By IVES GALARCEP
It’s time to answer some SBI reader questions in the latest installment of Your Questions Answered.
In case you missed it, we featured an SBI Old School Q&A post recently, which allowed readers to submit their questions onto the site for me to answer. Here is the first batch of answers to those questions.
Among the topics covered this time around are Jurgen Klinsmann’s standing as U.S. national team manager, the state of Chivas USA, the Freddy Adu situation in Philadelphia, and Mike Petke’s tenure as Red Bulls head coach.
In case you’re trying to figure out why we call it an “Old School” Q&A, it’s because the normal format these days is to have SBI Live Q&As using CoverItLive. The “Old School” format refers to it being the way we used to do Q&As in the early years of SBI, which was by having readers submit questions on the site and me answering them in future posts.
We stopped using the old school approach, but I’d say it should become a more regular feature again going forward, along with some SBI Live Q&As mixed in.
Now, onto some answers. Here they are (Some of) Your Questions Answered:
PRIZBY- Will TFC be able to score 30 goals this year?
SBI- They should score 30, but not sure many more than that. I think it will be a rough rebuilding year in Toronto, though to be fair, TFC is not done building its team. As the squad stands now though, it could be a rough first season for Ryan Nelsen.
STRINGER BELL- Any idea what’s going on with Joe Gyau? I was hoping that his USMNT call-up last year was a precursor to a big 2013, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The U.S. could sure use a winger with speed.
SBI- What’s going on is he’s 20 years old and still developing as a player. He has exciting qualities to his game, but is still developing. He’s still some time away before he’ll be a USMNT contributor. He still has to get regular playing time on the club level. He’s someone to keep an eye on for 2018 more than he is someone to hope for in 2014.
KEVIN- Ives…What does MLS think about the new Chivas USA player policy of Hispanic only and the jettisoning of American players? Does anyone else think this racist to some degree? And illegal?
SBI- If MLS had a problem with it, Chivas USA would already know about it, but the reality is there is nothing wrong with what Chivas USA is doing. The team is one of 19 teams in a single-entity league, so in business terms you can think of it as an office in a company and this particular office is focused on a particular approach to their business, in this case a style of play.
If MLS as a whole were trying to adopt this approach then there would certainly be more of an argument for illegality, but ultimately the players who have been sent away from Chivas USA are finding jobs elsewhere in the same league.
The best analogy I can think of is a Mexican restaurant in a Mexican neighborhood. You wouldn’t really begrudge the owner for wanting to have employees who have Mexican backgrounds and are able to speak spanish and understand the culture. And the fact they have kept Dan Kennedy and made him captain doesn’t hurt their argument for not being racist.
People also need to realize that several of these players heading to Chivas USA are Latino American players, players born and raised in the USA of Latino descent. The argument can be made that this segment of the player population has been underrepresented in MLS for years, so if there are now more opportunities for that segment of the player population I don’t really see the problem.
In the end, Chivas USA has a business model, and they aren’t doing anything illegal in putting that model into action. You can certainly argue whether it is a smart approach, but I just don’t think anyone can make a strong argument that it is an illegal or racist one.
DJS- How likely do you think are the chances JK calls Beasley in for the March qualys? Will both Shea and Beasley get calls, or do you think they’re in direct competition for one left winger spot?
SBI- He’s still a long shot but given the lack of wing options, he just might get the nod. I think if Brek Shea makes his way back then Klinsmann probably calls just one of them, but if both are playing regularly over the next month then I could see Klinsmann giving both a call.
DREW- If you were calling the shots in Philly what would you do about the Freddy Adu situation? Also, thoughts on Demerit being called back with the USMNT? Still think he was our best CB until Klinsmann took over.
SBI- If I were Philly I would have given him another season playing with a revamped squad in 2013. Obviously the Union decided early on that wasn’t an option, so given the current state of affairs if I were the Union I would come up with a reasonable buyout offer and push Adu to take it. The Union don’t have the money to pay the rest of Adu’s contract, but they also need to move on from that situation because if they don’t resolve it soon they will have $600,000 of Adu’s salary weighing their roster down in 2013.
