Daily Sweeper, 08.23: Denilson; U-17s – Dude, We’re Gonna SUCK in 2018!

– Well, lookie there.  Looks like FC Dallas finally landed a Big Fish to match their little one (that’s Carlos Ruiz):  ESPN reports that one-time world-record signing (suck it, Real Betis!) Denilson will join FCD for the season stretch (and, presumably, beyond; details are thin).  While I’m confident he’ll be a (canyon-sized) step above the average Major League Soccer (MLS) player on the technical side, I think the word “underwhelmed” best describes my reaction on the few occasions I saw Denilson play.  That said, I’m going from a small sample; I think Denilson will do fine here, if not even better.  (A personal note: Kick some ass, son.  Lift the curse those poor bastards have labored under for so, so long.)

In a related note, WVHooligan points to the ugly necessity of letting someone else go – specifically, a senior international.  That short list includes Marcelo Saragosa, Adrian Serioux, Pablo Richetti, and Carlos Ruiz (holy shit!  Juan Toja is a super-bargain).  WVH figurs Saragosa will be the unlikely departee, but, if I were FCD coach Steve Morrow, I’d give serious thought to off-loading Serioux.  Forget the injuries: he’s been pretty underwhelming while he played.

– A loss to world power Tunisia has the U.S. U-17s on the brink of elimination in…whatever the hell tournament they’re competing in.  Like (I suspect) a number of people, I didn’t have a chance to see this one, which makes the fact that Project 20?? took the time to rate the players all the more valuable.  I, on the other hand, have nothing to add to what I wrote in the title…except to say I’m hiding a crippling fear behind a veil of sarcasm.

– Kasey Keller is headed to Fulham.  Good stuff for Kasey – who I like so much that I drove on the street named in his honor – but this still strikes me as kinda wacky.

– Sideline Views pulled up some interesting (read: crushingly depressing) stats on the Kansas City Wizards’ drawing power.  Second-best?  For the year?  Crikey….

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La Liga Preview—Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, FC Sevilla

For the past few weeks I have combed the paella and sangria filled landscape that is Spain to come up with a definitive La Liga preview. For the most part, La Liga coverage in English is a bit difficult to find, so I have had to do lots of digging to figure out what is going on with the teams that have ascended into La Liga from the Segunda Division last season. However, there is no shortage of talk about La Liga in Spanish, thus I do a good deal of time trolling the Spanish dailies and team forums to get all the goods. It was so much easier when I lived there.

In all of the previews, I’ll give you the team, stadium, nicknames, who’s out, who’s in and what is going on. I don’t give starting 11’s because I’m shockingly bad at that.

Today we will have a look at the top three teams that fought it out till the last Temporada, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC (Note that you can find a million reviews and previews of these teams, so I don’t waste my time talking about every player on Madrid’s roster)

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KC Over Chicago…oh yeah, that other game.

As much as I think I would have learned more about the future watching this game, I went with DC’s win over Red Bull simply because MLSlive.tv got that one archived first.

I did watch the highlights, though (not bad; available here), which gave me a glimpse or two into Kansas City’s win over the visiting Chicago Fire.  The relative closeness of the score makes me think there’s something to the Fire Revival, but, having not seen the play unfold in real time, I’m not going to go too far with that.  Or, rather, I’m going to read what other people have to say and move forward from there.

I will say, though, that Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s pass to Chad Barrett for the opening goal was a beauty.  Going the other way, it’s also worth dubbing this a sign of life from KC.

But consider this result duly recorded.

DC Routs RBNY – On a Roll? (I Think So)

Watching last night’s game has me feeling a lot like right about Red Bull New York and DC United – though more about the latter than the former. As you’ll see in the (barely coherent) notes transcribed below, I’m thinking DC is rounding into their formula.

On a very basic level, the secret of DC’s success boils down to having good players playing a simple and correct game; the crucial thing comes with getting the players singing from the same sheet – as DC is doing right now. They get into this rhythm and, every time the other team presses – as Red Bull tried to do late – DC, down to a man, can cope. It’s the combination of passing and moving. You can teach a fucking monkey to do this, but too few teams do.

In a moment of some extravagance (what can I say? I get a little, um, “loose” when I watch a game…or is it tight?), I wrote, “This is the future of American soccer: teaching these basics – e.g. passing and movement off the ball – to the players.” That’s not it, of course: we’ll take the next step, as a league and as a national team, when players can build from those basics, but kind of nuts and bolts of that kind matter to the point of being fundamental.

As for Red Bull, I’m back to thinking I had them pegged a week or so ago; this simply isn’t that good a team. They struggle to use the good parts they have, against decent opposition at least. More significantly, Red Bull didn’t look all that different in last night’s loss than they did in a recent(-ish) win over Toronto: actually, they kept more passes in play last night, but the passes out of the back failed to find their mark, while DC’s pressure kept them from playing through the midfield.

Moving on to my notes…which are amended in parentheses where necessary…which seems too often by far… Continue reading