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88 posts from June 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More perspective on the United States' win

Great stuff today from George Vescey in The New York Times:

Nobody in the American soccer federation will dare to claim that this was the day the country came of age in the world’s most important sport. Not until American boys and girls play feral soccer on their own, for the love of the sport, will the nation develop its own Jordan, its own Pujols, its own Crosby or Malkin, its own Maradona.

But this was a step, the product of many intricate changes, some of them made by Bob Bradley, the American coach who was under attack in blogs in recent weeks. (Yapping about the coach is a great step forward for the United States.)

Who's next: Brazil or South Africa?

Sorry for the light blogging today, but I'm working double-duty, covering the Dolphins-Estefan story.

I'll be fully attentive in an hour or so, though, when Brazil faces South Africa in the other Confederations Cup semifinal.

The winner takes on the United States in the final Sunday.

Who would you rather the Americans face: Brazil, which already thumped the Yanks in this tournament, or South Africa, playing at home?

You can follow along live here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More on United States-Spain

88153464CK038 SPAIN V USA F 

Here's AP's take:

The U.S. soccer team pulled off a major upset Wednesday, beating top-ranked Spain 2-0 on goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.

The victory sends the Americans to the Confederations Cup final, and snaps Spain's 15-game winning streak. Spain hadn't been beaten since a loss to Romania in November 2006.

And for your viewing pleasure, a photo gallery put together by yours truly.

Am I Dreaming? (post-game)

Who says Americans can't play soccer? USA 2, Almighty Spain 0. In a REAL game, with REAL stars, with a spot in the final on the line. This is a huge day for US Soccer.

Is it the biggest upset in US Soccer history? Is it the biggest win? Or just the most shocking?

I know one thing..it will make headlines and ESPN highlights, and that, alone, is progress!

Am I dreaming????????

...or is the US beating the Almighty Spain 1-0 at halftime?

45 minutes from a miracle.

Enjoy the second half. I sure will!

Official United States-Spain live blog


The lineups are set. Of note: Carlos Bocanegra is back from a hamstring injury. Charlie Davies earned another start after providing a spark against Egypt. More of Ricardo Clark, too. And, DaMarcus Beasley's spot on the bench may have become permanent.

The lineups, courtesy of FIFA.com:

United States

(C) Carlos BOCANEGRA 3
Oguchi ONYEWU 5
Charlie DAVIES 9
Landon DONOVAN 10
Michael BRADLEY 12
Ricardo CLARK 13
Jay DeMERIT 15
Jonathan SPECTOR 21


3 Gerard PIQUE
5 Carles PUYOL
7 David VILLA
9 Fernando TORRES
18 Albert RIERA

Sounds like winter has bared its teeth at Free State Stadium. Word is it's 37 degrees at kickoff.

Expect the United States to come out in a traditional 4-4-2, with Davies and Altidore starting up front.

And away we go ...


Spain earns the opening kickoff, and takes it right to the Americans, having David Villa dash to the box in the first minute, although the effort was safely cleared.

Bocanegra takes out Cesc Fabregas in the first two minutes, giving Spain a free kick and then a corner, but neither amounted to much.

The Americans' first crack comes in the fifth minute, when Davies chased after a long ball, but Casillas was too quick. On the clear, Donovan picks up a questionable yellow. Keep an eye on this the rest of the way.

Seventh minute: Bicycle kick just wide by Davies! The Americans are forcing the issue in the early moments.

Ninth minute: Dempsey a shot just wide from the top of the 18. The United States is going to get a goal if it keeps playing like this.

Fifteen minutes in, and the Americans are already ahead of the game. Their habit of slumping early has disappeared for the second straight match. Still Nil-Nil.

Watch out for Fernando Torres. He's special and slips behind the American back line in the 18th minute. Offsides is the call, but it's borderline.

The United States is doing a good job keeping its space on the back end. But Spain has had a lot of chances off broken plays already. Got a feeling a goal is coming soon for the Spaniards.


The local kid takes the pass from Dempsey, spins on Xavi and finds himself all alone with the keeper. The shot skids off the left post and into the net. The Americans have a 1-0 lead on the first goal Spain has allowed in nearly three months.

