Welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered, where I field questions, take weeks to answer them, and then crank out some intriguing responses to get you talking and thinking that I'm either a soccer genius, or an idiot.
Yes, it once again took me a month to get to the Q&A, but given how busy the last month has been for the national team you might understand my issue. Now that we've covered that, let's get to the questions.
The first batch has plenty of U.S. national team questions, including the expected inquiries about Jermaine Jones, a 2010 MLS Draft question and even a (short) basketball question. Look out for the rest of the questions to be answered throughout the week.
Now, onto the answers:
BELLUSLUDAS- Should US Soccer hire Klinsmann to serve as Technical Advisor through South Africa 2010?
THE DEUCE- Well, as one of the first posters today the question is obvious. What do you make of Jermaine Jones' possibility in a U.S.A. jersey? Think it will happen? Think he will make an immediate impact? Where does this place Edu/Rico/Torres/Feilhaber in the pecking order? Is he our savior?
….By the time you answer, hopefully not all of these questions will be answered for you ; )
IVES- I think it will happen and I think Jones will flourish playing for the U.S. national team. Is he a savior? No, but I think he and Michael Bradley could make a great tandem.
What’s the pecking order now? I’d say Bradley-Jones is the first tandem, Edu-Feilhaber is second, Clark-Torres is third, with Stuart Holden coming on strong.
SEVEN- Is Toronto still planning on signing a central defender or was that just talk from Mo? I recall that when you were trying to identify the player you said he was involved in a promotion battle.
IVES- Toronto’s attentions have turned to signing Julian DeGuzman. They have since traded for Nick Garcia, who has come in and played better than he did for San Jose. So right now I’d say the chances of Toronto signing a centerback don’t look good.
ADAM IN IRVINE- Ives, any chance that Charlie Davies can become a winger? His speed and tenacity reminds me of Theo Walcott and unfortunately Beasley in past years.
IVES- Can’t say I’ve ever seen Davies hit a cross and I’m not sure how he’d fit there, but with his speed and ability to go at defenders I suppose it can’t be completely ruled out.
PAUL- Anything to report on the rumors of another move for Freddy Adu?
IVES- A month later and there’s no news on an Adu move. He’s at Benfica now and looks to be fighting for playing time yet again on a loaded Benfica squad. I have to believe he’ll move on loan or via transfer before the transfer window closes.
SASOCCERFAN- 1. What are the chances that San Antonio gets another look as an MLS city?
2. Have you checked out Itumeleng Khune from South Africa (Starting National Team Keeper)? He is the RBNY answer.
IVES- 1. I’d say San Antonio is a VERY long shot, and not even on the radar right now for MLS expansion.
2. The Red Bulls have already signed an African goalkeeper, Bouna Coundoul.
BRANT- short of a major negative story like a betting scandal or stampede of fans, what is it going to take to get soccer talked about on mainstream American sports radio?
You can't even get the 3x/hr score update on ESPN radio to give you the score of a WCQ match the next morning… it's pretty pathetic that the National team doesn't get more attention.
IVES- Apparently it was reaching the Confederations Cup final. Okay, so even that didn’t have THAT much of an impact. There’s no easy answer.
As for ESPN radio updates, I find that interesting because ESPN radio in New York always gives Red Bulls scoring updates, so maybe that’s just something U.S. Soccer needs to work on in major markets.
DAN THE BLUE- I'd like to know what you can tell us about Bradley's new club coach. I know he's 45ish, played at 'gladbach and was recently fired from a different club. Basically, is MB going to fit in and continue to be a part of the plans for that squad.
Second question, I'm going to Mexico in August to see us win in person at Estadio Azteca, are you going? If so, let's get a beer…
IVES- I can’t say I know much about Michael Frontzeck but he did spend a season at Manchester City and has previously coached Steve Cherundolo while an assistant for Hannover 96. This is just his third head coaching job, and he has just two full seasons as a head coach, so he’s somewhat inexperienced. Considering how highly regarded Bradley is by Moenchengladbach I'm pretty sure Bradley will be a key piece to the puzzle for Frontzeck, particularly with the departures of Marin and Baumjohann.
GI- If our LB is a problem for our MNT, why dont they move Boca over there and play (conrad, Edu or other players next to gooch.)
Also, Bob has stated before that if you dont play for your club team, you will not play for MNT but why does he go back on his words and keep bringing in Beasley, pearce, and even Altidore.
IVES- That’s a good idea GI. I’ll have to tell Bob Bradley that one.
BLAKE- US soccer fans are always clamoring for new, more knowledgeable ESPN on-air soccer talent. What are the chances we ever see you in front of the camera at press pass or as a sports center contributing pundit?
IVES- Right now they’re probably a bit remote, but once I drop 100 pounds Allen Hopkins better watch his back. Seriously speaking though, there are some plans for an increased relationship between SBI and ESPN. That will hopefully be emerging in the coming months.
ETJ- What is the latest update on th stadium situation in New England? I'm wondering because I'll be in college in Boston next year and I won't watch futbol in a football stadium
IVES- The Revs are still several years away from having a soccer-specific stadium so you will either travel to Gillette Stadium for Revs games or will be waiting about four or five years.
