Monday, June 23, 2014

Okay, have at it.

I will now be taking questions about my US v Portugal player ratings. On a side note, I find it bizarre that Jermaine Jones was about seven times better last night in a tougher match-up than he was against Ghana, putting in one of the greatest midfield shows ever from a USMNT player at a World Cup, and yet so many people are rating him lower. How entirely strange.









- Greg Seltzer

46 comments:

Soccertes said...

Greg, I more or less think these are right on. I think there's a lot of Bradley hate going on right now from peeps who maybe are letting themselves get blinded by *the* moment without seeing his contributions the rest of the game. (It was a really, really bad mistake, though. Really bad.) And I agree on JK - his decisions were great, and he actually was screaming at the players to get back but they obviously did not listen. At the time of MB's turnover, we had 5 guys in advanced positions in the POR half, and our entire D line was up high in our end. So when Nani turned and burned, the whole team had to turn too and attempt to chase the play. How does our back 4 not just camp out at the 18 for that last minute? Ugh.... I am still sick over this.

brooklyn cat said...

would like to hear about bradley's fitness towards the end. there was a moment a few minutes before the goal where bradley didn't move for a 50/50; my friends and I were shouting to take him off- bring in who, I don't know. afterwards heard MB ran 12km, 2 km more than any other player- watching it again, credit to CR7 for perfect cross, but Cameron should have been able to deal with it. I still believe . . .

justinwkoehn said...

Glad you weren't afraid to go too high or too low with the 9.5 and 2 in the ratings. Any chances to the line-up vs Germany?

Tee said...

Okay, I am going to have to ask why no one is questioning Klinnsman's decision to sub in Gonzalez at the death of the game. You put in a guy who clearly has had trouble with communication with the players there, destabilizing the rhythm, and causing chaos where they had actually, finally, done what they needed to do for defense. Huge dock on Klinnsman's grade for me.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Soccertes:

I feel people are drastically overbashing Bradley for both the turnover and the full performance. As for the turnover, he was one v four well across the midfield stripe and three much larger mistakes occurred after he was stripped. Yeah, it was bad and it definitely contributed to the play which led to the goal, but some people rate such things emotionally. I am supposed to remove the emotion from my ratings.

@ brooklyn cat:

Yes, Bradley covered 1500 meters more than any other player on the field.

@ justin:

I would guess there will be at least one change in attack, but it is tough to guess what Klinsi will do at any given moment.

Tom said...

US playd much better against a still-very good Portugal team. So above average grades should be baseline.

I don't think I would have docked Beckerman below a 6 given his geerally good work.

I don't think I would have credited Bradley above a 6 given his generally god work, minus a few foulups--one of which was inexplicable.

I woud dock Cameron fiercely or fouling up several bread-n-butter clearances and then ball-watching on the winning run.

I would up Besler, Beasely,Howard Johnson, Dempsey, and Jones to 7 at least. 8 for the last three, probably. They were really strong. Besler maybe. I give Beasely a break on not closing CR7 down at the end b/c he was playing not to get beat and didn't have confidence that there would be anyone behind him to pick up the pieces!

Good game plan coach, good subs excep Omar. 6.5 Should have put in a midfielder and had him live in the gap between center circle and top of the D.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Tee:

I suppose I see your point, but the move not working out does not necessarily mean it was the wrong move. It worked the other time he used Gonzo like this and 19 times of 20, he is probably the one who escorts that cross out. If anything, you can see the move gave Bradley one less guy to look for when he turned the ball over at midfield with no teammate in sight.

Frankly, to me, the wrongest move was not having Goodson around to be that sub. Or that starting right center back, for that matter.

Tom said...

I also wonder if Bradley isn't playing hurt. This game *and* last game he seems to have started a dart and then pulled up on the first step a few times.

That feels like an ab or hammy strain or something.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Tom:

Bease did not have confidence in Besler and Jones? Last night? Naaaah, you gotta close that cross down regardless of who it is because of the situation. Gotta.

Tom said...

Greg, oy, I don't know. I'll look at that again, but I think he's pretty justified in giving cushion to CR7 that far from the goal! Especially when everyone started that play too high up (that's what I mean by no confidence--that he was playing as though they were too far up).

Tom said...

On the other hand, I also put Beasely at a 7 just like you. So maybe I'm missing some more bumps up to offset that failure to close! ;)

Chevis Ryder said...

It is amazing, though no surprising the hate that Bradley is taking right now. As you said Greg, Bradley lost possession in Portugal's half, with 7 US defenders including Howard behind the ball. At that point in the game, mistakes are made - we had the numbers and the shape to defend but were just way too far upfield.

As for Klinsmann, do you not dock him for the Omar sub, and not bringing someone on for Brads who was obviously gassed?

