Happy Birthday, Deuce!
Happy Birthday, Deuce!
The United States men’s national team slumped to the occasion in their 2-0 loss to Ukraine in a friendly marred by circumstances on Wednesday. Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic dealt Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad a harsh blow in a wholly deserved loss. It was the final game in which Klinsmann had his European-based players at his disposal before convening his World Cup camp in mid-May, and he cannot have been pleased with what he saw.
"This game helped us a lot to see where individual players are, collectively where we stand with this group of players," Klinsmann said on ESPN after the match. "Obviously we had to form a couple of new things there, starting from the back line — and you could see that, that they never played together that much."
His motley USA side, comprised of a few regulars and a slew of players on the bubble, were outsmarted by a cunning Ukrainian side. Knowing full-well where the Americans were weak, Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka tore their flanks to shreds while the high defensive line was pelted with through balls.
The tentative American defense let the Ukrainians stroll through its line several times early on. In the 12th minute, a simple ball over the top caught the central defensive pairing of Oguchi Onyewu and John Brooks well out of position. That put Denys Harmash through on Tim Howard’s goal by himself. The American goalkeeper made a fine stop on his attempt, but Harmash coolly collected the rebound and laid it wide for Yarmolenko for him to pass the ball into the net.
Just a few minutes later, the Americans were caught out again on a clever play off a Ukrainian corner, but they were saved by a possibly erroneous offside call that time – Alejandro Bedoya actually appeared to keep the play onside. Sloppy and unimaginative in possession, the Yanks produced just two attacks of note in the entire first half. On the first, goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov alertly picked off the cross; on the second, Edgar Castillo’s cross wasn’t quite right and cleared. And they would give away several more fat chances, which a more incisive opponent might have punished, before the halftime whistle brought a respite.
Break out the turntables, Seattle!
In the second round of Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, the Sounders selected Jimmy Ockford out of Louisville, a promising central defender and… rapper?
— Jimmy Ockford (@jockford)January 16, 2014
Yes, the 21-year-old prospect has built up a solid rap catalog along with his partner Dalton Carroll. The duo, who call themselves “Absolute Pursuit,” have posted ten songs on Soundcloud and amassed more than 6,000 likes on Facebook. Pretty good!
Or…not so good? Their Facebook page lists Asher Roth and Sam Adams among their influences. Hmm.
Of course, it’s no surprise Ockford was drafted by the Sounders, who already employ one part-time rapper:
Let’s hope that Dempsey… er, Deuce, can give Jimmy a few tips before they team up for the inevitable collab album.
Image via Instagram/Jockford
On Thursday, the United States Soccer released the all-time Best XI for the women’s national team. On Friday, the men’s all-time Best XI were recognized. Just like for the women, the Best XI were voted on by a committee of 56 soccer historians, former players, coaches, media members and administrators at the national team level.
Among the all-timers is Landon Donovan, who received the most votes, as well as current captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who edged out Kasey Keller and Tim Howard in what was the tightest race of all the positions. A big congratulations also to FOX Soccer’s very own Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda on forming the top line!
Here’s the full list from the United States Soccer Federation:
Goalkeeper: Brad Friedel 1992-2004 (25 votes)
Thank you for all the messages on being voted to the all time USA XI. Very humbled.— bradley h friedel (@friedel_b)
With the winter transfer window just around the corner, clubs entrenched in relegation dogfights enter the market with wallets full of cash in a desperate attempt to snag the player needed to remain in top-flight football.
Case in point, Monday’s main rumbling comes straight from Craven Cottage as Premier League strugglers Fulham are reportedly setting their eye on a January loan move for Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey. The current United States captain, who played for the Cottagers from 2007-12, signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Major League Soccer club that allows him to leave on loan in the winter to prepare for next summer’s World Cup.
With Fulham currently sitting 19th in the Premier League table, a move for the 30-year-old would be a welcomed addition for newly-appointed manager René Meulensteen who is keen to beef up Fulham’s gun-shy attack.
