Même si on connaît déjà les dix qualifiés pour la phase finale, cette dernière journée de saison régulière ne sera pas dénuée d’intérêt.
Déjà assuré à 99,99% de terminer meilleur buteur, Chris Wondolowski aura à Portland (direct TSN2 et NBC Sports Network) une dernière chance d’égaler voire de dépasser le record de 27 buts de Roy Lassiter. Voilà les 26 premiers et leur contexte.
Dans la Conférence Est, le classement du deuxième au cinquième doit encore être établi, ce qui permettra de connaître les deux équipes exemptées du premier tour de la phase finale et les deux qui s’affronteront le 31 octobre. Un rendez-vous que DC United veut éviter à tout prix : pour ce faire, il devra réaliser un bon résultat devant les caméras de NBC Sports Network sur le terrain d’une autre équipe impliquée dans la course, Chicago, qui a baissé de rythme au cours des dernières semaines.
Thierry Henry n’est pas aussi affirmatif et pense que pour New York (qui ouvrira la journée à Philadelphie à l’antenne de NBC), il ne serait pas malvenu d’avoir un match de plus. Moins bien classé du groupe, Houston voudra surtout peaufiner sa forme à Colorado.
Dans la Conférence Ouest, on sait presque tout à part qui de Seattle (qui joue au LA Galaxy, direct TSN2, ESPN et ESPN Deportes) ou de Salt Lake terminera deuxième, ce qui déterminera l’ordre de leurs affrontements en demi-finale de conférence. L’équipe de l’Utah accueillera Vancouver, toujours en lutte avec Montréal (hôte de New England) pour être le mieux classé des clubs canadiens.
Le premier tour de la Ligue des champions a pris fin ce jeudi : le LA Galaxy s’est imposé 2-3 à Metapan. On connaît le programme des quarts de finale, avec un invité surprise, le club Guatémaltèque de Xelajú qui a écrit l’histoire en devenant la première formation étrangère à éliminer un club mexicain depuis que la compétition a été réformée et rebaptisée en 2008. Toujours dans la Concacaf, les dirigeants de la confédération ont déclaré que rien n’est encore officiel pour la Copa America 2016.
LE PROGRAMME COMPLET
Samedi 27 octobre
13h30 : Philadelphie - New York
14h00 : Montréal - New England
16h00 : Chicago - DC United
18h30 : Portland - San José
21h00 : Salt Lake - Vancouver
21h00 : Colorado - Houston
Dimanche 28 octobre
16h00 : Columbus - Toronto
19h00 : Dallas - Chivas USA
21h00 : LA Galaxy - Seattle
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs ou LiveSport.tv
Première équipe à avoir bouclé ses 34 rencontres de la première phase de la saison, Kansas City a fini sur une victoire 2-1 contre Philadelphie et assuré sa première place dans la Conférence Est pour une seconde saison consécutive. De quoi confirmer que le Sporting est bel et bien « l’équipe de la ville », tous sports confondus, à Kansas City.
En Ligue des champions, l’issue est moins rose pour Toronto, éliminé après sa défaite 1-0 à Santos Laguna. Si Paul Mariner pense que les siens auraient pu avoir quatre buts d’avance au quart d’heure, le seul à avoir trouvé le fond des filets est l’international américain Herculez Gomez, qui rêve de participer à nouveau à la Coupe du monde des clubs. En battant Marathon 3-1, Seattle s’est assuré d’un sans-faute.
Mais la grande nouvelle de la semaine dans la Concacaf, c’est l’officialisation d'une Copa America 2016 qui ne concernera pas uniquement l’Amérique du Sud mais bien toutes les Amériques, et se jouera aux États-Unis. Outre les 10 pays habituels, on retrouvera le Mexique, les États-Unis et quatre nations qui obtiendront leur place via la Gold Cup 2015. Est-ce un prélude à une fusion Conmebol - Concacaf ? Selon vous, serait-ce une bonne idée ?
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo
This time, it's official.
Back in January, we first heard about the plans for a special edition of the Copa América to be held in the United States to celebrate the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL. But on Wednesday, the South American governing body made it official with the backing of all its highest-ranking executives.
CONMEBOL held a five-hour meeting on Wednesday in Buenos Aires where the presidents of the 10 national soccer federations joined CONMEBOL's five-man executive committee to lay down the framework of what they call a "mega-tournament" named the Copa América Centenario.
