5/26/16 Champ League Final Sat 2:45 Fox, US vs Boliva Sat 8 pm FS1, Indy 11 into 2nd, TV games

OK folks – first a Fantastic Indy 11 4-2 win at home over 1st Place Minn United, then a nice 3-1 win by the US, and now its time to get ready for Saturday’s Champions League Final between Real and Atletico Madrid at 2:45 pm Sat on Fox, and the US playing its final warm up game before the COPA Sat Night 8 pm on Fox Sports 1 vs Bolivia at 8 pm. Atletico have not lost to Real in the past six league meetings, though they were edged out 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season. All in all, it’s bound to be close but Atletico have the belief and desire to edge it. Bet365 make them 6/4 to win in 90 minutes and 11/10 to win the trophy.  As for the US – NOW IT’S REAL FOLKS. We had that nice, little kick-a-bout with Equador in a 1-0 bout, but now it’s time for real Copa America Centenario preparations.  In just 10, TEN days the whole Copa thing kicks off. Wow.

So in 3 days we face another solid South American side in Bolivia in preparation for our matches against Colombia (6/3), Costa Rica (6/7), and Paraguay (6/11).

First up a solid win over an Ecuador squad that currently sit in second place in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying defeating Argentina and Uruguay last year and drawing 2-2 with and losing 2-1 to our Copa group mates Paraguay and Colombia, respectively so far in 2016. They also dispatched Mexico in the 2015 edition of Copa. Our roster is chalk full of experience with 15 of the 23 roster additions having travelled to Brazil for Jurgen Klinsmann. Coach JK made it known that Brad Guzan will man the pipes during this tournament. Polar Bear is 11-4-4 wearing the crest.  Old standbys like Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones (who’s having an electric season for the league-leading Colorado Rapids) will be asked to guide the youngsters that hopefully will pay a pivotal role not only this summer, but in World Cup Qualifying between this fall and Russia.  Hopefully with the inclusion of creative MF Darlington Nagbe, Bobby Wood and Christian Pulisic along with a solid nucleus joining through this summer we’ll see where U.S. Soccer stands with the heavy-weights of North and South America.

U.S. Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), 12-Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), 22-Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)

DEFENDERS (8): 5-Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 3-Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), 6-John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), 20-Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), 21-Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), 23-Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), 14-Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS (12): 15-Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), 4-Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 8-Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), 13-Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), 16-Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), 10-Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), 17-Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), 18-Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), 7-Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), 20-Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), 19-Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

 

How Coach Shane would start the first Game vs Columbia

Woods/Dempsey

Pulisic/Nagbe/Bedoya

Bradley

Johnson/Brooks/Cameron or Besler/Yedlin  (if Cameron is still hurt)

Guzan

This is a soccer nation. Pack the stadiums (Including Chicago’s Soldier Field where a # of tickets are still available), pack your AO bars, pack your living rooms. Time to show the rest of the world what American soccer fans can do.  Also GOALKEEPERS – don’t forget Coach Carla Baker’s Goalkeeping Camp starts next week Post2Post GOALKEEPER – Soccer Camp – May 31-June 3 –  9 am till 3 pm.

Post2Post GOALKEEPER – Soccer Camp – May 31-June 3 –  9 am till 3 pm

CFC and Carmel High Coach Carla Baker – former National Team Goalie for Canada will run her annual GK camp May 31-June 3 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger Field

Messi Video

2 TICKETS TO SEE MESSI and ARGENTINA Play LIVE – Soldier Field Chicago – June 10 8:30 pm

So I have 2 tickets to the COPA AMERICA Argentina Game on Friday night, June 10 8:30 pm (Central Time) in Chicago – Soldier Field. Tickets just $75 each (face value w/o the fees). Reach out if interested in watching Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and the rest of the World Cup runners-up as they face Panama in a critical group stage game. Re: or email shanebestsoccer@gmail.com

I also have 2 Tickets to the USA vs Costa Rica Game June 7 8 pm– just $80 each.  Join us on the drive over if you like.

MUST SEE GAMES ON TV

Sat, May 28

2:45 pm FOX                  Champions League Final REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID  – the battle for top club team in the World

5:30 pm FS1                   Mexico vs Paraguay

7 pm  ESPN3                   Indy 11 @ Jacksonville Armada

8 pm  FS1                                                 United States men vs. Bolivia, friendly – nice match up last one before the COPA

Thurs, June 2

2:45 pm FS1                   England vs Portugal   England vs Renaldo

9 pm FS 1                         US Ladies vs Japan – US faces their rivals Japan at home.

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100 STARTS

9:30 pm Fox Sports1 USA vs Columbia

Sat, June 4

5 pm Fox                          COPA Costa Rica vs Paraguay

8 pm  TV 8, ESPN3     Indy 11 @ Miami

10 pm FS 1                      COPA Brazil vs Ecuador

Sun, June 5 

12:30 pm ESPN2         US Ladies vs Japan

5 pm Fox                          COPA – Jamaica vs Venezuela

7 pm Fox Sports 1      COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Mon, June 6

7 pm FS1                          COPA – Panama vs Bolivia

10 pm FS1                       COPA – Argentina vs Chile

Tues, June 7

8 pm  Fox Sports1 USA vs Costa Rica – Solider Field – Tix Available!

10 pm Fox Sports 1   COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Fri, June 10 European Cup Starts

3 pm ESPN                       France vs Romania

 

 

ATP_Gen_350x250

Earn Your Accredited College Degree at ½ the Cost and Time of Traditional Schools www.achievetestprep.com/shane

Carmel FC Travel Soccer Tryouts for 2016-2017 teams begin June 7th!  CLICK HERE to register

Soccer Camps – Boys and Girls -Ages 6 – 14

Ok so its almost Summer Camp time – below are some nice options for Soccer Camps this summer

Post2Post GOALKEEPER – Soccer Camp – May 31-June 3 –  9 am till 3 pm

CFC and Carmel High Coach Carla Baker – former National Team Goalie for Canada will run her annual GK camp June 1-4 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger Field

Indy 11 Soccer Camp June 20-23 — 9 am till 12 noon Ages 5-14 $135 @ Badger Fields

Kick in the Grass – 3 v 3 Soccer Tour at Badger Field July 9th

Goal2Gol Soccer Camp
CHS Men’s Head Coach Shane Schmidt, a former U-20 US National Team player, runs his annual camp from 9 am to 2 pm July 11-16. $150 before 6/30 @ River Road Fields.

Post2Post Soccer Camp
Former Pittsburgh Head Coach Sue-Moy Chin and Former Iowa Coach Carla Baker run their annual field player camp for players of all abilities July 25-28 — 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger

USA

Super Subs Nagbe, Woods and Pulisic star – Player Ratings

Nagbe makes Case to be Starting for US

US Wins 1-0 over Ecuador but lots to Improve on –ESPN FC

US gets uplifting Win over Ecuador – SI

US a Real Opportunity at home in COPA –ESPN FC

US and Klinnsman have Things to Prove

US Aims for Final 4 in COPA

Puzzling Decisions on US roster  McIntyre =EPSNFC

Figuring out the Roster Decisions –Peter Nolan Got Soccer

US roster Announced for COPA – SI

Roster Decisions are Baffling

Guzan and Howard continue to push each other – ESPN FC McIntyre

Yedlin, Wood and Arriola Impress in US 3-1 win over PR –JD ESPN FC

International Friendlies recap EAPN

Emerson Hyndman – Coming of Age

Altidore and Bradley hope to Soar at Club and for Country  –

Champions League

Champ League Quiz

Atletico can make History

Diego Simeone’s Alchemy keeps Athletico in contention

Real’s Talent poised to decide Final Result

INDY 11 –

Goal Party and Move to 2nd Overall in NASL – Aaron Gunyon Permanent Relegation

3 Things – Indy 11 Win over Min United

Indy 11 Win 4-2

Indy 11 to play US Open Cup vs Louisville FC June 1- next home game

Peter Wilt GM – The Exit Interview

National Attendance Figures for Soccer had Indy 11 12th for the weekend

MLS

MLS Power Rankings

MisMatches and Drama of Rivalry Week

Pirlo – too much running too little skill in MLS

COPA

Full Squads are Announced for Copa America Teams

Mexico will be the Home Team at Copa

Dos Santos Refuses Mexico Spot – Chicarito Returns SI

ALL GAMES ON TV THIS MONTH

8 pm ESPN2                    United States men vs. Ecuador, international friendly

Thur, May 26

11 am beIN Sport       Bulgaria vs Mali  Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

1:30 pm beIn Sport France vs Czech Republic    Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

Fri, May 27

11 am beIN Sport       Japan vs England Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

1:30 pm beIn Sport Portugal vs Paraguay    Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

Sat, May 28

12:30 pm                         beIN Sport Sheffield Wed vs Hull City or Derby County – winner joins EPL next season

10:15 am ESPN2          Swisterzland vs Belgium  Friendly

2:45 pm FOX                  Champions League Final REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID

5:30 pm FS1                   Mexico vs Paraguay

7 pm  ESPN3                   Indy 11 @ Jacksonville Armada

8 pm  FS1                      United States men vs. Bolivia, international friendly

Sun, May 29

4 pm ESPN                       NYCFC vs Orlando City

Wed, June 1

9 pm ESPN2                    Belgium vs Finland

Thurs, June 2

2:45 pm FS1                   England vs Portugal

9 pm FS 1                         US Ladies vs Japan

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100 STARTS

9:30 pm Fox Sports1 USA vs Columbia

Sat, June 4

12 noon ESPN3            Spain vs Bosnia

5 pm Fox                          COPA Costa Rica vs Paraguay

7:30 pm FS2                   COPA Haita vs Peru

8 pm  TV 8, ESPN3      Indy 11 @ Miami

10 pm FS 1                      COPA Brazil vs Ecuador

Sun, June 5 

12 noon ESPN3            Spain vs Bosnia

12:30 pm ESPN2         US Ladies vs Japan

2:45 pm ESPN 3           Italy vs Scotland

5 pm Fox                          COPA – Jamaica vs Venezuela

7 pm Fox Sports 1      COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Mon, June 6

7 pm FS1                          COPA – Panama vs Bolivia

10 pm FS1                       COPA – Argentina vs Chile

 Tues, June 7

8 pm  Fox Sports1 USA vs Costa Rica – Solider Field – Tix Available!

10 pm Fox Sports 1   COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

10 European Cup Starts

3 pm ESPN                       France vs Romania

Sat, June 11

9 am  ESPN                      EURO – Albania vs Switzerland

12 noon ESPN               EURO – Wales vs Slovakia

3 pm ESPN                       EURO – England vs Russia

7 pm Fox Sport1 USA vs Paraguay

9 pm FS2                          COPA – Columbia vs Costa Rica

MLS TV Schedule  -on break June 3-17 for COPA

European Championships This Summer on ESPN

Copa America Centario Schedule   TV Schedule

COPA AMERICA 100 –GAMES IN CHICAGOstill seats left for USA Game , Argentina game and Semi-Finals.

International Champions Cup – ICC – @ Chicago – Bayern Munich vs AC Milan Soldier Field Wed 7/27 @ 8 pm Tix still available  $35 to $135

Real Madrid’s talent poised to decide Champions League final vs. Atletico

tletico will win, say most neutral coaches around Europe.Atletico deserve to win, several unbiased football players from around the globe.Football — that fair sport specialised in meting out justice — owes Atletico a Champions League title, say the most experienced soccer journalists.Atletico have defeated Barcelona and Bayern, which in itself should be enough to grant them the trophy, add many other neutrals — including, of course, the vast majority of Barcelona and Bayern fans.There are at least five ways in which Atletico can win, adds a knowledgeable blogger in this prestigious media outlet.Since the 2014 Champions League final, Atletico own Real Madrid, adds an undoubtedly fact-based writer of this site.Not convinced by the overwhelming amount of evidence? Even high-profile neutrals, such as Gerardo Martino and Gianluigi Buffon have publicly stated their preference for Atletico. “If sporting justice exists, Atletico de Madrid will win the final”, declared Buffon.To add insult to injury, one of our own writes in this same blog that this Real Madrid win would be Real Madrid’s most impressive ever, as though all 10 previous titles were pieces of cake when compared to an unlikely victory over this mighty version of Atletico. Alfredo di Stefano must be turning in his grave.No more examples seem necessary to prove the point: since it became a fact that two teams from Madrid would play the Champions League final, public opinion has heavily leaned towards Atletico. Apparently, a Real Madrid win would represent the victory of evil over good, of money over hard work and dedication, of amazing luck in the draw over the toughest sequence of opponents since Denmark in 1992. Real Madrid are incarnated by Florentino Perez, buyers of talent at the highest price, while Atletico’s face is Diego Simeone, an agent of transformation that has turned an underperforming bunch of players into a team that excels in every item possibly measured.Such a sequence of unfavourable statements towards his club, coupled with the general atmosphere in favour of Atletico, has probably prompted Gareth Bale to try to bring the footballing world back to reality: “For me, no Atletico player would feature in Real Madrid’s team,” he declared on Wednesday afternoon. The touch of self-assurance or perhaps even arrogance is obviously there, a sign that proves that the Welshman has finally found the Madridista inside himself. Welcome, Gareth.And maybe he’s right. While equitable players, coaches and romantics run towards Atletico’s corner to declare their love for their blue-collar approach to football and their impressive ability to defend, most bookies still favour Real Madrid. The odds for the Madridistas to win (around 2.4 to 1 a few days before the match) are clearly lower than those for the Atleticos (3.2 to 1).Unless we’re discussing one of those promotions that betting houses run once in a while to get you over the fence to their — extremely profitable — playground, bookies rarely make mistakes in matches like this. If they give lower odds for Real Madrid to win, maybe there’s a rationale behind it.History obviously plays a part. The fact that Real Madrid have won 10 titles to Atletico’s zero must count to some extent. But, back to Bale’s point, there’s a more relevant reason for the men in white to be considered favourites to win the final: their squad.For the first time this season, manager Zinedine Zidane has been able to field his preferred starting XI for four consecutive weeks, with Raphael Varane the only major injury in the last month.Surprising as it sounds, differing line-ups — of course, with extremely talented substitutes — have been able to take the team to this late stage of the year. For instance, Bale has not played a single minute against Atletico this season. On the other hand, Isco, Varane and a combination of Danilo and Alvaro Arbeloa have played more than 300 minutes in the two La Liga matches between Real Madrid and their Rojiblanco neighbours. At this point, these players have become second or third-string choices for Zidane.  One does not need to be a Real Madrid fanatic to think that, not only have the starters have found health at the right time of the season, but also that Zidane’s line-up has clicked when it matters most. One would dare to say that Atletico have not faced a Real Madrid this well-organised, this disciplined and this dangerous in front of the opposition’s goal in the last couple of seasons.Of course, a Champions League final depends on details, and this Atletico excels at taking care of every single issue that might work on their favour. But finals also rest heavily on talent and experience, and in this regard Zidane can look at his starting XI and, at least, feel confident that perhaps football won’t be as fair as everyone else expects on Saturday evening.Eduardo is a football analyst for ESPN FC,

Super-subs Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic shine for the U.S.

A late goal from Darlington Nagbe sealed a narrow 1-0 win for the United States over Ecuador. In what proved to be a relatively low-energy warm-up friendly for the Copa America, the United States got a late goal from substitute Darlington Nagbe to beat Ecuador 1-0 in Frisco, Texas.The first half was mostly controlled by the visitors, though Ecuador never turned their advantage into real threats on goal.The second half belonged to the U.S., thanks to a couple of substitutions that not only gave the Americans energy, but provided some tactical advantages they lacked with the starting lineup.   Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Brad Guzan, 7.5 — Despite Ecuador controlling the game in the first half, Guzan didn’t face much action. The Aston Villa keeper was not required to make a save all day, with his work limited to a few decisions to come out early.

DF Fabian Johnson, 7 — Limited to a mostly defensive day until the match opened up towards the last 30 minutes. Johnson was good in possession, defended well, but missed out on a few chances to be involved in the attack.

DF Steve Birnbaum, 7 — Birnbaum showed significant nerves in the early throes of the match, but improved mightily as the game went along. He mis-measured a few passes, but was at least trying to keep the ball on the deck. Disrupted Enner Valencia with time running down to save the win.

DF John Brooks, 7 — For every good action, Brooks made a simple mistake or questionable decision, especially in the first half. Intervened with late challenges more than once, however, that helped keep the clean sheet.

DF DeAndre Yedlin, 6.5 — Battled with Jefferson Montero admirably in the first half, though he was beaten a handful of times. The 22-year-old was caught upfield a few times and had to be bailed out by midfielders behind him. Had a good moment or two going forward.

MF Kyle Beckerman, 5 — Part of a very ineffective midfield that had trouble pushing the ball through the middle. Made a few critical interventions, otherwise pedestrian at best.

MF Michael Bradley, 6 — Struggled to control play and help keep possession in the first half. Bradley was better after half-time when substitutions pushed him deeper. Connected well with Nagbe especially moving the ball from back to front.

MF Jermaine Jones, 5.5 — Jones will share a lot of the blame for the dysfunctional dynamic in the channel he manned in front of Birnbaum, but did manage to provide some crucial interventions. Picked up a professional yellow covering for Yedlin.

FW Gyasi Zardes, 4 — It was another night of bad touches and questionable decisions for the LA Galaxy forward. Zardes wasted the one good chance the U.S. created in the first half.

FW Clint Dempsey, 5.5 — Deuce hardly touched the ball in the first half as the U.S. struggled to function in possession. Dropped deep to try and gain some influence, but was unable to bring much to the table.

FW Graham Zusi, 5 — Did nothing particularly noteworthy other than a run late in the that resulted in a ball across the face of goal. Turned the ball over too often.

FW Bobby Wood, 8 — Provided an outlet that was clearly lacking in the first half. Worked tirelessly to make runs and push the ball towards the Ecuador goal. Set up Nagbe for the American winner with a header in the box.

MF Darlington Nagbe, 8 — Made a night-and-day difference in the midfield with his speed of thought and ability to play the ball into space quickly and with purpose. Nagbe scored the winning goal by hanging around the box, and he deserved it on balance.

MF Christian Pulisic, 7.5 — The 17-year-old did not look out of his element in the slightest. Excellent on the ball, showed soccer smarts with his choices from a wide left position. Helped close out the game with excellent possession play.

MF Alejandro Bedoya, 6.5 — Had a few nice moments in just under 30 minutes, though Bedoya did turn the ball over with simple mistakes at least twice. Improved the midfield with a willingness to work back to the ball.

DF Matt Besler, NR — Besler handled himself well enough in a cameo, helping to see out the clean sheet and the victory. Professional job.

