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Thursday Kickaround

Who's this Adu kid, anyway? Nice goal. Good result for a young, largely inexperienced USA squad.

*Bob Bradley: "One of the most important things with Freddy is making sure that he understands that while it's really nice that a lot is said and written about him, none of it matters when he walks in the door to the national team. The understanding of how to earn the respect of his teammates, and how to do things on the field that will help us win, those things come first. I'm sure that's also much of what he is trying to piece together at Monaco. This is what happens when the level gets higher with top clubs. It's a growing process, we talk about it with him often, and we hope that he continues to move along."

*Mexico concedes an own goal, loses Gerardo Torrado and Carlos Vela to red cards, loses to Honduras, 1-0 ... and advances to the final round because Jamaica couldn't score enough against Canada to overcome a goal-differential deficit.

Honduran star David Suazo: "We proved that Honduras belongs at this level and in the final round. Now I think it's time for the Mexican team to speak well of Honduran football. I think they would be able to talk all week about it."

D.C. United's Ivan Guerrero played all 90 for Honduras.

So the final round is set: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, T&T and El Salvador. The draw is Saturday morning. The first matchday is Feb. 11. Torrado and Vela are suspended for the opener.

*The Post's Kathy Orton profiles Chase Hilgenbrinck, the former MLS player who abruptly retired this season to enter the Mount St. Mary's seminary in Maryland.

*MLS goal of the year: RSL's Will Johnson

*The new women's pro team in the Bay Area: FC Gold Pride. Home games will be played at Santa Clara University. Anticipation for the first Gold Pride-Sky Blue match next spring is soaring.

By Steve Goff  |  November 20, 2008; 6:02 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , CONCACAF , MLS , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchday: Qualifiers and Friendlies
Next: World Cup Chase


Watched the game, painfully. Very little understanding of futbol flow by the youngsters, ie, there was lots of standing aroung for a second too long. The touch of the average US player was again on display as many a ball bounded away at least a meter or so, and there were many auto passes that were overhit.

However, Harksey said it best while commenting on Altidore's game: he's a young player so focus on what he's done right. He got into a great position. (or something like that). So, the youngsters won a CONCACAF qualifier with a puzzling Mexican center ref who believed that a foul could not occur in the first quarter of the game. After seeing the way DCU was handed many a red card by CONCACRAP refs, the ref's performance last night resulted in a "CONCACAF scratch" of my head. Say what??

It was great to see Cooper and Altidore pair up, especially on the former's goal.

So, here comes the hex-draw on Saturday. Oh, and MLS tournament final on Sunday.


Posted by: GrillMaster | November 20, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

My best impression from the game: Freddy, Sacha, Cooper and Jozy enjoyed the game and shown good chemistry playing together. I am very happy for both Adu and Cooper: they proved, again, that our optimism about their future, and desire to see them playing for the national team is not self-delusion.

Maybe it was not published, but I don't recall BB being so reserved about Johnson. It seems to me that Freddy gets too much cold shower from coaches. I don't see a star-sickness "I am better than anybody" emanating from him. You can not be a star without some cockiness in you. I think Freddy is also humble enough. It feels more like same old Novak/Bradley crap again.

Ricardo Jerez impressed with some brilliant reaction saves.

Posted by: Tolik | November 20, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

sweet goals by Freddie and Kenny but Sacha Kljestan and Pablo were the key reason they won. They dominated the midfield.

Posted by: bobfairchild1 | November 20, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Guerrero played great last night and contributed an incredible amount to the win. Might even have to buy his DC jersey next season (promise not to wear it when he plays agains the US national team).

If last night is how the Mexican team is going to play for the rest of the qualifiers I would advise Bradley to put our second team on the field against them.

That was the dirtiest game I have ever seen them play. They weren't out to foul they were out to kill. How many players from Honduras were taken off the field on a stretcher? 5? The game should have been 3-0 for Honduras and if they could have kept 11 players on the field without being sent off with injuries it would have been even higher.

As far as the Carlos Vela red card he should be banned from the sport. To deliberately try and injure a player with 2 minutes to go shows the worst sportsmanship and a complete lack of class. Hopefully FIFA will at least give him a minimum 4 game suspension.

Posted by: Southeasterner | November 20, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see that Kenny Cooper, whose supporters undoubtedly would have endured much "see why he didn't get a chance before?" negativity had he not shown up, scored the first goal of the match. The question, I guess, is as to how many more he has to score before Bob Bradley realizes he's a better option than, oh, I don't know, Eddie Johnson.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | November 20, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Tolik on the Bradley quote. It was an underhanded compliment.

