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Your September Questions Answered (Part 3)

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Chris Rolfe and Jermaine Jones have never met (that we know of), but they're both key figures in the latest installment of Your Questions Answered.

Rolfe is set to leave the Chicago Fire after the season as a free agent, a move that has plenty of readers asking what went wrong, while Jones' potential arrival to the U.S. national team has USMNT fans anxious to know how he will fit in and when he will arive.

Rolfe and Jones are just a few of the subjects covered in this installment. Other subjects include MLS stadiums, Bob Bradley and Woodstock (don't ask).

Now, onto more of Your Questions Answered: 


JOSH– Ives, based upon your experience and knowledge, which soccer stadiums are known for being the best in the MLS, top five please?(knowing that Red Bull's will be the crown jewel once completed)

IVES– Here are, for my money, the Top Five stadiums in MLS, taking into account look, location and amenities (not including Red Bull Arena, which will be No. 1 when it opens):

1. Rio Tinto Stadium

2. Home Depot Center

3. BMO Field

4. Pizza Hut Park

5. Toyota Park

Obviously this is only soccer-specific stadiums. If we go with all stadiums, I’d say Qwest Field is probably second or third.


IAN-Ives, what will be the results of the two remaining US qualifiers (not just winners, give us scores too)?

IVES– I’ll go with Honduras 2, USA 1; USA 2, Costa Rica 0.


DCD33– Arshavin and Robinho weigh around 140 pounds each, roughly. Would a player that small ever have a chance to develop in a US youth system?

IVES– I think the reasoning behind your question is stuck in stereotypes of a U.S. youth system that has progressed quiet a bit in the past five to ten years. A decade or more ago I might agree with you, but I think this country’s youth soccer system has improved and there are more and more standout prospects of smaller stature as American soccer moves away from over-emphasizing size and strength and increases the emphasis on skill. Players such as Marlon Duran and Michael Stephens are coming up the ranks as smaller players holding their own in the U.S. youth ranks, while new FC Dallas signing and Mexico U.S. Under-17 national team player Bryan Leyva has managed to evolve as a player in the U.S. youth soccer system despite also being small.


STEVEN Q. URKEL– What will it take for Jeremiah White to get a look with the Nats, beyond the usual pity call-up in January?

IVES– Good question. Considering the dearth of true wingers I have a feeling we will see White in the January camp, which wouldn’t be a pity call-up, but rather a real chance for him to show that he can contribute to the U.S. team. He had a look in 2008 and there must be a reason he didn’t keep getting them.


ERIC GRIESHEIMER– Ives, When do you think the USMNT will be able to get Jermaine Jones, Castillo in camp/on the feild? When will they be able to tinker with the line up, give Holden, Torres significant playing time?

It looks to me like the Honduras and Costa Rica games will be too important to insert any new players into the line up, even a player of Jones or Castillos quality. Are there Friendlies or other games leading up to the World Cup where Bradley could fine tune his line up?

IVES– Jones doesn’t look likely to be called in this year as he deals with an injury, while Castillo looks more likely to get a call next month. There will be an international fixture date in November where a friendly could be held (assuming the U.S. doesn’t finish in fourth place and has to play a South American team in a World Cup play-in series). I’m sure we’ll get to see some new faces then.


MIGHTY– Ives, Thanks for the great work!!

What type of impact is Edgar Castillo going to have in out national team?

IVES– It’s tough to say really. He’s got talent, and is a good attacking left back prospect, but the assumptions that he’s going to step in and be Roberto Carlos need to tempered. He has enjoyed success in Mexico, but he’s also had his issues, as evidenced by his unsuccessful stint with Club America. If he can get some national team looks and show that he’s more than a quick attacker with weak defensive skills then he’ll be able to work his way into the shallow left back depth chart, but he needs to do it first, something some U.S. fans are forgetting.


DOMINICK– Ives, now that Luis has moved on to covering the late-night beat, does this mean you will not get a chance to avenge the FIFA 08 beatdown he applied to you earlier this year?

BTW, love the site.

IVES– Okay, it was 2-0 and I hadn’t played FIFA since 2004. I don’t think I’ll get a rematch now that Luis is busy living the good life as a nightlife writer, partying with rappers and porn stars. He’s come a long way from a kid who spent a month in Germany during the World Cup and never hit the clubs once.


