Saturday, June 23, 2007

RSL Lineup Fun

Goff reports that I was somewhat correct:

"...the lineup is Namoff, Erpen, Boswell, Gros, Fred, Olsen, Carroll, Gomez, Dyachenko and Emilio."




Gros-------The Boz-----Erpen------Namoff----

---------------Jay Nolly (!)---------------------

And yup, seems like Jay Nolly is having a crack at the First XI. Mark Simpson says that considering United's schedule and the fact that Nolly has come a long way since the preseason, now seemed a good time to get him some minutes. I'm assuming the same for Dyachenko: Addlery impressed me during his time up front, and Kpene even more so, so it strikes me odd that Soehn & Co. want to try Dyachenko up front again. But I suppose we have to find out whether he semi-decent performance as a forward last game was a fluke or not. Good luck to Nolly and 'Chenko.

And I was mistaken that Boswell and Olsen were going to be absent tonight. They'll join the national side soon.

Looks like a slam dunk for DCU. Let's hope they don't prove me wrong...

Well, This Blows

Missing tonight's DC game because I don't get FSC and I don't have any money for a sports bar. I thought they were making efforts to curb blackouts...

Tomorrow I'm going somewhere for the Gold Cup final. I'll have something to say about that, I'm sure.

Olsen, Boswell to Copa; That Makes Five

Let's recap. For this upcoming RSL game, and several of our upcoming games, we have several notable absences.

Olsen (all Copa America)

Casal (both U-20 WC)

The Fab Five will miss five games as a group -- @RSL, COL (6/28), @KS (7/04), @HOU (7/08), FCD (7/14) -- and then the Copa America absentees arrive back on the 15th in plenty of time for the All-Star game v. Celtic. Meantime Arguez and Casal (if they stay through the U-20 final on the 22nd, in which case they'll miss @NYRB the same day) will arrive back in time for the Superliga game v. Monarca Morelia (7/25). Point is, these guys are out a couple weeks and DCU is forced to cope. Let's see if we come out like guns blazing or like socks being knit.

So here's what I see for the DCU lineup tonight (and you know what, this is probably DCU's First XI for the next five games at least):





-----------------Perkins (praise be)------------

Dyachenko (useful for depth in the wings)
Addlery (will prove invaluable to depth up front)
Simms (will prove invaluable for depth midfield, in back)
deRoux (depth on the wings; relief for Fred, or more likely Moose)

The McTavish-Gros experiment seems to be successful, which at this point in the season is a minor miracle. This is the time for Fred and Emilio to shine and for Gomez to come out as the veteran leader. Kpene and Moose have some great opportunities in the coming matches to impress Soehn and DC fans everywhere as to their usefulness to the squad. New signing Mira Mupier looks impressive for a reserve player. I would be very surprised if he were included in the roster for RSL, not so suprised if he's given a look in the next few games over Dyachenko. Btw, thoughts on Dyachenko: somehow I get the feeling that when Dyachenko comes on, it'll be Gomez heading off and then some formation changes ensue, like Fred slots as #10 or Emilio drops back and Dyachenko fills in where needed. Just a hunch.

Crazy experiments? Sure, what the hell. In a couple games' time I could see Soehn slotting Fred in for Gomez if Gomito needs the rest and trying deRoux out left. If we were really desperate, Simms for Gros or Namoff (or McTavish, if results don't continue to impress). But that's about it.

End result: our offense seems as strong now as it was before, but our defense is mildly worrisome.

And by the way, it seems like everyone is dreading the RSL match for reasons no more solid than some bad omens. I have this to say: winners make their own luck.

Friday, June 22, 2007

2007 Copa America Roster

And now we have it. Courtesy Ives:

GOALKEEPERS- Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

DEFENDERS- Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Dan Califf (Aalborg BK), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Drew Moor (FC Dallas), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS- Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Benny Feilhaber (Hamburger SV), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Lee Nguyen (PSV Eindhoven), Ben Olsen (D.C.United)

FORWARD- Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Herculez Gomez (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)


I'd like to make it known right now that Ives is a bit ingenious for hyping the Gaven call-up a few days ago. He was probably the only one in all of U.S. soccer punditry who saw that coming.

The only tried and true presences in this squad are Keller, Conrad, DeMerit, and Feilhaber. DCU fans know that Olsen and Boswell have experience playing in hostile, pro-South American environments; their presence on the squad will be more for morale than international talent-- although, if Boswell performs well with Conrad and DeMerit, I'll feel good about DCU and the MNT.

