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Tuesday Kickaround

*Defender Carlos Bocanegra, a full-time starter who has yet to play in the Confederations Cup because of a hamstring injury, is listed as questionable for tomorrow's semifinal against Spain. ... Defender Danny Califf has left camp to attend to a family matter. ... Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Bradley, Oguchi Onyewu and Jonathan Spector are carrying yellow cards, and with another, would miss Sunday's third-place game or championship match.

*In the wake of a 3-0 victory over Egypt, we don't anticipate many changes in the USA lineup. Howard for Guzan seems likely. Otherwise, why mess with a good thing, right? Right?

*Updated TV info:
USA vs. Spain
2:25 p.m. ESPN and Univision (live)
11 p.m. ESPN2 (taped)
Brazil vs. South Africa
2:25 p.m. ESPN and Telefutura (live)
9 p.m. ESPN2 (taped)

*The last time the USA faced Spain: June 4, 2008 friendly in Santander, a 1-0 Spanish victory on Xavi's goal in the 79th minute. The lineup was Howard (Guzan 46th); Cherundolo (Hejduk 46th); Onyewu, Bocanegra, Pearce; Dempsey (Mastroeni 86th), Edu, Bradley, Lewis (Wolff 70th); Johnson, Adu (Beasley 46th).

*Michael Owen to Hull?

*After further review, Columbus's goal at Dallas on Saturday has been credited to defender Eric Brunner, the first of his career. Initially, it was ruled an own goal for deflecting off Pablo Richetti.

*SuperLiga today at Toyota Park:
Chicago (1-0) vs. Chivas USA (0-1), 8 p.m. ET (Telefutura)
San Luis (0-1) vs. Tigres (1-0), 10 p.m. (Galavision)

By Steve Goff  |  June 23, 2009; 9:17 AM ET
Categories:  Confederations Cup , England , MLS , Spain , SuperLiga , TV  
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I feel like that bug I had last week is coming back.

Posted by: sitruc | June 23, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm feeling you, Sitruc. My stomach has been bothering me all morning. Additionally, my Boss is out of the office tomorrow (which always makes it easier to slip, go home sick).

Posted by: Smitty8 | June 23, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

seems like a lot of own goals this week, both international and domestic. Just the ball touching a defender should not equate to an og; as in the case of boswell on saturday. The ball was head for the area of the far post and was already past the keeper. Whether it would have gone in unimpeded we'll never know, but why not credit the offense for a goal?

And about the Houston game, how terrible was that PK call on Rimando?!? Ching flicked it on AWAY from goal a nano second before rimando got his gloves on it and then runs into the goalie. This isn't a video game where the keeper instantly vanishes after possesion is established, he is still going to occupy that space. HUGE save for nicky, but he shouldn't have to bail himself out of the ref's poor calls.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | June 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Funny, that bug is going around I hear. Someone told me the best cure is a couple hours of afternoon rest. Preferably on a Wednesday.

Posted by: Washago | June 23, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Really? I feel fine sitting here on my summer vacation. :)

Posted by: PEddy | June 23, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Otherwise, why mess with a good thing, right? Right?

I don't know. Dempsey and Bradley must be tired from all those minutes as starting mids in the EPL and Bundesliga. Adu has been resting for two years, so he must be ready to go. Bradley is such an idiot and nepotist if he can't see that.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 23, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I've read on the internet that the best treatment for this bug is cathode ray therapy. However, scientists report, in the New England revolution Journal of Medicine that LCD and plasma technologies are more promising. I plan to enroll myself in a clinical trial tomorrow at 2:30. The therapeutic effects are enhanced by herbal medicines containing malt and hops.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

And potato skins, I-270.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The way to beat Spain is the same way Chelsea played Barcelona in CL. Compact, tight defense with quick, controlled, and fearless transition breaks.

Personally, I'd take the same lineup with one exception; drop Dempsey for Feilhaber. I'd push Feilhaber to the middle with Bradley, then move Clark out to the right hand side. Dempsey plays impossibly slow in transition, and aside from his goal, he's been detrimental to this squad in this tournament. Way too many times he's allowed the defense to reset by cutting the ball back, taking unnecessary touches, and slowing the ball in order to increase his ability to perform his 'moves'. He doesn't fit with the US style of attack (which is nearly exclusively a transition game at this point). Feilhaber, who excels at playing penetrating passes into space, is a much better option for this type of gameplan.

