn’t so. I’d still welcome Brek to Philly; he’d slot in very nicely in the Philly lineup and I expect he’d get along well with Hackworth, who’s very good with youth.

      As for Adu, well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be a fair trade. For them.


    • Posted by James on 2012/08/16 at 9:28 AM

      I think his nat team days may be drawing to a close. He just lacks the sense of urgency and base aggresiveness that most other international players have. Technically sound… yes, and completely underwhelming. Time for JK to move on from him. I know I have.


  6. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/08/16 at 5:40 AM

    Report out this morning that Tim Howard played with lasers beamed at him all night. Oh man:


    • Posted by Eric on 2012/08/16 at 5:51 AM

      You could see them on his face throughout the entire game but it never seemed to bother him when the cameras caught sight of it. I don’t think anyone’s shocked though. I’ve seen Howard literally covered in those green lasers on his face most games we play against Mexico.


      • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/16 at 7:29 AM

        They were very noticeable throughout the game whenever there was a close up of Howard.

        Did anyone see at one point after Chicharito had missed his easy header that he was getting lit up by the lasers?


        • Posted by cpjuengel on 2012/08/17 at 6:08 AM



          • Posted by cpjuengel on 2012/08/17 at 6:08 AM

            except for bad decisions by defenders..


            • Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/08/17 at 7:25 AM

              To his credit he has massively reduced the Timsanity that was probably the only flaw in his game (except for flapping at crosses a bit in that little stint in Northern England). His maturity and just plain badassness is the anchor that this defense will need to carry it through early quals. TIMMY!!

  7. Posted by fellaini'sfro on 2012/08/16 at 5:42 AM

    My goodness, so many pop culture references I thought my head would explode. You went all the way from the Eighties and a Karate Kid reference to the Oughts YouTube viral video of the Honey Badger. I thought at the end I was going to see a McKayla Maroney #notimpressed meme to denote another failed Edgar Castillo run out in defense. Having said that I thought your analysis was for the most part spot on. Overall some surprises, some here we go again moments, but sometimes a win is a win is a win. Congrats to our boy’s.

    Lastly, Azteca did not disappoint. On another website, Ian Darke was mentioned as saying that he had beer poured on him as he left the stadium. Or thought it was beer. “Stay Classy Mexico City.”


  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/08/16 at 5:49 AM

    On Torres’s role, you would think that Dempsey slides in there, the US probably goes with a 4-3-2-1 like they have been. That puts Dempsey opposite Landon (or Shea) if Donovan remains passive at times.

    Not too much rocket science. Bradley used to go 4-2-2-2 and the US scored, but gave up goals also. Klinsmann has moved a man back on the pitch –the formation really playing like a 4-1-2-2-1 and it’s strengthened the US defensively.


  9. Posted by Rob Usry on 2012/08/16 at 6:06 AM

    No offense to the other TSG writers but this is the best piece I’ve ever read on this site. Maybe I’m just in a really good mood. I can’t tell. Very good stuff, Will.


  10. What is Donovan’s deal? I can’t figure him out. He’s passive on the field at times. Overall has seemed disinterested in playing for the national team. The retirement talk. Is he just worn out from being the Neo of American soccer? Or is he just trying to be “out there” as Will suggested? He just seems like he’s lost a passion for the game. That it’s just a job right now. Would a move to Everton change that? Is he one of the best 11 for the USMNT right now?


    • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/08/16 at 9:16 AM

      Apparently he was playing slightly injured.


    • Posted by Kay20 on 2012/08/17 at 1:33 PM

      He was injured and he’s going to Everton in January is what I’ve heard. He just went 4th all time in MLS assists over the weekend and tied the record for assists in 1 game. He’s fine. Injured for this one.

      He’s not retiring folks – just making his exit and prepping for Jan.


  11. Posted by Sean on 2012/08/16 at 7:12 AM

    Castillo was good on the night. Time to get Johnson forward, and test him a little more. Donovan looked disinterested, period. Beasley showed why he won’t reach 100 caps, abyssmal. Torres, ouch. Deep lieing playmaker? Not for me, he needs to grow still. Gomez is nasty, love his work ethic. Same with Boyd. Can we please play D. Williams in the center of the field, for Christ’s sake he isn’t a winger. Cameron is the truth, lets hope that Stoke and Tony Pulis were paying attention, CB please. Jones was Jones. Mo? Not too shabby. Subs were subs, Zusi was irrelevant. Too bad we didn’t take Pontius.


  12. Posted by Sean on 2012/08/16 at 7:13 AM

    Finally, Shea. Love Brek, but he may be a more hit or miss player than Donovan. I think he is best used as a sub, at least until he can be more consistent.


