5
Mar

USA fail to impress in 2-0 exhibition loss to Ukraine

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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.

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3
Aug

The ICC came, saw, and conquered Dodger Stadium

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Think back to a time when there were no preseason tournaments, no trophies to play for on baseball fields, and clubs simply resorted to friendlies against cupcake opponents as way to get ready for the season. How dull!

Thanks to the International Champions Cup (ICC), Los Angeles became the latest of US cities to host the newest — and really the most compelling — of preseason competitions. On Saturday night, it did not disappoint.

Four teams from four countries — Real Madrid, Juventus, Everton, and the hometown LA Galaxy — offered fans an entertaining night of soccer and, more importantly, the unique opportunity to see their favorite players in the flesh. While some preseason fixtures fall flat due to teams’ unwillingness to trot out their best sides, the International Champions Cup delivered.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Tim Howard, Andrea Pirlo and Landon Donovan all played at least one half to the clear approval of the fans. Every Ronaldo step-over was greeted with a rising ensemble of “ooh’s” and “aah’s.” USA chants rang out every time Howard touched the ball, and ladies in every section fainted at the sight of Pirlo’s herculean beard (okay, that last part was made up. Maybe. You really can’t be sure.)

The fans’ enthusiasm at Dodger Stadium was heard and felt throughout the night, and the players returned the favor with some fine showmanship. Ronaldo’s bravado was on full display, Howard made some truly outstanding saves, and the late consolation match between Juventus and LA was a high-energy affair thanks to LA taking the play to the Italian champions. In other words: the fans most definitely got their money’s worth.

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The tournament also provided some unintentionally funny moments;  Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez celebrating his goal against Gigi Buffon as if it was a World Cup final; the referee getting booed mercilessly for cutting a half 30 seconds short; Real Madrid’s Kaka — merely a rotation player now — receiving by far the loudest cheers of the night. It were those quirky moments within the competition that reminded us it’s still the preseason (well, except for LA). Yet, they also added to the charm of the International Champions Cup.

In the end, there will be one champion lifting up a trophy. But to the fans, the media, and maybe even some of the players, Saturday night could be summed up by one thought: is the preseason supposed to be this much fun?

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22
Jun

USMNT legends at Carlos Bocanegra’s celebrity golf tournament

Former United States men’s national players reunited for a good cause Friday during Carlos Bocanegra’s golf charity event to raise funds to build soccer fields near Bocanegra’s hometown in Southern California.

The former US captain, who is trying to regain a spot on the national team, is among 35 players on the American preliminary roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup next month. 

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31
May

2013 Gold Cup USMNT Provisional Roster released

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The provisional roster has been released for the US Men’s National Team heading into the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Keep in mind that this roster is provisional; the 35 players will be whittled down to a final 23-man roster by June 27th.

Notable inclusions: Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra

Notable exclusions: Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey

Whoever Jurgen Klinsmann picks for his final roster, he likes the team’s chances:

9
Nov

Hear, hear, ladies!

Model behaviour: Tim Howard

Tim Howard stripped off his kit recently for an Everton charity calendar titled “12 Shades of Blue,” drawing from the popular, racy book “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Everton’s entire starting line-up took part in the shoot for the club’s official charity, Everton in the Community, which is in its 25th year.

Howard enjoyed doing the photo shoot and said, “Shooting the calendar was lots of fun and myself and the other boys were happy to help out.”

Safe to say the ladies are happy as well, Tim.

Source: Daily Mail