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Friday Kickaround

*Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney reports that USA defender Jay DeMerit will have surgery Monday to have the cornea in his left eye replaced. He hopes to return to action within two months. DeMerit says his cornea was scratched by dust or grit that got underneath his contact lens. By the time eye drops began to heal the cut, an infection had taken hold.

DeMerit has been joined on the injury list by central defense partner Oguchi Onyewu (knee) and forward Charlie Davies (car accident). Meantime, midfielder Maurice Edu is close to returning from a long layoff for Glasgow Rangers and Jermaine Jones, the German-born Schalke midfielder who has pledged allegiance to the USA, remains sidelined with a shin problem.

*The USA stayed at No. 11 in the FIFA rankings. One higher-ranked nation -- No. 8 Croatia -- did not qualify for the World Cup and two -- France (9th) and Portugal (10th) -- are in the Euro playoffs. However, for World Cup seeding purposes, the past three Cups are also taken into consideration, which is not particularly favorable for the USA: quarterfinals in 2002 but winless efforts in 1998 and 2006.

*Juan Sebastian Veron, on Argentina's lackluster World Cup qualifying campaign: "There's nothing to celebrate. It's all bad. We suffered, we hung in there and in the end we were able to win, but we have much room for improvement. Now the coach can take the time he needs to correct what needs to be corrected and put together a team for the World Cup. In terms of players we have some of the best, but we are not a team."

*On the ACC college scene, sixth-ranked and injury-depleted Maryland (8-3-1) aims for its fourth straight win tonight when it visits two-win Clemson, while Virginia (7-3-1) and Virginia Tech (3-7-2) prepare to tangle Saturday night in Blacksburg.

By Steve Goff  |  October 16, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Americans Abroad , Argentina , College Soccer , FIFA , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: D.C. United News & Notes

Comments

Methinks the Edu in back experiment is about to be renewed shortly.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | October 16, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Veron continued, "Hang on, I need to take this . . . 202 area code, hmm . . . "

Posted by: fallschurch1 | October 16, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Somebody send that Honduran radio clip to crackhead Maradona, so he can learn to say Estados Unidos the proper way.

Argentina, "three and out"

Posted by: OWNTF | October 16, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Is there any word on the driver in the Davies accident? Was he sober? I've heard rumors that the driver was speeding, but can't find that corroborated by any legitimate source.

Posted by: chemweapon | October 16, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"DeMerit says his cornea was scratched by dust or grit that got underneath his contact lens. By the time eye drops began to heal the cut, an infection had taken hold."

I blame grimy lower Hertfordshire. And socialized healthcare, obviously. ;-)

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Just think, if things had went a little differently 2 years ago JSV's comments could have read like this:

"There's nothing to celebrate. It's all bad. We suffered, we hung in there and in the end we were able to win, but we have much room for improvement. Now the coach can take the time he needs to correct what needs to be corrected and put together a team for next season. In terms of players we have some of the best, but we are not a team."

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | October 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Just think, if things had went a little differently 2 years ago JSV's comments could have read like this:

"There's nothing to celebrate. It's all bad. We suffered, we hung in there and in the end we were able to win, but we have much room for improvement. Now the coach can take the time he needs to correct what needs to be corrected and put together a team for next season. In terms of players we have some of the best, but we are not a team."


Posted by: CrippledKeeper | October 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

OUCH!

Posted by: ncguy | October 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe Veron's a different style of player than Gallardo, and woulda figured out how to fit in better with DCU and vice-versa, and ...

What am I talking about? Pigs might as well sprout wings.

Posted by: Juan-John | October 16, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Is there any word on the driver in the Davies accident? Was he sober? I've heard rumors that the driver was speeding, but can't find that corroborated by any legitimate source.

Posted by: chemweapon

I haven't heard anything, but for some reason, I thought it was a "she". BTW if it is the curve that I think it is, it is very easy to go too fast without knowing it.

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Here's some very early speculation on what remaining slots and seeding could look like...

http://www.football-rankings.info/2009/10/2010-world-cup-seeding-formula-based-on.html (they confused Honduras and Costa Rica - I switched them)

Top 7 + South Africa seeded.

