Tag Archives: US Soccer

The U.S. Women’s National Team: Numbers Game

By Shannon Hovan

 

0: Before Japan’s remarkable win over the United States in the Women’s World Cup final last July, it beat the US 0 times in over 20 matches, dating back to the 1980’s.

Since that win [a heartbreaking loss for USWNT fans] Japan is 2-0-1 against the US. The July 2011 game has given birth to a US/Japan rivalry, and a turning of the tables it seems. The US has had two opportunities to heal the wound and gain some retribution since, but have fallen short in attaining a decisive victory.

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USWNT Right Now: Four Thoughts

By Shannon Hovan

1. ALEX MORGAN

Who said Alex Morgan wasn’t a 90-minute player? Head Coach Pia Sundhage did, as recently as the friendly against Sweden back in November.

During the post-game press conference, Sundhage said the reason why Morgan was so good was because she came off of the bench. She continued by saying, “she has a small role and she plays it well. She understands it and respects it.” This quote of course accounts not just for the game against Sweden, where Morgan came in late in the second half and whose laser of a shot deflected, setting up teammate Tobin Heath with an opportunity to tap in the game-tying goal in the 81st minute. Sundhage is also referring to the number of game-changing performances Alex Morgan has had off of the bench from late 2010 through 2011, most notably the two goals and one assist she posted in five appearances at this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Germany, and the game-winning goal that qualified the US for a spot in the World Cup initially back in the Fall of 2010. Her ability to perform and perform well against the world’s best and in the most high-pressure situations is not debatable.

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Bradley Should Stay in Charge of USMNT

U.S. Men's National Team coach Bob Bradley guided the team to a the knock-out stages of the World Cup this year. Courtesy USSOCCER.Com

By Ryan Fleming

Those who watched last week’s United States, Brazil friendly may have seen Bob Bradley’s last game in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Despite the Yanks’ 2-0 loss to Brazil, the headlining story was whether or not Bradley had coached his last game for his country’s team. Bradley has been linked with various positions in Europe this summer, such as Fulham and most recently, Aston Villa.

The former Aston Villa skipper, Martin O’Neill left his post earlier this week under mysterious circumstances. The former Celtic boss, we now know, left his post because he didn’t agree with the team’s transfer policy.

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Bradley Needs to Drop Bornstein

By Kevin Koczwara

After watching yesterday’s international friendly between the United States and the Netherlands I examined Jonathan Bornstein’s game. I watched him closely as he lined up as the USMNT left-back, once again, and saw nothing new from him. There was little improvement and there were so many major mistakes on his part, one cost the Untied States a goal.

So what happened and why wasn’t Bornstein subbed earlier in the game?

The issue of left-back will haunt the United States until the squad gets to the World Cup if Bornstein continues to get chances out on the left flank. He has shown, time and again, that someone else needs to step up in place of him. And Bradley needs to finally get it through his thick skull that this guy cannot compete on the international level, right now.

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MLS: Beginning Again

By Ryan Fleming

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. And no, I’m not talking about the start of baseball, though, that is starting as well. I’m talking about the start of the MLS season.

We’re just a little more than a month away and already teams are making preparations and practicing in hopes to be the new MLS Champion. It’s the time when the cleats are dusted off, the pitches are reseeded (those that are real grass) and the players new to their teams meet their comrades.

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The U.S. Qualifies For 2010 World Cup

By Kevin Koczwara

Honduras has not been an easy place to play in this round of the CONCACAF qualifying, to say the least. No body has beaten the war torn country at Francisco Morazan so far, and the Honduras team hadn’t lost at home in 17 consecutive matches. And The United States National team looked to be dead in the water early on, giving away a free kick outside the box lead to a Honduras goal and a 1-0 lead. The “Yanks” (I hate that nickname and will not use it ever again) collected themselves and ended the highly entertaining game with a 3-2 victory.