DF Michael Orozco NR — Did not have enough time to make an impression as the Americans dealt with a few final Ecuadorian forays.Jason Davis is a writer from Virginia covering American soccer

U.S. can take confidence from Ecuador win, but there’s room for improvement

FRISCO, Texas — Here are three quick thoughts after the U.S. beat Ecuador 1-0 on substitute Darlington Nagbe’s 90th-minute goal at Toyota Stadium in the national team’s penultimate pre-Copa America friendly. Jurgen Klinsmann’s team will meet Bolivia on Saturday in Kansas City in its last preparation game before kicking off the tournament on June 3 against Colombia.

  1. This game looked like a friendly

For all the talk about how taking on South American foes Ecuador and Bolivia in the final two tune-ups would provide just the tough, highly physical tests the hosts need to get ready for first-round opponents Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay, Wednesday’s game was surprisingly lifeless.Perhaps it was the Texas heat; temperatures hovered in the mid-80s at kickoff, and it was unusually muggy in the Dallas area. Or perhaps both teams were easing into the tournament and saving their best for June. Either way, a beautiful game it was not. Both teams combined for little attacking play. They had combined for an amazing one shot on target before Nagbe, off a broken play, sent his winner past Esteban Dreer. Even so, it’s a confidence-boosting result. The Americans defended well, to be sure. But while they were better going forward in a second half that had more intensity from both teams, they have plenty of room to improve their sharpness and cohesion in Saturday’s match before the games that matter get underway.

  1. Brooks excels at the back

Nobody questions the 23-year-old center-back’s pedigree, but Brooks struggled mightily in last summer’s Gold Cup. Although he is coming off the best of his three years in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin, he has been worryingly injury-prone for such a young player. As such, the questions heading into this summer are: Can Brooks stay healthy? And can he take the next step?So far, so good. Three days after he played the first half against Puerto Rico, Brooks played 77 minutes and was probably the best American on the field Wednesday. He put out several fires in the opening 45 minutes against Ecuador and showed off his growing composure and maturity.He is not yet a finished product — in an interview this week with ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, Klinsmann said that Brooks, among other things, must become less reactive — but if he can take the next step in his development during the Copa America, it will be a huge boost to the Americans’ chances of making a deep run.

  1. Johnson’s unexpected return huge for the U.S.

Another injury-plagued German-American, Fabian Johnson, arrived in camp last week nursing the groin injury that prevented him from playing in Borussia Monchengladbach’s final three games of the Bundesliga season or joining his American teammates for the trip to Puerto Rico. For Johnson, the country’s most complete player, to be able to not just play Wednesday but also start and not just start but also go the entire 90 minutes is an enormously positive development for the U.S., given the all-world competition the team will face in June.The news is even better for the hosts, considering the dearth of other even serviceable options at left-back and the fact that Geoff Cameron, aother key defender, was forced to sit out against Ecuador because of a lingering hamstring injury.

Options for Copa America emerge in USA’s uplifting win over Ecuador

USMNT enters Copa America with reasons for optimism

BY BRIAN STRAUSADD FAVORITETwitter EmailPosted: Thu May 26, 2016

Jurgen Klinsmann has preached proactive soccer but for the most part, his U.S. team has failed to deliver—even when it’s managed to get good results. On Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas, the Americans stepped up their preparation for next month’s Copa América Centenario with an exhibition against Ecuador that showcased both the pragmatic style to which Klinsmann has often resorted and the high-pressure, attacking soccer for which he’s hoped.After grinding the game to a halt in the first half, the U.S. rode the energy of super subs Darlington Nagbe (the goal scorer), Bobby Wood and Christian Pulisic to a 1–0 win that was only its third triumph in 13 all-time meetings with Ecuador. The visitors were missing the likes of Antonio Valencia and Michael Arroyo, but still fielded the majority of the men who are expected to start in June.It was an uplifting result for the U.S., which has had close to its full complement of Copa players for only a few days. The Americans will meet Bolivia in Kansas City on Saturday before heading to the Bay Area for the Copa América opener against Colombia on June 3.Here are three thoughts from Wednesday’s win:

After a slow start, possession and Nagbe make the difference

Like many friendlies, Wednesday’s was altered dramatically by the second-half substitutes. Nagbe, Wood and Pulisic entered the game with a combined 23 senior caps (Wood had 17 of them) but each boasts speed, skill and the ability to create in the offensive third. The U.S. was barely able to find the Ecuador penalty area in the first half but enjoyed several dangerous forays in the second thanks to increased possession and the attacking menace offered by the three subs.

In the second half, with Wood and Nagbe in the game and Michael Bradley retreating to a more defensive position from where he could see the field and pick out passes, the U.S. enjoyed a 55%–45% possession advantage and 87% pass completion rate. In the first 45 minutes, Ecuador owned possession by the same margin, and the Americans’ completion percentage was eight points lower, according to ESPN.Clint Dempsey, isolated in the first half, plays better alongside or underneath a second forward. Nagbe replaced Kyle Beckerman, allowing Bradley to shift back, and Wood came in for Gyasi Zardes. The new Hamburg signing proved to be an instant upgrade in decision-making and technique. Possession creates chances. A floating Bradley cross in the 47th minute just missed three U.S. teammates, Jermaine Jones forced a save in the 59th and then Dempsey and Bradley came close a minute later.Finally, in the 90th, after Pulisic had replaced Dempsey and done some wonderful work on the left, Nagbe tallied his first international goal. DeAndre Yedlin got things started with a cross from the right. Wood knocked the ensuing clearance over to Nagbe, who chested the ball down and scored with a half volley. The U.S. dominated following the first-half stalemate, deserved the win and can be increasingly confident that some of its newer players have what it takes to make an impact next month.

Recipe for a result against Colombia

There is, of course, a potential downside to opening up the game.On paper, Colombia presents the toughest test, by some distance, on the Americans’ Copa schedule. Ranked fourth by FIFA, Colombia boasts world-class attackers like James Rodríguez, Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca and manhandled the U.S. in a November 2014 friendly. Getting off to a good start in group play is important. Avoiding a heavy, demoralizing defeat is even more so.Klinsmann started Wednesday’s game against a talented Ecuador side with a formation that put the contest on lockdown. It was tedious, occasionally feisty and tough to watch. And if the U.S. wants to stay conservative and play for a draw against Colombia and then look to advance with good results in its next two games, Wednesday’s starting lineup may be just the answer.For the first time since the 2014 World Cup, the U.S. played with a three-man midfield comprising Beckerman, Bradley and Jones. The only space Ecuador could carve out was through Jefferson Montero on the left flank. But Yedlin, now Klinsmann’s clear first choice at right back, stood toe-to-toe with the Swansea City winger as the Americans held the visitors to only one shot.The U.S. had nothing going forward. Dempsey isn’t a target striker and was nowhere to be found. He had only 10 touches in the first half. Zardes struggled and right forward Graham Zusi was solid but not dynamic enough to make much of a difference as the Americans could barely cross midfield. But the U.S. defense never really came close to breaking. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a couple of good decisions early and Montero did get one or two looks, but for the most part the visitors were stifled and silenced. They had the ball but didn’t do a whole lot with it.Could the U.S., with one or two tweaks up front, go 90 minutes against Colombia with that midfield trio and a solid back four? A draw would put Klinsmann’s team in good position. It would be unwatchable, but could get the job done.

Copa lineup clues emerge

There have been so many questions concerning the U.S. back four, but it seems that most of them have been answered more than a week before the Copa kicks off. Yedlin’s defensive improvement is obvious, and the groin injury that kept Fabian Johnson off the field for a month obviously has healed. He went 90 minutes on Wednesday.John Brooks was imperious in front of Guzan and while Steve Birnbaum had a couple of shaky moments in the first half, he’s unlikely to start over a healthy Geoff Cameron. The Stoke City defender missed the Ecuador game while he recovers from a hamstring injury.If Klinsmann decides that the midfield lockdown isn’t the answer against Colombia, then Bradley clearly demonstrated his comfort and efficacy as a No. 6. He plays there for Toronto FC, and it appears that Klinsmann’s effort to turn his captain into a No. 10 finally may be over. And even though Nagbe typically is more dangerous in a central role, his touch and vision are so superior to Zardes’s that it now seems foolish to omit the Portland star. And don’t worry about Nagbe’s bite. He can defend and create turnovers as well.Klinsmann likes options, and he now has them. He can shut a game down or open it up. In Nagbe, Wood and Pulisic, Klinsmann has players who want to play the sort of proactive soccer he promised five years ago. And they made a case for a significant role next month. It’ll now be down to the manager to make the right choices.

Klinsmann calls Pulisic, omits Morris for USA’s Copa America team

BY AVI CREDITORADD FAVORITEEPosted: Sat May 21, 2016Updated: Sun May 22, 2016

U.S. men’s national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has lifted the lid on a couple of notable developments ahead of Copa America Centenario: Jordan Morris will not be on this summer’s squad, while Brad Guzan will be his No. 1 goalkeeper.The U.S. released its final 23-man roster on Saturday, with 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund rising talent Christian Pulisic making the squad, but the 21-year-old Morris missing out. An otherwise established core of veterans will take onColombiaCosta Rica and Paraguay in group play at next month’s competition.Klinsmann has turned to 15 players from his 2014 World Cup squad, including captain Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Geoff Cameron, Kyle Beckerman, Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Alejandro Bedoya. Guzan will be Klinsmann’s starter this summer, according to U.S. Soccer, with Howard and 20-year-old Ethan Horvath backing him up. It marks Horvath’s first senior national team camp.Just 10 of the 23 are with the team in its current “transition camp,” which concludes Sunday afternoon with a friendly at Puerto Rico before the full Copa team gathers together.Here is the USA’s Copa America roster, followed by some initial thoughts on the 23-man team and some of the 17 omissions from the preliminary roster:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)

DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler WHYYY??? (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana)  WHYYYYYY???  , DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)

MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

OMITTED, ON PRELIMINARY ROSTER (and available in event of injury up to 24 hours before the opening match)

GOALKEEPERS: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Ventura Alvarado (America), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Tim Ream (Fulham)

MIDFIELDERS: Mix Diskerud (NYCFC), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading)

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC – out 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)

Finally, three thoughts on Klinsmann’s selections:

The omission of Morris is a stunner

After a slow start to his MLS career, Morris has rounded into form with four goals and an assist in his last five games. Given Klinsmann’s affinity for him and his skill set, fearlessness and productivity prior to his professional days, one would’ve thought that his recent scoring outburst in MLS would’ve had him safely in the final 23. Instead, it appears that Wondolowski, whose seven goals are one off the MLS lead, has beaten him for the final forward place.Did Morris’s decision to choose Seattle and MLS over Werder Bremen play into this at all? Nobody knows that except Klinsmann, but the fact that he chose a veteran MLS forward would dispute that narrative emphatically.Klinsmann loves Wondolowski’s selfless nature, experience and ability to carve out chances in dangerous areas, but if there’s one roster debate that will drive many fans wild, it’s this one.MORE: Full list of Copa America Centenario final rosters  “We believe that players really played their way into that roster, and it’s difficult,” Klinsmann said in comments released by U.S. Soccer. “There are some situations that probably the fans will now discuss. Why not Jordan Morris and Wondo is in there? Well, because Wondo proves all the time that he’s just is so hungry for goals, and Jordan is on his way through the ranks coming up.”Without Altidore being available, Klinsmann opted for a player more useful for direct play over one likely to have more dynamic potential.

Fabian Johnson is a defender

Johnson enjoyed a fantastic season with Borussia Monchengladbach, doing his damage from a wide midfield role and scoring six goals (and playing some of his best soccer against Champions League competition). Naturally, it appears he’ll be a defender this summer. With a thin fullback pool that features just Yedlin and Chandler as true options, the U.S. staff prefers that Johnson’s services are used on the back line. With that being the case, expect a starting back line of (L-R) Johnson, Brooks or Besler, Cameron and Yedlin against Colombia on June 3. Meanwhile, the continued reliance on the likes of Orozco and Chandler, who have both exhausted their opportunities without truly showing they are international-caliber defenders at the highest level, remains a head-scratcher. It’s in part a product of the fact that the established U.S. fullback pool is thin and both are options on the outside with whom Klinsmann is familiar. Still, it feels a bit like Groundhog Day, and at this point there simply has to be better alternatives … right?

Klinsmann makes his goalkeeper call

Guzan will start in net for the U.S., putting an end to the goalkeeper tug-of-war between him and Howard. Klinsmann certainly could not have foreseen Guzan and Howard both losing their starting jobs in the Premier League this season, and the “race for the No. 1 shirt” surely has felt more like a battle between the lesser of two evils over the last six months. Guzan fell out of favor at the worst team in England, while Howard did the same at an Everton side that limped to the finish line (and if you saw how Joel Robles played down the stretch, you wonder how Howard didn’t start more than the final two home games). It’s not what you’re hoping for from your defensive leaders entering a major competition. At his age and being untested on the highest international level, Horvath was never going to unseat the two mainstays, but you do wonder how far he is from competing for minutes. Klinsmann easily could have taken another veteran goalkeeper like Nick Rimando to be more secure about his options, but he chose Horvath. Guzan will handle the reins, with Howard, who quietly cannot be happy about this, eager to step in if necessary this summer. At the very least, there’s a new No. 1 contender for both veterans’ top status on the road to Russia 2018.”We decided to really go with Tim Howard and Brad Guzan as the two leaders still, because we believe their experience and their leadership will help us a lot,” Klinsmann said. “We brought in Ethan Horvath as a third goalkeeper to build him for the future, to learn from Tim Howard and Brad Guzan but also to get his first taste of what such a tournament means. We go into the tournament with Brad Guzan being the No. 1. That’s been communicated clearly to Tim and Brad. We believe that Brad deserves it. Brad, throughout the last two years, played very consistently and very solid with us.  “He had a very tough year with Aston Villa, there’s no doubt it, but he knows that, and for many, many reasons. But it’s also a different environment. Tim Howard finished a huge, huge chapter in his career with Everton Football Club. He’s always going to be a legend for Everton, and he did wonderful things with that club. But he wasn’t with us for a year after the World Cup, and he also lost his starting spot the last half of the year with Everton, so we think that in that moment Brad has a little bit of an edge and deserves it. Having Tim on board, being there to push Brad, to help him, and obviously if something goes wrong he’s always there anyway, is big for us because his presence and his confidence and his leadership is vital for our group.”

Klinsmann’s Copa America Squad – The Good, The Bad and The Unlucky

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Peter Nolan

On Saturday afternoon at halftime of a shockingly lopsided MLS New York Derby that was already 3-0 and on the way to a 7-0 New York Red Bulls win over New York City FC, the U.S. MNT revealed its 23 man COPA America roster.There were no shocks on the scale of that 7-0 thrashing the Bulls laid on their Bronx rivals but being a Jurgen Klinsmann production, there were a few head scratchers. Also revealed on the Fox halftime show was that Klinsmann has ended his goaltender rotation, a welcome development ahead of the Copa America, although an eyebrow or two was likely raised when Brad Guzan was handed the number one designation over World Cup hero Tim Howard.So here is a quick look, by position, at what we like and don’t about the U.S. COPA 23.Goalkeeper. I have no problem with Howard taking a back seat to Guzan. Both players endured a tumultuous time in 2015-16 in England but while Guzan won his job back after losing it, Howard only got back into the lineup as a thank you and au revoir from Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who himself was sent packing before Howard’s emotional goodbye in Everton’s season finale.I like that Ethan Horvath got the nod over dependable veteran Nick Rimando. Horvath starts for Molde in Norway and did well in the failed U.S. Olympic bid. I can’t imagine Horvath seeing the field in June but with both of his veterans struggling somewhat it might be worth taking a flyer on the future.Defense. Tim Chandler, really? Chandler was a pretty exciting get when Klinsmann snared the Germerican as one of his first moves on becoming U.S. coach in 2011. Chandler looked good in some early friendlies but has failed to convince since, frankly appearing disinterested at times.Klinsmann could have selected Edgar Castillo, a regular for Liga MX finalists Monterrey. Castillo also started the two most recent U.S. World Cup Qualifiers, so even if he is a bit of a weak link defensively, Castillo’s omission is a surprise.Klinsmann could also have gone with long overlooked Nottingham Forest fullback Eric Lichaj. It was a shock to see Lichaj on the 40 man roster, unfortunately, it was less of a surprise to see the physical defender left out of the final 23.And while Klinsmann selected Michael Orozco who made just three appearances this season for 14th place Tijuana, there was no room for Omar Gonzalez, the former L.A. Galaxy man who is a starter for Pachuca, Monterrey’s opponent in this week’s two-legged Liga MX Final.Klinsmann likes Orozco’s versatility, and it is a plus that he somehow resisted the urge to pick Ventura Alvarado, but what about Tim Ream? Ream plays central defense and fullback like Orozco and is a better fullback than the Tijuana man while Gonzalez is clearly a better center back than the Tijuana man.DC United middleman Steve Birnbaum also got the nod ahead of Gonzalez, a selection I have no problem with, although others may differ. One last bit of back line controversy involves Fabian Johnson who is listed as a defender, not as many would prefer in the midfield.Bruce Arena used to say that Landon Donovan was the team’s best player at several positions, making it hard to decide where to pick Klinsmann’s old pal. Johnson presents a similar dilemma today.Johnson scored a career-high seven Bundesliga goals for Borussia Monchengladbach this season playing as a wing midfielder but Klinsmann remembers Johnson’s fine play at left fullback for the U.S. in the 2014 World Cup, where the coach rated FabJo as one of the best fullbacks in Brazil.With high caliber opposition at the COPA and some decent options in wide midfield roles, I don’t begrudge Klinsmann the right to slide Johnson back one position.Perhaps hoping to keep Colombia, Costa Rica, and Paraguay guessing U.S.Soccer listed midfielders and forwards as one unit when it released its 23 man roster.Midfield/forward. The biggest surprise of the likely midfielders is d-mid Perry Kitchen, who plays for Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but the former DC United man has played just 10 times since signing with the Scottish club in March while Alfredo Morales is a first 11 player for Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga.The most exciting of the midfield/forward group is clearly 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund starlet Christian Pulisic, let’s just hope Klinsmann plays the kid. Darlington Nagbe also earned a spot, can he step up and fill the huge creativity void in the U.S. midfield? Will he be given the chance?Although he is not in great goal scoring form veteran Clint Dempsey tends to score when it matters, so he leads the forward group where the biggest misstep for me is Klinsmann’s choice of Chris Wondolowski over Jordan Morris.Yes, Wondo is tied for second in MLS with seven goals but Morris has four and minus the San Jose man’s two pk’s, Morris is just one back. More important however is the feeling that at 33 we know what Wondolowski is at the international level while the 21-year-old Morris is just getting started.So, that’s my take on the COPA 23. On the one hand, there is enough depth that Kinsmann can leave out a Bundesliga starter and two defenders set to meet in the Liga MX Final. There are young and youngish players to be excited about, like Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, Bobby Wood, and Nagbe. Young vets Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, and Alejandro Bedoya are established in top European leagues and MLS stars like Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, and Gyasi Zardes will be looking to show their wares with the world watching (hopefully).Whether it comes together or not will be up to the players and up to Klinsmann. The Gold Cup, the Olympic flameout, the loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, and the World Cup Qualifier loss to Guatemala in March are recent stains on this team’s resume.Those stains are deep and they won’t be easily scrubbed clean. June 3rd in Santa Clara, California the Americans begin COPA play against a tough opponent, Colombia.A good showing by the U.S. MNT would go a long way towards polishing that sullied rep. A bad result would only deepen the stain.

