Monday Back-Pass | International Fixture Fun Day!

I trust a lovely international weekend was had by all. And, of course, another weekend of domestic goodness was there to be enjoyed by those of us fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to be saddled with a league that ignores international fixture dates. What caught your eye? Here's what I was looking at.

Trip, Stumble, But Don't Fall

The Gooch-less US Nats went down 2-0 in San Salvador, only to claw their way back to earn a point. Three would have set the table for an easy march to qualification. As it stands, we're still stuck in the mire with the rest of the Hex. A strong showing against T&T should open a little gap, but nothing that will be entirely comfortable. Does Bradley need to shake the lineup up, or was this just a predictable wobble given the environment and missing Gooch and Howard?

Natty Dressers

In other international news, apparently the futblogosphere is falling all over itself to say how sharp the new England uniforms are. I don't get it. They look like a bunch of cricketers in shorts or rejects from the All England Club. Am I missing something?

Topsy-Turvy MLS

What the hell is going on with the Parity Police? They must be going taser-happy or snorting the evidence. The Crew and Dynamo winless? The expansion Sounders atop the league? TFC unbeaten on the road? Quick, somebody check the seventh seal! I don't think we really have any idea yet how things are going to shake out. Can the Goats and Sounders continue atop the league? Doubtful. Will the Crew and Dynamo stay stuck in second gear long. Also doubtful. But this is the joy and the frustration of MLS, our unpredictable little harlot!

So what made you sit up and take notice this weekend? Surprised that the US couldn't get all three against El Salvador? See any other international jerseys that caught your fancy? Wondering how long it'll take for the roiling waters of MLS to settle so we can figure out who's the real deal and who isn't this year?


  1. Since this is the fullback files - lets talk defense.

    1. The Nats. Missing Onyewu and Howard hurt, but I liked the idea of putting Beasley at left back instead of at mid. I know he is fragile, but I wouldn't mind seeing him play there for a while to see if it works better than Pearce or Bornstein. Let Torres have a chance on the wing or try Klejstan there. If experimenting with Beasely on the left is not your cup of tea, what about trying some games with Bocanegra out wide and auditioning some new partners for Onyewu? Califf might not be the solution, but Spector or Parkhurst might. I wouldn't mind seeing Conrad or Chad Marshall either. I know we are supposed to lock up qualifying before experimenting; but I just don't think our backline is very settled yet.

    2. DCU - What the hell? I will chalk up some of the not so good play to two factors. The first is that five of our first eleven did not play. The second is that, with players injured or coming back from injuries, rookies, retreads and other new acquisitions, these guys are still learning to play with each other. That's why they kick the ball at each other's feet instead of to the open space; or to the open space when no one makes a run or to the other team when there is no one working to open up some passing options. Hopefully that will improve with time.

    The defense was probably the biggest work in progress. Wicks looked okay until the brain farts (I liked how he knocked down Conde); but he is clearly only a backup. Jakovic is raw. He is our last line of defense and is not up t the task. Having Olsen and Simms in front should help, but those two guys are still trying to figure out how to work with each other. Namoff has his "let's just clear the ball" face on most of the game) and Burch is a left foot but not a left fullback. I would like to see Wallace at the left fullback slot and Pontius on the left wing. Janicki and Jakovic are both works in progress, so I don't know which would be better - probably Janicki - he seems to get fewer cards.

  2. 1. Agreed about the US's central defensive depth. We need to be able to bring in better than Califf in a pinch. I think Boca at left back is the direction we need to take when we face quality opposition (given we find somebody competent to pair with Gooch), but we need more attacking impetus against teams that allow us to dominate possession.

    Is Beasley that answer? Perhaps. He fits the attacking/speed half of the modern fullback equation. That said, I don't see the aggression in closing down and tackling that I think you need out of your wide backs.

    2. I'm going to have more to say on DC's defensive woes later this week, but I'm not sure you want Wallace on the left in a back three. Back four? Absolutely!

    As for Wicks...the sooner he becomes "depth," the better. He's not completely worthless (the save from Rolfe was nice, as was the Conde clearout you mentioned), but I have a hard time feigning confidence with him in net.

    I think Jakovic will be fine once he gets used to having less time on the ball. I'm sure that's something he didn't experience much with Red Star. When Chicago wasn't pressing in the first half, he was fine. It's when they started pressing high that he came unglued.