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Posted at 9:12 AM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Thursday kickaround: FIFA rankings, Robbie Findley, Americans abroad, Charlie Davies, D.C. United, Andy Najar

By Steve Goff

*In the latest FIFA rankings, the United States holds steady at No. 18. The top nine is unchanged, led by Spain, Netherlands and Germany. The Americans' next opponents, Argentina and Paraguay, are fifth and 24th respectively. The biggest jump in the top 25: Asian champion Japan, 12 slots to No. 17. Rough week all-around for Egypt: Pharaohs fall 23 slots to No. 33. Full rankings here.

*Just days after finalizing his move to Nottingham Forest, U.S. forward Robbie Findley suffered a hip injury that might sideline him for three months.

*Americans abroad:
MF Clint Dempsey 90 in Fulham's 1-0 win over Newcastle
MF Stuart Holden 90 in Bolton's 1-0 win over Wolves
MF Maurice Edu 90 in Rangers' 1-0 win over Hearts
MF Jermaine Jones 64 in Blackburn's 1-0 loss to Spurs
GK Marcus Hahnemann in 18, didn't play for Wolves
MF Jonathan Spector not in 18 for West Ham's 3-1 win over Blackpool

*My understanding is that Charlie Davies, on trial with D.C. United, will undergo evaluations today and won't begin workouts until Friday. Awaiting confirmation from the club. Update here.

United's first matches in Florida will be Monday at the training fields of Fort Lauderdale Stadium: a morning game against Canada's under-20 national team and, for those who don't play in the first contest, an afternoon match vs. Florida International University.

*A Honduran report indicated that United's Andy Najar was preparing to commit to Honduras rather than wait for U.S. citizenship. However, Najar's agent, Chris Megaloudis, told the Insider: "Andy was not quoted correctly. He is closer to making a decision but has not decided 100 percent to which country he will choose to represent."

By Steve Goff  | February 3, 2011; 9:12 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, D.C. United, Egypt, England, FIFA, Honduras, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  Andy Najar, Charlie Davies, D.C. United, FIFA, Robbie Findley  
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Next: Weekend soccer TV listings: Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Mexico

Comments

Robbie Findlay's injury is a good reminder of the danger of putting all our offensive eggs in one basket, particulary one that has a tendency to travel down the highway at high speed!

I saw a good article / commentary from Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney about MLS big multi-year endorsement deal with Adidas (he estimates it being worth $200 million thru 2018).

One drawback of the deal is that it gives Adidas so much leverage they would probably block any expansion efforts of teams associated with Nike. So any efforts by foreign teams like Barcelona or Boca Juniors to consider expansion into MLS (or likewise by the evolving NY Cosmos organization) are likely to be nipped in the bud by Adidas and their interests.

At least that's what Ridge Mahoney suggests:

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/41202/adidas-deal-supersedes-all-else.html

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 3, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

All: I'm thinking of setting up a DC United forum separate from Big Soccer through a registered domain and all that jazz. Would anyone support the idea? I'm trying to figure out if Big Soccers forum covers all the needs

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | February 3, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Laptop, you have checked out:
http://www.blackandredunited.com/
No?
What needs are you looking to fulfill?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 3, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Tenorio's purloined laptop:

I think BS is pretty good at covering DC United since the posters on that forum often have useful insights (of course there's plenty of exceptions).

But more coverage is always useful and could be interesting or informative.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 3, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Bummer for Robbie. I was hoping you would somehow learn how to put the ball in the back of the net consistently upon arriving in England. I guess Ben Olsen's legendary Yank at Nottingham status is safe for now? Get well soon Findley.

USA #1 in CONCACAF! I did notice elsewhere that the Gold Cup draw has been pushed back to March... Did the bribe mules lose the deposit slips for Jack's bank account? I'd really like to know which group the US will be in so I can pencil in any possible travel plans for the tournament. I.E. will it be more likely to see the US playing in the quarter finals at the New Meadow Lands or RFK.

Perhaps Najar wants to get in on the Gold Cup action as well...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 3, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure the hiring of Osorio cinched it for Najar.

Posted by: Reignking | February 3, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Not trying to generate coverage, just opinions and community. Big soccer, while a decent forum, is more of an all encompassing site. Not something that generates the community found in forums like Redcafe or lfcreds.com.

