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Category Archives: FIFA
June 28, 2013Posted by on
Another American World Cup trip ends with another disheartening loss to Ghana. After being placed in the most intimidating group in Turkey, the US came home with only one point. The team showed well against Spain though being seriously overwhelmed by Spain’s attacking prowess. Jesé and Gerard Deulofeu’s Spanish side were clearly the class of the group and had no trouble against a USA side without a true centerback. Tab Ramos choice to not select a true centerback for the squad was the downfall of a team who out-possessed Spain and Ghana for large stretches of the game, but both opponents were able to take advantage of nearly every opportunity given to them in the USA’s final third.
Ultimately the result of the tournament doesn’t mean much. Our youth team got an opportunity to play against three of the top teams in the world and may even have faced better opponents than some teams that have moved on will see. There were definite standouts on the team, midfielder Luis Gil was the star of the Spain game, Cody Cropper was lights out in goal for the entire tournament despite backing a defense that surrendered nine goals in three games and DeAndre Yedlin showed that he can contain some of the best players at his age and attack against them in his own right.
This U20 tournament was always about establishing players and developing names that can show up in the senior pool in a few years ago. While it might have been nice to see them play a few more games, the games that they got were high quality opportunities. They got a chance to hone their skills against Jesé, Frank Acheampong, and Paul Pogba and did well with the opportunity.
If I had to bet on which of these players ended up with significant senior caps, I would put money on Yedlin and Gill. Gill was by far the best player for the US and martialed the midfield, although the players in front of him are all fairly entrenched, his skills and experience with Salt Lake that made him the best player on the U-20 team also make him the most likely to make an imprint on the senior team. Gil’s individual skill led to two of the three goals the USA scored in the tournament.
DeAndre Yedlin was another strong player exhibiting both skill on the ball and being the most impressive defensive player on the youth team. Yedlin’s rise has been meteoric, making his first appearance with the Sounder’s senior team in early March and immediately making MLS team of the week. He defended well and his forays into the attack were some of the US’s most impressive moments in Turkey.
Other players showed well also, Cody Cropper was the best player on the field, but in a strong goalkeeping competition, he may not see anytime with the senior team for a long time. Will Trapp and Mikey Lopez both impressed in limited time in the midfield and Jose Villareal and Daniel Cuevas had moments of individual brilliance but with the way youth teams work, only a very limited number of players make it out of even the best youth systems. Surprise players come out of nowhere. Established youth heroes get injured and sometimes they just disappear. This tournament is no guarantee of future success, or future failure, but the best we could hope for was to have our team face off with top teams from around the world. They faced the tournament favorites and gained the experience that comes with that. That’s really the best we could have hoped for.
June 6, 2013Posted by on
USA at Jamaica
“The Office” National Stadium, Kingston Jamaica
Televised on BeIn Sports
Mexico just took the lead in the Hex with six points, of course they’ve played one game more than everyone but Jamaica. The USA is two points back and in the playoff position, while Jamaica sits in the final spot with only two points. Donovan Ricketts and crew are under tons of pressure to pick up all of the points they can from this match-up and every game they’ve got left to have any opportunity to move on to the World Cup Finals. The United States isn’t gonna be an easy team to pick off though. Dempsey, Bradley and Howard lead a strong team coming off of a win against one of the best teams in the world into the Office and are looking for three points as well.
Evans Cameron Besler Beasley
F.Johnson Dempsey Zusi
Players to watch:
There are a few things to watch about Fabian Johnson in this game. First we’ll have to see whether his injury keeps him out of the game or from starting. If this is the case, Eddie Johnson seems to be the bet to start given his performance in the friendlies and Brad Davis’ weak performance as an already slow player. The next thing to watch about Johnson is how he combines with DMB behind him on the overlap. This game will go the way that Johnson’s left flank goes. If Beasley and Johnson cause mistakes in the back by poor communication and switching, Jamaica’s speed in the attack will take advantage. If Beasley and Johnson attack as well as they can they will tear apart whoever Jamaica puts at right back, especially if Jamaica continues to rely on national team rookie Alvas Powell who got torn up by Mexico at outside back like a younger more promising Johnny Bornstein.
