The Set Piece: Exhale

538703690-e1465353721789

  1. The old guys get it done. – Just a couple of days ago, this same column was calling out Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley as slow and unable to compete on the world stage. I called for youth and more youth! What does Klinsmann do? Sticks to his lineup and suddenly the goals start rolling. Deuce with the set piece, JJ with the slick low, hard shot across the keeper and into the corner, Zusi comes on as a sub and scores the final goal of the night, and Beckerman, of all people, the third substitution of the night makes a dramatic clearance on Costa Rica’s best scoring chance. Of course Bobby Wood also scored, credit to him, but that didn’t fit my narrative. The reality was, old dudes were getting the job done. 4-0.
  2. Our odds just improved, dramatically. – After the Colombia loss, it was hard to see daylight for the USMNT. We hadn’t challenged much at all, aside from a couple of set pieces. Defensive marking had gone out the window in critical points. Mental mistakes, like Yedlin’s handball, had all fans wondering how bad this team actually was. Skip forward to tonight and suddenly everyone is wondering how far we could actually go in this tournament. Part of that is fandom, part of that is reality. For an hour or so we were top in the group, thanks to our win and goal differential, before Colombia beat Paraguay, locking up a trip to the knockout round. 4-0 does a lot for a fragile psyche like the US seems to have. Let’s see what we do when we face Paraguay on Saturday.
  3. Colombia is that much better. – So we spanked the shit out of Costa Rica, its true. This, of course, followed us getting spanked ourselves by Colombia. I’m not going to go to far into transitive properties, but you get my drift. What I will say is that in both matches we started the same lineups (much to the chagrin of BMH hosts) with dramatically different results. This has way more to do with the other team on the pitch rather than our team suddenly going from down 2 to up 4. Colombia is a slick team and should advance in the knockout round. Hopefully we’ll do the same…

Other thoughts: Only one tonight, because it’s goddamn 2:41a ya jerks. Costa Rican National team coach, Oscar Ramirez, who can’t seem to find a suit that fits him (I can empathize), bears a striking resemblance to Paul Bearer. Don’t remember Paul Bearer? He was the WWF/WWE manager for the Undertaker. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe it’s late, but we got a win today and let’s get another on Saturday!

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.47.15 AM

Jermaine Jones image from the Denver Post. Other is a mishmash of Google searches.

The Set Piece: Exhale

The Set Piece: Sometimes a Draw is a Win

Bruno Valdez, Joel Campbell

1. Couldn’t have turned out better, seriously. – So halfway through tonight’s Costa Rica/Paraguay match, I’m chatting with resident BMH genius Brian. “We need Paraguay to win this match” I said, thinking that Paraguay will lose to Colombia and then we beat them. Brian, because he’s a hell of a lot smarter than me responds, “Nope, we need a 0-0 draw.” And that’s what the soccer gods gave us. Sure, we looked rough against Colombia, but now we’re only one point back from advancing. A solid result against Costa Rica on Tuesday and we should be moving on.

2. Costa Rica looked less scary than I imagined. – Hearing a Central American team complain about the heat in Florida was odd. How out of shape are you guys? My favorite quote was midfielder Celso Borges “It was a little bit too warm. There was a lot of heat.” Average temperature in Orlando, 73º. Average temperature in Costa Rica 75º. Own the bad showing, dude. Best of all, from an American perspective, Kendall Watson (of the Vancouver Whitecaps) drew a meaningless red card and will be unavailable to start in the match against the USA.

3. Group B, meh. – In my preview of the Copa, I said no to expect much of Brazil after the group, but a shitty opening performance against Ecuador should at least give fans pause. Only getting a single point may bite the big boys in the ass, particularly because Peru defeated Haiti outright for 3 points. For the the record, I picked Peru to advance from this group and they won the match they should have, so now lets see if they can steal one.

Other Notes: I was shocked at some of the bullshit online after the USA/COL match. One pundit from Sports Nation went so far as to claim that Klinsmann was showing consistency in his lineup. That back line has played together THREE times including last night, get the fuck out of here…Matt Doyle continues to deliver the best analysis online. Read his shit…Anyone else see that guy dressed a tiger(?) rooting for Colombia? All I could think of was, what if USA had upset Colombia? That guy has to walk out of the stadium and to his car dressed like a fucking tiger with every American fan shit talking him. Same thing with the Peru fan with the wings (couldn’t find a picture of him, but goddamn, he looked ridiculous), there’s no room for doubt.

