Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
USA-Nicaragua: One last chance to impress
by Paul Kennedy, July 14th, 2017 1:08AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  bruce arena, gold cup, men's national team, world cup 2018

MOST COMMENTED

The USA closes out group play in the Gold Cup in Cleveland on Saturday when it faces Nicaragua, the only Central American team it has never faced.

Group B, Saturday:
Panama vs. Martinique, FS2, Univision, 4:30 pm ET
USA vs. Nicaragua, FXX, Univision, 7 pm ET

Despite underwhelming performances in its first two games, the USA will be prohibitive favorites against a team that had never scored at the Gold Cup until Wednesday.

Carlos Chavarria scored early in the second half to give Nicaragua a short-lived lead against Panama, which rallied to win, 2-1. The USA beat Martinique, 3-2, in the late game, giving it the edge over the Canaleros for first time in Group B on goal difference.

Group B, Standings:
PTS TEAM W-T-L +/-
4 USA 1-1-0 4/3
4 Panama 1-1-0 3/2
3 Martinique 1-0-1 4/3
0 Nicaragua 0-0-2 1/4

U.S. coach Bruce Arena said he knew little about Nicaragua before watching it play Panama, but he said he thought it had played well.

"All Caribbean and Central American teams have improved," he said. "That's a real positive for Concacaf. The small countries have elevated their football."

Arena said one of the goals of the tournament was to find out whom he'll want to bring back in for the key World Cup 2018 qualifiers in September (Costa Rica and Honduras) and October (Panama and Trinidad & Tobago).

“One of the things we’re trying to do in this tournament is really look at some players in our pool that we as a staff haven’t seen much of, to help us make decisions moving forward with World Cup qualifying in September and October," he said. "But I think they’ve also made it much more complicated to decide what changes to make in this tournament, and that’s positive.”

The USA is all but assured of reaching the quarterfinals, where it can make up to six roster changes, adding players from its original short list of 40 players that includes the likes of Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Darlington Nagbe. (The lone European-based star on the short list is Christian Pulisic, but it is unimaginable that U.S. Soccer would ask Borussia Dortmund to release in the middle of pre-season.)

Arena, who has 24 hours to make his changes, saw a lot of positives from the Martinique game despite a sloppy first half and late scare when the Antillais came back from two goals down to briefly tie the game, 2-2.

“I think I saw a lot of good performances out of some of our players," he said. "Clearly, Jordan Morris scored two goals and Eric Lichaj [and] Justin Morrow did a good job on our backline. I thought Cristian Roldan for his first cap with the U.S. team did well and I thought Juan Agudelo had an excellent game tonight. There were a lot of positives there.”


