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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

OT: 2016 Summer Soccer Thread

Special Randy Jones Summer Soccer Thread!

Upcoming Dates of Note
June 3 - Copa America begins (US v. Colombia) All games on Fox family.
June 10 - Euro 2016 begins (France v. Romania) All games on ESPN family.
June 28-29 - Champions League first round qualifiers.
June 30 - Europa League first round qualifiers.
August 3- Women’s Olympic soccer beings (many games including USA v. New Zealand) All games on NBC family.
August 4 - Men’s Olympic soccer begins (many games including Mexico v. Germany) All games on NBC family.
August 7 - Community Shield (England).  Leicester City vs. Manchester United.
August 13 - English Premier League Begins.
August 20 - Serie A begins.
August 21 - La Liga begins.
August 25 - Champions League Group Stage Draw.
August 26 - Bundesliga begins.

Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 01, 2016 at 02:36 PM | 1532 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: football, off topic, soccer

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   101. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 05, 2016 at 05:42 PM (#5236906)
How much responsibility does the player have on his follow through? I thought that was a harsh red. Yeah he caught the Venezuela player with the studs up but his foot travelled maybe a 12-18 inches after he kicked the ball. I realize the player needs to have control but that's a bit much.
   102. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 05, 2016 at 06:13 PM (#5236922)
Definitely thought it was a harsh red, for the exact reason you articulate.
   103. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 05, 2016 at 07:00 PM (#5236947)
To play that long up a man I was unimpressed with Venezuela.
   104. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2016 at 07:47 PM (#5236962)
The USWNT result was obviously better today, but I wasn't that impressed. I'm virtually certain the second goal was offside (Dunn on the initial pass, not Morgan on the goal), and I think the first one was off too. Heath was better but the defenders still handled her reasonably well. Press was off on her shooting and her passing. Dunn was a turnover machine, and we still have too many unforced errors out of the back. Long continues to not impress me, but it looks like she's going to Rio.

The team has lots of strengths, and it seems petty to be harsh on the defending WC Champions, but I really do expect a dominant team to, well, dominate.
   105. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 05, 2016 at 08:07 PM (#5236967)
That was not the quietest moment of silence I've ever heard.
   106. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 05, 2016 at 08:09 PM (#5236968)
Seriously? They played the wrong anthem?
   107. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2016 at 08:18 PM (#5236972)
Nice goal for Mexico. Reminds me of the one Alex Morgan scored on Thursday, except where she scored with her shoulder, Herrera scored with his defender's face.
   108. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2016 at 08:23 PM (#5236976)
The USWNT result was obviously better today, but I wasn't that impressed. I'm virtually certain the second goal was offside (Dunn on the initial pass, not Morgan on the goal), and I think the first one was off too. Heath was better but the defenders still handled her reasonably well. Press was off on her shooting and her passing. Dunn was a turnover machine, and we still have too many unforced errors out of the back. Long continues to not impress me, but it looks like she's going to Rio.

The team has lots of strengths, and it seems petty to be harsh on the defending WC Champions, but I really do expect a dominant team to, well, dominate.

They were much better, though you're right that both goals should probably have been disallowed. But they were very much in control for most of the game, and were far more prepared to keep possession. On a different day, Press would've scored one for sure. And they were clearly less worried about forcing in the attack since they had a solid lead.

I still really REALLY would like to see them experiment with addressing their weaknesses in midfield through different tactics, rather than just pushing the same players out there and expecting their individual talent to overwhelm the lack of real coherence in the system.
   109. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2016 at 08:49 PM (#5237005)
What in the world is going on? Uruguay look DREADFUL. Like, if you told me this wasn't actually Uruguay but was Suriname or something, I'd find that totally plausible. How on earth is Mexico only up one goal?
   110. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 05, 2016 at 08:55 PM (#5237013)
This has been a disaster for Uruguay and now the red. All they need is Cavani to channel his inner Suarez and bite someone.
   111. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 05, 2016 at 09:41 PM (#5237048)
10 on 10 and Uruguay get even! As bad as they were in the first half they've been the better team in the second half even before that.
   112. frannyzoo Posted: June 05, 2016 at 09:44 PM (#5237054)
Dude, that Godin can head the ball, man. I noticed how cocky Mexico looked coming out of the tunnel after the Half (watching on Univision, so you get the 1000% Mexico coverage).
   113. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2016 at 09:44 PM (#5237055)
This game is madness. Just total chaos.
   114. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 05, 2016 at 09:53 PM (#5237066)
This is crazy. And so much fun.
   115. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2016 at 09:56 PM (#5237076)
Can we make them play another 90 minutes? I don't want this to ever end.
   116. frannyzoo Posted: June 05, 2016 at 10:06 PM (#5237088)
#flashscorefail on the old auto-description of tonight's game:

We have been watching a lacklustre game with only a few moments to stir the crowds. The players surely have higher capabilities, they just needed to motivate themselves to a better performance. We have witnessed dominance of the home side in today's game. It was obvious that the hosts tried to outplay their opposition with some passing football, while the visitors focused on counter-attacking play.


I wonder how many bottles would have been thrown if there had been more "moments to stir the crowds."
   117. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 12:14 AM (#5237139)
Kante's release clause triggered by PSG, and at this point who knows if Mahrez also has a clause. Leicester will have to spend very well to make up for the players they'll be losing.


I'm not sure how you replace Kante, exactly. Maybe if the Sandro of 4 seasons ago was available, you could get to maybe 70% of Kante, but that's probably optimistic.

Mahrez supposedly has a release clause, but haven't seen for how much. Assuming he stayed, would pairing him as a striker with Okasaki work?

LC has CL play to offer, but despite their Pot 1 status, at this rate they're going to struggle to get out of the group stage.

A last random thought on Vardy... I've read a lot of press on the order of "Well, it's Arsenal, so he's got to go, etc., etc..." but I'm having my doubts that he's going to fit in with how Arsenal are set up. Is the plan to pair him with Giroux? Play Giroux behind Vardy? How's that work, exactly?

