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Two red cards, two 3-1 losses, and yet two wildly different results: Accrington Stanley v. Fulham and USA v. Honduras

January 24, 2010 3 comments
Jimmy Conrad

Jimmy Conrad: Not South Africa-bound

Yesterday morning (eastern standard time, at any rate), in England’s cold northwest, League Two side Accrington Stanley took the field against Premiership side Fulham. Despite Leeds United’s recent successes against top-class Premiership sides, few honestly expected Accrington–a full division lower–to pull off an upset. And they didn’t. After levelling the game at 1-1 in the 25th minute, their hopes were dashed when Darran Kemptson was shown a deserved red card after a bad foul on Zoltan Gera.

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Jeremiah White to the Union?

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Ives Galracep is reporting that Jeremiah White may be moving back to the states to sign with MLS. If he does, the Union may snatch him up, since they are first in allocation order.

Would this be a good move for the Union? Although I haven’t seen White play for Aarhus, he is a consistent starter for a good team in a fairly tough league. Can’t argue against that. Also: White was born in D.C. and (according to Wikipedia, at any rate) went to school in Haverford, just 9 miles outside of Philly. So the Union might get a top quality starter, and fans might finally get their local boy.

US U-17s to face Italy on Wednesday, November 4th

November 2, 2009 Leave a comment

The US will face a tough match in Kaduna, Nigeria on Wednesday when they take on Italy in the FIFA U-17 World Cup round of 16. The Italians are undefeated in their first three games, having defeated Algeria and South Korea and drawing with Uruguay.

If the Americans win they will face the winners of Germany/Switzerland on Nov. 11th.

Categories: Uncategorized

US U-17s dominate UAE in 1-0 victory

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

A Jack McInerney goal in the 35th minute was all it took for the US U-17s to dispatch the United Arab Emirates and advance to the next round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The US once again dominated possession, stifling the UAE offense and creating numerous scoring chances on the other end.

No time for player ratings today but I will say just about every player had a better performance than against Malawi. Alex Shinsky in particular looked for more dangerous and had far fewer turnovers.

The defense was solid today, with better communication between the two center backs and few mistakes. The UAE is a talented team, but they were largely shut down in the final third.

The only weak spot today was the team’s poor finishing. Stefan Jerome, Luis Gil, and McInerney each had excellent opportunities that should have been put away–the score easily could have been 3-0 or 4-0. Gil in particular needs to improve his final touch.

One final note: Wilmer Cabrera is a revelation for the US youth system. His teams play with a kind of poise and style rarely seen in US national teams. Let’s hope he can coax moer of a killer instinct out of his players for the next round.

Categories: Uncategorized

USA U-17 vs. Malawi: recap and player ratings.

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

In a generally soporific display, the US U-17 men’s team blundered into a 1-0 win over Malawi Thursday.

The US dominated possession against a poor Malawi team that barely had a sniff at goal all game (and that was called offside 18 (!) times). Yet despite their clear technical and physical superiority, the Americans managed to create only a few dangerous scoring chances. The lone US goal came off a fluke mistake by the Malawi goalkeeper.

Striker Jack McInerny, who decimated CONCACAF competition earlier this year, had a sluggish performance, managing only one real effort on goal. His strike partner, Victor Chavez, was active up top but always seemed a step behind his teammates, often making poor decisions that killed the US attack.

Luis Gil, Marlon Duran, and Nick Palodichuk did well to control the middle of the pitch, but will need to attack the goal with more urgency against the UAE. It’s great to see a US team adept at the passing game, but all the possession means nothing if they can’t kill off the opposition.

The win was clearly not convincing. The US has the talent to progress in the tournament, but needs to start showing the kind of grit and determination that the senior team has been showing lately. The UAE is nothing to sneeze at and should prove a more dangerous foe than Malawi. Let’s hope the kids really come to play on Sunday.

Player Ratings:

Earl Edwards (GK) 5. Not really tested by a Malawi team that seemed to have lost its depth perception before the game.

Jared Watts 4. Watts and his partner Zavaleta were mostly solid in the back, but on the few occasions Malawi managed to get forward they looked a little shaky.

