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26 June 5:33 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.

26 June 4:43 de la tarde

Y Marco Pappa se unió al Equipo Pepsi.

Como ya es costumbre en muchos de los comerciales de Pepsi, varias de las estrellas del fútbol mundial hacen parte de sus inteligentes y graciosas propagandas, incluyendo a estrellas como Kaká, David Beckham y en su momento hasta a Roberto Carlos (como olvidar este).

Sin embargo, para este 2012, la presencia emelesera se hizo sentir con la adición de Pappa del Chicago Fire en su último comercial.  El volante guatemalteco actúa junto a estrellas como  Lionel Messi, Didier Drogba, Sergio Agüero y Fernando Torres en el comercial “Donde hay Pepsi, hay fútbol”.

Juzguen por ustedes mismos…

26 June 1:26 de la tarde

Comme chaque mardi, Coup Franc passe de l’écrit à l’oral. Notre émission hebdomadaire est disponible ici. Au menu :
- Le match au sommet entre New York et DC United (résumé vidéo ; le 2-1 par Barklage). Quelles sont les forces et les faiblesses de ces équipes, leur bon classement actuel reflète-t-il leur réelle valeur ?
- La découverte de la semaine, Antoine Hoppenot, est notre invité. Voyez ici son but, le penalty qu’il a provoqué et sa première grosse occasion. Nous faisons sa connaissance, il nous parle de la cinglante victoire de Philadelphie contre Kansas City (résumé complet) et des changements apportés par John Hackworth.
- Nos choix pour le Match des étoiles (All-Star Game). N’oubliez pas de voter !
- Le tifo de Portland contre Seattle.
- Hassoun Camara, qui en est à sa deuxième saison à Montréal, connaît-il bien le Québec ?

L'émission Coup Franc est désormais aussi disponible sur iTunes.

26 June 1:11 de la tarde

Poison are scheduled for a July 28 concert at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium.

Ok, no, not really. But it is Steven Lenhart Wig Night when the San Jose Earthquakes host the Chicago Fire. Think people could tell the difference?

In honor of one of the most recognizable heads of hair in MLS – and oh yeah, his five goals on the league's best team aren't too shabby either – the Quakes will be giving out 2,500 blond wigs to fans.

Now all they'd need is some background music to complete the experience – that is, if it doesn't already come with the wigs.

25 June 5:31 de la tarde

The Scottish Premier League's loss just may be Major League Soccer's gain.

After the collapse of storied club Glasgow Rangers, their prized winger Sono Aluko is being linked with a move across the pond to the United States. According to a report from The Scottish Sun, the 23-year-old Nigerian international has declared publicly that he does not want his contract renewed, with the publication contending that the Houston Dynamo are leading the charge for his services.

According to the Sun, the New England Revolution are also in the hunt for the outside midfielder, who scored 12 goals in 21 appearances last season for 'Gers. The English-born Aluko spent three seasons playing for fellow SPL side Aberdeen – where he tallied seven times in 82 appearances  prior to joining Rangers. The report also mentions Championship sides Crystal Palace and Charlton as teams interested in Aluko's services.

If the Scottish Football Association agrees to transfer his registration, he could be set to make an immediate impact for whichever club he signs with.

25 June 2:57 de la tarde

Whoa.

Timbers Army brought the heat this weekend at JELD-WEN Field, adding another epic tifo to the growing list of massive displays that seem to serve as the precursors to Portland-Seattle matches. (See Portland's King of Clubs and Seattle's Decades of Dominance for example.)

As you can see above, the banner stretched across the entirety of the north end of the stadium, creating an absolutely stunning tribute to the city of Portland and its soccer past. The Timbers Army hit all the right notes with this effort: the Portland skyline, city and cascadia flags and Clive Charles right smack in the middle as a focal point. That's soccer art, for sure.

Sounders beat writer Jeremiah Oshan wraps it all up here with a little more detail.

I'll leave you with one more image from the match, which had no shortage of talking points.

25 June 12:22 de la tarde

La semaine a été dure pour les équipes de tête. La tendance de mercredi s’est confirmée et lors de la dernière journée, seuls deux des sept premiers se sont imposés !

DC United, qui n’avait pas joué en milieu de semaine, s’est incliné lors du sommet à New York, où l’ancien de la maison rouge et noire Brandon Barklage a été élu homme du match. Si Wondolowski a encore marqué pour offrir les trois points à San José, Hernandez s’est démarqué lors de la victoire à Salt Lake qui « s’est battu lui-même » selon les propos de Jason Kreis.

La sensation est venue de Philadelphie, vainqueur 4-0 de Kansas City… meilleure défense de la compétition. « Nous n’étions pas prêts, c’est de ma faute », se repent Peter Vermes. John Hackworth savoure sa première victoire, qu’attend toujours Paul Mariner : Toronto s’est encore fait rejoindre après avoir eu deux buts d’avance !

Battu à Portland, Seattle affiche un maigre 3/21 et est lâché du peloton de tête, tout comme Vancouver, mis à genou au LA Galaxy. Le champion en titre vient d’enchaîner trois victoires de suite.

