Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Live Blog: A Man, A Plan, A Canal...Let's Get 3 Points


I'm here and I'm just a wee bit lubricated from Flat 12 Bierworks's delicious Cucumber Kolsch as served up in honor of Juergen Sommer's appointment as Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations for Indy Eleven, the NASL's newest franchise.

It was a lovely event and wholly unencumbered by foul weather or long lines, but now down to the macro business of the US Men's National team and its quest for World Cup qualification.

Malaria. Light Beer. Probably high waisted bikinis too. 
Tonight: Panama.

I think of only a few things when I think of Panama.

1: The canal - Along with said canal, I think of malaria, the French, and Teddy Roosevelt. Read a book.

2: Manuel Noriega - Listen, there were all sorts of ins and outs with that invasion. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but hegemony is a word that hits pretty close to home to our neighbors to the south. As Porfirio Diaz said, "So far from God, so close to the United States." Also, Noriega had some wicked pock marks, did he not?

3: Van Halen - I know for a certain set of American rock aficionados this is near blasphemy to say, but I can't stand Van Halen. I think of yellow Jeep Wranglers, mullets, and light beer when I think of Van Halen. None of those things is good. Also, any song (and I'm referring to Panama here) that begins with the lyrics "Uh! Oh Yeah! Ah-huh!" ranks highly in the pantheon of shit as far as I'm concerned.

So there you go. Malaria, acne, and light beer.

Come on you Yanks!  

More to come at kickoff...

ESPN is predicting a 68.9% chance of a US win. Thank God for that?

Here we go!

The dulcet tones of Ian Darke are ringing again in my ears and we're getting our first glimpse of the "ridiculously awful" pitch in Seattle.

"Eddie Johnson will have to be effective." Thanks, Taylor Twellman. That's sports journalism at it's finest.

3' Geoff Cameron is looking sharp and like he's going to get a JJ caliber yellow at some point. Love it.

3' FABIAN! Doh!

5' Enriquez (he's Panama's 21) is wearing gloves. Gloves. Guantes. Are you shitting me?

7' Great run forward by DMB and well found by Besler. DMB haters, please tell me who is our better left back option?


9' Great move from the US going forward. Decent ball in from DMB, but he couldn't find Deuce's head. Nice to see the interchange going forward and the quick passes to transition from flank to flank.

Monica Gonzalez is making the turf situation sound like a matter of national security right now.

14' Holy shit! Panama has two of the same coach. Body doubles? That's sneaky. Panama just climbed my list of nations to get out of CONCACAF qualifying. I mean, that's next level. Some managers give out false injury reports. Panama has a body double for its coach. Respect.

Cameron is continuing his streak of playing in every position other than his publicly acknowledged "best position". Right back and attacking midfielder for Stoke. Right back and defensive midfielder for the Nats. From a player's perspective, that's actually a pretty sweet deal. Built-in excuse?

Also, Geoff Cameron looks EXACTLY like Michael Richards in Problem Child. Hang on, I'll Google a pic.


25' Quintero is doing his best to test Evans who's used to having some help behind him on the flank. I still think Cherundolo is our best option at right back, but Evans could find a home for himself there if he gets the one-on-one defensive skills to go with his abilities pushing forward. Kudos to Besler covering there and Johnson tracking back to do decidedly un-EJ work.

Lot of talk right now about Gonzalez and his abilities at center back. I remain unsold on his abilities outside of MLS. However, I'm going on record with my thirteen readers that Besler is going to be the next US player to establish himself as a legitimate American international talent.

30' Thank God that dive didn't work. Evans is getting attacked and needs help. Also, Taylor Twellman just made sense. Those concussions didn't get to him after all. And speaking of, did anyone else see Alexi Lalas today saying that he wouldn't mind heading of the ball being outlawed in soccer in order to protect players from brain damage? Ah, Alexi. Sweet, sweet Alexi.

33' FABIAN! Hit it with your purse next time, Sally!

34' Jozy just went beast mode there. That was most definitely AZ Jozy and not at all USMNT Jozy. Great work. Clear penalty.

36' That was the best US counter-attacking goal I've seen since Lando's goal in the Confed Cup v Brazil.

Bradley drives at the heart of the Panama defense, draws defenders, plays wide to Fabian, and then a perfect ball across to Jozy. Again, that's AZ Jozy and not USMNT Jozy.

1-0, Good Guys.

39' When it's your day, it's your day. I thought that was a bad choice by Cameron going to ground in the box, but he won the tackle and then EJ drew the foul against Panama. Did I mention how much Geoff Cameron looks like Michael Richards in Problem Child? How about how much EJ looks like Roy Hibbert if someone stuck a bicycle pump in him, stretched him Medieval rack style, fed him twinkies, and soaked him like a sponge? Hang on, I'll Google a pic...

Amiright? Huh?

46' Offside and the Panama goal is disallowed. Thank God. Which brings me to a soccer pet peeve. No, not Alexi Lalas. It's when people say "Offsides" instead of "Offside." There's only one side you can be off. Unless you're some kind of soccer double agent and you manage to be playing for both teams at the same time and are also huge enough that you can straddle the entire field, Megatron style, you cannot be offsides. 

Rant over. 

Half time.


What's the grammar rule here?

I just noticed how stupendous Bob Ley's hair is. Rewind the DVR, I'll wait. I mean, look at that coif. If there was a product called "Silver Fox Helmet," that would be it. Good on you, Bob Ley.

Second half! Here we go!

Thoughts on Dempsey as a captain? Have to say, I think the no nonsense, get on with it, Deuce face attitude is a needed foil to Kilnsy's relentless, decidedly un-German optimism.

