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It’s Q&A Time

Hello all. It is that time again. Time for you to fire your soccer-related questions my way and time for me to take two months to answer them.

Okay, so I'm kidding about that last part. A little. There will be a slight change to the Q&A, a change I am hoping will lead to a much quicker turnaround time on answering your questions. I will select the Top 100 questions and will answer them in four segments. This means your question may not be chosen so please make them good ones.

If you are new to the Q&A, or to SBI, I would suggest checking out past Q&A sessions. This might keep you from asking a question that has been covered before. Also, try to avoid the college thesis-like questions. If your question is longer than 50 words the chances are good it won't be chosen (unless you're discussing The Wire or Godfather movies).

As for those of you wondering about the final segment of the last Q&A. I will post those answers today, probably within the hour.

Now, let's get to some new questions. I'm looking for soccer questions, but if you ask a good pop culuture (movie/music/TV, etc.) question, chances are it will be chosen.

Fire away (and make them good).


  1. How do the best national teams stack up against the best club teams? That is assuming that players could be cloned as necessary, how would Spain do against Barca, or Argentina against ManU? Is there a significant differential in talent either way?

  2. 1) Would it not be good for American soccer to have more coverage of USL game highlights?

    2) In the absence of a reserve league, is it allowed for MLS teams to loan players to USL teams to get them PT, while keeping them off-roster and off-payroll?

    3) Would it be in the interest of MLS to invest in scouts for the league as a whole, whose information could be accessed by MLS teams first, and fans second? Having potential MLS prospects to talk about would help to pass the long winter days.

    4) Do you remember when NFL used to have a segment called “You Make the Call” in which complex ref decisions were presented, and then the answer revealed after a break? Do you think that would succeed for MLS, and help to raise the level of awareness of the fans?

  3. Ives,

    what is your take on ESPN’s “Where are the Hispanics in US Soccer” articles? Do you think US soccer should adopt a program like Japan where they imported a large number of Brazilian coaches and players to try to change their style of play since the early stages. Maybe not Brazilian only, but from other Latin football countries to mix or counter the current UK dominated coaching style.

    My two biggest concerns are that such a large talent pool is being wasted by not focusing in the inner cities which is the hotbed of football worldwide and instead insisting on the suburban demographics.

    But most importantly, after watching the development of the US national team over the last 25 years, we still lack creativity and skill and we are morphing into a mirror image of the English national team, and it is well documented the lack of results in the international competition as of late.

    I agree with you about Rotties. Best dogs ever! I miss mine a lot, and I know of a great breeder in Salt Lake City. Wonderful lineage and none of the stupid stipulations from East Coast breeders.


  4. 1. How do you think Jozy’s loan spell with Xerez will turn out? Should i be hitting the panic button yet since he hasn’t played in the first two matches that he could have played in?

    2. Do you think that the new academy system will help improve young players in the states? What else do you think should change to improve our players technical and tactical skills on a football pitch?

  5. you mentioned in your last question and answer session that torrez is not a decent option at left mid. can you elaborate on that a bit? do you believe that his left foot is not strong enough to send in a decent cross? does he not have the spead necessary to play on the outside? the reason i ask is that pearce is hurting the u.s. at left back. i believe that beasley could replace him, but then who fills in the left wing position?

  6. Have you ever heard anyone in MLS speculate that the future – distant future – of MLS might be a merger with the Mexican league? In some ways, it makes sense: MLS gets access to the Hispanic market that – even in this country – has shown only mild interest in MLS, and Mexican clubs get access to a lot more people with a lot more money. Obviously, this couldn’t happen in the short term, but have you ever heard anyone describe this as one possible scenario for growth in the long term?

  7. If the following USMNT players were to appear on the series Heroes, what would their non-soccer superpowers be?

    Tim Howard
    Bradley Jr.
    Freddy Adu

  8. The Wizards recently signed Santiago Hirsig out of San Lorenzo in Argentina.

    What kind of player is he? Does he look to slot into the Wizards starting 11 or is he a player signed to come of the bench?

    Love the site!

