Posts Tagged ‘Damarcus Beasley’

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Saturday: The Ups And Downs

December 6, 2008

Michael Bradley is sadly back to the bench today for BMG as they face Bayer Leverkusen.  After 45 minutes, BMG are down 2 – nil.  God Moenchengladbach is a mess.  They currently sit second to last in the league table.  If they get relegated, the team is only gonna get worse, as you have to figure Marin (at least) will be sold.  Hopefully Bradley is just getting a rest this weekend, as earlier in the week the BMG manager expressed some disappointment in the young American’s fitness.

UPDATE: Match finished 3-1 and Bradley came on in the 63rd minute.

Clint Dempsey went the full 90 today in Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Craven Cottage.  A good result from Fulham, who is starting to remind me of their Coleman-era squad.  They are getting gritty draws and in a good mid table position.  Dempsey looked good today, staying active and positive in attack, although he did have a few chances at goal that he could have executed better (a few stray headers and at least one stray shot).

If anyone cares, Eddie Johnson isn’t part of the squad today for CFC’s match against Preston North End.  Sad stuff.  Who smells a move back to MLS for EJ?  I brought him back to FC Dallas in my Fifa 09 Manager Mode, and he’s done quite well for me. Har har.

Over in dreary Scotland, Damarcus Beasley is back in the first XI for Rangers as they battle Hamilton.  Maurice Edu (where the hell has he been?) is on the bench for the ‘Gers. The Beas has looked strong so far, playing some dangerous balls into the box from the wing. Hopefully he can grab an assist or goal, that’d be nice.

UPDATE: Wow. Rangers went on to win 7-1 behind a Boyd Hat Trick.  No assists or goals for Beas, and Edu STILL didn’t see the pitch. yikes.

Sheffield Wednesday returned Frank Simek to the starting lineup today in their 1-1 draw with Southampton.  Simek might’ve been a bit accountable for Southampton’s goal, but by all accounts played very well in his first full 90 minutes with the first team since injury.  He came forward and delivered dangerous crosses on multiple occassions. Great news for Simek and USMNT fans, hopefully he can stay in the squad and get back on Bob’s radar.

PREGAME: as we await the start of the Villarreal game, rumor is floating around that Jozy Altidore will start again this match with Rossi.  Apparently Pelligrini was very happy with Jozy’s play last week. Check out the deets here

More to come as the day wears on, Villarreal take on Getafe, blah blah. Go team.

What games are you watching?

–psc

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US Roster For TnT: If Rolfe Plays, I’ll Kill Myself

October 15, 2008

GOALKEEPERS

Brad Guzan, Troy Perkins

DEFENDERS

Jonathan Bornstein, Danny Califf, Frankie Hejduk, Michael Orozco, Heath Pearce, Marvell Wynne

MIDFIELDERS

Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Danny Szetela, José Francisco Torres

FORWARDS

Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Chris Rolfe

So who’s gonna start? This is a fun roster because of all the youth, but it’s also a risky roster. I think we’ll see this:

Guzan

Pearce, Califf, Edu, Hejduk

Beasley (c), Kljestan, Torres, Szetela

Altidore, Adu

It’s also possible that Orozco starts as a CB with Califf and that could push Edu into central midfield with Kljestan.  If that’s the case, who goes to the bench? Szetela or Torres? I think Szetela would get the nod in that scenario and Torres would move to the bench, but who knows.  As for Adu, you COULD make the argument that Davies will start over him, but I think that Adu will play as a withdrawn striker in what will probably look like a 4-5-1.

Check back later tonight and I’ll be live blogging the game! Huzzah.

–psc

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USA 6, Cuba 1: All Systems Go

October 15, 2008
"I'm not anorexic, I promise"

"I'm not anorexic, I promise"

Well well well.  As a USMNT fan, is it possible to be up set with the 6-1 victory of Cuba on Saturday?  Is there really any way you can walk away from watching that game and have a sour taste in your mouth? HOW COULD THAT BE?!