K– Do you think Freddie Ljunberg will go on loan to Arsenal and do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think this will this be an issue like with Beckham and will this be a trend for all DP's wanting to play the offseason or a way to promote more to come to MLS?

IVES– I doubt Ljungberg goes on loan to Arsenal, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing as long as he came back in time for the start of the 2010 season. It would become an issue if he were going to miss games for Seattle. That said, I’m not so sure he fits in with the current Arsenal squad.


DA BULL– What's your take on the situation going on in Chicago? Soumare leaves for France after fighting Denis at halftime. Rolfe is leaving for Denmark and said the Fire's contract negotiations were a joke and didn't like the way he was treated. Yet they pay Mapp $220k a year. What gives?

IVES– The situations are all different. The Soumare altercation with Hamlett probably was a product, to some degree, of frustration by Soumare over his transfer situation. Did it help the transfer be completed? It might have helped it along, but I have a feeling the deal happens whether or not Soumare and Hamlett scuffle.

As for Rolfe’s talks with the Fire, it’s clear the Fire didn’t rate him as highly as Rolfe felt he deserved to be rated. They offered Rolfe more than they wound up paying Mapp, 250K per season as opposed to the 220K per season Mapp was signed for. Obviously now, given the way Mapp has fallen off, his re-signing is looking like a flop while letting Rolfe go for free i
s also looking like a bad move.

Who’s fault is all this? The easy answer is technical director Frank Klopas and Hamlett, but I’ve been hearing for some time now that the team’s managing director, Javier Leon, has been the de facto leader of the Fire front office.


WALLY– Ives, I never heard any upshot from the second Jozy goal that was disallowed in the El Salvador home qualifier. There was speculation that the call may have been that Jozy was offsides or that Dempsey “fouled” the defender who challenged him when he made the pass to Jozy. Either scenario is completely absurd, but what is stranger is that there has been no clarification about the nature of the call, and no protest or media scrutiny with respect to the insanity of that call. Have you learned anything to enlighten us?

IVES– I haven’t heard anything definitive and after speaking with some people I’d say it’s safe to say we never will. The more likely explanation is that the referee called Dempsey for a foul for sliding in on the eventual pass to Altidore for the goal. If so, it’s an awful call, but the only call that comes close to making sense based on the sequence.


DAVE– Ives what teams do you feel are the top 5 in the world? Club and international.

IVES– Top Five club teams right now:

FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter Milan

Top Five national teams right now:

Brazil, Spain, England, Netherlands, Italy


SBI FAN– Does John Harkes hate Clint Dempsey? He's always very harsh on Clint when he's commenting one of his games. Is the criticism warranted, or does he single Clint out?

IVES– I’ve heard the criticisms and the truth is that Harkes is always talking about plays that are worthy of criticism, but the fact that he dwells on so many Dempsey plays it winds up sounding like he’s being extra hard on Dempsey. The reality is that Dempsey has had some games where he made several mistakes/bad plays, so if in those games you rip him for those mistakes, it will sound like he’s being singled out.


DAVID– How do you think the Red Bulls roster will change between the end of this year and the beginning of next year? Will they have a second DP? any ideas on who it will be? Lastly if Williams doesn't get the job with the Red Bulls, after 2 successful interim spells, is he at the top of every other teams wish list for a new coach?

IVES– You have to expect wholesale changes in New York, with half the roster lucky to come back. The Red Bulls will have two first-round draft picks, the No. 2 spot in the MLS allocation order, allocation money for missing the playoffs and a Designated Player slot the team is expected to use. That’s more than enough to make major changes.

Who will the DP be? I have no idea and I don’t think we’ll have a clue until we see who is hired as the team’s general manager.

As for Richie Williams, he deserves a shot at the job, but if he’s not hired for 2010, I can definitely seeing him being a leading candidate for a head job somewhere else.


JOSH– Do you see Bob Bradley continuing on after WC 2010 or will he step down in order for Gulati to bring in a big name (Guus Hiddink, for example)?

IVES– I think Bradley moves on regardless of what happens in the 2010 World Cup. If the team has a great run, I see him parlaying that into a shot at a job in Europe. If the team has a bad run, he will be replaced.


DAVID– Who do you see as the powerhouses in MLS next year? With Chicago potentially losing Conde, Rolfe, McBRide, and Blanco. LA potentially losing Donovan and Beckham for part of the year again. Lastly Houston potentially losing Clark and Holden. Who comes out on top next year? Seattle? Columbus?

