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Your January Questions Answered (Part 3)

Jozy Altidore 2 (Getty Images)

Ever wonder who the best players not playing in the World Cup are? Have you had questions about just how much MLS allocations are worth? Have you spent time thinking about whether Canada will ever be a CONCACAF power?

These are just some of the questions and topics covered in this latest installment of Your January Questions Answered.

Here are some more of Your January Questions Answered:

JC– Are we being little too tough on Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore when Mexico is having similar problems with their prodigies Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos, who are having their own problems at their respective clubs (Arsenal, Tottenham)?

IVES– Very fair point. I think fans put way too much pressure on young Americans to live up to unrealistic expectations. The criticism recently of Altidore sounds totally misguided to me. He’s playing games in the EPL and doing well but since he’s not scoring goals some folks want to rip him. That just makes no sense at all. Adu’s situation is a bit different since he’s been in Europe a few years and has yet to really establish himself at all.


SCOTT– Hey Ives, love the site. What do you think the chances of a team in the south getting a team? Atlanta maybe? When do you think it will happen?

IVES– Miami and Atlanta are the most likely targets and both have reputations as weak markets for pro sports. Neither has an obviously strong ownership group ready to pounce so I’m not sure we’ll see a southern team in the near future, which is a shame.


LANDYCAKES– Who's your darkhorse favourite to win the world cup? Considering that, who will finish top four?

IVES– What qualifies as a “:darkhorse favorite”? I think Spain and Brazil are the favorites, while England is getting a lot of consideration (at least before Terry-Gate.). I would say the Netherlands is a team that has to be considered, while I could see Serbia as a longer long shot.


JTnTEXAS– What is the chance that the MLS season is:

1)delayed due to the negotiation target day being missed and a lock out or strike happening;
2)canceled completely (i.e. NHL)due to lock out or strike;

and what are the ramification to MLS, the US National Team and soccer in the US in general.

IVES– 1. I’d say there’s a 25 percent chance of a delayed start to the season due to a lockout/strike.

2. I really don’t see a complete lockout/strike. I’d say there’s a one percent chance of that happening


AMIT– I'm sorry if this has been asked before, but when an MLS team gets an allocation or partial allocation, I always wonder how much that is? Is there a fixed amount? If there is a range, could you approximate lowest to highest amount? Thank you!

IVES– I have heard of allocation values being as little as $60-$75K and as high as $300K. Allocations can be broken up into different values but start out in the $300K range.


RLW2020– Will Canada ever become a major rival to the US? they seem to have all of the pieces in the right places with good players and growing fan interest. maybe by the next HEX?

Also which current US player would you like to see take a coaching job in the MLS in the next 5-8 years, or take a TV Broadcasting job?

IVES– It’s interesting because there has been plenty of talent from Canada heading to Europe for years. With Toronto and Vancouver setting up shop, and with both teams expected to set up qualify player development systems, which should mean even more talent. Ultimately, the Canadian federation needs to step up and do a better job of running things.


ADAM IN IRVINE-Two questions I've always pondered, Ives:

1) First and foremost, who is the most well-known person that you have met who reads your columns/tweets/SBI?

2) Have you ever though of having a soccer celebrity guest column? Such as having Gooch do a write-up for you while he's rehabbing, maybe he could explain the day-to-day of coming back?

IVES– Other than players, I can’t say I’ve had an actual celebrity emerge as a reader. As for a celebrity guest column, I doubt a player would agree to one, but it’s something to think about.


SERGIO of SF– Now that the second division has been approved by USSF. Do you ever see teams being relegated as is done just about everywhere else in the world? I would like this to happen once a 20 team league is well established.

IVES– Not happening any time soon, if ever.


WAKE– What would be your starting XI of players from countries that didn't make the World Cup?

IVES– Here goes:

———-Zlatan Ibrahimovic———Emmanuel Adebayor——-

—————————–Andre Arshavin—————————–

Ryan Giggs———————————————–Luka Modric

—————————Mahamadou Diarra————————-

Yuri Zhirkov———————————————–Darijo Srna

——Vincent Kompany————-Thomas Vermaelen————

——————————Shay Given——————————-

(SBI-Apologies for listing Yaya Toure, who is from Ivory Coast, but I was thinking of Seydou Keita. Given the position, Diarra slots in. Also, Given has to get the nod over Igor Akinfeev, who is good but not quite at Given's level yet.)


KP– Assuming Stuart Holden does not return for the Dynamo, what other midfielders in MLS could Houston bring in as his replacement?

