U.S. Men's National Team

Mid-Day Musings (Cervi receives passport, Confed Cup thoughts and more)

Dominic Cervi (ISI Photos)

As the American Soccer landscape takes a bit of a breather after Confederations Cup and before the CONCACAF Gold Cup, there is plenty to discuss. Here are some news items, topics and tidbits to go over as we get through Monday.


So who is the first American to complete a move to Europe this summer? No, not any of the Confederations Cup players. Try goalkeeper Dominic Cervi, who finally received his Italian passport and is finalizing his long-awaited move to Scottish powerhouse Celtic FC. The former Chicago Fire draft pick had been waiting for a year to have this deal completed, and now he will be added to the list of Americans plying their trade at top European clubs.

If this story sounds familiar, it should.

It appears that he was APPROVED for his Italian passport back in May, but had to have the actual document before he could finalize his contract with Celtic. His agent, Ron Waxman, confirmed the deal today. Now all we need is a photo of Cervi in a Celtic uniform (whatever can keep us from running the above photo for the hundredth time).


Jon Conway's departure from New York is very likely the first step toward him joining the Philadelphia Union in 2010. I have heard rumblings in the past that the club was interested in trying to add Conway, a native of Chester, Pa., site of the Union's stadium. Even if Conway catches on with another MLS team this season I find it hard to imagine that he will make any team's protected roster heading into the MLS expansion draft. Does that mean he will be Philly's starter in 2010? I won't go that far, but it is a safe bet he will be on the roster.


Count me among those who would have liked to see Jose Francisco Torres play at some point in Confederations Cup. Torres has been M.I.A. since being pulled at halftime of the U.S. team's loss to Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying and I can't help but wonder if he is carrying an injury of some sort. There was a theory going around that Torres suffered a concussion vs. Costa Rica. If that is so it might help make sense of not using a player who in the last seven months had played in the Club World Cup, Copa Libertadores and a Mexican Championship final.

Speaking of the Confederations Cup, I've heard some "Carlos Bocanegra isn't the answer at left back" talk following the loss to Brazil. Yes, Bocanegra got beat repeatedly by Maicon, but it's MAICON. You know how many left backs would be out of work in Serie A if getting beaten by Maicon was the prerequisite for unemployment? Maicon is the best right back in the world for a reason. No, Bocanegra isn't blazing fast, but he's smart, reads the game well and is athletic enough to hold his own. He plays left back very well in France, where the attacking soccer isn't exactly slow. He was made to look slow at times by Fernando Torres and Maicon during the Confederations Cup. That's hardly something to be ashamed of.


So who are my picks in the CONCACAF Gold Cup? I won't make full picks until later in the week but you have to like Costa Rica and Canada as the teams who could knock off the favorites (and B-team fielders) Mexico and USA. Costa Rica is bringing a strong squad and Canada has Julian DeGuzman and Atiba Hutchinson (though not Dwayne DeRosario). Look for some extensive Gold Cup previewing on SBI this week.

So why should you care about the Gold Cup? Lots of young talent from throughout the region will be on display and if you care about knowing your opponents, it's a good tournament to get familiar with the next generation of CONCACAF stars. Oh, and then there are the Americans working their way into the first-team mix. Get ready to read a million "This is Freddy Adu's time to shine" stories this week (and yes, at least one on SBI).


One more week of voting for the MLS All-Star Game. I think I have to put Freddy Montero on for Colin Clark now based on Montero's recent form (and Casey's national team absence). No, it's not fair, but let's face it, Montero is more exciting and better suited for an all-star game.

Speaking of MLS, if you've been missing SBI's Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week, fear not. It will be back next week. And if it doesn't I will welcome the criticism.


I will be adding some more notes to this through the rest of the afternoon so feel free to check back in.

For now, share your thoughts on any of the subjects above in the comments section below.

  • Andrew Karl

    Interesting theory on Torres.

