Bill Simmons Can Suck It: My (Progressively Drunker) Re-watch And Liveblog Of USMNT-Turkey

June 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Everyone in the world apparently loves Bill Simmons. I think I’ve deduced why: he writes heavily-edited and deliberate “liveblogs” a day or so after a big sporting event. He includes in that some hilarious “snark” about pop culture. They are generally well “received” because Simmons is really good at conjuring up the “real fan” feeling.


Well, I’m about to one-up him. Here’s some real moments and thoughts from a fan. Let’s see if I can harness some of that Internet Simmons regularly owns. First, some slight backstory:

Sunday night, with barbecues finished and all the guests with children politely asked to get their damn kids outta here, I and a few friends proceeded to finish off some Jim Beam, Negro Modelo, PBR, and Avery IPA, in reverse order. Thanks, vets, for giving me the chance to do this on a Sunday!

After some Dead Red Redemption goofing-off, we moved to the DVR for a re-play of the Saturday friendly between the USMNT and Turkey. I had my netbook with me, and I jotted some notes. As you could probably guess, I got pretty drunk by the end.

I looked at the document yesterday, though…and I actually kinda dig my analysis. Sure, I make some inexcusable gaffes in terms of cultural references, I make some typos, and I get sorta deluded and menacing near the end, but I think I’m quite right in my straight-on game analysis.

So, here it is, my unedited drunken thoughts on USMNT. Your move in the “realness” department, Bill Simmons.

Feilhaber’s playing sorta crappy-really questionable decision-making. Wonder how much is pressure-induced. Also wonder how much “pressure-induced” should be having an effect on international-level starters. Disappointing. He’s clearly got a lot of talent, but I wonder if there is a freneticism to his style that belies an immaturity.

I really really like Bocanegra coming up the side on attack. Srsly, it’s almost a calming effect, to see his familiar face matriculating (thx Hank Stram!) up with the attackers. For those who’ve ever had Chauncey Billups on their team bringing the ball up the court: eerily similar, emotionally speaking.

Never thought this would be “it”, but Tim Howard might be the key to the US. His familiarity with European soccer just bleeds through his world-class play. Another side benefit of a more-acquainted national squad (at least in comparison to past teams). Still not on Team Kasey Keller.

Also: really unsettling to hear a Brit referencing Bob Ley back in the studio in the “part of the franchise” friendly tone. I like Derek Rae, but he’s always sounded like a “hired in” or mercenary talent in relation to Bristol. In other news, I watch too much UEFA, Setanta, GolTV, Sky News, RaiUno, and other EuroChannels. Whatevs.

First Tuncay moment for Turkey really was a goal. Or shoulda been. Yikes.

Am I weird for wondering if Dempsey’s upper-sleeve tattoo is EPL-inspired? Yes, yes it is. Sry, too many tattoo-nerd and soccer-nerd themes crossing streams.

That being said, my strongest bitch about the man [editor’s note: I’m about 99% sure I was referring to Tim Howard here.] is his poorer quality long-distance clearing/goal kick/long-offerings. They lack a lot of initiative, IMO.

USMNT’s defense w/ Spector and Goodson in the lineup is prone to overplaying and a general suspectlessness against standard exploitations of Euro middies. I’m seeing a really ignorant D that doesn’t even suspect pass-throughs and normal aggressive processions upfield. Really, guys: get this shit settled.

Non-EPL vs. EPL US player communication might be more the reason of questionable moments than anything else. The US players who play in the UK seem to have a different feeling of the game than everyone else. Since more of the USMNT players enjoy the Toss-N-Bomb League more than any other for professional reasons, we need to keep this difference in mind when analyzing the USMNT team this year.

I continually forget/am in wild love with just how twee and weensy Emre is. As a Newcastle man, this is perpetual pleasure and aggrivation for me, a 6-2 who wishes the Turk had worked out better for us.

I have an irrational love for Michael Bradley’s nasty/You-Know-You’d-Love-Him-On-Your-Team qualities. He’s great.

The first goal blamed on Spector is really overheated. I love the over-activated defender moving into the front half, and this is a misfortunate moment when you employ such a strategy. No one’s to blame, all around.