Alright, enough with the melodrama. All in all, Saturday’s game was a bright spot for the USMNT that saw alot of very positive attacking play and solid defending.  Damarcus Beasley grabbed his first international goals in almost a year and half of play, and that has to make Walter Smith happy.  On the flip side, we have to remind ourselves that most CONCACAF opponents are horrible.  We SHOULD be beating Cuba 6-1.  Okay, Let’s check it out by position.

DEFENDERS

No big surprises here.  Cuba couldn’t really test our back four, and the one goal they DID grab, was a fluke-ish and lucky strike.  Gooch and Boca played well in the middle, and did a relatively good job building up play from the back.  There were even some instances where Onyewu played some slicing passes into the feet of Donovan and Ching.  I love seeing that from defenders, because that kind of accurate passing to link with our offensive players can be really priceless.  Dolo played well, if relatively quietly, and didn’t see too much action on the right side.  I think the brightest spot in our back four tonight was Heath; he did an excellent job of pushing forward and getting involved in the attack, delivering a slew of great crosses (one resulting in Landon’s goal).  He also had some clutch tackles up and down the left side.  However,  I think that Pearce does lack one vital wingback trait, and that’s PACE.  When the USMNT faces tougher opposition I don’t think Pearce really has the skill or speed to really beat other world class wing players.  But time will tell I suppose.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget Gooch’s 90 minute goal, a great header.  Although the star of that goal might’ve been Freddy Adu (no offense Gooch).

MIDFIELD

There you are Beasley!!  So Damarcus finally is getting some finishing done.  We can’t fault him for two strong goals, and this is the execution that we certainly NEED from him.  Because besides his goals, I don’t think Beasley looked that special out there.  He certainly has the pace to beat defenders, but he doesn’t have the trickery to really put his marker off balance.  The majority of his 1v1 ability seems to be “push it past and hope,” but this isn’t going to work when you weigh 90 pounds.  Beasley’s strength is using his speed to get the behind the defense and latch onto through balls, which is exactly what led to his goals today.

Next up, I think Kljestan featured very well today, and he’s making a strong case for himself as a partner to Michael Bradley.  They seem to play well together, as Sacha focuses on going forward and creating offense with Mikey sitting back and tackling, crashing the box when necessary.  I thought Kljestan orchestrated well, grabbing two assists, and he was unlucky to not have a goal on his excellent header (which Ching ended up scoring).  If Kljestan can keep improving his protection of the ball and lower his turnovers, I think he could be our starting center midfielder through the hexagonal.

Bradley Jr and Dempsey had pretty quiet games.  I was happy to see Michael getting forward on occassion and he had one or two good chances from the top of the 18 yard box.  If he can find some finishing prowess, it would be great to have someone who can strike some nice long shots from outside the box (but it might be a little wishful to expect this from Mikey B).  Dempsey didn’t let anyone down, and should’ve had a goal in the opening minutes.  He attacked strongly and by my estimation is still playing well for the US, hopefully Hodgson gets him in this weekend.

FORWARDS

Landon is the hero of the day.  Yes, the opposition has been inferior, but I finally see Donovan imposing himself on the match, and I think he did an excellent job of staying on the ball tonight.  The biggest problem we’ve seen from Donovan in the past, is his tendency to disappear for long stretches.  Against Cuba he came back deep for the ball and seemed to always be involved in the offensive buildup.  This is crucial if we are going to build a cohesive attack.  He grabbed a well deserved assist and goal, and his pace provided real problems for the Cuban defense.

Okay, Brian Ching played well tonight.  His holdup play and subsequent distribution to Heath Pearce which led to Landon’s goal was EXCELLENT.  I am a little resentful to see Ching get on the scoresheet, because it was a true poachers goal and pretty much stolen off the goal line from Kljestan.  But hey, that’s how Ching scores, and a goal IS a goal.  This was a good game from Brian but let’s be honest, we all saw Jozy come on, and we all KNOW that the future is Jozy and Landon (with maybe some Kenny Cooper sprinkled in, right).