  9. Do you think Freddy Adu still has a chance to become at least a decent option when it comes to playing for the national team. I know he has shown glimpses but besides that he has been a major disapointment. Also where has he gone wrong when it comes to where he stands as footballer today?

  10. Which character on the Wire fully embodied the themes of the show the most? I always loved Bodie because even though he was slingin’, he treated it like a job, showed up on time and never got the count wrong. If he grew up in the suburbs he’d have been a stockbroker

  11. Fredy Montero’s signing was widely considered a coup for the Sounders.

    What steps are MLS steps taking to better scout upcoming talent, especially from Latin/South America, and what are the chances more teams will start using DP-like money on up-and-comers?

  12. Lee Nguyen’s star faded in Europe and with the USMNT. He now is playing in the V-league for possibly better pay and significant playing time. So far he seems to be scoring goals and doing alright. Could he use this as a launching pad to land on a better Asian club (e.g. Japan or Korea) or is his career pretty much ending in Vietnam? And if the money is not substantially more, should a US player take the opportunity to play in SE Asia if it means more playing time?

  13. Good stuff Ives. Suggestion then a question for you. I know you are planning on adding things to the site. You should through up a chat for your running commentaries. It is hard to sift through 300+ comments (a la USA v. Mexico) and thought it would be awesome to have a live chat. Okay now my question:
    is it hard to juggle the blog with writing for ESPN? I mean, are there certain things you are privy to being at ESPN that you can’t put on the blog and vice versa? How does that work out? Thanks.

  14. This is hypothetical (obviously): USA has one spot left on the World Cup roster and seven players in the pool, Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, Lev Yashin, Roberto Carlos, Cryuff, and Best. Who does Bob Bradley (or you) pick and why?

  15. What will happen to Mikey Bradley if ‘Gladbach are relegated? I can’t imagine he wants to play in the Bundesliga 2.

  16. Loan moves…with Altidore’s recent loan to Xerez, I wondered if you had thoughts on the decision-making process for a club when they consider where to loan their players. Obviously, Xerez offered a continued competitive environment for Altidore, which is good for his development. And I know that some clubs have strong loan relationships with others (Man U with Royal Antwerp, I believe is one). But what are the other considerations? Are there clubs that are well-known for providing great training and playing regimens for loaned-out players? Clubs to which no one will loan players out (for whatever reason)?

    Thanks, Ives.

  17. Ives- Love your site, love your ambition and dedication to US soccer. A question regarding development of our “starlets” : Watching Pato play for AC Milan, Messi for Barcelona, I wonder why the likes of Altidore are not given that opportunity. Is the US just not capable of producing that kind of talent or is this talent and development stunted by European clubs? It’s so hard to show your stuff by playing 11 minutes here, 12 minutes there. I hear everyone talking about how these players must be “eased in” but I never saw that with the likes of pato, etc. Am I missing something or is this a bias against american talent?

  18. Do you have any idea whay RBNY’s plans for Juan Pietravallo are at the moment? Are they looking to sell him, put him in the starting line up?

  19. Why is it that we don’t see more trades in soccer? With all of the wild transfer fees that teams are paying for players, it seems like there some situations where a trade would make more sense. Given the amount of leagues and teams worldwide, it doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult for two teams to find a match with each other and swap players that meet each other’s needs both financially and tactically.

  20. 1: compare and contrast the impact of the Bosman ruling to everything that has ever happened in history.

    2: (seriously now) who was impressive in the U-20 camp that just ended in Bradenton? I see the timing of the cup as a great boon to players like Wallace and Merosovic trying to break into MLS first teams, high level training and match play can’t be anything but good, right?

  21. Great site Ives, I have two questions.

    1) What is the World Best XI of players playing out of position? For instance, if you think Rooney has the tackling ability and covers a lot of ground then maybe he is your defenseive mid.

    2) What players in the world are capable of playing any position on the field, excluding goalkeeper. For instance, I feel like Gerrard would do a reasonable job at playing anywhere along the backline, midfield or even up top.


  22. What is your take on the Altidore move to Xerez? At the time of me writing this, he has not played a minute yet for them, or even sniffed the bench in the most recent match. Maybe by the time you get around to this question, things will change, but I was wondering about your thoughts on the loan.

