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Friday, February 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: February 2013

Well, it was on time last month!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM | 1499 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic

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   101. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 03, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4361184)
The phrase “torrid run of form” is not used in America to talk about any sports except for soccer.

Also true of any type of "run of form".

I too had no idea that to British people "torrid" has bad connotations.

It was hard enough figuring out that when they say someone has "class" it doesn't have anything to do with style or class or anything, it just means they're a good player.

So "torrid" in soccer terms means the same thing as "stagnant", a word that literally means the exact opposite. I believe when we changed the meaning we caused it to make sense.
   102. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 03, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4361193)
So "torrid" in soccer terms means the same thing as "stagnant", a word that literally means the exact opposite.

I think you are confusing torrid and torrent.
   103. ursus arctos Posted: February 03, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4361224)
Balotelli scores 25 minutes into his Milan debut.
   104. SuperGrover Posted: February 03, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4361270)
Liverpool are exactly as far back of a Champions League place as Man City are of a league title. Which road is harder? United are a lot less likely to drop points than Chelsea/Spurs/Everton/Arsenal, but there's only one United and there are a couple clubs between Liverpool at a top four position.

Liverpool's recent form suggests something of a triumph for the advanced metrics. They are playing like the top club that their underlying stats suggested they were a month or two ago.


It's clear that Sturridge is miles better than the crap Liverpool was playing up top beforehand. He takes so much pressure off Suarez that when he has a bit of a poor game (like today) they are still very dangerous. Coutinho should makes things even better.

I don't think they will catch the top 4 as I think the Spurs have enough to hang on and Chelsea surely will be better. Had they won either of the last two I might have felt differently. Next year though this team should be a clear contender.
   105. SuperGrover Posted: February 03, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4361273)
What has happened with Skrtel? He was on both the Shooty and the Zonal Marking All PL 11 last year and now he's benched for Carragher? What's the inside story there?


He has been poor recently and Carragher has shockingly played well. He can't run for ####, but he did a very good job of anticipating plays and movement before it happened. In addition, Dzeko doesn't exactly scare one with his pace, so that might have masked things a bit.

Liverpool's backline is pretty thin. They definitely need some help there in the Summer.
   106. Mattbert Posted: February 03, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4361634)
I just watched a two-minute highlight reel of the City-Liverpool game. Holy crow. Golazopalooza!
   107. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:25 AM (#4361961)
Profound lack of specifics, but as an investigation this appears to be real and quite serious.

BBC: A Champions League tie played in England is one of 380 matches across Europe investigators say was fixed.
At a news conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Europol claimed:

-The fixed Champions League tie in England took place in "last three or four years";
-The identity of that match cannot be revealed due to "ongoing judicial proceedings";
-Other "corrupt" matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and "several top football matches in European leagues";
-In Germany-based matches alone, criminals wagered £13.8m (16m euros) on rigged matches and made £6.9m in profits
-Officials fear this is as the "tip of the iceberg".
They suspect an Asian-based criminal syndicate, working with variously organized criminals throughout Europe. 50 arrests have already been made.
   108. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:28 AM (#4361962)
-The fixed Champions League tie in England took place in "last three or four years";

Please don't be Spurs please don't be Spurs please don't be Spurs...
   109. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:52 AM (#4361966)
I don't think there is any real chance that Spurs is in on this. They might have unknowingly benefited from it, but when you look at the numbers, there is no way they could have offered enough, and still have it be profitable. These types of schemes are almost universally centred around small clubs and referees for a reason.
   110. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4361970)
I don't think Spurs would be involved, I just don't want to find out those games were tainted. The teams they played that year don't seem likely candidates, but who knows about the refs. I can only think of one call--a Defoe handball that wasn't called that led to a goal--that really benefited Spurs but that was in a match Spurs dominated. Maybe the Asian syndicates paid Maicon to get the over on goals? (I'm kidding.)
   111. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4361979)
I knew there was no way Žilina could lose to Chelsea without throwing the match.
   112. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4361996)
Over-under on how many times it's implied in print that the infamous Chelsea-Barca second leg was the "corrupt" Champions League match played in England? I'm going with a kajillion.
   113. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4361998)
On a lighter note, if you Twitterati don't already follow the Shinji Kagawa parody account (@evilkagawa) you are really missing out. One of the most consistently funny accounts of its kind on there, in my opinion.
   114. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4362003)
It appears there are some doping allegations making the rounds today as well. Not a great day for the sport, it would seem.
   115. zack Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4362024)
The fixed tie was clearly the final. You only had to watch ten minutes to see that. They just paid Robben to make the inside cut every time he had the ball to make sure BM scored on practically none of their attempts.
   116. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4362026)
GOALKEEPERS- Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson

DEFENDERS- Tim Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Michael Parkhurst

MIDFIELDERS- Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Maurice Edu, Graham Zusi, Brad Davis, Jose Torres, Sacha Kljestan

FORWARDS- Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Herculez Gomez

The Nats traveling to Honduras. No more fooling around guys, time to start winning. I guess Timmy Chandler has made his decision?
   117. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4362033)
SPURS THINK FACTORY
GIF time! Here's the latest entry in the Steffen Freund Is Wonderfully Awkward file.
   118. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4362036)
The fixed tie was clearly the final. You only had to watch ten minutes to see that. They just paid Robben to make the inside cut every time he had the ball to make sure BM scored on practically none of their attempts.

