Is WCQ Schedule Rigged Against U.S.?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Thomas Flannigan, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    The schedule for CONCACAF qualifying is out, and it is not pretty. The first round, againt Pot d teams, requires the U.S. to play 2 or 4 games in 181 days. Plenty of time to work callups into the MLS calendar, especially since the first 3 dates are prior to the MLS season. Then things get strange.
    Round II, with 3 groups of 4 teams playing a home and home series for a total of 6 games, is crammed into a 90 day period. Six games in 90 days, right in the heat of the MLS season and playoffs. Keep in mind that no other federation has a cram schedule like this; CONMEBOL plays 2 games here and there over a 26 month period. UEFA gets alots of time in between game brackets. Otherwise they could not get players relased to play for the national team.
    Please recall the chaos in August-September, 2001. the U.S. was reeling from whatever happened in Azteca. Coach Arena faced major problems getting the players he wanted from MLS, and we fielded sub-par teams in DC and Costa Rica, where we got our head handed to us.
    There were other issues, including the insanity of putting the Honduras game in DC, but a big factor was the inability to get top MLS players released from their teams.
    I could go on, but I will give you another example. In the final game of Round I qualifying, in Barbados, we played our 3rd or 4th string keeper in this critical game because the better keepers could not get released from their club teams.
    We may be forced into fielding a second strong team or worse for much of Round II. Mexico does not have as big a problem because Round II occurs early in the Apertura, when it is easier to get players released. Thanks FIFA. Thanks CONCACAF.
     
  2. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Blame the women. You seem to be very good at it.
     
  3. SankaCofie

    SankaCofie Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    Skorgolia
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    Ecuador
    LoL. Thats great.

    That post is alot like the Anti-Pot commercial where they say "See... Pot Kills" after the kid pulls out his dad's loaded gun and shoots his friend.

    Its tough that MLS has a summer sched. But its MLS that has the summer sched. As such...



    deal with it.
     
  4. Davids26

    Davids26 Member

    May 31, 2000
    Haven't the semi final rounds always been played in about that same time span.

    We didn't have any trouble gettingthe players we wanted from MLS. The fact was most of our key players were injured during that time (Claudio, McBride, Wolff, Mathis)

    We started Tony Meola at Barbados because Bruce Arena didn't feel the need to call in Brad Friedel (Who had just signed with Rovers) or Kasey Keller (Who was fighting for his starting role at Rayo) against a team as lowly as Barbados.

    CONCACAF maybe crooked in some areas, but if the US, the team that many people now believe is the best in the region (at least 2nd best) can't win in that time span than they don't deserve to qualify. End of story.

    Get your facts straight before you go making another wild accusation.
     
  5. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Okay, okay, relax. no need to get personal with the dude. it's NOT a wild accusation. And that is being said as I agree with your underlying premise, which is that the US played different players than expected largely due to injury. also, your bottom line is still right i expect. If we can't get through some of the minnows with our "B" team, we SHOULD be sitting home in 2006.
     
  6. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    I suppose taking a cheap open shot at Flannigan's opinions on women makes for an easy laugh, but this is so weak you couldn't even get a snicker.

    No, I don't think CONCACAF games are "rigged." I think the WCQ process in this region is bogus.

    You see, for some reason, there is this belief that every little podunk island nation should have the same weight in the region as a country like Mexico or the USA. So a national association like the Turks and Caicos Islands have the same voting power as anyone at USSF headquarters.

    This is done to keep corruption in power. Well, corruption and stupidity. The president of our association, Jack Warner from Trinidad and Tobago, relies on the island votes to keep himself at the top of the CONCACAF heap. The US and Mexico, if they ever get to the point where they are severely frustrated (I am way past that point personally), could threaten to walk away from the federation, but they would never get buy-in from FIFA as long as Sepp Blatter is in power. You see, Jack Warner is a very big reason why Sepp is sitting in his big comfy chair today.

    Jack Warner, on the other hand, blatantly uses his position in FIFA for personal gain. The next time you want to watch a Gold Cup game, do a little research on who owns the broadcasting rights to the tournament. I am pretty sure that royalties have to be paid to InterForever for World Cup Qualifiers, too. That would mean it is in Jack Warner's personal financial interests to have as many bogus qualifiers as possible. Each game is more money in his back pocket. "Conflict of interest" is a colossal understatement in this case. Of course, more bogus qualifiers that give tiny little podunk island nations a bigger, ahem, chance at qualification also means more votes for Jack in the next CONCACAF election.

    I could go on and on, but the basic answer is that the process is not "rigged," but it is incredibly corrupt and stupid.
     