Have you seen this:

How The US Blew Its Greatest World Cup Opportunity In Just 55 Seconds

http://www.businessinsider.com/usa-world-cup-loss-portugal-2014-6#ixzz35TdylZ00

downintexas said...

Greg,

Do you think having 3 center backs may have lead to the confusion on the last goal?

Greg Seltzer said...

@ downintexas:

No.

bfos said...

Bradley's poor initial touch on the turnover was just unfortunate. Those things happen. But, it's not like he was in a tough spot with no good option after that mistake. He has to play the simple pass back to Besler. He had a wide open lane to make that simple pass, but he decided to hold the ball and at worse (he hoped) draw a foul. It was a split second decision he got wrong and was without a doubt, the mistake of the game.

justinwkoehn said...

I think Cameron's wiff 5 minutes in was the mistake of the game. Had to play catch-up from there.

bfos said...

Fair enough for you to make that argument. I'd certainly agree that Cameron owns more of this tie. Both of them were poor touches. One was in the box. One was with just 30 seconds to burn.

I guess I take more issues with Bradley's gaff, because it was two mistakes. The initial poor touch followed by the decision to try to hold onto the ball while having a clear, simple outlet.

justinwkoehn said...

I have a sinking feeling that Ghana and Germany are going to show up big on Thursday. I really hope not, but Ghana could indirectly knock out the US for the 3rd WC in a row. There's a danger playing too conservatively when Ghana and Portugal are going for goals.

Unknown said...

I would like a 2nd viewing of the match so I can participate in the MOTM debate proper but I don't have the heart to watch it. I'll just say that Beasley was in contention for my MOTM honors in till that last minute horror show happened. I also can't find fault with Mr. Germany Jones as MOTM he's always been a monster.

Greg Seltzer said...

As much as I do not understand how so many people were drooling over his Ghana performance, I have no earthly idea how anyone could see a different MOTM than Jones last night. He was freakin' amazing.

bfos said...

He stood out against Ghana more because the rest of his team played better vs POR. His performance wasn't as (literally) outstanding even if it was as good or better.

Greg Seltzer said...

It was worlds better. And for whatever reason, a lot of people are dramatically overrating his Ghana showing - usually based strongly on some unknowable, unquantifiable mental effect he had, and not on actual plays he made.

It is weird. Super weird. because last night, he was undoubtedly otherworldly.

bfos said...

Nothing to get too worked up over. Either way, he's being well praised and deservedly so.

I'd say his Ghana performance was more impressive because he was stepping up in a way no one else on the team was close to matching. Other than not scoring a hell of a goal, I'm not sure what else his Ghana performance lacked that he had against POR.

Greg Seltzer said...

Who says I am worked up? I just speak/type very directly.

Ummm, well, his Portugal performance (which was the tougher match-up for his area of responsibility) had far better passing, far more tackles, far fewer errors, far less offense coming directly out of his zone, and yes that ridiculous and sorely needed goal. It was worlds better in every conceivable way and I am completely baffled by how so many are madly in love with a rather average showing against Ghana, but hardly impressed with an absolute tour de force outing last night. Completely baffled.

Greg Seltzer said...

Same with Besler, by the way. He was utterly fantastic last night and hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

bfos said...

I think you're imagining more than is really there. I haven't read or heard a single recap that was "hardly impressed". Same with Besler. There's been universal praise for his performance as well.

You're over-exaggerating just about every aspect of your argument here to make a point (even if it's valid), but that just ends up undermining it.

Just putting out a final thought for a little introspection...."I am completely baffled by how so many are madly in love with a rather average showing against Ghana" Could it just possibly be that you didn't view it right instead of everyone else being complete morons?

Greg Seltzer said...

I am not imagining anything, I have seen and read several people of all stripes rating Jones level with or close to Beckerman - which is beyond ludicrous. And I have seen Besler getting nice comments with like a 7 rating. Meanwhile, some people are angrily asking me what game I watched. Like I said, it is all baffling to me.

I am not exaggerating at all. All the numbers support my claim. I posted a detail explanation of my Jones rating from the Ghana game with stats and diagrams, and I could do the same thing with last night, only this post would be explaining how amazing he was. Because he so was. I have been trying to think if there has been any better US midfield performance at World Cup. Ever.


Where did I say anyone was a moron? I am the one being called a moron. And whether it offends anyone or not, the undenibale reality is that a great many people now tearing my head off and questioning my integrity and inaccurately repeating things I said watched these games with plenty of alcoholic accompaniment - if not also in a wildly crowded pub or square. Meanwhile, I sat here in a quiet empty home not drinking and sitting about two feet from the screen, taking detailed notes all along that would later be checked against stats and various chalkboards from four sites. Somebody may find that rude to point out, but it is a real thing.

