I'll be honest here, I didn't watch yesterday's game. I was going to, and then I saw the lineup that was set to start and I wondered, "What would be the point?". Of the 11 who started, only Andy Carroll would be a lockdown, surefire part of anyone's first choice 11. Perhaps Martin Kelly would be too, but not in the center of defense and certainly not when he's the most competent member of the central partnership by some miles as he is when he's dragging around the bloated corpse of Menelaus. I knew what was coming, and I didn't see the need to waste two hours of my life on it (so instead I wasted three on the Cubs, you can see how I've ended up where I did in life).
I get that a lot of these players are marked in the "Please Take" pile, and the club are trying to prove their fitness and their usefulness (the former being way ahead of the latter at the moment). But at what point do we start preparing for the season to come? I understand that a quick, 2500-mile trip to Istanbul is more a nuisance and tiring, and Kenny may not want to have subjected some of the first-teamers to that. A quicker trip to Norway may be easier on them. Ok. But Downing and Henderson have only had a half of practice football. Agger not much more. Skrtel none at all. We haven't seen Gerrard or Meireles, are they close to being fit for Sunderland? We know Lucas and Suarez are on break. At what point do we start trying to get the players who will be playing used to each other?
There's only two friendlies left, and you begin to wonder if that's even near enough time. The defense once again was awful, but how good was it going to look when Kyrgiakos is shepherding Martin Kelly in an unfamiliar position, and then four fullbacks? When do Agger, Skrtel, Johnson, and whoever is going to start at leftback begin to rebuild an understanding? Is two games enough? Doesn't feel like it right now, does it?
It would be one thing if the fixture list was kind. But the second date on it is away to Arsenal. And the Gunners just happen to look the most vulnerable Champions League team who can be vaulted for a spot of our own. No game in the second week of the season is "must-win", but it sure would help.
Anyway, I guess the bottom line is I'm hardly panicking, but I'd like to be encouraged by what I see on Monday instead of inching ever closer to actual worry.
-Well, that didn't take long. The USSF announced Jurgen Klinsmann as coach, which is either five years late, one year late, or right on time depending on who you talk to. While no one knows for sure, it can be reasonably assumed that the two previous breakdowns in bringing Klinsmann into run things was a desire for too much power or money, so I'll be curious to see who backed down this time. My guess is that Klinsmann, who doesn't really need this job as much as the US needs him, wasn't the one acquiescing.
I have one fear with Jurgen, and that is as he was transforming the German team from the abortion they were in Portugal in 2004 to the machine they were in 2006, the buzz was that while Klinsmann made a nice figurehead and was great with the press and fostered a great team spirit, it was Joachim Low who was actually the real brains of the operation. Considering Die Mannschaft have reached a Euro Final and World Cup Semifinal under Low's guidance, that theory hasn't exactly been disproved yet.
Whatever Jurgen brings as a coach, there is one silver lining that should delight all of us in Sam's Army. The days of punting it up as far as you can hoping the really fast forward can get to it are over. The Yanks will try and play some football under the German. Whether they are up to it or not remains to be seen. Could be wonderful, could be disastrous. What it won't be is boring.