U.S. U20 WNT Prepare for Show Down with China PR
U.S. U20 WNT Prepare for Show Down with China PR avatar

Tuesday August 12, marks the final games of Group B in the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, with the U.S. U20 WNT taking on China PR in Moncton and Germany playing Brazil in Montreal.

For the U.S., staying focused and strong for this match is an understatement. A win would guarantee advancement as would a draw coupled with a Brazil loss.

Michelle French (Getty Images)

Michelle French hopes that her positive motivation will inspire the young Americans. (Getty Images)

“It is a big experience for this group to go into a third game where you have to get a positive result. There is definitely going to be some nerves for these players, but as we try to turn those nerves into energy, you are going to hear nothing but positive words from them throughout the game tomorrow,” said head coach Michelle French.

And with the stakes high, it is difficult to predict just how the teams will fair going in tomorrow, especially after China’s stunning 5-5 result against Germany last Friday and the U.S. digging deep to pull a win from Brazil with PSG forward Lindsey Horan’s second half goal. It just goes to show- anything is possible in this tournament, and it goes beyond the physical to having the mental guts and passion to win it all.

Lindsey Horan has definitely been the target player for the U.S. (Getty Images)

Lindsey Horan has definitely been the target player for the U.S. (Getty Images)

But, the U.S. has got a well-rounded squad made up of varied, strong playing personalities, experience and talent to get the job done against China. Summer Green put on quite the performance against Brazil, coming in late as a sub and ultimately helping to set up the master play that enabled Horan to score the winner. But after an astonishing finish by China in their second match, to overlook their abilities could be fatal.

“Considering both teams want to go out and get a win, it’s going to be extremely competitive,” said French. “We expect China to be vey organized and disciplined defensively, and attacking wise; their ability to move the ball and their technical savviness on the ball are going to be things we are really going to have to be aware of tomorrow.”

Mallory Pugh's fitness will be a huge relief for the U.S. (Getty Images)

Mallory Pugh’s fitness will be a huge relief for the U.S. (Getty Images)

Luckily, the Americans have also been able to any elude serious injury so far, having gone up against highly physical opponents. Mallory Pugh, though taken out of the match against Brazil after a painful tackle, was back on the field for the full length of training today at Moncton Stadium, although during the press conference following training, Horan was spotted with a bag of ice on her leg.

Breathe easy though- it was deemed not serious in the least bit, and after scoring the opening goal of the tournament for the U.S., Horan looked psyched up and ready for action, putting emphasis on the fact that the team is ready to advance to the quarterfinals.

U.S. U20's preparing for China. (Getty Images)

U.S. U20’s preparing for China. (Getty Images)

“As a team, it was the first goal of the tournament and it just rose everyone’s confidence for the next game. It was good for me too, but I think as a whole we were all excited to get out there and get our first win and now going into the next game, we have that confidence, we know we can do it again and the opportunities will come,” Horan said in the press conference.

 

 

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2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup: France and Nigeria in Pole Position
2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup: France and Nigeria in Pole Position avatar

Group C: Nigeria Grabs First Group Win

While Group A and B finished up the second round of games in the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Friday, England and Mexico kicked off Group C games in Moncton on Saturday, ending in an even 1-1 draw.

Speaking of even, that pretty much sums up the points in Group C all around; as each team went into Saturday with one point each. This match kept up the single point trend, with English forward Bethany Mead scoring in the 36th minute, firing a 30 yard shot past goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago to put England in the lead.

Mexico kept their patience and were rewarded in the end. (Getty Images)

Mexico kept their patience and were rewarded in the end. (Getty Images)

Despite dominating the first half in possession and shots, Mexico was able to reflect during the break and come back strong in the second half to even up the score and share points. In the 70th minute, Forward Fabiola Ibarra took a 25 yard chance but it bounced off the crossbar. Despite missing the net, it only served to create the perfect play for Mexico, and striker Samarzich finished the job easily to end the game 1-1.

“I think we grew during the first half against Mexico and we started to control the game,” U20 England WNT head coach Mo Marley told reporters. “We showed the kind of qualities this team is based on.”

While a draw panned out between the English and Mexicans, another Group C clash between Nigeria and Korea Republic followed immediately after, with Nigeria shooting to the top of the table with a vital 2-1 victory.

Nigeria's Courtney Dike scored the fastest goal in the U20 Women's World Cup. (Getty Images)

Nigeria’s Courtney Dike scored the fastest goal in the U20 Women’s World Cup history. (Getty Images)

Courtney Dike scored the fastest goal in FIFA women’s tournament history, waking up a sleepy Korean back line and amping up the crowd in the very first minute of regulation. Her teammate, Chinwendu Ihezuo would produce the final Nigerian goal before half time, smashing in a solid cross from Ugo Njoku from the right side.

Kim Soyi put Korea Republic up on the board in the 72nd minute, but with tough Nigerian defending, no more goals could be found, rewarding Nigeria with the first Group C win of the tournament.

Group D: France Sits at the Top with Goals Upon Goals

France leads Group D in Montreal with a burgeoning bundle of goals, starting with an intimidating 5-1 finish against Costa Rica on Wednesday and a 4-0 finish against New Zealand on Saturday.

France have definitely been the standout player of the tournament. (Getty Images)

France have definitely been the standout player of the tournament. (Getty Images)

French head coach Gilles Eyquem showed off the well-rounded talent of his team, changing out five players for the match, each of which contributed greatly to the successful outcome.

France kept control for the majority, with an incredulous 17 shots on goal to New Zealand’s four. Goals were scored by Kadidiatou Diani in the 22’, Claire Lavogez in the 53’ and Clarisse Le Bihan scored a brace in the 80’ and 82’ minutes to cap the win. Needing only a win or draw in the upcoming match against Paraguay to advance, France has its sight set on quarterfinals.

“With six points, we can begin planning for the quarter-finals, so in the next match everyone will have a chance to play. We have to be more aggressive in front of the goal though, and more efficient,” concluded Eyquem.

Meanwhile, Paraguay received a nice confidence booster with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica to end the second round of Group D matches in Montreal on Saturday.

Paraguay's win will give them confidence for their final group game. (Getty Images)

Paraguay’s win will give them confidence for their final group game. (Getty Images)

A penalty scored by team captain Jennifer Mora in the 88th broke a suspenseful 1-1 deadlock that sent Paraguay over the top. The girls knew they needed a win badly, especially after losing to New Zealand in the Group D opener. They pushed off strong with Silvana Romero beating out defenders and easily slipping the ball into the net in the 4th minute of regulation.

Although that early goal was sweet, they were reminded that three points in this tournament is not easily acquired, and Costa Rica responded quickly with a 29th minute equalizer from Michelle Montero.

No matter though, because the gritty stalemate that followed would only push the determined Paraguayans to score late and take the win. They sit tied for second place with New Zealand with thee points each and will have quite the challenge next week against group D leader France in Edmonton.

 

 

 

 

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China and Germany in Goalfest Thriller
China and Germany in Goalfest Thriller avatar

The 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup was treated to a 10-goal spectacle, as China and Germany played out a 5-5 draw.

Only one goal was scored in the opening 40-minutes, but a further nine-goals were to be scored before the game was out, with four of those being scored in a four-minute frenzy in the second half.

The game was so open and a fantastic offensive spectacle for all the fans. (Getty Images)

The game was so open and a fantastic offensive spectacle for all the fans. (Getty Images)

Before the game China coach Wang Jun spoke about the importance of controlling possession against their physically stronger German opponents. However, China struggled to keep the ball and get out of their own half in the opening minutes, as German pressed and harried them high up the field.

