Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ronaldo, Landon, etc...

World Cup Countdown: 18 Days to Go!!!!

So much soccer news this weekend...I love how much airtime The Beautiful Game is getting on ESPN these days. My, have times changed.

Let's catch up...

Yesterday's Champions League final was one of the ages, and for Atletico fans, a reminder of how cruel this sport can be. They were 2 minutes from winning the European crown and a Sergio Ramos goal in extra time changed everything. Real Madrid went on to dominate for the next 30 minutes, Bale scored off a gorgeous, athletic header; Marcelo outsprinted a tired Atletico defense, and then Cristiano Ronaldo knocks in a PK to make it 4-1. I could have done without Ronaldo's endless shirtless Hulk preening poses, but hey, the guy was playing in Portugal and it was a huge win -- Real's 10th CL title -- so I guess I'll cut him a break. What did you think of the game? Ronaldo's celebration?

As for Landon Donovan, he spoke out yesterday, and though he said nothing directly critical of Jurgen Klinsmann, his comments made it VERY clear that he feels he deserves to be on the US World Cup team. He said not only did he expect to make the team, he expected to be vying for a starting spot based on his performance in camp, fitness, and dedication to the team.  To read exactly what he said, click here....

AS IF there wasn't enough drama about Donovan's snub, Jurgen Klinsmann's 18-year-old son, Jonathan, a goalkeeper with the US youth program, made it even worse by Tweeting a joke about Donovan being left off the team. Read about that here...

Here is my column on the Donovan snub, in case you missed it.

Here is a story by Linda Robertson on the evolution of the US national team and whether the federation is doing a better job of tapping into minority talent pool.

Finally, before you throw out your Sunday Miami Herald, or put it in the birdcage, be sure to pluck out your FREE page of Panini World Cup trading stickers!!

 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Marlins Park friendly, German players injured

World Cup Countdown: 23 Days to Go!!

Yet another international soccer match in Miami this summer: AS Monaco of France will play Atletico Nacional of Colombia at Marlins Park on July 23 at 7 p.m. as part of the Copa EuroAmericana exhibition tournament.

Across the pond in Germany, captain Philipp Lahn and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer suffered injuries in the German Cup final, but Bayern Munich announced that they are expected to be fit in time for the World Cup.

Neuer hurt his right shoulder during extra time and Lahm injured his left ankle. Neuer was seen with his arm in a sling leaving the team doctor's office.

Despite the injuries, both players are scheduled to travel with the German national team to training camp in Northern Italy on Wednesday.

Lahm is expected to miss a week of training.

"We are optimistic in regards to the World Cup participation of Manuel and Philipp, both, however, need to be treated intensively," Germany head coach Joachim Loew said via the German football federation (DFB). It is good and important that we will have them in South Tirol [at the Germany training camp] from day one, in spite of them not being able to train at the beginning.

Loew invited 27 players to camp and will cut down to 23 after their June 1 tuneup match against Cameroon. Germany is in the same World Cup group as the United States, along with Portugal and Ghana. 

 

 

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Klinsmann on Jozy, Wondo

World Cup Countdown: 27 Days!

The US team opened training camp in Palo Alto, Calif., on Wednesday, and players have been warned that this will be a tense, grueling few weeks. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann must cut his roster from 30 players to 23 before June 2.

Here is what he had to say on Chris Wondolowski:

We believe that Wondo absolutely deserves to be part of the 30-man roster. He knows it’s a big opportunity and a big chance for him to make his case now in the next three weeks to become part of the 23-man roster. His personality, he doesn’t have to change anything. Every time he comes to the National Team environment, he gives you everything he has. He always goes 1000 percent. He knows he’s getting evaluated by the coaches and what he’s doing day in, day out. He personally doesn’t have to do anything different in how he has done things over the last year that we’ve worked with him, and he came quite a way. He came from a position in which over a longer stretch he hadn’t scored for the National Team, to his first goal then, and into more goals during the Gold Cup and now the last goal he scored against Mexico. He built his own case and he built it stronger and stronger. We’re looking forward to working with Wondo because it’s always a pleasure to have him in camp. He is a competitor. He is determined. You give him a one percent chance and he wants to make it 100 percent at the end of the day. He will be one of those drivers going into the next couple of weeks.”

And here are Klinsmann's thoughts on Jozy Altidore...

“I think it’s very important that you understand the phase a player is in right now, as of today. What phase of his career he’s in, what he’s learned so far throughout his career, and what he’s able then to do in the future time. Jozy is still a very young player and he is going into his learning curve. We have worked with him now over the last three years, and he’s gone from a much younger player into a more mature player, playing very good games for us and scoring important goals for us. Still, we see Jozy in his development phase. Jozy is not built yet. Jozy has not reached his potential yet. Our job, as coaches, is to help him reach his highest potential. I think the next two months will be a big part of that next learning curve for Jozy Altidore. I’ve always said that he has upside; he hasn’t shown it yet in different places maybe. I think we saw last summer a big part of that upside in the World Cup Qualifiers and in some friendlies as well. We coaches are looking forward to having him in camp and having our influence into the next step and we believe that Jozy can play a very big World Cup. Obviously he has to work the next couple of weeks to confirm our trust, which we think he will absolutely do. But I think he is still a player to be developed; he is not there yet.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spain's jaw-dropping provisional World Cup roster

30 Days to the World Cup!

 

Spain released its 30-man provisional World Cup roster and it is basically an all-star team. Take a look at the clubs these players represent: 7 from Barcelona, 4 from Real Madrid, 4 from Atletico Madrid, 3 from Manchester City, 2 each from Chelsea ManU Napoli and Bayern Munich, and then 1 each from Juventus, Bilbao, Arsenal and Sevilla.

