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ryan krasnoo

18 June 9:12 am

Jimmy Conrad wasn't shy about showing off some of his latest dance moves on his way out of Poland, but hey, I'd be dancing with joy too if I were on my way to Ukraine to check out even more action from the 2012 European Championships.

After his car was broken into, forcing Kick TV's man on the ground to miss his flight to Kiev for the England-Sweden match (oh, Jimmy, we're so so sorry), he managed to navigate his way through the Ukrainian countryside and even had time for a quick game of pick-up with some locals.

Despite the missed flight and the 6-hour drive from the airport to Kharkiv, Jimmy finally made it on time for the Group of Death finale between the Netherlands and Portugal.

So go ahead and keep on dancing, Jimmy. It's a grueling and unglamorous job, but someone has to do it.

Kick TV in Ukraine! Netherlands vs Portugal - Euro Trip 2012, Episode 11

13 June 2:22 pm

While the MLS All-Stars will await an announcement on who will be their new head coach, their opponents for the July 25 fixture just solidified theirs.

In a press release from Chelsea FC on Wednesday, they announced that Italian manager Roberto Di Matteo – who led his side to both the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup titles – has signed a two-year contract with the club. Di Matteo took the reins at Chelsea during the final 11 weeks of the season after replacing Andre Villas-Boas during the first weekend in March.

Says Chelsea's chief executive Ron Gourlay: "Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanised the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work. Although he has set the bar very high in the short time he has been in charge, we know that Roberto is the right man to lead Chelsea onto further success."

 

11 June 4:09 pm

Andriy Shevchenko may be taking his talents to Major League Soccer.

The 35-year-old Ukrainian icon has been linked to MLS and says he has "several offers." In a report by The New York Times, Shevchenko — who is married to former American supermodel Kristen Pazik — is prepared to spend time with his two sons in the United States.

While he plans on waiting until after this month's European Championship to make any decisions, he has certainly proved he still has the scoring touch. In Ukraine's 2-1 victory over Sweden in the opening round game of Group D on Monday, Shevchenko scored twice in three minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit and propel the co-hosts to the top of the leaderboard.

Sheva now has 49 goals in 109 caps for Ukraine, and after a quiet few years since his disappointing production at both Chelsea and AC Milan, a 2009 move to Dynamo Kyiv helped fuel his resurgence. With 23 goals in 53 games, it's become clear that despite his age, he refuses to go away quietly.

While we will not know for certain Shevchenko's intentions until he settles in after the Euros, his move to the States looks more like a "when" than an "if." With the type of numbers he is putting up, and the current form he is in, there are certainly no shortage of MLS teams who could use his firepower up front.

07 June 10:13 am

Just suddenly having [Fabian Johnson] on the squad feels like finding a solution to a problem you'd gotten so accustomed to that you'd stopped even thinking of it as a problem. He's the soccer equivalent of laser eye surgery or getting air conditioning for the first time.

Is Fabian Johnson the irrefutable savior of American soccer? Alone, it's unlikely.

But in Brian Phillips' article on the US men's national team at Grantland, he argues that Johnson is just another reason why US soccer is poised to push the limits on how well – and subsequently, how poorly – they can play.

Essentially, with a more attack-centered mentality and a formation to maximize the talent in the midfield, the potential to produce big-time performances (we're looking at you, Scotland) are ever more likely.

With that being said, against powerhouse teams like Brazil – where a 4-1 loss seemed to sting a whole lot less than a scoreless draw with Canada because, well, the team looked better – the risk of being dumped with an unsightly scoreline is also on the rise.

It's time to drop the "up-and-coming" tagline (it's been far too long), start playing up to the talent available (not to say that the US will consistently take down the world's elite, but just ask the past two World Cup champions, Spain and Italy, if they still get a can't-wait-to-play-them feeling in their stomachs when they see the United States on their schedule), and stop accepting losses to teams well below the Americans' capabilities (a la Panama in the 2011 Gold Cup on US soil).

"By gambling that he can teach the USMNT to walk before it's really gotten world-class at crawling," Philips writes, "Klinsmann is taking an already chancy situation and stirring in a fresh vial of crazy."

With the 2014 World Cup as the ultimate showcase of Klinsmann's US side, perhaps straying from the status quo and going for glory is just the type of craziness we need.

23 May 1:24 pm

"And that really is the key moving forward for women's soccer to make it in this country over the long term. It needs a group of owners who want to do it because it makes sense financially and they believe in it, not because it is something they 'should' do."

Has the time come to add a women's side to MLS? Former US legend Julie Foudy certainly thinks so.

In her column for ESPNW, Foudy makes valid points that a merger between Major League Soccer and a women's professional league would be mutually financially successful. While currently just a grassroots effort, her insights could just be the sparkplug needed to drive this campaign forward.

As she explains: "[MLS owners] are at a stage when adding a women's team could complement and add to their current fan base and sponsorship potential. That was not the case 12 years ago. Back then, they were just trying to survive. Now, MLS is poised to thrive."

Will we see a women's side to MLS in the near future? We shall see. But in the meantime, it certainly leaves us with something to consider.

22 May 12:45 pm

When his Colorado Rapids fell behind early in last weekend's match against Sporting Kansas City, manager Oscar Pareja kept his composure. He was confident in his players and their ability to fight their way back to salvage a result in the game.

Then again, Pareja knows a thing or two about playing under pressure.

Twenty years ago, Pareja was the star and captain of Independiente Medellin in Colombia, which at the time, was associated with the drug czar Pablo Escobar. In ESPN columnist Rick Reilly's latest column, Pareja tells the story of the time he received an invite to play against Escobar in his government-built prison – an offer he couldn't really refuse, for all the obvious reasons. It's not an easy story for Pareja to tell, but Reilly's column is a worthy read.

17 May 11:46 am

"At first, most people were like, 'We don't want no damn American,'" Abdel says. "They thought Bob was all about fitness. His teams won because they were in the best shape. But now they've gotten to see the man and know the man. And they love him. Now, he's a rock star. He's bigger than Obama."

 

When Bob Bradley accepted the job at the helm of the Egyptian national team last September, he ended up signing on for much more than the position of head coach.

In the eight months since his signing – a period during which Egypt have lost only once in 10 matches – the former United States boss has come to realize that in a country so heavily impacted by political turmoil and soccer tragedy, his role transcends the sport.

In an ESPN "Outside the Lines" special, senior writer Wayne Drehs takes a first-hand look at coaching an Egyptian side desperate for success in the world of soccer, and what it will take for Bradley to lead the national team to the 2014 World Cup – for just the third time in 80 years.

Read the full interview here and check out this video of Bradley discussing his time in the Middle East.