The exciting World Cup Qualifying spring/summer for the US Men's National Team began yesterday when coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced an initial squad of 16 players to join the upcoming US camp in Orlando. Klinsmann has only called in 16 players thus far but may make as many as 13 additions on Sunday, May 20th to round out camp.
This group of Yanks will train in Orlando until May 25th and then the US boss will cut down the roster to 23 for the upcoming 5 US matches.
"All the players coming now for this very special four-week period represent our core," said the man in charge of the US National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann.
One noticeable player has decided for now that he would not like to be a member of Klinsmann's "core" and instead would like to take a "break" from competition, which put the US soccer community into a frenzy yesterday. This infamous player would be Timothy Chandler. Chandler who was born in Germany to an American father has appeared in 8 matches for the US, but has yet to cap tie himself to the US by appearing in an official FIFA competition. This has left the door open for a possible switch to the German National Team.
Despite repeated declarations from Chandler to the media that he has chosen to emblazon the stars and stripes and has no interest in Germany, his actions have spoken louder than his words recently. Dating back to last summer when former US manager Bob Bradley failed to recruit Chandler to the all important Gold Cup many fans have questioned Chandler's loyalty. Compounded by this most recent decision to not join Klinsmann and company for the start of World Cup Qualifiers, which would tie him to the US for life, fan paranoia has officially transformed into a bleak reality that does not include Chandler.
However the US has more than enough fire power to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and Jurgen Klinsmann is ready for the real games to begin.
"It's a clear signal to other players that right now it's down to business. We're playing World Cup qualifiers. It's not about experimenting or seeing different players, it's about who we think are the best," Klinsmann added.
The announced 16-man US roster and the upcoming US schedule can be seen after the break...no comments
Direct or ‘route 1’ futbol is often derided in this day and age, especially in an era when the Barcelona tiki-tak (RIP Pep’s Barca 2008-2012) is the standard bearer of footballing beauty.
When played correctly, however, direct soccer can be just as exhilarating. Any purist can appreciate a goal created in three passes just as he or she can in 25.
On of my biggest pet-peeves of the MLS is that at times it can be too slow, but on Saturday most MLS games surpassed expectations. The LA Galaxy v. FC Dallas match was no exception with Bruce Arena’s and Schellas Hyndman’s sides clashing at break neck speed.
Brek Shea struck first for FC Dallas from the spot just past the hour mark, but Pat Noonan rolled back the years with a neatly placed finish in injury time to salvage a point for the home side.
The Galaxy will feel that it was more a case of two points dropped rather than a point gained after creating the better of the chances, but failing to put them away against an opponent playing its third game in eight days.
Tab Ramos and the U-20 MNT closed camp in Portland, Ore. with a win against the University of Washington on a single goal from US midfielder, Victor Pineda, in the 89th minute. The three day camp from April 9-16, included a match against University of Portland and the US squad consisted of a mix of professional and collegiate players.
The evaluation process will continue for Ramos, as the U-20s look to begin a South American trip in May which will include three matches. The four camps under Ramos’ leadership have primarily acted as an opportunity for players and coaches to familiarize themselves with the new "Klinsmann" set up. But also, the camp allowed Ramos and his staff to evaluate the diverse talent pool available for selection.
Some notable names absent at the April camp were Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Villyan Bijev (Liverpool FC), William Packwood (Birmingham City), Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin) and Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town) due to club commitments.
Although the players missing from the April camp are most likely going to figure into Ramos’ plans for the future, an effort was made to begin the process to narrow down the talent pool toward 2013. Additionally, 8 players from the April camp play professionally and 10 players are in college, while 6 players are currently involved with an Academy club.
“We’ve had three camps this year and taken advantage of the opportunity to cast a wide net in evaluating the player pool,” said Ramos before this last camp.
“This is the last time we plan on calling in a large number of new players. From here on out, we’re really going to really focus in the players we have identified who we think will be competing for spots on this team moving forward,” Ramos added.
Our good friends over at Online Soccer Academy are hosting the 2nd annual OSA World Juggle-A-Thon on World Malaria Day, April 25th. Proceeds will benefit Nothing But Nets, a wonderful organization that provides life saving nets. Last year they raised $7,000, saving 700 lives!