56 comments
  1. John Bamford
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 6:26 a.m.
    Can anyone tell me why so many people are freaking out about our very ordinary performances thus far in this tournament? This is like a US "C" team. Arena is deliberately using this to look at fringe players. I don't get the freak out at all.
  1. Paul Berry
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.
    The thing that worries me are the tactics. Where was the central midfield on Wednesday?
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 10:41 a.m.
    People love to freak out. And for those who love bashing US Soccer any subpar performance by any team with a US shirt on is just fodder.
  1. Dennis Mueller
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 7:50 a.m.
    Martinique has a population smaller than that of Omaha or Tulsa. The USA's C,D,E,F... teams should not have a problem with them. We did, that is concerning.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 11:31 a.m.
    Maybe the Martinique players were that unexpectedly good, but then that is concerning too.
  1. Brian McLindsay
    commented on: July 18, 2017 at 12:47 a.m.
    Both teams may have hard a hard time handling the Creighton Men's soccer team!
  1. C Stephans
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 8:07 a.m.
    Impress against Nicaragura? C'mon man! We are talking about 2-3 players on the bubble of the roster. The problem I see is that Arena is wasting chances for the USMNT - the real one - to get its act together before the WC. It seems like he is following the same pattern he did prior to 2006 which is subpar matchups and toying with players that have little to no chance of making the team. That led to a dismal 3 and out WC. I have that in the back of my mind while watching a sub par US team play sub par non qualifying teams and the coach talking about how it is all just a tryout as if our main team is so good they don't need the work.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 10:42 a.m.
    This is what always happens in the second Gold Cup each cycle. It is not a serious competition because that summer also includes WCQ and Confederations Cup. We sent B/C teams in 2009 and 2013 too.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 11:36 a.m.
    C Stephans, what you fail to appreciate is the value of resting the usual starters, value in terms of mental freshness and in terms of injury prevention. These benefits are valuable to coaches and players.
  1. Edgar Soudek
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 8:48 a.m.
    One thing Mess. Mueller and Stephans forget is that there are hardly any "minnows" in soccer anymore...except maybe on a few Pacific islands...the overall player skills, and the tactical understanding have improved tremendously in recent years. Size of population has no bearing on performance and success, witness the successes of Iceland, Ireland, Austria, Uruguay etc. against countries with far greater populations. What Bruce Arena is doing makes total sense. Mexico and Costa Rica are fielding teams of B and C level players as well, to find out how these players might hold up under pressure.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 11:43 a.m.
    Edgar Soudek, the implication is not that there aren't any minnows today, but rather did the US became a minnow over the last 5 years? Has the US traveled back in time to before 1989?
  1. Jay Wall
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 9:28 a.m.
    Cruyff observed that for most coaches and their players "The most difficult thing about playing an easy opponent, is making the easy opponent play bad soccer". His way of saying that great coaches and great players are professionals who never settle for their best game, who are always striving to be better and who have the mental strength and commitment to always play their best in every game, as if they are playing the best players in the World Cup Final.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 11:44 a.m.
    Well said.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 10:50 a.m.
    Jay W...this mental approach was part of DiStefano's mindset on the pitch. If a player has it, he must give it every time. Bloggers keep making excuses at ad nauseam for players that can't do it.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 11:19 a.m.
    Arena got a first hand look at how incompetent most of the B-team players are. The real talent pool starts with Pulisic and gets thinner three or four players down the curve.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:22 p.m.