WISPY- Hey Ives — I have the reverse f everybody's favorite Jermaine Jones/Edgar Castillo question: who, other than Arturo Alvarez, might we LOSE from our player pool under the new FIFA rule?
IVES- The pool could theoretically have lost Stuart Holden, but he’s cap-tied now (and insisted that he never thought about Scotland). Jose Francisco Torres has a younger brother who is supposed to be a stud so we’ll see what comes of him down the road. Zak Whitbread is someone who could change national teams but I don’t think Fabio Capello is keeping tabs of him.
JPC- Michael Orozco, what's going on with him?
Prior to the Olympics, he seemed to be the next up and coming guy in the central defense, he played very well. Then got that ridiculous red card, and it seems since then he's been kind of black balled from the USMNT. Is this the case? If not, why isn't he being called up?
IVES- Black-balled? Really? What is this, Hollywood? At the end of the day he’s still a young central defender who may not yet be ready to challenge for a role on the national team. That doesn’t mean his time won’t come if he keeps it up in Mexico.
OPTIMIST PRIMER- Can you outline what a day in the life of SBI entails? I get a majority of my soccer news and info from Soccer By Ives. Where and how do you collect it?
As always thanks for all the work you do
IVES- The day starts the night before with tracking of early-morning European stories. The actual day starts with hitting up as many major news sites as possible, be it Soccernet or the UK and Spanish newspapers. I also get tips from readers which help me get a jump on things. I’ll also usually go into a day with a list of stories that need to be touched on, written and/or posted.
JAYr5- Assuming Jermaine Jones's affiliation switch is completed in a semi-timely fashion, is he instantly a contender for the starting XI next summer? (Assuming the US makes it, of course.) I've never seen him play, but from the reviews he's getting, it seems like this is pretty big news. A quick follow-up, has Jay DeMerit played his way past Danny Califf and into the 3rd spot on the CB depth chart? (Califf was shockingly bad against El Salvador. I actually think there's a chance he's still down there booting long balls across the end line for goal kicks.)
IVES- I don’t know about instantly, but I do think Jones is good enough to eventually be starting alongside Michael Bradley in central midfield by the time the 2010 World Cup roles around.
As for DeMerit, not only has he blown by Dan Califf, but I would argue that Chad Marshall and Jimmy Conrad have moved past Califf on the depth chart.
YUSEF- In the previous Q&A, a question was asked about comparing the current USMNT pool to that of the successful team in 2002. Can you go by top player by position and compare the two? The USMNT is much deeper now, but is anyone scoring goals in Europe like Earnie Stewart did before the ’02 tournament? What right back is stronger than Sanneh in Korea? McBride was the best striker over the last decade and Reyna made the ’02 best XI, not to mention Clint Mathis’ nose for goal in that period. Your thoughts?
IVES- I won’t get into the in-depth analysis you asked for but I’ll touch on some of your comments.
Yes, there are people scoring goals in Europe like Earnie Stewart did. Michael Bradley scored 16 goals in the Dutch League, the league where Stewart scored his goals, and Clint Dempsey is doing well scoring goals for Fulham, in the EPL, where there were no Americans scoring consistently in 2002. As for Tony Sanneh, he certainly had a great World Cup but I don’t recall him being considered amazing before that tournament. I’d argue that the trio of Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo and Frankie Hejduk is much deeper than the pool of right backs in 2002, and Spector could very well have a Sanneh-like World Cup (especially if his Confederations Cup is any indication). There’s nobody who can compare to McBride right now as far as target strikers go, but again, the U.S. depth is better now with Ching, Altidore and Davies. As for Mathis’ nose for goal, I’m not sure how you can argue with Dempsey having just as good a nose for goal as 2002 Mathis. And Reyna? No, there’s nobody right now who could match Reyna’s skill level in 2002, but Michael Bradley is one of the better young holding midfielders in Europe right now (yes, I said Europe), Maurice Edu starts for Rangers and Jermaine Jones is one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.
GAUCHO- Count me as one person that really likes what Spector brings to the table and is frustrated that he hasn't been healthier. It's no secret that our weakest position has been outside fullback (especially on the left, but sometimes on the right), especially with the injury bug we've had with those guys.
Back during the run-up to the 2006 World Cup, I remember seeing an interview with John O'Brien and the US training staff explaining why he was always injured and what they were doing to try to get him into playing shape in Germany. Are Spector's problems just a string of bad luck or something biomechanical that a good trainer might be able to rectify? Maybe this isn't appropriate for a Q&A but a post of its own with an interview with those in the know.
IVES- The sense I get is that Spector has been a victim of some bad luck with the injuries, whereas O’Brien was predisposed to having chronic injury issues.
DIZZLE- Hey, Ives. Could you see any SMNT players that have been locks in the past being phased out for South Africa 2010? The obvious suspects being Mastroeni and Beasley. Who else might be left out and who would replace them?
IVES- Beasley and Mastroeni are on the outside looking in as far as I can tell. As far as other veterans who have been phased out, I think those are the most likely, but I would also say Frankie Hejduk is in danger of being left home as well now that Spector has emerged and Cherundolo has returned. All that said, Beasley still has a year to recapture his old form and if he does, you can bet he'll be in South Africa.