    • Posted by scweeb on 2012/08/16 at 7:28 AM

      Shea needs a better club then he will become consistent. But I don’t think a good euro team would take the chance right now. So what MLS team would be a good fit? (RSL maybe)


      • Posted by KMac on 2012/08/16 at 7:57 AM

        Trade ya Freddy Adu for Shea! Hackworth would be great for Shea!


        • Not happening. No MLS team will offer fair value for Shea. Why would Dallas want Adu, anyway? He’d just take minutes away from Castillo, Jackson, and Leyva.
          Longer rant on why Shea won’t go anywhere below.


      • Dom Kinnear would have him in Europe inside two seasons.


        • +1

          First of all Dom would pretty much force him to broaden his skillset. Second of all, if Kandji is excelling the way he is at that LW spot imagine how Shea would eat up all that space. Tap-ins for Bruin waiting to happen.


        • Kinnear has a lot of good points, but working the transfer market hasn’t historically been one of them. Lost both Holden and Clark on free transfers if memory serves. Hopefully for Houston the Cameron transfer is a sign that he’s learned his lesson.


          • In terms of profiting off of transfers, you’re absolutely right but you can’t argue that he doesn’t have a good track record of getting players to Europe, whether that’s his intentions or not.


  13. Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/08/16 at 7:19 AM

    Bravo and thanks for the entertaining piece.

    At the risk of jumping too quickly on the C- Love Train, Cameron really has a very solid grasp of the game and very composed facing his goal and in distribution. His strength in the air puts him above Ream at this stage IMO.

    Other than organization and positioning, which you’d expect with a brand new back line, I thought Edu did well at CB. Now if Hernandez or Lugo puts away 1 or 2 of the sitters then we’re proably having a moan at Klinsi..but…

    The ultimate genius of Klinsi tactically is of course the bold and brave decision to start that Howard kid in goal. He might be considered the best keeper in the world someday when Gigi takes his retirement job running Italy’s Fascist party.

    Beasley looked like Dave Chappelle’s crack head guy out there last night. Just running in circles with zero tactical understanding or discipline. Mexico has not been kind to his game…remembering him being the lock down guy on the wing who scared the bejesus out of right backs…

    Just more questions on Torres…kid has skills but man does he look lost a good portion of his MNT career.

    Boyd, though very raw, could be that target beast we’ve been pining for since B Mc peeled of his sweat and bloodstained kit for the last time. He has the supply of “want to ” that Jozy seems to lack.

    Agree with many here that Jones just seems to flatter to disappoint at this stage in his career. Reckless in possession, distribution and

    Without getting all teary eyed, anyone have any link to an update on Stuey’s condition and or timetable to be back at it? Just for the record…Jonny Evans is still a dick….

    Overall fantastic result with a flawed product. I think the comparison with Bradleys bunkering is interesting but the difference I notice is the emphasis on distribution from the defenders has begun to show results.


  14. Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 7:31 AM

    Ugh on the “beer” pouring. Way back when Man U did their first tour, we met British
    fans at the Linc in Phila. who said they believed they were sprayed with “beer” at a game in California. Barbaric and very gross. Anyway, so happy with the win, BUT,would love to see players born and raised in the USA a la the USWNT on the men’s team. No need to go looking, when there is plenty of talent here!


    • Or you take the best available players within your citizenship, as every other country in the World does.


      • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 12:02 PM

        Yes, do not go out of the country and scour for USA DNA or find players from other countries and turn them into citizens when they were born elsewhere. The USA is a big,big country. We really, really do have many quality players in this country. Identifying may be the problem. As in many things in life, it’s not what you know(or can do), it’s who you know! Not qualifying for the Olympics is a good indication that whatever the coaches have been doing developing our younger teams did not work!


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/08/16 at 12:17 PM

          find players from other countries and turn them into citizens when they were born elsewhere

          Everyone who took the field for the US last night was a US citizen at birth, even if several of them were born in Germany.


          • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/16 at 12:24 PM

            Not to mention, do we know that those players weren’t born in military hospitals on military bases? If they were then they were born on American soil just ask John McCain who was born in the Panama Canal zone but still allowed to run for President.


        • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 12:22 PM

          I’m really concerned by folks who don’t consider our German-American athetes to be as American as the rest of the team. These guys aren’t out-of-left-field mercenaries who just picked the USA randomly. They are all first generation children of American citizens, most of whom represented our country through their service in the military. The fact that they grew up in another country and even are perhaps unfamiliar with mainland US culture and language is irrelevant. I’d imagine their American mothers and fathers would consider it a huge slap in the face to be told that because they had children while on duty for the US military those kids don’t have the same right to be considered American and have all the same opportunities pertaining thereto that the children of other Americans enjoy.