And the pressure soon told with Germany opening the scoring after only nine minutes. Ironically the goal came just after one of China’s successful ventures up field, and with the Chinese backline pushed high up German left-back Feliciatas Rauch launched a speculative ball over the top, which forward Pauline Bremer met before the indecisive onrushing Chinese keeper to poke the ball into an empty net.

The Germans began to grow in confidence and it seemed only a matter of time before they would double the lead, but they spurned a golden opportunity midway through the half when German midfielder Sara Daebritz weaved passed a couple of defenders and played in captain Lina Magull. Magull sold one defender a dummy with a feinted a shot and looked odds on to score, but instead she played a pass behind her two teammates in the middle and China managed to survive.

Germany were always going to struggle to maintain their intense pressing game and as the half progressed China began to impose themselves on the game and dominate possession, and they were rewarded for their perseverance five minutes before the break when captain Zhu Bei Yan poked in an equalizer.

The Shanghai Women player picked up the ball on the right wing and cut inside before feeding No. 14 Tan, who then hit a delightful chip from 30 yards, which German keeper Kaemper tipped onto the bar, but not away from danger as Zhu ran onto to poke the ball home.

The goal seemed to lift the Chinese and they upped their tempo as they went in search of a second. However, with seconds remaining on the clock they received a sucker punch. A long punt up field managed to find its way forward Bremer and for some reason all four Chinese defenders chose to engage her, allowing Bremer to play Sara Deabritz clean through on goal and finish to make the score 2-1.

Germany's Pauline Bremer celebrating her opener. (Getty Images)

Germany’s Pauline Bremer celebrating her opener. (Getty Images)

As the half drew to a close the heavens opened and many of the fans within the Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium became soaked with the open roof stadium providing little shelter. However, those who came to watch the game were to be rewarded for their commitment with a second-half that rained goals.

The first came three minutes into the second-half  when China equalized through No. 10 Tang, who ran on to a neat flick by captain Zhu before steering an angled shot into the bottom left corner form the edge of the box.

But once again China did not stay on level terms for long with Germany regaining the lead only three minutes later in the 51st minute. German winger Theresa Panfil received the ball on the right wing and miss cued a cross into the box that fortunately found its way into the corner of the Chinese goal.

China responded immediately though, with midfielder Tang jumping over a cross from No. 6 Lei that left the German keeper confused and the ball in the back of the net. The goal was the fourth goal scored during four crazy minutes of play and made the score 3-3.

Everyone in the stadium was allowed time to momentarily catch their breaths before another goal was scored in the 60th minute. The goal came from the penalty spot after a German defender was adjudge to have handle a cross, and China captain Zhu Bei Yan stepped up to coolly slot in her second goal of the game and give China the lead for the first time in the match.

China then began to dominate and looked like getting a fifth, but a quick counter by Germany led to a shot that ricocheted off the hand of a Chinese defender and it was now the Germans turn to have a penalty, with Germany No. 13 Sara Daebritz putting it away to get her second of the game.

Germany then regained the lead three minutes later when Theresa Panfil scored her second, finishing from six-yards out after China keeper Lu failed to deal with a cross.

With nine goals scored, most of those in side the Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium were already more than satisfied with what they had witnessed, but China had other ideas and brought the game’s goal tally to ten in the 80th minute.

China played some wonderful attacking football against a very good German team. (Getty Images)

China played some wonderful attacking football against a very good German team. (Getty Images)

Casual defending by Germany allowed China substitute Zhang to get a low shot off that found its way past keeper Kaemper and into the back of the net to make the score 5-5.

Both sides went in search of a winner in the dying stages, with China coming closest through No. 11 Zhang Zhu, but no team deserved to lose this game and the ref blew the whistle to bring an end to what surely has to be one of the U-20 all-time classic games.

The draw leaves Group B wide open with only three-points separating all three teams.

GROUP B
TEAMS MP W D L GF GA +/- Pts
GERMANY
2 1 1 0 7 5 2 4
USA
2 1 0 1 1 2 -1 3
CHINA PR
2 0 2 0 6 6 0 2
BRAZIL
2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1

 

 

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Horan Clinches Crucial Group B Win for USA
Horan Clinches Crucial Group B Win for USA avatar

The U.S. U20 WNT clashed with Brazil in the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton tonight, battling rainy, chilled conditions to clinch a crucial 1-0 victory.

Brazil and the U.S. both were going for the win. (Getty Images)

Brazil and the U.S. both were going for the win. (Getty Images)

They came into their second Group B match all business with sights set on a win after a stunning loss to Germany left the defending champs pointless. Brazil proved that victory wouldn’t come easy and anything can happen, especially after an incredulous 5-5 draw between China PR and Germany shocked and thrilled just hours before.

Forward Lindsey Horan wasn’t about to let her team go scoreless though, and she surged forward in the final minutes of regulation to deliver the win USA desperately needed.

Amongst the slipping and sliding throughout the first half, no goals were scored, and not many chances presented themselves, but some drama did unfold, taking one key player out for each side and setting the tone for the game.

In the 19th minute, a terrifying tackle by Brazilian midfielder Djenifer saw U.S. midfielder Mallory Pugh flying to the ground, clutching her right leg in immense pain. She came out of the game early, but minutes later Djenifer would trudge off the field herself, after an elbow to the face from Horan left her with a bloody nose.

(Getty Images)

The U.S. bench were ecstatic when Horan scored the winner for the U.S. (Getty Images)

The second half ensued in similar fashion; a struggle between both sides to fine tune attacks and deliver on chances. Brazilian defense was all over U.S. offense, while the U.S. charged head on, bringing a highly physical element to the game.

Minutes ticked quickly drawing down to the final 10, and the anticipation for a goal deepened. Then, in the 80th minute, a fine-tuned combination play between Summer Green and Horan would give the U.S. their first lead of the tournament, and ultimately, victory.

Green courageously took on two Brazilian defenders, finagling the ball away from the right corner and sending a sharp cross to Horan in the box. The PSG forward drilled a low shot from six yards out, and it struck the net, emitting a wave of exuberance from the crowd and American team as the gritty deadlock broke 1-0.

With the win, the U.S. sit in second place with three points. Germany leads the pack with four, China PR sits at third with two and Brazil rounds out the Group B pack with one point.

Next, the Americans head to Moncton to face China PR on Tuesday.

Group A

Elsewhere, hosts Canada came from two goals down to claim their first win of the competition with a 3-2 win over Finland.

The hosts got off to the worst start by conceding after only 3-minutes when slack defending from a corner allowed Finland No.9, Juliette Kempp, to nod home from just three yards.

Canada and Finland fought a very close contested match. (Getty Images)

Canada and Finland fought a very close contested match. (Getty Images)

Canada rallied and went in search of an equalizer, but they soon found themselves two goals down with Kempp once again the goal scorer. The forward took advantage of some loose defending to break loose and finish low into the bottom corner.

At the break it seemed Canada’s fate was sealed, but coach Andrew Olivieri had other ideas and made two changes. One of those changes Janine Beckie had an instant impact scoring three-minutes into the second-half. The goal breathed life into the hosts and two minutes they were level with another sub, Valerie Sanderson, grabbing the equalizer.

The home crowd was now on their feet as they tried to inspire their team, and their support paid dividends 10 minutes before the end when Nichelle Prince tapped in after some good work from Beckie.

