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We'll print almost anything that isn't offensive.
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1998 Letters

Here it is, the first letter to the editor of 1999.

It seems so far that not too many teams are getting players from outside the league.  Maybe that will change in the coming weeks.  Ironically, the Burn can improve without adding players:  Get everyone healthy, and they are contenders.  But never one to stop wishing, here's my wish list.

1. Trottman spent the winter getting better, and the Burn don't really need another forward to go with Dante.
2. Suarez spent the winter pumping iron and training as a forward with some club somewhere, and is now ready to be the MLS star he can be.
With better touch, better vision on the ball, he gets harder to cover.  The extra ten pounds on his shoulders makes him hard to shove off the ball.
3. Leonel and Kreis come back from surgery in top form.
4. Pollard is a step faster, since he now figures he can get on the National Side, since he played for Arena.
5. Arena told Dante that if he scores more goals than Lassiter, he can be on the national team.
6. Jorge Flores beats out Ted Eck for starting midfield.

Yup, that about does it.

Viking64@aol.com

We would wish for all of these too.  Plus, our draft picks working out...  -ED.

Second Letter of 1999
(Wow, this guy really had something to say about our 4-4-2 article.)

Good article though I differ on many of your opinions.

Man U's use of the 4-4-2 this season has been brilliant, mostly because of superior talent emphasized within a cohesive system. Yet many lackluster English teams use a 4-4-2 to little avail.

Serie A teams have traditionally used the catechennio (sp), a defensive variation of the 3-5-2 where the libero (sweeper) is emphasized. Being a great fan of Premier League Football, I would hesitate to compare England's top shelf club teams' records to Serie A teams in continental tournaments.

Farrer has truly shined this year as sweeper, a natural product of the formation; the 3-5-2 also hides Alvarez decline (aging) as defensive midfielder as well as Eck's sporadic inability to hold the ball. A true 3-5-2 can also more easily move Kreis up as a withdrawn striker in midfield without exposing midfield gaps that a 4-4-2 would.

Does this make the 3-5-2 a superior system? Obviously not. When it comes to flank play, the 4-4-2 wins out. Indeed the traditional 4-4-2 stretches defenses wider and opens up space in the middle. However, Deering is not a wide player and Suarez doesn't have the speed to beat defenses, though he most certainly has the ball skills.

The 4-4-2 would most definitely benefit Santel who is having a lackluster season. It might be a boon to Washington who is an old fashion center forward.

Did you watch the US-Derby friendly? The US- playing a 4-4-2 - suffered from awful service from Hejduk on the right side and was saved by Lewis's stellar play on the left. A 4-4-2 MUST have speedy flank players who can cross as well and defend as well as attacking forwards with good heading and volleying skills.

Who on the Burn fits these requirements?

Also unsure what you mean regarding the 4-4-2 encouraging more ball possession/passing. Traditionally the 4-4-2 has been known for direct play especially within the Premier League. Teams like Man U and Liverpool have brought a passing philosophy to this formation, but the 3-5-2 has been better known for ball possession.

So- should the Burn change formations? Wonder what Fergie would have cited in previous years when Man U didn't win the treble, certainly not the formation...

I'm not sure the Burn have the personnel to make a 4-4-2 shift an improvement. The Burn seem to have an abundance of good midfield players which would favor a 5 midfield system. Still- are any true wingers?

Tell me what ya think...

Thanks for reading-

Jeff Johnson

Interesting points.  It would take a whole new article to rebut....  We'll give you an updated 4-4-2 arguement in the offseason. - ED

Third Letter of 1999
(also in reference to 4-4-2)

I just came across your web page yesterday.  I'm a Burn fan, so it was a pleasant surprise.  I read through a few of your articles, and had one quibble with the article above, specifically your suggested 4-4-2 lineup.   Rodriguez's talents would be largely wasted placing him in a full-back position.   Did you see the game between El Salvador v. Columbia a couple of months ago? El Salvador won, and Rodriguez was the glue. Watching the game was a revelation. Rodriguez has never been used to his full potential by Dir.

-Looking forward to future articles,

-Robert Vega

Wow, two responses to the same article must be a record.  #rd Degree loves input from readers, especially if they have seen something we haven't.  And yes, we have recommended that Zarco play d-mid.   See 2000 Burn for a full discussion  -ED

Fourth Letter of 1999
(in reference to Oh the Passion! by Viking64)

Fantastic article!

-Robert Vega

Um, Thanks... I am sure Viking will be pleased.  Hey, that was two letters by one reader!  -ED

Fifth Letter
(Chicago Playoff Matchup)

You didn't come out with a favorite or a team who had an overall advantage, except for the comment on Eck.  I think you're completely correct with your comment. Absolutely everything goes through Nowak. His ability to run into space and break defenses down is amazing. But if Eck contains him (which he can do), we definitely should win.  On our offensive end, I think Okaroh is easily a match for Jason, and I don't see Jason doing much unless Graziani or our midfield really becomes a problem for CJ. Personally, CJ has not had a good year and Graziani moves around so much and so well that CJ won't be able to handle him. Hopefully, Graziani will be so "on" that Kubik won't be able to come forward either.  I know Zarco can easily handle Kosecki, unless we get a poor ref. I'm worried about Razov: on an "on" day he's super dangerous. If Pollard does a good job of tracking him, including when he wanders mid-field, things could work out for us.  I'm really looking forward to Daniv v. Gutierrez. Hopefully Daniv enters completely healthy. If so, I think Gutierrez will get into some early foul trouble.  Comments aside, do you have any idea what the gate is going to be like?

-Robert Vega

Your comments are right on.   3rd Degree usually tries to just analyze the game, but if forced to pick We'll go with Dallas over Chicago.  gate?  13, 574...  How's that for an arbitrary guess.  - ED

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