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USA’s World Cup Opposition: Weekend Wrap

Cologne's Milivoje Novakovic of Slovenia scored twice this weekend in the Bundesliga

Cologne's Milivoje Novakovic of Slovenia scored twice this weekend in the Bundesliga


  • Algerian Captain Yazid Monsouri and FC Lorient were crushed by league leaders Bordeaux 4-1 in Ligue Un.
  • Nadir Belhadj scored a spectacular first half goal in Pompey 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Fratton Park. The build up play was started by Beljadj’s Algerian team mate Hassan Yedba, who also had a solid match.
  • Karim Matmour was out injured for Borussia Monchengladbach. He typically starts alongside Michael Bradley in the midfield.
  • Karim Ziani went the full ninty minutes for Wolfsburg, as the reining German Champions wrapped up a disappointing first half of the season in a 2-2 draw versus Eintracht Frankfurt.
  • Abdelkader Ghezzal went a full 90 in Siena’s 1-0 loss to suring Palermo.
  • Hamuer Bouazza and Blackpool’s English Championship matchup with West Brom was postponed due to snow.
  • Kamel Ghilas was an unused sub for Hull City in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal.
  • Madjid Bougherra went the full 90 in Rangers’ SPL thrashing of Motherwell.
  • Mourad Meghni played 58 poor minutes for Lazio versis Inter before being subbed out.


  • Wayne Rooney played the full 90 in Manchester United’s 3-0 loss to Fulham
  • Frank Lampard scored a penalty kick goal for Chelsea in the 1-1 draw with West Ham. John Terry, Ashley Cole and Joe Cole also played a role in the match for Chelsea.
  • Gareth Barry set up a goal for Manchester City in its 4-3 victory over Sunderland. Shaun Wright Phillips went out injured early in the second half, while Wayne Bridge missed out with injury.
  • Emile Heskey was injured in the 24th minute of Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Stoke. James Milner and Stewart Downing also played key roles in this match.
  • Peter Crouch scored twice for Spurs in a 2-0 win at Blackburn. Jermaine Defoe also played a role in this match.
  • Steven Gerrard played ninety poor minutes for Liverpool as the Reds were beat at Fratton Park 2-0. Glen Johnson played a decisive role with poor defending that allowed both Algerian players on Pompey (a group opponent of England) to look good.
  • Theo Walcott made a late cameo for Arsenal with a 3-0 win over Hull City, already secure.


  • Robert Koren and West Brom’s match versus Blackpool was postponed.
  • Rene Krhin was an unused sub for Inter in a 2-0 win over Lazio
  • Milivoje Novakovic scored twice for Koln in a 3-0 win over Nurnberg. Miso Brecko also played well in this match.
  • Zlato Dedic played the first 45 minutes for Bochum before being subbed out versus Hannover and Steve Cherundolo.
  • Bojan Jokic of Sochaux’s match was postponed due to snow.
  • Samir Handonovic of Udinese’s match was also postponed due to snow.
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  1. Jason

    January 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Great idea for a site, keep up the great work.

    Edit note: reigning, not reining. They are kings, not sleigh drivers.

  2. ben

    December 31, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I like the idea. thanks for organizing it. just wanted to offer a correction: karim matmour is a striker at bmg. i am not sure how frequently he starts however-

  3. Eric Altshule

    December 22, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I think this post is terrific and I look forward to seeing it as a weekly feature. I consider myself someone who follows soccer pretty closely, but the truth is that I know almost nothing about Slovenia and even less about Algeria. Becoming more knowledgeable about these guys over the next six months will only heighten the excitement of those games in June.

    As for all the criticism about negative commentary over the US team, that is simply silly. There are times where I don’t agree with Kartik, but he is never hyperbolic in his commentary. All his writing (which, in volume, dwarfs just about anyone else out there) comes from a place of observation and analysis. Moreover, I would hate to think that American fans are like English fans, where any criticism of the English team is an act of betrayal. I have an article going up on epltalk tomorrow about how English loyalty to their team blinds them to their obvious faults. I hope that the growing legion of American fans avoid this particular malady.