SUBS

Jozy Altidore came on the 68th minute and USMNT fans everywhere tried to contain their elation.  He made an impact right away, and nearly scored within three minutes of being on the pitch.  His ability to use his body is amazing and shows such maturity for someone only 19 years old.  He can just shrug off defenders and create space for himself with great ease, and this is so important for a striker when trying to get a shot off.  His goal in the 87th was well earned and finished, and if he plays a good number of minutes against TnT (which I expect), I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more goals from the man I will now dub as “The Future.”

Torres also came on in the 68th for his first cap. Hurrah Jose.  While he didn’t really do anything noteworthy, he definitely seemed to fit in right away, maintaining our offensive flow and finding the right pass.  I’m excited to see him against TnT and hopefully he’ll be given some more freedom to dictate the pace of our attack. I think this kid has alot of potential.

Last but not least, Freddy Adu came on the 74th and was relatively quiet for the final minutes.  Of course, he did very well to beat his defender and deliver and excellent cross in the dying moments for Gooch to head home, so that is certainly a positive.  Not too much to critique though, hopefully he gets some more time against Trinidad, and I think he will.

DISCLAIMER: for as happy as we all are with this victory, lets remember that Cuba played the majority of the game with 10 men and had a depleted squad because of defectors.  Not that I want to rain on anybody’s parade, but let’s just remember that and hope that the US squad does too.

In all, a great result and I can’t wait for Wednesday’s match.  Bring it on Soca Warriors.  Hopefully the ESPN feed isn’t shitty.

–psc

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Sunday Stuff: Dempsey Rumors and More

September 28, 2008
Will work for...work?

Will work for...work?

In more fun with new gossip and flighty rumors, News of the World reports today that Clint Dempsey may be planning an escape from Fulham:

“…Clint Dempsey is looking to leave Craven Cottage after being frozen out of the first team by Roy Hodgson.”

COULD IT BE TRUE?! WHAT!? Who the hell knows, at this point publishing a rumor like this is hardly groundbreaking.  Every USMNT fan is wondering about Dempsey’s future at Fulham and his inability to see the pitch under Roy Hodgson.  Not to mention, it doesn’t help his case that the Cottagers haven’t had a horrible start without him in the lineup.  It could very well be true that Dempsey is not in the plans of Hodgson this season, and it’s only natural that Clint would want to find a home where he COULD feature (he’s not one to be satisfied with a sub role).

My Thoughts: Much too early to tell.  In my opinion, this rumor has probably just been stirred up by Dempsey’s camp to see what kind of interest is out there.  Unfortunately, I’m not convinced Clint would garner much attention from other quality EPL clubs, so a move abroad could materialize (I don’t think he’d join a Prem club fighting relegation, but who knows).  Despite it all, it’s important to remember that Dempsey is certainly not one to give up, and he is sure to continue fighting for a first team spot.  If he can continue to produce for the USMNT in upcoming qualifiers, I don’t think Hodgson will be able to ignore him.

Ah well, what do you all think? Will Dempsey earn back a regular role for Fulham? Is it time for him to move on? Chime in and let’s hear it. Also, check back later today and we can see if Freddy make’s the Monaco squad!

UPDATE:

Freddy Adu came on as a 79 minute substitution in the midfield as Monaco fell 2-0 to Lille.  Another disappointing result and more meager minutes for Adu. I think Adu touched ball about once after he came on, which isn’t exactly his fault.  The Monaco link up play is atrocious.  Bottom line: Adu needs to see major minutes if he’s gonna impact the game and help rescue Monaco.  He could provide the midfield to forward link up play that they desperately need.  Also worth notin, Park played another 90 minutes, and failed to produce.

Neither Maurice Edu and Damarcus Beasley even made the bench today in the Rangers 3-0 win over Hibernian.  No reason to be worried about it yet.  If they don’t make the bench again next weekend, then we can think about worrying.

