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Lester Freamon

2014 World Cup Brazil

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A completely unscientific poll of my kids, biased heavily by me, indicates that they know who Dempsey, Ronaldo, and Messi are, but couldn't pick David Ortiz or Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera out of a lineup (much less RGIII or any Ravens, Caps or Wizards). Their favorite sports teams are the Orioles, DC United, Tottenham Hotspur, the USA, and the Hokies, and in some much more vague way the Redskins/Ravens. And I'm probably in the 90th percentile of baseball fans, they've been to OPACY multiple times, and my 6-year-old was just in the T-ball All Star game, so it's not like they're growing up in some urban hipster household that shuns traditional American sports. Soccer has finally reached critical mass here, and my kids will grow up with it being just another big sport everyone watches, on par with baseball and American football.

I can tell you that all 3 of my kids have more soccer t-shirts than all other sports combined. My girls have watched the US Women's team play in NJ and CT so they have been in paid attendance at more soccer games than any other individual sport. It's a grass roots, kid by kid effort, but there is no doubt in my mind that the sport is more popular and on much firmer footing with a better future of players and fans than 10 years ago.

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I am a big JAlt fan and he is not a world class striker, but there are not a lot of world class strikers and Jozy is the best we have. He plays physical, plays pretty fast and offers a legit alternative to worry about opposite Dempsey. The problem with an injured Altidore is the lack of replacement for him - he is much better than his backup.

I think Altidore alone would have improved our time of possession by several minutes against both Germany and Portugal.

On the play Altidore was injured chasing the ball and pushing a bit with that defender, we have no one else who can do that as well as Jozy.

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As hoosiers said Altidore is important for the hold-up aspect of his game. He's the outlet when we're under pressure. We may need that today against Belgium. I haven't seen a lineup yet, but I'd be surprised if he started. I'm shocked he's close to playing after seeing the injury. Usually the "gunshot" hammy injuries are a month or two.

As far as soccer's popularity I think the shift started long ago and is just recently manifesting itself. I'm 35 and I've been a soccer junky my entire life. I played in college, trained with pro teams, and still play a few times a week. When I was growing up I didn't have people around me who were soccer junkies. My dad played a little and he coached my teams, but that was about it. There weren't many games on TV. There was no MLS. I grew up watching the O's and following the NFL. I did go to my share of Blast games, but that was it. As my generation has gotten older and had kids they've passed on that soccer gene to their kids. They play soccer, they watch soccer, and they talk soccer. The European leagues are on on TV. The MLS is on TV. Kids nowadays are immersed in soccer and you're starting to see that in the coverage the sport is getting. There are genuine soccer fans now, not just kids who play and parents who cheer. It's a brave new world and I like it.

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Am I the only one who doesn't see Altidore being out as a huge, massive loss? He scored two goals with Sunderland this year, one in League play, in 38 games. He's a nice player, but outside of his time in the Netherlands he's not looked like a world-class striker.

It's funny because before Altidore scored those two goals in that friendly against Turkey or Nigeria, can't remember which one, if Klinsmann had decided to start Johanson over Jozy I wouldn't have really blinked. But Altidore in his defense, for whatever reason, does look like a much different player when playing for the USMNT.

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As hoosiers said Altidore is important for the hold-up aspect of his game. He's the outlet when we're under pressure. We may need that today against Belgium. I haven't seen a lineup yet, but I'd be surprised if he started. I'm shocked he's close to playing after seeing the injury. Usually the "gunshot" hammy injuries are a month or two.

As far as soccer's popularity I think the shift started long ago and is just recently manifesting itself. I'm 35 and I've been a soccer junky my entire life. I played in college, trained with pro teams, and still play a few times a week. When I was growing up I didn't have people around me who were soccer junkies. My dad played a little and he coached my teams, but that was about it. There weren't many games on TV. There was no MLS. I grew up watching the O's and following the NFL. I did go to my share of Blast games, but that was it. As my generation has gotten older and had kids they've passed on that soccer gene to their kids. They play soccer, they watch soccer, and they talk soccer. The European leagues are on on TV. The MLS is on TV. Kids nowadays are immersed in soccer and you're starting to see that in the coverage the sport is getting. There are genuine soccer fans now, not just kids who play and parents who cheer. It's a brave new world and I like it.

The US Women's team has kept interest in soccer going in this country for a while. It seems as if the Men's team improves by one world class player each WC and it has taken this long to get to five or six guy plus a deeper bench of Beckermans, Jones, etc plus the German Americans that Klinsman has brought on - to get to this point where there is not a gaping weakness or two or three.

I do have confidence, as mentioned multiple times above, that the breadth and depth of youth soccer in the US has never been greater and that the professional instruction has never been so good. IMO, that casts a better, wider net for youth talent and future US WC teams.

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Am I the only one who doesn't see Altidore being out as a huge, massive loss? He scored two goals with Sunderland this year, one in League play, in 38 games. He's a nice player, but outside of his time in the Netherlands he's not looked like a world-class striker.

It's not so much that for me but having Altidore puts Dempsey back into position where he is better suited to set up plays and score from. Playing CF is not Dempsey's strong position.

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Jones has been surprisingly quiet this entire match thus far (68th min). We're stuck on defense this entire half.

Yedlin looks good.

