Wednesday, June 30, 2010
By Evan Ream
So, after USA was eliminated from the World Cup I started thinking. USA has qualified for six consecutive World Cup's now and nine all time. With the six modern teams, USA has had three good tournaments and three bad tournaments. I decided that among these teams I was going to pick the 23 best players to make one team. I will pick the starting XI in a 4-4-2 formation as well as a backup for each position and two backup goalkeepers. Without further ado, here is your USMNT all time World Cup team. (Starters are in Bold)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Okay so the group stages are over, ending on somewhat of a disappointment (waking up at 7am to watch Portugal-Brazil). As always there have been surprises (Uruguay, South Korea, Japan, Paraguay), disappointments (France, Serbia, every African team), and Karma (Italy). With the knock out rounds officially starting in less than 24 hours, I thought what better then to preview all of the games from the round of 16. As always remember this is the World Cup, so ANYTHING can happen. However before I get to my previews, I would like to point out that in this now famous video:
My friends and I can be seen repping the USMNT in the Davis, CA part. No fewer than TWO SACK Lunch writers are featured in this video. Now for the real stuff:
Saturday June 26th, 2010
Uruguay vs. South Korea
Uruguay looks too strong at this point. Their defense hasn't allowed a goal yet and Diego Forlán has been one of the top forwards in the tournament. Uruguay hasn't exactly set the world on fire with their attacking prowess, but they are disciplined in the back and don't give up soft goals (or any goals for that matter). South Korea started strong in beating an incredibly negative team in Greece but then folding against Argentina. They finished against Nigeria and only have Yakubu to thank for the gift of a point.
Prediction: Uruguay 2 South Korea 1
Explanation: Uruguay just has too many threats for South Korea's defense and even if they choose to play negative soccer like they did against France and Mexico; I don't think Korea has the players to break down the Uruguayan defense.
South Korea could win if: Lee Chung-Yong has a monster game. Uruguay seems weakest against fast wingers and Chung-Yong is Korea's best.
USA vs. Ghana
Well, USA officially gave me a heart attack about 50 times during the group stages. We set the mark for being the team to win its group despite leading for the fewest minutes total (three) ever. This USA team has the never give up attitude and won their group by playing the best attacking soccer while scoring the most goals in the group and keeping their goals against to just one per game. Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey have all been great so far this tournament and there is no reason to think they should slow down now. Ghana, on the other hand, has not looked too hot. They have only scored on PKs and struggled against a 10 man Australian team that USA handled easily. They look to be trending the wrong way after having a bright start.
Prediction: USA 2 Ghana 0 (they ain't Ghana win)
Explanation: USA just has too many players on form right now. With the loss of Essien, it is hard to not see USA's big three midfielders not dominating this game. Ghana hasn't created many chances and even if they do they will struggle to finish against one of the tournament's top keepers.
Ghana could win if: They somehow find a way to start their offense and neutralize Landon Donovan… so basically they can't win.
June 27th, 2010
Argentina vs. Mexico
Diego Maradona's side has been one of the surprises of the tournament. Everyone thought they would struggle but they have won all three of their games, each in a convincing manner. Lionel Messi has been one of the best players in the tournament so far, as he is finally showing up at the international level. On the flip side, Mexico has been a disappointment for me. With so much talent, I'm not really sure how they only finished second in their group. What are even more puzzling are Javier Aguirre's lineup decisions. Guillermo Franco has been terrible in the tournament and I don't understand why Andrés Guardado is sitting on the bench as well. I really don't think Mexico have a chance in this game if Aguirre keeps the same tactics he has been using the entire tournament.
Prediction: Argentina 3 Mexico 1
Explanation: Mexico goes out in the round of 16 for the fifth consecutive World Cup on virtue of using their players wrong and not having enough quality to contain Messi.
Mexico could win if: they start Javier Hernandez and leave Franco on the bench while keeping Messi in check.
Germany vs. England
England has looked extremely poor this so far while Germany has looked pretty good other than their loss to Serbia. This game could actually be closer than you think, as Wayne Rooney will look to break out of his shell and actually do something this World Cup. Still I like this one to be close. I will say this one will go to penalties. And when England is in a penalty shootout…
Prediction: Germany 1 England 1 (3-0 PKs)
Explanation: Outside of the first game Germany hasn't really attacked dynamically and the England Defense has actually looked really good, only giving up the one goal to Clint Dempsey that admittedly wasn't any of the defender's fault. The story has been the same for Germany although they dominated their first game of the tournament. This should be an exciting game overall that Germany wins on penalties.
