Three U.S. keys vs. Ghana

The United States will get their group play started today against Ghana and one goes directly to how this team can get a result in a group that includes both Portugal and Germany.

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The “Black Stars” are athletic and mobile but the United States in my opinion seemed primed for a positive result based on a few factors:

1.) PROTECT THE CB’S
There is no secret that the U.S. has in-experience at the CB position.
Well, yes and no. Geoff Cameron is a regular for Stoke City but as a right back.
His athletic ability paired with Matt Besler is essential so as to provide lateral cover.
Still the play of likely Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckermann in front of these two is essential.
Tim Howard will need to be at his best talking these two cb’s through the game.
If this block of five is solid then good things can happen to the U.S.

2.) TRANSITION
That vital 2-3 seconds when the ball is won or lost today is vital.
How quick thinking can the U.S be?
This along with striking a balance between attacking and defending will prove immense.
The U.S. won’t by design sit back and defend but will have to defend for extended periods of time.
Countering Ghana pressure with pressure of their own is essential.

3.) THE BIG MOMENT
Experienced players like Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey must lead the way but it is how World Cup “newbies” perform that could be the difference on the big stage.
U.S. fitness could provide an edge in this during the later stages.

What do you think is key for the United States?

Brad Davis – Juergen Klinnsman Is An Unbelievably Confident Guy

Brad Davis joins Glenn Davis on Soccer Matters, fresh off the friendly with Turkey, to discuss last minute preparations before the World Cup.

Brad

GD:

Let’s talk about the last two friendly games against Turkey and Azerbaijan. Where are you guys as a team and how you are feeling heading into the World Cup?

BD:

Obviously, coming off two wins. Still in the building process. Training has been intense. Everyone is feeling good and ready to move on to Nigeria and get some confidence going into the World Cup.

GD:

Nigeria, kind of mirrors Ghana. Is that why you have them on your schedule prior to World Cup?

BD:

Ya I think so. They are going to be very strong and athletic team with pace. I think it is going to feel very similar to Ghana. So I believe that this will be a good match up for us.

For the rest of the interview with USMNT mid fielder Brad Davis, just click the link below:

http://espn975.com/page.php?page_id=211

Postcards from Washington D.C. and three things to think about

The Dynamo begin the first of three on the road tonight at RFK Stadium against an improved DC United.

DC will be without striker Eddie Johnson who has been suspended by the MLS disciplinary committee for kicking gk Troy Perkins of Montreal.

The Dynamo come into this one missing Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia who are both off with pre World Cup camps . Additionally Ricardo Clark remains out with a concussion .

Three things to consider:

*MORE EXPERIENCE IN THE NATION’S CAPITAL
DC United have blown things up after one of the worst season’s in MLS history.
In comes experience and goals with Eddie Johnson, Davey Arnaud, Fabian Espindola, Chris Rolfe which instantly has made this a better team.
Defensively they have moved out “livewire” center backs Dejan Jakovic and Brandon McDonald replacing them with Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke.
Boswell comes off a less than stellar season in Houston and Parke comes over from Philadelphia.

OMAR CUMMINGS
The Dynamo striker turned midfielder seems the likely choice to replace Boniek Garcia out wide in the Dynamo set up.
Cummings comes off one of his best overall performances in a Dynamo uniform playing 64 minutes.
What I like is that he floats forward into a higher positions complicating things for opponents. His pace also on occasion was unsettling for LA .
Cummings also worked defensively to track runners.

GO WIDE
Good wide play at the DC outside backs in the form of penetration off the dribble and via the pass can lure out the less than fleet of foot center backs Boswell and Parke, pull them out of the middle and success will come in the Nations Capital.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Dynamo and Barnes “punish” LA in 1-0 win/ Horst, Taylor, Cummings shine

The Dynamo got a valuable 1-0 victory and three points over the LA Galaxy at BBVA Compass Stadium on a cool night in Houston.
Giles Barnes provided the lone goal in the 61st minute punishing an LA mistake.

SCARY START: Only twenty seconds in a poor pass back from Barnes led to a chance for Brazilian striker Samuel getting the start in the absence of Landon Donovan. Samuel on loan from Fluminense in Brazil pulled his shot wide.
Much credit has to go to Jermaine Taylor who recovered defensively to protect the goal in composed fashion.

BONIEK INJURED Boniek Garcia went off injured in a scary moment and had ice packs on his right leg. Apparently Boniek Garcia has a strained hamstring and this was precautionary to get him substituted.
Omar Cummings came on and played very strong in his absence.