If so, you will have to a long way back to find a Bayern game he played in that wasn't fixed.
   119. zack Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4362037)
If so, you will have to a long way back to find a Bayern game he played in that wasn't fixed.

-Officials fear this is as the "tip of the iceberg".
   120. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4362040)
Qualifying is going to be a bit of a hairy ride for the US. The schedule is such that they could be behind the 8 ball fairly early in the process with 3 of the first 4 games on the road (Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica with just a home game against Costa Rica in there). On the flip side we finish with 6 points in the last two games as very attainable (home v. Jamaica, road v. Panama). A bad start shouldn't be catastrophic but a good start would be a huge boost.

I think Altidore absolutely positively has to be out there. I get why Klinsmann hasn't done it but the ability to find the net is not a widespread skill on this team and even if he does nothing for 89 minutes, getting a goal offsets virtually everything else that might happen. Johnson and Gomez simply can't find the net often enough or command the attention of the opposing defense often enough to be compelling arguments in his stead.

I fear that sometime between now and June, 2014 Jermaine Jones is going to be the lightning rod that Ricardo Clark was 4 years ago.

Somewhat unrelated while I heard about it I hadn't really thought about it until I saw the ad the other day for Mexico's qualifying campaign being covered by ESPN (all their home games on ESPN). I get it from a business perspective but there is something that pissed me off seeing an ad celebrating the US' greatest rival. It would be like seeing NESN announce that they would cover Yankee games. I'll watch but it just makes me want to slap someone.
   121. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4362041)
GIF time! Here's the latest entry in the Steffen Freund Is Wonderfully Awkward file.

It's a special man that can make AVB's celebrations look dignified.

In other Spurs news, both Kane and Obika scored today in the youth match against West Ham. WE HAZ STRIKERS!
   122. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4362044)
That's a surprisingly good roster from Klinsmann. And yes, Chandler said he is in last week, so he will be cap tied and we can put it to rest.
   123. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4362050)
That's a surprisingly good roster from Klinsmann. And yes, Chandler said he is in last week, so he will be cap tied and we can put it to rest.

What do we think of Donovan? My feeling is that if his heart isn't in it, we should just make do without him.

   124. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4362066)
What do we think of Donovan? My feeling is that if his heart isn't in it, we should just make do without him.


Agreed. I think at the very least we need to be preparing as if he will not be available. If he wants to ride in like Kirk Gibson in 1988 and save the day in July that's great but I think there is as good a chance he's not available at all as there is that he'll play.

Is Donovan still the captain (in name anyway)? If so I think it's time to make a decisive move and name Bradley or Dempsey (Bradley is my preference as an outsider) but having a Captain who is not fully invested doesn't make a lot of sense.
   125. J. Sosa Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4362071)
re: LFC

I have tended to be a skeptic regarding the metrics and LFC because of the way the team was constructed. What I underestimated was exactly how much of a difference having a competent striker play with Suarez has helped as SG notes. The difference is astounding. Sturridge and Suarez are pretty lethal as a tandem. Downing is no world beater but he's been cromulent lately. Henderson has also helped resolve some of the problems at the top of the triangle. He lacks creativity but his work rate helps and he's been more aggressive in making runs into the box. They were too flimsy with Allen in the mix and tended to get bullied, Gerrard (to my eyes anyway) seems to have adjusted better to playing in a deeper role and letting Henderson do most of the running. I'm also eager to see what Coutinho can add. There has been speculation that he'll play behind the front three but I can't see it. Henderson is such a big part of the pressing LFC wants to do and it isn't really what Coutinho does. I assume Coutinho replaces Downing in the front three when he plays if he adjusts quickly enough. Lucas has looked a lot healthier recently and I thought he had a great game yesterday. Gerrard has turned back the clock the past month or so.

