Goal.com Makes Me Want To Puke

September 18, 2008
This old man is distressed by Goal.com

This old man is distressed by Goal.com

In a perfect example of ALL THAT IS WRONG with soccer journalism, Goal.com published an article today that listed a number of players who Bob Bradley “should call up.” The list included Brad Davis, Davy Arnaud, Corey Gibbs, Charlie Davies, and John Thorrington.  While I agree with Charlie Davies (and who doesn’t?), everyone else on the list can stay where they’re put as far as I’m concerned.  Let’s break it down:

Brad Davis

“Given the chance, his brilliant left foot could slide in and replace the effective, but aging, Eddie Lewis, especially on free kicks where the U.S. continues to score so many of its goals.”

Wow, first Eddie Lewis isn’t effective at a competitive International level.  At best he is a serviceable roleplayer who can provide a solid cross when in position.  Yes, we have seen Lewis show a few nice moments on the dribble for the USMNT, but his lack of pace fails to make him a threat, and I also think he has weak vision.  Personally I don’t think the USMNT needs another “Eddie Lewis” type hustle player (especially when we play a near 4-5-1 that relies on aggressive and threatening wing play).  Secondly, in our already crowded midfield, where does Davis fit? Okay, he plays left midfield for his club, but there is no way Davis would unseat Beasley in the position (and yes, I’m aware that Beasley has been playing very poorly lately).  Davis has seen some time at central midfield for the Dynamno as well, but let’s not even get started on the shitstorm that is the USMNT central midfield.

Best Case Scenario: Brad Davis becomes a staple of the USMNT bench, maybe jumping on as a late sub.  That’s just how it is.  And I don’t think Brad Davis is a bad player, he’s solid and consistent at a club level, but I don’t think he has much to offer the International game.

Davy Arnaud

“The Kansas City man scored on a ridiculous strike from 30 yards out against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday that no one in the world would have saved. It’s the kind of individual brilliance the United States needs to get on a more regular basis.”

You know who else has scored on some ridiculous strikes in the MLS? Brian Ching and Taylor Twellman. Wah Wah Waaaah. Davy Arnaud is 28 years old, so he would be 30 by WC 2010 and he has scored only 5 goals in 18 appearances this year.  Jozy Altidore, Kenny Cooper, Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu, Clint Dempsey.  Somehow, Davy Arnaud does not fit in with these names.  I would rather Bob Bradley call up Edson Buddle than Arnaud.  Keep up the good work goal.com.

Best Case Scenario: Davy Arnaud comes in for a USMNT Camp and MAYBE makes the bench for a game.  He will not see the pitch.

John Thorrington

“He’s shown a knack for scoring in the MLS this season, with five goals coming in 19 matches. Not exactly lighting the record books on fire pace, but Thorrington frequently scores game-winning tallies. He’s a player hardened by years in England — the first ever American signed by an EPL team — and this experience should serve him well on an international stage.”

5 goals in 19 games is “a knack for scoring in the MLS?” Granted, he’s a midfielder so maybe he shouldn’t be expected to score much, but the more telling statistic of Thorrington’s is this: Just one assist in 19 games.  As for being the first ever American signed by an EPL team, that’s not entirely true.  Thorrington might’ve been the YOUNGEST, entering Manchester United’s youth program at 17 in 1997, but John Harkes joined West Ham on loan in the Premier League in 1995. In addition, Brad Friedel signed for Liverpool in 1997 (he was also on loan at Newcastle United in 1994). So Goal.com’s assertion of Thorrington’s “first EVER!!” status is a little murky, not to mention hardly a reason someone should merit a callup.

In any case, if John Thorrington brings anything to the USMNT it’s “lot’s of club experience” because the man is also 28 years old.  Survey says: No Thanks.  Thorrington is a great player for the Fire but he does not have International quality.  Especially when so many young midfield players have greater promise and upside in the long run, (Kljestan, Holden, etc).

Best Case Scenario: Thorrington makes the bench, and comes on for 15-20 minutes in a game where we leave our European players with their clubs.

Cory Gibbs

Okay so actually, Cory Gibbs is a player that I wouldn’t mind seeing in a US Camp, so Goal.com escapes my wrath on this one.  They write:

“He’ll never be the same player that he was before the unfortunate rash of injuries, but now that he’s back on American soil playing with the Colorado Rapids, Gibbs is blossoming into someone who could once again be a more than serviceable defender on the national team level.”

