Friday, March 23, 2012

The Crown Goes to.....Corona!!

The future
Yesterday the U.S. Under-23 Men’s team dominated a Cuban team with minimal skill and experience.  Capitalism was in full effect as the boys capitalized on almost all of their chances in front of the Cuban goal (Sorry, I could not resist the capitalist-communist metaphor.).

I know that this was a very young inexperienced Cuban team that, it’s probably safe to say, half of the players on the field did not have soccer on their minds, rather defection, but this is still a good sign for the U.S. system.  I will explain.  In the past I have seen U.S. teams struggle against these miniscule teams.  To come up with a result that, after comparing both teams, should be the outcome, is refreshing to me.   No more of these 1-0 wins or 1-1 ties to these week teams.  It’s about time the U.S. teams’ play with no mercy.  This hunger and intensity that these young players demonstrated went against the general belief that the world has of how U.S. soccer is played

.  Is he gonna stay?

One of these hungry players was Joe Corona.  Who is Joe Corona?  Tijuana has a soccer team?  Is this kid American?  He's played in a friendly for the Mexican national team, our bitter southern rivals?  Where are his loyalties?  These are the questions that came to my mind.  He was born in California to a Mexican father and an El Salvadorian mother.  He could actually play for three teams.  In the latest Behind the Crest episode on he said:
This is something as a child I would see myself doing.  I was eligible to play for   Mexico, I went to a friendly game...I feel part of the U.S., I'm American, I was born in the U.S.  It's just such an honor to be here.

Am I convinced of his loyalty?  Your gonna have to wait for me to answer that.  Hopefully his three goals last night and the part he plays on this team will be the deciding factor to stay with the U.S. National team. 

Agudelo, Shea, Diskerud and the forever 21 Freddy Adu are all on fire.  The freedom that head coach Caleb Porter gives them on the field complements all these players because they are the type of players that enjoy taking their opponents on. 

The tournament is far from over. They play Canada on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.  The game can be watched dollar and virus free at 


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back to Winning Ways???

On Sunday night the LA Galaxy found their first win of the 2012 MLS season.  The game was an improvement on both the defensive and offensive sides.
The defense was pretty solid except for the great goal by Nick DeLeon in the 87th minute.  The back line got caught attempting an offside trap but DeLeon timed his run perfectly and finished it with supreme technique. 

The offense improved.  I'm not saying that they did not create chances in the in the CCL Toronto game or the Salt Lake game, just this time they finished them. 

The chances came mostly from Robbie Keane.  He was either stopped by a great save from McDonald or made one too many of his signature Irish jig cutbacks until the fiddle stopped playing and realized he ran out of space.  Finally, right before half time the ball was crossed by Mike Magee to Todd Dunivant who intelligently placed his header across the goal to Keane for an easy finish.  If any of you saw the highlights, did you see the non-celebration made by Keane?  I was expecting his crazy cartwheel - somersault - Clint Eastwood impression. He has been so close the last two games that I think it was his frustration that was revealed.  When he got his second goal we finally saw the first of his, let’s hope many, crazy cartwheel - somersault - Clint Eastwood impressions.

Donovan and Beckham played well.  It was nice to see Donovan using his speed.  Vintage Donovan. 

It was also good not to see Beckham complaining to the ref while the ball was still in play.  The go-ahead goal by Real Salt Lake's Morales could have been prevented by a back tracking David Beckham.  However, he complained to the ref, rightly so, about a bad foul on Landon.  This was fine and dandy that he was fighting for justice for a bad foul to a teammate but he continued this endless complaining until the ball was dead. 

Unfortunately the ball was dead when it was in the back of his teams net.  Look at the highlights and let me know what you think.  Could he have prevented that goal?  Or is my 2007-2009 David Beckham perception coming out?  He proved last year that he is finally dedicated to the team.  I just hope that continues.

Side Note:
It has been a while since I hit the mean streets of the internet.  I am going to try to keep this blog going.  It never stopped.  I still am a soccer fanatic.  My life still revolves around soccer.  You see when you have kids the key is to get them into soccer and then it is easier not to feel guilty about loving a sport that is played by men mostly younger then yourself.  Am I making sense? 

Coming Up:
March 22- 2012 Olympic Qualifiers for U.S. Under-23 vs. Cuba  (Adu, Shea, Agudelo and Bunbury are something to get excited about)
May 26- U.S. Men vs. Scotland
May 30- U.S. Men vs. Brazil

Photo of the Week:

--JP Thompson

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

U.S. - Costa Rica

U.S. National team coach Jurgen Klinsman released the roster for the two upcoming matches.  The first match will be in sunny Southern California at the Home Depot Center against Costa Rica. 

