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USA, Year After

Quiet day so far -- other than the expected Wanchope signing with Chicago -- perhaps more news later. In the meantime, I drew up a comparison of the U.S. national team schedule in the year immediately following a World Cup, beginning with 1999. I don't know if we can draw any definitive conclusions -- just thought it would be interesting to examine the USSF's approach in rebuilding the team and exposing it to international competition for the start of a new World Cup cycle.

1999
Bolivia away (T, 0-0)
Germany at home (W, 3-0)
Chile at home (W, 2-1)
Guatemala at home (W, 3-1)
Mexico at home (L, 2-1)
Argentina at home (W, 1-0)
New Zealand at neutral (W, 2-1)
Brazil at neutral (L, 1-0)
Germany at neutral (W, 2-0)
Mexico away (L, 1-0)
Saudi Arabia at neutral (W, 2-0)
Jamaica away (T, 2-2)
Morocco away (L, 2-1)
13 MATCHES: 7-4-2, 5 home, 4 away, 4 neutral
Players used: 46

2003
Canada at home (W, 4-0)
Argentina at home (L, 1-0)
Jamaica away (W, 2-1)
Venezuela at home (W, 2-0)
Mexico at home (T, 0-0)
Wales at home (W, 2-0)
New Zealand at home (W, 2-1)
Turkey at neutral (L, 2-1)
Brazil at neutral (L, 1-0)
Cameroon at neutral (T, 0-0)
Paraguay at home (W, 2-0)
El Salvador at home (W, 2-0)
Martinique at home (W, 2-0)
Cuba at home (W, 5-0)
Brazil at home (L, 2-1)
Costa Rica at home (W, 3-2)
16 MATCHES: 10-4-2, 12 home, 1 away, 3 neutral
Players used: 44
(No games between July 26 and Dec. 31)

2007
Denmark at home (W, 3-1)
Mexico at home (W, 2-0)
Ecuador at home (W, 3-1)
Guatemala at home (T, 0-0)
China at home (W, 4-1)
Guatemala at home (W, 1-0)
T&T at home (W, 1-0)
El Salvador at home (W, 4-0)
Panama at home (W, 2-1)
Canada at home (W, 2-1)
Mexico at home (W, 2-1)
Argentina at neutral (L, 4-1)
Paraguay at neutral (L, 3-1)
Colombia at neutral (L, 1-0)
Sweden away Aug. 22
Mexico* away Sept. 9
Catalonia away Oct. 14
Switzerland away Oct. 17
South Africa* away Nov. 17
*tentative
19 MATCHES: 10-3-1 (so far), 11 home, 5 road, 3 neutral
Players used: 51 (so far)

By Steve Goff  |  July 26, 2007; 12:51 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Next: What's the Point?

Comments

we don't perform very well outside the US, do we?

Posted by: J-Mart | July 26, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I think I counted 4-6-2 on non-home games. eek.

Posted by: greg | July 26, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

I assume your point is that the US has done increasingly more the year after each World Cup to ready its team.

Bradley is particularly emphasizing playing time for younger prospects and less experienced players, and although it didn't provide any miracle games in the Copa America, it will do nothing but improve our team for South Africa. Bruce Arena's biggest flaw in 2006 may have been his loyalty to the players he used in 2002 and failure to develop younger replacements.

Posted by: Sam | July 26, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

With Wanchope and Blanco, Chicago has really improved its attack. I'm trying to think of a better duo in the MLS. Jaime and Luciano are great, but the edge may have to go to Chicago on this one.

Posted by: Sam | July 26, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't Copa America count as away rather than neutral?

Posted by: m | July 26, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"Away" means the opponent is the home team. "Neutral" means neither team is at home.

Posted by: Goff | July 26, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting.

Some more information that could fruitfull: How many games were played after the World Cup in the World Cup year. Average games per calendar month, since the two tournaments this summer would make for a very dense summer schedule compared to years past.

Posted by: Kim | July 26, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that we played no European teams in 2003. Germany twice in 1999 (once at home, once neutral).

This year is the first year with away games in Europe. And we have scheduled 3 1/2 (Catalonia would be a half, I suppose) games against Euros, with 2 1/2 of those being away games. Not being a Eurosnob and saying playing non-top Euro teams is more important than playing good South American teams, but we have historically struggled against European teams, especially away. Add to to that the Copa America, and it seems a more challenging schedule (though I suppose one could argue these particular Euro teams aren't the greatest possible challenges).

Posted by: scott | July 26, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

oops. missed Wales and Turkey in 2003. Well, still an increase and now playing in Europe instead of at home.

Posted by: scott | July 26, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Mexico three times this year? It would be good to play them at Azteca though.

Posted by: mark | July 26, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wan-Kope? Wan-Chope? How you say?