Pot 1: Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Spain
Pot 2: Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland
Pot 3: Australia, Bahrain, Honduras, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Mexico, USA
Pot 4: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Paraguay, Tunisia, Uruguay

Possible draw (using random.org):

Group A: South Africa, Denmark, Honduras, Paraguay
Group B: Brazil, Netherlands, Mexico, Ghana
Group C: Spain, Greece, Korea DPR, Côte d'Ivoire
Group D: Germany, Slovakia, Korea Republic, Chile
Group E: Argentina, Serbia, Japan, Algeria
Group F: Italy, Russia, USA, Cameroon
Group G: England, Switzerland, Bahrain, Tunisia
Group H: Portugal, France, Australia, Uruguay

---

Hook us up with South Africa, Slovakia and Tunisia, please. :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Knowing that the host always (almost? Did Japan not make it?) makes the next round, I wouldn't necessarily want to be in their group.

Who am I kidding? :)

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I think I speak for all US fans in wanting to know every detail about Davies and his health plus the ongoing investigation. I know that if Goff finds out something he can publish he will. With that said, any update on Davies and his condition? Is he talking yet?

Posted by: elfelixg | October 16, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Been away for a while guys, up in a balloon.

Did I miss anything?

Posted by: joedoc1 | October 16, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"However, for World Cup seeding purposes, the past three Cups are also taken into consideration, which is not particularly favorable for the USA: quarterfinals in 2002 but winless efforts in 1998 and 2006."

Not that it helps us any, but I thought it was based on the last two (2) Cups.

Posted by: PabloChicago | October 16, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

So when do the US open tryouts begin? I broke out my 8 year old Copa Mundials.

BTW, if France gets in, how would they NOT be seeded? They reached the finals last world cup. They would certainly be seeded over Portugal.

Even if we get a good seed, we will still have to play a very good european team, and either a good african or south american team. So no matter what group we're drawn in, it's not going to be easy.

Posted by: wanker82 | October 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

France was awful in the last Euro, if that counts.

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It might just keep them away from a seed because of overall ranking (if Portugal qualify) - so yeah, that Euro dud could really hurt France.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

So no matter what group we're drawn in, it's not going to be easy.

Posted by: wanker82
-------------------
certainly, but even in the random assortment above one can see dramatic differences in group strength. it always works that way. remember the Mexican coach chortling in delight at the draw in the last cup? and all of us choking in disbelief in what the USA got?

knock on wood, fellas. (and I don't see Portugal getting a seed either)

Posted by: troy6 | October 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Group A: South Africa, Denmark, Honduras, Paraguay
Group B: Brazil, Netherlands, Mexico, Ghana
Group C: Spain, Greece, Korea DPR, Côte d'Ivoire
Group D: Germany, Slovakia, Korea Republic, Chile
Group E: Argentina, Serbia, Japan, Algeria
Group F: Italy, Russia, USA, Cameroon
Group G: England, Switzerland, Bahrain, Tunisia
Group H: Portugal, France, Australia, Uruguay

---

Hook us up with South Africa, Slovakia and Tunisia, please. :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse
----------------------------
Yes, I know that this is purely random, and perhaps(?) unrealistic, but I like the conversation starter Kev29. What a great Friday time-killer.

Eek on Group B. If that's how the pots wind up, I think I would be pulling for a USA-South Africa-Greece-Algeria group. The Slovaks have looked pretty strong. Again, this is based on too many assumptions, but thanks for the post Kev29.

Posted by: TwinCity | October 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Your welcome, TwinCity. Completely random and hypothetical, but that Group B random.org spit out might be the deathiest group of death that ever deathed. Would be worth it to see Mexico obliterated in three straight matches.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I'd hate to see the Dutch, ranked 3rd, get in a group with either of the top 2 teams (Spain, Brazil).

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I'd hate to see the Dutch, ranked 3rd, get in a group with either of the top 2 teams (Spain, Brazil).

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 12:18 PM

The ghosts of 2001/2002 loom large for the Dutch. It's a shame because at the moment, they are exponentially stronger than Argentina.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Hmm -- well, if the USA does well in South Africa, we might claim a seed in 2014 (good results in '02 and '10). Of course, with the injuries we've had, it's not looking good for South Africa:

Onyewu -- sure he'll back in 4 months with a repaired patellar tendon -- but, it's knee surgery. Onyewu was pretty slow before the injury. Where will he be after?

DeMerit -- I'm guessing he's getting a total corneal transplant. That carries some risk of rejection and other complications. However, if it works out, his prognosis for regaining normal vision are good. There are synthetic corneas, but recovery is much longer, so I'm guessing that's not what's planned. There is a partial replacement procedure, but getting full visual acuity isn't likely. Someone died to give Jay a new cornea -- a moment to recall the value of organ donation.

