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Leagues: MLS

Matchday: US vs Trinidad & Tobago


Nashville is the venue for the today’s World Cup Qualifier between the United States, high flying side at home and Francisco Maturana’s Soca Warriors. The last time these two teams met on US soil, last September in Chicago, Maturana got his tactics all wrong and T&T was smoked.

Quite frankly, I see the same exact thing happening today. The U.S. attack seems to be most effective against less technically gifted teams on American soil. These types results have done much to skew perceptions of the United States among some supporters, making what should have been fairly predictable struggles on the road in CONCACAF seem like cause of great alarm.

Jonathan Bornstein likely replaces Heath Pearce at left back today. But Bornstein is unlikely to be an upgrade over Pearce long term especially if DaMarcus Beasley remains at left midfielder in the bucket formation. Again, in a home game against an outclassed opponent, Bornstein is likely to look solid, but he will exposed or more probably torn to shreds in the next US road qualifier in Costa Rica.

Jonathan Spector is not left footed but is versatile enough to play left back or defensive/central midfielder. Spector would be a massive upgrade over Pearce/Bornstein or Sacha Kljestan at either position. Mo Edu also represents an upgrade over Sacha Kljestan whom as I described on Dave Denhom’s show on 710 ESPN Radio is not an international quality player at this point. Kljestan can look good against B sides or lesser CONCACAF opponents at home, but taking a player who has never played outside of MLS and has little international experience at the clubs level on the road into tough settings can be disastrous. (A key distinction between Kljestan and Brian Ching whose entire career has been spent in USL and MLS is that Ching has played in tough road games with the Quakes and Dynamo in Central America as well as playing in Seattle at a time when USL-1’s Pacific Northwest derbys were like lower league derbys in England full with fans especially in Portland who bordered on hooliganism- I say that in a good way. Kljestan’s lone derby matches have been relatively tranquil superclassico in LA.)

So in all likely hood a US victory today will simply mask the problems which have been revealed every time the US has traveled since second round of CONCACAF qualifying. But beginning in May the away opponents are no longer Barbados, Cuba or El Salvador. They are Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras. The causes for concern are numerous and the solutions while seeming obvious to many of us aren’t that simply implemented by Coach Bradley or the USSF.

CONCACAF Qualifying as always will provide the US with problems away from home. This is no surprise, but what is disappointing is that after years of being bogged down by sides with inferior quality, the US still hasn’t learned to play up to the required standard away from home.


  • Gregg Berhlater is being released by 1860 Munich and will sign with MLS soon according to Steve Goff of the Washington Post. Berhalter has never played in US since leaving the University of North Carolina to embark on a European club career in 1994. Berhalter holds a special place in my heart. He’s the only active player in the history of Crystal Palace FC to play in a World Cup (2002). Selhurst Park was my introduction to the world of English football over 20 years ago. Berhalter also put the infamous ball on goal that Torsten Frings knocked out with his hand in World Cup 2002 quarterfinals. The ball appeared to be over the goalline meaning it was either a US goal or a PK. Scottish Referee Hugh Dallas however said “play on,” and the US was eliminated.
  • The Borough Boys will be announcing their intent to join USL-1 with a team based in New York City in 2010, today. But their parade may be rained on with the rumor that Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world is intrigued about reviving the New York Cosmos in MLS. Slim is a Pumas fan, but that club isn’t for sale and without the top clubs in the FMF being on the auction block, he evidently thinks investing in MLS is the next best thing.  Slim would be willing to buy the Cosmos name and would seek a rivalry with both the Red Bulls and the new USL-1 team in Queens.
  • Jeff Parke has signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Parke who was suspended from MLS last season for use of performance enhancing drugs seems to be “parking himself” (pun intended) at the USL-1 club until a suitable suitor in Europe arrives.
  • Speculation out of Europe indicates that former Metrostars and current Portugal coach Carlos Quieroz may take the reigns of the new Philly club in MLS when it begins play next year. Queiroz who was Sir Alex Ferguson’s #2 at Man United has found international management to be stressful. He in fact may be sacked after this set of qualifiers concludes today. Quieroz, a friend of Sunil Gulati and Alan Rothenberg’s who of course authored the “O-Report” for US Soccer years ago could shape the new Chester based team into a winner quickly with MLS salary cap and rules promoting parity.
  • The Cleveland City Stars who are attempting to make the jump from USL-2 to USL-1 successfully (a leap which I believe is darn near impossible without completely turning over your squad) has signed Troy Roberts, late of the LA Galaxy.
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  1. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    April 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Yes the Slim story was an April Fools joke, begun by our friends at MLS Rumors with the addition of the Cosmos and Pumas angles coming from my creative mind, and further additions over at Big Soccer and the Unprofessional foul among other sites. For the record, Slim is a Pumas fan but has never attempted to buy the club, instead he sponsors many FMF and CONCACAF events.

    The Quieroz story was also an April Fools joke, but evidently that joke did not have the interest nor the legs of the Slim story.

  2. dude

    April 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I personally am intrigued with Sal Sizzo as a future prospect. He showed during the u-20 world cup that he could dribble, muscle, pass, cross, he may be the only real winger we have (Donovan and Dempsey aren’t, and Beasley is losing it). I think Szetela may become a force if he works it out in Italy. Davies… talent, pace, can finish, mentally one of the weaker players.