–psc

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More Cup Action: Adu starts for Monaco

September 24, 2008

Freddy got a start today and went 69 minutes for Monaco as they lost 1-0 to PSG in the French League Cup.  He played as a striker and by all accounts looked strong in attack.  He made sharp runs in the offensive third that unfortunately often went unrewarded by his teammates, as he was caught offsides a few times due to late passes.  The announcers also seemed impressed with his contributions and we can only hope that Gomes felt the same way.  Park replaced him up top as Monaco searched for the equalizing goal, but he could not provide any scoring either.  I’d be curious to see Park and Freddy up top together and see if they can combine for anythng promising.  Hopefully can still feature this weekend for Monaco, and let’s pray that Gomes sees the promise that we all do in the American youngster.

In other Tuesday developments, Villarreal will take on Racing Santandar today, but Altidore did not make the bench.  Both Nihat and Rossi are back from injury, so Jozy has been pushed further down the chart.  I’m curious if Villarreal will keep him simply for the Copa del Rey or if they will more seriously consider loaning him out.  It’s a little frightening to think Jozy might not see any first team action until January, but at least he is still training with the best.

Rennes and Carlos are in French League Cup action later today, so we’ll talk about that later on!  Also, the Rangers play today in a Cup game, so hopefully Edu and Beasley will see some time.  This could be an important game for Maurice to prove his stuff if he can get on the pitch.  Last but not least, Howard and Everton line up against Blackburn in Carling Cup play.  Also in CC today is Aston Villa, and maybe even Guzan will get to play?

UPDATE:

Carling Cup

ASTON VILLA 0 QPR 1

Brad Guzan started in net for Villa, but ultimately he was the one to blame after a poor clearance resulted in the only goal of the match. Guzan was called into action on only a few occasions, but did make a some nice saves.

Scottish Co-operative Insurance Cup

RANGERS 2 PARTICK 1

Beasley came on in the 70th minute and assisted on the gamewinner in Extra Time.  Edu was on the bench for the match, but did not see the pitch and will hope to play a part this weekend.  Beasley still looked a bit rusty, but he did provide a spark and I have a feeling he’ll stay as a super sub for the Rangers for the forseeable future.

–psc

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Edu Starts for Rangers: Saturday Action

September 13, 2008
What Up Scotland?

What Up Scotland?

SPL

RANGERS 2 KILMARNOCK 1

Both Maurice Edu and Damarcus Beasley started tonight for Rangers in a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock. Edu played the first 60 minutes of the match and left a good impression, passing well and winning a number of tackles in the midfield.  By contrast, Beasley (who was replaced at halftime) saw a lot of the ball, but had trouble posing a threat as he was dispossessed often on offense.  He did win a number of fouls for the Gers, but he needs to start beating defenders if he wants to stay in the lineup.

My Thoughts: Sweet stuff for Maurice Edu, who was gifted a starting spot after Kevin Thomson failed a late fitness test.  He played well and hopefully he continues to impress in his chances, although I think he’ll go back to being a substitute once Thomson returns.  Beasley looks to be in a small rut right now, unable to really attack with confidence. Hopefully he can work the kinks out.

Ligue 1

MONACO 2 LORIENTE 0

Freddy Adu came on in the 79th minute as Monaco posted a victory against Loriente today.  He had a few nice touches on the ball but really wasn’t involved much, but at least he came on sooner than the 85th minute.  It probably doesn’t bode well that Monaco’s new signing Park started up top and scored a goal.

you can watch video of Adu’s 12 minutes HERE

Check in tomorrow to see if Michael Bradley debuts for ‘Gladbach and if Jozy sees the pitch for Villarreal!

–psc

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USA 1 Cuba 0: Trudging Through WCQ

September 9, 2008
This one's for you Mr. Hodgson.

This one's for you Mr. Hodgson

Well, it wasn’t pretty, but we ground out another win on the road and this time around I think there were a few more positives trickled through the match.  Sure, our lineup still lacked the youth and excitement that so many of us dream of (Jozy, Cooper, Adu), but there were some strong performances on Saturday. Let’s have a look:

DEFENDERS

Overall, another solid performance in the back.  Although I prefer the excitment of Wynne, I’ll be the first to admit that Hejduk played more than adequately in Cherundolo’s absence.  He managed to get forward on a number of occassions and get a few crosses in the box.  I also can’t fault his defensive work rate, which is top notch.  On the other side, Pearce rebounded from a poor showing in Guatemala to play quite well against Cuba.  He prevailed in a number of 1 on 1 situations, stifling the Cuba attack, and also did his best to get forward when possible.  A much cleaner performance from the Rostock man.