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | February 3, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Najar may be thinking of playing for the Honduras U20s but CONCACAF U20 Championship and U20 World Cup both fall right in the middle of the MLS season. DCU doesn't have to release him for either and probably shouldn't since he is a starter. The same may be true for Perry Kitchen but it's not known at this point whether he'll be a major contributor early on or not. (I think he will be.)

Posted by: PeteO1 | February 3, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The Najar saga is coming to a close. I desperately want him to choose the US. We need someone like him.

Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | February 3, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@ TenoriosLaptop

I would appreciate a well moderated forum that is not dominated by only a dozen posters to whom the forum rules do not apply. Big Soccer was a waste of my time. Discussion here is a bit better, but clumsy. I would appreciate a forum that was friendly to folks who regularly contribute as well as folks who only have the time to pop in once ina while.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 3, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I think Najar will end up picking Honduras mostly because of the logjam in midfield in the US pool. Even if he was a citizen, it could be another 8 years before he could crack the lineup consistently at one of the outside mid spots. I still hope he picks the Nats, but I would understand if he wanted to go with Honduras. kind of feels like the Rossi situation in reverse.

Posted by: VTUnited | February 3, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Andy, committing to Honduras would certainly see you as the star of the team, but will likely see you struggle to make the World Cup for every cycle.

Remember, they've only made it once in the last thirty years and only twice in the tournament's history.

If winning a World Cup is part of your dream, as it likely is for every soccer player to every lace up the boots, you need to choose the US.

Please, pretty, pretty, pretty please!

Posted by: delantero | February 3, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

VT, I think Andy could crack the team, possibly the starting lineup for Brasil 2014, even if it is just for the bench, he's got more skill than Feilhaber, just needs PT/experience.

Posted by: delantero | February 3, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I can see how it would be a tough choice for Andy. I am guessing that he will end up picking Honduras due to family considerations.

And, speaking of the new Asian champs, how about some reporting about the Qatari authorities locking ticket-holding fans (thousands of them) out of the stadium for the final. And then keeping everyone locked in the stadium for something like an hour after the match. Maybe picking Qatar for the WC wasn't such a great idea after all. Of course they're trying to sweep it all under the rug, but the YouTube videos don't lie.

Posted by: fedssocr | February 3, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@delantero - based off of the one fantastic MLS season, where do you see him in the starting 11 in 2014?

Posted by: VTUnited | February 3, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I hope Najar chooses to play for the US but I'm not going to lose any sleep or get upset if he becomes the next Rossi. He has his family ties there and that's his place of birth. I would argue the US has the brighter future and our u20's look very bright -things which should appeal to Naja but who knows.

I also couldn't blame Najar for going with Honduras due to the prolonged waiting period for US citizenship.

Posted by: grubbsbl | February 3, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

grubbs, he'd be a "Rossi" if he committed to the US not Honduras. I wish I could speak spanish so I could ask the Catrachos in my neighborhood what they think.

Posted by: DadRyan | February 3, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@ VTUnited

Our log jam in the midfield is in the middle of the park with Edu, Jones, Bradley, Holden the ones that jump to mind. On the outside I dont see it that way, Dempsey, and Landy Cakes but theres really no one else. Holden can play on the outside and after that who? Bedoya, Robbie.

If Najar gets better this 2nd year he has a very good chance to play for us in 2014.

I think Najar chooses Honduras.

Posted by: francisco_11 | February 3, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@francisco_11 that was my point - hes got Donovan, Dempsey, and likely Holden (maybe even Feilhaber) in front of him for what could be 2 more cycles. He is of course very young still, but not sure he would want to wait that long, on top of having to wait another 3 years before he can even have a shot to be a reserve.

Posted by: VTUnited | February 3, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

DadRyan.... I get were your coming from but I used "the Rossi" in the sense that if Najar becomes world class I'll live and won't be bitter. I guess I should have went with Subotic as a better analogy.

I gotta agree with Delantro and Francisco in that Najar has a legitimate chance to be an impact player for USA in '14 if he continues on his upward projectory. He is already ahead of Badoya in my boat we hasn't impressed me.

