Monday, March 31, 2008
Introduce two U-20 Gambian players and succeed? Sure. Steve Nicol certainly knows what he's doing and his opener - without the services of Twellman - truly pays homage to his ability to man manage and bring along young talent. Let's not forget Adam Cristman who worked well with Nyassi and Mansally. All three - along with the veteran presence of Steve Ralston (let's hope that shoulder's okay) and the patrolling of Joseph/Larentowicz in the middle - helped put together an attack that even Houston's defense couldn't withstand. On the other end, however, Parkhurst dealt with Ching effectively, while it's pretty certain that Wondolowski should not be in there.
2. Terry Cooke
When did Terry Cooke get fast? We knew he had a boot, but his speed and tenacity was the difference versus the Galaxy. Could it have been the Englishman just wanted to show up his former teammate Beckham? If that's the case - the opening goal in a 4-0 drubbing of the Galaxy and two subsequent assists will do just that. We can expect another big service year from Cooke. Someone explain to me how Cooke got awarded that second assist on Colin Clark's goal??? Clark dribbled for what seemed like an eternity before beating Cronin near post...at what point does Cooke's initial pass become "unassisted"?
3. Kenny Mansally/Sainey Nyassi
These kids can play. Nyassi burnt Houston on the wings and was able to finish his first goal ever in his debut. Mansally had his hand in the first goal and looked strong on the ball with an uncharacteristic poise for a first year striker. If Mansally and Cristman do well enough up top, does Taylor Twellman technically become expendable?? (Answer is probably no...). Sainey Nyassi was hyped up a little less than Mansally throughout the preseason, but he arguably was the more effective player. Not even Corey Ashe had an answer for his speed on the wings. Both players if consistent provide the Revs with a depth that could account for the loss of Dorman and Noonan. Let's wait for week two though...
4. Maykel Galindo
He did it at the expense if FC Dallas' new acquisition and Mexican international Diulio Davino, but no matter how it happens, the Goats came away with a point. Davino mishandled a trap and Galindo capitalized by pouncing on it and sending it straight through Dario Sala's legs to equalize with 5 minutes to go. What it made it more impressive was that Galindo is still recovering from sports hernia surgery and isn't at 100%. The Cuban international then kissed the Chivas USA shield during his end-of-the-game interview. The guy is class.
5. Claudio Lopez
Eddie Johnson who? Lopez and Ivan Trujillo ripped apart a decent D.C. United defense with the help of Carlos Marinelli. Already, this is shaping up to be one interesting year. If I'm not mistaken though, there were some crazy results at the beginning of last year too. Anyways, Lopez is class and looks like he'll end up being another DP success. In fact, you could almost say that about all the DP debuts.
6. Dema Kovalenko
The guy got stiffed by RBNY and sent on over to Salt Lake (stiffed in the sense he's more of a big city guy, Chicago his "adopted home", etc.), but he made the best of his first appearance. Dema, within two minutes of coming, served a cross that was redirected into the Chicago goal by young Bakary Soumare. In a questionably sloppy game, Kovalenko got the job done. On top of that, Kova was just recently sworn in as an official citizen of the United States of America.
7. Adam Moffat
One hell of a game winning goal for Columbus from the star of the Crew's preseason. A developmental contract that looks to make a significant contribution to the Crew's run this season. Reminds me of a younger Kerry Zavagnin.
8. John DiRaimondo/Nick LaBrocca/Kosuke Kimura
LaBrocca, the NJ native, and DiRaimondo really frustrated the hell out of an almost non-existant Los Angeles midfield. Fernando Clavijo's injury predicament forced him to go with a lot of new blood. Kimura held his own at right back, keeping Donovan pretty quiet throughout the whole game. From the get go, it was clear who wanted to win the game and all three were a huge part of that.
