Our 23 vs. Klinsi’s

Since Jurgen Klinsmann cut Landon Donovan while trimming his World Cup roster to 23 players this past week, Beemsville has run the reaction gamut:  disbelief, anger, sadness…  But mostly disbelief.  Veteran soccer commentators like Alexi Lalas and Grant Wahl will tell us an emotional reaction is to be expected (and it’s a good thing for U.S. Soccer); after all, Landon has been the face of the National Team for going on a decade.  He’s the greatest player our country has ever produced, scored more goals, had more assists, and come up clutch in big moments throughout his career.  Has he slowed down a step?  Sure.  But since he was quicker than virtually everyone else to begin with…  And since his game is also based on intelligence, technique, timing…  Well, we still can’t believe Jurgen made this call.

Still can’t believe we’re going to line up against Ghana in less than a month, and Number 10 won’t be on the pitch (or at least on the bench).  We’ve listened to a few podcasts, read a ton of articles, and from Taylor Twellman to Brian Sciaretta, we can’t find one person who thinks this was the right call.

What does this say about Jurgen?  He’s certainly a man with a plan.  He’s certainly said all kinds of stuff about earning it, competing, etc., but as Alexi Lalas said, it comes down to personal preference.  And that preference seems to favor the young, and untested.  The problem we have here, is it once again throws the coaching staff’s judgement into question.  Is Jurgen trying to win now or is this part of his construction plan for the next cycle?  Is this to make the World Cup more about him?   Because as of right now, every match played is a referendum on the Landon cut.

So let’s have a look at the Klinsmann 23 and compare it to the final Beemsville 23 from earlier this month:

Continue reading

Mario Power

What is it about Mario that gives him such appeal?  I’m talking Super Mario here – you know, Luigi’s stouter brother, plumber, adventurer, and rescuer of princesses.  He’s been around the video game for like 30 years, and the kids still love him.  Our kids do, at least.  On a recent trip to Gamestop to peruse the titles, my boy brought me two Super Mario games for the Wii.  “I gotta have-a the Mario,” he says in his best bad-Italian accent.  “He’s-a Super Mario!”

So I let him get one of them:  Super Mario Bros.-wii.  It’s all they want to play.  This game is like the classic Super Mario Bros. of the Nintendo era – a side-scroller with levels, hidden areas, and a little bit of strategy on getting those 1-ups and bonus powers.  It has the familiar music, the characters, and team-play with Luigi and other side-kicks.  The other Mario game they really like is Sonic and Mario at the Winter Olympics – they’ve been on that one for almost two years. Continue reading

Camp Cali Thoughts

Fair warning:  this blog will definitely take on a World Cup feel over the next couple of months…  Speaking of which, ESPN aired the first of an excellent documentary series last night:  Inside U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil.  Really interesting profiles of the team and coaches, with great access and inside footage.  If you’re only a casual fan of the team or only pay attention around World Cup time, this series will definitely get you more familiar with our team and what they go through to qualify.  ESPN will no doubt be replaying this many times, so check your program guide.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man squad convened today for training camp in Stanford.  They will go at it a couple of weeks before playing three friendlies – the send-off series – against Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria.  Sometime during this stretch, Jurgen will cut the squad down to the required 23.

Here’s how the coach’s 30 differed from the Beemsville picks

We had Jay DeMerit, Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo, and Eddie Johnson in our 30.  Der Coach called in Joe Corona, Brad Davis, DeAndre Yedlin, and John Brooks instead.

Jurgen has never called in Jay, so no surprise there.  Call it a difference of opinion.   The others we can sorta, kinda see as well.  Brooks and Yedlin are two for the future.  If nothing else, they can come to camp, press other guys, and see what it will take for the next cycle.  Corona is an interesting choice in that he’s been given multiple chances and hasn’t really taken advantage.  It seemed like the Gold Cup last summer showed that Corona wasn’t quite fleet enough to play wide, and not quite physical enough to play central in this crowded midfield.  Brad Davis is the most interesting choice.  He’s the veteran, with a great left foot.  If you want a left-footed veteran to come in the last 20 minutes and provide service, he’s your guy. Continue reading

23 For Brazil – May

Next week Jurgen Klinsmann will name the 30 man Camp Cali roster, from which (presumably) the final 23 will emerge.  That makes this the final ’23 for Brazil’ post before the World Cup.  We are just over a month before that opening game against Ghana in Natal, so get your vacation days requested and your viewing plans made.

Some of the guys are scoring goals and playing well lately (Dempsey, Boyd, Besler, Wondo); some guys are not.  Fortunately, (knock on digi-wood) the team is pretty healthy at this point.  Big questions remain about the defense and the last few forward-line spots, with only the midfield looking solid.

So we bring you the final Beemsville 23:  Our picks (not who we think Jurgen will take) to the World Cup.  As a bonus, we’ll also include the other seven guys we’d invite to our training camp.  Kind of beside the point since we’re naming the roster, but here we go… Continue reading

FCBD Observations

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day – which many have characterized as a great idea, often poorly executed.  One of our local stores celebrated FCBD with some local promotion and an event.  They had a good-sized crowd at the outset.  They had lots of kids in the store.  They had professional artists there signing their stuff.  All the basics of a fairly decent FCBD.  But they also made some pretty basic mistakes – some of which would be relatively easy to correct.

To begin with, the store needs to promote better.  We knew about their FCBD because our friend and son’s school classmate printed up a bunch of flyers and distributed them at our school.  But what about the other 15-20 grade schools in town?  What about the library?  We realize comics stores don’t have much budget for marketing, but even a spot in the local alternative weekly paper would have helped.

Get your website straight.  This store’s site happened to be under construction, slow to load, and generally awful on the one day of the year you want to project competence.

Other issues have more to do with store/event layout and execution: Continue reading