Down 3-0 and things look done…

70 minutes in – Hope Solo not in net, Boxx ejected, no momentum, and Bri Scurry not the keeper Ryan expected when he chose her over Solo to man the nets against Brazil in the WWC Semifinal match-up. Hell of a way to go out and you got to almost jump on board and agree with the Brazilian coach Marcellus who said, “This is NOT a time to make a change” when asked about the Scurry for Solo switch.

One question:

WHY F*** WITH WHAT WORKS IN THE PRESENT? – not this 14-0 bullshit against Brazil in the past. Why put a cold goalkeeper in net…period? Somebody enlighten me – that decision coupled with Boxx’s bogus ejection. I don’t care how the USWNT players played it off, but that kind of personnel decision makes or breaks a squad. Please – goalkeepers, coaches, enlighten me…cause I have a hard time thinking that Ryan’s choice cost the USA the World Cup.

Brazil 4-2 Yanquis: Hate and Envy

I hate Brazil. I mean the team, not the country.

I don’t hate them for being over-rated; they’re pretty talented, actually. I don’t consider them a team of thugs and they don’t lack class, or even personality. Well, maybe the middle thing does apply: Brazil cheats in this subtly dirty way, employing little tugs and grabs that violate decency more than the physical integrity of their opponents. And that really sucks because the same team that pulls so much little crap also possesses talent at a 2:1 ratio to the U.S. Men’s National Team (hereafter, the Yanquis).

That brings me to the question of why? If one of your three or so playmakers can loft a pass from midfield to a segment on a forward’s toe after he makes a run behind the opposing defense, why do your defenders have to claw and paw Benny Feilhaber like he’s Zac Efron making a surprise mall appearance? Why the theatrical diving? Why, after all these years, do I still hate Rivaldo for the awful bullshit he pulled against Turkey in the 2002 World Cup?

Without going into this more than I need to – after all, this was a friendly and who really expected us to win – the Yanquis did all right on Sunday. We scored two and one of them even looked deliberate. We fought like hell up the middle – and, here, “we” means Michael Bradley who impressed me more in this outing than in any previous – and we created some respectable chances besides. We should have had a PK of our own, which offered, oh, a 50/50 chance of making this a wholly respectable 4-3 loss.

The nearly silly thing is the extent to which none of that matters. Brazil simply plays on a different plane. Half their team can play the killer ball and that slick, that one-, two-touch rhythm seems to come naturally to 3/4 of Brazil’s players, allowing the team to change the point of attack and exploit the thinnest of openings in the proverbial blink of an eye. And it’s so fun to see the game played with that kind of awareness and magic. The cheap fouls and theatrics? Not so much.

So, by way of closing, who did well for us? I thought Steve Cherundolo turned in a good one, Dempsey fought hard for scraps and finished well when he had to. As already noted, Bradley impressed me as much as anyone – and I look forward to the day when I won’t be reminded he’s the coaches son and the fact that’s not relevant, even though I know it will never come. All in all, I don’t think anyone flat-out sucked – and that’s a good thing.

But…y’know…it was a friendly; a win wouldn’t have felt much different.

US Squad Selection to Face Brazil on September 9th


Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard (Everton FC), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Looking towards the future, it’s good to see Seitz this early but shouldn’t we keep giving Guzan chances? Especially in a competitive atmosphere such as this? Doesn’t really matter as Howard will start and most likely play all 90.  

Defenders (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

Many were itching for Pearce to be included and those seem to be the same people calling for a disbanding of the usual Bocanegra/Onyewu central pairing. Pearce won’t get time is my guess, but Simek will (who might be regretting his contract extension with Sheff Wednesday right about now). Spector is trying to hold on to his spot in West Ham’s line-up, but it is getting increasingly hard – a good showing against Brazil could up his persuasion power. Most likely will be Spector, Boca, Onyewu, Cherundolo…

Midfielders (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)

Dempsey is down as a midfielder but will most likely work up top with Donovan. Both Beasley and Dempsey have rapidly increased their perceived value in Europe these past couple weeks as Dempsey has 2 g, 2 a on the year and Beasley has several as well. Convey is still being ignored, but is slowly making his way back into the Royals set-up. Feilhaber is still in transition, but Bradley has found a place in a very inconsistent Heerenveen side. My guess is Beasley, Mastroeni, Bradley, Feilhaber (Ives thinks Wolff will play right wing and he could very well be right, as Feilhaber isn’t fully fit). 

