U.S. WNT to Clash with China in Colorado
U.S. WNT to Clash with China in Colorado avatar

USSoccer announced yesterday that the U.S. WNT will travel to Commerce City, CO on April 6 where they will take on China PR at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Alex Morgan against China in December 2012Getty Images)

Alex Morgan against China in December 2012Getty Images)

China is an old rival for the U.S. ladies and they have clashed more times than any other country. In fact, this will be the 51st meet up between the two. The U.S. hold an all-time record of 30-8-12 against China, having last defeated them 5-0 in the 2013 Algarve Cup. While the U.S. leads FIFA rankings at No. 1, China sits comfortably at No. 19.

The U.S. is undefeated so far this year, always bringing their A game of course. They recently wrapped up two matches against Russia this month, obliterating the scoreboard with powerful goals to shut them out twice.

Despite a successful start, they will have to keep their wits about them, because China will surely bring their A game as well since the match serves as crucial preparation for Women’s World Cup qualification. They will compete in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in May, in which the top five finishers will earn a berth to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

China are not the powerhouse of the past. (Getty Images)

China are not the powerhouse of the past. (Getty Images)

“China seems to be getting to the stage where they’ve got some increased stability in coaching staff and their player pool, and the results of that stability and planning are beginning to show on the field,” U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni told USSoccer. “As always, the match will be a chance for our players to make claims for spots on the World Cup qualifying roster later in the fall, but it will also be just before the players head into the NWSL as friendly combatants, so we’ll want to put in quality performances for our home fans.”

 

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MLS Purchase Chivas USA
MLS Purchase Chivas USA avatar

Major League Soccer today announced that it has purchased the troubled Chivas USA franchise from owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes.

MLS will begin a new chapter with Chivas. (Getty images)

MLS will begin a new chapter with Chivas. (Getty images)

This begins a new chapter for the Chivas de Guadalajara owned club, which entered the league in 2005, and has struggled since then to establish itself in the shadow of the Los Angeles Galaxy, their co-tenant at the StubHub Center, formerly the Home Depot Center.

The club became something of an embarrassment to the league when two former academy coaches sued for discrimination, citing a lack of opportunities to advance because they were not Hispanic.

Many felt that the club had set itself up for such charges with a stated policy of signing predominantly Hispanic players. Chivas USA’s parent club, Chivas de Guadalajara, has long had its own policy of playing only Mexican players in the Mexican league.

Despite their best efforts Chivas were unable to lure the sizeable Mexican and Mexican American fanbase in the Los Angeles area, clearly the point of the Chivas affiliation.

Last season the Goats were by far the poorest drawing club in the league, luring just over 8,000 fans per game to the StubHub Center in Carson, California. That figure was a sizeable drop from the 13,000 per that they had attracted the previous season, and far behind the Galaxy, who averaged 22,000 plus at the clubs shared home in 2013.

Don Garber ® (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Don Garber ® (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

In their statement MLS Commissioner Don Garber is quoted as saying “We thank Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes for their significant commitment to Major League Soccer, Jorge was an early believer in the league and he and Angelica have been great partners in MLS. We collectively agreed that it is best to sell the club to new owners who are committed to securing a new stadium and providing MLS with a strong rival for the LA Galaxy.”

The statement added that, “in connection with the sale of the club to a new owner, MLS also will lead the discussions for a new stadium that would serve as the new home for the team. The club has played its home games at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., since debuting in 2005 and will continue to play there in 2014.”

The team will continue under the current name for now, although trademark papers were filed recently that indicated a name change to either Los Angeles F.C. or Los Angeles SC.

The statement reveals that MLS has had initial discussions with a number of what they call, “very qualified,” potential owners. Not surprisingly no names were attached, but Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke’s recent purchase of 60 acres of land in Los Angeles vaults “Silent Stan” to top spot on the rumor queue.

Initial speculation centered on Kroenke’s NFL team, the St. Louis Rams returning to Los Angeles from the midwest. True to form, Kroenke has remained tight lipped, but this Chivas development dovetails nicely with speculation that Kroenke, who also owns English Premier League club Arsenal, was interested in founding an MLS club that would be called the Los Angeles Gunners.

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CSA to Host National Youth License
CSA to Host National Youth License avatar

Colorado Soccer will host a National Youth License (NYL) course July 26-30 in Westminster, CO, designed to provide club directors, youth coaches, physical education teachers and soccer administrators with the knowledge to successfully structure soccer environments for children aged 4-12.

In this course, attendees will explore the role of the coach as a facilitator is explored as well as the physical, mental and emotional needs and capabilities of the players, lessons from developmental psychology and the art of teaching. Candidates are videotaped for analysis during live training sessions.

Check out the schedule below, and to sign up please visit the Colorado Soccer Association website.

Dates of Course – July 26-30, 2014  **Minimum class size is 16, maximum class size is 36.  Additional candidates will be placed on a Wait List (deposit checks will not be cashed while on Wait List)*

Classroom Sessions                                  Field Sessions

Westminster Sports Center                         Big Dry Creek Park

6051 W 95th Ave                                           1700 W 128th Ave

Westminster, CO  80021                             Westminster, CO

Cost - $625;  $125 is due as a non-refundable deposit at time of registration with your completed Candidate Application.  Balance is due one week before the course along with completed mandatory Health Report form.

