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06 February 11:27 am

The US national team is in Honduras for their first Hexagonal World Cup qualifier on Wednesday. It's sure to be a tough match.

But for all the talk about the difficulty of getting a result in Honduras, the last time the Yanks played a World Cup qualifier there, they got all three points.

On October 10, 2009, Bob Bradley's US squad headed to San Pedro Sula in need of a good result to secure their qualification to the 2010 World Cup. Mission accomplished, as the US held on for a 3-2 win.

The Americans fell behind early, after Julio Cesar de Leon, but then came back to take a 3-1 lead with two goals from Conor Casey and one from Landon Donovan. De Leon struck a late one to pull los Catrachos within one, and Carlos Pavon, the Honduran legend, skyed a late penalty over the bar, giving the US a vital victory.

Check out the highlights:

 

 

05 February 8:22 pm

If we're to believe the images leaked on TodoSobreCamisetas.com, this is what the USMNT's Centennial jersey will look like in 2013.

The primary feature? It has to be the old-school badge, which replaces the US Soccer Federation logo on today's jerseys.

Do you like this retro jersey better than the sash look? Think they should go with old-fashioned number design on the back? Want to see this crest become the new USSF logo?

Share your thoughts below.

05 February 7:59 pm

All you have to do is look at the transfer market in case you didn't already know it: The most valuable asset in the sport of soccer is the goal.

And yet in American soccer these days, we have a habit of dismissing our goalscorers as if they were utility journeymen.

We start with Kenny Cooper, who has scored 18 goals TWICE in his MLS career. Yet he's on his third MLS club in three years.

Chris Wondolowski has led MLS in scoring for three seasons and yet he can't make the USMNT's World Cup qualifying team.

Jozy Altidore is having the best season of any American forward to ever play overseas, but it earns him a smack-down with the USMNT for his lack of goals in red, white and-blue (let's glance over the fact that the USMNT continues to struggle to create enough chances).

Fredy Montero had four straight double-digit scoring seasons in MLS, and yet somehow that wore out his welcome in Seattle.

What are we left to conclude? Either American soccer hasn't yet learned to truly value soccer's hard currency or we're witnessing a massive shift in what is truly being expected of the modern forward: athleticism (Montero didn't have it), speed (not Wondo's strength), hard work (Altidore has apparently not done enough of it) and smash-mouth play (Cooper has earned reputation of being a soft "finesse" player) are apparently more important than how many goals you can bag.

Gone are the days when the team worked to service its top scorer. Instead, the forward has been asked to become a servant of his team.

Welcome to today's reality. In every walk of life employees are being asked to multitask. Whatever the industry, if you want to stay relevant, you better know how to do it all. One-trick ponies — no matter how valuable the trick — need no longer apply.

05 February 6:06 pm

Gus Johnson has some work to do. Five-and-a-half years worth, to be exact.

On Tuesday, Sports illustrated's sports media maven Richard Deitsch let us in on Fox Sports' plans to put an American voice, and a distinctive one at that, on center stage during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. That would be Johnson, known for his high-energy play-by-play coverage in college basketball, who surprised many by branching into soccer last year – check out the clip of some of his calls as a radio broadcaster for the San Jose Earthquakes above as well as his interview with ExtraTime Radio (scroll down to the May 2, 2012 episode).

Of course, Johnson won't get thrown in the deep end come 2018. Fox is dedicated to building him up from water wings to the equivalent of play-by-play free diving through their other soccer properties, most notably Champions League broadcasts. Along those lines, Johnson will make his prime-time debut on Feb. 13 when Real Madrid faces Manchester United in Round of 16 action, and augment his CL duties with English Premier League MC honors as well as stints in the booth for the Champions League and FA Cup finals.

Now, Johnson isn't exactly a universal taste in the sports world, mostly because of his sugar-high style of bombastic broadcasting. He also has a very limited background with the Beautiful Game, admitting he's a soccer "novice" in the grand scheme of things.

To his credit, Johnson has closed-door run-throughs under his belt in addition to Quakes duty, but the Champions League knockout stage isn't exactly a low-profile way to kick things off for a novice, especially with a pair of internationally relevant Cup finals on the docket. You can bet the American soccer Twitterati and blogosphere are going to be looking for chinks in his soccer armor from the minute he opens his mouth.

Deadspin already gave their take here, and – to no one's surprise – it wasn't entirely positive and posed the following question: What will Johnson do without a bevy of opportunities to exhibit his trademark excitability? It's a valid point.

Meanwhile, I'm a bit torn.

On one hand, I'd love for American soccer fans to once again have an American voice to narrate the world's biggest sporting event. On the other, Johnson is going to have to remake himself in the booth, a move that could turn out smelling like roses or, just as easily, reek like a crowded subway car in the midst of an oppressive NYC summer. More likely, Fox's experiment is going to fall somewhere in between, and that makes me wonder what the decision to groom Johnson says about the network's opinion of the current crop of American soccer broadcasters.

Apparently, they're not good enough to develop into national voices in five-plus years, although I don't subscribe to that belief. More likely, they're simply not flashy enough and have yet to break through into the American sporting consciousness. Or they're already contracted to a competitor.

All of which is fine. I get what Fox is trying to do. But, like everyone else, I have no idea how the network's gambit will turn out.

What I do know is that I'll follow the building crescendo from Feb. 13 until the summer of 2018. If nothing else, Johnson's unique style won't let us tear our eyes and ears away from the action. Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen.

