2013 NWSL Waiver Draft
2013 NWSL Waiver Draft avatar

On September 9 the eight NWSL teams received a list of 11 players during the inaugural offseason waiver draft, with Sky Blue FC the only team not to waive at least one player and defender Nikki Marshall becoming the only player to be snatched up by Washington Spirit.

-Waiver Draft List-

Boston Breakers Goalkeeper Ashley Phillips

Ashley Phillips in action for Boston in their shutout match against Sky Blue in July. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Ashley Phillips in action for Boston in their shutout match against Sky Blue in July. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Phillips started in 11 games this season and finished with a 2-5-4 record and one shutout. She joined the Breakers in 2009 for the WPS.

Boston Breakers defender/midfielder Jo Dragotta

Jo Dragotta (R) in action for Boston. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Jo Dragotta (R) in action for Boston. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Former University of Florida standout was drafted into the Breakers as the 21st overall pick in the 2013 NWSL draft and appeared in 10 games this season.

Chicago Red Stars defender Sonja Fuss

Sonja Fuss (L) has 68 caps for the German National team. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Sonja Fuss (L) has 68 caps for the German National team. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

This German footballer joined the Red Stars and started in 16 games this season. She also scored two goals and assisted on one.

Chicago Red Stars forward Inka Grings

Inka Grings (C) at almost 35 -  probably was her swan song for the NWSL. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Inka Grings (C) at almost 35 – probably was her swan song for the NWSL. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Also part of the German National Team, Grings has a lengthy history scoring three goals in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and helping Germany to win the bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics. She started in 14 games with the Red Stars this season and supplied three goals with one assist.

FC Kansas City forward Tiffany Cameron

Tiffany Cameron (Courtesy of FC Kansas City)

Tiffany Cameron will be hoping to get the opportunity to show her worth at this level.(Courtesy of FC Kansas City)

This Canadian National team player only played in one game this season, but the young Ohio State University star packs a punch on the field and was the Buckeyes’ leading scorer in 2012 with 21 goals, shattering her school’s record of 13.

Portland Thorns FC forward Nikki Marshall

Nikki Marshal will be plying her trade with Washington next season. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Nikki Marshall will be plying her trade with Washington next season. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

The 25 -year-old was the only player to be picked up during the waiver draft by Washington Spirit after starting in all 22 games and tallying one assist this season with NWSL Champ Portland Thorns.

Seattle Reign FC forward Kristina Larsen

Kristina Larsen in action for the Atlanta Beat in the former WPS. (ISI Photos/Perry McIntyre)

Kristina Larsen in action for the Atlanta Beat in the former WPS. (ISI Photos/Perry McIntyre)

Larsen started in four games with one assist this season. She was the lead scorer for the UCLA Bruins from 2006-2009, scoring nine goals with six assists her senior year.

Seattle Reign FC defender/midfielder Kristen Meier

Kristen Meier in action for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Kristen Meier in action for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Meier was the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NWSL College Draft and made six appearances for Seattle Reign with four starts. She played for Wake Forest University where she scored nine goals during her college career.

Washington Spirit midfielder Holly King

Holly King Washington Spirit. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Holly King was a standout performer for the Gators in the SEC. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

This young midfielder was selected as the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NWSL College Draft after playing with the University of Florida where she was chosen as the 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. She started in six games this season for Spirit.

Washington Spirit forward Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor (R) has struggled to make her mark on the NWSL. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Lindsay Taylor (R) has struggled to make her mark on the NWSL. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Taylor made six appearances for Seattle Reign before she was traded on July 1, 2013 to Washington Spirit where she also played in six games. She hails from soccer powerhouse Stanford University.

Western New York Flash midfielder Ingrid Wells

Ingrid Wells has not reached the heights that many predicted. (ISI Photos/Tim Bouwer)

Ingrid Wells has not reached the heights that many predicted. (ISI Photos/Tim Bouwer)

Washington Spirit initially drafted Wells, but they waived her on June 20, 2013.  She moved on to play for NWSL Championship runner up WNY Flash where she made 10 appearances.

 

 

 

 

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U.S. MNT Post Game Reactions
U.S. MNT Post Game Reactions avatar

It had to be Mexico and it had to be in Columbus, and of course it simply had to be 2-0. Dos A Cero. For the fourth time in four tries at this venue the U.S. beat their biggest rivals by that famous score line. This time it meant a trip to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Veterans Tim Howard and Landon Donovan led the way, Donovan with a goal and an assist, Howard with big saves in the first half to keep Mexico off the scoreboard until the U.S. attack found its feet.

Landon Donovan has returned from his sabbatical with fine performances. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Landon Donovan has returned from his sabbatical with fine performances. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

For the first time in his storied U.S. career Donovan had to earn his way onto this team, thanks to his self imposed sabbatical. “I think the best teams in the world operate that way,” Donovan said, when he was asked about fighting for his spot. “There’s not many teams or many players where you say that player is going to play no matter what every game.” “So, it’s good for us,” Donovan said, “and from game to game you have to perform or you might not play the next day.”

Some questions have been raised recently about Tim Howard’s performance, with some clamoring for Brad Guzan to take over. But after the game Donovan had high praise for his keeper. “He makes big saves. The crazy thing,” Donovan said, “is that those are big saves for most goalies, and we almost expect them of him.” And Donovan had this too to say about his longtime teammate. “You just feel so confident, you feel like they’re never going to score.”

Howard made some big saves. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Howard made some big saves. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

When Donovan’s remarks were relayed to him, Howard seemed genuinely moved. “I respect the heck out of him and it makes me feel good, because I feel the same about him,” Howard said. “Even when he was taking his hiatus, he’s a guy that we need on the pitch, because he strikes fear in the other team. They can’t double down on Deuce and it makes them have to spread out. Any compliment from Landon,” Howard concluded, “I’ll take because I respect the heck out of him.”

Striker Eddie Johnson got the winner that ultimately sent the U.S to the 2014 World Cup, but the Seattle Sounder was modest afterwards. “Happy for the team,” Johnson replied, when he was asked how he was feeling. “Now that we qualified, we can relax now.” “ I got a good run of form going now, for club and country,” EJ said, “and right now you just want to ride that rhythm.”

Johnson celebrating his winning goal against Mexico. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Johnson celebrating his winning goal against Mexico. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

“At the end of the day,” a humble Johnson said, “playing with such great players like Dempsey and Landon and Jermaine and Tim Howard and all of those guys, you can’t help but be confident when you’re on the field.” Of his goal Johnson said simply, “this time I wanted to keep it down and on frame, and I was very fortunate that it went in.”

Two players that might have opened some eyes with their performances tonight are Kyle Beckerman and Mix Diskerud. Klinsmann turned to Beckerman to man the center of the park tonight after Michael Bradley went down with an ankle sprain and his backup Geoff Cameron had to sit out on a yellow card suspension.

