Blog template Rock the Crossbar: Donovan - 'ang 'im 'igh

Rock the Crossbar

Thursday, June 22

Donovan - 'ang 'im 'igh

Donovan, as I predicted provided no leadership - . Will the blinkered US supporters finally cut him loose or just point to the shocking penalty kick given? I enjoyed the last twenty minutes especially: Landon's dead ball kick and his run in the box and feeble pass to teammate who gets dispossessed. I really hate Landon Donovan


  • I saw the US highlights as I elected to watch the more glamorous tie. Italy were in command against a Czech team which committed suicide with a ridiculous red card - their fella should be shot for getting it. America were clearly the victim of a horrible reffing decision - welcome to football lads. You will always remember that much like we remember the Hand of God, our disallowed goal against Argentina 1998 etc...
    That 3-0 in the opener ruined you especially being in that group.
    Saw Landon's last 5 minutes and where he gave the ball away. Reyna cost you dear today, he wasnt so hurt when he gave the ball away, he had time to have a quick peek up and see the calamity he caused before going straight down and wishing he was dead. See you in 4 years (if we qualify, I know you will).

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 12:31 PM  

  • Nice edit by adding the pic!

    By Blogger Chris P, at 1:20 PM  

  • God bless Google for putting it out there :)

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 1:42 PM  

  • Landon who? Was he in the game?? I am on board the good ship "Donovan Bites"

    By Blogger Boston Gooner, at 2:57 PM  

  • Yeah, Landon was the lazy bag of shite that he's been since he scampered back to the MLS. Lay some blame for the exit at his door sure. But Arena is as big a problem. Tonight we saw two Bruce errors.

    The first was his continual use of players in positions that they are not comfortable. Beasley has played in this world cup simply everywhere except the right side. Tonight, he was stuck in the center of the midfield and he was very ineffective. And we've seen other players played similarly wrong. That's down to Bruce. Despite all the qualifiers, despite all the friendlies, and despite the clear injuries and out of form players in the run-up to June, he arrived in Germany without a clear starting 11 and even what the players in his squad were capable of.

    The second goes back to his initial selection of players for this tournament. If he selected Ching ahead of Twellman because he wanted a bigger body to throw at the Czechs, Italians, and Ghanaians, why didn't he play him? In fact, was he even off the bench lumber--sorry, limbering up while McBride was being stiched up? If he selected Wolff ahead of Twellman, or Noonan or Ralston or Eddie Gavin, why did Wolff's only contribution end up being a quick runaround in the Czech game? Why did he take a chance on a poorly O'Brien when he had healthy Noonans or Zavagnins to choose from.

    Arena's performance has convinced me that he plans well in advance. I think he knew more or less what he wanted sitting there watching the balls marked Italy, Czech Rep. and Ghana come out of the bowls at Christmas-time. But in so many games in the past year and in every single game of this tournament, he's got it wrong or it's gone wrong because of red cards and injury. But unlike a Hiddink or a Klinsman, he isn't capable of looking down his bench and recognizing an Aloisi or a Cahill or a Neuville who can come on the pitch and save the team's bacon. If Bruce has picked the right player match-up at the start, we're ok. If he doesn't, he doesn't possess the ability to change or salvage it and we're f***ked.

    But Arena isn't the only American to leave Germany with a damaged reputation. Yes, back to Donovan. He has just been hopeless, listless, and uninterested in 2006. Just what Arena saw to be confident that he'd come good in this tournament is anyone's guess. A moment of hope here and there, sure, but his play and general attitude won't get him any new admirers and will add to the chorus of detractors.

    But Beasley did not show what he could do either. When did he ever push the ball behind the fullback and run? When ever, when he did find room to run, did he follow through to the byline? Where was the speed? All I kept seeing was him jogging along, dinking the ball about a foot in front of him, never seeming like he would bother to turn on the jets and try to get around someone. Even when he did run, he'd screech to a halt as if he'd found the edge of the world, and twirl around to pass the ball back or sideways. He just never got into the box like the Beasley of old.

    Eddie Johnson looks a long way away from that exciting start he had last year. Again tonight, he just jogged towards the ball or an opponent on the ball and never looked like he'd threaten. He was supposed to be the bloody cavalry and he looked more demoralized in his arrival than any one who'd been on from the start.