          We’re a nation of immigrants from many places and we have a global culture that sees our citizens travel, live, marry, and settle in places all over the world. Inherently this will lead to some complicated questions of identity and citizenship. I’ve always considered it a great strenght of our country that traditionally we resolved these issues by respecting self-determination being highly meritocratic. People choose to define themselves as American for many different reasons. Arnold Schwarzenegger chose to define himself as American, naturalized as a citizen and, although I disagree with his politics, made huge contributions to American culture, business, and government. Did he do this because he had a better chance to succeed in our entertainment and business industries than their Austrian counterparts? Perhaps, but I welcome him and his contributions.

          Additionally, many kids “born and raised” in the United States do not make this choice. We’ve had guys who grew up playing soccer within this country choosing not to define themselves as American on the field. I am happy to take any citizen of the United States who chooses to commit themselves to our cause. I hope we will not see any of our players as somehow lesser citizens because they are not as “American” as Giuseppie Rossi and Miguel Ponce. (Both born and raised here but ultimately decided to play for the nation of their parents)


          • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 12:34 PM

            Just my opinion. Freedom of speech is another great thing about the USA!
            I am very grateful I was born here and truly appreciate it.


            • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 12:36 PM

              And you have every right to speak your mind. We have freedom OF speech, but not freedom FROM speech and those of us who do are free to disagree with you. I hope more folks will be persuaded that these guys should be celebrated than are persuaded that they should be seen as less American.

            • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/16 at 12:39 PM

              You’re entitled to your opinion but to refer to the addition of these players as scouring up US DNA and turn them into citizens is factually inaccurate. All were born to an American parent which makes them eligible for US citizenship (Jones for one already was a US citizen who lived in Chicago as a child).

          • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/08/16 at 12:43 PM

            Small point of fact: I believe that Ponce left the US with his family as a baby and was raised almost entirely in Mexico.


            • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 12:48 PM

              Thanks, I wasn’t aware. If true, it realy only has the effect of making him analogize less closely to Fabian Johnson and more to say Jermaine Jones.

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/08/17 at 7:28 AM

            If they really want to represent the US, then great. But if it is because they’re not good enough to play for ABC, and America is their only chance of international football, then that’s not right. Respect the shirt!

            See: Chandler, Timothy.


        • Linda, are you honestly acting like they aren’t scouring? Jesus, I don’t know if you’re clueless or just dumb. Doesn’t really matter because your posts show both in abundance.


          • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 12:41 PM

            Well, boys, I sure have touched on a sore spot. Again, my opinion. And life is not always fair or goes the way we think it should.


            • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 12:45 PM


              There has been a bit of animosity directed at you. I’m sorry for that, it’s unneccessary and I certainly intended none. I am curious, if you don’t mind answering a question, to know how far your opinion goes? If every member of the US national team were a mexican-american born in the US to non-citizen or naturalized citizen parents, raised in spanish speaking communities, and playing club ball in Mexico as many of our contributors last night are, would they qualify for you as “Born and raised in the US”? I’m trying to tease out the geographic border issue from the race, linguistic, and cultural issue.

            • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 12:58 PM

              Believe me, I did not intend to sound nasty or mean. My husband has retained his A license, played for Textile(now Phila University) who was then #4 in the nation, and both my boys have and do play at high levels. I am not even speaking about them as they have been and are successful. I just think there have been many quality players
              that have been passed over for those we see playing on these teams and REALLY it’s my opinion and I guess it has to do with one’s destiny and being in the right place at the right time.

            • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/16 at 1:05 PM

              I think we can all agree that the scouting/development system in the US needs to be improved but I don’t think that means that the US should avoid bringing in players that are US citizens even if they were not born and raised here. It’s not an either/or situation. It can be both just look at the Portuguese or the Dutch both of whom have been successful with development and bringing in players who were not born there.

            • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 1:11 PM

              Linda, I didn’t take you as nasty or mean. I asked my question to give you an opportunity to clarify. I understand your perspective. My desire is that the best XI US citizens who give us the best chance to win are the XI we put out on the field. Surely we can both agree we’d like a situation in which American academies were producing such great talent that this would be a non-issue. In such a world, a kid who learned to play in lowly Germany wouldn’t stand a chance of making our team! I honestly believe we can get there with the right development and investment, but it’s gonna take a long time. In the meantime, I’m exited to borrow expertise from wherever we can get it (another American strength, see importing factory plans from England in the early industrial revolution, rocket science from Germany after world war II, or quality control methods from the Japanese manufacturing more recently) It’s just important to me that we don’t distinguish negatively amongst our citizens! 🙂

            • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 1:21 PM

              I hope that the American players will get the respect they deserve from the rest of the world that is soccer(football) dominant, and we are on our way with the stellar play of our boys in the EPL, etc. The best eleven is the goal and a nice deep bench. Godspeed to the USMNT players, whoever and whereever they come from. I am also of the belief that everything happens for a reason. Maybe today all of you have clarified many aspects for me!!!