Beckerman has his fans and his detractors both. After tonight’s highly competent performance Beckerman may have changed some minds. Solid defensively and tidy on the ball, Beckerman offered a fine counterpoint to Jermaine Jones and his more freewheeling ways. “It was was awesome,” Beckerman said. “Really, it felt like a Cup game, everyone’s heart was on the line and going for it.”

Mix Diskerud is one of the foreign legion that has been brought in under Klinsmann, although as he told GotSoccer last week in Costa Rica, Diskerud considers himself to be very American. Tonight, in his biggest game so far for the United States, Diskerud looked right at home. In the game for Eddie Johnson, Mix said, “my main job was to be on the toes of the two guys in the midfield, for Mexico defensively.” “Offensively,” Diskerud said, “I could kind of do what I want, and that’s what I try to do, what I’m best at, and I set up Donovan for that goal, and it feels incredible.”

Diskerud proved his worth in the Gold Cup (Getty Images)

Diskerud proved his worth in the Gold Cup (Getty Images)

Diskerud continued, “I’m just really happy being a part of this group.” “We’re just part of a team that made the Gold Cup,” Diskerud said, before correcting himself, “or the World Cup, right now.” “That’s what I love about soccer,” Diskerud said, sounding very American then. “It’s a team feeling, it’s not individual and it’s the best feeling I’ve ever had.”

Likely plenty of his teammates would agree with that sentiment as tonight, the U.S.A. punched their ticket to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

 

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USA Clinches World Cup Spot!
USA Clinches World Cup Spot! avatar

Columbus, Ohio – USA is going to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014!

The Red, White & Blue clinched their seventh straight trip to the World Cup with a solid 2-0 win over Mexico in front of a raucous sold-out crowd in Columbus, Ohio.  The win, coupled with Panama’s draw with Honduras ensures USA qualifies with two games still remaining.

The U.S. celebrating after their victory that saw them qualify for Brazil 2014. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. celebrating after their victory that saw them qualify for Brazil 2014. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Mexico dominated  early possession and USA keeper Tim Howard had to be alert to stop a potential own goal from a DeMarcus Beasley deflection. Howard also did well to hold onto two powerful drives from Giovanni Dos Santos, and went full length to tip a Mexican header around the post.

USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann started Fabian Johnson, normally a left midfielder,  at right back,  but the German-based Johnson struggled and the Mexicans broke past him several times.

Mexico needed to clinch at least a draw after their shocking loss against Honduras on Friday. New coach, Luis Fernando Tena, installed in desperation over the weekend,   reinstated Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and his dangerous running mate Andres Guardado, and the two, along with Dos Santos threatened to open the score for Mexico. But after the initial frenzy, the US defense settled, and the game swung.

The U.S. fans celebrating their teams victory over Mexico. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. fans celebrating their teams victory over Mexico. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Captain Clint Dempsey got the first shot for the home team, firing wide from distance in the 12th minute, after a decent build up.

Eddie Johnson powered home the winning goal in the second half.(Sabau/Getty Images)

Eddie Johnson powered home the winning goal in the second half.(Sabau/Getty Images)

The U.S. had a better chance in the 15th minute when Gonzalez headed down a Donovan free kick, but Jones blasted high, with the Yanks coming into the game.

Howard was sharp again the 19th minute pulling off a great diving save, after Omar Gonzalez appeared to have broken up the Mexico threat. Dempsey nearly broke the ice with a 23rd minute move, but his shot was deflected to Mexico keeper Jesus Corona, when it could have gone anywhere.

Dos Santos went down down too easily in the box and the U.S. wanted a yellow for diving, but it did not come. Dempsey nearly sprung Donovan less than a minute later, but the Mexico defense held firm.

Then came a hint of what was to follow. Striker Eddie Johnson soared to win a header from a 32nd minute corner kick. His shot had power, but was right at the Mexican keeper.  At the other end Howard was called on making a diving save, but conceding a corner. Dempsey cleared it and the sides headed to their locker rooms knotted at zero.

The U.S. were almost in when Eddie Johnson couldn’t quite get onto a Bedoya cross. . Seconds later Johnson did get there. Just like in the first half he towered over the Mexican defense powering home a Landon Donovan corner kick. It was a beautiful header. A tremendous goal.

Landon Donovan netted the second US goal, latching onto a wonderful cross by Mix Diskerud (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Landon Donovan netted the second US goal, latching onto a wonderful cross by Mix Diskerud (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Johnson came off in the 76th minute, giving way for midfielder Mix Diskerud, in his biggest game yet for the U.S. the Danish-based Diskerud wasted no time making an impact, winning possession in the Mexico end and skipping a grass-cutter across the face of the Mexican goal. Dempsey got the slightest of touches on the ball, skipping it through to an oncoming Landon Donovan, who made no mistake from three-yards out.

Johnson celebrating his opening goal. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Johnson celebrating his opening goal. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Then it was just a matter of waiting for the result from the Honuras-Panama match, and when the 2-2 score came it it was time to celebrate.

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

USA – Eddie Johnson (Landon Donovan) 49th minute
USA – Landon Donovan (Clint Dempsey) 78

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson (15-Michael Parkhurst, 46), 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Kyle Beckerman; 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 84), 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.), 10-Landon Donovan; 18-Eddie Johnson (14-Mix Diskerud, 76)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 2-Edgar Castillo, 4-Michael Orozco, 6-Joe Corona, 9-Aron Johannsson, 16-Jose Torres, 17-Brad Davis
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

MEX: 1-Jesús Corona (capt.); 21-Hiram Mier, 4-Diego Reyes, 15-Héctor Moreno, 3-Carlos Salcido (8-Ángel Reyna, 77); 7-Christian Giménez (16-Héctor Herrera, 55), 5-Fernando Arce (19-Oribe Peralta, 69), 17-Jesús Zavala, 18-Andrés Guardado; 14-Javier Hernández, 10-Giovani Dos Santos
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Francisco Rodríguez, 9-Raúl Jiménez, 11-Javier Aquino, 12-Jonathan Orozco, 13-Severo Meza, 20-Jorge Torres Nilo, 22-Damián Álvarez, 23-Alfredo Talavera
Head coach: Luis Fernando Tena

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 9 / 8
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 13 / 9
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (caution) 45+1 minute
USA – Landon Donovan (caution) 85

Officials:
Referee: Courtney Campbell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Antonio Morgan (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Garnet Page (JAM)
Fourth Official: Valdin Legister (JAM)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Landon Donovan

 

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U.S. MNT Look to Qualify for World Cup
U.S. MNT Look to Qualify for World Cup avatar

Columbus, Ohio – Fresh off of a stinging 3-1 loss in Costa Rica, a depleted USMNT face their fiercest rivals, Mexico, tonight in Columbus, knowing that despite Friday’s disappointment, their fate remains in their own hands.

Beasley (L) has been impressed with the depth of the squad. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Beasley (L) has been impressed with the depth of the squad. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Much had been made of the improved depth in the American player pool, with veteran DaMarcus Beasley joining the chorus before Monday’s practice. First capped in 2001, Beasley said, “since I’ve been around I’ve never been a part of the program where there has been this much depth in our team.” That depth is sorely needed now and it will be tested tonight against El Tri.