FC Gold Pride? Gold as in gold rush? Pride as in bay area pride parades? I don't get it.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 20, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

MLS Goal of the Year ... ehhhh. Definitely worthy of goal of the week.

Posted by: beergorila | November 20, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I thought Cooper, Altidore, Adu and Kljestan all had strong games and showed they belong. The youngsters got a win in a WCQ match and valuable experience. I don't care if its not pretty. There are plenty of ugly matches played by much better teams. The most important thing is that the youngsters won, got experience and did some things well.

Mexico looks vulnerable. Could it be that they miss out on the World Cup?

Posted by: therealfootball | November 20, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Is Crayola going to be a sponsor for the women's league?

Regarding the Men's National Team: Adu, Altidore, and Cooper proved they were above Johnson. Actually, I think the only US player that was offensively effective as EJ was Troy Perkins....but then again, I couldn't hear any chatter of his from the bench.

Steve, you still haven't trained the WP editors.....there's a glaring use of 'the MLS' in that article on Chase Hilgenbrinck. It's the reading equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

Posted by: kolbkl | November 20, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"It feels more like same old Novak/Bradley crap again."

Yeah, it seems like every coach says the same thing, doesn't it. Of course, maybe it's not crap, and they all know what they're doing, including the European teams, where the kid has struggled for playing time. He's still only 19 or 20, right? Give it time.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 20, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand the point of Bradley's comment. While I agree that Novak was right to handle Adu the way he did at DCU, Freddy has shown more poise and maturity as a Nat than some of his older, more experienced teammates there. He arguably has not lived up to the hype at the club level, but he looks to be a mainstay on the USMNT through the next two World Cups (barring injuries, of course).

Posted by: Rhio | November 20, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

From the WPS web site:
The team name, Pride, was selected by owners Brian and Nancy NeSmith and is derived from the reference to a group of lions. A lioness, prominently featured in the team’s black and gold logo serves as an icon for the team’s qualities of teamwork, strength and skill. Lioness are the providers of the pride and are often seen as the pinnacle of hunting prowess. Each lioness has a specific role within the group and work as a team to serve the greater good of the pride.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 20, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Also from WPS site, a profile of Sawa one of the foreign players allocated to the Freedom.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 20, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

And I think the name doesn't even include the city in it...does anyone do market research anymore?

Posted by: Reignking | November 20, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

There was better comfort and composure displayed in the attacking third by our young Nats last night. Some very nice combination play, some fine through balls, and a few crisp one-touch sequences that *worked*.

As Harkes so disparagingly said, " is only Guatemala..." but still, great stuff to see.

Posted by: 22206no1 | November 20, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

At least that goal of the year has full stands.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | November 20, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Guate didn't show the same passion/fight that they had in the first game, when they tried to kill a few of our players...

Posted by: Reignking | November 20, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Continuing thoughts from previous post...

It is tough to say if Villarreal will loan Jozy out, because of their injuries. They have 5 strikers; Llorente is out for a month, but Nihat just played 90 in a reserve match, so he might be available this weekend.

Posted by: Reignking | November 20, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

NIce match by the USA

Composure from front to back, some nice combination play and decidely more confidence on the ball by everyone.They will learn to play quicker and Adu will learn to play some defense, I am sure. The young guys should be in fine form in a year or so.
Mexico is just "disturbing." I think they are having real trouble dealing with the fact they are no longer Top Dogs in the NA region, that in fact, Honduras was the better team last night. So they foul and foul nasty! It is absolutely right their players were straight red carded. Extra game penalties would be appropriate as well. The next coach they bring in should be a psychologist.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | November 20, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: universityandpark | November 20, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Anyone spotted a nice set of highlights from HON-MEX? I'd like to see both how HON looked and the nature of these red card fouls.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | November 20, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the other posts that Adu, Jozy and Sacha had good games. They were enjoyable to watch. I'm not there yet on Cooper. Part of it was that Sacha just keep drifting into the middle, he didn't play the traditional attacking left wing and Bornstein wasn't effective on that side either so there wasn't service to the box for Cooper. It wasn't until Jozy ran down the left wing, delivered a great cross into the box that Cooper was able to do his thing and head it in. Otherwise, he looked a bit slow, first touch wasn't great etc. To the degree we have a more traditional outside back, wing attack and crossing to the box, I think Cooper definately has a role. I also think this game showed that Sacha's place is in central midfield and he does a really nice job there with his quick touch and accurate passing - or at least he did last night. He shouldn't be giving Beas a run for his money at left wing anytime soon!

