Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Alright, let's just get it over with.

Yeah, I was the kid who just preferred the band-aid be ripped off quickly in one violent swoop. In that spirit, I give you my USMNT player ratings for last night's appreciated 0-0 draw in Mexico, easily the most disputed/ridiculed I've ever done. And just from a rough count off the top of my head, I have probably done at least a hundred.

Those who know me know that readers calling me an idiot or whatever doesn't bother me in the slightest. I actually would get worried if no one ever tried to go off like that, so really, it makes me smile. However, the ones who complain I lack respect for the players/coach (or worse) do force a few eyes-closed deep breath sighs.

Just between us, the only time players have ever spoken to me about my ratings, it was to give support when they felt a poor rating was deserved and fair. Having known some of the players for a long time now, it would be hard to imagine any of them thinking I held no respect for them. I'm confident they all know better, mainly because none has ever displayed a hint less than respect for me when I come 'round asking questions. These players are all quite amiable and highly professional.

I suppose it's possible one of my ratings could get under skin here or there, but we all know that kind of stuff only pushes US players to come back strong. That's the type of response we've all come to expect from the team when there is a slight, perceived or not. Trust me, I can always respect that.

- Greg Seltzer


dikranovich said...

go get em tiger!!!

Tony M said...

Then you probably don't give a rodent's hindquarters that I think you're pretty reasonable on these. I think Dempsey and Edu were a full grade worse, and Zuzi a half grade, but yeah, I can live with these.

I'd be more interested in hearing more about what you think happens next. I think JK is enjoying the "Even a Blind Squirrel Finds the Occasional Nut" syndrome, largely because he was forced by injuries to make changes that worked out. Does he learn or revert to form? Even a good call - starting Besler - can be seen as a continuation of his some of his worst tendencies. I mean, this is his 25th line up? This is when he decides to try a new pairing, in Azteca?

If I had seen more evidence that he can make shrewd tactical moves, I would be more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I can all to easily us handing back the advantages we gained because he wakes up one morning and decides that his spirit guides want him to start Beckerman as a center back….

dikranovich said...

we're in the spirit world, they cant see us.

tony, i know we have covered this, but 25 lineups in 25 games, whats the big deal? bob bradley did the same thing back in 09. its international football, not a club team.

coach klinsmann has such an extensive playing resume that its hard to imagine that someone as smart as him did not pick up good tactics along the way. its inconceivable.

whats the beef here, that he played some players out of position? i dont see that as any big deal. he has played to narrow? again, thats a good way to keep a team from driving the ball right down your throat.

coach klinsmann tasked himself with teaching the team not to give up early goals. that was only a response to the fact that the national team was giving up early goals, and i think the coach put a stop to that.

three games against our biggest rival and the coach has yet to lose to them, and he has a win in azteca to boot.

there is a big fat bandwagon, with good music, good food, and all kinds of fun, and i think peple need to get on this thing and stop straddling the freaking fence.

heythisisrobbie said...

Dempsey, Edu, Gomez a point too high.

DMB, MB90 a point too low.

Not bad, though. Altidore got absolutely zero help up top, and when he was subbed so were our dreams of a smash and grab.

Beasley wasn't the most fundamental LB in the world, but he got the job done. At Azteca. Against those wingers. Playing on a yellow for 80+ minutes. I think even Greg can salute that performance.

Edu needs to learn how to pass. I love his defensive bite, but he scares me to death passing the ball.

All in all, pretty good, Greg.

Paul Poenicke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Poenicke said...

Gomez complained about being flashed by laser pointers. I cannot find any video evidence of this, but the ref was targeted:

Go to US soccer's highlight reel of the game. Stop this the video of the game at 5:06. Clearly there's a green laser mark on the official's back.

Is FIFA or CONCACAF going to do anything about this dangerous practice?

Tony M said...

Paul, not sure about Gomez specifically, but my son and I were talking about the laser pointers during the game. There is no question they were there.

over there said...

For what its worth, I appreciate your insight on ratings more than any others.