1447791367484_lc_galleryimage_a_supporter_of_colombia_c

So the general rule of Bury My Heart is that we focus on American soccer. During the COPA America competition, that line will be a bit more blurry. We’re in an international competition, so we’ll be discussing results from all the matches throughout.

First image from the UK’s Daily Mail. Second image from Reuters.

The Set Piece: Sometimes a Draw is a Win

The Set Piece: USA Loses 2-0

3583

3 Shots

  1. Jermaine Jones cannot start. – If anything was clear in the first half, it was that Jermaine Jones had, to quote Brian, “literally done nothing positive and several things negative.” He was slower than his Colombian counter parts, he missed passes that Nagbe would have gotten to, and, as always, he gave up the ball multiple times when pressing the attack. We all know Klinsmann is loyal to his boys, but Jones’ performance has to be taken as an indicator that the 34 year old cannot start in a serious international competition.
  2. Michael Bradley looked a step slow. – We love Bradley’s smarts and know he’s been a major contributor to the rise of USMNT, but last night he looked slow, his passes weren’t crisp and he always seemed two steps behind the Colombian attackers. The problem is, we don’t have a player on this squad that can do what Bradley has done in the past. Of course, maybe this is one game and on Tuesday we’ll be back to praising him or, more likely, this is the beginning of the end of Bradley’s international success.
  3. Play the young guys. – Everyone is trying to tell Klinsmann who to play and, as we all know, Klinsmann could give two fucks what you think. However, the young kids looked capable against a powerful Colombian team. Pulisic and Nagbe came on in the 60th minute and looked solid, Nagbe less though. Brooks and Johnson were solid on the back line all night. All this says, let them play. If anything good could come from this competition, let it be the establishment of fresh blood in this program. Maybe we continue to allow Deuce to start (the best of the older players last night), but aside from him, get the kids on the pitch and let them create something lasting for the upcoming World Cup.

Other Notes: Guzan, though he gave up a PK and a set piece goal, looked solid in the net…James Rodriguez hurt his shoulder while diving, slightly amusing…Set piece goal was all on Cameron, luckily he played better the rest of the match…Yedlin looked a bit lost on defense, giving up multiple chances to Colombia…That handball call was bullshit…Pre-match entertainment was horrible…Duece’s set piece, barely saved by Ospina, shows he’s still got it…Considering we lost 2-0, our defense didn’t look that bad.

Image from the Guardian.

The Set Piece: USA Loses 2-0

COPA America – 2016 GOP Edition

cassidy-gop-debate-group-shot-690

Few competitions stir this hemisphere’s nationalistic fervor like the COPA America, a competition that brings together the best of the best to compete for soccer dominance. Usually, this competition goes chalk, with the best teams in the world claiming the prize. But this year feels like the year for a new champion. A team that is well-known, who has been down recently, but will raise the trophy in the end. When I put it like that, it reminds me of something…oh yeah, the GOP Primary.

Before you read further, two caveats. One, this is a thought experiment, not a political endorsement of any sort. If the truth must be known, I’m a Berner, but the Democratic party didn’t offer the absolute clusterfuck the GOP shared with the country. You’ll see my opinion shine through in some of the writing. Two, some of these candidates are shitty people, some of them are wonderful people. None of the nations involved should feel insulted by the connections drawn (particularly Mexico). Again, this is a thought experiment and a fun one, in my opinion.

Continue reading “COPA America – 2016 GOP Edition”

COPA America – 2016 GOP Edition

Who The F#%K Are You? Harrisburg City Islanders

200px-harrisburg_city_islanders-svg

There’s two types of kids in this world, those that lived in the same place their entire childhood and those that moved repeatedly like American nomads. I fall into the second category. Originally born in Aransas Pass, Texas, my family moved all over the Lone Star State before heading to the Midwest and spending years in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. When someone asks me where I’m from, I typically have an aneurysm and twitch on the ground.