CHRIS- Who is needed more to there respective group: Donovan to the USMNT or Daryl on the Walking Dead? I am devastated by both.
SBI- Daryl on The Walking Dead. Donovan would make the USMNT better, but I think they can still win without him. Without Daryl and his crossbow, the group in the Walking Dead would already be toast (as we saw last episode).
SCUBA STEVE- What do you see in your crystal ball for the Le Toux/Casey partnership?
SBI- I’m more interested to see what LeToux-McINerney will do. Not sure how much Casey has left, but playing with a young team, and guys like LeToux, McInerney and Farfan just might help revive his career. I see McInerney being the guy who breaks out this season, and could see him finishing with more goals than either LeToux or Casey.
STEPHEN- Thoughts on the Cosmos acquisitions so far? Seems like they’re building a fringe-MLS-quality side… does that translate into NASL powerhouse?
SBI- They’ve done a good job of building a team for NASL play. I think they should be Minnesota’s biggest competition for the title, but still think Minnesota is the favorite. Manny Lagos is a more established coach than Gio Savarese so they get the edge.
RS- Any idea why the coaching staff left off the Mex-based players for the Honduras game? They were match fit and some of their matches in Mexico have a similar climate to San Pedro Sula. Certainly Gomez was a head scratcher, but Torres could have been useful in the midfield or as a 2nd half sub.
SBI- It was a bit odd not to see Herculez Gomez get the nod, or even playing time, in Honduras. The only thing I can think of was that he was either injured or his energy levels were low following Santos Laguna’s game that Sunday. As for the other players, I’m not sure Edgar Castillo or Jose Torres make a difference against Honduras on that day.
ANATOLY_M- I shared the desire for Klinsmann to replace BB, for all those reason rehashed so many times. While I don’t think that letting BB go was a mistake, I have no idea what Klinsmann is doing. There is no perceived movement in any direction. If you were a God, who would you get as an ideal coach for USMNT (after 2014, now, whenever)? Not the most famous, but the best match.
SBI- I said it before Klinsmann and I’ll say it again, I still think Guus Hiddink would have been a great choice. I know he failed to qualify Russia for 2010, and Turkey for Euro 2012, but I still think he would be a good fit. From an American standpoint, I honestly think having Bruce Arena take another run at the job wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. His second World Cup cycle didn’t end all that well but I think with the current group he could be a good fit to get the most out of this group.
BFBS- John Anthony Brooks: (i) do you know where he stands on his national team preference? (ii) assuming he is still willing to represent the United States, could/should he called up for this qualifying cycle? Thank you very much
SBI- I haven’t heard anything definitive other than reports that he was called up for a recent German U-20 camp so he’s obviously on Germany’s radar. He’s a very promising young centerback, doing well for Hertha Berlin, but it’s still his first year as a pro and talk of him being a factor for the full USMNT is a reach in my opinion. He’s more a prospect for 2018 than 2014 in my book.
LAKE- Will the Gold Cup squad be our full A-team or not?
SBI- With three HEX qualifiers in June, I’d expect the Gold Cup team to be mostly a B team.
OLD SCHOOL- Do you see Omar Gonzalez moving abroad before the 2014 World Cup?
SBI- He’s about to enter the final year of his contract, and when I spoke to him in October he sounded determined to leave MLS and test himself abroad after next season. That’s really the best move for him. No point in him staying in MLS. He needs to challenge himself in a bigger league.
STEVE- How do you see the LA Galaxy’s season starting off (Donovan nowhere to be found/Zardes injury/Villarreal away with YNT duty/Lampard will he-won’t he)?
SBI- Their offense could certainly struggle, but with their defense, and Robbie Keane, they’ll still be solid until Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes return. I’d still call them a Top Four team for 2013.
TONY IN QUAKELAND- Can you shed some light on the “awaiting moderation” mechanism? It seems completely random. Is it aglich, or is there something we are doing that unwittingly triggers it? It is very frustrting and there have been lots of comments.
