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14 August 1:59 de la tarde

You've probably heard by now that Maurice Edu is most likely going to get a start in central defense for the US against Mexico on Wednesday night.

Jurgen Klinsmann has his reasons. First and foremost is that none of the newcomers in the US central defensive player pool — including Geoff Cameron — have shown that they're ready to lock down a starting spot. So Klinsmann has to turn every card he can looking for an ace.

Secondly, though — and this is pure speculation on my part — this might be a chance for Valencia to see what Edu looks like on the backline against top competition.

Valencia have been the third-best team in Spain for about the past 15 years, meaning that their interest in Edu is a gigantic step up from Rangers, or whatever mid-table French side is pursuing him. And we know how Klinsmann feels about stepping up to the next level.

But there's virtually no chance that Edu can play in the midfield for a team of Valencia's caliber. He doesn't read the game well enough in 360 degrees, and is always more comfortable when things are playing out in front of him. We've also seen plenty of shanked 22-yard shots from him, enough to know that he's not going to add Michael Bradley-esque offense when pushing forward.

What Edu has the raw materials for, however, is the center of defense. I think Valencia see that much, and I also think that if he'd gone anywhere but Rangers he'd have been pushed into that spot after his great performance there in the 2008 Olympics.

So if you're a fan of both the US and La Liga, keep your fingers crossed that Edu has a blinder on Wednesday night. If he does, it could mean a move to the Mediterranean will soon follow.

14 August 11:42 de la mañana

Des grands matchs, des beaux buts, du débat, de l’analyse, des sujets nationaux et internationaux, voilà le menu de votre émission Coup Franc hebdomadaire (à écouter ici) :
- Notre invité Patrice Bernier revient brièvement sur la victoire de Montréal à New England, parle de sa place en équipe nationale canadienne, de l’utilité du match de ce mercredi contre Trinité-et-Tobago et de la génération actuelle qui a une occasion unique du participer à la Coupe du monde.
- Faut-il faire pression sur les clubs de MLS pour que les internationaux canadiens y jouent à la même place qu’en équipe nationale ?
- Le titre olympique du Mexique, et l’utilisation des jeunes en championnat du Mexique et en MLS.
- Analyse des forces du leader San José en compagnie de Christian Schaekels de Vision du Jeu : Wondolowski qui marque encore plus que l’an dernier, les progrès accomplis en une saison, son efficacité offensive sur les flancs et sur phases arrêtées, ses capacités physiques et mentales, ses remontées et ses fins de match incroyables (voir le but de Lenhart contre le LA Galaxy).
- La bonne humeur à New York et l’implication de Tim Cahill dans les deux buts contre Houston (le 1-0 et le 2-0).
- Landon Donovan qui multiplie les éloges après la victoire du LA Galaxy contre Chivas.
- Quel but trouvez-vous le plus beau : celui de Kandji contre Montréal ou celui de Nyassi à New England ?

L'émission Coup Franc est aussi disponible sur StitcheriTunes. Vous pouvez nous joindre par courriel (coup.franc@MLSsoccer.com) ou sur Twitter (@CoupFrancMLS).

02 August 5:30 de la tarde

In just his second appearance, Kyle Miller scored quite the golazo for Sporting Kansas City against Stoke City Tuesday night. The kind of goal nobody is likely to see again anytime soon, if ever.

Stoke City opened up the scoring in the 84th minute in KC despite being put under pressure by the home team for much of th match. And while some thought the game was over, Miller, well, who knows what he was thinking? In stoppage time, he found himself in the right place at the right time, as Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic's clearance made a beeline for his noggin and the resulting header looped into an empty net from 40-yards out.

Check out the highlight from KickTV above and let us know what you think. Luck? Skill? Likelihood of being repeated anytime soon?

26 June 4:33 de la tarde

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.

18 June 4:20 de la tarde

México derrotó convincentemente a Brasil el pasado 3 de julio con un 2-0 gracias a goles de Giovani dos Santos y Javier “Chicharito” Hernández en el lujoso Cowboys Stadium en Arlington, Texas. Sin embargo, fue el público el que hizo historia ese día al romper el récord mundial de la ola de mayor duración.

A mitad de tiempo, el presentador de Republica Deportiva de Univisión, Fernando Fiore, orquestó lo que sería una ola de siete minutos de duración, auspiciada por Degree Men. Los casi 85.000 espectadores no defraudaron. Bien hecho por la afición mexicana y brasileña que fue al partido.  

07 June 10:13 de la mañana

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.