Edu -- When I read "ligament surgery" back in May, I knew it was farcical to talk of a return before November. It takes 6 months minimum. Even if he's feeling good, the attachment of the new ligament isn't fully formed before then. "Training table"? Heck, he'd be back in the OR if he tried to play.

Jones -- I've got no insight, but I'm hoping he's able to go in January. I figure 2 months for his bone to heal form the surgery.

Posted by: fischy | October 16, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Netherlands will be a top seed in the tournament and not in the #2 pot. They currently stand #3 in the FIFA rankings. Either Portugal or England will be in the second group and possibly Argentina.

Posted by: agoldhammer | October 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

fisch, of that list, the only important one is Onyewu (you left off Davies). At this point, the next two would be nice to have (especially Edu), but we've done quite well without them.

And Jones? Who knows...

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Netherlands will be a top seed in the tournament and not in the #2 pot. They currently stand #3 in the FIFA rankings.

Posted by: agoldhammer | October 16, 2009 12:39 PM

FIFA rankings are only part of the equation. Past World Cup Finals performance is another big factor. Holland have (1998) fourth place, (2002) didn't qualify and (2006) round of 16 on their record. They were not seeded for Germany 2006, fwiw. They'll be squarely on the bubble.

England will absolutely, positively get seeded.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the above posts about possible draws -- I can't believe there is a way that Netherlands and Brazil will be in the same group. They both must be seeded teams. I don't understand what formula would give England a seed over Netherlands, but it's silly.

I note that site has "performance points" for only the last 2 Cups. Goff's post indicates that it should be the last 3 Cups, not last 2. One of them is wrong -- not sure which. It does seem that FIFA used the last 2 cups in '06. If it's just the last 2 cups, then the USA will still have no real chance of earning a seed in 2014. I guess the question is whether FIFA will use the exact same formula.

Finally, the posts above are using dated rankings -- the Oct. 12 standings. The Oct. 16 standings (click the link http://www.football-rankings.info/2009/10/2010-world-cup-seeding-formula-based-on_16.html ) have France at #7, not Portugal.

I also wanted to say something about Veron. I'd still love to have him here. I had hoped that his Libertadores title would be enough for him, and he'd now consider a move. Now that he's back in the national team picture, he's in Beckham's boat. Not much chance of him coming to MLS -- at least not until the summer transfer window, after the Cup.

Posted by: fischy | October 16, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I like the way the scenarios show Urugauy in, not the Ticos. The ticos deserve misery the way they treat the US when we play there - throwing batteries and bags of urine at our players.

Posted by: GeneWells | October 16, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@rk -- I left off Davies because it seems a tad overoptimistic to think he could be ready to play in South Africa. I'd love to be proven wrong. I disagree with your assertion that we've done nicely without DeMerit. The USA defense was shredded by Honduras, and Costa Rica did nicely until they fell back in their defensive shell. I love Boca, but we're a better team with a healthy DeMerit and Onyewu in the center.

Posted by: fischy | October 16, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Nice work, as always, just to chime in on the USA seeding stuff.

We will NOT be seeded.

There are currently 8 qualified teams with more points than us, 7 of them are so far ahead they can't be any chance we catch them with fluctuations in the October to November FIFA rankings.

And that is assuming France and Portugal do NOT qualify.

Assuming last times formula (50% last two WC performances, 2/3 '06, 1/3 '02 + 50% FIFA rankings last 3 years: Dec '07, Dec '08, Nov '09).

1: South Africa (host)
2: Brazil - 59.7
3: Germany - 59.3
4: Italy - 56.7
5: Spain - 56.0
5: England - 51.3
6: Argentina - 49.7
7: Netherlands - 43.0
------------------------
8: Mexico - 37.0
9. USA - 34.7
------------------------
France - 48.0
Portugal = 47.3

I can't fathom any formula where we rank ahead of Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, England, Argentina, or the Netherlands. Or France or Portugal.

Posted by: TrueCrew | October 16, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I love what DeMerit brought when we finally had him play, but he is hardly a mortal lock to play in the back at this point. The back line is still up for grabs.

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I foresee us in the group with Brazil, Spain, and Germany. The draws have rarely been kind to us.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

That's ok. We own Spain in South Africa.

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Wicks:

"Wicks is Whack" is playing tonight at The Cellar Door, 9:30 pm.

Posted by: joedoc1 | October 16, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The field for the U20 game looks like a Haymarket cow pasture.

