Kick Off: None shall pass as Memo Ochoa, Mexico shut out World Cup hosts Brazil

Kick Off Ochoa

Photo Credit: 
Action Images

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:

1.  SALUTING THOSE WHO HELD THE LINE

John Brooks may have stolen a lot of the glory from the game against Ghana thanks to his winning goal, but if there was one US player who perhaps has not gotten the praise he deserved, it’s Jermaine Jones. Not to mention midfield partner Kyle Beckerman.

2. BROKEN NOSES AND MRIs

Clint Dempsey certainly gave his all for the US on Monday night, so much so that the US captain suffered a broken nose for his trouble. Will Deuce be OK? In his own words, “Hopefully I’ll be able to start breathing through my nose again before the next game.” In other injury news, Jurgen Klinsmann is hopeful that Jozy Altidore’s tournament might not be over after all.

3. MOST VIEWED

That US game not only proved a winner on the field, it also provided ESPN with their most watched soccer game of all time, drawing a 7.4 rating. That will certainly make the network feel good about their new TV deal with MLS, and Commissioner Don Garber feels that money will help MLS clubs get even stronger in the future.

4. MEXICO BLANK BRAZIL

Mexico pulled off one of the most significant results of the tournament with a thoroughly earned 0-0 draw against hosts and favorites Brazil. Both teams had good opportunities to win it but the star of the show was undoubtedly Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

5. CHAMPIONS UNSEATED

Defending US Open Cup champions D.C. United could not get past the first hurdle this year, losing 1-0 to the 1999 champions, the Rochester Rhinos, who were playing their third game in six days. United’s squad included few starters and had to deal with a red card to rookie defender Steve Birnnbaum and multiple lightning delays.

6. UNION MOVE ON

Jim Curtin had promised to take the Open Cup seriously, and that’s just what he did, for while the Philadelphia Union went a goal behind in their game against the Harrisburg City Islanders, they found a way to come back and win 3-1 in overtime against a team playing their sixth game in 18 days without a full complement of players. Former Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown player Brian Sylvestre, a 21-year-old goalkeeper, stole the show for Harrisburg with 10 saves, prompting Curtin to say, "You keep an eye on these guys."

7. TIMBERS MARCH ON

Caleb Porter insisted that the US Open Cup was a priority for the Portland Timbers, and he certainly seems to have meant it, with his team delivering a confident 3-0 victory over the Orlando City U-23s behind two goals from Gastón Fernández. The best news for Portland came in the return of Rodney Wallace, who had missed the first half of the season (and his chance to go to the World Cup) due to injury.

8. AIN’T NO SUNSHINE

It was a bad night for Orlando City all around really, as not only were the U-23s ousted from the Open Cup, so was the first team, losing 5-2 to a Colorado Rapids side that seems to have learned its lesson from last year. Deshorn Brown continued his hot streak with a hat trick, and Vicente Sánchez returned to the field.

9. NO STING IN THE SCORPIONS

FC Dallas got the better of their in-state rivals, the San Antonio Scorpions, with a 2-0 victory thanks to late goals from Fabián Castillo and Andrés Escobar. While the result was important, Dallas were also pleased with another strong showing from Castillo.

10. CREW TAKE DOWN ELEVEN

Having only won one competitive game this year, beating the Columbus Crew was always going to be a tough task for the newly formed Indy Eleven. All the same, they almost managed it, thanks in part to Montreal Impact loanee Blake Smith. But even down to nine men, the Crew managed a 2-1 overtime win, a result that pleased the Crew for the manner in which they won.

11. ESPINDOLA’S EXTENDED ABSENCE

Fabián Espíndola’s goals have been crucial in helping guide D.C. United to the top of the Eastern Conference, so it will come as worrying news for United fans that Espíndola has been ruled out for six weeks after injuring his right knee in United’s 4-2 win over the Montreal Impact.

12. SEATTLE SETTLE ON A STARTER

We might not know Seattle's squad for their Open Cup game against PSA Elite on Wednesday (10 pm ET, match preview), but we do know who will be starting in goal, as Sigi Schmid confirmed that Marcus Hahnemann will be the starter for the entirety of their cup run.

13. FIRE HAVE OPEN CUP FEVER

The Chicago Fire made it all the way to the US Open Cup semifinals last year, and Frank Yallop insists his team will be treating the tournament just as seriously this year when they start their campaign against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Wednesday night (8:30 pm ET, match preview). The LA Galaxy, who take on Arizona United (10:30 pm ET, match preview), seem to have adopted the same philosophy.

14. THE MLS EXPERIENCE

Minnesota United are one of numerous teams linked with making the move up to MLS, and tonight they will get an experience of what competing in the top division would be like when they take on Sporting Kansas City (8:30 pm ET, match preview), a group who know a thing or two about winning the Open Cup.

15. VISIT FROM THE VP

How do you know you’re a big deal? Beating Ghana and setting TV rating records is a good sign, but getting a congratulatory visit from Vice President Joe Biden is a sure-fire indication you’ve gone big time. Check out Tim Howard and DaMarcus Beasley, who have definitely been there before.

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