Monday, February 11, 2008

A note to our loyal reader:

As our loyal reader probably knows, "The Balompie Blog" has been on a leave of absence for a while. Much in the world of football that is worthy of comment has transpired in that time, and, regrettably, we don’t have the time to go back and properly comment on everything. I think we’ll just have to start up again at full stride. If our loyal reader has any specific topics he would like to discuss, then by all means, tip us off with a comment!

To get things rolling again, I’ve added a few short posts. The first is the possibility of a friendly with England…

Bring on Engerland!

Yes, “Soccer by Ives” is reporting that a friendly against “Enger-land” may be in the offing. I hope this indeed comes to pass, as all the pressure would be on England to not lose to those clueless upstart Yanks playing their curious brand of “soccer”. Plus, gotta think we’d be motivated as hell to beat them. Stay tuned for further updates on this story.

Sartorial sidebar

Executive Summary: Blech!

As loyal fans of the US MNT know, we played CONCACAF arch-rival Mexico in a friendly last week in Houston (2-2 draw). One of the smaller storylines was the unveiling of a new jersey. Reminiscent of the royal blue number with white stripes that was featured as a “third alternative” jersey last year, the new kit is mostly white with small horizontal stripes running across it (see pic). What do I think? I think it is putrid, like the play of right back Drew Moor and left back Ramiro Corrales in the Mexico game. Why not stick with the classy (and historical) red strip across a white background? This will not become an addition to my collection of US MNT jerseys.

One-touch takes on US v. Mexico

So, my quick takes on the game?

Both Mexico's goals were the same defender (“Jonny” Magallon) torching Drew “don’t play me no” Moor. They were (head-bashing-ly) identical. So, we can take solace in the hopefully-secure knowledge that these were probably our 3rd or 4th choice right and left backs (left back Ramiro Corrales was also a disaster). They were both simply putrid.

Midfield is still a mess, but it was noteworthy and promising that the midfield seemed to instantly gain poise with the insertion of Benny Feilhaber and Freddy Adu. I'm not saying Benny was perfect, but the difference was stark. It reassured me that Benny really does have a lot to offer despite his nightmare season with Derby County. He badly needs to find a club where he can get some playing time. Against a Mexico, though, he's not outsized and we desperately need his technical skill. I've decided he needs to go to Spain.

I would have liked to have seen Maurice Edu longer, too. I think he is the real deal. But, bottom line: our young guys are not afraid to possess the ball against Mexico, and this is a new development.
And this series could get really, really good in the next five years, b/c the young Mexicans are also a handful (and strangely, a few are fairly likeable). It can only help both sides improve on the world stage.

I'm not sure what to do about our left flank. I thought Bobby Convey would play better, but he was really poor. Brought nothing to the table. Maybe he was having to cover too much for Corrales. But, it probably would be a good idea to try out someone else until DMB recovers (Klijsten maybe? Can he play the left?). Eddie Lewis, sad to say, appears a more productive choice than Convey, and that is troubling.

Jozy Altidore kicked butt as you saw (for an 18-year old). He was giving Marquez fits all night. Notably, for being in preseason form, he held up pretty well over 90. It was also clear that he and Dempsey were not used to working together. Gotta think that will only get better. But know who would pair well with him at the moment? McBride. (Sigh. Why do I even think such things!)

Entertaining game, though. Mexico was a bit lucky to have gotten back into it (lucky, that is, that we started a JV right back), and we were a bit lucky they didn't grab a third goal in the last 25 minutes. So, the result was pretty fair.