Posted by: Logan Circle | July 26, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Neutral refers to the venue - Away means we play the other team at a stadium in their own country. Neutral means the game is played in neither team's country.

Posted by: Oscar M. | July 26, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Logan circle...

it's Juan-cheaux-pay

Posted by: d, dc | July 26, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

i think Sal Zizzo to Hannover is fairly big news too, as he could have been available to MLS in the draft if mls showed interest? he is a winger that could have added width to DC's attack

Posted by: felix | July 26, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Felix: yes, Zizzo moving is good news. He refused entry into the january mls draft with the idea of proving himself at u20s and going to europe. Glad it worked out for him, otherwise i assume he would have done mls in january 08.

Posted by: Northzax | July 26, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

For more about Wanchope and his connections to America, read this story I wrote about him six years ago:

http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/bele000/misc/manoart1.html

(sorry about the strange web site link)

Posted by: Goff | July 26, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

How do you count matches at home with the majority of the crowd for the visitors, i.e. all the Mexico matches?

Posted by: wmsiii | July 26, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Home soil is home soil -- regardless of who is in the stands.

Posted by: Goff | July 26, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

ok. That makes sense. Thanks.

Posted by: m | July 26, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that we do not play enough road matches against tough competition. After the disappointing WC exit in France 1998 we played a nice even distribution of matches at home, away and on neutral sites against decent teams. This formula may have worked as we went on to a very good WC finish in 2002.

I guess we will get to see later this summer when we play Sweden & the Swiss but the US team really needs to play tough competition on the road leading up to the WC. I could care less if we have a losing record, a bunch of draws and a few victories. Let our ranking fall in FIFA and let teams disregard us again like they did in the past. I want experience for these lads against the best in the world and I'm ready for what comes with that - the good and the bad.

Posted by: Gilly73 | July 26, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Gilly73, that is exactly what I've been saying on these blogs for months.

What do you learn with a 3-0 win against Guatemala in Cleveland?

What do you learn with a 2-0 win over Panama in LA?

Almost nothing. That you can beat them? Yeah, I guess.

The team will learn more in a 3-0 loss to Brazil, or a 2-1 loss to Spain, or 2-0 loss to Italy, than with a 4-0 win over El Salvador.

You can only improve when you play against the best.

Posted by: Vic | July 26, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sweden and the swiss cannot be counted as "bad" euro challenges both had a decent 06 world cup and both are doing average in euro 08 qualifying, mine as well start somewhere

Posted by: tired | July 26, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response Goff, I hope my humor wasn't lost. It will be a great day when all of the USMNT home matches are filled with crowds rooting for the Nats as loudly as the crowds in other countries.

Posted by: wmsiii | July 26, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Goff, Do you know how the USMNT matches get scheduled? Or who schedules them?

Is it Gulati who makes contact and tries to get the matches? Does Bradley have any say on the teams scheduled?

Posted by: Gilly73 | July 26, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

wanchope! wanchope!! wanchope!!!

Posted by: scott47a | July 26, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

slow day zzzzzzzzz

Posted by: zzzzzzzzzz | July 26, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Is it Gulati who makes contact and tries to get the matches? Does Bradley have any say on the teams scheduled?

-----

many people are involved: gulati, executive dan flynn, the head coach, etc.

Posted by: Goff | July 26, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

No comment on the Marion Barry/DC Council fight with Fenty over the stadium? Not even a link? Where are you Goff?

Posted by: Dave | July 26, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Nice story about Wanchope, Goff!

Somehow I'd always thought that he'd graduated from to the Lincoln School in San Jose...

Posted by: Juan-John | July 26, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Crap! Grammatical gremlins strike again. Should read "graduated from the Lincoln School..."

Posted by: Juan-John | July 26, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

No comment on the Marion Barry/DC Council fight with Fenty over the stadium? Not even a link? Where are you Goff?

-------

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: zzzzzzzzzzzzzz | July 26, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Marion Barry/DC Council fight with Fenty???

That's the Metro Section's turf...not Goff's...as he's told us many times before.

This would be fun if the stadium weren't at stake.

Posted by: seahawkdad | July 26, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Again, coverage of the Poplar Point development project is being handled by the Post's Metro staff. There was some news today and they are working on a story of some sort. Not sure if it's a full report or just a brief item. If it materializes, I'll link to it tonight.

Posted by: Goff | July 26, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I was going to get back on here and bash USSF President Gulati & "Executive Dan Flynn, the head coach, etc." for not scheduling tough Euro friendlies but then it dawned on me.

Gulati has to deal with other factors that we just don't get to be privy to as fans of the sport.

- he has to ensure that sponsors continue to support the team which means the team needs to win as many games as possible.

- Gulati also has to increase the fanbase - again need to win to do this.

- maybe Euro teams already have their schedule filled out so far in advance that the US cannot get friendlies against tougher Euro competition.

