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May 11, 2013

US Soccer Highlight Bank

The US Soccer Highlight Bank has moved over here at (Now with every touch player videos!)

Sorry for the run around but you could probably use the exercise.

Soccer, Subjectively was a blog about the USMNT but will now drift off into the endless sea of forgotten blogs.

September 2, 2012

Soccerings of the Day 9.2.12

Current Soccer

Thanks to a live stream and ESPN 360 I had the pleasure of experiencing a restful soccer Sabbath with Indiana v. San Diego St and UCLA v. Maryland. I missed the first half of the IU game but here's the post-game scoreboard:

Now I'm not one to give the scoreboard's stats too much credit but I would like to point out the 19-2 corner kick stat. IU was clearly better than SDSU today but SDSU smartly packed the box and the Hoosiers couldn't offer too much variety in their attack. They crowd the middle of the field and leave the wings underutilized, which is somewhat understandable as their service is below average (typically balls are sent in too low and not with great accuracy). Here's an example of the Hoosiers' crowdedness:

(Apparently they played two ten minute golden goal halves without penalty kicks for whatever reason but more of the same.) 

If I had to rank the four programs... wolf. Something like UCLA, Maryland, IU, [big gap] SDSU. Maryland is a very strong team that will transfer well to the MLS or wherever they go but UCLA looks more technically sound and will likely out possess most of their opponents this season. And UCLA has Earl Edwards, "the latest in a line of standout U.S. goalkeepers". He also sat the bench last season. IU plays with a real blue collar aggressiveness (that awarded them 19 corners in 90 minutes of play) I really appreciate that sort of game play but creatively they're lacking (as seen above). Defensively I think there are some question marks as well but nothing to dread over. SDSU seem to be coached very well but show no offensive attack whatsoever. Of all the teams Eriq Zavaleta definitely stood at the most. A hard-fighting striker that has the physicality to make a push at the next level.

Oh and some dudes are going to play Jamaica or something.

Random Soccer

Soon to be review of "The Two Escobars".

August 29, 2012

Soccerings of the Day 8.30.12

Current Soccer

Congrats to Brian Illoski on making it to the final 16 in the Nike Academy. Apparently Illoski impressed coming off the bench with these two goals (1:05, 1:35). I know nothing about the young Academy nor Illoski other than he competed at a relatively high intensity against players from across the globe. Nike did an mas o menos job on covering the event by giving us lots of insight that didn't really have a lot of depth. Even their own website is a little dated but at first it looks really cool.

Random Soccer

Lots of action on the European ground so naturally I'm going to zoom past all that and talk about a much more important subject: soccer cinema. I watched two films this past weekend. The first was Jay DeMerit's documentary Rise and Shine. Wow what an awesome story. I know that's really unprofessional to say but seriously wow. So cool that he knew what his dream was and pursued it until the end. I wish his passion wasn't treated as a phenomenon but instead as the standard. I suppose the problem with that is that people don't chase their goals as much because they don't know what their own goals are.

As far as the documentary went, they did a very studious job of retracing DeMerit up until his first season at Watford and then it gets very spotty. I wish they had given some more focus on the USMNT side of things, like making the cut for the World Cup roster or more coverage on his World Cup play. Especially that laaast goal we conceded. At least from his perspective. All-in-all, a really interesting story of someone chasing their dream. Light-hearted and about soccer so a clear win-win. Here's the trailer:

Also I watched this wonderfully bizarre film:

Seriously if you have 15 minutes to be completely baffled I highly recommend this film. It's entitled Muzene Hry. The plot: "A man sits down to watch a football match, which seems to consist of the players being violently mutilated in various inventive ways. The players then leave the football pitch and invade the spectator's flat"

August 24, 2012

Soccerings of the Day 8.25.12

Current Soccer

I finally got around to watching the first half of Indiana University v. Chivas de Guadalajara's U23 team so I could see Andrew Oliver in action for the first time since U17 CONCACAF Qualifying. I'm pretty excited about him. First off, he's starting for a championship-contending team as a freshmen. He played on the right wing and while most of the play went through the left side (through B1G pre-season notables Kotlov and Zavaleta) Oliver still possessed a keen eye for the ball. On offense he's moving all the time, looking to get inserted and on defense he's looking to poach a lazy pass and ignite a counter. Real smart, heads up play. You can tell he's not completely settled as he's still young but I think he can be a great winger. His vision, foresight, experience, and speed will be a deadly combination.

