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International

24 October 5:30 de la tarde

This time, it's official.

Back in January, we first heard about the plans for a special edition of the Copa América to be held in the United States to celebrate the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL. But on Wednesday, the South American governing body made it official with the backing of all its highest-ranking executives.

CONMEBOL held a five-hour meeting on Wednesday in Buenos Aires where the presidents of the 10 national soccer federations joined CONMEBOL's five-man executive committee to lay down the framework of what they call a "mega-tournament" named the Copa América Centenario.

The notes of Wednesday's meeting were published by CONMEBOL's official site and they reiterate some of the details that were previously rumored:

1) The tournament will be held in July of 2016;
2) A total of 16 countries will participate, including all 10 from CONMEBOL and six from CONCACAF;
3) The USA and Mexico are automatic entries into the tournament;
4) The remaining four CONCACAF countries will be determined based on their finish in the CONCACAF Gold Cup;
5) Colombian federation president Luis Bedoya and his Paraguayan counterpart Juan Ángel Napout were charged with setting up the commercial plans for the event;
6) Full Play, a soccer promoter which has been involved in organizing matches stateside in the past, will be involved in the organization;
7) Fox Sports and Rede Globo are contemplated to take the lead in the broadcasting of the tournament.

No other details were released about proposed sites or format. And no word yet from the US Soccer Federation or CONCACAF on the news released by CONMEBOL.

And finally, here is one other detail that emerged from the CONMEBOL summit that US fans will be interested in: Mexico and Japan will be invited to participated in the 44th edition of the Copa América that will be held in 2015 in Chile. No USMNT for that one.

24 October 3:40 de la tarde

That moment in 2005 may never feel the same for LA Galaxy fans again.

Guillermo "El Pando" Ramírez was the Galaxy's hero in MLS Cup 2005, coming off the bench to score a dramatic golden-goal game-winner against the New England Revolution when he was the player least likely to find the back of the net at the time. (Relive the goal which ranked at No. 6 in the MLS Cup Top 50 moments.)

But six years after being smothered by his LA teammates after winning the cup, Pando is now covered in shame after FIFA on Wednesday banned him for life from the sport.

Pando is one of three Guatemalan national team players who saw their domestic ban in Guatemala extended worldwide after investigations into match-fixing surrounding three games in particular: a CONCACAF Champions League match with Municipal in 2010 and two Guatemalan national team matches (June 2011 and May 2012).

Well, he'll always have 2005.

MLS Cup Top 50: #6 Kung-Fu "Pando"

12 October 7:57 de la tarde

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.

28 August 6:40 de la tarde

For nearly a year now, Bob Bradley has blazed an unlikely trail as manager of the Egyptian national soccer team as it attempts to reach the 2014 World Cup amidst a turbulent political climate in the country.

Filmmaker Jeffrey Plunkett – a midfielder on Bradley's Princeton University team that reached the 1993 NCAA Final Four – has used his camera to chronicle Bradley's often harrowing journey in a documentary titled We The Pharaohs and, based on the trailer above, it looks to be quite the film.

On the field, Bradley has gotten off to a solid start on the road to Brazil, with Egypt topping Mozambique and Guinea to get off to a perfect start in qualifying.

However, just as important as his results on the field has been his ability to endear himself to the Egyptian people, standing in solidarity as they go through one of the most difficult times in their history. Political upheaval and violence have rocked the country for more than a year, and the deaths of 79 people at a local soccer game in Port Said in February were strongly linked to the political violence enveloping the country at the time and had a dramatic impact on the national soccer scene.

Unfortunately, we won't be seeing the end product of the film chronicling this incredible journey any time soon – work on the film will be completed next fall, around the end of the World Cup qualifying, with the film set for release in spring 2014. Still, be sure make a note of this one – if the trailer and story so far are any indication, it promises to be outstanding.

17 August 10:53 de la mañana

Después de 75 años de no lograrlo, Estados Unidos finalmente puede decir que le ganaron a sus archirrivales de la CONCACAF en su casa. México cayó en el Estadio Azteca gracias a un gol de Michael Orozco (que irónicamente es mexico-estadounidense).  

Muchos en Estados Unidos piensan que una importante barrera ha caído, que ese triunfo demuestra lo cerca que los estadounidenses están de los reyes de la CONCACAF, algo que llega en un momento critico, ya que recientemente el Tri había superado a Estados Unido en todo sentido… Copa Oro, Olímpicos, Mundiales juveniles, etc, etc, etc.

ESCUCHA: PODCAST CON MICHAEL OROZCO Y MARTIN VASQUEZ

Sin embargo, es solo un partido, y no se jugaron puntos. Es solo un triunfo, en comparación de los muchos que ha tenido México ante los estadounidenses.

Pensando en eso nos preguntamos, ¿Cuántos partidos pasarán para que EE.UU. le vuelva a ganar al Tri en México? ¿Será que la brecha si se ha cerrado, o será que tendremos que esperar otros 75 años para ver esto?