IVES– Christian Gomez is available. Amado Guevara was available before returning to Motagua. I have a feeling Houston will look outside MLS for a playmaker.


ERIC– Aside from keeper, I think the Nats should be about our best 10 players instead our best four defenders, best four midfielders, and best two forwards. If Bob were to choose a different game plan and put our best 20 feet out in the field, who would you like to see out there? Defense would be four guys who have a good sense of defensive assignments but can also distribute under pressure. That, for me, would put Little Bradley and Jermaine Jones (if healthy) in the middle with Holden and Beckerman on the left and right, respectively. From left to right in the midfield, you get Edu, Fielhaber, Donovan, and Rogers. And up top, you have Dempsey and Altidore. Some would complain there isn't a target forward between Dempsey and Altidore, but the idea is that everyone on the field can now possess instead of rely on long balls. Was this idea doomed forever when Beasley fell apart at left back? It just doesn't seem right to pin the feasibility of that game plan on the results of a single player who relies so much on riding his own tide of confidence.

IVES– With all due respect, this is one of the sillier suggestions I’ve heard. You do realize that a team needs to be able to defend, right? I also don’t think Beasley was tried at left back because of Bob Bradley’s desire to apply this strategy. Beasley, when on form, brings some good defensive qualities to the left flank. At least he used to.

I do agree that the U.S. team needs some better technical quality, but you can’t simply move players around and out of position all over the field.


KYLE BURKHOLDER– Does Donovan have any control if he does wish to leave MLS for Europe? I was surprised he signed the MLS contract when he did, considering European clubs could be very interested after the WC, but maybe not willing to pay the outrageous price MLS is sure to ask for him.

IVES– I’ve been told Donovan doesn’t have any out clauses in his new deal, but I have to believe there is some sort of agreement, whether binding or a handshake agreement, that if a major bid comes in MLS will consider it.


JANK– With seattle huge fan base, are they gonna get/try and get their own stadium?

IVES– I don’t get the sense that this is an issue for Seattle right now. Qwest Field is just fine aside from the turf and building a stadium with anywhere close to the same capacity would cost a fortune. That’s not even considering location. They’re not finding a better location than where Qwest Field is.


MENLO PARK TF– Do you ever see City ever overtaking United as the marquee club in Manchester?

IVES– Not any time soon, but if City’s owners keep spending and United’s owners keep driving the club into debt, it just might happen. I still don’t think it will though until Alex Ferguson retires.


SAM-Can you believe how crazy dollar menus have gotten recently? For 3 dollars, I can get 3 chicken sandwiches at Wendys, 3 double burgers at BK, or 3 Five Layer
Burritos at Taco Bell!

IVES– This is true, but do you really want three of any of those? I can’t imagine you being able to function if you had any of those trios. Now, if BK puts its Chicken sandwich on the dollar menu all bets are off.


RICH– I've been hearing a lot about MLS adding a second DP slot for 2010. I was initially in favor of the idea because I want the on-field product to improve. However, it's virtually impossible for one player to elevate the overall level of play in MLS. And with the exception of Beckham, the existing DP's haven't really generated much buzz. Wouldn't the money that would go toward a 2nd DP be better spent on 3 or 4 stronger senior players?

IVES– Beckham is the only DP to generate much buzz? Really? How much do you watch MLS? It’s safe to say Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Freddie Ljungberg created buzz and Juan Pablo Angel has proven to be more than worthy of a DP slot.

I agree with your premise that if the choice is between teams having a second DP slot and teams being able to sign multiple players of higher quality then multiple players would help more, but it should also be noted that the market for quality talent in the 100-300K price isn't exactly unlimited and that's what I don't think people realize. At a certain point you need to be able to pay considerably more than non-DP max to bring in real talent.


CHUCK Z-Is there a more badass movie character than Wesley Snipes' Blade? I mean that man should receive an Oscar for his deliver of the word F***.

IVES– Blade was a pretty bad dude, but there have been plenty of folks who were even more intimidating. Who? Here are some great all-time movie badasses (and I'm listing strictly heroes and anti-heroes, not any outright bad guys).