In CONCACAF Champions League, the MLS is off to a strong start in group play. They're currently 5-1 with giving up only six goals in the six games. I'd expect 3-4 teams to advance to the eight team playoff. Toronto will have a tough time with Santos Laguna while RSL or Houston might slip up with Herediano and Olimpia, respectively. But larger point, MLS is looking strong compared to her southern brothers. Cousins. Whatevers.

Lastly, here are three interesting tweets about the MLS in the CCL:

A little dated by I really like Altidore's movement here:

...while Bedoya has this little bit of badassery:

Random Soccerings

Best GIF in MLS History?

Numbers in high school athletic participation. Soccer sits 7th in schools in Most Popular Boys Programs and 5th in participants. The next obvious stat to take is how many boys are in each program (x / y). Here's the list:

1. Football - 77.1
2. Track - 35.5
3. Soccer - 35.5
4. Baseball - 30.0
5. Basketball - 29.5
6. Wrestling - 26.1
7. Swimming - 19.1
8. CC - 17.5
9. Tennis - 16.3
10. Golf - 11.2

You have to remember JV + Freshmen teams, especially for football. Some pretty interesting numbers there. Would saying "On average there are 35 boys that what to play soccer at every school in America" be fair? Ehhhh... Maybe a little high considering we left out 10-15 thousand schools across the country...

Here's a pretty hilarious mass census on who was expected to be on the 2010 World Cup Roster. It's only hilarious because we think we know so much as fans.

Another little project I've been working on here and there. I go through a new "project" about once every three months but I've been coming back to this one for a while now. It's a gauge on a player's likelihood of reaching Brazil 2014 based off as much info as I can get my hands on. Basically a 0-100 percent of them making the final 23. A bit bold but no more so than the 2018 WC Roster prediction (which I love).

I tweak the numbers once a month after international games, long-term club performances, and how many people post about how awful/great he here and there. All-in-all, I'm trying to find a mix of public perception and reach into Klinsmann's mind at the same time to be able to look back and see where players were flourishing/diminishing. Not an exact science so don't freak out. The 1's at the bottom are thrown down there on a whim. I'm sure we could all think of 5 more guys who should be on there so if you want to take a sharpie and write them in on your computer screen be my guest. Open to suggestions/comments/questions. Enjoy.

Lastly, enjoy some pics for FREE:

August 18, 2012

USA vs Mexico: Recap, Player Ratings, and Stats

New here and all the jargon a bit overwhelming? Been coming back for some time and the jargon is still overwhelming? Then check out the stat definitions to (hopefully) get a better grasp on things.

I'm not one to get too emotionally invested in the USMNT. They will lose winnable games; Your favorite player(s) won't get called in; They won't fulfill their potential etc etc. But you always have to have hope. That's why sports are great. The glimmer of hope at the start of every game that, regardless of how much ESPN or all the message boards in the world say "Team A is going to crush Team B", the two teams are on even footing. 0-0. And anything can happen. All the things that aren't "supposed" to happen can happen. It's a great feeling. And usually all of that goes out the window 99 times out of 100. Most of the time it's pretty quickly. Team USA dunks all of its first 22 points to get out to a commanding 22-3 lead… You're still learning the controls when a "friend" joysticks around your button mashing defenders to take a 1-0 lead with 2:56 on the clock… And sometimes the #16 team hangs around until the fourth quarter but… we all know what's really going to happen.

I was so bummed at the previews for this game. I could go post them, and as a historian I feel somewhat inclined to, but I think that'd be more counter-product than anything. Just believe me when I say that USMNT writers and fans alike were praying for a 1-1 tie. But I can't do that. We always have the chance to win. We have to. Or else my fandom is based on probability and not the hope of something great.