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), 12-Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), 22-Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)

DEFENDERS (8): 5-Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 3-Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), 6-John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), 20-Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), 21-Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), 23-Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), 14-Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS (12): 15-Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), 4-Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 8-Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), 13-Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), 16-Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), 10-Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), 17-Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), 18-Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), 7-Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), 20-Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), 19-Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

U.S., Jurgen Klinsmann have questions to answer ahead of Copa America

Now that the glorified scrimmage that was Sunday’s friendly against Puerto Rico is over, the U.S. men’s national team’s preparations for Copa America can really begin.The 10 MLS players who comprise part of the Copa roster are free to join their teammates at last, and the same is true for Christian Pulisic. (Timothy Chandler, who helped Eintracht Frankfurt win its relegation playoff against FC Nuremberg on Monday, won’t arrive until Tuesday afternoon).Now U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann can go about finding answers to his personnel and tactical questions. He has already made a decision in goal, opting for Brad Guzan over Tim Howard, but there are several more topics to ponder.

  1. Who are the starting center backs?

It has been a case of musical center backs for much of this cycle, which isn’t to say that is Klinsmann’s preference. There was a time when a modicum of stability had been achieved through the pairing of Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler. Then Besler got smacked in the head by a wayward clearance the day before the away World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, and the volatility returned.Steve Birnbaum stepped in for the home qualifier against Guatemala and showed well alongside Cameron. But Cameron is dealing with a minor hamstring injury and sat out Sunday’s match in Bayamon. John Brooks has yet to show a high level of consistency for the U.S., going back to last year’s Gold Cup. Besler’s recent form with Sporting Kansas City has been spotty as well.If everyone is healthy, Cameron and Brooks would appear to have the inside track, but there is still time for that to change before the U.S. opener against Colombia on June 3 in Santa Clara, California. That said, Klinsmann needs to decide, and this decision will weigh heavily on the Americans’ chances of getting out of the group stage.

  1. One forward or two?

Coaches say all the time that too much is made of formations. But the reality is the U.S. has historically looked more fluid in attack with two frontrunners. During the previous cycle, the closer Clint Dempsey was to Jozy Altidore, the better off the U.S. was.The U.S. alternated approaches in recent World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala, opting for two forwards in the loss in Guatemala City and one central striker in the return encounter, though the U.S. attacked in waves in a 4-0 win.Bobby Wood has proved adept in both setups, as he scored 17 goals this season for a Union Berlin side that employed both systems. Perhaps more critically for the U.S., can he offer the hold-up play that injured striker Altidore was counted on to provide? If he can, that will allow Dempsey to take on the support striker role in which he has long thrived. If Wood can’t, Dempsey might be asked to shoulder the bulk of that load — again.

  1. What will the midfield look like?

The choice of forward alignment will impact the shape of the midfield and vice versa. In the latter game against Guatemala, both Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi pushed up, secure in the knowledge that Kyle Beckerman was covering their backs. But Guatemala doesn’t remotely resemble Colombia or even Costa Rica. Especially against Colombia, the Americans will need to settle on a system that leans more toward backline protection. That would hint at Beckerman taking the field in a diamond with which he has long been familiar.Perhaps the bigger question is who between Bradley and Jermaine Jones will be given more attacking responsibility? Bradley has played a deeper role with Toronto FC, while Jones has excelled in an attacking midfield role for the Colorado Rapids. Reprising those roles would give the U.S. more security in midfield, yet Klinsmann has preferred to use Bradley further forward since just before the previous World Cup. It would seem out of character for him to change now.

  1. Does youth get a chance?

This question is focused primarily on Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic, but it also applies to Darlington Nagbe and Perry Kitchen. Klinsmann insisted that he chose his roster based on which players could help him win now. But the midfield is aging, with Jones and Beckerman both 34, and the question of who can step up needs to be answered. There’s also the continuing concern over where the next wave of creative players will come from.For that reason, expect all three to get time, with Pulisic and Nagbe vying with Zusi to be Klinsmann’s designated super-subs if the U.S. finds itself in need of a goal.Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.

Copa America will test U.S. and offer valuable experience for future stars

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann explains his thinking on the 23-man squad he chose for the Copa America Centenario.

DALLAS, Texas — Experience may have trumped potential on U.S. coachJurgen Klinsmann’s Copa America Centenario roster, but with nine players 25 or younger making the cut, young players’ participation in next month’s tournament stands to benefit the national team for years to come.Outside of World Cups, Americans rarely get the chance to test themselves against the world’s best in international games of consequence. As a result, participating in South America’s prestigious regional championship — in particular, this beefed-up, one-off version celebrating the competition’s 100th anniversary — is important to the U.S. team in ways beyond just how it performs after the hosts kick off the event on June 3 against Colombia.”It’s a huge opportunity on so many different levels,” said starting goalkeeper Brad Guzan on Monday, before the team trained at SMU ahead of Wednesday’s penultimate tune-up against Ecuador in nearby Frisco, Texas (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN). Guzan is one of just two members on the current squad (Kyle Beckerman the other) who has participated in a Copa, having played in Venezuela in 2007.”To take that experience, you have a taste of what it means for these other countries, what the Copa America means to them. When you play against these big teams and big players, it’s always going to be beneficial.”Guzan had just one cap entering that Copa almost a decade ago, one that featured a largely experimental U.S. team. The Americans had beaten Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final just days earlier, and then-coach Bob Bradley had to release the majority of his players back to their clubs. As a result, just five took part in both tourneys: Guzan, Jonathan Bornstein, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber and Kasey Keller.Not surprisingly, the U.S. promptly went three and out. Yet the experience was invaluable to Bornstein, Clark, Feilhaber and Herculez Gomez, all of whom would end up starting World Cup games three years later in South Africa.”I felt more confident after playing in that Copa America,” Bornstein said in a phone interview. “The games were a little faster. Players made decisions quicker than they do in CONCACAF. It definitely prepared me to play in some really hard games later on.””I got my first cap against Argentina, and the very first play, I’m trying to take the ball away from Lionel Messi,” Gomez told ESPN FC. “It was surreal.”Like any major competition, Copa America is also a shop window. Two years ago, DeAndre Yedlin’s energetic contributions off the bench in Brazil caught the eye of scouts: he ended up landing a big contract with Premier League Tottenham. Still just 22, Yedlin believes teammates like Steve Birnbaum and Darlington Nagbe (both 25), along with 24-year-old Gyasi Zardes, could benefit from the extra exposure.”A lot of people will be watching,” Yedlin said. “It’s a good opportunity to put yourself on the radar or whoever it may be, whether its [for] more national team call-ups or different clubs.”It’s not a World Cup, of course, but as far as developing the next generation of national team regulars, it may well be the next best thing. “There’s nothing like a World Cup, but having played in a big tournament before gives you something in your corner, some idea of what to expect,” Gomez said. “These guys are in store for something special this summer.”

Chandler injury scare?

Defender Timmy Chandler finished the German season strong with Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, but his Copa participation appeared briefly in doubt after he limped out of his club’s 1-0 win against Nurnberg on Monday — a victory that preserved Eintracht’s top-flight status for another season.

As it turns out, any fears about Chandler’s health appear to be unfounded. According to a U.S. team spokesman, Chandler contacted assistant coach Andi Herzog after the match to assure him he was fine. The German-American will arrive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Tuesday afternoon, as planned. He won’t participate against Ecuador, however, which is why FC Dallas standout Kellyn Acosta was added to the roster for the friendly at Toyota Stadium even before Chandler’s injury scare.

Yedlin cool on his future

Yedlin spent the Premier League season on loan at Sunderland and helped them avoid the drop, but the right-back is still not sure which team he’ll play for next year.”Nothing’s come up yet,” he said on Monday. “Like I said before, I wouldn’t mind going back to Sunderland, whether it be on loan or whatever. I think it’s a great club and I had a great experience there, so I’d be open to that. But nothing has come up, so right now I’m just focusing on the Copa America.”The successful experience in England has Yedlin riding a wave of confidence going in. “I definitely feel more and more comfortable,” he said. “Defensively I’ve grown, and obviously the right-back position is a defensive position, so it’s a good thing. I think it also just comes with getting older. I’m maturing as a person and as a player.”

Horvath joins the team late as scheduled

Third-string Copa goalkeeper Ethan Horvath has one more league game to play for Norwegian side Molde before the Tippeligaen takes a break for the European Championship. As a result, former U.S. U-20 standout Zack Steffen will serve as Klinsmann’s No. 3 behind Guzan and Tim Howard until Horvath joins the group just before the tournament.Howard has only seen Horvath play once, in March’s Olympic qualifying loss to Colombia. “But I’ve heard good things,” the veteran told ESPN FC recently. “One of the things I like about him — and again, I’ve never been around him — is he looks like a goalkeeper. When you see him move around the goal, he looks the part.”Doug McInty

United States aiming to reach Copa America semifinals – Jurgen Klinsmann

DALLAS — The U.S. national team’s goal is to make the semifinals of next month’s Copa America Centenario, coach Jurgen Klinsmann said here on Tuesday afternoon.The U.S. is in Texas preparing for Wednesday’s pre-Copa friendly against Ecuador in suburban Frisco (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN). Asked what the measure of success would be in a tournament that includes global heavyweights Argentina and Brazil, Klinsmann didn’t mince words.”As you know, we drew the most difficult group,” Klinsmann said of the Americans’ fearsome first round slate that includes games against Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay. “But we had a similar situation in Brazil [at the 2014 World Cup] and we made it out of the group.”The U.S. advanced from a quartet that featured Ghana, Portugal and eventual world champion Germany two summers ago before falling to Belgium in extra time in the round of 16.”After the game against Belgium we said we have to learn to come through the knockout games. I hope that will be the learning curve for us at this Copa America, that we find a way to get though the group with these very difficult three opponents, but then when you get through the group you want go further. The goal then really is the final four.”In order to get there, though, they’ll likely have to set the tone in the opening match, June 3 against Colombia in Santa Clara, California.”We start with a final right away with Colombia, No. 4 in the world,” Klinsmann said. “They deserve a lot of respect.”But Klinsmann also noted that the last time the Yanks and Cafeteros met, in a friendly at London’s Craven Cottage in November of 2014, a young American squad gave full-strength Colombia all it could handle in a 2-1 loss.”We had them on the edge two years ago in Fulham but we just conceded a late, late goal with a roster that was not the roster that we have together right now,” Klinsmann said. “That’s exciting.”We want to get to the final four. This is our goal.”

Emerson Hyndman – Coming of Age

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Peter Nolan

Miami, Florida – Only the slightest trace of an English accent could be detected as Emerson Hyndman sat down to talk with GotSoccer Friday afternoon on a perfect day at the U.S. Men’s National Team’s plush Miami hotel. The playmaking midfielder, who left home as a 15-year-old to join Fulham’s youth set up in London, was fresh from a hard earned beach break with his teammates on this “transitional” U.S. roster as he settled in.But Hyndman didn’t fly all the way from London to Florida to bask in the sun, no this trip was strictly business for the 20-year-old and the first order of business was to impress. “Anytime I get the chance to show Jurgen and his staff what I can do is a good opportunity,” is how Hyndman put it to GotSoccer.Left off of the provisional U.S. MNT roster for the COPA America Centenario, Hyndman was not eligible for the final 23 man group that would be announced less than 24 hours after our Florida chat. “Obviously, I was a little disappointed,” Hyndman said of missing out, “but it is something I have to live with.” “It’s a big tournament,” Hyndman continued, “it’s COPA America, something every player wants to be a part of.” And while Hyndman won’t be involved in the expanded South American championships next month, he did go on to earn his second full U.S. cap Sunday afternoon against Puerto Rico when the U.S. topped their underdog hosts by a 3-1 score without ever managing to quite click. Although scrappy, the opposition wasn’t great, still Hyndman likely helped his cause, giving an assured performance in playing the final 45 minutes.Missing out on the COPA does not mean that Hyndman is facing a low-key summer, in fact, the soon to be free agent is facing the most important decision of his young career. With his Fulham deal set to expire Hyndman said of finding a new club, “it’s a hard decision to make because it’s a big one.”Raising the ante for the former U.S. U20 World Cup captain is his age. “Yeah, it is,” Hyndman said when asked if this is a particularly important time in his career. “I’m 20 years old now, I’m not 18 anymore,” Hyndman told GotSoccer, adding with a quiet laugh, “I’m moving on into big boy years.”This past season at Fulham has certainly exposed Hyndman to some grown-up realities. Injuries for one. A broken collarbone -“the shoulder is perfect” – limited his appearances but so too did Hyndman’s decision to announce that he would be leaving Fulham following the 2015-16 season.Does he think those comments hurt his chances at the Cottage? “Possibly,” Hyndman conceded. “When I look back on when I said that, I was disappointed in my playing time; looking back it was something I shouldn’t have said but I was young,” then catching himself the 20-year- old corrected, “I was younger at the time, so I’ve learned from that.”With Fulham fighting to avoid relegation from the Championship to League 1, manager Slovan Jokanovic told the local media that Hyndman wasn’t up to the relegation battle. It seemed an unnecessary slap at the up and comer, especially given that the manager also said that Hyndman “may have played only 11 games for Fulham but I expect he’s going to play 500 more over the next 17 years.”“He’s going to be an important player for us,” he added.As he sat overlooking Miami Beach on Friday, Hyndman still seemed mystified by Jokanovic’s words. “He (Jokanovic) always told me, he knew I was a hard worker and I was a good player. He thought it would be hard for me to adapt to the championship,” which Hyndman pointed out, “I’d already played in for a year and a half.”Hyndman “knew where he (Jokanovic) was coming from but at the same time, “I knew that I could make an impact if I got the chance.” The chance came on Hyndman’s 20th birthday and it was Hyndman who was handing out the presents, his stoppage time winner over Cardiff going a long way toward keeping Fulham in the Championship.Hyndman’s performance that day elicited this extraordinary mea culpa from his coach after the Cardiff match, “He’s probably one of the more talented players. I am little bit disappointed with myself that I haven’t found more minutes for him this season.”Hyndman admitted to GotSoccer that he felt some vindication on hearing those comments. “It was nice to hear him say those things, that I could have played him more.” Hyndman doesn’t come off as bitter adding, “I knew what he did think of me and that is all that matters to me.”That late in the year rapprochement may have come too late for Fulham to retain Hyndman, although he refused to rule out a return to the Thames side club on Friday. “I’m looking at everything,” Hyndman said. “I’m taking everything into account, including Fulham, so I’m looking at other things as well.”Since his move to England as a teenager, Hyndman has been a regular on the transfer rumor mill, and with that expiring contract, speculation has intensified around the Dallas native. Manchester United has been prominently mentioned for some time, and recently Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, and AC Milan have been mooted.Not surprisingly, Hyndman wouldn’t offer specifics, “like I said, I’m looking around. I’m looking at England, I’m looking at different places in Europe, I’m just looking around.” As Hyndman weighs his next move GotSoccer wondered if his head would be turned by some of the big name clubs said to be in the running, or would potential playing time be the determining factor as he decides on his next club? “Yeah, that’s another big thing,” Hyndman answered thoughtfully. “There’s different sorts of clubs, different places, different leagues, there are different paths you can take. You take a bigger club and possibly not play as much, maybe go on loan or you can settle for a good solid club, maybe not fighting for the same things but you’ll get more chances along the way.”Hyndman admits that the process is difficult. “I feel like I need to make the best decision for me, personally and that’s going to take a little bit of time.” “I’ll take this time, discuss it with my family, people around me that really help me make these decisions and we’ll see.”Does Jurgen Klinsmann have a role? “Oh, of course,” Hyndman told GotSoccer in Miami. “He said if you need any help, I’m the national team coach, so I’m here to help in any way I can, so obviously if it comes down to that, I’ll be sure to ask him.”So, COPA or not, this offseason is a big one for the young midfielder. Should he stay at Fulham or move on? Is a big club the right fit or should Hyndman think small, and what league to play in, what country to live in? These are no small questions for the young professional.Hyndman seems very unlikely to play 500 more games for Fulham like Jokanovic mentioned. Beyond that, Hyndman could only say, “I’m sure it will be decided very soon,” telling GotSoccer, “I’d say within the next month or so it should be all finished.”And then it is on to the “big boy years,” for Emerson Hyndman.

Colorado Rapids still top Power Rankings; Philly Union up to No. 2

Rivalry week has come and gone, leaving a slightly shuffled Power Rankings. No surprise that the biggest movers are the Red Bulls (up eight spots) and NYCFC (down eight spots). A 7-0 score has ramifications.

  1. Colorado Rapids(no change)

Back-to-front building isn’t sexy, but it’s getting the job done for the Rapids. Colorado has five clean sheets on the season and needed just a single goal to take down the Sounders in Seattle.

  1. Philadelphia Union(+1)

What a time for Richie Marquez’s first career goal. It not only gave the Union the win against D.C. United on Friday, it put Philly in first place in the Eastern Conference.

  1. FC Dallas(+2)

Without Mauro Diaz, FC Dallas earned a big road win — their first of the year — over the wasteful, mistake-prone Revolution.

  1. LA Galaxy(-2)

Rivalry games are rarely easy, especially when the rivalry runs as deep as the California Clasico. That said, LA will feel it missed out on three points Sunday.

  1. Real Salt Lake(+2)

For the second time this season, RSL went on the road to Kansas City and sent a message. Justen Glad’s rise is a major part of the club’s success.

  1. Montreal Impact(-2)

A six-game winless streak isn’t the end of the world for Montreal, especially in a weak Eastern Conference, but turning things around will be tougher when Laurent Ciman heads to the Euro as part of Belgium’s team.

  1. Toronto FC(-1)

The thing about TFC’s decent record during a long, season-opening road trip was that they had to make their home games count. In their first road stand, they earned five of a possible 12 points.

  1. Portland Timbers(+4)

Big win for the Timbers, who got a heaping helping of good feelings out of a 4-2 win over the Whitecaps. Credit Diego Valeri for his show of leadership by giving Dairon Asprilla a chance at a penalty.

  1. San Jose Earthquakes(-1)

Fatai Alashe saved the Quakes with a late header to salvage a draw in LA, but it was once again evident how important goalkeeper David Bingham is to the San Jose cause.