  4. Twisted Tidings

    December 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    People are seriously complaining about *learning* about the other teams?

    Don’t you hate it when European idiots talk about the U.S. team without any idea of its strengths and weaknesses?

    They’re wrong to be that way– they’re idiots. But good god, are American fans now going to turn around and do the same thing to Algeria and Slovenia? Don’t people remember overlooking Ghana only three years ago? You need to know about the other teams before you can assume the U.S. is better than them. If not, you’re just talking about your “feelings”.

  5. H John

    December 22, 2009 at 11:12 am

    To the actual post, do people realize how limited England actually is?

    Emile Heskey is a starting forward for them and he has only 7 goals in 67 games for England!

    Altidore has a much better strike rate than that

    Cooper has a much better strike rate than that

    Heck, even Ching has a much better strike rate than that

    Heskey would not make the US team

    England is easily beatable.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      December 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm

      Heskey would be among the handful of best players we have EVER produced if he were an American.

      His goal scoring rate doesn’t tell the story. The rate of goals scored when Heskey is on the pitch as opposed to when he is not on the field is staggering. What he does off the ball and how he provides service to his strike partner are of the highest standard. Capello sees that and keeps selecting him for a reason.

  6. TTB

    December 22, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Some of you still do not get. Kartik, Trecker, et al. have made a living out of patronizing USA fans and trying to educate us partly by alleging sophisication and alleging those that defend US performances are not wordly enough to understand the global game.

    If this piece were left in a vacuum it would be okay. But it is just the latest in a series of articles designed to insult real USMNT supporters by alleging we are less sophisticated. In other words, if Ives wrote this piece we would take it better.

    • short passes

      December 22, 2009 at 10:12 am

      TTB, et al:

      I have some shocking news for you — we are less sophisticated!! First rule in life — Know thyself !!!!! Now, that doesn’t mean that anyone with an accent is automatically an expert. Some of the British yobs that flout their own lack of sophistication on this site are perfect examples. How ever, how are we going to get smarter and learn to play better if we don’t criticize ourselves. Honest criticism isn’t patronizing.
      As an aside, I hasve noticed that some of the most strident complaints about critics of the state of US soccer come from ex players who have a tough time accepting that their style (the US style) is crude and outdated.

  7. Jamie Trecker

    December 22, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Just an update: Madjid Bougherra was named Player of the Year in Algeria today.

  8. short passes

    December 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Bravo to Kartik, Jamie, OG, and

    For 25 years I have been waiting for US soccer to get the type of criticism and analysis that the other major sports receive. Instead all I heard were cheers and rave reviews for “our boys”, whether it was a club team, high school or college. In that time there was little if any improvement because nobody approached the game from a critical standpoint. Ugly soccer and poorly skilled players were the standard and nobody seemed to care. When MLS arrived I thought that everything would change. At last someone would stand up and say our best players are heavy footed and skill-less.
    Unfortunately little changed initially, “our boys” still played brilliantly whether it was an ESPN announcer saying it (pathetic except for Waldo), or the local paper — if they even chose to write about it. After 13 years things are finally getting a little better; when a team plays poorly, somebody actually says so; when an individual player has a bad game, people are saying so — this is a dramatic improvement and makes soccer seem more like the other major sports.
    Unfortunately we still have the “our boys are the best in the world and can do nothing wrong” mentality. For those people I would have to say—–there is never improvement without criticism whether it comes from a parent, a coach, a teacher, a boss, or a sports analyst. As fans become less accepting of poor play, that play will improve, just as it has in other sports.
    I take second place to no one in my support of the USMNT but I will always reserve the right to criticize them and to honestly recognize the strength of their opponents. (Know your enemy) However when the game starts no one will be shouting louder than I will.

  9. eplnfl

    December 21, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Let me get this right, someone thinks keeping track of the upcoming WC group opponents is a waste of time. If so, you need help, and get it fast.