  7. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Excellent post by Nutmeg, as always. I was sorry to see the insults from Davids26 who has posted some very perceptive stuff in the past.
    When it comes to getting your facts in order, I believe the semifinal began in July, 2000. Our games at Manzetenango and Sapprissa were in July, 2000, and the Barbados game in Foxboro was in August. This time we have 6 games crammed into 90 days. After that, we have 84 days off before the final round begins. It would make more sense to play some games then, but that would confilct with the Mexican League schedule, when the Apertura is really heating up.
    Sandon Mibut posted some excellent thoughts in the Copa America thread, where he describes how the semi-final round comes on the heels of an already packed schedule (Copa America, Olympics).
    Mark my words, Coach Arena will not get all the players he wants in the heat of the MLS season.
    Also keep in mind that CONMEBOL and UEFA have schedules that clash as little as possible, if at all, with league championships. Only the U.S. has a qualifying schedule with such conflicts with its domestic league.
    This may be deliberate and this, coupled with the many other things that can go wrong, could keep us out of the hex.
     
  8. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    That's fine. The day is early yet. I've not had my lunch.
     
  9. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    You can be sure that Mexico, England and Brazil, to name just a few countries, would not be saddled with 6 qualifiers in a do or die round between March and May, 2004. It would conflict with the Clausera, the FA Cup, the Worthington Cup, the Champions League and other important club activities. FIFA would not schedule so many games at a time the clubs would not release key players.
    I don't buy the argument: "If we can't beat them in 90 days, we don't deserve to qualify." Tell that to Brasil, who was playing dreadful football midway through qualifying but was not saddled with a three tier, do or die system, as well as qualifers jammed together just when your best players can't get released from club commitments.
     
  10. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    did aliens really land in roswell? i think that is the question that must be answered.
     
  11. Scotty

    Scotty Member+

    Dec 15, 1999
    Campania
    Only if they are injured.

    But if they are fit and he calls them, then he will get them. This is for World Cup qualifying, not the Confederations Cup.
     
  12. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Can you be so sure, Scotty, based on past problems? Going into the Honduras game in DC, we had a five day camp, no warm-up friendly, and plenty of regular players who stayed with their club teams. For example, I believe only 1 Chicago Fire player was called in for the debacle in DC and the loss in Costa Rica. We had starters like Kirovski and Richie Williams when there were far better players in the player pool. Normally, 2-4 Fire players would be called in. This is one example of how we will be severely handicapped in this crucial phase.
    Read Sandon Milbut's post. Do you really think we will have Beasley and Donovan, to name just 2, for all 6 games in the semi-final after they have been away all summer at the Copa America and Olympics? We will be lucky if they are released for a couple of games. Cramming 6 games into 90 days, something no other Confederation has to deal with, will also cut down on the number of European-based players we can get. Their clubs will NOT let them play 6 games in 90 days in addition to their duties at the club level.
    We barely made it out of the semis last time without this handicap. There are many factors and things that can go wrong, but this could be the straw that breaks our remarkable stiring of qualifying for the World Cup.
     
  13. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think that is a legitimate argument because the games in question here are games against the tiny island nations, and not against the squads such as Mexico or the other larger island nations that have a shot. If we can't beat the St. Kitts/Nevis' of the world without our "A" team, we are in more trouble than either of us know.
     
  14. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    We can't play St. Kitts or tiny island nations in the semis. They are in potd d, remember? The teams we could face in the semis are tough teams who have beaten us before in many cases.
    Take one small example. We are scheduled to play a game Saturday-Sunday, October 9-10, 2004 and Wednesday, October 13, 2004. (assuming we make it out of the first round). These will be critical games. If qualifying were this year it would conflict with the U.S. Open championship (no English qualifier has ever been scheduled on the same day as the FA Cup), as well as the important games this past weekend. Brian McBride was needed by his club team which was facing elimination from the playoffs. The Fire could not have released 3 or 4 players this week. The numbers don't add up with injuries and other factors.
    Coach Arena will get some of players he really wants but not very many of them. We will be forced by the timing and schedule to play our second string or worse at some of these critical games.
    fidlerre, aren't you the fellow who posted on these boards part of the starting lineup for the Costa Rica qualifer, provoking outrage among many fans? Costa Rica sure appreciated that leak. Whoever did that did a lot of damage to our already slim changes in that stadium.
     
  15. Serie Zed

    Serie Zed Member

    Jul 14, 2000
    Arlington
    Why won't he get all his players?
     
  16. Serie Zed

    Serie Zed Member

    Jul 14, 2000
    Arlington
    You're flat wrong. Arena will get every player he really wants. The teams don't have a choice and MLS works with the USSF closer than probably any other federation/league on the planet.
     
  17. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    It should be pretty obvious. Something called club commitments? Do you think we will get Reyna and other Eureopan-based players for all 6 games? No way. MAYBE one. We will live or die based on the MLS, and the MLS coaches will fight like hell not to release the players they need in critical games, including MLS playoff games. The timing could not be worse (or better from a Mexican perspective).
    Don't count on Bocanegra, Beasley, Donovan or Calliff playing in many of these games. They will be desperately needed by their club teams.
     
  18. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    Yes, the teams DO have a choice, but as usual, the real problem here is being overlooked. The question SHOULD be, why is the US being asked to play in this many qualifiers?

