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It's the Monday after Christmas and while I'm sure many of you are at work wishing you weren't at work, here is something to help you pass the time.
This is the second installment of Your November Questions Answered. I will be posting some more answers through the week before posting the December Q&A on December 31. And yes, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to starting answering these Q&As more quickly.
Now, onto some more of Your Questions Answered:
PREKI– What non-playoff team do you see make the biggest-off season splash and being next year's version of the Galaxy's worst to first?
IVES– It’s still too early to tell since teams need to make their signings and draft picks but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Toronto FC or FC Dallas making some real noise in 2010. The Red Bulls could also turn things around, but that will depend largely on what coach they bring in, and whether or not a certain French striker actually shows up this summer.
DOMAGOJ– Don't you think it is time to give Nick Rimando a look at the national team level? He has been pretty consistant over the last 3 years and I rank him higher than Hahneman and Perkins. Also, what does RSL do with Seitz?
IVES– Bob Bradley must have heard you. Rimando will be in the January camp and deservedly so. That being said, I’m not sure I’d rate him ahead of Hahnemann.
JR– Philly Union – who do you think they go after for their DP, thoughts on the expansion draft on wednesday, is the stadium going to be ready by the spring…it still looks like a pile of dirt and concrete
IVES– I don’t have an idea of names but I think it’s fair to say the Union will use a DP on either a forward or a playmaking midfielder. As for the stadium, I’d say it will be ready by the summer. A lot of progress has been made on the project, but a spring opening seems unlikely.
DYLAN– Ives- Love the site. What do you think the next move is for Brian Perk? Do you think he enters the MLS draft or looks to sign somewhere in Europe?
IVES– Perk is in the MLS Draft and he should be one of the first three keepers selected. I can see him as a second-round pick.
SUSHANT– We keep talking about the lesser known players in Europe getting a look (e.g Jeremiah White) but they haven't been called into a USMNT camp yet. What gives?
Also, what's with BBmcalling in Castillo and playing him as a mid? Why not try him at Left Back and see how he does?
IVES– Who is “they” in this question? Marcus Tracy and Alejandro Bedoya have been called into the January camp so White is really the only player I can think of who people are clamoring for, but the fact is White hasn’t played much at all in recent months for AGF Aarhus so his lack of a call-up makes sense. As for Castillo playing on the wing in his debut rather than at left back, Castillo best traits on the wing are his ability to get forward so it could simply be that Bob Bradley sees him as a candidate to play left wing as well as left back and put him on the wing in a game the U.S. team was losing and needed goals in.
JONATHAN– 1. What ever happened to GolTV's weekly program "American Soccer"? Any info?
2. How would Marta do in MLS? Hypothetically, of course. Would she be a starter? Would she be a star of the league or an average MLS player? Just curious what you think.
IVES– 1. I was told the show was cut due to budget issues. 2. How would Marta do in MLS? I really don’t think she’d be an MLS player. She could productive player on the men’s college level, and even that might be a stretch. I’m sure some folks would disagree, but that’s about how I’d rate her.
SEA OTTER– Did Leweike(sp?) let the cat out of the bag in his Guardian interview regarding upping the # of DP's?
True or not, does this add fodder to the CBA negotiations (overlooking the players the league is built upon sort of stuff)?
IVES– Don Garber shot down Lieweke’s claim of MLS going to three designated players and the reality is that it would be crazy for MLS to make that decision when the CBA has yet to be negotiated.
FELIX– Michael Orozco has seen regular playing time for San Luis while they have made their run in the Mexican Apertura playoffs. He plays a position that is in some flux right now for the national team at CB, but has not been called up since the red card at the Olympics. Do you think Bradley is still holding the red card incident against him? Why do you feel he hasn't been called up since the Onyewu injury? Do you feel he should be given another chance?
IVES– Orozco is a promising prospect, but it needs to be said that just because you start in the Mexican League, particularly as a defender, doesn’t mean you suddenly become a U.S. national team player. Duilio Davino, who was awful in MLS, starts in Mexico, and Daniel Hernandez, who has joined FC Dallas, was a regular starter in Mexico before moving back home and nobody was calling for him get a call-up when he was a starter in Mexico.
All that being said, he’s young and has a bright future, but his time hasn’t come yet.
WALLY– How do you see mls growing when we seem to be losing so many young americans to other leagues that are at least on par with Mls.
What can be done to target high caliber players from central america and south america?
And also what is the status on how many DPs will be allowed for 2010, and could it go up to 3 perhaps?