04 June 10:35 de la mañana

Dans son unique match de préparation avant la reprise des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde 2014, le Canada a fait match nul 0-0 avec les États-Unis. Un bon résultat dans l’absolu, mais il faut éviter de tomber dans l’enthousiasme démesuré.

S’il y avait une bonne discipline défensive, la construction du jeu était souvent déficiente, reposant davantage sur des inspirations individuelles que sur un collectif bien huilé. Le Canada a dominé la deuxième mi-temps, contre des Américains fatigués, et a même marqué un but annulé. Je rejoins toutefois davantage l’avis du capitaine des États-Unis, Carlos Bocanegra, qui n’a pas vu un grand match, que celui de Dwayne De Rosario, très heureux du travail accompli.

La rencontre a été précédée de diverses cérémonies soulignant le centenaire de l’Association canadienne de soccer. Sur la photo d’équipe, les joueurs canadiens (qui portaient un équipement rétro spécialement conçu pour l’occasion) avaient pris avec eux un maillot floqué du numéro 11 de Josh Simpson, leur coéquipier qui s’est cassé la jambe il y a une dizaine de jours.

Malgré le duel Canada - États-Unis, la MLS ne faisait pas complètement relâche ce week-end, et New England y a battu Chicago 2-0.

03 June 8:19 de la tarde

So in retrospect ... how bad were Scotland?

I expressed my concern that the 5-1 result for the US in that particular game was a bit of a false positive (usage, I know), and am now bemused in my correctitude. The US are still a mess, looking very much a team in "Who are we, really?" mode.

Canada, meanwhile, get the pleasure of knowing they were the superior team for 90 minutes against the US for the first time since maybe the mid-1980s. And the displeasure of another bad call going against them in this series.

Klinsmann's lineup choices are still baffling

About 95 percent of the Jose Torres-related comments we get on this site are positive. And that's fine — it's always nice to have a favorite player.

But if Torres was as good as you all seem to think, wouldn't he stand out in a game like this? Wouldn't the US have more than one win in 11 games with him starting? Wouldn't he find a way to carve out chances for his teammates — or even, heaven forbid, himself — when afforded time and space in the final third?

That's what he got plenty of on Sunday. And he produced nothing.

The problem is not just his lack of a cutting edge in attack, but that he's being asked to provide something that's not in his DNA in the first place. Torres' only outstanding attribute is his ability to put his foot on the ball and dictate the pace and tempo of the game. Put him in a central midfield trio in front of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, and you may have something.

On the wing? He's an absolute cipher, Klinsmann's white elephant.

That wasn't the only lineup choice that left me scratching my head. Against a Canadian side alligned to prevent up-the-gut penetration, the danger was always going to come from the US flanks. So that left just one forward — Herculez Gomez — to do the running and work of two. Even when Jozy Altidore was subbed in, he was tasked with playing wide on the left instead of as a No. 9.

It makes no sense. And the Scotland anomaly aside, this team feels no closer to realizing Klinsmann's vision than it did nine months ago.

The US have depth at left fullback

Edgar Castillo still has some learning to do, first and foremost when to put the ball into row Z instead of trying to play out of pressure. His turnover absolutely should have been a Canada goal.

But he was a demon patrolling passing lanes and the most consistent US threat on the night. And most importantly, he didn't look out of place physically against a big, strong team with some real power and pace on that right flank.

I'm not totally in love with the idea of him starting for the US in a game that matters — again, that giveaway was inexcusable — but hopefully Fabian Johnson's injury will be gone by Friday. Either way, though, this is a stronger position than it was two years ago.

Canada's two-thirds press caused the US more problems than Brazil's high press

Canada dropped off almost to the midfield stripe, then swarmed the US midfielders whenever they received a pass. Because of the way they were deployed, they always had numbers up, and were always on the verge of forcing a turnover and a breakout.

Truth is, they should have had three goals. The reason Brazil are Brazil is because they finish those chances; the reason Canada are Canada is that they don't.

But there's plenty of good to take from this for the Canucks. Their defense is certainly sturdier than the USA's right now, and from the run of play they allowed almost no real looks to a team that had Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Gomez all on the pitch.

For the US, the idea of playing through or around a two-thirds press seemed beyond them. Playing over it was a non-starter, since Kevin McKenna and Andre Hainault just about swallowed Gomez whole.

The situation called for two forwards. When the US are struggling to create, it often does.

But that's not what we saw. We saw a bad 90 minutes, a bad strategy and a bad result.

Wonder what we'll see next week when the games really matter?

01 June 10:29 de la mañana

Ce dimanche, le Canada reçoit les États-Unis dans les cadre des festivités du centenaire de l’Association canadienne de soccer.

