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Thanksgiving Week: Waiting For Happenings

November 28, 2008

It’s been a slow holiday week, but in the spirit of posting SOMETHING, this is what’s rumbling:

Kenny Cooper: Increasing rumors about a connection with Eintracht Frankfurt have heated up the transfer talk for this FC Dallas striker.  Pair that with the fact that Dallas doesn’t seem to be willing to pay DP money for KCoop and it looks like he’ll be gone in January.  Now the only question is WHERE.  Expect suitors to come out of the woodwork over the next few weeks.  Perhaps Rosenborg and Cardiff are still interested?

Eddie Johnson: After a kind and encouraging newsweek for EJ, he played like crap against Plymouth.  To make matters worse, two Cardiff strikers are coming back from injury.  Looks like Edward will be dropped back to the bench and stuck as 4th choice striker. Lame, but can any of us actually be surprised?

Freddy Adu: Still can’t buy a game for Monaco.  After scoring for the USMNT last midweek, Freddy didn’t get of the bench in his next club game.  You could argue that ‘oh he needed to rest,’ but that’s BS in my book because he’s an 19 year old who has hardly played all year; he can handle a double gameweek.  We’ll see what happens this weekend.

Jozy Altidore: With Nihat back from injury, US fans are still holding their breath to see if Jozy is used for Villarreal in the next month.  If not, we can expect Josmer to go on loan where hopefully he will find some first team minutes.  That’s something everybody wants.

Oguchi Onyewu: As we approach the January window, it’s time to turn our focus back to Gooch.  Where might he end up?  His contract with Liege expires this year, so it seems they must sell him (if he does in fact wish to leave).  Marseille have reportedly been sniffing around the US Centre Back, and recently Anderlecht has also shown some interest (although Liege would never allow that).  Word has it that Onyewu wants to make it back to the EPL, but I’m not sure any clubs there care.  Hey…Arsenal could use a centre back…Muahha.

Landon Donovan: While it seems his move to Bayern is all but set, we still haven’t heard much from Don Garber and the MLS.  I don’t expect them to prevent the move, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a few more stupid comments and get a little bit dirty.  Landon must be counting the days until January.

Chad Marshall: The young Columbus Crew defender has had an outstanding year in the MLS, capping it off with a goal in the cup final.  Now, it seems he has ambitions to play abroad and there is plenty of interest.  Crew wouldn’t be able to pay him the money he wants, so look for Marshall to head oversees in January.

What else is going on people? Still stuffed full of Turkey?

-psc

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Eddie Johnson: Staying After School

November 21, 2008

Some encouraging news out of Wales yesterday, as we learn that Eddie Johnson is working one on one with forward coach Paul Wilkinson in some extra training sessions.  Wales Online tells us:

“The pair are staying out on the training ground at Vale of Glamorgan Hotel and Resort working on Johnson’s touch, finishing and more.

Florida-born Johnson works through team training each day and then stays for a one-on-one session with Bluebirds coach and former England Under-21 forward Wilkinson.”

This is very positive stuff to hear from Eddie Johnson, as USMNT fans have always questioned his work ethic and hunger for improvement.  It makes me happy that Eddie is putting in extra work to try and hone and focus his skill and physical talent.  I mentioned a long time ago in an entry that I didn’t think Eddie ever truly trained and developed his fundamental skills enough.  Instead he relied on his blistering speed and physical strength to get to the MLS and once he became a “star” he coasted, so to speak.  I think this kind of intricate training is just what he needs, and hopefully it’ll start showing in his matches.

We’ll have a chance to see as Cardiff take on Plymouth this weekend.  Eddie is expected to start up top again with Michael Chopra.

Huzzah.

What do you think?

–psc

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Landy Dandy Loaned To Bayern

November 20, 2008

Well there you have it.  Just as Donovan completed his 10 day training stint in Germany, Bayern has reported that he will join them on loan from January to March. Klinsmann had some positive things to say about Landon’s impression, as posted on the Bayern website (forgive the translation):

“Klinsmann has reported that Donovan in the last days of training a lasting impression did. That is what he also in talks with some experienced players. “He is an incredibly fast player who constantly one-against-one situations examined. He is a completely different Stürmertyp than those who are here as “the Bayern coach is convinced.”

I couldn’t agree more! Landon is such a different Sturmertyp!  Don’t you think so? All kidding aside, this is good news for Landon (obviously) but it also is another big test.  Bayern has stated that the loan will have an option to buy, so Donovan will need to work hard in the spring to make an impact with the German giants.  It will not be pretty if Donovan has to come back with his head low after not winning a contract.