England could win if: it doesn't go to penalties
June 28th, 2010
Netherlands vs. Slovakia
You think this would be an easy game for the Netherlands, but that is also what Italy thought. The Netherlands have not been playing great, but they have still managed to gain nine points from their group that the media perceived before the tournament as one of the more difficult. Also, they just got Arjen Robben back and with him, as well as Sneijder and Van Persie, it will be tough for anyone to stop this team. Slovakia is riding high after their victory against Italy. You would think that they would just be happy to be at this stage, but I don't think so. I think they will give the Netherlands a pretty big scare. They are a tough disciplined team and have a forward in Róbert Vittek who is tied for the tournament lead in goals.
Prediction: Netherlands 2 Slovakia 1 (After Extra Time)
Explanation: The Dutch haven't impressed with their ability to break down defenses and Slovakia has been better than expected.
Slovakia could win if: They get an early goal and then put 11 players behind the ball for the rest of the game.
Brazil vs. Chile
This game should actually be a no brainer. When Chile went down against Spain they really just lost it for about 10-15 minutes, getting all kinds of cards and letting Spain score another goal. Brazil should capitalize more so on Chile's mistakes than Spain did, and push them into the Quarterfinals easily.
Prediction: Brazil 3 Chile 1
Explanation: Brazil is just too good. It's as simple as that. This has been a great run from Chile though who hadn't won a World Cup game for 48 years before this tournament started.
Chile could win if: Kaka gets another BS red card, although I would still bet on a 10 man Brazil to beat Chile.
June 29th, 2010
Paraguay vs. Japan
If you have been paying attention to my picks, so far I haven't picked a lower seed to beat a higher one…until this pick. Japan has really impressed me this tournament. They are great on dead balls and their team play has been amazing. Paraguay, on the other hand, has failed to play consistently despite winning their group. They are not strong in goal, which is essential in advancing in the World Cup especially when you have Japan scoring free kicks like it is 2002.
Prediction: Japan 2 Paraguay 0
Explanation: In a tournament that often sees teams win because their best players are on form at the right time, I would take Japan's Honda over any Paraguayan player ten times out of ten.
Paraguay could win if: they defend well and get a goal on the counter attack, but I can't see them scoring more than one goal.
Spain vs. Portugal
To be honest, for as high of standards as these teams set, neither one of them has impressed me so far. Spain's Fernando Torres has been awful and Portugal has only played one good half in the whole tournament. This being said, Spain are still Spain and Portugal have yet to allow a goal which should make for an exciting game.
Prediction: Portugal 2 Spain 1 (After Extra Time)
Explanation: I need more than one upset and Spain is there just waiting for it to happen. Portugal's defense has been great and they look strong on the counter with Ronaldo. To be honest, I think this game is a tossup and I am picking Portugal because I don't want to have to see 90 more minutes of my new least favorite player (Sergio Busquets) than I have to.
Spain could win if: they don't start Busquets and are therefore focused on playing instead of diving.
Well there you have it. Those are my predictions for the Round of 16. All these games are certainly watchable and there should be more than a few upsets. Before I sign off however, let me make my weekly MLS predictions as everyone's favorite league is back.
Last Week 1-3 Overall 42-51
Friday June 25th
RSL 3 SJ 1
Saturday June 26th
Columbus 1 DC 1
Toronto 1 LA 1
Houston 1 Colorado 0
KC 1 NY 2
Chivas 0 Dallas 2
Sunday June 27th
Philadelphia 3 Seattle 1
NE 2 Chicago 2
Monday, June 21, 2010
By Will Robinson
Hey guys, I'm sorry I have not written anything for the BLOG in a while, but I promise now that I am out of regular, hardcore school that I will contributing more frequently. However, since there is hardly anything NFL related occurring until late July, I have decided to contribute my two cents on the World Cup Final, from a largely United States and USMNT perspective.
Now, about that Slovenia match, I have one thing to say. FUCK MALI! Now that that is out of the way, let's hit on my delayed, long-lingering three main thoughts about the match.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Last week 4-4 Overall 36-43
Wednesday June 2nd
New York 1 Houston 2
SJ 2 Columbus 1
Saturday June 5th
Toronto 3 KC 1
DC 2 RSL 2
NY 2 Chivas 1
LA 2 Houston 0
Chicago 1 Philadelphia 1
Dallas 2 SJ 1
Colorado 2 Columbus 0
Seattle 1 NE 2