Look, I get that you could do a hell of a lot worse than to add a Vardy for 22 million pounds, but it just seems to me there are teams he'd be a better fit with... And of course one of them is LC, where he fits more or less perfectly. I'm not sure he's going to find the grass greener...
   118. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 12:42 AM (#5237143)
A question for the youth coaches out there. I had a scenario happen today that, as a coach, I wasn't sure of the best way of handling it, and figured the collective wisdom of BTF's soccer contingent could help...

Championship Game of a end-of-season tournament. We're playing a team that's beaten us 3 times in past 9 months. While they're only 1 flight above us, the reality is they've won something like 21 straight games with a +60 GD over that span... Basically they should be 2-3 flights higher at least, but have not pushed for better competition, they've just accepted the mandatory 1 flight up promotion the league imposes on all teams that win a flight (not that this affects what happened today; it's just to give you some context).

Anyway, they blitz us for 5 goals in first 15 minutes and while most of our team keeps giving it the college try, they still run all over us, and it's 8-0 with 15 to play. Now, normally, the in-league mercy rule is 6, but tournaments (including this one) don't often have one. But at 8-0 he tells his team to start taking the ball to the corner flags, and then puts 5 back on defense (in an 8v8 game)... I guess because he wanted to preserve the shutout.

Well, miraculously, our fastest kid gets a breakaway and we score with about 5 minutes left. Naturally, we don't celebrate because, you know, it's 8-1. But the kids on the OTHER team start getting excited because... Their coach shouts out that they're allowed to score again now! And so the onslaught is on again as they seek that elusive 9th goal... But much to their chagrin, the game ends only 8-1.

Now... one of the other coaches on our team started barking at their coach as soon as he yelled that they could go on and score again, effectively asking "why is 8 not enough for you?". He got so angry he had to walk away from the sidelines. My other coach got into a finger pointing confrontation with the opposing coach as they shook hands with the ref after the game, again, on the order of "I'm sorry you didn't get to score as much as you wanted..." I sort of had to step in both times and basically just pull them away from the confrontation, but my question is this: What IS the right way to express your extreme disgust with how the other coach handled themselves/the game situation?

I've tried playing this over in my head, and I'm not sure I know. The fact is, I've come across coaches like this (I'm sure all the coaches on here have), and the fact is: no matter what you say it won't matter--they are who they are, and your attempt to confront or shame them for their unsportsmanlike behavior will be met with... Nothing. Because they truly, madly, deeply, do not give two ##### about you or your kids, or anything else other than: crush the other team.

So when faced with this, I'm really at a loss with what to do. I could say "Hey, good game, but you know, that was really unsportsmanlike what you did at the end there, pushing for that 9th goal." but that coach doesn't give a #### what you say, and he's never, ever, ever going to change his approach because of anything you say, so... what's the point? But at the same time, for the sake of the kids you coach who feel utterly humiliated, you feel compelled to do *something*...

Anyway, this type of situation--I'll confess--has been the hardest for me to figure out how to handle as a coach. Not in terms of how to handle my players (I simply reminded them after the game that there were several other teams who were sitting at home, not knowing what it felt like to play in a championship game, but that they DID, and reminded them of the hard-fought games they had to win to get to that point, etc.), but in terms of how to handle the other adults in the opposing technical area.

So I figured I'd throw it open to suggestions, as I know there are a bunch of coaches on here: How have you handled this type of situation? Do you say something? Bark at them? Shake their hand with a smile while whispering \"#### you for what you did right there..."? Refuse to shake their hand after the game? Say nothing? I'm genuinely curious. Thanks in advance...

   119. Richard Posted: June 06, 2016 at 03:55 AM (#5237151)
Anyway, this type of situation--I'll confess--has been the hardest for me to figure out how to handle as a coach. Not in terms of how to handle my players (I simply reminded them after the game that there were several other teams who were sitting at home, not knowing what it felt like to play in a championship game, but that they DID, and reminded them of the hard-fought games they had to win to get to that point, etc.), but in terms of how to handle the other adults in the opposing technical area.

So I figured I'd throw it open to suggestions, as I know there are a bunch of coaches on here: How have you handled this type of situation? Do you say something? Bark at them? Shake their hand with a smile while whispering \"#### you for what you did right there..."? Refuse to shake their hand after the game? Say nothing? I'm genuinely curious. Thanks in advance...


You should certainly say nothing in front of either set of players. It's not the fault of the kids on the other team, and they shouldn't feel bad if they are trying to score goals.

I would shake hands, and nothing more. Whilst sitting back for a while, and then attacking again, is odd behaviour, if there is no mercy rule that is something just to be accepted, isn't it? The people who I would say something to are coaches whose players cheat or commit horrible fouls. There's no place for either.

I saw something last season from the other side. My son plays to a decent standard at under 14 level in an 11 a side league. The league starts at under 13 level - it's 8 a side before that - and they put all of the teams in an open draw and had mini leagues to split them into divisions. My son's team won one of the mini league games 22-1. The coach mixed up the team, switched players around, played the worst players in the second half, and still the goals came, it was such a mismatch: it was horrible to watch, even as a parent of one of the winning team. One thing the coach did, which was to his credit, was immediately substitute a player who made fun of one of the opposition when they scored an own goal.
   120. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 06, 2016 at 08:52 AM (#5237167)
I coached a 5th grade basketball team a few years ago that was terrible. We lost every game and only one game was closer than 25 points. Hell, we almost got shut out once. Fortunately we never played a team that I felt like was truly running it up on us so I never really encountered this situation.

I think I would take the approach of not saying anything to the other coach. As you say he's going to be a ######### no matter what so you really aren't likely to accomplish anything and it avoids a situation where the guy responds in a way that kicks off a shouting match that you don't want to have with the kids watching.

FWIW it sounds like your approach with the kids was the right one. That's always a tough situation.
   121. ursus arctos Posted: June 06, 2016 at 10:16 AM (#5237244)
   122. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:24 AM (#5237334)
Richard & Jose--thanks for your advice. Saying nothing is, I'm sure, the right approach. Again--me personally, I realize that with no mercy rule you're at the "mercy" of the other coach in such situations, and to be honest had he just kept scoring--that I would have been fine with (as there's no rule saying he can't). The whole of my problem with what he did is that he decided an 8 GD was enough, went for the corner flags, and THEN turned them back on as soon as the GD got back down to 7. It struck me as deeply unsportsmanlike, but that's a problem with his mentality that nothing I say is ever going to change... I just have to have faith that karma gets such people in the end. :)

The league starts at under 13 level - it's 8 a side before that - and they put all of the teams in an open draw and had mini leagues to split them into divisions.