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SUU Thunderbirds Announce 2014 Camps
SUU Thunderbirds Announce 2014 Camps avatar

Courtesy of UYSA

Courtesy of UYSA

Southern Utah University have announced details for two upcoming high school female soccer camps; the Spring ID camp to be held April 18-19 and the Residential Camp June 16-19.

The ID camp will serve as a crucial proving ground for those interested in playing at a collegiate level. Aside from the camp portion, a college preview day, hosted by SUU admissions, will give players the tools they need to show their best on the pitch.

The residential camp is perfect for individual players and teams alike who want to take their soccer prowess to the next level. Focus will be put on showcase games, high level training with college coaches and personal enrichment/education sessions.

These camps are open to all female soccer players from 8th to 12th grade. The cost to attend the Spring ID camp in $65 for the combined camp and college preview day. The cost to attend the Residential Camp is $265 for early registration and $315 regular price.

For more information please visit the Utah Youth Soccer Association website.

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U20 WNT Start World Cup Prep with Training Camp
U20 WNT Start World Cup Prep with Training Camp avatar

Lindsey Horan chose to play overseas rather than attend college.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Lindsey Horan chose to play overseas rather than attend college.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

U.S. U20 WNT head coach Michelle French called up 24 players for a training camp Feb. 22-March 2 in Lakewood Ranch, FL, which will include two matches against China PR on Feb. 26 and March 1.

Both teams are FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers and the training camp signifies the beginning preparation for the tournament, coming after a huge U.S. win in the 2014 CONCACAF Championship held at the Cayman Islands.

Eighteen of the 20 players selected to the roster helped the U.S. to a 29-0 undefeated victory in the CONCACAF qualifiers, which includes talented midfielder and tournament MVP Rose Lavalle, UCLA goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland and USA U20 lead scorer, forward Lindsey Horan, who was released from French club Paris Saint-Germain for the camp.

U.S. U17 standout Mallory Pugh adorns the roster as well with 15 international goals under her U17 career belt. She heads to camp after helping the U17 ladies to victory at the NTC Invitational in Carson, CA.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.), Morgan Stearns (Virginia; San Antonio, Texas)
DEFENDERS (7): Stephanie Amack (Stanford; Pleasanton, Calif.), Brittany Basinger (Penn State; Purcellville, Va.), Maddie Bauer (Stanford; Newport Beach, Calif.), Christina Gibbons (Duke; Raleigh, N.C.), Laura Liedle (Stanford; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Notre Dame; Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Claire Wagner (Clemson, Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Andrews (Notre Dame; Milford, N.H.), Rachel Hill (UConn; Rollinsford, N.H.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Ashley Meier (Virginia Tech; Strongsville, Ohio), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.), Mallory Weber (Penn State; Novi, Mich.)
FORWARDS (6): Summer Green (UNC; Milford, Mich.), Lindsey Horan (PSG; Golden, Colo.), Jaycie Johnson (Nebraska; Lake Winnebago, Mo.), Savannah Jordan (Florida; Fayetteville, Ga.), McKenzie Meehan (Boston College; Scituate, R.I.), Margaret Purce (Harvard; Silver Spring, Md.)

 

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NASL Announces Name of New Florida Franchise
NASL Announces Name of New Florida Franchise avatar

ARMADA-FC-RGB-jpg

Today in Jacksonville North American Soccer League (NASL) announced the name and logo for its newest expansion franchise, Jacksonville Armada Football Club.

The name was chosen from over 1500 suggestions from fans, centering on Northeast Florida’s Spanish heritage and military background. It’s a thrilling addition for professional sports Jacksonville, and will be the first pro soccer team in the area since 1982.

“From a soccer standpoint, there’s so many soccer fans in the community, this is an opportunity for them to latch on to their own team here in Jacksonville and see first class soccer right in their hometown,” interim director of Sports and Entertainment Joel Lamp told reporters.

The NASL season kicks off April 2014, but Jax Armada won’t be out on the pitch till spring 2015 along with fellow newbies Virginia Cavalry and Oklahoma City.

 

 

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UEFA Champions League – Round of 16
UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 avatar

The Champions League returns to action tomorrow as the Round of 16 kicks-off. Most of the usual suspects have made it this far

Tuesday February 17

Manchester City v Barcelona

Manchester City arrive at the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the first time after finishing second in their groups level on 15 points with holders Bayern Munich.

The Sky Blues have only lost once in this season’s campaign, going down 3-1 at home to holder Bayern Munich. However, they avenged that defeat with a 3-2 win in Munich and would actually have finished top of the group if they had scored one more goal.

Manchester City are full of confidence and have so much attacking power.  (Getty images)

Manchester City are full of confidence and have so much attacking power. (Getty images)

Barcelona finished top of their group on 13 points to make it to the round of 16 for the eighth year in row. The four-times European champions have only won once away from home in this year’s competition, losing away to Ajax and drawing in Milan, but still managed to finish four points above Milan in group H.

Key Players

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure has proven a thorn in most teams sides this season. (Getty Images)

Yaya Toure has proven a thorn in most teams sides this season. (Getty Images)

The Ivorian International joined City from Barcelona back in 2010 and has become a talismanic figure ever since. Blessed with strength, pace and skill, Toure is a classic box-to-box midfielder, and if he can get in full-flow he could run the Barca midfield ragged.