And the reasoning behind moving Clark out wide is because Spain loves to push forward on that side of the field with Capdevila. He loves getting forward, but he's also their weakest link (which isn't really weak at all). While Clark won't provide much of an attacking presence up the flank, he will bring a gritty toughness out there with the goal of stymieing their left flank attacks, similar to how both Italy and AC Milan employ Gattuso. Spector's penchant for making breaking runs up that side should more than cover the attacking deficiencies Clark has, and Clark's work rate will compliment Spector's defensive sacrifices when making those runs.

I know this is all a pipe-dream though. Bradley is set in his ways, so I definitely expect to see the same lineup out there. Not a terrible thing (as he finally got one right), but I don't think it'll counter Spain's high controlled possession game.

Posted by: psps23 | June 23, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

did someone mention herbal remedies? Calms down the tummy and in fact enhances the enjoyment of potato skins;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | June 23, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"Let's make sure of one thing, that after 90 minutes, they know who we are."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Potato Skins need no enhancement. They're beautiful just the way they are. Herbal remedies simply enhance the speed with which they are eaten.

I suspect the lineup will be exactly the same as the Egypt game. Bradley will want to continue the momentum since they finally played well.

PSP, Clark out wide makes less sense than Soehn putting Olsen out wide in Colorado.

Posted by: delantero | June 23, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I would think Freddy's play vs Spain last year would earn some playing time against them again:

Freddy v Spain 2008

but Bradley took him out at half time for some reason in that game, to put in Beasley for some reason.

Posted by: joe_hill | June 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Yea, Clark out wide is a bit of a stretch, but there are a couple things to be noticed.

(1) Bradley doesn't use traditional wide midfielders to begin with. Offensively, they're essentially central players that drift in and out underneath the opposing backline. They're really only "wide" players defensively.

(2) Clark is more versatile than most realize. And he's not really comparable to Olsen, who is forced to play centrally because of his clear physical limitations. That doesn't apply to Clark.

I think it's worth a shot to try it out. It's unorthodox, I know, as there are only a few teams worldwide that use supposed 'disruptors' in wide positions. But I get the feeling that Clark, who's more of a two-way midfielder than not, could be great in this situation with his work rate and range. But, as I said, nothing more than a pipe-dream. I know it'll never happen.

Posted by: psps23 | June 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

joe_hill, I remember Freddy in that game. He was great. But I've always seen him as a withdrawn forward, not a central midfielder, and I think Davies has to stay up top after his latest performance.

Posted by: psps23 | June 23, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Spain is the one team where I think we have to play Torres. Doesn't anybody remember how Xavi and Iniesta destroyed Man U's rhythm by controlling possession and passing?

While Iniesta won't play, Fabregas and Xavi, and possibly David Silva will. For a bucket formation to work, the D mids have to shut down everything. It won't work, and we will be ripped to shreds, having no offense to speak of. Clark will look like a 10 year old caught in a game of keepaway against college grads. We need to pass as well.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 23, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"Herbal remedies simply enhance the speed with which they are eaten..."

... thereby increasing the number of potato skins consumed, and the amount of herbal medicines containing malt and hops that are enjoyed.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 23, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

because beasley is good, duh!

seriously I thought it was freddy's best game in a US senior jersey, but I will be willing to bet he does not touch the field.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 23, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

*coughs* *seems to feel fever coming on tomorrow afternoon*

i think i somehow caught this bug on the internet! i hope the CDC is monitoring the situation.

even though i am of the same opinion as yesterday vis a vis bob bradley, i have hope for this game. spain showed they are not perfect against iraq, and our players are better than iraq's. however, i think the take-away lesson from that game was that iraq focused almost exclusively on defense, and if not for sloppy finishing by spain (villa could have had 4) it could have been another blowout. clearly, spain's strength is in the attack. if we play an aggressive (no stupid slide tackles plz!) 4-4-2, make a concerted effort to hold the ball, and counter quickly, we should be able seize some semblance of control. as i always say, when we have the ball the other team cannot score. in terms of line-up, i would like to see altidore and davies up-top, fielhaber, torres, bradley, and clark in midfield, bornstein, gooch, demerit, and spector in the back, and tim howard in goal. plan to sub clint in up-top around 60 minutes for whoever is looking least-good between altidore and davies, as clint looks at his best last game in forward position. i think our sefense and clark and probably do a lot to shut down torres and villa and their other offensive firepower, and hopefully our midfield and forwards can pressure spain. i would rather have puyol and marchena be MOTM then torres et al.