IVES– It’s way too early to tell who will be powers in 2010 but I’d say Columbus will be there regardless of what happens. Yes, Schelotto could retire, but the Crew showed it can win without him. Who else will be there? If Blanco comes back next season then the Fire is still a power (and no, he’s not definitely back, if he were definitely back in 2010 a contract would have been signed by now). Houston could lose Holden and Clark, but I’d put good money on Dom Kinnear re-loading the roster. One team that COULD be a force in 2010 is the Red Bulls, that’s if the team hires the right head coach and GM to take advantage of all the mechanisms the club will have to bolster the roster.


BINGERS AT NOON– I heard through a reputable source that you are the mystery baby born at Woodstock. Care to confirm or deny?

IVES– Come on now? You think I’m 40? I’m old, but not that old. I turn 35 next week so no, I was nowhere near upstate New York in 1969.


AJ– I realize that I may be too fond of Maurice Edu, but based on what I have read of his play in Scotland, is there any difference at all in skill level between him and Jones? I realize both are ahead of Clark, but once all legs are healed, does Jones provide something that Edu doesn't? Other than speaking German of course.

IVES– I’m not sure it’s fair to try and compare Edu to Jones. Let’s think about this rationally. Edu started a handful of matches for Rangers at the end of last season while Jones has a long and successful career playing in the German Bundesliga. Let’s see Edu settle in as a starter for an extended period of time before we go calling him Michael Essien based on a few good starts.

If both are healthy, I’d say Jones is clearly the better player, but Edu does have more upside.


MANIC MESSIAH– Who is Michael Bradley's ideal partner in the center of midfield?

This might be harder to answer, but when both our central midfielders get caught upfield, is it Michael Bradley needing to choose his moments more carefully, or his partner needing to read his runs better?

IVES– I think Bradley and Feilhaber could work well together but they did struggle with the timing of their runs against El Salvador. Bradley has worked well with Clark in the past because Clark doesn’t really make surging runs forward often (the goal vs. T&T being the exception to the rule). If Bradley and Feilhaber ever develop a good understanding and timing of their runs, they would be the ideal central midfield pairing.


MODIBO– What do you make of Chris Rolfe's decision to move to Denmark – did he have his Nats future in mind?

And what do you think the prospects are for the Fire next year, since they'll be without him, Soumare, Blanco, and probably Brown and Conde as well?

IVES– I think it was a combination of Rolfe wanting to make significantly more money than Chicago was offering, wanting to play in Europe and not wanting to lock himself into an MLS contract right before the MLS CBA was to expire.

I wrote about the state of the Fire for ESPN recently and the reality is the club stands to lose a handful of key players, with Soumare and Rolfe already gone. If Chicago can keep Blanco and Pappa, to go with Conde (one more year on his deal), Thorrington, Ward and Busch, that’s not a bad nucleus to work with. They’d still be a strong team, but would need to replace several players (and possibly a head coach).


PATRICK– Ives, any chance you see the USA and Mexico jumping from CONCACAF to CONMEBOL? I thin
k it would help both programs to have to play against better competition to qualify for the World Cup, similar to Australia switching from Oceania to Asia. At this point both programs are all but guaranteed qualifying for the WC every 4 years, so what's the incentive to improve?

This would also trickle down to the club level, swine flu restrictions excluded.

IVES– Ever since Australia made its move to Asia we’ve been hearing this ludicrous theory. I’ve answered this before, but will do so again. THIS WILL NEVER, EVER HAPPEN.

Could CONCACAF be better? Yes, but does CONCACAF’s strength relative to CONMEBOL keep Mexico and the United States from wanting to improve? No, that’s crazy talk. If anything, CONCACAF is improving, so there’s still plenty of incentive for Mexico and USA to improve.


What do you think of these answers? Agree? Disagree?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “CONMEBOL is the second best Confederation in the world behind UEFA.”

    That’s very arguable. While CONMEBOL and UEFA are 8-8 in World Cups, in all other World tournaments (Confeds Cup, u-17, u-20, u-23, CWC, etc.) CONMEBOL has more titles than UEFA.

    UEFA has more money, without a doubt, but it doesn’t mean they have the best football.

  2. 25

    Greatest “Your Questions Answered” of all time!