    It’s a great idea and the sooner we all realize that no group in the WC is a cake walk the better off we will all be. While Kartik, and Jamie have in my opinion looked to often at the faults of the USMNT(which there are many) and not the achievements, the need to attack them in this piece does not connect for me.

    I’m for one worried about each game in the group and let’s hope the US team is just as worried. In closing however I want to say, BEAT ENGLAND!

  10. sylc

    December 21, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I can’t believe this is an argument. Scouting out our opponents isn’t degrading anyone.

  11. fennec

    December 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Algeria won’t be the weakest team in the world cup


    December 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    LOL HAHAHA OMG!! Theyre not even going to qualify to the second round, people! Theyre going to lose all 3 games: vs England, 5-0; vs Algeria 1-0; and vs Slovenia 2-1. Mark my words. And here’s some more predictions: donovan and bocamierda are gonna get married and have kitties before the world cup; davies is gonna play in the special olympics for the usa; Onyewu and beasley are going to open up a chicken joint; feilheiber, holden,pearce, demerit, dempsey and altidore are going to learn how to play soccer; kartik is going to finally know what the f he’s talking about.. (this one’s a long shot) us soccer is a joke.

  13. USA 2010 (formerly known as Kartik)

    December 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    why is anything forced? turn off your computer and continue playing with your legos.

  14. USA 2010

    December 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Jason Davis has gone native on us. This is forced analysis. I still like your site Match Fit, even if you are going along with the anti USA- pro England crowd.

    • Brian Zygo

      December 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm

      I’m not pro-England, I’m pro-Italy, gosh you cannot even get that right, laughable.

  15. Hank

    December 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Wow. Jason must have been really bored at work today….

  16. Ginge

    December 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Someone is more negative than me? This is completely unacceptable.

  17. Jason Davis

    December 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    While I think some people have a tendency to underrate the US, partly as a reaction to any perceived “hype” over American chances in this group, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Kartik or anyone else shining a spotlight on players the US will be facing next year. For some, and I will include myself in this group, there simply isn’t enough time in our lives or access to matches to properly appreciate players from countries like Algeria and Slovakia.

    While I disagree with Kartik’s approach and tone on many occasions, I have absolutely no problem with him presenting his opinion. Finding fault is often a personal, passion-induced response that is sometimes driven by blind loyalty or wishing for something that may not be true (that being that the US can walk though this group).

    If you want a well-rounded take on both the US team and everything that they will face in South Africa next year, I suggest you continue to read MLS Talk as well as any of the other sites mentioned. Not all of us are as vocally extreme (either way) with our opinions as Kartik, but that doesn’t mean we’re any more “right” than he is. I reject that notion that “analysis” need be overly critical for any particular reason, but I fully embrace that idea the multiple viewpoints should be absorbed so that you can make up your own mind.

    Want to think the US will beat England or thump Algeria and Slovakia? That’s fine by me, but be aware that unless you back up your proclamations with solid reasoning, you will be taken to task.

    Of the believe that the Americans will only get a point and finish dead last in the group? Again, that’s fine, but also be aware that analysis and reasoning of that nature will always draw vehement disagreement from people who are at their basic essence FANS.

    That’s the distinction to be made here, and one that anyone reading any soccer blog focused on the USMNT should keep in mind; Kartik and others like him aren’t fans first and self-styled analysts second, but the other way around. For many of us, hope and belief cloud our judgments of what will happen in 2010, while for others a desire to be hyper-impartial does the same only in the opposite manner.

    The bottom line is that none of us truly know. No sense getting worked up (something I must tell myself fairly regularly) over the unknown.

    • Jamie Trecker

      December 21, 2009 at 7:59 pm

      Jason’s points are dead on. I’d elaborate further by stating that I am not a fan of the USMNT, either. This isn’t by choice or due to some insidious design: I simply cannot be, given my job.

      The cardinal rule of journalism is to avoid getting attached to the stories you cover. That’s one reason why sportswriters move their beats around (and why, over the years, I’ve covered the NHL, NBA, college sports of all stripes and the Olympics.)