HORST HEADS OFF LINE After Robbie Keane found Aj De La Garza for a shooting opportunity David Horst made another saving play. De La Garza’s shot beat Tally Hall but Horst had gone behind his gk on the line and in reactive fashion was able to head the shot over the cross bar.
Horst and Taylor were excellent on the evening!!

BARNES GOAL With the ball deep in the LA half their right back Dan Gargan inexplicably decided to throw the ball in to gk Jaime Penedo. The choice was poor and the thrown was heavy and skipped in front of Penedo who could not control it.
Credit the quick thinking Mark Sherrod for closing down Penedo and finding Barnes quickly.
The angle of the pass, bodies in front of goal made this a difficult finish but Barnes produced something special to hit the far side netting! An amazing goal.

GOAL DEFINES TACTICS The Barnes goal actually defined the Dynamo tactics for the final thirty minutes of the game as they defended deeper and looked for opportunity on the counter attack.
The Dynamo kept an excellent team shape and protected Tally Hall and their goal well.
They managed the game out in good fashion getting the well deserved win repelling attack after attack from LA quite comfortably.

20,000 FANS !
Dynamo fans turned out for LA that is for sure. The lively loud crowd lived up to the night and it was good to see more seats filled!!!

WIN TIMELY WITH ROAD LOOMING
The Dynamo now go on the road for three games beginning with DC United this Wednesday, San Jose and Colorado.

Twitter: GLenndavissoc

Four thoughts heading into Dynamo vs. LA

The Dynamo were beaten 5-2 by RSL in their last home game and tonight clearly the club would love a reversal of fortune against the LA Galaxy:

1.) WILL, MARK AND GILES?
Will Dom Kinnear pair Will Bruin and Mark Sherrod up front tonight against the LA Galaxy?
It’s hard to take off the rookie who is confident after scoring two goals and Bruin’s return could push Giles Barnes into an attacking midfield role.
Dom Kinnear also could play Barnes on the right side of midfield and move Boniek Garcia inside in the absence of Brad Davis out of a 4-4-2.

2.) WARREN CREAVALLE
If Warren Creavalle is the lone holding midfielder he is going to have to play his best game of the year. Creavalle has played best out of the central midfield role when he is paired with Ricardo Clark. Clark remains out with a concussion.
All eyes on Warren tonight.

3.) SERVANDO says his tackle was mistake on Morales
I love this accountability from Carassco. Look back at the play and he is right.
He never needed to go in to the tackle as he had support and Morales had his back to goal.
Refreshing ! Sadly the Dynamo will miss him vs. LA.

4.) ROBBIE KEANE
The Irish captain is worth the price of admission alone.
A driving desire and passion to get to goal is matched with the ability to play-make.
He has five goals already this year.

Twitter: GlennDavissoc, KICK CANCER !

The tactical game: Dealing with the “diamonds” of Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake comes to BBVA Compass Stadium tomorrow with a new manager Jeff Cassar and and the only undefeated team in Major League Soccer.
Last weekend in dramatic fashion they scored three late to come from behind against the Chicago Fire to win 3-2 on the road.

DIAMOND MIDFIELD
A four man midfield can be aligned in different ways.
The common theme through the history of Real Salt Lake has been the 4-4-2 with their midfield in a “diamond” shape.
At the base of the diamond will be Kyle Beckermann who protects the back four as a shield and is a strong passer of the ball.
The sides of the diamond tucked in will likely be Ned Grabavoy and Luke Mullholland or potentially Luis Gil based on the last game and at the top of the diamond a “playmaker” behind two forwards in this case the dangerous Argentine Javier Morales.

PRO’S: Things will be tight up the middle of the field, players generally have options on the ball and an additional player higher up the field at the top of the diamond to support two strikers.

CON’S: This system is vulnerable to the counter attack and very dependent on collective play.
Outside backs in this case for RSL Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert have to be all around box to box outside backs, supportive in attack and able to press or get back behind the ball when it is lost.

HOW IT PLAYS AGAINST THE DYNAMO:

The Dynamo currently in a 4-3-3 set-up with two wins might be pushed into changing back to a four man midfield as to not be out numbered in a central midfield area.
Dom Kinnear could field Servando Carrasco and Warren Creavalle in the middle and push Brad Davis on the left and Boniek Garcia on the right to match RSL .
Carrasco and Creavalle could be good together protecting the pocket of space in front of their central defenders where Morales and Joao Plata like to operate.