9. Traveling Toronto FC Fans
TFC had something like 2,000 supporters travel down to Columbus to take over Columbus Crew stadium. The Crew still outplayed them in the end, but Crew Stadium was still Toronto's for the afternoon. Take those supporters away and you have one pitiful Columbus crowd. Mr. Gillett, you want a team? I got one for you...
10. Jon Busch
The seemingly eternal back-up began his Chicago starting career with a big game. A potent Real Salt Lake offense tested him again and again, forcing him into 8 saves. Busch, who last started regularly in 2004 with the Columbus Crew, looked shaky in the beginning but ultimately showed well and solidified his number one spot. In 2004, Busch was the brightest spot on a decent Columbus team - he posted a 1.07 GAA and a 12-5-12 winning record. Then he was replaced....Here's to hoping he finds that success again.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Van den Bergh--------Stammler--------------Richards
Off the Bench: MF Danleigh Borman, GK Zach Thornton, FW John Wolyniec, FW Oscar Echeverry, DF Chris Leitch, MF Mike Magee, MF Sinisa Ubiparipovic, DF Eric Brunner
The projected lineup might look off, but it's what it would be with everyone healthy. Unfortunately, Osorio isn't going to have that luxury from the get go. Richards is out for the first month of the season, where rookie Danleigh Borman might fill in. Many who saw Borman during the preseason said he was more than capable of providing the energy needed to match a Richards, but there aren't many that can match his pace. Van den Bergh could man the left wing, but lacks the pace to do so all season. If you melded the speed and energy of Richards with Van den Bergh's crossing, you'd have one hell of a dangerous player. The biggest question mark for the Bulls this season will be the health and efficiency of 1st DP Claudio Reyna. He has looked good in the preseason, but all it takes is a knock to the thigh to put him out of commission for a while. If he stays healthy, though, this RBNY could find the consistency they sorely needed last year. Winning three, losing three, winning two, etc. If Reyna goes down however, a once again healthy Mike Magee could really get his chance to shine again. In fact, you could see those two platoon in that attacking mid role. Seth Stammler will play the Kovalenko role, winning balls and distributing. Great thing about Stammler is his versatility. If needed, he can play anywhere in the back.
The defense is led by the duo of Mendes and Parke in the middle. Last year's real deficiency was the outside fullbacks. Goldthwaite came over from Toronto and didn't do much, but there is much pointing to that having changed. Hunter Freeman was oft-injured last year, but showed well in Olympic Qualifying and - yet again - if healthy could make an impression this year. Depth in the back is their strong point - first round SuperDraft pick Eric Brunner will see some time while Chris Leitch is serviceable.
Up at the top, you have easily the most feared duo of strikers in the league. Jozy Altidore and Juan Pablo Angel have worked well together so far and look to build on that this year. Osorio brought in Oscar Echeverry to share time with Jon Wolyniec when Altidore leaves for the Olympics in China. It has yet to be seen whether or not Echeverry can play well beside Angel, but we know that with Wolyniec it's a bit iffy. Expect Angel to hit for 20, at least, and Altidore to grab a good amount.
Jon Conway gets his starting chance in goal this year. Just like Steve Cronin in LA, it's his position to lose. Backup Zach Thornton, although getting up there in age, is perfectly capable of taking it away from him. UPenn grad Danny Cepero - said to have a promising future - has apparently been loaned out to USL Division 2 side Harrisburg City Islanders.
If the Bulls keep scoring and the defense tightens up unlike last season, Osorio could have a Championship team on his hands. You need people to play to their potential though - that means you, Reyna. I can't see it all coming together this year. 2009 is a better bet. The Bulls will start strong and fade late, hanging on for a playoff spot and most likely a first round exit.
Outlook: 4th in the East
Off the Bench: GK Doug Warren, FW Adam Cristman, MF/FW Sainey Nyassi, DF/MF Joe Franchino, DF Gary Flood, DF Rob Valentino, DF Amaechi Igwe
Sitting here watching the home season opener vs. Houston and I find it interesting that not one, but both of the Gambian youngsters are on the pitch for the Revs. Both are certainly to figure more into the year than previously though. Kenny Mansally had a monster of a preseason and Nyassi took some strides with him.