Another article out of England has some more details:

“Donovan has spent a week and a half training at Bayern and scored both goals when the first team, minus players away on international duty, beat the club’s B team 2-1 in a practice match on Wednesday. His performances and attitude in training have impressed Klinsmann, who said he needed a fourth striker in his squad to help cover for any injuries that might hit Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose or Lukas Podolski.”

Fourth striker makes me a little nervous, but it just means that Landon will need to take every chance he gets for Bayern if he wants to stay in Europe. It is exciting though, Donovan is finally gonna need to put his money where his mouth is, and I’m pumped to see that.

What do you all think? Happy? A little nervous? Spit it out!

–psc

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Guatemala: Starting Lineup and Live Blogging!

November 19, 2008

Well surprise surprise! Check out Johnny Thorrington!

Guzan
Thorrington Goodson Parkhurst Bornstein
Mastroeni (c) Clark
Adu Kljestan
Cooper Altidore

Cooper and Altidore will start together. That makes my heart sing.  I called the Goodson Parkhurst combo also, and I’m curious how they fair against a pretty physical Guatemala attack.  Thorrington at right back is curious, and Bornstein hasn’t been in the US team for a while, so the defense makes me a little bit nervous.  Especially since Guatemala will be salivating for a win and attacking strongly.

what do you think of the lineup? check back for some live updates as the game kicks off!

–psc

90th min – Game over! Wow! A dream game for this US Squad.  Sure there were a few close calls in defense, but what a great creative attacking show from our young guys!  Kenny Cooper came to work, and got the job done!

85th min – Great save from Guzan! And the cleansheet stays safe…

82nd min – Davy Arnaud comes on for Freddy Adu and now almost all offensive creativity is sucked from our attack.

78th min – It seems that with Jozy and Kenny leaving, so went our attack.

75th min – Jozy and Kenny come off for Brian Ching and Conor Casey.

USA 2 GUAT 0

68th min – GOAL FREDDY ADU! 2-0 USA! A terrific free kick from Freddy after Jozy won the foul.  Great reason to be happy for him after his recent club struggles.

64th min- Great goalkeeping by Guatemala to deny Sasha at the backpost after a Cooper cross.

63rd min – strong long shot from Pablo and Goodson almost puts in the rebound.

60th min – Some BEAUTIFUL work by Adu and he nearly gets played in by a tricky one touch pass from Kenny Cooper.  Wowowow. Such fun attacking football.

55th min – strong shot from Freddy Adu. I’m really glad that Freddy is taking shots freely.  That’s what the USMNT needs.

USA 1 GUAT 0

53rd min – HUZZAAAAAAH GOAL! KENNY COOPER IT IS! Excellent linkup between Jozy and Kenny, and the tandem we’ve dreamed of is coming true!

47th min – Quick snapshot volley from Jozy and he just can’t keep it low.

46th min – Out of the gates right away and Cooper sends a dangerous cross into the box.

HALFTIME – Bright attacking football from USA so far, and we are unlucky to not have a goal.  I hope there aren’t any changes at the break, because this is a fun group to watch and I think everyone is performing well (yes, even Thorrington).

36th min – Freddy Adu plays a teasing ball in and Cooper can’t get it settled in time for a volley. But ooooh it was almost there!

30th min – Cooper heads off the crossbar, but is flagged for offsides.  Real positive stuff for USA so far in this first 30 minutes.

28th min – Great run by Ricardo Clark and it’s nearly rewarded when he plays a neat 1-2 pass with Adu.  He almost ends up through on goal.

21st min – WOW. Referee blows a CLEAR penalty call as a Guat defender takes out John Thorrington in the box.  That was clear as day, how did he miss that??

20th min – some beautiful one touch passing between Jozy, Kenny, and Sasha but Bornstein flubs the low cross.

17th min – GREAT run and shot by Freddy! Kljestan almost finds the rebound, by the Guat keeper makes a good save.

15th min – Thus far, US is attacking very strongly.  Guatemala is giving us plenty of time to turn and run with the ball in midfield, which really suits our strengths…

12th min – Some great interplay between Adu and Sasha leads to a great through pass to Jozy but he opts to play it across the goal instead of shoot.  Should’ve shot there Jozy!

10th min – Jozy draws a foul 35 yards out.

6th min – Jozy again using his strength to hold off the Guatemala defender and nearly lifts the ball past the keeper.

3rd min – Kenny Cooper is nearly played through, but he’s just offsides…

1st min – Quick show of strength from Jozy. Oooh boy.

PREGAME – Anthems have passed and now we’re kicking off!