Another spot to watch is the centerback position. This is a real toss-up, and honestly I expect Jurgen to stick with Gonzalez and Besler but given the speed of Jamaica’s frontline Cameron should get the cap. Cameron has speed that Gonzalez doesn’t and will be able to defend Jamaica’s counterattack much more thoroughly than the heavy-footed Gonzalez.
With the schedule congestion forced on Jamaica, they’ve likely got to make a few changes. With the way that the left side of their defense looked against Mexico, they’ve likely got to make a few more changes. Two players who were unavailable for them against Mexico will likely play key roles against Mexico. Veteran forward Jobi McAnuff will be expected to get the start on the wing after taking time away for family reasons. Jermaine Johnson will be expected back in the middle after a card suspension. Both men would have likely started against Mexico, but when considering the heavy feet of a team that played 90 minutes only Tuesday night and has another qualifier right ahead, they have to get new faces on the field. The biggest issue they had against Mexico was Powell. The USA doesn’t have the wing strength that Mexico has, but a bruised rookie will likely be benched for what amounts to do or die qualifiers for Jamaica and brought back in for friendlies later on.
O.Daley Marriappa Gordon Woodbine
Beckford R.Johnson McAnuff
Players to Watch:
Young attackers off the bench
Darren Mattocks and Theo Whitmore are both threatening young attackers for Jamaica. It’s unlikely that either of them will get the start, unless McAnuff is still unavailable but at least one of them will get time coming off of the bench. Those fresh legs up-top will reinvigorate the Jamaican counter. Besler and Cameron or Gonzalez had better be able to hold their line more effectively than they have shown if they hope to stop the speed of these fresh-legged Jamaican strikers.
On this bumpy pitch, with The Office vibing like it’s expected to it will be a tough match for the USA. A friendly against Germany’s B’s is tough, but it’s a very different kind of tough to go into Kingston and play in front of those fans and pull out three points. Even if they hit their stride, they won’t be able to pull away from a strong Jamaican side. The game will turn on the American left-flank where DeMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson will likely be bearing down on Alvas Powell. Of course it is just as likely that Jamaica runs their offense through Brad Evans and Omar Gonzalez. Whoever wins those battles will win those games and given the experience that MLS standouts Gonzalez, Cameron and Besler have against Johnson and Mattocks with Portland and Vancouver, it seems likely that that battle will go to the defense. If Alvas Powell starts again for Jamaica the results might not be so good for the defender. Beasley and Johnson showed well in their limited time together.
Prediction : USA 1- Jamaica 0
Johnson to Johnson with substitute Eddie scoring a late game-winner after Fabian reverses a Jamaican counter attack.
June 4, 2013Posted by on
Pressure Released From Jozy
It has been hard to watch Jozy Altidore struggle to score consistently for the past few months as news and highlights of his scoring for AZ Alkmaar make it’s way over the pond. Coming off of a season where he scored the most goals by any American in Europe, it was USMNT fans’ hope that his scoring form would continue for this set of friendlies. Although he struggled during the friendly against Belgium, it seemed Altidore’s National team form finally began to improve with his performance against Germany. With credit also due to Graham Zusi’s fantastic one-time cross, Jozy was able put an impressive volley into the back of the net for the US Men’s National Team’s first goal of the day.
Not only was Altidore’s finishing and runs off the ball impressive, but Jozy’s hold up play was some of the best we have seen from the player for sometime. This hold up play eventually lead to Dempsey’s first goal of the match. After receiving a nice ball in Germany’s third of the field, Altidore was able to hold off the German defender long enough to allow multiple other American’s to flood into the box. Jozy then played a lobbed pass to Dempsey who finished it cleanly.
With this play from the previously struggling player, it will be interesting if Jozy can match the performances he has been putting in over seas and continue to find the back of the net for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
National Teams’ Defense Still Is Not There
The German attack was bound to be a major test for the defense for the National team and the backline’s inexperience shined through. Beasley, although looking good going forward, struggled to consistently make defensive plays. This can be chalked up to the fact that he is being played out of position, but DeMarcus will need to step up his game in order to help the USMNT qualify for Brazil 2014.