  1. New York Red Bulls(+8)

What can you say about a 7-0 victory? The Red Bulls “no mercy” attitude created what might be the first chapter of the New York rivalry that will stand the test of time.

  1. Vancouver Whitecaps(-2)

As bad days for a defender short go, they don’t get much worse than the day Pa-Modou Kah had for the Whitecaps. Kah’s two penalty fouls sealed Vancouver’s fate.

  1. Orlando City SC(+5)

Eventually, Cyle Larin will need help with the scoring burden in Central Florida, and the Lions will have to figure out how to slow other teams down.

  1. Sporting Kansas City(-2)

Again, Children’s Mercy Park proves to be no fortress for Sporting. SKC now has three losses at home on the year, two more than the total between every team ahead of them in the standings.

Indy Eleven Takes “Fight for First” with Minnesota United FC via 4-2 Win

Crowd of 9,076 at Carroll Stadium Spur “Boys in Blue” on to Three Points, Share of Top Spot in NASL Spring Standings

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, May 21, 2016) – In a game fit for a fight for the top spot in the NASL, Indy Eleven managed to join Minnesota United FC atop of the standings – at least for a night – via a thrilling 4-2 win over the Loons in front of 9,076 fans at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium.Indy Eleven came out the aggressor in the first quarter hour with some nice build up play, but it was a counter-attack in the 16th minute that put the “Boys in Blue” on the board first. Defender Nemanja Vuković won possession in his defensive third and carried across midfield before playing Justin Braun into the area, where he was cleared out by Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock coming off his line. However, Braun was able to push the ball towards goal, and Eamon Zayed beat a pair of defenders to slide the ball into the open net for his team-high third tally of the season.Minnesota looked to have a golden chance just before the Indy opener when Danny Cruz found some space to fire from 12 yards out, but a sliding Greg Janicki would knock the ball off his foot to deflect out for a corner.Both teams had quality chances to get on the board in the half’s final five minutes, starting when Indy had two bang-bang shots in the 40th minute. Midfielder Dylan Mares sliced a shot past a diving Ndjock but off the base of the right post, and the rebound would bounce right to Braun, who pushed his shot from the top of the six wide left. A minute later Christian Ramirez contorted himself to get a high boot on Bernardo Anor’s looping ball to the far left post, only to miss the chance from five yards out high.Indy Eleven had a dream start to the second half thanks to Omar Gordon’s NASL account opener four minutes into the stanza. The well-worked play saw Don Smart, Braun and Zayed work the ball down the right side and into the area, the latter trying to take a chance on frame but pushing the ball towards the endline. It was Gordon racing to reach the ball and, with Ndjock off his line, slotting on a near angle to double the lead for the Eleven.But that two-goal advantage wouldn’t last long, as Stefano Pihno woke up the Minnesota attack in the 54thminute with a scorcher from 25 yards out that gave Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch no chance as it whistled into the upper left side of goal, slicing the Indy lead to 2-1.It was Venegas playing provider again for the Loons’ equalizer in the 69th minute, as his corner kick service into traffic just outside the six found a crashing Damion Lowe, the center back adjusting to get a leg to the service and sweep a shot past Busch to even things up heading into the final 20 minutes.The back-and-forth affair took another swing in the 75th minute when Braun finally managed to put one home. Ndjock did well to dive and save Vuković’s free kick from 25 yards, but Braun crashed the six and somehow snuck the rebound between the Minnesota ‘keeper and the right post to put Indy back in front.Eleven substitute midfielder Nicki Paterson looked to make an impact of his own on a free kick opportunity in the 84th minute, but his dipping effort from 25 yards missed just high – and Ndjock may very well have had a beat on it regardless.Due to a clash of heads between Greg Janicki and Stefano Pinho with 20 minutes in regulation, eight minutes of stoppage time was added to the second half.  It was Indy controlling things throughout, thanks in part to a pair of cautions and subsequent red card issued to Loons captain Justin Davis, the second for a foul on Mares that set up a free kick just a yard outside the area. This time Paterson was able to hit home, bending his shot into the right side netting to secure the biggest three points in Indy Eleven’s short history – and a temporary spot on top of the league on 13 points with Minnesota, which remained in first by one goal in the goal differential department, and third-place Carolina.Indy Eleven will return to Florida for a third time this Spring Season next Saturday, May 28, when it takes on Jacksonville Armada FC (1-1-4, 4 pts., 10th place) at 7:00 p.m., a match that can be seen live online via ESPN3. Following that game, another trip to the Sunshine State for a first meeting with Miami FC (0-3-4, 3 pts., 11th place) on June 4 and the home finale on June 11 vs. Carolina will close out Indy’s chase for the Spring Season title.

QUOTE SHEET – INDY ELEVEN HEAD COACH TIM HANKINSON

On his team’s effort vs. Minnesota:

“One of my favorite words in sport that epitomizes this team is resilience – the ability to get knocked down and to come back and not stay on the floor. We showed that again tonight and we’ve shown it in almost all of our games, even in Fort Lauderdale when we just wouldn’t break. It’s a great quality to have. You have to have it to win championships. Hopefully this will be a part of the foundation of what’s inside of us that we remind ourselves of before every match to bring in for 90 minutes.”

On a change in approach defensively for tonight’s match:

“We changed the way we defended a little bit tonight, going with a more high pressure game. When you’re not scoring goals, when you’re sitting back, you have to build possession to create quality moments. We haven’t done that often enough. It’s not enough to be dangerous. Tonight we decided to pressure so we can force turnovers closer to their goal hoping that turns into more goals, which we have to look at this game and say ‘we’re better tonight.’”

NASL Spring Season
Indy Eleven  4 : 2 Minnesota United FC   Saturday, May 21, 2016
Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, IN   Attendance: 9,076

Indy Eleven: 
Spring Season: 3W-4D-0L, 13 pts., 2nd place

Minnesota United FC:
Spring Season: 4W-1D-2L, 13 pts., 1st place
Scoring Summary:
IND – Eamon Zayed (Justin Braun) 16’
IND – Omar Gordon (Eamon Zayed) 49’
MNU – Stefano Pinho (Kevin Venegas) 54’
MNU – Damion Lowe (Kevin Venegas) 69’
IND – Justin Braun (unassisted) 75’
IND – Nicki Paterson (unassisted) 90+’

Discipline Summary:
MNU – Danny Cruz (caution) 7’
IND – Colin Falvey (caution) 56’
IND – Jon Busch (caution) 76’
MNU – Justin Davis (caution) 90+’
MNU – Justin Davis (caution) 90+’
MNU – Justin Davis (ejection, 2nd caution) 90+’
Indy Eleven line-up (4-4-2, L–>R):  Jon Busch; Nemanja Vuković, Greg Janicki (Cory Miller 74’), Colin Falvey (capt), Lovel Palmer; Omar Gordon, Dylan Mares, Gorka Larrea (Nicki Paterson 67’), Don Smart (Duke Lacroix 77’); Eamon Zayed, Justin Braun  Indy Eleven bench: Keith Cardona (GK), Marco Franco, Daniel Keller, Jair Reinoso

Minnesota United FC (4-2-3-1): Sammy Ndjock; Justin Davis (capt), Brent Kallman, Damion Lowe, Kevin Venegas; Juliano (Daniel Mendes 80’), Jeb Brovsky; Stefano Pinho, Danny Cruz (J.C. Banks 70’), Bernardo Anor (Lance Laing 70’); Christian Ramirez  United FC bench: Steward Ceus (GK), Tiago Calvano, Ismaila Jome, Aaron Pitchkolan

THREE THINGS: #INDY 11 vs MIN UNITED

Three observations from Saturday’s six-pointer vs. MNU  May 24, 2016

1) Goal scoring in numbers

Indy Eleven are rolling along as the team to beat in the spring part of the 2016 season, sitting in 4th place but with 13 points (3W-4D-0L) and a game in hand. Saturday night was the first time in all seven matches that the Eleven were able to post more than two goals and in fact doubled that tally in the 4-2 win over Minnesota United FC.Having gone up 2-nil thanks to Eamon Zayed’s mark after 16 minutes and a gut punch from Omar Gordon just four minutes into the second half, the Eleven couldn’t stop the Loons from getting on the scoresheet forever. In the 54th minute, Stéfano Pinho pulled one back before Damion Lowe equalized in the 69th minute, both assisted by the dangerous fullback Kevin Venegas.

Needing to respond, it took “Indiana’s Team” just six minutes to restore their lead as Justin Braun tallied his first in an Indy Eleven uniform following a Vukovic shot that rebounded into the path of the attacker. Battening down the hatches in the final 15 minutes, the Eleven were awarded a free kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time, and Nicki Paterson put the final nail in the coffin with a scorching curler to Loons’ keeper Sammy Ndjock’s left side.The four goals scored on Saturday are the most ever scored by Indy Eleven at “The Mike,” eclipsing the 3-0 win over Jax Armada FC at Carroll Stadium on September 5, 2015.

2) Goal scorers in numbers

In terms of separate goal scorers, the “Boys in Blue” have found the back of the net ten times at the feet of seven different players – the second-most in the league behind the New York Cosmos (8).Eamon Zayed is the team’s leading scorer (3) and sits T-3 in the league in that column, while the only other player to have scored multiple goals is Nemanja Vukovic (2). Goals from Justin Braun, Omar Gordon, Greg Janicki, Nicki Paterson, and Jair Reinoso round out the field, meaning the Eleven have scored three goals from defenders, two from midfielders, and five from their attackers.In assists, Justin Braun, Nicki Paterson, and Eamon Zayed all add one assist to their respective goal counts, while Sinisa Ubiparipovic has also registered one assist.

3) Leaving it all to play for

In what was perhaps the single most important game in franchise history, the Eleven prevailed and came away with the crucial three points, as anything but might have ruled them out of the race for the Spring Season Championship.Though the Cosmos and FC Edmonton sit at the top in positions one and two, the game in hand the Eleven have mean that three wins out of three could potentially take them from fourth to the top, depending on how Minnesota United FC fair in their final three games.Just below the Eleven are the Carolina Railhawks, who are level on points but have played eight games, and the separation begins with sixth-placed Fort Lauderdale Strikers who are four points off the Eleven’s total. Though the Indy 500 brings the biggest racing event in the world to Indianapolis this coming weekend, the Eleven hope their race continues until Saturday, June 11, the season finale and home stand with the Railhawks that could possibly see a spring title-winner crowned.

Check out The Ole Ballcoach online https://theoleballcoach.wordpress.com/
Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion – http://brickyardbattalion.com, Sam’s Army-http://sams-army.com , American Outlaws  https://www.facebook.com/IndyAOUnite

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Earn Your Accredited College Degree at ½ the Cost and Time of Traditional Schools www.achievetestprep.com/shane

 

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5/19/2016 Indy 11 Biggest Ever Game?, Domestic Cup Finals, Champ League, TV Games of Week

So could this be the Biggest Game in Indy 11 ‘s short history?  A home matchup at the MIKE with NASL league leading Minnesota United and former goalie Das Boot looms with the Indy 11 within striking distance of the top 2 in the league. The 11 stand 5th after stealing the tie with Ft. Lauderdale behind the magnificent goalkeeping of former Chicago Fire veteran Jon Busch.  The 11 are the only team in the league without a loss as they have 4 ties on the season to go with 2 wins.  A win on Sat night could go a long way towards getting the 11 into playoff contention.  So make plans to hit the MIKE Saturday night 8 pm kickoff – tix still available or on TV 8 or beIN Sport.

Its Cup Weekend in the Europe this weekend as the FA Cup 12 noon on Fox TV (England’s Crystal Palace vs Man United) guarantees Europa League action for Crystal Palace if they win (Man U is already in at 6th in the league).  The German Cup features probably the biggest game as the top 2 Bundesliga teams match up – Bayern Munich faces Dortmund at 1:45 pm.  I am not sure if beIN sport is carrying the French Final – PSG vs Maseille at 3 pm or the Italians Milan vs Juve at 2:45 pm. MLS comes on Fox TV – right after the FA Cup with Rivalry Week NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls –plenty of star power there.

Sunday has a USA/MLS Triple Header – with the US men facing Puerto Rico in a warm up – check the fitness and reacquaint the European based US Nats at 12 noon on Fox Sports 1.   Sporting KC will host Orlando City and Kaka at 3:30 on ESPN, while FS1 will have the highlight of Rivalry Week Sunday night at 7:30 pm – as defending Champion Portland faces #3 Vancouver.  Sad to hear US Forward Jose Altidore is out for the COPA with a Hammy again – might be time for young Seattle man Jordin Morris to see if he and Clint Dempsey can duplicate their current fantastic form together for Seattle.  It should be interesting to see how the battle in goal plays out as both Tim Howard and Brad Guzan struggled in the EPL this season.  And disappointment city for former US Manager Bob Bradley now coaching in the French 2nd division as his La Harvre team missed advancing to Ligue 1 by just 1 goal.  I still think Bradley will be the 1st US Manager in a European 1st Division someday.

Don’t forget the All Spanish – Champions League Final Next Saturday, May 28th 2:45 pm on FOX.  Congrats to Sevilla – who knocked off Liverpool 3-1 Wed Night to win their 3rd Consecutive Europa League Championship. Sevilla  face Barcelona Sun at 3:30 on ESPN for the Copa Del Rey.

How No Parent Coaching From the Sidelines helps Develop Creative Footballers

Interesting Article on Successful Women Playing Sports Growing Up  – Fortune Magazine

Top 5 Soccer Movies you can Watch on Netflix

Carmel FC Travel Soccer Tryouts for 2016-2017 teams begin June 7th!  
CLICK HERE to register

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Earn Your Accredited College Degree at ½ the Cost and Time of Traditional Schools  www.achievetestprep.com/shane

MUST SEE GAMES ON TV

Sat, May 21

12:30 Fox  FA (England) Cup Final – Crystal Palace vs Man United Wembley   – Can Van Gaal Win a Trophy – yes its watered down but its still the FA Cup – gotta watch !

1:45 pm ESPN3+Deportes German Cup Final – Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund  – the 2 best teams in Germany go head to head before Bayern buys all of Dortmunds good players this summer.

2:45 pm Gol TV   Italian Cup Final – Milan vs Juve Juve and 38 YO goalkeeper Buffon looks for the Treble

3 pm beIn Sport    French Cup Final – Maseille vs PSG  – last chance to see Ibra in a PSG Uniform – he will score

8 pm Ch 8 +beIn Sport  Indy 11 vs Min United    Biggest game in Indy 11 history ?  Yes – win and we could be first in the league!!

Sun, May 22

12:00 p.m. Fox Sports 1 Puerto Rico vs. United States men, international friendly  – getting Ready for the Copa America in 2 weeks –

3:30 pm ESPN 2- Barcelona vs Sevilla – League champs vs Europa League Champs

Wed, May 25

8 pm ESPN2   United States men vs. Ecuador, international friendly – US Starts mixing in some MLS players

Sat, May 28

2:45 pm FOX     Champions League Final REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID

8 pm  FS1   United States men vs. Bolivia, international friendly – nice match up last one before the COPA

Carmel FC Challenge Cup and Prez Cup Advancement – Good Luck to All those in Prez Cup this Weekend !

cfc_u11G_PrezCup
Carmel FC U11 Girls swept 3 games at Prez Cup 1st round to Advance. 3 Shut outs with 7 players with goals, 3 others with assist and a GK with 135 minutes of clean sheet. Coaches Mark Stumpf (R) and Scott (L)
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U14 Boys Gold – Advance to Finals in Columbus (Coach Matt Lienhauser)
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U16 Boys Advance to Challenge Cup Finals Coach Jeff Oberndorfer (L) and Mike Pickard (R)

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Braden, Caden and JD (’05 Gold players) have been a part of the ODP 2004 Boys State Pool this year. This week final selections for the 2016 State Team were announced and all three boys were selected. Congrats to the boys and their families. Carmel FC is proud of you guys.

Soccer Camps – Boys and Girls -Ages 6 – 14

Ok so its almost Summer Camp time – below are some nice options for Soccer Camps this summer

Post2Post GOALKEEPER – Soccer Camp – May 31-June 3 –  9 am till 3 pm

CFC and Carmel High Coach Carla Baker – former National Team Goalie for Canada will run her annual GK camp June 1-4 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger Field

Indy 11 Soccer Camp June 20-23 — 9 am till 12 noon Ages 5-14 $135 @ Badger Fields

Kick in the Grass – 3 v 3 Soccer Tour at Badger Field July 9th

Goal2Gol Soccer Camp
CHS Men’s Head Coach Shane Schmidt, a former U-20 US National Team player, runs his annual camp from 9 am to 2 pm July 11-16. $150 before 6/30 @ River Road Fields.

Post2Post Soccer Camp
Former Pittsburgh Head Coach Sue-Moy Chin and Former Iowa Coach Carla Baker run their annual field player camp for players of all abilities July 25-28 — 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger

INDY 11

Indy 11 Steal Tie with Ft. Lauderdale

Military Appreciation Night May 21

Indy 11 to play US Open Cup vs Louisville FC June 1 at home

GK Jon Busch Playing for a Cause

See Busch’s Great Saves

Peter Wilt GM – The Exit Interview

Game Recap – the Game Beckons

Bloody Shambles – Championship Sprint

Bloody Shambles – Indy 11 Steal a Road Pt.

USA

Klinsmann’s Puerto Rico Squad has Subplots Galore

Clint Dempsey USMNT Motivation Evolves – SI Brian Straus

Altidore’s Injury a Bummer says Juergan – out for Copa

US without Altidore will Hurt – Leander Schaelaeckens – Yahoo FC

UF Forward Options without Altidore – SI

USMNT’s most sensible 23-man roster for Copa America Centenario  – yahoo FC –

Howard ready to Resume as #1 Keeper for US –Mcintyre – ESPNFC

US Hot List – Lee Nguyen making Copa Case – McIntyre – ESPNFC

Former US Manager Bradley falls 1 goal short of taking French Squad to Legue 1.

Sunderland may bid 2M to keep Deandre Yedlin

COPA AMERICA

Full Squads are Announced for Copa America Teams

Mexico will be the Home Team at Copa

Dos Santos Refuses Mexico Spot – Chicarito Returns SI

MLS

Power Rankings MLS – Jason Davis

MLS Players always Second – Charles Boehm – USSP

Portland’s Nat Borcher’s Musical Taste – fear the beard!!

Cheering as Champions – Portland a Home Game Glance at 1 of MLS  Best Home Atmospheres  I MUST GET TO PORTLAND’s Providence Park!!