I still feel like the USMNT need to play the best international teams in the world to become the best and until they do this we will probably continue to qualify for the WC out of CONCACAF but will exit quickly once in the tournament.

Posted by: Gilly73 | July 26, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Marion Barry/DC Council fight with Fenty???

That's the Metro Section's turf...not Goff's...as he's told us many times before.

This would be fun if the stadium weren't at stake.

Posted by: seahawkdad | July 26, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Who hasn't Wanchope played for? He is the village bicycle of pro soccer leagues. My guess is he stays for a 2 games before going on to the Polish or Russian leagues.

What's up with the constant moves? Does he not mesh with the teams? the leagues? the other players? Very strange guy.


Posted by: Southeasterner | July 26, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Halftime at ESPN2's Red Bulls vs. team playing the Red Bulls. There's apparently nothing to say about the team playing the Red Bulls, to judge by the commentary from the booth. Oh, wait, I forgot, Wynalda mentioned a few of the names of the players from the team playing the Red Bulls in the 19th minute. Otherwise, it's 45 minutes of solid Red Bulls commentary, analysis and suck-up. Score at the half, Red Bulls zero, team playing the Red Bulls 1. Some guy named Razov scored a goal. Must be a newcomer to MLS, hadn't heard anything about him before he headed it in for the team playing the Red Bulls.

Posted by: dcca | July 26, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Halftime at ESPN2's Red Bulls vs. team playing the Red Bulls. There's apparently nothing to say about the team playing the Red Bulls, to judge by the commentary from the booth. Oh, wait, I forgot, Wynalda mentioned a few of the names of the players from the team playing the Red Bulls in the 19th minute. Otherwise, it's 45 minutes of solid Red Bulls commentary, analysis and suck-up. Score at the half, Red Bulls zero, team playing the Red Bulls 1. Some guy named Razov scored a goal. Must be a newcomer to MLS, hadn't heard anything about him before he headed it in for the team playing the Red Bulls.

Posted by: dcca | July 26, 2007 08:03 PM

Who? Beckham plays for Galaxy not Red Bulls. Why do they both showing such non-Beckham related trash?

Why didn't they have the Beckham cam on during the match so I could watch him make a sandwich at home?

Posted by: Jacque Chirac | July 26, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone been to the US Soccer Hall of Fame? I'm going to be in the area this weekend, is it worth a visit?

Posted by: off topic | July 26, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Scott, I'm surprised no catalans, whatever they call themselves, have jumped on you for calling their home half-European.

Wales could be three-quarters. Scotland, four-fifths.

Posted by: Homage to Catalonia | July 26, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Off Topic,

I haven't been to the US Soccer Hall of Fame but I know others that have and they gave it 2 thumbs up. There is some very interesting stuff about soccer's early days long before Caliguri's Shot heard round the world and what i consider to be the real rise of the modern game in the US.

But whatever your looking for on the game I'm sure you'll find it.

Have fun.....

Nick

Posted by: nick | July 27, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was at the Hall. It was worth the visit. Learned a lot about the years before I was into the sport. Got to see the all-time worst soccer jersey ever. Not to give away too much, but just look for the fringes!

Posted by: Menno-Soccer-Man | July 27, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I've been to Oneonta, too, about a decade ago. In fact, I may be back there the week after next myself, if I can work it into my itinerary. Two thumbs up from me, too.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | July 27, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"Scott, I'm surprised no catalans, whatever they call themselves, have jumped on you for calling their home half-European."

I can't speak for Scott, but perhaps he was trying to say that Catalonia, although fully European, is only part of a nation; thus a match against Catalonia should be given half the weight of a match against a side representing Spain as a whole. However, Catalonia has a population of over 7 million people, roughly the same as Switzerland and Bulgaria, and larger than a number of other European countries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Europe).

Posted by: Go Penn State! | July 27, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

As an interesting side, Don Garber is an alumnus of SUNY-Oneonta; the strong soccer tradition there, and at crosstown rival Hartwick, is a large part of the reason why the Hall of Fame is located where it is. Despite that tradition, as well as the fact that the Hall of Fame opened in 1979, the year he graduated from O-State, Garber has stated that he paid little attention to soccer until the MLS headhunters came calling (http://www.thebestnewspaperintheworld.com/sports/2003/06/18/spsoccer.html).

Posted by: Go Penn State! | July 27, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

One more thing: At least Oneonta has a bona fide connection to the sport that it celebrates, which is more than can be said for nearby Cooperstown.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | July 27, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of what the national team might be doing in this World Cup cycle, here is a potential new venue for them: Green Bay, WI, of all places (http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070726/GPG02/70726171/1225/GPGsports).

Speaking of which, when is the last time we've seen either the MNT or WNT in action in the Washington area? When might we expect to see them again? Do we want to take a back seat to Green Bay in this department?

Posted by: Go Penn State! | July 27, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

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