      Now, as most of you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and members of my family have a connection to the sport than now spans nearly five decades. This is largely due (in my case) to the fact that I have become a specialist during a time of media fragmentation. As a result, one of the things I’ve had to guard against is becoming overly critical (usually due to burn-out), or, becoming overly sympathetic. I’m not perfect, by any stretch, but by and large, I think I’ve managed to keep on balance for the majority of my career.

      That said, I don’t think many people realise the huge differences that exist between someone who is paid to watch and comment on the sport; and someone who is watching the sport for pure enjoyment. (Believe you me, there are many days I wish I was the latter.) My job also requires putting American soccer in world context. It is of my own volition that, during my career, I have chosen to cover the sport as every other American sport is covered. I did that, and still do, because I believe the alternatives are patronizing to the fans and to the sport itself.

      This means, on occasion, that fans are not going to like what I write, and are going to disagree with me. That’s also part of my job — a columnist’s role is to provoke discussion and thought, after all.

      But people are incorrect to describe me as a “leader” of a pack of folks with an agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not a politician, I’m a writer.

      Finally, Todd, the opposite of what you say is in fact true: Speaking for myself, and I believe KK, BZ and TG: We want you to be informed about ALL facets of the game and the team, and exposed to different points of view. Ultimately, you’ll make your own decisions. By all means, visit other sites and get a range of opinions.

      And then enjoy the games. Because that’s what the sport is all about.

  18. TTB

    December 21, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I compltelty agree with those angry about these constant patronizing posts that attack MLS and US Soccer. It seems that since the Mexico game we have had nothing but insults and forced negativity about the USSF while MLS has been spared the wrath.

    Algeria, Slovenia and England for the focus of the europhole. If you want to get real balanced news and a perspective check out Match Fit USA. The blog author @MFUSA has on Twitter correctly pointed out that some US writers are almost constantly negative and skewed and that forced analysis by so called experts ( like Kartik) puts on here. The only problem with Match Fit is that Zach W. is even more negative than KK if possible.

  19. USA 2010 (formerly known as Kartik)

    December 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    btw, to avoid future confusion between me and the author of his very helpful piece, I’d like to take a new name for my comments: USA 2010. I’m sure there should be no problems because I heard the old one was some idiot who decided to stop visiting this website.

    • The Gaffer

      December 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm


      Seriously guys, Kartik, Richard Farley, Jamie Trecker and myself want nothing more than the US to succeed and to do the best they can in the tournament. Rather than provide hype and raise expectations about what the US team can do, we’re all about providing honest, critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the squad.

      You won’t find puff pieces here. And the more analysis we can find out about Algeria and Slovenia, the better prepared we will be as soccer fans to know who the strengths and weaknesses are against our opposition — as well as to have a more realistic understanding of what chances the US has of beating teams.

      The Gaffer

  20. Kartik

    December 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    btw, I fear Algeria more than Slovenia. Slovenia is much like us, but without a Landon Donovan (I think it’d be a pretty horrendous, but even match between us and them if we lose Landy to injury). Algeria have enough quality players who START in Europe, and will be tough to shut out. Hopefully Bob realizes this.

  21. Kartik

    December 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I love how these idiots complain about this highly informative (and greatly appreciated by intelligent soccer fans like myself) piece when all they have to do is not comment and go to another website. Don’t like this piece? Go make you’re own website. Mind you, it might even become more popular, with MLS and Euro snobs working together, but this remains one of the most thought-provoking US soccer sites on the net.

  22. Todd Boss

    December 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    The problem is the use of selective evidence by commentators that want to put the USA team down. Jamie Trecker is the leader of this but by no means the only one. In Kartik Krishnaiyer, Richard Farley and others we have a cadre of writers/bloggers that force analysis down our throats.

    Some of us love this national team and do not need victories like what we did against Spain qualified by negative writers who say “oh the US was outplayed” or “oh the US stunk the rest of the tournament.”

