blog

US National Team

10 July 11:33 am

Brendan Rodgers has high hopes for Liverpool – and he's wasting no time trying to reinforce his squad for that pursuit.

The newly appointed manager is eager to make his first signing since taking over the Reds on June 1, and one of his first targets happens to be US international Clint Dempsey.

According to a report by the English newspaper The Mirror, Rodgers and the Liverpool front office are set to bid £7.5 million in an attempt to pry the English Premier League's fourth-leading scorer in 2011-12 away from Fulham's Craven Cottage and north to Anfield. 

A deal could be completed as early as Wednesday, if you believe the report, as Liverpool hope to lock up Deuce before their trip to the United States next week. 

If the transfer goes down, what do you think of the move?

09 July 10:35 am

After Sporting Kansas City's scoreless draw with Houston on Saturday, Carlos Bocanegra gave some insight into a situation still developing some 4,000 miles away in Glasgow, Scotland.

Like his Rangers teammates Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya, Bocanegra faces a decision about his future at Rangers after the club went into administration and is on the verge of being forced into Scotland's lower divisions. Unlike his teammates, though, the US defender has been consistently linked with MLS and spoke to SKC play-by-play man Callum Williams about that very possibility.

Watch the video above to see what Bocanegra has to say and check out this report with more insight into his thoughts on the current state of the club and Scottish football.

26 June 4:33 pm

Ya se anunció que el 15 de agosto llegan los rivales de la selección mexicana, Estados Unidos, al Estadio Azteca para un juego amistoso, que de amistoso tiene muy poco, dada la rivalidad de estas selecciones.

Jurgen Klinsmann, director técnico de EE.UU,  ha llevado su equipo a juegos amistosos este año ante Italia y Brasil. Dice el DT que quiere exponer sus jugadores a los mejores equipos del mundo.

“México ha demostrado ser unos de los mejores equipos del mundo, entonces para nosotros esta es una gran oportunidad”, dijo Klinsmann en el comunicado de prensa.

Espera, ¿que dijo el DT de las Barras y Las Estrellas? ¿Qué México es una de las mejores selecciones del mundo? ¡Wow, por fin alguien norte del Rio Grande lo admite! Aun no dice nada Landon Donovan al respeto, pero no se preocupen mexicanos, aun falta mucho tiempo para que el delantero diga algo que le prende fuego a la rivalidad.    

La historia dice que estos equipos se han confrontado 60 veces en 43 partidos oficiales y 17 amistosos, donde 33 resultaron triunfos para El Tri y 15 para las Barras y Las Estrellas, y 12 empates.

¿Qué marcador podremos esperar de este próximo amistoso?

Charlas con Chicharito:

Por si no lo sabían, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez ya tiene Twitter oficial. En menos de 24 horas @CH14_  ya tiene 168, 922 seguidores. Bienvenido Chicharito al año 2006, ahora platícanos de la selección por favor.

21 June 1:21 pm

Since this week is dedicated to numbers here at MLSsoccer.com, I figured I would pass on some of the raw data and illustrations collected over the past few weeks in the hunt for fresh Opta Spotlight* ideas.

*On Friday, I'll examine the magnificent season Columbus' Andy Gruenebaum has put together with Will Hesmer sidelined.

Below are the touch charts for Clint Dempsey in the quarterfinal and semifinal at last summer's Gold Cup as well as the most recent qualifier in Guatemala under Jurgen Klinsmann's direction. Duece scored in all three matches.

What do these illustrations say to you? Is Dempsey playing a different role under Klinsmann than he did under Bob Bradley? I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions in the comment section below.

vs. Jamaica (2-0 victory - June 19, 2011)

vs. Panama (1-0 victory - June 22, 2011)

at Guatemala (1-1 draw - June 13, 2012)

14 June 11:55 am

Glasgow Rangers formally announced on Thursday that the original club no longer exists — they are now known the world over as “The Rangers Football Club.” The question now for MLS fans is what's in store for the club's US contingent made up of Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya?

In the next week or so, the other 11 Scottish Premier League teams will meet to vote on whether Rangers can enter the SPL next season. The newly formed team, which is replacing the side which was formed in 1872, will have to win the vote by a majority of 8-4 in order to compete in Scotland’s top division. If not, they will likely be demoted to the bottom tier of Scottish professional soccer, the third division.

