wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Monday, May 22, 2006

All signs positive for US

If you're at all interested in the US men's national soccer team, you owe it to yourself to read this excellent article from Soccernet reporter Ives Galarcep. It's not only a key source of information into the otherwise-opaque haps in the just-concluded Cary, NC camp, but it's also cause for serious optimism if Galarcep's take is to be trusted (though I've been skeptical of his reporting in the past--remember his unsubstantiated assertion that EJ was released by Dallas because he was poisonous in the locker room?).

According to Galarcep, "Arena's squad is as healthy as he could ever have dreamed of it being," and Arena "couldn't have asked for a better two weeks of training." Want more? Well, it looks like O'Brien is playing as well as we could have hoped; he's uninjured (fingers crossed to avoid jinx) and slated to start against Morocco. Dempsey apparently had an "impressive" training camp and appears to have clinched at least super-sub, perhaps even starter status. Hell, even our forward position is looking hopeful, with Johnson apparently "every bit as impressive" as he was before the 2005 turf-toe debacle, while Ching is reportedly the most in-form striker on the roster (though not sure if this is news for rejoicing or sorrow). It doesn't appear that there are any great developments at positions where we're already strong (primarily defense), but there no news is good news.

Now let's not get carried away. After all, a good training camp gets you exactly zero points in the World Cup, and we've yet to see how the team will play against our three Send-Off Series foes. But every stage must be judged on its own terms, and by all accounts the pre-Germany camp was a great success.


Blogger SMELLRAT said...

>"while Ching is reportedly the most in-form striker on the roster (though not sure if this is news for rejoicing or sorrow)."

Yeah, Arena's gonna regret leaving Twellman at home. Taylor's never done nothing but score goals. They left him at home because of his size? How many times have I seen Twellman go horizontal between other guys legs, and cleats, to score a header goal. I saw his face get crushed doing it for the Revs. He's quality, and I can't forgive Arena for leaving him off the team.

11:21 PM, May 22, 2006

Blogger DF said...

This time I agree with you, rat. I was a big fan of TT over Ching especially given how well Twellman had done for the US since he finally scored against Panama in the last WCQ game.

So I'm put in the weird position of trying to figure out reasons I may be wrong about the Ching/Twellman choice. I basically pin my faith on two things. First, Arena knows stuff we don't because we just see games and he sees much more in training, etc. Second, with the exception of Agoos at CB in WC02, Bruce has hardly ever put a foot wrong and many of his choices that seemed weird ended up working out for the best. In other words, in Bruce I trust. He's earned it.

11:37 PM, May 22, 2006

Blogger SMELLRAT said...

Regarding choice of Ching over Twellman: I was watching the hapless US squad last night struggling to score a single goal (they didnt) when the announcer told a story about how involved Donovan had been in his naming the squad. Apparently Donovan had been calling members of the coaching constantly, harranging them in hope that his good buddy Ching made the team (over Twellman). Hm, well it sure didn't pay off last night, did it?

10:10 AM, May 24, 2006

Blogger DF said...

Yeah, I think Twellman could have made a difference in this game, while Ching basically functions as McBride lite when Brian is too tired to go on.

I was floored to hear LD was campaigning for Ching and Conrad--not that I can't understand that he'd have loyalties but it seems out of place for him to be trying to influence Bruce's decision.

10:46 AM, May 24, 2006


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