Maybe I am just lazy, but I really don’t want to make any judgements or assumptions on the USA squad based off a win against a Cuba side that one of my Brittish friend’s would refer to as, “essentially a pub team.”
Be that as it may, I will give one player compliment and one team concern.
The sweet before the sour. Pretty much everyone was impressive tonight. Corona’s hat trick was very well taken, Diskerud did a nice job MIXing (get it?) up the combinations in the middle, and we all know what Freddy Adu is capable of when he is at his best, but the man that caught my eye was substitute, Joe Gyau.
From the moment he stepped on for Brek Shea (possibly the U-23’s star man) in the 57th minute, you could tell there wasn’t going to be a drop in the level of play. Gyau’s speed, silky touch and willingness to take on defenders makes it clear why he is so close to breaking into the first team at Hoffenheim. I have no doubt in my mind that Gyau can preform at the same level against more talented teams in the qualifying tournament.
The midfield is packed with talent and while it may be hard for Gyau to unseat Shea or Adu on the flanks, his speed and guile off the bench puts him in prime position to be the late game hero or the “super-sub” if you will.
MLS season is only just underway, which means that there is still time to salvage your fantasy team. This Fantasy Forecast will run weekly on USFutblog, and hopes to provide you with some tips to finish ahead of the pack by season’s end.
In order to keep the Forecast within the strict limits of the MLS Fantasy Soccer transfer system, each week I will feature two players that are worth adding to your roster, as well as two that should be dropped, and a bonus “Bargain” player, who can provide great value when you find your team short on cap space.
Two to Add:
1. Sebastien Le Toux – Forward, Vancouver Whitecaps FC ($10):
During Le Toux’s memorable two seasons with the Philadelphia Union, the French striker was a major thorn in D.C. United’s side. In four games between the teams, he scored five goals and added one assist, playing his customary full 90 minutes in each contest. Le Toux rarely misses a minute of action, let alone a game, so he is a safe bet to earn a few fantasy points (at the very least), even if he breaks his trend of scoring against D.C.
The Whitecaps and United are headed in opposite directions to start the season, with the Canadian side earning two wins to start the season, and the Capital club slumping with a pair of defeats. With D.C. travelling cross-continent to BC Place, and missing several key players to Olympic Qualifying, the hosts will be major favorites on Saturday night, with a wide score-line being a real possibility.
The bottom line: Le Toux’s recent success against United, coupled with United’s recent failures in MLS, makes the Frenchman a major target ahead of Week 3.
2. Jamison Olave – Defender, Real Salt Lake ($8):no comments
On a quiet, I mean really quiet night in Nashville, Tennessee the US dismantled a Cuba side that watched the Yanks possess and then finish time after time. The Yanks won the match to the sweet smell of a 6-0 victory but even that hefty scoreline does not tell the complete story.
Here are some high level notes to take-away from the game if you weren't able to find Mun2 in the depths of your cable box or stream the game from CONCACAF’s website who’s announcer stated that Brek Shea plays for DC United and that Freddy Adu is still part of the U-20 team.
- Cuba sat deep behind the ball for the entire match. I mean they didn’t even try to make a tackle in the midfield. They just watched Diskerud, Adu, and Corona pass the ball around with absolutely no pressure and this lasted the full 90 minutes.
- Things got real ugly for Cuba when their #4 (Macias) earned a straight red for elbowing Agudelo in the face. Agudelo immediately fell down to the pitch, but upon replay it was tough to conclude if the elbow was intended to strike the American but nevertheless Cuba played with 10-men for 70 minutes as a result!
- Joe Corona had a hat-trick and was named man of the match! After a first half brace which saw him deliver two quality finishes, Corona capped off the night with a 3rd in the 88th.
- If Corona was the BEER delivery-man on the night, Diskerud had to be the supplier. Mix was all over the pitch and assisted on Corona’s 2nd and 3rd goals, playing the role of magician and pastor all at once with his clever moves and calming presence. It was a real promising performance overall from Mix.
- Brek Shea was a beast down both flanks, particularly on the left, assisting on Agudelo’s header goal (2nd for the US) and creating the Yanks 4th, which ended up being an own goal after the Cuban defender did some sort of weird dance move and had the ball hit his back leg and go into the net. Agudelo was furious by the way that he wasn't able to poke his foot out for the finish.
