By Tony Edwards – San Jose, CA (May 30, 2013) US Soccer Players – In Thursday’s column, Tony looks at a move MLS coaches will consider when playing Salt Lake, asks if Chicago can get back in the playoff race and salutes Geoff Cameron’s yeoman’s work for Stoke City.
What adjustments did Atlanta make at halftime to get back into their US Open Cup game against Salt Lake?
Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes said his team was conceding too much possession in the middle of the field. “After seeing some things we decided to get [Kyle] Beckerman off of the ball,” Haynes said. “[We wanted them to] beat us out wide because in the middle of the field, we couldn’t compete with [Javier] Morales and Beckerman.”
There’s not a lot of MLS teams that can compete with Morales and Beckerman when they are on their game, but this became, in effect, an opportunity to Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis to experiment against a tactic most teams are going to try to implement the rest of the season. While it took 120 minutes, Salt Lake did defeat Atlanta in Utah 3-2 on Tuesday night in front of more than 9,000 fans.
Chicago has finally broken it’s ‘moveless’ streak, adding Bakary Soumare and Mike Magee, but do these moves make the Fire a playoff contender?
Maybe more competitive, but ask yourself how a team with US National Team goalkeeper Sean Johnson, newly acquired Mike Magee, Jeff Larentowicz, and Austin Berry, among others is only not in last because of DC United. There’s more talent on that roster than is generally recognized. I wouldn’t suggest looking to Arne Friedrich for help any time soon.
After seven games of the Spring Season, the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL are in last place, with only one win, four losses, and a negative goal difference. What’s going on with the NASL’s flagship franchise?
Unlike many coaches whose teams are just one bad break away from winning, Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson doesn’t sound too pleased in his weekly message to the fans.
“It was a tough match in Atlanta and we didn’t have enough possession to really challenge for the win, but I thought our defense played much better than in recent games. We held our shape and became very difficult to break down,” Hankinson wrote.
‘Our defense played much better.’ There’s something that will fill your shiny new stadium.
The first thing every new coach says is that his or her team is going to become “tighter in the back” and improve on not allowing so many shots and goals. How is that working in Toronto?
Sometimes, you don’t need to be an A-license coach to see that there can be truth in that statement. Bad teams usually give up too many goals and too many goals at bad times. But this has to be frustrating for Ryan Nelsen and the rest of that franchise, as Toronto has tightened up in the back, allowing the fewest total shots in the League (116), almost a hundred less than Salt Lake (205 total shots against, which is first in most shots given up).
It’s not as easy as just getting new players or ‘building from the back.’ Is Matias Laba the real deal? Is Robbie Earnshaw sticking around? Toronto is 1-7-4 and faces Philadelphia at home on Saturday.
How many midfielders or defenders made more EPL appearances for Stoke City than Geoff Cameron did this past season?
Only three made more appearances for the club than the US National Team player, who made 29 starts and 6 substitute appearances. With more than 2770 minutes played, Cameron was one of the anchors of a team that finished 13th this season and allowed fewer goals (45) than any team who didn’t finish in the top seven (Fulham, for instance, finished one spot and one point above Stoke, but allowed 15 more goals).
Stoke’s problem wasn’t at the back, but going forward. As we are seeing with Toronto, keeping the other team out is only half the story.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.