Lionel Messi

Messi has had somewhat of quiet season by his standards. (Getty Images)

Messi has had somewhat of quiet season by his standards. (Getty Images)

Messi has had a disrupted campaign with injury and recently spent two-months out of action with a hamstring injury. Remarkably questions were raised recently about the Argentinean maestro when he failed to score in his first three games back from injury, but he has now scored 8 goals in his last five games and looks close to his best again.

Tactical breakdown

This is undoubtedly the most anticipated encounter of the round of 16, as both teams like to play expansive attacking soccer.

City have been immense at home failing to win just two of all their 20 games at the Etihad this season and scoring four or more in 12 of those matches.

Barca have stuttered in  this Champions League and will hope that they can prove they still have the quality to see them through to the quarters.(Getty Images)

Barca have stuttered in this Champions League and will hope that they can prove they still have the quality to see them through to the quarters.(Getty Images)

Barcelona on the other hand have only won once away from home this season, and only three times away from home since 2008, which suggests the Blaugrana could be there for the taking. However, Barca have still managed to progress to at least the semi-finals and win the trophy twice during that time, suggesting they are also immense on their home patch. Therefore, I think it is imperative that City go for a win, as the prospect of heading to the Camp Nou needing a result are not bright.

Barcelona will play their usually tiki-taka possession style and try to boss the game by monopolizing possession of the ball. However, I expect City to take the game to their opponents and use their pace and power to ruffle the feathers of the Barca midfield.

The key to victory for City could be in the wide areas, and if they can get crosses into the box the striking duo of Negrado and Dzecko could profit. However, whether or not they will be able to keep Messi from creating or scoring at the other end remains to be seen.

Prediction: 3-1

Bayer Leverkusen v Paris Saint Germain

Bayer Leverkusen finished second behind Manchester United in group H to progress to the round of 16 for the first time since 2012. Leverkusen, who currently sit second in the Budesliga, are aiming to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, when they were beaten 2-1 in the final by Real Madrid.

(Getty Images)

PSG will be hoping to to reach the next stage of the Champions League.(Getty Images)

PSG finished comfortable winners of Groups C, scoring an impressive 16 goals in the Process. The French Ligue 1 champions are hoping to reach the last-eight for the second successive years—PSG were quarter-finalists last term for the first time since 1994/95.

Key Players

Bernd Leno

Leverkusen's Leno (Getty Images)

Leverkusen’s Leno is regarded as one of the best young keepers in the world. (Getty Images)

Leno became the youngest keeper ever to play in the Champions League when he featured for Leverkusen against Chelsea in 2011 at the tender age of just 19 years and 193 days. Now 21, Leno has become one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe and he will have to be at his best to keep Imrahimovic and company at bay.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

(Getty Images)

Ibrahimovic ® has been unstoppable for PSG.(Getty Images)

The Maverick Swede has scored an incredible 32 goals in 34 games for PSG this season, including 8 goals in the Champions League. Strong, Skillful and good in the air, Ibrahimovic is the full package and is the only player to have scored for six different clubs in the Champions League.

Tactical Breakdown

After making a good start to the season Leverkusen’s form has dropped of late and they have won twice in their last seven games.

It’s no coincidence that their poor form has coincided with a spate of injuries to key players and Leverkusen now head into Tuesday’s game without midfielder Emre Can due to suspension, strikers Eren Derdiyok (foot) and Robbie Kruse (knee), while Stefan Reinartz (foot) is a doubt.

PSG's Uruguayan forward Cavani could miss the game. (Getty Images)

PSG’s Uruguayan forward Cavani could miss the game. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, PSG have injury worries of there own with summer signing Edinson Cavani out with an injury picked up against Boudreaux last month. The Uruguayan forward has scored 20 goals since joining from Napoli, and will be missed. However, PSG have a wealth of other talent to call upon, including star player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is the second top scorer in the competition this season with 8 goals.

I expect Bayer to give PSG a good game, but PSG’s greater guile and skill should see them take a slender lead back home.

Prediction: 0-1

Wednesday February 18

Arsenal v Bayern Munich

Arsenal finished runners-up in Group F level on 12 points with group winners Borussia Dortmund and third place Napoli, with results between the clubs deciding their positions.

Bayern Munich are definitely the team to beat and will definitely be a challenge for Arsenal. (Getty Images)

Bayern Munich are definitely the team to beat and will definitely be a challenge for Arsenal. (Getty Images)

Bayern Munich Cruised through winning all but one game. Nevertheless, the reigning Champions League holders almost finished runners-up in their group as Manchester City beat them 3-2 in the last group game. Luckily for Bayern the City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, got his calculations wrong and didn’t realize a single goal would take them top.

Key Players

Mathieu Flamini

Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini will definitely need to perform if Arsenal want to pull of the win. (Getty Images)

Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini will definitely need to perform if Arsenal want to pull of the win. (Getty Images)

The French midfielder moved back to Arsenal from AC Milan during the summer and has been integral to their good run in the EPL and Champions League this season. Flamini is not the prettiest of players, but he provides cover for the defense and helps to organize the Arsenal midfield, which will be vital against arguably the best team in Europe at the moment.

Philipp Lahm

Phillip Lahm ® has been outstanding in his new role. (Getty images)

Phillip Lahm ® has been outstanding in his new role. (Getty images)

Having spent the last 10-years as being one of the world’s best full-backs, Lahm was moved to the defensive midfield position by new Bayern coach Pep Guardiola at the beginning of the season and has taken to it like a duck to water. Poised on the ball and intelligent off it, Lahm has become a Beckenbauer-esq figure in the Bayern midfield, starting and directing most of their plays, and if he starts to get a grip on the game on Wednesday Arsenal could be in for a long night.