The notes of Wednesday's meeting were published by CONMEBOL's official site and they reiterate some of the details that were previously rumored:
1) The tournament will be held in July of 2016;
2) A total of 16 countries will participate, including all 10 from CONMEBOL and six from CONCACAF;
3) The USA and Mexico are automatic entries into the tournament;
4) The remaining four CONCACAF countries will be determined based on their finish in the CONCACAF Gold Cup;
5) Colombian federation president Luis Bedoya and his Paraguayan counterpart Juan Ángel Napout were charged with setting up the commercial plans for the event;
6) Full Play, a soccer promoter which has been involved in organizing matches stateside in the past, will be involved in the organization;
7) Fox Sports and Rede Globo are contemplated to take the lead in the broadcasting of the tournament.
No other details were released about proposed sites or format. And no word yet from the US Soccer Federation or CONCACAF on the news released by CONMEBOL.
And finally, here is one other detail that emerged from the CONMEBOL summit that US fans will be interested in: Mexico and Japan will be invited to participated in the 44th edition of the Copa América that will be held in 2015 in Chile. No USMNT for that one.
We’ve seen plenty of CONCACAF matches just like that USMNT loss in Jamaica on Friday night: physical, scrappy, disjointed rough-and-tumble affairs.
And those are the games where you need the magical play. Those are the scrums where you need the player who can stand out and make something out of nothing.
Right now the US doesn’t have that go-to guy. Especially when Landon Donovan is not on the field (he’s missing out on the Jamaica home-and-home due to a hamstring injury). Donnie Moore's phonebook-tearing techniques can only take you so far.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT was exposed in Kingston for what it really is: a collection of solid role players who ply their trade in Europe and Mexico. Good overall pros who are not even the undisputed stars of their own club teams. Each does some things better than others, but there’s not one field player who excels at a single facet of the game. No one without gloves who can decide a match with a dominant skill.
Who’s the expert dribbler on the team? Who’s the explosive speedster who can at least draw a foul when he can’t run by someone? Who’s the master free-kick taker? Who’s the head-ball specialist feared by opposing defenders? A passing maestro anyone? How about a pinpoint crosser of the ball?
The USMNT needed someone to pull a rabbit out of a hat against Jamaica becase the team game just wasn’t there. The passing and the movement were not synced up. It wasn’t happening. And they had no one to turn to. The man in which the USA usually confides in moments of despair was watching from home.
Maybe we have taken him for granted. Maybe we thought the golden boy would always be a boy. But injuries are slowly eating away at Landon Donovan’s career. The passing of the years have eroded his exuberant presence on the field. Even Donovan has hinted at it: A future without LD is closer than you think.
Despite their glaring deficiency, the USMNT and Klinsmann will keep on truckin'. Their heart and optimism, courage and fight, is praised around the world. They’ll show that never-say-die spirit even when the scoreline is unforgiving (see Brazil). They’ll punch above their weight sometimes and gut out a win (see Italy). They’ll hammer the inferior teams (see Scotland).
But all the other stuff in the middle – those evenly matched mucks – will continue to produce results like Kingston, Jamaica every so often. It’s just the reality when you don’t have the one player who can tip the balance of a match.
However, that sold-out Columbus Crew Stadium crowd on Tuesday – that might just be enough to take the stars-and-stripes over the top in the scrappy rematch that ensues. More importantly, home field could be enough to sway a key referee call or even win a penalty kick that decides the match.
All is not lost. Even without a superstar.
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – An already murky situation surrounding the future replacement of US goalkeeper Tim Howard has a new wrinkle thanks to news that broke this week in, of all places, Mexico.
Cirilo Saucedo, the 30-year old goalkeeper for Club Tijuana whose mother is a United States citizen, says he has been contacted by US Soccer about a possible call up to join the ever-changing pool of goalkeepers chasing Howard as the top choice for the US national team.
“There is the possibility of being called up for Mexico or the United States,” Saucedo (above) told the sports newspaper Récord. “My mother is American but first I want to focus on Xolos and afterwards we'll see what happens.”
He added: “I'm not closing or opening any door. I want to be in the playoffs with Xolos.”
Born in Mexico City, Saucedo was part of Mexico’s Under-23 setup but has never been called into the full national team, despite suggestions from parts of the local media that it would be deserved.
Earlier this week, Saucedo was named one of four candidates for the Balón de Oro Best Goalkeeper of the Clausura 2012, and he’s been a key part of Tijuana's success since the team was promoted from the second division in May 2011.
The Tijuana 'keeper first became a regular in the 2008-09 season with Indios de Ciudad Juárez before moving to Tigres UANL for a two-year stint, where he was the regular starter. He signed for Tijuana in the summer of 2011.
While Howard is the undisputed No. 1 goalkeeper for the US national team, Saucedo would likely be in the pool of goalkeepers on his tail that has changed dramatically since the 2010 World Cup. Expected incumbent Brad Guzan has lost his grip as the de facto No. 2, and MLS youngsters Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson and veteran Nick Rimando have all battled for the same spot in the past year.
