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Onstad or Sutton on Saturday?


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I hope it's Onstad; no way should Sutton's concussion be a factor

in a game. Onstad should provide some payback on Carlos Ruiz & Guatemala,

after the lacklustre first game of WCQ2004. He's been pretty solid so far,

even in light of his travel schedule these past few days.

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Semis: June 21

Final: June 24

Hou vs Chivas: June 21

Hou vs KC Wiz: June 24

Houston Dynamo in the Gold Cup

Wednesday, June 12: Onstad guides Canada to quarters

Closing out a whirlwind week of being shuttled back and forth between Houston Dynamo and the Canadian national team, goalkeeper Pat Onstad came up with big saves for Canada Monday night to secure a first place finish in Group B of the Gold Cup.

Playing two matches in just over 24 hours, Onstad managed to serve up a 2-0 Canadian shutout over Haiti.

"To be honest, my first reaction was just from the high of beating Columbus, it didn't sink in until I was on my flight the next morning that I was going to have to get up and play again that night," Onstad said of the news that he would be playing for his national team the following night. "When I got out there experience kind of took over, the guys played great in front of me which made it easier."

In transitioning back and forth between Dynamo and the Canadian national team, Onstad credits the coaching and playing styles of both teams.

"The nice thing about the two teams is the coaches encourage everyone to play hard the whole time, which takes a lot of pressure off the defense. It's not like the old days of Team Canada; you get a chance to keep possession and enjoy the playing of the guys in front of you."

With Canada coming out on top of Group B, the Maple Leafs are set to play Guatemala in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.

Of expectations for the rest of the tournament, Onstad said, "Obviously we have three games to go before the finals, we're really concentrating on the quarterfinal. We want to be one of the better teams in CONCACAF and secure a spot in the World Cup by hopefully making at least the semis, if not the finals."

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Joshua Wagenaar and Robert Giacomi are listed on the roster. Did Onstad replace one of them or did he bump another player?

As much as Onstad deserves to continue to play for this team, he did take a huge knock in the match against Haiti. Hopefully he will not suffer ill-effects. He has old injuries that could recur, too. So ...

If Sutton is not on the bench on Saturday (or even in subsequent matches in the tourney), will Onstad's backup be Wagenaar or Giacomi?

They are both in their early twenties and don't have heaps of experience with senior team play. While Wagenaar plays in Holland, Giacomi plays in Belgium and did play in Scotland (and both have played for our U-20) -- has anyone seen either of these guys play?

Wagenaar has some experience against teams from Honduras, Panama, and Mexico. Giacomi seems to have considerably less experience.

During the next several days, could Hart call on yet another keeper?

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quote:Originally posted by JPB

Joshua Wagenaar and Robert Giacomi are listed on the roster. Did Onstad replace one of them or did he bump another player?

As much as Onstad deserves to continue to play for this team, he did take a huge knock in the match against Haiti. Hopefully he will not suffer ill-effects. He has old injuries that could recur, too. So ...

If Sutton is not on the bench on Saturday (or even in subsequent matches in the tourney), will Onstad's backup be Wagenaar or Giacomi?

They are both in their early twenties and don't have heaps of experience with senior team play. While Wagenaar plays in Holland, Giacomi plays in Belgium and did play in Scotland (and both have played for our U-20) -- has anyone seen either of these guys play?

Wagenaar has some experience against teams from Honduras, Panama, and Mexico. Giacomi seems to have considerably less experience.

During the next several days, could Hart call on yet another keeper?

Wagenaar was injured (back spasms I beleive) so he was dropped from the roster and Onstad was added in his place just before the tournament started.The official three keepers on the final roster are Onstad, Sutton and Giacomi. With Sutton concussed, Onstad took over with Giacomi backing him up for two of the three games.