Unfortunately, after they fixed the offense the defense has sprung a leak. Enrique had a decent match, his absence when he got taken off hurt. I would have preferred they brought on Wisdom if he was available and switched Johnson to left back. Agger had one of the worst games I've seen from him in awhile, he made a couple of glaring errors. Reina was terrible. I think he signed his ticket out of town yesterday. He's been bad for a long time. I don't know what's up with Skrtel. Rodgers seems to have a really short leash with centre backs. Coates made a mistake against Anzi and was buried (not that he covered himself in glory at Oldham). Skrtel has made a few mistakes as well but I think the bigger reasons he's in the dog house is that he doesn't play the ball out from the back very well and tends to get pushed around by strong fowards (hopefuly Zenit will pick up the courtesy phone during this summer's transfer window). That's a problem as Agger needs cover in that area. Which is why HMS Carra is playing. I've come full circle on Carra. He used to annoy me to no end because he forces the team to play deep and he's a loudmouth. But the man competes with everything he has. He has tried to avoid hoofing and play the style Rodgers wants, he commands the back four, and he's happy to take a shot to the gut any time he has the opportunity. I was also moved by his tribute to Gerrard at the FWA dinner. Yeah, they are mates, but still, I liked what Carragher said.

As for them being a top 4 quality side, I still don't think they are at that level yet. The back four is weak and Gerrard can not be expected to keep drinking from the fountain of youth. The iron man act he's performed this season is amazing considering not so long ago his groin was riddled with MRSA. 2 points out of road trips to the Emirates and the Ethiad are nothing to sneeze at, but they blew leads both matchs. 6 points and maybe they had a chance given that the run in isn't that bad. In terms of if the season were starting today, going forward I still think they are about sixth in terms of talent, although they are gaining on Arsenal and Spurs. I think they are still a centre back (or two), a left back, a keeper, and maybe an attacking midfielder away from challenging Arsenal and Spurs. But LFC's play has been encouraging. I enjoyed the match greatly yesterday until Reina decided to play keeper like he was in U8.
   126. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4362072)
Is Donovan still the captain (in name anyway)?

Bocanegra is generally the skipper, I believe.
   127. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4362083)
Bocanegra is generally the skipper, I believe.


I keep forgetting that and I don't know why.
   128. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4362094)
Nothing good happens at 4 am.

I keep forgetting that and I don't know why.

I think everybody assumes Dempsey or Donovan captain the team. I only remember because I've also forgotten a bunch of times, too.
   129. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4362108)
I just watched the video about match fixing. They found evidence of match fixing in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and then...he specifically mentions Central America instead of North America. Hopefully that means they haven't got their claws into MLS yet.
   130. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4362121)
I think everybody assumes Dempsey or Donovan captain the team. I only remember because I've also forgotten a bunch of times, too.


When Bocanegra is out or comes off, the armband has gone to Cherundolo, then Howard.
   131. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4362123)
Petr Cech broke a finger in the Newcastle-Chelsea game on Saturday. That could be a big blow for Chelsea if he has to sit out for a while. Their backups aren't very good.
   132. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4362124)
I just watched the video about match fixing. They found evidence of match fixing in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and then...he specifically mentions Central America instead of North America. Hopefully that means they haven't got their claws into MLS yet.
I wonder if the lack of (legal) sports betting in the United States contributes to the lack of influence of gamblers. I think it's pretty clear the US has a much stronger anti-gambling sports culture than pretty much anywhere else--I still remember being just floored that you could bet at the match when I went to Upton Park--so perhaps it takes more effort to get in there.

Of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure we'll find out there hasn't been a game in MLS on the level since 2004 or something.
   133. Mefisto Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4362148)
I have tended to be a skeptic regarding the metrics and LFC because of the way the team was constructed. What I underestimated was exactly how much of a difference having a competent striker play with Suarez has helped as SG notes. The difference is astounding. Sturridge and Suarez are pretty lethal as a tandem.


Very much agree. I do think their opponents will adjust, so that the impact of Sturridge will diminish. But for now he's made a big impact. Like you, I still don't see them as a CL club.
   134. Swedish Chef Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4362164)
Petr Cech broke a finger in the Newcastle-Chelsea game on Saturday. That could be a big blow for Chelsea if he has to sit out for a while. Their backups aren't very good.

That could have been Jack Butland's big break.
   135. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4362194)
   136. ursus arctos Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4362195)
I think that it is misguided to think of this latest scandal (or "match fixing" scandals in general) as involving manipulated results. Recent experience has demonstrated that while such things do still happen, it is more profitable for the fixers to manipulate prop type bets, in part because it is easier to get bent players or refs to agree to manipulate single incidents and partly because football is unpredictable enough that results-focused fixes are rarely sure things.
   137. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4362217)
Recent experience has demonstrated that while such things do still happen, it is more profitable for the fixers to manipulate prop type bets

Definitely. It would take an incredible amount of work to fix the outcome of a match. You'd have to get to a healthy majority of the 22 guys who start the game, I would think, plus potentially the referee as well. And if any one of them blows the lid off it, that's the end.