Arm Chair Analyst – Breaking Down’s Seattle’s turn

California Classico – LA Galaxy vs San Jose -Back in focus Sunday

Rivalries Key to MLS Expansion Plans

Portland’s Darlington Nagbe a US MLS Hero’s Story

EPL + World Leagues

EPL Quiz of the Season

Best and Worse of 2016 EPL Season – sI

EPL in a Sentence for Each Team – ESPN STAFF

Petre Cech Wins Golden Glove

John Terry Signs for 1 more Season with Chelsea

Terry’s Highs and Lows

Report Card – Wenger Falls short for Arsenal Again – Tom Adams –ESPNFC

CREDITOR: Ranieri finally gets his due

Aston Villa Sold to Chinese Businessman

Is Renaldo happy at Madrid ?

Zlatan Ibra to Leave PSG

EUROPA and CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Liverpool players let Klopp down in Final loss

Sevilla Soar to 3rd Straight Europa League Crown

Sevilla Continues Europa League Mastery – SI

San Siro Staff Insist Milan Pitch for Final is Fit

Why are Spanish Teams Dominating Europe?

Real’s Madrid looks to shut up Pique

ALL GAMES ON TV THIS WEEK

Sat, May 21

12:30 Fox                         FA (England) Cup Final – Crystal Palace vs Man United Wembley

1:45 pm ESPN3+Deportes German Cup Final – Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

2:45 pm Gol TV           Italian Cup Final – Milan vs Juve

3 pm beIn Sport          French Cup Final – Maseille vs PSG 

2:30 pm Fox                   NYC FC vs NY Red Bulls

8 pm Ch 8 +beIn Sport  Indy 11 vs Min United

Sun, May 22

12 pm   Fox Sport 1 Puerto Rico vs. United States men- friendly

3:30 pm ESPN 2-      Barcelona vs Sevilla –
4:30 p.m. ESPN          Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 
7 p.m. Fox Sports 1   Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes,

Mon, May 23

11:15 am beIN Sport    Japan vs Portugal  Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

1:45 pm beIn Sport England vs Guinea  Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

Tues, May 24

11 am beIN Sport       Bulgaria vs Mexico  Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

1:30 pm beIn Sport France vs Mali    Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

Wed, May 25

1:45 pm beIn Sport England vs Parguay Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

8 pm ESPN2           United States men vs. Ecuador friendly

Thur, May 26

11 am beIN Sport       Bulgaria vs Mali  Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

1:30 pm beIn Sport France vs Czech Republic   Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

Fri, May 27

11 am beIN Sport       Japan vs England Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

1:30 pm beIn Sport Portugal vs Paraguay    Toulan Tourney (U-20s)

Sat, May 28

12:30 pm     beIN Sport Sheffield Wed vs Hull City or Derby County – winner joins EPL next season

10:15 am ESPN2          Swisterzland vs Belgium  Friendly

2:45 pm FOX                  Champions League Final REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID

5:30 pm FS1                   Mexico vs Paraguay

8 pm  FS1                     United States men vs. Bolivia friendly

Sun, May 29

4 pm ESPN                       NYCFC vs Orlando City

Wed, June 1

9 pm ESPN2                    Belgium vs Findland

Thurs, June 2

2:45 pm FS1                   England vs Portugal

9 pm FS 1                         US Ladies vs Japan

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100 STARTS

9:30 pm Fox Sport1 USA vs Columbia

Sat, June 4

12 noon ESPN3            Spain vs Bosnia

5 pm Fox                          COPA Costa Rica vs Paraguay

7:30 pm FS2                   COPA Haita vs Peru

10 pm FS 1                      COPA Brazil vs Ecuador

Sun, June 5 

12 noon ESPN3            Spain vs Bosnia

12:30 pm ESPN2         US Ladies vs Japan

2:45 pm ESPN 3           Italy vs Scotland

5 pm Fox                          COPA – Jamaica vs Venezuela

7 pm Fox Sports 1      COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Mon, June 6

7 pm FS1                          COPA – Panama vs Bolivia

10 pm FS1                       COPA – Argentina vs Chile

 Tues, June 7

8 pm  Fox Sports1 USA vs Costa Rica – Solider Field – Tix Available!

10 pm Fox Sports 1   COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

10 European Cup Starts

3 pm ESPN                       France vs Romania

Sat, June 11

9 am  ESPN                      EURO – Albania vs Switzerland

12 noon ESPN               EURO – Wales vs Slovakia

3 pm ESPN                       EURO – England vs Russia

7 pm Fox Sport1 USA vs Paraguay

9 pm FS2                          COPA – Columbia vs Costa Rica

MLS TV Schedule ‘

European Championships This Summer on ESPN

Copa America Centario Schedule   TV Schedule

COPA AMERICA 100 –GAMES IN CHICAGOstill seats left for USA Game , Argentina game and Semi-Finals.

International Champions Cup – ICC – @ Chicago – Bayern Munich vs AC Milan Soldier Field Wed 7/27 @ 8 pm Tix still available  $35 to $135

NO COACHING FROM PARENTS DURING MATCHES HELPS DEVELOP BETTER PLAYERS 

 by Mike Nicholson, 8 Feb 2016

I strongly believe that in order to develop creative players of the future, something that England has been pretty dire at achieving over the past few decades, you need to give players the freedom to make their own decisions.  Of course during training sessions you teach them how to make better decisions and players can then improve their decision-making through repetition over time, butduring the game, I don’t shout instructions while the ball is rolling. Occasionally I might call out with some questions or instructions while there is a break in play, but I try my best to never do so while the ball is rolling.  Some of the most creative players on the world stage today grew up playing street football. No adults making the rules. No rigid ‘if this happens then do this’ instructions. Just play. Trial and error. Improvisations. Messi, Aguero, Suarez … this list is long and compelling.  Rene Muelensteen put it simply while he was in charge of youth development and the academy at Manchester United when he said “footballers cannot learn how to make their own decisions if they are used to receiving instruction from the touchline.” In an interview with the daily Telegraph Muelensteen said that at the Manchester United academy, parents are asked to sign a contract that says they will not shout out during coaching sessions, and that the Manchester United coaches do not shout instructions while the ball is rolling.  I am glad to say that at academies this ‘no coaching from parents’ is standard practice these daysbut in grass roots football in England we still have a culture in which parents and coaches shout out a stream of instructions while young players are trying to concentrate on the game, and that leads some to observe that grass roots youth football matches can appear to be like ‘Playstation for dads’ with the parents holding the controller and the kids running around according to instructions. So many England internationals from the past 30 years have grown to become more functional than creative, and the fact that I have to hark back to players like Hoddle and Gascoigne to remember truly creative, unpredictable, England players is a concern for English football. This rigid, predicable footballer is a product of the coaching they received when they were young. Its great to see this changing in professional academies, but there are still far too many ‘touchline tigers’ pacing up and down next to youth football matches at grass roots level.

So how can grass roots coaches help? As a youth coach you are of course aiming to be a positive influence on the young players in your care, but no matter how well you do as a coach the parents will usually and understandably be the most important influence on the young player.

With that in mind I think it is so, so important that the lines of communication are constantly open between the coach and parents. I see parents as a part of our team. I think that to create the environment you want that you need to ensure it is communicated clearly to the parents. It is much easier to build a positive learning environment for the players if the parents and coach work together, but sadly many coaches don’t feel that the coaching they deliver is any of the parents business. I am of the view that the opposite is true, and I regularly write to the parents of my players to keep them updated on what we are practicing, why, and how they can help if applicable. The no coaching rule is a part of that two-way communication.

Football is an emotive game, and often as a parent or a coach you will see an opportunity that the kids playing do not see, so keeping quiet can be really difficult for some. You might feel compelled to shout out to a player to adjust their position, or tell them to pass, shoot or whatever. The urge is understandable, I appreciate that, but the result of that action is that you short-circuit the players own decision-making in the short-term and it is more difficult for the coach to gauge deeper, longer-term learning.

I have seen games where the coach is constantly screaming instructions at the kids who are trying to focus on the game, and on the other side of the pitch there are many parents shouting their own instructions. It is ridiculously confusing for the kids to receive multiple instructions from the adults, and most importantly, it can stop them from making their own decisions if they become used to receiving instructions form the coach or parents.

Before the players in my team were even selected for the squad, I wrote to all parents with a message that said if their child was selected, they would be expected to abide by the team rules which state that we do not allow parents to shout instructions from the sidelines. Once I had selected the players I wrote to the parents of the kids in question once again to say that their child had a place, but subject to the strict rule above. I believe it is that important to the long-term development of the players. I have only had to speak to one parent about shouting instructions from the side thus far right at the start, so I’d like to think that I havehelped to create the right environment for the boys in my team to flourish.

I of course whole-heartedly encourage the parents to shout encouragement, and praise, as that makes for an energised atmosphere, but as long as the calls don’t offer the boys instruction on what they should do. In that environment, I am happy that the boys have the freedom to make their own decisions based on what they have been learning in training.

—–<Brilliant article. Let the coach present an environment that creates independent athletes in charge of their own challenges: mistakes and solutions… that is how they increase their game intelligence! This article isn’t just for football either. Bravo Mike Nicholson! – DH>

Klinsmann’s U.S. squad to face Puerto Rico has no shortage of subplots

The 22-man roster U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann named on Monday for Sunday’s friendly match at Puerto Rico may be under-strength, but that doesn’t make it any less intriguing.Klinsmann did not have access to the full contingent of players he’ll have available for next month’s high-profile Copa America Centenario; those in MLS and whose Mexican or European clubs still have games to play are not available for Sunday’s matinee in Bayamon. But plenty of familiar faces were among those summoned, as were a few lesser-known youngsters who could become national-team staples in the months and years to come.Joining surefire Copa starters like Alejandro Bedoya, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson — all veterans of top European leagues — are several players who are either long shots to make the final 23 for the U.S.-hosted tournament or who weren’t on Klinsmann’s 40-man preliminary list at all.Yet in what is essentially being treated as a glorified scrimmage arranged to keep players ticking after long club seasons, U.S. fans can be excited to see potential international debuts from the likes of Paul Arriola and Fabrice “Fafa” Picault.The pair are among six players not eligible for a place on the Copa roster (as are once-capped Emerson Hyndman and World Cup goal scorer Julian Green), they could become candidates for places when World Cup qualifying resumes in September. Arriola and Picault have earned their invitations.Former U.S. U-20 standout Arriola, who plays for Club Tijuana, started the final eight games of the Liga MX campaign after breaking into the Xoloslineup in March. New York City-born Picault, of German second-division club St. Pauli, finished his season with four goals in his last eight Bundesliga 2 games.Meantime, others will be hoping to use this week of training in Miami to make their case for inclusion on the Copa America squad. Those players include defenders Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, Michael Orozco and Tim Ream, and midfielders Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales and Danny Williams.Catching Klinsmann’s eye won’t be easy, though. The training sessions at Barry University are expected to be light this week and with the submission deadline for the final Copa roster looming on Friday, its safe to assume that Klinsmann has already settled on his squad.Still, Sunday’s game isn’t meaningless. Scoring would help forward Bobby Wood, who just signed with Bundesliga side Hamburg after a 17-goal season for second-tier Union Berlin, as he tries to transition to a starting role. Given Monday’s news on Jozy Altidore, who will miss the Copa America because of a hamstring injury suffered playing with Toronto FC over the weekend, Wood’s performance will be scrutinized closely.The entire starting back line for the Copa could get a valuable first rep together, assuming Brooks, Cameron, Johnson and Yedlin are the coach’s preferred back four, although presumed left-back Johnson’s status is unclear after he missed Borussia Monchengladbach’s final two games because of a groin injury.And who between veterans Brad Guzan or Tim Howard gets the nod in goal, and what will that say about the pecking order when the real matches begin?For a friendly game against the world’s 152nd-ranked team, there’s certainly no shortage of subplots.Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

U.S. Hot List: Lee Nguyen makes Copa America case: Jozy Altidore struggling

The FC team discuss Jozy Altidore’s latest hamstring injury which is set to keep him out of the Copa America Centenario.

With U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann set to submit his 23-man squad for next month’s Copa America Centenario this Friday, the final Hot List of the 2015-16 season has arrived. Who is trending up (or down) this week? Take a look below.

Warming up

Steve Birnbaum, D, D.C. United (MLS)

Why he’s here: The steady center back has helped D.C. United record an impressive defensive record this season; only six of MLS’s 20 teams have conceded fewer goals.

What this means: The easy-going Californian doesn’t get much press, but his form for D.C. United, combined with his solid performances for the U.S. this year, have all but ensured that his name will be on the roster when it is made public Saturday.

Mix Diskerud, M, New York City (MLS)

Why he’s here: After being an unused sub in New York City FC’s midweek win in D.C., Diskerud made his first start in a month in Sunday’s victory in Portland.

What this means: It’s certainly a welcome development for Diskerud, even though he didn’t make a huge impact on the match. Still, it’s probably a case of too little, too late for him to crack the Copa roster.

Tim Howard, G, Everton (England)

Why he’s here: In his 414th and final game with the Toffees, Howard kept a clean sheet in Sunday’s 3-0 win against Norwich.

What this means: The late-season action could give Howard an edge over idle Brad Guzan ahead of the tournament.

Emerson Hyndman, M, Fulham (England)

Why he’s here: The tricky and technical midfielder, who will leave Craven Cottage when his contract expires next month, was a late cut from Klinsmann’s 40-man preliminary roster, but could earn his second cap in Sunday’s friendly in Puerto Rico.

What this means: As a free transfer, Hyndman is attractive to wealthy clubs; he’s been linked to Celtic, Manchester United, Milan, Borussia Dortmund and others. However, the potential for regular playing time will likely dictate where he ends up, according to a source with knowledge of the 20-year-old’s thinking.

Lee Nguyen, M, New England Revolution (MLS)

Why he’s here: The crafty 29-year-old scored a golazo in the Revs’ last match, a 2-0 win against the hapless Chicago Fire.

What this means: It can’t hurt his chances, but they remain slim: only one of Nguyen, Diskerud and Darlington Nagbe are likely to make the Copa squad, with the Portland Timbers’ Nagbe the front-runner.

.Bobby Wood, F, Union Berlin (Germany)

Why he’s here: After scoring 17 goals for second-tier Union this season, Wood signed a four-year contract with Bundesliga side Hamburg on Sunday. And he could be thrust into a starting role for the U.S. next month after a hamstring injury ruled Jozy Altidore out of the Copa.

What this means: Germany’s top tier will be a significant step up in competition for Wood, but the Hawaiian-born striker’s growth during the past year suggests he’s ready for the challenge. Arriving on the heels of a successful summer with the U.S. would help.

DeAndre Yedlin, D, Sunderland (England)

Why he’s here: In his first full season in Europe, Yedlin, on loan from Tottenham, helped the Black Cats avoid relegation from the Premier League with last week’s win against Everton.

What this means: The 22-year-old’s drastically improved defensive play at right back was one of the reasons Sunderland stayed up. It also makes him the odds-on favorite to man the position for the U.S. this June.

Cooling down

Jozy Altidore, F, Toronto FC (MLS)

Why he’s here: Altidore will miss the Copa because of yet another hamstring injury — the same ailment that has prevented him from playing an entire summer tournament for the U.S. since the 2010 World Cup.

What this means: Given his history, Monday’s news can’t help but make one wonder if the chronic hamstring issues might prevent Altidore, who is still just 26, from playing with the national team into his 30s.

Ventura Alvarado, D, Club America (Mexico)

Why he’s here: Alvarado has missed three straight games since making two starts at the end of April, and he didn’t make the bench for Sunday’s playoff win versus archrival Guadalajara.

What this means: The lack of consistent playing time this season will probably keep the Phoenix native home this summer.

Brad Guzan, G, Aston Villa (England)

Why he’s here: The 31-year-old was an unused substitute in 10 of Villa’s final 19 games, including three straight to end the campaign.What this means: It’s a bad way to end a bad season for Guzan, who arrives at U.S. training camp in Miami having not played since April 23.

MATT Miazga, D, Chelsea (England)

Why he’s here: The 20-year-old center back did not make the bench for Chelsea’s past four games — including two matches last week — even though the club had little but pride to play for.What this means: It’s difficult to see Miazga making Klinsmann’s Copa roster, and harder still to see him realistically competing for regular playing time under new Blues boss Antonio Conte next season. Look for him to go on loan like Yedlin did in 2015-16.Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

USMNT’s worst possible start for Copa America Centenario preparation

Leander Schaerlaeckens,FC Yahoo 22 hours ago

More than two weeks and three tune-up friendlies remain until the United States men’s national team kicks off its 2016 Copa America Centenario against Colombia in Santa Clara, Calif. Yet the Yanks’ campaign to prove themselves anew, after a difficult two years since the 2014 World Cup, is already troubled.

[ FC Yahoo: Making sense of this USMNT 22-man roster for Puerto Rico friendly ]

Increasingly brittle striker Jozy Altidore has injured his hamstring once again and will miss the tournament entirely. That’s the same injury that cut short the 26-year-old’s World Cup in just the 23rd minute of the U.S.’s opener against Ghana, by the way. Oh, and his 2011 Gold Cup and 2015 Gold Cup. Nobody seems to know exactly why he keeps getting the same injury.

And here’s where U.S. fans’ feelings grow muddled.   [FC Yahoo: USMNT’s most sensible 23-man roster for Copa America Centenario ]

Altidore has a legion of detractors. He’s mercurial and prone to long stretches of utterly anonymous games. He can be maddeningly ineffectual, and his promise has always outpaced his actual performances.But then he’s also kind of crucial to the team. His skillset, limited though it may be, is irreplaceable. Jurgen Klinsmann simply has no other target man at his disposal, or not one he’s willing to entertain as a full national teamer anyway. Altidore’s ability to hold up the play and get others involved, or to allow a deep-lying forward or playmaker to combine with him, is unmatched within the player pool.Nobody else can really do that. We found that out quickly in Brazil, where Aron Johannsson – who is currently injured anyway – withered quickly in that role and Clint Dempsey tried his hardest but was mostly wasted that high up the field.Of the players on the preliminary 40-man roster for the tournament, seven others are listed as forwards. But Dempsey, as mentioned, is better playing off another striker, sitting behind one or even playing on the wing. Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes are speed merchants who are most useful running at defenders, not stretching the game from the top of the formation. Chris Wondolowski is a poacher who isn’t very well qualified to start at the elite international level anyway and is most useful as a late, need-a-goal sub. And Ethan Finlay and Christian Pulisic are really attacking midfielders, who can slot in as wingers where necessary but have no business being up top.There’s only one Jozy Altidore. This is a fact and a tactical truth. So now what?Absent any other target man – or even a forward who can effectively play up top by himself – Klinsmann will most likely have to go to a two-striker system, probably lining up side by This has a domino effect elsewhere on the field. Chances are it pulls one of three central midfielders out of the middle of the mark. Meaning that rather than field two defensive midfielders and one attacking one, a playmaker freed from any defensive shackles, two men will have to ferry back and forth between shielding the back line and joining up the attack. That, in turn, makes several players potentially relied upon to create chances centrally – Darlington Nagbe? Pulisic? – a much harder fit into the lineup. And it will surely put more of the playmaking onus on the likely central midfield pairing of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones. The wingers, meanwhile, will have to sit a bit deeper so as not to crowd the two strikers.These are all tactical adjustments that will probably make the U.S. worse. And the timing is fairly disastrous, happening ahead of a tournament where the Americans need every bit of talent and experience at their disposal – as the latter is concerned, Altidore is a veteran of two World Cups and a Confederations Cup. The group stage draw of Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay is a difficult one. And the U.S. is keen to show well at the biggest tournament on home soil since the 1994 World Cup.This is all the more true after the debacle at the 2015 Gold Cup – a semifinal elimination by Jamaica, which was the worst American performance in its regional tournament in a decade and a half – and the subsequent loss in a Confederations Cup playoff with Mexico. To say nothing of the form on display ever since the World Cup in Brazil, which has vacillated somewhere.

