The next round

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by RevsRule, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    Very astute, but I think the middle will be a toss up. Depends who we play against whom. Also, the players surrounding these playuers will also be a step up in speed and skill from last time around for the most part. Adds even more to the equation.

    Don't forget, this time we have some serious depth. Didn't really have it last time. When key guys got hurt or couldn't play we had to rely on the ABMOD's and Albrights of the world. Remember, wasn't Earnie, bless his rested soul, our central midfielder through many of these matches. He played as well as he could and scored some important goals (thank you ES), but this is not where you want to play an ES. We had no choice. Frighteneing that a guy who can barely stop a ball properly half of the time or pass to a guys foot half of the time was our center mid, and we still qualified.

    The package has just gotten so much better. Great to see.

    BTW - Who will Guatamala try to cripple on our squad this time around?
    All you are going to see here is a better version of the El Sal team we saw in Foxboro. Dirty and real tough to break down. This is the team I don't want to see us play because it is going to be ugly and dirty. Hate this matchup already.
  2. RevsRule

    RevsRule Member+

    NE Revs, LAFC
    Jun 9, 1999
    N. Eastern, Mass
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    AMEN - finally someone who is willing to say "that the King is wearing no Clothes."

    We should be blowing teams out but aren't. We often have trouble creating scoring chances against medium talented teams and are currently a paper tiger that will suffer against real competition. With our FIFA rating and "talent", we should be doing better but aren't and that is my biggest concern.
  3. SoccerFreak

    SoccerFreak Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    You make good points, but you can also make the same argument that some people are making against Mexico. That the younger US players haven't really been tested by the likes of the better CONCACAF teams and might have a false sense of security. Also the final game against Jamaica didn't impress me much, regardless of the fact the US already had qualified at that point.
  4. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    It comes down to a confidence issue with the points you are making which make sense, but...

    ...our young guys did get tested against a supposedly very talented Jamaica team that was desperate (playing for their WC lives) and handled them fairly well. Who had more quality chances?
    Were we ever under any real pressure?
    Who controlled most of the game until the red card?

    Our younger guys also play in better environments than the bottom 3 teams do. In MLS, abroad, or youth national teams, youth WC tourneys and wild local youth darbys against Mexico. The training is better, etc, etc, etc...
    We have more players to chose from, more options, etc.

    My biggest criticism of BA is that he waited this long to bring on at least some of the talent against these opponents who just aren't all that good.

    Questioning the young Mexicans makes sense. Questioning some of our younger guys makes sense, but IMO the talent difference between our younger players and our "experienced" players is so large that you have to favor the talent with a sprinkling of the older guys who are still up to snuff.
    Weren't some of our biggest mistakes made in the first matches made by our "experienced" guys? It was obvious that they didn't have the physical skill to over power these opponents.

    The Mexican senior team will still have great ball skills and have the same attributes of their young guys. When they work them in they will be playing with skilled guys.

    Who are our younger guys replacing? Vanney, Stewie, Jones, Armas, Heydude (one day)...let's face it, the skill gap and the outright physical ability the new guys bring far outweighs the experience you see here (even though I understand why BA likes the Dude). It is a large gap, and I counter by saying that a lot of these young guys have a lot experience playing overseas or in youth tourneys and the difference in experience isn't that huge compared to some mentioned above. Obviously not as much exper., but when I look at the skill sets vs experience factor it's not close.

    Again, my opinion, but after 25 years of watching hacks this is heaven. Use them. They will make a few mistakes, so will the seasoned guys it seems because they aren' talented enough or they get fatigued, but their enthusiasm and skill will more than make up for it in this region.
  5. england66

    england66 Member+

    Jan 6, 2004
    dallas, texas
    If the USA can't finish in the top three in this group then the USA doesn't need or deserve to be in the WC...
  6. SoulflyTribeFC

    SoulflyTribeFC New Member

    Mar 24, 2002
    I think we need wins, not draws, in Port-of-Spain and Panama City.