Posted by: grubbsbl | February 3, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

What grubbsbi said. I wonder if there's a fantasy naturalization national team draft on the internet.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 3, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like someone got beat up on the Big Soccer playground:

I would appreciate a well moderated forum that is not dominated by only a dozen posters to whom the forum rules do not apply. Big Soccer was a waste of my time. Discussion here is a bit better, but clumsy. I would appreciate a forum that was friendly to folks who regularly contribute as well as folks who only have the time to pop in once ina while.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 3, 2011 10:17 AM

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | February 3, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

VT,

It's not that I see him starting based on the current crop (Holden/Edu/Dempsey/Donovan would start), but I think he's got a legit chance to make the US squad, particularly if he's got 2-3 years more of "seasoning" in MLS.

Plus, three years is a long time.

Andy has a very unique skill set, seems to understand the game (especially well for a young player), is fearless, attacks the goal, and is a midfielder that tracks back and plays defense.

And had he made his choice, I would have started him in our last friendly.

Posted by: delantero | February 3, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

What grubbsbi said. I wonder if there's a fantasy naturalization national team draft on the internet.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 3, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Qatar will be looking into it for the 2022 World Cup.

Posted by: grubbsbl | February 3, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Please, Michael Hoyos is the new Rossi.

Posted by: Josh86 | February 3, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

VT: Feilhaber needs to get out of Scandanavia at some point. Dempsey and Donovan have one more World Cup left at the MOST. Donovan has already lost half a step.I think the challenge for all of us regarding these young guys like Najar, Ream and Agudelo is that they all look so promising, but regardless, we have no idea how they are really going to turn out (just yet)--we all have to have patience.

Posted by: dwreck1971 | February 3, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I have found Big Soccer to be a very good venue for discussion. But remember you are running with the big dogs. There are some very, very knowledgable folks on the forum.

And in any serious or passionate discussion you can't operate as someone with very thin skin.

Nick (you guessed it - from Big Soccer)

Posted by: dcufan531 | February 3, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The Honduran article just said their coach had a "hunch" he would choose Honduras. Let's see what Andy decides.

Posted by: adamsmorgan | February 3, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm no expert, but I don't think Najar would even be eligible for citizenship by 2014, would he?

Posted by: OWNTF | February 3, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm no expert, but I don't think Najar would even be eligible for citizenship by 2014, would he?

Posted by: OWNTF | February 3, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I got to think your right.

Curtosy of DCUnited twitter: Davies has been cleared to train. Weight lifting this afternoon (Jersey Shore style I assume) then scrimmages tomorrow.

Posted by: grubbsbl | February 3, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure some DC/USA fan will marry him.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 3, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm no expert, but I don't think Najar would even be eligible for citizenship by 2014, would he?

Thanks, I was about to make this exact point. His agent has been a bit coy about it, but to the best of our knowledge he got his green card shortly before DCU called him up to the full team. Ie, sometime in early 2010 or maybe late 2009. Either way, the 2014 World Cup will have passed before he can even apply for citizenship (unless he happens to marry a US citizen between now and then).

What are the chances he'll be able to make significant contributions to Honduras's national team before then? Pretty good, right? This is why any hope of Najar ever suiting up for the Nats is a pipe dream.

Posted by: BooThisMan | February 3, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

If Andy plays for los Catrachos, good for him. When you are as young as he is, 5 years seems like a really, really long time. Heck 5 years seems like a long time for my middle aged behind.

If he starts playing for Honduras ASAP, he can potentially get a lot of games in during the next cuple years and that should facilitate getting a UK work permit (even thought I personally think that his style would be better match for a non-British league).

Stating the glaringly obvious--Being an international will only be an assett for him during transfer and salry negotiations.

Megaloudis can say that he hasn't decided, definitely yet but I don't need a Crystal Ball or Walter Mercado to tell me where to put my money when the forum bookie, Interstate-270 starts taking bets.

No chance, Lance that kid decided to play for us.

See ya when USA or Puerto Rico faces los Catrachos, Andy!

I won't be rooting for you on those days.

Posted by: yankiboy | February 3, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Big Soccer - It used to be that a pre-match thread was filled with insightful analysis about how the teams match up. Now you're lucky to find a single post about that and it's more about whether or not the cheese on a philly cheese steak is in fact cheese. Please. I would love a discussion forum where only comments that genuinely add to the discussion about United are allowed.