    Sad part is that what it took for Ives to get even more interactive than usual was the comments section hemorrhaging idiocy…

  3. “But right now I just don’t think he is as good as he is being given credit for. -andrew in tampa”

    Andrew- Let’s say you are 100% accurate. Early on Bradley’s temperment was suspect and he was always a red card waiting to happen but he seems to have tempered that a bit. Who then has proven to be consistently better than Bradley? Look up Bradley’s stats for the US.

    Benny is potentially better but he has just gotten back into regular playing time for his club in a European league which is not as good as either of the leagues where Bradley has been a regular at a very young age. Bradley’s upside is tremendous and I would argue he may well have a bigger upside than Benny. However I believe the ultimate long term ideal midfield partnership is Benny and Bradley. So, until Benny catches up, you play Bradley as much as possible

    I promise you this if Bradley’s last name were Smith or Galarcep you don’t feel the way you do.

  4. Ouch. That last one cut deep. “M’am”? All of a sudden I’m feeling 64 instead of 46. I was just having fun with you. I think your website is brilliant and voted for it about 40 times last spring in the sports blog contest. It gets updated so often, I wonder if you sleep. And I visit so often, my husband gets cranky. Enjoy your weekend full of soccer Ives and keep up the good work.

    (SBI-Okay, so M’am may have been too much. How about lady?)

  5. Ives, you know I have been critical of you in the past and have not posted in a while but one advantage you might have over everyone else is that you see a lot of games live. I think being at a game and not being handcuffed to the view on TV allows you to see the value of players more. We can’t see what happens off the ball and the work some players do. I have noticed that when I am at games vs. watching them on TV.

    I think that is something that happens to MB. He does go from box to box and he really is our only midfielder that can do this. To have a player like this, it is an advantage to the US and he should be on the field.

    I 100% agree with you that Feilhaber has not had an excellent match when he starts. He has been much more effective and useful coming off the bench in the last 20-30 minutes. We need to figure out how that Feilhaber can show up for an entire match. I hope that Feilhaber and Bradley can mesh because I think if they are both in form it gives us a nice dynamic and right now, with players that have played recently or are eligible to play, our best pairing. I think part of the problem from their latest pairing was that roles were not defined. With Feilhaber on the field, MB needs to be a little more conversative and defensive, and if they get forward together then our outside backs have to hold or at least one of them depending on what our opponent does. There has to be balance and there wasn’t, I don’t think it is just MB and Feilhabers fault, but the players together need to communicate and BB needs to define roles before the match. And for all we know, he could have, and players might not have done their job.

    ooo and 24.

  6. Stephen,

    I understand how the transfer rules work.

    I don’t understand how MLS lets players go for free when they know they will leave on a free at the end of their contracts. They are leaving money on the table.

    For a business that is crying annual losses, they are not playing the business game at the global level – transfer fees.

  7. >> Quest is Soccer specific. The city
    >> wouldn’t appprove its construction
    >> otherwise.

    > (SBI-I think the Seattle Seahawks would
    > disagree with you calling Qwest Field
    > “soccer-specific).

    Whatever, Ives. See the video with the history:

    There’s no question that Qwest is as much a soccer stadium as it is a football stadium and it always has been. Credit the ambition and forethought of the people of Seattle for that if not everything that Sounders fans claim.

  8. Ives, your comment about NYRB made me ask, “What is the current Allocation order?” It seems like such a mystery to me–how the order is/was established, how it works, where is it published and who lands on it…

  9. Yeah Ives, careful, you might be isolating your 17 year old fanbase too. Im kidding of course, and this 19 year old thinks the work you do is fantastic.

  10. Ives,

    At 46, I may be old, but I’m definitely not a man. You’re two for two and the day is still young. LOL back at ya. I’m beginning to understand why you have so much time to spend on this website:) Still love ya man.

    (SBI-Listen m’am, I’m on the site so much because it’s my job. Glad you enjoy it though, readers like you make it fun.)

  11. PS. 45 . . .

    . . . I also think we need to substantiate our devotion to soccer to back up our claims: I busted my nose last week in an adult rec game. The blood was glorious, both inside and outside the nose. So there.

  12. Indypaul, Anyone can go on a free transfer, the biggest one this year was Michael Owen to Man U. It just means that your contract ran out and you were available. In Rolfe’s case, Chicago did not make an offer he was willing to accept and his contract ends (usually Dec 31). So, as a free player he can much more easily obtain a contract in Europe since they only have to pay his salary and no contract purchase from another club.

