Here Are All Those Question we Ordered. It's Mailbag Time!

Well hello everybody. I hope that you've had a fun week telling all of your friends how you were dead on about Nagbe, Pulisic, and Wood being the future of American soccer.  We certainly have. This week we're going to talk about America's chances at Copa. We're going to discuss potential DPs, goal line technology, and Patrick Vieira.  As always we appreciate you taking the time to write. Let's get started!

Well Tony, it appears as if the Sounders are honing in on Nicolas Lodeiro. He’s a 27 year old Uruguay international who is strictly a Number 10. In terms of MLS comparisons think of Diego Valeri, Mauro Diaz, or Nacho Piatti, except he might be better than all 3. He’s a regular starter for the Uruguay National Team and Boca Juniors. The hang-ups on the deal seem to be contingent on Boca Juniors completion of Copa Libertadores. If you’ve followed this league for any amount of time, you may know that transfers of this magnitude are incredibly fickle, so we won’t know until he’s standing in the SeaTac baggage claim. The Sounders are also expected to sign a TAM level player in addition to the DP.

As for other big name DPs coming this summer, it’s tough to say. The teams like LA and NYCFC who like to bring in recognizable Euro players are at their limits as far as DPs go. After the Kei Kamara trade, we know that Columbus has quite a bit of cap space and resources to sign a DP, but they don’t go after big names. I suspect we could see a move or two similar to that of Piatti’s move to Montreal.  These type of moves that don’t necessarily move the needle for jersey sales, but are moves that target very good players in their own right. You never know, there’s always Zlatan.

-Mark Kastner

I was going to be kind of a jerk and answer this question as if you were wondering about whether or not Barnetta's goal should count, but I decided against it because I care about all of you so much. It seems that you're asking whether or not Larin's "shot" crossed the line. It was nearly impossible for me to tell from where I was sitting (the couch), but somebody on Twitter did some photo magic and came up with this: 

So, if that's to be believed, than yeah it looks like the ref got this one right. I'm actually pretty surprised at how often they manage to successfully make these kinds of calls. Eventually every stadium is going to have the benefit of goal line technology, and I personally can't wait to have at least one controversial thing taken care of by our future robot overlords. I think that the practice was actually very successful in England this year and MLS needs to get on this train just as soon as finances allow it. Everybody should also get Sky Cam. 

-Ian L. 

The Vancouver Whitecaps seem to be the obvious choice in a pretty bad Cascadia. While a lot of things can change down the road, especially when these clubs still get to play each other a combined eight more times this season, I think the Whitecaps’ relative “hot start” to the other Cascadia clubs has them in position to finish highest up.

The Timbers trail Vancouver by five points and the Sounders trail by seven points in the standings. All Cascadia clubs have a negative goal difference, but the Whitecaps are the club that have looked the most poised to be solid throughout the year. Portland and Seattle have yet to win a road game, while the Whitecaps have won a whopping two. It’s going to come down to who can win some road games, and if Seattle and Portland don’t right a wrong ship, Vancouver is going to win a lackluster Cascadia standings battle.

Seattle seem to be in the running for Nicolas Lodiero, and if that signing happens and he's able to acclimate quickly, they could end up challenging Vancouver for the throne, but as it stands currently, it looks like Portland and Seattle are by the wayside as Vancouver tops the Cascadia standings this season. 

-Clay Massey

 

City Group has shown that they are merciless if a bad run of form sees the team finish out of the playoffs, even after investing massive amounts of time and money for a single coach.

Will they do it again with Vieira, and soon?

No.

One loss (albeit a complete pantsing by one’s rivals) is not indicative of the season NYCFC is having. Overall, the City Blues are performing above expectations in comparison to last year, and Patrick has found a way to find results on the road. One would reasonably expect some difficulty in gaining some consistency in Yankee Stadium, but again, we are talking about City Group.

That said, Vieira NEEDS to use the field as an advantage considering half their matches are played there. Away results may not last, so the points have to come from somewhere. It’s imperative that he finds the formula sooner than later.

Is Vieira’s job in question? Not at all…but let’s revisit this in a couple months.

-Steven Clark

Yes, but it won’t go much further. John Harkes might tell you otherwise.

The gauntlet that sits before the US is nothing to be taken lightly. You’ve essentially got three teams that qualified for the knockout stages and two that made the quarterfinals two years ago in Brazil.

Costa Rica have an spot in the ‘best team in the group’ argument. Undefeated in 2018 World Cup qualifying, they haven’t really slowed down since their outstanding breakout performance in the 2014 World Cup, where they reached the quarterfinals. Even prior to the Brazilian tournament they were second in qualification, just behind the US. Given the form they’re in and the fact that this is a squad that has stayed mostly in tact over two years and a World Cup, they’ve got everything going for them.

Colombia had an outstanding 2014 World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals as well (we all remember a shirtless, sobbing James Rodriguez after time expired). Their 2015 Copa America was one to forget, however: Colombia only managed a single goal (and a single win) in the entire tournament. Thus far in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying they’re 3-2-1, and have lost to teams arguably better than them (Uruguay, Argentina), and drawn against Chile, another newfound South American superpower.

Paraguay look to be the weakest of the group, but they’ll be a difficult obstacle for the US nonetheless. They’re 2-3-1 in World Cup qualifying at the moment, gaining draws recently against Argentina and Brazil.

Los Ticos are the most familiar foe in the group, clashing with the US on five occasions since Klinsmann’s appointment in July of 2011. The US in that time has amassed two wins and three losses against tiny Costa Rica, with an overall -2 goal differential (scored 3, conceded 5). Klinsmann’s peppered record against these CONCACAF rivals makes this an even more nerve-racking affair on the 7th of June, even though all despair may have set in by that time if the Colombia result on June 3rd goes south.

In reality a great start to the tournament is everything, and the US do have the distinct advantage of playing at home (as does Mexico for all intents and purposes). Given that intangible edge, there is good hope of the US advancing if it can scrounge two points in their first two matches. Anything less will mean Klinsmann’s side bowing out. In the end, Paraguay is the most beatable team in the group and the USA’s final match of that stage, and could even be seen as a more impactful match (depending upon the first two).

-Cory Jensen