The newest Q&A is up and taking questions, but there was still the matter of the last batch of unanswered questions from the June Q&A. They're finally done and ready to go.
There were plenty of national team questions, including a few about U.S. coach Bob Bradley. There were also questions about journalists, Kenny Cooper and world soccer regions.
Here they are, the last of your June questions answered:
LOST IN THE LAND OF LAKES-With several MLS teams unhappy with their recent performance, it seems there are a few coaches who's seats are getting hotter (NYRB, RSL, etc.) I was trying to think of coaches that were looking for jobs and I couldn't think of any off the top of my head. Do you think organizations look inside for replacements? Which coaches are going to go and when?
IVES- Coaches who might be looking for jobs? Octavio Zambrano, Colin Clark, Thomas Rongen, Martin Vasquez and yes, Juergen Klinsmann are all looking for work (though I don’t think an MLS team is meeting Klinsmann’s wage demands). As for coaches in trouble? Juan Carlos Osorio is the obvious choice. Not sure if anyone else fits the bill of ‘in jeopardy”. Frank Yallop and Schellas Hyndman have the next worst records but they’re both safe.
MADMAX- Two parts
Why do so many US players have a bad first touch, "yarder"?
I think there is a lack of creativity on free kicks, world wide. Why do you think so few free kicks result in shots on goal?
IVES- I think a lack of time training and playing with the ball from an early age, we’re talking total hours of time spent with the ball, can be a factor in the lack of players with very soft touch on the ball. I agree with the folks who believe that American youth players could benefit from playing FUTSAL (yes, I'll blame my "Foosball" gaffe on being on vacation). I think that could help players not only develop better touch, but also better passing skills and vision.
JT- Is it too early to forecast how the USMNT will do in 2010, assuming they qualify of course? If not, how do you think they finish? Is the Costa Rica performance reason to worry?
IVES- It’s impossible to kn ow how the U.S. team will do because there are too many variables. Strength of the group, order of opponents, team health, having top players heathy. That said, I think the U.S. team showed in the Confederations Cup that it has the players to advance out of a tough group and make some noise in the knockout rounds. I think it’s fair to say that anything less than a second round appearance would be very disappointing. I do think the U.S. team is capable of doing something it hasn’t done before, win two group stage matches.
PICO- Are ESPN Soccernet and ESPN Deportes under the same umbrella? During the last CL final, I watched the game and replay in each of the channels and the Deportes guys were clearly cheering for Barcelona, in contrast to the ESPN guys.
As per the posts about how bad American football commentators are, why doesn't ESPN borrow guys like Fernando Palomo (he is bilingual) to do the analysis or broadcasts.
IVES- Media in the USA and media in Latin America tend to have differing philosophies when it comes to covering national teams and clubs, basically all professional sports. Not to paint everyone with the broad brush but you do often find journalists from Latin America who cheer at games and celebrate when the teams they cover score. In fact, at the recent Gold Cup final there were Mexican journalists cheering loudly after the goals, which led to an announcement that there was no cheering allowed in the press box. Some of those journalists were very upset about that announcement.
I think most American journalists don’t cheer for or root for the teams they cover because we’re trained as journalists that you need to try and be impartial. Obviously some folks, including plenty of bloggers disagree with that, but to each their own. I find it much easier to be objective and to view things clearly when I’m not emotionally invested. The Gold Cup final is a good example. If you’re a journalist and a fan I’m not sure how you can objectively break down that game without letting your own emotions dictate your analysis.
MASHED POTATO- How does player compensation work for the USMNT?
IVES- I don’t know what totals are but players are given money for being called in, for playing, for starting and bonuses for results as well. It would be interesting to see what U.S. players in comparison with other national teams. One thing I do know is that the members of the Confederations Cup team made a relative killing in terms of coming away with big bonus money.