    If we beat Trinidad and Panama here at home and away (that's not out of the realm of possibilities, is it?) then that's 12 points right there. If we take care of business at home against Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala, or even if we go 2-0-1 against those three, then we'd have 18-19 points. Whatever we could get in San Jose, Mexico City/Toluca, Guatemala City/Mazatenango would be gravy. 18/19 points should get us in.
  7. cosmosRIP

    cosmosRIP Member

    Jul 22, 2000
    Brooklyn NY
    I wish I was more excited about this, while it's nice to know the US will be in Germany, I'd trade some uncertainty for a more exciting format.
    The finals are over in the blink of an eye and the Gold Cup is pretty lame.
    This is all we got.
  8. DamonEsquire

    DamonEsquire BigSoccer Supporter

    Sep 16, 2002
    Leeds United AFC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here is idea situation. Five wins and two draws. Team U.S.A. win once on the road and they will lose one at home. I think. That would be dominate over competion. Seven for ten and this could win. Qualification gonna see radicalism from youngsters, at least; I hope glass is half full. If team wins against each, others would have to adapt. If team gives results against a opponent, Team U.S.A. finds a nother win from home.
  9. SoulflyTribeFC

    SoulflyTribeFC New Member

    Mar 24, 2002
    Nobody is saying that we're in. Yeah, the group isn't difficult on paper, but if the US loses its first two, we're basically screwed. And there's a one in six chance the US plays its first two on the road. So what if we play first in Mexico City and next at Costa Rica and lose both? We've got to come home and regroup in an instant (matchday three is a few days after matchday two) because three losses or two losses and a draw will put us in a heaping pile of dung.
  10. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    My guesses:

    Best scenario, USA will go 4-1-0 at home for 13 points (and the draw WON'T be with Mexico). They'll be surprised by someone, managing to eke out only a draw. Hopefully that will be the only surprise - but I wouldn't be shocked to see us at 3-1-1 for only 10 home points.

    Away, I expect USA to draw Mexico and beat T&T. Against the CA teams, I predict 1-1-1, total 2-2-1 for 8 points on the road. 21 or 18 points total.

    Mexico will be more consistent - meaning consistently winning at home (except with a draw against the US) and drawing consistently on the road (except the aforementioned loss against the US, and [another] convincing win against T&T). 5-4-1, 19 points - puts them in 1st if the US falters and loses a game at home.

    CR in 3rd.

    Panama and Guat a tossup for 4th and 5th. Their games against each other and T&T will be the deciding factors.

    I'm afraid T&T will be lucky to earn 2-3 points, all on draws. Maybe they'll pull out a win, doubling their point total and playing spoiler to one of the CA teams.
  11. SoulflyTribeFC

    SoulflyTribeFC New Member

    Mar 24, 2002
    I wouldn't be surprised to see Trinidad surprise Guatemala at Guatemala. Trinidad beat Honduras in Honduras last time around. Trinidad could beat Panama at home and maybe draw them away. But yeah, you've gotta think they'll be in 5th or 6th.

    I hope the US doesn't go 3-1-1 at home. That would be a step down from last time, and that was a harder group. But yeah, I wouldn't be surprised to draw somebody here, disappointed but not surprised.
  12. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    We racked up a 6-0 victory on a team that qualified for the Hex. The only other team that did something like that was Costa Rica (beat Guats 5-0). Mexico couldn't even put more than a 3-spot on friggin' TRINIDAD at the Azteca.

    I'm not worried. Especially if we get the Feb. 9 date at home. US and Mexico will get the top 2 spots, Costa Rica will probably finish 3rd but could get beaten out by Guatemala. All 4 teams will qualify for Germany (China or Iran or whoever will get TROUNCED at the Saprissa or Mazatenango).

    15 points at home (honestly I don't see any of our opponents even getting a point against us in the US unless we've already qualified--the only teams with the talent to do it are Mexico and CR; CR is crap on the road and we have Mexico's number), 8-10 (loss at CR because we always lose there, draw at Guatemala, draw or win at Mexico, win at Trinidad and Panama) on the road will be more than enough to qualify.
  13. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    Completely different teams (Guat and Honduras).
    Guatamala's home field advantage is big.