I'll admit, I can be quoted to say "Man, this game is going to end 0-0. Or only one goal is going to be scored." USMNT's play outside of their own 18 yard box was pitiful. It reminded me of the most recent Brazil game. You could just see the fear and second-guessing in every player's eyes. You can't really blame them. Azteca isn't exactly a Mattress Giant outlet. And while there's no proof of it on the internet or in my journal, I expected them to win the game. Not because I think USA is better than Mexico, because I don't, but because that's my duty as a fan. I'm not the perfect fan, far from it, but that's #1 in a fan's rulebook. See look…

#1. Your team will win.
#2. If your team did not win, they will win next time.

'K now it's in print. And even if they didn't win, boom. There's rule #2. Again, hope.

Enough, enough. I get it. Okay tactics.

  • When Mexico had the ball - Mexico found the flanks relatively easy and with great success. Long, crossing balls were brought down skillfully complemented with acres of space. They pushed the ball as far down the line as they could then… 
    • 80% - crossed into the box
      • 10% - connected with a teammate
      • 90% - USA defense clear
    • 20% - dropped for dribble + combination play around corner of the 18
      • 10% - turnover of some sort
      • 10% - decent opportunit 
(Those stats aren't really based on anything other than my memory, fyi.) Cameron anchored the back line and while he was not flawless, essentially shut down Chicharito for most of the game. Edu played very well. I actually liked the combination of the two + Beckerman (CDM) in the middle of the field because our pool of CBs is very aggressive. Bocanegra, Goodson, Ream (somewhat), Orozco… They all sprint towards the player with the ball, which isn't really there job. (Parkhurst does a good job of staying back.) Yeah, sometimes you need to step but ideally the CDM plays that aggressive stopper position, not the CBs. And definitely not both of them. Here are some goals against the USMNT where CBs and/or CDMs did not do their jobs: Ideal situation is CBs sit back (for the most of the part) while the CDM roams the gap in front of them. Unfortunately Jones can't do this. Neither can Bradley. Or won't. I don't know. But neither do it. They're great at adding to the attack, especially Bradley, and I would put them both in my starting eleven but they don't know how to defend off the ball. So I really believe this game was won because of Cameron + Edu + Beckerman, which stifled every Mexican attack. Oh and Howard, goodness gracious, Howard. I'm so confident of this I'll put it in bold. Cameron + Edu + Beckerman + Howard won this game. Or, more importantly, didn't lose this game. Mexico had to go down the wings because the middle was shut down. The defense could have been better though, had the weak side winger dropped off and given five defenders on the back line. Castillo looked bad (for a numerous amount of reasons) but it didn't help that Torres and then Beasley in the second half couldn't drop off and help with the defense. And don't think defending with five makes it impossible to attack. It's actually set up perfectly for the near-cliche American counter-attack with the added defender. The space opens up up top and all of our defenders can go forward because of their midfield experience. I'll draw some maps soon to show you what I'm talking about. ;{ )

  • When USA had the ball - Uh… having trouble remembering. (possession stats). You know how teams get down to the 18 regularly, pepper the frame, but can't find a goal? Yeah this was nothing like that. We couldn't even get past midfield. It was bad. No one was on the same page. The wingers weren't doing their jobs. The strikers were outnumbered. The CMs were playing bad balls or taking too many touches… In a nutshell: _______ was our offense. As in nothing. We had almost zero offense. And somehow scored a goal
...but still, what a glorious night.
Player Ratings

+8.9 - Cameron - 87% (12…10.4/1.6…90') - Missed a couple of headers that Chiciritro couldn't connect on but otherwise effectively shut him down all game. EPL, yes sir.

+7.3 - Howard - 93% (8.5…7.9/0.6…90') - The only thing I can think that he did wrong was a punch that went down back in a crowd. Could he have used two hands on the already immaculate saves? Eh. Maybe. But he didn't need to, clearly.

+6.6 - Edu - 80% (11…8.8/2.2…90') - The great CDM -> CB conversion worked out well here, especially against a team that's going to exploit the middle of a defense. Not sure what the future holds but on this night he shined.