On to the forwards and Mansally has apparently won the fight vs. Cristman and already in opener, you can tell why. The Gambian along with Twellman and Cristman makes a pretty decent frontline trio. The loss of Pat Noonan stings, but it seems like Nicol thinks his youngsters are ready. Steve Nicol looks to also give his wingers free reign with new signing Mauricio Castro, the aging but still productive Steve Ralston, and the youngster Nyassi. Wells Thompson will look to avoid a sophomore slump. The Revs have one of the strongest center midfields in league, even without the services of new St. Mirren man Andy Dorman (he's lighting it up over there by the way). Jeff Larentowicz and Shalrie Joseph, when on point, organize and connect both the offense and defense, making their transitioning almost seamless.
The defense has Jay Heaps moving into the center with Michael Parkhurst. His move to the center is to make room for the new acquisition of Chris Albright, who is coming off a long, arduous recovery from last year's season-ending injury. Khano Smith and Amaechi Igwe could potentially platoon at left back. Both, however, will provide more pace on the wing and a bit of an attacking flair. Other contributors will be second year Gary Flood and Clint Dempsey's favorite person Joey 'the Rat' Franchino. Depth issues were addressed with the signing of Chase Hilgenbrinck, who has returned from the professional ranks in Chile. He first landed in Colorado, but was waived and picked up by Nichol.
Need I say much about Matt Reis? The man knows how to organize a backline and keep the net clean. He's got all those MLS Cup appearances to prove for it. Doug Warren is a capable backup but might only see time in the Open Cup. Overall, the Revs lost some, gained some, but gained an attacking depth that could in fact push the Revs back into the MLS Cup. If they get there, they win it. If they lose, they lose early and it'll be because of a lack of depth.
Outlook: 2nd in the East
Friday, March 28, 2008
As the report says - that's 18% of the stadium filled with not one dime spent on advertising.
Less than 20% comes from Sons of Ben members...which means we can expect 1,000 more at least in the coming months. But why so few so far? Any answers to that?
About 60% of the deposits come from Pennsylvania. 30% from New Jersey. And 10% from Delaware.
We can expect a spike in season ticket deposits when construction starts on the Rivertown stadium. People might be a bit reserved at buying tickets until the project gets off on the right foot.
It looks like Peter Gammage is going to be the go-to guy at Philadelphia Inquirer. Hopefully, along with work here to get some more info, we will have updates monthly.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Off the Bench: GK Tony Caig, DF Patrick Ianni, DF/MR Richard Mulrooney, MF Corey Ashe, MF Brian Mullan, FW Franco Caraccio, FW Kyle Brown
In the back, not many changes - substitute Ryan Cochrane for the recovering Bobby Boswell. He's had a couple decent competitive performances so far in CONCACAF Champions Cup, but if we keep anything in mind from last year, it's that consistent form is not Boswell. A lot of people were also touting Patrick Ianni to get a lot of time this year and that could still happen but it would hinge upon Robinson getting called away for USMNT duty and/or Boswell to get hurt, royally screw up. Ianni didn't turn many heads in the Olympic Qualifying either.
This midfield is getting younger as Stuart Holden and Corey Ashe start to work their way in there. Brian Mullan will start the season unhealthy and, unfortunately, it has become common for him to pick up knocks. After all, he is getting older. Expect Holden to build on his breakout season last year, if in fact he gets the starting position.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Off the Bench: GK Jose Carvallo, MF Daniel Stratford, MF/FW Quavas Kirk, FW Rod Dyachenko, MF/FW Santino Quaranta, MF Domenic Mediate, FW Franco Neill
Jaime Moreno will be out for the first couple weeks of the season. Ben Olsen will be out injured at least a month. Luckily, DC is deep in both of those areas. What happens if Peralta or Martinez is hurt? Jeff Curtin in the back? Push Clyde Simms or Devon McTavish back?