Meanwhile, in Group A’s other game Korea DPR beat Ghana 3-0 with two goals from Ri Un Sim and one from defender Jon Son Yun. The win leaves Korea DRP top of Group A on six-points, while host Canada sit second on three-points level with Ghana, with Finland bottom with zero-points.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        0 1 1
BRA                        0 0 0

USA – Lindsey Horan (Summer Green)    82nd minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Katelyn Rowland; 16-Stephanie Amack, 3-Cari Roccaro (capt.), 20-Katie Naughton, 2-Christina Gibbons; 5-Rose Lavelle, 17-Andi Sullivan, 12-Mallory Pugh (6-Taylor Racioppi, 37); 15-Margaret Purce (11-Rachel Hill, 82), 10-Lindsey Horan, 9-Makenzy Doniak (8-Summer Green, 66)
Subs Not Used: 4-Brittany Basinger, 7-Savannah Jordan, 13-Carlyn Baldwin, 14-Nickolette Driesse, 18-Jane Campbell, 19-Kaleigh Riehl, 21-Rose Chandler
Head Coach: Michelle French

BRA: 12-Leticia; 2-Letícia Santos, 4-Julia, 5-Gabi, 6-Camila, 8-Djeni, 9-Byanca (17-Nenê, 60), 10-Andressa (capt.), 11-Patrícia (19-Rafaela, 73), 13-Nágela, 18-Carol (7-Duda, 80)
Subs Not Used: 1-Nicole, 3-Thaynara, 14-Caroline, 15-Gabi Lira, 16-Tipa, 20-Gabrielle, 21-Bussato
Head Coach: Doriva Bueno

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 13 / 14
Shots on Goal: 6 / 8
Saves: 8 / 5
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 5
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
BRA – Djeni (caution)                  28th minute
USA – Lindsey Horan (caution)    38
BRA – Patrícia (caution)               70

GROUP B
TEAMS MP W D L GF GA +/- Pts
GERMANY
2 1 1 0 7 5 2 4
USA
2 1 0 1 1 2 -1 3
CHINA PR
2 0 2 0 6 6 0 2
BRAZIL
2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1

 

 

 

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U17 MNT Bow out in Mexico
U17 MNT Bow out in Mexico avatar

The U.S. MNT U17 team fell today at the semifinal stage of the Copa Mexico de Naciones by a 2-1 score to a superior Ecuador team.

Head coach Richie Williams . (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Head coach Richie Williams selected many of his star players for this outin . (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

This was the Americans A team that coach Richie Williams brought to Mexico City, and they were hoping to make up for a sixth place showing by the B squad at the Open Nordic Cup last week in Denmark.

The Americans performed enough in the early stages of this event to win Group C without without dropping a point. Matching hat tricks by the Americans dynamic duo of

and Haji Wright were too much for China in the opener, a 6-0 U.S. victory. Pulisic would go on to score at least one goal in every game, except for the U.S. semifinal loss to Ecuador.

The Americans won the group with a 2-0 win over the Mexico B team and a 2-1 victory over Paraguay that secured the group for the U.S.

(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Pulisic scored the lone goal for the U.S.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

That set up a semifinal showdown with Colombia, that would go to penalty kicks, after Pulisic scored the U.S. goal in a 1-1 draw.

The Americans advanced to the semi’s, winning the shootout 3-0 on goals from Pulisic, Elijah Rice, and Daniel Barbir, with U.S. goalkeeper William Pulisic coming up big in the net for the Yanks.

The Americans were unable to gain much possession in the semifinal match against the talented Ecuadorians, and when the U.S. fell behind 1-0 in the 24th minute, it was no surprise. U.S. keep Kevin Silva had done heroic work to that point to keep the game tied at zeroes, but eventually something had to give.

When the U.S. conceded again late, the result looked to be set. Midfielder Alejandro Zendejas pulled one back for the Americans, but it was too little, too late and the Copa Mexico de Naciones was over or the U.S.

Haji Wright was one of the outstanding performers. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Haji Wright was one of the outstanding performers. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Pulisic finished with six goals and Wright added four, but when neither could hit the target against Ecuador it was all over for Richie Williams and his A team.

Striker Kai Koreniuk signed his first professional contract,a three year deal with Vitesse this week. The Florida raised 16 year old was able to bypass the tricky European laws because his mother was born in the Netherlands.

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U.S. Ready for Brazil
U.S. Ready for Brazil avatar

The U.S. U-20 WNT face-off against Brazil in Edmonton later today in a game that could decide their World Cup fate.

The U.S. lost their opening game 2-0 to Germany and currently sit bottom of Group B. The U.S. did actually lose to Germany during the group stages of the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup before eventually going on to win the competition with a victory over Germany in the Final. However, that loss in 2012 came in their final group game, while Tuesday’s defeat now leaves the Stars and Stripes with little margin for error.

The U.S. will be looking to take all 3 points from Brazil. (Getty Images)

The U.S. will be looking to take all 3 points from Brazil. (Getty Images)

On Friday the U.S. face Brazil, who are perhaps the last opponents any team needing a result would wish to face. The Brazil Women’s team may not have the record of success of their male counterparts, but they do possess the flair and skill that we have all come to associate with A Seleção and poise a real threat to the future of the USA in the competition.

The Brazilians played well and looked on course to secure a vital win over China in their opening game, but they conceded a last-minute goal that leaves Group B finely poised.

Michelle French (Getty Images)

Michelle French thinks it is a good time for her team to step up.(Getty Images)

Forward Byanca scored Brazil’s goal and was their star performer, though she injured herself midway through the second-half. After the game Brazil coach Dorival Bueno played down the severity of the injury, and if Byanca starts she will represent a real threat to the Stars and Stripes backline.

Speaking about the challenge that awaits the Stars and Stripes, coach Michelle French said: “Brazil represents a tough challenge for us in terms of their attacking flair and individual personalities. They play a really exciting brand of soccer, so defensively we will have to be really solid, especially in one vs. one”

Tuesday’s loss means everything is at stake for the U.S. in the game against Brazil, but French believes the added pressure can spur the team on.

“Now there is no option, they have to go out and get the job done. But I know they are going to be prepared both emotionally and technically to be able to do that”

“It is an exciting time for the team, to be able to step up and show the people back home and the rest of the world what they can do on the field”

Meanwhile, U.S. captain, Cari Roccaro added,“We’re ready for Brazil. We always keep going, that’s what the U.S. does,”



The U.S. kick-off against Brazil at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium at 7:00pm (EDT), while Germany face China in Group B’s other game at 9:00pm (EDT)

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U-20 Women’s World Cup Opening Games – USA and Canada Stumble
U-20 Women’s World Cup Opening Games – USA and Canada Stumble avatar

The 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup kicked off in Canada on Tuesday and after the first round of games it is Korea DPR, Germany, France and England that all lead the way in their groups. However, with two games still to play everything is still up for grabs.

The next round of games take place on Friday and Saturday, but before we concentrate on those we at GotSoccer will give you a quick recap and round up of all the action from the first round.

Group A

Finland 1-2 Korea DPR

Korea DPR got their World Cup campaign off to the best start with a narrow 2-1 win over Finland at Toronto’s National Soccer Stadium.

All three of the game’s goals were scored in an entertaining and evenly battled first half, with the European side a tad unfortunate to be edged out by the 2006 champions.

Korea held out an walked away with the victory. (Getty Images)

Korea held out an walked away with the victory. (Getty Images)

Finland started the brighter, but found themselves a goal down after only 15-minutes when forward Kim So Hyang headed in from close range after some good work down the left flank by Choe Un Hwa.

