Daily news roundups

Morris beats KR to ROY, US-Mexico time, & USWNT lays a whupping on Romania

Photo: Earl Gardner

Union

Jordan Morris won the MLS Rookie of the Year award, beating out Keegan Rosenberry and Jack Harrison. Though all three were outstanding in their first pro seasons, Morris is a deserved winner. Some Union fans may be upset about this outcome. Don’t be. It’s the right decision. Morris had 12 goals and 4 assists, and those are very, very good numbers for a rookie striker no matter who they play with. The rook instantly bonded with the experienced playmaker Seattle brought in to support him and he succeeded despite the extended absence of planned mentor Clint Dempsey. Dude was the best rookie in the league and by the end of the season it wasn’t that close.
None of that, none of it takes away from the spectacular season Keegan Rosenberry put together for the Union. Rosenberry wasn’t even expected to be the best fullback in the draft and he emerged as one of the best right backs in MLS. Playing next to a rotating center back (and behind a rotating winger), Rosenberry showed the type of poise on the ball that can make him a unique asset going forward. Additionally, he scored off corner kicks (what?) and showed elite 1v1 defense. Losing the rookie of the year award to a player who had a better season doesn’t make any of that less impressive. But the truth of the matter is that a defender would have to play at an elite level the entire season to snatch the ROY away from a double-digit goalscorer who led his team to an unlikely playoff berth with their $6 million stud sidelined. And Rosenberry’s undeniable late season dip in form meant he was always going to trail Morris in the final voting. In the final two months of the season, Rosenberry made individual mistakes, was slower on the ball, less involved in the offense, and still one of the better fullbacks in MLS. But he was not the best rookie in the league this year. As fans, it’s perfectly reasonable to support the Union and its players with full hearts. But as Coach Taylor might say, you also need clear eyes to get to “can’t lose.”

At the Union website, you can vote for Tranquillo Barnetta or Roland Alberg for the Union Player of the Season. If this contest doesn’t come down to Barnetta vs Rosenberry I’ll eat my hat.

VAVEL has a rundown of big Union questions this offseason. Is there a need for a new striker? (yes) What to do with the double pivot? (bring in people to play there) Is Bedoya an 8 or 10? (10 or wing).

Cocktails and Cleats, y’all! The Union and the Philadelphia Union foundation held a cocktail hour and auction last night featuring “voice of the Union Tommy Smyth” wait whaaaat!?

Fox Sports has Earnie Stewart and Ale Bedoya in the Top 50 US players.

USWNT

Alex Morgan had two goals as the US Women’s National Team demolished Romania in San Jose 8-1. Morgan now has 17 goals in 2016, which ties her with Carli Lloyd for the USWNT lead this year. She is also at 73 goals in her international career, putting her just two behind Cindy Parlow for 7th on the all-time list.

Here’s video of Christen Press’s opener and Tobin Heath’s goal. Both sensational examples of good shooting technique.

Check out all the goals (including Morgan Brian’s diving header) here.

You can also take a minute to check out a short video called “A Look at the 2016 US U-20 World Cup team” that is, well, extremely literal. You get about a 500 millisecond look at each player on the roster doing training exercises. I thought I was pumped before, but after seeing Taylor Otto’s intensity during jumping jacks…

USMNT

Alejandro Bedoya hopped on ESPN to talk about the USA-Mexico game, aka MLS preseason!

And here is a quick guide through the World Cup Qualifying hexagonal from US Soccer. Basically: 10 games, top three teams qualify for the World Cup, fourth place team plays the fifth place finisher in the Asian Football Federation qualifiers for the right to be team 32 in the Russia World Cup.

Matt Doyle looks at tactical options for the US. He argues that keeping Bradley at home in front of the defense is key, which suggests someone like Sacha Kljestan starting in place of the positionally freeform Jermaine Jones.

Andrew Wiebe says that Jurgen Klinsmann’s Deuce-shaped security blanket is gone, so the US coach better hope Jozy Altidore steps up.