    Honduras has none. Over the last Hex and this last round their record is

    2 wins 3 loses and 3 ties...almost certain about that. Maybe even 1-3-4.

    Guatamala plays like Roberto Duran. Honduras like Sugar Ray, except that while they have the moves unlike Sugar they get hit, while missing some wide open punches. The results speak for themselves.

    Guatamala will beat up T&T down there. No question.

    That T&T yeam is truely poor. Worst T&T team I have ever seen, and that goes back to 87.
  14. SoccerFreak

    SoccerFreak Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
  15. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    We've never, in recent memory, played a team NEARLY as bad as St. Kitts. Panama and El Salvador would absolutely demolish that team, hell, Grenada would beat them convincingly, so would the Barbados team we beat 11-0 on aggregate in '96. Our first-round group was much tougher than Mexico's, so it's natural that we weren't able to run up the score as much as they did.

    Any team in the Hex, hell for that matter any team in semi groups A and B would be capable of putting up a 10-spot on St. Kitts (if they went hard for 90 minutes and didn't let up).

    Besides, the US faced adversity and overcame it...that'll prepare us for the Hex far better than Mexico's kick-around against what would be a decidedly average high school team in the US did for El Tri.
  16. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    I agree about costa rica being a small step behind mexico and the usa....

    after watching them against cuba and the semis via telemundo, the ticos aren't quite the same..I don't know if it's the sampson affect early on during the semis..

    it might come down to costa rica replaying the 2002 semis with guatemala where a playoff was needed....

    I do question the depth of attack for guatemala if either ruiz or pezzarossi miss time...

    in a sense, panama is the poor mans honduras...when medina is in gear they are trouble...

    david suazo's absence from the semis CHANGED the hex significantly....when he's there for honduras they click, when he's out, they suffer...
  17. Brushes Sand

    Brushes Sand Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    This is true, inre: qualification, for 90% of all Federations.

    However, we are on the doorstep of "the next level".

    After our blistering start to open the last hex, i recall
    thinking that if we kept it up, we might have an argument
    for a Seed in Herr Sepp's Big Fixed Pot. Of course, Azteca,
    RFK, and ABMOD starting at Spitprissa certainly put an end
    to that fantasy.

    For the last hex.... Flash Forward 4 Years.....

    We again enter the Neverland of the FIFA "BCS" seeding system.

    As the Self-Appointed High-Shaman of Nats Karma, I'm loathe
    to Weauxf the Soccer Gawdz, but here goes....

    If we can Obliterate the hex, with 20+ points, and a double-digit +/-,
    we would have an argument for a Seed in Alemania. And no matter
    what, the argument is only valid if we have a Goose Egg in the loss
    column. Maybe a home draw, but two road wins plus three road draws
    equals 6-0-4. 22 Points. A Single Loss kills the argument.

    And even if an actual seed in a Euro Mundial is just politically out of
    the question, it could make it impossible for Sepp to put us in the 3rd
    pot. Even a single loss in the Hex albeit again guarantees the 3rd pot.

    Pass/Fail is true, if we lose a game. The bar has been raised.

  18. scaryice

    scaryice Member

    Jan 25, 2001
    RE: Seeding

    There are only eight seeded teams in the World Cup, one per group. The other teams are put into pots based on their confederation. You either get a seed or you don't.

    Also, records in qualifying mean nothing in determining a seed. It is based on a mathematical formula, to be determined after all 32 teams have qualified.

    Past three World Cup preformances = 50%
    FIFA ranking at end of 2003, 2004, 2004 = 50%

    See this thread:
  19. Brushes Sand

    Brushes Sand Member

    Oct 12, 2000

    This just in:

    US 6
    PAN 0

    On October 9th:

    Liechtenstein 2
    Portugal 2

    And the Portuguese needed a Liechtensteinian own goal to get the draw!

    This was an UEFA WCQ by the way.

    Moral of the story: Shite Happens.