LES RÉSULTATS
Toronto - New England
Philadelphie - Kansas City
Montréal - Houston
Chicago - Columbus
Dallas - Chivas USA
Salt Lake - San José
LA Galaxy - Vancouver
Portland - Seattle
New York - DC United

2-2
4-0
4-2
2-1
0-0
1-2
3-0
2-1
3-2
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

 

25 June 10:37 de la mañana

Let's be honest, even Philadelphia fans didn't see that coming.

And while all the plaudits for Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Sporting KC will go to Jack McInerney and Antoine Hoppenot, I can't help but think Carlos Valdes is getting the short shrift. The guy, not singlehandedly it must be said, shut down a front line in Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong that makes most defenses look, well, defenseless at least a couple times per game.

On Saturday, there was none of that at PPL Park. Valdes cleaned up any mess that entered his area, kept Zac MacMath from having to do much other than boot the occasional goal kick and generally bossed the area of the field SKC was trying to exploit. So in homage to Valdes performance, we've put together a highlight reel of his second half contributions. Frankly, it was the least we could do.

So sit back and enjoy, unless you're a Kansas City fan of course.

24 June 9:41 de la tarde

I just went 2/9 on my weekend picks. This was after going 2/6 midweek.

It’s not because I’m bad at picking games (though lord knows, I’m not good), but it’s because the parity in MLS is just that hard to get a handle on these days. This is a league where players like Branko Boskovic and Chris Rolfe come off the bench, where Danny Koevermans goes from misfiring back to deadeye, and where a nine-point week is enough to vault you back into the playoff race.

Turns out the Galaxy aren’t dead yet

Sorry, I know this is going to annoy a lot of you. It’s always fun to try to shovel dirt on the champs – doubly so when it’s a high-profile team.

But it turns out that was premature. LA just rattled off three straight wins, including two by shutout. It’s too early to say they’ve returned to their 2011 form, but it’s also clearly too late to take back all the nasty stuff we’ve said about them over the past couple of months.

One thing to bear in mind: David Beckham said it came down to being happy and loose in the locker room, and that it’s cleared up only in the past couple of weeks. So whatever it was that was eating away at LA’s commitment went away when Robbie Keane did. Will it return now that he has?

“Emergency Defender” proving a rock in Philly

Last week John Hackworth said that youngster Amobi Okugo would be playing in central defense for the time being as an emergency measure. If his first two games there are any indication, he may never get a chance to move back to the midfield.

Okugo is simply excellent when the game is being played in front of him, showing good anticipation and understanding of both when and how to play outlets to the midfield. He’s also big and strong enough (6-foot, 170 pounds) to bully around in the box when it comes down to that.

Most importantly, though, he’s just a better player when he doesn’t have to have 360 degree awareness. This isn’t unusual – d-mids tend to mature later than other players precisely because it’s such a complex position.

But Philly already have two veterans (Brian Carroll and Gabriel Gomez) for that spot, and are paper-thin in defense. And the US… well, we know all about the plethora of defensive-minded central midfielders available to Jurgen Klinsmann.

There are, however, precious few young central defenders who’ve impressed on a game-to-game basis. Okugo’s off to a good start in that regard. Let’s hope he stays there, and we see a bit of him in the red, white and blue this January.

Why not build more Gordons?

Alan Gordon didn’t just become a good soccer player overnight. He’s always had a great passing eye, a good understanding of where to be in build-up play and a willingness to stick his nose in. Even if he’s not a 90-minute player, he’s still valuable. The past two months – and past two games especially – have been proof enough of that.

The thing is, though, that Gordon (and his teammate Steven Lenhart) were built by years of practice and occasional game time. Each of them took several years to get up to speed, and now the Quakes are reaping the rewards of both LA’s and Columbus’ hard work.

Which begs the question: Why don’t more teams take on young guys like Gordon and Lenhart then groom them for that specific role? While combing through MLS rosters, the only ones I’ve seen who are really, truly doing that are Columbus (with Tom Heinemann and Aaron Schoenfeld), Houston (Cam Weaver and Colin Rolfe) and New England (Blake Brettschneider).

None of these guys are truly ready right now – though Brettschneider is close, and Heinemann would have gotten there this season if not for his injury – but in two years, all of these guys can be looked at as Gordon or Lenhart-types.

Or, if you want to go with the original model: Brian Ching-types.

So yeah, putting a guy like that – a true center forward – out there may not be what Vicente del Bosque would do. But no MLS team is going to have Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas and Busquets to call on. If you’re not Spain, chances are you’ll need a target.

I’d want my team already hard at work making one.

24 June 7:05 de la tarde

So, this is some great news for a Sunday evening.

Kicking + Screening Soccer/Football Film Festival--founded in 2009 and kicking off this week in New York City--has partnered with KICKTV, meaning they're about to deliver something that wasn't possible before. 

The 4th annual K+S Festival begins on Wednesday night, but starting on June 30, KICKTV will launch an exclusive new 'Films + Documentaries' channel that will deliver some of the best soccer features anywhere to anyone that wants to see them all over the world.

Like what? Well, they'll be debuting with this:

K+S will also be advising KICKTV in terms of programming and film selection, so you know it will be legit. 

Feel like checking out more of the trailers for some of the works in store? The KICKTV crew has a playlist made just for you. And as the presenting partner for the New York festival, they're giving away tickets. Awesome.