New Cycle, New Tactics: Thoughts on USA-Poland

Landon Donovan
“I found the Poland match yesterday incredibly interesting tactically. No intro required for this one. Let’s get right into what I saw: As I’ve written several times, one of my biggest problems with Bob Bradley as a coach is his reliance (until now) on elementary-style tactical decisions. One of my biggest arguments for hiring someone else instead of Bradley was that after the Charlie Davies injury, Bradley’s inability to adjust his 4-4-2 boot-and-run tactical/lineup decisions was inexcusable. Although the boot-and-run, sideline drill, flag drill techniques served us pretty well at the Confed. Cup, I have always maintained that it took a miracle against Egypt to even put us in position to play Spain.” (The Yanks Are Coming)

U.S. changes expected vs. Colombia
“Change was in vogue as the United States tied Poland on Saturday to open a pair of fall friendlies. And there will surely be more as coach Bob Bradley’s Americans complete the back end of the set Tuesday against Colombia at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Colombia will have an extra day to rest following a 1-0 win over Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on Friday. It was the latest promising result for the South American mid-tier side, which narrowly missed a berth for South Africa 2010. Mexico had to work hard for a 1-0 win over Los Cafeteros last month, and the Colombians had defeated Venezuela 2-0 four days earlier.” (SI)


Video Of The Week: Match Of The 80s – 1982/83

“We’ve got something a little different for you tonight, with the launch of our very own Tumblr page. We’ll be putting videos, MP3s and links up on this site, hopefully on a very regular basis. This is starting off with this week’s Video Of The Week, which is the third in the BBC’s “Match Of The Eighties” series. This week’s episode looks at the 1982/83 season. It was the oddest of seasons. Liverpool ran away with the First Division championship, but Watford, in their first ever season in the First Division, finished in second. Their local rivals Luton Town managed to survive relegation on the last day of the season, relegating Manchester City instead Brighton & Hove Albion came within one kick of winning the FA Cup Final, against Manchester United. This video comes in four parts, and our thanks go to the original uploader.” (twohundredpercent), (twohundredpercent – 1)

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

“Pity the average Manchester United fan trying to make sense of the club’s annual financial results announced last week. On the one hand, they look great with record turnover of £286 million, operating profits climbing above £100 million for the first time and £164 million cash in the bank, but on the other hand they look terrible with a record loss of £84 million, disappointing revenue growth and a mountain of debt. No wonder chief executive David Gill admitted that the figures could be confusing, ‘These are very good results for the club with records here, there and everywhere, but they are complicated with non-cash items and exceptional once-off hits.'” (The Swiss Ramble)

Liverpool FC sale: High court hearing live coverage

“12.42pm: The secondary offer that H&G’s representatives refer to is from Mill Financial. The offer includes repaying all debts and putting £100m towards the new stadium. Mill Financial took over some of Gillett’s stake. Mill Financial were meant to meet Broughton last Thursday to discuss a possible takeover but it was cancelled. Hicks and Gillett’s representative wants to know why this meeting was cancelled. Mill Financial remain interested in buying Liverpool.” (Guardian)

Montenegro look a well-balanced team with explosive attacking potential

“Ask Montenegro’s players what has changed since the 2010 World Cup qualifiers and all reply with a combination of the same three factors: luck, experience and balance. For a new country, drawn from the pot of minnows, they performed creditably in World Cup qualifying, but there is a sense that they did not quite get the results they deserved: 2-2 draws against Bulgaria and Cyprus probably should have been wins; the 4-1 defeat in Bulgaria looked far worse than it really was. Soft penalties were given against them, there were unfortunate ricochets, and perhaps a lack of conviction at the back. A team packed with talented forwards either defended en masse, or poured forwards in numbers, and so were alternately involved in either tedious 0-0s or high-scoring thrillers, with little in between.” (Guardian – Jonathan Wilson)

Eastern European countries looking good for Euro 2012

” An interesting trend has emerged from the first three rounds of European Championship qualifying games. Several countries from eastern Europe, which has struggled in both sporting and economic terms since emerging from Communism over the past two decades, are showing signs of life. And while there’s not exactly a replication of the almost all-conquering 1950s Hungarian team, a number of new nations have at least a sniff of making second spot in their groups and going on to qualify for a major tournament for the first time.” (WSC)