USA’s forward options without Jozy Altidore at Copa America

Jozy Altidore (hamstring) out 6-8 weeks, will miss Copa America

BY AVI CREDITORTue May 17, 2016

At least Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. men’s national team has been here before. With Jozy Altidore ruled out of Copa America with yet another awfully timed hamstring strain , Klinsmann must look elsewhere in his player pool for a forward to lead the line. It’s the same scenario that the U.S. faced last summer at the Gold Cup, about 20 minutes into the 2014 World Cup and in the knockout stage of the 2011 Gold Cup. If there’s a silver lining, it’s Altidore’s injury happened before Copa America started, so Klinsmann does not have to exhaust a roster spot on an unusable forward and then thrust a replacement from his preliminary squad into the mix.

“It’s a huge bummer for all of us, especially for Jozy, because he had so much drive and ambition going towards the Copa America,” Klinsmann told reporters Monday in Miami, where the U.S. is convened for a “transition” camp and a friendly against Puerto Rico. “He was preparing himself for the entire year, starting in January and he hoped to really peak in June for this special tournament. Now, that message, I told him ‘You have to put it behind you and keep going and stay positive. The next tournament is waiting for you.’ Obviously it’s a big blow for us and him personally, but there’s nothing you can do, unfortunately.”

  • PODCAST: Brian McBride on USMNT expectations this summer

The next tournament for Altidore of any consequence figures to be next summer’s Gold Cup, while for Klinsmann and the U.S. players, it’s deja vu–again.”It’s a blow, of course,” Alejandro Bedoya said. “He’s one of our key players, one of our best strikers. But like with every team, injuries happen. They’re part of the game. We’re just going to have to deal with it and move on. It’s another opportunity for other players to step in and prove their worth and help us out.”And at least for Klinsmann, he has some intriguing options. Clint Dempsey, Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes, Chris Wondolowski, Ethan Finlay and Christian Pulisic are the other listed forwards on his preliminary roster, and while none of them really mimic Altidore’s game or skill set, there are plenty of ways for the U.S. to find goals this summer.

  • STRAUS: Recent results’ impact on Klinsmann’s Copa calls

“To substitute a player like Jozy is very difficult,” Klinsmann said in a Facebook Q&A on Tuesday. “We’re going to find solutions. We’re happy to see other strikers right now being in good form.”Here are some of Klinsmann’s likeliest combinations up front without Altidore, who is tied for third all time on the U.S. goal-scoring charts with Eric Wynalda (34).

Dempsey-Wood

The most prolific American abroad and the most prolific American, period. Should Klinsmann opt for a 4-4-2, he has two capable, complementary scorers at his disposal. They started together in the March World Cup qualifier in Guatemala, but didn’t really produce much in the surprise loss. That said, for as much as Altidore was going to be counted on at Copa America, he has had just two assists and no goals in eight games of MLS play with Toronto FC. Wood’s 17 goals at Union Berlin and subsequent move to Hamburg have him poised for a breakout summer, while Dempsey, who has a pair of goals in MLS, remains the USA’s most reliable option, even at the age of 33. “Bobby did a huge jump over the last 12-14 months, in the club environment as well as the national team,” Klinsmann said Tuesday. Look for his role to expand regardless of how and when he’s deployed.

Zardes-Dempsey-Wood

Klinsmann turned to this triad in the bounce-back win over Guatemala, with Dempsey and Wood up top and Zardes cutting in on the wing. While Zardes wound up with two assists, the second was quite accidental. Dempsey scored the crucial early opener with this combination, however, with Zardes showing his target ability by bodying up a defender, winning a long ball and getting it down to Dempsey for the finish. Klinsmann name-checked Zardes during his chat with fans on Tuesday, and he’s become a mainstay ever since emerging in the winter of 2015. With two goals and four assists in his last five games, you’d think his place is secure.

Pulisic-Wood/Dempsey-Morris

This puts an extreme amount of defensive responsibility on two young players, but flanking Pulisic and Morris on either side of a poacher with a goal for nose like Dempsey or Wood gives the U.S. its fastest, most dynamic approach. If Klinsmann opted for a 4-5-1/4-3-3 that he has used in the past, deploying Pulisic and Morris (with Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin overlapping from defense) could unleash hell on opposing fullbacks. Klinsmann could even get all four on the field at the same time should he put Dempsey in the midfield ahead of two holding players like Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones and sacrifice the likes of Bedoya or Darlington Nagbe from the XI. It’s the riskiest of all the options, throwing a pair of relatively green players into a cauldron, but Klinsmann is a known proponent of the sink-or-swim approach.

Jermaine Jones

Just kidding. Mostly.

Morris-Dempsey

Another two-forward option includes the two Seattle Sounders teammates. Seattle’s attack had been finding its groove until this weekend’s 2-0 setback against FC Dallas, and Morris and Dempsey are building a club chemistry together. This doesn’t give the U.S. a constant presence between the center backs, as Dempsey has a penchant for dropping to find the ball and Morris is less of a target option, but it’d figure to be a reliable combination of players who have an understanding of one another.

Finlay and Wondolowski would seem to be the players on the outside looking in, but should either make Klinsmann’s final 23-man squad or be needed in case of another injury, Finlay would slot in as a wide option, while Wondolowski is another veteran poacher with a nose for creating chances from close range.

We won’t be able to glean much from Sunday’s friendly against Puerto Rico, withWood the only player on the roster for the match eligible for Copa America. Presuming Wood gets the start, how he is used and in what system could be a clue into what Klinsmann is thinking in how to go about replacing Altidore. Either way, it’s business as usual for Klinsmann and his attack in another major competition.

Tim Howard is ready to resume as the No. 1 goalkeeper for the United States

MANCHESTER, England — Tim Howard slides into his seat in a hotel lounge just outside the tiny village of Hale, England, and starts to talk about the final act of his decorated career. He’s still just 37, not outrageously old for a goalkeeper, and he looks pretty much the same as he did fewer than two years ago in Brazil when his 15 saves in the U.S. national team’s extra time, last-16 loss to Belgium set a World Cup record and made him a household name back home.That night in Salvador might not seem so long ago for the rest of us but for Howard, it might as well be an eternity. A lot has changed for him since then.As the New Jersey native sips his coffee, he’s fewer than two weeks from making his final appearance for Premier League Everton, the club he’s been the backbone of for the past decade. A day after saying goodbye, he’ll report to U.S. national team camp as he has done since 2002. But for the first time since 2006, he’s unsure if he’ll start for the Americans at a major international tournament — in this case, next month’s Copa America Centenario — or be relegated to the supporting role he occupied for the second half of his farewell season in the Premier League.Not playing has been a big adjustment for a player who can barely remember not being an automatic No. 1. It’s just one of many he’s had to make lately. Howard has lived in the northwest of England for the past 13 years. He moved here shortly after signing with Manchester United from Major League Soccer’s MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls) in 2003, when he was barely 24. But having signed with the Colorado Rapids in March, he’s counting the days until it’s time to go home.”I won’t miss the weather. I won’t miss the food,” he joked as rain pelted the windows. “But I definitely got lucky. When I left Man United, it came down to three teams: Everton and two others that aren’t in the Premier League anymore. To be at one club that long is special.”Do I leave I fulfilled? For sure. There’s no better place in the world to play football.”That’s not to say these past few months have been easy. Howard started his 414th and final game for Everton on Sunday, a 3-0 win against Norwich. He’s played 107 times for the U.S. national team. But for the most part he’s been a spectator for both club and country since January, making a total of three appearances.”When you play all the time you get accustomed to it,” he said. “It’s not that you take it for granted but it becomes such a second nature that when you’re not in there, you begin to appreciate it so much more. I never took it for granted. But now I’m thinking, I never, ever want to be in this position again.”The thing is: he soon could be. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has yet to name a starter heading into the Copa America and while Howard appears to have the inside track after starting Everton’s past two home games (Brad Guzan finished Aston Villa’s season on the bench), Klinsmann could easily decide that the 31-year-old Guzan is his guy for this cycle. “We’ll have good talks over the next couple of days with Brad and Tim, and then I’ll let you know more,” said the U.S. coach during a Facebook chat on Tuesday.If that happens, would Howard — the American that tournament organizers are promoting most alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez — be OK with that?”I knew when I left Brazil that the next four years would be different,” Howard said. “There are guys that when they get to my point, they retire from the national team. I still feel like I can contribute, and I think those thoughts are justified.”This is a process,” he continued. “The plan is to end in Russia in 2018. I know that things are changing for me professionally. Would I be content [not starting]? No. But would I be a rabble-rouser, throwing things and upsetting the rhythm of the team? No. But that’s not even played into my thinking.”It’s important to note the doubt around Howard’s role this summer is largely of his own making. It was his decision to take a year off from the national team following Brazil 2014 in order to spend the international breaks with his two children, who live in Tennessee with his ex-wife.”In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken the year off,” Howard said. “By making that decision, I gave people questions they actually didn’t have. That paled in comparison to what I got from taking the year off but the smart thing to do would have been to not take it.”It was also his choice to call Everton chairman Bill Kenwright late one night halfway through last season and tell him he wanted to leave two years before his contract expired. That, as much as anything else, led him to losing his starting job to Joel Robles.”There’s a lot of stuff people don’t know,” Howard said. “The conversations with Colorado happened way back in October and November. The chairman and the board literally did everything in their power to grant my wish. That doesn’t happen very often. They’ve been beyond loyal to me. At the same time, I basically went in and told my employer I need to leave,” Howard added. “I knew going in that once I told them that, the manager’s got to put the team first.”But a vocal minority of Everton fans had been calling for Howard to be dropped before word leaked in January that the Colorado deal was in the works. He had made a couple of costly mistakes and speculation was rife about how much Howard had left.”He’s not been as good the last two years,” said Neil, a Liverpool taxi driver and lifelong Everton supporter, outside Goodison Park following Howard’s penultimate start for the club, a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on April 30. Fans are fickle, of course, but he wasn’t necessarily wrong, either, because the standard Howard set during his first eight years at the club was so high.Howard admits that at first, the criticism stung.”One of my main goals when I first came here in 2006 was to win the fans over,” he said. “The amount of cards and messages and well wishes that I’ve gotten is astounding. It’s drowned out any fickle, pretend Everton fans.”If Howard gets the gloves from Klinsmann this summer, it won’t be solely because of his skills or experience. His presence in goal and ability to organize the players in front of him will be factored in, too.”Tim’s really particular about the way his defense is set up,” said U.S. defender Geoff Cameron. “He’ll tell you straight up: you need to do this. Brad’s like that, too, but Tim can kind of scare you in a way. There’s a fear factor a little bit. Tim and I are good friends but he’ll lay into me or he’ll give me that look… you don’t want to let him down.”Howard will be 39 when the next World Cup kicks off and what happens beyond this summer is anyone’s guess. But if he’s back in goal for the U.S. next month, his aim will be to prove that he hasn’t lost a step.”He’s still a very, very capable goalkeeper,” Everton captain Phil Jagielka, Howard’s teammate for the past nine years, told ESPN FC after the Bournemouth match. “He will be sadly missed here, but he’s got a lot left in his football career.”Whatever happens this summer, Howard will be ready to give his best. “My mentality has never been to be a No. 2,” he said. “I think that’s what’s gotten me to this point. I’m a number one goalkeeper even if I don’t play on a certain day.”Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

USMNT’s most sensible 23-man roster for Copa America Centenario

By Leander SchaerlaeckensMay 12, 2016 11:44 PMFC Yahoo

There are a few different ways to go about it – several prisms to view the United States men’s national team’s objective at this summer’s stateside Copa America Centenario.This one-off mega-tournament – which might not be so mega, if more stars like Barcelona’s Neymardrop out – can be the ultimate preparation and learning experience for the next World Cup in 2018 when the outcome really counts. It’s a rare chance for the Americans to measure themselves against some of the world’s best sides in a competitive setting and improve. Or it can be its own thing, and the best possible performance for the U.S. should come before all else.A little more context: The U.S. is very likely to bid for the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup, and putting on a successful tournament will go some way in gathering momentum for that effort. And part of a successful tournament is a respectable showing from the home team.Yet, for all that, the bigger picture must not be overlooked.In the ambitious sweep of the Jurgen Klinsmann era, which continues to consist of greater parts hope and hype than progress, the end game is improved performance at the World Cup. His preliminary 40-man roster blended veterans with younger players, and that’s the right approach.So, with an eye to 2018 as well as a decent run on home soil this summer, we would advocate for the strongest possible starters, regardless of age, backed up by younger players with the most upside two years down the line. A compromise, in other words, insofar as one is possible with the current player pool.Here’s who we’d pick for the USMNT’s final 23-man roster, with an average age of just over 26: ry

.Goalkeepers
Brad Guzan, age 31
Ethan Horvath, age 20
Tim Howard, age 37

Klinsmann has indicated that Howard, who is leaving Everton for the Colorado Rapids after losing his starting job, and Guzan, whose Aston Villa was relegated, will rotate for the time being. This throwback Kasey Keller-Brad Friedel arrangement could last for a while, although Howard is in decline. Guzan should have another half decade in him, considering that his body clock is running in goalkeepers’ years.But all the same, it’s time to start thinking about succession. And with Bill Hamid injured until sometime this summer, Horvath, who has made a name for himself with Molde in Norway, is the logical understudy.

Defenders
Steve Birnbaum, age 25
John Brooks, age 23
Geoff Cameron, age 30
Timmy Chandler, age 26
Eric Lichaj, age 27
Matt Miazga, age 20
Tim Ream, age 28
DeAndre Yedlin, age 22

Things are more complicated along the back line. Because of the endless turnover in Klinsmann’s defense, not to mention the frequent shuffling of players between positions, this group is as unsettled as any.But Cameron and Yedlin turned in solid Premier League seasons and should be automatic in the middle and on the right, respectively. John Brooks has rebounded very nicely with Hertha Berlin in its strong season and should also start in central defense. And there are a few different options on the left – Chandler, Lichaj and Ream – who could be a good tournament away from being in the mix for the coming years.Since Chandler and Cameron can spell Yedlin on the right, why not go young with the cover up the middle? Miazga barely played at Chelsea after his January move but plainly is a big prospect. Birnbaum has looked totally at home on the field with the U.S. in his four caps so far and has even proven an attacking threat in the air.

idfielders
Alejandro Bedoya, age 29
Michael Bradley, age 28
Fabian Johnson, age 28
Jermaine Jones, age 34
Perry Kitchen, age 24
Darlington Nagbe, age 25
Christian Pulisic, age 17

This area of the field has suddenly gotten crowded, with Bedoya playing well in France, Johnson doing the same in Germany, Jones dominating since his MLS suspension, Pulisic breaking out with Dortmund and Nagbe making a strong case in his recent U.S. appearances. Jones and Bradley will likely form the spine of this team in midfield, flanked, ideally, by Bedoya and Johnson. Nagbe and Pulisic will offer alternatives at several positions, although the latter is listed as a forward on the preliminary roster.There isn’t much to discuss here, especially since those alternatives are quite young. All that’s left open is the job of holding midfielder. Since Kyle Beckerman is now 34, we wonder if giving a younger option a look might make sense. The Real Salt Lake pillar is still at his best, but health becomes fickle at his age.Why not give Perry Kitchen a try? He’s only 24, sufficiently disciplined to sit behind the ball and shield the defense, and he’s already plenty seasoned as a professional.

