U.S. Men's National Team

Your January Questions Answered (Part 4)


Photo by ISIphotos.com

Welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered. This is the fourth part of our January set of questions, with topics ranging from the U.S. national team lineups to Major League Soccer.

Wondering how an MLS All-Star team would do in the EPL? Trying to figure out what the USA lineup would look like without several key players? Wondering why MLS doesn't bring in players from Europe on loan? We cover each of these subjects and more.

Now, onto some more of Your January Questions Answered.


MIKE CARAMBA– As unlikely as it may be, let's pretend Dempsey, Onyewu, Davies, and Jones all miss the World Cup. Which loss hurts the most? What does our starting 11 look like without them? Do you still like our chances to get out of group?

IVES– Tough one. I think the fact that Dempsey and Davies both miss in your scenario makes each other that much tougher a loss. Individually speaking, with relation to the pool, I’d say Onyewu is the toughest loss. The other center backs just can’t do what he does. You could argue the same thing for Davies, but I think Landon Donovan could be slotted in at forward if needed.

Here’s the lineup I could see being used if all four players were missing from the World Cup:





If Beasley can’t go, I’d go for this lineup and formation







MNMIKE– What is one aspect of MLS that the rest of the world's leagues could benefit from?

IVES– A salary cap wouldn’t hurt some leagues, though that’s probably not practical for mega-leagues like EPL and La Liga.


JC– In recent interview with Fulham FC, Brian McBride revealed that if USMNT has "crazy number of injuries", he wouldn't turn down an offer to return to the national team.

Although Dempsey's injuries aren't as bad as feared, if USMNT suffers more injuries in the future before the WC, do you see Brian McBride returning to the national team?

Let's say he does return, is he a starter or a bench/substitute? What kind of impact can he make? (Brian's performance in 2006 WC wasn't as good as 2002 WC performance)

IVES– When I’m asked about McBride and the national team I can’t help but think about his turn with the Olympic team and how bad that worked out. It’s not that McBride can’t still play, but at his age the physical rigors of the international game might just be too much. In a one-game situation, could he help? Of course, but I’m not sure if he’s necessarily a better option than Brian Ching or Conor Casey at this point in their careers.


MIKE– With all the injuries, I've seen people penciling in Torres and nearly every position except goalie. What is his natural and most effective position?

Have you seen a more fixed decision than Avatar winning best picture at the Golden Globes? It's like Cameron greased their palms, only with about 10,000 hundred dollar bills.

IVES– Torres works well in a deep-lying holding role, but can also contribute in a more attacking central role. I don’t see him as a winger. One position I can see him working well at is as the left midfielder in the 3 of a Christmas tree.

I’m very interested to see Torres partnered with Michael Bradley. Both players can get forward, but both can also pass well from deep. Torres isn’t a hard-tackling central midfielder, but he reads the game well and does well to put himself into position to disrupt opposing possession.

As or the Avatar/Golden Globes thing, I’d say Avatar was a great movie.


WISPY– Ives — super important question: In-n-Out or Five Guys?

IVES– I hadn’t had either before up until a few weeks ago. A Five Guys opened up like a minute from my house. Wasn’t bad. I’ve only heard great things about In-n-Out and will make sure to have some when I go to LA next month.


DJB– With Bocanegra's recent pt problems, any chance Bradley looks to put him on the bench and start Demerit with Onyewu? Also, how do you see the RB and LB shaping out for the world cup. Granted its a while away, but the right matchups could be crucial for England with someone like Lennon on the wing.

IVES– I still rate Bocanegra ahead of DeMerit at center back and think Bornstein has made enough strides at left back to merit starting there.

What I can see happening for the World Cup is Jonathan Spector starting at left back and Steve Cherundolo starting at right back against England to take advantage of Spector’s familiarity with England’s right wing options. Against Algeria and Slovenia I think Spector would get the nod on the right because of his superior service on that flank, while Jonathan Bornstein would start on the left.


CAIRO– Where would an MLS All-Star Team finish if it practiced together and played a full season in the EPL? I personally think it would fall somewhere between 7th and 10th…

IVES– I remember asking Clint Dempsey this question two years ago and the impression I got was that he didn’t think an MLS All-Star team could survive in the Prem. As it stands right now, I think an MLS All-Star team would finish somewhere between 10th and 15th. That probably sounds low to some people, but I think that’s fair.