Another real thing is that not everyone places the same values on particular plays. For instance, many people claimed to had no issue with the massive number of crosses and shots and penetrations happening in the Jones/DMB region against Ghana or they would explain it away by saying, well, that was the game plan of Ghana to do that (as if they have some way to know this). Meanwhile, I was screaming at the T over and over, yelling CLOSE SOMETHING DOWN! And at halftime, I made a note next to both DMB and Jones saying CLOSE SOMETHING DOWN!!!!

So yeah, we are all not looking for the same things, rewarding the same thing exactly, marking off the same things exactly. I prefer one way of playing, whereas others might prefer a different way. So, above all of everything, the most baffling thing is why anyone would get so upset about my rating for one guy in one game. I have been doing these professionally since 2002, so it stands to reason that I may just have one rating off every now and then. It is not an easy exercise to keep track of 11 guys continuously for 90 minutes. I do my best, I call them as I see them and, as rude as it may seem at first, I honestly do not get affected by people telling me my rating is off unless they have some valid note I missed or something. This is just how I am. In fact, it makes me laugh my ass off to see people suggesting I gave Jones a high grade last night as some sort of make-up or mea culpa. I frankly do not care. Nobody comes here to read some fake windsock opinion I bend around to make people happy. They come here to find out what I think, so that is exactly what I give. And nothing else.

dikranovich said...

Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya,
Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya,
Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya,
Oh lord, kumbaya!!!

bfos said...

I love that you stick to your dissenting opinions. I think it's fantastic, and it certainly makes me reconsider my opinions. It sucks if you're getting shit for that.

You expressed befuddlement at being the only one to recognize Jones' average-at-best performance. I'm just pointing out that instead of it being a case of mass-delusion, it's more likely that you just got it wrong. (If there is such a thing as being right or wrong on player ratings).

And that's not to take any respect away from you. I hope for the platform for these kinds of discussions to continue to grow and to hear independent, well considered arguments like yours for years to come. Even in disagreeing with you, I always seem to learn more.

Greg Seltzer said...

Well now, there was a large crowd that thought I was crazy, but there was also a large crowd that agreed with me. And outside America, pretty much everyone agrees with me. The only foreign outlet I have seen that gave Jones a high grade was Sky Sports.

Besides, the history of the world is rife with examples of the few being right against the majority. But either way, I am never thinking "Oh this will be a differing opinion!" when I am writing it. I have no idea what anyone else will think of any particular rating ahead of time, nor do I really consider it.

But in these cases of Jones against Ghana and then Portugal? Nah, I am right. His Portugal performance was streets ahead. Easy. I am almost tempted to do another explanation post.

Unknown said...

@Greg,

I don't want to baffle you too much man but I think the reason I and maybe others rated Jones highly for Ghana had much to do with the strangeness of the game overall. We bunkered in like we were Azerbaijan on vacation in Northern California. We scored two goals in the very beginning and one very late. I stand by Jones as my Ghana MOTM due to his resolve in the midfield. Not unlike Beckerman's (your Pick) but I felt Beckerman was timid in the first half and didn't make many tackles. Just like you screamed at the t.v. for Jones to cover crosses against Gahna; I screamed for Beckerman to get stuck in! I don't have a heat map I didn't review the games more than twice. I certainly didn't count the giveaways and dangerous giveaways or made tackles vs. missed tackles or how many runners got behind whom. I did consume multiple beers yet lived every pass and many defensive markings so on that point we are at an impasse as they say. However, Jones gets my respect as one of our top players for his play against Portugal as he bossed the midfield, had a beautiful Bradley style assist and a well taken goal off a poor clearance. I don't claim to be right but,like you, I call 'em like I see 'em and I thought Beasley was quite good last night and one mistake (a costly one) away from MOTM. However, he didn't provide as much offense as his counter part Johnson did. I thought he defended better than the whole backline until late. His calming influence and as Taylor Twellmen astutely observed, allowed Besler to have a great game by securing his left side. He should be praised more. Having said all that I still respect your analysis an appreciate your updates here at your NSC home.

Greg Seltzer said...

Fair enough, but...

1 - I did not make Beckerman MOTM. Seven guys had a 7 grade from that game.

2 - Yes, Beckerman had more of his defensive plays in the second half. The same can be said about Jones, and I did mention that he improved after the break.

3 - To be clear, the thing I am claiming to be right about is that Jones was better against Portugal. And this really should not be any sort of controversial take. As if it should be needed, all his stats and maps and whatnot clearly bear this out. And if people want to go gaga over some mental aspect he provided against Ghana, then they should be going cuckoonuts over his goal against Portugal. It was silly. And so so so so clutch/necessary.