+5 - Johnson - 78% (9…7/2…90') - Efficient all night. Never got beat. Wasn't involved in the offense a ton because there wasn't any offense.

+4 - Beckerman - 72% (9…6.5/2.5…90') - I may be a little bit hasher on Beckerman than most but I distinctly remember him trying to pass the ball and it just went out of bounds for a corner. But for all the offensive question marks he seems to be the only CDM who can defender off the ball. Well, okay, Edu as well but Jones and Bradley can't/wont' do it. So major props for Beckerman in playing his actual position.

+2.4 - Boyd - 74% (5…3.7/1.3…45')  - Clearly the back heel was not a pass. Not even a question about it. Still good to see him in the play and be that creative under pressure.
+1.6 - Shea - 81% (2.5…2/0.5…15') - Sparked the offense immediately being on the field. I 'm still worried about his vision when crossing because the double assist pass was actually pretty poor.
+1.6 - Orozco - 82% (2.5…2.1/0.5…15') - Well if you score a goal that's pretty good in my book. 
+1.4 - Gomez - 60% (7…4.2/2.8…75') - Should have scored in the first ten minutes with the meatball across the box and not been such an actor about the foul that will hardly ever get called. Still a fan of Gomez but not his best night.  
+1.4 - Zusi - 73% (3…2.2/0.8…30') - Pretty forgettable but the offense jumped up a notch with him and Shea in there and he obviously had better luck than Williams on the field.

+0.6 - Donovan - 57% (4…2.3/1.7…45') - 12/17 on passing with 7 turnovers. Not his best night.

+0.5 - Castillo - 53% (8…4.2/3.8…75')
- The biggest negative I have against Castillo is that he instills no confidence to anyone when he is in the area. The attack came down his side all night for a reason; not because he is going to mess up every time, but because he is the most likely to mess up.

+0.3 - Jones - 52% (8.5…4.4/4.1…89') - Turned the ball over twelve times. Could not figure out when to counter and when to hold back.

+0.3 - Williams - 53% (5.5…2.9/2.6…60') - 4/9 on passing which means he was better at passing the ball at the other team than his own.

+0.1 - Beasley - 52% (3…1.6/1.4…45') - A little out of sync with the team but wasn't aided by his teammates too much.

+0 - Torres - 50% (3…1.5/1.5…45') - Pretty invisible despite his "heat index" being a 42. The best answer to this that I can think of is that, yes, he did, things but nothing that really added to the team's progression of the ball..

+0 - Corona - 60% (0…0/0…1') - Witness.

Subjective Point Graphs
First Half 


USA - 9.50
Mexico - 53.67

Second Half


USA - 32.00
Mexico - 74.17

Full Game

USA - 41.50
Mexico - 127.84

Momentum Graph

First Half

1H Dominance

USA - 0
Mexico - 26.7
None - 73.3

GG Rating - 62.2

2H Dominance
USA -11.1
Mexico - 17.8
None - 71.1

GG Rating - 42.2

 TT Dominance
USA - 5.6
Mexico - 22.2
None - 72.2

 GG Rating - 52.2


August 12, 2012

Favorite American Goals

I've been meaning to do this for a while but here are my favorite goals US Soccer goals. This technically includes all USMNT, US youth teams, and USWNT goals. But as I'm not up to date on USWNT goals they are currently absent from the list... I'll have to find a couple I have in mind and throw them on here. Or probably not because I never finish any task ever.

(98) Landon Donovan v. Algeria - 2010 - Easily the most sentimental goal. Pretty fitting that it was Donovan to finish but what if it were Dempsey? Not in the video but Howard's cannon starts this counter, btw.

(96) Nathan Smith v. Canada U17 - Every time I watch it I'm always surprised it goes in. Hope his future is as successful as this shot was.

(87) Landon Donovan v. Slovenia - 2010 - Aim for the head. How badass is that?

(86) Benny Feilhaber v Mexico - Please come back to the USMNT, Benny.

