Monday, June 29, 2009

Gold Cup preview


  • Grenada -Sharlie Joseph will not be playing for Grenada due to injury
  • The USA team will be able to have 30 players since they participated in the Gold Cup. This means to me they organizers do not want to USA to lose early. The reason was players would be taxed, tired ect. However there are only a few players who are coming from South Africa to participate in both tourneys
  • El Salvador will be without forward Eliseo Quintanilla. Quintanilla, who has two of El Salvador's six goals in World Cup qualifying, has opted to join his new club, Greek Cypriot side Ermis Aradippou
  • Costa Rica will be with out Furtado, who has scored two goals in three World Cup qualifiers, was dropped from the squad after the initial sample of his doping test during the Costa Rican league finals returned positive, the Costa Rican federation said.
  • Mexico will not have Cuauhtemoc Blanco, no Rafael Marquez, no Pavel Pardo. Ricardo Osorio, Oswaldo Sanchez but they have young talent that will be on display
  • Canada will not have De Rosorio nor

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gold Cup Group B Preview

Group B
Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, USA

Group B will feature the defending Champions USA, Central American representative Honduras and two Caribbean teams in Grenada and Haiti. The group will first appear in the newest MLS venue, Qwest Field in Seattle. Two games will be played on July 4th, American’s Birthday. The Yanks will play against Grenada and should have great fans support on this day. I do not see Grenada mounting a consistent attack this day and the Spice Boys will be in for a long day. Honduras should take care of Haiti in the other match. Then the group travels across the country to the nations Capitol and plays at RFK stadium. Honduras has 4 times as many fans (as the Yanks) in Chicago for a World Cup Qualifier earlier in the year. D.C also has a very large Latin American populous. It will be interesting if Honduras fans out number the Yanks fans in our nations Capitol. This game should determine the winner of the group. To me this game could go either way with an edge to Honduras. The other groups will take an interest in Grenada vs. Haiti. Other group’s teams will hope for a tie so neither team will advance to the knockout round. If there is a winner here the winner may go through as a 3rd place team…so the game will have meaning no only to Haiti and Grenada but also the other two groups.

The group then travels up the Atlantic coast to New England’s Gillette Stadium. If Haiti had any chance against the USA it would have been in an early game. The USA’s dept, playing on their home pitch and all the traveling, will propel the Yanks past Haiti. Honduras should take care of Grenada however Sharlie Joseph will have plenty of fans in the stands. Gillette is the home of his Revolution team so he will be very comfortable playing there. Will Grenada be this years Cinderella story!
I see USA with the edge since they will have home field advantage. Honduras will take the runner up spot relying on their experience. Either Haiti or Grenada may go through if the can get a point against the big boys and beat the other in the crucial 2nd game in Washington D.C. Grenada did not score much in the Caribbean Cup but relied on a stout defense. Haiti problem was that they did not play tagether throughout the Caribbean Cup until the final round. Haiti just do not have enough of their federation backing them. Their fans are great though and hopefully they can put on a nice showing.

The Favorite
USA They will be playing in their 10th Gold Cup in a row.. The Yanks have never lost a group stage match in the Gold Cup. Their last Gold Cup loss was a 2:1 defeat to Brazil in 2003 semi-finals in Miami Orange Bowl. They have the best Gold Cup record with 33 wins and 5 loses and 1 tie. They have won 3 of the last 4 Gold Cups. They are the host and the defending Champions. They are under the direction of Bob Bradley.
They have a very successful Confederations Cup in South Africa and now have to get ready to play the bi-annual Gold Cup. There will only be a few holdovers from that team. This will be mostly a team Bradley wants to evaluate for the World cup 2010. They Yanks need help on the left flank and left Defense. They also want more Forward depth. Bradley wants to evaluate who he can help him starting or the valuable backup spots.
The roster is a split between MLS players and European 2nd tier teams. Their main weakness the team has is this group has never played together. They will have to find cohesion with in the first 3 games or they will be bounced quickly in the knockout round.
Look for Freddy Adu and his great dribbling and attacking skills in the middle. Stuart Holden (Houston) has been given the 10 spot in Houston when they Dynamo let De Rosario go to Toronto FC. This is impressive since Holden is only 23 and possesses veteran skills and a good work rate. They will try to feed the giant at 6-3 Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) as a target forward. He will be along side the bulldog Charlie Davies the Confederations Cup hero. The left midfield spot will have 2 youngsters battling for Bradley attention in Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) and Colin Clark (Colorado).
The back line will have a number of ex MLS’er who have moved on to European tier 2 leagues and are trying to make a name for themselves. They are the reigning champs and will play on their home pitch. The defense has to stiffen and the youngsters and veterans have to blend to win this tournament. They are the favorite in this group even with the B team starting. They are playing on their home pitch.