The U.S. go into night’s game missing their best midfielder, Michael Bradley, top striker Jozy Altidore and in Matt Besler, perhaps their most dependable central defender. The versatile Geoff Cameron is also missing.

Bradley's injury leaves a gap in the middle.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Bradley’s injury leaves a gap in the middle.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

The replacements will have to do a better job than was done on Friday night in San Jose, when Costa Rica raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first nine minutes. The U.S. team seemed unsettled without Bradley, who injured his ankle moments before kickoff, and the attack was punchless minus Altidore, who came on in the 70th minute, nursing a hamstring.

Bradley’s ankle will keep him out, while yellow cards felled the other three. Jurgen Klinsmann called in Clarence Goodson, Jose Torres, Brad Davis and Joe Corona. Goodson should start for Besler, with the rest serving as bench options.

Kyle Beckerman is likely to get the call in the midfield, joining Jermaine Jones in that key area. Cameron was pressed into action for Bradley on Friday and both he and Jones struggled in the early stages. At Sunday’s training Jones disputed the idea that he would be playing Bradley’s role.

“I don’t look that I step up in his role, I try to play my own game and try to help the team win this game.” Jones admits that, “Michael is an important player for us, and me and him we were playing a long time together, and we know each other.” “The guy who steps in,” Jones continued, “needs to take his role and I try to help this guy who steps in.”

Jones looked sharp in training. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jones looked sharp in training. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Still Jones acknowledged that should Kyle Beckerman step in that he, Jones, would play more a more advanced role, often Bradley’s job. “When Kyle plays, I think he has more of a defensive side and I can go more in front,” Jones said.

Beckerman hopes that he gets the chance. “It’s something you always want be a part of,” the Real Salt Lake man said. “When you get called in you’ve got to be ready and you hope your name is called.”

Beckerman played a key role in the Gold Cup victory and he expects the U.S. to bounce back after Friday. “It’s been a good couple of months, really exceptional.” “But,” Beckerman said, “we put it in perspective. You’re going to have to go through some down times, it’s just part of professional sports, it’s part of qualifying.”

Goodson was another who stood out in Gold Cup play and he sounded ready to step back into the national team fray. “I think this team has always done a good job coming back from tough defeats, even in this stretch of games where we were undefeated, we came back quite a few times from being down.” “The team has shown very strong character,” the defender added,” that’s something that’s going to be needed to qualify for the World Cup.”

The U.S. will be hoping to bounce back with a win. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The U.S. will be hoping to bounce back with a win. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The U.S. will face a desperate Mexico tonight in Columbus, the home of the Dos A Cero. Three times the teams have met at Crew Stadium; 2001, 2005 and 2009; each time the Americans have come away with 2-0 victories. Most famously in 2001, when the U.S. began to play a more equal part in this previously one sided rivalry. The Yanks have never lost in Columbus, beating Jamaica 1-0 last September 11, in front of a patriotic crowd, to move their mark to 5-0-2 here in World Cup Qualifiers.

If the U.S. can win tonight and Honduras wins or ties at home against Panama, the Americans will secure a World Cup spot. Players will have to step up in a new and bigger roles, but Klinsmann believes his team is ready. “We are going to play to our strengths and we have a lot of strengths in this team, and our goal tonight is three points.”

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Mexico – In A Must Win Situation
Mexico – In A Must Win Situation avatar

Columbus, Ohio – The atmosphere will be electric tonight at Crew Stadium when the United States play their great rivals, Mexico, with vital World Cup Qualifying points at stake.

Both teams are coming off of bitter defeats, but it is Mexico that really has their backs to the wall. Mexico’s rare home loss Friday to Honduras cost coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, or Chepo, his job. Olympic Gold Medal winner Luis Tena stepped up from his assistant role to take charge.

There has been a lot of expectation on the Mexico national team after they picked up gold at the London Olympics. (Getty Images)

There has been a lot of expectation on the Mexico national team after they picked up gold at the London Olympics. (Getty Images)

When Tena led the Mexican U-23 to the Gold Medal last summer in London, Mexico were clearly the top team in Concacaf, and they were expected to qualify for Brazil easily at the top of the Hex. It hasn’t worked out that way.

Mexico have just one win in the Hex, struggling to a 1-5-1 record. Shockingly, Mexico has gone 0-1-3 at Azteca in this qualifying round, with Friday’s 2-1 loss to Honduras just their second ever home defeat in World Cup Qualifying.

Tena will know he has a huge task ahead of him. (ISI Photos/Michael Burns)

Tena will know he has a huge task ahead of him. (ISI Photos/Michael Burns)

Tena accentuated the positive at last night’s press conference at Crew Stadium. “We know we have a great team, great players,” the new manager told a crowded press tent. Tena had just run his players through a practice session that ended on a light hearted note, with goalkeepers playing out the field and field players donning the keepers gloves.

The new boss was clearly trying to keep things loose and the players were enjoying the mood, joking and oohing and ahhing, as shooting practice ended the session. Tena knows that he can only do so much in a couple of days, acknowledging that, “you can’t expect too many changes with a team that made some changes three days ago.”

Javier Hernandez (R) was on the bench against Honduras. (Getty Images)

Javier Hernandez (R) was on the bench against Honduras. (Getty Images)

Among those changes was the move to bench Mexico’s biggest star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. With pressure mounting, Chepo left the Manchester United star on the bench, only bringing him on late, as Mexico chased a goal.

The goal did not come and now the job belongs to Tena. Tena said that, “this U.S. team is a very solid team, very well built.” “They’re physically strong,” Tena said, adding, “it has improved the way it handles the ball.” “So possession of the ball will be key.”

Tena did not say if he plans to reinstate Hernandez, nor would he speculate about his future with the national team. “We can’t think beyond Tuesday,” Tena said. “What matters is the result. We have to go get a result with three points.”

Mexico last missed out on the World Cup in 1990, when they were disqualified for using an illegal player in the run up. They have lost their air of invincibility, but they are still Mexico. Jurgen Klinsmann said, “playing Mexico is always special.”

Mexico will hope he can get the same success he had with his Olympic squad. (Getty Images)

Tena will hope he can get the same success he had with his Olympic squad. (Getty Images)

Player after player for the U.S. has said it over these last couple of days. Mexico is down at the moment, but they are not to be counted out. Klinsmann said Mexico’s, “backs are to the wall. They will give everything they have, because that ‘s what their nation expects from them.”

For Tena it is simple, “we need points and they say all wounds are healed with points.”

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

With World Cup Qualifiers dominating the headlines, Major League Soccer plays, on and that is number one on this week’s MLS – Big 5.

1) No International Break for MLS

While Landon, Clint and company are trying to get their nation to the 2014 World Cup, their clubs teams are battling to qualify for the MLS playoffs, without their best players.

