Daily news roundups / Featured

Nowak defends lineup selections, Goal/SaveOTY, Blatter does it again, more

Union

Ahead of last week’s end of the season press conference, we posted a piece that looked at all of the different midfield lineups the Union fielded in 2011 (there were 26 of them). MLSsoccer.com published a piece yesterday with quotes from Nowak defending his use of so many different lineups and formations.

“When players are getting tired, people ask, ‘Why don’t you rotate the players so you have fresh legs?’ And when we do, the question is, ‘Why did you change it when it was working?’ It’s never a perfect situation, right? But our main objective was that we cannot have just 13 guys who are going to play the whole season long…You think one or two players can change the whole complex of things? I’m not guessing. The coaching staff is not guessing. If you see the players every single day, you make the decision based on that.”

The article also noted Nowak’s reasoning behind using Le Toux in the midfield. “I asked him after his first season [in Philly] how many goals he scored in the midfield and how many goals he scored as a forward. And the answer was very simple. He had 14 goals in 2010 and 11 were scored as a left or right midfielder. So he can do it.”

Nowak explains the need for competition within the squad in another new article using quotes from last week’s press conference:

“I always believe that two players [competing for] the same position will give you more than you expect. We’re looking to create more competition. I think the group right now will be better off to know that someone’s right behind you and breathing [down your neck]. It’ll keep you on your toes. I think that’s important for guys like Sheanon Williams, Gabriel Farfan and Michael Farfan, the other youngsters as well.”

The Union website has an article recapping how Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams did with the USMNT U-23 team in Germany. Okugo, who wore the captain’s armband in each of the two games he played, earned an assist in the win against Bochum, as did Williams. You can see Williams’ assist at the 0:19 mark in the clip below, Okugo’s at 1:26.

MLS

Darlington Ngabe won Goal of the Year. It’s a cracker.

Kasey Keller won Save of the Year. It all begins with a crappy backpass.

Earlier this season, we began referring to the referee ratings in our after match analysis and player ratings as the “Geiger Counter,” so named after MLS referee Mark Geiger had a doozy of a game at PPL Park (I think it was the one where Jordan Harvey was shown a straight red). Wouldn’t you know it, Geiger was recently named MLS Referee of the Year. And wouldn’t you know it, Geiger is a local lad, hailing from Beachwood in Ocean County, and a math teacher at Lacey Township High School.

Houston manager Dominic Kinnear said of Sunday’s MLS Cup final, “This is probably the biggest MLS Cup that we’ll see. We told the guys, ‘We are going out there for a game, but make sure you open your eyes and take it in because you never know when you’re going to be back.'”

Some, it appears, fill their time with questions such as “If LA Galaxy win the MLS Cup on Saturday, are they the greatest MLS team of all time?” My first reaction to such a question is “all time” seems a pretty expansive definition for a league that’s only been around since 1996. LA coach Bruce Arena seems to agree. Asked to compare LA to other Cup winning teams, including those he also managed, Arena said, “I couldn’t even compare it. I don’t know how you do it. It’s been 15 years, for one thing…I have no idea how you compare it. I don’t know how you do that. How do you draw that conclusion? I think I had 10 internationals at DC United. I don’t know how you do that. I never quite understood that [kind of thinking]. Help me with it if you can?…The only thing I would say, cause sometimes you can see you’re comparing apples and oranges, but [when his DC United won in 1996 and 1997] there were 10 teams, and now it’s 18 teams. So that’s a lot harder [to succeed now], I would think.” In case you’re wondering, my second reaction is, can you believe people actually get paid to ask such stupid questions?

Here’s a head-to-head comparison of the LA and Houston defenses.

WPS

Philadelphia Independence north Jersey rivals Sky Blue FC have signed two Canadians, goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and defender Candace Chapman. LeBlanc played for the Independence in 2010.

Independence and USWNT goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart talks about the art of goalkeeping.

Fun and relatable

US

The USMNT will begin their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup on June 8 hosting against first-time semifinalists Antigua and Barbuda and will face Guatemala away four days later. The US then plays a Jamaica away on Sept. 7 before hosting them on Sept. 11. The final games are away to Antigua and Barbuda on Oct. 12 and  home against Guatemala on Oct. 16.

Qualification matches for the 2012 Olympics will be shown on Universal Sports Network and Telemundo. Universal will show all US men and women’s qualification games as well as the tournament finals.

Speaking of the Olympics, members of the USWNT recently participated in a photo shoot that was part of a a US Olympic Committe/NBC promotional event that promised “exciting interviews and glamorous lifestyle shoots” in which the media could capture “fun and relatable video and photos they can use as the London Olympic Games draw near.”

The Nov. 19 match against Sweden in Phoenix, the last USWNT match of the year, will be shown exclusively on USsoccer.com.

Jurgen Klinsmann has used his connections with Kaiserslautern so that Robbie Rogers and Kyle Beckerman can remain in Germany to train with the team. Also in Germany, Juan Agudelo will be training with Stuttgart and Perry Kitchen with Freiburg.

The NASL expects its sanctioning as the second division of US professional soccer to be renewed this weekend by the US Soccer Federation.

Elsewhere

While the FA and London police are investigating whether Chelsea’s John Terry racially abused QPR’s Anton Ferdinand, and on the day the FA charged Liverpool’s Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in an interview that he denies racism on the pitch is a problem and that abuse during a game can be settled with a handshake. “Racism is if there are spectators, or there are movements of discrimination off the field of play, but on the field, I deny there is racism.”

Condemnation of Blatter’s comments in Britain was swift with Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor calling for Blatter’s resignation. Reaction in the rest of Europe was more muted. Blatter’s attempts to clarify his remarks included a photo of him with black South African politician Tokyo Sexwale, which only caused more criticism.

The Guardian recounts some of Blatter’s previous howlers.

The International Trade Union Confederation has warned FIFA that it will face a worldwide campaign to move the 2022 World Cup from Qatar unless the organization takes steps to protect workers’ rights in that country.

One Comment

  1. Great Photo of Blatter! Such a Dbag!

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