  13. Mine was a joke too SBI, I am relaxed and I’m still reading. You’re feisty today. I like it.

    (SBI- Whatever you say old man. LOL)

  14. look, if the kids last name was not Bradley, he wouldn’t be getting the benefit of the doubt. Plain and simple. He’s had a lot of off games, that would get other guys knocked out of the line up.

    Posted by: Kojack

    with all due respect, that is an ignorant assertion. It is ignorant because Bradley the player is recognized on the club level of being a player of worth: transfer fees, playing time, high pressure go to guy–all these things say he is not a scrub. It is ignorant because if you see BB’s style of coaching, he brings along players as a team and–especially at the higher level games, does not make rash lineup changes an sticks with guys who have proven themselves but are going through a rough patch–even if the rough patch is a couple of games. Eventually he does pull them (DMB). MB has not been the “crap player” some have made him out to be. He has proven himself, he has made both defensive and offensive positive impact on a pretty consistent basis, so in BB’s way, you just don’t drop a kid. It has NOTHING to do with the last name. That’s plain reactionary and idiotic to charge BB with that. Now if MB played like Jay Heaps and BB was putting “Heaps Bradley” as striker in the Confederations Cup final, then, yes, you could charge nepotism. And finally, who are you going to replace MB with that is so superior that he himself has no faults, in any game, who never gets a yellow, never misses a defensive assignment and scores 1.3 goals a game? No one. MB fills a role, and though I might sub him here and there, BB is consistent with his style NOT to sub him. He does the same with other players.

    Okay, my rant is done.

  15. Wow I am going to go out on a limb and say its a full moon or something tonight because there are a ton of idiots posting on here today. The Bradley vs. Adu ranting is about as misguided as anyhing I’ve read. Jesus people relax a little, Bradley is a great player but obviously makes mistakes and Adu is still a young prodigy who will get his chance but he is not ready…he can’t even get any time on the field at his new club. Also MB is not a winger, he is a center mid. I would have loved to see him play along side Reyna I think that could have been a great tandem in the middle. Ives I love the bantering back and forth today because some of these people have no idea what they are talking about. Work today has flown buy, thanks!

  16. “(SBI-Laugh if you want but while some U.S. fans think Bob Bradley is clueless, Bradley was busy getting a ton of credit and respect from European media for leading the USA to the Confederations Cup final. Luckily for Bradley, his chances of landing in Europe aren’t based on the rumblings and opinions of U.S. fans, particularly the ones who’ve never given him an ounce of credit from day one. If he leads the USA to a strong World Cup, he will have chances in Europe.)”

    Well played, Mr. Ives.

  17. I for one want to see more opportunities given to Torres.

    I am still scratching my head over him being yanked from the CR game. Then, he was pretty much benched since.

    He is one of the only technical players we have right now and would provide some of the possession we sorely need.

    Why is he not being developed more?

    (SBI-I agree with everything you said Paul except for the last line. A national team’s job isn’t to develop players, but to play players who are good enough to be playing for the team. Obviously it’s a subjective call whether the U.S. coaches think he is ready for more minutes. That said, they must rate him to call him in and to take him to international tournaments at his age, and the fact that he got into an El Salvador game that hadn’t been decided yet tells me he’s in the plans. He’s still young and should get his chances, but there are still only a certain number of places in the lineup.)

  18. futue question (reminder to myself really), realistically, if howard gets severely injured before 2010, are we more likely to see friedel come out of international retirement to start or are we more likely to see his back up guzan start in 2010.

    i.e. wouldn’t freidel want to come back if guaranteed to start in a world cup and needed to by his country.

    i.e. or does bradley and his country go with the boy who has been working and earning his spot on the team, but is still a back up goal keeper.

    (SBI-Jeez Deuce, had to be “severely” injured? Couldn’t just be injured? I think Friedel would be hard-pressed to pass up another World Cup if Howard went down. I think he’d get a call and I bet he’d accept. Also, the whole “earning his spot” thing is a weak notion. You earn your spot by being good enough. It’s not a “Go to 20 camps and you qualify to go to the World Cup” deal.)

  19. From now on all posters should have to announce their age first. I’ll start:


    I think the people who are critical of Bradley the Elder for being too rigid and opposing forget about the players he has moved out of the system in the past few years — guys like Hejduk and Mastroeni and now Beasley. He is not opposed to change, he just doesn’t do it on a whim because some guy has fans in Dallas excited or whatever. I, for one, appreciate his measured approach to running the squad.