    As far as Conrad goes, him over Califf any day.

    Altidore needs to start. Let his Play dictate whether he can handle 90 minutes. Adu should play. I would start him.

    Torres should play for Beasley or Klejstan. (The last two shouldn’t play).

  3. My God you people are stupid

    April 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    It’s April Fools Day.


    April 1, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    What about Jeriamiah White? How many games does he have to start and play well for Aarhus before he gets another call up?

    Since Bob’s boy Benny is on the squad, although he never plays you know he knows the club exists, or does he?

  5. Eric

    April 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Also, RE: Spector, what makes you think he can play D-mid. When he plays for West Ham it’s late in games and he’s usually in a roving role as Zola has a less tight /defensive formation than Bradley.

  6. Eric

    April 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    We need 3 pts tonight!

    RE: Q, half a dozen or more teams in Europe will hire him if he is sacked by Portugal. Either you have some crazy info or this is an April Fools joke.

  7. Louis

    April 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    MLS Rumors twitter says Slim has wanted into MLS for over 10 years!

    This is why Garber stuck it out. This is the payoff for MLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Soccer Guru

    April 1, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Slim will back away from MLS just as Wilpon, Blank and Barca did when they found out they don’t own the player registrations, etc.

    USL-1 may actually benefit. When Slim backs out like Barca did, NYC will embrace the Borough Boys the way South Florida is suddenly pro Miami FC. Those billboards in El Salvador didn’t hurt either!

  9. Ian is frustrated with Bradley

    April 1, 2009 at 11:55 am

    First off Kartik, I have to say I am extremely disappointed that you have chosen to go MLS Rumors on us on the day of a big US game.

    Any MLS news can wait until tomorrow or Friday.

    I thought you subscribed to that theory but obviously you are breaking your own rules.

    Also the Quieroz thing is an April Fools joke. No reports of it in any Euro paper. Besides if he leaves Portugal he’s probably replacing Bob of the Bucket after we get smoked at Azteca.

    We are going to get our rear ends kicked in at both Saprissa and Azteca. A dull, lifeless manager has led our team to play without emotion on the road and look scared. You could see the fear in our guys eyes. The solution? Call up Bornstein! Is he serious? Can anyone take this guy seriously as manager at the international level?

    Go back MLS, Bucket Bob and leave us with a real manager that can maximize our most talented group ever.

  10. Dave

    April 1, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Bornstein will be used by Kenwayne Jones tonight.

    Do not think being at home will make him look good.

    USA 2 T&T 1

    A late goal by Dempsey wins it.


  11. USA in 2010

    April 1, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Seriously…………………………..I 100% agree. We need 3 pts tonight but we will have no clue about how this team will do this summer at the Confed Cup and at the Copa Mundial until the tests at Costa Rica and Mexico. If we get routed in both situations which I fully expect, then Bradley will be replaced. The USSF does not want another 98 or 06 debacle. Trust me on this.

  12. Earl

    April 1, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Also, what about Frank Simek? We saw him do well in the Gold Cup and then never again. Seriously I would call a Championship guy from England before an MLS player.

    If one MLS player has been screwed by Bradley it is Jimmy Conrad. Good in World Cup 2006 solid at the Copa in 2007 we have not seen him since!

  13. Earl

    April 1, 2009 at 11:35 am

    What happened to Charlie Davies? Danny Szetela? Sal Zizzo?

    Why are these guys never getting looks while Ching, EJ, and Kljestan keep getting called?

    Has Bradley already settled on his 23 for SA?

  14. Miami Fan

    April 1, 2009 at 11:33 am

    first of all the slim thing is a RUMOR. I am sure like Barca down here he will find out MLS has all these STUPID rules and walk away.

    secondly, usl-1 will have a team in the city before mls. you mls-snobs ought to realize after concacaf some prefer usl. mls is becoming a west coast oriented league. poor dc cannot even get a stadium. if any team has made mls look good its dc.

    berhalter to mls? that is funny. here is a guy 35 years old with a cap for the last 3 years. bradley has never played him. he returns to mls only when he knows his national team career is over and his german second division club is in dire financial trouble.

    yet some think it is some sort of great signing. hats off to mls!

  15. Joseph

    April 1, 2009 at 11:28 am

    The US game should not skew our perceptions of this team. If they get a win in Costa Rica then all will be well, but until then they have not achieved anything yet.

    Slim? WOW!

    Winners: MLS, Garber and NYC
    Losers: Red Bull and USL

    Carlos Q. is a bad manager. What more proof do we need? Metros, Real Madrid, Portugal. He’s a good #2 or youth team coach, but not a first team manager.

    Cleveland City Stars are USL-01 now? How? Do they have a big enough stadium?

  16. Cali Comet

    April 1, 2009 at 11:25 am

    kartik…….i know you hate mls and garber but this was a master stroke. just as usl is about to put one over on mls by sticking a team in nyc, garber unveils slim.

    also if mls is so bad why would slim invest his billions in the cosmos name and mls instead of the epl, la liga or the fmf?

    this could be one of the biggest days in mls history!

    well done to the don!

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