    You guys are making good points. The problem that I have is the quality of soccer, which is basically the same at all tiers with the difference being the players might be a touch better in the first tier. As a whole the different tiers of players representing the national team and yes the first tier is better but overall the quality of soccer no matter is not good. For example regardless of the tier they play in ,none are able build up an attack from the back, properly; all execute passes in the direction of their dribble; how many actually look behind to block a passing lane as he goes after the opponent with the ball ;none can pass the ball with instep of the foot,etc, etc.... Since these are the better players representing America, you have to ask yourself what happened. Then you look at younger teams U14, and up and it is no different in the style and quality of play except the USMNT are older and more experienced. We are so concerned licensing these coaches but that does not improve the level and quality of soccer because those on the top who teach these coaching courses are lacking themselves. Ernst Happel stated you won't find good coaches going to the National Coaching School to teach since they prefer to coach club teams. This is the same problem with the Dutch Academy of coaching academy. Cruyff had stated that how can these coaches teach positioning off the ball when they themselves have never played at highest level. Cruyff considered that these coaches basically miss 20% of the real knowledge . He sees the quality of play by professional teams in Holland going down due to lack of higher knowledge that the coaches at KNVB the Dutch coaching academy who teach the coaching classes lack themselves. We need to hire , guys like a Pirlo , Schweinsteiger, Valderrama ,etc,etc, for example to come and teach at the Coaching Academy here for it is those types of players ,retired who have had a great run and are very experienced teach the real insights that you can't get from a book, or some coach with an A-license. It is those types of people who know right away what is going wrong and what to do about it. The problem we have with these coaching academies is they draw the professor types, who like the classroom , the book types who are unable to demonstrate how to curve a ball around a wall, demonstrated technique employed given the situation or high level game situations. Although some perhaps have played but nothing to write home about. Guardiola once stated that every Cruyff practice at Barcelona was like going to a college seminar for so much he learned every practice from Cruyff. It is Knowledge that you can't get from books, but only from experience. If we are going to raise the level of play here things have got to change. It is not going to get better otherwise....
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 4:13 p.m.
    In Germany the important points I noticed was: 1) technical centers located within 20 minutes drive of everyone, 2) break out training for the top 9% of teen players, 3) players identified and trained by FA professional coaches, not club coaches, 4) focus completely on players, not teams, and 5) program and methods were shared, developed, reviewed and changed at the peer level by these same coaches. Power and responsibility delegated to the people actually doing the job. None of the popular baloney about executives knowing best and micro-managing everything.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 8:48 p.m.
    BOB, it is good their focus is on the individuals which I think is good. We are here too much team oriented Coaches here are judged by their team success. You know why Bayern has been so successful all these years is because it has been run at the top by 3 great players. Beckenbaur, Hoeness, Rumminegge. Of course in Holland the better training comes from the clubs and not from FA coaches. Ajax hires former greats to teach their youths.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 8:36 a.m.
    What I didn't mention was I was describing the German system for training elite players who were not selected by a professional club for its youth academy. If the only elite training opportunities were the professional club academies, on a macro level the pool of trained elite players would be too small while on the individual player's level because of the lack of training opportunity they would never have a chance to be picked up by a professional club later in life.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:24 p.m.
    TIP 78. TO PLAY GOOD ATTACKING SOCCER YOU HAVE TO HAVE WINGERS.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:34 p.m.
