12 October 8:57 pm

This is one of those nights that sports fans endure. Whether it's baseball, football, basketball ... whatever. At some point, your team plays so badly that you become physically ill. Or near enough, anyway.

That's what Jurgen Klinsmann's team just did down in Antigua with their ugly 2-1 win on Friday night. And the painful part is that it's not really a surprise.

Klinsmann is, quite possibly, a great "big picture" coach. He might be the right guy to shake up the USSF and institute a more progressive, enjoyable style. He might be the guy who destroys what remains of the "old boy network." He may be the guy who can write a curriculum that turns the US into the Brazil of the northern hemisphere.

He is not the guy to coach a team through qualifying. Period.

Carlos Bocanegra is still a liability at left back

Hey, Boca's been a fantastic servant for US soccer. He's relentless, responsible and has a knack for timely goals.

He's also a giveaway machine when he plays wide. Bruce Arena learned that to his detriment in the 2006 World Cup — anybody remember that "clearance" vs. Ghana? — and Bob Bradley had his own trip down that path from 2007 through 2009.

Somehow, it's 2012 and we're still learning that lesson. Yes, Klinsmann was handicapped by the injuries to Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo, but a good coach compensates by finding the right solution, not any solution.

Klinsmann, on the other hand, compensates by putting Bocanegra in a position to fail. And that's exactly what he did on the turnover that led to the Antigua goal.

Possession doesn't necessarily mean chances

Throughout the game, we were treated to analysis highlighting the US dominance in possession. Problem was, that possession wasn't leading to chances. It wasn't even leading to half-chances.

The US put one shot on goal from the run of play over 90 minutes against Antigua & Barbuda. Anyone who's making reservations for Brazil two summers from now needs to internalize that, understand it and choose a second favorite team right now.

It's not because the US lacks creators, certainly — just look at how the game opened up once Sacha Kljestan came on. Quite simply, it's because the creative attacking players we have are, for some undisclosed reason, in Klinsmann's doghouse.

For years many of us have railed against the perception of the US as a "defense only" team, pointing to games like the 2002 World Cup vs. Germany, the 2009 Confederations Cup vs. Egypt (and Brazil) and the entire run of the 2010 World Cup.

But under Klinsmann, the US are defense only. The possession they hold in midfield isn't used to create chances, and as a result, the only time they're consistently dangerous is on set pieces.

Eddie Johnson has a place in the roster ... and so does Alan Gordon

I questioned EJ's inclusion despite his great production for the Sounders. And truth be told, he was more of a liability in possession than any of the other midfielders.

However, he gets open on set pieces, and he finished two of his three looks (of the five total looks the US had on the night, which kind of makes me want to die). There's a place for that, especially against minnows. I still don't think he's the answer long term because he takes too long on the ball in the run of play, but hell, beggars can't be choosers.

As for Gordon, he's the best-passing big man in or around his prime in the US national team pool. I've been pointing this out for quite a long while, and he vindicated me on Friday.

Center forwards, like d-mids and goalkeepers, tend to develop later in their careers (Gordon is the age Brian McBride was when he transferred to Fulham). It's very, very nice to see a guy like Gordon stick with it as long as he has and, eventually, find his moment in the sun.

And it's a reminder: Over the past three cycles, MLS players have done the bulk of the heavy lifting for the US national team. Klinsmann would be wise, on Tuesday and — hopefully — in 2013, to remember that much.

12 October 4:29 pm

If you somehow missed it in the USA's 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Jamaica last month, Clint Dempsey's – how shall we put it – mocking scowl, has quickly become the next great American soccer meme.

And though it is already well-preserved in the annals of the Internet, you can now take it with you wherever you go. The Deuce face will make its debut with a group of intrepid US fans traveling to Antigua & Barbuda for Friday night's World Cup qualifier, who have done an excellent job capturing one of the iconic American soccer photos of 2012 and putting it into poster form:

Deuce Face has arrived.  on Twitpic

Though it's unlikely we'll see another facial expression quite as great as Dempsey's from a US national team player, it does beg the question, what if we could do this for the whole team? Now THAT could be pretty cool to see in the stands at the USA's next game.

12 October 3:00 pm

Clubs continue to focus efforts on supporting Breast Cancer Awarenes Month in October by wearing MLS W.O.R.K.S. Breast Cancer Awareness jersey patches, t-shirts and using pink soccer balls during the match. A selection of these items from each team will be available on the MLS W.O.R.K.S. online auction with proceeds benefiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Don't miss your chance to bid on these commemorative Breast Cancer Awareness items beginning Monday, October 15 at 10 a.m. E.T.

Check out some other community stories from this week:

Video: Stand Together Week Day 4

Stand Together Week Journal Day 4

D.C. United Race for a Cause

D.C. United: Team Unites for D.C.