    (SBI (34)-Loving the age-check idea. Too bad there’s no way to verify it.)

  20. look, if the kids last name was not Bradley, he wouldn’t be getting the benefit of the doubt. Plain and simple. He’s had a lot of off games, that would get other guys knocked out of the line up.

    (SBI-Right, good thing Bob Bradley’s name recognition had pull in the Dutch League and had pull in the Bundesliga last season so Michael Bradley could start in those leagues. Apparently Moenchengladbach started Bradley in every game of its relegation battle because the Bradley name had too much power. Maybe Dutch League goalkeepers let Michael score so as not to upset Bob Bradley.

    The more accurate assertion is that if Michael Bradley weren’t such a good player, he might be pulled for a handful of subpar performances. What U.S. player hasn’t had a stretch of subpar games? Should they all have been pulled? Perhaps anybody involved in the Azteca game should sit for a few months? This isn’t a video game Kojack. Maybe on FIFA you can tinker and play Honduras in Honduras three times with three different formations and lineups to see which one works, but that’s not reality. Bob Bradley plays the players he thinks are his best options. You can certainly disagree with the options, but saying his decisions are based on anything other than that isn’t the talk of a rational person.)

  21. i remember when MB first started playing, people were posting how impressed they were with him (and Benny). He showed a lot of potential, just young. Then with his stint at Heernveen everybody was going gaga. The point is he has always had potential and he earned his playing time. He is not THE number one world class option at halfback, but he IS pretty darn good. We should expect mistakes from him from time to time. Yes, he is sitting now at MGb, but sitting there doesn’t necessarily translate to sitting with the MNT. It may be an indicator. people react differently in different environments. Do not forget that Gladback pursued and paid decent money for him and has shown incredible faith in him (like taking pk’s, and starting all those games). Sitting NOW does not mean he’s and idiot and a waste, it means he is facing a challenge. I have never, ever considered “daddy Bradley” to be a nepotist. Not one time. He plays his son because his son is a good player and one of the best we have. Ives, I think, made a good point: who would you replace him with? Xavi? Pirlo? lol. ANy US guy you cna think of will have his own faults to. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. That’s just how it goes.

  22. I don’t get the MB hate that people throw out here, he’s the best CM we have. I agree w/ Ives that if his last name wasn’t Bradley, he wouldn’t have any haters

    W/ that said, he needs to be partnered w/ a player like Feilhaber or Torres, who are best suited to be point guards for the offense. Having those guys play w/ Bradley allows Bradley to be the X-factor that he is. When he plays w/ Clark he has to be in that point man, and he’s not great at it (he’s good, just not as good as Feilhaber).

    I understand that Bradley play’s a counterattacking style against “better” teams and on the road. But that just leads to playing more defense, which is never a good thing.

    I’m not sure what to say if we don’t have the faith enough in our players to go to T&T and play a possession game. It doesn’t mean that we push everyone forward and get caught out of position. It just means we don’t attempt to play long balls constantly, or play the ball through midfield w/ players that aren’t suited to do it under pressure. This type of play leads to getting caught out of position.

    Say what you want about the Honduras game result (2-1). But w/ Feilhaber in the midfield, we dominated possession, didn’t turn the ball over on our half of the field constantly like we usually do, and we create a ton of great chances on goal. If we finished anything in that game, the score would’ve been 7or8-1

    (SBI-Fair points throughout, but I’ll question your last graph regarding the Honduras game. What you may not have noticed about that game is the biggest difference-making development in that game was Wilson Palacios running out of gas. Palacios hadn’t trained following the murder of his brother and it wasn’t clear whether he’d even play, but he did and for the first 35-40 minutes he was an absolute beast, dominating the central midfield like the world-class player he is, but he flat ran out of gas. Playing on emotion and lacking fitness was always going to lead to him burning out and he did, which is why he covered a fraction of the ground he did in the first half. Conversely, Feilhaber found much more room to maneuver than he might have found in the first half if he had started. Please don’t take it as me saying Feilhaber didn’t play well in that game, he certainly did, but I think context in necessary when looking at that game.

    For me, Feilhaber-Bradley is a combination I want to see more of. I think Feilhaber can be a solid starter, but it needs to be pointed out that most of his better performances have come as a sub and his track record as a starter over the past four months hasn’t been nearly as good as some would have you believe. He’s had his moments, but I don’t think he’s had a standout game as a starter yet. That said, I do think he needs to play more because he has the components to be a good starter and partner with Bradley in the middle.)