Josy Wales (The Outlaw Josey Wales)

Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon)

Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity)

Dalton (Roadhouse)

Maximus (Gladiator)

William Munny (Unforgiven)

Snake Plisskin (Escape from New York)

Brian Mills (Taken)

Mickey O'Neil (Snatch)



  1. “altitore does not cover enough ground.

    he doesn’t chase down enough balls]

    he doesn’t win enough 50-50 balls

    he is not that good in the air, or really at finishing period.

    his only skill is with the ball he is pretty tough, but he is not like he produces goals from this, he usually just fires one in the stands or makes a bad pass or simply they eventually get it from him”

    In addition to spelling Jozy’s name wrong, you’ve essentially bottled every thing else as well. I don’t know what matches you have watched, mate, but you really need to open your eyes and take another look. Jozy chases down balls when they are played, but you can’t really chase down long balls played into the keepers box from the center line that are hoofed out of the back. For some reason, many of us American fans think that running after everything like a dog chases a frisbee makes a good player. Honestly, good players time their runs, conserve their energy, and don’t knacker themselves over hopeful and desperate longballs played to no one. As for covering ground, I’m going to ignore this, because he tracks back to defend as far as the 30 yard range in his won area at times. Not sure you can cover more ground than that, nor should it be done, as a striker is needed up front in his positioned ground. As for the air, Jozy is average, but his flicks are often dispossessed as a result of the 4-5-1 Hull employs. He needs to become a better finisher, but to insinuate that he is in some way a bad finisher negates many of his positive performances for the USA. As for him not producing goals through toughness, I appeal again to your ignorance or blindness to what he has done over the past few weeks. Someone post the highlights of him setting up the ex-Celtic Hesselink of whatever his archaic name is…all created from his ability to position himself, strongly hold the ball whilst running, and to pass to the man making a run for a first time finish. If that isn’t “producing goals” through toughness, I don’t know what is. Likewise, he is skilled attacking players in one on one situations and has some nice footwork to boot. He is no Ronaldo, but he is improving and is certainly better than either uninformed or unqualified critics like you make him out to be.

  2. also disagree with ives about the dp thing

    beckham and maybe blanco have been the only guys that have sold tickets on name alone.

    angel sold some tickets cuz he played really well and was probably the best player in the league for 08 and 07

    ljundberg, c’mon no one got that excited about ljundberg, he played ok, was probally the 2nd best player on his team

    but i don’t give him much credit for seatle succesful season

    (SBI-Joe, ticket sales aren’t the only measure of a successful DP. Far from it. If a player can play at a level above most players in the league, can elevate the play of his team and can capture the imagination of a fan base, he has proven worth the money a DP costs. Angel has done that and Ljungberg overcame a slow start to be one of the best players in the league in the second half of the season (and finished the year as the favorite of Seattle fans). Also, if not for the DP slot Schelotto leaves a year ago. MLS teams are obviously not batting a thousand on DPs but to say that only Beckham and Blanco have proven worthy of a DP is a stretch.)

  3. altitore does not cover enough ground.

    he doesn’t chase down enough balls]

    he doesn’t win enough 50-50 balls

    he is not that good in the air, or really at finishing period.

    his only skill is with the ball he is pretty tough, but he is not like he produces goals from this, he usually just fires one in the stands or makes a bad pass or simply they eventually get it from him

  4. “IVES- Other than players, I can’t say I’ve had an actual celebrity emerge as a reader. As for a celebrity guest column, I doubt a player would agree to one, but it’s something to think about.”

    Which players are confirmed readers Ives? I know Charlie Davies is!

    (SBI-I’m not a name-dropper, at least that’s what Messi tells me.)

  5. don’t disagree that he’s probably be better at United. Hull sucks ass. But the reality is to elite team is going to start a 20 year old. Take Rooney, He was already a good scorer at Everton. If he wants to be there he’s probably better off being in their reserves and tring to break through. I mean look at Barca, Their young players get a fair shot. Arsenal too. But don’t go to Liverpool. Their reserves nobody comes out of these days. But rarely will a really good team sign one in Jozy’s position, with zero history of scoring a high level. Now weather he’d score at these clubs i don’t know. I think, the form he’s in right now, he’s a really inaccurate shooter. He’s not converting the chances he’s getting now. regardless to play at United you have to prove you’re good enough somewhere else. He’s not even close yet. But as you say he’s young, got potential, and all the tools. I’m hoping he nets this weekend. And get’s bags of confidence and shows me how good he is. Though i’m rough on him and people think i’m trying to say he’s crap. The reality is i think Jozy Altidore has every potential to be an utter beast. I think with the right instruction he could be as good as Drogba. But he obviously has to do some improving. that’s to be expected.

  6. i get that he’s 20. But he’s starting in the EPL and fighing for relegation. They are hardly looking for a guy to not score. I’ll be honest he’s playing. But i don’t see any improvement in most aspects of his game. He’s still getting easily disposessed too often, turning into defenders to get onto his right foot and losing the ball cause he doesn’t want to use his left. His touch with his back to goal is still suspect. His runs are sometimes illogical, He’s not dropping deeper when he needs to. He’s passing up shots he should take. His shot selection isn’t always the best and he’s utterly inaccurate. Now i don’t think that’s his fault. I think Phil Brown is crap and not asking him to do those things so he’s not learning them.

