US National Team
Club teams are rarely compared against national teams for obvious reasons.
But the 6-0-0 start by Sporting Kansas City has us thinking: Would the US national team coached by Jurgen Klinsmann even have a chance against today's Sporting KC starting XI if they played head-to-head?
Klinsmann has often spoken of his desire for a proactive, aggressive style that he wants to see the US impose on other countries. He has talked about wanting to raise the level of fitness of the US player.
Well, Sporting's Peter Vermes has beaten him to the punch on both those fronts and implemented the most successful 4-3-3 in the land. And it's only a matter of time before Vermes enters the discussion that often includes Jason Kreis and Dominic Kinnear as future USMNT head coaching prospects.
It's only fantasy talk -- unless Sporting KC and the USMNT met in a scrimmage of some sort -- but who would you take in that battle? Vote here.
Let's play a game of "Name That Soccer Nation!"
- Yellow jerseys = ?
- Blue jerseys = ?
- Light-blue-and-white-striped jerseys = ?
You got them right, didn't you? Because Brazil, Italy, and Argentina have long-defined aesthetic identities. You turn on the TV and if one of them -- or Holland or Spain or Germany -- is playing, you can recognize them without even a second glance. In other words, you know what those jerseys stand for before you even hear who is wearing them.
Now think back over the past couple of decades of US jerseys. How many can you remember?
The denim kit, of course. Novelty is always easy. There was a sash or two, I think, but I'm not sure I remember the color of said sashes. Then there was that gun-metal gray thing that still makes me think the designer spilled mercury on his keyboard when he was typing in the CMYK code.
Anyway, on Monday, US Soccer revealed the latest new US national team jersey, as they do every two years or so. To be perfectly honest, I don't mind it. It's got decent colors, a little character, and with apologies to FC Dallas is relatively unique on the international stage.
But then again, I didn't mind any of the other ones.
And that's the point: None of them ever sticks around long enough for me to care one way or the other. Which seems to suggest that the US lacks a true identity. I guess that's part of what Jurgen Klinsmann talks about when he talks about "finding the American style" and all that other stuff. Maybe, just maybe, he'll convince the federaion that to truly ever define the American style of playing, it would be good once and for all to define the American style of dressing.
Add Thomas Delaney to the US national team watch list.
He's 20 years old and already has the UEFA Champions League experience, which USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann has issued as a priority for American players.
More importantly, the FC Copenhagen midfielder is eligible for a US national team switch and had a conversation with US Olympic Team coach Caleb Porter. He says that he could entertain it if things don't work out with the national team of Denmark.
US men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann may not have delved too deeply into the Olympic team's issues during CONCACAF qualifying, but one former US World Cup player did not shy away from the topic.
Former Chivas USA and USMNT midfielder John O'Brien, who played in a 4-3-3 formation during his time in the Netherlands, noticed problems with the tactics that Caleb Porter's Olympic team employed against El Salvador in the match in which they suffered humiliating elimination.
“You know in a 4-3-3 you’ll have a lot of players in front of the ball, and I noticed that they lost the ball easy and didn’t have guys in the right spaces,” O’Brien told Soccer America. “When they scored the equalizer, for a team that needs a result at that moment, we were very exposed. There weren’t many people behind the ball.”
O'Brien makes interesting points in the article, which continue to fuel the debate as to whether the 4-3-3 was to blame for the ouster.
Well, at least it’s something to take back from Mexico. The US U-17s topped El Tri 1-0 in the fifth-place match on Monday at the Mondial Minimes tournament in Montaigu, France.
New York Red Bulls Academy product Wesley Wade scored in the 59th minute for the decider, the forward’s second strike of the tournament for Richie Williams’ side.
The US U-17s finished 1-1-1 in Group B of the prestigious youth tournament, with a dominant 4-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates, a 1-0 loss to Portugal and a 1-1 draw with Japan (a 4-3 penalty-kick victory in the finale saw them advance to Monday’s fifth-place match).
Williams named seven MLS Academy products to the 18-man squad for his first tournament in charge of the team. Wade was one of three RBNY youngsters, and Chivas USA Academy forward Bradford Jamieson also scored a pair of goals in France.
Portugal won the 12-team tournament with a penalty-kick shootout victory over Russia in the final. England placed third while Japan came in fourth.
Looks like the injury bug in Real Salt Lake has — temproarily anyway — tied the hands of US Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
Ramos will be without his most experienced player, midfielder Luis Gil, who's been recalled by Jason Kreis in the wake of injuries to Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy.
Good luck to the U20 @ussoccer_ynt out in Portland. Sorry I couldn't make it with you guys #UntilNextTime
— Luis Gil (@luisitogil21) April 9, 2012
Also missing the trip is Birmingham City-based defender Will Packwood. Javan Torre (LA Galaxy Academy) and Matt Wiesenfarth (California Davis) have been added as replacements.
