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Messages - jknezek

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Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: July 06, 2016, 08:13:55 pm »
I guess we just disagree on speed. No big deal. I hope you are right about Pulisic but the sample size is much too small.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: July 06, 2016, 02:52:04 pm »
Iceland has as many people playing soccer as the state of RHODE ISLAND. The smallest state in the country. 500 million people in this great country and besides Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic can you give me any other SKILLED players that we have developed. Something is very WRONG in player development in this country. SO to downplay US expectations like you have is disappointing in itself

I don't get your point. Our January camp players beat Iceland's "B" ish team this year. Want to guess how many Summer Olympic medals Iceland has won? 4. Guess what sport they almost all play? Add to that they had one run in one tournament in how many decades of playing soccer and now that's the standard by which a population of soccer players should be judged? Ridiculous.

The U.S. has had a viable professional soccer league, one where you can make a living playing the game, for 20 years. And that's being generous considering the early salaries of MLS. It's probably more like 10 or 15 years where all players on a MLS roster can live off playing soccer. So yeah, we are on the first, maybe second, generation of talent where soccer doesn't dead end in college. With a basically amateur team 25 years ago we reappeared on the world stage to where we are today firmly ensconced among the top 20 to 40 teams in the world is good progress.

I expect we will get better. I expect in my lifetime we will consistently be in the top 20 and possibly be a top 10 competitor depending on the vagaries of generations of talent. But given that my lifetime has already encompassed the dark ages of the 80s and early 90s, I think that would be one heck of a success story.

As for Dempsey, he was a late bloomer and an amazing success story. You are early on Pulisic. He may be all that and a bag of chips, I very much hope he is, but Julian Green is still somewhere out there and Green scored in the World Cup. Pulisic didn't even score in the Copa America. Lets pull back a bit on the hype and let him develop.

Landon Donovan was a skilled and capable player. Claudio Reyna was flat out amazing in his hey day. Tab Ramos was more creative than either Dempsey or your hope for Pulisic, he just never had the American pieces around him to realize it. John O'Brien was an American soccer tragedy. They were all skilled players. One big difference? Dempsey and Pulisic and the next generation benefit from an American soccer pool that is growing, expanding and improving all the time. So the pieces around them are better than ever. Would you trade Brooks for Dooley? Wood for Wegerley? Yedlin for Balboa? Johnson for Lalas? How about David Regis, Jeff Agoos, or Preki? Want those guys instead of Besler, Bradley and Zardes?

We get better. I guess it's just never going to be fast enough for some people.

East Region football / Re: FB: Empire 8
« on: July 05, 2016, 02:42:39 pm »

This is really a thing? :P

Anyhoo- Its July- 2 a days will be starting before you know it!

It is a thing. I voted once. That was enough. But it is exactly because 2 a days haven't started that it is remotely a topic for conversation!

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: July 01, 2016, 12:59:24 pm »
damn, the enemy has crossed the border and joined ranks with the tigers. not sure I approve but obviously nobody asked my opinion !!!

Given the amount of crossover among the ODAC coaching staffs in various sports, though especially basketball it seems, I doubt this is the first time the Tigers have taken a former opponent into their coaching staff. Besides, he got the last laugh on the field even if HSC got the most laughs during his playing years. Perhaps HSC can consult him on how to start a new streak...  ;D

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 30, 2016, 03:47:28 pm »
As everyone is fond of saying among the soccer cognoscenti of this country, the U.S. won the games they were supposed to, and lost the games they were supposed to. I don't consider that massively disappointing, I consider it average. I also think it is a bit flawed. FIFA rankings generally suck, but it's fair to say that the U.S. went 2-3 against teams that were ranked above them in the FIFA rankings, and 1-0 against teams below them, during the tournament. If you include the warm up games, they went 3-3 against teams ranked above them and 3-0 against teams ranked below.

Now some of those are iffy. Costa Rica was ranked ahead of us. That's pretty much a draw. They can't win in the U.S. and we can't win in Costa Rica. Sure they went one more round than us in the World Cup, but we topped them in qualifying. So consider that a wash. But Ecuador, who we beat twice, once as a friendly and once in a competitive elimination game, was ranked significantly ahead of us. They are in second place in WC Qualifying, and recently beat Argentina on the road. Those wins are decent upsets and something the U.S. shouldn't consider part of a "massive disappointment." Especially the elimination game. Paraguay is also a toss up type game. Ranked behind us, but not by much. They tied both Uruguay and Argentina in Copa America 2015, so we aren't talking about a slouch team.

As for Argentina, they killed us. Boo hoo, I'm massively disappointed we aren't a top 5 team in the world. Only a soccer idiot would have thought we had anything but an underdog chance in that game. Yeah we under performed in the loss, but the loss itself wasn't unexpected.

The two Columbia games? Watch them again. We didn't win, we didn't deserve to win either. But we could have won the second. They didn't kick us off the field either time. Winning the first game would have been against the flow, but not shockingly so. Winning the second wouldn't have been shocking. We were as in that game as any we play against good competition.