The Dark Horse
Honduras They will be making their 9th Gold Cup. This is their 4th Gold Cup in a row. They are one of 4 qualifiers from the Central America by coming in 3rd in UNCAF Cup in Honduras. They only missed one Gold Cup in 2002. They reached the quarter finals in 2007 and the Semi-finals in 2005. Their best performance was Gold Cup in 1991. They reached the finals in the inaugural event losing in a shootout to the host (USA) at LA Memorial Coliseum
Honduras national team coach is Columbian Reinaldo Rueda. Their Captain is Carlo Costly (GKS Belchatow-Poland) who is big and powerful. Costly will pair with Walter Pery Martínez and he plays for Deportivo Alves-Spain. Kansas City Wizards midfielder Roger Espinoza (KC Wizards-USA) and Luis Ramos Spartus are the only other foreign players on this roster. The rest come from 4 main teams in Honduras (Marathon-6, Real Espana-5, Motagua-4 and Olimpia-4.
Honduras only warm up game is a match against Panama Sunday June 28th which they won 2:0. The game will be in Raleigh, North Carolina. This venue will help both teams get ready for the venues in the Gold Cup. Honduras almost beat the USA team earlier this year and that was against the Yanks top team. This USA team is the 2nd stringers who have not played together. They get the dark horse spot since the Honduras national program has come a long way in recent times.

The Hopefuls (Haiti – Grenada)
Haiti Are back for their second straight and 4th overall Gold Cup. Les Grenadiers is their nickname. They are one of 4 qualifiers from the Caribbean region. They won the Caribbean Cup in 2007 in Trinidad and Tobago against the host in Port of Spain. Their best Gold Cup performance was making the quarter finals in 2002. They are led by Jairo Rios a Columbian. Haiti best performance was in 2002 when they made it to the knockout round. Haitians want to regain the stature they had when they participated in the 1974 World Cup. They luckily got to this Gold Cup when Cuba withdrew and they won the coin flip against Trinidad and Tobago. They are tall, fast and hard charging. They are individually talented but lack the team tactical ability other teams have. They only go through if they beat Grenada and get a point from the Yanks or Honduras....this is a tall task....but so was qualifying for the 1974 World Cup.
The Spice Boy will be playing in their first ever Gold Cup. They qualified as one of 4 Caribbean regions slots. They came in second in the 2009 Caribbean Cup. They lost to the host Jamaica 2:0. Both goals were scored on penalty kicks. They will be the smallest country ever to participate in the Gold Cup. They will be wearing bright green or yellow shirts with red socks. Noris Wilson is the coach and he is from Grenada. They are looking to upset the hierarchy of CONCACAF powers. Grenada did not score that many goals in the Caribbean cup and they play a very stout defensive style. They will have Sharlie Joseph (Revolutions-USA). Joseph has been called the best holding midfielder in MLS for a number of years. His versatility allowed the coach to move his to at position. He is the leading scorer for the rev this year. He will be a clog in the middle for Grenada and will feed to potent Jason Roberts (Blackburn Rovers-Eng). These players will help the Grenada attack greatly.

