11 June 11:52 am

Un deuxième joueur désigné rejoindra-t-il bientôt Marco Di Vaio à Montréal ? Une pluie de noms, souvent très célèbres, peuplent en tout cas les médias, le web et les réseaux sociaux.

Le club suit la piste Clarence Seedorf : Nick De Santis a déclaré qu’ils avaient parlé argent mais qu’aucune offre concrète n’avait été soumise. Le Néerlandais est aussi sérieusement convoité par Botafogo et Tottenham. En Allemagne, on reparle des diverses options en MLS de Michael Ballack, citant Montréal comme premier choix. Andrei Shevchenko aurait de son côté refusé une offre de l'Impact.

À moins que tout ce monde ne soit coiffé par un gardien ? Donovan Ricketts s’est blessé et le gardien de Saint-Étienne,  Jérémie Janot, est à Montréal en ce moment. Une visite à son ami Youssef Dahha, entraîneur des gardiens chez les jeunes de l’Impact. Mais Janot semble prendre la direction de Lens. Et pendant que le club refroidissait la piste Del Piero, certains voyaient Nick De Santis et Alessandro Nesta se promener au centre-ville.

Mais la véritable vedette québécoise des derniers jours, c’est Olivier Occean, qui a marqué le but de la victoire du Canada 0-1 à Cuba : trois points précieux avant de recevoir le Honduras, en quête de revanche après sa défaite 0-2 face au Panama. 

10 June 9:48 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 (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, "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.

10 June 8:05 pm

Former US men's national team coach Bob Bradley has enjoyed a wildly successful start to his career in charge of Egypt's national team, winning the hearts of the Egyptian people and plenty of games.

Things looked a little less rosy, though, in Bradley's second World Cup qualifier, away to Guinea. Alhassane Bangoura netted an improbable equalizer for the 10-man West African side in the 88th minute, and Egypt looked headed for a tie that would've made the competition for a coveted spot in the final round of qualifying all that much difficult.

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah had other ideas though and scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hand Egypt a 3-2 win and put them firmly on top of their group.

It's still a long road to the World Cup for The Pharaohs – they still have four more group games, and if they keep it up, they'll face a do-or-die two-legged playoff to get to Brazil. Still, Guinea away is at least on paper the most dificult task Bradley's men will face until that playoff, and though they are not in action again until March 2013, they will certainly be feeling good about their chances.

Can Bradley take Egypt to the World Cup? If both Egypt and the US make it, how cool would it be to see the ex-US coach take on his former side? Weigh in with your comments beow.

08 June 9:19 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.

08 June 3:40 pm

If you're Polish, probably pretty good - and we have the video to prove it:

The rest of the game, probably not so much. Brutal result for the co-hosts.

By the way, Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha was at the game. He probably won't come home with Robert Lewandowski, but given all the talk out of Crewland about a new DP for the summer, maybe he'll figure out a way to smuggle countryman Pawel Brozek back to Ohio?

08 June 11:49 am

Le troisième tour des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde dans la zone Concacaf commence ce vendredi. Le Canada se déplace à Cuba (14h00) avec un seul objectif en tête : la victoire.

Il s’agit du déplacement théoriquement le plus facile pour les Canadiens… d’où l’obligation de gagner. D’autant que dans la Concacaf, les rencontres à l’extérieur sont rarement une partie de plaisir. « C’est probablement le pire terrain sur lequel j’ai joué », a déclaré Kevin McKenna après le premier entraînement sur place (video). Et pour ne rien arranger, le match est programmé en pleine chaleur de l’après-midi.

Mais à l’image de Dwayne De Rosarion, le Canada n’a qu’une seule préoccupation : les trois points. Il faudra pour cela battre un adversaire mystérieux. Et quand Stephen Hart a voulu les visionner en Jamaïque… Cuba avait emmené son équipe espoirs ! L’essentiel de la préparation de l’équipe a eu lieu au Brésil, contre des adversaires de divisions inférieures ou des équipes de jeunes. Les Cubains sont des passionnés de soccer, comme le confirme le joueur de Montréal Eduardo Sebrango, et espèrent terminer parmi les deux premiers de leur groupe et ainsi passer au tour suivant.

L’autre match du groupe C opposera le Honduras au Panama. Pour leur premier match officiel sous Jürgen Klinsmann, les États-Unis ne devraient éprouver aucune peine face à Antigua-et-Barbuda, pas plus que le Mexique contre le Guyana. Costa Rica - Salvador et Jamaïque - Guatemala complètent le programme.

08 June 10:34 am

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07 June 2:46 pm

Eh bien voilà, je préparais tranquillement un texte intitulé « Peter Byers défie l’Amérique » pour vous présenter les éliminatoires de la Concacaf dans les autres groupes que celui du Canada, quand le Toronto FC a encore frappé.

Aron Winter est la victime de cette nouvelle poussée de renvoyite aiguë : le Néerlandais cède sa place à Paul Mariner, qui devient le septième entraîneur d’un club qui joue en MLS depuis à peine plus de 5 ans. Nommé en janvier 2011, Winter détient pourtant un record de la longévité à la tête du TFC.

Il était venu pour construire, prônait un système de jeu chatoyant et a lancé plusieurs jeunes comme Morgan ou Henry, promis à un bel avenir. Winter a hissé l’équipe en demi-finale de la Ligue des champions, a remporté deux fois la Coupe du Canada, mais ce n’était pas suffisant. Ses dirigeants lui font payer les résultats désastreux de l’équipe en MLS… juste au moment où elle commence à prendre des points et de la confiance.

Et maintenant ? Mariner dit qu’il suffit de « quelques ajustements mineurs »… demandant « beaucoup de travail ». Comme le dit une chanson pour enfants : Trois pas en avant, trois pas en arrière, trois pas sur le côté, trois pas de l’autre côté…

07 June 11:13 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.