        • Yeah, Senegal will be a better national team going forward than us because they were in the Olympics.

          God I’d wish you’d bet me money on that, It’d be such easy money…


      • “would love to see players born and raised in the USA a la the USWNT on the men’s team”

        Like Sidney Leroux?


        • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 12:10 PM

          Most of all of the girls on the USWNT before and now have been Born in the USA!


          • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 12:29 PM

            The argument about the USWNT is also a bit facile. Women’s soccer suffers even more than men’s from a pay-to-play culture that caters to the wealthy white suburbs. How many of those girls have at least one white parent? How many of those girls come from lower or even lower-middle class backgrounds? Granted it is a strenght of the US that our culture values womens sports in a way that european and latin cultures are still catching up to. It’s also sadly true that poverty, immigration, and dislocation are harder on women than men. For all these reasons, it’s not surprising that latin players and players of european origin are less common on the Women’s team. However, Herculez Gomez, Paco Torres, Miguel Ponce, and Giuseppi Rossi are all every bit as “born in the USA” as any of the girls on the USWNT. The German-Americans, however are just as much citizens of this country, naturally born to American parent(s) as they are. Our law recognizes no distinction between them, why should we?

            (Note: John McCain was not born on American soil, yet served in the military, congress and ran for president, was he less American?)


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/16 at 12:08 PM

      Sydney Le Roux plays for the USWNT. She wasn’t born here.

      I think we have plenty of players born and raised in the USA on the national team. It’s not like the US is going out and handing out citizenship to players without ties to this country. Those players last night have all become citizens in a completely legal way which they would have been entitled to even if they were not players. I really hate that discussion because it goes against what made this country great.


  15. I’m glad to see some great comments on here instead of murdering certain players. I’m done with Donovan. I have always liked him as a player but know he was limited to certain things he does not do like go one on one on the edge or really put himself out there for headers like say Chicharito. I know he can still help this team but moreso as a role player playing that role well. No longer the focal point.

    Torres had NO distribution and Dempsey would have done nothing too just like in the Canada game. Blaming Torres for not getting many touches in the first half is like blaming Johnson for never getting past half-field or up the right side (who was able to get a pass to him?). It was because you have 3 CM in Jones, Beckerman and Williams that aren’t known for their amazing passing skills (matthewsf commented a few times about this). Can anyone tell me when we had 5 passes in a row in the game? I can’t recall any unless we count a few times we made a pass the Mexico defender blocked it then came back to us as 1 pass. Bradley and Holden are definitely needed and I do agree that Bradley would possibly play that same position as Torres or as CM and give someone like Torres, Dempsey, Donovan distribution.

    We went defensive in this game to help out the backline and it worked. What was left to 3 players was moving forward with Gomez (has played 4-5 games in last 2 weeks so legs must have been tired), Donovan at 75% (not particularly trying to spread the defense by running forward) and Torres to pass to who? Gomez or Donovan because Beckerman, Jones and Williams weren’t looking to get open when we did have the ball.

    Did anyone else notice in the first half our passing was horrendous and even Howard kicked the ball out of bounds on a goal kick? Our passes were either too ahead of our players like the ball was flying out there (I saw so many of our players get passed the ball and they could not catch up to it yet it didn’t seem on television to be a hard hit pass). I don’t know if the altitude makes the ball move faster or something but I noticed this within the first 25 minutes.

    I’m from Bryan,Texas but lets not get too crazy with Shea’s move. Rewatch… he almost choked on that play. He went through the defenders feet, then with his left foot pushed the ball slightly to his left to set up his left foot but his right foot hit the ball and it took an extreme left angle that took him away from a good scoring shot to only other option and that was Boyd with 2 CBs on him and a goalie coming over… so his only option with back to goal was heal kick (brilliant idea) and it was off but a RB coming all the way up in Fiscal was there AND barely missed the ball himself but it scored!!!

    In the end, this was a team win in the every sense of the word. We had 5-6 players come in and contribute in some way whether it was Beasley and Zusi coming in to try and help defensively or Fiscal, Shea and Boyd coming in. Add Corona that did not allow a last corner kick and game match… good guys!


    • Funny you put these two sentences back-to-back:

      “I’m glad to see some great comments on here instead of murdering certain players. I’m done with Donovan.”


  16. Posted by Todd on 2012/08/16 at 7:37 AM

    Hilarious Will. Good show.


