Kick Off: Klinsmann's initial USMNT roster expected today
For Americans plying their trade in Europe, today is expected to be judgment day.
Not literally, of course, but on Tuesday Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to name 20 of the 29 players that will make up the initial group that gathers for May’s US national team camp in preparation for a trio of big-name friendlies (Scotland, Brazil and Canada) followed by the beginning of World Cup Qualifying with matches against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.
Plenty are taking their shot at predicting Klinsmann’s potential list, which will climb to 29 names on May 20 with the inclusion of the MLS contingent. Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy leads the charge, while Brian Sciaretta also takes a shot at Yanks Abroad and the Shin Guardian adds his prediction to the mix. The consensus? Well, there isn’t one.
Scotland have already announced their roster for the match in Jacksonville, Fla., while Brazil will bring an inexperienced side to FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on May 30.
One player may have already given away his most recent call-up, as Club Tijuana’s Edgar Castillo tweeted about a trip to Orlando, which happens to be the gathering place for Klinsmann’s chosen squad.
Since the national team is fresh in your mind, check out SI.com’s rundown of the year that was for Americans abroad as well as the biggest storylines to watch come summer. Will Charlie Davies find a home where he can find the form that made him a hot national team prospect?
While the rest of MLS was on the training field preparing for their next match, the LA Galaxy were making a detour through Washington to engage in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The club will meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday in a ceremony to honor the Galaxy's MLS Cup 2011 victory.
It won't be the first time manager Bruce Arena takes a team to the White House, but the timing comes at a difficult time for LA: “In a perfect world, we certainly wouldn’t be doing this," Arena said. "But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the players and staff who haven’t been involved in this type of ceremony. It’s certainly a great honor.”
While the Galaxy are in rare company, Houston and Portland will face off at BBVA Compass Stadium tonight (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) in the first-ever night game at the Dynamo's sparkling new facility. And although the match will be played under the lights, Houston forward Brian Ching said his side are ready to exploit the edge their climate provides against the Timbers: "The heat is our advantage. It always has been, and I think it always will be. The teams dread coming here, and it's a mental thing. We give them reminders all the time."
But if anyone knows how to combat Texas' oppressive heat, it's Portland coach John Spencer, who will be hoping his squad can bounce back after a tough start to 2012. Tonight's match is one of many for the Timbers during a packed month of May. Watch Spencer discuss tonight's game here. (VIDEO)
Unlike some, Portland is well aware of the kind of advantage life in a new stadium with an engergized fan base can provide. Midfielder Lovell Palmer arrived in the Rose City from Houston last season via trade and he had no doubts about what to expect from his former teammates: "They want to make a good impression and they want to [keep] their winning ways," he said. "They're going to play for their city and they're going to play hard."
In a rare opportunity to shadow the people bringing the game to a wide audience, you can go behind the scenes of Sunday’s ESPN2 broadcast of the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls thrilling match at PPL Park. Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald provides a comprehensive report of the day’s activities for ESPN’s production team as they beamed New York’s 3-2 victory into homes across the US. The big picture may surprise you.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia are rumored to have fielded offers for center back Danny Califf, but the veteran in still with the Union and Chivas USA, who many pointed to as the primary suitors, have played down reports that Robin Fraser is looking to link up with his former teammate.
From a business perspective, the Union are facing a development in Chester, Pa., that could be "catastrophic" to the club, according to CEO Nick Sakiewicz.
In Canada, they are two Amway Canadian Championship final legs from determining the country’s CONCACAF Champions League entrant, as the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC face off in a rematch of last year’s strange, weather-delayed championship. Vancouver are looking for a little revenge when the two sides meet at BC Place on Wednesday (10 pm ET, Sportsnet): “It’s everybody’s focus to win this cup. … It’s a huge step for the club if we win,” striker Eric Hassli told The Globe and Mail.
One notable former Whitecap traded British Columbia for Ontario last season, and the losses followed him. The ‘Caps tied for the worst record in MLS in their expansion season, and Terry Dunfield is on the same side of that coin in Toronto in 2012: "It's a little bit of déjà vu for me after going through some-thing similar in Vancouver."
Meanwhile, Aron Winter shook up the TFC coaching staff on Tuesday, as Jim Brennan joined him on the bench and Bob de Klerk heads up the club's technical program.
If you’re looking for your soccer fix today, there will be drama in Germany when Fortuna Dusseldorf look to defend a 2-1 lead from the first leg of the promotion/relegation playoff against Hertha Berlin (2:30 pm ET, GolTV).
Matchday360: The behind-the-scenes from the BBVA Compass Stadium opener
NYRB’s Dax McCarty defends Rafa Márquez in the latest episode of ExtraTime Radio
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