Prediction 1 USA, 2 Honduras, 3 Haiti, 4 Grenada

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gold Cup Group A Preview

Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica

The Favorite:
Costa Rica The Tico’s will be in their 9th Gold Cup and 7th in a row. They advanced to back to back semi-finals in 1991 and 1993. They were knocked out in the quarterfinals in 2007 to Mexico in a very physical and bitter match. They have Costa Rican Rodrigo Kenton at the helm. Their best performance was in 2002 where they made the Finals losing 2:0 in Pasadena California.
They are presently playing their best soccer right now in CONCACAF. They sit atop the Hexagon standing with a 4-0-1 record with 12 points. They have beaten the USA, Honduras, El Salvador at home. They also beat Trinidad and Tobago in the only away victory at this stage. They also have allowed the fewest goals (5) of the 6 remaining Hexagon teams. The Tico’s are clicking on all cylinders and Kenton is not taking his foot off the gas. He has brought his senior team and look to take their first Gold Cup.
Players to watch for are Saprissa’s Walter Centeno. He is a cagy veteran who can control the pace of the game in the middle. Celso Borges (Club Fredrikstad-NOR) will help Centreno with his quick attacks up the middle. He is deadly around the goal area scoring 5 goals in the last 2 qualifing wounds. They will feed strikers Andy Furtado (Marathon-Hon) and Alvaro Saborio of Sion - Switzerland. They will be the favorite to win this group since this team has the experience, depth and cohesion from playing together so long.

The Challenger
Jamaica The Reggae Boyz will be playing in their 7th Gold Cup. They qualified by winning the 2009 Caribbean Cup 2:0 against Grenada in Kingston Jamaica. This brings their Caribbean Championships to 4. They have made the knockout round 4 out of 6 times they participated in the Gold Cup. The Reggae Boyz best performance was reaching the semi-finals on 2 occasions (1993, 1998). They had a very memorable 0:0 tie with Brazil in 1998 Gold Cup group play game.
The Reggae Boyz and fans are dreadfully disappointed they are not participating in the Final Hexagon stage. They registered 3 victories in their last 3 semi-final games beating Honduras, Mexico and Canada. They tied Mexico for second place and were edged out on goal differential. They have to wait another 4 years for the next World Cup cycle. Luckily they have the Gold Cup to look forward to. They have proven they are the best of the Caribbean in 2009 by winning the Caribbean Cup and want to prove they belong with the elite of CONCACAF. They are the only Caribbean representative in this group and will be looking to prove themselves.
Look for Omar Cummings FW who is on a tear for the Colorado Rapids. He is fast and powerful and the rugged MLS defenses can not stop him. FW -Luton Shelton (Valerenga-Nor)already has 27 goals for the senior team with only 43 appearances. Jamaica also has Ricardo Fuller (Stoke City-Eng) and Marlon King (Wigan Athletic-Eng) up front to complete the most accomplished and deepest FW positions in the Tournament. These potent forwards will be feed from Jeraine Johnson (Shefeild Wednesday-ENG), Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Barnsley-ENG), Demar Phillips (Aalesunds-NOR). The Defense will be anchored by Ricardo Gardner (Bolton Wanders-Eng) who should have over 100 caps after the tournament is complete. Guarding the net will be Donovan Ricketts (LA-Galaxy-USA0 who presently is the best goalie in MSL this year. This team is loaded with international players who play at the top levels in Europe. They are bringing a very experienced players and if they can find some cohesion and play a little defense they will go deep in this tournament.

The Wild Card

Canada The Canucks are making their 9th appearance in the Gold Cup. This will be their 6th Gold Cup in a row. They claimed their first ever international tournament in 2000 winning the Gold Cup. They beat a very talented Colombia 2:0 in LA California. They are the only other CONCACAF team to win the Gold Cup besides (USA and Mexico). They reached the semi-finals in 2007 event losing to eventual Champion USA 2:1. They are lead by Coach Stephen Hart.
The big new out of Canada is Dwane DeRosario decision not to play in the Gold Cup. The decision is understandable since Canada will not be playing in the 2010 World Cup. The national team has to get ready for 2014. DeRosario will not be involved in that campaign. Also Toronto TC is struggling in the crucial part of MLS right now. Toronto TC also has to get ready for the Champions league.
Canada will have Gold Cup 2007 MVP Juan De Guzman of Deportivo La Coruna (ESP) will patrolling the Middle. He may be paired up with Will Johnson of Real Salt Lake – USA. Johnson is a versatile and can play the AT position. They will feed Ali Gerba MK Dons (Eng) up front. Gerba was their best offense in World Cup Qualifying and they will rely on him. Also look for 22 year old Simeon Jackson (Gillingham-ENG). “Jackson has shined all season for the club, and ended the season as the team's leading scorer with twenty goals” [1] Their back line will be anchored by their captain Paul Stalteri. Stalteri plays along side Michael Bradley in Germany for Borussia Monchengladbach (GER). The rest of the team is made up of players playing in MLS and scattered through out Europe.
They will be a formidable club if De Guzman can find some space in the middle and the young players come of age. They play a well organized defense scheme. They are all very big and play a very physical game. Spirits are very low right now in Canada after crashing out of World Cup Qualifying semi-final round. This Gold Cup can in a good time for many Canuck fans. They believe they are capable of regaining the magic of 2000 and feel they have something to prove to themselves and to the rest of CONCACAF. They played a great tournament in 2007 beating Costa Rica 2:1 and Haiti 2:0 in group play. They then dominated Guatemala 3:0 in the knockout round. Then in the semi-final they played a very even match against the Yanks. They were robbed on a bad call to tie the game at the end of regulation. This call will compare to the “Hand of God” with in CONCACAF as one of the most horrendous non-calls ever. The Canucks play well in the States and if Staleri can organize the defense it will be hard to score on them.