Tactical Breakdown

These two clubs meet at the same phase in last year’s competition with Bayern Munich edging through via the away goals rule.

Arsenal showed their German counterparts too much respect in the first leg game in London and lost 3-1. However, they played with more belief in the second game and won by 2-0.

Ribery (L) will miss this fixture and could be a big lose to Bayern.(Getty Images)

Ribery (L) will miss this fixture and could be a big lose to Bayern.(Getty Images)

Bayern Munich are the holders of the competition and will be favorites to progress. Both these teams play technical attacking soccer, however, I think this game will be tight and I expect Arsenal to probably play a bit more reserved and cautiously than they have mostly done at home this season.

Munich will press high and try to boss possession, which could leave them vulnerable to counter-attacks, but I don’t think they will be overly adventurous and I think this game will end in score draw.

Prediction: 1-1

AC Milan v Atletico Madrid

AC Milan finished second in group H on 9 points behind group winner Barcelona. Milan are having a poor season and currently sit 10th in Seria A, but they have faired well in the Champions League and have only lost once this campaign—a 3-1 defeat away to Barcelona.

(Getty Images)

Atletico have had an outstanding season and one of the best in the history of the club.(Getty Images)

Atlectico are having one their best seasons in a long time and currently joint-top of La Liga on 60-points with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Atletico comfortably won their group finishing 10-points above second place Porto. Rojiblancos are only one of three sides yet to be beaten in this year’s campaign and aiming for their first quarterfinal appearance since 1997.

Key Players

Mario Balotelli

(Getty Images)

Balotelli will be hoping he can shine on the big occasion.(Getty Images)

The mercurial striker, like his team, has not been in the best of form this season, however, he has the talent to score goals from nothing—as he demonstrated on Valentines Day with a thunderbolt from the blue against Bologna. Tall, strong, and fast, Balotelli combines athletic prowess with great skill making him a scary figure for opposing defenders,

Diego Costa

(Getty images)

Diego Costa has scored 26 goals thus far this season.(Getty images)

Spain and Brazil were recently involved in a tug of war for striker and it is easy to see why, with Costa already scoring 26 goals for Atletico this term. Nicknamed ‘El Cholo’ or the beast, Costa is known for his incredible body strength and ability in the air.

Tactical Breakdown

These two sides are at the opposite ends of the spectrum with Milan having one or their worst seasons in recent memory, while Atletico are enjoying one of their best seasons.

AC Milan should just edge this one. (Getty Images)

AC Milan should just edge this one. (Getty Images)

Based on current form Atlectico are probably slight favorites, but Milan do have European pedigree that could aid them in this tie. Usually I wouldn’t expect Milan to play cautiously and with discipline, but new boss Clarence Seedorf has promised to make them attack. Atletico have won plaudits for their high intensity pressing game this season, but against Milan they will probably be happy to sit back and hit on the counter.

This game should be close, but I’ll back Milan to just edge it.

Prediction: 1-0

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Front Line – Brazil 2014
Front Line – Brazil 2014 avatar

When Jurgen Klinsmann took over the United States men’s national soccer team in 2011, there was much talk about playing a 4-3-3 formation. That formation has gradually morphed into a 4-2-3-1/4-2-2, depending on the circumstances. Klinsmann tends to start off in the former, with the 4-2-2 coming into play if the attack needs a boost.

With that in mind, let’s look at the attack as a whole, grouping the wide midfielders and the forwards as one unit.

Outside Midfielders: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim) Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes)

Outsider: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)

Wild card: Brek Shea (Stoke, on loan to Barnsley)

This is a tricky group, given the flexibility of several of the players, and, as mentioned, the formation. For example Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey are two players that can play as midfielders, or withdrawn forwards (wf). And then there is the wf/cam (center attacking midfielder) position itself.

Clint Dempsey (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Clint Dempsey will surely be in the starting line-up. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

That player, most likely Dempsey, is stationed behind the striker and centrally, further up the pitch than the two more defensive central midfielders. When the team is attacking, Dempsey will serve as a second striker/playmaker. Against the likes of Portugal and Germany, however that player may be pressed into a more defensive role, leaving a lone striker up top.

So who will provide the attacking impetus for the U.S. MNT this summer in Brazil?

Landon Donovan and Fabian Johnson remain at the front of the pack as wide midfielders. Over the last year or more Donovan has played the majority of his soccer for the L.A. Galaxy up front alongside Robbie Keane, and is on record as willing to fill any role this summer.

Donovan's starting position has been under much debate.  (Getty Images)

Donovan’s starting position has been under much debate. (Getty Images)

Some hear this and envision LD springing off the bench for some late game firepower. Tempting? Sure, but too soon. The U.S. MNT is not at a place yet where it can afford to sit Donovan.

Across the field from Donovan, Fabian Johnson is still ahead of Zusi on the depth chart, despite a solid effort from the Sporting Kansas City man in the year opening 2-0 U.S. win over South Korea, on February 1.

Johnson provides a bit more flair than the workman like Zusi, although there remains an outside chance that Klinsmann could use Johnson at the left fullback spot.