Posted by: Beckster1 | November 20, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

So we have the Gold Pride (isn't that a chicken brand? Pilgrim's Pride bought Gold Kist), Sky Blue, Red Stars, Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons, Orange Stars, Green Clovers...

Posted by: Reignking | November 20, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

That is a pretty unimpressive choice for goal of the year, there were far better ones to choose from.
Good showing from the youngsters last night I thought. They wouldn't beat Mexico, but we'd not start all but two inexperienced guys either :-) It was good experience playing against a team of fast, desperate guys. Kljestan continues to improve.

Posted by: dcufan | November 20, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It's true that there was a lack of fluidity in the attack -- whether it was the quality of the service, or Cooper looking slow, it's hard to say. But, I wasn't all that impressed with Kenny. Cooper definitely missed on a header he should have scored, if he could have headed the ball down.

On the other hand, he had enough in him to get on the end of Jozy's cross, and his five-hole finish was clinical. I also thought that these players showed understanding in moving the attack, even if they didn't do enough to finish. Maybe it was just a weak opponent, but they looked pretty good.

Kljestan might have been the best player out there. He, and unsung hero Clarence Goodson were denied by Jerez on great chances that they created with well-timed runs. I'd like to see these guys in the lineup long-term.

Posted by: fischy | November 20, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

FC Gold Pride? Sounds like a brand of bread.

We usually buy Sunbeam, but the Gold Pride was on sale this week.

I give WUSA 2: Electric Bugaloo three years tops.

Posted by: IamAM | November 20, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Are the yellow cards accumulated (Pablo, Sacha? etc) thrown out before the next round?
Curious because the announcers said something about them not being able to play in the next round if they picked up another card. Guessing they meant the next game?

Right on Ivan! So how much time will he be missing if he stays at DCU next year due to NT call ups?

Dude, Cali is the Golden State isn't it? Sounds like they've got some cool colors going on as long as it's really gold, and not yellow like the Redskins "Gold".

Posted by: DadRyan | November 20, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

With the caveat that the opponent wasn't the strongest, there was plenty to like:

-- Cooper and Altidore seemed to play well off each other, unlike other forward combos we've been seeing. They were also mostly going forward, instead of backward (EJ) or holding (Ching). Not having seen Cooper play except against DC, I wasn't one of those clamoring for him -- but at this point, I don't see how you don't bring him in to every camp. Altidore is for real.
-- Adu continues to make the kind of runs with the ball and slicing passes that no one else seems to be able to. F Bob Bradley, the kid needs to be out there playing with the A team.
-- Emo Kid continues to improve.
-- The defenders never seemed to panic or lose their concentration.
-- Maestro didn't hack any one for a yellow.

Posted by: edgeonyou | November 20, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I thought Kenny Cooper and Freddie did really well. Their goals were first class. Kenny Cooper showed real good foot skills for a huge guy. I revised my opinion of him. Would have liked to see Troy Perkins get some time tho.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | November 20, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Anyone spotted a nice set of highlights from HON-MEX? I'd like to see both how HON looked and the nature of these red card fouls.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | November 20, 2008 10:13 AM

The last foul was a clear red card...Vela has alot to learn, even Guardardo smacked him in the back of the head..LOL

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | November 20, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

F Bob Bradley, the kid needs to be out there playing with the A team.

Posted by: edgeonyou | November 20, 2008 11:34 AM

What do you mean? Isn't Adu playing with "A" teams now?

Posted by: redskinsux | November 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Front to back, it was a solid showing from the US. There were a couple of great moments (Freddy's goal, the one-touch passing that was ended by an awful cross from Bornstein), and Guzan was forced into just one good save. Parkhurst and Goodson showed their good qualities and none of their weaknesses, but that is tempered a bit by the fact that Guatemala played only one real forward in Acevedo, and even then he was checking back so much that it looked like Pando was alone up top. Still, that's not Parkhurst or Goodson's fault. Goodson might have earned himself future looks, though I don't think Onyewu or Bocanegra will be particularly worried at this point.

