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Messages - jknezek

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Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 14, 2016, 02:49:25 pm »
Yes I may have been a bit harsh so I will compromise and say they were a B+ side. I rate Bobby Wood higher than Brazil's 2 strikers Hulk and Gabrielle. Douglas Costa  would have been a huge help but for me Silva is getting up there in age and Oscar while very talented has the innate ability to completely disappear from games.I have never rated David Luiz as he slows them down IMO.Also, btw your "A" team fell completely FLAT in 2014 and were a massive disappointment but we can agree to disagree.

We don't have to disagree. The "A" team was disappointing in a WC hosted in Brazil while only reaching the semis. I think the manner of loss, a pathetic capitulation during a blowout, was worse than actually losing to the eventual champions at that stage, but there is no doubt the "A" team was not what Brazil used to bring in terms of dominance. I think that kind of underlines my original point. No one can bring less than their best team to a first tier tournament these days and expect results. Not even the traditional powerhouses.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 14, 2016, 09:31:18 am »
Couple of thoughts.....

Has Dunga been fired yet? I cannot remember a Brazilian side that have disappointed so much the past couple of years. Do not even tell me they brought a "B" side either. Neymar would not have made much of a difference especially with Dunga as the coach.

If you think Brazil was a "B" side only because they weren't allowed to bring Neymar you weren't paying enough attention. They brought 14 players with less than 10 caps. Leaving home standout veterans David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Oscar. Then you look at who was called and dropped due to niggling injuries. Ready for this list? Douglas Costa, his replacement Kaka, Rafinha, Ederson and Oliverira. Luiz Gustavo left after making the trip to deal with family issues. So yeah, a "B" team. Partially because they couldn't bring their biggest star and captain, Neymar. Partially due to selection issues with veterans, and a lot to do with injuries throughout the top of the player pool.

Regardless, if you don't consider the team that ran out for the three group games a "B" squad by Brazil standards, I'm not sure what it would take.

On the flip side, Alexei Lalas is one of the least interesting soccer personalities ever to hang around this long. He provides nothing, always seems bored and arrogant in company of other broadcasters, and generally irritates me every time I don't change the channel fast enough to avoid him. So we certainly agree on something.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 13, 2016, 11:36:37 am »
Thoughts from Friday night's U.S. vs Paraguay game. Yedlin is an idiot. Seriously. Sure the first yellow was dubious, but to just lose your mind? You are a professional soccer player with a year in the top flight of English football under your belt. Don't be an idiot. While Yedlin has made some eye popping runs, and recoveries, he's also been a liability for the U.S. Very much a high risk, high reward player right now. I'm not an Orozco fan. Not by a long shot. But we might get more defensive consistency out of him for the Ecuador game, even if he eliminates some of the threat up the wing Yedlin provides.

However, with Yedlin suspended, we now need to keep Zardes on the wing. His touch was still a problem Friday night, though he did have his moment. But without the threat of Yedlin's speed, you can't also pile Zusi on that side. Zardes keeps the wide speed threat viable on the left.

Brooks was the best player on the field. He's had some growing pains, but if he can keep playing at this level he would be the pillar of any club or country defense in the world. Cameron is playing perfectly in his shadow. Williams kind of disappeared against Paraguay. He will need to provide more threat going forward on that side as Bedoya is a good and necessary piece, but not seeming to be the creative wide threat we could use on the right.

Dempsey, Jones and, Bradley have anchored the middle of the field. Jones has been unbelievable until his predictable, and yet stupid, yellow card. Bradley's card for dissent was equally idiotic and wasteful. But Dempsey in the 4-4-2 underneath is right at home. I wasn't as thrilled with Wood against Paraguay as CRC, but you can't fault his work rate. He was everywhere, even if he wasn't quite as effective up front. Bradley also played a bit too conservative, even before Yedlin's idiocy. I'd like to see him look forward, not in the sense of bombing long balls down the wings but in the sense of picking out an attacker in the next line up, before choosing the square or back pass as much as he did Friday night.