Far more practical to arrange stuff like "so-and-so will get booked in the second half" or something.
   138. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4362237)
Far more practical to arrange stuff like "so-and-so will get booked in the second half" or something.
At long last the answer to Paul Scholes' terrible tackles is revealed!
   139. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4362274)
Anyone worried about what Zeman getting the sack will mean for Michael Bradley? I can easily see a new manager putting De Rossi back in Bradley's position.
   140. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4362297)
A little. He was impressive at Cheivo and has played very well for Roma. He might be used differently and maybe not start as much, but he won't be on the bench all the time either.
   141. ursus arctos Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4362500)
Danish tabloid says "CL Match in England" was Liverpool-Debrecen and that it didn't work.

Much of the press speculation in the UK revolved around the fact a Champions League game based in England, over the last 3 to 4 years, was one of the fixed matches and Ekstra Bladet seem certain that it was Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Debrecen in 2009.

They suggest that Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic was bribed to ensure that there were over 2.5 goals in the match.

However, Liverpool had a poor night in front of goal and Poleksic only conceded one, where he punched out a shot from Fernando Torres into the path of Dirk Kuyt to claim the winner – see video below.

Later on in the Champions League group stage of 2009, Poleksic was once again bribed for the match against Fiorentina which the Italians won 4-3.

Poleksic has since subsequently been banned from all football activities for failing to report match fixing activities.
   142. Mattbert Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4362522)
It's a special man that can make AVB's celebrations look dignified.

There are so many great things about that whole sequence. AVB totally ignoring Freund's silliness, as usual. The training staff getting into it. Phil Dowd making sure he still has two hands. The chubby bald bloke in the front row who's all, "Where the f**k did that f**ker come from, then?!?" after Freund sails into his field of vision like a human cannonball.

Freund is the best part, of course. Not least because he's already got his serious face back on *before* he even lands. It's so German. "I AM ELATED! COMMENCE CELEBRATIFICATION JUM...and I am done. Back to work now. Where is my clipboard?" But there are so many layers of fantastic that reveal themselves with each viewing.
   143. SuperGrover Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4362553)
RE: LFC

Good write up J. Sosa. I agree on nearly all points although I hadn't really thought through the issues with Gerrard's age. Replacing him in addition to fixing the backline and goalkeeping may be too much in a single window. Also, although Suarez has consistently indicated he has no desire to leave, it is imperative they keep him around.
   144. Langer Monk Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4362593)
Freund is the best part, of course. Not least because he's already got his serious face back on *before* he even lands. It's so German. "I AM ELATED! COMMENCE CELEBRATIFICATION JUM...and I am done. Back to work now. Where is my clipboard?" But there are so many layers of fantastic that reveal themselves with each viewing.


I'm going to assume, based on this description, that the trainer with the blue hands is going for beer in the bags in front of him to toast the occasion. Clearly.
   145. Topher Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4362709)
I think that it is misguided to think of this latest scandal (or "match fixing" scandals in general) as involving manipulated results.


Considering the manner in which Manchester United is denied extra time by the referee when they are trailing and also forced to defend for ridiculous amounts of extra time when they are ahead, I would imagine that SAF is quite convinced that this scandal does involve manipulated results and is looking quite forward to being awarded last year's title retroactively.
   146. Langer Monk Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4362775)
Very strange to have the USMNT on beIN Wednesday, but whatever.

So - what do people think the starting 11 will be? I think Howard; Johnson-Bocanegra-Cameron-Chandler are pretty much given - Dempsey, Altidore and Bradley as well - can we maybe be spared Jones (I just don't like him)? I'd rather Edu as the holding mid, Williams on the right isn't too bad, maybe Torres on the left wing? Bradley ranging wherever, Dempsey slotted just behind Altidore?
   147. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 04, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4362784)
So - what do people think the starting 11 will be? I think Howard; Johnson-Bocanegra-Cameron-Chandler are pretty much given - Dempsey, Altidore and Bradley as well - can we maybe be spared Jones (I just don't like him)? I'd rather Edu as the holding mid, Williams on the right isn't too bad, maybe Torres on the left wing? Bradley ranging wherever, Dempsey slotted just behind Altidore?