I confess this is a very interesting idea to me. With the US Soccer age group changes hitting our league for next season (we decided to adopt it now rather than waiting for the 2017-2018 season where it's mandatory), this might be a useful thing. As it is now, we have to fill out a questionnaire regarding our records the previous year, how many kids we have returning, how many are "playing up," the age of our oldest kid, etc... And it's still going to lead to imperfect flighting. I'm bracing for dealing with getting beat down and having to manage beat downs of other teams as flighting gets sorted out, but it's not going to be pretty in the Fall.
   123. spivey Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:44 AM (#5237352)
I don't know what Leicester could do, if anything, to match salary on what Arsenal would pay Vardy, but I think they should.

I agree with TE that I don't see Vardy as a great fit for them. He seems like a counter attacking striker through and through. Not that he's not good at other things, but frankly with their style of play I think Giroud is better than him.

Similarly he seems exactly what Leicester need.

Kante is "better", but I think less valuable. You can find other good box to box defensive mids if you look around, and their defense should be good regardless if they can keep the rest of the guys and keep the same work rate.

Also, TE, I think you handled the situation well. I'd have probably made a comment to the kids of "That coach seems like a bit of a jerk, but you're going to have to deal with jerks in your life sort of spiel." I remember having a few coaches mention stuff like that, and I appreciated it. Either way, I think most kids are smart. If you get to the championship game, you had a good season. I think kids know that.
   124. spivey Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:46 AM (#5237355)
I think I played in a junior high JV basketball game where we lost 93-8 or some such. Sometimes getting the absolute #### kicked out of you in sports is good for competitive kids, though that doesn't necessarily justify jerkish behavior.
   125. jmurph Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:58 AM (#5237368)
I coached a freshman basketball team and realized much too late in our first game that we hadn't really spent much time in practice on any defense other than our full court press (we had a lot of height and the best players really enjoyed playing defense; my job was very easy). All of a sudden with like 2 minutes to go we're up big and I realize my kids are still out there hounding the other team full court. Had to call a timeout and explain "no seriously, just let them bring it up, we're winning. It's okay." Then had to apologize to the other coach.
   126. Topher Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:58 AM (#5237370)
TE -- No coaching experience here. But as somebody with years of reffing experience, I'd say you are best to let it go. I honestly don't think there is much likelihood you are going to change the mindset. And while it's unlikely, I've witnessed too many ugly scenes on the sidelines. Adults tend not to act like adults during youth matches. You mostly likely would say something and nothing would come of it. But I've seen maybe a dozen or so incidents after matches that either had violence or came way too close to having violence erupt. (That's a dozen out of maybe 1500 or so matches. So not likely. But still ....)

I suspect that you weren't completely dispassionate about the situation. It'd hard to not to be at least a tiny bit hot under the collar about the situation. If you get even a bit emotional in your comments, that increases the likelihood that the response is emotional and who knows where the situation goes from there. Please be clear that I'm not calling you out TE. I think it would be very hard for anybody to be completely calm/rational in the immediate aftermath if you approached the other coach. I know I wouldn't be able to pull it off.

I've been physically assaulted once as a ref. It was in a situation somewhat similar to this. I was in a tournament in Tulsa and I think it was a U14 game. One team appeared to be your standard run of the mill rec league team of boys from the neighborhood. The other was not and was comprised of young men; the vast majority had gone through puberty and the average player probably had 4 inches and 25 pounds over the other team. The men physically dominated the boys and the game was something like 7-0 at the end. After the game, the coach of the boys came running at me. I was quite nervous since he seemed to have some crazy eyes but the first words out of his mouth were, "You did a good job." But then he protested that there was no way that these two teams should have faced off and it was completely unfair to his team. Can't say I disagreed but obviously nothing of my doing. This took place in about 15-20 seconds. During that time, the coach of the men saw that the other coach was running at me and he came to assist me. At which point the coach of the boys started yelling at the coach of the men. And after about 30 seconds of screaming, the boys coach decided to throw a punch at the mens coach. I tried to get in between the two and in doing so the boys coach decided to pop me in the jaw. So I might have a tiny bit of bias when I say it is best to let things go after the match. :)
   127. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 01:18 PM (#5237430)
Topher--thanks for the comments; that's awful what happened to you, and if there's one thing we try to make clear it's that you have to respect the match officials above all else. That a coach would think a ref had anything to do with arranging matches is a bit weird to begin with, of course...

To be honest I was certainly upset, but once one of our coaches barked something with about 5 minutes to go, I quickly realized that--at least on our sideline--I had to be the one who was dispassionate at the end of the game. And to be honest, nothing clever was coming to mind to say, so saying nothing seemed the best course of action--which is what I did. I wound up pulling the other coach away after he did say something (which I didn't hear, even though I was closer than any kids were to the encounter), because (as you would have predicted) the other coach blew up, fingers started pointing, etc.

If nothing else, the incident was instructive.
   128. The_Ex Posted: June 06, 2016 at 01:55 PM (#5237465)
I have coached in games (baseball), and been a spectator at games, where there were no brakes applied and I, or others, have said something to the other coach. This one is different. The other coach realized there was a line and he wanted his guys to live by it. He wasn't trying to totally run up the score, he established a limit of 8 and he stuck to it. He probably thought he was a good guy in this. But 8 up with 45 minutes to go is different from 8 up with five minutes to go. Any discussion turns into an argument over degrees, what number and minutes combo is right. If anything I would have tried to say to him that you appreciate the brakes being applied but he should have kept them on given the small amount of time left.
   129. J. Sosa Posted: June 06, 2016 at 01:58 PM (#5237472)
re: 118

I'll echo what others have said. Far better to just grit your teeth and say nothing, save anything you have to say for your coaches and players. It won't change anything. To be honest though, I no longer coach and stuff like that is a big reason why. I didn't like what it was turning me into. I was never head coach for a group of kids older than 12, and it wasn't like it was some ultra competitive league, but it got to me. That's stupid, but it is the truth. Between corrupt organizational heads, rival coaches, and parents, I just couldn't take it anymore. There were a few posts in another thread about coaching and youth baseball and I could not agree more with some of the things said there as how it also applies to youth sports in our culture.

