here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
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|2 weeks 2 days ago||Incoming Rant||
Yep, some stats-minded folks do disagree with the concept of people playing better on certain nights and, therefore, in basketball for example, having a greater chance of scoring on any given shot compared to their baseline performance.
This is such utter crap I can't believe anyone takes it seriously. Look at the inverse case. Suppose someone finds out his wife has cancer ten minutes before the game. He plays poorly that night. Are the stats people saying that in the 4th quarter, game on the line, we should still give this devastated guy the ball because his poor game so far is just an aberration and he has the same chance to hit the game-winning shot tonight as he does any other night?
Of course not. That's absurd. Imagine if his hand was cut off. Should we still pass him the ball for the game-winning shot? No? But statistics! The point is, things like cut-off hands can change statistics. Inform them, really. And a mental state can inform statistics just as much as a physical one.
The same thing happens on the other end of the spectrum. Do you think it was just random chance that Landon Donovan scored two goals and had an assist in his first game back after being cut from the World Cup squad? That if you passed to Landon that game, you had just as much chance as any other game of getting a goal or an assist out of him?
If you think that, then let Tommy come back to your seat and hit you over the head with a balpeen hammer because you are a moron. Let me repeat. Total. Stinking. Crap. That whole no-hot-hand theory is just people trying to be cooler than other people and saying they know something you don't know, like people who enjoy dropping $400 on a bottle of wine they can't appreciate except insofar as it makes them feel superior to others.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Survive and advance||
Survive and advance, baby.
Only one thing to say about Belgium:
I believe that we will win!
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Or||
Or maybe specifically _not_ in whatever currency Ghana uses.
Speculating here; I really don't know anything about Ghana's economy.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Yup||
Soaked field --> unpredictable results for everyone, individually and collectively. I don't like that going into today's game. Maybe if we were huge underdogs hoping for an equalizing factor, but we're not.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Seriously||
The point is that there could be an accurate, to-the-second accounting for time in a soccer match, and there isn't. FIFA doesn't want it, and a whole lot of traditionalist fans don't want it. So it doesn't get done.
But it's obvious that the timekeeping in soccer is done, at best, approximately.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Yup||
Completely agree. CONCACAF's surge is one of the reasons that this is the World Cup of World Cups.
Go CONCACAF! Obviously I'm hoping we make it 3 teams into the knockout rounds. And then I think we have a legitimate shot at 2 or even 3 teams in the quarters. Can you imagine 3 CONCACAF squads in the quarterfinals? Sepp Blatter's head might explode.
|3 weeks 9 hours ago||He does||
He speaks English and has in some interviews. I'm sure he's more comfortable in German, though. Same thing goes for Brooks, btw.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||World Cup of World Cups||
What a World Cup so far! So many goals, so many story lines, so much beating of Ghana... seriously it's been a very entertaining World Cup.
My Top Five World Cup Moments So Far, if anyone cares. Obviously from my own perspective.
5. Ochoa's goalkeeping vs Brazil. A bit fortunate on some, perhaps, but you could also put it down to astute positioning.
4. Joel Campbell and the Ticos taking down Uruguay. Pura Vida!
3. Van Persie goal vs. Spain. Gorgeous. Also just the general Oranj demolishing of Spain.
2. Dempsey goal. Dazzling footwork
1. Brooks goal and his reaction. He looked like he thought he had left reality behind and couldn't find his footing in a new universe.
Honorable Mention: Pepe reaching Peak Pepe with his head butt.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||CONCACAF||
Got to say I'm pulling for Mexico. After CR's crazy upset in Group D, our win, Mexico's first win, I'd love to see CONCACAF just take an axe to the frozen mindset of everyone around the world with, say, a 2-1 Mexico win today. Would be so nice to see Brazil beaten at home by our 4th-place qualifier.
If John Brooks can dream, I can too, right?
|3 weeks 5 days ago||?||
Iran-Nigeria featured tons of possession by NIgeria. Not sure what you're looking for.
Go back and read Brian's own preview. He talks about how booting it upfield in this game could be forgiven because of Ghana's weaknesses and our strengths.