The Euro eye and serious player contacts certainly lend something different. I'm always curious to see if I'm seeing the game the same way.

Matt said...

eh, I think the starting point for all of them should be a little higher based on the result. And I think you got it wrong on Besler (by your reasoning a decent grade for a defender requires he gives up 0 good scoring chances, just not a realistic bar IMHO, given location and opponent) and Bradley (57 of 58 passes? fine, they were square, they helped maintain possession and put the MX attack on hold).

All this agreement makes for a boring discussion.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - I am not grading the result. It should have no bearing.

2 - That is not my reasoning. Besides, how many scoring chances did Gonzo give up the other night? And are you saying I should not mark off for mistakes that allow scoring chances?

3 - Are you saying all completed passes are equal? If so, I do not agree in the slightest. In fact, some completed passes are negative, which is why we call the better ones "positive" passing.

LReszetar said...

Disagree on one point. I think MLS attackers were grateful that Omar played so huge. Makes it easier to explain sub-par performances against him - and more likely that he's off to another league soon.

Matt said...

1) So you don't take quality of opponent into account when grading? Certainly seems to m3e that allowing 2 chances for Chicharito is a better thing than allowing 2 chances for Lionard Pajoy, for example.

2) I think chances allowed should be taken into account, I just think you overdid it. Especially considering that El Tri had a paucity of really good scoring opportunities all night. I suspect the primary factor in a forward's rating isn't quality chances created, but the number converted...why not apply the same standard to defenders?

3) In that instance a positive pass is one that helped a team under immense pressure maintain possession and organize. A completed pass to a forward with 4 defenders around him is not much better than a turnover...and 58 passes is a lot, it's not like he was passing and then hiding, he was moving around and serving as a fulcrum to maintain possession. Thinking about it, I haven't seen a U.S. player dictate tempo like MB did since Claudio Reyna. Of course a lot of people didn't like his style, but then who else has the US had that could dictate the pace of the game while playing El Tri? We've had dangerous players (LD obviously) but not players who could compete with the Mexicans at determining the speed of play for the game.

See, isn't this more fun than a bunch of yes men?

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - Quality of opponent is factored in but that is not the same as grading on a result curve. As for allowing chances to Pajoy, I'm not sure how that would factor here. But, yes. not allowed chances are equal, but the opponent isn't the only factor.

2 - I think El Tri had more good looks than you admit, and some really good ones brought on by errors. But again, how many they had as a team all night is not the issue when grading individual outings. I didn't give everyone in the defense a rating below average.

As for how you suspect I rate forwards, no, that's not correct. Each position has its own specific demands.

3 - These scenarios you are describing are not what was happening the other night, they're fully exaggerated. There was a lot of passing up the opportunity to move the ball forward in order to turn back, and not just from Bradley.

But yes, Bradley dictated the tempo the other night. Let us now remember it was a tempo that saw us outshot 19-1 with 40% possession. I gave him an average mark. Not sure what else you could possibly want.

"See, isn't this more fun than a bunch of yes men?"

Either way is fine, but I welcome any chance to explain myself.

jon said...

Greg, I've always found your grades to be fair. But, primarily because I am aware of your system and that the whole process of player ratings is inherently subjective.
So anyway, I've always thought your ratings would benefit from a prologue like sentence to tell the reader what your starting point is and that points are added or subtracted from that based on a player's individual performance. Maybe it wouldn't matter, though, as I've noticed there seems to be an inverse relationship between reading comprehension and likelihood to leave a comment on MLSS.

Greg Seltzer said...

We periodically attach a note saying that 6 is the average grade.

But yes, it's all subjective. Someone else may not place the same value on a given play, and vice versa. The biggest gap ever was my rating for Gooch in the US v Argentina a couple years ago. Everyone else was screaming how terrible he was and complaining he was hoofing balls away, while I gave him an 8 because he stopped Messi in or at the area no less than eight times. Everyone argued he was horrible, which I thought was lunacy.