    When I am elected president of CONCACAF, the final round of qualification has 8 teams. Each team plays a home and away, and the top 4 teams receive an automatic bye into the final round of the next cycle of qualification. In other words, it would look something like this:

    1. Costa Rica
    2. Mexico
    3. United States
    4. Honduras
    ----------------------
    5. Jamaica
    6. Trinidad & Tobago
    7. Guatemala
    8. Canada

    The top 4 teams from the 2002 cycle do not play again until the final round. 5-8 are thrown back into the pool and have to work their way back into the final round. Tough luck - better luck next time.

    The preliminary rounds are completed the year after the World Cup. That means by the end of 2003, the top 8 teams would be identified.

    That leaves 2 solid years for each team to play a total of 14 qualification games against the best teams from the region. 14 games in 24 months is more than adequate and more than fair for any country.
     
  19. schmuckatelli

    schmuckatelli New Member

    Nov 10, 2000
    In reality, I think Arena tries to work with the club coaches to not strip them when they need players the most, but MLS coaches don't really have a choice. If USSF wants a player, all they have to do is make the request in time, and there's nothing the coach can say about it. In Europe, particularly with the big clubs, they can put immense pressure on a player to feign injury or even to retire from international play. But MLS just doesn't have that much influence.

    I remember when Richie Williams and Jovan Kirovski appeared in Costa Rica for a qualifier, but that was at a time when the US had been hit particularly hard by the injury bug, if I recall correctly. I believe it was also before the emergence of Pablo Mastroeni as a serious option in d-mid.
     
  20. Davids26

    Davids26 Member

    May 31, 2000
    Tom, calm down here son. As I remember, the roster for a Costa Rica qualifier was never officially released. But it wasn't for either of our games down in Saprissa. If you remember the first away qualifying game was in the summer of 2000 @ Saprissa a week after the Mazatenango debacle. We used the same players for both games. The 2nd qualifier, the one where no roster was released was October 11th, 2000 in Columbus. Now last time I checked, Columbus was in the US, we usually play pretty well at Crew stadium. That roster was never released by Arena. This would also make sense because Fidlerre is from Columbus. And even if he did release the roster, who cares? Anybody could have gone to their practices and seen who was there.

    The game you're referring to, the 2nd qualifier at Saprissa in the hex was 3 or 4 days after our loss in DC to Honduras. Again we used the same players for both games. And again, it wasn't because of club commitments, MLS would have released whoever Bruce called on, it was because if you remember, our national team pool was very, very depleted at that time.

    Sorry about my earlier outburst but when you throw around something thats false, I'm going to correct you.
     
  21. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You mean we shouldn't do things like every other federation? Before now, we were the only fed to not have everyone start at square one.

    CONCACAF is screwy. Warner is slime. But the system is the way it should be - everyone gets the same crack at it. If the big countries are so much better, the extra games won't mean jack.

    AND we get two more home attendances.

    So what do you think UEFA should do with its minnows?

    And for all Thomas' whining about the semis, the AFC played its semifinal stage in two months. Eight games in Asia in two months.

    The semifinal round was shortened by a month, but I don't think six games in 90 days is a hardship. As for the USOC final, I don't think any date has been set for 2004 so maybe we can work around this little thing called World Cup qualifying.

    To say Bruce will have trouble getting players is just an attempt at hysteria. To say there will be conflicts when no USSF or MLS schedule has been released for 2004 is just a cry for attention. To say a post on Big Soccer affected a World Cup qualifier is just plain stupid.
     
  22. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I will bet you $1,000 that we get European-based players for more than one game in the semis.

    Put up or shut up.
     
  23. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From CONCACAF:

     
  24. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Nutmeg's system is way better than the one we have. But we are stuck with the one we have. Davids26, the thread I am referring to was in late August, 2001, before the RFK fiasco and the 2-0 loss in Sapprissa. I believe it weas fidlerre who posted part of the starting lineup for Costa Rica, and it included Richie Williams, who did not play in RFK. The list, whoever, leaked it was accurate and sure helped Costa Rica. There was a huge outcry on the boards at the time.
    Coach Arena will get some of the players he wants. Not all of them. Again, keep in mind the clash with domestic leagues. Most countries in CONCACAF and Asia don't even have full-time professional leagues so there is no conflict. There is no way Beasley or Donovan will play all 6 games if they have been gone all summer in Greece and Peru.
    Keep in mind FIFA scheduled the WWC in October and qualifying in January and February, to provide no conflict whatsoever with the struggling WUSA.
    Mexico has never had to play 6 qualifiers in 90 days while in the thrall of the Clausera and Super-Classico. Too much conflict with a strong domestic league and the chances for Mexico to field its best team. We get it in the neck when the schedule is made up.
     
  25. Craig P

    Craig P BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 26, 1999
    Eastern MA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back up your wild assertion that a leak of the starting lineup for the game against Costa Rica was a great benefit to the Ticos?

    The result doesn't count, because half of BigSoccer was convinced we were going to get whacked when they saw the lineup.
     

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