    TIP 79. WINGERS ARE THE MOST EXCITING PLAYERS. WINGERS ARE "SPACE CREATORS". THE CREATE SPACE LENGTHWISE AND WIDTHWISE. ONE, LENGTHWISE THEY DO SO BY PENETRATING DOWN THE FLANKS FORCING THE OPPONENTS TO MOVE BACKWARDS THEREBY GIVING THE ATTACKING TEAM SPACE TO MOVE DOWN FIELD. TWO, POSITION AS WIDE AS POSSIBLE THUS SPREADING THE OPPONENT'S DEFENSE AND LEAVING MORE SPACE BETWEEN THE DEFENDERS FOR THE OPPONENTS TO RUN INTO.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 8:22 a.m.
    TIP 94. THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE WING SPACE CREATION IS WHEN HE BEATS HIS DEFENDER, (BACK) 1V1. AT THIS MOMENT THE NEAREST DEFENDER HAS TO MAKE CHOICE OF WHETHER TO LEAVE HIS MAN AND PICK UP THE ATTACKING WING. OR THE WING HAS CREATED A SITUATION WHERE EVERYONE OF THE ATTACKERS ARE LEFT IN 1V1 WHICH IS ADVANTAGEOUS FOR THE ATTACKERS, BECAUSE BY NATURE AN ATTACKER IS BETTER THAN A DEFENDER. IN SUM THE WING BY BEATING THE BACK RESULTS IN A DISADVANTAGEOUS SHIFT BY THE DEFENSE CAUSING AN OPEN SPACE FOR THE ATTACKERS AND POSSIBLY A NUMERICAL ADVANTAGE 2V1. CRUYFF WITH THE "DREAM TEAM" USED MICHAEL LAUDRUP UP FRONT TO BEAT A DEFENDER CAUSING A 2V1 OR OPEN SPACE FOR HIS TEAMMATE. TODAY BARCELONA HAS NEYMAR WHO DOES THE SAME THING.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:37 p.m.
    TIP 80. WINGERS ALSO CREATE SPACE FOR THEIR MIDFIELDERS DURING BUILDING UP AN ATTACK FROM THE BACK , BY POSITIONING THEMSELVES AS FAR DOWNFIELD AS POSSIBLE. THIS ALLOWS MORE TIME AND SPACE FOR THE MIDFIELDERS TO OPERATE IN.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:44 p.m.
    TIP 81. WINGERS CAN CREATE SPACE FOR THEMSELVES IN THREE WAYS. ONE, BY MOVING BACKUP FIELD ,A LITTLE, TOO TEST IF THE OPPONENT'S BACK WILL FOLLOW HIM. IF NOT, HE CREATED SPACE RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIMSELF THUS ABLE TO RECEIVE TO HIS FEET. IF THE DEFENDER MOVES WITH HIM THEN HE HAS CREATED SPACE BEHIND THE BACK TO RUN INTO. THREE , HE MOVES INWARDS TO GIVE SPACE TO A HALFBACK OR BACK OVERLAP.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.
    TIP 82. ONE THING WINGERS SHOULD NEVER DO IS TO MOVE BACK UP TO MIDFIELD LINE . BECAUSE THEN THE WINGER WILL HAVE TO CONTENT WITH NOT ONLY THE OPPONENT'S BACK , BUT ALSO WITH ANOTHER OPPONENT'S MIDFIELDER NEARBY. THEREFOR THE WINGER SHOULD STAY AS FAR UP AS POSSIBLE WHERE HE IS IN A STRICT ONE ON ONE SITUATION.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:54 p.m.
    TIP 83. THE WINGER TO BE EFFECTIVE SHOULD NEVER RECEIVE THE BALL WITH HIS BACK FACING DOWNFIELD. THAT IS WHY AT AJAX YOUR TAUGHT A BACK SHOULD NEVER PASS TO A WING STRAIGHT DOWN THE FLANK FOR YOU PLACE HIM IN AN AWKWARD POSITION. THE WING SHOULD RECEIVE THE BALL FROM A HALFBACK WHO HAS THE ABILITY DUE TO HIS POSITION TO PASS THE BALL TO WING FACING THE BACK OR PASSING BEHIND THE BACK.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 2:59 p.m.
    TIP 84. A WINGER RUNNING DOWN THE FLANK FOR A CROSS MUST LOOK AT ONE GLANCE FOR 3 POSITIONS. ONE, WHO'S AT THE FAR POST, THE NEAR POST AND THE WHO'S OUTSIDE THE SIXTEEN.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:02 p.m.
    TIP 85. A WINGER WHO IS FACING 2 DEFENDERS HAS DONE HIS JOB AND SHOULD PASS THE BALL RIGHT AWAY. BY DRAWING 2 DEFENDERS HE HAS MADE ANOTHER DEFENDER LEAVE HIS POSITION.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:08 p.m.
    TIP 86. A WINGER WHO BEATS HIS MAN BY CUTTING INSIDE AND GOING PAST THE DEFENDERS WEAK FOOT, PLACES THE DEFENDER IN AWKWARD POSITION OF NOT BEING ABLE TO TACKLE. THIS MEANS HE SHOULD KEEP HIS HEAD UP ON THE DRIBBLE FOR HE DOESN'T HAVE TO WORRY AND LOOK DOWN TO AVOID A TACKLE...
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:12 p.m.
    TIP 87. WHEN PASSING SQUARE THE RECEIVER WILL MOMENTARILY LOSE FIELD VIEW. THAT IS WHY IT IS BETTER TO PASS SLIGHT AHEAD OF THE RECEIVER FOR ONE, HE MOVES FORWARD AND TWO HE HAS A GOOD FIELD VIEW.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:17 p.m.
    TIP 88. DURING A SCRIMMAGE , A COACH SHOULD WALK ON THE FIELD BETWEEN THE PLAYERS AND ASK ALL OF SUDDEN, "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING"....IF THE PLAYERS HAS TO THINK ABOUT IT THAN IT IS TOO LATE. OR ASK " WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU GET THE BALL". IF HE HAS TO THINK ABOUT IT IS TOO LATE....
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:19 p.m.
    TIP 89. ON OFFENSIVE CORNERS POSITION YOURSELF IN A MANNER THAT YOU'RE A BLIND SPOT TO THE GOALIE, COMING DIAGONALLY FROM BEHIND.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:22 p.m.
    TIP 90. A TEAM WITH GOOD TECHNICAL PLAYERS , LIKE BARCELONA, TEND TO BE WEAK IN OBTAINING SECONDARY BALLS. THE REASON BEING IS THAT THEY ARE SO SUCCESSFUL AND DON'T MAKE MANY MISTAKES AND THEREFORE ARE NOT USED TO FIGHTING FOR SECONDARY BALLS.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:25 p.m.