Now, yes. We should have had much more of the ball. No doubt. But we dropped our field general to the back line one minute into the game. We were intentionally playing a prevent defense, for better or worse. Just need to get better at it.
Second-worst display of soccer? Did you see Portugal? And no way this looked like a high school game. High school is Claudio Reyna in 2006 trying to play possession stupidly on the backline and giving up the critical goal when he got wtfpwnd by a tackle he thought wasn't coming. Major room for improvement on the US's part, but 3 points is 3 points.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Got to get better||
Yeah, got to get better with possession. No doubt. But I don't think we were as awful as people are saying. Just rather poor. Our Christmas tree defensive shape wasn't designed for optimal possession.
I hope that Portugal is smelling blood because they're a bunch of head-cases and if they come in overconfident, their frustration is going to be that much worse.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Agreed||
Agreed. Something about soccer and the World Cup - I think it's the magnitude of a goal - makes watching it in a public venue amazing. It's interesting. I love other sports too, but soccer's my number one favorite by far to watch in a crowd.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||And they get David||
And they get David Hasselhoff. Win-win!
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Pretty sure||
Pretty sure that's my favorite thing you've written, Brian, and you've written some good stuff.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Wow||
I thought the win was very much deserved. In the only five minutes of the game that we were trying to play offense, we scored two goals. We played defense for 85 minutes and didn't allow a goal until Fab J was caught sleeping. Possibly poor strategy on our part, but it worked for Argentina against BH the other day, and it almost worked for us. Not pretty on the field, but 3 points are beautiful in the books.
We were clearly the better team. Going into the game, we knew that Ghana had a very tough time generating goals through possession - especially possessions where they couldn't come through the middle. They're a counterattacking team. I don't really have a problem with trying to play prevent for 90 minutes when a team is so dependent on the counter as Ghana. They were stymied. Even in the end, it was a poor play by us, not anything great by them, that got them the goal.
Yeah, I wish we would have had more of the ball. But with Bradley a) dropping all the way to the trunk on the Christmas tree after Dempsey's score and not looking to push forward much at all, and b) just not playing great even at that, I'm not surprised we had no possession. If you said that Jozy and Besler would go out injured and Bradley would have mediocre game at best, I would have doubted we'd win. But everyone else came through one way or another. Definitely deserved.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||BEAT GHANA!||
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Good to hear that about the||
Good to hear that about the Mexican fans. They should be thanking us for years to come.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Request||
Can you please quickly wish for all my students to pass their finals, the US to win tonight by like 4-0, and world peace?
Not necessarily in that order. But quickly, before your magic runs out.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||?||
Who in in the US starting lineup do you not think has the technical ability to punish Ghana? If Ghana gives us a ball the way Reyna gave them one in 2006, we certianly could punish that, especially with their lack of a world class keeper.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Costa Rica 30% to advance out of Group D?||
Hm. On the one hand, I think CONCACAF is slightly underrated overall. On the other, this just doesn't seem right. Uruguay, England, Italy, and you've got Costa Rica with a 30% chance to advance? 10% chance to win the group? I think you'd have to play that group more than ten times to get a time when Costa Rica wins it. Although England does strike me as overrated... just not by that much.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Black Stars||
Black Stars are on BeIn TV right now sticking it to the South Koreans. 2-0 at half. Ghana is looking very good, in my opinion. Gyan and both Ayews looking fierce.
I hate our draw.
Can I hire that witch doctor to transfer us to Group H?
|4 weeks 6 days ago||I wish||
I wish. But for a lot of reasons we're staying home. Real bummer is that my kids will be grown by the time the WC is anywhere that I want to go with them (2026). Unless Qatar is a revote - which I really hope it is.
|5 weeks 1 day ago||Best performance by Beasley||
Best performance by Beasley for a long time. Thank goodness since there seems to be no alternative.
Bradley's best performance of the three send-off games by far. He was very impressive here. It's Michael's team now. Let's see what he can do with it.