Big saves from Guzan at the right time. The U.S. has been blessed with goal keeping for 20+ years. So long as that keeps going we are always a threat to pull one out.

Finally, given the time zones, miles, and the effort we put in during that second half, how gassed are we? Losing a day of recovery, and having to cross the country again, is a tough pill to swallow. Especially for an aging Jones who has run his cleats off in all 3 games. Peru in NJ Friday would have been a better deal than an Ecuador team that seems to be on the upswing all the way out in Seattle on Thursday. Of course we didn't know Brazil was going to be a dud, but Columbia sure looks like they played the tournament for a fool resting their players, getting the shorter road trip (Houston to NJ is 1440 miles. Houston to Seattle is 1900 miles. Plus one timezone versus 2), and the extra day of rest.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 13, 2016, 09:48:41 am »
Things we can take away from the Copa America so far. You simply cannot bring or play a "B" team and get results. Not even if you are Brazil. International soccer, and the general randomness of the game, ensure that not bringing or playing your "A" team at the international level is a dead end. Brazil is out. They brought a "B" team and played like they thought all they needed to do was show up. Peru scraped past a poor Haiti team as the only under strength team to record a win. Columbia's "B" team lost to an otherwise inept Costa Rica team. A weakened Chile looks nothing like last year's champion. I wouldn't put it past a motivated (though weakened by cards) Panama team to send them packing.

If you want to compete in a major tournament, even the major powers need to bring and play their first string. This Copa had the ability to push soccer in America forward. It still might if the U.S. can find a way past Ecuador again. But it has been horribly marred by the bribery scandal pre-tournament, the ticket prices leaving empty seats, and team selections both before the tournament and once it began. It is increasingly looking like this odd year Copa isn't the big time tournament that was promised and is more the money-grabbing joke that began with massive bribes.

Finally, pity the USMNT for their travel schedule.

5/22 in Puerto Rico   
5/25 in Frisco Texas 2124 miles, 3 time zones
5/28 in Kansas City  451 miles, 0 time zones
6/3 in Santa Clara California, 1480 miles, 2 time zones
6/7 in Chicago 1840 miles, 2 time zones
6/11 in Philadelphia 656 miles, 1 time zone
6/16 in Seattle 2365 miles, 3 time zones

With the exception of the pre-tournament games in Frisco and KC, they have piled on the miles and time zones like few teams I've seen recently. They will have crossed the country 3 times by kickoff Thursday, playing 6 of the 7 games in different time zones from the previous game. Total miles travelled? 8916 miles. 4 different time zones (PR, Central, Pacific, Eastern)

Compare with Mexico
5/28 in Atlanta
6/1 in San Diego 2140 miles, 3 time zones
6/5 Glendale Arizona 296 miles, 0 time zones
6/9 Pasadena CA 344 miles, 0 time zones
6/13 Houston TX 1365 miles, 2 time zones
6/18 (Santa Clara probably) 1619 miles, 2 time zones

Total miles travelled? 5764.

It's a big darn country, and we did the USMNT no favors by making sure they played in 3 of 4 time zones for the group stage. A bit unlucky to head all the way back across the country for the quarters as opposed to heading up the road to MetLife. I have to imagine we were expected to catch a break travel wise by finishing second in the group.

I apologize if this has previously been reported.
Today, the Chicago Bears announced they have waived QB Matt Blanchard and signed Dalyn Williams who played at national powerhouse ;) Dartmouth. In 2015 Williams passed for 2,592 yards and 17 TDs with 5 INTs.
I've always thought Blanchard was at least as good as any 3rd team QB who was signed/retained over him, and could due a nice job if given the opportunity.