    TIP 91. AS A COACH ,WATCH THE REACTION OF INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS IN HOW THEY REACT TO BALL LOSS. SOME TAKE A COUPLE SECONDS TO OVERCOME DISAPPOINTMENT,WHICH IS NOT HELPFULL
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:30 p.m.
    TIP 92. WHEN PLAYING A TEAM WHO PLAYS A 4-4-2, THEN LOOK HOW THE 4 MIDFIELDERS POSITION THEMSELVES FOR OFTEN WITH ONE PASS YOU CAN BEAT ALL 4 MIDFIELDERS....
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:36 p.m.
    TIP 93. A LEFT FOOTED PLAYER ON THE LEFT SIDE SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE 2 OPTIONS: ONE, PASSING , TWO. DRIBBLING. YOU NEED BOTH OPTIONS!!! FOR IF THE ONLY OPTION IS DRIBBLING THEN YOU DON'T NEED A LEFT FOOTED PLAYER , YOU CAN USE A RIGHT FOOTED ONE. THAT IS WHY A LEFT FOOTED NEEDS TWO OPTIONS. LEFT FOOTED PLAYERS ARE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD!!!!
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 9:31 a.m.
    TIP 95. IF YOU WANT TO HELP A WINGER , THAN DON'T GO TO HIM TO HELP OUT FOR YOU ARE ONLY BRINGING WITH YOU AN EXTRA DEFENDER. A WINGER IS A 1V1 EXPERT, SO LET HIM DO HIS THING. CRUYFF STATED THAT IF YOU WANT TO HELP OUT A WINGER THAN DON'T GO NEAR HIM .
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.
    HAVE FUN GUYS....GOING ON VACATION....
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:51 p.m.
    One way ticket I hope...
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: July 14, 2017 at 3:52 p.m.
    Should we include travel tips for you? TIP 1 - ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT WITH ENOUGH TIME TO CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE AND GET THROUGH SECURITY
  1. Nick Daverese
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 12:22 a.m.
    A lot on wingers Frank I have to read them. I train wingers so I better get to it. Good thing I don't sleep at night. I have been helping the wife clean the closets. Just found some nice to stuff to give my little Sofia. Remember Sari Lewis the ventriloquist she had the three dolls Lamb Chop, and the other two. We bought copies of those dolls thirty years ago. Just washed them so they will be ready for her to play with. Got everyone coming over the house for a week at the end of the month. My daughter living in Germany will meet my other daughter in Ireland their there to see the group U2 perform. From there they will go to Greenland to camp out for a week. I hate camping froze my behind off when I did it with my oldest Son. Then they all come here. My oldest is in Mexico I guess to swim with the dolphins. But I get to spend time with the Grand kids for a week. I just have to put up with my children. Now I will read about how to play the flank.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 8:53 a.m.
    NICK, I always dreamed of having a school for wingers. The wing to me is the most exciting position. The most exciting player in soccer in the past 10 years have been or are wingers, Messi ,Figo, Bale, Ronaldo, Neymar,Ronaldinho,David Ginola, etc..Bergkamp also played wing, Puyol was a winger, Alves, Alba,Beckenbauer , Ruud Krol,Overmans, Jimmy Johnstone. Watch Garrincha how he approaches a defender and when he cuts. Note he cuts square to his defender meaning 90 degrees which means the defender has to step perfectly step sideways which leaves his body unbalanced in order to push off. Figo does it the hard way for he always stand still when receiving the ball but he does it in his own way. Watch Piet Keizer, and Dzajic, Rensenbrink, all left footed but so different. Keizer , a teammate of Cruyff also his teacher was a genius with a ball. Gento and Dzajic were phenomenal. Pepe of Santos, and Edu were also good. The wing position was a great start to play other positions. Look at Beckenbauer,and Ruud Krol both known as the greatest liberos of the game began as wingers. I gave private lessons on how they did their moves. When I grew up it was Stanley Matthews. Pierre Litbarski, I considered him the only German whose body was flexible to play wing for I considered Germans to be as flexible as billiard table...Have you ever heard of German or English Ballet, or that matter painters, LOLOLOLOLOLOLO. What the USSF should do is to establish a School for Wingers, for the average American has so much more flexibility, and athleticism. If there is one country that has a build in wing population which needs to be nurtured properly it is the US. It looks like you will have busy vacation...see hello to the dolphins...ask them if they've seen Garrincha play...LOL
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 8:26 a.m.
    TIP 95. NEVER PASS IN A MANNER THAT LEAVES THE WING IN A 1V2 SITUATION. THIS HAPPENS OFTEN THAN FANS COMPLAIN THE WING DIDN'T HAVE A GOOD GAME BUT FAIL TO REALIZE THAT A PASS TO A WING MUST B ONE OF OPTIMUM QUALITY.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 8:57 a.m.