    But to his age the reality is 20 year old strikers don’t start in England very often. Let alone 10 games. So if he’s going to play in a big boy league he’s going to get measured like the big boys. Look at NGog at Liverpool. He’s 20, but rarely starts. Even so he’s got only 6 starts but 24 shots, 9 SOG, and 4 goals. Also playing as a lone striker. So there’s a similiar comparison. So similar stats to jose but a much more efficient strike rate.

    Jose’s starting cause he’s on a garbage team that, instead of buying a proven prem scorer took a shot in hopes a cheap unproven Jozy could do the job. I’m glad he’s starting but personally i think coming off the bench is where he belongs (not on hull cause they suck but on any other team). There’s less pressure to carry the scoring from the bench. But look around the league, Sturridge is 20, he barely plays. Vela a sub? NGog, mostly a sub? Dos Santos? can’t get a game. Young players don’t start normally start at striker in this league. And most countries are not trying to rely on a 20 year old striker at the world cup. He’s in a difficult position because the U.S. hasn’t produced strikers.

    As hull played against chelsea one thing stood out from the BBC match report, “They continued to threaten from set plays, Anthony Gardner and Jozy Altidore both guilty of profligacy in front of goal from well directed Hunt deliveries.” “Progligacy” = wasteful. Even the BBC is noticing that Jozy was wasteful of his chances. Because that’s how strikers are evaluated at the highest level. Point is i’m not the only one noticing. Americans say, “he’s 19” others just don’t care.

    If he want’s to be cut slack cause he’s 19 and not carry the scoring weight he should be in the reserves or coming off the bench.

    If he wants to start. He’s going to get judged by the standard of starters. That is don’t waste chances and put the ball in the back of the net or become a winger like Kuyt. Personally i think that’s fair.

    Hull need goals scorers. If goals didn’t matter Villarreal would be looking to keep him. Last i heard they were looking to get rid of him and all their loaned players.

  7. Ok, I like Jozy and I think he’s good and trying hard, but Rooney is in another world. You’re ruining your point by trying to compare Jozy to Rooney.

  8. and specifically JVH has 4 shots on goal and 3 goals. So when he is taking shots he’s not only working the keeper at a higher percentage, when he does put the shot on goal he’s scoring 75% of the time. But you can’t ignore he’s an experienced striker. I also think that he’s just now getting starts shows how bad Brown is as a manager. Again stats can’t tell you the whole story i but it’s clear here JVH has not been wasting his chances.

  9. JVH has 3 goals though. And i think Hull sucks. we can all admit that. and don’t have much talent. I think the standard shouldn’t be to compare him to other sucky players. The standard is the successful players in the leagues. I don’t think you should expect him to be wayne rooney or torres but that is the standard of measurement. I think it’s wrong to say well he’s better then Fagan. Fagan sucks. That’s not saying anything.

  10. It just says that if possible, the club would divest itself of all loan players, notably Altidore and the 7 at River Plate…and others that they don’t control more than 50% of their economic rights because they don’t have much left at the club. It doesn’t say they don’t want Altidore, but suggests that it would be better economically to unload all the contracts of players they’ve loaned out.

  11. I’m not sure how I feel about Jozy’s recent penchant for receiving fouls.. although truthfully it has raised his value. It also appears that he’s currently leading in the Hull striker depth chart.. his goal scoring is a concern but a 20 year old is by definition a project.. so its not the only barometer. Bottom line is he’s playing better now than in December.. so the jury is still out. I hope to see him in the EPL again next year.

  12. He is also playing at Hull City a very bad team that gives him few opportunities to score goals.

    Put him at Manchester United and I dare to say he scores goals.

    I agree it’s fair to evaluate a striker, but I also think you have to consider the club he plays with and the opportunities he is provided to score.

    And has just turned 20 to boot.

  13. Great strikers all played on great teams too…which makes a huge difference….which folks on here seem to discount when discussing Jozy….other than that well said for the most part…

  14. Not many strikers could/would score goals at Hull City. They are a bad team. He chases the ball more than he gets opportunities to score. Put Jozy on Manchester United and he would score goals. Put Wayne Rooney at Hull City and he’d be lucky to have 5 goals.

    These things you have to keep in perspective when you write what you did.


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