Kick Off: USA vs. Canada once again marked by controversy

Kick Off - USA vs. Canada

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US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann can’t complain about referee calls this time around.

The 0-0 exhibition draw against Canada last night in Toronto saw a goal scored by the home team, but it was annulled for what the Canadians say was a phantom call: “I didn’t see anything,” said scorer Nik Ledgerwood, who deposited the ball in the back of the net on a fine finish (watch the highlights here). (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com had wall-to-wall coverage of the event in Toronto. Watch the post-game reaction from US captain Carlos Bocanegra, who admitted “I don’t think it was a great game overall, either side,” and Canada's Dwayne De Rosario, who was “extremely pleased” with what he saw. (VIDEO)

Klinsmann says the lackluster performance was partly down to fatigue, including a midweek match against Brazil which the US was chasing virtually the entire way. “We can clearly see they have 18, 19 days of hard work in their legs.” The point was echoed by US midfielder Michael Bradley after the match.

US fans may have been expecting a little more from the first start together for Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan in the Klinsmann era. But the US manager admits Dempsey “doesn’t have that rhythm yet” and “he’s not where he was before the [groin] injury.”

Although he’s physically struggling, Dempsey has a great deal of mental clarity: He predicted exactly where he’d be in the soccer world in his Nacogdoches High School yearbook.

Canada will emerge from the 0-0 draw with a spring in their step. Not only did they create the best scoring threats in the match, but they prevented the US from creating much at all: “If we can continue to keep the lines really tight and organized and disciplined,” says Toronto FC’s Julian de Guzman, “we’re going to make it difficult for any team to play football.”

Concerning for Canada will be how strong World Cup qualifying opponents Honduras looked in a 3-0 win over El Salvador at RFK Stadium this weekend. San Jose Earthquakes defender Víctor Bernárdez sent the Catrachos on their way (watch the highlights here). (VIDEO)

While the US stumbled to a 1-1-1 record in their three World Cup qualifying tuneups, Mexico went 3-for-3 after dispatching Brazil with a tidy 2-0 win led by Giovani dos Santos. His class was on full display on the first goal (watch it here in the highlights). (VIDEO)

The Seattle Sounders are shooting for four straight US Open Cups, but manager Sigi Schmid says the powers-that-be are making life difficult for his team as they get set to face Eric Wynalda’s Cal FC tomorrow night (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer). They were drawn on Saturday to play a potential quarterfinal on the road in San Jose or Minnesota.

“Being very frank, I think US Soccer is trying to make it difficult for us to win an Open Cup,” he said. “It’s almost like sometimes I get the feeling that they’d rather not see us win it again, for whatever reasons. … Obviously, the coin is not favorable for us. It seems to land on the right side for KC and D.C. United.”

Wynalda and Cal FC are hoping things land right in their latest bid to upset an MLS team. “We set goals, we achieve goals, we reset goals,” he says. “Every time after we beat somebody, we go into the locker room and say: ‘Reset. Who’s next?’”

D.C. United have set a goal of getting a new soccer stadium and their pursuit seems to have taken a positive turn. A study commissioned by the Greater Washington Sports Alliance points out the benefits of a 24,000-seat stadium on Buzzard Point and the president of the commission says the stadium chase is: “further along than it ever has been in the past. … Things are happening in the right places at the right levels behind the scenes.”

It was a breakout match for a highly rated MLS rookie in the lone league match from the weekend. Kelyn Rowe came off the bench and changed the face of the game with a goal and assist in a 2-0 New England Revolution victory over the Chicago Fire (watch the highlights here). (VIDEO)

Are the Fire already planning for reinforcements? This report from Europe claims that manager Frank Klopas is hoping to strike a deal for Red Star Belgrade captain Nikola Mikic. (SERBIAN)

LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena says he could use the help of a few breaks to see his defending champs emerge from an ugly slump. But when he was told about how the Galaxy likely need 38 points from the final 63 available to make the MLS Cup Playoffs, here’s Arena’s response: "You can put your math somewhere else right now. It's a little early for that.”

Arena could be dealing with another dose of bad news today, depending on what Leonardo’s prognosis is after the center back was injured in a Reserve League match on Saturday. He’s making a comeback from knee ligament tears.

Staying in MLS, does it come as a surprise to anyone that Fabián Espíndola’s favorite movie is Braveheart?

You may have to dust off Braveheart tonight, because there’s no live soccer to watch or DVR. But ESPN Classic is running a Euro 2008 marathon beginning at 10:30 am ET with a handful of matches running until tonight.

We’ll leave you with a sort of a “Braveheart” moment featuring former US national team boss Bob Bradley, who led Egypt in a victorious start to World Cup qualifying. His postmatch comments, as well as his expressions, were moving. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

US Player Ratings: The top-performing American player is a defender for a change

Match-fixing scandal rocks US foes Guatemala ahead of qualifying

Game On! Impact confirm Stade Saputo opener vs. Seattle Sounders


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