"Every 45 seconds a child dies from Malaria - that is why we created the OSA World Juggle-a-thon. On World Malaria Day - April 25 at 6pm their standard time, soccer players, fans and coaches all over the world will juggle to get better, juggle to save lives and raise money for Nothing But Nets leading up to the event."
I'm participating in OSA World Juggle-a-thon to benefit Nothing but Nets to insure that all future soccer players are healthy and Malaria free. The Juggle-a-thon also helps me improve my juggling skills which hopefully means more playing time! I'm hoping I can beat my record of 16 this year. :)
- US Women's National Team player Lori Lindsey
I'm happy to be participating in the Juggle-a-Thon because it gives me the chance to help raise awareness and funding for Nothing But Nets, which directly helps children avoid contracting malaria. It's a fun way for kids to be a part of something important while giving themselves a challenge with the ball.
- Chris Rolfe of Aalborg BK in Denmark
I'm really excited to be participating in the OSA World JUGGLE-A-THON again this year. Juggling to raise money is a fun and perfect way to participate in such a special cause! It's even extra practice time for me to improve my juggling!
- Carli Lloyd of the US Women's National Team
Please visit the Online Soccer Academy for more details!!!
Nike has released details of the new US Men's and Women's National Team jerseys, and will christen them in May. The American flag inspired jerseys may look a bit like Where's Waldo, but it also has hints of character as the jerseys resemble the ones the US wore when they beat England in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. Nike describes these new uniforms as if they are a work of art, although I'm sure they are a bit more comfy than the old jerseys.
Personally, I dig the stripes and can't wait to see our boys and gals rocking these sexy threads next time they play in the states!
A month is gone in the 2012 season, and several factors are emerging that should help you determine which players to target for your fantasy team. A select group of teams is already pushing toward the top of the standings, indicating that their players will be good bets to contribute to your team on both the offensive and defensive ends. At the same time, a handful of teams have made it clear that they won’t be very competitive this season, and it may be time to re-evaluate the value of individual members of those teams.
Week to week, there also continues to be opportunities to take advantage of short-term situations which can make the difference between a Win and a Loss in your Head-to-Head league. In Week 7, there will be more double-dip opportunities, with three teams (D.C. United, Sporting KC, and the Vancouver Whitecaps) taking part in mid-week and weekend contests. Unfortunately, some key players around the league will inevitably miss time due to injuries this season, but if you know who their replacements will be, then you can turn that injury into a gain for your fantasy team. Below are five more players to take a closer look at in Week 7.
**Transfer deadline is 7:15PM ET on Wednesday
Two to Add:
Kei Kamara – Forward, Sporting Kansas City ($9.6M)
There is no better team in MLS right now than Sporting KC, and few players have had a bigger impact on their success this season than Kamara. After bouncing between four different teams in his first four MLS seasons, Kamara has found a home in KC, where he has quietly become one of the more consistent goal-scorers in the league. After seasons of ten goals (2011) and nine goals (2010), the 27 year-old has started 2012 with three goals in the first six games.no comments
As the Olympics approach, the USWNT will seize any chance to play the top teams in order to properly prepare physically and mentally for the competition that greets them in London this summer. This past week, the USWNT traveled to Japan to play in the Kirin Challenge Cup, which featured three out of the top four teams in the world. Even though the Yanks went in with the No.1 ranking, this was somewhat misleading due to their recent failures against Japan, dating back to the World Cup final loss where Japan came out with a come-from-behind win in penalty kicks.
The Kirin Cup started with a bang, as the Japanese-US rivalry kicked off the tournament on April 1st. Surrounding this heavy-weighted competition were 15,159 fans creating a World Cup-like environment. Either the US women were over-excited or just nervous, as they once again played sloppy and disconnected football.
The first half closely mirrored the first half of the last US-Japan matchup. The impatient Yanks forced the ball, which resulted in a number of turnovers. As a result the Japanese dominated possession and broke down the US defense with quick pace. 13 minutes in, however, the Yanks gained some sort of rhythm and were awarded three corner-kicks in four minutes. Japan defended them solidly though, and responded well to the threat by retaliating in a relentless ten-minute pressure streak resulting in a goal in the 32nd minute.
A few quick touches by Japan around the midfield culminated in a ball over the back line that found the right back, Yukari Kinga. Kinga slipped the ball to her teammate in the middle and even though Solo made an unbelievable initial save, the ball ricocheted right back to Kinga who drilled it into the right side of the net.
