Saturday, November 24, 2018

USA Soccer -Year in review

2018  in review.

The senior side went 3-3-5 (W-D-L). Sucko!

The 2018 year felt like the lost year. There was no one givng a point of contact to represent USA soccer for the media like a head coach. Earnie Stuart was hired, for what I believe to be just that.- Point of contact.... But have not hear much on this front at all.

USA soccer has been in search for a head coach since the firing of  Bruce Arena in 2017.

2017 has to be marked as the worst year ever for the USA soccer. They lost a game October 10th 2017 to Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean 2-1. They only needed to tie this game to advance to the World Cup. What a disaster....

      This meant that all us USA soccer fans had to suffer throught the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia without our nationl team to represent us. France won...bla bla bla so what. We were not participating. So we could only watch the USA national team bring in some young, new exciting players and build for the future.

Well this so called team went 3 wins- 3 draws and 5 losses. Not to encouraging

Sure we had a younger team but so didnt the other natinal teams Our national team had no fluidity. Sure we have an athletic team but we do not have a number 10. A midfielder like the other national team do. We are just lacking in these type of players.

We have a few players like Christian Pulisic but it stops there. Other nations have most of their entire team playing for the top teams in the top leagues around the word. These players are starters.

Sure USA does have a few palyers on some good teams but they are not consistent starters. Even Pulisic doesnt get every start.

The USA are currently ranked 23 in the latest FIFA ranking. In 1994 - When we hosted the World Cup....and didnt even have a Major League Soccer and only a hand full of soccer players in the top leagues we were ranked  23. That right we have not made gains in soccer from this point of view.

Sure we have MLS and it has expanded but have we made gains on the other top nations. No.
Sure we got better but so did the other nations. We are still ranked 23 just as we were 24 years ago.
Axesis Lalas can tell you, in his rah rah sales man pitch, we are getting better. I say prove it!! He can't, Earnie Stewart can't, Bruce Arena can't . Why ...because we have not made gains on the top teams. PERIOD!!!!!

Going Forward
Hire a frikin coach. We missed an entire year with a fill in coach. He did the best he could and played many young players....Thank you!
Let the young talent go to Europe and develpe. Our system is no where near their developement system. Just as we dont send our young hockey players to Europe, Europe...especially Russia sends their top talent to develope here.

Win this next Gold Cup in 2019. The USA has one of the easiest travel schedules, They have home field advantage in 2 Soccer Specific Stadiums, they ae playing at sites that will provide favorable USA crowds. Play the entire team in the group games and develope the younger players. Dont underestimate the small CAribbean nations. Curacao has a team mostly compromised of players from European leagues. these players are tactically solid and defensively sound. Dont keep passing the ball back and forward and attack. Chewing up the clock by kicking it from one defenseman to another , plays into the other nations hands. USa is more talented....just show it.

U-20 Championship:
This is the biggest tournamnet for us USA soccer fans. The USA crused in the group games. In the second round they dominated Costa Rica, played Honduras to a 1-0 win. Honduras packet it in ---even thou they were down. Honduras knew they could advance by losing but keeping it close. The USA then beat their arch rival  Mexico in the finals 2-0. This championship was very satisfying...

The USA has a bunch of potential players here.

Friday, November 23, 2018

USMNT-U20 Best XI give the USMNT something to look forward to

Taking a little look at the U-20 team, it is still hard to judge what players will be future stars, especially in the USA. The USA has 330 million people and it dwarfs the European nation in population and pure size. So you understand other players may emerge in the USA that are not mentioned here. So lets just discuss and hope the stars of today become our stars of tomorrow.

Alex Mendez:Germany SC Freiburg is a 5-10 American Soccer player who plays as a midfielder for SC Freiburg. He was born in Los Angelos California. He is still elegible to play for Mexico. He is keeping the door open but has now developed as one of the main options for the USA. He is good box to box player, making pin point passes and playing aggressivly winning the ball back. He won the U-20 CONCACAF Championship, He won the MVP of the tournamnet, He scored the most goals (8) on the USA team, and score both goals in the finals against Mexico and 1 goal against Costa Rica. He stepped up in the big games and got better as tournament progresses.

GK: Brady Scott: Germany 1. FC Köln. He is 19 years old and plays for Germany 1. FC Köln of the German league.  I am glad he is getting the best training and is in the Germany League at this young age. He is just under 6 '2" and looks very calm and collective in net.