El Salvador
The Cuscatlecos will be playing in their 6th Gold Cup. This will be their second in a row. They have a young team and are flying high with their quality of play in the Hexagon. They made back to back quarterfinal appearances in 2002 and 2003. They did not advance in Gold Cup 2007 and will be looking for redemption.
Mexican Carlos de los Cobos took over as head coach in 2006. The El Salvador national team has drastically improved. The surprised Central American Champion Panama by knocking them out in World Cup Qualifying. Then they surprised pundits again by getting by Haiti and Suriname in the semi-finals and making the Final stage. Many others, like me, thought that El Salvador would just be cannon fodder in the final round. They played the Yanks in March and the Yanks were lucky to get a 2:2 tie at the end of the game. The played the tightest game of any team at Saprissa stadium only losing 1:0 to the Tico’s. This team is brimming with confidence after the recent 2-1 victory over Mexico in San Salvador. Their team is playing extremely well and wants the team firing on all cylinders going into the 2nd half of World Cup Qualifying.
They will be bringing their senior team to the Gold Cup and do not want to lose their edge. Look for Christian Castillo and Cyprus based Eliseo Quintanilla with their clean sharp passes in the middle. They will try to spring senior Rudis Corales and the ultra quick Rodolfo Zelaya (Mexico Club Leon) up front. The team and fans now believe they can beat anyone in CONCACAF with their recent World Cup Qualifying games. They will be bringing one of their strongest teams to the Gold Cup. They just have to learn how to win outside of Cuscatalon Stadium.

The Group Group A will feature a team from each of the 3 regions in CONCACAF. There will be 2 Central American (Costa Rica & El Salvador) teams battling a North American representative (Canada) and the Caribbean Champion (Jamaica). This will be the most competitive group of the 3 groups. Costa Rica may be the favorite the other nations will be looking to prove themselves. Every team and their fans believe that their national team can win this group.
This is the 6th time the Canada and Costa Rica have been placed in the same Gold Cup group. This game has turned into a great rivalry between these 2 nations. Canada beat them 2:1 in the last Gold Cup so the Tico’s will be ready for them this year.
Jamaica opens against Canada and after a 3:0 drubbing of the Canucks in Kingston. The Canucks will not overlook the Reggae Boyz in the first game. Whoever wins this game will gain much needed confidence going forward. I give the edge to the Reggae Boyz here. El Salvador opens against Costa Rica and they will want to establish a tone before the Final Hex game in San Salvador. This will be a very physical game. El Salvador is tired of playing second fiddle to the Ticos and this will be their best chance to rectify this.
I believe Costa Rica is playing their best ball and should emerge the top seed here. Jamaica wants to exert its influence beyond the Caribbean and will be going all out for this Championship. They have the talent to go deep in this Gold Cup. Canada will be playing many youngsters however they play well in the States. El Salvador has gained tremendous confidence and could be the surprise. Los Cuscatlecos will be hoping to get points to make quarterfinals.
Prediction 1. Costa Rica 2. Jamaica 3. El Salvador 4 Canada

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yanks are in the Semi-Final!