    The bright spots in the American misadventure were the generally strong play by Onyewu who will have attracted Premiership clubs despite his sometimes clumsy challenges. I'm hoping not Newcastle because a Boumsong, Brambel, Gooch trio would be heaping bad luck on bad luck. You have to say that wretched Pimpong waster was sly tonight and victimized him badly on that penalty. Gooch must be simmering at the injustice of that. I think Bobby Convey did well. When he got a run in the Czech game and with one moment tonight, he demonstrated that Bruce should have used a little more imagination and found a way to include him earlier and more often. Dempsey was very hardworking and with a little more luck and continued development, he can convert that hard work into goals for the US. Jimmy Conrad is developing a good partnership with Onyewu. And McBride did himself proud. Tireless battling, good sportsmanship, and displays of team spirit will remind Fulham of just what a good player he is. The Lance Armstrong of American Soccer.

    But the US should take this elimination seriously and start to put some players like Pope and Reyna and Berhalter and the real loss, McBride, out to pasture. In two years when qualification starts, they'll be past it and well past it in four. They should also start experimenting with a team that is not so dependent on Donovan and Beasley model 2002 unless their careers and form take off again. But if those guys are going to continue to show a lazy attitude and bad form, then sorry, that's the Galaxy's and PSV's problem to fix and we've got to treat them like England did Andy Cole, "Sorry, you're outrageously talented, but you break our hearts, sod off!!!" We need to make room for Eddie Gavin, maybe Brian Carroll and other new faces. Not Freddie Adu necessarily but if he improves--a lot--, maybe. We need to ask guys like Convey and Dempsey to take more of a leadership role because of Donovan's failure of character. We need to question if Maestroeni will ever learn not to so often go to ground in a tackle and be prepared to find someone else if the answer is no. And we need to start preparing for a day without Keller in goal. Tim Howard should be that man, but he needs to get out of Old Trafford NOW and start playing a game every week. And not at a club where he's going to get shelled behind a complete shambles of a defence every game and end up like Robert Green, shattered mentally and physically.

    And maybe, just maybe, we need to dump the Mad Hatter for someone that by 2008 and certainly by 2010 knows basically who his best 11 are and who in the remaining 10 outfield players can change and salvage a game when things go wrong.

    By Blogger gooner71, at 7:02 PM  

  • Good inputer Gooner. I stated after the Italy match that Arena needed to be sacked whilst the media praised him for adraw. One of the most inexplicable Bruce noncalls was not using the final sub against Italy. Why didn't he bring Eddie Johnson in around the 75th minute?

    Arena's success and the US ranking, or even Keller thinking their in the top 15 is not unlike Rocky III where Mickey was selecting patsies for Rocky to fight. Then he faces Clubber Lang. Along the way, Sam's Army and the interested press drank the Kool Aid.

    The number of people at work who were dimly aware of the US being in the WC had read about how good LD is. I set them all straight on that one.

    Where is GAC's vitriol?

    By Blogger Chris P, at 7:26 PM  

  • I am digesting all of this excitement and will comment on Friday, after Reyna gets his "MRI" results. Sure hope he's okay - I believe one Ghana leg hair actually grazed his guards. Note to Psycho: cut this worthless rag immediately.

    By Blogger George Cuddy, at 9:40 PM  

  • Encouraging news from Arena in a post-match interview. He was asked straight out if he will leave as manager and replied "that is not my decision" but then immediately followed up by saying "I do have other options" - which indicates to me he is on the out. Not sure what his "options" are, perhaps some MLS coaching job? It is time for him to go. We can beat Clubber Lang!

    By Blogger Boston Gooner, at 9:54 PM  

  • GAC - have to agree with your implication about Reyna. He wasn't even touched, just fell over and gave up the ball and a goal. The Ghana player had more desire than he did and won the ball. You have to wonder if his "injury" was cover... at any rate he is a liability and one of the players I hope goes when Arena leaves.

    By Blogger Boston Gooner, at 9:57 PM  

  • Two words: Jurgen Klinsmann. After the Argies beat Germany in the quarters, he may be looking for a job. Right now the Germans love him, but before the cup, the public and Der Kaiser were ready to cut him loose.

    He already lives in California, and he is used to traveling to Europe on a regular basis to look after his Bundesliga charges.

    If the US Fed passes up that opportunity, I don't know if they're interested in US success.

    By Blogger gooner71, at 5:08 AM  

  • Klinsmann has already been offered a new contract by Das Germans though I doubt he will sign it and that will leave him open. Would be an EXCELLENT pick up - he can watch all that MLS twaddle from his boozechair in California.