On the flanks, I thought Thorrington quietly was effective. It's not his natural position, but he's decent athletically, works very hard, and is generally a tough character. He had a stone-cold penalty turned down for no apparent reason, and I don't recall him letting anything happen on his side. Bornstein also did the job defensively, and got forward often, but his crosses were abysmal. Wasn't he a forward/midfielder coming out of college? If he can become a reliable crosser (which means improving his crosses, his choice of when to go high or keep it on the ground, which post to go to, and whether to hit them first time or after a all needs work), he'll challenge Pearce. Otherwise, our starting left back will continue to be a fringe player on a 2.Bundesliga team.

Bradley went with the box midfield he liked to run out in MLS. I thought Mastroeni, Kljestan and Adu all played well, with Clark being a bit too quiet for my liking. When you've got his shooting ability and Mastroeni next to you, you need to get into the offense more. Adu showed again that he's a unique player in the US pool. He should at least make the bench, and be an oft-used sub, in the squads for the Hex. His eye for the killer pass has improved, and his more conservative use of his dribbling ability caused a couple good moments without it being all about him. Kljestan looked sharp coming inside, but his first touch still bothers me. If he can improve that, he would merit being a regular starter. Until then, I'd only start him against the teams in the Hex that are challenged technique-wise (T&T and El Salvador).

Up front, Altidore and Cooper looked to have some chemistry, which is a bigger deal for Cooper. Altidore is obviously going to be a regular (he was, to me, the best player on the field last night), and if Cooper can be the target forward that has the best understanding with him, it could put Ching in some trouble. As an individual, Cooper had an OK game; he was involved in some of the best passing moves of the game, but had a couple giveaways and hit the bar on a header that he should bury. Still, he puts in the work, and has 2 goals in 2 caps. At this point, he's still behind Ching, but maybe the gap isn't as big as it would have seemed.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 20, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think most of the evaluations of Sasha Kljestan are dead wrong. The level of competition last night was pretty poor. He doesnt really win balls. He's bad in the air and he constantly mis hits passes. Yet he is brilliant at times but he has to be more consistent. Not saying that he could become a viable member of the team but he needs to improve a lot. Additionally his speed is and issue. He just doesnt reallt have the tools. Look at who else we have in the mid. Younger and more skilled players. Bradley, Edu, Adu. There isnt room on this team for mediocrity. I know most people will disagree and that OK. I just odnt want him eating up a roster spot in 2010.

Also its time to cut the cord on Ricardo Clark. He is simply terrible. His work rate sucks too. He just stands aroud half the time.

Kenny Cooper needs to find a Premiersip team ASAP. He is a much more exciting player than both Eddie Johnson and Brian Ching.

Posted by: Conservativemindsareinshackles | November 20, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Quit dissin' Ching. Who knows who the starters will be in 2010, maybe it will be Cooper. Depth will be crucial, and throwing dudes under the bus because you think a dude is it after two games is awfully premature.
Sacha Emostachio Kljestan has some work to do but he's obviously someone Bradley has a lot of faith in. Besides he's got hella hyphy flair yo!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 20, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

To me, the MOTM was Kljestan. I think he is a legitimate contender for a starting spot on the "A" team. I was concerned that the formation put the attack-minded Adu and Kkjestan out wide, with the center manned by defensive-minded Mastro and Clark, but Sasha and Freddy apparently had licence to roam and frequently started attacks from the center.

The other pleasant surprise was Thorington. I don't recall him ever playing right back, but he seemed in his element. In many ways, including size, he looked like somewhat younger Cherundolo. Goodsen looked, well, good.

Posted by: b18bolo | November 20, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Not only is California known as "the Golden State," the SF Bay Area in previous years was known as the "Golden Gateway" i.e. the gateway to the Orient - hence the name "Golden Gate Bridge" despite the fact that the bridge is painted a rusty red.

*the more you know*


I will agree however that WUSA and now WPS team names are pretty crappy. I like Chicago Red Stars and that's about it.

Posted by: sobugged1 | November 20, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

FC Gold Pride = Lame.

Chicago Red Stars = Lame.

Red Star Chicago = Now, you're talking.

Adu's goal is still world-class, two days later.

The Goal of the Year? Not so much. Perhaps the voting committee was swayed by Max Bretos' call? He's sounding like he's copulating with Lindsey Lohan.

Did you know that there is a picture next to the word "thuggery" in the dictionary? The photo is of El Tri.

Homare Sawa will be the key to the Freedom this coming season, much like Sandra Minnert and Steffi Jones.

Electric Boogaloo?

Posted by: bs2004 | November 21, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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