Posted by: joedoc1 | October 16, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Hmm -- well, if the USA does well in South Africa, we might claim a seed in 2014 (good results in '02 and '10). Of course, with the injuries we've had, it's not looking good for South Africa:

Onyewu -- sure he'll back in 4 months with a repaired patellar tendon -- but, it's knee surgery. Onyewu was pretty slow before the injury. Where will he be after?

DeMerit -- I'm guessing he's getting a total corneal transplant. That carries some risk of rejection and other complications. However, if it works out, his prognosis for regaining normal vision are good. There are synthetic corneas, but recovery is much longer, so I'm guessing that's not what's planned. There is a partial replacement procedure, but getting full visual acuity isn't likely. Someone died to give Jay a new cornea -- a moment to recall the value of organ donation.

Edu -- When I read "ligament surgery" back in May, I knew it was farcical to talk of a return before November. It takes 6 months minimum. Even if he's feeling good, the attachment of the new ligament isn't fully formed before then. "Training table"? Heck, he'd be back in the OR if he tried to play.

Jones -- I've got no insight, but I'm hoping he's able to go in January. I figure 2 months for his bone to heal form the surgery.

Posted by: fischy |

I assume you have some medical background. I understand that the cornea transplant receipiants take along as a year to regain full sight and that stiches stay in for a year; can Demerit play a contact sport during the healing process? They say 2 months but might recovery really be 12 months??

Posted by: euroman | October 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand what formula would give England a seed over Netherlands, but it's silly.

Posted by: fischy | October 16, 2009 1:01 PM

The formula that uses the last two World Cups. One of which, Holland did not qualify for. England have won five matches in the last two WC Finals (made both quarter finals) - Holland, two. Most of Holland's glory comes from the European Championships, which is not a big factor here (though it boosts their FIFA ranking).

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

...The Cellar Door, 9:30 pm.
Posted by: joedoc1
==================

Let's car pool in my Nissan. We'll go if the weather is grumpy or Merri.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 16, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Milan Makes Compensation Request for Onyewu's Injury
AP
Oguchi Onyewu's club, AC Milan, is seeking compensation from the U.S. Soccer Federation for Onyewu's injury during a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. "I'm very angry because once again the national teams take players and we lose out due to injuries," AC Milan chief executive officer Adriano Galliani told Italian media Thursday.
story...

-----

DCUSince96 is requesting compensation from Adriano Galliani for being such a horse's ass

Posted by: DCUSince96 | October 16, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I hate this formula for seeding. Too much is placed on past performance where players have completely rolled over. This would be like giving the Redskins a high seed in the '99 playoffs because they won the '91 and '87 Super Bowls. It's absurd. In addition, Mexico under this formula keeps fairing better than us despite finishing 2nd in Qualifying the previous two Qualifying rounds and having a losing record against the USA during the recent run. Lastly, if they factor in Euro performance they better factor in the Confederations Cup as well. Otherwise, throw that out.

Posted by: croftonpost | October 16, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Lastly, if they factor in Euro performance they better factor in the Confederations Cup as well. Otherwise, throw that out.

Posted by: croftonpost | October 16, 2009 4:27 PM

They probably factor (roughly) the same in the FIFA rankings. Maybe skewed a bit more for Confederations Cup since it's in the same calendar year as the draw.

Personally, I think anything that makes serious use of the ridiculous FIFA rankings is a suck. I say throw all 32 in the hopper and see what happens. You have to play the best at some point to win the thing - might as well beat them up front. Look at Italy last time - they were in an extremely tough group and it might just have made them better in the knockout stages. Who knows.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Why not do what every sport and league in the world does. Why not reward those that finished first. If you don't win your qualifying group then you cannot be seeded. Factor everything else from there. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: croftonpost | October 16, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I think that's a cool idea, crofton. But very, very harsh on South America who can and do qualify in one big group marathon.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 16, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Good point. They would need to break CONMEBOL up into two groups.

Posted by: croftonpost | October 16, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Knowing that the host always (almost? Did Japan not make it?) makes the next round, I wouldn't necessarily want to be in their group.

Who am I kidding? :)

Posted by: Reignking | October 16, 2009 11:38 AM
________________________________________

Japan did indeed get to the round of 16. Has there ever been a host nation that looked weaker on paper than South Africa? Before now Japan '02 and USA '94 brought up the rear, but South Africa is a cut or two below that. The Bafana Bafana are already out of the African Cup of Nations, in which 19 teams are still alive. But who knows, maybe they'll rise to the occasion next June, as other hosts have.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 16, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

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