    But Ives, would Bradley have brought Torres to the Confed Cup if he had indeed sustained a concussion in Costa Rica?


  • nico

    I agree. Bocanegra was never favored against Maicon for 90 min. Also, I really agree that the Gold Cup should have some young exciting players to watch. I’m sure some MLS teams will be keeping an eye out. The tournament will likely be more about the individuals than team performances…but who knows. I am excited for it since their are so many B-teams….anyone can win it.


  • brant

    Mike – you can’t post HTML here…

    Ives –
    “And if it doesn’t I will welcome the criticism.”

    If we get a vote, I’d rather have the last round of Q&A 🙂


  • Pat

    Bocanegra’s coverage on the back post was poorer than anything that happened with Maicon. He got very little help from Donovan and Dempsey (the few minutes that Dempsey was on the left flank).

    And yet, he’s still the best option at LB.


  • golfstrom

    Not that it’s an excuse, but it’s pretty much by definition, when you play left back, you get torched, at least on the international level, and especially when you play Brazil. The only way we slow down Maicon is if we keep the ball and start flying down the left (obviously not happening vs. Brazil) or hand Boca a box of tacks or perhaps some caltrops.

    And it just goes to show you everyone’s favorite USMNT left back is the one who hasn’t played yet.


  • Optimist Primer

    I, for one, CAN’T wait for the Gold Cup! I think we all acknowledge the full National Team needs depth. Here’s a tournament where some of those knocking on the door of 2010 and 2014 can stake their claim:

    Consider these younger guys auditioning for Bradley (Rodgers, Davies, Holden, Cronin, Marshall, Pearce and of course Adu) are ALL 24 years old or younger and on the outside looking, and Holden’s recent comments about the bar being raised for this jersey…

    I think we’ll see a very motivated US squad


  • Leonardo

    *Montero* called it! as did like 50 other people on this forum – “replace Casey with Montero”

    i’m not sure that it’s unfair as much as Montero is just better. exciting, beastly shots, assist-happy, Montero is packed with this and more for the All-Star game!

    plus, Seattle’s gotta rep it deep on that team too ya know. Evans got called on to the Gold cup squad!


  • ELAC

    Im NOT saying Castillo should be on the WC roster automatically, but he, like ALL the Yanks playing abroad in Europe or whatever, SHOULD BE CALLED IN. We need to turn every stone. I don’t know if its even realistic, but we can’t afford miss out on any Yank playing abroad.

    Have a free for all call-in and see what we can get.


  • Sushant Rao

    Any word on whether Celtic or FC Twente are still interested in Klestjan?

    He obviously needs a change in scenery. It would be great if Sacha can be as important to Celtic as Edu is to Rangers.


  • ag nigrin

    Canada always chokes… and Costa Rica always loses vs the USA on US soil so Ives please rethink your initial Gold Cup prediction. Besides the USA with all the young speedsters on the roster are going to dance circles around most of these teams!


  • Matt

    Montero looked like an absolute beast against Colorado yesterday. He was holding the ball up well, making brilliant attacking passes and even getting back inside the 18 for clutch defenses stops at times. He’s really adapted well the physicality of MLS.


  • Nate M

    I thought Bocanegra did just fine out there in his two games. Both teams were playing sideline to sideline and Donovan was pinching way in. While this was necessary, it always left the wide option open for Spain/Brazil. Given that, Bocanegra did just fine, more than we can say in the past about Bornstein and Pearce.


  • NYC

    Boca > Bornstein

    Also, let’s make sure that Bornstein doesn’t become the new Beasley, getting run at the left midfield spot just because he can run up and down the sideline. He had one good move, but he doesn’t have the quality to help move the ball into our attacking half.

    Which brings me to the only player in the last 6 or so games who has done that. Torres needs to be back on the field. If it truly is an injury, let us know about it. If it’s something else, Bradley needs to get over it.