    Bottom line:

    As much as many are tired of us not pummelling and excorciating
    the have-nots, I'm much more interested in doing well against the haves.

    And enjoying and savoring every moment when we do crush a minnow.

  20. Brushes Sand

    Brushes Sand Member

    Oct 12, 2000

    China are gone. They had to win by 8 in their last game, and only
    won by 7.

    And of any country on this here rock, ANYONE who support the US
    should NEVER EVER EVER AGAIN commit the heresy of underestimating
    Iran. At a purely karmic level, of course.

    The AFC playoff representative is going to be a big mystery.

    And it will be pathetic if we have any part of it.

    However I think everyone is underestimating the affect that 4th
    place in the Hex is going to have.

    Even WarnerCo will likely be in with a chance on matchday 9.

    In all previous hexes, teams 4-6 had to play straight up more often
    because if they couldn't steal a win on the road they were screwed.

    There's now something for them to play for. There will be some
    effect on how much they are willing to risk.

    And consequently, the value of a road draw, on US and Mexican soil
    especially, has gone way up. I would not be surprised to see bunker
    ball beyond anything we've ever witnessed when the bottom 3 play

  21. Brushes Sand

    Brushes Sand Member

    Oct 12, 2000

    I watched it as well.

    It was at the Alamodome on FieldTurf. It took 30 minutes for both
    sides to adapt to how the ball rolled/bounced. Looked like Futsal for

    Everything stated above I agree with, Guat worthless, Tri dominated.

    And because of the venue, zero can be inferred from the result.

  22. kenosha

    kenosha New Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    West Vancouver, BC
    Remember the Hex is a mini marathon. Suspension, injury and falling out with a coach can all leave teams weakened. Mexico, USA and CR have advantages here. CR looked ordinary without Wanchope, but they will be very tough at home. Saprissa now has Field Turf, so even without Wanchope they will be able to put a team built for speed on a surface more familiar to them and in hostile environment. This could make up for lack of depth. Mexico has a tremendous advantage in Azteca.

    The USA should qualify based on depth. There isn't really an irreplaceable player anymore. Midfield is the only place we may be a little vulnerable due to Reyna, JOB, Mastro being injury prone.

    Costa Rica is not as deep as they used to be. Wilmer Lopez was highly underrated in terms of his importance to that team and they've struggled to find an upgrade to him. Centeno is not what he used to be. They have a lot of creative players, but with injuries or suspension they could be in a dogfight for 3rd place.

    I went to the Guatamala-Canada game. Ruiz- well what can you say. He is a cold-blooded killer in front of the net. Pezzarossi is nothing but a hack. However, they had this young guy with bleach-blond hair playing left midfield who was fast and a real handful (MLS go get him!) He was instrumental in their attack all night. Guatamala could be a dark horse, because they will be tough at home and won't beat themselves. However, its all up to Ruiz. If he gets hurt or suspended, they are no better than El Sal.

    TNT has John and Hislop, but no depth. This will kill them.

    Panama is a bit of an enigma. They looked great at times and poor at other times, but I think they will need to keep their forwards injury free and hope for a major upset on the road.

    If depth is what determines who advances it could finish like this:
    1. Mexico
    2. USA
    3. CR
    4.-5. Panama-Guat dog fight
    6. TNT
  23. Through-Ball

    Through-Ball New Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    Hex prediction just for kicks

    I agree with the fact that the US and Mexico will head the group when the smoke clears. I think both teams will play each other conservatively knowing that if they simply don't lose against each other then they can exploit the rest of the Hex for the bulk of their needed points. I can easily envision draws in both US-Mexico games.