The camp, which runs from April 9-16 in Portland, Ore., will feature an intrasquad scrimmage on April 12 and a friendly against the University of Washington on April 15.
Full roster and details at USsoccer.com.
If you're still surprised that Clint Dempsey is attracting interest from some of England's biggest clubs, you probably aren't paying attention.
With a year left on his contract after the end of this season – a record-breaking campaign for Duece and Americans abroad in general – the suitors are apparently lining up to give the 29-year-old veteran a chance to play in the Champions League should he decide to leave Fulham, the only club he's known outside of Major League Soccer.
After scoring two more goals against Bolton this weekend, a performance that gave Dempsey 21 strikes on the season in all competitions, reports in England are tossing around names such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United as potential summer destinations for the American midfielder.
Fulham manager Martin Jol is realistic about the fate of his star, admitting he could be facing life without Dempsey should the right offer come along. That shouldn't come as a shock considering Dempsey is third in the Premier League this season in goals scored in all competitions behind Robin van Persie (37) and Wayne Rooney (31). Even more impressive, Duece is behind only van Persie (44) and Rooney (32) in EPL goals since the start of the 2010-11 season, scoring 27 times for the Lily Whites, mostly from the midfield.
He has a chance to add to that total Monday when Fulham host Chelsea in a West London derby – a fixture that has treated Dempsey well in the past.
WATCH: Chris Coleman on Dempsey's next club
Behold: The jerseys for Euro 2012 have been released. And there are many sashes.
The US men's national team made waves before the 2010 World Cup by reintroducing a sash to their jerseys in homage to the 1950 team that famously beat England. And while it's not exactly unique – teams like Trinidad and Tobago and Peru have been rocking the sash for years – it's not exactly standard fare.
So from whence come the sashes? This is undoubtedly jingoistic, biased, and self-aggrandizing, but I tend to think that the US brought the design back into vogue.
Which would also mark the first time that Europeans have ever taken fashion advice from Americans. Give yourselves a pat on the back, readers.
I, for one, feel pretty good about it. I like the sash on the US jerseys. I think they'll look good at Euro 2012. Undoubtedly, you feel differently. And... discuss!
This ex-soccer player could perhaps rival the star of the cult Dos Equis commercials as the "most interesting man in the world."
German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel is now an international scout for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, yet his playing career, which included a stint with current MLS outfit the Vancouver Whitecaps, wasn’t quite as conventional.
He was declared dead while on the pitch when playing for Bradford Park Avenue and was also locked up in a Singapore jail. He has spent five days in an igloo in a German ski resort, during which his antics were streamed live over the internet. He was also, believe it or not, a member of the "crazy gang" at Wimbledon and was stripped naked by Vinnie Jones and his teammates during a jog through London on a cold November morning in his first few days with the club.
Pfannenstiel spent time playing in North America with Vancouver in 2007, making four appearances, while also turning out for the Calgary Mustangs in 2004.
His title as an international scout for Hoffenheim means that current US national team players Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and U-23 player Joe Gyau are all know to the eccentric German.
If those three have careers half as interesting as Pfannenstiel's, then we are all in for a real treat.
Stay thirsty my friends.
The nice thing about age-group soccer is that another chance to make good is always right around the corner.
For the US, that means shifting focus from the failure of the U-23s to the next crop of U-20s. Or as I'll be referring to them in my head, "Luis Gil's Group."
The Real Salt Lake youngster is by far the most experienced player in Tab Ramos' squad, announced by US Soccer on Monday, which also includes three other MLSers: Jack McBean of the LA Galaxy; Jonathan Top of FC Dallas; and Victor Pineda of the Chicago Fire.
Here's the whole squad, courtesy of US soccer:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Tomas Gomez (Georgetown; Webster Groves, Mo.), Jake McGuire (Chivas USA Academy; Pomona, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (9): Christian Dean (California; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Bryan Gallego (Akron; Kinnelon, N.J.), Jordan McCrary (North Carolina; Marietta, Ga.), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Jeffrey Payeras (LA Galaxy Academy; Hawthorne, Calif.), Derek Vogel (Pateadores; Long Beach, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Seth Casiple (California; Rocklin, Calif.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (D.C. United Academy; Chevy Chase, Md.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Wil Trapp (Akron; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Ethan Decker (New York Red Bulls Academy; Manahawkin, N.J.), Daniel Garcia (FC Dallas Academy; Dallas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), James Rogers (New Mexico; Salt Lake City), Jonathan Top (FC Dallas; Fort Worth, Texas)
One player not on the list? Charles Renken. The 18-year-old midfielder is still settling in with the Portland Timbers, seeing action in reserve games and regular run in practice. But apparently he's not ready for the U-20s quite yet.