So will Bocanegra & Co. be lining up against the likes of Montrose, Elgin City and Peterhead next season? Or enjoying the Old Firm derby against archrivals Celtic FC at a packed Ibrox Stadium? Only time will tell, as the wait to find out their fate will be an anxious one for the US trio.

One report Thursday suggests that with the original Rangers Football Club ceasing to exist, no player is contractually obligated to play for the newly formed club. Hence, all three US players could end up as free agents and able to speak to whichever clubs they want.

Watch this space, this saga will rumble on long into the summer months. Let us know what you would like Rangers' American trio to do in the comments section below.

13 June 11:43 am

Last night a group of USA fans gathered at The Hill in Midtown Manhattan to watch the Yanks take on Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying courtesy of ExtraTime Radio.

With stomachs full of free sliders, mozzarella sticks and potato skins, the bar cheered as Landon Donovan drove up the flank and passed the ball to Fabian Johnson, who dished it to Clint Dempsey to score the opening goal.  Enjoy the grainy reaction footage and tell us where you watched the US pick up the road point.

12 June 11:08 pm

Was a 1-1 draw the right result? Probably. Well, 2-2 might have been more accurate.

We'll get to the rest of this just after a few of those match balls come down out of orbit.

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Geoff Cameron has proved that he's the right choice in central defense

Was he perfect? No, far from it. His first touch was a giveaway and he needs to be smarter defending set pieces.

But he was significantly better than Clarence Goodson, and miles better than Oguchi Onyewu was against Antigua and Barbuda. It's always been a matter of "when," not "if," with Cameron, and it looks like the "when" is just about now.

There will still be tough days to come. Someone will sucker him into a bad foul, or he'll get caught ball-watching, or he'll blow a trap. But he put in a tough 45 minutes and did so with a fair share of aplomb. It was a good first "big" game from Cameron, who should be in the starting lineup from here on out.

Of course, it was also a bad game by Carlos Bocanegra, who totally misplayed the longball that led to the foul that led to the one decent (read: spectacular) free kick of the evening. Let's hope Tim Ream, George John, Matt Besler and whoever else is on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar make a Cameron-like leap in the next few months.

Fabian Johnson is irreplacable at left back

One of the things I wanted to see was how Johnson would combine down the left with Landon Donovan. And it was good.

Donovan's in a particularly passive mode right now, which means he's totally willing to drift wide when Johnson darts inside. It's what happened on the goal, and why Johnson only had to beat one guy instead of two.

And the fact that we can casually talk about one of our players beating a defender off the dribble ... man, that is a nice weapon coming out of the back. Edgar Castillo is functional, and I have high hopes for Justin Morrow, but neither of those guys has the raw creative ability Johnson shows every time he takes the field for the US.

Of course, he can also be spun like a top in one-v-one defensively, and is prone to ball-watching. Two of Guatemala's best chances on the evening were directly attributable to his poor defensive play.

But I don't care. He brings so much other stuff to the table that it hardly matters.

Nobody's on the same page in the final third

Just about the only quality link-up of the night for the US came on the goal. The midfield play was better as a whole (though Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones were turnover machines), and the defense was relative solid compared to previous outings.

But the final third is still a mess. If Donovan played the ball early, the runs came late. If Dempsey tried a flick, he should have went for a through ball.

And there aren't enough expletives in the world to describe Jozy Altidore's thought-process on that late chance that Michael Bradley served up on a platter.

It is ugly, and not showing signs of getting better. Klinsmann's biggest job is still shoring up the defense, of course. But a close second is reminding his attackers how to attack.

12 June 1:00 pm

Quien sabe si el equipo Salvadoreño esté listo para el partido de hoy contra México, pero sus aficionados si lo están. 

Desde las ocho de la noche del día antes del juego, llegaron fanáticos salvadoreños masivamente al hotel donde se encontraba la selección mexicana. ¿Pero a que fueron los salvadoreños al hotel? ¿Echarle porra a México? ¿Recibirlos con brazos abiertos? ¡Si y si! Bueno, depende de que lado lo veas. ¿Dedicarle a un país una serenata es como echarle porra y recibirlo con brazos abiertos, o no?

Según el sitio web Mediotiempo.com llegaron más o menos 1,500 salvadoreños intentando hacer el mayor escándalo posible para impedir el descanso de El Tri la noche previa al duelo de este martes por la eliminatoria de la CONCACAF. Aun con tambores, cohetes, y gritos los salvadoreños no lograron nada. Las habitaciones de los jugadores estaban en una ubicación muy lejana a donde ocurrieron de los hechos además de que las mismas tienen vidrios anti-ruido.