Bedoya was a surprise inclusion. (ISI Photos/

Bedoya has been having a wonderful season with his club.. (ISI Photos/)

Alejandro Bedoya is one of the few Americans to profit from an overseas move of late, flourishing since his move to league 1 club Nantes. Bedoya would prefer to play more centrally, but has been used almost exclusively as a wide player for the national team, and that is how he will go, or not go, to Brazil.

Brad Davis and Brek Shea are two players on the edge of the conversation. Davis is an MLS vet who has done well since Klinsmann handed him an unexpected chance to revive his international career. Klinsmann surprisingly looked to the Houston Dynamo man to close out a couple of World Cup Qualifiers in 2013, but if Davis makes it to Brazil, it will be his cultured left foot that gets him there.

Brek Shea has shown so much early promise but has somewhat faded out with poor performances. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Brek Shea has shown so much early promise but has somewhat faded out with poor performances. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Shea is a rare thing in the U.S. pool, a natural winger. Klinsmann covets that width and has given Shea every chance to impress. A loan move from Stoke to English Championship strugglers Barnsley has given Shea some some playing time, and a platform to as Klinsmann says, to “state his case.” Now it’s up to Shea.

Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar) Eddie Johnson (DC United)

Outsiders: Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna) Herculez Gomez (Tijuana) Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Wild Cards: Juan Agudelo (Stoke, on loan to Utrecht) Julian Green (Bayern Munich)

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey have struggled of late, and those struggles have thrown their starting positions into question, Right? Not really. Let’s hear what Klinsmann had to say on the subject following that win over South Korea.

To be clear,” Klinsmann said, “I think Jozy, once he’s keeping his playing rhythm and the quality he has, is our number one center forward that we have, and Clint is the player behind him (as the wf/cam).

Jozy Altidore has only scored 1 goal in 23 games for Sunderland this season.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jozy Altidore has only scored 1 league goal in 23 games for Sunderland this season.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Klinsmann also referred to the team’s five man “spine”, that starts with goalkeeper Tim Howard and running through midfielders Bradley and Jones, and onto Altidore and Dempsey. So those positions are accounted for.

Icelandic-American striker Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore as AZ Alkmaar’s top goalscorer when Altidore moved on to Sunderland last summer. This summer in Brazil, Johannsson will likely have to content himself with a subs role.

That leaves one final striker spot up for grabs. DC United’s Eddie Johnson and Rapid Vienna’s Terrence Boyd were probably the front runners before Chris Wondolowski’s brace against South Korea. But how much weight should the South Korea game be given? Some, but not an awful lot. Wondo has yet to prove that he can make a mark against better teams, Korea were short handed against the U.S.

Boyd has been a regular goalscorer for Rapid, but despite numerous call ups Klinsmann hasn’t given the big man much playing time for the U.S. MNT. Of the three, Eddie Johnson has had the most impact for the national team. If it comes down to this trio, Johnson should emerge on top.

Agudelo (ISI Photos)

Agudelo still has a chance of making it – if he can prove himself with Utrecht. (ISI Photos)

But there is a wild card here, Juan Agudelo. The well traveled young striker has just started a loan stint with Utrecht, in the Netherlands Eredivisie, and the early returns are promising. Agudelo has much ground to make up, but if he can tap into his vast potential in the coming months, Agudelo could force Klinsmann’s hand.

The second wild card is 18 year old Tampa Bay born Julian Green. Having lived in Germany since the age of two, Green is eligible to play for either the U.S. or Germany. The exciting prospect made his first team debut for the German giants in November, when he entered a Champions League tie versus CSKA Moscow in the 88th minute. That is Green’s only first team action to date, but with 15 goals in 18 matches this season for Bayern Munich II, in the Regionalla, it is easy to see why Jurgen Klinsmann is keeping an eye on the young striker.

Green has accepted an invitation to train with the U.S. MNT ahead of its March 5 match at the Ukraine, and now an unconfirmed report from German publication Bild, is claiming that Green is prepared to choose the U.S. over Germany.

Klinsmann does have a dilemma and has made it clear he will take his time with his selection(ISI Photos)

Klinsmann does have a dilemma and has made it clear he will take his time with his selection(ISI Photos)

Other reports suggest that Klinsmann is dangling a World Cup place as bait or the 18 year old. We don’t know about that, but Green is certainly on the radar.

The U.S. faces Ghana on June 16. The team won’t be picked today, but if it were, here is who we see making the final 23 man roster.

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton) Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Right fullback: Geoff Cameron (Stoke) Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders)

Left fullback: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla) Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew)

Center back: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy) Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes) Michael Orozco (Puebla)

Central midfield: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) Jermaine Jones (Besiktas, on loan from Schalke) Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg)

Outside Midfielders: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim) Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes)

Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar) Eddie Johnson (DC United)

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U.S. WNT Shut Out Russia in Second Match
U.S. WNT Shut Out Russia in Second Match avatar

The U.S. WNT and Russia clashed for a second time this month, with the Americans shutting them out 8-0 in Atlanta, GA tonight.

Wambach was one of the scorers tonight (Getty Images)

Wambach was one of the scorers tonight (Getty Images)

Though the U.S. ran away with the game, it was thrilling as ever, starting with two own goals by Russia and then an onslaught of goals all scored in the second half.

The game got underway with an early own goal in the 11th minute, scored by Russia’s Elena Terekhova. Defender Whitney Engen slammed the ball off the post from the left and it bounced off Terekhova into the back of the net to put the U.S. in the lead 1-0.

