Monday Back-Pass: The End is the Beginning is the End

Let's hit the rewind button and see what caught my eye this weekend from around the world of futbol . . .

Done and Dusted?

Even though Liverpool managed to ride the late, late Torres-show to victory yet again, I think you saw this weekend why the race for the Prem is dead. Man United went away to one of the form teams in the league missing some key components and, though they suffered a few nervous moments, last ditch tackles and interceptions kept West Ham from ever really threatening van der Saar's long shutout streak.

Liverpool, on the other hand, needed to fight back to level terms twice and grab the late winner against a side that's been nothing short of miserable in recent months. Yes, yes, they were playing an experimental lineup without many of their regular starters, but that lack of true depth is going to hamstring them down the stretch run. And you can't count on every Prem side to throw up the kind of defensive and mental miscues that Portsmouth did on Sunday.

What about the other contenders? What other contenders? Arsenal? Fading into oblivion with a damaged squad. Even with a team full of Lazaruses (Lazari?), 12 points is a huge margin to overcome. Chelsea? A draw at home to a Hull City club in free-fall? Yeah, not so much. Villa? Maybe the only ones that might press Liverpool for #2, but they might be a little thin to do even that. Still, a Champions' League spot should be fitting reward for an excellent season. Fitting, until of course, participation in said tourney undermines their league form next year.

But what about the domestic front . . ?

Roger-less in DC?

Oh dear. The veteran hand that was supposed to steady the young United back line has decided that the American Dream isn't for him. So where does that leave United? Desperately looking for a veteran presence in defense, I'd say. Can they get a signing done quickly enough to integrate the newcomer before First Kick, or were all of the FO's eggs in one Brazilian basket?

I'll hope for the former, but prepare for the latter. Are you ready for Janicki-Veris? I suppose those of you hoping for a Mediate resigning will be happy, but if Mediate is our centerback depth, I'm more than a little worried. Besides, putting a guy who missed most of last season due to concussion-related problems in the one spot on the field where he's most likely to head the ball and encounter flying elbows seems a bit . . . questionable?

We shall see. Even with the addition of Roger, I still felt we were entirely too thin on defense. Without Roger? Yikes!

In other, somewhat related defensive depth news . . .

Not Many Choices

That's the situation Bob Bradley is looking at as he heads into the opening round of the Hex. A look at his 20-man roster reveals that most of the team pretty much picks itself. Chinger-Donovan up top, Dempsey on the right flank, Bradley Jr.-Kljestan in the center of midfield, Timmy Howard in goal, Gooch-Boca in front of him. That leaves just three spots up for grabs, but of those, I only see one that I would question.

Beasley's been out injured and hasn't been playing much for Rangers, but given the inexperienced alternatives (Rogers and Torres), I think he starts on the left. Similarly, I think Bob gives Hejduk the nod over Wynne for similar reasons. Which leaves left back, where we have the Bornstein-Pearce Conundrum. Pearce hasn't been getting regular minutes, but he's been the starter. Bornstein isn't in-season, so that probably negates any playing-time benefit he would see. I think Pearce gets the nod as Bob looks to continuity.

And finally . . .

Arrivederci, Becks?

Look, we know it's happening, it's just a matter of how much money MLS can get for him. After Milan showed their initial cards at $10 million, the Gals went hardball at $22 million to open. So where will the dust settle? Milan puts up $14 million, Becks kicks in $4 million in desperation-to-escape-LA money, and MLS pockets $18 million. That's my guess.

What do you think? Think LA and Milan can work a deal? Does Bob have any surprises in store for Sven? Where does the United FO go next in their search for defensive help? Can anybody catch Sir Alex and his red machine?


  1. Two points.

    1. DCU defensive depth. Galaxy does not seem to want to pay the asking price to get Chavez on loan from Honduras. Maybe we should...

    2. Bornstein/Pearce...Bornstein is coming off six weeks of camp...not saying he should start, but I think he is more fit than we could expect calling in some other MLSer.

  2. DCU takes a step forward, two steps back and the a half step forward, good grief. Gomez is back, Roger is gone, Guerrero is gone, no new defenders on the horizon. Oh boy...this could be along year. Maybe the Fullback can shed some light on the return of Gomez (which I'm OK with) but not at the price we paid.

  3. Soehn has a new strategy. Instead of defenders we're putting four goalies between the posts, keeping two defensive mids to thwart incoming attacker; and having Fred, Santino, Gomez, and Moreno run around the middle of the field trying to get balls to Emilio who will try to park himself at the 18 in front of the other goal.

  4. Let's see . . .

    1. Chavez is what, 24? Depth is nice and all, but where is the veteran organizer who's going to hold things together?

    2. I'm at a loss for words over the Gomez deal. The cRapids were desperate to offload him, and we gave them a 2nd rounder and a proven quality veteran who can play at fullback or on the wing. WTF? And why do we need a keeper that could only make the "pool" and not even an actual squad?

    "The Fullback", eh? I like the sound of that! Kinda like, "the Batman." As for light--I'm fresh out, though I'll probably have a word or two for the FO in tomorrow's "Refining the Roster."

  5. Hah! That sounds about right for Soehn's revolutionary "tactics", save for the part where Burch repeatedly smacks free kicks into the wall.