  23. Ives:

    Michael Bradley hasn’t looked good of late and is not getting minutes on his team. Is there any possibility of Bob benching his son for a game and going with a Feilhaber/Edu pairing or a Feilhaber/Clark pairing in a game in which Bradley is available — i.e. he hasn’t red or yellow carded himself out of contention?

    I think we know the answer. While Bradley has been a major player for this team, he probably shouldn’t be an automatic selection given his recent form.

    (SBI- When there are two better options in central midfield than Michael Bradley, they will play. Bradley has been an automatic selection because he has continued to be the best option, even with his form not being at its best. Now, if he continues to sit for his club team, and he comes to the next qualifying camp and isn’t sharp, and there are other players who look like better options, Bradley will sit and Bradley should sit. However, making a change for the sake of a change, doesn’t make much sense to me, particularly not at this crucial point in qualifying, and not in central midfield when the next match is AT Honduras and against players like Wilson Palacios and Rambo Leon.)

  24. Ives, now that you’re something of a celebrity and that means people now see you as someone to get advice on life from, could you tell me if I should lose faith in our civilization, because reading comments sections like these makes me lose some faith in humanity. It’s bothersome to see how many people are unable to simply read what’s actually written (typed) without twisting it to mean something that was not said. It seems like, if someone likes player A, and they read words that may be critical of something small about player A, well then the writer is obviously totally biased against player A and has no credibility whatsoever. Similarly, if someone hates player B, and reads something about player B that is not all negative, then the writer has no idea what he’s talking about. I know that it’s not the majority of people, and it’s probably a case that such posts are the ones that stick out more so they might seem more common than they are, but man such posts are really annoying, and I love seeing you respond and point out when people are completely distorting what you say.

    So what do you think? Should I give up on my fellow human beings?


    BTW, I hate seeing Ching play for the national team, and if you don’t agree with me 100% then you’re obviously defective in many ways.

    (SBI-Thanks for the laugh.Not everyone is going to agree on everything, there are always different ways to see things, but I do agree that it seems as if some people get irrational about debating their points of view on things, be it soccer or politics. Maybe it’s all just angst over the state of the economy, maybe we’re just an angrier nation. Who knows. What I do know is that debating soccer should be fun, not a series of angry arguments.

    Oh, and I wish I was a celebrity, then I could go on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.”)

  25. Come on Ives.

    Had Feilhaber or Torres been given the chances MB has been given, they would be ahead of him. They are the players we want to develop for their technical ability that MB does not have.

    His recent form at Gladbach begs the question, has he peaked? Why did he have a bust up with his Manager at Gladbach? Because his Manager is not drinking the MB Koolaid?

    If there was another Manager in charge of the National Team, would MB had been given so many chances? I am not sure.

    The criticism that he gives up stupid fouls at dumb times is valid. If you watch some of he goals that have been scored against us, they have been in the space that MB should have been defending. You guys never point it out.

    To this day, the 3rd goal in CR, no one seems to ever point to the fact that MB just watched the guy go by him in the box. Everyone just blames Bocanegra.

    We have technical talent that can hold the ball in the midfield, our Manager is not using it, or developing it to our advantage. Instead, he is building the team around his Son.

    (SBI-Indypaul, nice job filling one comment with every nonsensical argument against Michael Bradley’s role with the national team. I can’t even begin to address all of it without spending all Friday writing 2000 words on why you are misguided (though I’ve touched on some of that nonsense in recent comments). What I will say is that regarding Costa Rica’s third goal, if you watched the game objectively and carefully you would have known that Bradley ran clear across the field and from box to box on the full sprint to try and close down Costa Rica and had nothing left when he wound up matched up against a fast and shifty player who had just come into the match. Bradley did what he could on that play short of scything the guy down and giving up a PK and drawing a red. Bradley passed the attacker off and nobody (including Bocanegra) stepped up. If you only watch that play at the point they’re in the penalty area, then yes, Bradley looks like he just gave up on the play, but watching the play in its full context shows pretty clearly what Bradley did on that play and why he had nothing left to keep up with the guy.)