05 February 4:55 pm

When Jay DeMerit fell to the Vancouver Whitecaps ahead of their inaugural MLS season, most figured they'd landed the linchpin of their team for years to come.

Nobody could have guessed how quickly or fully DeMerit would embrace life in British Columbia, though. So much so that he's all settled down in the northern-most reaches of Cascadia. Literally.

He put a ring on a local celebrity (Canadian Olympic Ski Cross Gold Medalist Ashleigh McIvor) and has no trouble rattling off 'hoods (he lives in Gastown) like he's been posted up in Vancouver for years.

“The thing I love about this city is that it can really grip you in a lot of different ways,” DeMerit told WhitecapsFC.com.

“I met my fiancée here and I’ve been able to take my life to the next level,” added the World Cup veteran. “That’s what we all want in our lives and our careers, and this city has allowed me to do that on both ends.”

Bravo, Jay. Looks like you're doing just fine.

05 February 4:26 pm

If you've got your finger on the pulse of the American soccer scene, you know the name Shawn Francis – former MLS Insider and curator of the fantastic blog The Offside Rules.

Once again, SF's shed some light on a clip that's got viral written all over it, and I just can't resist sharing since Alex Morgan + Katy Perry = the Internet breaking.

What are you waiting for? Hit play and enjoy US soccer's biggest star doing her best KP impression.

Oh yeah, let us know what you think in the comment section below. Just keep it civilized.

UPDATE: The final product can be seen here.

05 February 3:45 pm

Diffuseurs officiels de la Major League Soccer au Canada, TSN et RDS ont donné le coup d’envoi de leur troisième saison à ce titre en annonçant la programmation de 30 matchs impliquant tous un club canadien.

La programmation de TSN et RDS s’ouvrira à l’occasion du premier match à domicile de Vancouver, le 2 mars à 18h30 (HE) contre Toronto. Les réseaux diffuseront également les débuts à domicile du Toronto FC, le 9 mars contre le Sporting Kansas City, et de l’Impact de Montréal, le 16 mars contre Toronto.

Toutes les rencontres de MLS diffusées sur TSN, TSN2, RDS et RDS2 pourront aussi être regardées en direct sur TSN Mobile TV et Télé Mobile RDS. 

TSN a aussi conclu un partenariat avec le Toronto FC pour retransmettre 11 rencontres de saison régulière supplémentaires, pour un total de 41 de matchs de MLS diffusés à l’échelle nationale. Regardez le calendrier du Toronto FC pour plus de détails.

En outre, TSN et TSN2 retransmettront des matchs de MLS mettant aux prises deux équipes basées aux États-Unis.

Retrouvez ici l’horaire de diffusion complet de la prochaine saison de MLS sur TSN, TSN2, RDS et RDS2.

04 February 7:16 pm

Great defenders think alike.

Sporting Kansas City All-Star defender Aurelien Collin agrees with former USMNT legend Alexi Lalas that MLS' competitive set-up is one of its most attractive features.

When asked by SportingKC.com about what he likes most about MLS, SKC's French defender, who has played pro in Scotland, Greece and Portugal, practically mirrored Lalas' stance from last week. His answer comes at 4:10 of the video below:

"MLS? I like that any team can beat any team," Collin says. "It's not like leagues back in Europe. Most of them there are three or four clubs and after them the rest is behind. And in MLS you have like 15 teams that can beat each other. And that's competition. And I love it."

Have your say on the topic below. Agree with Collin and Lalas?

04 February 7:01 pm

I can't always make out what's being said in this video from the Impact – my French is a bit rusty ... and by rusty, I mean nonexistent – but this really is must-watch stuff.

It seems owner Joey Saputo and head coach Marco Schällibaum aren't opposed to some nontraditional team building, in this case a rag-tag, Quebec-style Amazing Race complete with snow-shoe races, paddle ball and insect consumption.

I'd try to describe it in more detail, but you just have to watch to understand. And yes, Saputo chomps down on his full share of creepy crawlies.

04 February 5:53 pm

L’Association canadienne de soccer a publié aujourd’hui un rapport indépendant sur le développement du soccer de club « hors-MLS ». L’objectif de l’étude était de voir quelle structure de compétition conviendrait le mieux au pays.

La solution recommandée est le développement de championnats régionaux semi-professionnels axés sur le développement des talents locaux âgés de 18 à 23 ans, avec une phase finale nationale pour boucler la saison. Malgré le peu d’intérêt suscité chez les supporters, c’est, selon le rapport, l’option qui cadre le mieux avec les structures actuelles et évite les risques financiers et ceux liés aux ambitions démesurées.

L’étude parle de trois ou quatre compétitions à travers le pays, regroupant des clubs actuellement amateurs qui changeraient de statut, ayant une structure et une philosophie communes mais organisées en fonction des réalités régionales et chapeautées par une entité unique qui garantirait une importante standardisation.

Le rôle de l’ACS là-dedans ? Plutôt limité. Le rapport explique qu’elle ne doit pas gérer cette nouvelle organisation, mais veiller à ce que ses gestionnaires ne fassent pas n’importe quoi. Elle ne doit pas trouver elle-même des investisseurs mais rédiger un document qui les encourage à investir dans le soccer. L’étude préconise aussi la participation de l’une ou l’autre équipe semi-professionnelle au Championnat canadien Amway.

Les trois autres options étudiées, et non retenues, étaient de créer une D2 nationale, d’inscrire les équipes nationales -19 et -23 ans en USL et NASL, ou de multiplier les franchises canadiennes en PDL.

Le rapport complet est disponible, en anglais, ici.