USA v Mexico
USA v Mexico
Editor’s note: Julian Green spoke to Ole Pongratz on Tuesday in Munich. This interview has been translated from German to English by FOX Soccer’s Thomas Hautmann.
Ole Pongratz: Reports in the United States said you were to be included in the US training camp ahead of the friendly against Mexico but you have said that this isn’t the case — yet. Can you explain?
Julian Green: Yes, Klinsmann wanted to invite me to the game against Mexico but because it is not an official international match, Bayern had to give me the clearance first. That [only] happened on Tuesday.
OP: Jurgen Klinmann has announced that you have chosen the United States and that you have handed in your request for the one-time association switch with FIFA. What can you tell us about that?
JG: Yes, that’s right: I have decided on the USA and I will play for them from here on out.
OP: And why did you choose the USA?
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.
USA v Korea Republic
When the United States men’s national team squared off against Costa Rica last March, a snow storm hit Colorado making the game one of the most memorable contests in sports history.
Costa Rica wasn’t happy the game was allowed to continue. Maybe that’s because Costa Rica lost. Needless to say, the Ticos certainly haven’t forgotten about the incident.
A crowd of Costa Rican fans are heard chanting “No fair play!” as members of Team USA deplane and board the team bus on Tuesday. You can see exactly how much the perceived injustice earlier this year still sticks in their craw.
One might assume the confines of a bus would bring an end to the pestering. Wrong. According to the Tico Times, eggs were also launched in the salvo against the United States.
Costa Ricans chanted “U-S-A. No fair play” and tossed eggs during the arrival of the #USMNT this evening.— The Tico Times (@TheTicoTimes) September 4, 2013
Perhaps they just thought the Americans needed a late breakfast after their flight? That’s a stretch. Either way, it should shape up for an even more interesting match come Friday.
By Kyle McCarthy, FOXSoccer.com
It took a bit longer than expected for the United States to hit its stride in their 4-1 victory against Cuba. The visitors even managed a stunning opening goal when Jose Ciprian completed a swashbuckling counter after 36 minutes. But the Americans equalized through Landon Donovan shortly before halftime to set the stage for a significant second-half improvement. Chris Wondolowski struck twice in the final half hour to ensure that the US will finish atop Group C with a victory (or a draw, most likely) over Costa Rica in East Hartford, Conn. on Tuesday.
In the wake of a third straight heavy victory, here are a few points to ponder as the US approaches a decisive affair against the Ticos:
By Kyle McCarthy, FOXSoccer.com
Stuart Holden’s humbling road through injury-enforced wilderness took an unexpected comedic turn when he entered the United States’ 6-0 victory over Guatemala on Friday night.
Holden – a player of considerable repute with Olympic, Premier League and World Cup experience on his CV – heard the public address announcer mangle his name when he entered at the start of the second half.
“Stacy Holden? You try not to hear that stuff in the game, but when it was announced, it was hard not to laugh,” Holden said. “I was thinking, he’d better correct it. The guys were laughing about it. I heard him re-announce it.”
Holden then followed suit regarding his own international credentials with an encouraging display of his quality and his range in central midfield. His clever, inch-perfect service on Landon Donovan’s second goal captured the most attention, but his overall performance – adroit in possession, robust in his tackling, tidy in his positioning – showed the progress made over the past few months.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Donovan said. “He was calm on the ball. He tackled when he needed to. His service was great. His passing was excellent. I thought he was really good. I think we can all agree that it’s as good as he’s been since he’s been back playing. I’m really happy.”
The trick for Holden now: turning one good night into a series of influential Gold Cup showings over the next month. He faces a fight to earn playing time in the center of the park with Kyle Beckerman, Mikkel Diskerud and José Francisco Torres and push his claims for more than a handful of substitute appearances.
“If I didn’t I was 90 minutes ready and Jurgen didn’t think I was 90 minutes ready, then I don’t think I’d be a part of this group,” Holden said. “If I’m out there in the game, I’m hoping to play 90 minutes. As a competitor, you’re always a little bit bummed out because you want to be on the field and involved in every single play. I can guarantee that if I’m out there, I’ll give everything I’ve got.”
And if he meets his previous standards once more and reclaim his place in the full team, he can rest assured no one will forget his name.
Curious to see how the Mile High City is preparing for Friday’s World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa Rica? Find out here as FOX Soccer’s Jamie Trecker takes you around Denver to review the sights and sounds before the clash at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Photo courtesy of @23botter
The United States men’s national team hosts a crucial World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica Friday night. With numerous injuries plaguing Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad, you would figure Landon Donovan - USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists - could step in to help his country earn a World Cup bid, right?
The LA Galaxy star, currently on an organized sabbatical, was spotted in Middleton, Wis., earlier this week playing pickup soccer at an indoor facility and wearing, of all things, a University of Wisconsin soccer T-shirt.