During my stay in Pennsylvania, I lived in a tiny town called Sunbury, which is charming in an upstate Pennsylvania sort of way. There’s a lot of land between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and my family lived in that beautiful middle ground. Our town was right on the Susquehanna River, fucking gorgeous. Right down that river is the capital of the state, Harrisburg. Also the home of the Harrisburg City Islanders. Continue reading “Who The F#%K Are You? Harrisburg City Islanders”

Who The F#%K Are You? Harrisburg City Islanders

El Paso Finally Gets Soccer

85a83aea8397283ec4e83977378dcb6b

So allow me, for the moment, to breathlessly descend inside baseball for an article and discuss what appears to be an upcoming USL franchise for my home city of El Paso, Texas.

So in the down in the West Texas town of El Paso, there’s a really rich guy by the name of Paul Foster. He made his fortune the same way lots of guys in West Texas do, oil. He owns Western Refining and is known to donate millions to his alma mater, Baylor University. According to Wikipedia, he’s worth 1.9 billion. Yeah, with a B. Dude is loaded.

Paul Foster’s wife (and I’ve actually met her a couple of times, but she wouldn’t know me if I was in a lineup), Alejandra de la Vega Foster, is one of the most powerful women (nah, people is more like it) in the city that borders El Paso in Mexico, Juarez. She made her cash running an empire of convenience stores, restaurants, and as the co-owner of the semi famous Triple A team, El Paso Chihuahuas.

Just this year, MountainStar (a reference to a famous El Paso landmark) Sports Group, which she leads added a team into the second division of Mexico’s Liga MX, Juarez FC. You may have seen them recently on SportsCenter missing promotion to the big league by a single match. Mrs. Vega Foster runs that team. She’s a badass of epic proportions and the perfect match for her equally powerful husband.

Well, thanks be to the gods, MountainStar has been working with the USL to add a franchise to El Paso. According to the El Paso Times (an actual newspaper), the group had originally be in contact the Don of MLS, before settling on USL (with the goal of promotion eventually). According to the same article, the new USL franchise should be added in time for the 2018 season. Along with the new club, a new soccer-specific 7,500 seat stadium is in the works. El Paso may be asked to kick in some cash to help. Where do I send my check?

-Dan

El Paso Finally Gets Soccer

USOC or USuck?

us-open-cup

USOC Round Up

If you’ve been paying attention to American soccer, you know that the biggest and most awesomest of tournaments is currently being held, the US Open Cup. This tournament features teams of semi-pros all the way up to MLS. Absolutely amazing and, of course, everyone wants an upset.

Last night gave the people what they wanted. If you want all the results, here’s the full rundown from ussoccer.com. Here’s a couple that really caught our eye:

Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0, Lansdowne Bhoys 2 – The Lansdowne Bhoys were formed in 1997 and play semi-pro ball in Yonkers NY. It’s somewhat shocking the knocked off the Riverhounds, though considering the recent Romeo Parkes incident maybe not so much. The Bhoys move on to face 2015 USL champions, Rochester who smoked the fuck out of their opponents, Southie FC (one of my favorite names in the tourney), 7-0.

wcpo_051416fcvspittsburgh03_1463271123329_38272957_ver1_1463271391130_38273919_ver1-0_640_480

FC Cincinnati 2, Indy Eleven 1 – FC Cinci has a soft spot in my heart due their geographic location (my old hometown) and their impressive start to their inaugural season. The Eleven were tied with the hometeam going into halftime, but a strike by Cincinnati’s Jimmy McLaughlin in the 61st minute put his team up for good. FC Cinci goes on to face the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, one of the most tenured teams in the country, in round three.

Put on your tin foil hats, please.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.39.40 AM

One thing that sort of caught the eye of BMH was the lack of media coverage by the USL squads that have been so proactive with the use of Youtube to broadcast their matches. Now, $1 beers aside (that’s a great deal!), the USL’s CHarleston Battery posted a weirdly opaque Tweet last night just before their match (and eventual loss, another massive upset). “For reasons beyond our control, we will not be streaming tonight’s game.” 2/3 of your favorite podcast hosts think this weird as fuck and smacks of MLS not wanting competition with their Wednesday night matches. 1/3 thinks we are overthinking it. Either way, we’ve reached out to but the Battery and USL for response via Twitter and so far, nada. If they do respond, we’ll post it.

  • Dan
USOC or USuck?