DF Chris Goster Germany Hannover 96 is a New Jersy born American soccer player. He stands at 6 feet and a solid build. He is now trainging with Hannover youth team after partaking in the Reb Bulls II training teams. He played a  very solid tournamnet and relished the idea of playing Mexico. He was one of the players wishing to play against the best in the world.

Sergio Pest: was just that. He was a pest to get by. He has fast and relentless on defense. He also got forward at times and did not see to tire. He was very calm with the ball at his feet and could run into open spaces for move the ball. Great to see from a Defender.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

USA U-20 win CONCACAF Championship 2018

USA U-20 team beat Mexico 2-0 Wednesday 11-21-18 in  Brandenton Florida to win the CONCACAF 2018 U-20 Championship. This was the culmination of 21 days of tournament time and about 6 months of preparation. The stadium look almost full and usa Soccer has the attendance at 3,500. CONCACAF does not really show attendance from pevious tournaments but this was a good showing.

This is the second Championship in a row for the  USMNT-U20 team. This team had been talking about playing Mexico all tournament. They (USA)felt they had a very good team and wanted to play the best (Mexico-since Mexico usually has the best junior teams). Well the USA got their wish and performed in the big game.

They (USA) atttacked the CONCACAF giant all game. They also played solid defense when necessary. The USA scored 2 great goals and they deserved the Champioship.

Tab Ramos and his coaching staff and all the backroom players have  put the USA on solid footing going forward. The USA placed an amazing 8 of the best XI of the tournament.
Alex MEndez also received the MVP.
  • The Championship brings USA total to only 2 to Mexico 13
  • The Mexico fans seem to far outnumner the USA fans again in the states but we are expecting that.
  • The USA finally looked like a quality team, with good body position and protectig the ball while dribbeling
  • USA also went forward attacking when they had open space.
Next Up: 
This team qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland next year. The tournament is in May. This tournamnet is only one monthy before the CONCACAF Gold Cup held in June 15th to july 7th,

Sunday, November 18, 2018

USA U-20 USMNT qualify for the FIFA World Cup

             The USA U-20 dominated the Latin American nation of Costa Rica. The game was never in doubt however the safety and health of the players was.

Costa Rica had 24 fouls but as a watch the game these were very bad fouls. I felt the ref did not show yellow cares in fear of a USA blow out. I always get so frustrated watching games like these when the players act like someone chopped off their leg in fouls and roll on the ground like 2 year olds.

I could tell Costa Rica players were getting embarrassed by the aggressive USA players and started fouling hard. Many USA players were hit hard with out any yellow cards. You know what happens, USA players gave a few hard tackles of their own. This is how the ref loses control of games. This is where CONCACAF has to work harder at, not provided themsevles with posh offices in new Building in downtown Maimi.

At one point it was like-------- if a USA player even breathed on a Costa Rican ,they were whistle just so the ref could prove there were an even amount of fould called on each team.  I can not blamb the kids who play but the Ref.

The ref has to call a fair game, his job is not to make a competative game which I think CONCACAF ref are instructed to do.......

Anyway The USA punched their ticket to the U-20 World Cup in Poland next May 2019. Mexico Panama and either Honduras or Costa Rica will qualify.

Next UP:
The USA should handel Honduras on Monday. Costa Rica will hope the USA beat Honduras by more that 4. Honduras will try to win,,,,and soon realize they will be overmatched (unless the ref call another unfair game). Honduras may bunker down and prevent a blow out and see themselves qualify for the World Cup
The winner should face Mecico or possibly Panama in the CONCACAF U-20 Final. The USA are the defending Champion and are the best team in this tournament. We will see what happens

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Nations League Match Day 3 Surprises

November 16 had a few surprises for me

Grenada beat the small Island of Saint Martin 5-2. No Surprise there.

Bermuda playing at home against the Central Ameerican power El Salvador was a historic win for this English speaking island. Bermuda beat El Salvador to imprioer their record to 2 wins and a pesky loss to Aruba. Bermuda has a clean sheet, no goals scored at home. The Gombey Warriors stingy defense limited El Salvador to 0 shots. Thats right 0 shots. Next up for Bermuda is an away game at Dominicar Republic. El Salvador has how dropped to 2 wins and this loss but dropps them to the 12 spot out of Gold Cup consideration. Their last game is against Jamaica, the Caribbean power and it is at "the office". El Salvador has a mighty hill to climb to play in the Gold Cup.