  17. Everyone should know that Brek Shea isn’t going changing clubs in the short term. Because of his marketing value no MLS team is going to give up enough in a trade to make FC Dallas even consider shipping him. Surely they have a price in mind for a transfer fee, but I doubt any European club will pony up a large figure until he has a good, consistent run. If he does well in World Cup Qualifiers while combining well with Ferreira and others, then maybe a winter transfer could happen.
    Besides, I don’t think the FC Dallas organization or coaches were the main problem with Brek during his run of bad form. Sure, Hyndman sticking him in an ill-fitting lone striker role for 3 matches didn’t help. Brek’s biggest problems, in no particular order, were:
    – Turf toe. Everyone knows Shea was nowhere near 100% physically from May-July, right?
    – His head (and I don’t mean his faxhawllet). The kid got torn up by the Olympic qualifying failure. While he might have been right to blame himself to a certain extent, he took it too far and it affected his mentality.
    – Teammates’ injuries, suspensions, etc. Have you seen the skeleton crew that Hyndman’s been forced to throw around Shea at times? Most of the year they haven’t had anyone available that resembled a #10 in any way while Villar and Ferreira were stuck in rehab. Very limited players like James Marcelin and Scott Sealy have both played 612 minutes in red hoops this year. This led to Brek trying too hard or not getting much of a chance to try anything.

    All three of those factors are looking better right now, and there’s no reason to think that Brek needs to change clubs in order to bounce back.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/08/16 at 8:46 AM

      You don’t know what transfer fee it’d take to get Shea, because you don’t know whether he’s got a release clause or not. Shea should fire his agent immediately if there isn’t a release clause on his contract.


      • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/08/16 at 9:21 AM


        Also, last year’s run of form alone ought to get him some moderately interesting bids in Europe. You can forget dreams of Arsenal or even Fulham, but the Readings and Leicesters or Brondbys of the world could probably put in some interest. It’s clear he isn’t happy at Dallas, so if his agent is any good (and Klinsi chooses to intervene), he could probably move.


        • Have you ever heard of a release clause in MLS? I certainly haven’t. League and club have to sign off on every single transfer, and his contract runs through 2015. Do you think the Readings/Leicesters/Brondbys will pay enough to counter FCD and MLS’ valuation of Shea? He’s in a very weird spot where he isn’t good enough for the big money clubs, but too expensive for most everyone else.
          It’s clear he was unhappy with Schellas Hyndman at times this season, but he seems to very much enjoy playing with Ferreira, Loyd, etc. Supposedly he and Hyndman have patched things up as well. He advanced his game quite a lot in Dallas last year, and can do so again until he makes it to Europe (my guess is either next summer or the 2013/2014 winter window).


        • Posted by dth on 2012/08/16 at 10:43 AM

          Shea’s above the Readings/Leicesters/Bronbys of the world (also an odd grouping–Brondby is in the Danish league, which is a very good league)–I believe he was getting scouted by mid-level Bundesliga teams for a while in his breakout year.

          And, as to whether I’ve heard of release clauses? No, I haven’t. But then again, how many players of Shea’s age/performance/marketability have re-upped with MLS when the contract was running down (as opposed to going on a free transfer, which MLS is oddly comfortable with)? Shea had more than enough leverage to demand a release clause; if he or his agent didn’t, it was an incredibly poor decision.


          • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/08/16 at 11:02 AM

            My grouping was intentional: one promising Championship side, one recently promoted EPL side, and a perennial Scandinavian power in a competitive but not-overwhelming league. All good teams in strong competitions with enough access to cash to acquire bright, if moderately out-of-favor MLS talent. Think Buddle, Robbie Rogers, and Tim Ream as rough analogues.

            Yes, Shea’s talent ceiling is certainly above these teams, maybe even at CL level, but his current form (with his hot streak last season in mind) makes these types of sides likelier destinations at this very moment in time (though the Azteca clasico may have changed that somewhat if it translates to club play). If you agree that Shea could benefit from a move sooner rather than later (which I do), you aren’t taking circa-2011 Arsenal rumors seriously — you just hope he goes someplace he can develop and get playing time.

            I think you’re also discounting the genuine leverage Klinsi can bring to bear to make a deal happen. If Shea wants to go to Europe and has legitimate suitors, someone like Klinsmann might be a difference-maker in that conversation.


          • Shea extended through 2015 before his breakout season. There was no leverage at that time through which he would get your theoretical release clause. I’ll say it again: MLS and a player’s club both have to sign off on any sale. There’s no reason FCD or the league will or should sell him at any kind of discount.
            It all depends on what they think is a fair price and whether a European team offers a fee at that level. Those number will converge over the course of the next year or so, as long as he plays well with some consistency. Probably not in the winter transfer window, but quite possibly next summer or the winter after that. He certainly won’t be traded within MLS in the interim.