This one ain't over, but there's now a very real chance the Americans can win. Believe it?

36th minute: The Yanks are still ahead, and earn a yellow card when Capdevila takes down Altidore about35 yards from the goal. Donovan's ensuing free kick is a missed effort. Dempsey cuts off Bocanegra, who had a clear look at the goal. The header falls harmlessly out of bounds.

The United States is living on the edge in the final moments of the first half. Spain is sending successful crosses into the box. The Americans won't survive the second half with a clean sheet if they don't start controlling the box.

Fernando Torres nearly finds the equalizer at the near post, but Howard makes a kick save. One minute of stoppage time.

We've reached the half. The Americans are 45 minutes from the final and handing Spain its first loss in three-dozen matches.


And we're back.

Tim Howard had to know he'd be tested in the second half, and it doesn't take long. A diving save is all that stops a David Villa shot from tying the match.

52 minute: David Villa is making life miserable for Howard. Nearly shoves another shot in. The United States is losing its shape on every possession. Spain is flexing its muscles.

The longer this game goes on, the less confident I am that one goal will be enough for the Americans.

61st minute: If David Villa could find the target, Spain would be up 4-1. He keeps getting good looks that are either just wide or to Howard.

68th minute: Subs for both teams. Santi Cazrla for Fabregas and Benny Feilhaber for Davies.

74th miute: Streak-buster?!?!??!

Another goal for the Americans, this time by Clint Dempsey on a loose ball in front of the net. Donovan set it up with a nifty cutback. It's panic time for the Spaniards. 2-0. Unreal.

81st minute: It's white-knuckle time. Interesting stat: The U.S. has two shots on goal. Both went for goals.

84th minute: Conor Casey for Altidore. Time to take the air out of the ball.

87th minute: Red card. Michael Bradley. Seriously? He'll be out for the final.

88th minute: Final sub for the Americans. Jonathan Bornstein for Clint Dempsey. Hang on, fellas.

Three minutes of stoppage time.

And it's over. The Spaniards' winning streak. Americans viewed as a second-tier soccer nation. Wow. That's all I can say.

Bocanegra's back! USA lineup.

Howard; Spector, Onyewu, DeMerit, Bocanegra; Dempsey, Bradley, Clark, Donovan; Altidore, Davies

There you have it.

What do you think? Would you have started someone else? half hour til game time.

Have fun! Michelle.

Is today the day for the USA?

Since next to no one is giving the United States a chance against Spain, there are two ways to look at this afternoon's contest.

1. Michelle Kaufman's take, in that since the Americans only reached the semis by a miraculous confluence of events, has nothing to lose.

Or 2. The United States is a wildly inconsistent team that, if it gets hammered today as expected, would in retrospect proved nothing over the last week. Sure, the win against Egypt earned the men's national team two more games (the group will either play in the Confederations Cup final or third-place match), but one good performance against Egypt would be overshadowed if the team lays an egg against Italy, Brazil and then Spain.

I lean toward the latter view. Of course, if the Americans beat Spain, then it is arguably the greatest upset in the nation's history.

I'll be liveblogging in this very space, beginning at 2:15 p.m. Of course, you can follow along here, too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Montreal Impact 1, Miami FC Blues 0

Evenly matched coming in, the Miami FC Blues and Montreal Impact were equally mediocre for nearly 80 minutes Tuesday night.

Scoreless for most of the match, the affair seemed destined for an ugly draw.

But in a flash, a favorable outcome -- and a four-match unbeated streak -- vanished for
Miami FC.

Impact defender Nevio Pizzolitto headed in a corner kick by Sandro Grande in the 80th minute, handing the Impact a 1-0 victory in front of 12,676 partisans at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

Full story to come.

Kaka, Paulo Jr. named to Team of the Week

We're hearing that Cristiano "Kaka" Dias and Paulo Araujo Jr. have been named to the USL-1 Team of the Week for their roles in the Blues' wins in Cleveland Thursday and Saturday.

Araujo scored his first league goal and Kaka led a defensive unit that allowed just one goal in 180 minutes.

Miami FC is back in action Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at Montreal.

The game can be seen at USLLive.com.