That own goal would carry the Americans through the remainder of the first half, and although they dominated the field with possession and created multiple close chances, no one else would score and the half time whistle signaled the break.

The second half got underway in a blur as, unbelievably the U.S. racked up three goals in just four minutes. An unusual situation unfolded in the 50th minute when yet another own goal hit the net, this time scored by Russia’s Valentina Orlova.

Afterwards, it was apparent they had lost their composure a bit and the U.S. responded by attacking full force. Just two minutes later Heather O’Reilly volleyed a cross from the right side straight into the box, and Amy Rodriguez jumped to meet the ball in the air, one timing it in over the goalkeepers head brilliantly.

Just a minute later, the U.S. grabbed possession again- this time it was Megan Rapinoe. She raced down the left side and easily crossed to Abby Wambach in the box. The rest was history and the U.S. bumped up their score 4-0.

Press scored with just 10 mins of playing time (Getty Images)

Press scored with just 10 mins of playing time (Getty Images)

The Russians fired back after that, working hard to keep the U.S. at bay. The Americans continued to pressure that back line, and it wasn’t long until another goal was scored. Morgan Brian got the ball 25 yards out and fired it high towards the net. Rapinoe met it with a header, guiding it in to extend the lead 5-0 in the 65th minute.

The game continued on with the final 10 minutes of regulation approaching. Lauren Holiday raced to connect with the ball in the box, but a Russian defender took her down. A penalty kick followed suit, and she effortlessly put it away for the sixth U.S. goal. That opened the flood gates once more, and lucky number seven was added just three minutes later by O’Reilly and Press made it 8-0 in the 86th to secure the win.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 7 8
RUS 0 0 0

USA – (Own Goal) Elena Terekhova 11th minute
USA – (Own Goal) Valentina Orlova 50
USA – Amy Rodriguez (Heather O’Reilly) 52
USA – Abby Wambach (Megan Rapinoe) 54
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Morgan Brian) 65
USA – Lauren Holiday (penalty kick) 81
USA – Heather O’Reilly (Christen Press) 83
USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe) 86

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo (21-Jill Loyden, 46); 11-Ali Krieger (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 62), 6-Whitney Engen, 16-Rachel Van Hollebeke, 5-Kelley O’Hara (19-Kristie Mewis, 34); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 25-Morgan Brian (12-Lauren Holiday, 68), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 8-Amy Rodriguez (2-Sydney Leroux, 75), 20-Abby Wambach (capt.) (23-Christen Press, 81)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

RUS: 12-Maria Zhamanakova; 3-Valentina Orlova, 18-Elena Medved (11-Anna Sinyutina, 85), 7-Ekaterina Dmitrenko (15-Ksenia Kovalenko, 88), 19-Ksenia Tsybutovich (capt.); 4-Svetlana Tsidikova (22-Daria Makarenko, 56), 13-Alla Sidorovskaya, 20-Nelli Korovkina, 23-Elena Morozova (14-Anastasiya Chevtchenko, 46), 17-Ekaterina Pantyukhina (16-Elena Kostareva, 68), 10-Elena Terekhova (8-Karina Bliskaya, 70)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Elvira Todua, 2-Marina Pushkereva, 9-Alena Andreeva, 21-Alena Beliaeva
Head coach: Sergey Lavrenty

Stats Summary: USA / RUS
Shots: 24 / 4
Shots on Goal: 17 / 0
Saves: 0 / 9
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 9 / 8
Offside: 1 / 2

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AYSA: Support “Coaches United Against Cancer”
AYSA: Support “Coaches United Against Cancer” avatar

 

Courtesy of AYSA

Courtesy of AYSA

Arizona Youth Soccer Association wants YOU to come out and support “Coaches United Against Cancer” by taking the plunge and shaving your head!

That’s right- at least one coach per club is encouraged to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation by having his/her head shaved in public. This event has been organized as a Northern Arizona vs. Southern Arizona “Club Challenge with a goal to reach over $20,000.

Check out the dates and locations below and for more information please visit the AYSA website.

PHOENIX AREA:

  • DATE:  Tuesday, March 4, 2014
  • LOCATION:  Sports Authority – Arizona Mills Mall, Tempe, AZ
  • TIME:  6:00pm to 9:00pm

TUCSON AREA:

  • DATE:  Wednesday, March 5, 2014
  • LOCATION:  Ann Kathryn Schmidt “Kickin’ It” Clubhouse (Brandi Fenton Memorial Park), Tucson AZ
  • TIME:  6:00pm to 9:00pm
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Indiana Soccer Announces 2013 Winners and Hall of Fame Inductees
Indiana Soccer Announces 2013 Winners and Hall of Fame Inductees avatar

 

Courtesy of ISA

Courtesy of ISA

Indiana Soccer wrapped up the 2014 annual awards banquet last Saturday at the Renaissance North Hotel in Carmel, Ind., where 2013 winners and hall of fame inductees were announced.

“Every year we celebrate leaders throughout the state of Indiana whose dedication and passion for soccer is unparalleled,” executive director of Indiana Soccer Dave Guthrie said in a press release. “We are grateful for each individual’s commitment towards soccer throughout the state of Indiana.”

Congratulations to all selected for their outstanding achievements, and for more information please visit the Indiana Soccer Association website.

  • Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame: Frank Dixon - Mike Ferrell - Olman Sanchez
  • James Carson Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award: Rick Balak
  •  President’s Awards: Matthew Burkart - Ersal Ozdemir - Mark Speigel - Andy Cook - Rob Smith
  •    Boys Travel Coach of the Year: Nick Potter (FW United FC)
  • Girls Travel Coach of the Year: Eric Schoenstein (SWISA)
  •  Girls Recreational Coach of the Year: Brian Lewis (Cutters Soccer Club)
  •  Boys Recreational Coach of the Year: Jim Barron (Fishers Soccer Club)
  •  Club Director of Coaching of the Year: Dan Sullivan (Elkhart Flames Soccer Club)
  •  Volunteer of the Year: Dave Rader (Westside United FC)
  •  Administrator of the Year: Christina Pritchard (Westfield Youth Soccer)
  •  Manager of the Year: Cherie Bowen (Ft. Wayne Sport Club)
  •  Jay Fredrich Good of Soccer: Michael Grubb (Cutters Soccer Club)
  •  John Denkmann Referee of the Year: Ali Banane
  •  Young Male Referee of the Year: Kyle Costa
  •  Young Female Referee of the Year: Reyna Williams
  •  TOPSOCCER Buddy of the Year: Mitch Broome (Greenfield Area Soccer)
  •  ODP Spirit Award: Collin Coplen - Julianna Stureman

 

 

 

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U17 WNT Clinch NTC Invitational Title Against Japan
U17 WNT Clinch NTC Invitational Title Against Japan avatar

The U.S. U17 WNT closed out the U17 Women’s NTC Invitational with a close knit 2-1 win against Japan in Carson, CA on Sunday.

Following victories against China 5-0 and New Zealand 2-0, the American ladies stepped up against a talented Japanese squad and were able to clinch the win with 10 minutes left in regulation. This marks three victories against countries that will compete in the 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica next month. The U.S., unfortunately, did not make the cut after falling to Mexico in penalty kicks in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Tournament.

Scoring was opened by Japan when Moeka Minami nailed the back of the net just five minutes in, but the U.S. was not intimidated in the least bit. It was the fire they needed to push through with perseverance and in the 29th minute midfielder Taylor Racioppi equalized off a penalty kick.

With both teams going into the second half searching fervently for the game winner, the match turned into a back and forth struggle between two powerful teams. Then in the 80th minute, lead scorer Mallory Pugh came to the rescue, blasting the ball into the back of the net in the 80th minute to snag the Invitational title.

Match: United States U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: Feb. 9, 2014
Competition: 2014 U-17 Women’s NTC Invitational
Venue: Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – U.S. Soccer National Training Center – Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT
Weather: 60 degrees

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

JPN – Moeka Minami                               5th minute
USA – Taylor Racioppi (penalty kick)         29
USA – Mallory Pugh (Taylor Racioppi)        80

Lineups:
USA:   18-Kat Hess; 10-Ellie Jean, 9-Zoe Morse, 6-Natalie Jacobs, 12-Tegan McGrady; 4-Marley Canales,14-Taylor Racioppi, 17-Mallory Pugh; 8-Kelcie Hedge (20-Leah Pruitt, 66), 3-Maddie Haley (2-Dorian Bailey, 74), 11-Michelle Xiao (7-Mia Gyau, 66)
Subs not used: Ashley Sanchez, Taryn Torres, Frankie Tagliaferri, Karlie Paschall, Zoe Redei, Anika Rodriguez, Maddy Schultz, Alana Cook, Chloe Castaneda, Lauren Rood
Head Coach: BJ Snow

JPN: 1-Natsumi Asano; 6-Shiho Matsubara (21-Mizuka Sato, 77), 13-Moeka Minami, 3-Nana Ichise, 9-Hikaru Kitagawa; 10-Hina Sugita, 5-Asato Miyagawa, 14-Yui Hasegawa; 4-Nishida Meika, 8-Rikako Kobayashi, 18-Fuka Nagano (20-Mizuki Saihara,60)
Subs not used: Yukiko Abe, Wakaho Kanda, Fumika Yamashita, Mamiko Matsumoto, Yo Tachibana, Maho Hashinuma, Fuka Kono, Aimi Kunitake
Head Coach: Asako Takakura

Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 6 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 6
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 7
Fouls: 7 / 4
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:

JPN – Nana Ichise          37th minute

 

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U-18 MNT – Akale Shines in U.S. Defeat
U-18 MNT – Akale Shines in U.S. Defeat avatar

Javier Perez must be proud of how his young team performed. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Javier Perez must be proud of how his young team performed. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

The U.S. MNT U18 team closed out the Copa del Atlantico with a surprise 3-2 loss to tournament minnows Canary Islands to finish out the tournament without a win. The Americans had given Spain, the reigning seven time Copa winners, and Argentina, who unseated Spain this year on goal difference, all they could handle in 1-0 losses, making this loss something of a surprise.

But Javier Perez, the Spanish born U.S. coach, won’t be too disappointed in his young squad. With his eye clearly on player development, Perez, and U.S. Youth Director Tab Ramos, elected to bring the youngest team of the four, to this prestigious tournament.

Prior to the event, Perez noted that this a 96er tournament, meaning that it is for players born in 1996. Spain, Perez said, brought 96ers, while the Argentine side that won the tournament, was the oldest group in Las Palmas.