Le premier duel entre les deux équipes est aussi le premier match à domicile de l’histoire de l’équipe nationale canadienne. Il a eu lieu le 27 juin 1925 à Alexandra Park, stade de Montréal domicile du club CNR (Canadian National Railway), basé à Pointe-Saint-Charles (si l’un d’entre vous sait où était situé ce terrain, merci de partager l’information).

Environ 3500 personnes ont assisté à la rencontre. Six joueurs du Québec faisaient partie du onze de base canadien. L’un d’entre eux, Ed McLaine, a inscrit le seul but de la partie peu après le quart d’heure. Finisseur redoutable évoluant au poste d’intérieur droit, McLaine a plus tard défendu les couleurs de Providence, dans le championnat des États-Unis, professionnel à l’époque.

Le match de ce dimanche sera le trentième affrontement officiel entre les deux pays.

Canada : Arthur Halliwell, George Campbell, Andy Clarke, Fred Dierden, John B. Foy, Bill McKean, Roy Faulkner, Jim Galloway, Ed McLaine, Dave McKenzie, Alex Smith
États-Unis : Jimmy Douglas, Irving Davis, Jock Ferguson, Tom Stark, Tommy McFarland, Henry Meyerdierks, Barney Battles, Davey Brown, Archie Stark, Bob Millar, Tom Florie
Arbitre : Horace S. Lyons
Le but : 16e McLaine (1-0)

30 May 9:08 de la tarde

When Jurgen Klinsmann was hired, the US were a mess. Their spacing was terrible, they couldn't get consistent performance from the fullbacks and the offense was inconsistent.

It looks like most of that has been cleared up. I'd go so far as to say that Klinsmann's done a pretty good job. But there are still some concerns.

This generation of US players is defined by their weakness in central defense

There's no disguising it against top-level talent. The US got a great result in Italy a few months back, but were protected throughout by a flag-happy linesman who blew five offside calls, and a handful of great 1-v-1 saves from Tim Howard.

Against Brazil, there was no such luck. Howard did make a couple of great saves and was bailed out by the post once, but for the most part, Brazil gave the US central defense the old orange cone treatment.

Oguchi Onyewu in particular — even without the (not remotely debatable) penalty — was awful. When defending on the ball he's on roller skates, and when defending in space he's basically lost. And he doesn't read the game well enough to make up for it against top competition.

What's even more disturbing is the US inability to hold a line. It happened at the beginning of the game, it happened in the middle, and it happened at the end with Onyewu (sorry to pick on you, Gooch), failing to step, leaving Pato to rip the fouth past a stranded Howard.

If you're slower and less skilled than the opponents — and against the great teams, that's always going to be the case for the US — then you have to be smarter and more organized.

This group is not. It's how Mexico killed the US last summer, and how Brazil killed them on Wednesday.

There were telltale midfield turnovers even against Scotland

And against Brazil, those turnovers became goals. It's something I stressed in our March to the Match podcast, but which went largely unnoticed otherwise since we were all stunned at the sheer ferocity of that 5-1 win.

I don't know how much scouting Brazil really did, but it's safe to say that the book on the US is "smother them, make them play combinations, and they will eventually beat themselves."

Even the Scots did it for a bit, specifically in minutes 15 through 35.

The Brazilians did it in minutes 1 through 90, and everyone on the US had their turn to play the goat. Including Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson.

Speaking of ...

Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson are really, really good

Bradley's probably too valuable as an attacker and too much of a risk-taker on the ball to play as a true, lone d-mid (as he was in Klinsmann's 4-1-4-1 for most of the game). The other options are unappealing against top sides, though: Maurice Edu has a poor first touch, and Jermaine Jones isn't exactly known for his ability to get out of traffic with the ball on his foot.

So for now, Klinsmann has to keep Bradley in that d-mid role and then find more dynamic players to put in front of him. I'd prefer to see Jose Torres or Benny Feilhaber in one of the "advanced midfield" roles, rather than the uninspiring Edu/Jones combo.

And as for Johnson ... there's not much to say but, "Wow." He's been the best, most consistent attacking force on the US team for the past three games. Who thought we'd ever say that about a left back?

Defensively he still has work to do, especially in 1-v-1 situations (he literally spun in a circle when trying to defend Hulk at one point), but he's got plenty of time to work on it before Klinsmann's side takes on the big boys in a game that counts.

So for now, it's clear that Klinsmann still has a little bit of a mess to clean up. But the good news is that he's already made progress with what was left behind for him in the first place.