Sunday, April 06, 2014

US fires women's coach

U.S. Soccer has announced that Tom Sermanni has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team, effective immediately.

U.S. Soccer Director of Development Jill Ellis will serve as interim head coach, starting with the USA's next match against China PR on April 10 in San Diego.

"We want to thank Tom for his service over the past year and half, but we felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We will begin looking for a new coach immediately to guide our Women's National Team toward qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup."

"I'm disappointed that things didn't work out, but I'd like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity to have coached this team and also the staff and players for all their hard work," said Sermanni.

Ellis previously served as interim head coach for seven matches at the end of 2012, going 5-0-2.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Poll: Was Eddie Johnson off sides?

70 days to the World Cup!

So, the US and Mexico tied 2-2. First half US team looked very, very good. Tight, crisp passing, Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman midfield duo stood out, goals by Wondo (whose stock went up) and Bradley. Second half, Mexico dominated. Landon Donovan and Julian Green came in off bench for the US. Jurgen Klinsmann said Donovan had a knee issue and didn't have "tempo'' at practice, which is why he didn't start.

What were your views on the game? Did you think Eddie Johnson was off sides when he scored the apparent game-winner? Vote here.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Julian Green to make US debut?

72 Days to go the World Cup...

The US plays Mexico Wednesday night (11 p.m., ESPN) and there is much buzz about Julian Green, an 18-year-old Bayern Munich phenom who has dual citizenship and has decided to play for the USA. He is expected to make he debut.

“We don’t want to put any type of pressure on [Julian] or too high of expectations,” Klinsmann told reporters at USMNT training on Monday. “At the end of the day, he’s a player to be developed. Developed mainly in his club from one point to the next, and we are going to help this development. How everything can then proceed is up to him. We take his pace, we take his development there and have a very close eye on him.”

“When I was at Bayern Munich, he was in the Under-14s probably, so I’m not saying that I watched the Under-14s train every day,” Klinsmann joked. “Obviously we have a lot of good, valuable information about a lot of the players coming through the dual citizenship path.

“We want to start communicating with them as early as possible and then show them how the path with the US or how it could be with the other side that they can choose. [Julian’s] family on both sides really appreciated that we were very open and honest with everything we did.”

Monday, March 31, 2014

Klinsmann adds Vogts, Ramos to US staff

73 Days to Go to the World Cup!

News from US team: Klinsmann adds Berti Vogts, Tab Ramos to staff.

U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has appointed former World Cup winner Berti Vogts to be a Special Advisor to the U.S. Men's National Team from now through the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

A part of the Germany team that won the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Vogts brings a tremendous track record of success to the National Team. Having coached the squad to the 1996 European Championship - on which Klinsmann was a player - he is the last head coach to lead Germany to a trophy.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an advisor," said Klinsmann. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach, and he knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level. He was my coach for Germany in the 1990s and we have a great relationship. Through his time as the head coach of Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, he is obviously very familiar with our opponents in the group stage of the World Cup, and for us this is a huge bonus."

In his role as Special Advisor, Vogts will aid in the development of training plans, help prepare scouting reports, and travel to observe matches of the USA's opponents in the lead-up to the tournament and in Brazil.

Along with the announcement of Vogts, Klinsmann has added U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director and Under-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos to the coaching staff and is transitioning Martin Vasquez to other responsibilities within U.S. Soccer.

"As we move toward the World Cup, we are shifting some responsibilities within the technical staff that we believe will put individuals in areas of strength and provide us with the best opportunity to be successful," said Klinsmann.

Vogts earned 96 caps for Germany, playing a total of 19 matches spanning three World Cups. Nicknamed "Der Terrier," he famously marked Dutch legend Johan Cruyff in the 1974 World Cup final that Germany won 2-1 in Munich. He served as team captain from 1977-79, taking over for Franz Beckenbauer.

During a 14-year professional career in which he was twice named Germany Footballer of the Year, Vogts was an integral part of the Borussia Moenchengladbach squad that won five Bundesliga titles (1969-70, 1970-71, 1974-75, 1975-76, 1976-77) and two UEFA Cups (1974-75, 1978-79).

Vogts coached Germany from 1990-98, compiling a record of 66-12-24. In addition to the title in 1996, he had a second-place finish in the 1992 European Championship and led Germany to the quarterfinals in consecutive World Cups in 1994 and 1998.

Having coached the national teams of Scotland (2002-04) and Nigeria (2007-08), he has served as the manager for Azerbaijan since April of 2008 and will continue in that role.