Dalyn Williams... 21 years old
Matt Blanchard... 27 years old

You pretty much know, at this point, where Blanchard falls. And compared to all those kids who don't make the NFL, you know... pretty much all of them, Blanchard is really, really damn good. But if you are an NFL team you know what you have with him. Might as well try someone else and see if there more of an upside that hasn't been developed in Blanchard across multiple season and multiple teams. Neither one is likely to see the field, so you don't give up much.

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: June 08, 2016, 04:50:11 pm »
jk, if you remember a while back, I mentioned MC's founder, Isaac Anderson, was a W&L (or whatever they called it back then, Washington Academy or something?) guy. Maybe get a series going and call it the Anderson Cup?  ;D

I remember. Washington College probably, depending on when he was there. Could have been Liberty Hall Academy or one other name I'm not remembering any more. Maryville is in one of my favorite areas of the country. If we had home and homes with Sewanee and Maryville in offsetting years I'd be a happy guy. It's a shame that OOC games are set so far in advance and there are such strong monetary restrictions on travel for some schools. I'd like to see a USAS/ODAC challenge with teams matched by previous year order of finish.

Now there's the pie in the sky idea!

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: June 08, 2016, 04:15:18 pm »
I think we'll see some sort of scheduling arrangement with the USA South. I haven't heard much interest in Roanoke adding football. Virginia Wesleyan might be the next, but it is definitely *not* imminent for them. Haven't heard anything about Lynchburg in a while.

With Brevard joining they will have 9 football schools. That could help the ODAC fit in OOC games outside the traditional pre-conference window.  As for the rest, at this point it seems pie in the sky dreaming.

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: June 08, 2016, 02:42:20 pm »
Still very concerned about odac football starting in 2017. Given the landscape of other conferences I don't see a 4 game ooc schedule as being realistic w/o lots of travel which most cannot afford. Glad not to be an AD at any of these programs.

This is very much my concern as well. I keep hoping to hear an announcement out of Roanoke, but I'm guessing it isn't coming.

North Region football / Re: FB: North Coast Athletic Conference
« on: June 08, 2016, 12:20:25 pm »
There is no wrestling forum on this site, so I will post this here along with a note of congratulations to Riley Lefever who was named a first team academic All-American.

He pretty much destroyed W&L's wrestler early in the NCAA tournament. I was very impressed. Congratulations to him.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 08, 2016, 11:57:22 am »

Careless push with arms extended.  Easy PK call there.   If it were a goal kick and this scenario played out in the middle of the field, DFK applies...

Yeah. It was. I'm just not sure I make it. I don't think Wood had a legit play on the ball if he's not pushed, and he was shoved by a U.S. player into the CRC player. Regardless, it's a justifiable call. Just seemed a bit soft to me. I'll take it.

Men's soccer / Re: Hot Stove Action
« on: June 08, 2016, 10:29:03 am »
A little off topic, but hey it is July...who has the best produced live stream? HD streaming; announcers; etc?

I don't know how well it compares, but when W&L played at Messiah last season I was very impressed with their set up and announcers. Better than anything I see regularly in the ODAC, especially the announcers.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 08, 2016, 09:37:19 am »
Hard to complain about that last night. Costa Rica missed a few gold plated chances, but so did the U.S. so I think the score, if not the clean sheet, was pretty reflective of the U.S. dominance. I though the PK was a bit soft. Not sure I would have called it (though it was clearly a push), but it got the U.S. comfortable and kicked them into gear. Hopefully they will take the magic into the Paraguay game.

Costa Rica isn't a bad team, but I think they had their tactics wrong last night. They believed a bit too much of their own hype thinking that the WC and the last few CONCACAF results had them the better team. They simply aren't better than the U.S., though they aren't 4-0 weaker either, and they aren't going to play the U.S. straight up on the road.

Setting up in a 4-5-1 or something even more defensive and then trying to play high pressure cost them dearly. They were awful at getting back on the flanks from the high pressure. If they were going to set up that way, they should have played as a road dog and worked for the counter. Granted once they went down 2-0 they would have had to shift, but they didn't start out that way anyway. Just didn't get the CRC starting tactics.