Tiny Montserrat has now beated Belize and Aruba and have 6 points. Surprise surprise. Next up is an away game at the Cayman Islands. The Gold Cup officials wants to fill the stadiums and make the tournamnet look successful. Mnsuratt has less that 5,000 inhabitants. So even if you flew the entire island population to USA Gold Cup, the stadium would still look empty. I dont think officials would realize the smaller nations can pack a punch like this.

Belize, playing at home score a 1-0. They eliminated Puerto Rico who now have 3 tight losses and have to wait another year for redemption. Hopefully they get electricity and get back to a normal life. Belize has to travel to Guyana for their last game.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Nations League Big games

This is match day 3 will take place today, the 17th, 18th and 20th of November. All teams are
trying to qualify for top 10 spots for the Gold Cup 2019 and also trying to place themselves in
the highest league in the CONCACAF Nations League. The top 10 qualify for the Gold Cup.

#5 Saint Kitts and Nevis    vs. #3 Canada:
Saint Kitts is looking good sitting in the #5 spot and are in reach of Gold Cup qualification. They have not been scored upon yet. They are at home against Canada. Canada is not fooling around in this tournament. They have no automatic qualified like the previous Gold Cups and not qualifying would be a disaster for the cold Northern neighbor. The Canucks will be bringing processional players from all over to play in the Caribbean. I see #5 ranked Saints Kitts getting beat at home.

#4 Cuba v   #7 Dominican Republic.
Perennial Caribbean power Cuba will be up against a new up and coming nation of Dominican Republic. Neither nation has been scored upon so far in the first 2 games. Something has to give.
I have to give the advantage to the home team Cuba here.  I am thinking they both are evenly
matched and i see a draw. I would very much like to see Dominican Republic in the Gold Cup since
they would have the most fans of any new nation in the regional tournament.
#6 Jamaica vs    #12 Suriname:  
Jamaica is playing at home. Their home field use to be called the office. It was “the office” since Jamaica
use to win so many times there, it was like go to the office, take care of business, go home. I see
Jamaica winning here and smashing Suriname chance to play in the Gold Cup.

# 8 Nicaragua v #2 Haiti.
I have been hoping Nicaragua could finally compete with their fellow Central American soccer
neighbors. They have come a very long way in the last 5 years. They no longer get blown out and
have a fighting chance against their Central American neighbors now.  Unfortunately they have to
go up against the Grenadiers of Haiti here. Haiti are a hard charging, tactically sound, tall and athletic. I think Nicaragua will do well at home if they
can get a point. Anything else is a huge success for Nicaragua. Surprisingly Haiti missed last Gold Cup
and Nicaragua participated….hmmmmmm

The other 3 games with top 10 implications are below

#9 Martinique   vs. #17 Antigua and Barbuda:
Martinique is undefeated and playing at home. Martinique is a French speaking island who have already
qualified for 5 Gold Cups. Martinique DID play in the last Gold Cup and look to continue that rich
tradition. A&B has no Gold Cup appearances.  none. Martinique victory…..

#1 Curacao      v #13 Guadeloupe:
Curacao -This Dutch island was formally known as the Netherlands Antilles, but the Antilles split into
other federations. Curacao is the power of the other islands. They are presently the #1 seed out of
the entire qualifying group. They participate in the last Gold Cup. They go up against the French
island of Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe has 3 Gold Cup to their name. Guadeloupe is sitting a the #13 spot and do not want to drop any
lower. Look for one of the best games this weekend here in Curacao. So it is the Dutch v the French
here. I see the Dutch getting 3 more points.

#16 French Guiana   vs. #11 Guyana:
These 2 South American nations both want to prove themselves in CONCACAF. French Guiana qualified for the last Gold Cup but they are precariously sitting on the 16# spot presently. And need
to more up to the #10 spot. Guyana has never qualified and they desperately want to. This is an away
game for them (Guyana) but they don’t have to travel that far. Guyana is sitting at the #11 spot. They
Guyana) believe they will jump into the top 10 in the next few day with all the top 10 ranked teams
playing each other. Look for one of these South American nations to qualify.

* please note El Salvador and Bermuda have played already today

Monday, November 12, 2018

U-20 Qualification Stage

The USA is in the much tougher qualifying group- that features 2 Central American nations of Costa Rica and Honduras. Honduras had 30 goals for and only 5 against. Their closest game was against Antigua and Barbuda 4-3, however they would have qualified even if they lost. So it is believes that Honduras used their subs in this game. if we throw out those 3 goals ...they have only conceded 2 goals---just like the USA.

