BIG NEWS came out over the weekend, news every South Florida soccer fan will want to know. In case you missed it, the Brazilian national team -- with stars Neymar, etc... -- is coming to Miami to play Honduras Nov. 16 at Sun Life Stadium. Read all the details here...
Wow! That was exciting!
If any dinosaur out there still thinks Americans don't care about soccer, they were not watching ESPN last night. Columbus Crew stadium was rocking with 27,000 sellout for the thrilling US 2-0 ("Dos a Cero!'') World Cup qualifying win over Mexico. Every single fan appeared to be decked in red, white, and blue and the crowd chanted and jumped up and down for nearly the entire match. The US win, combined with Honduras' 2-2 tie with Panama, clinched a World Cup berth for Jurgen Klinsmann's team.
The US is headed to Brazil, its seventh World Cup in a row. I'll be there covering it, and it makes it so much more fun to have our home country competing.
ESPN gave us a 90-minute pre-game show and has been showing highlights and commentary all morning, more proof that the Beautiful Game is finally appreciated and taken seriously by American sports fans. If ESPN says it's important, it's important.
Speaking of ESPN, the overnight numbers are in...and outside of Columbus, the market with the top TV ratings for last night's game was...MIAMI! Of course. Was there any doubt? Miami-Ft. Lauderdale has consistently been the top-rated soccer TV market for the past 10 years. I have no doubt Miami will top TV ratings for the Brazil World Cup next summer, too.
Here's the ESPN release from this morning...
Best Overnight Rating Ever for a FIFA World Cup Qualifying Match
Last night’s ESPN presentation of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 victory over archrival Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, earned a 1.9 overnight rating according to Nielsen, based on the metered markets. This is the highest overnight rating for a U.S. Men’s National Team match in a non-FIFA World Cup or FIFA Confederations Cup tournament.
The previous high was a 1.6 overnight rating for Mexico vs. USA on March 26, 2013, in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. Final ratings numbers will be available this afternoon.
Top markets: Columbus (5.1), Miami-Ft Lauderdale (3.3), Buffalo (3.2), Dayton and Washington DC (2.8), San Diego, NYC, Seattle, San Antonio, West Palm Beach (2.5).
What are your thoughts on the US team with 9 months to go til World Cup? Do you like the lineup he used last night? (remembering Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and 2 defenders were missing). Share your views with other soccer crazies here!
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann released his 23-man roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers at Costa Rica Sept. 6 and vs. Mexico in Columbus, Ohio Sept. 10. The team is headed to Miami on Sunday for a two-day camp before heading to Costa Rica.
Local ties on the roster include Alejandro Bedoya (Weston), Jozy Altidore (Boca Raton), Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando (Miami Fusion alumni.)
Here's what Klinsmann had to say about Bedoya:
“Alejandro Bedoya made a huge jump over the last 7-8 months
just during my time now. He came pretty late into my picture, he was with Bob
already, and compared to where he was in the January camp to where he is now is
really wonderful to see. He became a lot more confident. He became a lot more
mature. He proved that during the Gold Cup and he proved that in Bosnia. He
proved it is his first game with Nantes vs. Paris Saint Germain. It was very
impressive how he played there for a very good club in the French First
Division. I think he deserves absolutely to be a part of that roster going into
Costa Rica and that gives us another option. With him and Graham on the right
flank, I think we’re looking really good.”
Landon Donovan is back on the roster, his first World Cup qualifier in 14 months. Huge for US to get him back. Wondolowski did not make the squad, but is right on the bubble, Klinsmann said.
Here's the full roster:
Forwards: Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan, Johannsson, E. Johnson
Midfielders: Beckerman, Bedoya, Bradley, Diskerud, F. Johnson, Jones, Zusi.
Defenders: Beasley, Besler, Brooks, Cameron, Castillo, Evans, Gonzalez, Orozco
GK: Guzan, Howard, Rimando
What are your thoughts on the roster? You feeling good about this lineup?
The 2013-14 Champions League draw is done...Here are the Groups...Which is the Group of Death? Please vote below and share your thoughts. Who has the easiest road? Who has the hardest?
Group A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad. Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen. Group C: PSG, Benfica, Olympiakos, Anderlecht. Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, FC Viktoria Plzen. Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest. Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli. Group G: Porto, Atlético Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna. Group H: Barcelona, Milan, Ajax, Celtic.