Puebla won't release Beasley, Orozco

73 Days to Go til the World Cup!

In today's news...

According to a release from the US Soccer Federation, Puebla has refused the request to release U.S. Men's National Team defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco for the match between the USA and Mexico on April 2. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will not add any replacements, reducing the roster to 20 players available for selection.

"We are very disappointed in the decision by Puebla," said Klinsmann. "When the match was scheduled, it was with the spirit that both teams would have access to their domestic-based players for what is a very important game for those competing for spots in the World Cup. Both MLS and most clubs in Liga MX honored that idea. While we understand their position, it's a huge opportunity lost for DaMarcus and Michael and doesn't contribute to the continuation of this respected rivalry."

The U.S. squad began gathering Sunday in advance of USA-Mexico on April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The match kicks off at 8 p.m. Arizona Time (11 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the USA's final match before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup preparation camp.

US Roster...

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

US roster for Wed. Mexico match

74 Days to Go til World Cup! Latest from USSF:

The U.S. squad began gathering Sunday in advance of USA-Mexico on Wednesday, April 2, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The game is set for 8 p.m. Arizona Time (11 p.m. ET), and will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and the ESPN Deportes Radio Network. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the USA's final match before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup preparation camp.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION - GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC) MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)



Friday, March 07, 2014

98 Days to Go to World Cup! MLS=MLB with teens

98 Days to go...

Soccer headlines today: A recent survey found that Major League Soccer is tied with Major League Baseball and way ahead of the NHL among U.S. sports fans aged 12-17. Luker on Trends, which follows fan trends, found the most popular sport among teens is the NFL with 38.8 percent of those surveyed considering themselves an "avid fan'' of the sport. Here's the list:

1. NFL 39 percent

2. NBA 30 percent

3. NCAA football 28 percent

4. NCAA basketball 24 percent

5. (tie) MLS and MLB 18 percent

6. NHL 9 percent

Are you surprised? Let us know your thoughts.

In other news, word is Barcelona center back Carles Puyol may be considering a move to MLS' New York Red Bulls. The 35-year old Spanish star has been bothered by knee issues and said he likely won't be playing at Barca next season and would consider playing elsewhere. Rumors have him headed for the Big Apple.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

US team stopping in Fla. on way to World Cup

The U.S. national team will stop in Florida on its way to the World Cup, but not in South Florida. The US will play Nigeria in Jacksonville on June 7 as as part of a three-game send-off series.

The U.S. begins the Send-Off Series against Azerbaijan at 7 p.m. PT on May 27 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., and will then travel to the East Coast for the next two matches. In the second match, the U.S. faces Turkey on June 1 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., kicking off at 2 p.m. ET. The U.S. concludes the series on June 7 at 6 p.m. ET against Nigeria at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

Playing three games over 12 days and criss-crossing the nation is similar to the schedule the U.S. will face in Brazil in the first round.

99 Days to Go...Ukraine beats USA 2-0, Neymar and Ronaldo shine, Spain wins...

The World Cup is 99 Days away!! I'm back from covering the Sochi Olympics, and it's time to zero in on the Biggest Sporting Event on the Planet. Come to this blog every day for soccer news, photos, polls and commentary...would love to hear from all you readers about your views as we head into the Cup. Michelle.

(AP) –  Neymar scored his second international hat trick to lead Brazil over South Africa 5-0 Wednesday night and Cristiano Ronaldo had a pair of goals to set Portugal's career scoring record in a 5-1 win over Cameroon. Just 99 days before the tournament opens in Sao Paulo, all World Cup teams had matches on the only date before mid-May that clubs had to release their players.

In Cyprus, in a match that was moved from Kharkiv because of the political unrest in the Ukraine, the U.S. lost to that beleaguered country's national squad, 2-0.

One banner in the stands read "Ukraine is Undivided!" on the top and "One Country — One Team!" on the bottom. Ukrainian fans sang their nation's anthem in the final moments, and some broke into a chant of "No war in Ukraine!" after the final whistle, referring to Russia's military intervention in the Crimean peninsula.

"Our country is facing difficult times now, we must support our team and our country," said Oleg Ivanovskyi a fan from Kiev currently residing in Larnaca. "Ukraine lives and will live. This friendly match is important for us to show the friendship between the U.S. and Ukraine. The friendship between the two countries is more important than the score."

Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the 12th minute and Marko Devic in the 68th as Ukraine exposed the shaky American central defense of Oguchi Onyewu and Anthony Brooks.