Bob Bradley took a chance starting Connor Casey against Honduras, but it paid off in a big way. Leaving Jozy Altidore on the bench was a hard decision, but one that had to be made. Now Bradley has another task on his hands, who can he find to fill in for Charlie Davies? (Courtesy Wikicommons)

Bob Bradley took a chance starting Connor Casey against Honduras, but it paid off in a big way. Leaving Jozy Altidore on the bench was a hard decision, but one that had to be made. Now Bradley has another task on his hands, who can he find to fill in for Charlie Davies? (Courtesy Wikicommons)

Giving up an early goal is a place the United Stats has been before. In fact the U.S. National team has made it a habit to fall behind early on in matches. They have been behind 6 out of their last 10 matches. Giving up an early goal has become a calling card of theirs in a way. It is a good thing that the team has learned to rebound from early deficits, but the sign of a true world power is one that doesn’t have to come from behind, a team that controls play, dominates possession and puts the ball in the back of the net without letting any in their own.

The United States need to start to become a team that can control a game from start to finish while keeping an opponent on its back like a hapless turtle. The United States needs to start showing positive signs going into next years World Cup. The squad needs to mature and start playing real football, rather than the kick and chase style they implement a lot of times now.

The game in Honduras was big step for the squad, it showed that they could win in Hostile environments. The World Cup will be one giant hostile environment. Assuming that Americans jump on the bandwagon in a HUGE way in the next year, the US squad will have fewer supporters than most countries competing. So, the United States needs to start to adapt, and become adept in fighting off large crowds, home field environments, and surges from other squads.

Hopefully tonight we will see a determined and controlled US side control the play of the game against Costa Rica. It won’t be easy as Costa Rica is fighting for the third spot in CONCACAF and an automatic bid to the World Cup. If Costa Rica loses and Honduras wins, then they will have to play the fifth seeded team from South America–could be Uruguay, Argentina or Peru, not any teams that a CONCACAF team would want to face for qualification.

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Two Small Strikers with Injury Problems: Michael Owen and Taylor Twellman

Twellman has a great strike rate in the MLS but his game has not transferred well to the international stage. (Courtesy Jarrett Campbell)

Twellman has a great strike rate in the MLS but his game has not transferred well to the international stage. (Courtesy Jarrett Campbell)

By Kevin Koczwara

I have been thinking about Michael Owen ever since he signed with Manchester United. I just don’t know what it is about that story that keeps me coming for me. Michael Owen bothers me for some reason. He just makes me think about how great some players could have been, or were but no one really noticed. He was under appreciated at one time, and for a while he was overrated, and washed up. He scores goals, yes. But he doesn’t seem to have that winning edge, or that cutthroat play.

And today, while mowing the lawn and thinking about what I would write tonight, it hit me. Michael Owen reminds me of Taylor Twellman for some reason. And hear me out on this.

I am not saying Twellman is the equivalent to Owen, Michael has more talent and has faced stiffer competition throughout his career. But the way their careers have unfolded is what got me thinking.

Taylor Twellman Michael Owen
1980                                                            1979
5 ft 11 in                                                     5 ft 9 in
International Scoring Rate: 0.21    International Scoring Rate: 0.58
Club Scoring Rate: 0.60                      Club Scoring Rate: 0.50

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Where Are You Argentina?

Maradona is a legend in the world of soccer. His skill was unmatched as a player, but as the coach of Argentina he is faultering in World Cup Qualification for 2010. (Courtesy Diego_3336s Flickr)

Maradona is a legend in the world of soccer. His skill was unmatched as a player, but as the coach of Argentina he is faltering in World Cup Qualification for 2010. (Courtesy Diego_3336's Flickr)

By Kevin Koczwara

Argentina has won the World Cup two times (1978 and 1986) and has been to the finals four times. The only year that the Argentinians didn’t qualified was 1970 (they have withdrawn their spot three other times). But they are on thin ice this year in the qualification stages, even though they have the world’s best player in Lionel Messi. If coach Maradona doesn’t bring his team back from the dead in the final stages of qualifying then this could be a historic year for the World Cup, it would be only the second time Argentina didn’t qualify.

Maradona scored wonder goals while playing for Argentina and lead the national team to the 1986 World Cup title, but maybe he is not suited to coach his peers. His team has great depth and some of the world’s best players, but they aren’t getting the results they need. The 3-1 defeat to Brazil over the weekend has hurt the team’s chances of making it to the World Cup.

Currently Argentina is fourth in the CONMEBOL table. Brazil has already secured their place in South Africa and Paraguay and Chile are looking to book their flights and accommodations as well (each just need one win). If Argentina doesn’t seal up the fourth spot then they will have to play for the fifth spot and that doesn’t mean an automatic bid.

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