    Did Algeria or Slovenia beat anyone as good as Mexico or Honduras in qualifying? I doubt they did. I doubt they could. Yet we have a constant drumbeat of how good these players are, none of which most of us have ever heard of. Trecker lists players that only HE knows about and Krishnaiyer embarks on this effort to “educate” us about the other teams after Farley writes a piece saying how much better both are than the US.

    It is coordinated and designed to make the US fan feel stupid, ignorant and unsophisticated and it stinks. It is patronizing in the worst way, and I hope Kartik realizes he has alienated his US based readership with this garbage.

    I’d rather focus on my country and what my players are doing in my league, MLS or USL than come to MLS talk and see a write up about how some Algerian guy did in the French League. If I wanted or cared about that information I would go to an Algerian or French soccer site.

    This whole concept of updating us on Algeria, England and Slovenia is patronizing. I so tired of hearing how good England is anyhow. Our Confederations Cup performance was better than anything they have done since 1966.

    • Brian Zygo

      December 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      Todd Boss:

      You came here by choice, nobody forced analysis down your throat. If you don’t like analysis of sport, I suggest you avoid ESPN, the sports section of your paper, and sports talk radio. I’d like to hear you can John Harris on the afternoon show at 1560 here in Houston and tell him you don’t want him forcing analysis down your throat.

      Most soccer fans I deal with on a regular basis are well educated and well informed on the sport, not just in the US but across the world. The folks I watched the draw with were, like myself, cautiously optimistic about the US’s draw – recognizing that this draw is not bad for the US, but it is no cake walk and Algeria and Slovenia should not be ignored.

      Maybe instead of complaining about any commentator who gives an honest opinion about the US’s chances in South Africa, take that time and learn the history of the game and learn what other countries had to do to get to the World Cup finals too.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      December 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm

      So let me get this right: Any attempt to keep American fans updated on the progress the teams we face and the players on those teams is patronizing? How so?

      By the way, I never said Spain outplayed the US. I did correctly point out that the group stage loss to Brazil was our worst ever to them in 15 meetings, and our group stage loss to Italy was our worst loss to them since 1934, encompassing seven meetings.

      I also pointed out the Gold Cup loss to Mexico was our worst loss in a competitive match since 1957 to any opponent in any competition. These are facts. You can differ in the interpretation of their meaning but they are factual.

      If some of you actually read the piece Farley wrote, you would realize he was covering all four teams from all angles and drawing conclusions based on that. Was he negative on the US? Certainly, but the US pedigree in groups like this one is very poor, and it is possible based on his analysis that the US finishes last.

      I’d encourage those of you interested to simply note where the Algerian and Slovene players feature club wise, before assuming we’d roll over them. We should be favored against Slovenia, maybe less so against Algeria who have similar talent, many of whom came through the French system (and played for France at the youth level). That does not mean we automatically win.

      Slovenia has the type of team spirit we once had. That’s how they knocked off Russia which by the way is a better win than beating Honduras. Algeria has good players but has question marks. We have good players and questions marks also.

      Injuries could affect this group dramatically. If you look at the FIFA rankings this is perhaps the most balanced group in the entire tournament. So I believe it is important to know about our opposition even if you do not.

    • inthewry

      December 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm

      “Did Algeria or Slovenia beat anyone as good as Mexico or Honduras in qualifying? I doubt they did. I doubt they could.”

      Slovenia defeated Slovakia twice in the group stage and defeated Russia in the playoff round to qualify.

      Algeria defeated Egypt twice, once during the final group stage and once in a one-off tiebreaker playoff, to qualify.

      • TTB

        December 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm

        Russia did not make the World Cup, did they? Europe is so easy to qualify from. Slovakia won a group for gods sake.

        • inthewry

          December 21, 2009 at 3:21 pm

          The only good national football teams are the teams that qualified for the World Cup? Russia, who made the semifinals of the Euro 2008, isn’t a good team?

          You don’t think Slovakia has a good team? They have quite a few players playing in the EPL, RPL, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and Serie A…which suggests that they have some quality.

