Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. BRADLEY CALLS WHISTLE-BLOWERS “SHAMEFUL” & “EMBARASSING
US midfielder Michael Bradley confronted the elephant in the room – the damning Sporting News article which called into question Jurgen Klinsmann’s coaching – head on after practice at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday.
“It’s shameful, and it’s embarrassing,” Bradley said of the report. “There’s going to be guys who go back to their room and talk with their roommate about things they wish were different. But you cross a line when you take those thoughts and you take your disappointments outside of the team, outside of the inner circle.”
2. HERCULEZ: WHAT CONTROVERSY?
However, Santos Laguna star Herculez Gomez believes the hard-hitting exposé may actually solve many of the issues discussed and said he “loved” the Sporting News article written by Brian Straus. “We will be a better team for it,” Gomez told reporters. “I love it – I love it. It's about damn time you guys started asking some tough questions. I think that shows us growing as a footballing nation.”
3. HOWARD HAS HIS SAY
Tim Howard would usually be around to help with damage control, but he’s still nursing his back injury in the UK. Regardless, Howard still had his say. “We have a great group of guys who are all committed to the cause, and the morale and the camaraderie remains high,” Howard said. “We are completely unified in our ultimate goal, which is to qualify for the World Cup.” The New York Times has this great piece on the history of US ‘keepers and their popularity across the globe.
4. TIME FOR DONOVAN TO RETURN?
One man we haven’t heard from in a while is perhaps the most important for the USMNT: LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan. That’s what Sam Borden’s latest piece in The New York Times alludes to. He chats with several of Donovan’s former teammates and friends about his time away from the game. Bruce Arena is hopeful Donovan’s break will benefit the Galaxy and the US. “Do I think, ultimately, that it will help Landon?” Arena added. “Yes, I do.” He paused. “At least I certainly hope so.” The USMNT needs Donovan now, more than ever.
5. ARENA ON USMNT UNREST
Soccer By Ives reports that Bruce Arena has also had his say on the suggested divide in the US national team locker room. Arena’s comments are due to be published in ESPN: The Magazine on April 1. “Players on the national team should be – and this is my own feeling – they should be Americans,” Arena said. "f they’re all born in other countries, I don’t think we can say we are making progress.”
6. CAPTAIN CLINT
That has a nice ring to it. With the focus switching to the action on the field, Klinsmann confirmed Clint Dempsey will be taking the armband in Carlos Bocanegra’s absence over the next two qualifiers. “Clint is one of our most experienced players and ready to assume a more vocal leadership role,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “We know he will do a great job for these two important games.”
7. SABORÍO PREDICTS COSTA RICA VICTORY
One man is confident of a Costa Rica win on Friday night (10 pm ET; ESPN/UniMas, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com), their talismanic forward Álvaro Saborío. “I don't think I've ever lost to the USA. So I don't fear them,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in the Costa Rican team that we can get the win and get to the World Cup." The Ticos are 3-0-1 against the US when RSL’s striker has started and despite reports of a knee injury, Saborío still looks set to feature prominently on Friday at DSG.
8. ADU BAHIA BOUND, KLÉBERSON TO PHILLY
Back in MLS, Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth announced that Freddy Adu is edging closer to the exit door. And former Manchester United midfielder and Brazilian World Cup veteran, Kléberson, is heading to PPL Park. “It’s a complicated deal,” Hackworth said. “But ultimately, we’re going to get Kléberson here, they’re going to get Adu and we’re not going to be able to recover salary cap space in that.”
9. WONDO: NOTHING PERSONAL
Nearly a week on, Chris Wondolowski is still talking about that fiery outburst towards teammate Sam Garza that was caught on camera. San Jose coach Frank Yallop is wary Wondo doesn’t lose that side to his game. “He just wants to do the best he can and it comes out. And that’s not a bad thing,” Yallop said. “If that ever comes out of his game, then he’s in trouble.“
10. CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF FLY-ON-THE-WALL SOUNDERS FOOTAGE?
We got a rough taste of some behind the scenes footage from the Seattle Sounders a few months back. Now there’s more. Click here if you want to see the build-up to the Sounders first Cascadia clash of the season against Portland last weekend. Obafemi Martins makes an appearance, Sigi Schmid talks tactics in the locker room and DeAndre Yedlin’s hairdo in super slo-mo is majestic.
11. CHIVAS 3, CHIVAS 3…..!?
Last night in Ciudad Juárez’s Estadio Olimpico, Chivas USA faced Chivas Guadalajara in a benefit friendly that featured weakened lineups from both sides ahead of league action this weekend. That said, the game had plenty of goals and action, with Chivas USA battling back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 … only for Chivas Guadalajara to equalize with a PK four minutes from time. More friendlies to come between these two, for sure.
12. ESPINOZA ON HONDURAS, US AND WORLD CUP HOPES
Former Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza spoke to FIFA.com about his strong US roots ahead of Honduras’ key qualifier against Mexico. “I decided to play for Honduras because I feel more Honduran than American,” admitted Espinoza. “I wish USA the best and I want them to do better than any other team – but not better than Honduras.”
13. USL PRO PEPPERED WITH MLS INFLUX
With the USL Pro season fast approaching, our friends over at Soccer America compiled this handy list of the key offseason moves. Former MLS players such as Jhonny Arteaga, Freddie Braun, Blake Brettschneider and Michael Seamon will be plying their trade in the nation's third-tier this season. Check out all the key additions in USL over the offseason.
14. BECKHAM’S LATEST VENTURE
OK, so we know Beckham isn’t in the US anymore. But here is a quick tidbit on what Becks is up to now. Yesterday he visited China in his first act as an ambassador for football in the world’s most populated nation. That included a kick-around in a suit, tie and dress shoes. The BBC takes up the story on what lies ahead for what they call “Beckham’s one-man global bandwagon.”
15. THE NEXT KEI KAMARA?
We all know about Kei Kamara’s rise to stardom since fleeing war-torn Sierra Leone. But could this young man follow in Kamara’s footsteps? Alfred Koroma moved to Millbury, Mass., with members of his family from the West African nation and has shone for his high school soccer team, leading to several coaches predicting a bright future in the game. He is also helping send sports equipment and clothes back to his native land. Remember the name: Alfred Koroma.
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