How they hell did they do that? Well 3 teams in the group all had 1-0-2 record. The tie breaker was not goal differential but rather goals scored. That right whoever scored them most goals of the 3 team would go through?

Egypt scored 3 against Brazil losing 4-3

Then they beat Italy 1-0 for a total of 4 goals. Going into final they just need a win, a tie of not to lose by 3 goals. They lost 3-0

Italy going in need a win or a tie or not to be outscored by either Egypt of the US.

They beat USA 1-0

They lost to Egypt 0-1

Then they were stunned 3-0 to Brazil....

They Yanks are in the semifinal and will face Spain.

The yanks played much better this game while Egypt looked to defend as the match went on. They yanks had some calls so against them. The ball hit and Egyptian arm in the box but no call. Then Bradley and Clark were yellow carded for tackles that just brushed the opponents.

They yanks got help from young Charlie Davies who looked like he belongs. He was not afraid to run close to goaltender and keep the ball alive and score with some great determination.

Dempsey looked tired the whole match however you just need his brigantine once to make a difference. Dempsey scored the 3rd goal on a header.

Good news there was no red cards. The yanks finished with 11 men and that was a good lesson learned.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Down and out


My yanks were out played by far in the Confederations Cup. I will be in a state of depression for a while…They did hit 2 cross bars and that is the only solace I will take from the 3-0 Brazil loss.

I think the Yanks on par with Egypt so I am hoping for a good game. Some build up, controlling the ball, a build up with a shot on net….

The yanks have played very tentative on both games and I think they lost some confidence. They also got a red card in each game. When you are out matched you can not go down a man….

Speaking of red cards….It seems to me that MLS is much more lenient when showing fouls, yellow and red. Altidore got a call against Italy that resulted in our only goal. MLS better get more on par with international “fouls” and soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Concacaf fans again

USA chicas in Costa Rica

US supporter with horn

T&T fans

Many T&T fans dressed to impress

Mexico Club fans

El Tri supporters

El Salvador supporters

Honduras gang

Dancing fool in Honduras group

@ Panama supporters

2 Costa Rican fans taking a pic of themselves


Tico girl

El sal fans

Tico again

Mexico's Gold Cup Roster

Mexico is doing what I want Bradley to do. That is to build a stronger national team. I want to see younger players from MLS-Europe play in the Gold Cup. I want to see Parkhurst, Davies, Marshall, Eddie Gavin, S Holden and Freddie Adu and see how they fair against tough competition.

Confederations Cup

Well the USA went all out to participate in the Confederations Cup. They won the Gold Cup in 2007 in dramatic fashion to represent CONCACAF. Do I think they are going to do well? The answer is no. Brazil and Italy have better players at every position (excluding goal) the game is being played on the continent of Africa so the advantage should go to Egypt.
I will be presently surprised if the Yanks get through group play.

There is a reason why Bradley went all out to win the Gold Cup. He wanted his younger players playing and competing against the top competition in the World. He also wants them to get use to South Africa and its stadiums. This will give him team familiarity with the World cup experience next year. His team will not be in awe. He hopes they will be "been there done that attitude" and focusing on advancing in group play.

Most of the top team has their top players and by reading the quoted it sounds like they are all serious about winning.

This tournament has not peeked my interest yet. My Yanks were dominated by Costa Rica and did not look as good as Honduras did during most of a home game in Chicago. My yanks have many questions at the LD, RD and midfield. There have been a plethora of players (over 60) that Bradley has played but 3 positions look weak to me.

What I would like to see is some cohesion through the midfield with combinations of passes. What I want to see is some build up to some scoring chances? I want to see a team that will represent CONCACAF well and show the world that we have some good players also. Playing well is more important that advancing in this tournament.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jermaine Jones MF to USA

FRANKFURT (AP) - Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones has told the German soccer federation that he wants to play international soccer for the United States in the future.
Jones has dual German and U.S. citizenship and has played three exhibitions for Germany. According to new FIFA regulations, Jones can switch national teams since he never played in a tournament game for Germany, the German federation said Friday.
The 27-year-old midfielder did not make the final cut for Germany's European championship team last year.
"We've accepted Jermaine Jones' decision and we wish him all the best in his future career," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
Jones is the son of an American soldier and grew up in Frankfurt, where he played for Eintracht before moving to Schalke in 2007.