  18. Posted by Jake C on 2012/08/16 at 8:36 AM

    Will, this was awesome. Easily the best thing on USA-Mexico that I’ve read.

    I’ll say it since it seems nobody has yet: Donovan sucked. Most have focused on williams or Torres, but I though Lando was pitiful, case in point when he had the ball on the 18 and said “Screw it I’ll kick it out of bounds. Chase it, Danny.” Most reviews I’ve read attributed his ineffectiveness to the shortcomings of the attack around him, but I’m inclined to say the opposite. I would take Zusi over him in a heartbeat right now.


    • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 9:05 AM

      Landon was poor last night. I agree with the article and Jake C on that point. However, you are on TSG and the axiom applies: it was an observation in isolation. Landon’s done more than enough when it counts on more than enough occasions to retain his position as one of our go to leaders. There is no body of evidence to suggest he is losing his touch. He may have been banged up. In any event, he had an off night. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


      • Posted by Linda Sheridan on 2012/08/16 at 9:24 AM

        It’s hard to say what is in someone’s brain. Landon’s been at this a long time. He seems to be contemplating his future right now.


      • Posted by Jake C on 2012/08/16 at 9:25 AM

        This isn’t an observation in isolation for me: I probably should have qualified that. Donovan has been getting the assists again in MLS recently, but it seems to me that he’s been overly susceptible to getting overmatched in the last few games I’ve seen him play for the US. Anyone think this is off point?


        • Posted by Braden on 2012/08/16 at 9:29 AM

          I do. I think he was incredible in the match against Scotland. He was middling last night and against Brazil. Regardless, Landon’s been through the wars. The last time it really mattered, in the Gold Cup final he was absolutely money. He’s played well for LAG and Everton in the meantime. Just because he isn’t transcendent every time he steps on the field doesn’t mean he’s not one of our best players going forward. To me the notion that Zusi is an upgrade at that position (or that anyone in our national team setup would be) is just way too premature. If he fails to perform throughout fall qualifiers, let’s talk. However, I fully expect us to have several wonderful LD moments to celebrate between now and then.


          • Posted by Jake C on 2012/08/16 at 9:54 AM

            That’s fair, but I call Landon being phased out of the USMNT within a year or two.


            • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/17 at 4:07 AM

              Well, if you listen to his comments he’s phasing himself out considering he’s talking of retirement after 2013. I don’t think we have better options available until Gatt/Shea make a very large step up or if Pontius/Zusi are able to continue playing well then replicate that form on the national team.

        • Posted by James on 2012/08/16 at 9:38 AM

          I believe it has been reported that Donovan had a tug on his hammy. If true, bigger question is why did he play? Between he and Torres it was like watching a tortoise race.


          • Donovan left after halftime because he reportedly “tweaked” his hamstring.

            Supposedly, he wasn’t exactly 100% going into camp. Assuming this is all true, my guess, and it is only a guess, is that Donovan showed up because had he not, then Timmy would have been the only senior veteran there. With such a green roster who better to explain the USMNT vs Mexico experience to them than Donovan?

            Even if he did not see the field he would have been an asset. Besides he just had a long run away from the team and it seems he is serious about wanting to play with these guys.

            As for the real reason, that question can really only be answered by, in descending order, Donovan, his teammates and JK.


            • Posted by Kay20 on 2012/08/17 at 1:46 PM

              That’s one thing to note – since his long run of not being there LD has made the effort to be back for the national team games. Remember, LA had a game the same night.

              Ghost of Gaetjens ‏@Gaetjens
              HT subs: Boyd and Beasley on. Donovan and Torres out. @landondonovan walking gingerly to the bench from locker room.

              Seems like he was honestly injured.

        • I’ve commented a lot about this so I don’t want to rehash what I’ve already said (at times as Jake C as well…Jake Claro), but you are way off point.

          I think it’s ridiculous, patently absurd in fact. Landon puts in a hat trick and its, “ho hum, that’s how it should be”. He puts in a poor half, with a bad hamstring in a friendly and it’s “He’s done, awful, and I’d take Zusi over him moving forward”. Really? I mean, honestly, are you saying that Zusi is a better player than Landon Donovan. Did Zusi do any better. Has Zusi done any better previously?