And to think that seven of those players won't make the cut! Those seven players who get cut would start for just about any other World Cup team. Who would you cut?

 

SPAIN

GOALKEEPERS: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United)

DEFENDERS: Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid)

MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Jesus Navas (Manchester City), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), Juan Mata (Manchester United)

FORWARDS: Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Fernando Llorente (Juventus)

Monday, May 12, 2014

US 30-man World Cup roster

31 days to go...30 players named to US provisional roster...23 will go to Brazil....

Among the players selected by US coach Jurgen Klinsmann was midfielder Alejandro Bedoya of Weston, who raised his stock with his play for Nantes in the French league. Bedoya made it to the pre-World Cup camp four years ago, but was one of the final players cut. Seems he has a good chance to make it to Brazil.

"The fact that Alejandro went to France in the first place was big,'' Klinsmann said. "He stepped it up, raised his maturity, his drive, his resistance in the game. He confirmed his learning curve. That's big. To play games against teams like Paris St. Germain and Monaco and scoring goals, creating chances, it's something that makes us very proud. He made a big step forward in the last 12-18 months.'' 

GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (11) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (10) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (6) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

5 MLS players on Costa Rica roster

31 Days to the World Cup! Costa Rica released its provisional 30-man roster, which includes five MLS players...

COSTA RICA

GOALKEEPERS: Keilor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Daniel Cambronero (Herediano), Esteban Alvarado (AZ Alkmaar)

DEFENDERS: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo González (Columbus Crew), Michael Umaña (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Brujas), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Díaz (Mainz 05), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls), Kendall Waston (Saprissa)

MIDFIELDERS: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolaños (Copenhagen), Oscar Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (AAlesund), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), José Miguel Cubero (Herediano), Carlos Hernández (Wellington Phoenix), Ariel Rodríguez (Alajuelense), Hansell Arauz (Saprissa)

FORWARDS: Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos FC), Randall Brenes (Cartaginés), Marco Ureña (FC Kubán Krasnodar), Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew)

Cole left off England roster

The World Cup is 31 days away, and many teams -- including England -- on Monday announced their 30-man provisional rosters.

The biggest news from the England roster is that manager Roy Hodgson left off Ashley cole and Michael Carrick. The roster includes veterans Wayne Rooney, Steven Garrard, and Frank Lampard, and also 18-year-old defender Luke Shaw.

The English team will come to Miami to train en route to Brazil, and will play friendlies June 4 vs. Ecuador and June 7 vs. Honduras at Sun Life Stadium

Here is the roster...

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Brom), Fraser Forster (Celtic)

Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton), Luke Shaw (Southampton)

Midfielders: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Ross Barkley (Everton), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

Historic US domestic TV deal announced...

31 Days to the World Cup, and domestic soccer in this country is about to get a lot more high-profile...

MLS and US Soccer announced a new 8-year TV deal with ESPN, Fox and Univision that is reportedly worth $90 million her year, which is triple what they were getting before.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said today at a press conference that the expansion plans for a second NY team and "downtown teams in Miami and Atlanta'' are key because they are major markets and will help the growth of the sport and national TV ratings in the US. Now, if David Beckham could just work out that little waterfront stadium issue...

Here's the TV deal press release...

NEW YORK (May 12, 2014) – Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer have signed new television and media rights partnerships with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes, reaching eight-year agreements with the networks to televise MLS and U.S. Soccer matches in the United States through the end of 2022.  The announcement was made today by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. Soccer CEO/General Secretary Dan Flynn, ESPN, Inc. President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman John Skipper,  FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 General Manager and Chief Operating Officer David Nathanson and Univision Deportes President Juan Carlos Rodriguez.

 For the first time in Major League Soccer’s history, all three television partners will feature an exclusive MLS Match of the Week, providing soccer fans throughout the country with a destination day and time for each network.  The Univision family of networks will televise a game of the week on Friday evenings -- primarily on UniMás -- and a wrap-up show on Sundays.  The Friday night match on the Univision family of networks will be the first time a Spanish-language television network will have its own exclusive night with a major professional sports league based in the United States.

 Soccer fans will be able to enjoy a doubleheader of MLS action every Sunday, as ESPN and FOX Sports 1 will televise back-to-back MLS matches on Sundays at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, respectively.  More than 125 MLS matches will be televised annually on the three networks.

 The new agreements also will include extensive marketing and promotional support from all network partners, including dedicated campaign support and cross-promotion across all three networks for upcoming MLS and U.S. Soccer matches. In addition, ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes will develop multi-platform initiatives to build the profile of MLS and U.S. Soccer players