Edu isn't good enough. Jones is frustrating but he's a better player. I hate Williams on the right, he has shown no ability to get the ball forward at all, I'd prefer he not start. I'm done with Torres, he's been useless under Klinsmann, especially on the outside. So he'll probably start one of those at one of those positions, because he's terrible. My guess would be:

Altidore-Dempsey
???-Bradley-Jones-Zusi
Johnson-Bocanegra-Cameron-Chandler
Howard

Who the missing player is depends on what formation Klinsmann will use. He likes the 4-3-3 despite this team not being able to play it, last game they were in a 4-1-3-2, 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 probably fits this roster best. Who knows what Klinsmann will do.
   148. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:06 AM (#4362865)
I think I'd do this. I'm just spitballing here, this might not work realistically...
Jozy Gomez
Dempsey
Jones - Bradley - Chandler
Johnson - Cameron - Boca/Gonzalez - Parkhurst
Howard

I don't think Zuzi or Torres are worth starting so you go with three MF's and push Fabian Johnson way upfield to cove for the lack of bodies in the middle. Now, whenever I try this in Football Manager I always get killed in the midfield so this might not be the best idea. And I know Chandler usually plays right back but I think he's got enough skill to handle a right midfield position. And again, I'm not especially interested in seeing Torres or Zuzi out there.

Thinking more conservatively, I'd do this...
Jozy
Dempsey
Torres - Bradley - Jones - Chandler
Johnson - Cameron - Boca/Gonzalez - Parkhurst
Howard

Can Sacha fake it on the left side?
   149. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:09 AM (#4362900)
D'oh.

Luckily for him, no one was there to see it.
   150. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4362904)
What happened there? The ball bounced past him over a foot out of his reach to the left. Did he hilariously misread the initial ball, or did it take some kind of insane bounce? The bounce looks normal from most angles.

Or maybe that was another bit of match fixing?
   151. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:27 AM (#4362905)
Also, Alex McLeish has left Forest after 40 days.
   152. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4362906)
Did he hilariously misread the initial ball, or did it take some kind of insane bounce?

I think he left his line early in anticipation of a zig and then a zag happened and he was hilariously out of position.
   153. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4362912)
I wonder if Klinsmann might take a page from Stoke's playbook and put Cameron at left back. Personally I like Johnson out there but a scenario that allows Cameron, Gonzalez and Bocanegra all to be on the field doesn't upset me too much. I think Bocanegra/Gonzalez is a central pairing because of the physical tools Gonzalez brings and the leadership Bocanegra can bring. I think the latter is going to be important in the first qualifier on the road like this. The other alternative would be to play a bit more defensive with five at the back but the two outside backs (presumably Chandler and Johnson) under orders to raid forward at any opportunity.

For all the reasons laid out by DA I think Torres is more likely to not even make the substitutes list than he is to start. He has to play Altidore right? There's no way he won't start Jozy is there? I fear that we are going to see Jozy on the bench at the start tomorrow and I think that would be a terrible blunder.

Jozy
Dempsey
Edu-Jones-Bradley-Zusi
Johnson-Cameron-Bocanegra-Chandler
Howard

I think Klinsmann tries to clog the midfield a bit with Dempsey moving to the left fairly often in attacking situations.
   154. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4362914)
I really don't want to see Edu, Jones and Bradley playing together again. It's just ####### torture.
   155. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4362915)
Did he hilariously misread the initial ball, or did it take some kind of insane bounce?


It looked like the ball had some pretty significant spin on it and as Shooty said zigged when it should have zagged.

The replays were Fox Baseball-esque but I think he also took his eye off it just before it bounced. There was one angle where it looked like he saw the defender in front of him and glanced to be sure it was a defender and not an attacking player and that may have caused some of the misread.
   156. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:59 AM (#4362919)

I really don't want to see Edu, Jones and Bradley playing together again. It's just ####### torture.


I'm not sure what the alternative is. I think Klinsmann is going to go for the vets rather than the younger players in general which helps Edu. I haven't read a lot but it seems that Edu has been in good form since moving to Turkey which seems to be something Klinsmann values.

If he wants to be a bit of a gambler I think something like;

Jozy
Dempsey
Johnson-Williams-Bradley-Zusi
Cameron-Gonzalez-Bocanegra-Chandler
Howard

Could be interesting. I could see a 3-1 win or a 3-1 loss with such a set up. My guess is that Klinsmann, rightly so in my opinion, is going to be fairly conservative tomorrow (conservative in squad selection, not necessarily tactics).
   157. zack Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4362922)
Very strange to have the USMNT on beIN Wednesday, but whatever.

Exclusively?