          He had no distribution and was covering deep most of the half. Remember as well that he sprung the only attack the US had in the first half. I still think people are all to willing to read into Landon’s candid comments about his career, and report his death before it’s actually happened without much merit. He’s certainly entering a phase of his career where his physical talent is not as pure as it once was, and I don’t necesarilly see him as a 90 minute guy come 2014. But he comes to play when it matters and has the smarts to play at a very high level for some time. Please, please, let’s keep the Landon is done comments locked away until he looks absolutely atrocious over a long period of time. It hasn’t happened yet, and I personally don’t see a precipitous decline occurring for quite some time.


          • Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/08/17 at 8:56 AM

            On rewatch it’s pretty obvious he’s a gimp out there in first half. The one ball thru the center circle that was maybe a yard ahead of him he allowed to roll through and didn’t extend at all to get to. Excellent point re the overreactions to LD’s poor play and the underappreciation for just how transcendent he has been for the MNT for many many years.


  19. Posted by 2tone on 2012/08/16 at 9:36 AM

    Personally, I think Shea needs to head to the Eredivisie for a few years, and MLS needs to let him go, and not inflate his transfer fee.

    ANyone asking for a Boyd/Altidore pairing shouldn’t be. They are bot very similar in their movement on and off the ball. Altidore for my money is still the starter. While the # 2 striekr is a battle betweem Gomez and Boyd.

    Jozy has made greta strides, and his skill level is superior to both Gomez and Boyd.

    Nothign wrong with having Jozy start and bruise defenders for 70 minutes, and then bring in another beast like Boyd who will do the same.

    Personally. I would like to see this startign 11 against Jamaica

    Subs: Guzan, Castillo, Lichaj, Corona, Torres, Boyd, Gomez


    • Posted by 2tone on 2012/08/16 at 9:37 AM

      Sorry, Shea for Corona.


    • Posted by mbw on 2012/08/16 at 10:42 AM

      I’m a bit more agnostic about an Altidore-Boyd pairing. I see them as complementary: Boyd is a pure 9, target guy, which Jozy is not, and don’t forget that Altidore paired very well with Ching early in his USMNT career. On the other hand, Jozy is most effective surrounded by teammates who can exchange quick passes in tight space. Dempsey and Johnson can play that kind of game; Boyd not so much.


      • It’s very rarely that I’ve seen Jozy do well when put up top by himself. He typically does better in two striker sets, and for a guy as big as he is, he’s not a dominant physical force when he has to put a hip on defenders every time we’re trying to move the ball forward. As to whether or not Boyd is the answer, I don’t know – but if nothing else, I love how hard that kid plays.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/08/16 at 10:45 AM

      Why exactly does MLS not need to inflate his transfer fee? When did MLS become a not-for-profit entity? If Shea (hypothetically) were to become frustrated at MLS being a tough negotiator, he really only has himself to blame.


    • Love that XI, 2tone. First sub is Shea on for Pontius, with Boyd-for-Jozy as the easy second. Could easily get behind that.


    • Posted by jesran on 2012/08/17 at 1:06 PM

      Subs: Jones,Gomez, Beckerman, Lichaj, Boyd, Adu


  20. I still don’t see why we don’t go with two strikers up top and Dempsey sitting in the hole underneath. Give him freedom to find his way onto the ball and do what he does best. Bradley and Donovan in the slightly more attacking CM roles and… We still have a lack of anyone who is really consistently a pest as a defensive midfielder. I may catch some grief for it but someone with a skillset similar to Ricardo Clark or a younger Jermaine Jones.


  21. Posted by Boston Cougar on 2012/08/16 at 1:18 PM

    I love, love Beckerman, but he is just a step slow.

    He is always in the right position, his touches are very, very good. His field awareness and defend first mentality is huge.

    My only issue with him is that he is just not as quick as an ideal defensive mid. He uses savvy to overcome this, but against the top 15 countries in the world, they will exploit that lack of pace.

    – A Real SL Fan.


    • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2012/08/17 at 12:57 PM

      I’m not a big fan of FIFA rankings in terms of what it says about how tough your team is today.
      However, Mexico is ranked 18 by FIFA just below Sweden, Ivory Coast and Chile.
      As far as I’m concerned, on any given day, Mexico can beat anyone. Mexico are not known for being ponderous or slow. Speed is always a great asset but a “slower” player, if they are smart, can find many ways to “close the gap” when dealing with a zippier opponent.

      Beckerman is a smart player. His play against Mexico shows you he can handle playing against a team I consider pretty top flight.


  22. I totally Brekkanize that this is one of the greatest articles i’ve not only read on this site, but any site, about any sport.

    Really happy to see all the Brek Shea love too. Way to get back on the bandwagon guys.

    He’s the future of our attack, our next Landon Donovan, our next Clint Dempsey. We’ve just got to get him to europe.