    As far as the rest of the Hex is concerned I disagree with some of the opinions expressed above. Namely, I think people are over-estimating Costa Rica and Panama and underestimating Guatemala. I was in Guatemala for the '98 World Cup and I can assure you they are very, very, very hungry for their team to make it. There is unbelievable desire on the part of the people there and that could translate into an advantage. Granted, talent-wise they fall behind the US, Mexico, and CR, but in terms of heart and home field advantage - they excel. As someone said earlier they have the heart to make up the difference. I can easily see them dominating Panama, T&T both home and away knowing how much those 12 points matter. They have proven able to hang with CR and can strive for a couple of draws or even a win/draw against them. The thrashing they took at Saprissa in the previous round will not be repeated. The loss to Canada was a factor of them having already ensured qualification. If they get 2 or 4 points against CR I can see them finishing third in the Hex. Guatemala are my darkhorse in this Hex.

    I think people are overestimating CR this cycle. There is some instability in the CR camp that wasn't there in the last Hex. Their results and coaching have been inconsistent in the last few years. They are indeed heavily weighted in talent and experience toward just a few players which is a dangerous trait in a tournament with such attrition (just ask Honduras). In fact, one could argue that if it weren't for a few injuries to Honduras, CR wouldn't have made it to the Hex. That said, they are always tough team at home to beat and that should ensure them the 4th spot. It will not be as tough for Guatemala and Panama to play at Saprissa as it is for the US. The atmosphere won't be as different as the one they are used to at home as compared to the US. I see CR having some dissappointing results against the weak teams (T&T, Panama), not playing well on the road and thus falling to 4th in the Hex.

    Panama did well to make it to the Hex, but their lack of experience will shine through when the going gets tough. I can't speak on their depth, but my guess it's not really there. I predict them to have some bad initial results and then struggling for credibility from then on. They may surprise some teams here and there, but I can't see them doing better than 5th. I think they will fight against T&T for the 5th spot.

    My approximate Hex prediction:

    US 20-24 pts (drawing - away to Guate and home/away to Mex; winning the rest)

    Mex 20-24 pts (drawing - away to CR and home/away to US; winning the rest)

    Guatemala 15-17 pts (drawing - at home to US, away to CR; losing - away to US, home/away to Mexico; winning the rest)

    CR 13-15pts (drawing - at home to Guate and Mexico, away to Panama; losing - home/away to US, away to Mexico)

    Panama 4-6 pts (drawing home - CR, winning home - T&T;otherwise losing or one lucky draw)

    T&T 2-4 pts (winning/drawing home - Panama; otherwise losing or one lucky draw)

    I just don't see T&T winning more than one game if any, and while Panama may surprise, I don't think they will win more than 2 games. I can see both US and Mexico going through without losing, but I'll grant that as being unlikely. There will always be surprises, inconsistency and horrific refereeing, so...

    When CR meets the team from Asia in the playoff they will likely stomp them home and away.

    Here's to hoping we can get good TV coverage of the away games here in the US!! :eek:
  24. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    The trouble honduras had was the injury to david suazo. HE is the most gifted attacking player in CONCACAF, and without him they couldn't get the goal they needed agaisnt costa rica...

    I agree the ticos, aren't quite as good as previous incarnations, and guatemala is better than past ones....still, I think the DEPTH of costa rica is sufficient to beat out guatemala...

    costa rica had a life and death struggle against cuba and in the semis!!

    they PROVED they can overcome the PRESSURE....

    panama lost roberto brown to a knee injury against el salvador... he is NOT replaceable, so if he misses hex matches with this injury, they are in trouble...

    as to asia...south korea, japan, saudi arabia, and iran are the top 4....

    so the 5th side is:

    North Korea

    this is total crap, and any of the hex sides would advance over the 5th out of that group...even t&t!!
  25. Through-Ball

    Through-Ball New Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    I agree with you on the issue of CR having more depth than Guatemala. Perhaps I am being a bit sentimental in picking them above CR in the Hex. I just have a feeling they are going to play out of their minds. I just hope they don't do so against the US!

    In the event that Guatemala have to win the playoff to go to the WC, I think it will be much tougher for them than it would be for CR. CR has a lot of experience playing overseas having played in the Japan/Korea WC and other Asian friendlies. The Guatemalan players aren't used to that kind of experience iirc. I have a hard time imagining the Guatemalans being very comfortable in say... North Korea or Kuwait... They would need to win handily at home and hope for the best in Asia.

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