PREGAME – By the way, where is Marvell Wynne?  I’d much prefer to see him terrorizing the RB spot as opposed to Thorrington…

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Game Day! And More Goal.com Junk

November 19, 2008

Only a couple hours left until kickoff for the WCQ this evening against Guatemala.  As we get ready for this match, what do we think the starting lineup will look like? Let’s take a stab.

Guzan

Bornstein Goodson Parkhurst Gibbs

Adu Mastroeni Clark Kljestan

Ching Altidore

In a perfect dreamland, Kenny and Jozy would be up top, because that’s what US fans want to see.  Two exciting young strikers who, if able to form a partnership, could terrorize international defenses.  Hopefully we can go into haltime with a goal or two, and if so, hopefully Cooper can come on for Ching after 45.  That’s very wishful though, I expect Kenny to be a sub around the 60th minute or so (maybe even later). This will be an important game for Freddy also, as he struggled last time he had a run out, and if he IS deployed on the wing tonight, his performance will be important to watch.

And if you want some true pre-game entertainment, 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 that they’ve appeared on this roster, Noah feels “vindicated” and thinks he’s walking in step with Bob Bradley’s psyche! Please.  If Thorrington or Arnaud see the pitch tonight, it’ll be for a handful of minutes and they’ll make no contribution. Book it.  If my starting lineup is close to being correct, I think the subs will be Cooper, Sean Franklin, and perhaps an unknown third depending on how the game shakes out.

Listen, I don’t mind that Thorrington and Arnaud are here for this game.  The game has no significance and alot our European Stars are hustling for PT across the pond.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves like Noah Davis and adopt the attitude that “Yea! Bob Bradley is really giving these guys a shot! And hey, maybe one of them could come in and really WOW us!”  Because that is simply not the case.  Noah says:

“Sure, there are stars who are locks for the 2010 World Cup Team, but a huge number of spots remain up for grabs”

A huge number of spots are up for grabs? Not so.  Yes there are a few spots up for grabs, and yes anything could happen injury-wise in the next year and a half.  But neither of those spots will go to Arnaud or Thorrington.  When picking attacking players for a World Cup bench, you don’t go with age or perceived “experience” (I would argue that the experience Arnaud and Thorrington have is not valuable), you go with players who can bring an injection of pace, creativity, and threat.  Players like Charlie Davies, Sasha Kljestan, and Freddy Adu (if Adu doesn’t mature enough to own a starting spot himself). Not a 32 year MLS veteran.

No offense John or Davy, but my eye remains on the bigger picture. And hey, if Thorrington scores a 10 minutes hat trick tonight, egg will be on my face.

Ready to watch the game?

–psc

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More Video of Landon

November 19, 2008

Another Bayern Munich training video has hit the German internets!  Head over to THIS link to watch the video and this time, the camera man pays some extra attention to Landon (how nice of him).

Not too much goes down in this video.  After 10 minutes of warming up, they go into a small scrimmage and Landon buzzes around blah blah.  Landon scores a tap in and mostly works to keep possession (it seems that they’re playing with a “two touch” rule).

I’m curious to see what happens in the next few weeks after the MLS Cup.  I’m sure Landon will be speaking more and more candidly about his wish to go abroad, and I expect to see at least a few words from Klinsmann and Bayern as well. From the other side, what will the LA Galaxy be saying?  They’ve already stated their intent to keep Landon with the Galaxy, but will they hold their stance as Landon becomes more and more vocal?

SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! Ah well, time will tell.  In the meantime, we have the WCQ against Guatemala coming up tonight, and I will be live blogging that game as it happens!  Hopefully we’ll have a chance to see Kenny Cooper working up top with Jozy Altidore, because every USMNT fan sees lots of potential in that pairing.

Check back later today!

–psc

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A Tear For Llorente Means A Break For Jozy

November 17, 2008

News out of Villarreal today is that Joseba Llorente has torn a muscle in his thigh.  The injury came in last weekends 2-2 draw with Malaga and now the striker is facing a month on the sideline.  While this may be bad news for Llorente and Villarreal, it could be nice for Altidore who suffers when the strikeforce is at full strength.

We can expect Rossi and Franco to continue starting up top, but it seems that Altidore will be the first striker off the bench in the next few games.  At least until Nihat returns to form which might be soon.

But before we think this is a great opportunity for Jozy, let’s remember that there’s another side to this coin.  If Jozy plays another game for Villarreal, he is unable to be loaned out in January.  I believe that is the rule.  So while Jozy may get to play in the short term (in Llorente’s absence), in the long term he may find himself trapped deep in the rotation once spring rolls around and every striker is healthy.

So we’ll see what happens this weekend, and if Jozy makes an appearance.  But before that, we can turn our attention to Wednesday and hope Jozy has a strong showing against Guatemala.

Thoughts?

–psc