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And we’re back…

Got called away to a last-minute vacation with the inlaws to Mexico, where an informal survey of taxi drivers suggests that the mood on the national team was down, even before the Panama match.  I’ll be working to bring the site up to date in time for the match against Haiti.

A couple quick points:

  • Freddy Adu’s return to Benfica for training should not have been a surprise to anybody.  On June 30, he tweeted that he would be returning to Benfica for the preseason within the next two weeks.  Like many of the larger soccer outlets (SBI and NSC, e.g.), we missed it.  As a small blog, we try to beat the bigger guys to the stories within our scope — it’s the only way to compete really.  It’s small consolation to be able to correct the big guys’ mistakes, because it was ours as well.  Still, this big surprise shouldn’t have surprised anybody.
  • Michael Bradley’s four-match suspension for his conduct during and after the semifinal victory over Spain appears to be a strong indication that at least one of the following is true: (a) Bradley’s conduct toward Larrionda was much more benign than what was initially reported or could have been expected of an emotional player facing an official with a consistently unfavorable treatement of a nation; (b) FIFA believed that the red card for the foul was excessive; or (c) FIFA wanted to avoid opening Pandora’s Box:  it knew that because of the Gold Cup, it was unlikely that even a six-match suspension would prevent Bradley from facing Mexico in the next World Cup Qualifier but any suspension beyond the minimum could encourage the U.S. to raise any of the number of issues it arguably had with officials during the Confederations Cup.  Better to put the whole thing behind everyone and move on.
  • Oguchi Onyewu’s transfer to A.C. Milan is further evidence that the Casterol Index needs to be revamped:  when a defender is a defensive statistics machine, he cannot be ranked the tournament’s worst defender merely because his passing competion rate is lower than normal and he is not often involved in attacks.  By the way, quick trivia for you:  Gooch is not the tallest player on A.C. Milan’s roster.  In fact, at 6’4″, he’s 6 inches shorter than the tallest player, goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, who is the team’s third-string keeper and has 38 appearances since joining the team in 2005.  Two other players on the roster are listed at 6’4″.
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