The young central defensive pair of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler had multiple struggles when it came to man marking and set piece defending. Gonzalez was essentially the main cause of Germany’s first goal by not marking Germany’s Westermann closely enough on a corner kick. Matt Besler arguably looked better then Gonzalez but still needs much more work to shore up the United States’ defense.
The shining star of the defense in yesterday’s game was the performance put in by Sounder’s Brad Evans. Evans made a name for himself with both his offensive and defensive workrate. Evans tracked back multiple times to help his CB’s out and put pressure on Germany’s defense with his spot on long balls. Coupled with the help from Jermaine Jones, Evans’ performance could be one of the main reasons the USMNT did not tie or lose.
I have to say, I was impressed with the environment the U.S. Soccer Federation created at RFK. It was a pleasant sight to see the stadium full unlike the usual spotty spectatorship that you get at a normal DC United game. Despite the occasional wave, the fans were awesome and supported the national team strongly. This was one of the first USMNT games I have been to where the majority of the fans actually supported the national team. I am a strong believer that you need to support the team where you live and it was a sight for sore eyes to see that support present. Now if we can only get that kind of support at every national team game.
August 5, 2012Posted by on
With the soccer tournaments winding down in London, and the US women marching on with grace and style to what could be a gold medal, it’s hard not to feel a sense of frustration that the men did not qualify. Especially with the build-up that this US team had, with such talents as Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, Joe Corona, Brek Shea and Terrance Boyd. The Olympics would also be a chance for the Union to show off some of their youth products with Sheannon Williams, Freddy Adu, Zach MacMath, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and maybe even a Farfan or two being considered for the team. With the way the Farfan’s have been playing it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that they coul have gotten a call up. The Olympics would have been a great showcase for the Union to show off some talent and for the youngsters to gain experience. Even for the Farfans, Williams and MacMath who likely wouldn’t have started, the international stage would have given them a great chance to grow as players.
Going into the MLS season it was expcted that the US team would qualify for the Olympics, and many Union fans were excited at the chance to see players like Okugo and McInerney who had, at the time, seen limited minutes for the club over the last two seasons. Of course the US didn’t qualify and the Union imploded. Piotr Nowak imploded, the team got rid of many players, and they were almost entirely eliminated from any hope of the playoffs before Nowak left. If the US qualified it would have been the worst thing for the Union hands down. This run they are going on, which may be saving the season, would likely never have happened. With Okugo and Williams (and possibly others) gone the Union would have to resort to playing Albright, Jordan, Gaddis, or even Lopez (ugh). It would be ugly, not saying Gaddis wouldnt do a great job but Williams is starting for a reason. Who would be in net? I love Chase Harrison, but he is not Zac and more importantly has never held down a starting job. Plus it would not help to play the second string goalie with an alreaedy weakend defense. There is of course the arguement that the Union have Soumare to help out on defense, but he would have been barely coming into fitness while Okugo was in camp tuning up fro the Olympics. Hack would have had to rush him back to fitness, which he hasn’t shown any intrest in doing with Okugo available. Now lets look up top. With Adu and Mac gone who would fill in? Hoppenot is great off the bench but asking him to carry a team is a very different thing. Pajoy would have to step up along with Perlaza, Martinez or Hoffman or whoever Hack might have had to bring in. Lots of inexperience. Adu would be replaced by the injured Roger Torres who has looked less than impressive in his brief moments since getting back to fitness.
The US missing the Olympics has saved the Union for the short term, but also the long term. WIth players like Okugo getting minutes in the Olympics it wouldn’t be surprising if a European club made him an offer he couldnt refuse. He is no high-roller here in Philly and a lower division European club could pay him more then he would make here. The same could be applied to any youth player. Of course whether or not the Union would sell, or what they would get back would make it very interesting.