Ives thinks Jones could be an immediate impact. We will see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Costa Rica on Top

Costa Rica sits proudly atop the Final Hexagon standings. This is a little vindication for all the Tico fans who beleive this is their rightful spot. Many complain that the regional Championship is played in the States giving the Yanks a huge advantage. When Mexico co-hosted the Championship was in Mexico City....huge advantage for Mexico.

There is no such advantage in the HEX and Costa Rica is standing tall. Costa Rica dismantled the Yanks at Saprissa and beat Honduras the next closest team at home. Their only loss was in Mexico City. They were the first and only team to get 3 points on the road in the final stages. They seem to be getting stronger as they go. They are confident and rightly so. Costa Rica can start looking at hotels in South Africa now.

The yanks are sitting comfortably in second place with 10 points but all is not well. They open with a confident win over archrival Mexico in Columbus. Then they found themselves down 2-0 late in San Salvador. They did rally back to get a point on the road but their confidence was tested. Jose Altidore had his coming out party scoring all 3 goals against an overwhelmed Trinidad team in Tennessee to restore some pride. This is when the wheels fell off. Bradley opened with a 4-3-3 attack in Costa Rica. This left the middle to be exploited. Costa Rica dominated with crisp passing and aggressive attack. The Yanks had no cohesion in the middle and the defensive backs looked mighty vulnerable. Every part of their game looked bad. The Yanks did score a 2-1 come from behind victory over guest Honduras but the game is not flowing at all for the Yanks. No one has replaced Cladio Reyna as a middle man to connect the defense to the attack. Bradley relies on defense first but there is no one to slow the game down. They should place in the top 3 even with games left in Mexico and Honduras. They have El Sal at home and Costa Rica last game at home. Costa Rica should be in already.

Honduras is happy to be in third place but feel they should have more points. They played a great game against the Yanks in Chicago. The Honduras fans outnumbered the Yanks fans 4 to 1 at Soldiers Field. The crowd erupted when Carlos Costly fired a shot past Howard in the first half. Honduras did squander the lead but looked better than the yanks in the run of play. Honduras then beat upstart El Salvador the last game in Tegucigalpa. Honduras looks big and powerful up front with Carlo Costly and Carlos Pavon. Their midfield is active, accurate and tactically sound w/ veteran Guevara (Toronto FC) controlling the middle. Their chances look good w/ Home games against 2 top 2 teams at home. I think the CONCACAF game of the year will be Honduras at Mexico Sept 9th. This game should decide the 3 rd guaranteed spot.

Mexico is reeling right now. They use to be the unquestioned power in CONCACAF. They presently sit in 4th place in the Final Hex stages that are already ½ way over. Their confidence is shaken and now everyone in CONCACAF wants a chance to beat the once mighty giant. I believe Mexico needs this break and the upcoming Gold Cup to regain its confidence. They will open against the Yanks at the Aztec. Horns will be blowing the entire game. I see a solid Mexico victory here. They Yanks will not be as desperate and Mexico will control the middle. Mexico will then have the big battle in Costa Rica. This will be a very physical game and I pity the ref. Costa Rica might be on cruise control if they beat Honduras the game before or they could go all out and get stupid penalties and cry like they usually do when a call go against them. This is Mexico’s pivot game. Mexico will then play Honduras at home and seek victories against Trinidad and Tobago and El Sal on the road. So the back 9 looks good for El Tri. It would be a shame not to have them represent CONCACAF in the World Cup.

El Salvador believes in their team and I am starting to believe in them. They got a good call (hand ball in box) against Mexico to secure the victory to keep in striking distance of the first 4 spots in CONCACAF. El Salvador seemed to come out of no where. They beat Panama in the early rounds and I thought Panama just choked and the very wet pitch the games were played on. Then they got through the semi with (Costa Rica, Haiti and Suriname). What surprised me was they were unlucky to get a tie against the Yanks. They should have won. They did not fall apart after this game. They went toe to toe with Costa Rica only to concede a goal in the 69 minute. They almost got a point here at the formidable Saprissa. They pulled themselves back together and beat Might Mexico. They remaining schedule is difficult. They have to travel to USA, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago. They have Costa Rica and Honduras at home. They know they can play with the big boys. If they can get a difficult 3 points at Trinidad and a point against the Yanks in the second half we could see celebration throughout El Salvador.