Galaxy were without both Keane and Donovan.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Galaxy were without both Donovan (L) and Keane (R).(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena called the schedule, “ridiculous,” after  the Galaxy lost 1-0 to Colorado at home. Arena may have felt differently when he was national team coach, but it is hard not to see his point.

The Galaxy were without their two top forwards, Donovan (U.S.) and Robbie Keane (Ireland), their first choice keeper Jaime Pinedo (Panama), and their best defender, Omar Gonzalez (U.S.)  Arena’s pain was felt by coaches throughout the league, which brings us to number two in the Big – 5.

2) A Big Night For MLS Heavy Honduras

On the same night that the U.S. were getting beaten in Costa Rica, Honduras were busy stunning Mexico at the Azteca. Jerry Bengston of the New England Revolution scored the equalizer for Honduras off of a rebound of a shot from Oscar Boniek Garcia, of the Houston Dynamo.

Honduras beat Mexico 2-1 in their World Cup Qualifying game.  (ISI Photos)

Honduras beat Mexico 2-1 in their World Cup Qualifying game. (ISI Photos)

Carlo Costly, a former Dynamo, added the winner. San Jose Earthquake duo Victor Bernardez and Marvin Chavez did their job in defense, as Honduras handed Mexico their second home defeat in 78 World Cup Qualifiers. As of now, Honduras are in third place in the Hex and if they maintain that spot, Los Catrachos will be headed to Brazil.

Meanwhile, stateside, Houston fell 4-1 at home to N.Y. and San Jose had a 1-0 victory versus Philadelphia.

3) Playoff Races Are Still Tight

In the East, you cannot help but notice the logjam at the top. Montreal, New York and Kansas City are all level at 45 points, but the Impact have two games in hand. The chase for the five playoff spots goes all the way to the eighth spot, where Columbus are five points behind fifth place New England. Tellingly, Philadelphia, New England, Houston, Chicago and Columbus all lost this week, while the top three all won.

Dempsey's addition to the team should see Seattle through. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Dempsey’s addition to the team should see Seattle through. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Out in the nine team West, all but Chivas USA are still in the hunt. Real Salt Lake are the table toppers with 48 points, but Seattle are just two points back, with two less games played. The Galaxy are third with 43 points, just one more than Colorado and Portland on the right side of the playoff line.

FC Dallas, at 40 points, and Vancouver and San Jose with 37, are also still in with a chance.

4) Portland Are Fit To Be Tied

The Timbers are having a fine season under rookie coach Caleb Porter and as of now would make the playoffs. Portland are fifth with 42 points and could conceivably push higher up the table.

Caleb Porter is doing a great job at Portand (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Caleb Porter is doing a great job at Portand (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The Timbers clobbered Toronto 4-0 over the weekend to keep pace in the Conference. But if not for a propensity for ties, Portland could be in much better standing. With 12 draws, three in March alone, Portland lead the league. Dallas and the awful Toronto have 10, no top five team has more than nine.

Sure Portland could have gotten nothing from those games, but if the Timbers had, say six ties or eight ties, the standings would have a different look.

5) Di Vaio and Magee, Chase the Golden Boot

37 year old Italian striker Marco Di Vaio scored two goals in Montreal’s 4-2 win at New England on Sunday to give him 17 on the season. Mike Magee could manage just one for Chicago as the Fire fell 2-1 in Seattle. Magee is two behind  Di Vaio who came to Montreal after a long Serie A career for several teams.

Chicago's Mike Magee (L) has been on fire for his club team. (Getty Images)

Chicago’s Mike Magee (L) has been on fire for his club team. (Getty Images)

The two vets have outlasted the field, including  the early pace setter, young Philadelphia striker Jack McInerney, who has faded from contention and remains stuck on 10 goals.

Fagundez international status is still open.(Getty Images)

Fagundez international status is still open.(Getty Images)

Also on 10, but rising is Diego Fagundez. The 18 year old homegrown N.E. Revolution product has been a sensation for the youthful New England squad and it remains a shame that the Uruguayan born, Massachusetts raised striker can’t play for the U.S., despite living here from the age of five.

 

 

 

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NHSA 2014 ODP Tryouts
NHSA 2014 ODP Tryouts avatar

New Hampshire Youth Soccer will be holding ODP tryouts this month for 2014. Male and female players born in 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997 are invited to come out and participate.

All tryout sessions will be held at
Northeast Athletic Club (NEAC), 326 Buck Street, Pembroke NH. Tryouts will be held RAIN OR SHINE.

For more information please visit the NHSA website: Click Here

  • Boys and Girls U12 to U14 (2002, 2001, 2000)


Sunday, September 15: 9 AM registration, tryouts from 9:30 – 11:30 AM

  • Boys and Girls U15 to U17 (1999, 1998, 1997)


Sunday, September 15: 11:30 AM registration, tryouts from 12 – 2 PM

 

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USA stumble in Costa Rica
USA stumble in Costa Rica avatar

San Jose, Costa Rica – Costa Rica wanted revenge and tonight at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica, they got it with a 3-1 win that puts the Ticos on top of the Hex.

With the Costa Rican crowd sounding like they had a point to prove and their beloved Ticos playing like it, the U.S. were nearly buried under a torrent of noise and pressure that yielded two goals for the home team in the games first nine minutes.

The U.S. struggled to break down the resilient Costa Rica. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. struggled to break down the resilient Costa Rica. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The Americans received a pre-game blow when their influential midfielder Michael Bradley was scratched with an ankle sprain. Jurgen Klinsmann revealed that the, “injury happened right at the end of warm ups, maybe the last set of sprints.” The coach felt losing Bradley so late, “maybe shocked the team a little bit.”

Geoff Cameron took his spot next to Jermaine Jones and inside of two minutes from the opening whistle Costa Rica’s Johnny Acosta headed a corner kick past Tim Howard.

The Ticos attacked in waves, streaming down the their  left where Graham Zusi and Michael Orozco were totally outclassed, unable to cope. The home team had three clear opportunities in the next five minutes as the US defense struggled to contain the mazy runs of Joel Campbell, and it came as no surprise when a wonderful cross found the head of Celso Borges who made no  mistake with a strong header, putting the US down 2-0 with less ten 10 minutes on the clock.

The U.S. were in danger of being run off the National Stadium pitch, as they wasted possession after possession with fruitless long balls. Giveaways were a problem too, a careless flick from Cameron nearly put the U.S. down 3-0.

Bryan Ruiz, Clint Dempsey’s former Fulham teammate looked like a world beater, pulling the strings for a dangerous Ticos attack. But Jones and Cameron slowly began to come to grips with the game and Fabian Johnson was providing some spark on the wing.

When Johnson sprinted onto a quick 36th minute free kick, keeper Keylor Navas took him down and the U.S had a penalty kick, and a lifeline. Earning his 100th cap, the captain, Dempsey stepped up. Navas got a piece of it, but Dempsey powered it home and the U.S. had hope.