In central defense, Bocanegra was solid and forgettable; something that you can’t really fault in a center defender.  He played consistently and steered clear of any large mistakes.  Onyewu on the other hand, did have some lapses in concentration and touch on which a better opponent would have certainly capitalized.  By no means did Gooch have a poor game, but he did lose the ball a few times in our defensive third when almost under zero pressure.  If he wants to make the jump to the world’s elite defensive pool, he needs to improve his focus.

Oh yea, Tim Howard played great, as he usually does.  Enough said.

MIDFIELDERS

Kudos to Bradley for finally recognizing that Dempsey as a striker is just not effective.  I foreshadowed this move in my Match Preview, and like I suggested, Bradley switched Donovan and Dempsey.  Dempsey is a player who needs the ball at his feet to make things happen; making runs off the ball just isn’t his strong suit.  Deploying him on the wing, gave him the opportunity to run at Cuban defenders, and we saw his success in this a handful of times as he beat white shirts down the wing.  It was also interesting to see Dempsey floating into the center of the pitch on a number of occassions during our attack.  This allowed space for Hejduk to push forward and hold down the right wing while we stacked numbers in the box.  This is also how the US produced Dempseys goal.  As Dempsey, Ching, and Donovan loaded the box, Onyewu’s long ball was knocked down, and Dempsey provided a crisp finish.  Overall, much better stuff from Clint and hopefully he can continue improving.

In the central midfield, Maurice and Michael paired nicely with Edu playing a more offensive role and Bradley sitting back.  On the whole, I think Edu had an inconsistent game, but there were a few stretches in the first half where I really appreciated his effort getting involved in the attack.  He provided some great link play between our midfield and strikers, (something that we OFTEN lack) playing some smart 1-2 passes with our wings and strikers.  Unfortunately, Edu had a forgettable second half that was marred by some poor turnovers.  Consistency will be key for Edu as he continues to get minutes, because if we can have his help in creating offense for a full 90, we’ll create so many more attacking opportunities.

Last and not least, Beasley also had a relatively strong showing (I know alot of people think he was horrible).  He did lack some quality in his final touch, most notably his miss on a wide open net, but I think his touch will return with some more consisten playing time.  The positive’s I see in his performance come from his ability to get into threatening positions.  Yes he blew some great chances, but he did show good movement to get in those places.  He still has the left wing spot locked up in my opinion, and his pace gives us a good threat on the wing.  Defensively I thought he brought the same tenacity that we often see from him in man marking and tackling and his defensive workrate is a great compliment to his game.

FORWARDS

It was nice seeing Landon up top, and I think he is much more effective as a striker than as a wide player.  I think the issue of where he truly “fits” still remains, because I can’t see him as a long term option at striker, but he really is too good of a player to keep out of the lineup.  I’m interested to see a Donovan/Altidore pairing at some point and seeing if they can create some true chemistry.  Brian Ching, man, I’m really tired of seeing him in a USA uniform, but he did play better this game.  His touch is still atrocious and he blew a GREAT chance in the 28th minute.  We all know he isn’t the answer to our striking trouble, so what else is there to say?

LOOKING FORWARD TO T&T

I imagine we will see a fairly unchanged lineup tomorrow night.  Cherundolo will most likely step back in for Hejduk, but I’m sure Ching will still stay up front.  Bradley was quoted as saying he’s liking what EJ is doing in training, so perhaps we’ll see Eddie come on for Brian in this match, especially as its the second game this week.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kljestan come on for Dempsey again as well, considering Clint still isn’t getting many match minutes at Fulham.

I just hope we can score more than 1 goal, and I think this will be possible since I don’t think T&T will be playing 90 minutes of defense.  I expect them to come out trying to sneak a point off of us, so that should open up opportunities for the USA in counterattack. Not to mention we’ll have some home field advantage.

What’d you think of the game?  Think I’m way off base?

–psc