So to really think about it, I along with many Union fans were excited about potentially seeing some Union players represent the US. I got what I wished for, in the sense that I am now watching players who were not getting alot of minutes, just not for the US. Do not get me wrong, as a Union fan and a US fan I would love nothing more then to see Union players contribute to the national team at any level. But for now its in the best interest of the club that the US missed the Olympics. It is crazy how the world works. This is not the ideal scenario. The season has been a dissapointment. The ideal scenario would have included Nowak keeping Le Toux, Mwanga, Califf et al. and putting together a winning season. Ideally the Union would be in contention for the top spot and the some Union players would be thriving in the olympics. Ideally we would have our cake and eat it too, but we dont.
In short, the Olympic woes of the men’s national soccer team benefits the Union and keeps a slim sliver of playoff hope alive. To quench your US soccer thirst, watch the women they are playing amazing football right now as usual.
July 16, 2012Posted by on
On July 25th thousands of MLS fans will file into PPL park to watch as the MLS All Stars take on Chelsea FC. For Union fans, it was questionable if they would be able to watch one of their own play against the London giant but this question was answered on Sunday as the Commissioner’s two picks for the All Star team were release. Don Garber choose two defenders: Ramiro Corrales of the San Jose Earthquakes and our very own Carlos Valdes.
Valdes is coming of an amazing game against the Montreal Impact where he not only put in a stellar defensive performance but also went on to score the winning goal in extra time off a Sheanon Williams long throw. As of now it is still unknown if the Philadelphia Union captain will be starting as he will have to beat out other talented defenders like New York’s Heath Pearce and Whitecap’s Jay DeMerit.
I believe there is a good possibility of Valdes getting on the starting eleven for the MLS All Stars. He is a talented center back with the ability to communicate well and also hold good positions. He has been extremely consistent all season and has come up huge when called upon by the Union. If put on the pitch, Carlos Valdez will be tested against players like Fernando Torres and newly signed Eden Hazard.
July 14, 2012Posted by on
and I can’t say its a bad idea. While it’s always awesome to be able to attend Gold Cup matches which are invariably played somewhere within driving distance, it doesn’t really make sense to always have them in the states. Every Gold Cup has been played in the US, including two they shared with Mexico. The next Gold Cup will be in the US, but after that CONCACAF has not decided.
Obviously there are factors that keep it here, namely money and the relatively broad audience in the US. It’s not like we’ve had a drastic home-field advantage in all of these Gold Cup games. They are regularly better attended by fans of nations less than a tenth of our size. It does make sense to have the tournament in the US regularly, but permanently is a different thing.
Also there aren’t many other countries in CONCACAF that could handle a tournament of this size. The best thing CONCACAF and Jeff Webb could do to fix this is to circulate the tournament between regions rather than individuals countries. Antigua nor Barbuda could handle hosting the Gold Cup, but the entire Carribean could surely figure out a way to do it. The same goes (likely even better) for Central America. Games split throughout these regions and cycled through top stadiums in each of these countries is a totally viable solution. Mexico and the US would each be able to host entirely unaided of course, and Canada could likely do the same. The Gold Cup shouldn’t be here every year. As much as I love being able to attend, and despite how much more money the US will generally bring in, it really shouldn’t. Maybe this is a sign that the Sepp Blatter appointed Webb has more on his mind than money, unlike Jack Warner.
In the same interview Webb suggested moving the HQ of CONCACAF to Miami, a good idea which he has suggested before (its much more centrally located for everyone involved exscept Canada), although there are a few issues with getting it done. Primarily the number of votes that countries other than the US have.
The Head Quarters is, by rule, to be in the hometown of the General Secretary. As Chuck Blazer resigned as the GenSec in January and Ted Howard has been filling the role on an interim basis, the HQ stayed in Blazers hometown of New York. New Gen Sec Enrique Sanz is Colombian born but has lived in Miami for 13 years. According to CONCACAF rules I believe this means that the HQ will moved to Miami. Sanz was unanimously voted into his new position.
Webb also suggested holding a Women’s Gold Cup, again the right thing to do and a great way to take better advantage of the off year in the women’s calendar, but its unclear how practical this might be. It’s great to see that Webb is not running to the quick money, but to what is inherently good for the game, but Women’s tournaments around the world are notorious cash-holes. I would love to see a Women’s Gold Cup, don’t get me wrong. It would be great for the game in the US and likely an easy trophy to add, but it’ll be interesting to see where the money comes from.