There were a few surprises on, and off, the second roster Klinsman released.  I think Fabian Johnson was a big surprise for many people.  I had never heard of him.  He plays for Hoffenhiem in Germany.  He was on the U-21 European championship final team for Germany.  He recently switched allegiances to the U.S.  Some of you might ask why he is also a U.S. citizen.  Well, he is in the same group of Jermaine Jones and Timothy Chandler.  These half German half American soccer players have began to emerge in recent years first beginning with Jermaine Jones.  We can also go back to the early 90's with Thomas Dooley.  If Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson work out (hopefully Johnson's not like the previous 'Johnson' on the U.S. roster), Germany could turn out to be a great source for the U.S. soccer pool.  Maybe we can tap into other countries that have U.S. military bases.  Here is a list of military bases in Europe and Asia:

Germany- We've seen what mark GI's can leave there with regards to producing quality soccer players

Italy- We could find the next Giuseppe Rossi except this time Mr. Gulati won't let him get away

Bulgaria- There could be the first Bulgarian-American soccer player.  Who knows he might be the next Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United

South Korea- Just think, a 6'1 Park Ji-Sung 

The question is: Would Bob Bradley have been able to persuade Johnson to relinquish his chance of playing for a national team program that has one three World Cups and switch to a program that is still in its infancy compared to the rest of the soccer world?

Back to the roster. 
The two that were left off were Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones.  Don't worry MB haters, Klinsman publically address the reason why these two, including Ricardo Clark, were left off.  He said that they had things to work out with their current club situations.  Unfortunately for those center midfielders, which is what the U.S. almost has too much of in the pool, it will be difficult to win a spot. 
Who I want to impress:
Zach Loyd- fast speedy defender that loves to make runs and brings a lot of energy to a game. 
Jeff Larentowicz- The Colorado man has been that solid center midfielder for a few years now in the MLS and can also hit wicked free kicks. 
Kyle Beckerman-  He has had more chances than Zach and Jeff with the national team but it was not until the last game when he really showed his MLS play could transfer to the national team. 
Juan Agudelo- He has had a pretty good MLS season and his time with the national team has been all what we've wanted. 
Teal Bunbury- He appeared on the national team scene the same time as Agudelo but has not had as much success.  Fortunately he is now playing better with Sporting KC.

Of course it will be good seeing, in person, much of the first team in Dempsey, Donavan and Howard.  I see the national team once a year and it is usually for the January friendly when Bob Bradley would field a "C" team. 
The game is at 8 p.m PST on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Galavision. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Irish eyes are smiling! Welcome to Hollywood!"

The FSN West Galaxy play by play announcer Jim Watson could not wait to use that phrase!  I'm sure he had it written down in front of him and was going over it in his head up until the twenty first minute when the "good luck charm from the emerald isle", also used by Watson, put the ball into the back of the net for his first Los Angeles Galaxy goal.  It was definitely a night of clichés at the Home Depot Center.  There were plenty of signs that said something to the effect, "let Keane's green turn into gold" or something like that.  I probably butchered it.  The sad thing is I found myself saying things like, "he sure did eat his Lucky Charms for breakfast" and "he found his pot o' gold".  Clichés aside, it was a great night at the HDC. 

Tim Leiweke has got to be feeling pretty good about himself.  He signed Robbie Keane in a matter of a couple of days and then the player fly’s to LA, suits up and scores on his debut.  Being there in person I could tell why Robbie Keane was one of the top ten scorers in the Premier league.  He was so quick on his feet, like a little leaporcon.  There I go again with the cliche's!  He was hungry.  His first touch was amazing.  He would bring down a ball that was 20 feet in the air right down to his feet and then he would stand up straight waiting for the defender to do something.  His calmness and control were superior to anyone on the field, including Becks and Donavan.

Keane and Beckham leaving the feild after warm ups.

In game shot of Keane
Scoring your first goal in your first game is pretty impressive, although one of my brothers pointed out to me that Juan Pablo did the same thing after he signed with L.A. and then got out of scoring mode.  Side note, JPA actually scored tonight on his opening game with the Chivas. Congrats to him.  Anyways, I hope that Keane'o will break this curse.   From what I saw, the Galaxy should expect good things from the Irishman.

Also getting into the starting lineup was my all time favorite U.S. National team defender Frankie Hejduk.  So far this season he has only played a hand full of minutes.  He was his usual self: quick and scrappy.  He put out plenty of fires and even managed to get in a few of his classic overlapping runs.  I was fortunate enough to get some pictures with him.  We congratulated him on his start and he said, "Thanks man!  I need a beer!"  It was pretty classic.  My brother also asked him if he's surfing a lot now that he's back in Cali and he said he was every day.  Hejduk is living the life that I sometimes envy, minus the beer.  He plays soccer for money and surfs every day.  That is why he is such a happy go lucky kind of guy.