United's season hinges on three things - 1. Emilio repeating last year or receiving enough help elsewhere to support him 2. Gallardo's efficiency and his comparison to Christian Gomez 3. defensive depth. Right now, number one will happen. Two, Gallardo is a question mark still but Franco Neill, Peralta, and Martinez have already proven that they can play to United's standards. If you're going on Gallardo's track record then clearly he's a more effective player than Gomez. Gomez, however, understood the MLS, had adjusted to its pace and physical nature. Gallardo has to still want to learn, adapt, and dominate...not just retire. Also add Fred in his second year to that mix. Three, that depth in the back scares me - as I've said before - but both Peralta and Martinez seem like durable guys, right?
Zach Wells must be loving his chance at starting keeper. It's his job to lose. Unfortunately, Wells has kept us from getting a glimpse at DC's other acquisition, Peruvian Jose Carvallo. I would expect Wells to have that great year that every one knew he would had if he got his chance. United fans could even forget Troy Perkins' name after a while.
The CONCACAF Champions Cup defeat of Harbour View allowed us, just like Justin Moose last year's competition, to get bullish on yet another aggressive midfielder. Devon McTavish, however, not only impressed us with his work rate, but he also scored his first goal since college, eventually ending up with three overall. Not bad. McTavish along with the continued progress of Marc Burch could be the glue to this line-up. If they have 11 trusty players and can avoid having an Erpen-like player on the field, United could run away with Eastern Conference. If it weren't for Angel, Reyna, and Altidore in New York, Joseph, Reis, and Twellman in New England, and Lopez, Marinelli, and Conrad in Kansas City, DC would run away with it. A narrow conference win will have to do.
Outlook: 1st in the Eastern Conference.
Outlook: 6th in the East
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Projected Starting Lineup:
Coming off the bench: GK Lance Parker, DF Jim Curtin, MF Jesse Marsch, MF Atiba Harris, FW Alecko Eskandarian
Last year's Chivas was plagued by injuries, but they still managed to win the Western Conference before falling in the Playoffs. This year, the trend has re-emerged early. Defender Alex Zotinca has already been ruled out for most of the season with a partially torn ACL. He has since had successful surgery, but that leaves Jim Curtin as your next viable option in the back, with two inexperienced players behind him in Bobby Burling and Eric Ebert. Depth is the biggest problem again this year, especially in the midfield.
The turnover was limited and the Goats filled a couple necessary spots with quality players in the offseason. The biggest X-factor is going to be the entry of Wicky into the line-up. In the midfield, Chivas generally allowed Kljestan and Mendoza to line-up in the middle and push to the wings, but with Wicky, Marsch, and Nagamura all adept at the central holding midfielder role, you could see more of the wings this year. Preki did well by making sure he signed Panchito Mendoza to long term contract as the kid keeps getting better every year. Add that to Kljestan, who is looking to build off of a 13 assist season, and you've got yourself that solid midfield intact. If it stays healthy. Depth is not great but an improvement upon last year. Atiba Harris and SuperDraft picks Daniel Paladini and Keith Savage could provide a much needed youthful boost to the midfield, but no way to know for sure until the season starts.
Up front, Razov and Galindo should be ready for another productive season. The addition of Alecko Eskandarian is a great one. A guy looking to re-prove himself in Los Angeles after being shipped across the country from DC to Toronto to Salt Lake and now the West Coast. You can expect Esky to bag a couple goals even despite last season. He would slot in nicely behind Galindo or Razov on days when one of the two strikers need a break. Along with Esky, you can probably expect the same amount of production from second-year Englishman John Cunliffe (3 goals in '07). If injuries take its' toll, which it most likely will with Razov - expect Chivas' new rookie target man Justin Braun to get some minutes as well. With the first annual Sueno MLS winner, Jorge Flores, he'll probably fill in on the wings.
