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US National Team

21 March 12:06 de la tarde

Are you a US national team fan? Are you getting more and more amped as the hours tick down towards the next round of  World Cup qualifiers on Friday night?

Jimmy Conrad the the rest of the crew over at KICKTV are right there with you. They've just dropped the latest episode of “The Hex,” KICKTV's video series on the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

“Hexagonal 101” delivers a fast-paced refresher course on the long, global road to the World Cup, the structure of the competition and the many challenges that the USMNT and their five regional counterparts must overcome in order to book a place in Brazil 2014.

Sporting the USA's brand-new centennial jersey, which the Yanks will debut against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on Friday, Conrad reminds us how difficult the two-and-a-half-year-long process can be, a lesson he's learned through firsthand experience.

This is a great way to start the final countdown to the big games – and an excellent primer if you've got friends or family who could use a bit of Hex background.

21 March 11:49 de la mañana

Ce vendredi, presque toute la planète aura les yeux rivés sur la reprise des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde 2014. Dans la Concacaf, on disputera la deuxième journée du dernier tour, sur fond de polémique aux États-Unis qui s’apprêtent à affronter le Costa Rica d’Alvaro Saborio puis le Mexique.

Après une défaite initiale au Honduras, Jürgen Klinsmann a convoqué un groupe loin de faire l’unanimité et se fait tirer dessus à boulets rouges par un article de Sporting News qui, en gros, le dépeint comme un incompétent habile à créer des tensions dans le vestiaire, le tout grâce à des témoignages anonymes d’internationaux américains.

Il va sans dire que l’ambiance n’est pas au beau fixe et que les réactions fusent de toutes parts. Les analystes se demandent si les joueurs sont des enfants gâtés ou remettent en question la communication de Klinsmann. Honte, gêne, déception : certains internationaux, à l’image de Michael Bradley, ne sont pas heureux de voir les sentiments sortir du vestiaire.

Autre son de cloche du côté d’Herculez Gomez, pour qui il était à peu près temps que les médias commencent à poser des questions difficiles. « On serait au Mexique, ESPN en parlerait toute la journée », ajoute le joueur de Santos Laguna qui pense que l'équipe en ressortira plus forte. Voilà qui remet les choses en perspective.

Ah, oui, le Canada aussi joue ce vendredi, il affronte le Japon au Qatar. Seul pays du G8 à être déjà éliminé, il a un entraîneur par intérim qui est aussi directeur technique de la fédération. Cette dernière programme des matches (c’est un progrès par rapport à il y a 10 ans), prétend qu’elle cherche un sélectionneur et prépare la prochaine Gold Cup mais n’expose aucun plan à long terme pour aller en Russie en 2018. Pas de polémique cependant : les médias s’en désintéressent complètement, en dehors de quelques-uns très complaisants. Vu sous cet angle, ils sont chanceux, les Américains…

20 March 2:33 de la tarde

Former Major League Soccer veteran Alejandro Moreno has officially joined the ESPN soccer family, and will work the US national team game as an analyst when the Americans take on Mexico next Tuesday night in Mexico City.

Moreno (above, with Chivas USA in 2012) will primarily serve as an analyst for Mexican national team and Liga MX matches on ESPN’s English networks, as well as a studio analyst for marquee events such as MLS Cup, Confederations Cup 2013 and other FIFA events.

“Alejandro has a remarkable knowledge of the game and the rare ability to communicate it with insight,” ESPN senior vice president and executive producer Jed Drake said in a statement. "His work for us so far has shown he will be a great addition to our talented and diverse analyst team."

Moreno’s relationship with ESPN dates back to 2011, when he was a guest studio analyst for the MLS Cup Playoffs while playing for Chivas USA.  He returned to the same role in 2012.

Moreno played for six different MLS teams before he retired after last season. He also earned 43 caps for the Venezuelan national team from 2004-11.

19 March 6:40 de la tarde

Say what you will about Carlos Bocanegra and whether he's the same player he was during the past two World Cups. But the dude is a professional.

It's been a tough week for the US national team captain, omitted from camp by Jurgen Klinsmann for a lack of minutes with Racing Santander and name-dropped repeatedly in the bombshell article by the Sporting News' Brian Straus as a flashpoint for what is reportedly a rift between squad and coach.

But on Tuesday, Bocanegra took the highest road possible on all the relevant social-networking venues. First, he penned a thoughtful, respectful few lines on his Facebook page:

"During the last 18 months, Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program," he wrote. "Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front with players about where they stand and where he sees them going.

"Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup."

Then, he added some thoughts on his Twitter account:

It's that kind of leadership that makes fans hope Boca is back in the picture soon.