March 30, 2012Posted by on
After reading of the relationship between the Colin Clark issue and MLS relationship with the Boy Scouts on Dunord.blogspot.com, I began thinking more about it.
For those who don’t know Colin Clark was given a 3 game suspension and required to attend sensitivity training for calling a ball-boy at the Houston Seattle game this past week a faggot. A very serious punishment WAS laid down, and a fitting one. An adult who is representing the league should not be yelling epithets at children. A mature adult shouldn’t be using epithets such as these as an unabashed attack on anyone. A mature adult should not be encouraging this kind of behavior and as a league MLS made a big statement support of these points. They went much farther than when Kobe Bryant was merely fined, although fined a lot, for yelling the same kinds of things at a referee.
On the other hand, while making a e about these issue, MLS still has a standing, and recently announced, relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. While the Boy Scouts are almost ubiquitous in some areas, they’re statements sound fairly similar to Colin Clarks to a lot of people. It’s a noteworthy issue that people aren’t quite recognizing, in part because people aren’t aware of the extent of the issues with the Boy Scouts.
If MLS wants to be involved with the community, which is a great thing to do, they could look to other groups with less controversial issues behind their curtain. The Girl Scouts, The Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brother, Big Sister are a few examples, who as far as I know, serve very similar functions and don’t have any issues with discrimination.
January 31, 2012Posted by on
After lsoing Faryd Mondragon and Sebastien Le Toux, two of the teams most recognizable and beloved members, a lot of people are wondering what the team has planned for the future, both short term and long. Of course Seba and Faryd were two of the oldest players on the roster and both took up valuable starting spots. It seems to me that the Union might be considering entering a team into the Olympics. Roster rules require that a team enter 23 players, which we might not quite make, and allow only 3 players over the age of 23. Taking a look at the Union’s roster, it becomes a serious consideration.
A quick look at our players under 23.They already have 17 available
M/F Adu 22
M Michael Farfan 23
M/D Gabe Farfan 23
D Gaddis 22
F Hoffmann 21
M Jordan 21
M Khalfan 23
GK MacMath 20
F Martinez 21
F McInerney 19
M McLaughlin 18
F Mwanga 20
M Nakazawa 23
M Okugo 20
M Pfeffer 17
M Torres 20
D Williams 21
So ten mids, two and a half (Garfan) defenders, and five and a half forwards(Adu) and a single goalie. If we bring down Callif, Valdes and Poriforo Lopez to fill in the backline we’ll have an entire starting lineup. Fill two spots for the keepers behind MacMath with underage players and we’re only one spot from being Olympic eligible. Maybe sign Christian Hernandez? And then sucede from the Union! Sucede and Suceed. The new Union slogan!
December 29, 2011Posted by on
Preston Zimmerman is a 23 year old American playing with 3rd division German club SV Darmstadt 98. He also hates that Jurgen Klinsmann has used dual nationals. Based on a few tweets he put up it seems that he believes only “real americans”desere to play for the USA. It’s really not even worth mentioning, but it got me all hyped up so I figured I’d post it.
“I thought it would be cool getting Klinsmann as US National team coach, but I think it’s actually worse than when Bradley was coach….
“Requirements to get on US National team under Klinsmann: Be a fake American, be born outside the US, have one US distant relative
“I see the team is calling in guys who are really germans who know they’ve got no chance of playing for germany so they’ll settle with the US
“Thats embarrassing when a good friend of mine says he met one of the guys @ the airport & he couldnt reply back in English as US Natl player
“I try my hardest not to tweet US soccer stuff but there are some stuff out there that drive me crazy
“Don’t mistake any of my tweets for jealousy, I never expect to be called in or involved with anything and it doesn’t hurt my feelings
“I would just like to see true, real Americans who would live and die for this country representing our country
“But when the olympic team holds mini-camps in Germany with all ‘european players’ then something is wrong
“The kids in college are just as good, if not better, than some of the kids from the reserve teams getting invited to camp
“But the college kids don’t speak German and they don’t have ties outside the US so they don’t qualify for the US under Klinsmann
“Am I the only one here who thinks this or are there others? People have to speak up when they don’t like what’s going on
“If Klinsmann was winning and very successful with his approach then my words would carry no weight, but I don’t see any success
“squeaking out 1-0 wins against CONCACAF villages isn’t success…..