That ball must have had a massive amount of sidespin on it, look how much it slows down every time it touches the ground.
   158. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4362925)
My line up would be crazy in context of the Nats' status quo:

Altidore
****Gomez
Dempsey-Bradley-Torres
****Jones
Johnson-Cameron-Bocanegra-Chandler

I don't want to see Altidore isolated as he never gets enough service when we play him alone up top and he's completely wasted. Bradley, in my set up, plays a bit deeper but not as deep as Jones and, since we don't have traditional wingers right now, I'd be happy for the interchange Dempsey and Torres bring. I really think if we play Jozy alone up top and play with two DM's, the best we'll do is a nil-nil snooze fest. Since Shea is out injured I would have liked Josh Gatt to be included just to have someone to bring on late in a game that can run at the defense and cause trouble with his pace. Since, admittedly my lineup is too attacking, I'd rather see Torres than Edu in the lineup.
   159. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4362941)
I hadn't quite realized how important Donovan was for the watchability of the USA Mannschaft. Without him, you've pretty much just got a bunch of brutes. Jozy is an athletic hold-up striker who seems to have added class in his game (hopefully it's not just an Eredivisie illusion, I haven't really watched him), but his only real support comes from Dempsey, who's a poacher not a trequartista, and Bradley, who's a runner rather than a passer. It's a roster tailored to play negative, defend and clear, long-ball and hope and poach football. They might actually be pretty ok at playing like a Stoke City, with the relatively weak central defense being protected by solid midfield holders and good fullbacks, but it's hard to see this roster being more than that.
   160. zack Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4362944)
Shoots, wouldn't that formation end up with no width? I don't know anything at all about Honduras, really, but I can see Dempsey drifting inside with Jones wandering around yelling at people and a long, long running lane back to Johnson.
   161. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4362954)
(hopefully it's not just an Eredivisie illusion, I haven't really watched him)

Joze has become very good at interplaying with teammates which is why I want to pull my hair out when he's isolated up top. I almost wish we'd play a 4-3-3 to take advantage of his talents. He's big and quick enough that CB's have to pay attention to him which creates all kinds of space for other attackers. If the CB's lose track of him, he's very adept at making runs and his finishing has become more clinical. Jozy will be starting in one of the big 4 leagues next year--he's legit.

Dempsey-Altidore-Gomez
Torres-Bradley-Jones
Johnson-Cameron-Boca-Chandler

That works for me, too.
   162. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4362957)
Shoots, wouldn't that formation end up with no width? I don't know anything at all about Honduras, really, but I can see Dempsey drifting inside with Jones wandering around yelling at people and a long, long running lane back to Johnson.

I don't think we're set up to play with width. This version of the Nats--outside of the fullbacks--is kind of plodding so I'd just as soon have our best technical players in advanced positions to try to unlock the defense. Chandler and Johnson could supply width if Klinsmann is prepared to risk opening up those spaces to Honduras but I don't think he will or that he should.
   163. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4362968)
I wonder if Klinsmann might take a page from Stoke's playbook and put Cameron at left back.


Cameron plays right back at Stoke. The backline will be Johnson-Bocanegra-Cameron-Chandler. Anything else would surprising.

What happened there?


Well, he has a year of rust...
   164. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4362974)
They might actually be pretty ok at playing like a Stoke City, with the relatively weak central defense being protected by solid midfield holders and good fullbacks, but it's hard to see this roster being more than that.
You should do their advertising copy
   165. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4363003)
SPURS THINK FACTORY (SORT OF!)

A tribute to Gazza

Why doesn't England produce great dribblers and jink artists anymore? The only one I can think of is Joe Cole.
   166. Langer Monk Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4363007)
Exclusively?


So far as I can see, yeah. ESPN has the Mexico game, and I haven't checked ESPN3, but the USMNT site had only beIN on their listing.

If Klinsmann's serious about being aggressive, I think we may see something like Shooty's 161. Although I'd still rather Edu than Jones - I have this sinking feeling Jones will more likely be getting booked and diving than being interested in playing the game. I have a very low opinion of his game. He's like the 4 star player in FM that always plays like ####.

BTW, really enjoying (read: addicted) FM 2013. Got Wrexham back to back promotions to League 1. Crazy attacking Welsh.
   167. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4363009)
Exclusively?


For WC Qualifiers the rights are held exclusively by the home team. Honduras could sell to whoever they wanted in the US or anywhere else in the world or they could play in the dark. It's why for example that ESPN's deal with the Mexican team is for the home games only.
   168. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4363010)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST THINK FACTORY
Manager Parking
   169. Mefisto Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4363024)
I've watched Gonzalez a lot because I live in LA. I think he's going to disappoint a lot of people. He has zero ability to distribute the ball, and he's not quick enough to play a high line. If you pair him with Boca, look forward to Stoke-style games.

The lineup in 161 looks plausible to me, though I could see Williams instead of Torres.
   170. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4363027)
Well, since I don't get BeIn and the game starts at an odd time, I'm thinking about cutting out work a little early and taking in the game at a bar in lower Manhattan. Anyone interested in meeting up?
   171. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4363030)
Well, since I don't get BeIn and the game starts at an odd time, I'm thinking about cutting out work a little early and taking in the game at a bar in lower Manhattan. Anyone interested in meeting up?