    This is such a good point. Before the pass to the winger, the team must draw the defense away from the winger setting up a 1v1 situation. This tactical wisdom is universal, not just for passing to wingers. Another way to see the problem is that the winger is isolated and under-supported. The ball should be moving to where the defense is weakest (which is quicker than moving players to supporting range of the winger).
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 9:02 a.m.
    A typical solution for a CM is to dribble a few steps at the goal, forcing the defense to adjust toward the middle and, then, passing to the winger in a 1v1 situation with the defense moving in the wrong direction away from the winger.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 9:28 a.m.
    Bob, you are right. First of all the Centerforward should make a contra run but never a run towards the wing for he would bring with him an extra defender near the wing. Cruyff stated that to help a wing is not to come towards him but away from him,neither should a halfback come for he would only draw another defender with him. A wing is a 1v1 animal bred to beat a defender.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 9:52 a.m.
    BOB, I'm not all that happy with how they use wingers today. Cutting inwards ,clogging things up. I much rather prefer right footed wingers to be on the right and vice versa. Because of Robben ,who is unique not many score like Robben. Wingers should go to the end line forcing the back line in awkward position of having to run back to their own goal thus turning away from their attackers, also they are off balance in relation to the cross which will be going away from them. Good crosses have suffered because it is the trend of having wingers cut into areas where there are so many more defenders. As a result you have backs and halfbacks cross the ball and the crosses are just awful. I see many end up behind the goal or on the far side of the field where nobody is at. I can't wait till soccer gets rid of the flatback and again produce an offensive central defender with good skills( a sweeper type) defender that comes up with the ball and wings that don't cut in all the time. These trends are just crazy. You will never read anywhere of Cruyff talking about wingers cutting in a style or back making offensive 50yard runs.He states that the only reason the backs are doing so much running is that coaches became too defensive minded, didn't want wingers and made the backs take this task over.
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: July 15, 2017 at 9:38 p.m.
    Lttle did I know, Chris Pontius, aged 30, is the future of goal-scoring for the USMNT.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: July 16, 2017 at 10:55 a.m.
    R2, LOL
  1. Nick Daverese
    commented on: July 17, 2017 at 7:06 p.m.
    Frank you call a winger and outside up top player in a 4-3-3. I don't I consider a winger an out side mid in an 4-4-2. I like a lot of movement by the winger in a 4-4-2. You like movement in groups of three a triangulation. From the wing back and wing mid and the wing forward or up top player. I don't like using three up top players because it creates less open space on a flank. That is why the game is like art. Good art is subjective meaning it's not the same for everybody. I don't like to see flank players disappear in games especially if they are dangerous players.
  1. Brian McLindsay
    commented on: July 18, 2017 at 2:16 a.m.
    I'm sure Frank is on the plane by now, but my point does not change, although a number of his tips are truisms many of the tips require a complete and overall playing philosophy to work as suggested. Unfortunately I don't see any team using the overall playing philosophy embedded in those tips. Additionally, the game is different now than in the relatively distant past and this is where I simply differ with Frank, the modern defender is not a less skilled or for that matter less exciting player than the winger he has such an affinity toward. Rather they have evolved into highly specialized players with a skill set that allows them slowdown or often stop some of the most athletic soccer players the sport has ever seen. The back line is no longer the dumping ground for low skilled but good team players as it historically has been, but is now filled with higher game IQ players that are often forced into pseudo midfielder/winger roles because of modern soccer populism or I dare say playing fades. I would bet any statistical analysis of game scores over the past 30 years will show a general trend of reduced non-set piece scoring, and that trend is not fully attributed to poor offensive play. I happen to like reading the tips but I know that in the current game there is little opportunity for adoption of the holistic approach required for many of them to be implemented, at least until the right coach comes along. By the way, it is nice to see how playing less developed players in their natural position gives our team a fighting chance in every game... so far.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 18, 2017 at 6:37 p.m.