I don't think Hart can call in another keeper at this point unless Onstad is hurt and Sutton cannot play. In that case, I assume the CSA will ask special permission from CONCACAF to bring in another keeper to back up Giacomi. This is highly unlikely. Most likely scenario for the remainder of the tournament is that Onstad will play and Giacomi will back him up, unless Sutton is better in which case he would most likely back up Onstad

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Thanks for the info.

At this point, I don't think the coach should count on Sutton, given the head injury. I want to win -- and think Onstad needs a strong backup -- and I don't know too much about Giacomi -- but Sutton should not be asked to risk his health too soon.

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Onstad will start against Guatemala.

http://ca.blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-BerAnVcyeqiA_.0iSLlg9XJY70Y7oG0-?cq=1

The goalie is alright. Despite taking a big hit in Monday's CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Haiti, 39-year old goalkeeper Pat Onstad will be ready for Saturday's quarterfinal in Foxborough, MA.

After just three games, Houston Dynamo's Onstad (also the oldest player in the MLS) has already been called to the Canadian team twice. He was a late addition to the roster after Joshua Wagenaar injured his back and then a late starter after Greg Sutton suffered a head injury. Sutton was back in goal for the second match (and Onstad was back to his club in Houston), but was back on the sideline with a concussion after he was hit in the head in practice. Onstad played for Houston on Sunday night and then flew out to Miami to play for Canada on Monday night.

Onstad was one of the stars of the Canada-Haiti match on Monday. He was hit in a collison with a Haitian player and was on the ground for quite sometime. Third goalie Roberto Giacomi (with narry a senior cap to his name) got ready on the sidelines and was even called by captain Paul Stalteri to come in. Before Giacomi could cross the line, though, Onstad was back on his feet and waving the young senior-team rookie off.

Onstad not only finished the game, he made some outstanding saves in the latter part of the match to presereve a 2:0 victory, his second shutout of the tournament.

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Onstad to be back in goal when Canada plays Guatemala in Gold Cup

http://www.therecord.com/sports/soccer/R061521AU.html

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (CP) - Goalkeeper Pat Onstad thought his days with Canada's national team were over. Now he's the last line of defence for his country's Gold Cup hopes.

With Canada's two goalkeepers nursing injuries, the 39-year-old Onstad will be in net for Saturday's quarter-final match against Guatemala (1 p.m. ET). It will be his third soccer game in seven days, a gruelling stretch he's glad to handle.

"It's fantastic," he said after Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium. "I love playing for my country. I've always enjoyed it. I thought 2004 was the last time I'd ever play for the country."

Onstad, who plays for Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo, was pressed into action after a strange turn of events at the CONCACAF championship in which backup 'keeper Josh Wagenaar suffered back spasms and then No. 1 Greg Sutton ended up with a mild concussion after taking a ball to the face in practice.

Onstad played the first of Canada's three games in group play June 6, a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in Miami before heading back to the Dynamo. Sutton was back in goal last Saturday night in Canada's 2-1 loss to Guadeloupe but Onstad was called on for Monday's game against Haiti after Sutton got hit in the head again in Sunday's training session.

Haiti had few scoring opportunities and Canada won 2-0 to clinch a quarter-final berth and first place in Group A. Onstad, who had played Sunday for Houston, stayed in the game after hitting his head on the ground following a hard collision with Haiti's Ricardo Pierre-Louis in the 54th minute.

"I was like a little kid again," Onstad said of the chance to play for Canada on Monday. "It was a nice bonus. It was difficult playing in Columbus on Sunday and then Monday back down to Miami. But any chance I've ever had play for my country I've always said yes."

Canada coach Stephen Hart planned to go with Onstad even though Sutton is working out.

"The main thing for me is when we called him there was no hesitation," Hart said. "He wanted to play for his country."

Canada was 2-1 in group play while Guatemala went 1-1-1 to finish second in Group B. The United States, which plays Panama in Saturday's second game at Foxborough, won Group B with a 3-0 record.

