Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Landon Donovan doesn't mince words

Landon Donovan's first day as an ESPN World Cup analyst, and already, he made a splash by saying he disagrees with Jurgen Klinsmann's assessment that this US team can't win the World Cup.

"This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I don't agree with Jurgen," Donovan
said. "And as someone who has been in that [USMNT] locker room and has sat
next to the players, we agree with the American Outlaws (fan group): We believe that we
will win. I think that's the way Americans think.''

Dispatches from Brazil..

World Cup Countdown: 1 Day to Go!

5 quick notes from US training camp...

1. Belgian coach Marc Wilmots cancels Thursday scrimmage vs. US because of traffic chaos here. "I don't want to sit on a bus for five hours,'' he said. US team will have 2 workouts instead.

2. ESPN hired Landon Donovan as a World Cup analyst. He will commentate on US games from studio in Southern California. Could be some awkward moments, especially if the US is down by a goal with 5 minutes to go.

3. Weston's Alejandro Bedoya, a US midfielder, was greeted by US Ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde. Turns out she, like Bedoya, is a Colombian-American. They had a nice chat and posed for photos.

4. Speaking of Bedoya, he and Jozy Altidore have been embroiled in some serious FIFA World Cup video game contests. Bedoya sheepishly admitted that Altidore beat him 2-1 last night.

5. Security was SUPER tight for US open training session today. Armed guards in camo everywhere, and people at bag check confiscated gum, mints, and hand lotion from our bags.


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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Risk Everything! Nike US World Cup slogan

World Cup Countdown: 58 Days to Go!

Nike just launched its ad campaign for the US World Cup team.

"Risk Everything!'' #riskeverything

Get used to it. You're going to be seeing and hearing a lot of it.

I recently received a promotion from them, and this was the full text:

"We will take risks.

We have athleticism.

We have engines that never run out of gas. And we have heart. And these strengths will strike fear in exactly no other country. But we will take on the world. Face teams that have the oddsmakers sneering at us. Where the last thin we should do is attack. So we will attack.

We will take risks.

And we will not play it safe. Or park the bus. Or defend like a tiny island nation. Safe doesn't inspire your countrymen to wear your shirt or wave your flag.

Safe doesn't make history.

But sending everyone forward will. Reminding Portugal of the alst time we met will. Being predictably unpredictable will. So we will try things. Things they can't scout us for. Things that will remind them not to tread on us.

We will gladly go into the humid, hostile, middle-of-no-where junge. And we will make it the home of the brave.''

What do you think? You like it?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Colombia up to No. 4

World Cup Countdown: 63 days!

Colombia moved up to No. 4 in the latest FIFA World Rankings, making them the highest-ranked South American team with 9 weeks to go until the World Cup.

Here are the Top 10:

1. Spain

2. Germany

3. Portugal

4. Colombia

5. Uruguay

6. tie Brazil, Argentina

8. Switzerland

9. Italy

10. Greece.

The US is No. 13.

Sunday, April 06, 2014