Did you see what I just saw? Jozy Altidore of Boca Raton with a second-half hat trick to lead US to a 4-3 comeback win over No. 13 Bosnia...on European soil..without Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey. THAT is impressive. Michael Bradley was huge, too. Eddie Johnson scored the other goal, on assist from Jozy. US has now won 12 matches in a row, longest streak in the world at the moment. This team looks like it's for real, ladies and gentlemen. Could be exciting Summer 2014!
What do you think? Is this the team that can make a deep run? Post your views.
Update: US losing to Bosnia 2-0 at halftime in Sarajevo. 11-match win streak in danger. Bosnia has dominated, goals by Dzeko and Ibisevic, who starred at Saint Louis University, holds a US green card, and whose parents still live in St. Louis. Bet Klinsmann wishes Ibisevic was wearing a US jersey right now...
You watching the match? What do you think? They miss Landon Donovan, eh?
Earlier: US plays Bosnia today at 2:30 p.m. in Sarajevo. ESPN2
Here's the US starting lineup: Howard, Evans, Cameron, Brooks, F.Johnson, Bradley, Jones, Bedoya (a native of Weston!), Diskerud, E.Johnson, Altidore.
You like that lineup? I think it will be fun to see Eddie Johnson and Jozy Altidore together up top, and Bedoya and Diskerud impressed in Gold Cup. Bradley always a rock in middle. His dad, Bob, by the way, coaching Egyptian national team in a friendly today in Egypt despite unrest there. Share your thoughts.
It's a good day to be Jurgen Klinsmann. Not only did the U.S. team roll through the Gold Cup (outscoring opponents 20-4) and win the final 1-0 over Panama on Sunday, but clearly, there is finally some depth for him to work with. The big question now is who does he bring back from this Gold Cup team for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in September? Remember, this was largely the U.S. "B'' team in the Gold Cup, although many players took advantage of the audition and made great cases for inclusion on the "A'' team.
Landon Donovan definitely will be back, and starting, come September. He had a brilliant tournament with five goals, seven assists and his energy and passing made a huge difference. He was voted Gold Cup MVP, and he and Klinsmann seem to have patched up whatever issues they had over Donovan's self-imposed sabbatical last winter.
Who else should be invited for the September games? Alejandro Bedoya, who grew up in Weston, stood out, particularly in the semifinal (2 assists) and final, where his cross led to Brek Shea's winning goal. Shea (what's with that hairdo?) also had big moments and scored some clutch goals. Eddie Johnson proved to be a dangerous target, though he's probably still kicking himself for not scoring from close range on a perfect Shea pass against Panama. And what about Mix Diskerud? The guy was all over the place, tons of energy, involved in plays all over the field. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando (formerly of the Miami Fusion) wasn't tested too much, but when he was, he came up big. Does he have a shot to go as a backup to Tim Howard?
What do YOU think? Who impressed you the past few weeks? Does the US team's 11-game win streak have you excited for the World Cup next summer? You happy with Klinsmann? We want to hear your thoughts...
The Gold Cup final is Sunday at 4 p.m.
The US is on a major roll -- 10 wins in a row, outscored Gold Cup opponents 19-4, Landon Donovan looking as good -- if not better -- than Landon of old. Can they keep it going and beat upstart Panama for the championship? Panama is on the rise, and knocked off Mexico in the semis. Vote here, and share your thoughts on the US team. Feeling good a year before the World Cup?
The US, led by resurgent Landon Donovan, is on a nine-game win streak and has outscored Gold Cup opponents 16-3. Honduras played the US close last month in a World Cup qualifier before losing 1-0. Should be a great game. Who's going to survive? Vote here..and share your comments on the US and Honduran teams.
Mexican fans are in deep depression after Mexico got beat 2-1 by Panama in Gold Cup opener...in Rose Bowl, no less! The place was packed with Mexican fans. Coach Chepo's in trouble...His seat just got a lot hotter.
Will be interested to see how Landon Donovan plays after scoring two goals in 6-0 win over Guatemala Friday night. Always liked the guy, and think he's best-ever for US, so hope it works out for him.
Word is Jozy Altidore will transfer from AZ Alkmaar to Sunderland of the Premier League. Good for Jozy!
Who do you think will win the Gold Cup? Vote now...