In the interests of full disclosure, I'll give you an example of what not to do. There was a particular coach I had coached against for several seasons. The coach was infamous for running up the score, leaving in his best kids, you name it. They were the best team for many years. Because our team was pretty good but not great we had to play them a lot in both the regular season and playoffs. Finally one year we had the team to beat them badly. And the other coach kept making excuses regarding scheduling and availability and all kinds of concerns. This particular man is wealthy and influential and it is possible that the league would fold without his support. So he pretty much got what he wanted.

But finally, they had play us. The week before the game, I confronted the guy about why he was doing what he was doing. He said and I quote "Because we can't stop (name of player)". I was incredulous. That particular player at that time had endured a collective scoreline IIRC of something like 2-27 against that team. We got into a screaming match which ended up having to be resolved by the head of the league. So we finally play the match. My third best player couldn't make it because of a family trip and the second best called me 30 minutes before game time to tell me they got injured falling down the stairs. Literally, they had to go to the hospital.

And then my best player they proceed to literally kick the ever loving !@#$ out him the full match. As a direct targeted tactic encouraged from the sideline with the parents yelling in approval. Game ended in a nil nil draw. The player they kicked all match? My son, who had beaten them the year before 1-0 in the last minute in a desperate effort that left him sobbing on the field in exhaustion and who had been averaging almost a hat trick a game going into the match. As an added bonus, to make sure there were no fireworks, the head of the league reffed the game and didn't call a single foul committed against my son. But my son did have fouls called against him. I should have walked the team off the field. If I had spoken to that coach after the match, I think I would have beaten him to death with my bare hands.

Ultimately, I got out of coaching a season or two later. The corruption continued, the guy continued to run up the score, and there were some other things going on. My teams could never again get a call in that league, and it just got to the point I felt it wasn't fair to the children, we were never going to get a fair shake as a long as I was around. Either you find that you can live with it and be a good influence and mentor for the kids, or you can't. I couldn't. Which is a shame, I miss the kids. I loved the children. Kids are desperate for any kind of positive reinforcement. But I couldn't deal with all the ####### adults and it was making me obsessed to beat the ####### coaches. Who knows, maybe they all started out like me with good intentions and got turned into that, I don't know. I just know I had to quit.

TL:DR Confrontation will not change anything, there is a chance it spirals out of control, and it isn't such a great example for kids.
   130. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 03:02 PM (#5237544)
#129--J.Sosa, ugh. Just ugh. That's a terrible story. Corruption happens everywhere in youth sports, I think because (to borrow from the quote about academia) the stakes are so low...
   131. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: June 06, 2016 at 06:15 PM (#5237703)
My soccer referee stories aren't nearly as bad as Topher's. Worst I had was that two parents almost got into a fistfight on the sidelines at a tournament. It was a U8 game.
   132. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2016 at 06:31 PM (#5237711)
Note to any future Copa/WC tournament bids from the U.S.: Promise #1: We won't have games in Orlando.
   133. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 06, 2016 at 07:18 PM (#5237722)
Eh, nah. Orlando's fans have such a joy and clear outward expression of love of the sport. It's becoming a great town for football (even the NWSL!); would rather not go against that.

That goal was coming.
   134. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2016 at 07:28 PM (#5237726)
Interestingly, the other "joy and clear outward expression" part of the US, Seattle/Portland, is having their own heatwave. Playing Century Link right now would be even more oven than Orlando, on a typical June day.

But then again it's Orlando. I hate Orlando. H-A-T-E.
   135. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 06, 2016 at 07:29 PM (#5237727)
Haha. Admittedly, I've only been to Orlando once, and didn't really "get" it, so I probably don't know enough :p
   136. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2016 at 07:44 PM (#5237733)
Perhaps I need to mention I chaperoned 35 7th graders over four days in Orlando once. Should I mention that? Did I mention they were 7th Graders?
   137. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 06, 2016 at 08:50 PM (#5237763)
Oh dear god. Franny, you have my sincerest sympathies.
   138. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 09:19 PM (#5237776)
Franny, you have my deepest sympathies. I once chaperoned 1st graders at the zoo and it cured me of ever agreeing to chaperone again. The sheer terror that someone from my group would go wandering off has, frankly, never left me.
   139. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2016 at 09:29 PM (#5237778)
Folks, it was bad. Damn bad. Being "in charge" of pubescent gangs anywhere would cure one of a career in middle school teaching, but in the land of Epcot/Disney Whatever and all, I shudder thinking back on it.

Strangely, it didn't cure me of teaching middle school, which I proceeded to do for the next 22 years. I'm dumb that way.

Meanwhile, Argentina/Chile should be the best fixture yet in Copa. Messi or no Messi.
   140. CWS Keith plans to [omitted] at [omitted] Posted: June 06, 2016 at 09:45 PM (#5237784)
TE -- perhaps it's just me, but I don't see what the other coach did as being *obviously* wrong. It seems to me the bigger issue was that two teams with such a disparity in talent were playing each other in the first place. From your telling it looks like the other coach has a bit to answer for regarding why his team isn't in a better league. Once you get to the game, though, I'm not sure there are any obvious answers besides, for example, in basketball, not continuing a full-court press once you get up by 30+.

My only 'experience' in this area is the traveling basketball team I played on as a kid -- we were regularly on the short end of some drubbings, the one I remember most being a 72-5 loss (of course, having scored three of our five points, I was on cloud-nine after the game). I can't recall anyone on our team getting overly emotional or upset about it. It's possible we were a unique group, but I'd guess that most kids are resilient enough to get over those sorts of losses.
   141. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 06, 2016 at 09:50 PM (#5237786)
Orlando is hell on earth. I had to go for work a couples times. It's all tourists and retirees. On the plus side everything is generally cheap if you're not at the parks.

Why does Fox keep saying "the road to Russia begins here." What does this tournament have to do with the World Cup. Am I missing something?
   142. Baldrick Posted: June 06, 2016 at 10:04 PM (#5237794)
So the theme of the first few games of the Copa was "goals, we don't need no stinking goals." The theme of the last couple games has been "WTF IS EVEN GOING ON?"