I don't get BeIn but my company's dining area DOES have a TV with BeIn so I'm in the unusual position of having to stay at work to see the game.
   172. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4363041)
Where I'm going to see the game

It's near Penn Station and I've been meaning to check it out anyway. I suspect many of this pub's clientele are much farther on the 25 steps to football hipsterism than I am...

*The Football Factory was a terrible movie, BTW. Do not bother.
   173. Mattbert Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4363075)
ZONAL MARKING FACTORY
Michael Cox uses Jordan Henderson and Theo Walcott as touchstones for a discussion of the different approaches to developing young players in England and the continent:
But here is the problem for players such as Henderson, and Walcott before him: English clubs aren't very clever at developing players in their situation. Their first-team chances come quickly, and they're expected to adapt immediately.

Other countries do it differently. Spain's top clubs have established reserve teams that compete within the main footballing pyramid -- Real Madrid and Barcelona's B teams both compete in the second tier. Barcelona have played this system superbly: Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez made their first-team debuts at 20 and 21 -- relatively late, compared with Walcott (16) and Henderson (17) -- but had developed in quieter, calmer surroundings and weren't forced to 'grow up' in the first team. When they got there, they were immediately ready for league success, Champions League success and World Cup success.

Germany have a more co-operative, intelligent loan system. Look at the example of Toni Kroos, who might have been a valuable backup for Bayern Munich a couple of seasons ago but was instead loaned out to Leverkusen (a title challenger, no less) to develop for 18 months. He returned and was immediately a key first-team player, a similar experience to Philipp Lahm, who was loaned out to Stuttgart. Young English players only seem to join bottom-half clubs on loan.

Italy, meanwhile, has the complex but useful world of co-ownership, where big clubs can attempt to buy a 'stake' in a player without necessarily forcing him away from his current club.

   174. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4363076)
I've been there on a couple of Saturday mornings. At least one of the principals/bartenders is a Nevada Smith's refugee.

Perfectly decent place to watch a game, in my view, though I have no idea what the USMNT vibe (if any) may be.
   175. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4363077)
I've watched Gonzalez a lot because I live in LA. I think he's going to disappoint a lot of people. He has zero ability to distribute the ball, and he's not quick enough to play a high line. If you pair him with Boca, look forward to Stoke-style games.


I doubt he plays tomorrow. With only 2 days of practice with the whole team, Klinsmann will probably put out as many familiar faces as possible. Gonzalez's distribution won't be much of an issue if he's playing alongside Cameron, who is good with the ball.

The more I think about it the more I think we'll see Edu in midfield in a 4-5-1ish formation with him deep, Zusi on the right and Dempsey on the left but cutting in when he feels like it.
   176. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4363080)
Michael Cox uses Jordan Henderson and Theo Walcott as touchstones for a discussion of the different approaches to developing young players in England and the continent:


You'd think FSG would understand the value of minor league development.
   177. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4363087)
Palermo fired Gasperini. Manager #3 for the season coming up!
   178. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4363102)
   179. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4363104)
   180. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4363109)
Ah, that old Adidas template. Against Spartak Moscow, no less.

Also the last year that shirt sponsorship was banned in European competition.

   181. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4363115)
Spiegel reporting that Lewandowski has agreed terms with Bayern over a move this summer.

Even with Sant Pep, they are going to be a difficult club to tolerate, let alone like.
   182. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4363116)
Spiegel reporting that Lewandowski has agreed terms with Bayern over a move this summer.

Even worse, they are after Mats Hummels, too.
   183. Topher Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4363119)
Gus Johnson is the new Voice of Soccer in the US (at least on Fox).


Came here to post that. In all seriousness I think this might be even worse than ESPN trying to make Dave O'Brien a soccer announcer.

Willing to give him a chance. Really wishing the first chance wasn't going to be Real/ManU.
   184. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4363120)
Shooty, Hummels is also supposed to be Barca's number one target for its defense.
   185. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4363126)
Came here to post that. In all seriousness I think this might be even worse than ESPN trying to make Dave O'Brien a soccer announcer.


He did SJ Earthquakes games on the radio last year. He did fine. And he's got 5 years to hone his skills.
   186. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4363129)
Shooty, Hummels is also supposed to be Barca's number one target for its defense.

Doesn't Hummels have some familial ties to Bayern, though? Plus, I want to see Ryan Shawcross at Barca. Use your pull and make it happen!
   187. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4363131)
His father was a senior figure in the youth setup at Bayern until he was replaced by Beckenbauer's son.

So that could cut both ways.

I can certainly help Shawcross get a ticket, unless it's a Clasico.
   188. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4363137)
His father was a senior figure in the youth setup at Bayern until he was replaced by Beckenbauer's son.

So that could cut both ways.


