Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

United States national soccer team coach Klinsmann of Germany gestures to photographers while visiting Arena Amazonia stadium with Monteiro in Manaus

So in case you missed the news, today Juergen Klinsmann followed through on a shake up of the USMNT, bringing in Azerbaijan national team coach and German national Berti Vogts as a special advisor to the team and dropping assistant coach Martin Vasquez with U-20 coach Tab Ramos stepping in as the replacement.

So what gives? Why these important personnel changes so close to the World Cup?

For one, some context is needed. Though the USMNT coaching staff has stayed static since Klinsmann first took the head coach job in 2011, a change this close to the World Cup may not be as material as some critics think. For one, the national set up is very different than club football—it’s not likely the case Vasquez had an enormous influence on the playing style and make up of the USMNT. He was the guy, and now there’s another guy. Klinsmann is still boss and that’s largely what matters as the World Cup approaches.

Second, we should read a little into Klinsmann’s remarks on appointing Vogts to get a sense of what he’s up to:

We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an advisor. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach, and he knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level. He was my coach for Germany in the 1990s and we have a great relationship.

Through his time as the head coach of Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, he is obviously very familiar with our opponents in the group stage of the World Cup, and for us this is a huge bonus.

As has been pointed out on Twitter, Vogts has faced US group stage opponents Germany and Portugal with Azerbaijan in recent years. He’ll likely just offer Klinsmann some advice which he can either take or leave.

As for appointing Tab Ramos, who knows? Maybe he felt Ramos’ playing experience in Europe with Real Betis in the mid nineties would offer better insight to the USMNT than Vasquez (though that’s a huge stretch). Maybe Klinsmann had been grooming Ramos for a while at the U20 level, though their World Cup tournament, in which the US picked up a solitary point before crashing out of the group stage, doesn’t exactly stand out.

Still, it’s important to remember that lower level changes at the national team level have exponentially less impact than they do at the club level. Klinsmann is clearly trying to switch his team’s mindset from CONCACAF to the World Cup. Everything and anything that can help win these single ninety minute matches should be pursued. These changes shouldn’t rock the boat too much.

The Timbers Army has asserted themselves as one of the best supporters group in MLS. Not surprisingly, that passion spreads towards the national team. Before Belize and the U.S kicked off at Jeld-Wen Field, the army unveiled this awesome Tifo. Well done. Read the rest of this entry »

The United States defeated Canada 3-0 at BMO field this afternoon. Two identical goals from superstar Alex Morgan were the difference. The first game between the North American rivals since that memorable affair at Old Trafford ended with controversy, depending on who you ask. Former Canadian-turned-American Sydney Leroux scored at the death–a meaningless goal–until she held up the badge and and shhhhed the crowd. While we should expect several columns from journalists who rarely cover the sport, if anything this might be the best thing to happen for this rivalry. It’s not like we need any added incentive to loathe our American friends, but hey, whatever works.

A Clint Dempsey Golazo

The Americans stunned Germany in Washington on Sunday, winning 4-3 in an entertaining affair that included an egregious own goal, a Jozy Altidore volley and a pair of goals from Clint Dempsey. The Tottenham man’s second goal was rather special.

Meanwhile, here’s the Marc-Andre ter Stegen howler.

Video via FGolsHDi


The Lead

European World Cup qualifiers are what put asses in the seats, but the football drama seems to be lingering squarely in the middle of the Western hemisphere. Last night, the United States made history with a 0-0 draw in the Azteca stadium. It was, as Jeff Carlisle wrote this morning, only the “second in its history” that the US managed to secure a point at the Azteca in qualifying.

There will be quibbles with the aesthetic of the US national team in their draw, particularly as Mexico managed 19 attempts to the USA’s 1. But that’s the nature of CONCACAF: it’s a dirty, mud and snow soaked horror show right until the dying stages. You watch these things with an upset stomach, not a stimulated mind—why else would DaMarcus Beasley be out there? The US clearly did what they needed to defensively to leave the Azteca hype for another day.

Meanwhile the Hex table speaks for itself, even at this relatively early-ish stage. Panama is first, followed by Costa Rica, the USA and Honduras, all tied on 4 points and separated by goal differential. Meanwhile Mexico is in fifth on three points. This is of course bound to change significantly as the campaign progresses, but is already far from your dad’s Hex.

As for the Brazil-less CONMEBOL, Uruguay’s struggle to compete continued yesterday with a 2-0 loss to Chile, a game that may lead to a lengthy suspension for Luis Suarez for punching Gonzalo Jara in the first half (he’s already out of the next game against Venezuela on yellows). If you don’t think that’s a bad thing, Suarez has been scoring a lot of goals this campaign with a total of 8, tied with Lionel Messi. Uruguay are struggling this time around, two points outside the playoff spot.

Finding all this compelling doesn’t make you a hipster. It makes you a conscious person who likes football.
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It wasn’t the Heat or the Lakers. It wasn’t Georgetown losing in the first round to the fifteenth seed in Philadelphia. The sporting event that captivated non-footy mad Americans around the country was a soccer game. That’s pretty damn special. The U.S.A moved to second place in the Hex, beating Costa Rica 1-0 thanks to a Clint Dempsey goal in the first half. The main story here, however, was the conditions in Denver.

Kudos to the Costa Ricans for playing on in less than ideal conditions. A brief stoppage in the second half ended after protests from both teams.

Costa Rica v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier
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Soccer makes its mark on U.S Televison

While those of us in Canada remain hamstrung by beIN Sport’s unavailability, viewers in the United States are enjoying unprecedented access to the biggest games from all over the world. This infographic, via Giltedge marketing (click here for full image) outlines the television numbers from last year. Liga MX’s huge television presence is not a surprise considering American demographics. Also note a lot of these channels are not available on basic cable packages.

PDF via r/soccer user FinalSay