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:
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have tried it out some, and included it as an option, but there just wasn’t a player who fit the attacking midfield/withdrawn forward spot in a 4-2-3-1.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.
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.
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.
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.
FELIX– Where do you rate The Wire in the pantheon of great TV crime dramas?
IVES– Best crime drama ever, best TV show ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.