4 - Beasley was very good until the last play, but not better than Besler, who was easily the best defender on the field that night. He had seven more clearances and two more interceptions than anyone else, and passed the ball almost perfectly. And most of Besler defensive plays lend no credit to whoever was on either side of him. In fact, I think it would be more accurate to say the strength of Besler allowed Beasley to be more aggressive and shine more. After all, the goal is not behind the left back. :)

justinwkoehn said...

Greg, I didn't see anyone say Jones was better vs Ghana than vs Portugal, but if someone did claim that, then yes, you are "right."

I initially thought you were saying you were right about Jones's rating vs Ghana. It seems like everyone is on the same page now that ratings are objective and are based on an individuals own criteria and weighting, which it seems like many Americans put more stock in intensity whereas the media across the pond look at the more technical aspects of ones performance. No one is right or wrong here, just different scales being used to measure performance.

Greg Seltzer said...

Oi vey. This whole intensity grading thing is what? How does one determine that exactly? Does this so-called intensity factor make any actual plays? Look around, you will see plenty of people grading Jones higher against Ghana than Portugal.

And I was not exclusively confining foreign observers as media types. Oh... and the people having fits over these grades sure do not seem to realize these things are objective or subjective to a degree. They insist that he ran so very much vs. Ghana, when in reality all three of the other US midfielders covered more ground per minute than Jones did. Tell them that and it has no effect. I am still wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. And for some, I am also either hating, racist, xenophobic, stupid, manipulative, etc etc. Because some unquantifiable feeling they got.

I do not grade emotional factors. That is not my job. I grade plays made or not, things that *everyone* can detect equally.

dikranovich said...

Greg, I think people are getting tired of hearing you justify how smart you think you are.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeah, I know. I should just shut up when spoken to so anyone can continually pontificate on how smart I am not.

Thanks for the lesson. As you know, I can have such a terrible self-awareness in these discussions...

dikranovich said...

I point this out, because I'm reading an article about Germany and mueller is quoted as saying "the way we play is to switch positions a lot, and create space for others". This quote flies against you not understanding why two wingers might switch positions, other than because it's not working, as you suggested a couple of days ago, before the Portugal game, when it was brought up by someone.

Greg Seltzer said...

What a random excuse to do the only thing you do around here. I do not compel anything you choose to point out. Or misinterpret out of something I have said in the past.

Greg Seltzer said...

Do you know what they are really sick of? This.

Post on topic or I take it down, up to and including silly whines about how I took it down. Post about another poster and it comes down. Deal? Deal.

It. Is. World. Cup. Play along or don't play at all. Your choice.

dikranovich said...

Greg, there is no peace in the Middle East because of jerks like you. And that is a fact!!! Now hurry up and keep your word.

Greg Seltzer said...

Nah. That one is so perfectly representative of your type of contribution, I will leave it as an exception. :)

dikranovich said...

Oi vey!!! Mazel tov....

justinwkoehn said...

Intensity = memorable plays. They tend to show up big, make strong tackles, and make an impression to the casual viewer. You can equate this to "clutchness" in other sports. It's very subjective, but the simple fact that you completely discredit other points of view just makes you look like a prick. It's okay to have your own opinion, and you did take a lot of flack for it, but you are no better than those bashing you for having a differing point of view.

Greg Seltzer said...

Wait... who did I bash? When?

And I am sorry, but when someone says a player ran so so much and the official stats show that all his line mates actually ran more, or they say he made all these important tackles when his only three tackles came out near the touchline, make me look like a prick? Those are not opinions being debated; those things are called facts and they technically should not be up for debate.

I mean it may be rude to correct someone or whatever, but I am kinda supposed to be dealing in facts here. So if they say a player did some stuff and I can demonstrate that he did not do quite so much stuff,

The whole intensity thing is opinion and I have not actually debated it. If people got that sense, well okay. But I did not see it make more plays than I would expect from a top Jones performance. I cannot point to it later when I go to the chalkboard to double-check my game notes.

I am not saying anyone is dumber than me. I have said that my viewing conditions are optimal and my viewing habits are done with the intention of being thorough. I have waved off any talk that I hold some personal bias against some player or league he plays in or place he was born.

Go check my comments in any MLSS article with US ratings, even the Ghana one. I am nothing if not polite and un-defensive. Perhaps it is just the way I talk. Dunno.

Unknown said...

This is getting personal and not so fun. Greg you need not take the bait when your personally attacked on your own site. We all see clearly the sophomoric behaviour of the same troll posters that come by to be entertained by your articles putting you down. Ya know the place where you provide your own insights at your own time and expense. Those with any brains see this as a never ending side show by some posters that like attention. Hey I get it, I like attention too but lets either move the debate along or stop.

Greg Seltzer said...

I was responding to Justin there. :)