Trinidad and Tobago = toast.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This will be a memorable game.....

Looks like we are going to have scattered thunderstorms and lightning at tomorrow nights game. Hopefully this will damped the fans at Saprissa.

The field is field turf that was placed in 2004. This is an old field and missed the upgrades field turf has improved with. The field will be slick.

I see the USA bunckering down even more with the weather and the unpredictability of the field.
Costa Rica is 18-1-2 at Saprissa since 2000. This is the last chamce the yanks have to beat then in this formitable stadium. Saprissa Stadium is set to be closed next year when the new national stadiums opens. Saprissa Stadium is like the old Boston Garden...It's old and creapy, run down but you can feel the history in it when you are there. The crowd is on top of you and they let you know it.
The local papers have trumped the game up as the top 2 teams in CONCACAF....since they are ahead in the hex. The papers are also pointing out the dominant record not just against the yanks but every one who ventures in this fortress.
For Tico fans it will be like closing Yankee Stadium, closing RFK Stadium or closing the Montreal Forum with the great memories the national team provided the nation...
Saprissa should be rocking....even with the rain storm approaching......
This should be one of the more memorable games the yanks will have.......

Player burnout

Carlos Bocanegra Marseilles 90 minutes in 4-0 loss @ Marseilles
Brian Ching Houston 81 minutes in a 3-0 win vs. Toronto
Landon Donovan Los Angeles 90 minutes in 1-1 tie vs. Kansas City
Tim Howard London 90 minutes in 2-1 loss to Chelsea
Pablo Mastroeni New Jersey 90 minutes in 3-2 loss @ New York
Marvell Wynne Houston 90 minutes in 3-0 loss @ Houston
Danny Califf Brondby 90 minutes in 4-2 win @ Brondby
Benny Feilhaber Vejle 90 minutes in 2-1 loss @ Vejle
Jose Francisco Torres Pachuca 48 minutes in 2-2 draw with Pumas

Looking at the players here .......6 of them I have penciled in as starters. The important points are the 3 points at home against Honduras. We have to have our offensive players rested and ready. We just do not want to lose to the Tico's. We do not need the 3 points at this point however we want to block the Tico's from getting 3 points and overtaking US in the Hex with points.

Boga is a veteran and should pace himself to play both games....depending on the games will depend on if he gets pulled. I think he plays both games
Gooch --- plays both games
Bornstein will be tested in Costa Rica. If he does not get turned he stays..
Spector ---I think he is the complete package, a professional and has good feet. However Wynne speed to defuse any offense will be needed if Spector tires
Califf can play either d side and is very good

M Bradley is the clear favorite. He has good timing and is aggressive with tackles. He will be needed in both games. I see him playing all of Costa Rica game unless he is exhausted.....quite possible in San Jose
I see Jose Torres as a more offensive player than defensive player. I see him in Honduras game
D Beasley more offense that Defense and see him waiting for the Honduras game.
Lando is just to good not to play ...even if he is out of gas he is still the best passer and set up man we have.
Pablo gets the start in Costa Rica but sits in Chicago. We will count on his veteran leadership to get us through in the middle.
S K---He could play either game. He is good at both attack and defense in the middle. He has not played that well at Club level and hopefully he breaks out here......I hope
Rocardo Clarke was a late call in however his hustle and work rate will get him in one of these next 2 fixtures.

Ching is the best option we have. He can hold the ball up and advance the players on fouls he absorbs. He is good at shielding the ball and we will need this tactic to slow down and frustrate the Tico's
Altidore is big and strong on the ball. He also has speed that is hard to deal with. He will be used on long balls to keep the Tico's honest.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saprissa Stadium

June 2 video of usmen practice at Saprissa

Starting XI against Costa Rica


Ching is clearly the shoe in at Forward. If Altidore is healthy he should start. Bradley needs speed, youth and fitness up front to complement Ching and Altidore is best option.