Voten, comenten y escuchen el debate de Tiro Libre… la rivalidad continúa…

16 August 5:30 de la tarde

You would think with last night’s loss at Estadio Azteca, Mexico would be much more upset than it seems they are.

The loss gave Mexico their second historic mark in less than one week, winning an Olympic gold in soccer and losing at home to the rival USA. But the country seems to be more upset that the loss stole their thunder and put a damper on their fiestas than by what it actually means to the historic rivalry.

San Luis Hoy, the local newspaper where American goalscorer Michael Orozco Fiscal plays with Club San Luis, titled their piece “Les Aguaron la Fiesta.” Translation? They rained on our parade. La Cancha, sports section of Mexico City based La Reforma, titled their piece “Arruinan la Fiesta." Translation: They ruined the party.

Fear not Mexico, the game was just an international friendly and counted for no points. So pass another round of tequila and let’s keep the party going.

But maybe you should rethink the ever growing gringo threat and what they will do in CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers coming up.

16 August 10:51 de la mañana

Difficile de dire si le Canada est prêt pour sa double échéance contre le Panama, puisque les seules images que nous avons de son match amical d’hier sont celles du résumé ci-dessous. Le résultat contre Trinité-et-Tobago, une victoire 2-0, est toutefois encourageant, tout comme le compte rendu de Gavin Day, un des rares journalistes sur place.

La deuxième mi-temps a particulièrement plu à Stephen Hart, qui espère que ses jeunes auront davantage de temps de jeu dans leur club. Parmi eux, Russel Teibert, qui a laissé une bonne impression tant à son entraîneur qu’à ses coéquipiers.

Du côté de l’équipe nationale américaine, les réjouissances sont moins timides, et pour cause : pour la première fois de leur histoire, les États-Unis ont battu le Mexique au stade Azteca ! Les héros se nomment Orozco Fiscal, auteur du seul but du match, et Tim Howard, qui a repoussé tous les assauts mexicains. Un succès encore plus savoureux pour Herculez Gomez, l’international américain qui défend les couleurs de Santos Laguna.

On a aussi joué en championnat. Vancouver en veut particulièrement à l’arbitre suite à sa défaite 0-2 contre Dallas. Les cancres Toronto et Portland n’ont pas réussi à se départager (2-2). Pas de vainqueur non plus à Columbus - LA Galaxy (1-1), où toutes les pensées étaient dirigées vers Kirk Urso.

15 August 11:11 de la mañana

Ce mercredi est principalement consacré aux équipes nationales, avec le match entre le Canada et Trinité-et-Tobago ainsi que le déplacement des États-Unis au Mexique. Ces deux duels amicaux servent à préparer la suite des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde 2014, qui reprendront début septembre.

Avec un noyau on ne peut plus allégé, les Canadiens affronteront un adversaire réputé dans la Concacaf mais déjà hors-course pour le prochain Mondial. Pour les jeunes, il s’agira de se tailler une place dans l’effectif lorsque tout le monde sera là. Des joueurs aguerris comme Terry Dunfield et Patrice Bernier tenteront de convaincre leur sélectionneur Stephen Hart de les titulariser à l’avenir. L’échéance importante sera le Panama, avec un double duel les 7 et 11 septembre : malgré l’absence de nombreux titulaires, Bernier nous a expliqué dans le dernier numéro de Coup Franc l’utilité de ce match amical.

Les Américains tenteront de remporter leur première victoire au stade Azteca. Jürgen Klinsmann est très confiant et Chris Wondolowski compte profiter de brèches dans la défense mexicaine, en compagnie de Landon Donovan, dont l’avenir est incertain.

On jouera aussi en championnat ce soir… ce qui n’arrange pas tout le monde. Privé de leurs internationaux, Vancouver et Toronto recevront respectivement Dallas et Portland. Même épine dans le pied du LA Galaxy en déplacement à Columbus, où l’émotion sera à son comble pour le premier match depuis le décès de Kirk Urso.

LE PROGRAMME
19h00 : Canada - Trinité-et-Tobago
20h00 : Mexique - États-Unis

EN MLS
19h00 : Columbus - LA Galaxy
19h30 : Toronto - Portland
22h00 : Vancouver - Dallas

Classement général
Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Rendez-vous ici pour la disponibilité des matchs sur MLS Live et les diffuseurs locaux
Hors États-Unis et Canada, vous pouvez voir des matchs de MLS via ces diffuseurs ou LiveSport.tv

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?

01 August 1:54 de la tarde

Last week it was Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal that were rumored to have interest in D.C. midfielder Andy Najar, this week it's Wigan Athletic, Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion.

That list might grow even larger now that Honduras are into the quarterfinals with a date against Brazil and Neymar, a group that's sure to have a few interested eyes monitoring their progress in London.

Najar may not be having his best season in black and red in 2012 – contributing two assists in 13 games, 10 of which were starts – but he's still just 19 years old and one of the most promising prospects in Major League Soccer. And, of course, success on an international stage certainly can't hurt his stock.

Is he ready for an overseas move? If so, what would the best fit? Let us know in the comments section below.