If you’re still feeling short on hype, here’s a US Soccer video with some US-Mexico history starring Frankie Hejduk, or possibly Chris Pontius in a wig.

Let’s say it’s 11:30am today and you just want the game to start… just head over to the US Soccer Facebook page and check out the 2001 US-Mexico WC qualifier as Jeff Agoos and Josh Wolff talk you through it live.

Brian Strauss writes about Mexico’s secret weapon: A sports psychologist who is going to help them get over the MAPFRE hump.

Also check out yesterday’s round-up for a collection of stories about how Tuesday’s election affects the tenor of the US-Mexico match.

Local & Global

The Brotherly Game has the stories as Rhode Island knocks LaSalle out of the Atlantic 10 tournament and Butler ousts Villanova in the Big East conference semis.

Brazil ran riot over a flat Argentina side last night, winning 3-0. After proving they had but one world class attacker in the last World Cup cycle and Copa America, it appears new coach Tite now has at least two. Coutinho’s thumping opener may be the bat signal announcing the magician’s arrival on the international stage. Leo Messi said the goal stunned Argentina and, as Nic Cage might say, that’s high praise.

In other qualifiers, Colombia and Chile fought out a 0-0 tie, Peru walked over Paraguay 4-1, Venezuela took all five goals for themselves against Bolivia, and Uruguay snuck past Ecuador 2-1. Currently, both Chile and Argentina are outside of automatic World Cup qualifying spots. Yowza.

Make sure to check out PSP’s Footy on the Telly for info on how to catch all the rest of the weekend’s World Cup qualifying action.

20 Comments

  1. Wrote this on yesterday’s thread. I’ll repeat here (and note Andy Munez posted the same first). I sense a very determined El Tri is going to put US to the sword tonight. It’s in the air.

    • Definitely seems like there’s more anxiety and doubt out there than in the past. I don’t feel confident making any sort of prediction, honestly.

      • Section 114 (Former) says:

        Anyone who doesn’t predict 2-0 is clearly one of those folks who didn’t vote on Tuesday and is no complaining. Any lack of confidence is downright unamerican.
        .
        The above was supposed to be a joke. Might just be too soon.

      • I’d go with too soon. Part of me wants Mexico to win.

      • This is a safe space for jokes, 114.

      • Will Jurgen still be coaching come March when the next round of games come or will Trump insist on an American coach?

      • If Jurgen gets fired, I insist on a coach with Mexican heritage.

      • Advisor: Mr. President, we really need to do something about the foreigner coaching our national soccer team?
        Trump: We play soccer?

      • Trump was part of a potential $100 million bid for Colombian side Atletico Nacional.
        He knows his soccer and the locker room too.

      • I bet he knows as much about footy as he does about Cinco de Mayo and eating traditional taco bowls to celebrate it.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Wise to indicate overtly that it was a joke, it seems to me.

  2. Shoutout to Adam for making me laugh a few times during this.
    needed that today.

  3. Section 114 (Former) says:

    Blake – Barnetta should be one heckuva semifinal!

    • Ooh, good call! Very good call. I am appropriately shamed for overlooking Saint Andre.

      • Do we actually know who the last two choices are? Marquez v Pontius started today with the winner going up against Rosenberry. I’m wondering if Blake will be eligible or if we’re just looking at field players.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        If Blake is not eligible, the credibility of the contest shrinks dramatically. Dramatically.

      • But the usefulness increases if we all just concede Blake is POtY and have the discussion/vote regarding number 2.

      • Section 114(formerly) says:

        There’s no excuse for it not being Blake -Fabinho. Sun Rocket Be Damned!

  4. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Player of the year and most valuable player is no contest. The evidence is overwhelming.
    .
    Vincent Nogueira.
    .
    Fly him back for a week to do an intensive one on one clinic with Derrick Jones.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Adam, is it fair to assume your reappearance indicates success in negotiating the grad school hurdle?

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