  23. Hey Ives,
    I know US women’s soccer isn’t your forte but I figure I’ll ask. What do you know of the WPS’ relationship with MLS? Assuming WPS becomes popular and financially viable would they work side by side with MLS by maybe sharing sponsors and stadiums between teams in the same region? Also any thoughts on the WPS’ take on the playoff system? Think it’ll be successful and is perhaps better than the MLS system?
    Thanks for your time and your awesome site, I check so often I feel like a stalker!

  24. Ives, you are well-known connoisseur of derriere. What advice would you give to breast or leg men out there who are thinking of making the switch to becoming “ass men”?

  25. Ives, do you think there is any chance that Bradley will start calling McBride into the camp now that he is playing domestically? If the rumors are true that Fulham wanted him back on loan, would’t he be a real option up front for the MNT?

  26. Hey Ives I love the website, keep it up

    I had a couple questions

    1. Which players trying out for the Red Bulls do you think will make the team

    2. What ever happened to Calum Angus

  27. Hey Ives,

    Love the site. With that in mind…not looking to be nosy or even specifics…but how are things going financially with the site? Just want to be sure all is well with the way the market is these days. Keep up the great work.



  28. Any updates or thoughts on who the Dynamo are targetting for another forward? We aren’t going to make it through the entire season with Ching, Kamara, and Wondolowski. Did Felix Garcia really just back out of his professional commitmant to the dynamo? Is he ever going to show up?

  29. Do you think the current USMNT starting squad is better than the starters from the 2002 World Cup? If so, better by how much?

  30. Hey Ives, great job on the site. I wanted to know what you think about the future of a promotion/relegation set up in the MLS. Given the 40 mil. entry fee, it seems unlikely. But with the USL already established, it seems like everything needed is there? your thoughts?

  31. After nearly getting into a couple of fights sitting in an all mexican section in Columbus, I was wondering if you have ever been close to getting in a soccer related scrap? If not what is the best soccer fight you have seen?

  32. Hey Ives –

    Love the site. It looks like LD will not get signed by Bayern. Do you think this will go down as another bust, or just not a good fit? Chances that he will get swooped up in Europe during the summer transfer window?

    Suportland MLS 2011!

  33. thanks for the Q&A, Ives. what positions and possible players do you see the Red Bulls needing to fill for a strong run at the MLS Cup again?

  34. Of the coaches in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, which have impressed you? Any of the six coaches surprise you (negatively or positively)? Thanks much.

  35. With New Jersey native Gregg Berhalter’s European playing career possibly ending after this season, would he be a good summer addition to the Red Bulls’ central defense, or is he too slow/old/risky for the current level MLS competition? Would he be a particularly better fit for any other MLS teams?

  36. A major complaint about the sport, especially in the US, is the amount of diving that takes place. It’s a lot to ask of refs to notice a dive at full speed from less than ideal angles so why don’t leagues review the tapes of matches and issue punishment from diving that way. In slow motion and with good angles you can tell when there’s a dive and players can receive warnings until a suspension by their 3rd dive, 5th dive or whatever number the league sees fit. I think something like this would drastically reduce the amount of dives.

  37. Love the site Ives, thanks.

    Now that Brian McBride is back in the USA (Chicago Fire), I could see him coming out of his internation retirement this summer for some WC qualifiers if needed.

    What are your thoughts?

  38. I saw Hall lined up at Right Back in the scrimmage with TFC, is he a possibility there or was JCO just experimenting?

    What are your thoughts on Ubi’s development as a central mid, do you see him improving enough this year to be a solid starter or better than average central mid? Or do you see Rojas still as our main option there to start along side Stammler?

  39. Do you think Beckham’s inability to win in MLS reveals only that his teammates were no good, or also that Beckham was no good (in MLS) and the quality of the competition in MLS is better than advertised?

  40. Ives, 1. Do you think Bob will want, and be able, to send our first team down to the Azteca or will we see a “B” or “C” team go if we are already qualified?

    2. Do you see us getting into a better group position than the last time for the World Cup?

    3. Do you get the money for pop ups from your site, or when words like “college” are highlighted in blue, or does that all go to some sneaky advertiser?

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