Unlike previous regimes, when USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann speaks, there's always a fresh takeaway.
In this latest video interview conducted by Allen Hopkins, Klinsmann makes it clear that he has no preference for a tactical formation but he's more interested in all 11 players working and running hard for 90 minutes. And the key to success for his philosophy lies in the forward line:
"It's a very difficult process for our strikers, Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo or Edson Buddle," Klinsmann tells Hopkins. "They have to learn to go backwards the moment we lose the ball they have to be behind the ball."
No one is exempt from the hard work, according to Klinsmann and the German fires this warning to any wannabe primadonnas.
"Maybe eventually down the road if there was one guy or maybe one diva we might have and says 'I want to do it my way,' he will be gone. He won't fit into the Brazil  roster."
It's not too hard to figure out which players this is directed at.
Let's not overthink this one. Everton scored four goals in the six games before Donovan arrived, going 2-2-2 across all competitions. Since January 4, they've scored 11 in nine, going 4-3-2 with wins over Manchester City and Chelsea.
In January, Everton scored eight times. Donovan assisted five of them.
Somewhere, Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle are smiling.
You've said those three magical words, "I love you," a thousand times before. You've given chocolate, roses... maybe even diamonds.
But on this Valentine's Day, MLS fans tried something different:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 14, 2012
Tweets have been pouring in all day with photos ranging from first dates to wedding days. Below are just a couple of our faves. For more, check out the MLS Twitter page. Enjoy!
— Brent Chaney (@M_F_Chainsaw) February 14, 2012
— Althea (@Althea_PDX) February 14, 2012
— Nancy Norton (@spsoccermom) February 14, 2012
— James H (@nobius) February 14, 2012
I thought Andrew Wenger was going to be a central defender. So did Caleb Porter, apparently – the US U-23 coach played Wenger there during January's camp.
And we weren't alone; I'd say a plurality of people in the world of US/Canadian soccer figured Wenger projected as a surefire star in the middle of the defense. He has ideal tools for a young center back – he's skilled, physical, big, strong and quick, a guy cut straight from the Geoff Cameron mold.
But it turns out that Jesse Marsch has different ideas. He played Wenger up top in the rookie's first action last week, coming right out and saying "I like him as a forward." And Wenger himself has said he wants an attacking role.
So when word dropped today that former Italian international central defender Matteo Ferrari was/is about to sign with the Impact, it just crystalized what was already pretty clear: Wenger's not going to be a defender in MLS.
At least, not yet, and not unless something goes "Chris Albright at center forward"-level wrong over the next couple of years.
For the Impact's sake, let's hope that's not in the cards.
For Porter's sake, let's hope Ike Opara can stay healthy and impress. Otherwise, the US central defense could be in a world of hurt come Olympic qualifying time.
In the meantime, enjoy the highlights of Montreal's scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers:
SF clued you into some pretty clever Valentine's Day wishes from the Vancouver Whitecaps to their Cascadia rivals and a few other select sides earlier today.
Not to be outdone, FC Dallas took their own crack at Valentine's Day, talking to the squad about their big plans and who the most romantic among them might be. Consensus pick: Andrew Wiedeman.
Seems manager Schellas Hyndman is a bit of a romantic himself, mentioning that he limited the team's training today to make sure everyone has time to make sure their loved ones feel appreciated.
Good on him. Here's hoping there is a new leather jacket waiting for Hyndman courtesy of his special someone.
Oh, come on, you're not that surprised, are you?
The Washington Post's Steven Goff reported yesterday that former US men's national team coach Bob Bradley made $400,000 in bonuses from April 2010 to March 2011, a sum that put his total earnings at almost a million bucks.
Reading that makes me think one thing and one thing only: Good for Bob. He earned that money, as far as I'm concerned. And even if his round of 16 finish at the World Cup wasn't enough for you (and if it wasn't, get over yourself), he still earned a reported 1.5 million dollars less than Jurgen Klinsmann will make this year.
Moreover, Bradley recently donated two months of his salary to the victims of the Port Said tragedy, so it's not like he's blowing his money on a third Bugatti. I don't begrudge the man for being good at what he does, and I don't mind that he's getting paid well for it, either.
Never in the history of humanity has a Canadian pensioner and the music of The Carpenters been deployed for such diabolical means. Leave it to Cascadia to find a way to make soft rock sinister. Bravo Vancouver, bravo.
Another day, another video featuring Salt Lake City's most high-profile punk rock supporter, Rancid's Branden Steineckert. The chant is called "Believe" and it was written by Steineckert while the accompanying video was shot & edited by T. Issac Halsima, one of my favorite video guys working in & around MLS. In short, it is an awesome, inspiring piece of promotional footage that does exactly what it should: get viewers hyped.
So how did the chant come about? Here's the story from Steineckert.
I just finished this song/chant I wrote for the team/fans. I've been working on several, and I've got more. But this is my favorite that could be a team anthem. I wrote it to be noble, strong, intimidating sounding as if the pride within the RSL family will tear down any opponent. But yet I made sure to keep it from being in any way offensive or cater to one "type" of fan. Something tattooed, die-hard fans can sing proudly along with conservative fans, children, elderly people and anyone of any kind of background. I also kept it very simple so the words are easy to learn and memorize as well as a catchy melody to remember and catch on throughout the stadium. This is 100% original lyrics and melody I wrote, so you will never hear another club in the world sing this outside of RSL. Here are the lyrics:
IF YOU BELIEVE THEN JUST STAND UP ON YOUR FEET
AND SHOUT IT LOUD REAL!
HERE AT THE RIOT THE BATTLE HYMNS BEGUN.
WE'RE HERE FOR RSL!
Whether or not you love RSL --"Hi!" Rapids fans-- you have to love the creativity and the passion that went into this. More please.
It looks like there could be the new road kit for the USMNT in 2012-13.
Eurosport last night leaked an image of what looks like the future of the US kits, with plenty of turn-back-the-clock feeling.
Could this possibly be a throw-back of sorts to the old-school denim kit from the 1994 World Cup (right)? Take a look (The Denim Kit).
The Philadelphia Union -- in particular, manager Peter Nowak -- have taken a few hits this offseason. Understandly so, considering some of the messy player transactions, such as the sudden flight of goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon and the bizarre Sebastien Le Toux situation. I'm still not clear whether Le Toux was forced to go to Bolton or if he just failed and tried to pass the buck. Either way, he's with Vancouver now.
This all comes on the heels of a late overseas training stint for Danny Mwanga, Kyle Nakazawa's trade to LA, Veljko Paunovic's retirement, and the loss of Justin Mapp in the expansion draft. Plus, don't forget the explanations given by Nowak about Carlos Ruiz's transfer to Mexico.
But there has to be a method to the madness, right? Nowak seems sure. He tweeted this out on Monday in response to a fan's question:
“@Doug_Cutaiar: "I don't need details. Can you just assure me you guys know what you're doing with these moves this off season?” Yes.
— Peter Nowak (@Peter_Nowak) February 14, 2012
That response -- "Yes" -- is so perfect. So simple. So Nowakian.
Lest any of the second-guessers forget, Nowak and the Union are still on the correct trajectory for a club born just two years ago. That is, in Year 2, they improved over Year 1, and even made the playoffs.
So despite the departures and the confusing aftermaths, at some point, everyone needs to have a little faith and give Nowak the benefit of the doubt. After all, he's succeeded everywhere he's been. And so far, he's succeeding in Philly.