FC Dallas supports Breast Cancer Awareness

Houston Dynamo Futbol Fiesta

LA Galaxy clinic series

A cancer survivor, Galaxy assistant coach has focused life on developing young players

Union Breast Cancer Awareness Game a Night to Remember

Video: Stand Together Week Day 3

Stand Together Week Journal Day 3

Crew in the Community October 13-19

Crew Stadium hosts City League Championships

Seattle Sounders United We Serve: Mission Gospel

Video: Stand Together Week Day 2

Stand Together Week Journal Day 2

Military service member on leave enjoys Cascadia rivalry

United Drives to collect personal hygiene items

Colorado Rapids: Mastroeni and Corrigan turn dream into a reality

Colorado Rapids: Pine Ridge shows how music and athletes can make a difference

Stand Together Week Journal Day 1

Video: Stand Together Week Day 1

The Crew Soccer Foundation launches the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund

October has extra meaning for Rapids' Cooke as sister battles cancer

Frankie Hejduk visits Mt. Vernon Middle School with the "Crew Takes Over Your School" Program

Street Soccer flourishing in Vancouver neighborhoods

Crew hosts the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's Dare to Play Soccer Program

For more community news from around the League, visit the MLS W.O.R.K.S. news section.

12 October 12:22 pm

On l’a dit et répété : la route du Canada vers la Coupe du monde au Brésil passe par de bons résultats ce soir contre Cuba et mardi au Honduras. Tout commencera à BMO Field (19h30) face à un adversaire qui a tout perdu jusqu’à présent mais n’est pas à prendre à la légère.

D’ailleurs, le discours que tient l’équipe depuis qu’elle s’est réunie en milieu de semaine est clair : « Il ne faut pas déjà avoir la tête au Honduras. » Le Canada n’a marqué que deux buts lors de ses quatre premiers matchs dans le groupe C et avait gagné par le plus petit écart lors de son déplacement à Cuba.

« Personne ne les a battus facilement, il ne faut pas se faire piéger », prévient Patrice Bernier, qui ajoute par ailleurs que l’équipe va « jouer deux des plus importants matchs dans l’histoire du soccer canadien depuis longtemps ». A fortiori, Stephen Hart souligne à quel point une qualification pour la Coupe du monde pourrait aider le soccer à progresser au Canada.

La stratégie des Canadiens ce soir sera d’être dominateurs « comme lors de nos deux dernières rencontres à domicile », déclare Atiba Hutchinson. Privés de Dwayne De Rosario, blessé, ils pourront compter sur Olivier Occean, remis des pépins physiques qui l’avaient privé du déplacement au Panama et tenu à l’écart à Francfort.

Si vous souhaitez vous mettre en appétit, regardez See the Rise, des vidéos de l’Association canadienne de soccer qui suivent le parcours de l’équipe nationale depuis le début de l'année.

Outre le match à Toronto, il faudra garder à l’œil le duel Panama - Honduras, dont le résultat déterminera la mission du Canada mardi à San Pedro Sula. On suivra aussi attentivement les rencontres ailleurs dans la Concacaf et partout sur la planète.

11 October 7:26 pm

Newly named New York Red Bulls GM Jerome de Bontin was non-committal when he was asked last week about the future of current manager Hans Backe.

But Backe himself sounds like he knows what's happening when his contract expires at the end of the current season.

According to a report in Swedish outlet Expressen, Backe indicated that he plans on moving back to Sweden in December.

"My contract runs out and I have not heard anything, so I will be moving home in December," Backe said, according to an online translation of the article. "There has been a reorganization which brought in Gérard Houllier and Jerome de Bontin and Erik Solér has been fired."

Add to that last week's rumors that tie Harry Redknapp and Gary McAllister to the Red Bulls job and it makes for a pretty major disruption for a team that still hasn't clinched a playoff berth with two matches remaining.

We'll see how the club responds in the coming days.

11 October 1:33 pm

When an England-based media outlet gets a chance to sit down with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, the question du rigueur these days is about Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard.

After his participation in the Leaders in Football conference in London on Thursday, Garber fielded the "Lampard to MLS" question and was bullish about his one day joining the US top-flight (see the video below):

"What a great player," Garber said about Lampard. "It would be great to see him in Major League Soccer but I'm not aware of any conversations going on."

And the Commissioner also shared his thoughts about ex-New England Revolution and current Tottenham Hotspur forward Clint Dempsey, who will lead the US national team in two crucial World Cup qualifying matches.

"For me, personally, I'd love to have Clint Dempsey in Major League Soccer," he said. "I think that the top American today and playing in our league and being an idol for young kids all across the country would be good for Major League Soccer."

See the entire interview below:

11 October 12:09 pm

Accéder au dernier tour des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde, et donc faire partie des six meilleures nations de la zone, est un must pour tout pays de la Concacaf le moindrement ambitieux. C’est un objectif que le Canada tentera d’atteindre pour la première fois depuis 16 ans.