For Mexico's national team, coach José Manuel de la Torre has alternated between Jesús Corona, Guillermo Ochoa and Alfredo Talavera, without giving others much of a look, something that Saucedo mentioned had frustrated him.
There are five other players on Tijuana's first-team squad with US ties, including two who were part of the squad that stunned Mexico at Estadio Azteca last week in Edgar Castillo and Corona. Greg Garza, Alejandro Guido and Stevie Rodriguez are all also on the roster for Tijuana.
Después de 75 años de no lograrlo, Estados Unidos finalmente puede decir que le ganaron a sus archirrivales de la CONCACAF en su casa. México cayó en el Estadio Azteca gracias a un gol de Michael Orozco (que irónicamente es mexico-estadounidense).
Muchos en Estados Unidos piensan que una importante barrera ha caído, que ese triunfo demuestra lo cerca que los estadounidenses están de los reyes de la CONCACAF, algo que llega en un momento critico, ya que recientemente el Tri había superado a Estados Unido en todo sentido… Copa Oro, Olímpicos, Mundiales juveniles, etc, etc, etc.
Sin embargo, es solo un partido, y no se jugaron puntos. Es solo un triunfo, en comparación de los muchos que ha tenido México ante los estadounidenses.
Pensando en eso nos preguntamos, ¿Cuántos partidos pasarán para que EE.UU. le vuelva a ganar al Tri en México? ¿Será que la brecha si se ha cerrado, o será que tendremos que esperar otros 75 años para ver esto?
Voten, comenten y escuchen el debate de Tiro Libre… la rivalidad continúa…
You've probably heard by now that Maurice Edu is most likely going to get a start in central defense for the US against Mexico on Wednesday night.
Jurgen Klinsmann has his reasons. First and foremost is that none of the newcomers in the US central defensive player pool — including Geoff Cameron — have shown that they're ready to lock down a starting spot. So Klinsmann has to turn every card he can looking for an ace.
Secondly, though — and this is pure speculation on my part — this might be a chance for Valencia to see what Edu looks like on the backline against top competition.
Valencia have been the third-best team in Spain for about the past 15 years, meaning that their interest in Edu is a gigantic step up from Rangers, or whatever mid-table French side is pursuing him. And we know how Klinsmann feels about stepping up to the next level.
But there's virtually no chance that Edu can play in the midfield for a team of Valencia's caliber. He doesn't read the game well enough in 360 degrees, and is always more comfortable when things are playing out in front of him. We've also seen plenty of shanked 22-yard shots from him, enough to know that he's not going to add Michael Bradley-esque offense when pushing forward.
What Edu has the raw materials for, however, is the center of defense. I think Valencia see that much, and I also think that if he'd gone anywhere but Rangers he'd have been pushed into that spot after his great performance there in the 2008 Olympics.
So if you're a fan of both the US and La Liga, keep your fingers crossed that Edu has a blinder on Wednesday night. If he does, it could mean a move to the Mediterranean will soon follow.
Des grands matchs, des beaux buts, du débat, de l’analyse, des sujets nationaux et internationaux, voilà le menu de votre émission Coup Franc hebdomadaire (à écouter ici) :
- Notre invité Patrice Bernier revient brièvement sur la victoire de Montréal à New England, parle de sa place en équipe nationale canadienne, de l’utilité du match de ce mercredi contre Trinité-et-Tobago et de la génération actuelle qui a une occasion unique du participer à la Coupe du monde.
- Faut-il faire pression sur les clubs de MLS pour que les internationaux canadiens y jouent à la même place qu’en équipe nationale ?
- Le titre olympique du Mexique, et l’utilisation des jeunes en championnat du Mexique et en MLS.
- Analyse des forces du leader San José en compagnie de Christian Schaekels de Vision du Jeu : Wondolowski qui marque encore plus que l’an dernier, les progrès accomplis en une saison, son efficacité offensive sur les flancs et sur phases arrêtées, ses capacités physiques et mentales, ses remontées et ses fins de match incroyables (voir le but de Lenhart contre le LA Galaxy).
- La bonne humeur à New York et l’implication de Tim Cahill dans les deux buts contre Houston (le 1-0 et le 2-0).
- Landon Donovan qui multiplie les éloges après la victoire du LA Galaxy contre Chivas.
- Quel but trouvez-vous le plus beau : celui de Kandji contre Montréal ou celui de Nyassi à New England ?
The final of the 2014 World Cup is two years from today. Amazing, huh? Seems like only yesterday, we were all huddled in soccer pubs and living rooms and tapas bars watching Spain beat the Netherlands in the final in Johannesburg.