SBI- Basically that function is meant to filter out profanity and also to halt first-time commenters so that we have the ability to read their comments before granting them full commenting privileges. We’ve had some issues with it because it does seem as though there are times comments get flagged that we can’t really find any problem with. It’s still a work in progress and all we can do is try to approve comments as often as possible, but obviously we don’t have the manpower to constantly approve comments being held.
JOSH- So this question has been circled around already, but I have my own version of it… How married to Klinnsman is USSF? Clearly they have made a huge investment in him, both financially and philosophically, but at what point would they pull the plug? I don’t mean to sound like chicken little, and I wouldn’t call our current state a crisis, but we are now in games that count, and we seem weaker than at any point in the last 10 years. Not necessarily from a results standpoint, because we clearly have a record of some impressive friendly wins, but Scotland aside, does anybody that has watched us play feel like we are better or even as good as we were a few years ago?
So, do we ride the JK ship all the way to not qualifying for WC2014 if it comes to that, or do we pull out at a certain point of danger?
SBI- Klinsmann isn’t going anywhere until after the World Cup UNLESS the USMNT is eliminated from qualifying. U.S. Soccer is paying him a ton to coach the team and considering they had to pay Bob Bradley a big payout when they fired him, they just don’t have the financial ability to dump Klinsmann even if they wanted to any time soon.
That being said, I think any “Dump Klinsmann” talk is way premature. It’s still too early for that. He’s experimenting, looking for the right combination, and as uncomfortable as it is for USMNT fans that he’s still working out the kinks, the reality is he took over a team in transition so it was never going to be an easy job.
BILL- Question about transfer fees. Does the player receive any of the transfer fee or does the selling club keep it all?
SBI- Generally players receive 10 percent, but I believe MLS contracts include a waiving of that fee when players are sold, so most MLS players who are sold do not receive that 10 percent bonus.
FRANK- Ives, I want to know your opinion on Terrance Boyd. There has a large group on here lately clamoring for him to get a start in the Hex. I personally think he’s too young and inexperienced, and I don’t believe his performances with the Nats have been that great. Although I do think he will be a huge factor on the USMNT in the future. I wouldn’t mind seeing him called up for the WCQ, but I think a start is a little extreme. Can we put the Boyd love on hold for a little bit? Thoughts?
SBI- I think Terrence Boyd is going to be a breakout star, but his time isn’t here yet. Anyone asking for him to start over Altidore right now is jumping the gun and suffering from “Anyone but the current guy” syndrome. I see Boyd on the 2014 World Cup team, and potentially being a serious factor in that tournament, but right now I wouldn’t say he should start or be playing. I did think he would get called up though.
LEFTCOASTMETRO- Ives, as a Red Bull fan here, my heart is overjoyed by Petke’s hiring, while my brain is convinced he’s been put into an impossible situation for a new coach (crazy expectations, big egos, etcetera). Which vital organ of mine do you most agree with?
SBI- I think your body read the situation well. There’s reason to be optimistic because of Petke’s love for the team and ties to the club, but he has zero experience and is faced with a brutal job of managing big egos and the expectations that come with leading a big-spending team. I’d say he has a bit more wiggle room because people will have patience with him, but if he’s just not equipped to be a head coach then things could definitely get ugly.
That said, I think having Robin Fraser as his assistant, and having the backing of veterans like Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry, should help him make the transition. It’s no sure bet he will succeed though. Enjoy the ride and hopefully for your sake things don’t get ugly.
ADAM M.– MLS held that big marketing event in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens with Garber, hundreds of fans, a bunch of community leaders, free t-shirts and balls and empanadas, nice pictures of where they’d like to put a stadium, and a promise not to screw up the park. They still seem to be missing a team, some owners, and approval for a stadium though. How close are we to MLS2 really? Are the Cosmos an option or the competition?
SBI- I’ve always said a second NY MLS team was inevitable, and I still think it happens, but that event didn’t really mean much at all beside being a nice photo op and declaration of the league’s intentions. It really felt more like Don Garber’s “We’re getting this done, you watch” party. I’m not sure how close the project really is to happening. Still think its three years away. As for the Cosmos, I’d say they feel more like the competition now than an option for MLS. At least that’s how the Cosmos are portraying things now.