TIDDLY WINKS- What will occur first:
1. The winner of SA 2010 is decided
2. Ives finishes answering 150+ questions
I guess half of them are technically the same question about Jermaine Johnson though.
Surprisingly few about Freddy and Jozy however.
IVES- It took me a while, but I made it with 11 months to spare. Whew.
JOHN CONNOR- Who is the best retired American international that would NOT be able to make the current team?
IVES- If I understand this correctly, you’re asking what best former U.S. players wouldn’t start today. If that’s your question, I would have to wonder if central defenders such as Eddie Pope, Alexi Lalas and Marcelo Balboa would start ahead of Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra. I also think an argument can be made that Tim Howard is playing at a level right now that is higher than even the best levels of national team legends Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller.
GABE- Realistically, where do you see MLS (in terms of viability and quality of play) and the USMNT (in terms of competitiveness) in 10 years?
IVES- I think MLS will still be operating and doing well in ten years. Whether the quality of play will see major improvements depends on whether the league actually opens up the purse strings and allows teams to spend more money on players.
KING JULES- Yo, Ives 1)Do you think that good American coaches not developing yet is maybe the reason why the U.S. hasn't made the transition of being consistant in the internatioanl game? Because we obviously have the players to contend but it seems like some coaches(namely Bob Bradley) are stuck on old ways or are scared of making sacrifices. It seems like he's just throws all the good players in the line-up and he hopes they have some kind of chemistry, its nonsense.
2) What happen to using wingers in the Men's team? One of the reasons why we had a successful run in 2002 was because the wing play on the flanks were phenomonal. Players like Cobi Jones, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Eddie Lewis and Earnie Stewart were brilliant. Now it seems like players like that have been ignored a little more(Holden and Rogers) or have been forced to play another position(Beasley abd Adu).
IVES- If that’s what you think of Bradley’s approach to coaching the national team then we’ll agree to disagree. I do think that American coaches aren’t given enough credit or opportunities to develop and I think that for Bradley, the opportunity to coach the national team and be involved in the games he’s been involved in, has been invaluable experience for him as well as assistant coaches Mike Sorber and John Hackworth.
2. Jules, I think you’re way off with this theory. The real question is “What has happened to the good wingers?” Blaming the national team for the lack of quality wingers is like blaming the supermarket for the quality of the oranges being produced in Florida. Rogers and Holden were not ignored, they were just young and not ready. We saw this pretty clearly in the Gold Cup.
As for the current state of U.S. wingers, the depth isn’t where you’d like it, but Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey is sure looking like an effective wing tandem. Would it be nice if DaMarcus Beasley was playing like 2002-2005 Beasley? Of course, but he isn’t. Would it be nice if a natural right winger had emerged by now? Yes, but it hasn’t happened.
Something else to consider is the fact that right now there aren’t McBride-like target strikers who could benefit greatly from dangerous natural wingers. No, having quality service is never a bad thing, but given the current forward options I’m not sure if having non-traditional wing midfielders is such a bad thing right now.
SEAMUS- While I think the idea some American fans have about a bias against American players is absurd (teams have too much pressure to win to ignore a player's talent in this way), do you think that there is possibly a bias against American coaches?
I am just curious why you don't hear ANYTHING about American coaching abroad. It seems like coaching would be a lot more subjective of an area where a stereotype about 'poor American tactics' or something might occur. Or other possibilities would be that American coaches don't have the desire to go abroad, or there are some but its not publicized.
Obviously we have players abroad, and you even hear about front office people abroad (Ivan gazadis & such), so I was curious about your take on the situation, and sorry for the lengthy question.
IVES- I wouldn’t completely rule out the notion of a bias against American players, only I wouldn’t call it a bias. I would say that American players have less of a proven track record as players from other countries, so teams looking for foreign players are more likely to look elsewhere if deciding between an American and non-American of similar qualities. No, not all clubs are that way, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there is a small group of European clubs that have signed multiple American players (like Fulham, Everton, Hannover, AGF Aarhus, 1860 Munich).
