Noah Davis

The United States national team: now with more Brad Davis

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So, Brek Shea’s foot is basically still broken and Jurgen Klinsmann — who hasn’t had the best of dayscalled in Houston Dynamo midfielder and set piece aficionado Brad Davis to provide cover for the upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

Davis, who made an appearance in the January camp and parlayed that into a trip to Honduras, is a smart move here. If you’ve got the horses, why not bring them? We’ll see how this all plays out.

If you want more, here’s a video of Klinsmann talking about some stuff:

That time MLS wanted Michael Owen as a DP

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MLSSoccer.com senior writer Jeff Bradley (nice hire, guys!) has a little bit about the retirement of Michael Owen and Major League Soccer’s pursuit of the English star.

League representative reached out to Owen in 2006 and 2009, but he wasn’t interested in coming over. The closest the pursuit ever got, however, seems to be in 2011 when the Vancouver Whitecaps were interested in the attacker as their debut DP.

“We considered him to be a very exciting player with a lot of marquee value,” Greg Anderson, Vancouver’s director of professional teams, tells Bradley. “So we reached out to his agent to see if there might be an interest. Unfortunately, it never materialized.”

Too bad. It would have been really interesting to see what type of impact Owen would have made. At that point, he was a step or two slower — he was, after all, just two years or so from announcing his retirement from the sport — but he would have certainly been good enough to play in MLS.

More importantly, he would have made a nice test case on the marketing side. He’s no David Beckham or Thierry Henry, but Owen was (and still is) a famous European face that the casual fan would likely know. He would have been more in the Tim Cahill role. (Yes, I know Cahill isn’t European, but he’s from an English-speaking country and has a similar Q Rating.) I wonder how Owen’s jersey would have sold, how many tickets his presence would have moved, how the Whitecaps fanbase would have rallied behind him. That, in turn, could have helped other franchises master the DP equation.

But alas, we’ll never know. Owen didn’t want to come, the Whitecaps went with Mustapha Jarju, which, obviously, didn’t work out on the field or off it. Now, Owen will play out the string at Stoke and the Whitecaps will try their luck with Kenny Miller. Owen, I suspect, would have had a bigger impact.

Red card rescinded: Chivas USA gets Joaquín Velasquez back

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Remember over the weekend when there was that whole dust-up about the ridiculous red card given to Chivas USA’s Joaquín Velasquez for, I don’t know, sliding or something?

Well, that’s a thing of the past. MLS rescinded the red card and the fine, meaning the midfielder can play this weekend against Chicago. The discipline system does work.

But seriously, discipline and cheating is becoming a bigger issue in MLS and it’s important to see that mistakes are rectified in a timely and appropriate manner. No official will get everything right all the time. At least there’s a system in place to correct the mistakes.

In case you missed it, here’s the non-red red:

One more stop for Freddy Adu

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It sounds as though young — yes, still young — Freddy Adu is off to see the wizardplay in Brazil.

The 23-year-old attacker will reportedly undergo a medical evaluation at Bahia with the intention of joining the club. That’s far superior to his current persona non grata status with the Philadelphia Union. In exchange, the MLS side stands to receive former Manchester United midfielder Kléberson.

It’s all still pretty unclear, though, with Bahia president Marcelo Guimarães Filho telling reporters, “If the deal is done, costs will be reduced, as Freddy Adu would earn less than Kléberson, who would join Philadelphia Union in a swap deal,” but Union chief executive Nick Sakiewicz saying that Adu has not been asked to take a reduced salary.

(Sakiewicz also reported that while no MLS team inquired about Adu’s services, the player rejected offers from Russia, Ukraine, Australia, South Korea, and Mexico. “After the third time, I stopped trying to guess what Freddy Adu wants,” Sakiewicz said. “The Korea deal was substantially more than what he’s making now.”)

Bahia, for what it’s worth, sounds excited about securing Adu’s services. The team released a statement: “The player is good, young, and could adapt to Brazilian football.”

The newest team would be Adu’s eighth club since 2007, although his first one in South America. So that’s fun. The days of Freddy Adu as the future of American soccer are over, a thing of the past that seems ridiculous in retrospect, but I still but the man might not be totally done yet. He still has the vision and the skill to make an impact, and Brazil, which offers players plenty of time on the ball, might be the perfect place for him. And well away from the spotlight. Who knows? If this works out well, he could still turn things around.

One last thought: The other day, I posted a video of an interview of Jozy Altidore conducted by Jimmy Conrad. The following exchange caught my attention:

Conrad: “Who’s the best player you’ve ever played with?”

Altidore: “Honestly? Talentwise, Freddy Adu.”

That doesn’t go away. I’m just saying…

Chaos in Camp Klinsmann?

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Brian Straus of the Sporting News went and dropped a bomb on the United States soccer community with a story that reveals growing discontent among the player with Jurgen Klinsmann and the direction of the program.

The key takeaways, which Straus helpfully highlighted in his piece:

  • Klinsmann and chief assistant Martin Vasquez either lack the tactical acumen and game-day chops to successfully lead the team or fail to communicate their wishes effectively.
  • Too much time and too many resources are spent on initiatives that don’t translate to the field.
  • Constant lineup changes and building resentment over the perceived importance and attitude of the German-born players are harming team chemistry.

    So yeah, that’s… not good. Although I do think that if you’ve been paying attention, this piece shouldn’t comes as a huge surprise. The bubbles have been popping up for a few months now.

    To me, there are really two separate issues at work here: 1) Klinsmann’s inability — perceived or otherwise — to coach the team and 2) growing division within the squad itself.

    I actually think the second one is more concerning. The first issue — not being ready for individual games and/or not being given a game plan — is a problem because the U.S. needs to win and it needs to win now (or Friday, more specifically). But that’s the type of thing that can pretty easily be rectified pretty simply in a number of different ways.

    The second one, however, is a much bigger, systemic problem. I tackled the issue of building community on a diverse team, and one of the major takeaways was that once resentment seeps in, it’s incredibly hard to eliminate. Divisions on the national team aren’t going to go away with a simple coaching change if it does get to that point. (Mr. Arena, you listening?) It will take months and perhaps years of hard work to undo that damage. If Klinsmann’s goal is to build a strong national team for the future, this doesn’t seem like the best way to go about accomplishing that task.

    Of course, take this all with a grain of salt. Straus, for all the impressive reporting he did, remains an outsider. He has plenty of sources, but he doesn’t have all the sources. The sky is falling, but the end is not nigh. Not quite yet anyway. Let’s talk again around midnight on Friday.

    Anyhow, enough of me. Go read Straus’ excellent piece.