Monday, June 25, 2007
Just finished watching the USA-Mexico Gold Cup Final and I've got some musings...
About 10-15 minutes before Feilhaber's winner there was a searing half-volley from just outside the box by a Mexican player who plays professionally in Greece (Castillo?) which prompted the color commentator to call it a "European" volley. And that got me thinking, WTF is a European volley? Does that mean it was a volley with such a high degree of technique and skill that only a player playing professionally in Europe could hit? Then I though of the quality of play in the MLS and decided the commentator had a point, albeit a bit poorly articulated. And then up steps Benny Feilhaber with a very well-taken dipping volley of the "European" variety as he plys his trade with Hamburg in Germany.
Point is the USMNT needs more guys like Feilhaber and less like Brian Ching. Ching's miss after rounding Sanchez was inexcusable and smacked of MLS quality finishing. Ignore the bombastic, attention-seeking comments of Alexei Lalas; the MLS is not on the same level as the English Premier League. They're more on a level somewhere between the Coca-Cola Championship (Div 2) and League One (Div 3). Look at the other standout performers on the day and throughout the tournament: Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Beasley, and Dempsey all playing in Europe. Sure Donovan plays in L.A. but that's only because he's pussy-whipped into not playing abroad where he belongs (I guess you can't blame him). Anyway I'm actually not really sure what my point is, I'm just frustrated at the gulf in class and technique between European-based guys like Feilhaber and born and bred MLS guys like Ching. It shouldn't be that way. I read an article today in World Soccer magazine about the extensive youth setup at Arsenal and Chelsea with players from all over including Cyprus, Mexico, Belgium, and more and couldn't help but notice that there weren't any Americans. I can't take watching MLS guys like Ching and Twellman up front anymore, for all their heart and effort they just aren't good enough. Freddy Adu should've gone to Europe, not D.C. United, and more Americans youngsters need to start developing their game in the superior youth academies across the pond. Then they can come back and better serve both (MLS) club and country.
Sidenote, Beasley does play in Europe and he had a miss that was even more embarassing than Ching's. So what gives? you ask. Well the explanation for that is Beasley just isn't that good, really. Ask Man City fans.
As Donovan tied Eric Wynalda for most international goals for USA, I realized that Donovan is only 24-25 and he's already beaten a record that took Wynalda a full career to tally up. Just an observation. Says a lot about the rapid improvement in US players over the years.
Twellman, though obviously lacking in quality when taken from the small ponds of the MLS to the international stage, has a helluva a lot of fight in him. From the second he came on as a sub he was flying around and harrying defenders, tracking back and flying in for tackles to help out the team whatever way he could. A great example of heart and determination that other USMNT guys should look to emulate.
Copa America squad selection debate: Bradley's decision to put out a stronger squad for the Gold Cup has been vindicated, regardless of what happens in Venezuela. Gold Cup victory means a Confederations Cup place and $1 million dollar reward. USMNT doesn't have a chance of winning the Copa America no matter what squad they bring. The most they can hope for is a respectable showing. That is still possible, and with young and unproven (read: hungry, chip on shoulder, underdog, underestimated, prematurely written off...) squad maybe Bradley is trying to recreate a USA Hockey at Lake Placid scenario. Do you believe in miracles??
And worse come to worse (Argentina have this guy, I don't know if you've heard of him, named Lionel Messi (1:18 is my favorite)? Yea, he's supposed to be pretty good) we can at least say we didn't have our strongest squad out there. Which is cop-out but whatever. We're the US, we do what we want! Well, at least that's the president's philosophy...
Friday, June 22, 2007
Fab Quag: Ok first of all, this nickname needs to go. It may flow phonetically, but it has to be one of the most effeminate nicknames in all of football. And calling him Fabio isn't much better because then you just get the mental picture of the long-haired I Can't Believe It's Not Butter guy. So do you go with Quagliarella? That's a bit of a mouthful. So I guess it's Quag, but even that I'm not too keen on. Actually I think I got it, just call him Q. Like the gadget guy from James Bond, I've always liked that guy. Ok good so it's settled, now Q can play for United.
Now as for his chances of pulling on United red, I think its a 30% chance. Udinese just gained full ownership of Q in some bizarre blind auction thing that only Italian football would do so there goes the previously high probability that Q was gonna stay at Sampdoria. The reason I say 30% is because rarely do Italian players, especially young ones, come over to play in England. Especially when they have local big guns like Roma (who Q is a known admirer of) and Inter interested to sign them, too. It's also no accident that every member of the World Cup winning Italian side played in Serie A. Q knows this and doesn't want to jeopardize his already successful Azzuri career (he scored twice in his debut recently). Basically the 30% is the allure of playing for the English champs, alongside the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs, etc. which can be pretty enticing. Plus there's also this.
