Daily news roundups

US thumps Guatemala but U-23s fail to qualify for Olympics, more news

US

How tense were things before the USMNT’s emphatic 4-0 win over Guatemala on Tuesday night in Columbus? Someone hired a plane to fly over the stadium with a “Fire Klinsmann” banner.

After the dispiriting 2-0 loss in Guatemala City on Friday, Tuesday night’s contest was a must-win if the US was to keep its World Cup qualification hopes alive, not too mention the faith of fans in the team and its head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.

Thankfully, the US was on the scoresheet by the 12th minute, added another goal ten minutes before the end of the first half, tacked on another almost immediately after the second half kickoff, before a final goal in the 89th minute.

It was a dominant display, the kind that was expected on Friday but not delivered. With the result, the US is now second place in Group C with 7 points, three points behind first place Trinidad and Tobago, and one point ahead of third place Guatemala.

Clint Dempsey said after Tuesday night’s win, “If you’re not qualifying for the World Cup, that’s a major step backwards. You’ve got to look within yourself, man—how bad you want it? How bad do you want to go to the World Cup? How bad do you want to continue progressing the game in the States? You’ve got to put that on your shoulders. You’ve got to represent your country with pride and I thought the boys did that tonight…You’ve just seen the heart everybody showed—the fight, the aggressiveness, the tackles, the second balls and the quality in front of goal…Tonight we came out and showed our real quality, so I’m proud of the boys.”

Jurgen Klinsmann said, “What the guys did tonight was outstanding. A perfect way basically to respond to that disappointment a couple of days ago. It’s been a long couple of days, because of obviously analyzing it and correcting it. But a huge compliment to every one of them.”

Klinsmann said further,

Every coach’s vision is always to be kind of consistent with his players being available and having everybody at your disposal and keeping them playing in the same direction. But unfortunately, it’s not reality. Reality is we lost Matt Besler and John Brooks and Fabian Johnson in the days prior to the game in Guatemala. Reality is tonight, Alejandro Bedoya couldn’t make it. So for us reality is, with the group of players that we have, we are going to work things out. I think we are doing a very decent job doing that. Here and there, things don’t work out the way you want it, like it happened there in the first 20 minutes in Guatemala City. I think it’s important that we all know that it’s difficult to go through those qualifiers to be on top of things.

Of course, we all know, “it’s difficult to go through those qualifiers.” For many, the real question is why does the US so often need to make things more difficult than they seem to have to be? Or, perhaps more importantly, does Tuesday night’s win mean the doubts that have surrounded the team for months have been answered? The Copa America aside, we’ll see some answers in the final two games of group play when the US faces Saint Vincent and the Grenadines away on September 2, and hosts Trinidad and Tobago on Sept 4.

At SI, Brian Straus has this interesting bit of information: “U.S. Soccer said that Klinsmann has used 80 different lineups in his 82 games in charge. That seems like a lot, until you look at the rest of the list. Bob Bradley used 77 lineups in 80 games and Bruce Arena employed 129 in 130 games, according to the federation.”

Pulisic! Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic made his senior USMNT debut, coming on as a sub late in the game and so becoming the youngest US player to appear in a World Cup qualifier. Pulisic said, “It’s been a dream of mine to play for the U.S. national team. It finally came true, so I’m thankful…It’s amazing just to meet all these guys. They took me in right away, and it felt good to be part of the team and to get on the field.”

While his US teammates praised Pulisic, Geoff Cameron also had some sensible words of caution: “He’s a young kid, so you guys don’t over-blow him up. Just let him do what he does, and he’ll be a great talent for us.”

Recaps and reports at PSP, US Soccer, Columbus DispatchThe New York Times, Washington Post, MLSsoccer.com (recap, report, reportanalysis), ESPN (recap, analysis), Fox Soccer, SI (report, analysis), CBS Sports, ASN (recap, analysis), Soccer America, Goal.com (recap, report, commentary), SBI, Pro Soccer Talk (recap, analysis), The Guardian, and the AP.

Player ratings at ESPNMLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, and Goal.com.

At SI, Grant Wahl talks to several players on the 2002 US World Cup team about what’s wrong with the current team and how to fix it. Wahl writes, “A common theme for the 2002 vets I spoke to was the lack of a sizable core group of national team players these days under coach Jurgen Klinsmann.”

At ESPN: “The U.S. Soccer Federation on Tuesday disputed a report that Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks was not given appropriate medical care for his bruised knee while on national team duty last week.”