          I think your criticisms are well-intentioned enough but misguided.

          • kevin_amold

            December 21, 2009 at 7:16 pm

            Yeah, I think it’s a little dangerous to label the quality of teams based on how they did at past tournaments. It really means nothing. Turkey made the semis too at Euro, but no one is beating the drum for them.

            Russia are a good team, who were beaten by Slovenia. They also defeated Slovenia, they just managed to do so in a “worse” fashion. I happen to think they’re a little overrated based on their game against the Dutch, which was quite impressive.

          • inthewry

            December 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm

            If that’s the case, then I would suggest that no one invokes the United States team’s performance in the Confederations Cup when discussing our chances going forward.

          • Kevin_Amold

            December 22, 2009 at 1:02 am

            I agree whole heartedly!

          • Kevin_Amold

            December 22, 2009 at 1:05 am

            Although reaching back to Euro 2008 is a little further back than the Confed Cup. I mean, Croatia were really in form then, now what are they?

            England were down, now how are they?

            France looked awful in 08, now how are they? Ok, bad example, but I think you get my point.

          • inthewry

            December 22, 2009 at 3:41 am

            According to your approach, the performance level of teams in World Cup qualifying had no correlation to performance level in Euro 2008 held a year prior so certainly we can agree that the performance level of teams in the 2009 Confederations Cup will have no bearing on the 2010 World Cup.

  23. RioSoccer

    December 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Looking at the group opposition is a great idea, thanks for doing it. For those that don’t think Algeria or Slovena have any quality – here it is. Also note that just because they don’t have any “stars” you’ve heard of doesn’t mean they don’t have great players. This should actually give us greater concern – Slovenia is a team that came through a tough group to beat a extremely talented Russian in the playoffs, with no stars. Means they play like a team – often harder to beat than just talent. How many people in Europe/Africa/Latin America think the US has NO STARS! (a goalie and non-star at Fullam?).
    I certainly think the MNT have some glimpses of hope for this year, like last summers Confederations Cup (of course we got a bit lucky to get that far – you know having to have Italy lose by 3 goals and us win by 3, how often does that happen). Of course we didn’t exactly hammer the CONCACAF opposition in qualifiying did we. Is Honduras better than Slovenia or Algeria – no. Thats what gives people pause in their thnking of the World Cup.

  24. Charles

    December 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I am a huge US soccer fan, have been for over 30 years. I have attended hundreds of Sounders games. But you can’t let your enthusiasm get in the way of reality.

    The US will have trouble getting out of the group stage…they are not Brazil, Germany, etc thus it is tough.
    Until we get the great athletes coming into soccer, and they won’t now there is no money and no fame, it will be a struggle.

    We are big enough and rich enough to get to where we are, but…..
    While the US players best option is going to Europe, where many sit on the bench on a team that will never win….then finishing dead last is real possibility.

  25. BayVol

    December 21, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Everyone take a deep breath. Too many extremes exist here. There are the bashers of the site, on the other side there is Trecker, etc. Then there are the ones who truly do not know about the players, other countries in the US group.

    I applaud Kartik for at least giving us a little insight on some the players which most of us do not know about. Just because the majority do not know of these players, does not mean the US should not concern themselves about them. Ignorance is bliss, but it can be deadly.

    Do not kid yourselves, even though this group is the easiest draw ever, do not assume it’s a given the US will advance. Cautious optimism is required.

  26. Tom

    December 21, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Great idea. Thanks.

  27. Soccer Guru

    December 21, 2009 at 10:24 am

    The above clowns have no idea what they are talking about. Ziani was a high quality player at Marseille and is a big addition for Wolfsburg. Belhadj would start at left back OR left midfield for the US.

    Milivoje Novakovic would be far and away the best striker in the US team. He’s scored more goals in a top flight European league than any American has EVER. Krhin has the potential to be better than any current US player, including Landy Cakes.

    As far as history, the US has lost five matches in the last five World Cups to Eastern European countires and five matches in the last five World Cups in the last group game.