I do think the two losses to end the tournament were disappointing, but describing the U.S. performance as a "massive disappointment" doesn't jibe with where U.S. soccer is right now in the world. It's just driven by some fantasy that we should be better because we are the U.S.A. and not realistic.

Men's soccer / Re: Hot Stove Action
« on: June 30, 2016, 03:30:17 pm »
MLS coaches generally are MLS assistants. Or former players, which seems to be the hot way to go for some reason. Anyway, MLS assistants were generally head coaches in USL/NASL and other pro levels. If his ambition is to be an MLS coach, he needed to move. Caleb Porter was an anomaly. The days of Sigi Schmidt and Bruce Arenas moving straight to MLS gigs from DI college programs is over except in very rare circumstances. And those circumstances include D1 gigs where coaches can really make a name. Navy is not likely a school where that will happen.

I think your opinion that USL is in danger of folding misses the mark. Given the partnership with MLS and the MLS developmental affiliates that are populating USL these days, I think USL is in probably the best financial shape in its history. Over 20 teams have joined USL in the last 3 years, more than doubling the size of the league. No teams folded or moved to PDL in the last season or two, a rarity for USL. Overall, it isn't a huge financial winner by any means, but it finally seems to be growing as the pro soccer pyramid in this country takes a little bit of shape.

The Riverhounds have an affiliation with Columbus, who does not sponsor a USL development team preferring the relationship with Pittsburgh so far, so Brandt will get exposure to MLS through players moving back and forth and conversations with the Columbus coaching staff. If his ambition is to see if he can be an MLS coach, this move makes good sense. Risky, but it all depends on what you are trying to do. If his goal was to comfortably coach out his career, Navy wasn't a bad spot. But to keep climbing the ladder? He had to move on.

As for his son, I have no idea.

Men's soccer / Re: World Cup and European leagues
« on: June 27, 2016, 08:17:43 pm »
jk, thanks!  But this is back to World Cup: Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international soccer.  I'm guessing he was just overly emotional after a third finals loss in three years (2014 WC plus 2015 and 2016 Copa).  When the WC comes in 2018, I'm betting he'll be there - comments?

Very likely. Especially once Adidas gets done explaining to him what his endorsement contract will be worth if he turns his back on his home country.

I've often read that he thinks his home country has turned its back on him.  He is supposedly vastly more popular in Spain than in Argentina.

Probably true though his tax fraud trial may change that. Still Adidas will want him at the World Cup. I think Argentina is sitting OK in qualifying so he may take a few rounds off before coming back to get ready for the World Cup.

Men's soccer / Re: World Cup and European leagues
« on: June 27, 2016, 04:50:32 pm »
jk, thanks!  But this is back to World Cup: Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international soccer.  I'm guessing he was just overly emotional after a third finals loss in three years (2014 WC plus 2015 and 2016 Copa).  When the WC comes in 2018, I'm betting he'll be there - comments?

Very likely. Especially once Adidas gets done explaining to him what his endorsement contract will be worth if he turns his back on his home country.

Men's soccer / Re: World Cup and European leagues
« on: June 27, 2016, 09:17:38 am »
Neither World Cup or European, but USA finished fourth in the COPA this evening, losing to Columbia 1-0.  Argentina (who whupped USA 4-0) will face Chile tomorrow for the title.

Lot of discussion in the Premiere League thread. That's just where it ended up for Copa America.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 27, 2016, 09:17:13 am »
Disappointing end for both the U.S. and the Copa America in general. The U.S. obviously played better but couldn't find the net on their chances. For the most part I think we played straight up with Columbia, though I don't think that was Columbia's best game. A moment of brilliance from their world class player topped our night of hard work. It happens, but not how I wanted to go out.

As for last night. That was ugly. MetLife is a terrible place for a final. The field is 10 yards too narrow. The ref was atrocious in the first half. Argentina choked whenever they got near net despite being by far the better team, with the better chances. But skying the ball 3 times, missing a one on one with the GK, and a moment of brilliance from Chile's keeper (the header tip over the bar) led to PKs. I think we can start tagging Argentina and England as the two worst penalty taking squads in the world. To be fair, I don't even watch the PKs and I shut it off at the end of extra time last night. Might as well flip a coin, but still... Argentina really sucks at PKs.

As for the Copa, it just was disappointing. From empty seats to bad reffing to "B" squads to an ugly final. Blowouts in both the quarterfinal and semifinal round didn't help. Yes there were moments of entertainment. Yes I was pleased with the U.S.'s 3 wins. I was disappointed in 2 of the 3 losses where we didn't play to our potential (Columbia 1 and Argentina). In the end, it just won't have much affect on the U.S. soccer landscape. Onward and upward to World Cup qualifying.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 22, 2016, 09:10:39 am »
Thoughts from last night. 1) They were better. 2) We didn't help ourselves. Lot of things need to go right to pull off an upset, and we did none of them. From the coach to the players, it was a shambles as the Brits say. Wondo should never have been on the field. I respect him. He's a great MLS player and he's had a great career, but he doesn't have anything to offer at this level. That's on JK. In all the permutations I thought of for our line up, I never thought he would start Wondo. Read my above post for the outcome of that decision.

