Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Is America Hooked On War?

September 21, 2009

Some good food for thought as we start the week.

Tom Englelhart asks an important question this week in his excellent article “Is America Hooked On War?”

And lest you think this is a jab at either major party, you’ll find that Engelhart opines that this addiction started long before Bush and seems to have broad approval by both parties.

Is he wrong? Is he right? If so, what to do about it?

Americans Score Three, But Lose To Italy 3-1

June 16, 2009


Great job by Tim Howard!
Carlos Bocanegra – please get well soon!
Landon Donovan – please stop taking free kicks. I have yet to see you create something dangerous with one. But, please keep taking penalties.
Jozy Altidore – good work, keep it up!
Michael Bradley and Oguchi Onyewu – help is on the way and his name is Jermaine.
Bob Bradley – please take Phil Schoen’s advice and give the young creative kids a chance. Otherwise, I predict your stint as the US team’s coach will end in summer 2010.

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.

Mark Your Calendars: USA-Mexico On February 11th

December 16, 2008

Courtesy of US Soccer:

CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2008) — For the third consecutive time in final round qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer has selected Columbus Crew Stadium to host the home leg between the United States and Mexico. The USA’s most anticipated match of the final round will be played Wednesday, Feb. 11, with kickoff times and broadcast information to be announced at a later date. Fans will be able to follow the match live on’s MatchTracker.

The match in Columbus is the first of five qualifiers in the Final Round to be played in the United States. Ticketing details will be announced in the near future. “We are very excited about returning to Columbus,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who guided the U.S. to a 7-1-0 record through the first two rounds of FIFA World Cup qualifying. “The national team has enjoyed a great history there, and the team has always appreciated the fantastic support from the fans. We are looking forward to an incredible atmosphere as we continue the difficult task of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.”

The Columbus Crew Stadium match will be the sixth World Cup qualifier hosted by the nine-year-old venue. The U.S. has a 3-0-2 record in qualifying and an unbeaten 4-0-3 all-time record in the stadium. In the first meeting on Feb. 28, 2001 – dubbed the “Guerra Fria (‘Cold War’)” because the game-time temperature topped out at 29 degrees – goals by Josh Wolff and Earnie Stewart paced the U.S. to a 2-0 victory.

Four years later on Sept. 3, 2005, goals by Steve Ralston and DaMarcus Beasley earned the United States another 2-0 win and officially booked their place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. “Our first priority is to give our team the best chance to be successful and achieve the goal of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and Columbus Crew Stadium has always been a great venue for the national team,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We carefully considered our options, and ultimately we felt that playing in Columbus is the right fit for this match.”

The match on Feb. 11 will mark the 55th meeting between the USA and Mexico. The U.S. has dominated the series of late, collecting an 8-0-2 home record against Mexico since 2000. During that span, the USA has netted 17 goals, while the Mexicans have scored only three on American soil in this decade. Under head coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. has a 2-0-1 record against their border rivals, including a 2-1 victory in the 2007 Gold Cup final in Chicago that delivered the U.S. its second-consecutive regional championship and a place in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, where they will play current World Champion Italy, Brazil and Egypt.

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.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off a busy 2009 schedule when they face Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the USA’s only tune-up match prior to the start of final round qualifying is set for at 5:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via’s MatchTracker.

Donovan Training With Bayern Munich

November 11, 2008

Today at Bayern Munich’s 3 PM practice, a new face showed up alongside coach Juergen Klinsmann, a face familiar to many American fans. Yep, that’s right, the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan is in Munich to train with Bayern for a weeek or two to “stay fit.” Hmmm.

Could Donovan, who last left Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 after playing in seven league and two Champion’s League matches, be looking for for a ticket back to European soccer? Donovan’s own web site seems to indicate so when he says “I am pleased that Jürgen Klinsmann and Bayern are giving me this chance to get to know their new performance center and stay fit alongside their great international footballers.”

Kicker speculates that Donovan could fit well into the formation behind Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose, especially if Lukas Podolksi makes a possible mid-season move elsewhere. The question is not so much whether Klinsmann thinks Donovan is ready (by all accounts he does), but whether Donovan can prove his worth to club boss Uli Hoeness who must approve any deal (be it a loan or an outright purchase). My guess is that is exactly why Donovan is training in Munich this week.

Hoeness has made it clear that Podolski isn’t going anywhere unless a suitable replacement is found. For many observers, that replacement appeared to be Zenith’s Russian phenom Andrei Arshavin but if Donovan can prove he has the goods (and is available now), it may just be doable.

Stay tuned because if this is like any of Donovan’s previous transfer sagas, it will get quite interesting.

Say It Ain’t So Stefan!

November 7, 2008

Imagine having a stadium named after one of your club and country’s greatest sporting heros, the man who led your team to winning its first World Cup? Now imagine decades later the club changing the stadium’s name of for “business reasons?” Well, that may be in store for 1FC Kaiserslautern’s Fritz Walter Stadion.

Long time Kaiserslautern great Fritz Walter survived World War II and captained Germany to winning the 1954 World Cup, its first of three. The stadium, one of Germany’s most scenic, was built in 1920 and was renamed in Walter’s honor on his 65th birthday in 1985.

