Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. USA WIN! USA WIN!
The US national team's World Cup campaign got off to a dream start with a 2-1 win over Ghana. Clint Dempsey got things going with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history and while things looked to be turning in Ghana’s favor following injuries and a late equalizer, 21-year-old John Brooks was on hand to become a national hero, with the young defender claiming he dreamt he would score.
2. CONCERNS. AND CONFIDENCE
While US fans were celebrating, they were also worrying about forward Jozy Altidore, whose hamstring injury is set to be re-evaluated on Tuesday. Matt Besler's hamstring tightness will also get a look, as will Clint Dempsey's battered nose. But despite all the bruises, the US team is suddenly feeling very bullish. "We have a lot of confidence and we have a lot of energy to give [Portugal and Germany] real games," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "That's what we're going to do."
3. AMERICA GOES CUP CRAZY
In the stadium in Natal, Just as we saw after the Algeria game in 2010, Brooks' late winner inspired fans across the United States to erupt with joy in bars, parks, stadiums, and basements. And, as is the norm these days, there was someone with a camera there to capture it all. Here's just a smattering of the national celebration.
4. BREAKING IT ALL DOWN
After the final whistle, everyone gave their take on what happened. There were player ratings galore, including from MLSsoccer.com, Goal.com, the The New York Times, and Ghanasoccernet.com. The "Brazil Bound" gang, including former US national team assistant Jesse Marsch, saw this as a great result, but not a great performance. Matt Doyle saw shades of yesteryear in the US team's bunkering style. SI.com praised the Yanks' counterattack, and Soccer America gushed over the Jones-Beckerman midfield pairing.
5. GERMANY STILL THE FAVORITES
In the other match in Group G, Germany strutted their stuff with a 4-0 win over Portugal. That should strike fear into US fans -- and every other non-German fan, in fact -- but the game presented a few gifts for the Americans as Portuguese defender Pepe got himself sent off and star defender Fábio Coentrão was forced out of the game with an injury.
6. MEXICO’S TOUGHEST TEST
El Tri got their World Cup off to a good start with a win over Cameroon last week, but now they face a much stronger opponent: Brazil (3 pm ET, ESPN/Univision/CBC). But don't sleep on Mexico. Even Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari is expecting a tough test against the CONCACAF team.
7. US OPEN CUP CONTINUES
The 4th round of the US Open Cup continues on Tuesday, as six MLS clubs begin their quest for the trophy. After a weekend of upsets, the Colorado Rapids are not taking USL PRO side Orlando City lightly (9 pm ET), especially given that the two sides met last year and the Lions pulled out a 3-1 victory.
8. ORLANDO YOUTH FELLING TREES
Orlando City’s first team isn't the only one in Open Cup action. Their U-23 side takes on the Portland Timbers (10:30 pm ET, free stream at Timbers.com), and while the Timbers' season has been up and down so far, coach Caleb Porter is taking the Cup very seriously. “Anything attached to a trophy is important,” he says.
9. DEFENDING CHAMPIONS IN ACTION
D.C. United begin their defense of the US Open Cup with a game against another former Cup winner, the Rochester Rhinos (7:05 pm ET, free stream at DCUnited.com), the last non-MLS side to win the tournament, way back in 1999. Yet, while United look a lot different to the team that won the tournament last year, can history repeat for either of these sides?
10. DALLAS LOOKING TO AVOID A STING
FC Dallas get their Open Cup campaign underway against in-state rivals San Antonio Scorpions (9 pm ET), another lower division side with designs on joining MLS. With the two teams having already played an exhibition match this season, FCD coach Oscar Pareja knows what to expect. And former Dallas forward Eric Hassli is champing at the bit for the game.
11. UNION HEADING TO THE ISLAND
Jim Curtin makes his debut as Philadelphia Union head coach in tonight’s US Open Cup game against their USL PRO affiliate the Harrisburg City Islanders (7 pm ET, free stream on PhiladelphiaUnion.com). Yet despite the Islanders being unable to field their Union loan players, the USL side is still optimistic about their chances of advancing.
12. CREW TAKE ON ELEVEN
The Columbus Crew take on Indy Eleven in their opening game of the US Open Cup (7:30 pm ET, free stream at TheCrew.com), and while the Crew will field a depleted squad, they take on an Indy side whose third-round victory was their only competitive win in 10 games this season.
13. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT KEY TO US FUTURE
As youth development continues to improve in the US, the influence of MLS in the current US national squad is clear to see. Could Omar Gonzalez be correct is his prediction that “pretty soon, you’ll see the national team full of stars playing in MLS”?
14. OLD EL PASO
Add El Paso to the growing list of cities making a late bid for MLS’ final expansion slot, with the owners of the El Paso Chihuahuas, MountainStar Sports Group looking at the possibility of one day bringing an MLS franchise to the area.
15. DONOVAN’S DAY OFF
Thankfully, we didn’t feel the absence of Landon Donovan too much on Monday evening and while it seems the US Superstars Word Cup exclusion may have been on the cards for a while, it’s good to know that Donovan has a good sense of humor about it all.
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