I'm pegging Davies to have a breakout performance soon and Johnson to pick his head up a bit. This is a big opportunity for Nguyen, Gaven, and Mapp as well.

Something good this squad is that it gives Bradley the opportunity to truly sort out his second string options for when players in the First XI are unavailable. Trial by fire. But you know what? Although I am preparing myself for some absolutely tragic scorelines in the near future, this isn't something to be negative about. Not by a long shot. Copa America is a real opportunity for a large squad of players who need a real opportunity. I said it before, I'll say it again: during Copa America, I won't be hiding in fear.

Henry to Barcelona

And I've just read that Henry will, in fact, be wearing the red and blue next season. I can hear screams: Catalonia has just erupted in joy, London in tears. The rest is everyone else in a general state of terror. As if Barca wasn't having a golden age before...

Argentina Hasn't Won Anything in 15 Years

And thus Argentina's roster for the Copa America is simply frightening. So is ours, if rumors are to be believed. Ives commenter:

Some commenter over at Deadspin posted this. Can't vouch for accuracy, obvs...
The Copa America roster for the U.S. was released today.

gk: keller, guzan

d: bornstein, boswell, califf, conrad, demerit, drew mooor, heath pearce, marvell wynne

m: kyle beckerman, rico clark, feilhaber, eddie gaven, sacha kljestan, justin mapp, lee nguyen, ben olsen

f: charlie davies, gomez, johnson, twellman

We're going to get slaughtered.

Goff corroborates, about Olsen and Boswell at least. Yikes.

Here's the thing: this game has potential. If we manage a draw or better, we have license to party like we never did during WC. If we lose, we fulfill everyone's expectations. Argentina's exciting to watch anyways. I won't be hiding in fear.

Little more on Hejduk: Jen Chang over at ESPN has some choice words for Hejduk's performance as well, and some interesting speculation as to Hejduk's successor v. Mexico. I'll agree that Hejduk's physicality would have troubled Guardado, but I am 90% positive Hejduk would have tripped over the ball in some way that would have proven disastrous for the US. Spector could do no worse, and I'm sure Simek could do better.

USA v. CAN, Gold Cup 2007 Semifinal, 6-21-07

I went to a sports bar by my lonesome to watch this game. Overpriced food: paid sixteen dollars for a soda and a sandwich. I wasn't disappointed for entertainment value, though.

Here's Ives, more Ives (with ratings!), and Yahoo! Sports Singapore for good measure.

The game was ugly. Should have gone into extra time: regardless of who touched the ball first, Hutchinson was onsides. The goal should have stood.

Hedjuk is getting some undue praise about the match. Every member of our back four was a defensive liability, Hedjuk included. Bornstein was ineffective on offense and plain stupid on defense (Gerba played him like a puppet), Gooch was afraid of the yellow, Boca was trying to maintain Gooch's typical physicality without Gooch, and Hedjuk had numerous bad touches in crucial situations which gifted Canada with breakaways and momentum. Canada's offense was having an easier time than ours.

By the way, all due respect to the Canadians around here, but your MNT loves to hack. Donavan was getting legitimately abused by Stalteri & Co. Beasley the same. Even Keller couldn't escape the hard tackles, thanks in part to Boca and Hedjuk passing to him under pressure.

Other notes:

-Canada established physicality by the seventeenth minute and we played in the wings the rest of the game.

-Up until the seventeenth: Landon was dribbling at people. He + EJ + Bease + Deuce + Bradley were clicking like a true offensive unit. Looked good. After that our touches went from nifty to pressured.

-Hedjuk just looks uncoordinated with his own body sometimes.

-I like EJ. He smiles a lot. But he never manages to produce. I think if Bob tried out other young options up front (Nguyen, Davies, Altidore soon) it would take the pressure of EJ and he wouldn't look so bad all the time.

-Beasley played like he wanted to impress. I'm sure there were some Rangers reps present at the match. Bornstein wasn't helping any.

- Iain Hume for the 'Nucks was impressive.

-Both Keller and Onstad are over the hill. Or just out of form in a way that makes them look old.


And in case you were wondering, there was a mothod to Donovan's PK madness. Or not.


I've learned something about how I like to watch soccer: I prefer to put the TV on mute and crank up some good music. Think my own thoughts once in awhile.