    You may think we were robbed in all these games, but with the exception of the Germany game you mention we were totally outplayed. Oh, and you forget Poland in 2002. They had been bombed in the first two group games, yet scored twice in the first five minutes against us.

    This team keeps leaking goals in the beginning of the second half this year. Five against Mexico, Three against Italy, Three against Brazil, three against Denmark. C’mon guys, you really think we are unbeatable? Even the infamous 98 team was much stronger defensively.

    I think we go out at the Group Stage unless we get lucky with the other teams having serious injuries, or getting men red carded in the games.

    • USA 2010

      December 21, 2009 at 10:56 am

      The Mexico game was a Mexico “A” team versus the US “C” team.

      The Italy game was after Rico was wrongly ejected.

      The three against Denmark was with our “B” side against the Denmark “A” team.

      You are the one who is a clown.

      • Kartik Krishnaiyer

        December 21, 2009 at 11:03 am

        You are entitled to your opinion that we were “robbed” and that Algeria and Slovenia are horrible and that we should only cover MLS.

        However you are not entitled to making up facts.

        The Mexico game was a Mexico “A” team versus the US “C” team.

        Really? Is that why the US team that was on the field that day had played in more World Cup qualifiers during the cycle prior to that match than the Mexican squad on the field? If Mexico was fielding an “A” team, where were Salcido, Marquez, Osorio, Blanco and Guardado? Must have simply missed them.

        The Italy game was after Rico was wrongly ejected.

        I’m so sick of our fans continuing to blame officials for everything. I have watched that replay a dozen times and determined each time, the sending off was justified even if a bit harsh.

        The three against Denmark was with our “B” side against the Denmark “A” team.

        Here we go again! I missed Agger, Bendtner, Poulsen and Jorgenson. The team was so weak that even the normally biased, and ill informed about the opposition, JP Dellecamara referred to it as a watered down Danish side.

  28. Jamie Trecker

    December 21, 2009 at 10:22 am

    At least Trecker advertises he’s a punk right up front.

    So, you haven’t heard of Nadir Belhadj, Madjid Bougherra, or Karim Matmour? Or Milivoje Novakovic or Zlato Dedic? Wow. You need to get out of the house more. Perhaps watch a few games? All of the above are comparable with the guys that the USA will field. Are they world-beaters? Nope — but the USA is a second-tier team too.

    One last thing: How is informing folks about the players the USA will face “tearing the USA down?” I won’t even touch the laughable assertions that the USA was “robbed.”

    • USA 2010

      December 21, 2009 at 10:55 am

      This site does nothing but say how bad the USA is. You don’t see the other USA blogs forcing Algeria, Slovenia and England down our throats. We don’t care about them. We focus on our team, and our league. This site is after called MLS Talk, not Bundesliga Talk or France Soccer Talk.

      And no Trecker, I have never heard of any of them. I focus on the domestic game, MLS which is the most competitive league in the world top to bottom. I am not a eurosnob like so many, who exagerate the quality of any player that features on a euro team. Club affiliations do not impress me. Kartik here is clearly trying to say that Algeria and England have players at top clubs so they will beat us. Do I care? They do not respect MLS and the three teams we face will be in for the biggest surprise when the MLS kids beat them.

      We were robbed against Germany. If they call that a hand ball, we win. We got a goal disallowed and two guys thrown out against Italy. Against Ghana the PK was b/s.

    • kevin_amold

      December 21, 2009 at 7:10 pm

      I’ll admit, I’ve never heard of these guys, and I watch a lot of soccer, albeit mostly Premier League, La Liga, and MLS. But they are undoubtedly quality players who will love nothing more than to take their shots against two enormous countries.

  29. Tommy

    December 21, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I agree with the above writer. This website is a disgrace. Who cares about Algeria or Slovenia? England, is another matter. That will be a titanic clash. We can beat them but could lose also. But we get a minimum of six points against the two weakest teams in the World Cup. Our draw was the easiest one ever, and since you have invested so much time and effort into telling us how bad the USA is and having that punk Trecker on all the time, you must now build up two horrible teams. I think we beat Germany in the second round in a revenge game also. I am sure Kartik will tell us how great Germany is and how unbeatable they are now that I mention it.