Posted by: dsheon1 | February 3, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm wondering how he was misquoted. The quotes from the article are detailed and unambiguous. It's not like changing a word here or there could give them a completely different meaning. What did he actually say? Was the paper just fabricating out of whole cloth here?

Posted by: BooThisMan | February 3, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Volkswagen, but not soccer, related. If you have kids who are obsessed with Star Wars, you will understand this commercial. It might make my younger son, who uses the force on the automatic doors at Safeway, trade in his away replica for a home.

OK. Now back to Najar, Catracho o Yanqui.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 3, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Re: cheese steak...I'll go with cheez-whiz. Is it really cheese? That's above my pay grade.

Extra points for including Walter Mercado in your post, yankiboy! That has to be a first on this blog.

Posted by: apqjr | February 3, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Re: cheese steak...I'll go with cheez-whiz. Is it really cheese? That's above my pay grade.

Extra points for including Walter Mercado in your post, yankiboy! That has to be a first on this blog.

Posted by: apqjr | February 3, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Big Soccer - It used to be that a pre-match thread was filled with insightful analysis about how the teams match up. Now you're lucky to find a single post about that and it's more about whether or not the cheese on a philly cheese steak is in fact cheese. Please. I would love a discussion forum where only comments that genuinely add to the discussion about United are allowed.

Posted by: dsheon1 | February 3, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Are you saying you don't appreciate the humor here? Haha

I don't get Big Soccer. In fact, for well rounded and smart comments I actually think this is the best forum. Additionally, this is the most civil blog for debate (minus the comments about triple posts or the grammar police -these complaints are usually civil which speaks to the high quality of this blog).

I was lucky enough to play D2 at a high level, against 2 former DC players, and PDL. Plus thanks to my graduate studies, I have the time to watch 10-12 games a week (it's the only TV I watch). I say this not to brag -trust me, I was nothing more than a servicible LB- but to relay that I feel I have a fairly high grasp of the game and I find the comments here informative and thought provoking. therefore, I don't see the need for an additional forum on DC.

Posted by: grubbsbl | February 3, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@ dsheon1 & grubbsbl

RE: Civility... My thoughts exactly.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 3, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: universityandpark | February 3, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I won't go back to Big Soccer. In 2008, I posted comments about Houston not living up to their hype by losing six competitions in the season following their back-to-back MLS Cup victories. My comments were taken down because an administrator assumed I was a bitter Revs fan baiting Dynamo supporters. This is a much better community. (Better than SBI, too.)

Posted by: Brokenbil | February 3, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Goff -- I'm still expecting you to go down to camp and do a Davies profile. I know everyone is focused on whether he can regain his speed. For me, what set CD apart from all those track stars who don't make it on the pitch was his his wrestler's strength and explosiveness. I've now seen a shirtless shot of him and the DCU shot of him at camp. It appears to me that he may not have regained his pre-accident muscle mass. Can you inquire?

Posted by: fischy | February 3, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know what time DCU's two exhibition games are scheduled for and if they are open to the public? I live about 3-4 miles away from Lockhart and Ft. Lauderdale Stadium and would like to take a peek at the new team if I can.

dcunited.com isn't very helpful, nor is there information on the FIU athletics page.

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | February 3, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I doubt the Insider will be traveling during basketball season....

Posted by: JkR- | February 3, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"What are the chances he'll be able to make significant contributions to Honduras's national team before then?"

None of us has the tiniest, most microscopic clue. That's what's funny about this whole conversation. it's like Freddy Adu never happened! (Remember when folks were worried Freddy would jump over to the Ghana team, somehow not realizing that Adu would never, not in a million years, be selected for that team?)

Not talking about Najar here, but about US. We're $#@# ridiculous.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | February 4, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

@GOG: Given what we have seen so far at club level, I think that it is more likely for him to make some contributions to Honduras. At least as many as Roger Espinoza (not trying to put that kid down).

I get your point about Fredy and about knowing how a guy is going to develop for sure but I don't think you have to be Thomas Rongen or Bob Bradley or Ruedas (oh--that's right the Catrochos ousted that Colombian, right)to have some sort of idea that the kid might be a contributor in the very near future...

Not so "$#@# ridiculous" from where I sit.

I would be less like to bet on his contributions to the US given all of the guys that are currently in the pool--even if he didn';t have such a long waiting time to be eligible.

Posted by: yankiboy | February 4, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

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