    I think the Confed showing proved that USA Soccer is producing athletes who can compete. But every time you see Rico Clark sky a pass, Landon push the ball 15 feet and try to run around a defender or Jozy miss play his first touch it is obvious that touch and skill with the ball is sorely lacking from our side. I think Jozy will do well with more playing time, but we need to continue to involve skilled players like Torres who can spring athletes like Donovan.


  • HIncha Tim

    Hey, I’m with you Ives concerning Torres. It concers me that he got NO time in tournament. I was wondering if he had a falling out with BB? He definitely deserves more of a look.


  • DC Josh

    I love being able to watch all of these international games in my home country, but I can’t take the Gold Cup seriously when all of the games are played in the United States. How would US fans feel if all the games were played in Mexico?

    I think CONCACAF needs to look at having at least one more country involved. Obviously, only US and Mexico have the stadiums to host the games, but there has to be some way to get a better playing field overall. This is just another reason why the CONCACAF is one of the weakest confederations in the world.


  • Chg

    US vs Mexico in the US is basically a neutral site. It gives a much truer result than if you played the semis and final in the smog of Azteca.


  • jimmygreaves

    Maicon was awsome but it was not Los’ fault really. Besides this is what he has over other current candidates:

    Better passing, better defending, very, very dangerous on set pieces, leadership.

    Keep him there until something better comes along.


  • SonicDeathMonkey

    Everytime I see that picture of Cervi, I swear it looks more and more like a police booking photo.


  • Isaac

    To add to Ives’ point, Bocanegra was just off an injury. I feel like that might have had something to do with it.


  • metrostar 4 life

    Ives-how dissapointed are you with the Gold Cup squad? I no our A team has been very busy lately buy my goodness we are treating the Gold Cup like its a joke. Why the heck are Brad Evans, Logan Pause, Sam Cronin, Colin Clark, and Jay Heaps in there???? The only good field players on that roster are Freddy, Pearce, Holden, Cherundolo, Rogers, and Arnaud. Totally being biased here, I think Seth Stammler deserves at least a shot because he’s definitely better than the six mentioned above.


  • madmax

    The question was not whether Boca could hold Maicon in check, but why starting the second half Bradley didn’t provide more defensive support on the left?


  • vic

    I’ve wondered about Torres too. I’ve heard that following the Costa Rica game, some of the US staff outed Torres publicly as being at fault
    for the first CR goal in that game. I’ve heard of this comment-to-the-press moment from more then one soccer news source. Why would they do that? This might be related, but just before that round of qualifying matches Torres gave an interview in spanish and said that if he scored on Mexico he would not celebrate. Could it be politcal? Could the US staff be wondering where Torres’ loyalty is.


  • SJ

    Any news why Orozco wasn’t selected? I’d like to see him get some more time with the MNT


  • srfinger

    Even if Torres wasnt hurt, there werent many times to experiment in this tourney. Reds in the first two matches meant we were trying to put on guys to help cover ground.

    Then against Egypt, you didnt want to make changes in the second half when it looked like the team on the field was gonna get the needed goals.

    You werent gonna throw him on against Spain when we wanted to defend and hold onto a HUGE upset.

    And then Brazil, we made our first two subs trying to put on guys to defend and then our third as a desperation shot to win balls in the box.

    Yes, at the beginning of the tournament, it would have been nice, to say, lets find 15 minutes to put on guys like Torres and Freddy, but games didnt play out that way.

    The two games we were down, we also were playing with 10. Not exactly the time to put on small guys who havent shown they can defend at that level.


  • Randy in CA

    I think the Gold Cup is a joke. It should be every 4 years, 2 years before the WC. That would give the winner a year to prepare for Confed Cup, and not stack these tournaments around CONCACAF WCQ.


  • Drew_ROC

    Ives- Please dig on the Torres story. I can’t understand how Klejstan gets PT when we need to possess and score on Brazil while Torres sits the bench.


  • kawa

    Canada is not making out of the group stages in Gold Cup . Costa Rica and Jamaica are coming out .


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