Forwards
Jozy Altidore, age 26
Clint Dempsey, age 33
Jordan Morris, age 21
Bobby Wood, age 23
Gyasi Zardes, age 24

Altidore remains both mercurial and the best target man option out there, so his spot in the lineup remains firm. Dempsey, meanwhile, keeps chugging along with the Seattle Sounders and, in spite of his age, is still the most likely to offer a creative spark. Behind those two, Morris, Wood and Zardes all offer youth, potential for improvement and the versatility to play either on the flank or in a two-man front line, supporting Altidore or Dempsey.Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter

Clint Dempsey’s USMNT motivation evolves, but his hunger remains /Icon SMI

BY BRIAN STRAUSADD FAVORITEPosted: Wed May. 18, 2016

It was May 2012, the U.S. national team was preparing to kick off a new World Cup qualifying cycle and Landon Donovan, the program’s all-time leading scorer, sat down with four reporters at an Orlando hotel and began revealing the physical and emotional fatigue that led to that notorious 2013 sabbatical and then his retirement the following year.“All players reach a point in their career where it’s natural to lose some of that hunger, that desire,” Donovan said that day. “There’s no question at some point, sooner rather than later, I’ll be pretty burned out and it’ll be time to take a step back.”Then Clint Dempsey came up. The Texan was (and still is) only one year younger than his former teammate. But as Donovan’s fire started to flicker, he saw no such ebb in Dempsey.“Clint’s a little bit of a different animal,” Donovan said. “He still has that crazy hunger to succeed, more so than most. That’s great. That’s a beautiful thing and the more players we have like that, the better it’s going to be.”Some of that “crazy hunger” is the result of temperament and some of it comes down to timing. That same week, Dempsey offered a few details on its origin. He pointed out that Donovan already was established at age 17—a golden ball winner at the 1999 U-17 World Cup and a reserve at Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen. At that age, Dempsey was just trying to get a game.“I did it every way possible. I was playing pickup, high school, club ball. I was playing in a men’s league, then I want to [Furman] University,” he said. “I just tried to do everything I could. I was grinding because I knew it was going to be difficult. And even though I’ve come this far, I’m humbled in the fact that I know it could have easily not have happened.”  Dempsey made his pro debut at 21 and earned his first U.S. start on March 9, 2005—his 22nd birthday. When Donovan turned 22, he’d already started for his country 39 times.“It’s always been a race against time really for me,” Dempsey said back in 2012. “It’s kind of my mentality, to make up for lost time.”His three-hour-rides to riches story is well known. It began with the long-haul drives from Nacogdoches to Dallas for practices, the unexpected death of his 16-year-old sister, Jennifer, and his 2004 emergence with the New England Revolution. Dempsey went on to become an icon at Fulham, the first American to score in three World Cups and the recipient of a life-changing, $33 million commitment from the Seattle Sounders in 2013.An extended contract expires at the end of next season. Dempsey turned 33 last month and is father to four children. He’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. All that’s left to write is the conclusion to his unparalleled story, and the denouement could begin at next month’s Copa América Centenario. A fourth World Cup is a long two years away, the body ages quicker in its mid-30s and the pressure to bring an MLS Cup to Seattle is intensifying.Donovan’s all-time U.S. scoring record is out there, calling (Dempsey trails by eight). So is the April spawning season, which Dempsey, an avid fisherman, has missed just about every year of his adult life.His hunger hasn’t diminished, but his perspective has changed now that he can glimpse the finish line. Dempsey spent years fighting to prove himself and secure his place. Now he hopes to hold off the next generation for just a little bit longer. He’ll relish this Copa América played on home soil, before big crowds against elite opposition. There are accolades still to win and a sport still to build, and Dempsey, who’s still the national team’s most reliable finisher, intends to squeeze every last drop out of his remaining opportunities.“With the national team, you never know how long you’ve got so you always have to be pushing and making the most of it,” he told SI.com this week. “At certain times during your career, at different ages, you feel better than others. But you still want to be productive and make the most of it. You want to be able to look back at it and be proud of what you were able to to when you were playing …. I’m proud of what I’ve done. But I’m still pushing while I’m still playing.”Dempsey’s importance remains indisputable. That was evident at the 2014 World Cup, where an early goal helped spark the U.S. to a cathartic 2-1 over Ghana and a late goal provided a crucial (but short-lived) lead against Portugal. And it was evident at last summer’s ill-fated CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the stuttering Americans might have exited even earlier if not for Dempsey’s tournament-high seven markers. He was poor in October’s Confederations Cup playoff but then looked revitalized in March as he tallied one goal and one assist in a vital 4-0 qualifying demolition of Guatemala.   PODCAST: McBride on USMNT’s expectations this summer

With Jozy Altidore now out thanks to his infuriatingly frail hamstrings and heirs apparent Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood still finding their international feet, the U.S. attack likely will revolve around Dempsey once again.His combination of ruthlessness in the penalty area and an ability to withdraw, find the ball and create within ephemeral slivers of space remains unique among current American players.“There haven’t been many soccer players in U.S. soccer history that are game changes like Clint is,” Donovan said recently on the Sounders’ club podcast. “If the team needs a special player, a special moment or a goal, there’s not too many names on the U.S. roster that you would look to and say, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy who can do it.’ I think the team needs him.”That need ensures the pressure on Dempsey remains high. This Copa América isn’t a farewell tour and he hasn’t ruled out trying to hang on for a fourth World Cup. In addition, the sour taste of 2015 still lingers.“It’s a situation where you want to get back to playing good ball and progressing the game in the States,” he told SI.com. “When you don’t do well in the Gold Cup and we didn’t do well in the playoff game, it’s a chance to kind of bounce back from that, get back on track and doing things right. I look forward to playing in the tournament and to try to do something special.“I’ve always put pressure on myself to perform well,” he continued. “I think what I’ve done in big games I’ve played has showed that. My mentality doesn’t change as far as that’s concerned, to be the best and make the most of those games that I’m available for no matter the situation.”It represents a different sort of tension than the type he felt when he was younger—wondering if he’d be able to secure the opportunity, respect and stability he sought.He often felt compelled to defend his record, reminding people of his statistics when playing for the U.S. or in a withdrawn role and taking umbrage when some suggested that his form for country occasionally didn’t match his form for club.There were hints of angst and frustration his words, as if his career could be snatched away at any time.  “That’s just being young and worrying about stuff that doesn’t really matter,” Dempsey explained. “At the end of the day, you know what you’ve accomplished and you don’t have any control over other people’s opinions. People are going to think what they want, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more at peace with that and not stressing about those type of things.”Dempsey’s motivation has evolved. His power doesn’t have to come from the chip on his shoulder. He now has his own established standards to meet, not to mention a country that’s counting on him. He acknowledged that he’s “not blind” to the fact that Donovan’s scoring record is “out there,” but he’s aware that “there’s a balance to do it in the right way.”Dempsey said the key is, “To stay hungry, but also not to be so hungry that you’re missing opportunities to help your team win games, like finding the right pass instead of taking that shot.”If he plays well, victory will come. And if victory comes, so will the statistics—not to mention future opportunities. Dempsey said he wants to continue to represent the U.S. and hopes to deliver a championship to Seattle. He is not longing for retirement, as Donovan seemed to be in 2012. But Dempsey doesn’t fear it. He’s taking it “one tournament at a time,” he said. At 33, he now recognizes how far he’s come.“The work you put out there, and when you know you’re out there trying to make a difference and make an impact and gains for both club and country, that’s good enough for me. It’s not going to be all that when I’m done,” he said. “I’ll have the memories for myself. It’s not about what’s written about me. I’ll be out in the country. I’ll be fishing and hunting out in the country.”If he’s caught on a TV set in a jacket and tie arguing with Alexi Lalas, “you’d better come flatten me,” he said.“For me, it’s been about playing the game as long as I could, to be able to take it as far as I could and to be able to take care of my family,” he said. “I come from a small town. To go see the world and be able to hold your own, that’s something that gives me pride. That’s something I can tell my kids and grandkids about, and hopefully inspire others to do the same thing.”

 

Metz promoted to Ligue 1 over Bob Bradley’s Le Havre by tiny margin

FC Metz became the third team promoted to Ligue 1 this season despite a furious late push from Le Havre.On the final day of the season on Friday, Metz lost 1-0 at Lens while Le Havre, managed by former United States coach Bob Bradley, defeated Bourg-Peronnas 5-0.Both Metz and Le Havre finished level on 65 points with a plus-15 goal difference, and Metz were awarded third place and promotion because of their superior goals scored — 54 to Le Havre’s 52.One more goal would have seen Le Havre go through in their place, and they very nearly had it.After Aliou Dembele was sent off in the 34th minute, Bradley’s team pushed forward and scored their fifth by the 82nd minute.They hit the woodwork four times and keeper Fabien Farnolle pushed forward and had a header saved in stoppage time, but the goal would not come.Le Havre were fourth when Bradley took over the club on Nov. 10. Under his guidance they won 12, drew six and lost six.Metz return to the top flight after one year in the second division. They will join Nancy and Dijon as the new clubs in Ligue 1 in 2016-17.

DeAndre Yedlin open to Sunderland stay amid reports of £2m bid

Tottenham’s DeAndre Yedlin has not ruled out a return to Sunderland next season and says he is hoping to impress at this summer’s Copa America in the hope of resolving his future.Yedlin joined Spurs from Major League Soccer outfit Seattle Sounders in January 2015, but made just one appearance before joining Sunderland on a season-long loan in the summer.After a mixed start, the 22-year-old made the right-back spot his own under Sam Allardyce, making 24 appearances, including 21 league starts, as the Black Cats beat the drop.Spurs are well-stocked at right-back with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, and the USMNT star, who is back in the States for this summer’s Copa America, admits he is keeping his options open amid reports of a £2 million bid from Sunderland.”It’s definitely a door I would not close. I would not mind going back [to Sunderland],” Yedlin told Goal.com. “I had a great time there.”I’m keeping all doors open, I don’t want to shut any right now. Any opportunity that is offered to me is a big opportunity. When you’re dealing with the Premier League, it’s still unbelievable to think that I’m playing in the Premier League.”I don’t want to close any doors right now,” he continued. “I’ll just keep my head down and perform at Copa America. Obviously if I can have a good tournament here it’ll impress a lot more people.”Yedlin says the example of Premier League Golden Boot-winner Harry Kane gives him hope that he can still make it at White Hart Lane, however.”Sometimes that’s all you need, is a year of playing, that little bit of confidence,” he added. “You look at Harry Kane, two years ago coming back from loan and playing, he comes back to Tottenham and absolutely kills it and is now England’s No. 1 striker.”Confidence is a funny thing, and sometimes that’s all you need is just that little bit to elevate you to the next level.”

Premier League season in a sentence as Leicester crowned champions

It was another memorable Premier League campaign. Our ESPN FC bloggers take a quick look at how their team fared in the 2015-16 season.

LEICESTER: Leicester ended 2015-16 with a fairytale Premier League title, the PFA player of the year, a Premier League scoring record and Champions League football — so not bad, then! — Ben Jacobs

ARSENAL: Not good enough to sustain a title challenge but not bad enough to drop out of the top four — stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. — Tom Adams

TOTTENHAM: A top four spot looked ambitious but Spurs exceeded all expectations, enjoying a prolonged title challenge before a sour end to the campaign. — Ben Pearce

MAN CITY: A season of gradually diminishing returns mirroring Manuel Pellegrini’s three years in charge left City fans in the extremely unusual situation of counting the days until it was finally over. — Simon Curtis

 

SOUTHAMPTON: Another season of progression for Southampton, who would have had a shot at not just a Europa League spot, but maybe even the top four had they avoided that midseason dip in form. — Alex Crook

MAN UNITED: Winning the FA Cup shouldn’t save Louis van Gaal following a season of dire football and wretched results, culminating in failure to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson left. — Scott Patterson

WEST HAM: A fantastic season with many highs, few lows, superb teamwork, individual brilliance and plenty of attacking football. — Peter Thorne

LIVERPOOL: Frustration in the Premier League, but impressive cup performances point to a bright future under Jurgen Klopp and with good recruitment this summer, the Reds could contend at the top next year. — Dave Usher

STOKE: A disappointing 2015-16 for the Potters, who saw injuries and patches of abysmal form end any chance of European qualification. — James Whittaker

CHELSEA: Chelsea’s disastrous campaign rendered the club trophyless and short of being relegated, it really couldn’t have been any worse. — Mark Worrall

EVERTON: Fewest home points in Everton history is the rotten cherry on top of another season of failure for a manager and players failing to learn anything from the equally dismal season preceding this one. — Luke O’Farrell

SWANSEA: A summer of complacency and questionable decisions almost cost Swansea their Premier League status, but in hiring Francesco Guidolin the board look to have restored their reputation for shrewd managerial appointments. — Max Hicks

WATFORD: The season has to be seen as a big success overall, but morale is lower than it should be following a disappointing end to the campaign. — Michael Moruzzi

WEST BROM: Everything you’d expect of a Pulis side — dull football, a strong defence and safety with games to spare. —Matthew Evans

CRYSTAL PALACE: Palace were dragged into a relegation fight after being fifth at Christmas but all will be forgiven if the Eagles manage to win the FA Cup. — Jim Daly

BOURNEMOUTH: Despite a downbeat end, comfortably staying in the Premier League is a fantastic achievement for Eddie Howe’s inexperienced squad. — Steve Menary

SUNDERLAND: Sunderland again started badly and seemed a lost cause but if recovery under Sam Allardyce was slow and agonising, safety was eventually achieved with time to spare and hope that brighter times may at last lie ahead. — Colin Randall

NEWCASTLE UNITED: It’s been a season that has always seemed on the brink of collapse from the first few games and it unfolded into an inevitable conclusion — relegation. — Lee Ryder

NORWICH: So much early promise following promotion to the Premier League was replaced by a painful crash landing back in the Championship. — Paddy Davitt

ASTON VILLA: A humiliating shambles which resulted in a first ever relegation from the Premier League — Villa were rooted to the bottom of the table after 10 games and never looked like getting out of trouble. — Kevin Hughes

Premier League superlatives from a storybook 2015-16 season

Leicester City claimed its first top-flight title in the team’s 132-year history on Monday.

BEN LYTTLETONTwitter Email osted: Mon May. 16, 2016

Such is the smartness of the Premier League marketing machine, every season seems to end with fans declaring it the best ever. But perhaps 2015-16 will be remembered as just that; a season when champion side Chelsea slumped to mid-table, and Leicester City, tipped for relegation during preseason and was 5,000-to-1 odds to win the title, romped to the trophy by a clear 10 points. There was drama, controversy, glory and surprises. Here are some of the bests and worsts of an unforgettable, storybook campaign (which has one game to go after Manchester United’s bomb-scare-turned-training-exercise fiasco on Sunday):

Coach of the Year: Claudio Ranieri, Leicester

It’s impossible to look beyond the charm and humility of Ranieri. A coach belittled by Jose Mourinho, he showed quiet leadership (incidentally, that’s the title of a new book by another former Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti) and enough confidence to make only minor changes to the Leicester side that ended last season so well. Leicester’s local butcher made Ranieri sausages in his honor and he can expect a street to be named after him. CREDITOR: Ranieri finally gets his due  He seems to enjoy the absurdity of it all and unlike many of his colleagues, does not take himself too seriously.

Honorable mentions: Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham), Slaven Bilic (West Ham)

PODCAST: Brian McBride interivew; EPL coaching carousel

Player of the Year: Jamie Vardy, Leicester

The Premier League players voted for Riyad Mahrez, the Leicester players voted for N’Golo Kante, and the football writers went for Vardy, whose 24 goals propelled the Foxes to the title. His story is well-known–rejected as a youngster, playing non-league football five years ago, and scrapes with the law along the way–but it is so unlikely that a Hollywood film is in the pipeline. So is his autobiography, which will come out later this year.After a sensational season. the clamor for him to start for England at Euro 2016 continues.

Honorable mentions: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham)  GALLERY: Best moments of Leicester’s title run

Young Player of the Year: Dele Alli, Tottenham

Dele Alli began this season wanting to play 10 games for his new club.After all, he was 19, had never played in the Championship before, let alone the Premier League, and was at a team competing in the top four. But that didn’t stop Mauricio Pochettino, who gave Alli his debut in the first game of the season and started him for the second time in Spurs’ 4-1 win over Manchester City.He kept his place ever since, forming a partnership with Eric Dier in midfield that has continued into the full England squad. He scored from 25 yards on his England debut against France and will be a key player at the Euros this summer. Pochettino deserves great credit for giving him the opportunity.

Honorable mentions: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jack Butland (Stoke City)

Signing of the Year: Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City

£55 million is a lot of money to be considered a bargain, but when you look at how badly City fared in De Bruyne’s absence–albeit with an imbalanced squad and an injury-prone captain–it was clear that the young Belgian will continue to prove Chelsea’s decision to sell him to Wolfsburg a wrong one.More than Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, De Bruyne was the decisive player for City this season, and had he stayed fit in spring, when the club dropped out of title contention, it might have ruined Leicester’s party. His teammate Raheem Sterling cost a little less, but the difference between the two could not have been bigger.

Honorable mentions: Lamine Kone (Sunderland), N’Golo Kante (Leicester City)

Flop of the Year: Florian Thauvin, Newcastle

The French winger raised eyebrows when he cost Newcastle £12 million last summer–it seemed a lot for player who had issues at his previous club Marseille–but was dressed to impress when he turned up for his first home game wearing a tux complete with bow tie. Unfortunately his performances did not match the outfit and he only played three games before going back to Marseille on loan in January.

That was quite a fee Newcastle paid for him; it paid the same for Jonjo Shelvey in January, when it was apparent that the defense needed improving. The recruitment mistakes contributed to Newcastle’s relegation.

Honorable mentions: Seydou Doumbia, Henri Saivet (both Newcastle), Eder (Swansea)

Goal of the Season: Jamie Vardy, Leicester vs. Liverpool

This was a goal that summed up Leicester’s season: A long ball from Mahrez, and confidence, impudence and perfection execution from Vardy. The context was significant too: it came at the start of a run of games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal when everyone expected Leicester to slip away. Instead it won the first two matches. And often, its best goals came in the big games: Mahrez’s against Chelsea and Manchester City were among the best all season.

Honorable mentions: Dele Alli (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace), Cuco Martina (Southampton vs. Arsenal)

GALLERY: Best of Leicester’s title celebrations

Mystery of the season: Eden Hazard’s loss of form

No team defending the title has ever done as badly as Chelsea this season, and the player who embodied its struggles was Hazard.He went from Player of the Year to a place on the bench and couldn’t seem to work out why himself. Some cynics suggested that, once Chelsea was eliminated from Europe, he was keeping his powder dry for the Euros. He definitely looked in better form in the last two weeks of the season, with goals against Spurs and Liverpool reminiscent of last season’s player. New coach Antonio Conte’s challenge next season will be to recapture that form.

Honorable mentions: Why did Watford get rid of Quique Sanchez Flores for doing what he was brought in to do? Why did Crystal Palace sign Emmanuel Adebayor in January?

Quote of the Year: “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong!” (Claudio Ranieri)

Only towards the end of the season did the Leicester players reveal the Italian’s habit of ringing an imaginary bell in training to keep the players focused. It’s a long-standing technique in the Ranieri coaching handbook, as former Cagliari player Ivo Pulga told The Guardian that Ranieri used the line on his squad in 1989. “At Christmas, he gave us each a bell with “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong’, and his name on it,” Pulga said.Whatever Ranieri did, it worked.

Honorable mentions:

“In sex masochism, then it is allowed.” – Louis van Gaal on Robert Huth pulling Marouane Fellaini’s hair 

“Even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game.” – Jose Mourinho on the opening-day row with club doctor Eva Caneiro that sowed the seeds for them both leaving the club

Team of the Season

GOALKEEPER: Joe Hart (Manchester City)

DEFENDERS: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City)

MIDFIELDERS: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), N’Golo Kante (Leicester City), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

FORWARDS: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Colorado Rapids top MLS Power Rankings, L.A. Galaxy # 2, Philly up to # 3

The Supporter Shield leaders Colorado Rapids welcome Sporting Kansas City, who look to turn around their six game winless streak.

A midweek round and the usual weekend slate have resulted in a new No. 1 team atop the MLS Power Rankings in Week 11.

  1. Colorado Rapids(+1)

It just feels right to elevate the Rapids to the top spot after a four-point week off of a home win over Sporting and a road draw against Crew SC.

  1. LA Galaxy(-1)

The Galaxy were outplayed overall on Wednesday against the Union, but the flashes of irresistible team play they showed on both of their goals show why they can still get points.

  1. Philadelphia Union(+2)

Two draws on the week for the Union is a good return considering the competition and the road trip to Montreal. Philadelphia is third in the East but their points-per-game is the best in the conference.

  1. Montreal Impact(+2)

Didier Drogba. Ignacio Piatti. Drogba. Piatti. With seemingly every big goal coming from one of the Impact’s marquee names, Mauro Biello will be intent on keeping both of them healthy.

  1. FC Dallas(+4)

The Hoops truly are a different team at home than they are on the road, as evidenced by their six-point week after a three-game losing streak. Next up: back on the road for a game in New England.

  1. Toronto FC(-3)

Sebastian Giovinco is now TFC’s all-time leading scorer after his brace, replacing Dwayne De Rosario at the top of the list. If the Italian sticks around, it will be more a few years before someone replaces him.

