After a huge initial buzz in February 2014 when soccer icon David Beckham announced he wanted to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami, things have been mighty quiet of late as they work out their stadium land deal.
Jurgen Klinsmann named his 26-man roster as the U.S. national team gets ready to face rival Mexico Friday night in Columbus, Ohio, for a World Cup qualifying match. The game is at 7:45 p.m. on FS1 and Univision.
Among the players called in for Team USA are Alejandro Bedoya (Weston) and Jozy Altidore (Boca Raton). Here is the full roster:
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals): GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough; 11/0), Ethan Horvath (Molde; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 32/0), William Yarbrough (Club Leon; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 8/1), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United; 2/0), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin; 0/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; 0/0), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt; 1/0), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca; 10/0), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach; 13/1), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana; 5/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United; 4/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9):Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 29/5), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland; 0/0), Julian Green (Bayern Munich; 0/0), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids; 14/0), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 17/2), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; 3/2), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz; 1/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 14/3) FORWARDS (4):Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC; 31/16), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen; 3/1), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg; 6/2)
At first glance, you'd never think William Yarbrough speaks perfect Spanish. But then he tells you his story, and it makes perfect sense... Here is a link to my story, and below are interviews in both languages...the US plays Cuba in Havana Friday at 4 p.m.
Watch interviews of Yarbrough in perfect English and perfect Spanish:
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in his 23-man roster for Miami camp, followed by Oct. 7 friendly at Cuba (4 pm., ESPN2, UniMas) and another friendly vs. New Zealand four days later. Here's who's on the roster...
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), William Yarbrough (Club Leon) DEFENDERS (7): Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle) MIDFIELDERS (8) : Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Perry Kitchen (Hearts), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Danny Williams (Reading) FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)
Landon Donovan returned to the L.A. Galaxy on Sunday after a 21-month retirement, and he was the first to admit that the time off showed. He entered to game in the 83rd minute, with the Galaxy up 4-1 over Orlando City.
"I'm so far away," Donovan said after 4-2 win. "I came into a game where both teams were exhausted, and I was the slowest player on the field.
"I need to get myself ready to compete in a real way. Bruce (Arena) and the coaching staff need to know that when they put me in, it can mean something. So tonight worked out well, but I need to be able to contribute.
"I think I had much more impact today in the locker room and helping out a few guys at halftime than I did on the field. If that's the way I contribute, that's great."
Golazo of the Weekend: Laurent Koscielny's overhead kick in Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Southampton. Watch it here:
There's been much debate in recent years whether the Best Soccer Player in the World is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Here's another question up for discussion, after seeing his face over and over during the Euro 2016 final: Has Cristiano Ronaldo undergone plastic surgery? He certainly looks different than he did as a kid at Manchester United. Clearly, braces helped his crooked teeth. But has he had more done? Nose job? Botox? Or has his face just evolved naturally as he matured? Examine the photos and vote in the poll below....
Univision just released its ratings for recent Copa America matches, and one thing is for sure: Miami was watching!!
The Copa final between Argentina and Chile Sunday night was the No. 1 broadcast program of the day among viewers in Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston. That match had higher viewership than the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations combined during the 8-11 p.m time slot among viewers in Miami and Los Angeles.
The Copa third-place game between the USA and Colombia Saturday night was the No. 1 watched program of the day among viewers in Miami and Los Angeles. It also had higher viewership than the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX stations combined during the 8-22 time slot among viewers in Miami.
The final drew 6.8 million viewers, making it the most-viewed soccer match on Univision since the 2014 World Cup Final, and outdrew all NHL matches, including playoffs, as well as all MLB matches across all networks thus far in the 2016 season.
Sitting here on a Monday afternoon, wondering: Is Iceland REALLY beating England 2-1 in a Euro 2016 knockout game? Whaaaaaat? Iceland? A nation of 330,000 (would rank 58th among US Cities) is beating a nation of 51 million? WOW! Some clever Iceland fans were shown carrying a banner that read: "Brexit, Volume 2!"
Speaking of exits....
Was I hearing things, or did Lionel Messi say late last night that he is retiring from the Argentine national team? Apparently, that is what he was contemplating as he sat all alone on the bench, staring ahead, after Chile's dramatic penalty shootout win in the Copa America Centenario final. Messi, who rarely misses in penalty kick shootouts, missed Argentina's first attempt against Chile, and hid his face inside his world-famous No. 10 jersey. Three major finals in a row -- 2014 World Cup, 2015 Copa America, 2016 Copa America Centenario -- and no trophy for La Albiceleste.
The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, 29, has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Spanish club Barcelona. But his only major title in an Argentina shirt is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games.
This is what he told reporters after the loss to Chile:
"For me, the national team is over. I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.
"It's been four finals, I tried.
"It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.
"I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone.
"I think there's a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it.
"It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back."
Do you think he's serious? You think he's played his last game in an Argentina shirt? VOTE HERE...
Time will tell if it was just emotions talking, or if he'll follow through.
If he does, it would be a crying shame. Despite criticism from dissatisfied Argentine fans, Messi is, quite simply, the best player in the world right now. He scored five goals in this Copa America Centenario, including a brilliant free kick in the 4-0 semifinal win over the United States. That goal was No. 55 for him, giving him the all-time record over Gabriel Batistuta.
The debate about Who is Argentina's Best Player of All Time will continue. Many say Diego Maradona because he was able to win a World Cup. Messi, despite all his individual and club accolades, has not been able to bring home trophies for his country. And, for that, he clearly feels awful. He feels far worse than any of the fans who have been vilifying him, that's for sure.
Maybe his threat of retirement will make Argentine fans appreciate him more. Some newspaper covers indicated as much Monday:
Meanwhile, other players said they hope he reconsiders.
Argentina and Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero said: "I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us," said Romero. "I can't imagine a national team without Messi."
Sergio Aguero hinted others may follow Messi's lead.
"There are several players who are evaluating not continuing with the national team. It is the worst defeat ever, worse than the two other finals. So the thinking is it might be time to make room for other players."
Argentine newspaper La Nacion wrote that Aguero, Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuaín also may retire.
If anybody should be criticized for Argentina's losses in recent big games, it should be Higuaín, who blew a 1v1 chance against Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo Sunday night, and also missed a chance against Germany at the 2014 World Cup final and a penalty kick against Chile last summer.
But for now, all the talk is about Messi and his possible "Mexit"