"Our goal was to get into the quarter-finals," Hart said. "Once you get into the quarter-final, it's one game. Anything can happen."

The winner of the game will face the winner of the U.S.-Panama semifinal next Thursday. The Gold Cup champion will automatically qualify for the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, a prestigious tuneup for the 2010 World Cup, which will also be held in South Africa.

Guatemala has a major offensive threat in Carlos Ruiz, who led MLS in goals as a rookie in 2002 and now plays for FC Dallas.

"I'm worried about the whole team," Hart said. "Ruiz is part of the team. Somebody has to serve him the ball. I'm worried about that player."

The two teams last met in World Cup qualifying in 2004. Guatemala took the opening game 2-0 in Burnaby, B.C., in August. Canada responded with a 1-0 win in Guatemala City in November.

Canada jumped 38 spots in the FIFA world soccer rankings earlier this week to No. 56 and is ranked eighth among CONCACAF countries. Guatemala is 10th in CONCACAF and 81st in the FIFA rankings.

Canada, which won the Gold Cup in 2000, is 7-2-2 against Guatemala and Hart expects Saturday's game to be close.

"I've watched two of the games (Guatemala played in the Gold Cup)," he said. "They defend very, very well and counterattack very quickly. And, of course, Ruiz is very dangerous, especially on the counterattack."

Ruiz scored Guatemala's only goal last Tuesday night in a 1-1 tie with Trinidad and Tobago in Foxborough.

It should be up to Onstad to keep him from scoring again and for the team to control the ball and dictate the pace of play.

"The guys have been playing great in front of me," Onstad said. "If we can play the way we're capable of playing, it would give us a good opportunity to win."

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quote:"The guys have been playing great in front of me," Onstad said.

Groan.

In the Guatemala game he was almost runover ... again.

Two defenders let the attacker breeze by them and make a direct plunge at Onstad. Unprofessional. Incompetent. Dangerous. I'm referring not to the attacker's gusto and bravery but to the lackadaisical defending.

The first defender (Hastings?) should have at least ran with the attacking player to make the attacker try to run around him.

The second defender Hainault stopped -- he should have took a line on the ball and, with a couple of solid steps, blocked one side so that Onstad could move the ball to the other side or reach down and collect the ball. At this level it is an art form and is entirely a sporting move when done with intelligence.

But the general tactic belongs to Atom-level basics. It's the basics of playing a safe (as in avoiding serious injuries all round) defence in the goal mouth. It is how goalies gain confidence in their fullbacks. It is how fullbacks repay goalies for playing like lions.

Should we meet a team with great pace, and with strikers who know that even a low-chance ball can produce big goals, this sort of stuff will create either a killer goal against us or a career-killing collision for Onstad.

Stalteri knows how to do this stuff in his sleep. He did so in the Guatemala game twice. He needs to make these other two fullbacks sit down in front of video and watch, and rewatch, their recent lapses. And then make them watch video of how to correctly block. Repeat until this is burned into their brains. And then Stalteri needs to take them out to the pitch with a ball and drill this into them so that they instinctively block and protect. They shouldn't stop until Onstad is satisfied; then Stalteri should have them do it some more.

There is no excuse for any of them now. The Capo can't just trust that the fullbacks have learned this lesson and won't repeat their folly. He has to see for himself that they have absorbed it into their hearts and style of defending. He has to show them that they need to show huge improvement on this vital point.

While the same sort of approach is needed when syncing-up with a fellow fullback in full stretch, this is of THE greatest importance when a goalie is reaching down for a ball with his head lower or is otherwise opening himself up to a possible collision. The best way to avoid injury is to minimize the potential for such a collision rather than to rely on the toughness of the head of the keeper.

Fullbacks who are not the fleetest on their hooves, like Hastings and Hainault, need to perfect this tactic -- for the sake of defending, and for the sake of protecting the health of their team-mates. They need to become Newfie Dogs capable of shepherding attackers away from the ball and away from potential danger.

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