Outlook: 2nd in the West
Projected Starting Lineup:
Now there's a good chance Logan Pause will be in there for Bakary Soumare. The second year defensive midfielder has raw talent and had a decent year last season, but had too many brainfarts in the midfield and at times was a little too overly agressive. MF Logan Pause and MF Diego Gutierrez are both veteran midfielders that'll probably platoon the spot with young Soumare. The other option is playing Soumare sparingly in central defense. Gutierrez has also seen time during preseason in central defense. New acquisitions Frankowski and Herron shore up an already viable offensive punch of Rolfe, Mapp, and Barrett. Both Rolfe and Barrett had their hiccups last season, along with Mapp gone most of the season nursing an injury, so Frankowski should be the key to elevate all three back into production. The loss of Matt Pickens hurts, but nothing permanent as veteran Jon Busch is more than capable of taking over the reins.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Chris Albright - New England Revolution (Philadelphia, PA)
Dan Antoniuk - New Jersey Ironmen [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Byron Carmichael - Ocean City Barons [PDL] (Lumberton, NJ)
David Castellanos - Philadelphia Kixx [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Sammy Castellanos - Philadelphia Kixx [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Bobby Convey - Reading FC [ENG] (Philadelphia, PA)
Jon Conway - New York Red Bulls (Media, PA)
Jim Curtin - Chivas USA (Oreland, PA)
Jeff Curtin - D.C. United (Oreland, PA)
Don D'Ambra - Philadelphia Kixx [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Tony Donatelli - Vancouver Whitecaps [USL-1]/Kixx [MISL] (Glenside, PA)
Dan Gargan - Colorado Rapids (Philadelphia, PA)
Bill Gaudette - Columbus Crew (Hummelstown, PA)
Pat Hannigan - Miami FC [USL-1] (Philadelphia, PA)
Stephen King - Chicago Fire (Medford, NJ)
Chris Konopka - Bohemians FC [IRL] (Toms River, NJ)
Nick Labrocca - Colorado Rapids (Howell, NJ)
Jeff Larentowicz - New England Revolution (West Chester, PA)
Carli Lloyd - US Women's National Team (Delran, NJ)
Matt Maher - New Jersey Ironmen [MISL] (Cape May CH, NJ)
Pat Morris - Philadelphia Kixx [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Tim O'Neill - New Jersey Ironmen [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Ben Olsen - D.C. United (Harrisburg, PA)
Scott Palguta - New York Red Bulls (Toms River, NJ)
Jeff Parke - New York Red Bulls (Abington, PA)
Chad Severs - Otago United [NZL] (Vineland, NJ)
Julian Valentin - Los Angeles Galaxy (Lancaster, PA)
Peter Vermes - Kansas City Wizards/Technical Director (Delran, NJ)
Steve Wacker - Philadelphia Kixx [MISL] (Philadelphia, PA)
Jeremiah White - AGF Aarhus [DEN] (Lansdowne, PA)
Chris Williams - Philadelphia Kixx [MISL] (Elkins Park, PA)
Who would be your Best XI??? Are there any I'm missing...?
Clearly, we're in need of a pure striker, but Antoniuk is not as shabby as you might think. He has jumped around the USL First Division with Carolina, Portland, Atlanta, and two other teams, but he has done well enough to be named USL MVP-Runner Up in 2006.
Also, look at where former Ocean City HS standout ended up - New Zealand! Apparently, they love him out there...
Sunday, March 23, 2008
How has your experience been within the South Jersey Barons organization? Are there any other Baron products that we should be looking out for in the near future?
I didn't always think soccer would take me this far. I am from a small town and played for a home town club for most of my life. Once i started playing with the regional teams and National Teams I knew that international trips would come up. Since I was a little kid I've always wanted to play soccer. Getting invited into the Residency program at IMG was an honor. I will never forget the times I spent there. As for the international trips, it's always fun to go abroad but the most memorable would have to have been Northern Ireland. Playing Czech Republic [there], we were down 2-0 at halftime. Came back to win 3-2 and I scored the winner so that's always a memorable event.