12 minutes later Korea DPR doubled their advantage when Choe Yun Gyong let fly with a rasping 25-yard shot, which left Finland keeper and captain Varis with no chance.

However, Finland did not let their heads fall and demonstrated their quality and character by battling their way back into the game. Sini Laaksonen got their goal with a strike that was arguably sweeter than Choe Yun Gyong, directing a thunderbolt from 20 yards into the top left corner of the goal.

In the second-half Finland pressed forward in search of an equalizer and should have drawn level when Sanni Franssi was put through one-on-one. However, Korea DPR managed to see out the game and are now in good shape ahead of their upcoming game against Ghana.

Canada 0-1 Ghana

Hosts Canada got off to a disappointing start losing 1-0 to Ghana in Toronto.

A single goal midway through the first half was enough to see the Black Princesses to victory, and now leaves Canada precariously close to elimination.

Ghana stunned Canada and now lead their group. (Getty Images)

Ghana stunned Canada by walking away with all 3 points. (Getty Images)

Forward Sherifatu Sumaila was the goal scorer, finishing from close range after 22-minutes when Edem Atovor’s low drive was parried into her path by Canadian keeper Kailen Sheridan.

Canada almost replied instantly when Emma Fletcher’s well hit shot beat Ghanaian keeper Victoria Agyei, but the Louisiana State University midfielder’s effort rattled the post and Ghana managed to clear their lines.

In the second half Canada, cheered on by 14,834 partisan fans, cranked up the pressure on Ghana with wave after wave of attacks. However, the hosts were unable to convert their chances into goals, with Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince both guilty of missing gilt edged opportunities.

The loss means Canada must at least draw their next game against Finland if they are to have any hope of qualifying for the next round, while Ghana know a win for them over Korea DPR would see them through to the next round.

Group B

Germany 2-0 USA

2012 Champions USA lost their opening game of the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Germany.

Two second-half goals from Lena Petermann and Theresa Panfil were enough to see Germany avenge their defeat to the USA in the 2012 final.

Andi Sullivan (L) trying to make things happen for the U.S. (Getty Images)

Andi Sullivan (L) trying to make things happen for the U.S. (Getty Images)

The game was an open and exciting affair with both sides attacking and creating chances. However, excellent goal keeping from both Germany keeper Meike Kamper and U.S. keeper Katelyn Rowland ensured the game was goalless at half-time.

In the second-half, the U.S. started well and began to dominate the match, however, a poor touch from Andi Sullivan in the middle of the field allowed German forward Pauline Bremer to win possession of the ball and slip in forward Lena Petermann, who ran the ball into the penalty area before smashing in a shot off the underside of the bar.

The U.S. rallied and went in search of an equalizer and could have drawn level on a couple of occasion, with Rose Lavelle unlucky not to score after being denied twice from close range by German keeper Kamper, and Lindsey Horan miscuing her header after a quick free kick from Andi Sullivan.

Lena Peterman celebrating her goal against the U.S. (Getty Images)

Lena Peterman celebrating her goal against the U.S. (Getty Images)

However, the U.S. began to tire as the game entered into its final minutes and Germany sealed their win in added time when player of the match, Theresa Panfil, was allowed to drive towards the edge of the box unchallenged and hit a shot that nestled into the bottom left corner of the goal.

The defeat leaves holders USA needing a win or at least a draw in their next game against Brazil to have any hopes of qualifying, while Germany know a win against China will see them through.

China 1-1 Brazil

China secured a 1-1 draw against Brazil in their opening game thanks to a last gasp 89th minute goal.

Byanca scored to give Brazil the lead in the 65th minute. (Getty Images)

Byanca scored to give Brazil the lead in the 65th minute. (Getty Images)

Brazil took the lead in the 66th minute through forward Byanca, however, the goal was not quite enough to seal a win and China managed to claw their way back thanks to a last-minute goal by substitute Zhang Zhu.

China dominated the first-half, passing the ball well and controlling possession. Yet, for all their control they were unable to create any clear chances and at half-time the score was 0-0 with neither side creating much.

The second-half looked like following the pattern of the first half, until Brazilian forward Byanca lit up the game with a moment of magic; rainbow flicking a ball over a defender and hitting a shot that was parried wide by Chinese keeper Lu.

The skill seemed to spark Brazil into life with Byanca at the heart of all their good attacking play. And so it was no surprise when she opened the scoring reacting first after a pass ricocheted across the box to prod the ball past the oncoming keeper before scoring into an empty net.

However, Byanca’s game was to end prematurely when she hurt her foot while attempting a pass and Brazil’s dominance began to wane in her absence.

Zhang Zhu of China celebrates the equaliser.(Getty Images)

Zhang Zhu of China celebrates the equaliser.(Getty Images)

China made three second-half substitutions and dominated the last quarter of the game as they went in search of an equalizer. But they were still finding it hard to trouble the Brazilian goal and it seemed they had run out of ideas.

However, with just a minute left to play they finally got their reward when a lobbed free kick into the box led to a goal mouth scrabble that eventually landed at the feet of substitute Zhang Zhu, who made no mistake smashing in a shot from less than five yards out.

Group C

England 1-1 Korea Republic

England and Korea Republic played out a 1-1 draw in their opening game of the 2014 FIFA U-20s Women’s World Cup after a nervy 90 minutes.

Korea Republic took the lead in the first half thanks to a penalty scored by Lee Sodam, but England leveled midway through the second half with a goal from Martha Harris.

England and Korea Republic both struggled to make their mark. (Getty Images)

England and Korea Republic both struggled to make their mark. (Getty Images)

The game represented the first time these two sides had faced one another at a U-20 Women World Cup, and the weight of the occasion appeared to show with both sides making a series of unforced errors during the opening periods of the game.

Korea started the better and was rewarded for their adventure in the 15th minute when Lee Sodam converted a penalty after England defender Aoife Mannion was adjudged to have handled a cross.

England almost had an instant reprieve through Katie Zelem whose effort struck the crossbar, while Korea keeper Min Yukyeong blocked Nikita Parris’ shot just before the half drew to a close to keep the score line 1-0 at the break.

The second half was rather scrappy with both teams sloppy in possession. Korea had chances to double their lead from a series of dangerous set pieces, but they failed to convert their opportunities and in the end they were made to pay when England equalized.

An indirect free-kick delivered by Zelem in the 68th minute was not cleared by Korea keeper Min Yukyeong and defender Martha Harris was more than happy to tap into the gaping goal.

Both teams went in search of a winner as the game drew to a close, but neither side possessed the skill or imagination to muster a winner and in the end a draw was a fair result.

Mexico 1-1 Nigeria

Mexico got their first points of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in Moncton.

Both goals came in the first-half with Mexico scoring first through Fabiola Ibbara, but Nigeria leveled just before half-time thanks to Osarenoma Igbinovia.

Nigeria started the game brightly, using their trademark speed and strength to dominate the opening passages of the game, and should have taken the lead when Asisat Oshoala latched onto a ball over the top. However, the midfielder fluffed her lines chipping a shot over the onrushing keeper and clear of the cross bar.

Mexico and Nigeria took the share of the points. (Getty Images)

Mexico and Nigeria took the share of the points. (Getty Images)

Mexico slowly settled into their rhythm and soon opened the scoring when Fabiola Ibarra profited from headed clearance from Nigeria’s goalkeeper, who tried to nullify a break away over the top. However, the forward still had a lot to do and showed great skill to lob the ball over goalkeeper Sandra Chiichii.