People saying Dempsey was lazy: I didn't see it. Maybe he stopped pressing a bit in the second half during the span when Nigeria basically gave up. Dempsey has a good work rate overall, though.
Good stuff from Tim Howard, too. Couple nice saves today. America has always been fortunate to have excellent netminders.
And Jozy. An industrious game well-rewarded. Second goal was nasty. And you could tell he wanted to punch Jeremy Schaap in the face after the game.
|5 weeks 1 day ago||Creativity||
He's (arguably) a better person to have up top of the diamond because we need someone to create chances for us. Like he did today with Altidore's second goal, and like he did against Turkey with Fabian Johnson's goal. That type of creativity is probably the most prized skill in all of soccer. Further pressing him into that No. 10 role is the fact that we don't really have anyone else who can do it, while we have several other guys who can play a holding mid or No. 6 role (albeit perhaps not all at the same skill level).
I said "arguably" in the first paragraph because there are people who think that Bradley is out of place up there. Alexi Lalas, I believe, was initially very critical of deploying Bradley up there. But Klinsmann obviously thinks otherwise. I wish JK would have put him up there sooner, actually.
|5 weeks 1 day ago||A||
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Population isn't the driving factor||
Population isn't a major consideration. Netherlands (population 17 million) has been a finalist three times in the last 45 years; China and India (population 17 gazillion) suck.
Population is a consideration, sure. But other things are more important.
Another factor - also not the most important, but a factor - is the US economy. It's tanking, and the tax climate is becoming more and more socialist. This will put the US more in the economic realm of Germany, England, Spain, etc. Meaning that economically, playing in the Bundesliga, Prem, La Liga etc. becomes more attractive financially than it has been previously for young, rising athletes. Will be interestig to see if that has any effect on pulling talent away from the major sports leagues here.
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||A relatively brief reply||
Of course Atlas Shrugged would be relatively brief. Dude, long post. Good points though.
1) Bradley. Superb play at times, but I want him to be more consistent. He was the reason we looked rough at times against the Azeris (well that and they parked the bus). Much better tonight. He was The Man as we need him to be, for the most part. Crazy work rate. Some excellent first touches. But if he didn't have every third or fourth touch suddenly drop in quality, I'd be much more comfortable going into Brazil. Of course, that might mean he'd have to morph into Zidane or something, so maybe I'm asking too much.
2) Yes, I'm 90% sure we dropped the diamond and went back to a 4-2-3-1 with Bradley coming back. That shut down a lot of the deep runs out of midfield that Jones and the center backs couldn't stop when they were the only ones back there.
3) I think a lot of the complaints people are making about our backline are better directed at the midfield diamond and a lack of communication. It opened up holes that we didn't have a way to plug.
4) That said, I still very much worry about the outside back opposite Fab and the otuside mid/wing opposite Zusi. I just don't know who should be in those roles out of the 23 we have. I guess Beasley is our best option at LB. And... I can't even think about who should be in front of him. Too depressing.
5) Which brings up my last point, same as yours: Klinsmann has already made a serious coaching error in this Cup. His roster selection is terrible. We are the deepest we've ever been, but we have just as many, if not more, position questions on the eve of the Cup than we have have before (well, since 98, and don't even get me started about that...). Julian Green on this team is insulting. I can see leaving Johnson off for throwing his teammates under the bus if nothing else. But Donovan, Shea, Boyd, Agudelo... I wouldn't want Torres or Corona, both too weak... Klinsmann let his personal feelings get in the way of his job as a coach.
All that said, I did find today's game encouraging in a number of respects. We'll see what happens.
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||Except it really wasn't that||
Except it really wasn't that great of a cross. Turkey should have handled it without difficulty. But the defender completely muffed it. It was right on his feet and he just took a swing and missed. Turkey gave that goal to Dempsey, not Chandler.
Which is depressing because I was really, really hoping that Chandler could keep Beasley off the field in Brazil.
Now all our hopes rest on... Yedlin? Sigh. Looks like Beasley again.
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||Yes||
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||Saw Ann B. Davis several||
Saw Ann B. Davis several times during my years in AA.
RIP Ann, you are missed.