Clint Dempsey stepped up to convert a penalty in his 100th game for the USA, but it was not enough on the night (Photo: Getty Images)

Clint Dempsey stepped up to convert a penalty in his 100th game for the USA, but it was not enough on the night (Photo: Getty Images)

The Americans finished the half well and started the second on an up. Orozco and Beasley were trying to push up and it was working. Landon Donovan found Dempsey and the captain shook free only to be robbed by Navas in the 57th minute.

Eddie Johnson came on for a mostly ineffective Zusi in the 58th minute, with Donovan moving out wide. The U.S. were in charge at the hour mark, with center backs Gonzalez and Besler pushing up.

Gonzalez made a huge tackle after a Cameron giveaway in the 66th minute and the action was end to end. With 20 minutes to play Klinsmann went to his bench for his big gun Jozy Altidore, who was held out with a hamstring injury. Fabian Johnson came off as the U.S. pressed for the equalizer.

That equalizer though got further away when Joel Campbell got behind Matt Besler and raced onto a long clearance, after Altidore’s shot was blocked. Besler and Gonzalez chased, but Campbell was too quick and his finish gave Tim Howard no chance.

Aron Johannsson made his WCQ debut, coming on for Dempsey late. But there was no saving this game, as the Ticos sent their fans home in jubilation and the USMNT head to Columbus and a showdown with Mexico, that just got even bigger.

A disappointed Tim Howard said afterwards that, “we’re not happy about the game, obviously, but anytime you give up a goal, or two goals that early, there’s no coming back.”

The Americans will have the crowd on their side Tuesday night in Columbus when they take on a reeling Mexico side that lost to Honduras 2-1 Friday night. The much discussed U.S. depth will get a test, with the Yanks losing Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron to suspension, after the trio picked up yellow cards against Costa Rica.

Howard was disappointed after the game. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Howard was disappointed after the game. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Klinsmann said that Bradley would get an MRI when the team gets back to the U.S. Of the suspensions Klinsmann said that, “ we knew about the risk, we knew about the situation. We will sit down now and have a big discussion. We’ll adjust to it and if we need to call players in we will do that.”

The U.S. are confident that four more points will get them to Brazil and with three games left in the Hex no one was panicking. Perhaps the most interesting take after Friday’s disappointing loss came from Eddie Johnson. Johnson remarked that, “I think we were on a great little winning streak that we had and sometimes I think that it’s good, you know, to lose a game so we can know what that feeling feels like.”

Scoring Summary:   1      2      F
USA                               1      0      1
CRC                                2      1      3

CRC – Johnny Acosta (Joel Campbell)                                      2nd minute
CRC – Celso Borges (Christian Bolanos)                                  9
USA – Clint Dempsey (penalty kick)                                         43
CRC – Joel Campbell (Jose Miguel Cubero)                           75

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 21-Michael Orozco, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 20-Geoff Cameron, 13-Jermaine Jones; 19-Graham Zusi (18-Eddie Johnson, 58), 10-Landon Donovan, 23-Fabian Johnson (17-Jozy Altidore, 71); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (9-Aron Johannsson, 90)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Brad Guzan,22-Nick Rimando, 2-Edgar Castillo, 6-Michael Parkhurst,  11-Alejandro Bedoya, 14-Kyle Beckerman, 15-John Brooks, 16-Mix Diskerud, 4-Michael Bradley
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

CRC: 1-Keylor Navas; 4-Michael Umana, 3-Giancarlo Gonzalez, 2-Johnny Acosta, 8-Bryan Oviedo; 16-Christian Gamboa, 5-Celso Borges, 17-Yeltsin Tejeda (22-Jose Miguel Cubero, 73), 7-Christian Bolanos (14-Randall Brenes, 86); 12-Joel Campbell, 10-Bryan Ruiz (9-Alvaro Saborio, 80)
Substitutions Not Used: 18-Patrick Pemberton, 6-Oscar Duarte, 13-Carlos Johnson, 15-Junior Diaz, 20-Diego Calvo, 21-Victor Nunez, 19-Mauricio Castillo, 11-Michael Barrantes
Head coach: Jorge Luis Pinto

Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots:  7 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 6
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 13
Offside: 1 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Michael Umana (Caution)                                 32nd minute
CRC – Christian Bolanos (Caution)                              36
CRC – Keylor Navas (Caution)                                    41
USA – Geoff Cameron (Caution)                                 62
USA – Matt Besler (Caution)                                       78
USA – Jozy Altidore (Caution)                                    90+3

 

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Donovan and the U.S. Ready for Costa Rica
Donovan and the U.S. Ready for Costa Rica avatar

San Jose, Costa Rica – We’ve had the Gold Cup, we’ve seen the USMNT travel to Sarajevo and topple Bosnia-Herzegovina, Landon Donovan is back, the 12 game winning streak has been great, but now, tonight, at last, it’s time for the real thing, the U.S.A. versus Costa Rica in a World Cup Qualifier.

Although the Yanks are flying high at the top of the Hex with 13 points and four games still to play, there is still work to be done. Second place Costa Rica have 11 points and are tied with the U.S. on goal difference. And let’s not forget that the United States has never beaten Costa Rica, in Costa Rica, in a World Cup Qualifier.

Dempsey celebrating the winning goal against Costa Rica(ISI Photos/Todd Jones)

Dempsey celebrating the winning goal against Costa Rica(ISI Photos/Todd Jones)

The Ticos have beaten up on the U.S. to a tune of a 0-7-1 record for the Americans in these matches. So, if historical form holds, and Costa Rica get their snow revenge, then the U.S. will be in second place as they head home to Columbus to take on old rivals Mexico, on September 10.

To Costa Rica, the federation, the fans, and probably the team as well, tonight’s match has taken on an importance even beyond a usual home World Cup Qualifier.

From the moment the USMNT slipped and slid their way across that snow covered field outside of Denver for a 1-0 victory, this date has been circled on calendars throughout Costa Rica.

The U.S. men got a hostile welcome from a group of fans. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. men got a hostile welcome from a group of fans. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The reception for the U.S. since their arrival here on Tuesday evening has been as cold as the Colorado temperatures when these rivals met last March. Fans have serenaded the U.S. with derisive chants, practice fields were strangely difficult for the Americans to secure, even a cow mascot got into the act, blasting an air horn inches from Omar Gonzalez’ ears, as the U.S. defender spoke to the media on Thursday.

500 police will reportedly be deployed tonight, on horseback, bicycle and on foot and one can only wonder what it would have been like had Concacaf ceded to the Costa Rican Federation’s request to play the match in Saprissa?

The U.S. training in San Jose, Costa Rica on Thursday evening. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. training in San Jose, Costa Rica on Thursday evening. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Long considered the most intimidating stadium in the region, yes ahead of Azteca, Saprissa has been replaced by the shiny, new, somewhat antiseptic Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, which opened in 2011.

AKA, the National Stadium, the new park features an atmosphere deadening track, circling the field and keeping fans far from the action, unlike at Saprissa, where the fans were notoriously on top of the teams.