  23. Posted by Kampfers on 2012/08/17 at 12:11 PM

    So there’s been a lot of speculation that a “rising tide raises all ships”, that the US’s dominance of the series brought this new generation of Mexican players on and that now this youth revolution in the Mexican program will spark a similar one here. My question revolves partly around this, and partly around the structure of the MLS. Currently, some teams spend a lot on developmental academies and we know these are crucial to the future of the league. Other teams, however, spend their budgets scouting Caribbean island leagues, and this has had a few results. First, it has directly raised the quality of the teams we must face in WC qualifying. Second, it has made the road to playing time that much more difficult for our own budding stars.

    My question is this: Should the MLS institute a rule requiring some sort of homegrown program? How you go about this could vary, whether you say “you have to sign one american academy talent for every overseas talent” (obviously you can sign multiple academy talents without signing a single overseas talent if you so chose) or whether you say “for every dollar you spend scouting foreign players, you must spend an equal or even twice as much on your American only youth academy.” There are a number of ways to go about it and I certainly don’t know the intricacies of it well enough to craft a proper rule. It seems to me this could go a long way towards forcing teams to actually create strong youth academies that focus on American talent.

    I don’t want to stop teams from bringing in overseas talent – raising the overall level of the MLS is something that should be desired, and this helps us get there. At the same time however, I feel that teams should not be able to simply take this route and overlook their obligation to producing young, home-grown talent, which is important for the success of not only the USMNT, but also the MLS as a whole.

    Or am I contriving this problem out of nothing?


    • Posted by Kampfers on 2012/08/17 at 12:22 PM

      Shouldn’t have said Caribbean island leagues, instead take that as CONCACAF leagues in general. Sorry.


      • Which MLS teams are you thinking of as the most problematic here? There is already a limit of 8 internationals per club. I’d be against any rule change that would make it harder for MLS clubs to bring talent, whether it’s foreign or domestic. The point of the league iand its clubs is to compete in a financially viable way. It can’t afford to allow US Soccer to lay down rules like the one you propose.


    • Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/08/17 at 2:52 PM

      Kind of OT but no one seems to be making the “Colombian connection” re the amazing rise of domestic soccer in Mexico. Colombia’s drug cartel dollars fueled one of the most amazing program turnarounds ever in just a few short years. It’s not a big stretch to trend the rise of Mexico’s cartels with the rise of players salaries at home and investment in youth programs and todays success on the intl level.
      Internationa football and money laundering are very long and old bedfellows.
      To tie it back to your MLS point, the model is very different and growth will be slower as investiment is limited to pure business capital vs black market cash.


      • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/18 at 3:03 AM

        No one is making that connection because as of right now it’s not even close to the way it was in Colombia in the 80’s and 90’s. The cartels in Colombia made no secret about owning the clubs and bringing in the best players. As far as I know there has been nothing similar in Mexico partly because the government is far more aggressive in their fight against the cartel than the Colombian government was during the rise of the narcos in Colombian soccer. I think it’s unfair to tie those together until there is any evidence.

        Mexico has long been one of the richer leagues in the Americas. Tim Vickery talks frequently about Mexico being allowed to compete in the South American competitions in order to bring in Mexican sponsors. They have also paid more for midlevel South American talent (Brazilian, Argentine) than their own leagues could.

        I really think a huge part of the change in Mexican soccer is between the ears. The talent has been there for their team for 20 years but they always seemed to choke it away or have players that would snap and get a stupid red card (I’m looking at you Rafa). They also seem to have found a stable coach rather than someone who was disliked for not being Mexican (La Volpe) or someone loved in Mexico but not a good coach and trending more towards the Maradona level of sanity and coaching ability (Hugo Sanchez).


  24. First time posting here, and just wanted to say I really enjoyed the read. Looks like a great site – appreciate the thoughtful analysis and fun take.


  25. Posted by Kay20 on 2012/08/17 at 1:51 PM

    Some great comments in this 2nd analysis thread if you’d like to read them as well. (I know it’s big soccer, but this particular thread has some decent thoughts).

    And Will, FANTASTIC article. I love your sense of humor along with your analysis. Really well done, and thanks Matt for putting this on here.

    On that note actually – ever thought of doing a weekly play by play? I love the min by min on The Guardian, and Will does an EXCELLENT one here. One to consider for the future?



  26. Posted by Josh on 2012/08/23 at 4:22 PM

    The most important thing about wins like last week’s at Azteca: inspiration; building the program.

    If only ESPN would follow suit the next morning on Sportscenter. That day will come.


  27. […] off the bench. Meanwhile, Clarence Goodson and Michael Orozco-Fiscal provided what was perhaps the most complete performance by a US center back pairing since the upset at the Azteca.  Given that the good times are a’rollin’, this is probably as good a time as any for […]


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