I like the second approach much better.
   143. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 06, 2016 at 10:10 PM (#5237804)
This should be a terrific game. It's a nice finish to the first round of games.
   144. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 06, 2016 at 10:42 PM (#5237832)
Vidal and Sanchez are great players, but they have to be close to the top of the list, of love them on your team, hated universally everywhere else.
   145. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2016 at 10:55 PM (#5237843)
Vidal transcends such hate...he's on Bayern and I still like him. Wish he were still at Juve, but that's the way it goes. Same with Sanchez, actually, to a less extent. Just wish he hadn't gone to Arsenal. My vote for love/hate based on team would be someone like Lichtsteiner...now he's the AJ Pierzynski of club football.
   146. Textbook Editor Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:26 PM (#5237854)
CWS--thanks for your perspective. I want to clarify that I wouldn't characterize what he did as "wrong" but rather "unsporting." And also to clarify--it was a tournament championship, not a league one. Unfortunately, there were 8 teams in our age group, 4 in the Flight 6-9 range and 4 in the 10-12 range. The team we played was Flight 10, we were Flight 11, and the other two teams in our group were Flight 12. Our skill level, though, is much closer to the Flight 12 teams than this team (who have won 19 straight league games over the Fall/Spring season with a combined GD of ~+70).

Look, to be perfectly honest I hate, hate, HATE soccer tournaments. Situations like what happened this weekend happen; teams sometimes play 3 50-minute games within the span of 6 hours; and "guest" players make grouping like with like teams completely moot. We played in a Fall tournament with no guest players and played against what we *thought* were like-ability teams. One team "borrowed" their Flight 3 team's goalkeeper for the tournament, and another had their entire starting defense as "guest" players. I get why "guest" players are necessary--kids miss tournament weekends for vacations, etc. and you need to have enough subs, etc... but the system is really gamed by a fair amount of people. And because player cards are never usually shown except when you check-in before the tournament, I know some coaches have used players in games that weren't on their roster at all--guest or otherwise. And to top it all off, most tournaments have no mercy rule (but instead will do something like limit the GD difference benefit for standings to +3 for any one win, no matter how high the score gets). Honestly, tournaments are about as much fun as a root canal for me, because mostly all I see are insane people all weekend. Except the refs, actually, Usually they're the most sane people at tournaments--thank god.

But at my club the parents pay for 3 tournaments, so 3 tournaments we must do. Sigh. I'd much rather play a 14-game league season than a 10-game season with a tournament or two.

/rant
   147. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:28 PM (#5237855)
Thanks Isla...having watched Banega quite a bit in the last few years, I figured he couldn't beat Bravo on his own. Isla...hey another Juve reference in this match.
   148. Baldrick Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:34 PM (#5237860)
Argentina look really really really good.
   149. Mefisto Posted: June 06, 2016 at 11:43 PM (#5237862)
Both teams are ridiculously far beyond the US team.
   150. frannyzoo Posted: June 07, 2016 at 12:02 AM (#5237871)
Well, ya know, keeping track of the score is hard in soccer. Just because Fox just showed it 2-0 for twenty seconds as the final, we need to remember it's hard to keep track of all the scoring.
   151. Textbook Editor Posted: June 07, 2016 at 12:12 AM (#5237873)
Both teams are ridiculously far beyond the US team.


I honestly would be frightened to see what a US-Argentine final score would be. I'd bet the over even if the line was 4.5.
   152. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:42 AM (#5237995)
The latest odds have the USA at just about 50% to advance out of the group. A draw against Costa Rica could put them in a very bad spot though, because if Colombia also takes care of Paraguay, Colombia would have nothing to play for in the final group game against Costa Rica.
   153. Mefisto Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:26 AM (#5238037)
I wouldn't bet on the US to win. They might win; it's close, but I wouldn't put money on it.
   154. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:26 AM (#5238038)
That 50% sounds about right to me.

Out of curiosity is there any discussion about the next Copa America? Is the expanded format going to continue? I really like the US being a part of this regardless of results. I think we need regular competitive games against superior competition to elevate our game. Nothing against the Gold Cup and various qualifying games for the World Cup but playing CONCACAF as our only meaningful games isn't enough to get us to a new level.
   155. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:27 AM (#5238040)
I hope Klinsmann starts Nagbe and Pulisic. Drop Zardes or Wood and Bedoya. Honestly I would rather Klinsmann drop Dempsey and Jones but that's not going to happen.
   156. jmurph Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:44 AM (#5238055)
I wouldn't bet on the US to win. They might win; it's close, but I wouldn't put money on it.


This generally seems like a good rule to follow at all times.
   157. Mefisto Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:48 AM (#5238060)
I really like the US being a part of this regardless of results.


Ditto this.
   158. jmurph Posted: June 07, 2016 at 03:43 PM (#5238357)
Koeman to Everton is official, apparently. I still think this is at best a lateral move (though he's being promised a big transfer budget).
   159. spivey Posted: June 07, 2016 at 03:51 PM (#5238367)
Koeman to Everton is official, apparently. I still think this is at best a lateral move (though he's being promised a big transfer budget).

In the short term it's a lateral move, but Everton has a much better chance of becoming a new big club, right?

The finances of the two teams seem massively different.
   160. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 07, 2016 at 04:06 PM (#5238382)
Per Swiss Ramble's most recent Premier League post (Sunderland, from May 10th of this year), they aren't too far apart: in 2014/2015 (latest year with full financial releases) Southampton had a slightly better EBITDA (21M to 18M pounds and does not include player sales) and a much better Profit Before Tax (15M vs Everton's loss of 4M, though I'm guessing this is driven by player sales) and Everton had a slightly better Revenue (126M to 114M pounds). In Deloitte Money League, Everton rank 18th in the world in revenue, while Soton rank 22nd (revenue numbers matching the numbers from above).

In this context, the revenue numbers are the most meaningful towards answering the underlying question, though new ownership complicates this.
   161. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 07, 2016 at 04:21 PM (#5238403)
Southampton has a newer stadium while Everton has been trying to get a new one for some time now. Everton is a "bigger" club in most senses but whether or not they can exploit it is up to the new owner.