Brian with Frankie
 Thanks for talking to us Frankie.  Your the man! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Deuce" Gets Deuce

I sure do hope I have to write about U.S. international Clint Dempsey scoring every week.  In Fulhams' mid week Europa League group stage game Clint bagged a brace against Ukrainian club Dnipro.  One of his goals was a classic Dempsey goal.  He aggressively slid in to get on the end of a cross to put the ball in the net.  Great start to the season Clint!

The Yanks Are Coming!!

The Glasgow Rangers are ready to add two more Americans to their roster.  Manager Ally McCoist and the Ranger Football club have shown, yet again, faith in American soccer players.  Alejandro Bedoya and Carlos Bocanegra have joined Maurice Edu to help defend the Scottish League and Scottish Cup championships.  I know what Bocanegra can do.  He has proven himself both in the Premier league and in France.  I am more excited about Bedoya.  His recent showings for the national team have been very good.  Even if he does not get the playing time he'd like, he will still learn a whole lot.  We (U.S. national team) need our midfielders to become more comfortable on the ball.  They need to be more composed in tight high pressure situations.  This will be an excellent experience for the young midfielder.  He might even get loaned out to a smaller club to get more experience. 

All in all, this is a good move for these U.S. internationals.  Good luck guys!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crazy Days of Summer

It is a busy time right now in the soccer world.  With the European leagues just getting under way and the MLS in full swing, there is much to discuss.  After viewing the latest soccer news from Europe, I realized that not much went on for the yanks abroad.  In this blog I will cover the weekly stories of worth about the MLS and the yanks playing abroad.  What I'm saying is that some of your U.S. National team favorites might not be written about every week on this blog.  If there are any other stories of note that I left out, feel free to comment and let all of us know.  Here is what I got:

Dempsey and Fulham had a tie.  He, of course, was his usual Premier league Clint Dempsey; a hard working scrappy offensive threat.  Unfortunately sometimes there is a clear contrast between the Deuce of the Premiership and the Deuce of the U.S. Men’s National team.  Sometimes, not always, Clint comes out flat for the U.S. while, at the same time, he is playing his heart out weekly at Craven Cottage.  I understand that he plays a slightly different role when he plays for the Stars and Stripes but it seems like he is not as hungry.  I hope with somebody new at the U.S. National team helm, his Premier league playing style will translate over to the national team. 

Stuart Holden did not even dress for Bolton's 4-0 romping of newly promoted Queens Park Rangers.  Don't let this news trouble you though.  A report came out on August 1st that he finally hit the training field five months after being found on the wrong end of a Jonny Evans tackle.  I have always enjoyed what Holden brings to the national team.  Hopefully we will soon be seeing the highlighted hairdo Holden in future Bolton and national team fixtures.  Here is a good look at him geting of the bus before a U.S. game:


Freddy Adu is hopefully done globetrotting and has settled back in Major League Soccer with the Philadelphia Union.  When I first heard this, the thought came across my mind that his chances to succeed in Europe were all but gone.  Then I realized that he is only 22!  He is not even in his prime.  This is a good change for him as he has spent the last four years with five different clubs fighting for playing time.  Now he should get plenty of playing time and, more importantly, place himself right under the watchful eye of Jurgen Klinsmann.  I'm afraid Mr. Klinsmann would find it difficult to travel all the way to Rize Turkey to watch the ex-American soccer prodigy struggle for playing time in a second division team.  I like this change and I think the timing is right. 
Another notable story is the signing by the LA Galaxy of Robbie Keane.  The Irish International and former Tottenham man will replace a struggling Juan Pablo Angel.  I was excited when I saw JPA signed to the Galaxy.  I have always respected him as a player and as a person.  He has class on and off the field.  I wish him luck with the Chivas, just not when they play their neighbors the LA Galaxy.  Keane should have a couple of good years left in him. 

This is just another example of European players finishing off their careers in the MLS.  Sure they are going to the MLS in the twilight of their careers but they are making our league better.  Thierry Henry and David Beckham are two examples of this. 

The women in my life (wife, sisters, and mom) always complain to my brothers and me that there is always a soccer game on.  Every family function somehow conflicts with a game that needs to be watched.  Unfortunately for these women, this is never going to change.  I just hope the next family reunion does not fall on a World Cup, Gold Cup, MLS Cup, WC qualifying, UEFA Champions league game, CONCACAF Champions League game, regular season MLS game, international friendly, my men’s over thirty league game, daughters AYSO games or even the pick-up soccer game my brothers and I are playing with a couple of Mexicans on the beach. 

Photo of the Week