“People can bash me for whatever reason, but I hate seeing my country’s national team being misused and disrespected
“I know plenty of guys who are in the MLS and know what it’s like to play for their country who deserve a look for the US team
“I hope the US team wins and dominates just as much as anybody else because it’s my country and I want my country to be #1 and dominate
“Don’t want anybody to take my tweets negatively or as criticism to make somebody look bad, I just have passion and interest in the US team”
Just to note a few things, Tim Howard is Hungarian, Bocanegra’s Mexican, Onyewu’s Nigerian, Spector’s German, Klejstan is Bosnian, Edu’s Nigerian,Jozy’s Haitian, Stu Holden is Scottish,Landon’s Canadian and the list goes on and on. Global soccer is all about dual nationals, and if anyone should be able to understand that it should be the USA. They had these same arguments in Europe years ago and it was nothing but pure racism. We don’t need to go down that path.
Hating Giusseppi Rossi because he is arguably the best American player ever, and would fill is different from hating all dual-nationals.
Complaining about Neven Subotoc because he left the USa over a somewhat petty fight with Thomas Rongen is different.
Calling a military father a distant relative is a moronic stretch.And saying that only those willing to fight and die for the USA should be able to play really sounds pretty dumb when you recognize the military lineage.
Most importantly though, here’s a quote from Danny Williams on USsoccer.com. Think about it the next time anyone tries to say who is and isn’t an American. Their all citizens, they’re all eligible.
ussoccer.com: Have you watched U.S. National Team games in the past?
DW: “Not many because they don’t show that many games in Germany, but I always watch in the World Cup. I will never forget the game against Germany in the 2002 World Cup in the quarterfinal. This was the time that I started loving the USA. I watched the game, and normally I would support Germany. After the U.S. lost that match, I started crying. My dad asked what was going on. I didn’t know what to say, but I wanted the U.S. to win.”
March 25, 2011Posted by on
Most of the news this week is about the upcoming games, Union and USMNT. In case you somehow missed it the Union home-opener is this weekend against Vancouver and the USMNT is taking on Argentina on Saturday (and Paraguay next week.)
For starters here is a video put together by USSoccer of past games against Argentina, including goals from names like Wynalda, Lalas and Johnson, and big saves by Keller Of course there’s the same from Messi, Riquelme and Crespo.
And of course Tim Howard’s absolutely dominating performance against Argentina in the Meadowlands in 2008.
For starters a few links on US players you might not know too much about who got called up for this game
Chandler and fellow German-American David Yelldell
A few articles on other players you may know a bit more about, or just other things related to the USMNT-Argentina game in any way.
Jay Demerit on the game and a few other things, along with an article on Lionel Messi
Brad Guzan, who won’t be playing at all for the US this summer
A look at how Bob Bradley makes these selections
Tim Howard talks about the 2008 game he played against Argentina in Jersey (highlights up top)
Maurice Edu: The Last Action Hero
Jozy’s from Jersey in case you forgot
The go-to Soccer By Ives piece (and comments) on who should start
A little eye into Cary Camp
A look at German-American soccer players, in light of Yelldell and Chandler
And a look at the Union Vancouver Game,
Nowak says the lineup is still changing
A “keys to the game” style preview of the game. I think these things are almost worthless but I know someone will want to read it.
Valdes is eager to please
A little bit of DOOP-troversy the Union have trademarked the word DOOP and its causing quite a scare around the supporter base. They’re very anxious to see how it turns out and what it means in practice.
Video of Chad Ochocinco’s practice with Sporting Kansas Cityhttp://www.nfl.com/videos/cincinnati-bengals/09000d5d81eea388/Kickin-it-with-Ochocinco