Landon Donovan returns to the side for a World Cup Qualifier for the first time since June 2012 and he knows Saprissa well. “We think it ( playing at the National Stadium) can be an advantage.” “There’s a reason why they played at Saprissa all these years,” Donovan explained. “They know,” Donovan continued, “they have a big advantage there over any team, for a lot of reasons.”

Donovan's desire and performances have won him a spot on the roster. (Getty Images)

Donovan’s desire and performances have won him a spot on the roster. (Getty Images)

Donovan feels, “that psychologically, that helps us and probably hurts them.” But the returning U.S. superstar cautions, “that only matters if you play on Friday night, when you show up and make it an advantage.”

Donovan has expressed confidence throughout the week that this USMNT is capable of claiming a first ever WCQ win over the Ticos on Friday.

“It’s not a fluke that our team has won 12 games in a row,” Donovan told the press on Thursday. “You could say a few games along the way maybe we didn’t deserve a win, here or there, but to win 12 in a row is impressive.”

Donovan, the all time USMNT leader in goals and assists, is feeling confident in his own game as well. “I guess if I had to evaluate I’d say this is the best I’ve ever played.” The 31 year old explained saying, “the energy I had when I was 20 is pretty close to being matched now, but I have the experience of all the years.” Donovan added that, “everything has really slowed down for me now, I see everything very clearly on the field.” “Not every play is perfect,” Donovan concedes, “but I feel like every time I get the ball I have a real chance to impact the game.”

Donovan chatting at the press conference on Thursday. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Donovan chatting at the press conference on Thursday. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

As well as Donovan is playing, there is a real possibility that he could start this game on the bench, a scenario that Donovan acknowledges. “I really want to help,” the veteran said, “and that doesn’t have to mean on the field, but I want to contribute.”

Donovan realizes that this is the deepest U.S. team he has been part of. “Yeah, no question,” was his immediate response when asked. “When you see a bunch of guys that don’t get called in, that absolutely deserve to be here too, it tells you that the team’s very deep.” “It’s tough,” Donovan adds, “and it’s going to be that way all the way through to Brazil next year, assuming we qualify.”

Donovan is glad of the competition. “I think that’s a good thing. That’s how the best national teams in the world operate, and that’s how we want to be, if we are going to get to where we want to go.”

So, who will Jurgen Klinsmann turn to against Costa Rica to get the Americans where they want to go tonight?

As always, Tim Howard is the keeper. DaMarcus Beasley is settled in at left back, Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez are the expected center back duo, and Geoff Cameron should start for the injured Brad Evans.

Bradley definitely has shown his worth and has become a great leader for the U.S.(ISI PhotosRick Osentoski)

Bradley definitely has shown his worth and has become a great leader for the U.S.(ISI PhotosRick Osentoski)

Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones are the central midfielders, in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2. The U.S. usually starts in the former, and it looks like Fabian Johnson will be at left midfield, with Clint Dempsey at center mid/withdrawn forward. Red hot striker Jozy Altidore could start this one on the bench with a hamstring problem. Klinsmann called his forward, “day to day,” on Thursday and with a chance of rain tonight, it might not be wise to risk Altidore with Mexico on deck.

If Altidore is out, then Klinsmann could play Graham Zusi at right midfield and start Donovan further up the field than Dempsey. Or he could go with Eddie Johnson in a straight swap for Altidore. That move could see Donovan in the supersub role. Talk about depth!

I think we will see this lineup. Howard, Beasley, Besler, Gonzalez, Cameron, Jones, Bradley, F. Johnson, Dempsey, Donovan, Johnson.

As for the score, this looks like a tie to me. Costa Rica are good, and they are fired up. But the U.S. are riding a wave of confidence. The winning streak may end tonight, but the U.S. should move one valuable point closer to Brazil.

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Indiana Soccer ODP Introduces New Programs
Indiana Soccer ODP Introduces New Programs avatar

Indiana Soccer ODP is excited to announce the creation of two new programs- the Evaluation Program and the Indiana Soccer ODP Goalkeeper School- to help benefit more players in the state of Indiana. And guess what- these exciting programs are open to all players regardless of league affiliation.

The Evaluation Program consists of tryout opportunities August-November  to identify new players to the state pools for age groups 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999. The following Evaluation opportunities will be available for players to be identified and invited to join the State Pool for the 2013-14 season:

Click Here for more information on the Evaluation Program.

The Indiana ODP Goalkeeper School will provide players with confidence and ideas to solve problems the game presents and to provide opportunities for the gradual growth and advancement through challenging, creative and positive training and playing environments.

Click Here for more information on the Indiana ODP Goalkeeper School

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Diskerud – A Real American
Diskerud – A Real American avatar

San Jose, Costa Rica – The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team is on a high right now riding a best ever 12 game winning streak into Friday night’s World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica, in San Jose, Costa Rica.

That winning streak has been built by what is being called the deepest team in USMNT history. Part of the reason for that depth has been an aggressive campaign by US Soccer to take advantage of FIFA’s loosened national eligibility rules, to add several players of dual nationalities.

One of those players, Norwegian-American midfielder Mikkel Diskerud sat down for an exclusive chat with GotSoccer Thursday afternoon at the team’s hotel in San Jose.

Mix Diskerud talking to GotSoccer in Costa Rica. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Mix Diskerud talking to GotSoccer in Costa Rica. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Better known as Mix, Diskerud recalled that he first considered playing for the U.S., ironically enough, when he played a match against his Connecticut born mother’s home country. “It started with a game in Mexico with my junior team Staebek, a couple of years ago. We played against the Under 20 U.S. team, with Thomas Rongen, he was the coach.”

Diskerud remembers, “I was going to take a corner kick and I think that somebody had tipped him (Rongen), or given him a tip that I had dual citizenship. So he came, he sat next to the corner flag, and just when I was about to take it he said, “hey are you Mix?” “I said, yeah.” “American passport?” (Rongen) “Yes sir,” Diskerud told Rongen.

Rongen then invited Diskerud into the next U.S. U20 camp. “I had a pretty good game,” Diskerud remembered, “so I was like, cool, sounds good.” And Diskerud says “that’s how the journey kind of started.”

Diskerud (L) playing in the U-20's World Cup for the USA in 2009. (ISI Photos/Max Becherer)

Diskerud (L) playing in the U-20′s World Cup for the USA in 2009. (ISI Photos/Max Becherer)

Diskerud made an immediate impression for the U.S. U20’s, “my first game I had three assists against Northern Ireland,” but surprisingly, Diskerud didn’t hear back right away from US Soccer.

That delay allowed Norway to jump in, starting a tug of war for Diskerud’s services that only concluded at this summer’s Gold Cup. “So then I played a couple of games for them,” Diskerud said, “actually, one against the U.S.”

Not wanting to lose out on Diskerud, Rongen invited the lanky midfielder into the U20 squad. Diskerud recalls he was being asked often who he would play for, and his answer at the time was, “first come first serve.”