Eriq Zavaleta 4. Like Watts, not really tested, but shaky at times. The pair needs to communicate better especially on fast breaks. On more than one occasion Malawi players were ready to sneak past the back line, only to be a foot or so offside.

Zachary Herold 5. The tall right back was solid throughout and strong going forward. His crosses leave a little to be desired.

Tyler Polak 5. Was dangerous on the attack, and his whipping, left-footed crosses should have been pounced on more hungrily by the attackers.

Luis Gil 6. Gil impressed with his second solid game of the tournament. His cheeky backheel flick  created the US goal. Unfortunately, his searching through balls never seemed to cut deep enough through the Malawi defense—although this was as much the fault of McInerney’s sluggish movement and Chavez’s failure to read the pass. Tends to pass back too much, and needs to press forward with more urgency.

Marlon Duran 5. A quiet but strong performance. Provided some excellent balls lofted behind the defense.

Nick Palodichuk 5. Much like Duran, did well to direct the ball through the midfield, but never looked threatening going forward.

Alex Shinsky 4. Did well to get off the shot that lead tot he goal, but the goal was still a fluke. Committed too many turnovers in the final third. Considering his poor showing against Spain, I’d like to see Martinez get the start against the UAE.

Victor Chavez 2. Not sure why Chavez got the start after his fairly poor performance against Spain. His quality seems to deteriorate the closer he gets to goal, and his turnovers in the first half almost single-handedly killed the US attack. Stefan Jerome should get another chance against UAE.

Jack McInerny 3. A disappointing game for the talented youngster.  Looked sluggish and tired, especially in the final third. The player who lit up the CONCACAF tournament earlier this year seemed to be missing entirely. Let’s hope it’s just jet lag.

Subs:

Carlos Martinez (66′ for Shinsky): 5. Held the ball well. Did not commit as many turnovers as Shinsky, but also did not look as dangerous going forward.

Andrew Craven (54′ for Chavez): 3. Not much of an improvement over Chavez. Where was Jerome?

Boyd Okuono (87′ for Watts): N/A. Didn’t play enough. May find himself starting against UAE if Watts’ injury is serious.

Categories: Uncategorized

Freddy Adu doesn’t make the bench for Belenenses against Olhanense

October 23, 2009 2 comments

Freddy Adu, who is making a habit of bouncing around Europe to clubs that won’t play him, did not see the field in Belenenses’ match against Olhanense today. He didn’t even see the bench. The match ended 0-0.

Belenenses, currently 9th the Portugese Liga, is now one point above Olhanense and only 3 points out of relegation. Adu’s former club, Benefica, is 2nd, and recently thrashed Everton 5-0 in Europa League play.

So Mr. Adu, who was once the great hope of American soccer, cannot find playing time with a mid-level team in a small (but very good) European league. In fact, he can’t find playing time anywhere and hasn’t for a long time.

What does this mean? Is a Adu at long last, officially a bust? Shall we find another young prodigy on which to hang all national hopes of international soccer glory?

Shorter: No.

Longer: No. Adu is 20 years old. Sure, he’s not in the Messi/Ronaldo/Pato range, but did you ever really believe he would be? He’s still young. He might not be the Greatest Player Ever in World History, but he still might end up being a very good player.  And he still might have a role to play with men’s national team.

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Six points for the Philadelphia Union

October 15, 2009 1 comment

Why should an Upstate New Yorker care about a soccer team in Philadelphia that doesn’t quite exist yet? The following justifications might suffice:

  1. I have been a soccer player and fan for over 20 years, but never had a team to call my own.
  2. My mother is from Philly. I took a lot of trips there as a kid to see my grandfather. It was the first “big city” I ever knew. My grandpa kicked-ass, and if he called a city home, then I have no qualms adopting it as my own.
  3. The Phillies were the first MLB team I ever saw play. Thereafter I always supported Philadelphia teams, even when I couldn’t have cared less about sports in general
  4. Donovan McNabb, my favorite football player and Syracuse’s QB in my formative years (when SU football was worth something) made his way to the Eagles. Thereafter my allegiance to Philly sports became unshakable.
  5. The Sons of Ben are already the best supporter’s club in MLS.
  6. Nuff said.

That’s it for now.

Cheers,

-KMM

Categories: Uncategorized