To all the Frankie Hejduk haters…

This post originally ran on our sister blog, Fire Alexi Lalas, last week. Since it is related to the USMNT, we thought we’d re-post it here on Project 2010.

While watching the US defeat Mexico (again) on Wednesday, I was keeping an eye on Ives Galarcep’s running commentary.  One of his halftime thoughts kind of struck me:

Will the “Frank Hejduk is awful” people finally relax? He’s not Dani Alves but he can step up and play well when needed.

Fair enough.  If you’re a Frankie supporter (I would argue “apologist” is a more appropriate term), this game was definitely a score for your side and you have every right to rub it in.

Today, I was looking over one of Ives Q&A’s and found this response to what was essentially a “Hejduk sucks–agree or disagree?” question:

Hejduk remains a useful option, and one folks should appreciate rather than criticize.

Again, a perfectly reasonable opinion.  Some–myself included–probably overstate how terrible Hejduk is.  But here’s the thing:  Wednesday nights is about as good of a game as you’re going to get out of Hejduk, and I’d still rate it about a 6-out-of-10.  His pace, stamina, and work rate were all apparent positives, but he still went in for two-footed tackles, gave up dangerous free kicks, and worst of all, HE INJURED HIMSELF.  It still blows my mind how the commentators can look at the replay over and over and all they say is, “look how tough Frankie is!”  It is true: the decades of survival on the tundra before being frozen solid, only to be uncovered by  a team of USSF officials 10,000 years later, really toughened Hejduk up.  But you’d think someone–anyone–would point out that Frankie slid in (with two feet, by the way) two seconds too late.  There’s a bold line between aggressive and stupid and Frankie flew right over it (into it?).  I understand that there are times, like Wednesday, when a Frankie call-up is a necessity.  But I say, barring injuries to both Cherundolo and Wynne, Hejduk should not be starting.

Back to Ives.  Here’s the irony:  that “Frankie Hejduk is awful” crowd that he was talking about…I think before Wednesday’s match, Ives was one of them.  I was looking over an article from our sister blog Project 2010 and I found this quotation in reference to the USA’s loss at T&T:

IVES GALARCEP:    Frankie Hejduk (3).  You love his hustle but hate his lack of skill. It was his poor  pass that led to the breakout and eventual Russell Latapy goal. He mis-hit crosses and turned the ball over repeatedly. The performance makes you pray for Marvell Wynne to start getting minutes.”

Who am I kidding?  I’m sure what Ives meant was that Frankie should still start over Wynne, but Wynne should start getting more minutes off the bench.  My bad.


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