IVES– Losing top talent is a problem leagues throughout the world must deal with. It’s not an MLS-only issue. The allure of Europe is a strong one, not just for the money, but also the chance to move closer to the bigger European leagues. The key for MLS is to start developing more talent at a faster rate. By developing more talent, MLS can grow to the point where it doesn’t have to lose players leagues like Norway and Denmark
BECKSTER– Ives, given what we know today about our MNT defenders, (length of time out on injury, playing time, skills etc), who do you predict will be our back four in South Africa?
Who are three survivors when Lost wraps up next spring?
IVES– The back-line vs. England in the World Cup opener will be Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo. It wouldn’t shock me of Bornstein got the nod, but ultimately I think we’ll see Spector on the left in that game. I also realize that Bocanegra isn’t starting for Rennes, and Jay DeMerit might be considered a better alternative since he’s playing, but I see Bocanegra being in the lineup.
As for the three survivors when Lost ends? I’ll go Jack, Hurley and Sun.
KERNEL KLINK– You mentioned earlier that LD might be the best option up top now that CD is out. He obviously would be our best forward but does this outweigh the problem of taking our best player out of what seems to be his best position and putting him in a position of need?
Also, what odds would you give that either of Maurice Edu or Jermaine Jones will be a contributor in S.A.?
IVES– That problem you speak if is what led to Donovan moving to left wing in the first place. Part of the reason Donovan moved to the left flank was DaMarcus Beasley’s absence and loss of form. If Beasley can maintain good form then Donovan can certainly become an option up top, though you could also argue that he and Beasley could man the wings while Clint Dempsey moves up top. That might ultimately be the better option.
As for odds on Edu and Jones contributing in the World Cup? I’ll say Edu is 5-1, Jones is 8-1.
STEED– If the US Open Cup is open to all teams in the United States, why don't College teams enter? Are there off season NCAA restrictions? Do you think some of the powerhouse teams of the NCAA could make a decent run?
IVES– There are NCAA restrictions that would prevent a college-affiliated team from competig in the U.S. Open Cup, but individual players can play for their own amateur club teams. That being the case, I imagine that a college team could compete together but under a different name. If that were so, I do think a team like Wake Forest, Virginia or Akron could get to the Round of 16 and even Round of 8.
JASON– What players from the 1990's and 2000's do you see as legitimate possibilities to coach the USMNT in the future?
IVES– Funny that you mention that because I heard of a pretty interesting list of names of former national team players going for their A coaching licenses this month. Claudio Reyna, Jeff Agoos and Alexi Lalas were three of a handful of well-known former players who were getting those licenses and Reyna is the one player who I see having the knowledge and temperament to be a good coach.
A.S.-As usual, there are a ton of questions about potential moves from MLS to Europe in the upcoming transfer window. From Landon Donovan to Rico Clark and Ching, Holden, etc. My question is – should players hoping to play extensively in the World Cup really try to move clubs in January? In many cases, they will be trying to break into an established team, and will likely have a lot of difficulty getting playing time. In Landon's case, if he transfers/goes on loan in January, he will have played for more than 2 years straight – Galaxy, National Team (including Confed Cup), Bayern loan, and whoever his new team will be. He's going to be exhausted come June, no?
It seems to me that the best plan of action for all those guys – at least if the World Cup is their top priority – is to stay with their MLS clubs until the August transfer window. Thoughts?
IVES– I’d say your course of action is the safest, not necessarily the best. Sometimes opportunities come when you will have to risk something to take them and that’s where a player has to make a tough decision. For players like Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden, they need to think about their entire career, and not just about the 2010 World Cup, and therefore they can’t just pass up a golden opportunity to make a big move abroad because there’s a chance they won’t play. Pro athletes are generally confident people who believe they can handle challenges so I doubt the fear of failing is going to stop them from making major moves.
Ultimately, while it may be a short-term risk and potential for short-term disappointment, I think it’s more important for the long-term growth and strengthening of the national team that players take on these challenges. The more who take it, the more that will succeed, and the national team will grow when it has multiple players taking on the challenge of Europe and succeeding.
As for the question about Donovan and not getting enough rest, I think that’s a bit of a myth. Donovan is wrapping up a five-week break from the game, which is about the standard amount of break top European players get, from mid-to-late May through June, before returning for summer training camps and tours. Donovan will have had a sizeable break much more recently than the likes of Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey by the time the 2010 World Cup roles around so I don’t see Donovan being too tired. If you want to talk about players who might be tired in South Africa, consider Spain's players from FC Barcelona. They played through until the Champions League final, then Confederations Cup, then a short break before resuming the La Liga season, then the Club World Cup in December before resuming play in January.