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Your February Questions Answered (Part 1)

Bob Bradley (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The U.S. national team didn't play this month due to the canceled friendly vs. Egypt, but the team remains the most popular topic among American fans eager to see where the team goes in 2011.

The first installment of Your February Questions Answered has a handful of U.S. national team questions, along with some MLS inquiries. I also touch on the Gold Cup, the Chicago Fire and MLS in general.

Let's get started. Here are the first of Your February Questions Answered:

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A.S.– Is Bob Bradley's move to a 4-2-3-1 a year too late? I mean, wasn't it obvious in November 2009 when Davies got hurt that the US should switch away from a 2-forward formation, given that there were no longer 2 World Cup class forwards in the player pool? I am happy Bradley has (finally) made the switch, but I regret that he only did so after the WC. Seems to me to be a missed opportunity.

IVES– No, not really. It wasn’t “obvious” that the U.S. should switch, but I would agree that it should have been worked into the arsenal. Simple fact is that at that time, and for most of the run-up to 2010, the midfield pool wasn’t as strong as it is now. Now, if Stuart Holden hadn’t been hurt last March and would have had the chance to develop at Bolton, and be fully fit and sharp heading into the World Cup, perhaps Bradley could have considered the contingency.

I would say that Bradley could have tried it out some, and included it as an option, but there just wasn’t a player who fit the attacking midfield/withdrawn forward spot in a 4-2-3-1. Holden’s injury pretty much ended that possibility. Yes, he was recovered from the broken leg by the World Cup, but hadn’t been back long and wasn’t nearly as sharp as he is right now.

Now’s a good time to move toward the 4-2-3-1 because of the progress of a player like Holden, as well as the potential of players like Alejandro Bedoya and Mikkel Diskerud.

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NEUMANNATOR– Is PPL Park too small to host an all-star game or MLS Cup championship?

IVES– I wouldn’t say too small. Having a sold-out MLS Cup Final is never a bad thing, and ultimately you want people to watch it on TV so the attendance figure isn’t as important as the presentation of the event.

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COOKIE MONSTER-Who do you think will be the darkhorse teams at this years gold cup? Panama? Guadeloupe again?

IVES– My money is on Jamaica being a real force in this year’s tournment.

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RAMBO– Your thoughts on who Najar will choose? You knew this question was coming

IVES– I’d bet on Honduras, but you have to wonder what factor his teammates at D.C. United will play. With guys like Charlie Davies and Perry Kitchen there, I could see him being influenced more heavily. I’d still say Honduras. 

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FELIX– Where do you rate The Wire in the pantheon of great TV crime dramas?

IVES– Best crime drama ever, best TV show ever.

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STEPHEN– In your tweets regarding Charlie Davies and DC United, you mentioned that MLS has a rule that loan deals must include an option to buy. Why does MLS have such a ridiculous requirement? Doesn't it prevent big clubs from loaning quality prospects to MLS clubs?

IVES– It’s pretty simple. MLS believes in continuity and doesn’t want a situation where teams are bringing in short-term mercenaries to come through the league without really establishing themselves in the league. If you have players popping in for short loans and leaving right away, even though they’ve done very well, that takes away from the continuity of the league. I don’t personally agree, but that’s what I’ve been told in the past. Whether it remains a hard and fast rule remains to be seen, but as it stands I can’t think of a situation where a team has NOT had a purchase option.

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BRIAN– Who is the player you have the most respect for in the game today? manager? writer?

IVES– Player I respect? I’ll go with Ryan Giggs. Manager? David Moyes. Writer? Grant Wahl.

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KLAUS– Does Mo Edu need to move away from Rangers to a more competitive league in order boast his chances for starter's minutes for the USNMNT?

IVES– He needs to move away from Rangers to a bigger league because he’s good enough to go to a bigger league. Where he’s playing isn’t what’s keeping him from getting more minutes for the national team. 

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MIKE CARAMBA– If you won the lottery, would you work as many hours as you do now, or would scale things back? Take on any new ventures? Thanks!

IVES– I would obviously work fewer hours, but I’d seriously invest in SBI and try to make it the site I always dreamed it could be. Now, if we’re talking a nine-figure lottery haul I’d have to think about investing in an MLS team.

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A-LOTT– I'm taking bets on how long Carlos De Los Cobos lasts in Chicago this season and I've set the over/under at July. What are you taking?

IVES– Preki is Chicago’s head coach by June.

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BECKSTER– I know you thought Convey did enough to get called to January camp, yet he wasn't. What does he need to do to get a call up to Gold Cup or is he just not going to be on the Nats as long as Bradley is in charge?

IVES– If he keeps up his 2010 form through the first half of 2011, and still doesn’t even get a sniff, then it’s something Bob Bradley has to address publicly and specifically because there is no denying Convey looked like one of the best American left-sided players in the pool yet got no looks. I’ll buy the January exclusion since it was young players mostly, but if Convey keeps playing well and keeps getting passed over then it becomes an unavoidable subject.

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Comments

  1. formations don’t mean anything when you don’t know how to play them or have the personnel. a formation change wouldn’t have mattered. they still wouldn’t have been able to get the ball off ghana.

    Reply
  2. Would be a shame if De Los Cobos does not work for Chicago.

    Truth be told this league’s soccer is extremely boring. Extremely. I like what De Los Cobos is trying to do with Chicago.

    On top of everything to do with FCD getting to the final, as an FCD fan I was also proud that players whose technical ability surpassed his strength/height etc (Ferreira, Chavez, etc). Honestly I think we need to change the way we play football.

    Reply
  3. He has been generally well liked, and certainly a good player. And its often random who supporters turn on when things go south (and just two points clear of hearts this late is definitely south).

    I’m just saying that given his current (debatable) form and the recent transfer history of SPL players, we shouldnt be shocked if either A. he goes to middlesbrough, not everton, or B. he doesnt move (because rangers cant replace him at cost)

    Reply
  4. Im not saying its true. But its not just internet chatter or racism either. I live in Scotland and its almost impossible not to watch rangers games. He has struggled recently – particularly in possession.

    If hes going to make the jump to the next level he needs to be dominant for rangers, and there has to be a small bit of concern that maybe he benefitted too much from playing on perennial favourites with the US and rangers (before boyd and miller etc left).

    Basically I dont want there to be too much hype/expectation about a big summer move. It should be telling that his former (and perhaps better regarded) teammates generally moved to the championship, or a top peripheral league, not the prem.

    Reply
  5. Maybe the reason Convey doesn’t get a call-up is because he’s terrible with the nats. When was the last time he had a good international game?

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  6. Watch the replay.

    When Clark gave up that ball he was at the halfway line. Jay Demerit provided Boateng with a nice escort down the field and then, when Boateng reached the box, Jay was kind enough to partially screen Howard on Boateng’s shot from the edge of the penalty area. Still, it was on the near post and Howard had a long time to position himself properly for the shot but did not.

    So yes, if we had had just a little bit better defending from Demerit and just a little more wide awake goalkeeping from Howard on what was not the greatest shot anyone ever hit, most likely, that shot doesn’t go in and there is no early goal.

    Our porous defense and world class keeper had quite a bit of time to save Clark’s butt and didn’t.

    If you don’t agree with me, fine. Just watch the replay.

    Reply
  7. What are you talking about RevsFan? It was Bob Bradleys’ inexplicable (and quite frankly mind-boggling) insertion of an out of form Rico Clark over Mo Edu in the starting line-up that put us in catch up mode from very early on in the Ghana game that doomed us, not your percieved “porous” backline defense…

    Reply

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