If you were planning to move to play abroad, what league would most suit your style of play?
What do you think are the U-23 squad's chances at the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics?
What would you think of playing on the Chester Waterfront in a couple years for the new Philly MLS team?
The name? This is another tough one. I'm not really sure about this one.
Thank you for taking the time and good luck with everything in the future, Ryan. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Manning, who has had a distinguished 15 year career in sports, joins RSL following four seasons as Vice President, Sales and Service with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. While at the Eagles he was responsible for the team's corporate sponsorship and premium seating. During his tenure he led the corporate sales department to double-digit revenue growth and introduced new premium seating options at Lincoln Financial Field, in addition to managing the servicing of suite clients and Club Seat accounts.Not exactly a huge coup, but an executive none-the-less. Nobody has ever scrutinized the business of Real Salt Lake, it's sort of more the on-field product that is the problem. New face for a new stadium and, hopefully, a new and improved team.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff Gammage talks about the origins of football's team anthems. Liverpool's 'You'll Never Walk Alone', West Ham United's 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles', and last but not least - and most importantly - the Sons of Ben's, possible Philly MLS anthem - Mummer Band backing and all - "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover".
Here's Sons of Ben singing at the MLS Philly 2010 Announcement.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Read it all here.
American soccer fan culture is as diverse as America itself. It cherry picks whatever the hell it wants from Europe, the Caribbean and Central and South America, and adds its own unique touches. Portland, for instance, just retired a real-life goddamn real chainsaw-wielding real Douglas fir-climbing real-life lumberjack mascot called Timber Jim.
How American is that?
With fans like these—fans like the Sons of Ben—who the hell needs David Beckham?
But don’t think American soccer fandom doesn’t know it’s got a way to go. At the England/U.S. game in Chicago in 2005, the hundreds of chanting, drumming and singing members of Sam’s Army were drowned out at one point by thousands of English men and women lustily singing (to the tune of the Welsh hymn “Bread of Heaven”) “Are you Scotland in disguise?” The dude next to me stopped drumming, pointed at the away fans with his drumstick, and said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.”
Andrea Canales reports that Chivas has inked 4 to developmental contracts - read on to see who.
She also provides a league preview for ESPN Soccernet.
This must be one of the bigger advertising efforts from an individual Major League Soccer club. Celebrate the World's Game...
Apparently, Survivor the Game makes a cameo throughout the Hoops' preseason. Two teams are left.
Jeff Bull at Center Holds It calls for us all to be Houston and D.C. United fans for the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Private parks popping up in Houston help cultivate the need for soccer in the Houston area.
Los Angeles Galaxy
Why is Josh Tudela more popular than David Beckham. Laurie over at the Offside - LA Galaxy knows...
Real Salt Lake
Watching RSL's new stadium go up piece by piece has been fun and here it continues. Now if only the Red Bulls would take a hint and do the same.
Real Salt Lake starts their own blog following New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and New England.
San Jose Earthquakes
Josh Molina at the Mercury News has an article on the positive cost benefit analysis done by the city on a tract of land in Edenvale. One positive step towards another soccer-specific stadium!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
A couple day old run down from Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune about who should and shouldn't be the new captain of the Fire.
Former Lazio and Inter Milan player Matias Almeyda linked by the Washington Post's Steven Goff to Columbus. Does Columbus need another aging star?
Jeff Bull at Center Holds It continues his analysis of Columbus' quest to build their squad into something with the slight resemblance of a contender.
Match Preview for D.C.'s CONCACAF Champions Cup opener vs. Harbour View of Jamaica.
New York Times' Jeffrey Marcus writes a good article on second-time United player and former youth phenom Santino Quaranta.
Kansas City Wizards
Claudio Lopez signs on as the 6th MLS Designated Player and Kansas City's first. Though 33 and here to retire, Lopez still has a lot of pop left in his tank. The Wizards' blog shows us that with a vast array of El Piojo highlights.