The Dynamo will have opportunity to counter in wide areas and test the collective mental strength of RSL when the ball is lost.
Recognizing those moments will be key……this will be a night where good ball possession will help either team control the match.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Carrasco shines in Dynamo win/ Game defining save from “passionate” Hall

The Dynamo catapulted into a four way tie in the East after a 1-0 win over Columbus last night. Dynamo striker Will Bruin scored for the third consecutive game and now has 6 goals to rank amongst the league’s top goal scorers.

The two straight wins set the club up beautifully for a showdown with last year’s MLS runner-up Real Salt Lake.

Here are a few thoughts:

SERVANDO CARRASCO SHINES:
The holding midfielder was replacing Ricardo Clark and got the nod over Warren Creavalle whose battled tendinitis recently. Carrasco was excellent positionally, useful with the ball and switched the point of attack well and protected his center backs.
On top of that his decision making was sharp.
Before the game on Comcast Sports Net we put a circle around Carrasco. It is one thing to do it against Chivas USA but another against Federico Higuain and Columbus.
Carrasco in a sense “introduced” himself to Dynamo fans.
His work ethic in training is truly professional and it was interesting to see him recently working on hitting diagonal balls after training. (Note to young players…don’t be the first in the locker room after training, work on an element of your game)
His play is good news for the competition and options for manager Dom Kinnear in the central midfield position.

PASSIONATE HALL
Tally Hall made a “spectacular” reaction save in the 30th that helped to script this game out differently.
The timeliness of this save was important on the night because it allowed the Dynamo to get the game’s first goal five minutes into the second half.
It was also great to see Hall get verbal and emotional with his teammates in this game like I have not seen before. I am still amazed how this big man can get down.
Who knows maybe looking over at Pat Onstad an assistant for the Crew and former Dynamo gk ignited a bit more emotion!

EYES ON SUNDAY
Dom Kinnear balanced that ever difficult focus of two games subbing out a trio of veterans in Brad Davis, Will Bruin and Boniek Garcia to rest them for Sunday vs. Real Salt Lake.

COLUMBUS
The Crew did have their chances on this night to take the lead and it could have been different if they had produced the first goal.
Federico Higuain feed repeatedly Bernardo Anor, Dom Oduro and Jason Williams only to see failed final pass after final pass.
IN the end the Dynamo kept Higuain from being that person MAKING the final pass over the course of the night.

WILL BRUIN
Three straight games with a goal with some saying his goal was lucky.
I beg to differ, by making the run he put himself into position to score off his back. Don’t make the run, you won’t get the good fortune.
He now is amongst the top goal-scorers in all of MLS.

BUTTS IN SEATS
I won’t stop saying how tough it is for me to see so many no shows and small crowds.
The crowd again was sparse but I must say for the hardcore that show up consistently, they are delivering.
Those on the drums deserve a raise!!!
Lets hope more get out Sunday night to see the MLS runner-ups with their great playmaker Javier Morales, potentially World Cup bound Kyle Beckermann, Nick Rimando of the U.S. and Costa Rican striker Alvaro Saborio.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Why Chivas USA could be the perfect opponent

Chivas USA have not won in 7 matches and have only scored 8 goals.
For a variety of reasons this team could be the perfect opponent for the Dynamo today to win for the first time in 6 games.

*MISSING STARS Chivas USA will be missing two of their most important players.
GK Dan Kennedy one of the most under-rated in MLS is suspended which
means back up Tim Melia will start for the first time this year.
Mauro Rosales their Argentine DP is also out injured, between the two
“The Goats” will be missing a ton of experience.

GO WIDE Tonight is a night the Dynamo could benefit from widening the game out.
If they can break down the Chivas USA outside backs they will pull two strong
but less than mobile center backs out of the middle in former US Captain Carlos
Bocanegra and Bobby Burling. Penetration out wide will be vital.

SHUT DOWN EL CUBO Chivas USA has only eight goals and six have come from the loan
player Erick Torres. The 21 year old is mobile, chases everything and
is dangerous around the penalty area. Cut out his delivery and you will
limit his danger.

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE You can hide two players on an off day in matches but not 4-5.
The Dynamo have struggled to get optimum player performance out
from players consistently. Maybe tonight is the night!!!

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Not a New York City groove…..Dynamo downed by Red Bulls

On a cool blustery “Garden State” night the Dynamo woes continued against the New York Red Bulls in the regular season losing 4-0.
What struck me was just how much “deja vu” there was to last year’s regular season.

A few thoughts:

POOR PERFORMANCE

You can’t sugarcoat this…the Dynamo are playing poorly and manager Dominic Kinnear stated they are not “sharp”.