Ukraine's players linked arms on shoulders during their national anthem of their nation, and players in both starting lineups bowed their heads as they stood on the field before the game for a moment of silence for the victims of violence in Ukraine.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said his team's thoughts were with the Ukrainian people.

"You feel for that country. You feel for that nation, and there's nothing more than wishing them well and to solve these issues peacefully," Klinsmann said.

At 18th, Ukraine is the highest-ranking nation that failed to qualify for the World Cup. The match marked the last chance for Klinsmann to evaluate his Europe-based players before he chooses his 23-man World Cup roster in mid-May. He will use a squad mostly from Major League Soccer for an April 2 exhibition against Mexico at Glendale, Ariz.

"We're disappointed with the result," U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said. "We just have to do a better job and learn from our mistakes."

Ukraine went ahead when the U.S. failed on an attempted offside trap. Yevhen Konoplyanka sent a looping pass from just before the midfield stripe to Denys Harmash, who split Onyewu and Brooks and trapped the ball at the top of the penalty area. Goalkeeper Tim Howard blocked his shot, but Harmash picked up the rebound and squared the ball to Yarmolenko, his Dynamo Kiev teammate. He slotted the ball past Brooks with a left-footed shot from 6 yards for his 15th international goal.

The U.S. showed more spark at the start of the second half, and Jozy Altidore put an open header over the crossbar following a cross from Cameron.

But Devic scored two minutes after entering when he outran Fabian Johnson onto Roman Bezus' headed pass from inside the midfield circle and cut the ball back to his left foot. Playing a day before his 35th birthday, Howard blocked the initial shot with a sprawling save, but Devic latched onto the rebound and slid the ball between Johnson and Brooks with a left-footed shot from 15 yards.

Playing 99 days before the World Cup opens in Brazil, the U.S. wore its new Nike jerseys with collars that resemble polo shirts. The Americans changed all 11 starters from the 2-0 win over South Korea on Feb. 1 at Carson, Calif.

"Tonight wasn't great," Howard said, "but it's not the end of the world, either."

In other matches, Neymar raised his total to 30 international goals by scoring in the 41st and 46th minutes and in second-half stoppage time in Johannesburg. Oscar and Fernandinho also had goals for Cup host Brazil, which wore its home yellow jerseys in the first half and switched to road blue after the half.

Ronaldo's goals in the 21st and 83rd minutes raised his total to 49 in 110 matches since his international debut in 2003. The 29-year-old has two goals more the previous Portuguese record set by Pauleta from 1997-2006.

"I knew it would come eventually," Ronaldo said. "It's special because I've been in the national team for 10 years now. It's all down to hard work."

Defending champion Spain beat visiting Italy 1-0 in a 63-minute goal by Pedro Rodriguez. England won 1-0 at home against Denmark on Daniel Sturridge's headed goal from Adam Lallana's cross in the 82nd minute.

"I don't think we were effective as we wanted to be because we didn't get the ball forward quick enough," England coach Roy Hodgson said.

Argentina and Lionel Messi were held to a 0-0 tie at Romania. Germany beat visiting Chile 1-0 as Mario Goetze scored in the 16th minute.

France beat the visiting Netherlands 2-0, ending a 17-game unbeaten streak for the Dutch. Karim Benzema scored in the 32nd minute off a pass from Blaise Matuidi, who scored in the 41st.

Belgium, thought by some to be a World Cup contender, tied 2-2 at home against Ivory Coast. The Belgians built a two-goal lead as Marouane Fellaini scored in the 18th minute and Radja Nainggolan in the 51st before Didier Drogba scored his 63rd international goal in the 74th and Max Gradel got the tying goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

In London, Ecuador rallied to beat Australia 4-3. Fidel Martínez, Segundo Castillo, Enner Valencia and Edison Mendez scored for Ecuador. New York Red Bulls player Tom Cahill scored two for Australia to become the country's leading scorer with 31 goals.

Japan got four goals in the first 13 minutes in a 4-2 win over visiting New Zealand, with Shinji Okazaki opening and closing his team's scoring around a penalty kick by Shinji Kagawa and Masato Morishige's header off Keisuke Honda's free kick. Chris Wood scored twice for New Zealand, which failed to qualify for the World Cup.

At the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Mexico and Nigeria played to a scoreless draw in front of 68,212 fans. Raul Jimenez's late header for Mexico went just wide.

In Central America, New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengston and Jerry Palacios scored in Honduras' 2-1 home victory over Venezuela, and Arsenal forward Joel Campbell and Jorge Rojas scored in Costa Rica's 2-0 victory over visiting Paraguay.