BRIAN- 1. Who do you think is currently the best national team manager in the world? Hiddink is an obvious choice, but what about Capello, Loew, or Lippi?
2. And on a somewhat related note, let's say that Klinsmann was appointed as US manager instead of Bradley a few years back…where do you see the US team now if he was in charge?
IVES- Hiddink, for me, is the best manager in the world. Capello is second. I’m not sure if Lippi could duplicate his success just anywhere.
METRO GIRL- Will the Redbulls be playing a European team this year? Perhaps Real Madrid while they're touring?
IVES- No European opponent this year. Red Bull wasn’t about to spend the money this year. That said, you can rest assured there’ll be a big European opponent for next summer in Red Bull Park.
SETH- I believe it would greatly benefit the US team for WC 2010 if Donovan were playing regularly in a top league for the 2009-2010 season. I understood him coming back from Leverkeusen before WC 2006 from the point of view that getting the best experience possible in the year leading up to the World Cup is critical, and playing in MLS beats not playing in the German league.
I know you have said he is unlikely to move this summer because it's not worth it to MLS. 2 questions: do you agree that it's critical to the national team to get our possibly best player the best experience possible in the year leading up to the world cup? and what do you see as the resolution to this MLS-National Team conflict? MLS seems to win, but is that really the right answer for American soccer?
IVES- Seth, I have written repeatedly that Donovan needs to go to Europe. I wrote it when he left for Europe the last time, I wrote it when he came back. I wrote it after the 2006 World Cup. What has changed in that time? Donovan realizes it too and wants to go. The only problem is his contract, which gives MLS/AEG basically most of the power in determining if and when he goes.
MARK- 2 players you can use as eligible U.S. converts are:
Boaz Myhill (Hull) – Welsh international with 5 friendly international caps
Simon Poulsen (AZ Alkmaar) – Danish international with 3 friendly international caps
I doubt either would change allegiances, althought Myhill is Wales' #2 GK behind Wayne Hennessey.
Do you have any ideas of what the MLS Players Union will fight for (besides the general "more money") in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement?
IVES- I would imagine things like improved retirement benefits, better contract standards (more guaranteed money) and better profit sharing percentages for things such as licensing and international competition revenue, but I do think salaries will remain the key issue.
DOUG- what exactly is it about Kenny Cooper's game that Bradley dislikes so much? certainly he is more deserving of a call up than Connor Casey.
IVES- Cooper doesn’t play the team game very well, as in being able to pass to, and work with teammates. His defensive effort remains an issue and he is still woeful in the air. I think that last point is what led to Conor Casey getting the call over him for Confederations Cup. The national team needed a target striker on the roster and Casey fit that bill. That said, Cooper has the potential to be a quality national team striker and hopefully the move to 1860 Munich helps him continue to grow.
TIM CRAWFORD- What are the odds we're playing single table next year with 2 matches against each team (30 total)? It seems like it only makes sense next season. Also, how would you currently rate the rookies for this year according to POTENTIAL impact? I've been sooooo impressed with the little I've seen of Yohance Marshall; I'm just wondering when the Gals will give him a chance.
IVES- I can’t help but wonder that myself. It makes too much sense. So what’s the drawback? A reduction in the number of rivalry games. Fewer plays of series such as LA-Chivas USA, Houston-Texas, DC-Chicago, etc. In the end I think it will be inevitable that, at the very least the schedule will look like a single-table, play everyone twice, format.
TEDDO 1- Is CONCACAF really the weakest region? (besides Oceania).
I happen to think the AFC isn't any better and personally I think a USA, Mexico or Costa Rica could take out Australia, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.
(I do think Australia is a bit underrated, but still…)
Love the site.
IVES- I think Australia joining Asia makes it much closer, but I still would give the slight edge to CONCACAF.
What did you think of these answers? Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.