And for those asking, here’s the squad I’d bring:






BENCH– Frei, Ricketts, Conrad, Cameron, Gonzalez, Wynne, Davis, Rogers, Beckerman, Julian DeGuzman, Sacha Kljestan, Dwayne DeRosario, Schelotto, Ching, Cunningham.

(I reserve the right to add to this group if I forgot somebody. I've added Schelotto, DeRosario and Ricketts to give us a roster of 26.)


CHRIS– Why don't we see more loans between MLS and the top leagues? It seems the unique MLS schedule would allow for this to happen all the time.

I'd think that somewhere in Europe is a 1st or 2nd division team who are dealing with a number of injured defenders or injured CM players.

I'm thinking:
1) these teams would would love the opportunity to get Chad Marshall or Kyle Beckerman for 10 weeks (even if only to provide cover)
2) they could pay below normal european wages for these players
3) MLS makes some money
4) MLS gets european exposure
5) The players make some extra money
6) The players get extra experience, exposure.

So what keeps the top 10% of MLS players (who are typically paid well below their value to a european team) from going on loan every single year before MLS like Beckham and Donovan are doing right now?

Likewise, if come March some kids on teams like Bolton or Sunderland haven't been making it into the reserve games (and the EPL season is about to end) why not loan them out to MLS where they will get games all summer?

IVES– I mis-read this question the first time. So why don't more MLS players go to Europe on loan? I'm not sure how crazy MLS teams are about the idea of having their players playing in other leagues. It's not as if teams would make much money in those arrangements anyway so it winds up being a case of weighing risk with reward. Does a team like New England really want to loan out a Shalrie Joseph and risk having their best player injured heading into a season? You can also create a situation where players are even more eager to leave MLS for Europe, which I don't think MLS needs to be helping happen even more than it does. It's a good idea in theory, but in the end I just don't think teams will find the value in making it worth their while. You might say, "Well, LA is assuming that risk with two of the league's best players". That is true but I also think Donovan and Beckham helped make those deals happen as two of the only players in the league to have the pull to make them happen.

Now, as for why more foreign players don't come to MLS on loan, It boils down to the simple fact that MLS only accepts players on loans where there is a purchase option. This essentially rules out most European prospects who would be worth bringing here. It might sound like a silly rule but the theory behind it is that you don’t want a league of one-year mercenaries coming and going.


SLAMBALL– So I am watching Home Alone, and I can't stop to wonder, why don't Harry and Marv just observe their surroundings for a couple of seconds in order to protect themselves from ensuing shenanigans?

IVES– If Harry and Marv were smarter, they probably wouldn’t have been a pair of two-bit thieves. I’m also convinced the brain trauma that took place throughout that movie eventually led to diminishing brain function, so they were pretty helpless by the end of the movie.


WONSAN UNITED– Why do Eurosnobs like to ignore good soccer leagues such as the Mexican Primera or the J-League? It seems nobody outside those respective countries and those neighboring really know how good those 2 leagues are.

IVES– I don’t think it’s snobbery as much as exposure to certain leagues. Let’s face it, it is much easier for American soccer fans to be exposed to the EPL than to the Mexican league and definitely the J-League. The language barrier can’t help either. I will say this, if more and more Americans wind up playing in Mexico you will see more and more American soccer fans beginning to follow that league. As it stands, I know there are a bunch of USMNT fans who watch Mexican league matches now because of players like Torres, Castillo and previously Orozco. I think that’s great because I think it’s healthy for soccer fans to experience a variety of leagues.


ANDREW– Would Canadian teams (Toronto FC, Vancouver, Montreal, expansion?) ever consider breaking away from MLS to form a 10-or-so-team Canadian 'MLS'?

IVES– If Canada could sustain its own league there would already be a Canadian League. Given the geographic make-up of the country and the number of markets in Canada, a Canadian league just doesn’t make sense. Think about this, hockey is a religion in Canada yet you don’t see anything close to a Canadian hockey league, do you?

I don’t think the current system hurts Canada at all. Having two or three strong pro soccer teams in the country is MUCH better than having none.


I may add some more answers to this so check back in later today. For now, feel free to share your thoughts on these answers in the comments section below.

  • inkedAG

    Even if someone doesn’t know the conversation, they’d have to agree with your statement! :D


  • peterjh

    Joseph did a number on the Sounders last year (Sounders are not physical to begin with, with Joseph’s size it was like he was playing against rag dolls), and Alston completely shut down Zakuani. Both of those are fine picks by Ives, in this humble Sounders fan’s estimation.


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