Oz City's Guest Blogger Tony Felich can't win with Kansas City supporters. He eats his words for his previous "Cause for Alarm" post on Kansas City's future and still gets knocked for being a supposed 'fairweather' fan.
New England Revolution
Chris Albright in his underwear as the Boston Globe circulates pictures of New England's tour in Mexico so far. Take part in Ives Galarcep's caption contest for one the funniest pictures of the whole portfolio.
New York Red Bulls
Dane Richards is out for 3 months with a torn MCL. Pretty sucky fate for a guy many were looking forward to seeing continue his progress this year.
Red Bulls are gearing up for the Charleston Challenge Cup which will take place from March 15th-22nd. They will face off against Charleston from USL-Division 1, Toronto FC, and the expansion San Jose Earthquakes.
More news - but nothing of action - on the Darren Huckerby to Toronto FC front.
Monday, March 10, 2008
U.S.A. vs. Cuba
Thursday, March 13, 2008
U.S.A. vs. Panama
Saturday, March 15th, 2008
U.S.A. vs. Honduras
Roster was released - as I am sure you have seen - over the weekend and some notable omissions include Gold Cup hero turned Derby County wantaway Benny Feilhaber, last summer's U-20 standout Robbie Rogers, and FC Dallas' creative midfielder Arturo Alvarez. Michael Bradley of Heerenveen was left out due to club obligations. Heerenveen is still in the fight for the Dutch Eredivisie title and/or European contention with Ajax and PSV and Bradley is no doubt a huge part of that. The goal is to finish in the top two of their group, beat their opponent in the semifinal and make it to the finals which guarantees them a spot at this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.
GK (2): Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders (6): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
Midfielders (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)
Forwards (5): Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg)
With this roster, I would certainly expect Piotr Nowak to go with Jozy Altidore as the lone forward, putting Freddy Adu right in behind them as they did at the U-20 World Cup. Zizzo has got to go on one of the wings as I remember his dismantling of the Brazilian defense in Canada as well. Expect either Eddie Gaven or Stuart Holden to patrol the other wing. I, for one, can't understand the necessity of carrying a Chad Barrett over an Arturo Alvarez, who is versatile and serviceable on either of the wings, in the middle, or up top as striker. Then again, I also can't understand the choice of 5 strikers when the tactic should be tailor-made for Jozy. Robbie Rogers has apparently been fighting an injury which makes his absence a bit understandable. I am just hoping that due to the lack of a Zizzo-like left winger, we don't see Freddy Adu put out there. He needs be tucked in behind Altidore where he can dictate the run of play and roam freely. What I really like about this group, though, is the attacking presence in the back. At the Olympic level, I think this crop of fullbacks - with only one appearing regularly for the senior national team - could make a play for the weakest spot on the field for our Nats. Wynne, Freeman, and Spector should do well (Spector won't be joining them until after the Group Stages though so Freeman and Wynne will be left to prove themselves).
The XI see being used:
First game is Tuesday at 8:00pm EST on Fox Soccer Channel. What's your take on the Starting XI?
Ian Heath - So Philadelphia's Getting a Major League Soccer Team: The funniest part of this article is the one comment at the bottom of the page predicting Philadelphia to be the home of the first MLS fan fatality. Sons of Ben - are you capable of hurting anybody??
MetroFanatic: Let the rivalry begin. Red Bull supporters take a stab at naming the new Philadelphia franchise. I'll give them credit for originality...that's about it.
With that announcement - and all sorts of informaton will be put up over the next couple days - my blog has welcomed a new direction. I will continue everything soccer-related - EPL, Ligue One, MLS - over at Center Holds It, but Because I Think... will now focus centrally on MLS Philadelphia and all that affects it. In all honesty, you will still see many other things on here but this will be first and foremost an aggregator of all things Philadelphia.