Forwards (4): Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich)

Crappy form as of late for the Wizards speaks nothing of Arnaud and EJ. Eddie Johnson’s acrobatic goal this past weekend was the only real upside of lopsided loss to Real Salt Lake. Arnaud has racked up 4 g, 6 a so far this year, but many think there are others who deserve this call-up. I think if he gets time, people are gonna like him. Never stops working and makes rather good decisions most of the time (not going to change the face of the game, but will certainly keep it going in the right direction). Donovan needs an injection of confidence as this losing thing could start hurting him at the international level. 

What is your starting XI? And how do you think they can stack up against the squad Dunga brings? 

MLS News Wire, 08.13: St. Louis; Brazil; Chivas Rebuilds

Today was one of those days where I felt confined by the three-subject rule I adopted for this feature; that meant I couldn’t plug something entirely wonderful like the David Beckham drinking game proposed by Dan Loney. Shit…did I just type that?

– According to a saucy post – and I mean saucy in the sense that they’re ahead of couple other sites – MLS Rumors reports today that St. Louis, Missouri will be Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 15th franchise…even though they’ll build their stadium in Illinois…which technically makes them something like Illinois’ second franchise as opposed to Missouri’s first. In related news, the various groups trying to bring a team to Seattle, Washington continue fiddling around in their pants…

– A lot of places are noting that the U.S. “friendly” in Mexico’s Azteca Stadium fell through, which prompted the U.S. to schedule a game against Brazil; WVHooligan happens to be the first place I read of this, so I figured I’d link to him. That post closes by asking for opinions, so here’s mine: I’d rather play Mexico in the Azteca, mainly because there is no such thing as a “friendly” between the U.S. and Mexico. I’m thinking we’ll learn more from a good game against a good, motivated opponent in a tricky venue than we will against yet another home game against a great team phoning it in.

– A couple places clock Chivas USA’s plans to make a good team gooder – specifically, through the addition of d-mid Raphael Wicky and forward Oscar Echeverry (NOTE: That second one is a rumor, but it sounds like the deal for Wicky will go through). It’s been a good year in general for signings, but here’s to hoping these moves, assuming they come to fruition, add to the league overall.

Thugs, beer train and amateurs

Let’s take a look at some soccer news worldwide, shall we?

Brazilians coach orders rough-house tactics

Flamengo coach Joel Santana obviously wasn’t happy near the end of a 3-0 defeat. A microphone down by the field caught him apparently telling his players to rough up the opposing Santos players.

“If they start clowning around, you have give them a good kick,” he was heard to say late in the match in an incident widely shown on Brazilian television on Monday.

Santana will likely face some repercussion. He claims, however, that he wasn’t inciting violence.

No harm, no foul?

German train stops for beer fix

A train taking Bayern Leverkusen fans to Hamburg for a German Cup match had to make a stop along the way to fix a broken beer tap.

They made a stop along the way for nearly half-an-hour “in order not to endanger the good mood.”

The victory on the train, however, was the only one of the day.

“Top-division Leverkusen’s 1-0 elimination from the cup by second-division St. Pauli in a first-round upset left its fans with plenty of sorrows to drown on the way home.”

Bayern Munich needs shootout to beat amateurs

True story.

Oliver Kahn, Miroslave Klose and the rest of the four-time Champions League winners took it to spot kicks to beat third-division amateurs Wacker Burghausen.

Manuel Riemann, Burghausen’s 18-year-old keeper, stole the show, but it was Kahn who made the game-saving stop in the shootout for the win.

Here watch some highlights