- Adu had the goal of the night taking one touch to settle the ball and then rocketing it into the top right corner of the net. It was a classic Adu skillful, blow you off your seat finish and it was clear he was gunning for it all night against a pitiful 10-man Cuba squad. Adu had a masterful game with nobody pressuring him but the question remains when the kitchen gets hot and a real, big-time game stares him in the face, will he deliver?
US Starting Lineup:
Hamid; Sarkodie, Opara, Kitchen, Valentin; Jeffrey, Diskerud, Corona; Adu (c), Agudelo, Shea
Subs: Bunbury in for Agudelo (47’), Gyau in for Shea (57’), and Okugo in for Jeffrey (63’)
How deep is this team???
1-0 US: Corona (11')
2-0 US: Agudelo (37')
3-0 US: Corona (40')
4-0 US: Own Goal (43')
5-0 US: Adu (62')
6-0 US: Corona (88')
Do you think the Yanks will run the table in group play? Will they easily qualify for the Olympics? Share your comments below....
Caleb Porter and the US U-23 Men’s National Team are set to open their Olympic qualifying bid for London 2012 tonight at LP Field in Nashville, TN. The game is set to start at 9:00 p.m. ET and can be seen on Universal Sports Network, Mun 2, and will be streaming live on CONCACAF’s website.
The US U-23s come into the tournament with a convincing preseason which included wins against MLS and NASL sides. The highlight of the training camps building up to tonight was a clinical performance against fellow CONCACAF rivals Mexico, posting a 2-0 win in Frisco, TX.
The Yanks will begin qualifying tonight against Cuba's U-23 squad who are coming off a preseason which saw wins against Anuba, Guyana, and Suriname. However most recently they drew both Trinidad & Tabago and Saint Kitts & Nevis.
“They’re a very organized team. They have some attacking guys that are dangerous. We expect it to be a tight game. They’re going to be organized and disciplined and I don’t think they’re going to open up and run with us,” said US manager Caleb Porter. “I think they’re a team that’s probably going to sit and counter and in soccer, that makes things difficult but we’re prepared for that,” Porter added.
Freddy Adu will be looking for revenge as he scored the lone goal in the 2008 Olympic qualifying final round which saw the US tie Cuba 1-1 on their way to Beijing. Adu captains the 2012 Olympic squad, this time around, and looks to feature as the centerpiece in a preferred 4-3-3 system. Adu, who has played at nearly every tier of US Soccer, has been vocal about his preference for the possession based system where he can feature as either an inverted winger or a straight up No. 10.
“Wherever he puts me, a lot is asked of me in playing different roles. It’s not different in the sense that if I am out wide, I’m more pinched in anyway to be a second playmaker. It’s something in the back of my head,” said Adu.
Some other roster notes include:
Each and every passing day, it seems the Xoloitzcuintles are destined to become the Western Hemisphere's version of Fulhamerica. For those unfamiliar with the term, Fulhamerica was a two-year span that saw 5 Americans on Fulham's first team in the English Premiership.
With the Xoloitzcuintles new signing of former US U-17 team member Alejandro Guido, the Yank count at Tijuana is now at 6. Guido joins Stevie Rodriguez, a teammate on the US U-17's, who left the Chivas USA academy late last year for a chance in Tijuana. Also there is Bryan de La Fuente, who also departed from Chivas USA when his contract wasn't renewed during the offseason. The Bell, California native also saw time with the US U-20's in 2010 and 2011. Then there is current US U-23 pool player Greg Garza who has seen 1st team minutes with the Xoloitzcuintles this year in substitution appearances. And finally there are the Xoloitzcuintles two first team regulars in Edgar Castillo of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Joe Benny Corona who made the US U-23 squad that will try to earn an Olympic berth for this summer's London games.
While there is no guarantee that all 6 Yanks will EVER see the playing field at Estadio Caliente at the same time, the fact that such a large number of Mexican-American players are ending up there is something that we, as US Soccer supporters, should be paying more attention to. All 6 players have shown that playing for Mexico or wanting to play for Mexico at the national level is by no means a requirement to sign with a club in Mexico's Primera Division and that the MLS isn't the only option for young Americans to ply their trade.