Nigeria responded strongly and almost drew level through Loveth Ayila whose shot well saved by Mexico keeper Cecilia Santiago. However, the Green Eagles were not to be denied and drew level three minutes before the break, when Osarenoma Igbinovia latched onto a defensive error before firing an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the goal.

In the second-half both sides went in search of a winner, with Nigeria looking the most likely to score. However, neither side possessed the quality and game ended in stalemate.

The draw leaves Group C finely poised with all four sides level on one-point.

Group D

France 5-1 Costa Rica

France sent a message out to all their U-20 World Cup rivals with a terrific 5-1 win over Costa Rica.

Goals from Lavogez ( 7’ pen, 38’), Robert (18’), Sarr (52’), as well as an own goal from Costa Rica reaffirmed France’s credentials as one of the tournament favorites.

The French dominated from the outset and took the lead within seven minutes when Claire Lavogez slotted in a penalty after Faustine Robert was taken down in the box.

11-minutes later Robert had another telling contributions, doubling France’s lead with a finish from six-yards after a tremendous dribble from Forward Kadidatou Diani.

France showed their class in their opening game go their tournament. (Getty Images)

France showed their class in their opening game go their tournament. (Getty Images)

The outlook was not looking great for Costa Rica and it went from bad to worse when Fabiola Villalobos inadvertently sliced her clearance into her own net from a Lavogez cross. The France No. 10 then scored a peach of a goal looping in a shot from the right hand side of the box to make the score-line 4-0 after only 38-minutes.

One sensed the score-line might reach double figures, but France failed to maintain their attacking momentum from the first half. Nevertheless they did still manage to score one more time, with Ouleymata Sarr scoring at the second attempt after being put through with a delightful pass from Sandie Toletti.

Despite the scoreline Costa Rica never dropped their heads and were rewarded for their hard work when Melissa Herrera, easily Costa Rica’s top performer, scored at the second attempt to claim the goal her excellent performance deserved.

 

New Zealand 2-0 Paraguay

New Zealand got their World Cup campaign off to the best start earning a 2-0 win over South Americans Paraguay.

The Kiwis have never progressed past the group stage, but first half goals from Emma Rolston and Steph Skilton mean New Zealand are well placed to make history.

In a tight game with few chances, it was Skilton who looked most likely to provide the moment of inspiration that would break the deadlock. The Kiwi midfielder created the games first real chance, dribbling past several defenders before playing a one-two and hitting a shot that was well saved by Paraguay’s keeper.

New Zealand would make history if they get out of the group stages. (Getty Images)

New Zealand would make history if they get out of the group stages. (Getty Images)

Paraguay also had a chance with Jessica Martinez weaving her way past the Kiwi defense and feeding Tania Espinola, who hit a firm shot just wide.

That miss proved costly and with five minutes to go before the break New Zealand found a breakthrough. Emma Rolston was the scorer, curling a left-footed shot just inside the post from the edge of the box after a collecting a pass from Steph Skilton. Three minutes later it was Skilton’s turn to score, finishing into an empty net after some terrific work from captain Katie Bowen.

In the second-half Paraguay pushed forward in search of an equalizer, as New Zealand protected their lead. However, they were unable to find a break through with Silvana Romero’s audacious 30-yard lob their closest effort.

Paraguay and Costa Rica now face one another knowing defeat will result in elimination, while New Zealand face France for a place at the top of Group D.

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Donovan to Retire
Donovan to Retire avatar

Landon Donovan turned to Facebook today to confirm multiple reports that he will in fact retire from the game at the end of the 2014 Major League Soccer season.

The face of U.S. soccer almost from the moment he signed with Bayer Leverkusen in 1999 as a 17 year old, Donovan will retire as perhaps the best, and certainly the most controversial American to ever play the game.

Donovan was a star for the U.S. at 1999 U-17 World Cup. (Getty Images)

Donovan was a star for the U.S. at 1999 U-17 World Cup. (Getty Images)

Donovan has long been the one player even casual American soccer fans knew, a status cemented by his spectacular injury time goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. When Klinsmann left Donovan home this summer it immediately became a huge story.

Donovan’s knack of providing the big moment could have come in handy in Brazil, and he showed that he still has it when he scored the match winner against Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s MLS All Star game.

Donovan exclusion from the world cup upset many fans.(Getty Images)

Donovan exclusion from the world cup upset many fans.(Getty Images)

As Donovan heads into retirement there can be little dispute that the 32 year old is the best U.S. MNT team player of all time, retiring with the most goals and the most assists in national team history.

Similarly, Donovan steps away from the game as the best American, and arguably the best player of any nationality, in the history of MLS. This season Donovan rose to the top of the league’s all time list in goals. Now with 15 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy remaining, Donovan needs nine assists to catch Steve Ralston for first place in that category.

Donovan has also scored more playoff goals than any other MLS player.

Donovan starring for the Galaxy.(ISI Photos)

Donovan starring for the Galaxy.(ISI Photos)

When things didn’t work out for Donovan at Leverkusen, it prompted a loan move back to his native California where he became an immediate star, winning two MLS titles with the original San Jose Earthquakes, and earning a spot at the 2002 World Cup.

The move back to San Jose ignited a narrative that would dog Donovan throughout much of his career, with critics contending that Donovan was unwilling to truly test himself at the games top level.

The question wasn’t talent. The 20 year old Donovan won Best Young Player at the 2002 World Cup, scoring twice as the U.S. made it all the way to the quarterfinals.

No, it wasn’t talent, so people questioned Donovan’s toughness. A forced, and unhappy, seven game return to Leverkusen in 2005 led Donovan to a transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Donovan will be missed.  (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Donovan will be missed. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Again Donovan was a hit in California, again the sniping continued. “Landycakes” couldn’t hack it away from his comfort zone.

When Jurgen Klinsmann brought Donovan with him to Bayern Munich in 2009, neither one’s reputation was enhanced by the experience, and Donovan returned once more to Southern California.

Donovan and Klinsmann both survived, and the duo seemed likely to form a solid partnership when Klinsmann took over the U.S. MNT in 2011.

Then Donovan took his infamous sabbatical, ruining his relationship with Klinsmann and ultimately leading to Donovan missing out on Brazil, and his fourth World Cup.

Below is Donovan’s statement.

Landon Donovan

After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player.

I don’t write these words lightly and this day carries mixed emotions for me. I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy. I will miss all of the teammates who helped me create so many incredible memories on-the-field, and who I have shared many wonderful experiences with off-the-field. I will miss my coaches, at both the club and national team levels, who have helped me develop throughout my career and helped make me the player I am today. However, after spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.

There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.

I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.

As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States. I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life.

With gratitude,

Landon

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China Earn Last Gasp Draw
China Earn Last Gasp Draw avatar

The last game of the opening day of the 2014 FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup ended in a 1-1 draw after an exciting encounter between China and Brazil.

Brazil took the lead in the 65th minute through forward Byanca, but a last gasp goal from China substitute Zhang Zhu ensured the points were shared.

Byanca scored to give Brazil the lead in the 65th minute. (Getty Images)

Byanca scored to give Brazil the lead in the 65th minute. (Getty Images)

The game started well, with both China and Brazil demonstrating their technical ability by neatly passing the ball around in a calm and confident manner. But as the game progressed China, cheered on by a large contingent of boisterous fans, began to dominate possession and slowly gain control the game.