(86) Alejandro Guido v. Czech Republic - Annoyed FIFA won't let me embed this... Look how far off the goalie is from the shot. He yells at his defense but if someone is going to shoot like that... What can you do?

(85) Andrew Oliver v. Canada U17 - Does Dempsey v. Jamaica before Dempsey does it. So composed.

(85) Clint Dempsey v. Jamaica - Not as important as some of the other goals around here but still very crafty. Love the heads up play by Dempsey.

(84) DeAndre Robinson v. France U17 - The curling ball away from the goalie seals it for me. What a rip.

(84) Michael Bradley v. Slovenia - 2010 - The overshadowed goal from the game. Pretty tough to shoot a ball up with the underbelly of your shoe.

(84) Jozy Altidore v. Spain - 2009 - What a beast. Hilarious that Spain just poops their pants here.

(83) Charlie Davies v. Egypt - 2009 - What a fight to the finish. Feel kind of bad for the Egyptian goalie. Reminds me of Howard v. Mexico in the Gold Cup.

(81) Tyler Turner v. Turkey U17

(81) Junior Flores v. Turkey U17

(81) Jozy Altidore v. Guadeloupe

(80) Landon Donovan v. Brazil - 2009

(80) Clint Mathis v. South Korea - 2002

(79) Clint Dempsey v. Ghana - 2006

August 10, 2012

Soccerings of the Day 8.10.12

Current Soccering

80,203 people witnessed the continual dominance of American women. I thought Canada gave the US more run for their money but either way I was still thoroughly impressed. Surfing around NBC, Solo's save reel caught my attention and I felt called enough to break it down the four highlights.

1. Good push up onto the bar and awareness to realize the ball was still in play. I think I'm more impressed by how quick she gets up than the original save. (Maybe because her defense decided to pass the ball back to the shooter for whatever reason.) She gets up using more of her legs than arms, which sounds easy but takes some training to do like she did.

2. (What a tackle by Buehler.) Pretty sure Solo had some brothers she played football with growing up to take this hit and keep going. Also good directing out there by Solo. I like the set up a lot.

3. I had to watch this part about six times because I kept getting distracted by the atrocious defense on the play. I think the Japanese striker bumps Solo off the ball but Solo does a great job of staying on her feet (think "Brick House") and has to see through a forest of players incapable of hitting a ball thirty yards. I love that they're willing to sacrifice their bodies to stop a goal but let's go people. Get the ball out.

4. Such a bizarre play. I don't think Solo was trying to be this out of position but then again she pretty much makes the striker shoot where she wants her to. Sooo.. I don't know. A head scratcher to say the least. I think what the goalie textbook would say is to charge the player after her first touch. But Tanaka takes such a small, controlled touch that she could probably beat a sprinting Solo with another touch to the side... She made the save and that's what matters. Part two of this play she needs to smother the ball what means necessary. I think she gets caught in between trying to go on her side and stomach and her arms don't know what to do, which forces the fumble.

In more y-chromosome-based news, the 2012 Generations Adidas Cup came to a close for U17 and U15 teams. The lowly-publicized tournament will only be remembered in these videos that I had to mute because I don't like the Rocky theme song that much.

Random Soccering

Continuing on the goalie tangent, there is a 25 year old goalie named Caleb Patterson-Sewell playing in Portugal for Vitoria FC. With the departure of Diego Costa Silva, the starting spot appears open for the taking. I'm not sure who the front runners are but I've found five goalies tied to the club. The players with their respective FIFA 12 ratings:

Player - Rating/Age
Moretta - 68 / 34
Ricardo - 66 / 36
Matos - 65 / 33
Fonseca - ?? / 27
Patterson-Sewell - ?? / 25

I found multiple sources on who was actually playing for Vitoria so I'm sure some of those players have moved on but it should be a crowded field for the ex-Carolina RailHawk. Here's a highlight film of the goalie. Strong, confident, as any good American goalkeeper is. I'm not thrilled on how low his hands are in his starting position but if a certain Spanish goalkeeper can do it I'm not too worried about him overcoming it.