Diskerud playing against South Africa in 2010. (ISI Photos/GERHARD STEENKAMP)

Diskerud playing against South Africa in 2010. (ISI Photos/GERHARD STEENKAMP)

Soon after, Bob Bradley came calling and once again Diskerud made a good first impression for the U.S, this time for the full national team. Bradley tapped Diskerud to play against South Africa soon after the 2010 World Cup. “ I got an assist, Juan Agudelo scored,” Diskerud said, “and it was a huge experience, it was so much fun.”

Still not cap tied, Diskerud was called into a couple of U.S. camps, then didn’t hear from Bradley for a while. Was he worried?“No,” Diskerud, still now just 22 years old shrugged, “I was young.”

Regular game time with Staebek kept Diskerud busy until U.S. Soccer called again, this time inviting Diskerud to join the ill fated Olympic Qualifying team. “That didn’t go how it was supposed to,” Diskerud told GotSoccer, but he still found the experience worthwhile.

“No, no, no,” Diskerud said when asked if the Olympic flop could have dissuaded him from selecting the U.S. “Caleb Porter is a great coach, he’s showing that now in Portland. The team was a good team,” Diskerud says, still sounding puzzled at their lack of success. “We just call it a little, small failure.”

Diskerud getting instructions from Coach Porter during the Olympic qualifying tournament. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Diskerud getting instructions from Coach Porter during the Olympic qualifying tournament. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

“Just being part of that group, helped me and made me want to be a part of this.” But even then Diskerud wasn’t sure. Deciding to play for the U.S. was clearly a huge decision for Diskerud. In fact, when asked when he made his choice, Diskerud told GotSoccer, “I don’t really know.”

The Norway U21 coach and the President of the Norwegian Federation invited Diskerud in to try and convince him to throw his lot in with Norway but Diskerud said, “I still wasn’t sure, and then I got called in for the Gold Cup.”

This summer’s victorious Gold Cup was something of a coming out party for the young Norwegian-American, who showed skeptics that there is a lot more to his game that pretty passes.

Diskerud read that Klinsmann, “wanted to see more grit from me, more of the defensive work.” “I had the opportunity to show it (that grit) in Gold Cup,” and Diskerud said, “I felt like I did.”

Diskerud’s adjustment to the U.S. team has been a smooth one, thanks to a lifetime of traveling back and forth between Norway and the U.S. Diskerud enjoyed spending time in the U.S. so much that, “when I was younger I wanted to go to school in the States and Norway at the same time, back and forth, but in Norway, you weren’t allowed to do something like that.”

Still Diskerud, “traveled four times a year, or three times a year growing up and every single Christmas, I spent in the States so,” Diskerud states, “I am an American.”

And don’t let anyone try to tell the Norwegian-American that he is not. Not his friends on the Norway national team. “We joke around and I am always telling them that the U.S. is in front of Norway in the FIFA rankings,” Diskerud says. “They can’t believe that, they say.” Diskerud is right, of course. His national team is ranked 19th, six places ahead of Norway.

Diskerud play in the Gold Cup was truly American. (Getty Images)

Diskerud’s play in the Gold Cup was truly American. (Getty Images)

As for any fans who believe that hyphenated Americans like Diskerud are somehow less than the real thing, Diskerud says, “everybody tells me I’m a real American. They’re welcome to come to Norway with me and I’ll show them how American I am.”

Now with the Gold Cup Championship behind him, Diskerud is hoping to earn a place on the U.S. team for the 2014 World Cup next summer in Brazil. The decision is behind him now and people tell Diskerud, that because he elected to play for the U.S., that the U.S. won. Diskerud though, sees it differently and he tells them, “no I won.”

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U.S. MNT – Costa Rica Still Bitter
U.S. MNT – Costa Rica Still Bitter avatar

San Jose, Costa Rica – It is 82 degrees and mostly sunny here in San Jose, Costa Rica, but all anyone can think about seems to be snow. In particular, the snow that fell throughout the March 22nd game between Costa Rica and the United States in Commerce City, Colorado. A game that the Americans won 1-0, on Clint Dempsey’s 16th minute goal.

Jermaine Jones playing the game against Costa Rica. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jermaine Jones playing the game against Costa Rica. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The snow only got worse as the match went on that evening and the Ticos complained bitterly that the game should be stopped. The referee made the call to continue, not U.S. Soccer, a distinction that appears lost on the Costa Rican soccer community. The Costa Rican federation had their subsequent protest turned aside by Concacaf, so that was that, right?

No, not so much. When the USMNT left the airport last night in San Jose, more than 100 Costa Rican supporters greeted them, still not ready to let go of that snowy night outside of Denver. Those fans serenaded the Americans with among other chants, USA – No Fair Play! A couple of eggs were also splattered on the windows of the U.S. national team bus, although at practice the following day Omar Gonzalez laughed it all off.

The U.S. men got a hostile welcome from a group of fans. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. men got a hostile welcome from a group of fans. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

A smiling Gonzalez said the crowd reaction was, “pretty much the same, what you hear every time you come to one of these places.” Gonzalez paused in the middle of his answer, distracted by a cow mascot representing the dairy corporation that hosted U.S. training. The mascot; think the Philly Phanatic; but a cow; had blasted an airhorn behind Gonzalez, just a foot or two away from the U.S. center back.

The genial big man was unfazed. Continuing his remarks on the atmosphere surrounding Friday’s crucial three pointer, Gonzalez said, “the fans are going to be crazy; that cow behind me is crazy. I think it is just going to be a good time.”

And the cow works for the company that allowed the U.S. team to train at their facilities. The Costa Rican press is full of reports saying that the usual welcome accorded to an opponent in an international match has simply not been extended to the U.S. national team by their Costa Rican counterparts.

Dos Pinos, the cow people, let the USMNT train at their facility, only after the leaders of the Hex had been turned down by other facilities. Just part of the gamesmanship that has surrounded this tie since that snowy night in Colorado.

From the U.S. point of view the March game means little, they have come to Costa Rica with the aim of adding another first to their recent collection of firsts. This first would be a first win for the Yanks in World Cup Qualifying play in Costa Rica.

Ever the voice of reason, Michael Bradley knows it won’t be easy. The Roma midfielder allowed that, “yeah, we are confident, for sure.” He added though, “we’re not confident enough to think that just because we’ve won a few games in a row, that we can just walk in here and go through the motions and expect to come away with three points.”

Klinsmann talking tactics with Bradley in their practice session on Tuesday. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Klinsmann talking tactics with Bradley in their practice session on Tuesday. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Twelve games and the Gold Cup have been won. As for the firsts’ collected in the two years since Jurgen Klinsmann took over? Well, there were first wins in Italy and Mexico. A first ever comeback win in Europe, when the Americans rode Jozy Altidore’s hat trick to a 4-3 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then there was the win in June, at Jamaica.

That last was the most important of the lot, because it counted. The others were good for confidence, but they weren’t World Cup Qualifiers, Jamaica was.

Brad Evans scored the dramatic winner that night, adding to Jozy Altidore’s opener. Altidore was scratched last weekend from his club game with a hamstring injury. U.S. Soccer has said all is well, but who knows, hamstrings can be tough to bounce back from. As for Evans, there is no gray area. The Seattle Sounder man is out, replaced by Michael Parkhurst.

