The Tuesday XI

80’s Night Edition

The bar where one third of The Other 87 watches the U.S. National Team play hosted 80’s (and Ladies) Night Friday while the game was going on. In honor of the soundtrack we had for the match, here’s our player ratings from the match, assigned in the form of 80’s songs.

"You know what I'm talking about."

Player: Tim Howard
Song: “White Wedding”
Operative Line: “Hey little sister who’s your Superman?”

Not even Timmy 1’s heroics could keep the U.S. score sheet unblemished. Today against Belgium will be a nice day to start again.

Player: Edgar Castillo
Song: “Don’t Stop Believin’”
Operative Line: “Some will win, some will lose/Some were born to sing the blues.”

Like Journey, Edgar Castillo asks us to keep believing despite the fact that he sucks. Actually, that’s kind of unfair to Edgar. No one sucks as bad as Journey does.

Player: Carlos Bocanegra
Song: “You Can Call Me Al”
Operative Line: “A man walks down the street/He says, why am I soft in the middle now?”

The answer: Poor communication and inexperience at the center backs doomed the U.S. again, just as it did in the Gold Cup.

Freddie would have made a better centerback. Why? Just look at him.

Player: Michael Orozco
Song: “Another One Bites the Dust”
Operative Line: “And another one’s gone and another one’s gone.”

Add Orozco to the list of center back casualties the U.S. has had in the last year – DeMerit, Onyewu, very nearly Tim Ream (I’m sure he’ll be back, but for a while there his head seemed next on the chopping block). Orozco’s not been terrible, but his performances have at times had fans hanging on the edge of their seats, and not in a good way.

Player: Timmy Chandler
Song: “Mickey”
Operative Line: “You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand.”

U.S. fans think Timmy 2’s pretty fine, so thank goodness he didn’t break their hearts by committing to Germany.

This face screams confusion.

Player: Maurice Edu
Song: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
Operative Line: “But you gotta let me know/Should I stay or should I go?”

Poor Edu. He finally gets 90 minutes that aren’t at centerback and now people are suggesting he take a back seat to Kyle Beckerman against Belgium. I’m a big Edu fan, and with his performances for Rangers and when he does get minutes, I can’t understand why it’s always tease tease tease with him.

Player: Jose Torres
Song: “I Want a New Drug”
Operative Line: “One that won’t make me nervous/Wonderin’ what to do”

Torres is a new type of player in the center of the midfield for the Nats (at least in the last five years, practically a lifetime in international soccer), a passer rather than a runner or destroyer. Based on Friday’s game, it’s an experiment that very well could work, and that would be one result that won’t keep fans up all night or make them feel too bad.

Player: Landon Donovan
Song: “Eye of the Tiger”
Operative Line: “So many times it happens too fast/You change your passion for glory.”

For years, when the U.S. played, Landon had that eye of the tiger, man, that edge. Now he’s gotta get it back. See that look in their eyes, in the eyes of Dempsey and Bradley and the other guys. He’s got to get that look back. Eye of the Tiger man.

Player: Brek Shea
Song: “Superfreak”
Operative Line: Uhh, “She’s a superfreak, superfreak/she’s superfreaky, yow.”

Ignore the gender confusion and look at it this way. What we have in Shea right now is a pacy winger with good dribbling ability who’s not afraid to take people on and to draw out defenders before slipping passes through the defense. That skill set, so far, only rarely takes advantage of the fact that he’s 6’3. If he learns to harness his size, increasing his upper body strength and becoming better in the air, he could be a full dual threat, a target forward on the wing and a constant threat crashing the back post.

Player: Jozy Altidore
Song: “Here I Go Again”
Operative Line: “Here I go again on my own/going down the only road I’ve ever known.”

Once more, Jozy was asked to plow a lonely road as the only center forward in the side. I actually thought he was quite effective, particularly in the first thirty minutes, when he was dropping deep, receiving passes and moving the ball quickly to forward runners. The consensus seems to be he works better with a strike partner, but I still think Jozy has the tools to be a lone front man, he just lacks the practice doing it.

Player: Robbie Rogers
Song: “Beat It”
Operative Line: “You better run you better do what you can.”

I’ve never been a fan of Rogers, but I’m willing to change my mind if he shows a consistent ability to use his speed to stretch play or beat people on the dribble out on the flank and put in good crosses into the box. If not, then he should probably just, you know, get out of here or something.

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