I guess holding a combined Americas Cup every four years while separate Copa America/Gold Cup every four years would work (offset by two years). Supposedly all the teams like the facilities/infrastructure and the fact that promised money gets paid. I guess playing in NFL stadiums at 60% would net more money than a lot of these countries can get playing in Chile or even Argentina.
   162. ursus arctos Posted: June 07, 2016 at 04:48 PM (#5238437)
I have to think that more reasonable ticket prices (perhaps tiered according to the attractiveness of the match) would bring in more in terms of ticket revenue.

As to Southampton/Everton, you really need to adjust current figures for the impact of changes in ownership. Leibherr's Southampton was more attractive than Kenwright's Everton, but there are a lot of reasons to believe that the situation is reversed now.
   163. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 07, 2016 at 06:18 PM (#5238524)
Talk that Eric Bailly to Man Utd is nearly complete. Clearly Jose reads this thread. :p
   164. Mefisto Posted: June 07, 2016 at 07:40 PM (#5238553)
Same starting lineup for the US. I expected some changes due to the age of some players and the short turnaround.
   165. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:19 PM (#5238572)
Cheap penalty but I'll take it. Nice job by Dempsey to stay cool with Costa Rica delaying the PK.
   166. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:20 PM (#5238573)
Clear penalty, but so stupid by the Costa Rican defender. There's no way Wood was going to reach that.
   167. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:22 PM (#5238575)
Yedlin already has a couple of bad giveaways.
   168. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:35 PM (#5238581)
Zardes seems to be doing a ridiculous amount of running. It's almost like he's creating a back five when Costa Rica have possession with Yedlin pushing to the middle a bit more.
   169. Langer Monk Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:43 PM (#5238585)
I wouldn't call any of this pretty, but it is effective.
   170. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:43 PM (#5238586)
JJ!
   171. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:49 PM (#5238591)
WOW!
   172. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:49 PM (#5238592)
I wouldn't call any of this pretty, but it is effective.

RT
   173. spivey Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:49 PM (#5238593)
I guess athleticism is more important than skill at fullback, but Yedlin doesn't really seem like the guy that should be playing in the EPL.

Just turned it on 10 minutes ago, but Costa Rica's defense looks like ####. Both at you know, defending, as well as playing out the back.

Bobby Wood in the ####### house!
   174. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: June 07, 2016 at 08:51 PM (#5238596)
Can't help but think that Keylor Navas would have done a little better on that one.
   175. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 09:35 PM (#5238641)
Yeah I thought both Jones and Wood had goals that could've been stopped by a superior keeper.

On the whole this has been considerably more pleasant than Friday night. All things considered this is about where we expected to be. The Colombia game was always going to be a tough one to get a point from.
   176. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:00 PM (#5238667)
So if Colombia beat Paraguay we just need a draw on Saturday. Costa Rica could beat Colombia but the goal differential makes it almost impossible for them to beat us on a tiebreaker.
   177. Mefisto Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:01 PM (#5238668)
Damn, should have bet on the game. :)
   178. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:28 PM (#5238683)
Unfortunately, I couldn't watch the game.

Unless Paraguay beats Colombia by 3-0 or 4-2 (or any higher scoring 2 or more goal win), I think the US only needs to draw against Paraguay to
advance (unless CR turns around and beats Colombia by 4 or more).

They also now have a not impossible chance to finish first in the group again as well.
   179. spivey Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:35 PM (#5238685)
Yeah I thought both Jones and Wood had goals that could've been stopped by a superior keeper.

I don't think Jones' shot was really saveable. It was curving from outside the post to just barely inside.

Wondo should not be on this team.
   180. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 07, 2016 at 11:02 PM (#5238694)
The good:

Bobby Wood CENTRAL
Brooks in beast mode
Jermaine Jones MOTM effort, dominated on both ends at times

the bad:

Zardes' touch, overall effectiveness
Clint Dempsey taking too many touches, loafing, not providing his magic enough
team width and fluidity in general, not getting enough from the fullbacks and wings

the ugly:

jurgen's trio of subs and the chance this game gives him a repreive

All in all it was a good win, and that Wood turn and fire was the sort of technical ability and composure rarely seen from a US striker outside the odd Altidore good stretch over the past half dozen years. Great 1st touch and turn.

I think that Yedlin has actually turned into a better defensive FB than attacking FB. From what I've read on the Sunderland forums they are pretty high on him despite having some other decent options heading into next year. But in general the way Jurgen designs his lineups puts way too much pressure on the fullbacks to provide width. It's no wonder when you play guys like Zardes and Wood outside that you're not going to get much creativity, skill and and link up. Wood of course should used centrally but Zardes is just not international quality imo.

This win really doesn't do much for me. I'm happy about it no doubt but that was a bad effort from CR tonight and the US hasn't been able to turn the occasional good result into any sort of good form under Jurgen -- especially in games that actually count, not friendlies.
   181. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2016 at 12:40 AM (#5238741)
Now that the Paraguay game is over....

A loss and the US is out.
A draw and they advance 2nd in the group (unless CR beats Colombia by at least 6, in which case they are out).
A win and they probably still finish 2nd, unless CR (with nothing to play for if the US wins) beats Colombia by any number of goals.

Brazil is still heavily favored in group B, but still might not finish first, so even if they finish 2nd the US could end up against Ecuador (or less likely, Peru).
   182. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 08, 2016 at 09:00 AM (#5238790)
I've got to disagree with a lot of 180. That's far too pessimistic for me. I'm not sure why the win doesn't do much for you. It's a competitive game against a good team and we won in a walk. Costa Rica aren't 1970 Brazil but they are a good side.

I also disagree with your opinion of Zardes. I thought he was crucial, he was always in the middle of plays both up front and defensively. I think he may have run out of steam a bit in the second half but he was everywhere in the first half.

I think your position that the result gives Jurgen a reprieve is just nonsense to be honest. I hear this with Red Sox fans from time to time, the good start saved Farrell and that's a bad thing. The US going on to win the tournament (not going to happen but go with me) would lock Klinsmann in for awhile but winning the tourney would be terrific! Would you rather have lost this game just to see Klinsmann fired? That seems crazy to me.