Yet for all their possession China found it difficult to create any clear cut chances and indeed, it was Brazil that had the game’s first real effort at goal after 16 minutes, with midfielder Camila hitting a shot from distance after some silky skill from forward Byanca. However, Camila’s shot was hit straight down the middle with Chinese keeper Lu tipping the effort over.

China continued to dominate possession and thought they had taken the lead midway through the first half when forward Zhang prodded in a cross from the left, but the forward was adjudged to have been offside. Soon after Brazil also had the ball in the net, but the officials once again correctly ruled offside and at half-time both teams returned to the locker rooms to 0-0 score line.

Tang Jiali of China PR an Andressa of Brazil battle for the ball. (Getty Images)

Tang Jiali of China PR an Andressa of Brazil battle for the ball. (Getty Images)

The second half started slowly with both teams struggling to find their rhythm of play, but it sparked into life in the 54th minute when Brazil forward Byanca produced a moment of mesmerizing skill.

The Brazilian forward received the ball 25-yards out and drove towards goal before producing a rainbow flick over an oncoming defender and shooting at goal. The effort was tipped wide by China keeper Lu, but seemed to inspire the Brazilians.

First neat interplay down the right flank by right back Julia and Brazil captain Adressa led to a cross that almost found forward Byanca, then moments later the forward almost scored again after China keeper Lu spilled after coming to claim a through ball.

The Brazilian forward was at the heart of all Brazil’s good attacking play and it was no surprise when she opened the scoring in the 65th minute, reacting quickest to a ricocheted pass.

Brazil’s Patricia blocked Chinese defender Lyu’s attempted pass out wide, and the ball rebounded straight across the box with Byanca out pacing two Chinese defenders to poke the ball past the onrushing Lu.

Brazil continued to look lively and it seemed only a matter of time before they would double their lead, however, in the 72nd minute their star performer Byanca was forced off after being hurt in a challenge and the change appeared to knock the wind out of Brazil’s sails.

China replaced midfielder Liu with fellow midfielder Zhang Zhu and once again began to dominate possession, but they were still finding it difficult to create any chances and trouble the Brazilian goal.

Zhang Zhu of China celebrates the equaliser.(Getty Images)

Zhang Zhu of China celebrates the equaliser.(Getty Images)

However, with only a minute remaining on the clock China found an equalizer through substitute Zhang Zhu. The midfielder was in the right place at the right time after a goal mouth scrabble led the ball to land at her feet three yards from goals, where she lashed the ball home to gain China a valuable point.

The draw means Germany top Group B with three points, with Brazil and China second on one points, and the U.S. bottom on zero points.

The U.S. plays Brazil next on Saturday, while Germany plays China on the same day.

GROUP B
TEAMS MP W D L GF GA +/- Pts
GERMANY
1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
BRAZIL
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
CHINA PR
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
USA
1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0

 

 

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Germany Upsets U.S. in Gritty U20 World Cup Opener
Germany Upsets U.S. in Gritty U20 World Cup Opener avatar

The highly anticipated Group B opener of the 2014 FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup erupted this afternoon, where the U.S. fell to Germany 2-0 after a determined neck-and-neck fight to the finish.

“I actually think our team came out more confident,” said team captain Cari Roccaro after the match. “We created a lot of chances and we had 16 shots on goal and 21 shots in general and we were in there attacking. It was a really good game and we learned a lot from this.”

The first half was calm and collected as both teams felt each other out, slowly building up the play and sneaking in dangerous shots on both ends of the spectrum. The goalkeepers saw the most action, diving and siding into the thick of it to dutifully keep the nets clear.

Lindsey Horan holds off Germany's Margarita Gidion. (Getty Images)

Lindsey Horan holds off Germany’s Margarita Gidion. (Getty Images)

In the 12th minute a lightning fast Mallory Pugh fled down the right side before crossing to Lindsey Horan at the left corner of the box. The PSG forward drilled the ball towards goal but German goalkeeper Meike Kaemper was quick to clear.

Germany responded seconds after with a dangerous attack that saw U.S. goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland go one-on-one with the opposition, snatching the ball as it hissed towards her.

Lena Peterman celebrating her goal against the U.S. (Getty Images)

Lena Peterman celebrating her goal against the U.S. (Getty Images)

Germany began to take more shots, but U.S. defense held on till the brink. In the 39th minute a scramble in front of the U.S. net saw Rowland come off her line at the wrong moment. Germany took that golden opportunity, with forward Lena Petermann executing a shaky bicycle kick across the 6-yard box. Pauline Bremer tried to head the loose ball in, and it ambled towards the open net, but U.S. defender Katie Naughton dove to keep it out.

The aggression deepened in the second half as an opening goal was sought. The U.S. smashed off some shots right at the start, but Germany answered back with some deadly chances of their own. Heated play went back and forth, and just minutes in, Rowland came off her line again, diving and losing the ball. German captain Lina Magull took a promising shot at the open net, but nailed the post instead.

It was only a matter of time till Germany would redeem themselves.

Rose Lavelle played the ball in to Andi Sullivan at the halfway line, but at that moment possession was whisked away by German forward Pauline Bremer. It was a critical play, and she slipped the ball to Petermann in the middle. The German forward charged into the box and smashed her shot into the net to take the 1-0 lead in the 64th minute.

Andi Sullivan (L) trying to make things happen for the U.S. (Getty Images)

Andi Sullivan (L) trying to make things happen for the U.S. (Getty Images)

The final 10 minutes of regulation seemed incredibly long as the U.S. fought desperately for an equalizer. Pugh found two open chances to score from the left side, couldn’t break through. Her first shot was deflected by a spot-on kick from the goalkeeper. She rebounded with another try and once more, the ball was kicked away.

The U.S. seemed tired as they began to leave gaps in the back and focused on the attack. In the final minute of play, Germany snatched another opportunity to score. Theresa Panfil nabbed the ball from 30 yards out and easily sped towards goal, firing her shot low to the bottom left corner to seal a German win 2-0.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
GER 0 2 2

GER – Lena Petermann (Pauline Bremer) 65th minute
GER – Theresa Panfil (Kathrin Schermuly) 90

Lineups:
USA: 1-Katelyn Rowland; 16-Stephanie Amack, 3-Cari Roccaro (capt.), 20-Katie Naughton, 4-Brittany Basinger; 5-Rose Lavelle, 17-Andi Sullivan (13-Carlyn Baldwin, 74), 12-Mallory Pugh; 15-Margaret Purce (8-Summer Green, 77), 10-Lindsey Horan, 7-Savannah Jordan (9-Makenzy Doniak, 46)
Subs Not Used: 2-Christina Gibbons, 6-Taylor Racioppi, 11-Rachel Hill, 14-Nickolette Driesse, 18-Jane Campbell, 19-Kaleigh Riehl, 21-Rose Chandler
Head Coach: Michelle French

GER: 1-Meike Kaemper; 2-Manjou Wilde, 3-Felicitas Rauch, 4-Margarita Gidion, 8-Rebecca Knaak, 6-Lina Magull (capt.) (10-Linda Dallmann, 60), 11-Theresa Panfil, 13-Sara Daebritz (7-Kathrin Schermuly, 79), 19-Rieke Dieckmann; 9-Pauline Bremer, 18-Lena Petermann (15-Wibke Meister, 72)
Subs Not Used: 5-Franziska Jaser, 12-Merle Frohms, 14-Marie Becker, 16-Joelle Wedemeyer, 17-Jennifer Gaugigl, 20-Madeline Gier, 21-Anna Klink
Head Coach: Maren Meinert

Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 21 / 18
Shots on Goal: 16 / 13
Saves: 10 / 16
Corner Kicks: 9 / 6
Fouls: 9 / 9
Offside: 0 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Rose Lavelle (caution) 18th minute
GER – Margarita Gidion (caution) 74

GROUP B
TEAMS MP W D L GF GA +/- Pts
GERMANY
1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
BRAZIL
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
CHINA PR
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
USA
1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

Major League Soccer is heading to Wednesday’s All Star Game off of a flurry of weekend games and player acquisitions, and even some expansion news.

