19
Jul

Clint Dempsey earns spot on FIFA 15 Cover

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Seattle forward Clint Dempsey returned from the World Cup to find out he had landed another honor: a place on the cover of FIFA 2015.

Dempsey is the first American player to land on the cover of the game since Landon Donovan in 2011. He will share the duties with Lionel Messi when the game hits the shelves in September.

"It’s crazy," Dempsey said in a phone interview on Friday. "It’s really cool. I was a fan of the game growing up, playing with my friends. Going from playing the game with my friends to being able to play with my own player in the game and now being on the cover, it’s something that’s pretty special. It’s an honor."

It is also a sign of Dempsey’s cultural relevance in a World Cup year and the increasing influence of MLS on the whole. The popularity of the game — and the presence of the U.S. captain on the cover of it — offers yet another entry point for emerging fans. If Dempsey’s presence prompts more players to opt for MLS sides instead of Barcelona or Real Madrid, then it is exactly the sort of development that can help the league moving forward.

Those broader concerns matter in the long term for a league still seeking to expand its foothold among the general population, but the cachet afforded by Dempsey’s place on the cover reaps immediate benefits, too.  

"I’m super excited that Clint’s on the cover," Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin said. "I think the fans not only in Seattle, but throughout America will really like it and appreciate because Clint is such a familiar face in soccer, especially in America. I think everybody’s really going to like it. I’m excited to see the response."

Dempsey dons his Sounders FC alternate jersey on the XBox version of the cover (Seattle has the Xbox logo on the front of its kits) and wears his international jersey on the PS4 cover.

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Photos courtesy of EA Sports

18
Jul

Terrence Boyd has sweet debut with RB Leipzig, impresses Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Sure, it was just a friendly in pre-season. But we’re pretty sure USA striker Terrence Boyd won’t forget this match for a while.

First of all, he scored his first goal for RB Leipzig in his debut with the club. Oh, and it was against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and PSG:

Not only did Boyd get his name on the scoresheet in his first match for his new club, he got one of the most coveted possessions in the world: Zlatan’s game-worn jersey.

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Special moment: PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives Terrence Boyd his kit at halftime. (Photo: Getty Images).

Just look at his teammate’s face, he can’t hide his jealousy. Terrence, make sure you keep that magical piece of cloth under lock and key.

4
Jul

Tim Howard shows epic defense again as he blocks a hug from a fan

Tim Howard has become something of a national hero after his unbelievable string of saves ensured the USA came out of the World Cup with their heads held high.
Memes, a petition to the White House and phone calls from Barack Obama - just some of the hullabaloo surrounding Howard’s heroics.
The Everton and US keeper returned to Los Angeles to an excited mob of fans at LAX. He seemed happy to pose for photos and sign autographs, but one male fan decided to go too far and dive in for the hug. Just as at the World Cup, Howard denied the man access.
(H/T: NESN)
3
Jul

Wait, what? USA ‘fans’ rave about Landon Donovan’s World Cup performance

(Image: Getty)

Landon Donovan is probably the most recognizable name in US soccer.

(OK, that was before Tim Howard became America’s hero, but still.)

So, the news that Donovan didn’t make the cut for coach Jurgen Kilnsmann’s squad for Brazil was a big deal.

Everyone who is a US soccer fan knew about it, right?

Or not.

The Jimmy Kimmel show hit the streets of Los Angeles to ask USA ‘fans’ about their favorite moments of Donovan’s stellar ‘performance’ in the World Cup.

Tricycle kicks against Saskatchewan? We were obviously watching the wrong World Cup.

(h/t nesn)
2
Jul

USA fans petition to have Reagan Airport renamed after Tim Howard

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Tim Howard fever has well and truly taken over the USA’s post-World Cup reaction. The keeper has become so popular that some fans started an official White House petition to rename Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport after Howard.

Despite the USA’s dramatic 2-1 extra-time defeat to Belgium on Tuesday, Premier League goalie Howard came out smelling of roses with a heroic effort in between the sticks.

The fans started the petition on a section of the White House website calling for the renaming of the Ronald Reagan Airport.

“We politely request that we rename the airport to recognize his accomplishments, and meritorious service to the United States of America,” the petition read.

Any member of the public can start a petition on the “We the People” site, launched by the White House to give the people a voice. If the petition gets enough support — usually 100,000 signatures — then the White House staff will review it and issue an official response.

The man from New Jersey with an impressive beard managed a record-breaking 16 saves — the most in a World Cup match since 1966 — even inspiring a social media meme with the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave…

…and a change in the Wikipedia page for the U.S. Secretary of Defense:

Following their exit, an emotional Howard shared words of encouragement for the national team going forward.

“The dream fell short, but this is an incredible group, and we’ll never forget this night,” he said. 

(H/T Chicago Tribune)

1
Jul

Belgium vs. Team USA: As it happened on Twitter

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Football is a cruel game.

Just when you start to believe, when you think the impossible just might be possible, your soul gets ripped right out of your body, and you remember you have to walk home in a full Captain America costume. The worst.

The United States men’s national team loss to Belgium in extra-time on Tuesday was the most painful kind of torture. For 90 minutes, we watched Tim Howard save the USA time and time again, putting forth arguably the greatest goalkeeping performance ever at a World Cup, only for it to all fall apart in extra-time. Just like four years ago.

But after the heartbreak, there was pride and hope; pride that the team wouldn’t ever, ever quit, and hope that in 2018, this team will be even stronger, and encourage even more belief. One team, one nation:

If you still have the mental and emotional capacity to do so, take a look at how America followed the USA’s thrilling 2-1 loss in the Round of 16:

THE GAME BEFORE THE GAME

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The United States hadn’t even taken the field for warmups yet, when our blood pressure was already over 160. The heart-stopping finish between Argentina and Switzerland — Angel di Maria’s winner deep into extra time sent the Albiceleste through — should probably have told us that this was going to be a long, long day:

THE FIRST HALF

Oh NO! The first sign that the United States were in trouble:

Anyone still wondering if soccer has “made it” in America?

A pitch invader makes an appearance:

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More bad news, Fabian Johnson is hurt:

HALFTIME

Madeleine Albright with some wise words for the USA:

And England legend Gary Lineker perfectly summarizes the play thus far:

THE SECOND HALF

All Belgium, all of the time:

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TWO WORDS!

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Read More

1
Jul

Pregame messages for USA vs Belgium

1
Jul

Minor league baseball stadium gives Belgian beers the boot, Budweiser backs USA

A minor league baseball game without beer? Never.

A minor league game without Belgian beer? Sure.

The Potomac Nationals, a single A team in the Washington, D.C. area, are pulling the taps of Belgian beers from their concession stands in support of Team USA.

According to the team’s press release:

"As an ardent supporter of our country’s national men’s soccer team, the Potomac Nationals felt it was only right to sideline our Belgian beer taps the evening before Team USA clashes with Team Belgium in the knockout round of the World Cup. If we sold Belgium waffles at The Pfitz, they too would be placed on the concessions inactive list.”

The brews getting the boot include Stella Artois and Shock Top Belgian White.

Shock Top is made by Budweiser, which was recently bought by Belgian beverage company InBev.

But don’t worry about giving up your Bud Light. They’ve come out like a stampede of Clydesdales for USA.