The American roster was a mix of experienced 96ers like Shaquell Moore, Emerson Hyndman, and Rubio Rubin, alongside talented younger players like defenders Erik Palmer-Brown, Tommy Redding, and midfielders Benny Swanson, Mukwelle Akale.

Mukwelle Akale stood out and was awards the tournaments MVP. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Mukwelle Akale stood out and was awards the tournaments MVP. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Despite the poor results, the U.S. showed they were not out of place on the pitch against very talented young players from some of the top clubs in the world, including Manchester City, Barcelona and River Plate. With European talent scouts in attendance Akale, a creative midfielder who plays for the Minnesota Thunder Academy, was named the Player of the Tournament, with his teammate Redding also making the short list.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Christian Herrera (Real Salt Lake AZ; Las Cruces, N.M.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Chase Gasper (Bethesda-Olney; Alexandria, Va.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Unattached; Oviedo, Fla.), Tyler Turner (Unattached; Meriden, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Omar Castro (Eintracht Braunschweig; Plant City, Fla.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Plano, Texas), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (5): Andrija Novakovich (Chicago Magic PSG; Muskego, Wis.), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC; Garland, Texas), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire; Lithona, Ga.)

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U.S. WNT Crush Russia
U.S. WNT Crush Russia avatar

It was a beautiful day for soccer in Boca Raton, FL where the U.S. crushed Russia 7-0 in their second game of the year.

Russia slowly lost composure throughout as the U.S. rained goal after goal from start to finish. Carli Lloyd scored a brace and Heather O’Reilly added one more in the first half while Christen Press, Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach added goals in the second.

Carli Loyd and teammates celebrate her goal. (Getty Images)

Carli Loyd and teammates celebrate her goal. (Getty Images)

The Americans took charge right off the bat, dominating possession while Russian defense worked diligently to keep the ball out. It didn’t take long for the U.S. to find the back of the net though, and scoring opened in the 29th minute when O’Reilly crossed to Lloyd on the right side. The forward proceeded to dribble the ball in and around opposition, slamming it in before the goalkeeper had a chance to react.

With the exhilaration of Lloyd’s goal still fresh, the crowd was delighted once again with a second U.S. goal just two minutes later. This time it was O’Reilly doing the honors, volleying a left footed shot in from the left side to up the score 2-0.

The yankee take over continued with possession kept on their side for the majority. In the 39th minute Lloyd stepped up to the plate to score a brace before halftime. Kristie Mewis bumped the ball over to her from the left side and Lloyd sealed the deal with a highflying shot from the top of the box to add a third goal.

Leroux and Press both got on the score sheet. (Getty Images)

Leroux and Press both got on the score sheet. (Getty Images)

Lloyd was only getting started though, as she continued to cause trouble for the Russians. The second half was only a few minutes in when she set up a beautiful cross for Press in the box. Press was ready, redirecting the shot with a header that put the ball away. Before Russia could react with a counterattack, the U.S. scored yet again- three minutes later, this time by Sydney Leroux to settle the score 5-0.

As the second half stretched on Russia began to look tired as the U.S. consistently pressured the back line and created multiple chances. In the 58th minute, Press scored a brace to add a sixth goal. Ali Krieger delivered a shot, which deflected off the Russian goalkeeper’s chest. It fell to Press, who readily smashed it in from close range.

Wambach rounded out scoring for the day in the 70th minute. Kreiger broke away down the right flank and crossed into the box to the star forward. The net was wide open and she easily tapped it in to settle the score 7-0.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 4 7
RUS 0 0 0

USA – Carli Lloyd (Heather O’Reilly) 29th minute
USA – Heather O’Reilly 32
USA – Carli Lloyd (Stephanie Cox) 37
USA – Christen Press (Carli Lloyd) 51
USA – Sydney Leroux (Lauren Holiday) 54
USA – Christen Press (Ali Krieger) 59
USA – Abby Wambach (Amy Rodriguez) 67

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (16-Rachel Van Hollebeke, 80), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 14-Stephanie Cox (15-Megan Rapinoe, 74); 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Erika Tymrak, 68), 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Holiday, 19-Kristie Mewis; 23-Christen Press (8-Amy Rodriguez, 60), 2-Sydney Leroux (20-Abby Wambach, 60)
Substitutions Not Used: 6-Whitney Engen, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

RUS: 1-Elvira Todua; 2-Marina Pushkereva (18-Elena Medved, 33), 3-Valentina Orlova, 7-Ekaterina Dmitrenko, 19-Ksenia Tsybutovich (capt.); 13-Alla Sidorovskaya, 20-Nelli Korovkina (11-Anna Sinyutina, 90+4), 23-Elena Morozova (14-Anastasiya Chevtchenko, 53), 17-Ekaterina Pantyukhina (9-Alena Andreeva, 88); 10-Elena Terekhova (8-Karina Bliskaya, 75) 16-Elena Kostareva (4-Svetlana Tsidikova, 63)
Substitutions Not Used: 12- Maria Zhamanakova, 15-Ksenia Kovalenko, 21-Alena Beliaeva, 22-Daria Makarenko
Head coach: Sergey Lavrenty

Stats Summary: USA / RUS
Shots: 32 / 3
Shots on Goal: 18 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 13 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 8
Offside: 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
RUS – Valentina Orlova (sent off) 68th minute
RUS – Ekaterina Dmitrenko (caution) 70

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