Michael Parkshurst was surprised to be selected. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Michael Parkshurst was surprised to be selected. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Parkhurst has been out of favor at Augsburg, stuck behind the team captain and just as stuck to the bench. When the call came to replace Evans, Parkhurst admits to being, “a bit,” surprised. “Of course Klinsmann prefers the guys to be playing,” Parkhurst noted. He knows this is a chance for him to keep in the national team picture. “Right back is open right now, especially with Brad’s injury,” Parkhurst said, apparently not buying the notion that he is here merely as cover for Geoff Cameron.

With the transfer deadline just having closed, it has been a tumultuous few days for Parkhurst, who was hoping to escape Augsburg for more playing time.

Parkhurst had several suitors, most prominent among them Italian side Lazio. “It went down to the wire,” the defender said, admitting that, “yeah it was a little bit,” when asked if the process had been unsettling. Showing the human side of the sport, Parkhurst explained, “It’s a little bit tough because I have a family.” “I can’t just get up and leave on a seconds notice.”

Parkhurst hopes something will change at Augsburg, if not he hopes to leave in January. For now he says, “I’m just happy to be here and having fun, and if I can get a couple of games,” Parkhurst adds, “that would be great.”

On Friday night when the U.S. and Costa Rica meet at the National Stadium, first place in the Hex will be at stake. A win would essentially seal a berth in next summer’s World Cup for the USMNT. A loss would put Costa Rica on top of the Hex.

The specter of the “Snow Classico,” and the bad blood it has created, may hang over Friday’s match, but for the United States, that game is history. “It’s hard to take a lot away from that game,” Gonzalez said before Wednesday’s practice. “We fought hard as a team, we got the job done, but this is a totally different game.”

Gonzalez seemed laid back and not particularly bothered by the events. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Gonzalez seemed laid back and not particularly bothered by the events. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

“That is in the past, we’re over it and we’re not looking back on that.” “Our focus,” Gonzalez said, “is on this game on Friday and hopefully getting three points.”

Three points that could have the United States men’s national team packing their bags for Brazil.

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USWNT Thrash Mexico
USWNT Thrash Mexico avatar

Caps were won, new players made their mark and the goals were plentiful tonight at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. as the U.S. WNT demolished Mexico 7-0.

Sydney Leroux scoring one of her goals against Mexico. (Getty Images)

Sydney Leroux scoring one of her goals against Mexico. (Getty Images)

One name sums up the first half of the match: Sydney Leroux. She knocked in four of the five U.S. goals scored before halftime, the first put away by Abby Wambach early on.

Defender Rachel Buehler scored the first second half goal and midfielder Morgan Brian clinched the final one. It was her first goal and second cap with the U.S. WNT.

Midfielder Erika Tymrak and defender Leigh Ann Robinson celebrated their first caps as well, and looked confident as ever, jumping into the action head on.

Heather O'Reilly in action fo the U.S. against Mexico. (Getty Images)

Heather O’Reilly in action fo the U.S. against Mexico. (Getty Images)

Mexico took off with two close chances within the first couple of minutes of the first half. Then the 10th minute rolled around and that’s when the sleeping giant awoke. Midfielder Tymrak fought the ball away and passed to defender Kristie Mewis on the left side. She saw Wambach in the middle of the box, passed, and the star goal scorer drove it home easily for the 1-0 opener.

After that, the Leroux show commenced, where she scored a hat trick within nine minuets. The first came when Wambach took a shot in the 20th minute and Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago bumped it away. Leroux jumped on the rebound, heading the ball in to up the U.S. lead 2-0.

Morgan Brian came off the bench to score the final goal for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Morgan Brian came off the bench to score the final goal for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

The second Leroux goal came just a minute later. While Mexican defense had their hands full with a dangerous shot from midfielder Lauren Holiday, Leroux was up front to pick up the ball when Santiago dove to deflect Holiday’s low ball. Alarmed, the opposition charged towards the wide open net, but alas, it was too late and Leroux had already knocked it in to make the score 3-0.

The hat trick came in the 30th minute and fans went wild. Leroux got hold of the ball and threaded her way through the Mexican backline before knocking in a left footed shot.

And finally, with five minutes left in the half Holiday cracked the ball in off a free kick and Leroux made a daring leap, heading the ball at an angle for an overwhelming 5-0 finish going into the break.

The U.S takeover continued on into the second half. The Buehldozer was subbed in for Christie Rampone in the 55th minute and instantly made her mark with an immediate goal to up that lead 6-0. She pounced on a loose ball in the box following a corner kick, and the rest was history.

In the 71st minute after she was subbed in for Tymrak, Brian fearlessly cut across the top of the box and took a deadly shot that stabbed the back of the net. UVA fans went wild as Brian finalized the U.S. win 7-0.

Scoring Summary:   1    2    F
USA                            5    2    7
MEX                            0    0    0

USA – Abby Wambach (Kristie Mewis)         11th minute
USA – Sydney Leroux (Abby Wambach)      21
USA – Sydney Leroux (Lauren Holiday)        22
USA – Sydney Leroux (Abby Wambach)      30
USA – Sydney Leroux (Lauren Holiday)        41
USA – Rachel Buehler                                   55
USA – Morgan Brian (Abby Wambach)         72

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 6-Crystal Dunn (22-Leigh Ann Robinson, 56), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (19-Rachel Buehler, 52), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Kristie Mewis; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd (16-Yael Averbuch, 55), 12-Lauren Holiday, 23-Erika Tymrak (25-Morgan Brian, 70); 2-Sydney Leroux, 20-Abby Wambach
Substitutions Not Used: 13-Alex Morgan, 14-Vanessa DiBernardo
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago; 13-Arianne Romero, 4-Christina Murillo, 3-Bianca Sierra, 2-Kenti Robles; 7-Nayeli Rangel (6-Liliana Mercado, 32), 8-Lupita Worbis; 9-Maribel Dominguez (capt.) (16-Stephany Mayor, 46), 10-Renae Cuellar (5-Paulina Solis, 54), 11-Monica Ocampo, 17-Veronica Perez (18-Sofia Huerta, 63)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Pamela Tajonar, 14-Fabiola Ibarra, 15-Desiree Monsivais
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 28 / 10
Shots on Goal: 17 / 4
Saves: 3 / 9
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 1 / 3

 

 

 

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USWNT vs. Mexico-Training Day
USWNT vs. Mexico-Training Day avatar

Today, the U.S. WNT concluded training at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. in preparation for their match against Mexico tomorrow evening.

Abby Wambach at today's training session in Washington's D.C. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Abby Wambach at today’s training session in Washington’s D.C. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

GotSoccer was on site to get the scoop, and chatted with NWSL Rookie of the Year and national team newcomer Erika Tymrak on her focus for the game as well as head coach Tom Sermanni and his thoughts on the returning NWSL players and young players joining the roster for the first time.

Check out the video to hear what they had to say!

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