Hoy también se encuentra Estados Unidos jugando en casa ajena contra Guatemala. Con el recuerdo de su última derrota ante el combinado de las Barras y las Estrellas en 2008, se espera un ambiente hostil donde Guatemala jugará con un sentido de revancha para defender su estadio.

El Estadio Mateo Flores ya tiene alambrado a su alrededor por si llega suceder algo y los estadounidenses están preparados para salir del país en cuando se acabe el juego.

10 June 8:48 pm

It's been a whirlwind few months for Terrence Boyd (above, credit: MexSport), and to cap it all off, he will soon get his first taste of top-flight soccer.

A report in Austria publication sport10.at (in German) suggests that Boyd's long-rumored move from Borussia Dortmund to Rapid Vienna is all but sealed. He is set to fly to Austria and finalize the deal following the United States' World Cup qualifier at Guatemala on Tuesday.

He is quoted as saying to sport10.at, "The league is very attractive and is highly-regarded in Germany. In my opinion a young player can advance a lot in this league."

In addition to playing top-flight soccer, Boyd will get to test his wits in the Europa League, by virtue of Rapid's second-place finish in the 2011-12 Austrian Bundesliga. The club was also a recent stop for a pair of D.C. United players – Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic.

Boyd joins the 32-time Austrian champions on the back of a 20-goal season for Dortmund's reserve team, which plays in the German fourth division. His breakout year, movement, and ability to trouble defenders with his physicality earned him the attention of Jurgen Klinsmann and the US coaching staff. 

Though he hasn't played top-flight soccer yet, he made his national team debut in the USA's 1-0 victory over Italy in February and scored two goals in the ultimately disappointing Olympic qualifying campaign. He came on as a substitute in the Americans' 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Antigua and Barbuda, cap-tying him to the United States and bringing his total to four caps.

Is Boyd's move to Austria the right step forward for the 21-year-old? How do you think he will cope with the pressure of top-flight professional soccer? As is the case with young players, it's too early to tell, but all the signs point to a bright future for the young man.

08 June 8:19 pm

Well, that was unsatisfying. At least Canadians can look at their win over Cuba and say, "Hey, it was on the road." The US don't have that luxury after a hard-fought, uneven 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa.

I can't say I'm surprised. Disappointed, surely, but not surprised. This is a disjointed, confused, and somewhat rudderless US team.

Oguchi Onyewu is done as an international-caliber defender

Bad showing against Brazil? Hey, it happens.

But the same against the Benna Boys? You're done.

It's kind of deceiving because Gooch still looks like he did way back in the summer of 2009 when he had that great showing in the Confederations Cup, but the similarity ends there. His lateral quickness is nil, his passing has always been subpar and his reading of the game has actually regressed. The vast majority of MLS defenders would have bottled up that touch from Byers; Gooch rolled with it and gave him a direct line to Tim Howard's goal.

That's unacceptable in any context. In a game that matters, with a then-fragile 2-0 lead? It's mutinous.

Jurgen Klinsmann needs to bury Gooch on the depth chart. He's a liability against even the worst teams.

If it comes down to goal differential, the US are in trouble

How many goals will the US score in Guatemala City or Kingston playing like this? It's relevant, since Mexico only went through to the Hexagonal on goal differential four years ago.

The US will not have that luxury — not after this performance, and even more so on Tuesday. That means the margin for error is razor thin, and any loss will be a potentially crippling one.

Does that mean Klinsmann should add more attackers to the mix?

Absolutely. Not only was the output poor, but so was recovery of the second ball and pressure in the final third. Putting Jozy Altidore or Terrence Boyd in alongside Herculez Gomez from the start would have given the US a better chance at taking advantage of all those chances they created.

Set pieces are still a thing the US can do well

Landon Donovan's service was perfect pretty much all game long. Carlos Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson, Herculez Gomez, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu and Michael Bradley are all excellent targets.

That was the difference against the Benna Boys. (How horrible is that to contemplate, by the way?)

It will continue to be the area where the US have the biggest advantage throughout this semifinal round. Klinsmann's men will have to milk that for all it's worth, or there may be no Hexagonal in 2013.