Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
  Trecker got me thinking.
Yeah, I know you are all surprised that 1) I had a thought and 2) it was Jamie Trecker which lead to it...but it happened.

So, Bruce Arena is taking a bunch of youngsters to Costa Rica on Saturday. I've no problem with that...it makes since. Hell, I'll be thrilled to see Kevin Hartman get a cap.

But what's got me thinking is the situation which has lead to the inexperienced team heading south. Is it really fair to the teams still fighting for a spot in Germany? If one team gets to play a below strength team and another doesn't, where's the legitimacy in the qualification?

So, what's the solution? Easy, if FIFA were to say that the higher a team finishes in their qualification gets more points in the seeding process come the draw for the finals. Currently, the seeding is based on performances in recent (the last three) World Cup finals. If they were to add in a component which adds to the seeding process for next summer, it might be enough to counter Steve Sampson's (yeah, I can't post a blog without mentioning him) poor performance in France. The US could be close enough to getting a top seed to avoid the Brazil's and Germany's in the first round.

Well, it's just a thought and could certainly add something to the qualification process.
It's perfectly fair, and stupid to even consider otherwise. This is the same crap I heard about last week when the White Sox clinched. You earn the right to rest your starters if you've already done the work to clinch.
I'll disagree. I don't really follow baseball so I don't know anything about the Sox situation...however, in Baseball, seeding for the playoffs is done with results from the current season. In the World Cup, it's based on results from at least 4 years ago. Using the results from qualification in some way will only improve the seeding process.
Oh, and once you've wrapped up the top spot...then rest your starters. But with the US and Mexico already in with a third of the final qualifying left to go...something can be improved there too. You don't see Baseball teams wrapping up a pennant with 50 games left.
But they don't use those results, and it doesn't matter what position you finish in.
The team will be stronger for having tried out the younger, less experienced players. This is the perfect time to get them serious international minutes under pressure, to see how they respond.

Meanwhile, too much is being made of this. This is no team of scrubs. The roster includes Run DMB, Gooch, Bocanegra, Pope, Mastroeni, Eddie Lewis, Howard, Convey and Ching.

Arena's not lying down for this one.
Interesting suggestion, but it will never happen... and shouldn't. Suppose Arena played all the usual starters in the next two games. Would risking a stupid injury to a star for a higher seed be worth it. no, Arean, and any right-minded manager would still sit them (look no further than the MLB for proof on that). and that isn't even my strongest point. If the USMNT starts all of their 'starters' then how is Arena suppossed to know who to take as reserves? And no, their MLS stats don't translate to deserved spots. C'mon - we have CR and Panama coming up next. We should be getting wins in both those games nomatter who we send out onto the pitch.
No way should Reis be in goal. That guy is out of position a lot, and that can be taken advantage of (see Moreno and Youri for advice).

As for a youngster, I think Gaven should get another opportunity. He has 8 goals , the most in his career, in a HORRENDOUS season (just for perspective). He is running again, and playing with a purpose. Although he can make bad decisions, he is thinking goal every time he touches the ball, that can be a dangerous asset to have off the bench.
okay, I will be the dick. Football is football, play the game right with integrity. What the US did was a disgrace since there are still points and places at stake. Granted Costa Rica probably would have gone through anyway since the were ahead in points, goals for, against, head to head, and any other tie-breaker against the Trinidads except for maybe quality of Rum produced.

Of course this would not have mattered in the "old" days when only one team qualified from CONCACAF or even two. But since qualifying for the World Cup is so watered down, 4.5 qualification teams is an absolute joke. Before you get me for being unpatriotic, 14 European places is a joke too. England are extremely lucky to qualify for being one of the two best second place teams in a group containing Poland, NI, Wales, Austria, and Azer-by-jove you've got it.
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
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