Euro-cent For Your Thoughts?

I'm slowly getting back into the grove here, and the posts should start coming more regularly. But in the meantime, I'm just going to dump a bunch of things that have been pinging around my addled noggin over the last week or so...

* FO Thinking Ahead? Round about the time I usually post my "What I Want For Christmas (in July)" roundup of what moves I think the FO should make, they go and one-up me by grabbing a "sort of" DP for the problem central midfield spot and a mystery Argentine forward. Given that Pontius has found a comfortable home on the wing and that we've seen what the (admittedly limited, but still better than Morsink) King brings to the midfield from an attacking standpoint, these both look like logical moves...assuming, of course, that our new forward brings something to the table besides hustle, a moderate physical/aerial presence, and lukewarm finishing, which we've already got in spades. And that we have better luck in DP's than we had with Gallardo...

* Time Spares Nobody. If you've been watching highlights of Seattle games over the past month or so, you'll have been witness to an astonishing array of errors by Kasey Keller. Is this symptomatic of the sophomore malaise that seems to have struck the Sounders, or is time finally sinking its none-so-tender claws into the former USA #1? If the latter proves the case, how long does his reputation keep him in the starting role? Or are there some tired carrier pigeons beating their way to Albion with missives for the not-quite-so-old Marcus Hahnemann, recently returned from South Africa?

* A Question of Focus. Does anybody believe that DC United is going to reach the MLS post-season? Maybe it's a bit of defeatist thinking on my part, but with just over half the season remaining, United are rock-bottom of the league (-14 goal difference argues so, despite technically being ahead of Chivas on head-to-head) and 8 points off the eighth and final playoff spot. That's not an insurmountable number, but it requires an almost-immediate run of wins and some perilous dips from the teams arrayed ahead of them to get back in the race. Tough to see that happening, even with strong contributions from Branko and the mystery Argentine. So is there any merit to focusing on the "undervalued" Open Cup, given that a continental tourney spot is up for grabs? Clearly, we won't be able to blame fixture congestion for missing the playoffs this year, so why not congest away?

* No-Lose Situation. Says here in my crystal ball that the chances of the Holland-Spain final being one for the ages are pretty dire. Most likely, we'll be treated to Spain-Germany, partido dos, which had its charms but wasn't a classic. Nevertheless, the winner won't be a disappointment to me. Readers of FBF will know that I have a long-held soft spot for the Dutch (more Ajax than the Oranje in general, though they're often inseparable), and the current edition of the Spanish squad is the logical evolution of the "Dutch style," handed on by Cruyff to the Barça squad that currently makes up most of the Spanish starting lineup. Though at times they could be a touch more direct and quicker, Spain's style of play is the closest to what I find most entertaining in futbol, though they've never really hit top gear in South Africa. Let's hold out hope that the final surprises. At least a new name will be etched on the trophy, and I won't be disappointed, whichever it proves.

* The German Paradigm. Speaking of surprises, I wonder if anybody from the USSF was watching the suddenly-stylish Germans with interest. Think about the pattern. Fit and efficient evolving towards an admitted goal of emulating the Spanish model, but making it quicker and more physical while giving youth its head. I know soaring swine are more likely to come over the horizon than the USSF is to come up with such a coherent plan and the Germans do have a bit of history, player development infrastructure, and league quality on their side, but...some of the parts are there, waiting to be exploited.

I know that was pretty disjointed, but just see it as an opportunity to take advantage in the comments and let fly with whatever's been tickling your fancy of late...


  1. On that last point, I remember a couple of years ago MLS partnered up with the Bundesliga about ... something ... one of those high-level 'partnerships' where it's hard to see what it's all about.

    Now, though, looking at a German national pool that's absolutely sloshing with talent, I thought just the same thing: Maybe we're going to figure out how to actually develop great players. And here we are, a couple of years along, and (don't look now) but MLS teams are beginning to turn up useful talent.

    I mean, Andy Najar. Andy freakin' Najar. This is how to get people excited about the league for real - develop talent for play on the world stage. And it's actually starting to happen. I hope it's not a mirage.

  2. Oh, and my DC United Challenge (recently re-tackled) is turning into Soehn MkII: WLLDLWLDLLWLW. I persevere.

    Don't know if you saw, but I had a couple things on about the World Cup. Thought you might like 'em.

  3. Yeah, Andy Najar is Honduran, and the chances of him ever wanting to play for the US, let alone start the endless naturalization process, are slim to none.

    I'm saying this because I thought about it, too, but let's stop the moaning preemptively, he's playing for another Concacaf team.

  4. I'm not sure where Anonymous gleaned the idea I was promoting a 'cap Najar' movement. Whatever his ancestry, he's exactly the kind of kid we just didn't scout successfully in the not-so-distant past.

    Just sayin'.

  5. The misunderstanding came when you talked about the world stage. World stage usually refers to the world cup, as opposed to international which usually means the big European teams. Germany is fostering talent for its own benefit, not others.

  6. And a great portion of that German talent is from the (previously) under-recruited immigrant populations.

    Najar, a Honduran kid whose parents moved to the States with him in tow, was playing park soccer in the DC area three years ago.

    (I encourage you to synthesize these two possibly unrelated statements into one idea.)