Archive for May, 2009

US Assistant Novak Calls It Quits

May 29, 2009

CHICAGO (May 28, 2009) — U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach Peter Nowak has resigned from his position with U.S. Soccer to pursue other career opportunities.

Nowak served as head coach Bob Bradley’s top assistant for more than two years, and led the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. During his time with U.S. Soccer, Nowak helped the U.S. team capture the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and compile a 9-1-1 record in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Overall, the U.S. team’s record is 24-8-4 since Nowak joined the MNT staff in December 2006.

“On behalf of the coaching staff, we want to thank Peter for all of his efforts with U.S. Soccer. He is an outstanding coach and a great friend,” said U.S. Head Coach Bob Bradley. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him as both a player in Chicago and as a partner with the national team. I look forward to continuing our relationship.” There are no plans in place to immediately replace Nowak, and the U.S. will go into this summer’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers, FIFA Confederations Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup with Mike Sorber, John Hackworth, Zak Abdel and Pierre Barrieu assisting Bradley.

“During his time with U.S. Soccer, Peter was a valuable asset to our coaching staff and helped us accomplish a number of our goals,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We want to thank Peter for his tireless effort and wish him all the best in his next endeavor in soccer.”

The former D.C. United head coach took the helm of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team in August 2007, and six months later guided the team through a successful qualifying campaign for the 2008 Olympic Games with a 3-1-1 record. In Beijing, the U.S., which was drawn into a group widely considered the “group of death,” had a strong showing but were left out of the knock-out rounds despite earning four points with a 1-1-1 record. His overall record with the U-23s was 4-5-4.

The U.S. is currently training in Miami and will continue 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying against Costa Rica at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San Jose on June 3 at 10 p.m. ET live on ESPN and Galavision. Three days later the U.S. returns to face Honduras at Soldier Field on June 6 at 7 p.m. CT live on ESPN and Galavision. Following the qualifiers, the U.S. team will depart to face Italy, Brazil and Egypt at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Bradley Names 24-Man Roster For World Cup Qualifiers

May 24, 2009

BRADLEY NAMES 24-MAN ROSTER TO TRAIN FOR FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS AGAINST COSTA RICA AND HONDURAS

CHICAGO (May 24, 2008) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 24 players that will train in advance of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras. The U.S. will be seeking its first-ever victory away to Costa Rica when they meet at Estadio Saprissa in the fourth match of the 10-game final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Kickoff on June 3 is set for 8 p.m. MT, and the match will be broadcast live on the ESPN Networks and Galavision.

Three days later, the city of Chicago will host its first World Cup qualifier when the U.S. welcomes Honduras to Soldier Field (tickets). More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s third home match of the final round, where the U.S. will face the team who delivered them their last home loss in World Cup qualifying, a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

The U.S. is in first place in the final round hexagonal with an undefeated 2-0-1 record. Costa Rica sits one point behind, while Honduras holds the third position. The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. “Clearly these next matches are very important in our efforts to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who is 9-1-1 overall in qualifying action. “Both teams have been very good throughout the qualifying process. We are certainly aware of the challenges of playing in Costa Rica, and Honduras has produced some great results, including two wins against Mexico. We are excited for the start of a very competitive summer for our team.”

The U.S. team will begin assembling on May 26 in Miami, and depart June 1 for San Jose. Several players will join camp following weekend club competition, including 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Tim Howard, who will lead Everton against Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 30 at Wembley Stadium, and DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu, who can win the Scottish league title later today and will play in the Scottish FA Cup final against Falkirk next weekend. José Francicso Torres will arrive late if Pachuca reaches the finals of the Mexican league playoffs, and the MLS-based players will travel to Miami following their league matches this week.

The roster boasts nine players who have appeared in all three of the USA’s final round qualifiers, including seven who have started every game. Three players: Michael Bradley – the ussoccer.com Man of the Match after scoring a pair of goals in the 2-0 win against Mexico – DaMarcus Beasley and Heath Pearce are tied with nine starts during the 2010 qualifying campaign. Following his record-setting hat trick in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1 in Nashville – he is the youngest U.S. player ever to put in three goals in a game – Jozy Altidore now leads all U.S. attackers with five goals in this World Cup qualifying cycle.

Bradley, Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey all have four goals each. Dempsey is one game shy of his 50th appearance for the United States. Landon Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 108 international appearances, the USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists is one goal shy of tying Brian McBride for the most career goals in World Cup qualifying (10). He recorded assists on all three of Altidore’s goals against Trinidad & Tobago, improving his career tally to 36 assists.

The U.S. defense has produced eight shutouts through 11 matches in this cycle. Tim Howard has presided over five clean sheets, while Brad Guzan has picked up the remaining three. Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been an anchor in central defense alongside Oguchi Onyewu, who is playing Anderlecht on Sunday in the second leg of a playoff to determine the Belgian league champion.

Frankie Hejduk, a veteran of four World Cup qualifying cycles, has started all three final round matches at right back, providing a goal and an assist in the 2-2 away draw in El Salvador, marking the first time the U.S. has come from behind by two goals to earn a point on the road. In addition to the 24-man roster, two players have been invited to participate in their first camp with the full team: Aston Villa defender Erich Lichaj and Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Following the two qualifiers, the U.S. will depart June 8 for South Africa to begin preparations for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The final 23-man roster for the event will be announced June 7 in Chicago. The United States has been drawn into a powerful Group B along with reigning world champions Italy, five-time World Cup winners Brazil, and reigning African Cup of Nations winners Egypt for the tournament, which will be played from June 14-28. The U.S. kicks off action against Italy on June 15 at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria, and then faces Brazil on June 18 in the same venue.

The United States finishes group play on June 21 against Egypt at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.

ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 9/7 SO)

DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 19/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA: 1/0), Danny Califf (Midtjylland: 4/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 17/2), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 14/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 9/0), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United: 2/1), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Freddy Adu (Monaco: 5/1), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers: 24/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 9/4), Maurice Edu (Rangers: 4/0), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus: 0/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 9/0), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 13/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 4/0).

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez: 6/5), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (Hammarby: 1/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 15/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 28/9)*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) All-time Record: 24-8-4 World Cup Qualifying: 9-1-1

Onyewu Transfer Saga – Part 17

May 24, 2009

Every time the transfer window opens, the rumors and guessing games involving Gooch’s future reach new levels of the ridiculous. With longtime interest from France and England, it now seems odd that the one club making the most public pronouncements is Birmingham City (while Turkish side Fenerbahce is also in the mix).

Personally, I think Onyewu would probably prefer to play for a Champion’s League club (Marseille anyone?) but sources in Belgium have long indicated he’s had his heart set on the Premiership. The real question is, would he prefer to play for a newly-promoted Premiership side (Birmingham), or play twice a week for a top French club?

A few other clubs which could use his services are Fulham, AC Milan, Arsenal, Roma, and Real Madrid which are all looking to bump up or replace key losses in central defense.

Personally, I can see Gooch going to Marseille, provided coach Eric Gerets sticks around. They play an attractive style of football in a system for which he is well suited, plus they should be able to show well in the Champion’s League next year. Unless Arsenal or Real Madrid comes calling, I can’t think of a better way for Onyewu to shine at the next level.