From poor decision making to un-forced errors there was not a-lot to write home about last night .
The Dynamo now have gone 319 minutes without scoring a goal, only 2 goals in their last five games and both came from Ricardo Clark off his head on a corner and free kick.

The Dynamo are now 2-4-1 ahead of Portland at home on Sunday and now the hope lies in the return of Brad Davis, Kofi Sarkodie.

Still have not heard a report about Ricardo Clark injury situation.

NEW YORK PLAYING STYLE

The Dynamo struggled to keep up with the tempo, pace of the Red Bulls on the ball. That coupled with movement and mobility made it a difficult night. By playing it on the ground they nullified the aerial presence of David Horst and won the possession battle handily.

Their movement and mobility with Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright Phillips, Lloyd Sam and Eric Alexander could not be countered.

Henry in particular at 36 just reminded us of what an amazing player he was in his prime.

The work effort of hat trick man Wright-Phillips was exemplary while Sam and Alexander are all comfortable and decisive on the ball. It was just too much.

Despite that the Red Bulls were not impressive WITHOUT THE BALL DEFENSIVELY and much like last year’s semi-finals in the playoffs invited the Dynamo back in the game at the beginning of the second half with inexplicable decision making and choices from individuals.

The two center backs Jamison Olave and Armando both struggled at times and the Dynamo could have scored early but failed to convert.
Andrew Driver had two wonderful chances in the first half while Barnes and Bruin had decent chances but most were presented and gifted by the Red Bulls.

LONG SEASON

Yes it is a long season and when Giles Barnes says “Judge us at the end of the year” their is truth to that in a playoff based league but something seems deeper here.

Fans are beginning to question the lack of activity in the off-season which is a fair question at this point that is asked in any sport.

Yes Brad Davis did not play but what if he goes to the World Cup?
The depth of this team must shine through and at the end of the year something has to be gleaned from Omar Cummings and Alexander Lopez to help the cause one would imagine.
There is no such thing as a steady eleven in world football let alone MLS.

Yes there is still lots of time to turn things around but the Dynamo clearly have to analyze the current body of work and turn things around.

SOCCER MATTERS Espn 97-5 Tuesday at 7pm

Dynamo thoughts from the “Garden State” ahead of Red Bulls match

Three games in 11 days for the Dynamo (2-3-1) tonight as they take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey (CSN Houston pre-game at 6 ct).
The Dynamo are coming off a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia where they lost right back Kofi Sarkodie to a red card.

Some thoughts:

IMPROVED DEFENSIVELY: You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realize the difference defensively with David Horst back in the line-up in Philadelphia.
The big man makes the Dynamo grow a few inches and was dominant in the air with 100 of his friends and family in attendance in Chester, PA.
For the life of me I am still baffled as to why the Union hung up so much delivery around Horst who did not lose a ball in the air.
Does it carry over tonight against the overall team speed of New York and the Frenchman Thierry Henry a World Cup winner.

ALL WE ARE SAYING, IS GIVE US A GOAL!
The Dynamo have gone 229 minutes without scoring a goal and have not had a goal from the run of play since the 2nd game of the season when Will Bruin scored against Montreal. It is officially a drought and the Dynamo need to break out and produce something tonight.
Only Ricardo Clark off a corner and a free kick via the air has scored in the last two games. Can they create road chances tonight against the Red Bull.

IT MIGHT BE ABOUT WHO IS MISSING
Australian international and DP Tim Cahill has been announced out for the New York Red Bulls and they do have injury problems to Bobby Convey, Richard Eckersely, and Andre Akpan so they will have a young bench tonight.
The Dynamo will not have Kofi Sarkodie which leads to choices for the manager Dom Kinnear. Jermaine Taylor could be moved wide or he could make a straight swap at the right back position with Warren Creavalle which would be his first start in 2014.
Ibrahim Segaya is out suspended and the center back likely will be replaced by Armando the Spaniard who can be undisciplined at times.
Brad Davis such an important piece to the Dynamo not likely to play for the third straight match.

FATIGUE
The Dynamo will ahve to manage fatigue in the way they play with such a short turn around and the use of the bench likely will be a big piece tonight . The Red Bulls are 8-0-4 at Red Bull Arena in their last 12.

CUMMINGS
Omar Cummings had his brightest moments against the Red Bulls in the playoffs last year scoring late goals in both matches of the semi final playoffs en route to the Dynamo knocking out the Supporters Shield Winners. A fresh Cummings could be important tonight.