1) Bayern Munich takes on MLS

Oh, oh. When the league first invited foreign clubs to play against the MLS All Stars, the visitors appeared happy to see the sights, and get a little sun before taking their loss and heading home.

Schweinsteiger  ® and Ribery in action for Bayern.(Getty Images)

Schweinsteiger ® and Ribery in action for Bayern.(Getty Images)

MLS won the first five such encounters, but that all changed in 2010 when Manchester United toppled MLS 5-2. The next year the Mancunians handed MLS a 4-0 walloping, although the league came back to top Chelsea in 2012.

Roma handled MLS in a lopsided 3-1 win last season, now here come the big, bad Germans. Fresh off leading Germany to World Cup victory, Bayern are hardly known for taking things easy.

In other words, the MLS Stars had better be on their toes, or this could get ugly.

2) Lampard On Loan to Manchester City

There will be no Aussie adventure for Frank Lampard, nope, Big Frank prefers to cool his heels in Manchester with the EPL Champions, as he awaits his January 2015 report date to New York City FC.

Lampard has been put on loan to Man City.(Courtesy of NYCFC)

Lampard has been put on loan to Man City.(Courtesy of NYCFC)

David Villa headed to Australia to keep his game sharp, but Lampard was able to work out something closer to home. That leaves NYC FC with players in England, Australia, San Antonio, and two in Norway.

Josh Saunders won three MLS Cup titles with the Galaxy, but for now he is donning the gloves for NASL side San Antonio Scorpions.

NYC FC have two more players under contract so far, and both are keeping fit in Norway. Defender Jeb Brovsky has signed on with Stromsgodset, while midfielder Andrew Jacobsen will be under the watchful eye of former U.S. MNT supremo Bob Bradley at Stabaek.

So Claudio Reyna will be racking up the miles, or at least the minutes, as he keeps up with his 2015 New York City Football Club players.

3) Orlando – On the Move Already?

Yes, but it’s just one block. The city of Orlando dropped an eminent domain suit against the Faith Deliverance Temple, instead the club and the city decided build the 19,500 seat stadium one block away.

In the build up to the World Cup, American viewers were regularly told that in Brazil, ‘football is like a religion.” In Orlando, at least, religion still comes out on top.

4) My Kind of Town? – Not So Fast Chicago, says Jermaine Jones.

Following a largely successful World Cup for the U.S. MNT, Jones has been said to be looking for a DP deal with an MLS club. A report at Goal.com indicated that Chicago had made Jones an offer of $6million for 2.5 years.

Here’s what Jones had to say.

Jermaine Jones celebrating his world cup goal. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jermaine Jones celebrating his world cup goal. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jermaine Jones @Jermainejunior · Aug 2
Good Morning my fans! The offer of chicago fire honors me! There are rumours in the news. But all the figures mentioned are not the truth.

It could still happen, so we will stay tuned.

5) Sacramento to MLS? And Does L.A. Really Need Two Teams?

Vivek Ranadive, the deep pocketed owner of the Sacramento Kings, is said to be interested in purchasing the wildly successful new USL-PRO franchise Sacramento Republic FC, with an eye toward capturing an MLS team for the California capitol.

The Republic burst into existence this April in front of a crowd of 20,231, almost double the league’s single game attendance mark. Playing the rest of their matches at the smaller Bonney Field, capacity 8,000, the Republic have gone on to set the USL-PRO season record. 118,000 plus have seen the fledgling side perform, besting the previous league record of 112,748 established by Orlando City in 2013. Orlando, of course, are MLS team 21, and will debut in 2015.

MLS  (Getty images)

MLS are still trying to get a buyer for Chivas. (Getty images)

This, while on Sunday, MLS operated L.A.II/Chivas USA played in front of 3,951 very loyal fans at the StubHub Center, capacity 27,000. Earlier this season the soon to be former Goats hosted an intimate gathering of 3,702, the lowest single game tally in league history.

MLS is trying to find someone to take the Chivas USA franchise off of its hands, maybe they will have some news during the All Star festivities. League Commissioner Don Garber has been steadfast in his belief that a second Los Angeles team is viable.

But is it? Since taking the field in 2005, Chivas USA have provided precious little such evidence. After averaging close to 20,000 fans a game in 2006, attendance declined steadily.

Garber has said that new owners with their own stadium will provide a rival for the Galaxy. Maybe, but Sacramento seems to have a fanbase in waiting. It’s certainly not L.A. but, maybe a team in the capitol can provide the glamor boys from L.A. with a worthy rival.

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NWSL Round Up Week 17: Spirit Move into 3rd Place
NWSL Round Up Week 17: Spirit Move into 3rd Place avatar

Washington Spirit moved into third place in League Standings this week after clinching a huge 2-1 win against No. 2 FC Kansas City last Wednesday in Boyds, MD. They finished off the successful weekend with another 2-1 home victory against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, pushing Spirit into a promising post-season position.

Rapinoe has shown her quality in the NWSL after returning from injury. (ISI PhotosAndrew Katsampes)

Rapinoe has shown her quality in the NWSL after returning from injury. (ISI PhotosAndrew Katsampes)

FC Kansas City came out of Wednesday’s loss with an 11-6-4 record, and aimed to redeem themselves on Saturday at home on the Verizon Wireless Field when they took on Seattle Reign FC. But, it just wasn’t a shining week for The Blues. The top two teams in the current standings drew 1-1, with a neat 6th minute goal from Amy Rodriguez and a 68th minute goal from U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe.

No. 8 Houston Dash secured no points this week, suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Portland Thorns on Sunday at Providence Park. But, their biggest defeat was dealt by Seattle Reign FC, who crushed Dash 4-1 last Wednesday on Houston’s home turf. Scottish international Kim Little led the charge, producing a brace and assisting U.S. forward Sydney Leroux in opening with an early 2-minute goal.

College draftee Kealia Ohai kept the Dash from getting a complete shut out, scoring in the 56th minute when she snuck a sharp shot passed Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo, unassisted. With Seattle’s continued success in the season and FC Kansas City’s loss to Washington Spirit on Wednesday, Seattle has secured home-advantage in the playoffs.

Wambach has missed a lot of the season with injury. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Wambach has missed a lot of the season with injury. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Last years finalist, WNY Flash, experienced bittersweet results this past week and sits at 6th place in league standings as playoffs draw near.

Thursday saw the Flash taken down by Sky Blue at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ, where Kelley O’Hara shut them out with a single 50th minute goal. The victory was a hard earned one, as Flash defenders played a strong game throughout. Sky Blue outshot them 12-5, but Flash goalkeeper Kelsey Wys put on quite the performance, registering an impressive 11 saves.

The loss must’ve been a tough one to swallow after such diligent defending, but the Flash made up for it with a close 4-3 win over the Boston Breakers on Sunday at Harvard Stadium.

Second half substitute Sonia Bermudez was the star of the night, breaking the 3-3 stale-mate with a 92+ goal to snatch the Flash victory.