Not everything was perfect. I'm with you on the subs but with a 3-0 lead I think bringing on some veterans has some merit. Don't try to do too much, just stay within yourself and see the game out. That they added a goal was just a gift. More Pulisic and especially Nagbe is pretty appealing to me.
   183. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 08, 2016 at 09:26 AM (#5238811)
I watch far less of the USMNT than you guys (so my knowledge is likely very, very limited), but my reaction was a lot closer to Jose's than madvillain's.

What other options do Sunderland have? I couldn't recall any and, taking a quick look at their squad confirms as much. A CB out wide?

Thought John Brooks had a good game.
   184. Sean Forman Posted: June 08, 2016 at 09:59 AM (#5238863)
I couldn't be higher on John Brooks aa a prospect. He was a full-time starter for a top 7 Bundesliga squad at age 23. And their struggles coincided a lot with his absences from the lineup. I think he's going to do really big things. Fabian Johnson is wasted a bit at left back, but I'm starting to believe that the back four as currently constructed is going to be very good for a number of years. We've got a lot of strong prospects back there as well, so I could even see moving Cameron into defensive mid to really solidify the defense. It's just too bad we don't have a prime Tim Howard behind them.
   185. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2016 at 11:21 AM (#5238973)
We have to wait and see on Miazga. I thought Chelsea was a bad move for him, and that was before the usual manager merry-go-round. I hope he goes out on loan to a Championship team that plays him, as opposed to the U-21 squad.

Spurs are in on the Dutch forward Janssen, looks like only a fee needs to be agreed to - although 12 million doesn't seem like much nowadays, it is Levy. Dutch league strikers seem to be hit or miss, but he's young and already has a bunch of caps for the Dutch national team. A reasonable player to be a backup, but don't know if a guy like that is ready to step up in Champions League or a North London Derby if Kane were to be unavailable.
   186. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: June 08, 2016 at 11:29 AM (#5238981)
   187. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:14 PM (#5239054)
The first 30 minutes, they weren't really all that good. But I thought they were actually pretty great for the last hour. Admittedly, being way up can help there, but...that was a genuinely very solid performance against a team who has been much more successful over the last couple years than us.

I particularly disagree that Dempsey was 'bad.' There's a legitimate question about whether he makes sense as a starter anymore, given the way he can drift out of games, and given that his legs just aren't there for 90 minutes of intense work anymore. But that's a general issue. Last night was a STRONG counter-argument.

Zardes: I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm just not fundamentally convinced that he's trustworthy enough on the ball to really make sense. But he's very active, and seems to put himself in the right place very often. That's a very useful skill. If his technique could improve just a bit, I'd feel a lot better about him.
   188. Mefisto Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:20 PM (#5239058)
Zardes works incredibly hard, and he's willing to run all game long, but his touch is just awful. Whether you want that kind of player depends on what style of game you want played. Personally, I'd prefer someone else in the abstract, but the US isn't exactly loaded with guys like Andres Iniesta, so ....
   189. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:22 PM (#5239062)
I'm obviously a little higher on Yedlin than most, although I think some of it just the unrealistic expectations after the World Cup. This is the thread I was referring to when I said their fans were keen to find a spot for him, although I guess they haven't yet brought in any of the competition speculated in it.

Anyways, his speed allows him to get away with a lot. His left foot sucks though. He really needs to get more confident on it if he wants to become a solid international and EPL starter.

I was probably a little too harsh on Deuce but separating the results from his play I don't think his play was that great. His goal was a PK he didn't earn, his assist was a lucky bounce on a poor touch, then a solid but hardly incisive pass to Wood, who did all the hard work. He had a giveway in our own half after the PK that almost got CR right back in the game and his dive during it almost cost the US possession again when they cleared it. It's Deuce, that's his MO but still think he'd be a better asset as a super sub.

Obviously a good 4-0 win but not every 4-0 win is total domination and this one, although the US clearly was superior (had some great counter attacks) they didn't create chance after chance. Half the time this game is played I think it ends 2-0 or maybe 3-1 or 4-2. CR had a couple good chances they blew as well.

That said, for once it was the US with the clinical finishing. Jones and Wood did well and Zusi stayed composed as well, although he hardly hit a rocket it hit the back of the net. CR's keeper sucked but I think Jones' shot beats most as does Wood's.

Zardes works incredibly hard, and he's willing to run all game long, but his touch is just awful. Whether you want that kind of player depends on what style of game you want played. Personally, I'd prefer someone else in the abstract, but the US isn't exactly loaded with guys like Andres Iniesta, so ...


They have an in form Nagbe and Nguyen, who Jurgen apparently doesn't rate. Zardes runs sure, but his touch is so awful that he kills half the attacks he's involved in.
   190. jmurph Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:25 PM (#5239065)
his assist was a lucky bounce on a poor touch


Even this oversells it. He was in the midst of attempting to go one on four while ignoring the teammates on either side of him. It was a terrible play that Jones jumped in and turned into a great goal.
   191. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:32 PM (#5239080)
Where does Dempsey play for Seattle? I assume behind the striker? Against the minnows of CONCACAF that is fine, but he's useless in defense so the only choice to play him against good sides is at striker. Of course he's really not good enough to play there, but he's really the US only "proven" goal scorer with Jozy sidelined. The US is stuck with Dempsey until he retires from international duty.

Why not put in Pulisic for Zardes?
   192. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:33 PM (#5239082)
I'm obviously a little higher on Yedlin than most, although I think some of it just the unrealistic expectations after the World Cup. This is the thread I was referring to when I said their fans were keen to find a spot for him, although I guess they haven't yet brought in any of the competition speculated in it.

Anyways, his speed allows him to get away with a lot. His left foot sucks though. He really needs to get more confident on it if he wants to become a solid international and EPL starter.


I agree with you here. I like Yedlin a lot and frankly with Yedlin and Johnson I like that we have two fullbacks that can influence play. If Brooks and Miazga can progress then I agree with Sean that things could be pretty rosy on the backline.

I was probably a little too harsh on Deuce but separating the results from his play I don't think his play was that great. His goal was a PK he didn't earn, his assist was a lucky bounce on a poor touch, then a solid but hardly incisive pass to Wood, who did all the hard work. He had a giveway in our own half after the PK that almost got CR right back in the game and his dive during it almost cost the US possession again when they cleared it. It's Deuce, that's his MO but still think he'd be a better asset as a super sub.