Cameron is settling in nicely. Covering a lot of ground and not nearly as many wayward passes as he hit in the first half.

52' And now Twellsy is agreeing with me. I take back my concussion comments.

53' Geoff Cameron is my motor. EJ is my high octane gasoline.

2-0, USMNT

The 2-0 scoreline is important, but the fact that AZ Jozy and pre-Fulham EJ have apparently rejoined the USMNT is even bigger news. If we can get those two guys full of confidence and playing off of one another's strengths, we should qualify comfortably.

57' The "You're not going to Brazil" chant is probably a little classless, but hey, isn't that what home field advantage is all about?

US is moving the ball crisply and confidently. Love the pace and the quick ball movement. I'm *this close* to sending Klinsy a Hallmark card. Or at least a nice tweet.

62' I don't want to tempt fate, but Cameron seems to be playing exactly like JJ but without the guaranteed yellow/red/dark red card. I like JJ's tattoos better, but Cameron is showing some potential there with his 3/4 sleeve.

66' Altidore then Dempsey with great chances. All starts with Cameron though. He's having a beast of a game. Please, someone rescue him from Stoke City and the looming pall of Mark Hughes and his cursed specter. Hughes strikes me as the kind of guy who would wear a hat with a buckle, Jamestown Puritan style. Probably would burn witches at the stake. Also saw Goody Proctor in the woods with the Devil.

69' Sanchez with the dive and the yellow card. Are we in bizarro world? Over/under 70% chance that's a penalty anywhere south of Dallas?

70' Seattle > Any other US soccer city

75' Heart just skipped a beat as I saw that ball go back to Howard. Images of Paul Robinson and his England career going down the drain at the hands of a bumpy pitch and an inside the posts back pass.

76' Match has taken a little bit of turn for the somnolent. US up by 2 and not too terribly concerned with getting another goal. Panama seems completely incapable of doing anything but sending in early crosses and hoping to win something off Besler and Gonzo. Isn't happening. Testament to Beasley and Evans that they aren't allowing runs behind them to be productive.

78' Dempsey with the most un-Texan finish of all time. Shoot it, electrocute it, grill it, and smother it in ranch dressing next time.


Beasley is unlucky there. Someone must have bet Deuce he couldn't complete five back heel passes in one match. Jozy with a a great ball after the knock down. Right on to DMB's feet. Props to Ft. Wayne's own for even making that run. Still haven't heard the suggestion of a better option at left back.

Don't want to give up a late goal here. That floated ball to the back post has produced a couple of half chances.

87' Brad "Half Hobbit, Half Stewie From Family Guy" Davis comes on for Fabian Johnson, or as I like to call him, Fab Johnson. Someone needs to talk to him about a post soccer career as a sex toy pitch man.

Any arguments against Geoff Cameron as Man of the Match?

90' Besler again with great covering and a competent tackle in the box, then wins the foul. That's my horse.

91' Stu is in and his hair is looking like it's in mid season form. Good body, a hint of a highlight or two, off the ears and neck. Respect, Stu.

Great save by Howard and there's Gonzo's one blackout moment. He's always good for one. He's like the USMNT's Philippe Senderos, but with worse hair, which is saying something because Senderos is bald and looks like a James Bond villain. If Klinsy is looking for Holden to provide value to the side, he needs to sit him down with Gonzo and get him to spit some hair knowledge.

Full time!



Take aways: The USMNT cruised in that match. Jozy, Deuce, Fab, and EJ looked very much on the same page going forward and that took a lot of pressure off the defense. Easier to look confident when you're not constantly trying to put out fires after you've been caught in transition.

Also, Bradley and Cameron were stellar in this match. I don't know what that means moving forward for Jones, my gut is probably not much, but I'm pretty sure the "What's Geoff Cameron's Best Position" debate just acquired a new dynamic.

I tend to think that Jones is still needed in that holding position, especially against more capable competition. Not taking anything away from Cameron, but Jones strikes me as a faster, more capable of the dark arts sort of player.

In conclusion: Michael Richards, Besler is my horse, EJ is my high octane gasoline, and DMB FTW.



  1. Is the game starting on espn2?

  2. Never mind, looks like its espn2 at first and then espn after mexico's done. no espn ocho tonight

  3. Indeed. Interesting strategy. We'll see how that works out for them, Cotton.

  4. I didn't think I would miss Jermaine Jones that much, but he does a lot of little things and maintains possession in a way that I don't think Michael Richards is doing right now. I'm less than sold on Cameron, Gonzalez or Besler right now in the middle.

  5. Cameron has been a little wayward with a pass or two, but he did win the ball and spring Bradley on the attack. Gonzo and Besler need a lot of time to gel in the center of the back four. I see Gonzo as another Onyewu...which isn't exactly a good thing.

  6. But maybe Kramer just had the jitters early on. How many Problem Child movies were even made? All well-written and masterfully acted in my opinion

  7. Deuce doesn't need to be captain. Deuce Face does. Maybe we can just post a cardboard-face captain behind the opposing goal.

  8. My criticism of Cameron has officially been rendered off-base.

  9. I was just about to ask you if you'd changed your mind about Michael Richards.

  10. We have "You're Not Going to Brazil" the Mexicans throw batteries. Which one is less class, really?

  11. Pretty sure El Salvador's Cup-O-Piss takes the cake there.

  12. Mmmm . . . cup-o-piss cake

  13. Every time Stu Holden takes the field for the USA, an angel gets its wings. Just sayin.