Last night a group of USA fans gathered at The Hill in Midtown Manhattan to watch the Yanks take on Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying courtesy of ExtraTime Radio.
With stomachs full of free sliders, mozzarella sticks and potato skins, the bar cheered as Landon Donovan drove up the flank and passed the ball to Fabian Johnson, who dished it to Clint Dempsey to score the opening goal. Enjoy the grainy reaction footage and tell us where you watched the US pick up the road point.
Le Canada a commencé le troisième tour des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde avec un 4/6. Bien ? Certes… Suffisant ? Pas si sûr.
Ce mardi, le Honduras était prenable, mais ça a fini 0-0. Chez soi, contre un concurrent direct, il faut gagner. Je me prenais presque la tête à deux mains en écoutant les commentateurs du direct télévisé expliquer à quel point les rencontres à l’extérieur sont difficiles en Concacaf… en parlant des autres, pas d’un voyage à Toronto.
Au Canada, on se montre vite content de soi. Alors, quand je vois Olivier Occean et Kevin McKenna clairement insatisfaits, je me dis qu’il en faut plus comme eux, avec cette mentalité de vainqueur. La réaction plus mitigée de Dwayne De Rosario est due à une question orientée…
C’est vrai que c’est un meilleur départ que lors des qualifs précédentes. Maintenant, il faut confirmer contre Cuba, éviter la défaite au Honduras et faire mieux que lui dans le double affrontement contre le Panama (ou espérer que ce dernier, auteur d’un sans-faute, s’effondre).
Dans les autres groupes, le Mexique et les États-Unis ont souffert. Le premier s’est imposé de justesse au Salvador, alors que le Guatemala a contraint les Américains au nul.
Was a 1-1 draw the right result? Probably. Well, 2-2 might have been more accurate.
We'll get to the rest of this just after a few of those match balls come down out of orbit.
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
Geoff Cameron has proved that he's the right choice in central defense
Was he perfect? No, far from it. His first touch was a giveaway and he needs to be smarter defending set pieces.
But he was significantly better than Clarence Goodson, and miles better than Oguchi Onyewu was against Antigua and Barbuda. It's always been a matter of "when," not "if," with Cameron, and it looks like the "when" is just about now.
There will still be tough days to come. Someone will sucker him into a bad foul, or he'll get caught ball-watching, or he'll blow a trap. But he put in a tough 45 minutes and did so with a fair share of aplomb. It was a good first "big" game from Cameron, who should be in the starting lineup from here on out.
Of course, it was also a bad game by Carlos Bocanegra, who totally misplayed the longball that led to the foul that led to the one decent (read: spectacular) free kick of the evening. Let's hope Tim Ream, George John, Matt Besler and whoever else is on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar make a Cameron-like leap in the next few months.
Fabian Johnson is irreplacable at left back
One of the things I wanted to see was how Johnson would combine down the left with Landon Donovan. And it was good.
Donovan's in a particularly passive mode right now, which means he's totally willing to drift wide when Johnson darts inside. It's what happened on the goal, and why Johnson only had to beat one guy instead of two.
And the fact that we can casually talk about one of our players beating a defender off the dribble ... man, that is a nice weapon coming out of the back. Edgar Castillo is functional, and I have high hopes for Justin Morrow, but neither of those guys has the raw creative ability Johnson shows every time he takes the field for the US.
Of course, he can also be spun like a top in one-v-one defensively, and is prone to ball-watching. Two of Guatemala's best chances on the evening were directly attributable to his poor defensive play.
But I don't care. He brings so much other stuff to the table that it hardly matters.
Nobody's on the same page in the final third
Just about the only quality link-up of the night for the US came on the goal. The midfield play was better as a whole (though Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones were turnover machines), and the defense was relative solid compared to previous outings.
But the final third is still a mess. If Donovan played the ball early, the runs came late. If Dempsey tried a flick, he should have went for a through ball.
And there aren't enough expletives in the world to describe Jozy Altidore's thought-process on that late chance that Michael Bradley served up on a platter.
It is ugly, and not showing signs of getting better. Klinsmann's biggest job is still shoring up the defense, of course. But a close second is reminding his attackers how to attack.
2012 hasn't been particularly kind of FC Dallas on the field, but it seems the return of El Capitán, the cannon awarded to the winner of the Dallas-Houston rivalry, could go a long way toward increasing morale.
At least that's the message I'm getting from the club's most recent video offering, an immensely enjoyable dub over featuring many of the squad ahead of Saturday's match on ESPN2.
Although there is some debate around MLS Digital HQ about FC Dallas' dance moves – the feelings range from envy to embarrassment – I've got to give Schellas Hyndman's side credit ... they really embraced the concept.
My favorite moment from FC Dallas' ode to El Capitán? The scene from 1:35 until 1:59 with David Ferreira waltzing in from left to right to start things off and Jair Benítez flashing a megawatt smile throughout.