Pour cela, il faudra commencer par battre Cuba ce vendredi. À en croire les diverses déclarations, les membres de l’équipe nationale canadienne ne sont pas stressés. Stephen Hart se dit très serein tout en insistant sur le fait que les joueurs sont concentrés sur ce duel, plutôt que sur le déplacement au Honduras de mardi. Olivier Occean ajoute que la pression, les joueurs la ressentent aussi dans leur club.

Les Canadiens récupéreront le jeune papa Will Johnson, de retour de suspension. À l’image de Terry Dunfield, ils sont nombreux à se rendre compte que c’est leur dernière chance de participer à la Coupe du monde.

Alors que les observateurs les voient déjà au Brésil, les États-Unis font preuve d’une inquiétude inhabituelle. Le choix Jurgen Klinsmann de ne pas sélectionner Jozy Altidore a ouvert un bal d’autres défections, pour raisons de santé celles-là. Ils n’étaient que 11 sur le terrain pour l’entraînement ce mercredi, et l’équipe, déjà privée de Landon Donovan et Brek Shea, a dû partir pour Antigua-et-Barbuda sans arrière gauche.

On s’affaire aussi beaucoup en haut lieu. Pendant que Don Garber participe à des conférences en Angleterre, les dirigeants de la MLS ont officiellement ouvert les discussions pour l’arrivée d’une deuxième équipe à New York en 2016.

09 October 3:48 pm

Here's the third and final part of our series on the long build-up, looking at how teams use long sequences of passes to break down an opponent's defense.

In this video, we examine the gaps that are created by horizontal and lateral ball movement, respectively, and why ball-playing central defenders are at such a premium these days.

09 October 3:43 pm

It's been the year of the center forward in MLS, and that's trickled down to the North American second flight as well.

The NASL on Tuesday announced its Best XI for the 2012 season, and at its head was Golden Boot winner Pablo Campos. The big Brazilian No. 9 had a career year, knocking home 20 goals in leading expansion side San Antonio Scorpions to the best regular-season record and No. 1 playoff seed.

Campos, who turns 29 this week, had four goals in 41 appearances with RSL and San Jose in 2009 and 2010.

Other former MLS players featured in the Best XI were winger Nick Zimmerman, who had stints with both Philadelphia and New York; and central defender Ryan Cochrane, who spent eight years in MLS and won two MLS Cups with Houston.

Here is the complete Best XI list:

Forwards: Mark Anderson (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers), Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions)

Midfielders: Luke Mulholland (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Walter Ramírez (San Antonio Scorpions), Walter Restrepo (Ft. Lauderdale Strikers), Nick Zimmerman (Carolina RailHawks)

Defenders: Kyle Altman (Minnesota Stars FC), Ryan Cochrane (San Antonio Scorpions), Paul Hamilton (FC Edmonton), Takuya Yamada (Tampa Bay Rowdies)

Goalkeeper: Jeff Attinella (Tampa Bay Rowdies)

Complete NASL coverage

09 October 11:38 am

À l’issue de la mini-trêve réservée aux équipes nationales, il ne restera que deux semaines de compétition à la saison régulière et deux rencontres à toutes les équipes dont le sort n’est pas encore scellé. Voici un tour d’horizon des différents enjeux. À vos pronostics !

San José est quasiment assuré de remporter le trophée. Avec 5 points d’avance sur Kansas City, il lui suffit à toutes fins pratiques d’un point pour terminer en tête du classement (en cas d’égalité, les équipes sont départagées par le nombre de buts marqués, ce qui avantage nettement les Californiens). Ils auront l’occasion de le remporter contre le LA Galaxy puis à Portland. En cas de double échec du leader, les Sportingmen devront réaliser le sans-faute à New York et contre Philadelphie pour s’adjuger le Supporters Shield.
San José est d’ores et déjà assuré de participer à la Ligue des champions car Kansas City s’y est qualifié en remportant la Coupe des États-Unis.

Salt Lake, Seattle et le LA Galaxy accompagneront San José en phase finale. Le dernier siège sera pour Vancouver ou Dallas. Avantage à l’équipe de Martin Rennie, qui compte quatre unités d’avance sur son adversaire. Une victoire contre Portland ou à Salt Lake lui suffira. Les Texans, qui ont marqué plus de buts, ne peuvent se permettre la moindre défaite et sont quasiment contraints au 6/6 à Seattle et contre Chivas USA.

Kansas City et Chicago sont déjà rassurés sur leur sort. Quatre équipes luttent pour les trois dernières places. DC United (3e, 54 pts) est le mieux classé mais son calendrier est ardu, avec la visite de Columbus et un déplacement à Chicago. Tout comme New York (4e, 53 pts), qui accueillera Kansas City avant d’aller à Philadelphie, il peut se contenter d’une victoire ou tabler sur une défaite des deux autres prétendants. Houston (5e, 50 pts), qui reçoit Philadelphie et se déplace à Colorado, doit prendre au moins autant de points que Columbus (6e, 49 pts et en mauvaise posture car la moins bonne attaque des quatre) qui, après son déplacement à DC United, jouera contre Toronto.