The U.S. Qualified For The World Cup. What Now?

Landon-DonovanThe United States qualified for its sixth straight World Cup, winning 3-2 away against Honduras. It was an awesome sight. It would have been significantly more awesome had I not had to watch on a grainy Internet feed half-obscured by a Honduran chat room.

Continued at The Big Lead

* This was written before knowledge of Charlie Davies’ accident.


Squeaky Bum Time: Four Prominent Countries in Danger of Missing the 2010 World Cup

Here we would say “keeping a clean nose,” but the British “squeaky bum time” is more graphic and more suitable.  As the qualification schedule nears its end, here are four prominent countries that may have trouble qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.  Their situations are listed in order of urgency.

Portugal: During his last stint as Portugal manager, Carlos Quieroz failed to qualify for both Euro 1992 and the 1994 World Cup. He was rehired in 2008, and is maintaing his streak. Portugal needed a late Liedson equalizer to draw group leaders Denmark 1-1, and have fallen to fourth behind Sweden. They now need to win their three remaining matches, including home and away against Hungary. They also need Sweden to drop points in at least one match.  That is just to make the playoff.

Continued at The Big Lead

U.S. Soccer: Endemic Delusions That Perpetuate Mediocrity


We documented U.S. soccer’s hostility toward a critical journalist. We mentioned their campaign of misinformation.  This matters because most in the United States are not well grounded in soccer. They’re undiscerning about information. This results in delusions that ramp up hype and subsequent revenue, but eliminate accountability.

Progress.  To the public, U.S. Soccer’s summer was golden.  The USMNT upset Spain 2-0, and took a 2-0 lead into halftime against Brazil.  Not to crap on those accomplishments, they deserve praise, but we should view the summer comprehensively.

Continued at The Big Lead

Mexico Beats U.S. 2-1, Bob Bradley and NBC Stain Soccer’s Golden Summer

Bob Bradley opted for experience in the United States’ 2-1 defeat to Mexico.  Experience is only valuable when it is experience at being good.

Brian Ching is a good MLS player, but he should not be starting pivotal games for the national team.  Altidore gives the U.S. multiple angles of attack.  He forces defenses to deal with him, opening space for Dempsey, Donovan and Davies.  Brian Ching does neither.

Continued at The Big Lead

Don’t Blame Beckham’s England Career

David Beckham gave a press conference, concerning his return to the LA Galaxy.  After Grant Wahl confronted him, the meme became how Beckham’s England career adversely affected his commitment to MLS.  Beckham has been culpable for much since his arrival in the US.  However, criticizing him playing for England is unfair.

Beckham misses MLS-time for international duty.  Every international player misses MLS time, because MLS does not honor FIFA’s international breaks.

Continue reading “Don’t Blame Beckham’s England Career”

Four Issues The US Must Address To Produce Better Soccer Players

us_soccer_hmed_9ah2No factor affects the perception of soccer in the United States more than the success of the men’s national team.  American success has come in blips, but not enough to hold the interest of a hostile audience.  The solution is simple: produce better players.  Doing so, however, is complex.  Improvement requires a radical rethinking of how the U.S. produces soccer players.  Here are four issues that need addressing. (Continued)

How The Confederations Cup Affects The Future US Starting XI

landon_donovan_gaydar4The US flirted with prominence at the Confederations Cup, but the real South African test comes in 2010.  Qualification should be inevitable, and the next few months will be spent finalizing squad positions. The US should field a similar 4-4-1-1 formation, morphing into a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2 depending on how advanced the secondary striker plays. Here is how we see that shaping out. (Continued)