U.S. midfielder Kristie Mewis in action against Korea. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

U.S. midfielder Kristie Mewis in action against Korea. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

U.S. forward Abby Wambach supplied a brace in the first half and Samantha Kerr kept the Flash in the lead with a goal in the 66th. Kristie Mewis made some huge plays for Boston, scoring a brace, including the 3-3 equalizer in the 76th. College draftee Jazmine Reeves also scored for Boston just two minutes before.

“To win the game in stoppage was just incredible for us,” Flash head coach Aaran Lines told NWSL. “I’m just happy for our players. They’ve continued to work hard and have stayed positive. They deserved that win.”

LEAGUE STANDINGS
# NWSL GP W L T PTS
1. Seattle Reign FC 21 15 1 5 50
2. FC Kansas City 22 11 6 5 38
3. Washington Spirit 22 10 8 4 34
4. Portland Thorns FC 22 9 7 6 33
5. Chicago Red Stars 21 7 7 7 28
6. Western New York Flash 22 8 11 3 27
7. Sky Blue FC 20 5 8 7 22
8. Houston Dash 20 5 12 3 18
9. Boston Breakers 20 4 14 2 14
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U20 U.S. WNT Prepare for World Cup Opener Against Germany
U20 U.S. WNT Prepare for World Cup Opener Against Germany avatar

The U20 U.S. WNT is set to kick off Group B play against Germany at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada on Tuesday- a challenging 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup opener pitting two of the best in the tournament.

The U.S. walked away victors in the last U-20 World Cup in Japan. (Getty Images)

The U.S. walked away victors in the last U-20 World Cup in Japan. (Getty Images)

A proven powerhouse, Germany has always been a serious threat in the U20 World Cup, claiming the title in 2004 and 2010. After losing to the U.S. and finishing as the runner up finalists in the 2012 World Cup, there will most certainly be competitive tension on Tuesday. It is unusual for Germany not to finish in the top three of this tournament, the only time being in 2006 when the U.S. ousted them 4-1 in quarterfinals.

Despite falling 2-1 to France in the semifinals of the 2013 UEFA U19 Women’s Championship, Germany had already secured their 2014 World Cup bid, and has the talent and experience to shake up their opponents. Several players made their mark at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in 2012, and are back for Canada glory, including goalkeeper Merle Frohms, defender Manjou Wilde, defender Rebecca Knaak and forward Pauline Bremer.

Lindsey Horan has played for the women's senior team and this should definitely be an advantage at this level.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Lindsey Horan has played for the women’s senior team and this should definitely be an advantage at this level.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

But, the American roster is as intimidating as it comes, filled with players such as professional player Lindsay Horan, UCLA goalkeeper Katlyn Rowland, and the midfield power-pack that includes, 2014 CONCACAF MVP Rose Lavelle, defender Stephanie Amack, and co-captain Cari Roccaro.

There is no room for error in Group B competition as the defending champs look to secure their title once more. Despite a gritty opener, the U.S. bring their own experience and skill to the table and have had ample preparation leading up to Canada, crushing Mexico 4-0 to win the 2014 CONCACAF Championship in January.

“We have a good mixture of leadership, talent and great technical ability on all three lines,” head coach Michelle French told USSoccer. “We have a lot of tactical understanding and creativity based on the way they read the game, and I see a lot of grit and bite in the way we defend. The combination of these factors gives us a very well-rounded team.”

 

 

 

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U.S. MNT U17 Stumble in Denmark but Soar in Mexico
U.S. MNT U17 Stumble in Denmark but Soar in Mexico avatar

A busy schedule for U.S. MNT youth teams continued this weekend with the U17’s finishing one tournament in Denmark while kicking off another in Mexico, both on Saturday.

Ramos chose to enter his U-17's in separate tournaments..(ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Ramos chose to enter his U-17’s in separate tournaments..(ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The Denmark based squad was finishing up a very disappointing Open Nordic Tournament that saw the U.S. drop the its first two matches before salvaging a bit of pride with a 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands, hardly a big scalp for the young Yanks.
The roster selected to travel to Denmark was clearly a U.S. B side, and with these sort of results, the that designation is unlikely to change anytime soon.

The U.S. U17 B’s finished play with a 4-3 loss to Finland in Saturday’s placement game to end up sixth at Open Nordic Tournament.

Meanwhile the A Team were getting things started on a decidedly better note in Mexico City, dominating China 6-0, with hat tricks from two of the programs top prospects, Haji Wright and Christian Pulisic. Pulisic recently signed a youth contract with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, who also have Americans Joe Gyau and Junior Flores on board, while Wright has been listed as unattached. Wright had been a part of the L.A. Galaxy set up, this new designation is thought to mean that the dynamic young attacker will soon sign on with a European team.

Joe Gallardo's loss will be a big blow for the young side. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Joe Gallardo’s injury will be a big blow for the young side. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Along with Wright and Pulisic, the team representing the U.S. in Mexico also has top players like Daniel Barbir, who recently signed in England with West Bromwich Albion, and Joe Gallardo, who is a member of Mexican club Monterrey. It has been confirmed that Gallardo broke his leg in yesterday’s match.

Interestingly, the U.S. play Mexico 2 today (Sunday). Paraguay, China, Mexico 2, and the U.S. make up Group C at the Mexico City based competition.

The U17 squad is not the only U.S. team below the senior level in action this month. U.S. Soccer has named a 19 player roster to take part in a five day camp in the Bahamas from August 3-7. The camp will feature a match versus the Bermuda Senior National Team on August 6, at the Thompson A. Robinson National Stadium.

Nine players on this squad graduate from the U.S. 2013 U20 World Cup team in Turkey. Those nine are goalkeepers Cody Cropper and Zack Steffen, defenders Juan Pablo Ocegueda and Oscar Sorto, midfielders Luis Gil and Benji Joya, and frontrunners Daniel Cuevas, Alonso Hernandez and Victor Pineda.

(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

(ISI Photos/John Dorton)

With an eye on learning from, and correcting the embarrassing failure to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, US Soccer put together a U21 team for the first time, getting together in April. Nine of this group were in that group as well, Christian Dean, Ocegueda, Sorto, Gil, Marlon Hairston, Joya, Cuevas, Jordan Morris, and Pineda.

“The chance to get this group of players together and get ahead of the curve in preparation for Olympic Qualifying in two years’ time is huge,” said U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann. “We began with the U-21 camp in April, and now it’s critical that we have as many camps and games as possible so we can build a deep pool of talent that can qualify for Brazil. The Olympics are an important opportunity for young players, and we have to capitalize on it.”

U.S. U17 MNT Roster

Open Nordic Tournament:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy; Westminster, Calif.), William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.)
DEFENDERS (6): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Nikkye DePoint (Revolution Empire; Rochester, N.Y.), Edwin Lara (Juventus; San Leandro, Calif.), AJ Palazzolo (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallon, Mo.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.), Miles Stray (Real Salt Lake AZ; Point Reyes, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Jonathan Gonzalez (Monterrey; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Kyle Gurrieri (NJCSA; Totowa, N.J.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Weston McKennie (FC Dallas Academy; Little Elm, Texas), Brian Zelaya (De Anza Force; San Mateo, Calif.)
FORWARDS (4): McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Kai Koreniuk (Vitesse; Ormond Beach, Fla.), Eric Matzelevich (Bethesda-Olney; Washington, D.C.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.)

Copa Mexico de Naciones:
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Unattached; Nashville, Tenn.), Edwin Lara (Juventus; San Leandro, Calif.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (6): Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey FC; San Diego, Calif.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Haji Wright (Unattached; Los Angeles, Calif.)

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