Other thoughts. Zardes needs to work on his touch. Good chances are too hard to come by at this level for him to squander them the way he did last night. But he worked his rear off and made some good passes as well. Tough to tell whether it was he or Yedlin that was the weak link. Both did good things, but both had nasty moments as well. Yedlin's defensive decision making is still not good enough, but boy can he recover!

Bobby Wood had a very good night, better once we shifted to a 4-4-2 and he was in his more natural spot. He and Dempsey seem to be generating an understanding, something that might have happened earlier if the darn coach would play the same lineup occasionally. Didn't really hear much from Bedoya. He worked and worked, but never found the right pass and passed up on his one gold plaited opportunity to score for some reason. Similarly Bradley played the role he should play. It's not glamorous, but it's what he is best at and what helps the team the most. Wish the coach would stop trying to make him something he's not. Jones was excellent. Wondering if he will have the legs versus Paraguay. I'd love to know his running stats from last night. Miracle of miracles, a couple games together and the defense actually started to communicate as well. Who would guess that experience helps with consistency? Not Klinsmann.

Finally, if it was me, I'd go to a 4-4-2 against Paraguay.  Guzan, Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson across the back. I wouldn't change this up at all. Bedoya and Zusi on the flanks, Bradley and Jones or Nagbe (if you want to rest Jones) in the middle. Bradley withdrawn obviously. Dempsey and Wood up front.

This pulls Zardes, who ran and played hard but didn't look comfortable out wide and just didn't have the touch, and possibly rests Jones or at least puts him on partial duty. Nagbe won't have Jones' bite, but Zusi offers more defensively than Zardes and a gelling back line should be able to pick up the slack. Nagbe will give you a bit more creativity going forward, and I'd love to see a spine of decent ball handlers that stretches the field with Brooks, Bradley, Nagbe and Wood, supported by the outside quickness of Yedlin and the craftiness of Dempsey and Bedoya.

Not to mention if you are a publication looking to get people to buy your magazine, having all your names from the 3 teams that have made a Stagg Bowl in the last 11 years is a very bad idea.

Lots of teams have one or two stand outs, but I think these lists, especially for a division the size of DIII with so little crossover, are kind of silly. I love that W&L has a lineman listed. He's very good and I'm pleased he's getting some recognition. But he's here mainly because he's the best lineman on an offense that was the top rushing offense in DIII. Why? Because they ran a spread option. They ran it really, really well, but you think that inflated their running game numbers? He'd be the same really good player at any other DIII, but without those eye popping team rushing numbers I doubt he's getting recognized this way. 6-3, 260 is how W&L lists him. Hmm...

So yeah, a little silly. Especially in the positions that just don't have comparative stats, like Oline.

South Region football / Re: FB: Old Dominion Athletic Conference
« on: June 03, 2016, 12:55:46 pm »
He was on the ballot at least since 2015. Seems like there are lots of player holdovers. Given no player from the Divisional section was inducted last year, and only one in 2015, I'd imagine it's pretty tough to go through.

Interestingly, both coaches inducted last year were Divisional section.

Men's soccer / Re: Barclays Premier League Pick Em
« on: June 03, 2016, 12:29:44 pm »
You are putting a lot of faith in a Brazil team without Neymar. I think Brazil is focused on winning the Olympics, the only major soccer tournament they haven't won. I don't think they will make the finals in the Copa, let alone win it. Argentina with a half focused Messi might be interesting also, though I think that matters less. I think Mexico does well. They are strong and will have favorable crowd support. I'll take them over Chile and Brazil. Argentina vs Mexico final. Argentina wins 2-1. Brazil vs Columbia third place with Columbia winning as Brazil simply doesn't care.

I'm also unsure the U.S. makes it out of the Group Stage. I could see Costa Rica taking second place in the group. Wouldn't matter in the scheme of the tournament as I don't think either beats Brazil, but it would be disastrous for the U.S. and probably enough to force JK out.

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