BRENDAN- Is there any chance of FIFA changing the yellow card accumulation rules, so that more star players do not miss important Champions League/World Cup games?
IVES- Haven’t heard any real clamoring for a change. Players just need to learn to be more careful about the cards they pick up.
FRANK (PHILLY)- Considering that the talent pool for CM (Bradley, Jones, Edu, Torres, Kljestan, and Feilhaber) is far deeper that any other position on the USMNT, do we think (over the next year) playing 5 midfielders and either a 3-5-2 or a 4-5-1?
IVES- A 3-5-2? Nope. A 4-5-1? I can see that in certain situations, but if Jozy Altidore and Charlie Davies continue to develop and get regular playing time in Europe, and if Brian Ching stays healthy, I can’t see Bob Bradley using a one forward formation.
DOUG- what does your 'very' early top 5 look like for the 2010 MLS draft?
IVES- Hmm, good question. Here’s a stab:
1. Ike Opara, Wake Forest
2. Cody Arnaux, Wake Forest
3. Michael Stevens, UCLA
4. Corben Bone, Wake Forest
5. Andre Akpan, Harvard
MILKSHAKE of DESPAIR- Ives, why are you not in South Africa for Confed? Is it because of you unwavering devotion to RBNY?
IVES- In a year with a ton of trips to consider, there just wasn’t money in the SBI coffers to go to South Africa. That said, I’ll definitely be there in 2010.
JOE D- With the addition of Jones making the depth at midfield even deeper, what would your ideal starting XI look like if everyone is healthy?
IVES- If Jozy Altidore gets some serious playing time in the coming year, and Charlie Davies does the same in France for Sochaux, and Jermaine Jones settles in smoothly for the national team, here is the starting XI for the first 2010 World Cup match:
Now, if Altidore or Davies aren’t ready, Brian Ching should get the nod. If Jones isn’t a good fit, then Maurice Edu would have to be considered the next pick, followed by Benny Feilhaber. In the back, if DeMerit doesn’t keep up his Confed Cup form, then I’d consider the Spector as left back and Cherundolo at right back move.
GOALSCORER 24- Hi Ives,
Great work on the site!
1) Does Donovan leave the Galaxy for a foreign team after this season? Or will the money that the MLS requests for Donovan be so high, that he has to wait until after 2010?
2) Who is the next US player to get off the bench in Europe and into some regular first team action? (Adu, Altidore, Pearce, Guzan, Beasley etc.)
1. Donovan SHOULD leave after this season. Will he be allowed to? I’m not so sure about that one, although given his personal issues now (seperating from his wife) I think it would be pretty unfair of MLS to force him to stay.
2. I’d have to go with Altidore out of that group.
DAN KARELL- Who would you like to see the USA play in a friendly match, if the game against Iran doesnt work out?
IVES- Who should the USA play come November? A rematch with Argentina would be nice. I would also love to see a USA-Serbia match. Why? Aside from the fact that Serbia is one of the most talented young teams in Europe, there’s also the Neven Subotic factor.
KATATONIA- what do you think about having a MLS SuperCup? have the winner of the US Open Cup play the Supporters Shield or MLS Cup? would be a good way to kick off the season and perhaps bring more attention to the other competitions in mls.
IVES- I’m completely in favor of that and wrote that years ago. It only makes sense. Sometimes I wonder why MLS doesn’t do more to prop up the Open Cup.
SUSHANT RAO- Why Conor Casey over Kenny Cooper? I'm not a huge fan of KC, but I liked what he did when paired with Jozy (in the WCQ vs Guat) more than what I saw out of CC (vs Honduras). CC isn't a target forward like Ching and he doesn't have the passing or quickness of KC. Though, to be honest, I haven't seen a lot of CC or KC in MLS, so apologies if the answer to this question is obvious.
IVES- Sushant, Casey actually is a pretty good target forward. That’s his role and why he got the nod over Cooper, who is 6-foot-3 but not at all a target forward. That said, I do think Cooper is the better prospect and has the better chance of being an impact player on the national team.
JOE- I don't think it will happen because of all of the different FA's involved, but what are your thoughts on CONMEBOL and CONCACAF uniting into one region for the purpose of the World Cup? It would probably make it harder for the US to qualify, but it would guarantee multiple games – home and away – against top flight competition every couple of years.
IVES- I answered this in the last Q&A. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN
MATT-I really believe that if you were to describe the national team's formation based on technical ability, we really play a 4-6-0. We score goals off of set pieces, penalty shots, and odd bounces. IMO, there's no worthy target man or pure striker in the pool.
Assuming you agree to some extent, why do you think that's the case, especially given our country's history of producing aggressive, attack-minded goal scores in football, basketball, and hockey? It seems like even if we were a country with a low soccer IQ, we could at least score goals, as our athletes are developed for that purpose.
IVES- Since this came before the U.S. team’s Confederations Cup run I will assume that Matt has seen some promise in the U.S. attack after scoring seven goals against Egypt, Spain and Brazil.
BRAD- Ives.. Kobe or Lebron?