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 6:35 AM  

  • I still think you should have a public hanging of Mastroeni for his re carded 2 foot slider in the second game - that turned a win into a draw and gave you a mountain to climb. In England we deal with that by public hating and newspaper shaming.

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 6:37 AM  

  • Well, here's the post you've all been waiting for like a bunch of fat kids at the park who hear the jingles from a far off ice cream truck! First, a few thoughts: Ghana, according to the CIA Factbook, has about 22 million residents. 300 divided by 22? Yeh, you get the idea. But, enough with numbers, let us begin with the crucifixion.

    I looked at the standings for the so-called "group of death." The USA achieved one point. Now, surely, the penalty call in the match with Ghana was indeed abysmal but it was not worse than Maradona in '86, the non-call against nazi keeper Schumacher taking out France's Battiston in the '82, etc. Shit happens. As Sepp Blatter says in just about every interview, "that's football." Arena, the mumbling midget, showed so much promise taking over from the Sampson debacle and building to the success of WC02. As Pink Floyd repeated ad nauseum, now, "time to go." He couldn't adjust the settings on a cell phone. Gooner71 makes excellent points - what is the makeup of the next wave of players? We'll get to that.

    Landon Donovan ain't got it. In fact, he never had it. He does about as good a job covering up his rapidly balding dome as he does covering space on the pitch. Hope there are escape clauses on his marketing deals. You know, with sympathy, I actually didn't want the kid to fail. He has now, again, and that's it. Buh-bye.

    Oh, what a healthy and younger Eddie Lewis coupled with a Joe Max Moore would have been like...but they were really the missed generation, the ones who were supposed to take the reins from the hysteria of WC 94. McBride did - he, like Keller, has excelled in every competitive environment - but not many others. Hey, I'm a Man City supporter and I've always thought Reyna was crap. He looked like Mary Decker falling down on the track in the '84 Olympics. She wasn't hurt, she could have lifted herself up and finished the race, but she quit. Reyna is now in that category for me. He's a loser. I really feel for McBride - great analogy about Lance Armstrong - he gave everything in his years with US Soccer. Blood, sweat, toil and tears. He has the scars to prove it. I love and respect the man.

    I'm not going to go through each player and give grades. Too many words have been spoken already. One need only watch the match to understand the reality. We have a long, long way to go. I wasn't overly impressed by anyone, I wasn't overly disappointed. They just all bore me. I want someone to cry. I want someone to dig their face in the turf after a loss and not get up for ten minutes. I want to see someone throw his boots in disgust. I want a few Rooneys. I want a genius. I don't see any on the horizon after football, basketball and baseball get their pick. Oh, what a beautiful game this nation is missing.

    An out of position Beasley is, clearly, useless. Arena seems awestruck by what these guys do in training sessions and seemingly assigns, with musical chair accuracy, positions without any basis of sound reason. I'm pretty sure that Becks won't be moving to left fullback in the immediate future, or Klose to stopper. But, with great athletes (remember Arena said he liked Hejduk because "he runs a lot"), I guess you can just mix-and-match. When are we going to learn, in this country, to develop talented youths at positions based on temperament and skill instead of 40-yard dash times? Someone needs to take a flamethrower to the men's side of US Soccer and do the following:

    1. Go into the ghettos and find 50 Allen Iverson types. Go into the barrios and find 50 Derek Jeter types. Make sure they have US Passports and ship them, at age 11, to youth academies overseas. Pay millions, if needed, to their families. Bake for one decade. Do not return to MLS. Bring together for U17, U19, U21, Olympics and CONCACRAP events. Win.

    2. Hire a fiery South American or European coach to light a fire (see flamethrower) under the youth club development (ODP programs) system. Forget about suburban white kids without passion, go after the Dempseys. Make selections cut-throat. Everyone DOESN'T play. Everyone is NOT a winner. No prisoners. Make the kids shine the boots for the members of the eldest team in the club. Beat the crap out of them. Force them to play on gravel, on asphault, in the streets, on gym floors. Make them go two years without passing. Force them to attack 1v1 and 1v2. Creativity is born from millions of failed attempts, it cannot be taught. Arena, and most US coaches, think they know better. Well, the results sure know best!

    I waited four years for this event. Ireland blows it against Switzerland in qualifying. England loses Owen in group play. The USA, as I predicted, goes three and out. I'm a sorry masochist.

    By Blogger George Cuddy, at 11:32 AM  

  • "...he can watch all that MLS twaddle from his boozechair in California."

    Best line in the history of rockthecrossbar. Simon = genius

    By Blogger George Cuddy, at 2:50 PM  

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