19 March 11:48 de la mañana

La semaine des rivalités nous a offert un programme intense le week-end dernier, et c’est le sujet principal de notre émission hebdomadaire (à écouter ici) :
- On revient sur le match Montréal - Toronto, la manière dont l’Impact a gagné, l’importance de Bernier dans le jeu montréalais, l’apport des ailiers, le travail effectué à l’entraînement, l’ambiance au Stade olympique.
- Retour sur d’autres rencontres, principalement Dallas - Houston et Seattle - Portland.
- Après trois semaines de compétition, quel est le joueur désigné qui se distingue le plus et quel est le meilleur nouveau venu ?
- Les polémiques arbitrales de la semaine :

- La sélection américaine en vue de ses deux prochains matchs des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde
- Club de lecture : « La Balle au centre », les mémoires de Thierry Roland, commentateur mythique à la télévision française. Les animateurs de l’émission discutent de son style, de sa personnalité, de son franc-parler, de son image, de la Coupe du monde 1998, etc.

L'émission Coup Franc est disponible sur Stitcher et iTunes. Vous pouvez nous joindre par courriel (coup.franc@MLSsoccer.com), sur Facebook ou sur Twitter (@CoupFrancMLS).

01 March 1:55 de la tarde

Nice of the US national team to join MLS Jersey Week.

On Friday, the US Soccer Federation, which turns 100 years old in 2013, unveiled its new centennial kits for both men and women's national teams, images of which were leaked a few weeks ago. Now it's official.

The uniform is inspired by the kit worn back in 1916 when the US played their first game against Sweden in Stockholm (a 3-2 win). So is the crest, which is the standout feature of the new jersey with 13 stars and 13 stripes, symbolizing the first 13 colonies of the United States.

Jurgen Klinsmann's squad will debut the kit in a World Cup qualifier on March 22 against Costa Rica at sold-out Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Give us your review of the new US jersey below.

25 February 10:00 de la mañana

Last Friday, the US posted an efficient, if tentative, 1-0 win over Costa Rica to secure top spot in Group A of the U-20 CONCACAF Championship. Jose Villarreal headed home the winner in the 63rd minute to secure the three points.

The LA Galaxy youngster is increasingly showing that the hype is warranted -- provided he plays in the center rather than on the wing. "Center forward is kind of my spot," he told MLSsoccer.com after the win. 

The Americans now move on to face Canada in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6 pm ET. The match will be broadcast on Fox Soccer. The winner will earn a spot in the U-20 world cup 

21 February 9:16 de la tarde

There's been a bit of a hullabaloo about Landon Donovan's Wednesday night talk with a USC sports journalism class, which based on the transcripts from some intrepid student journalists, sound like some of his most candid public comments since, well, The Beckham Experiment.

Now, there is some video to go along with some of the quotes floating around, recently posted by Donovan's agent, Richard Motzkin, on his Twitter account. Take a look for yourself:

Yes, he actually said it. But if/when Jurgen Klinsmann will call him in is another matter entirely, but we know Donovan, when on form, should be a shoo-in for the USMNT.

When do you think Klinsmann will call the USA's all-time leading scorer back in? Will Donovan make the difference in World Cup qualifying? Have any other burning Landon-related thoughts? Chime in below!

20 February 11:32 de la tarde

Landon Donovan has a history of insightful, personal interviews. He just hasn't given very many of them lately.

That seems to have changed on Wednesday night, as the US national team and LA Galaxy legend answered questions in public for the first time since helping lead his team to the 2012 MLS Cup. Donovan appeared at a Q&A session titled "The Competitive Edge" on the campus of the University of Southern California.

One promising young scribe proceded to live tweet the event. We can't vouch for the veracity of his transcription, during which Donovan talks about everything from his relationship with his dad to that time he almost quit soccer in 2006 (which, from memory, was right before kickoff vs. Ghana), but I guarantee you we'll all be talking about this out-of-the-blue appearance by LD for the next 48 hours:

Here's the best part, if you're a US fan:

And here's the part that's Landon being Landon to, like, the Nth degree:

19 February 10:13 de la tarde

We've seen plenty of German-Americans come into the US national team fold since Jurgen Klinsmann took the reins in 2011. But could Klinsmann and Co. could be turning their eyes south to Argentina to unearth two more dual-nationality players for the Stars and Stripes?

Affirmative, according to ESPN's Jorge Ramos:

In English, that's: "Jurgen Klinsmann has called Rogelio Funes Mori and Michael Hoyos and asked them if they would accept a call-up from the United States."

Both players spent a significant portion of their developmental years in the United States – Funes Mori (above, left), a forward, moved to Texas at the age of 10, where he attended high school and won the Sueño MLS contest, earning him a spot with FC Dallas' academy side. However, he returned to Argentina shortly thereafter and signed with River Plate, where he remains along with twin brother Ramiro.

Hoyos (above, right), a midfielder, was born and raised in Southern California, attending high school there before moving back to Argentina at age 15 and signing with Estudiantes de La Plata shortly thereafter, where he also remains. He was reportedly approached by the US U-20 side for a camp a few years ago, but opted to remain with his club team.

Both players have represented Argentina at the U-20 level and Funes Mori made a recent appearance in a friendly for the Albiceleste's senior team, but both could file a one-time nationality switch with FIFA to play for the US.

Do you think either player would make the switch? Would they be good additions to Klinsmann's US national team? Chime in with your thoughts below!