The first goal was just poor defending by Beckerman and Bradley. You can't lose track of the best player in the world when not in possession on the outskirts of your own box. Seems simple, we failed. Guzan could have done better to save it. That save was the thing that our goalies have made in those epic games where we pulled upsets or held top teams. This time it didn't happen. It would have been an amazing reaction from Guzan. We needed it. We didn't get it. We were not built to chase Argentina from behind.

The other two goals were just icing on the cake. We weren't going to score 2 or 3 times versus Argentina, we didn't create 2 or 3 good chances all game. So at this point we can just talk about why we couldn't create chances.

1) Our passing was awful. Their press completely rattled us. Even when we had time, we scuffed passes, didn't hit them with conviction, or sent them off target. It's been a while since I've seen that many hospital passes. Yes I'm looking at you Bradley! I love Bradley. He's the kind of American player I think we are going to play with going forward. Smart, hard working, reliable. Generally. This game sucked. He worked hard but he wasn't smart and he wasn't accurate, and he wasn't reliable. The last 30 minutes he finally found his footing, for the most part, but way too little too late.

2) No possession. Yeah, this is related to the passing. Possession? What's that? We had none. I didn't expect to play them straight up. I figured we'd need to counter, but we had to be able to string together a couple minutes here and there just to catch our breath. Our passing never let that happen.

3) 50/50 balls. Usually this is where the American work rate shines. It didn't. They won way too many 50/50 balls. Especially on the ones we panicked and bombed out of the back. Part of this was Wondo. He isn't quick enough to get to those balls at this level and, as we saw with goal number 2, he doesn't have the touch for this level.

4) Moderate good points. Brooks was strong. Cameron wasn't bad, although goal 4 might have been him or Birnbaum making an awful error. At that point I was hardly watching so I don't know which. Yedlin got forward well. He's high risk and high reward, but he might have been the only one that even troubled Argentina. Williams didn't. Zusi worked hard. I don't see much difference between him and Bedoya. Probably why he's the first off the bench. For what it was worth, Zardes was good, especially the last 30 minutes in a more natural advanced role. Even without that though, he worked hard and even demonstrated some touch that was mostly missing during the tournament.

5) Disappointing players? Wondo by a factor of 1000. Although how disappointing could it be when everyone but JK knew he shouldn't be on the field? Beckerman. He didn't have a good game. Bradley didn't seem to trust him, leading to some of those awful passes and indecision and part of the reason why I thought Bradley picked up after Beckerman exited. Regardless, Beckerman didn't have the bite needed, the speed, the anticipation, basically he wasn't good enough. Unlike Wondo I think Beckerman could have played well enough to help, he just didn't have a good game.

6) Other thoughts. The two subs everyone wanted, Nagbe and Pulisic, didn't do much. Granted at 2-0 down when Pulisic came in, and 3-0 for Nagbe, we were looking beaten. There wasn't much to offer. Birnbaum... eh. Was he at fault on goal 4? If so, that's about all he did.

7) Going forward. I really don't care who we play, there are two ways to go into the consolation round. With the team most likely to win, or the players most likely to be needed in this next cycle. It's only a one player difference, but it's a big one. I'd leave Jones on the bench and play Nagbe. Otherwise go back to the group game line ups with the possible exception of Zusi for Bedoya, but I think that's a wash. Give Nagbe a chance to show if he can be an advanced playmaker at this level and drop Bradley back into his comfort zone. Bring on Pulisic early in the 2nd half.

I really hope the consolation game can get that Argentinean aftertaste out of my mouth. We could and should have done better. Not necessarily a win. But certainly a better effort.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 21, 2016, 11:54:04 pm »
It was the kind of bad moment from Guzan we couldn't afford. He got frozen. But Bradley and the mighty dreads losing track of the best player in the world was a bigger proble . Goal 2 was 100% an over matched Wondo. Bad touch, bad chase, bad foul, bad card. All on Wondo. The free kick was a thing of beauty by Messi, but the rest was a player that shouldn't have been on the field screwing up. At that point we were screwed and managed to botch 90 percent of our passing. Totally intimidated and put off our game by their press. We aren't at their level and made way, way, way too many mistakes to give ourselves an underdog's chance.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 21, 2016, 08:57:29 am »
I'm somewhat obsessed about tonight's line up. I fully intend to watch the game, but something about how JK lines up what he has to work with tonight has me fascinated. I give the guys about a 15% chance of winning, I think we win 1 or 2 out of 10 against Argentina. Guzan is going to have to have the game of his life.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 20, 2016, 09:16:04 am »
I said it above and I'll say it again. I simply can't stand Lalas. I don't understand why he's everyone's go to guy for studio work. I also never understood how he kept getting GM jobs. I prefer to remember him as one of our first modern World Cup heroes and I think our first Serie A player. Since then it's been nothing but botched jobs and nonsense on TV.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 18, 2016, 10:01:25 pm »
It's going to take a hell of a game and a little luck.

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