    • Brian Zygo

      December 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm


      If Bob Bradley were to take the attitude of “who cares about Alergia or Slovenia,” than the USMNT would deserve to lose to those two countries and Bradley should be fired before even getting back to the US. Any coach would tell you that if you ignore and underestimate your opponent, no matter who that opponent is, than you’re an idiot and do so at your own risk.

      I want to see the US become a powerhouse in the world’s game. An uneducated fan base is not what’s needed for that to happen. In most sports, fans are pretty knowledgeable about the game, its history, the other teams, too bad the casual soccer fan in the US (which is a small subset of soccer fans in the US) is not willing to make that kind of investment in this sport.

  30. USA 2010

    December 21, 2009 at 9:35 am

    None of the players listed concern me.

    I am appauled by the anti-usa bent of Kartik’s writing lately. First he trashes Donovan and exaggerates a loss with the B team. Then he exagerates the failures of the youth teams which really do not matter.

    Then he writes about Beasley being neccesay, who any reasonable US supporter knows stinks and we have much better options in Rogers, Holden and Quaranta.

    He also writes we have no chance against England.

    Now he tries to convince us the opposition are world beaters. Has anyone ever heard of any of those Algeria or Slovenia players? Do they have a single player with Howard’s capability, Donovabn’s quality or Dempsey’s flair?

    I think we beat England. They always underperform in these big events anyhow. We have heart, fight and spirit which they do not have. The other two games will be easier than CONCACAF. Slovenia nor Algeria would have qualified from CONCACAF. Costa Rica, El Salvador and T&T are all better than them.

    I am tired of this sort of forced negativity from some in our soccer press. I suggest the readers of this site visit sites like Soccer By Ives, Soccer Insider and Match Fit USA, which cover the US scene instead of trying to tear it down.

    Oh and I loved your “mate” Richard Farley’s prediction of one point for the US. What does he base that on? What in history tells him that the US will struggle against the likes of Slovenia and Algeria? 2002 saw us beat Portugal and Mexico, and get robbed against Germany.

    In 2006 we were robbed against Italy and Ghana. So we basically have had one bad game in the last two World Cups.

    I am done with this site and forced drumbeat of doom coming from it.

    Go back to watch loser league USL, Kartik and leave the USMNT and MLS coverage to the adults.

    • Brian Zygo

      December 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm

      Some questions for you USA 2010:

      Do you ever watch ESPN? Do you ever read the columns in the sports section of your local newspaper? Do you ever listen to Sports Talk Radio?

      Your comments show a complete ignorance about the nature of sports media, journalism, and commentary.

      • USA 2010

        December 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm

        The comparisons you bring up are invalid. The majority of the sports media and ESPN types want soccer to fail. They are comfortable with Baseball and Hockey, etc.

        Criticism of MLS and the US Team only allows more people who may be interested in the sport to say they won’t bother, or worse yet tells people who may be interested that instead of supporting their local team and their national team that it is okay to cheer for Liverpool and Brazil.

        Criticism in the self contained US sports culture of American sports teams and leagues is acceptable. Irrational and over the top criticism of our league and national team, which is what this website engages in, must be met head on and stopped.

        The masses who are pre disposed to not support US Soccer or this sport will find aid and comfort in posts like this.

        • Brian Zygo

          December 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

          As someone who regularly hosts a soccer show on a sports talk station I know my comparisons are dead on. If the US team or the Houston Dynamo play a bad game, my colleagues would think I was an idiot, and rightfully so, If I gave them a pass. The reality is that you’re not gonna win fans over to soccer by lying to them and putting on a cheery face all the time.

          If soccer wants to be a big sport in this country, it’s gotta accept that it will be treated as a big sport by the media.

  31. bq

    December 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

    This is a great idea.

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