American fans remember the stadium as not only the first US friendly ever hosted abroad (a 1-0 win over Poland in March 2006) but as the site of the USA’s incredible 1-1 draw with eventual champion Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

Now, 1FCK president Stefan Kuntz has told the Mannheimer Morgen that “for business reasons.” the club may need to sell the stadium name to make ends meet. The earliest this could happen, according to Kicker, is next season.

Its clear that the small market 1FCK, comparable to the Green Bay Packers NFL franchise, would not make this decision unless they had no other choice. Clubs like 1FCK, with four Bundesliga titles to its credit, are having a difficult time keeping up year-in year-out with bigger teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, let alone competing for European silverware. But with just about every Bundesliga stadium selling its name to a sponsor, a team can fall even further behind financially if they don’t.

Regardless of what the club eventually decides, Kuntz has assured Kaiserslautern fans “In any case, we’ll make sure it still honors the memory of Fritz Walter.”

Obama FC Knocked Out On Penalties

November 5, 2008

Well, we Americans have made history in electing Barack Obama, our first African-American President. Its well known that President-elect Obama is a pretty good basketball player and soccer dad but not many realize that a team in Kogelo, Kenya (the village of Obama’s father) renamed itself Obama FC back in 2004.

It seems the Illinois senator fared better than Obama FC with the club losing a match this week 1-0 to a crosstown rival in the Obama Big Day Soccer Tournament. The tourney was arranged by Barack Obama’s step-brother Malik Obama to coincide with the November 4 US presidential elections.

Obama FC goalkeeper Boaz Okelo blamed a nagging elbow injury which made him less able to stop shots during the penalty shoot out after the match ended in a draw.

“The other players were kicking the ball towards my injured elbow,” Okelo told the media on Sunday, after his club was eliminated.

Our first real soccer Dad in the White House.

Great Recap Of the USA-Netherlands Match

August 12, 2008

Great recap of the USA-Netherlands match from my friend Bob Wagman. You can read it here.

Oh, Did We Get Lucky!

August 7, 2008

If you are surfing to this blog, you probably saw the USA squeak by Japan 1-0 to open up the Olympic tournament for the Stars and Stripes. A fair result could have been 2-1 for Japan, which created more dangerous chances than our boys and demonstrated more fluid passing and coherent defense.

A few quick bits:

Brian McBride – Battled hard as always but there was seldom anyone available for the second ball.

Freddy Adu – Held the ball way too long and was too easily muscled off the ball. Always seems not to notice the drop man when receiving a pass and surrounded by 2-3 defenders. Gave up possession too easily.

Michael Bradley – A virtual ghost for most of the match offensively but held his own defensively. The offensive terror of the Eredivisie seemed to be MIA today. Try him at playmaker vice young Freddy.

Maurice Edu – Earned his spurs today in a position he is not accustomed to playing. The near -penalty at the end can be attributed to defending like a midfielder in the open field (his natural habitat), not a defender in the penalty area.

Marvell Wynne – Stout performance, defended his turf like it belonged to his family. Phenomenal run to set up the US goal.

Stuart Holden – Solid match, well taken shot on goal but often left Orozco stranded.

Heath Pearce – Why could you not be on this team? Instead, the left back position became an open gate on the Honda highway.

Michael Orozco – Had a few bright spots early but the rest of the match seemed to zig when the Japanese zagged (see entry for Pearce, Heath). Needs to stay on his feet more.

Robbie Rogers – Reminded me of the old never-say-die Bennie Olsen on the wing. One of the few American players to show any imagination.

While a win is a win, I’m not very optimistic on the USA’s chances against the Netherlands. They looked like 11 individuals and urgently need to get into a team rhythm if they want to have any chance of advancing. Michael Bradley should be used like the playmaker he is but he also needs to step up his game. He could blow his chance at that fat contract in England if he doesn’t.

USA And Japan Set To Face Off

August 7, 2008

Today the USA and Japan men’s soccer teams will open up their Olympic campaign in a tough group which includes Nigeria and the Netherlands. In contrast to the USA which features three top over-23 players led by striker Brian McBride, Japan is essentially bringing its U-23 team with no overage players.

While the USA has looked solid defensively in friendly matches, it still has yet to find its shooting boots and coach Piotr Novak hopes they find them today. Novak opined that “As a coach you’re always concerned about the team not creating chances, but during the qualifiers they did create a lot of chances. We had the opportunities to score goals, and we did that in the game that mattered the most. Against Canada in the semifinal we scored three goals and as far as I know it doesn’t really matter how many goals you score if you win. In today’s football it’s not possible to run up a score because the games are so tight.”

Their Japanese opponents have not fared much better of late and are now under pressure from their new federation president, Motoaki Inukai, who has criticized the team for its attitude as a cause of its poor form. Novak seems to have a different take: “I think the strength of the Japanese team is their whole team, the way they work together and understand each other very well. We watched them in the Toulon Tournament that we played in and their ‘team’ is their biggest strength. They collectively are very strong and never give up. They know the game and the discipline it takes and at any given time they can hurt you.”

The Japanese player to watch out for is Hiroki Mizumoto, a pesky 6-foot defender who is strong in the air and never seems to tire. In the penalty area, expect him to stick to McBride like glue.

Given the strength of group B, both Japan and the USA need to collect all three points to have any hope of advancing in the tournament for a shot at a medal. Despite the heat (expected to be in the 80s) expect a full-tilt contest with a frenetic start.

My prediction: USA 2 : Japan 1.

Not near a TV? Catch the game live here.