 Costa Rica has not been scored on yet in this tournamnet. That right, they have a clean sheet in the Round 1 games. Costa Rica Group also did not have a bad team in the Round 1 games, all teams were competative. I see Costa Rica U-20 team play exactly like thier national team. Sound and stout D and opportunistic offense. They are strong and confident on the ball. They also will be difficult to get quality scoring chances. 

The USA is similar to their nation team with very athletic, fast players but not as technically sound as the Latin American players. One advantage is most midfielders or even defensive players dribble the ball forward once there is an opening. If space is in front of them, they go for it. (NOT what the USMNT does---exception Pulisic). This is finally nice to watch....and attack from the USA team.

Another advantage is the USA is adding 2 defenders with European U-19 teams, 26-Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/) and 22-Sergiño Dest (Ajax/NED) to shore up and give the USA defense 2 more quality starters. The USA also added the red hot Sebastian Soto.

Listed below are SOTO last 9 games. He has scored and astonishing 9 goals and 3 assists. This is against his U-19 peers, CONCACAF age group is a year older. Also Soto has a quality team around him feeding him....That being said....look for the midfielders to feed Soto.

The USMNT U-20 will have an extra few days to prepare for Costa Rica and evaluate them. Costa Rica will have played Honduras already. Playing on home soil, having played agressive, relentless Round 1 games, having scored the most goals of any nation (39 goals for) and adding 3 more "professional" U-19 players are all good signs.

The USA must continue to attack when they have the ball with dribbeling. Passing back and fourth and eating up the clock, like the USMNT does against inferior teams is a big mistake. If the US U-20 attacks----even if the lose the ball is the much better game plan. The USA are fast and can track back, they also have depth on the bench....

I see much tighter defensive games in this qualification round. Hopefully the ref will call an even game---unlike the Round 1 games. Honduras and Costa Rica are much more sound defensively and ball possession. Offenses should be limited...... so goal scoring will be paramount. This is where a hot player like Soto might score with agressive play at the forward position.

I think USA will be the favorites. I do not see them coming in last. So it is either 1st or 2nd....I am hoping the USA can win this group and we can see a few stars emerge here. USA 1st Honduras 2nd and Costa Rica 3rd.....GO USA

Sunday, November 4, 2018

USMNT U-20 is progressing nicely in the Concacaf Championship

   The U-20 CONCACAF Championship is underway and the USA now sit a top of Group A. They have only played the bottom 2 teams but i think they will show improvement as the tournament goes. One loss could spell doom for this team. If either T&T or Suriname beat them, one of those teams could take the top stop and advance.

Remember only the group winners advance. The next game is Nov 5th ... tomorrow against T&T.

Presently we have Ulysses LLanex from the LA Galaxy leading the tournament in goals. This is after only 2 games. Let hope a few stars emerge here.....

4 goals

3 goals
2 goals

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Gold Cup Venues 2019

Lets take a little look at the venues a see if we can determine why they were  selected.
First we all know that Chicago, LA and New York are the 3 biggest media markets in the
states. Chicago is getting the Final, LA is getting 2 group games and NY will be hosting again
in another group match. That take care of the bigest makets.

Now for the group venues.
Group A (Mexico) Mexico has 3 massive stadiums to fill for this tournament.  Rose Bowl,
Pasadena (90,888), California, Broncos Stadium (76,125), Denver and Bank of America
Stadium(75,525), on the East Coast in Charlotte. NC.