The thing about Dempsey, and Holden touched on it last night, is that even if you only get a couple of great moments from him a night it's not like the US is loaded with finishers. That penalty last night was huge and having someone who was willing and confident to step up, wait through all the Costa Rican B.S. then bury it is really valuable.
   193. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:37 PM (#5239090)
Why not put in Pulisic for Zardes?


Is that an upgrade? I genuinely ask this of those (Sean) who have seen Pulisic more. I like Zardes obviously but recognize his flaws. My question is does Pulisic at age 18 really provide an upgrade or is just that he hasn't disappointed us yet? I'm all for going for some upside in general but in a must-win game does Zardes' relative certainty make him the better choice?
   194. spivey Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:43 PM (#5239095)


Is that an upgrade? I genuinely ask this of those (Sean) who have seen Pulisic more. I like Zardes obviously but recognize his flaws. My question is does Pulisic at age 18 really provide an upgrade or is just that he hasn't disappointed us yet? I'm all for going for some upside in general but in a must-win game does Zardes' relative certainty make him the better choice?


Pulisic is getting meaningful playing time for Dortmund - and better yet, he's generally played well from what I've seen/heard. They're arguably one of the 10 best club teams in the world this last year. Do you think if they had ####### Zardes on their team he'd be getting playing time? (No is the answer.)
   195. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:48 PM (#5239107)
The thing about Dempsey, and Holden touched on it last night, is that even if you only get a couple of great moments from him a night it's not like the US is loaded with finishers. That penalty last night was huge and having someone who was willing and confident to step up, wait through all the Costa Rican B.S. then bury it is really valuable.


I certainly agree that unlike most of our attackers, Deuce produces the occasional magic that can turn a game around in an instant and against the run of play. Problem is he's older now, has lost a little juice, and Jurgen insists on playing him as a lone withdrawn striker, which imo isn't using him properly at this point in his career. I'd love to see him play behind Wood or next to Wood in a 4-3-1-1 or 4-4-2.

Certainly is a going to be a very interesting next couple weeks for Jurgen's future and the future of US Soccer.

Is that an upgrade? I genuinely ask this of those (Sean) who have seen Pulisic more. I like Zardes obviously but recognize his flaws. My question is does Pulisic at age 18 really provide an upgrade or is just that he hasn't disappointed us yet? I'm all for going for some upside in general but in a must-win game does Zardes' relative certainty make him the better choice?


There was some really interesting speculation on Big Soccer post game that Jurgen was close to losing the players and thus played all the old guard, including Beckerman and Wondo, in an effort to solidify a group of vets behind him.

Other than some overblown fear of injury against a CONCACAF bunch down a few goals late or Pulisic hurting Jurgen's feeling by telling him that no US fan really considers Jurgen an honorary American and Californian I have no idea why he didn't play last night.

Of course it also wouldn't surprise me to see both Nagbe and Pulisic starting against Paraguay. I've long ago tried to predict WTF Jurgen will do.
   196. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:55 PM (#5239117)
They are different kind of players, but Pulisic is generally hard working (from what I've seen). He may not have the speed/athleticism of Zardes, but his touch and vision are a lot better and he has decent speed, plus the lower body strength to fight through challenges and skill to get past defenders. I would almost say put Pulisic in for Bedoya, but I don't know if anyone wants to risk trusting the defensive abilities of a teenager in the middle of the field.


Also what Spivey said - his club manager thinks he's good enough for Dortmund.
   197. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:57 PM (#5239120)
Jurgen: "this is the most difficult group in the tourney"

The groups are fairly evenly matched but IMO it's fairly obvious that B is the toughest. US would have a helluva time getting out of that one.
   198. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 08, 2016 at 01:57 PM (#5239121)
Pulisic is getting meaningful playing time for Dortmund - and better yet, he's generally played well from what I've seen/heard. They're arguably one of the 10 best club teams in the world this last year. Do you think if they had ####### Zardes on their team he'd be getting playing time? (No is the answer.)


According to this site he's played 383 minutes in 9 games. "Meaningful" seems like a bit of an oversell but that's just semantics I suppose.

Admittedly I'm just playing a bit of devil's advocate here because it is awfully exciting to have a 17 year old kid who can crack a side as good as Dortmund. Still, all the talk around him just has a bit of "prospect vs. vet" feel to me. Yeah, there is a time and a place for the prospect to take his place in the lineup and maybe this is that time but I'm just curious if it is as clear as I see around the interwebs.

Like I said, I tend to like Zardes more than most here and I haven't seen nearly enough of Pulisic to have a strong opinion. If he's on the pitch to start on Saturday I will have absolutely zero argument with it. I just have this feeling that while the Christian Pulisic of 2018 is likely to be the best attacking midfield option we have it is equally likely that his strength and stamina make him a bad starting option right now.


   199. spivey Posted: June 08, 2016 at 02:06 PM (#5239133)
Zardes has a bit of a Paul Pogba look to him. That's what I'll call him, the American Paul Pogba.


383 minutes in 9 games

To me that is meaningful, especially since most/all of it came at the end of the year, when he was legitimately heavy in the rotation.
   200. Sean Forman Posted: June 08, 2016 at 02:07 PM (#5239136)
I'm far from a Pulisic expert, but the guy has a great first touch and is a pretty clinical finisher already. I do think that he converts more of the chances than Zardes has.

His senior goals, he's got very good anticipation
http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2016/04/17/christian-pulisic-first-goal-borussia-dortmund
http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/christian-pulisic-scores-again-to-become-youngest-player-ever-with-two-bundesliga-goals-042316

probably a more impressive near goal (this was in his 3rd or 4th match I think)
https://streamable.com/wwxr?t=104.8

To me that last one is what Zardes is completely incapable of doing. Running at full speed he takes a touch off his head then his thigh and then slots it into the corner if not for a slight deflection by the keeper.

I don't know if Pulisic would give some up on defense relative to Zardes, probably not as good as Zardes that way, though against Colombia Pulisic took the ball off Cuadrado and dribbled about 30 yards down field.
And then re-watching what he did in the Ecuador game again, I might be wrong.
https://streamable.com/uddk

Given he's 17 and only getting better, he's probably an upgrade.
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