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Ultimately, Belgium's class and depth won out. We can point to some of the chances we had, particularly Wondo in the 92nd minute, another couple chances in the final 15, but Belgium had 3x as many chances and it's so hard to pull out those kind of games, hard to complain too much about our missed chances in that light.

If not by the grace of Tim Howard that game could have been 3-0 before Wondo even missed what looked like a sure goal.

That being said, so incredibly proud of this team for their fight. They never stop fighting. Story of the USMNT since our WC run started in 1990, they are physical, they play extremely hard, but just don't have the creative, attacking type players in the midfield that other countries raise from birth.

Again, great run and I admit I am a bit relieved to have my stomach un-knotted once again. Not sure I could have survived another game like this one against Argentina.

Edited by Lester Freamon
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We knew Belgium was better and they brought their "A" game. Belgium did have many more chances, but we knew they would and we hoped Howard would have a big game and that we could take advantage of any one golden opportunity. I am not a Wondo fan at all and am not surprised he missed the main opportunity. Dempsey also nearly scored to tie it near the very end and JJones also had a very good opportunity that he missed the net on.

Despite Belgium's opportunities, I thought our defense was pretty decent overall and our overall game performance was better than recent WC efforts. Yedlin was outstanding. The US is not among the soccer elite so this is how it goes. Hopefully, one or two more players with sufficient confidence, passing skills and technical skills can get this team to not only keep possession longer but to possess the ball effectively in moving up the field. This particular team showed, while outclassed in this regard by the elite teams we played, still possessed the ball better and more effectively than most any US team I've seen. Things seem to be headed very much in the right direction. Just need to add one or two more above average players including, hopefully, an elite player.

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We knew Belgium was better and they brought their "A" game. Belgium did have many more chances, but we knew they would and we hoped Howard would have a big game and that we could take advantage of any one golden opportunity. I am not a Wondo fan at all and am not surprised he missed the main opportunity. Dempsey also nearly scored to tie it near the very end and JJones also had a very good opportunity that he missed the net on.

Despite Belgium's opportunities, I thought our defense was pretty decent overall and our overall game performance was better than recent WC efforts. Yedlin was outstanding. The US is not among the soccer elite so this is how it goes. Hopefully, one or two more players with sufficient confidence, passing skills and technical skills can get this team to not only keep possession longer but to possess the ball effectively in moving up the field. This particular team showed, while outclassed in this regard by the elite teams we played, still possessed the ball better and more effectively than most any US team I've seen. Things seem to be headed very much in the right direction. Just need to add one or two more above average players including, hopefully, an elite player.

Slow, steady, incremental progress. There eventually will be elite US players, it just takes a while. 25 years ago almost nobody in the US saw a path to being a high-level international professional in soccer. Now that path is much more obvious. American kids want to be soccer players, they want to be Messi or Ronaldo or Tim Howard. They know they can work hard and make a living and maybe even get rich and famous doing this, and unlike in football they'll probably able to walk and carry on an intelligent conversation in their 40s.

We'll probably have to punch above our weight class for a while, but we'll get there. We're impressing non-Americans with our work rate and team play. Now it mainly comes down to having a critical mass of talent funneled into the game so we can hit the lottery and get our occasional elite player.

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Slow, steady, incremental progress. There eventually will be elite US players, it just takes a while. 25 years ago almost nobody in the US saw a path to being a high-level international professional in soccer. Now that path is much more obvious. American kids want to be soccer players, they want to be Messi or Ronaldo or Tim Howard. They know they can work hard and make a living and maybe even get rich and famous doing this, and unlike in football they'll probably able to walk and carry on an intelligent conversation in their 40s.

We'll probably have to punch above our weight class for a while, but we'll get there. We're impressing non-Americans with our work rate and team play. Now it mainly comes down to having a critical mass of talent funneled into the game so we can hit the lottery and get our occasional elite player.

I really think the bolded part is key. Look at how great our USWNT is (and Canada as well). They don't win every international tournament but they win often and are always one of the couple/few favorites. Women don't really have the option to play football. :scratchchinhmm: :D

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I really think the bolded part is key. Look at how great our USWNT is (and Canada as well). They don't win every international tournament but they win often and are always one of the couple/few favorites. Women don't really have the option to play football. :scratchchinhmm: :D

Women don't have the option to play much of anything in many countries around the world.

The biggest issue with the US against better competition is the inability to break pressure. It's okay to sit back a little and play for the counter, but you have to be able to keep the ball. Too many times we'd win the ball and either play it out of bounds or play it right to Belgium. You saw that against Germany and Ghana as well. The elite teams switch from defense to offense extremely well. When we did get out in transition I thought we looked great. Beasley, Johnson, and Yedlin were fantastic attacking the flanks. Overall I was happy with how the team played. We got beat by a better team. What I loved was that we didn't quit even down two goals and we had Belgium on the ropes at the end. Their players had that scared look in their eyes in the final 10 minutes. And of course I have to give props to Tim Howard on a remarkable game. He was the best player on the field by 15 miles.

Who you all got the rest of the way? I think we're in for a great finish to this tournament. I could see anyone but Costa Rica winning it. I'm pulling for Colombia. My brother-in-law is Colombian and I think they've been the most consistent team in the tournament.

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