Monday, October 16, 2017

If There's A Will, There's A Weah

I'm still working on my World Cup qualifying post-mortem. To be honest, I spent most of last week in a serious funk and the weekend was busy. I should have it up by tomorrow, but for now let's all take heart in the US Under-17's own World Cup run, which is now to the quarters thanks to a surprising 5-0 rout of previously hot Paraguay paced by a Timothy Weah hat trick.

He became the first men's national team player to score three goals in a World Cup knockout game, and now our boys are in the elite eight for the first time since 2005. Next up: the winner of tomorrow's England-Japan game.

- Greg Seltzer

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Staring into the nothingness...

I have the saddest USMNT player ratings ever to write and I really don't want to spout off while the wound is still fresh as can be, so I will leave this here for you all to kick around tonight's pathetic, maddening "effort" in Trinidad & Tobago. I will come back tomorrow with so much more to say.

- Greg Seltzer

Your USMNT Line-up v. Trinidad & Tobago

The answer to your first question? Yes, Christian Pulisic is fit to start.

The answer to your second question? No changes from the XI that schooled Panama the other night.

The answer to your third question? Sure, I suppose I'm alright with this set-up... for tonight. I still don't believe we should get married to it. Starting what is effectively a 4-1-3-2 (even if some wish to call it a 4-4-2 diamond, which demands more defensive work from the wide midfield spots... looking at you, Darlington Nagbe) would make me very nervous at World Cup.

What works in CONCACAF does not translate to the big dance, but I'm sure Da Bruce realizes this. I still will want two gate guardians of some sort next summer.

But that's for later. Now, it's time to punch the ticket to Russia. I'll see you on the other side with player ratings at MLSS.

- Greg Seltzer

Friday, October 6, 2017

Oh, for crying out loud.

For those who may not be unaware, FC Dallas committed a line-up card violation in their scoreless draw with Orlando City that, by the MLS rule book, should come with a forfeit. Them's the rules. Period. Full stop. End of story. Right?


Real Salt Lake's Mike Petke offered this take (which he can't even politely as possible stumble through without gentle chuckles of disbelief)...

This is not even slightly difficult. If MLS wants to be taken more seriously at home and abroad, maybe don't intentionally shoot yourself in the foot, huh? Follow your own damn rules. Duh.

- Greg Seltzer

Monday, October 2, 2017

When We Wish Upon A Star

Borussia Dortmund star Chrstian Pulisic got the 60 Minutes treatment on Sunday night. I could not figure out how to disable the stinkin' autoplay on this video, so what you see below is actually a photo of the CBS video box - click it and it will take you to the show's video player.

- Greg Seltzer

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Arena calls 26 for do-or-die mission

There are a few happy return to the fold and a coupla surprises as the USMNT prepares for their most important matches of the cycle. I'm delighted to see Benny Feilhaber (or even just one of the three big American playmakers in MLS) added to the selection; it's better to have one around and not need than... you get the idea.

I am not quite sure how Juan Agudelo earned a call (or why he was listed as a midfielder by the official US Soccer release). The guy has not managed a goal since July, or even so much as a single shot attempt in four of his last nine Revs starts, so I suppose he'll be along to add to a wing corps that's missing FabJo and J-Mo. Frankly, I'd rather push Graham Zusi back up the flank for these games.

But oh well, here we are...

G - Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

D - DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

M - Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)

A - Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)

UPDATE: Gyasi Zardes was pulled from the squad after suffering a groin injury on Saturday night.

- Greg Seltzer