Ah, the dirty face of nepotism.
   189. Topher Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4363149)
@185

Thanks. Can't listen to the clip at work, but I'll take your word for it. I find the fact that you think he is fine to be very reassuring. My first thought was the over-the-top Gus Johnson that does basketball and football going absolutely ballistic after a team earned a corner kick. I'm ok if he tries to be that guy on goals (more power to him if he wants to try to top Ray Hudson), but I was fearing he'd be that way on things that are rather pedestrian.

Nobody will get this reference (I hope) but thinking about Gus announcing games reminding me of the Yard Meister that featured extremely prominently during KC Wizards games and that made me shudder. For the uninitiated, the Yard Meister was given a drum and access to the PA system and spent the entire 90 minutes trying to engage the crowd to join him in chants as we was beating the drum. Unfortunately 90 minutes was a bit too long for the three cheers he had in his arsenal: (1) "Kick the ball! Kick the ball! Kick the ball! Kick the ball!", (2) "DE Fense! DE Fense!", and (3) on special occasion, "CORNER KICK! CORNER KICK!".

The Yard Meister (I think) was the team's attempt to have something like a Krazy George* but one that was team sanctioned and given access to the PA system. The entire thing was so embarrassing, I couldn't bring myself to attend games until he was given the heave-ho.

* I'm assuming most of you know about Krazy George. I know Shooty does.
   190. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4363154)
The Yard Meister sounds like a figure from a dystopian future.

My completely uninformed guess is that Fox hopes that Gus becomes the English-language Andres Cantor.
   191. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4363155)
My first thought was the over-the-top Gus Johnson that does basketball and football going absolutely ballistic after a team earned a corner kick. I'm ok if he tries to be that guy on goals (more power to him if he wants to try to top Ray Hudson), but I was fearing he'd be that way on things that are rather pedestrian.


Thanks for the kind words. To be clear, I'm no Gus Johnson fan boy, in fact I find him overrated, but what I've heard, I've liked. I'd prefer that Fox use experienced announcers regardless of where they're from like ESPN and NBC do, but if they're going to instead use someone already on staff I would prefer Johnson to just about anyone they have. We can do worse than an American Andres Cantor. Also it was fun that Gus Johnson started calling Earthquakes games and last year the Earthquakes had an abnormally high number of games where they tied or won the game in the final 10 minutes.
   192. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4363158)
Spiegel reporting that Lewandowski has agreed terms with Bayern over a move this summer.
Lewandowski has another year on his contract, so there would have to be an agreement between Bayern and Dortmund as well to make that happen. I can't find the agreed fee - the Guardian rumor mill said £18M, but without any sourcing. That's a pretty good price for just one year, if it's correct.

EDIT: The Der Spiegel report. My German is of the need-a-dictionary-and-an-hour form, but from a few minutes squinting, it looks like Bayern announced they had reached an agreement with the player, and so they will now begin negotiations with BVB. Is that how things work in Germany?
   193. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4363162)
I guess doing World Cup games gives the Fox job enough prestige that they get a "name" American announcer to start doing soccer games. I wonder who they are going to partner him up with? I am not a fan of their color guys.

You could always go to the interim Nevada Smith's - walked in there one afternoon and it was a little depressing.
   194. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4363163)
The Spiegel report says that Bayern will now open negotiations with Dortmund, having agreed terms with the player.
   195. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4363165)
The Spiegel report says that Bayern will now open negotiations with Dortmund, having agreed terms with the player.


How is that even allowed?

Didn't realize US game was at four. Is Honduras trying to take advantage of the heat and humidity?
   196. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4363167)
Didn't realize US game was at four. Is Honduras trying to take advantage of the heat and humidity?


I think they're trying to take advantage of it being safer during the day.
   197. ursus arctos Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4363170)
European rules on what would be considered tampering over here are a) vague, and b) oft observed in the breach.

If the Spiegel report is true, the most likely scenario is that Bayern and Lewandowski's agent have agreed on terms that are formally described as non-binding, but not intended to be treated as such by the parties.
   198. Swedish Chef Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4363174)
How is that even allowed?

Just one of those things that the football authorities have no power over after the bosmanocalypse.

   199. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4363178)
Now the locking out of Odemwingie seems even a little more ridiculous.
   200. Topher Posted: February 05, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4363187)
Is Honduras trying to take advantage of the heat and humidity?


I think so. I'm also not sure how effective it will be. I'm sure the Northern European club players won't fancy it much but typically it is the US players' fitness that wears a team out and not the other way around. Then again almost half the roster are really Germans so it might have more influence than I first thought.

Is there any chance that Bradley lines up on the left? That's where Klinsmann first used him after reinserting him into the lineup. I think that would be a mistake, but I'm guessing that he also wants to use both Jones and Williams (which I also think is a mistake) and with nobody else really suited for the position I could see Bradley getting moved over there.
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