And I don't trust anything that comes out of an agent's mouth, by the way, so until Q says it himself I won't believe it.
Eidur for Pique: No, no, no. No. NO. Former Chelsea affiliations aside, Gudjohnsen is 29 years old and wasn't very impressive this season at the Camp Nou (albeit with limited chances). Gerard Pique, on the other hand, had a very nice little season on loan at Zaragoza and is very bright young talent at only 20 years old. He's an intelligent defender and with Rio's lapses in concentration getting more and more frequent and costlier I could see him taking over for him very soon.
Berbatov: Would cost too much and I would feel bad raiding Spurs for their star player for a second year running. With Chelsea getting all these free transfers we're gonna become the new Chelski. Thanks, but no thanks.
Tevez: I really don't think he's that good and the ownership issue is too messy. And he looks like a monster, but not in a good way. So no.
Saviola: Always have been a fan but I think we're looking for someone with more size so I'll pass.
Huntelaar: Next van Nistelrooy. Which is exactly why we shouldn't get him.
Torres and Eto'o: Both would be big money, but both would be worth it in my opinion. United and Liverpool have both been heavily linked to each of them so you have to figure if one goes to Anfield then we can get the other one. Eto'o's (that looks weird) attitude worries me and Torres is younger and got good size and strength for the Prem so I'm partial to El Nino. But I guess I'd settle for Eto'o (kidding, kidding, I'd be ecstatic). Just don't like the idea of competing with Milan for his signature, we're gonna have to shell out the big bucks.
4. Don't bother buying
**Update: I'm surprised no one picked up on the real problem with the name Fab Quag before. Now he must be called Q.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I still think Bentley was irresponsible to pull out too late to allow Pearce to get a replacement, but he's not a cunt. Thierry Henry and Michael Owen, however, are still cunts. Especially Henry with his latest comments:
"At this moment, I am an Arsenal player and in the same situation as I was last year.
"Last season, people were announcing all over the place that I was leaving. Some people wrote that it would happen for sure but at the end of the day I stayed at Arsenal. It could be the same this year.
"I've not taken any decision and my name is not up on any departures board. If something happens, I will tell everybody."
He goes on to talk nonsense about how chairman David Dein leaving was a mistake, as if that sort of thing is any his business in the first place. Again, thinking he is the club, thinking he has jurisdiction over all that happens at Arsenal. I don't care how gifted a player is (and Henry realllly gifted), no player is worth the amount of trouble he's causing. He's even unsettling the future of Arsenal in budding superstar Cesc Fabregas with his antics. I can hear the Arsenal fans (sensible ones, at least) screaming all the way from North London "Just shut it and leave already!! (But leave Nicole behind!)"
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Staying on the topic of cunts, let's talk about young David Bentley, too. This little prick pulls out of England's U-21 squad for the Euro Championship because he wants to make a push for the senior squad. And you decide this now??!? I mean really you can't be serious. Again with the indecision. It's your peroogative to do what you feel is best for your career, however selfish it may be to put that above playing for your country when they need you (being one of the best players the U-21's have). Let's not even discuss the fact that the England manager himself said he should play the U-21 tournament AND HE PICKS THE SENIOR SQUAD.
All I'm saying is stop dicking around. Thierry Henry, Michael Owen, David Bentley, and all the other footballers who I have to assume are idiot savants as they can't do anything right except play football: STOP DICKING AROUND. Footballers have a lot free time to think about theses things; their futures, their careers, their aspirations. They don't do 9-5 and don't have bills to worry about and all that jazz like everyone else. They have enough money that they don't have to do anything themselves except wipe their own asses. So with that in mind is it really too much to ask Thierry Henry and Michael Owen to make a concrete decision about their future and stop jerking around their fans? Is it too much to ask David Bentley to make his selfish decision to pull out of the U-21 tournament in time for Stuart Pearce to call up a replacement? IS IT REALLY??
Ok I'm done. I know, I'm asking too much of these guys who have had smoke blown up their backside since before puberty. They are so out of touch with reality that they really think their behavior is acceptable because they've scored more goals than any Gunner, or they've got more competitive goals for England than anyone else, or they...oh wait a second David Bentley hasn't done shit to warrant such behavior. Ah but this is the trend with footballers these days, they just get worse and worse.