To read this and the day’s top rumors, visit Monday’s Paper Chase on FOXSoccer.com.
Jermain Defoe’s protracted move to Toronto seems to be the continuation of a new trend in soccer transfers - with players being linked to moves between the Premier League and MLS almost constantly.
LA Galaxy stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have recently been linked to loan moves to the so-called ‘biggest league in the world’, as has Seattle Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey.
This next rumor is a biggy, though. According to one of the Sunday newspapers over in the UK, Champions League winner and England and Chelsea star Ashley Cole is being eyed up by two MLS sides for a summer switch.
Find out who and take a look at the rest of the day’s rumors in today’s Paper Chase.
In terms of soccer transfer stories, they don’t get much bigger than what we present you today. The latest rumors link Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta to Manchester United, whose creative midfield problems have been only too documented in the past.
As well as that though, we bring you the news of a true soccer legend nearing his own return to the Premier League. Clint Dempsey has previously turned out for Fulham and Tottenham in England, and those two sides, as well as Aston Villa and Everton, have expressed an interest in bringing the Seattle Sounders stars back on loan. Read all about the above rumors and many more with a simple click.
United States men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann dropped his long-awaited roster for the two final World Cup qualifiers at home against Jamaica on Oct. 11 and away to Panama Oct. 15 on Sunday afternoon. The games are more or less meaningless, since the USA secured qualification with a 2-0 home win against Mexico on Sept. 10.
Which is just as well, because this roster is more notable for the names not on it, or those that barely made it on there, than those players who are fit and playing regularly.
Clint Dempsey continues to battle a persistent hamstring injury that has kept him from getting into a regular rhythm since joining the Seattle Sounders this summer. Michael Bradley still hasn’t recovered from the ankle sprain he suffered in pregame warmups before the loss to Costa Rica on Sept. 6.
Image courtesy of Getty
That means the U.S.’s two most important players, the men dictating the pace and rhythm, are absent.
Overall, the goalkeepers constitute the only line that’s complete, with Brad Guzan, Tim Howard and Nick Rimando all fit and thriving for their clubs. In defense, however, Steve Cherundolo still isn’t over his surgery, Timmy Chandler either remains in the doghouse for refusing call-ups or is still refusing them, and sometime-back Fabian Johnson isn’t 100 percent either and wasn’t called in.
In midfield, the aforementioned Johnson isn’t available on the left. Fellow winger Alejandro Bedoya did make the squad, but missed his last FC Nantes game because of sickness, so his status is questionable. Also unclear is the situation surrounding Jermaine Jones, who may or may not need meniscus surgery and was suspended for his club Schalke recently.
Up front, the group is in pretty decent shape. But Landon Donovan has also had fitness concerns of late. Herculez Gomez, recently back from a niggling knee injury, is back playing for Xolos in Mexico but didn’t get called in – Terrence Boyd got the call instead.
It is, in short, a roster littered with question marks.
In falling to Costa Rica for the seventh consecutive time on the Ticos’ home ground, the Americans added yet more gravitas to the already-loaded build-up for their World Cup qualifier against Mexico here on Tuesday. So, having allowed some time and space for hindsight, here are the relevant lessons drawn from the 3-1 loss as they relate to yet another crucial bout:
1. Michael Bradley is indispensable
Folding over his ankle in the final movements of the warm-up and ruling the central midfielder out of the game plainly unsettled the team. He is their emotional leader, after all, the man leading by his combative example and, from the looks of it, verbally too. But when he fell away, they lost more than that. What Bradley brings to the table, nobody else can replicate. Shuttling between boxes, he sets the pace, tone and rhythm of the run of play. He covers much ground defensively, distributes from deep and gets counterattacks started. Geoff Cameron, the late replacement for Bradley, tried to fill that role but he hasn’t the range and simply isn’t as tidy with the ball. Bradley’s absence against Mexico will have to be compensated for; his many roles filled by a combination of others.