  26. Ives: ” I would imagine that Bob Bradley, like any other coach, selects his best players, and doesn’t shake things up based on a player having a few subpar games (particularly when others are also performing below par). ”

    Just working off memory, which may be faulty since I am also over 40 (Solidarity, Zizoufan!), Bradley, in an interview with Wahl, spoke a lot of what it takes to elevate players to the next level. He implied it takes time for them to adjust, or even to see if they can adjust, not just individually, but as a team. Also, how do they respond “after a loss.” This gave me a bit of insight into why he seems to hang on to “his guys” as some like to spout off about. He sees something in “a guy” and his mindset doesn’t flush them after one or two poor performances. He wants to see if the skill set he sees in them matures to the next level. He wants to give them the opportunity to grow.

    As others have pointed out aptly, BB has run more guys through than probably any recent coach. YOu can’t say he has “his favorites” and is blind to others. But what you can see is that with time, he sees what he thinks could be a good team, and works with them to bring them up as a group. He seems to be a systems thinker.

    However, at some point, as with DMB and Sacha, or Davies’ or HOlden’s insertions, he does let players go after strings of aweful performance and elevates others.

    He just doesn’t play herky jerky with them. While I don’t always agree with his method (seeing as I don’t even coach youth, my opinion doesn’t hold a candle to his wisdom), I understand more why he does what he does. And overall, I am behind him.

    What i DON’T get is guys who are professionals not being able to make accurate passes consistently, even when under a bit of pressure (like Clark, for the most part). That just baffles me. How do you coach them out of that? I am not asking for Messi’s individual skills and instinct, or the sick accuracy of Beckham. I just want passes that pretty much go to YOUR guy, and not 5 yards to the right, straight to the opponent.

  27. Perhaps you are right about the T&T game. Maybe as fans we blame the teams flat performance to much on tactics instead of thy players just not executing. I wonder in situations like the T&T game with such a quick turnaround and so many players traveling from Europe that it might be worthwhile to rotate the squad more. Not wholesale changes on every position but maybe some fresh legs at each part of the field. Start Dolo on the right and shift Spector Left. Obviously Onyewu was fresh replacing Marshell. Clark replaced Feilhaber. Maybe it would have been worthwhile to put Holden in for Dempsey and start Dempsey up top for Davies since Davies was carrying a little injury anyway. I guess hindsight is always better.

    Part of me hopes that come next summer the missing piece is just that they need more time together than the qualifiers allow and they will gel like they did at the Confed Cup. I assume it is hard for all of them to come in and leave their club tactics behind and adopt the Nats style.

  28. Ives, Keep in mind that when you say things like: “Come on now? You think I’m 40? I’m old, but not that old,” you are alienating your over-40 fan base. I loved you man, at least until that comment. Signed 46-year old former Ives fan.

    (SBI-It’s a joke ZizouFan, relax.)

  29. Hi Ives,

    Thanks for answering a couple of my questions. I am optimistic about what next year holds for RBNY.

    With regard to the discussion on Bradley above I think in general his stint as coach has been a success. Just this year they have made it to 2 finals and are on top of their qualifying group but in general I think most critics, myself included, think the team has the talent to play better than they do. It seems that when the style of team doesn’t live up to its talent then the coach is the one who gets the blame. That may be unfair. Perhaps we all think better of the players than we should. Perhaps the problem is more the time they get to train together. In general it just seems like his mentality is more concervative then neccesary versus regional opponents. While it has proved effective I can’t imagine the players wanted to play a counter attacking game against T&T, but who know. I guess only Bradley and the players.

    (SBI-There’s definitely a lot of over-valuing of the talent on the U.S. roster. Some fans are unrealistic about just how good this team is and where it stacks up globally, or even within the region. Is Bradley a conservative coach by nature? I’m not sure I agree with that. I think Bradley is a coach that will use the systems and lineups that give his team the best chance to win, whether that means using an attractive style or more conservative style is relative to the talent at his disposal. As for the T&T game, if you think that the answer to winning on the road against a team with dangerous attacking weapons is to throw numbers at them and attack, I’d say that would be a foolish approach. Attacking at home and defending and countering on the road against teams with dangerous attacking players and suspect defenses isn’t what I would consider an overly-conservative philosophy. I’d consider it a sensible one.)

  30. Getting an opportunity to play up front instead on the right side might have played a role in Rolfe leaving the Fire. Chris is a high quality finisher (e.g., his recent goal against RSL) and most comfortable and effective in a 2nd striker role. He hasn’t had that opportunity on a steady basis since Osorio moved him out right a few years ago.


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