Should we be wary that soon enough more Southern California natives might start bypassing college and MLS to make their way south too?
Share your thoughts and opinions on the new wave of Americans to land at Club Tijuana!no comments
Late Tuesday night it was announced that right back Sheanon Williams of the Philadelphia Union would be the 20th player called into US camp ahead of Thursday's first Olympic Qualifying match. Even though the US Federation did not officially send in their roster to CONCACAF until Tuesday the US team, minus Williams, was already known as training before qualifying group play was already underway in Nashville.
Williams is serving as a late replacement to speedy wing-back Josh Gatt who had to return to Norway after his club team recalled him from the US Olympic Qualifying camp. Gatt's club, Molde, recently suffered an unsuspected string of injuries forcing Gatt to leave Caleb Porter's US squad.
Williams is an experienced member of the US youth ranks participating in both the U-17 and U-20 World Cup cycles. Meanwhile, the biggest veteran on the team would have to be Freddy Adu who was a member of the US Olympic squad that traveled to Beijing for the 2008 summer Olympics. Due to his experience US U-23 manager Caleb Porter named Adu team captain yesterday with DC United defender Perry Kitchen serving as vice-captain.
Here is the official US roster for Olympic qualifying--
The US U-23 squad defeated the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks 3-0 in their last scrimmage before Olympic Qualifiers. A brace from Brek Shea and a final goal from LA Galaxy young midfielder Michael Stephens was enough to seal a comfortable victory for the Americans.
The US embark on their journey to qualify for the London games this Thursday when the US takes on Cuba at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The Yanks then have Canada on Saturday followed by El Salvador on Monday. However the big game will come on March 31st where the US, barring some disaster performances in group play, will be playing in the tournament's semi-final match at Livestrong Sporting Park with a chance to earn a spot in this summer's Olympic games.
Look out tomorrow for the official US roster announcement for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament as the US will be replacing one member of their team that was initially named to this last training camp and that player will be Josh Gatt. Gatt, the pseudo-defender/winger, was recalled by his Norwegian club Molde, as the club has experienced an unexpected string of injuries and thus needed Gatt to rejoin the squad.
Here is a video to get you ready for qualifiers...
CARSON, Calif. – Saturday night at the Home Depot Center was a night of firsts for the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps. Not only did Captain and former American International Jay DeMerit knock in his first MLS goal, but the team as a whole got their first away win in the MLS after shutting out Chivas USA 1-0.
“Tonight was a night of firsts. We came in with a plan and on the road sometimes that’s what it takes,” said DeMerit.
The veteran defender scored the game winning goal via header off a corner kick. DeMerit fought his way into the six yard box knocking down Goat defenders in the process.
“I was just concentrating on the ball. In set pieces everyone is marking each other,” said the goal scorer. “There’s wrestling and all sorts of things like that. I just concentrated on the ball and put it in the back of the net.”
Everyone in the locker room was thrilled DeMerit tallied his first Vancouver goal, however, that statistic was overshadowed by a slightly more ominous hex; that before Saturday night, the Whitecaps had yet to win an away game.
“It’s a huge monkey off our backs,” said a relieved DeMerit. “A lots been said about that in our preseason up to this first away game and to get it out of the way right away is such a good thing for us. We don’t have that pressure anymore. Now we can just go away from home and try to keep clean sheets and wins.”
Here is DeMerit's diving header goal...
The US U-23 Men's National Team has arrived in Nashville to begin camp ahead of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament, which begins on March 22nd for the Yanks. The US side will need to reach the finals of this tournament to claim a spot in this summer's Olympic games. A finals appearance would require Caleb Porter's squad to come in either of the top two spots of their 4 team group (US, Canada, Cuba and El Salvador) after round-robin play and then a semi-final win over a Group B opponent (Mexico, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago).
Here is the U-23s Qualifying Schedule:
US vs. Cuba- March 22nd @ 9pm EST (LP Field in Nashville)
US vs. Canada- March 24th @ 7pm EST (LP Field in Nashville)
US vs. El Salvador- March 26th @ 9pm EST (LP Field in Nashville)
US vs. semi-final opponent (if applicable) - March 31st at Livestrong Sporting Park
US vs. final opponent (if applicable) - April 2nd at Livestrong Sporting Park