MF Bradley stress defense first. His son Michael is the best option will his ball hocking abality and he also has a goal scoring touch. I had Edu penciled in before his injury. Since this is a critical game, reluctantly I have to go with the 'known" veteran Mastroni. I saw reluctantly because he get yellow and red carded in critical games........however his hard tackling and his timing is improving.
Lando is the best MF we have so I will place him at weakest mf spot oin the left side. He is best running at people with ball. He is quick, fast and very creative with the ball. He is very dangerous when cutting inside with the ball. Costa Rica first priority will to be shut him down first and play very physical against him. He will move inside 4-5-1 attack if we so down a goal. Dempsey owns the right. He can create on his own. He has played against the best in the English premier league.

Defense is clear with Boca- and Gooch patrolling the middle. Spector is the total package and can handle the right. The hardest spot is LD. I hate Beasley there. Any power forward can out muscle him. Sure he has speed but he is just not big enough to lay the Defense. I saw him one game there and a player turned him easy for a direct goal chance.
He is great going forward with lando at mf spot but i would not risk it. I would play Bornstein at the LD spot.
I am not in favor of Beasly at D.....AT ALL

Costa Rica vs USA Preview

World Cup Hexagonal Round Preview: Costa Rica vs. USA
Who: United States vs. Costa RicaWhat: World Cup 2010 qualifying, CONCACAF final round
When: 8 p.m. Local Time, Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Where: Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose Costa Rica
TV: ESPN and Galavision

I have been concentrating on the development of other nations when I realized that the HEX is the biggest event in CONCACAF. Presently The Yanks sit atop the Hex point table with 7 points. They have had 2 home games which they won. Their away game was a lucky tie against El Salvador in San Salvador. The yanks realize the importance of this game and it is reiterated by their coach.
"We certainly view these two games as being very, very important," the American manager said. "We feel very strongly that we have a great opportunity now to really finish the first half of this round and put ourselves in good position as we go into the last five matches." There is no doubt that the yanks will focus on defensive first. They will be very hard to break down. I am looking for the hard tackling Pablo Mastroeni to team up with Michael Bradley in the middle. Pablo get the call here since Maurice Edu is injured and Pablo brings the experience.
They will need all the experience they can get since they have never beat Costa Rica in WCQ in Costa Rica Satrissa Stadium. The U.S. team has an all-time 0-5-1 record in World Cup qualifying. Six players -- Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, DaMarcus Beasley, Pablo Masteroni, and Brian Ching -- played in the last match on October 8, 2005, a 3-0 loss that was relatively meaningless for the U.S. squad that had already qualified for the 2006 World Cup. Bradley believes this experience will help the team. Saprissa Stadium is also has artificial turf and the game is much different on artificial.
Costa Rica is not underestimating the yanks. Defender Gonzalo Segares, plays in MLS for the Chicago Fire realizes that the Tico’s will have their hands full with the very fast counter attack the yanks will deploy. Forward Saborio was quoted in La National “They are the best team in the zone …..” realizes what they are up against.
All eyes in CONCACAF will be watching this game. They are the only game on since there is a scheduling issue with the yanks participating in the Confederations Cup this summer.

Out look

The Tico’s will take the play to the yanks and try to break down a very well organized defense. The tico’s will try crosses in the air to Saborio but Gooch in the middle w/ the aid of the Midfieldes helping out will shut the crosses down. Look for tico midfielders to go at Bradley and Pablo in the middle. Pablo is very susceptible to fouls in the middle and could get in trouble.
Look for the yanks to counter attack with gusto on either wing with Dempsey, Beasley or Donovan. Altidore is big and fast running at players. Ching is good at hold the ball up, shielding the ball and taking fouls to advance the team to foul spot. The yanks are the best CONCACAF team on set pieces and this is where the game is won or lost with the Ticos.
Result 1-1 draw ( if Pablo fouls out 2-1 ticos, if the yanks get a header 2-1 yanks).

Noah Davis claims this game starts at 6:00pm ET. That is 6:00pm Eastern Time? This is incorrect. Fifa has the game starting at 20:00 local time which is 8:00pm. Costa Rica is 2 hours behind Eastern Stardard time so the game is 10:pm Wednesday EST.

Link for local time in costa Rica