Tickle v. Tackle 4

  • Eddie Johnson continues to punish MLS as successive hattricks boost him to the early lead for the MLS golden boot. This week we'll see what confidence and success in MLS do for EJ on the international stage as the Gold Cup kicks off for the US tomorrow.
  • Speaking of the US, the center of midfield looks like a bright spot for up-and-coming players. Pair Feilhaber as a deep-lying creator with Bradley/Clark as the box-to-box muscle and scoring threat from distance and then play Dempsey/Donovan in an advanced midfield or withdrawn striker role, let it season for a couple of years and - hey, presto - in 2010 they may turn some heads.
  • Sweet Creamery Butter! Garth Lagerway's appearance as a guest host on United Mania's Soccer Show podcast this week was surprisingly good. Is it just me or did he seem a whole lot more insightful on the podcast then he comes across on television?


  • Pat Onstad, Professional Hit Man? The Dynamo keeper's deliberate foul of Arturo Alvarez just outside the box to thwart a breakaway late in the Texas Derby was cynical - I'll trade you a red card for the win - deal? Is this a smart play by a seasoned professional to preserve the win or a classless, callous act that cheapens an already far-too-mercenary game? My vote is with the latter.
  • Speaking of classless, how 'bout Captain Crybaby leaving his foot in and catching DC keeper Troy Perkins in the face when Perkins had already claimed a loose ball?
  • While the center of midfield looks good for the US, the center of defense is not so spectacular. We're pretty much stocked with the bruising, destroyer type with the likes of Bocanegra, Gooch, and DeMerit, but there's a distinct shortage of technically and tactically sound backs, ideally with a bit of pace to cover for the aforementioned wrecking balls. Can Spector transition to the middle? Will Gibbs ever get healthy? Can somebody speed Conrad up or add a few inches and a bit of beef to Parkhurst? Anybody I'm missing here? We've got about a year or two to find some answers.
  • Finally, this worrying bit of news on the size front. Wasn't the world afraid that the US sports-athlete machinery would start spinning out extra-wide keepers (Zach Thornton, Tony Meola, zing!), 7-foot strikers with blistering pace, and defenders with 50-inch verticals? Looks like the bad old days of the Mini-Me's we sent to Italia '90 may be on the way back.

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