Ed checks in, a bit late for my liking....
How ‘bout that USA team? Beating Italy in Italy for the first time, and looking like they belonged in the match. Now granted, this was a friendly, but still...! A few comments on the squad: Jozy Altidore is learning and getting better; he’s very young and sometimes we tend to write these guys off too soon. Michael Bradley looked, as usual I think, like the best US center midfielder we have. Bradley is also reasonably young, and because his father was the coach his abilities were unfairly questioned. Breck Shea has the size and speed of a top class athlete, but is lacking confidence and polish. I wish he would find a spot on a European team as I believe that would raise the level of his game considerably. It’s still interesting to me that Carlos Bocanegra remains our best central defender. How can we not find a top athlete for that position? And Clint Dempsey, well he only does one thing and that’s finish. He’s an impressive player that dare I say is not as highly regarded as he could be in Europe because he’s an American.
A final thought – I liked the 4-2-3-1 formation that the USA played in the game, as well as Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to put Dempsey in the number 10 spot. Perhaps this was easy without Landon Donovan available, but even so I’ve often seen managers make the wrong choice and put him out wide.
England's game against the Netherlands was surprisingly rough. Nigel De Jong had several cheap shots, as is typical for him. He deserved at least one yellow, maybe two. I’m still not over De Jong’s breaking of Stuart Holden’s leg in a friendly against the USA in yet another overly-aggressive and illegal tackle. It’s one thing to be a tough guy in the National Football League; it’s a bit more cowardly, I think, to make cheap slide tackles against players in soccer games.
But back to the game, I thought Scott Parker was the best player on England, though Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge looked to be the fastest players on the pitch at all times [Ed. Note: Is "Danny" Welbeck a more informal guy than "Daniel" Sturridge? Apparently so.]. Sturridge, though, probably cost England the game when he let Arjen Robben take a free run at his defenders instead of tracking him down like he clearly could have.
It seems Stevie G. pulled his hamstring again. With the injuries pilin gup, I fear his career may end sooner than people realize. Ultimately, despite the physicality of the game, I thought neither side played particularly inspired soccer, and neither looked that much better than the other.
There’s nothing quite like one of those fouls that a veteran puts on a player on a counter-attack, to shut it all down quick. You know, the so-called pro foul. I think I’m going to start fouling people on the pitch and in the office more when I think it’ll be for the good for the company. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to go all Terry Tate Office Linebacker (“You kill the Joe, you make some mo'!”). But I won’t be afraid to slap a hot latte out of someone’s hands if I think they’re going to make me look like the only guy who’s late for those annoying weekly meetings.
This is farlieonfootie for March 3.