Le Canada a un bon coup à jouer ce soir contre le Honduras : en cas de victoire, il reléguera son adversaire à six points après deux des six rencontres du troisième tour des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde 2014.
Mais le Honduras est la bête noire du Canada. Les deux équipes sont habituées à se frotter dans la route pour le Mondial. En 2004, à Edmonton, le Honduras avait arraché un point dans la controverse, suite à un but d’Olivier Occean injustement annulé. En 2008, on jouait à Montréal mais on se serait cru en Amérique centrale lors d’une victoire 1-2 des visiteurs.
Le Honduras s’était ensuite qualifié pour la Coupe du monde. Si l’équipe est en reconstruction après les retraites internationales de Pavon, Turcios et Guevara, elle est emmenée par Bernardez, Palacios et Suazo, qui ne sont pas non plus les premiers venus.
La partie est donc loin d’être gagnée. En visionnant la défaite du Honduras 0-2 contre le Panama, Stephen Hart a vu une équipe jouant bien mais ne concrétisant pas ses occasions. La bête est donc blessée et sera d’autant plus dangereuse.
Quien sabe si el equipo Salvadoreño esté listo para el partido de hoy contra México, pero sus aficionados si lo están.
Desde las ocho de la noche del día antes del juego, llegaron fanáticos salvadoreños masivamente al hotel donde se encontraba la selección mexicana. ¿Pero a que fueron los salvadoreños al hotel? ¿Echarle porra a México? ¿Recibirlos con brazos abiertos? ¡Si y si! Bueno, depende de que lado lo veas. ¿Dedicarle a un país una serenata es como echarle porra y recibirlo con brazos abiertos, o no?
Según el sitio web Mediotiempo.com llegaron más o menos 1,500 salvadoreños intentando hacer el mayor escándalo posible para impedir el descanso de El Tri la noche previa al duelo de este martes por la eliminatoria de la CONCACAF. Aun con tambores, cohetes, y gritos los salvadoreños no lograron nada. Las habitaciones de los jugadores estaban en una ubicación muy lejana a donde ocurrieron de los hechos además de que las mismas tienen vidrios anti-ruido.
Hoy también se encuentra Estados Unidos jugando en casa ajena contra Guatemala. Con el recuerdo de su última derrota ante el combinado de las Barras y las Estrellas en 2008, se espera un ambiente hostil donde Guatemala jugará con un sentido de revancha para defender su estadio.
El Estadio Mateo Flores ya tiene alambrado a su alrededor por si llega suceder algo y los estadounidenses están preparados para salir del país en cuando se acabe el juego.
*A previous version of this story claimed 500,000 Salvadorans welcomed Mexico at their hotel. After further review, the original article states around 1,500 were in attendance. Use online translation services with extreme caution.
You probably thought the US would have it bad in Guatemala City, what with the normal torments experienced by American sides venturing down to Central America.
But that appears to be strictly child's play when compared to the reception Mexico is getting in El Salvador. According to MedioTiempo.com, somewhere around 1,500 Salvadorans* gathered at El Tri's hotel on Monday night in San Salvador to make sure the team that arrives at Estadio Cuscatlán on Tuesday is running on as little sleep as possible. Google Translate tells me that the crowd banged drums, sang songs inapproriate for this space and set off rockets throughout the night, while also killing time by "jiggling" the cars that had the unfortune to turn up the wrong street.
You know, a normal Monday night with Mexico in town.
Now, I'm not entirely sure I buy the claim that the gathering drew 500,000 people – essentially a fifth of the city's metro population – but The video and photos paint a pretty clear picture. The Salvadoran fans mean business, and Mexico haven't even walked out of the tunnel yet.
Andriy Shevchenko may be taking his talents to Major League Soccer.
The 35-year-old Ukrainian icon has been linked to MLS and says he has "several offers." In a report by The New York Times, Shevchenko — who is married to former American supermodel Kristen Pazik — is prepared to spend time with his two sons in the United States.
While he plans on waiting until after this month's European Championship to make any decisions, he has certainly proved he still has the scoring touch. In Ukraine's 2-1 victory over Sweden in the opening round game of Group D on Monday, Shevchenko scored twice in three minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit and propel the co-hosts to the top of the leaderboard.
Sheva now has 49 goals in 109 caps for Ukraine, and after a quiet few years since his disappointing production at both Chelsea and AC Milan, a 2009 move to Dynamo Kyiv helped fuel his resurgence. With 23 goals in 53 games, it's become clear that despite his age, he refuses to go away quietly.
While we will not know for certain Shevchenko's intentions until he settles in after the Euros, his move to the States looks more like a "when" than an "if." With the type of numbers he is putting up, and the current form he is in, there are certainly no shortage of MLS teams who could use his firepower up front.
It may have gotten lost outside Philadelphia with Euro 2012 hogging the headlines, but rumors swirled this weekend that Union head coach Peter Nowak had put his name in the hat for the managerial opening at Scottish Premier League side Hearts.
So who to believe? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
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