Kick Off: Anticipation grows for Klinsmann unveiling
It’s the day many US national team fans have been waiting years for: Jurgen Klinsmann will be unveiled as US manager and will speak for the first time since being named to the post. MLSsoccer.com will have all the coverage from New York City today.
Here’s what fans are in for at this morning's introductory press conference, in the words of ESPN.com’s David Hirshey: “If Bradley's news conferences were long on banality and short on quotability, Klinsmann's may feel like a Tony Robbins self-help seminar.”
US all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan, who played under Klinsmann briefly while at Bayern Munich, agrees with Hirshey. He says that the German’s biggest attribute is “his positive energy.”
Learn more about Klinsmann in this column by the International Herald Tribune’s Rob Hughes: from his pretzel-baking family, to his marriage to a Chinese-American model, his love for a blue Volkswagen Beetle and the fact that he shares the same birthday as Sunil Gulati.
Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid is backing the hiring of Klinsmann by the US Soccer Federation, pointing out that “we all have to support the new national team coach.”
Former national team manager Bruce Arena took the opportunity to expound on the US vs. foreign coach debate: “Domestic coaches will always be a scapegoat. That's the way it is. For some reason, everyone thinks that foreign means better all the time. And in the case of Jurgen, I'm hopeful he does a good job.”
Veteran soccer writer Gabriele Marcotti has a different take: that Klinsmann’s “body of work is not enough to view his appointment as much more than a gamble,” citing his relatively brief coaching experiences.
Klinsmann’s formal introduction follows another major news story involving a US team that captured international headlines: The New York Red Bulls won the Emirates Cup. But if Thierry Henry had his way, he may not have been around for the Red Bulls’ equalizer against Arsenal in their Emirates Cup clincher. He says that he wanted to put on the Arsenal shirt one last time during the match but the referee would not allow it because of “stupid rules.” (VIDEO)
The Carlos Ruiz saga in Philadelphia is another developing story to be followed closely today. The Philadelphia Inquirer is citing sources as saying that “negotiations continue for the Union to sell forward Carlos Ruiz as part of multiple moves the Major League Soccer team is about to make.”
In MLS action this weekend, Real Salt Lake suffered a shock home loss, 2-0, at the hands of the upstart Columbus Crew. RSL were without a handful of key regulars but manager Jason Kreis takes issue with the fact he was informed by the league of Álvaro Saborío’s suspension on Friday “at the last minute.” Jean Alexandre started in place of the Costa Rican and missed on two important chances.
Toronto media are giving credit for TFC’s 2-2 draw in Portland to the club’s goalkeeper, Stefan Frei, claiming “Frei’s nine saves at pivotal moments stole the show.”
Meanwhile, that result leaves Portland “sick to their stomach” after they dominated the match and held a 2-0 lead with only 20 minutes to play.
The pressure is being dialed up on the San Jose Earthquakes, now winless in nine games after a 2-0 home loss to D.C. United. Despite several absences, manager Frank Yallop says “some guys had some off nights,” leaving goalkeeper Jon Busch irate: "This isn't a Sunday pub league. … Enough is enough."
Every goal scored by Houston winger Colin Clark, including the one over the weekend against Seattle, must feel extra special. After tearing the ligaments in his knee a second time while playing for Colorado, Clark claims: “I was told by people in the organization that they didn't see me wearing another jersey in this league.”
Pizza Hut Park has a nickname that looks like it will stick: “The Oven.” In a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Sunday night, Chivas USA manager Robin Fraser claimed, “It was possibly the hottest game I have ever been part of in MLS.” And that’s saying something coming from a long-time player and assistant coach in the league.
After scoring two goals and hearing the boos of the crowd, the LA Galaxy’s Donovan offered the Whitecaps a few words of encouragement this weekend: "They have a handful of guys that are good players. … It's going to take time for them to jell."
As the New York Cosmos get set to challenge Manchester United in the Paul Scholes Testimonial Match at Old Trafford, Cosmos executives reveal that they are in discussions with MLS regarding a stadium plan that could have them in the league sooner: “the potential for a temporary solution as a two or three year stop-gap … That would give us the opportunity to find the right piece of land and build the right stadium.”
US midfielder Stuart Holden is back on the training fields for Bolton after a knee injury kept him on the shelf for five months.
Lastly, speaking of yanks abroad, we leave you with one of the best goals ever scored by an American overseas. (VIDEO)
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