Finally, some realistic expectations from Goal.com!  They’re right in asserting that Gibbs COULD be a more than serviceable defender for our squad, but he has a ways to go.  Cory is 28 years old, but his numerous injuries have aged his body considerably.  He’s lost a bit of pace and explosion and while he can get away with that in the MLS, I’m not sure he wouldn’t be easily exploited at the International level.  Gibbs had so much potential in 2006 and he was truly unlucky over the past 2 years, but he does deserve a second look.  That said, with a number of strong defensive youngsters trying to stay on the USMNT radar (Spector, Simek, Wynne, Parkhurst) Gibbs has a huge uphill climb if he wants to get into the mix.

Best Case Scenario: I don’t think Gibbs will ever break into the first XI of the USMNT.  Which is sad, because he had the potential to be a regular in 2006.  Unfortunately, 2 years have passed and if any MLS defender seems poised to challenge for a 2010 Roster spot, it’s Marvell Wynne.  Best Case for Gibbs is a bench spot, and maybe limited minutes in some friendlies.

Charlie Davies

“Davies may lack a world class first touch (although what U.S. striker doesn’t?) but his sheer speed can overcome such decencies. Bradley’s strategy of using Brian Ching to hold the ball up could use another option, and Davies might provide the needed release valve.”

Phew, it looks like Goal.com isn’t completely out of touch with everyone else on the planet.  In a not surprising move, they think that Charlie Davies deserves a look!  Well, this certainly isn’t breaking news, as anyone who remotely follows the USMNT and it’s Yanks Abroad has had an eye on Davies.  Yes he has shown great flashes for the Olympic Team, and continues to score regular goals for Hammarby.  He definitely deserves some time in Camp and on the pitch.

Best Case Scenario: Of all the players Goal.com mentions, Davies has the best chance to make the 2010 roster.  I don’t think that Davies will lock down a starting striker role, especially as he faces competition from Jozy, Landon, Freddy, and hopefully Kenny Cooper.  Davies is just 22 however and if he can continue to develop and find the net for his club, he has no where to go but up.

So there.  Take that Goal.com! I guess it’s important to mention that “Noah Davis” wrote the article for Goal, so Noah Davis makes me want to puke, not necessarily Goal.com. Sorry Noah!




  1. […] healthy to disagree sometimes (Yanked Around) Category: Daily Dose Tags: Daily Dose, Gazza, Guinea, Ismaël Bangoura, mega man, nintedno […]

  2. First of all, thanks for checking me on the Thorrington stat. That’s my error completely and I apologize. It’s been changed.

    I appreciate your clearly thoughtful, if biting, criticism, but I want to point out that I think you missed the intention of my article a bit. While I couldn’t agree more that Jozy, Freddy, and Cooper deserve a shot (perhaps I should have stated this more clearly, although I thought I did and have done in past columns), the USMNT has three games to use as testing grounds.

    The soccer world is littered with players who, for whatever reason, don’t cut it on a club level but shine internationally. All I wanted to say was why not give these guys a chance in a couple essentially meaningless games while the teenagers establish themselves in Europe? Maybe they strike gold. Probably not, but what’s the harm in giving them a chance?

  3. I never really doubted that you think Jozy/Adu/Cooper deserve a shot, as every US Soccer Fan drools over their potential inclusion, but I do disagree with your second paragraph here.

    I don’t think that players who “don’t cut it on a club level” would shine internationally, and I’m curious who you think fits this billing (and I think the players you mention ARE cutting it for their mls clubs, but unfortunately I don’t think that says much). If any of the players you mentioned did perform well for us, it would only be as a sturdy roleplayer, and in my opinion our USMNT already has far too many of those. I think this is why sometimes we lack ingenuity in our buildup.

    While I see your point somewhat on the notion of “why NOT give these guys a chance in a meaningless friendly,” I think that those games are much more important opportunities for the potential players of tomorrow; Szetela, Wynne, Holden, Rogers and even to some farther extent Jeremiah White (Davies fits here too, I agree with you on that).

    In the end, I’m glad we connected, great soccer dialogue like this only serves as the launching point for more ideas and thinking!

  4. […] Goal.com Makes Me Want To Puke […]

  5. just discovered your site about 2 weeks ago and wanted to say i think you have a great site here and you seem to be one of the few journalist who actually know what they are talking about.

  6. […] head over to this Goal.com article by Noah Davis to see him do a little victory strut.  I wrote a piece in September, criticizing Noah’s call for Thorrington and Arnaud to be included in the US Squad.  And now […]

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