But, in reality, that was a while ago. And now, everything is focused on 2014. Samba on the brain. Caipirinhas before dinner.
Seems like a good to look at what Jurgen Klinsmann's US national team needs to do to get to Rio.
Qualifying – "The Semifinals"
Technically, the current round of qualifying is called the Third Round. It's a group stage, and the US are in good shape after two matches. They beat Antigua and Barbuda 3-1 in Tampa on June 6 and then drew with Guatemala down in Central America four days later.
So at this point, the US are tied with Jamaica at the top of Group A, with four more matches to play.
That Guatemala away game would traditionally be the most difficult one of this round. But this cycle is a little different.
The trip down to Jamaica – who have improved greatly in the past few years – on September 7 will not be a Rastafarian walk in the park. It's made trickier because the two nations square off just four days later in Columbus. Klinsmann will have to manage his roster and squad smartly to avoid fatigue and any letdown in the second match.
Other than that is the away game in Antigua and Barbuda, on October 12, which will indeed be a walk in the park. The return match against Guatemala, at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City on October 16, won't be an easy three points, but the hope is that by then, the US won't need points. By then, they should've clinched a spot in the next round.
My guess is that the US will get nine more points – I think they'll struggle in Kingston – and move on without too many issues.
Qualifying – "The Hex"
Everyone's favorite game of Russian Roulette – the final round of qualifying for CONCACAF. Here are the most likely countries with bullets in the chamber:
Mexico: The Gold Cup champions are perfect in qualifying so far and will eventually cruise through.
Costa Rica: Los Ticos have been here before, and although they slipped up at home against El Salvador, they have enough firepower and experience (e.g. RSL's Alvaro Saborio) to make it.
Honduras: Loaded with familiar names, such as Sporting KC's Roger Espinoza and New England's Jerry Bengtson, los Catrachos are not the powerhouse they were a few years ago, but they still have enough to make the Hex.
Jamaica: This is the year for the Reggae Boyz – led by Colorado's Omar Cummings and Vancouver's Darren Mattocks – to make another serious run at a World Cup berth for the first time since 1998.
The sixth country is probably going to be either Panama or Canada.
Panama look very good through the first two matches, securing two wins, including a 2-0 shocker in Honduras. The other one, though, was a squeaker at home to unfancied Cuba. Still, Blas Pérez and the Panamanians are alone at the top of the Third Round Group C.
But Canada are nipping at their heels after battling for a win in Havana and then earning a draw at home against Honduras. They're in a good position, but will probably need to beat Panama at home and earn a result on the road against either Honduras or Panama.
No matter who makes it, the Hex will be rough road for the US, as it always has been. Klinsi got his first taste of life in CONCACAF when the US went to Guatemala. But the quality is better in the Hex. And the urgency, too.
The US has done well in the Hex recently, coming on top of the final six in each of the past two qualifying tournaments. But this is a different Mexican team than in the past – maybe the best Tri we've ever seen.
But the Yanks don't have to top the group. Just finish in the top three. Most likely, the cut-off for qualifying will be 16 points. That's what it was in 2010 and 2006. It was 17 in 2002, the last time the US qualified in the third spot.
Qualifying – Interconfederation Playoffs
What if the US stumble in the Hex and somehow finish out of the top three? Well, all is not lost. In fact, this year, the scheduling gods have smiled on CONCACAF: The fourth-place team in the Hex will still have a chance to get in through an inter-confederation playoff against the top qualifier from Oceania (a.k.a., New Zealand).
Last time out the playoff was between CONCACAF's fourth-place finisher and South America's fifth-place finisher. Costa Rica lost to Uruguay, as expected.
The hope for US fans, of course, is that it never gets to that point.
Fans longing for the bridge between North, Central and South American soccer, take notice. Change might just be on the horizon.
According to a statement released from CONCACAF, president Jeffrey Webb met with executive committee members of CONMEBOL on Wednesday in São Paulo, Brazil, to explore the potential for collaborative opportunities between the confederations.
Among the items discussed was the staging of a special Copa América in 2016 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL that would involve CONCACAF's partnership and participation, referee development, technical programs and other synergies.
Webb is a special guest of CONMEBOL president Nicolás Leoz and will attend the second leg of the Copa Libertadores Wednesday evening between Corinthians and Boca Juniors.
"The discussions today were held in a spirit of genuine cooperation," said Webb, making his first trip to South America since his election as CONCACAF president on May 23. "I look forward to further talks and building a stronger relationship between our confederations."
Webb is accompanied on the trip by CONCACAF vice president Justino Compeán, who is also president of the Mexican Football Federation.