Friday, September 16, 2011

Chatting with Jurgen...

Just got off a conference call with Jurgen Klinsmann. It was a call for local media to meet him heading into the US - Honduras game in Miami Oct. 8. First impression: super-easy to talk to, doesn't shy away from questions, has lots of opinions and ideas about how to make American soccer better. (Read Sunday's column!)

News that came out of it: Expect to see most of the full squad for the Oct. 8 game at Sun Life Stadium. Jurgen likes to field his best players all the time, so Europe-based players should be here. Roster will be announced the week before..Expect an open-to-the-public training session sometime on Oct. 7. He likes to invite fans to one training session...also, Fabian Johnson, a dual citizen of Germany and US, may make his US debut here if FIFA paperwork gets done in time.

Ronaldo an egomaniac?

Apparently, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is very fond of himself. His latest quote, complaining about the officiating in a Champions League match: "Some referees allow them to give me stick like [the Dinamo players] did today. I think it's because I'm rich, handsome and a great player. They envy me, there's no other explanation.''

Well, ok, then...

In other news, former US coach Bob Bradley is being hired as Egypt's national coach...Jozy Altidore continues to do well in the Dutch league, scoring a goal for AZ Alkmaar vs. Malmo in a Europa League victory...Inter Milan lost a Champions League stunner 1-0 to Turkish club Trabzonspor, which is in the tournament only because Fenerbahce is under investigation for match fixing.

BTW, have your tickets yet for USA v. Honduras Oct. 8 at Sun Life Stadium?

Friday, September 02, 2011

U.S. v. Honduras in Miami! Confirmed!

The U.S. men's national soccer team will play a rare Miami game on Oct. 8 against Honduras at Sun Life Stadium. It is the first U.S. match in South Florida in seven years.

The match falls on an international fixture date, which gives new U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann the opportunity to call in a full "A'' roster, including players based overseas.

Kickoff for the nationally-televised friendly (Univision, Fox Soccer) is set for 6 p.m., which will pose a conflict for Jewish fans, many of whom observe Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, until sundown.

“Honduras is a team that we may see in World Cup qualifying, so this is a very good opportunity for our players,” said Klinsmann. “Honduras is a skillful team, and you could see their quality in the last World Cup. These are important experiences for our team as we prepare for next summer.”

The U.S. holds an 11-3-3 edge over Honduras dating back to 1965.

The series has included meaningful games in recent years. On Oct. 10, 2009, in San Pedro Sula, the U.S. won 3-2 to secure a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Four days later, Honduras earned a spot in the World Cup thanks to a dramatic 2-2 tie between the U.S. and Costa Rica.

"The Catrachos'', as the Honduran players are known, were semifinalists in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The last time the U.S. played in Miami was March 13, 2004, a 1-1 tie against Haiti.

Advance tickets start at $18 and go on sale Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at all Ticketmaster locations, and the Sun Life Stadium ticket office. For groups of 20 or more, go to ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (VIP packages which include a premium ticket, a custom U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game) are also available through ussoccer.com.

 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Forlan, Bradley to Serie A

Topping the soccer headlines this Wednesday morning...

Uruguayan star Diego Forlan going from Atletico Madrid to Inter.

US midfielder Michael Bradley (son of the former coach) is heading to Chievo Verona from Borussia Moenchengladbach. He is the only American in Serie A.

Clint Dempsey will miss the US v Costa Rica friendly Friday night in Carson, Calif, with back spasms, but is expected to join the team for the game at Belgium next week.

Finally, US/magicjack goalkeeper Hope Solo will be on Dancing With the Stars. Small window of opportunity for these US women to capitalize on the World Cup. Go, Hope!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Manchester Celebrates!

The City of Manchester, England is a happy place today! On Sunday, Manchester United crushed Arsenal 8-2 (no, that is NOT a typo...8 to 2, which sounds more like part-time work hours than an EPL score!) and Manchester City beat Tottenham 5-1. Edin Dzeko scored FOUR goals for Man City and Wayne Rooney had a hat-trick for ManU. Arsenal had not given up eight goals in 115 years -- since 1896 -- and the Gunners have just one point through three games, the worst start for the club since 1991. ouch!

Over on this side of the pond, Western NY Flash beat Philadelphia Independence in PKs in the Women's Professional Soccer championship. A crowd of 10,461 was on hand, biggest crowd for a WPS final in the league's three-year history. That is great news. Let's hope MagicJack owner Dan Borislov and the WPS execs can work things out so we have a team close by next season.

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers lost 2-0 to Tampa Bay on Saturday night, and are hanging onto the sixth playoff spot by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins. They have two home games coming up -- Sept. 3 vs. Montreal and Sept. 7 vs. league leader Carolina -- and are hoping for big crowds to root them into the playoffs. For tickets, call 954-606-0400 or go to www.strikers.com

What's on your soccer-loving minds as we enter September and the European leagues get going? Share with the group!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MagicJack playoffs, UM vs. UF!

It's a big week for women's soccer in South Florida.

MagicJack, the Boca Raton-based Women's Professional Soccer team, hosts a quarterfinal Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel) against the Boston Breakers at FAU Soccer Stadium. MagicJack is led by Women's World Cup stars Abby Wambach (who doubles as player-coach), goalie Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Shannon Boxx, and 36-year-old mother-of-two Christie Rampone. MagicJack finished third in the six-team league with a 9-7-2 record. Boston finished fourth at 5-9-4.

Solo is recovering from a right shoulder injury, and has been replaced by Jill Loyden.

The winner advances to a semifinal at second-place Philadelphia (11-4-3), and that winner plays first-place Western New York Flash (13-2-3), the team that features Brazilian star Marta, U.S. forward Alex Morgan and Canadian Christine Sinclair.

League attendance has jumped nearly 90 percent since the World Cup. Average attendance before the World Cup was 2,714, and it has been 5,176 since. MagicJack crowds have been between 3,000-4,000. Tickets are available through TicketMaster.

On Friday night, the University of Miami women's team takes on 9th-ranked University of Florida at Cobb Stadium. Anytime the Canes and Gators face off, it's a good time. It will be the UM debut for coach Tom Anagnost, who was hired from Central Michigan University.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marta scores 2 to beat MagicJack

Brazilian star Marta scored two goals to lead the Western New York Flash to a 2-1 win over magicjack at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton Wednesday night. Sophie Schmidt scored for magicjack in the 71st minute with an assist by US World Cup player Christie Rampone. The Flash leads the league with a 12-2-3 record. Magicjack is 8-7-2. Both have clinched playoff spots. MagicJack is home again Sunday at 4 p.m. against Philadelphia.