Category Archives: World Cup Qualifying

Tim Howard says Ref’s Unfair

Howard205Tim Howard has said that he doesn’t think the officiating was too fair in the loss vs Mexico yesterday.Says

“It seems like when we come to a place like this, the most intimidated person in the stadium is the referee,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard after the USA’s 2-1 loss to Mexico. “The bar was probably tilted in their favor, and that’s unfortunate because it was a hard-fought game. We went in hard, they went in hard, and for some reason, we keep coming out with the foul.”

I don’t like to blame the Ref’s usually, just because its not the right thing to do and you can’t fix it or really prove anything, but the fact that we lost Onyewu for the next game is very frustrating. Also we have to deal with the fact that its everyone against the US in every aspect of our games.


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If only we could be like the Mexicans in NY...

If only we could be like the Mexicans in NY...

So today is the big game! The game is at 3pm and will be shown on Mun2 in English and Telemundo in Spanish.  There will be a pregame show on ESPN the first ever pre-game show they do for a soccer game that they are not actually showing.  If you are like me than you do not get Mun2 (although they are adding it to all satellite customers for the game today free) because I have cable.  So I will be out and not able to add posts about the game today.  I will be able to comment though and will try to update that way.  Go USA!!!


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World Cup Qualification Odds

So there’s a website called Sports Club Stats that does the odds for making the World Cup out of the CONCACAF region.  They say that our current odds of making the WC are 95.5% while our chance of finishing number 1 is 31%.  There are some neat charts and tables but this one shows the implications of our game with Mexico tomorrow:

Wednesday, 8/12
Mexico vs USA 4:00 PM
Chance in World Cup if:
Mexico wins USA wins Draw
Mexico 66.1 30.7 42.7
El Salvador 26.6 37.4 33.3
Honduras 65.3 75.6 72.0
USA 89.3 99.4 96.7
T & T 4.1 7.5 6.1
Costa Rica 98.6 99.4 99.2

So pretty much if we beat Mexico tomorrow were in almost for sure and their odds are very bad.  If we lose they are probably going to make it, and we are still sitting pretty well but a little less certain.  If we draw our odds are pretty great as well.  So while tomorrow is very important for pride and revenge, it is not the most important game for us in terms of the WC.  But it is for Mexico…


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Who to drop?

brian-chingSo the current roster for the game against Mexico is 20 guys, but the only 18 players actually get to be on the roster come game time, so the question is who to drop?

Here is the roster to look over again:

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION Full Roster Click Here
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 11/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 21/3), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover: 18/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 2/0), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew: 1/0), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan: 16/1), Jonathan Spector (West Ham: 2/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 10/4), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 5/0), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 17/4), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus: 1/0), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo: 0/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 5/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Hull City: 8/5), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids: 5/0), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux: 2/1), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 30/11)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

Which two players will be dropped to get to the 18?

To me it seems that it should be 1 D player and one Forward/Midfielder.  I don’t Bob Bradley would call a player from overseas to come back if they were not going to play so that only leaves the MLS guys to eliminate.  For the D that is Bornstein or Marshall. Of these I think it is more likely to be Marshall but I’ll put it at 60% Marshall and 40% Bornstein. 

For the F/M it is between Casey, Ching and Holden.  I don’t think it will be Holden because both Donovan and Dempsey can move up to play Forward if need be.  For Casey and Ching, while Casey played in the Confed Cup and Ching didn’t, Casey has been hot scoring a Hat-Trick this week, and while considering Ching has been hurt, I still see Casey as the most likely to be left off.  Ching just has so much experience and in a game in Azteca experience could play a big role.  I will put the odds at Casey 60% Ching 30% and Holden 10%.

What do you think? Who should be left off? Who will be left off?


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Update: Offical Change

The official for the Mexico game on Wednesday has been changed! reports:

Posted by ussoccer at 8/10/2009 6:59 PM CDT
U.S. Soccer has been informed of a change in the referee crew that will officiate Wednesday’s match.  Roberto Moreno of Panama will now run the middle, replacing Joel Aguilar of El Salvador.  Fans who followed the Gold Cup will remember that Aguilar served as the referee in the 1-1 draw between Mexico and Panama from the group phase in which Mexico coach Javier Aguierre and Panama midfielder Ricardo Phillips were sent off, with the Mexican manager receiving a subsequent three-match ban from the sidelines.
You would think that this is a good change for the US, as Aguierre kicked the Panama player and there is now a ref from Panama.  Also the same things apply that Panama has a better chance to get in through the 4th spot than passing the US…

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Bradley Press Conference

bob-bradleyIf you want to listen to a conference call with USMNT Head Coach Bob Bradley from Miami you can check it out on the USSOCCER website.  Tim Howard was also on the call.

My notes from the call:

  • They are currently training in Miami.
  • They will not train in Mexico, they will get there late Tuesday and not go to Mexico City till the last second possible.
  • Bradley talks about altitude, consulted experts from the Olympic committee.
  • They believe its either get fully acclimated in about 10 days or spend as little time as possible in the altitude
  • 14 guys are currently in Miami. Guys yet to arrive are MB JA BF BC RC SH
  • Giovanni Di Santos is of concern.  Had a very good gold cup, but we know his tendencies now… prefers his left foot a lot. Tim Howard not scared.
  • Gold Cup was disappointing but most player were not involved and don’t think it is a problem.
  • Tim Howard has never been to Azteca but has played at much more intimidating venues and so have his teammates.
  • Win doesn’t guarantee top seed in WC
  • Tim doesn’t care about seeding, everyone in the WC will be a challenge.

The total call is very long this is only about half of it.