US U-23’s fail to qualify for Summer Olympics

While there was joy in Columbus, in Frisco there was despair as the US lost 2-1 to Colombia in the final Olympic qualification playoff to lose the series 3-2 on aggregate. Before the game, head coach Andi Herzog promised the US would play a better game than they had in the 1-1 draw in Colombia in the first leg of the series last Friday, saying, “next week we will have more possession, I assure you.” While the US did improve its possession numbers from 24.7% to 43.5% it failed to register a shot on goal, the team’s single tally coming from an own goal. It was an ugly game in which the US finished with 9 players and the US has now failed to qualify for the Olympics twice in a row.

Herzog said after the loss,

This was our problem in the qualification: When a team played real physical against us, we didn’t have any power, any assertiveness up front, and that’s disappointing…

We didn’t do a good job right from the beginning. That’s why we have to say congratulations to Colombia; I think they were in both games the better team, and that’s why they deserved it. We were not able to play out of the back. We just kicked long balls. We had no power up front to shield the ball. So it was not good enough today…

We said there will be a lot of battles, tough battles, sometimes nasty. We have to be nasty too, but they don’t have to provoke us to make stupid fouls around the box. At the end, with two red cards, it’s not a good signal.

No, sir, it is not.

Recaps and reports at PSP, US Soccer, ESPN, MLSsoccer.com (recap, reportanalysis), Fox Soccer, CBS SportsSI, Goal.com (recap, commentary), SBI, Pro Soccer Talk, Brotherly Game, and the AP.

Player ratings at MLSsoccer.com, Soccer America,

US Soccer announced on Tuesday it will play two warm up games before the Copa America tournament, hosting Ecuador on May 25 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, and Bolivia on May 28 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The federation also announced the World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago at home, the last US game of the semifinal round of CONCACAF’s qualification tournament, will take place on September 6 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference is scheduled to take place today at 12:30 pm.

Andre Blake was in goal for Jamaica’s 3-0 road loss to Costa Rica in World Cup qualification play on Tuesday night. Jamaica now drops to third place in Group B with 4 points, behind Panama (7 points) and Costa RIca (10 points).

Here’s the latest injury report from the MLS website:

OUT: M Maurice Edu (left tibia stress reaction 3/10, out 3-4 months) – READ
M Tranquillo Barnetta (left knee osteoarthritis, DNP 3/20, training 3/23) – REPORT
M Vincent Nogueira (right ankle sprain, DNP 3/20, training 3/23) – REPORT
M Cole Missimo (left hamstring strain, DNP 3/20)

We’ll get an update in today’s press conference.

The officials for Saturday’s game in Chicago (5 pm, TCN, MLS Live, Direct Kick) have been announced. Carrying the whistle will be Silviu Petrescu, Phil Briere and Gianni Facchini will be running the sidelines, and Kevin Terry Jr. will be the fourth official.

Brotherly Game assesses the Union’s March.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Ryan Richter has been named to USLsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

Bethlehem Steel announced East End Army as its official supporters group on Tuesday.

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel Blog considers the team’s goalkeeping situation. With the Union in Chicago on Saturday, will John McCarthy again be available for Sunday’s home opener? Will Samir Badr get the nod? Matt Jones, perhaps?

The Bush Chicken talks to Liberian striker Seku Conneh about his decision to leave the Dutch second division to join Bethlehem Steel. He has no regrets. (H/t Michael Rullo).

Cincinnati Soccer Talk has a podcast previewing Sunday’s game in Bethlehem.

At the Union website, a video of the Bethlehem Steel open tryout that took place last November. No, I do not know why it took so long for the video to be posted either but it is worth a look.

Local

At the Ocean City Nor’easters website reports on the recent tryouts for the men’s team and the new women’s team.

MLS

Looks like New York Red Bulls are not ready to make a decision on whether to sign Amobi Okugo. Head coach Jesse Marsch said on Tuesday, “We’re not going to rush on that, we’re evaluating him and seeing if he can adjust to the way we play and if it’s possible that he’s a good fit. And I think he’s done fairly well…We’re not ready to make that decision quite yet but it’s been an encouraging week.”

32 pairs of customized cleats were stolen from the Vancouver Whitecaps training facility on Monday night. Head coach Carl Robinson said, “”I’ve got players without boots that have got their children’s names on them that mean a lot to them…If you want boots, I’ll buy you boots, but please bring these special boots that these players wear back to me. Please.”

At Minn Post, more on the publicly financed infrastructure improvements that will accompany the building of Minnesota United’s news stadium in St. Paul: “A good deal for the city — but how good?”