Mexico’s national team has a better following in USA then throughout Mexico. Mexico
play many friendly international game in the states because of the money and the
support they get here. Mexico on average has a more fans turn out for their games in
the states than the USMNT does in the states. Mexico's group is the only group with 3
huge stadiums. Mexico has always had the big stadiums and always has the biggest
turn out in attendance when comparing group attendance for past Gold Cups. I see
Mexico getting over 50,00o at each venue , even in this new expanded Gold Cup.
Group B (Costa Rica) (Dallas-New York-TBD!?)
We all knew Costa Rica would get small stadiums and true to form the got 2 soccer
specific stadiums and a location to be determined.  Frisco Texas, which is just outside
of Dallas. Frisco will draw from the exploding Latin American community of Frisco
and people from Dallas for this soccer match. Group B also gets to go to the Big Apple.
New York is the #1 market in the USA and CONCACAF wanted to tap this market. Red
Bull Stadium (25,000) is the perfect fit for a group game in this  tournament.
There is one more stadium to be determined. My guess it that it will be played in
Costa Rica itself in San Jose. Here is why. I think one game will be play in Cnetral
America and the other in the Caribbean. If we rule out Honduras and Nicaragua for
political unrest and unsafe. We can also Run out Guatemala while suspended from
FIFA sanctions. Belize has NOT even hosted a Central American Cup - out. That leaves
Costa Rica, Panama and El Salvador. Well El Salvador will not get hardly any supporters
fromother countries. El Salvador is dangerous and poor and just dont have the amenaties
of CR or Panama. That leaves Costa Rica and Panama. Both have perfect size stadiums
but Costa Rica's is totally new where Panamas is refurbished. Both Countries would probably
have similar turn out for their home team and similar turn out for the opponents. I believe that
Costa Rica has the edge over Panama with infrastructure, stadium and amenites for fans.
My guess is Costa Rica and Panama a close second
Group C (Honduras)  Houston, LA and a location to be determined.
Honduras is playing in Houston and LA. Houston has been the most reliable city to
produce large attendance. Houston has hosted every year since 2005. This will be
the 8th Gold Cup in a row for Houston.  Houston has many Central American fans
that turn out for their national team in the Houston area. BBVA Compass Stadium,
Houston is intimate stadium will almost reach capacity will almost any team playing
LA is the second biggest market in the USA and has a plethora of national fans from
Central/Latin America. Yes Mexico will be playing next door in Pasadena however
one game in LA is not enough for the Gold Cup. The stadium is the band new, state
of the art Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles.
The location to be determined I believe we be played in the Caribbean, possibly
Martinique : has participates in 5 previous Gold Cups and have proven they can compete
in this top regional tournamnet. France are the defending FIFA Champions and this French
island has a great deal of talent also. Martinique probably has the biggest stadium in the
CAribbean holding 16,300. Martinique is near if not the top for amenities (hotel) that all
of the CAribbean.
Jamaica have an outside shot. Why- well they are CONCACAF
perenial power. They have won the Caribbean Cuo 6 times and reached the final 9 times. They
dont have the amenites of the riched Caribbean nations.
Cuba- have an outside shot
Bermuda, Aruba and Curaca0 may have a chance if they qualify. Hiti and Domenican Republic
and Puerto Rico are all out.
Group D (United States)
The USA does not have heavy lifting to fill massive stadiums. The have 2 small soccer
specific stadiums and one big one in Cleveland. Allianz Field, Saint Paul, Minnesota is
the newest SSS and the USA will definitely get a home field support in Minnesota.
Kansas City is another small intimate stadium that the USMNT will have more
supporters that their opponent. They have played and performed well in KC before.  
CONCACAF needs the USA and the TV audience to keep the Gold Cup interesting. So
it is interesting that the USA will have the easiest travel schedule from Minnesota to
Cleveland and then a short flight to Kansas City. This coupled with home support in 2
small intimate stadiums should get the USMNT to the knockout rounds.  Their big
stadium is also in Cleveland, Ohio. This city surly has immigrants for Latin America
but definitely not as may as the big Cities like NY, LA, Houston ect. The USMNT
played Colombia in Tampa and the stadium was littered with yellow Columbia shirts.
It looks like Colombia fans outnumbered usa 3 to 1. CONCACAF, like i said need the
USA to stay in tournament at long as possible to be a financial success.
The knockout rounds will all be played in giant NFL stadiums. The quarter, semi
and Finals are all in huge NFL stadiums. Chicago is USA 3rd largest media market
and they will host the Final for the 3rd time.
I believe the Caribbean will host the other mystery venue but Canada will be 2nd choice.
Canada will host in either Toronto or Montreal. I give the edge to Toronto.


Now lets just rule out a few

Puerto Rico - still no electricity
Dominican Republic- thought the sport is growing as fast as the talent as the quality of the
team -
Haiti - still does not have amenities to host - hotels- infrastructure and poverty.
No go on any South American nation if French Guiana, Guyana nor Suriname. Travel
distance is to much. ..and quite frankly - some may not even qualify.
Cuaraco has a powerful and offencive explosive offense but they have a  track around their
stadium of Ergilio Hato Stadium so rule them out.