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Mexico City Stinks

So I have been reading some reports on how Mexico City is going to affect the team and its is pretty annoying.  I almost want our players to forfiet so they dont have to go get sick and hurt playing a game that will be unfairly difficult for them.  But they can take it and I still expect great things.  From what I found:

Mexico City’s air has gone from among the world’s cleanest to among the dirtiest in the span of a generation. Novelist Carlos Fuentes first novel took place here in 1959 and was entitled “Where the air is clear” – a title he has said is ironic considering the city’s now –soupy environment.
The average visibility of some 100 km in 1940s is down to about 1.5 km. Snow-capped volcanoes (Popocatepetl, Ixtacihuatl, and Paricutin) that were once parts of the landscape are now visible only rarely (fig.1.2). And levels of almost any pollutant like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) now regularly break international standards by two to three times. Levels of ozone (O3), a pollutant that protects us from solar radiation in the upper atmosphere but is dangerous to breathe, are twice as high here as the maximum allowed limit for one hour a year and this occurs several hours per day every day (fig.1.1).


It is also stated that the reason that Mexico moved the game from a night start to the now 3pm start is that, at 3pm Mexico city is the hottest, expected around 100 F, and will most likely give the advantage to Mexico who has been training and obviously lives there.  Also the 3 pm start means we have to get there the night before, while it has been stated that to combat the smog it is best to get there the same morning and spend the least time possible affected.  Whatever happens though we just have to play our game and hope for rain…


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Guardado Gaurentee’s 3-0 Win

Likes to talk Trash

Likes to talk Trash

So Ives Galarcep of ESPN is reporting that Guardado of Mexico has confidently guaranteed a 3-0 win for Mexico in Wednesday’s qualifying match vs the US.

“Of course we will win, 3-0,” Guardado said. “We have players of high quality and you can see that the team has prepared well, now there is only the question of showing it on the field on Wednesday.”

Also he reports that Guillermo Ochoa has said that Mexico is better both physically and soccer-wise.

“(The United States) is a rival of respect, that you must be careful of, but it is a rival we know, whose style we know,” Ochoa said. “We know that physically, and soccer-wise, we are better, so we just have to apply that on the field and do our talking on the field.”

These statements are both very offensive and shows the lack of class that the Mexican players seem to have.  This only makes me want to beat them that much worse. What do you think? Were those statements out of line, or are they right in saying that the 30th ranked Mexico team is really better than the 12th ranked US team.  I think we can only have an idea after the game on Wednesday  but more so after the qualifying ends.


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Mexico City Altitude: Problem?

Oh the Pollution

Oh the Pollution

So Grant Wahl of SI thinks that the high altitude of Mexico City could cause major issues for the US team.  He cites Argentina’s 6-1 loss to Bolivia this year as what can happen when a team does not properly prepare for altitude.

The Altitude Question. I’m surprised the U.S. will arrive in Mexico City (altitude: 7,200 feet) on Tuesday afternoon, just 24 hours before gametime after flying in from Miami (where training camp begins on Sunday). Mexico City’s altitude has bedeviled visiting teams for years, and I was curious about whether it would be advantageous for the U.S. to arrive even a day earlier than Tuesday to acclimatize. So I called Dr. Aaron Baggish, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who studies athletes and high-altitude physiology.
His response: even a day or two more at altitude could help the U.S. players. “I’m not the coach, so I can’t make a definitive conclusion about what’s smart for the players, but from a physiology perspective having a couple days to acclimatize makes good sense,” Baggish told me. “There’s a pretty rapid response when the body goes from sea level to high altitude over the course of even the first 48 hours, and that can make a big difference in terms of the way people feel and their ability to perform. I know these decisions are always based on a lot of factors, but if all things were created equal it would certainly be better to show up a couple days beforehand than to roll in the night before.”

You can read the whole thing at

Whal also mentions altitude at the World Cup next year and add some great news about the US team in regards to altitude:

* Altitude could come into play at next year’s World Cup in South Africa. Not many people realize that Johannesburg (at 5,600 feet) is higher than Denver. The U.S. is clearly aware of the altitude issue for 2010. According to federation sources, the U.S. was able to ace out Italy, among other teams, for a prized World Cup training facility near Pretoria (5,751 feet), the better for the U.S. to acclimatize itself.

I’m not a gambler, but if I were, I know exactly which teams I would bet against in South Africa: those with training camps near sea level (like, say, Cape Town) which have to play World Cup games at altitude in Jo’burg, Pretoria or Rustenburg.

To get a spot like this could be a great advantage, and it definitly can’t hurt.  I just hope our preperations for wednesday are sufficent.

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Ref for Mexico Game

joel-aguilar-300x350So is reporting that the ref for the US v Mexico game on Wednesday will be Joel Aguilar Chicas of El Salvadore who was last seen as the official for the Mexcio v Panama game where Javier Aguirre kicked the Panamanian player during the game. Sadly the only report I found was in Spanish but the article doesn’t reveal anything that isn’t obvious:

“El salvadoreño Joel Aguilar, quien expulsara a Javier Aguirre ante Panamá en la Copa Oro, será el árbitro del Tri ante Estados Unidos en el Azteca”

I can’t really decide if this if this helps or hurts the US… On the positive side he has probably doesn’t feel too highly of Mexico after what Aguirre did in the Gold Cup.  Also he is from El Salvador who’s best chance to get into the WC is through the 4th spot, which they would get by passing Mexico. On the negative side he didn’t really control that game too well, although it would have been tough for anyone, so he might allow Mexico to play dirty and try and rough up the more skill based American team.  Also because he is from El Salvador he might have the normal everywhere else in the Americas’ anti-USA bias…

What do you think? Is this going to help or hurt the US?

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