It’s official: The NASL has announced San Francisco Deltas will be its latest expansion club, and first on the West Coast. More at San Jose Mercury News, Inc.com, and The Guardian.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “Mexico’s national team has launched a campaign to discourage fans from shouting homophobic slurs during football matches.” Long overdue but good for them. More from the AP.

12 Comments

  1. With all due respect Jurgen, I get it and ultimately you are right but you cannot possibly defend a point of view without me laughing in your face that says the manner in which that team played in central america is acceptable.
    .
    It’s not that your team lost Jurgen its the manner in which it lost that speaks to the greater problem with: you for one, US Soccer for two and the players individually for three. But that’s besides the point because really i’m not even sure you are the problem but I am fairly certain your boss is.
    .
    I’m not buying.

    • btw from other thread last evening in the recaps…re: Patience with our 23s…
      .
      How patient do I have to be with 24.7% possession in one game then 43.5% possession in the second game- all the while getting physically dominated and creatively painted into a corner cause we couldn’t EVER find a third leg to the triangle.
      .
      Did anybody else notice that one missing thing last night… the ball holder with only one viable option who when passed to had only one option who when passed to had one option…who if he was able to pass to only then had one option … and guess what happened then because LORD .
      .
      … knows we are unable to beat the first defender 1v1 in this country with any regularity which provides just a bit of time and space to maybe break the form of the defense…..that’s right… I95 and Route 1…. wait aren’t they the same road really getting you to the same southern most point of the US.
      .
      I’m out. Have a great day. Don’t buy it. Take up your musket. US Soccer is a mess.

      • Yeah, the U23 game was ugly to my untrained eye. There was so little off-the-ball movement. And the only responses we had to Colombia’s physicality were fear or anger — and the anger was mis-directed into stupid fouls instead of standing up the “bully” on the school yard.
        .
        I would’ve loved to see Pulisic playing with them, but understand that his team didn’t have to release him for U23 but did have to release him for senior team. I think his fluidity would’ve made a bit of difference.

  2. Ed, did anyone get signed from that BSFC tryout? Just curious.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    I don’t know if anyone has noticed but 1/3 of the way through CONMEBOL qualifying, Brazil is outside of a qualifying position.

    • Old Soccer Coach. says:

      Not without historical precedent I think, but, yes, interesting. Thanks for the heads up.

    • And we thought the lead up to the US game last night was bad. I saw Brazil was losing 2-0 last night, but I believe it ended in a draw. Either way it must be the apocalypse down there… soccer wise. I know there are plenty of other issues currently in Brazil as well.

  4. I don’t want to read into this too much, but I wish U.S. Soccer would come up with a strategic plan for scheduling qualifying matches. Friendlies should be played in places where soccer isn’t present to help spread the game, but meaningful matches should follow 2 requirements: will/can the game be sold out, and is there an advantage gained from the location? Jacksonville seems like a place where T&T fans could reasonably get too. I don’t know how they travel or even if it really makes a difference, but a place farther north or west seems like it would be a better option – just like almost ANYWHERE besides Dallas would’ve been a better option to play Colombia. Just a thought.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      You didn’t like seeing yellow and red everywhere at a home game?
      .
      While I recognize your point and concern because it is valid this doesn’t bother me as much… this entire nation was founded on the idea of being a Melting Pot so it is good IMO other countries represent so so well.
      .
      What I find curious? Why doesn’t our national teams and professional academy’s and league tap into them as sources? Why is our game dividing out and losing a swath of culturally diverse people in ‘harder to reach places’ nee: demographics.
      .
      There were thousands and thousands of Columbians at that game living in the US… why weren’t they cheering for a US #10 who plays like Quintero and has the same last name and parents who maybe paint houses and work in a doctors office finding the American Dream. That’s what I want to know.
      .
      Why does our version of the game price these people right out of the pool?

  5. MattMilford says:

    Can someone explain for me US Soccer’s fascination with playing games in Frisco, TX? The place is always empty, and the fans that do show up, the majority are there to support the away side. It also looks terrible when they show a field level replay, and you can see the entirely empty side of the stadium. And now we have scheduled another friendly there. I’m sure there is some economic or political reason, but could someone just highlight it for me so I can understand. It seems there are plenty of other venues in other cities that would be glad to host a game and support our teams.

    • Great question. I was wondering the same thing last night, while noticing the unfortunate mix of empty seats and fans in yellow jerseys at a critical US home match.

    • we’ll find out that there was some inside deal for hosting these at X and Y locations.

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