    Brian, I disagree. IMO 1970 marked the beginning of the modern era. The Dutch style principles are found in a continuum of top teams: Ajax, AC Milan, Barca, and Bayern. While no doubt some coaches have made do with unskilled backs, no one was aspiring to do so. I have already commented on Tip 95. Is that one that you believe to be outdated and inapplicable to the modern game? If you were not talking about 95, please tell me the number of another tip that you are saying is inapplicable.
  1. Nick Daverese
    commented on: July 18, 2017 at 5:09 a.m.
    A back now on great teams is not a guy who has always played a back. It used to be a mid or a wing mid converted to play a back so you could get attacking out of him. Today it my be a striker who is now a back to get more finishing and attacking out of him. I always thought when Brian McBride got older he would have made a fantastic center back for the US national team. But nothing ever happened I guess no one ever asked him from the national team to do it. Maybe because of the Sampson crazy ness of asking the captain for life John Harkes to play a back for the good of the team.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: July 18, 2017 at 6:39 p.m.
    That was just as true too 50 years ago.
  1. Brian McLindsay
    commented on: July 19, 2017 at 1:48 a.m.
    Bob- In this tip list I was really not feeling 86 is all that accurate as I believe the majority of high level defenders can tackle with both feet fairly well. But my comments generally come from a number of previous tips that had/have very specific and limited playing manner for the back line. As I have already said, I do enjoy reading the tips but they are indeed biased toward less defensive players or as JC would have put it in his modest way, the higher skilled players. That is neither a slight to Frank or certainly Cruyff who I have read quite a bit about, rather it is an acknowledgment that so many tips do not lend themselves to a buffet selection process for improvement, it is rather a complete philosophy for play. One which is (domestically) not seen anywhere I know about. I would concede the insights in almost all the tips, I would simply suggest however many of the tips evolved with a certain bias toward the back line players that is not synonymous with players today.
  1. Brian McLindsay
    commented on: July 19, 2017 at 1:59 a.m.
    Bob- Just agreeing with you, there are a hand full of teams that do play with an overall playing philosophy and one of my favs you didn't mention is Arsenal and to a growing extent Man City.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Open Cup champs: Winning culture drives Sporting KC    
No MLS team does the U.S. Open Cup like Sporting Kansas City. It made it four-for-four ...
MLS Closeup: Heaps' firing opens up inquiry of Revs' future    
As the search for a new head coach gets underway, New England fans wonder: Is there ...
Video Pick: Lion King meets Tottenham Hotspur    
A fan managed to turn the Elton John-composed "Circle of Life" hit song from the "Lion ...
'Coach Jake': New York high school coach hits the cinema     
The documentary film, "Coach Jake," about legendary New York City coach Martin Jacobson, who has guided ...
Hex Files: Panama recalls Penedo for USA game    
Former LA Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo, who was injured and missed Panama's September qualifiers, has been ...
What They're Saying: Jair Pereira    
"I don't think it's the moment to even mention soccer. We're going through something really sad ...
What They're Saying: Dries Mertens    
"Mine was further out than Maradona, so I get extra credit!" -- Belgian Dries Mertens after ...
Werder Bremen 'delighted' to land 17-year-old Sargent    
Josh Sargent, the 17-year-old St. Louis product who played in the U-20 World Cup earlier this ...
Watch: Christian Pulisic score his seventh Bundesliga goal    
Christian Pulisic, two days after his 19th birthday, scored his seventh Bundesliga goal and second in ...
American soccer week: Atlanta's MBS rampage continues    
Atlanta United made it 17 goals in four games at new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 4-0 ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives