Happy Birthday, Landon!
Happy Birthday, Landon!
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)
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.
This week, U.S. national team record goalscorer Landon Donovan joins Fox Soccer’s UEFA Champions League broadcast as an analyst on FOX Sports 1. But first, he answers a few questions about his foray into television.
FOX Soccer: What draws you to TV commentary?
Landon Donovan: “I’ve always had an outside interest. I’ve watched from afar and always thought it was something that would be enjoyable. As most of us are, I can be pretty opinionated and sometimes I see things on TV and I go, ‘Oh, I wish they would have mentioned that’ or I think ‘The viewer would have wanted to see that.’ While I understand it’s probably not easy, it’s always something that I’ve had an interest in so when this opportunity came up it was something I wanted to do.”
FOX Soccer: You’ve been talking about wanting to do television commentary for a year or so, maybe even longer. You’ve been saying you want to better educate the public. What do you think you can add to the conversation?
LD: “I think we’re at a point now where people watching our game are thirsty for more intimate knowledge and that’s why guys like Warren [Barton] and Eric Wynalda, [Brian] McBride, you see Kasey Keller and Taylor Twellman and [Kyle] Martino, all these guys can add an insight that a lot of the commentators couldn’t in previous years. I think that people understand the game better now, people are more connected to the game than they ever have been in our country. There’s still a lot of insight and a lot of intimate details of the game that people I think would really enjoy hearing our thoughts about.
FOX Soccer: With all respect to the guys you’ve mentioned, you’ve seen and done more than any American soccer player ever. Do you think that adds a dimension for the viewer?
LD: “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of different experiences, played in all sorts of different competitions and against many high-class players so I’ve been able to see the game in many different ways, in many different scenarios. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what happens and why it happens and why certain teams play certain ways and all those finite details. I look forward to sharing that with people.
FOX Soccer: Why the UEFA Champions League?
LD: “The timing was good. FOX was very proactive about having me. I’ve made it clear to my agent and a lot of different people that this is something that I’m interested in and FOX really took the initiative to give me an opportunity. If you’re going to do a broadcast it doesn’t get much better than the Champions League and I’ve been really looking forward to it.
Landon Donovan hopes to add some “forward thinking” to this week’s coverage (Image: Thomas Hautmann/FOX Sports)
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.
SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
On Friday, the United States men’s national team plays its seventh of ten games in the final stage of World Cup qualifying against Costa Rica.
Here are five urgent questions heading into the game:
Is Jozy Altidore ready to go?
The young target man, newly of Sunderland, is recovering from a hamstring injury. After getting an MRI in Miami upon joining the team, he was given the go-ahead by the medical staff. But how effective he will be, and how durable, remains to be seen.
His importance can hardly be overstated. There is no other striker available who is so proficient at holding up the ball and getting the adjoining attackers involved. And Altidore has scored in his last five USA games, a record, tallying seven goals in all.
Image courtesy of AP Images
Who will play right back?
Steve Cherundolo is still out with an injury. Timmy Chandler is unavailable too. And Brad Evans, who has played in the spot most recently, was a late scratch from the team because of a calf injury. He was replaced on the roster by Michael Parkhurst, but he, like fellow candidate Geoff Cameron isn’t a natural at the right back position.
Both have their limitations going forward. And both are fourth-stringers at best.
The wait is finally over! FOX Soccer Daily debuted on FOX Sports 1 on Monday, and the show was packed with highlights, news and analysis from around the globe.
Host Julie Stewart-Binks was joined in studio by Warren Barton and Eric Wynalda to break down the latest news, and recap a busy weekend that saw the start of the Premier League and La Liga.
As part of the debut FOX Soccer Daily show, USA and LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan spoke exclusively with Stewart-Binks, talking about enjoying the game again, his future and much more.
After the interview, Stewart-Binks was joined by Wynalda and Grant Wahl to dissect Donovan’s comments — in particular, when he said, “We’ve received offers from teams in different countries that are intriguing.”
When all was said and done, the show was wrapped and set lights dimmed, a new show was born. And this is just the beginning.
Landon Donovan and his future in soccer has been a prominent topic of conversation among USA fans and media over the last year. When he took time off from the sport this year many thought he might never return. They were wrong.
Donovan is back and playing at his best. He shined during the Gold Cup this summer, and is expected to be part of the United States team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer.
The USA star has been quiet in recent months, but during the debut of FOX Soccer Daily, he spoke with host Julie Stewart-Binks about enjoying the game again, where he may end up when his LA Galaxy contract expires in December and more.
FOX Soccer Daily debuts on FOX Sports 1 this coming Monday at 4pm ET, and we’re starting things off right! Our host Julie Stewart-Binks secured an exclusive interview with the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, in which the USA star touches on several topics, including his plans for the future.
For more information on America’s new home for soccer, including where you can find FOX Sports 1 on your TV, check out FOXSports1.com!
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.
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.
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?