Photo of Hamdi Salihi
With another week in the books, it has become increasingly evident that there are two groups of fantasy teams in 2012: those that include New York Red Bulls superstar Thierry Henry, and those that don’t include New York Red Bulls superstar Thierry Henry. The legendary striker leads MLS with 59 fantasy points this season, almost 50% more than his next closest competitors, Chris Wondolowski and Kenny Cooper.
It would be easy to include Henry as one of the “Two to Add” section every week, but if you’re reading USFutblog, then you’re probably smart enough to have figured that out already. So for the 6th week of the season, I continue to leave the Frenchman out of my recommendations, opting instead to highlight several less-heralded players, who would also make excellent additions to your team at this stage of the season.
Two to Add:
Nick LaBrocca – Midfielder, Chivas USA ($7.4M)
It can be easy to forget about Chivas USA, but LA’s second club has been better than expected in 2012, and LaBrocca looks like he will continue to be a mainstay in the Goats’ lineup after his breakout 2011 season. There is little flash in LaBrocca’s game, but if you need a consistent performer in midfield, then he is your man. He has played every minute of this season, and scored his first goal of the 2012 campaign (a game-winner) last week.
Few players can match LaBrocca for minutes on the field. In 2011, he started all 34 games for the Goats, and he has played in at least 28 games every year since 2008. Recently however, the 27-year-old has evolved from a minutes-eating midfielder to an effective playmaker. His final tally of eight goals and six assists last season compare favorably to many of the top midfielders in the league.
The bottom line: Perhaps the quietest playmaker in the league, LaBrocca is a sure bet to contribute every week, while adding a handful of goals and assists as well.
Hamdi Salihi – Forward, D.C. United ($8.1M)
Photo courtesy of Mondial Football Montaigu
Richie Williams and the US U-17 Men’s National Team journeyed to Montaigu, France for the 40th Mondial Minimes Cup and competed in four matches from April 3rd to April 9th. The Yanks put together some solid performances en route to their 5th place finish and critical win over CONCACAF arch-rivals Mexico.
The Mondial Minimes cup is a 12-team tournament that features 4 groups of three teams each. Here was how the groups were broken down:
Group A- France, Cameroon, Mexico
Group B- US, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Portugal
Group C- England, Morocco, Japan
Group D- China, Ivory Coast, Russia
US head coach, Richie Williams, led the team into a competitive match for the first time since taking over the job from Wilmer Cabrera in early January.
The US opened group play with a beautiful win against UAE by a 4-0 score with goals from Ahinga Selemani-‘23, Tyler Turner-’50, Wesley Wade-’71 and Bradford Jamieson who closed out the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The second game for the US saw the Yanks lose to Portugal 1-0 and as a result the Americans earned second place in Group B. Portugal finished atop the group and eventually went on to play Russia in the final. This positive tournament run was not an aberration for Portugal who traditionally had strong youth teams going back to the golden generation with the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa.
As runners up, the US faced Japan who finished second in Group C for the chance to compete in the fifth place match while the other 2nd place finishers, Mexico (Group A) and China (Group D), competed for a similar spot in the fifth place match. Meanwhile, the group leaders played in a semifinal and final to determine the tournament winner on April 9th.
Clint Dempsey was at it again on Saturday notching his 9th career brace en route to a 3-0 Fulham victory. Dempsey's first goal was a spectacular free kick, which curled into the top right corner of the net. Clint struck again 15 minutes later to stretch the lead to two with a calm, cool header finish courtesy of a Damien Duff cross. In the end, the Cottagers defeated Bolton Wanderers, who are in grave danger of relegation (currently 1 point above relegation zone), by a 3-0 score.
The deuce from "Deuce" lifted Clint's season Premier League goal-scoring tally to 15 goals which is good enough to set Fulham's all-time single season mark. Only Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, and Demba Ba have more PL goals than Clint this campaign.
Fulham is smack in the middle of the EPL table in the 10th position and just 2 points away from jumping all the way up to the 7th spot.
Side Note- Tim Ream started and played 90 minutes for Bolton in defeat
Not to be outdone Michael Bradley found the net for the first time this season and hence his 6th minute goal for Chievo Verona was his first Serie A goal of his career. Bradley who has scored in the MLS, Eredivisie, and Bundesliga now has another country and another league to add to his name.