@DadRyan: that sounds like an excellent analgesic although i am certain it isn't going to cure my upcoming malady...i can get that cvs, right??? ;)

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

oh s.h.i.t...i somehow forgot landon! i don't think we are going to have many quick counters without him. doh! :(

ok, landon takes torres' spot, and torres subs in at 60 with clint for worst of offensive midfielders.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Adu came out at half because of Puyol constantly kicking and stepping on him, especially the 1:23 point of that video, and he had picked up a knock and had to come out.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 23, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Well, since Bob has decided that it's ok for Dempsey to flop rather than track back on defense after losing the ball, I'd bet he starts up front with Altidore. It does seem like using Adu as an outside mid seems reasonable, unless Bob has decided he doesn't play defense. But, since Dempsey never played defense, what would the difference be?

If beasley is on the field I'm going to turn off the game in disgust.

I don't know if we can compete with Spain's attack. But, maybe. We just need to be (gasp) disciplined in defense and look to counter. It's what we used to be good at.

Eternally hopeful that our guys will show up.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 23, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

interesting usa confederations cup analysis on (they are FAR below the in general, and the insider in particular, when it comes to soccer coverage!). i was surprised to read that sunil got more than 200 emails after the brazil game; i was one.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

DadRyan, if you are ever in SF, look me up, we have some kind potato skins out here.

Posted by: EssEff | June 23, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@EssEff: yes, california is SO much more civilized than around here... SF is chronically kind, and d.c. is the heart of babylon. :(

Posted by: dfunkt | June 23, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping Pontius would get a call up as well. I think he would be a valuable backup and potential replacement for Ching.

Posted by: no_recess | June 23, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I can see Bradley pushing Dempsey up and playing Feilhaber at right midfield. Other than that, and the obvious return of Howard, I'd be shocked to see any other changes.

This game will suit Torres and Adu, but I think we all have doubts about them both getting in. Perhaps Torres comes on and Donovan moves forward at some point? Adu getting on seems like a longshot, even with his previous showing against Spain (and the fact that his set pieces will almost certainly be better than Donovan's...then again, in recent months I think anyone in the squad could at least match Donovan there).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 23, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You idiots who continue to beat that dead horse named nepotism need to open your friggin eyes. Mike Bradley is on the pitch because he's one of our best central midfielders.

Talking about sub-patterns in a FRIENDLY is completely asinine as well.

Although, given Dempsey's overall poor performance in this Cup, I'd bring Torres in for him.

Posted by: alecw81 | June 23, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Bradley does not view Dempsey's performance so far as poor. Clint has his moments. They may come once is 10 matches, but he has them.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse


I totally agree! I really loved his Father's Day gift goal also.

Posted by: no_recess | June 23, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Notice that Adu started up top alongside Johnson on June 4, 2008. He did very, very well, and made Johnson look dangerous. (Quite the feat.)

Of course, Bradley, in his infinite wisdom, took Adu out at the half. We barely threatened the rest of the way, conceding possession to the Spanish. Eventually, Spain broke through and snuck out with a 1-0 win.

Bradley should put Adu up top with Altidore. And put Torres in for Bradley or Clark.

You say not to mess with a good thing...but what's good versus Egypt won't cut it against Spain (just like it didn't against Italy and Brazil).

Posted by: DEFPOTEC1 | June 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@ Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 23, 2009 10:30 AM

Wait a minute. I'm only now finding out about a movie with Gerard Butler AND soccer? How have I missed this truly great cinematic twofer?

And how am I supposed to concentrate the rest of the day? This would be like DadRyan finding a movie about Playboy bunnies on bicycles.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | June 23, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Man, if "moments of brilliance" is the criteria applied to Dempsey, you would think the same metric would be applied to Adu. I think he's probably good for a few. So is Beasley, for that matter. BB is so inconsistent.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 23, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

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