Kick Off: USMNT begin Gold Cup quest against Belize in Portland, can they trounce Group C?
1. USA GET OFF THE BLOCKS IN GROUP C
And so it begins. Tonight, the US national team get their Gold Cup campaign off and running against minnows Belize in Portland (11 pm ET, Fox Soccer, Live Chat on MLSsoccer.com), with Jurgen Klisnmann’s side are ready to rock and roll. The Timbers Army will be there and the American Outlaws are recruiting. Here is some amazing footage from the last time the US played in Portland in a competitive match on September 7, 1997, against Costa Rica. Wow. But can the USA steamroll Group C like everyone expects? We’ve seen plenty of Gold Cup upsets so far…
2. GOODSON, MILLER ON EXTRATIME RADIO
Catch up with Clarence. You know you want to. After scoring for the USMNT against Guatemala, San Jose’s newly acquired defender discusses his move back to MLS, Gold Cup aspirations and much more. Plus Kenny Miller joins the lads to chat about the 'Caps' huge Cascadia Cup win. Listen to the last edition of North America's top soccer podcast.
3. WHO SHOULD KLINSI START?
Where should Landon Donovan play? And who will get the nod for the USA? These are just some of the questions rolling around the minds of US national team fans. We speculate that and more in "The Scouting Report," while over at Soccer By Ives, discussion on the starters is a hot topic.
4. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT BELIZE?
The Belize Tourism Board kindly sent plenty of information our way before the tilt at JELD-WEN Field tonight. Find out their story. Belize is the smallest country in Central America, population 312,698. Nearly all of their players have a part-time job, the squad only gets together the month before big tournaments. Belize’s uniform was donated by Nike and fundraising occurred to help send them to Portland.
5. BELIZE AIM TO SHOW THEY‘RE MLS STANDARD
Belize are in it for national pride — and perhaps a Cinderella run. Their players want to showcase their talent and prove they're worthy of gaining a contract in MLS, according to their American coach, Ian Mork. “I think some of these guys should be playing in MLS,” Mork said. “Some of these guys could get contracts out of Belize.”
6. FRIEDEL PRAISES USMNT, KLINSMANN
Modeling Tottenham’s new Under Armor kit at the official launch in London, former US national team goalkeeper Brad Friedel took some time out to chat about his future in coaching, playing at the age of 42 and then heaped praise on the USMNT after recent World Cup qualifying success: "Whatever ideas and tactics [Klinsmann] is implementing are now working and they are now working very well."
7. FORLÁN DENIES HE'S HEADING TO TORONTO
Will he? Won’t he? The Diego Forlán rumors continue to swirl. The striker has denied he is set to arrive in Ontario in the coming days. But others believe he is the DP that TFC are honing in on. No official word from the club yet. One man who look more likely to sign with MLS is Ugandan defender Ibrahim Sekagya, following a good trial showing with the New York Red Bulls.
8. CATCH UP ON GOLD CUP
Recap all the action from the Gold Cup today, in MLSsoccer.com's daily show, "Gold Cup Today." Upsets have been the story of the tournament so far, but how about Mexico’s struggles? Steve Davis on Pro Soccer Talk takes a look. Yes, they have a young and inexperienced side out, but how much longer will they continue to slump under José Manuel de la Torre? For all the latest Gold Cup news, head here each day.
9. T&T TIE EL SALVADOR, HONDURAS TOP HAITI
MLSers were in the thick of the action at Red Bull Arena on Monday night, as Philadelphia’s Keon Daniel scored for Trinidad and Tobago, but his side was held to a 2-2 tie by El Salvador. Meanwhile, Honduras topped Haiti 2-0 with ex-Sounder/mystery man Mario Martínez assisting on the first goal and San Jose Earthquakes winger Marvin Chávez scoring the second.
10. SEATTLE’S YEDLIN, ALONSO CLOSE TO RETURN
Good news for Seattle Sounders fans. Sort of. Osvaldo Alonso and DeAndre Yedlin are nearing a return to fitness. Here's where the sort of comes in: plenty of other Sounders players are struggling to overcome knocks after their Cascadia defeat on Saturday.
11. HANDING OUT AWARDS: MVP? BIGGEST BUST? COACH?
Yesterday, the Monday Postgame took a crack at midseason awards. And that debate is still rumbling on. Which team has been the biggest surprise package? Who has been the best rookie? What about league MVP so far? And which team has been the biggest bust? Answer all those questions correctly and you get a prize, or something. (Disclaimer: There is no right answer. Just opinions needed. No prizes are available. Word.)
12. KNIGHT-ON SHINING ARMOR
Brad Knighton received a huge accolade following Whitecaps' 2-0 win over Seattle at BC Place, as the Vancouver goalkeeper picked up the MLS Player of the Week gong for Week 19. Knighton recorded seven saves for the shutout, punctuated by several terrific stops and plenty of rushing off his line to stop dangerous advances from the Sounders. Congrats, Brad.
13. MLS ON LOAN
Sounders Rookie Eriq Zavaleta helped the San Antonio Scorpions defeat Carolina in their final NASL Spring season game. But will the ex-Indiana prospect head back to his parent club? Plenty of other MLSers were in action in NASL and USL PRO, check out how they got on.
14. RED BULLS NOVEL APPROACH TO YSA CHANT
A novel idea has come from the New York Red Bulls front office to stop the widely offensive YSA chant. After Real Salt Lake’s fans were urged to stop chanting it during games, RBNY fans have revealed a unique and fulfilling gesture from their club. Money towards the South Ward’s Tifo’s for helping to eradicate the chant from Red Bull Arena.
15. WATCH ON AS NORTHWESTERN GRAD STEALS MESSI’S LIMELIGHT
Lionel Messi and friends put on quite the show in Chicago over the weekend. But ICYMI here is the goal of the game courtesy of Northwestern University grad Matt Eliason. Thierry Henry chips in the pass, Eliason chests the ball up and the stunning bicycle kick does the rest. Tremendous. Any teams looking for a financial analyst that still harbors hopes of going pro?
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.