If we stay this open, the US is in the front-running for Most Entertaining Team In The Round-Robin format portion. I kinda dig it.

All in all, the shitting on the first half from the USMNT is overheated. It’s more an issue of a poorly-assigned roster, at least to the formation, than one where all of the team is playing poorly. Really struck by the “of course, he can’t pull that off” I felt watching the first half. The 2nd half bears more “common sense” assignments, but I don’t think of the whole first-45 as an indictment on the team, and its makeup.

DONT SEND WHAT YOU THINK ARE DIRECT MESSAGES TO FRIENDS ON TWITTER THAT MIGHT BE REALLY PUBLIC THANGS WHEN YOU BEEN DRINKING. “Party Down” fans, enjoy my Twitter feed. [editor’s note: in other news, my couple-year-old HTC is really murky on its interface . Probably because I was about 2/5 of the way through a Jim Beam fifth]

Cherundolo is perfect for this team. Not quite “there with it” enough to explain at this point (just watch the game, dammit, and you’ll see why). The Drank’s starting to get to me. No promises from here on out.

I actually really like the US’s set pieces/fixed moments. We can pull an upset or two this cup with the way we attack from free kicks. Hey: we’re a nation built upon the NFL, a league built on set-pieces. We own this.

Am I out-of-it that I kinda think that I’m detecting a note of approval/Big Brother-to Little Brother tone to all British PBPers that I get the feeling like they are really excitedly anticipating the gung-ho do-whateva attitude that Yanks and their-sorta-successful MLS can contribute to the global game? [watch Findlay pass to Donovan perfectly] No, no I’m not.

The first USMNT goal is all on the Turkey goalie overkicking mindlessly to give the US a quicky reply. Yeah, Findlay’s touch was great (this guy’s not surprised) but let’s examine the more specific pace-of-play party foul of just giving it mindlessly away to a counterstriking team.

Color me excited for the future of the US-ultra. As an American, I perpetually have no idea what the wild-and-crazy of my own nation will appropriate as a fan-item. “Oh When The Saints” is justly included. You go, Insane-and-(Hopefully Inappropriate)-Fellow-American. I welcome you.

If there is any doubt that Jose Torres needs to be the offensive counterpart to Michael Bradley’s defensive center-mid, this game should provide no doubt. For my vote, Torres is a MUST as a top eleven. He’s inquisitive to Bradley’s suspicion/paranoia. Let him probe and be the enabler. What a team, what a statement that I drunkenly write the word as “suspicion”. [editor’s note: I think this last sentence was written because, in my drinky mind, I had spelled “suspicion” in a French/British/Spanish language manner, that Americans would spell the word “suspision” or something like that without all the mincing “c’s” we see in Anglicizations. It made sense then]

Other non-native thoughts: Altintop is great. No news there, but his game is pure catnip to me. Way to go Bayern.

Altintop has a face-hair to make all Pattinson/Lautner fans weep. Totz vampire.

Harkes: Fenherbace is the “Real Madrid of Spain.” Ya can’t even say “Real Madrid of Turkey”? Really?! US commentator FAIL. Yeah, I’ll own that 2004 internet-ism. Harkes is that silly.

Even as a US-team-defacer, I still stand by the idea that the US is in the top-3 of counter-attackers in the world. No alcho. Its our strong suit, and boy howdy is it strong. Our main hope to the semifinals. I, for one, own it. No shame for us in the transition to world power. Actually, kinda dig it.

GOAL UPDATE: I have to be the latest to it (or the first), but “the Demolition Man” moniker for Dempsey is a fantastic nickname. I’ll have to research it most soberly in the morn, but the Pauly Shore=Cli nt Dempsey meme deserves every praise.[editor’s note: apparently when I consume 60% of a fifth of Jim Beam, I start conflating Sylvester Stallone and Pauly Shore. Good to know. Nickname still works, tho.]

Still: not crazy ’bout you, Bornstein. You get no credit for being on the field when we score the winner. #HatehzToTheLeft #SoIGuessThatPutsMeOnTheLeft

This US style of defense– kinda awesome. Really, I actually dig the “swarming” style of oh-shit-we’re-in-the-lead. Really well done.

I will cut any Herculez haters with the kinda pointy-sharpy end of a toothpaste tube. Or worse.


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