  1. Real Salt Lake(-3)

Those early season doubts about RSL are getting new run in light of some bad recent results. A loss to the lowly Dynamo, especially without scoring, is a bad look for the team from Utah.

  1. San Jose Earthquakes(+3)

A weekend off after a midweek win over the Dynamo is just what the Quakes need ahead of a trip down the coast to face the Galaxy for Rivalry Week.

  1. Vancouver Whitecaps(+5)

The Caps beat TFC at their own game on Saturday, sitting deep and hitting the Reds with devastating counters. As if the league needed a reminder, the win displayed the immense talents of Kekuta Manneh.

  1. New York City FC(+3)

How close are things in the East? So close that NYCFC, a team with just a single home win on the season, is now tied atop the standings thanks to a three-game winning streak.

  1. Sporting Kansas City(+4)

Sporting’s shot output against Orlando City was astounding (16 in the first half, 34 overall) and not only set records, it indicated a concerted effort on the part of Sporting to create the chances that have been eluding them.

  1. Portland Timbers(-5)

Another valley for the Timbers, who fell to NYCFC at home on Sunday. It’s not that the Timbers were bad (and they suffer at the hands of the refs) but the lack of a comeback is troubling.

  1. Seattle Sounders(-5)

The battle became just too difficult in Texas for the Sounders after Chad Marshall pulled down Walker Zimmerman in the box in the third minute.

  1. D.C. United(+2)

United was randomly good on Friday night against the Red Bulls. Whether that was because of the rivalry or something else, they need more of that to establish a place among the East’s playoff contenders.

  1. New England Revolution(+4)

On the one hand, New England ended their six-game winless streak. On the other, they did so against the worst team in the East and a team that simply cannot score.

  1. Houston Dynamo(+1)

Houston has sandwiched a couple of wins around a midweek loss, likely buying Owen Coyle some time to figure out the balance of his club. Sunday’s blanking of RLS was a good start.

  1. Orlando City SC(-7)

The defense is an absolute mess, but at least Orlando has Kaka and Cyle Larin to give them hope, right? Adrian Heath has work to do as the Lions’ season slips away.

  1. New York Red Bulls(-6)

The Red Bulls allowed themselves to be pushed around in the midfield on Friday night in D.C., the saddest part of their 2-0 loss at the hands of their biggest rivals.

  1. Columbus Crew SC(-1)

No Kei, plenty of problems. Replacing their center forward won’t be easy for Columbus, but at least the post-Kei era didn’t end with a home loss.

  1. Chicago Fire(no change)

The Fire have, well, no fire at all. Road trips on opposite sides of the continent don’t help, but it’s amazing just how toothless Chicago has become under Veljko Paunovic. Jason Davis is a writer from Virginia covering American soccer.

CDC_Indy11camp

Busch’s Big Night in Goal Helps Indy Eleven to 0-0

Draw at Fort Lauderdale

Veteran Netminder’s Season-high Six Saves Earn Crucial Road Point, Set up Possible Fight for First Next Weekend at Home vs. Minnesota

FORT LAUDERDALE (Saturday, May 14, 2016) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers were all over Indy Eleven from the beginning this evening at Lockhart Stadium, but Eleven goalkeeper Jon Busch was there at every turn to help the visitors earn a crucial standings point from a 0-0 draw in a rain-delayed affair in South Florida.Busch came through with an inspired effort, making a season-high six stops – a few of the highlight-reel variety – to help keep “Indiana’s Team” the lone undefeated team in the NASL on the season.With the draw, Indy Eleven (2W-4D-0L, 10 pts.) remained in fourth place in the Spring Season standings, while Fort Lauderdale (1W-3D-2L, 6 pts.), a week after beating the then-league-leading Carolina RailHawks on the road, saw their momentum halted by sticking in eighth position. More importantly for Indy Eleven, the “Boys in Blue” managed to stay within a game of first place, which for now is occupied by next week’s opponent at Carroll Stadium, Minnesota United FC (13 pts.). However, the second-place New York Cosmos (12 pts.) will help round out Week 7 action tomorrow afternoon at FC Edmonton.Busch was alert from the early-going, starting in the 8th minute when he adjusted well to Geison Moura’s deflected shot from the top of the area. Scrambling to his right post, Busch dove to get a hand – and then a foot – to the ball on the line to keep it out. Four minutes later a failed clearance sat up around the penalty spot for a hard-charging Maicon Santos, but his rocketed shot would be kept out by Busch’s two-handed parry.While it wasn’t a save, Busch came up big again in the 21st minute when Santos got behind the Eleven backline. The Indy ‘keeper came off his line to force Santos wide, and while the Brazilian was able to get a shot towards the open net, Eleven center back Colin Falvey and forward Justin Braun combined to keep it out of goal and clear the danger.Indy’s offense finally showed some bite in the final 15 minutes of the half, starting when midfielder Omar Gordon latched onto Justin Braun’s cross from the right endline and fiercely headed a shot just wide of the left post. Gordon was at it again in the 38th minute as he pounced on a loose ball and fired from 15 yards out, but what could have been a dangerous shot was blocked by a diving Gale Agbossoumonde. A minute later Falvey was able to get on the end of a corner with a free header from 10 yards out, only to push the chance wide left.The halftime break was an extended one, as storms that entered the area forced a nearly hour-and-a-half delay in the action. Coming out of the break it was the Strikers nearly striking first in the 48th minute when Jose Angulo cut across the area and rifled a shot from 10 yards out that smacked off the crossbar but stayed out of goal. Three minutes later it was Busch again thwarting Santos with his finest effort yet, diving and extending fully to steer a header from eight yards around the right post.The Eleven made things more interesting with better possession and attacking presence throughout the second half, but it wasn’t until the 69th minute that Fort Lauderdale goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was forced to make a save. And it was a quality one, as he dove low and right to bat away defender Nemanja Vukovic’s low, skipping effort from 30 yards out on the slick turf.Down the stretch the Strikers would press for the decisive tally, but Busch had other ideas, first stopping defending NASL Player of the Week Nana Attakora’s point-blank effort in the 88th minute. Then in stoppage time it was the veteran goalkeeper batting away Dalton’s header from the top of the six off a set-piece delivery from Ramon Nunez, a play  that helped Indy Eleven – and the 20-year pro Busch – to a second clean sheet in 2016.Indy Eleven returns home next weekend on Saturday, May 21, when it will host Minnesota United FC on IMS & Military Appreciation Night at Carroll Stadium. Tickets for the pivotal 7:30 p.m. ET showdown at “The Mike” are available starting at $11 in the Brickyard Battalion and East Goal Top sections atwww.IndyEleven.com or over the phone at 317-685-1100 (Mon.-Fri., 9:00a.m.-5:00 p.m.).
NASL Spring Season
Fort Lauderdale Strikers  0 : 0  Indy Eleven
Saturday, May 14, 2016  Lockhart Stadium – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Indy Eleven:
Spring Season: 2W-4D-0L, 10 pts., 4th place
Fort Lauderdale Strikers:
Spring Season: 1W-3D-2L, 6 pts., 8th place
Scoring Summary:
None
Discipline Summary:
IND – Justin Braun (caution) 61’
FTL – PC (caution) 75’
FTL – Maicon Santos (aution) 83’
Indy Eleven line-up (4-4-2, L–>R):  Jon Busch; Nemanja Vuković, Greg Janicki, Colin Falvey (capt), Lovel Palmer; Dylan Mares, Gorka Larrea, Sinisa Ubiparipović (Don Smart 55’), Omar Gordon; Justin Braun (Eamon Zayed 66’), Jair Reinoso (Nicki Paterson 81’)Indy Eleven bench: Keith Cardona (GK), Marco Franco, Daniel Keller, Duke Lacroix

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-2-3-1): Diego Restrepo; PC, Dalton, Gale Agbossoumonde, Nana Attakora; Luis Felipe, Jean-Marc Alexandre (capt) (Manny Gonzalez 67’); Jose Angulo, Ramon Nunez, Geison Moura (Matheus Carvalho 56’) (Adrianinho 89’); Maicon Santos Strikers bench: Bruno (GK), Victor Pineda, Aurelio Saco Vertiz, Luis Zapata

GK PLAYING FOR A CAUSE

Why this two-week span means more for Jon Busch May 19, 2016

It’s Sunday at 6 P.M.Jon Busch is home from Fort Lauderdale sitting next to his wife, Nicole, waiting for the phone to ring. He’s expecting a call from his father like he has every Sunday for nine years. But that phone won’t ring.That’s because three days before last weekend’s match, Jon got the news that his father had passed away. Robert Busch was 74 years old.“They were very trying and difficult days leading up to that game,” said Busch.The calls started when Jon was in Chicago for the first time – circa the beginning of the 2007/08 season for the Fire – and had continued as tradition ever since. His first coach, Robert was always there for his son – always wearing his coaching hat, even years later.“I think it all started when I was like 8 or 9 and he was my first ever club coach – he and my brother – so I think if you look all the way back it started then. It really picked up during my first go-round in Chicago when I was living by myself before my wife had moved up. I started talking to him quite a bit on the phone about soccer and about life in general and we just kind of made it a thing,” said the guy everyone calls “Buschy.”“It followed me to San Jose then back to Chicago, and we always did it. Every Sunday at six. He’d just kind of give me his thoughts and opinions on the night before and it was always just fun to listen to him.“When you’re young, you think you know everything about everything. Then as you get older you realize you didn’t know anything about anything. But, I always had a good time with him and it was always fun. Never without a smile,” stated Busch.Three days after getting the news, Indy’s No.18 suited up in goal after two days of training, never skipping a beat. Busch’s performance was better than could have been expected, his best in an Eleven uniform and one of the most respectable in his 19-year tenure, saving all six shots cannoned in at him and diving across every single one of the 27,648 square inches of his goal box.“[My dad] loved watching me play and I knew the best way to honor him was to put in a good performance. I can honestly say I think he was standing by my side in the goal that night and helping me knock some of those balls away,” said Busch.“But, I think my performance was a bit of a combination. Every now and then you have games like that where you’re going to have to make a few saves. I was fortunate enough to be able to step up to the plate and take care of the team in that aspect.”Saturday’s 0-0 draw in Fort Lauderdale against the Strikers was an opportunity lost when it came to the standings, as even though Indy remained the NASL’s lone undefeated team (with 2 wins and 4 losses) it dropped a spot to fifth place. But that’s not the takeaway of the match in the grand scheme of the Spring Season – at least not to the veteran netminder.“I’m not sure if it’s a disappointment that we didn’t find a winner that game. It was a disappointment in the fact that we honestly know we didn’t play that well in a good situation where we could have jumped up the table more with a win,” said the former MLS captain.“We won’t give up, though. We’re still working. We still believe.”Now, “Indiana’s Team” faces what could be the most important regular season outing in the team’s three-year history – a home game against the league leader, Minnesota United FC, with a chance to joins the MNUFC on top of the table at the end of the night. Busch and his teammates are aware of the task at hand and see the match as a make-good opportunity for recent performances.“Obviously it’s a big game. They’re a very good team and (Sporting Director) Manny (Lagos) has them playing very well up there. They’re on the top of the league for a reason,” explained Busch. “It’s a good measuring stick for us to see where we are. We feel like we have a good team here and have missed a couple of results that we wanted, especially in the last two, but we feel we’re very competitive and can fight for a championship. It’s exciting, it’s a challenge.”To add to the occasion, this Saturday the club is honoring our nation’s heroes in uniform on Military Appreciation Night at Carroll Stadium. Since 2011, Jon Busch has been paying his version of respects to the military through his foundation, Saves for SEALs. He created the program to support the Navy SEAL Foundation, which helps families of those fallen warriors who have given their lives for their country.  DONATE | Jon Busch’s SAVES for SEALs program

“It’s going to be a special night. Any way we can say thank you to all the branches of the military is always special. We’re fortunate enough to play the sport that we love and grew up playing because of these men and women who have sacrificed their lives and their livelihood for our freedom,” said Busch.A warrior in his own right, Jon Busch dedicated last Saturday to Robert, and we could only guess that 6 PM phone call on Sunday would have been a lively one. This Saturday, while “Buschy” will continue to play with thoughts of his father in mind, he’ll also have another cause to dedicate his performance to. If it’s anything like last Saturday’s, he’ll make a lot of people proud.

THREE THINGS: #FTLVIND

Three takeaways from weather-beaten trip to Fort Lauderdale  May 16, 2016

In our latest “Three Things,” we look at the excellence of Jon Busch, and staying unbeaten ahead of a big test this weekend.

WATCH | Highlights from the 0-0 draw with the Strikers

1) Jon Busch is a badass

Saturday belonged to Jon Busch. Seriously. A brick wall if there ever was one, Busch made multiple point blank saves, dove across his line to keep every effort out, and even got a little good karma from the crossbar hanging above him.So, yeah, Jon Busch is a badass, and he played like one on Saturday. In the five games Indy Eleven had played before their trip to Fort Lauderdale, the former Chicago Fire netminder had faced 12 shots and produced eight saves. Against the Strikers, Busch faced and saved all six efforts rifled at him, nearly doubling his season tally.And shameless plug time … if you haven’t made a donation to Buschy’s Saves for SEALs program to benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation, there’s no better time to do so as we head into Military Appreciation Night at “The Mike” this weekend – head to www.IndyEleven.com/savesforseals for all the details and to make your per-save donation today.

2) First time tested

Though his debut against Tampa Bay featured a few saves, as well as the home contest against New York, Saturday night was the first time Busch had been consistently called upon across 90 minutes to secure a result.Similar to the season opener, also in Florida, the Eleven couldn’t capitalize on chances in their attacking third and relied on their ‘keeper for a couple of big-time stops. This time around, though, the difference was the intensity with which the Strikers attacked, often slipping in behind the defense leaving the guardian of the goal with it all to do.True to his position though, Busch sent back efforts from all three of the Strikers’ trio of Ramon Nunez, Maicon Santos, and defender Dalton, and helped secure a valuable road point with just four games left in the Spring Season.

3) The streak continues – and top spot is in sight

Six games in and Indy Eleven remains the only unbeaten side in the NASL. Despite dropping to fifth place in the table due to FC Edmonton’s huge win over the New York Cosmos, the Eleven have it all to play for as a result on Saturday against Minnesota United FC could see them shoot up to a tie for first place depending on other results.Having already played both the Cosmos and Eddies and taking four points out of those encounters, the only other two teams in the way are the Carolina Railhawks, who come to the Circle City on June 11 in the Spring Season finale, and MNUFC. The Railhawks have their bye week at the end of the month, while Minnesota has already taken theirs, meaning things will likely stay tight down the stretch drive.To sum it up, the biggest home game in Indy Eleven’s short but growing history goes down on Saturday night against Minnesota. And if that goes well, along with another Sunshine State swing, it will set up an even bigger one to finish off the Spring in four weekends.

ASL 2016 Spring Championship Final Sprint! – Teams Close In On Playoff Spot!

By: James Cormack – Bloody Shambles
For some teams only three games remain and for some four. We are nearing the eleventh hour (sorry had to go there) and each round between now and June 11/12 will likely see some teams slowly lose sight of the Spring title and others tighten their grip around it.For one successful team winning the Spring Championship trophy means an automatic playoff spot and home field advantage, effectively allowing that team room to breath and work on their team without fear of non-qualification.Outside of the speculative opinion below, it should be noted that every one of these teams will play a US Open Cup tie amongst their final games on June 1st. There may be injuries incurred, tired legs or even just squad rotation to rest players. Cup games can also bring extra time and penalties further increasing the physical pressure on squads. Some teams may rest players for the Open Cup, some may not.The 2016 Spring Championship race is extremely close. There are only nine points between 1st and 10th place, it’s about to get very intense, hearts will be broken every weekend for the next four weeks. Let’s take a look at the teams from bottom to top.

Current NASL 2016 League Table
  1. Miami F.C.[eliminated] It’s been a rough start for Alessandro Nesta and Miami, sparse crowds, very few points. They have shown a willingness to spend and bought Richie Ryan from Jacksonville for $750,000 last week, they may come good in the fall, but for now they are the first team mathematically eliminated from the Spring Championship. However, this does not mean they can’t influence the ultimate outcome. Miami FC are the bye team this coming weekend.MIA Remaining games – FC Edmonton (H) Indy Eleven (H) Minnesota Utd (A)

    10. Jacksonville Armada – The new boys of 2015 not giving a good showing in their second season. Their only win this season has come against the hapless Miami FC. After gaining one other point against the Strikers they are now on three straight defeats. JAX still have four games remaining, but even if they win I don’t think 16pts will be good enough to win spring, their current form definitely isn’t!JAX Remaining games – Ottawa Fury (A) Indy Eleven (H) Carolina (A) Tampa Bay (H)

    9. Ottawa Fury – Ottawa could be a big spoiler in this race, but I doubt they have any chance to win Spring. Although they won’t play any of the current top five teams they could put a dent in Tampa or Rayo OKC’s chances of staying in the race for Spring. A draw in their next game against JAX could potentially kill both teams chances, a loss definitely will.

    OTT Remaining Games – Jacksonville (H) Strikers (H) Tampa Bay (A) Rayo OKC (H)

    8. Fort Lauderdale Strikers – For a while the Strikers looked to be making sure nobody else takes that bottom spot from them, a surprise win over Carolina Railhawks and a point at home against Indy Eleven has lifted them into 8th. Three of their final four games are away from home, their only remaining Florida fixture being against New York Cosmos. Safe to say they won’t be in the reckoning, but they could cause problems at the top for New York and Edmonton.

    FTL Remaining Games – Rayo OKC (A) Ottawa Fury (A) Cosmos (H) FC Edmonton (A)

    7. Rayo OKC – Rayo have been the surprise package from the two new teams this year, two wins and two draws have them on 8 points after six games, with a game in hand over some teams they still have to be considered. A win over the Strikers next round would put them on 11, but they have a tough run in with the Cosmos and Minnesota in their final three. Still a dark horse, and definitely a team that could be a spoiler for NYC and MNU.

    OKC Remaining Games – Strikers (H) Cosmos (A) Minnesota (H) Ottawa Fury (A)

    6. Tampa Bay Rowdies – Tampa are at the top of an underperforming Florida pile. No team in the sunshine state appears to have got a handle on things yet. Despite a formidable roster and adding Joe Cole in a big news signing, Tampa continue to stutter after dropping two points at home to Rayo. Tampa though I think could be the the biggest upsetter in this race, they need better performances and they need points and their next two games are away to the Cosmos and Minnesota! With their final home games against Ottawa and JAX, their chances hinge on pegging back those above them, which of course could benefit themselves and others.

    TBR Remaining Games – Cosmos (A) Minnesota (A) Ottawa (H) Jacksonville (A)

    5. Indy Eleven – Still the only undefeated team in the NASL, but have dropped 8 pts in 4 of their 6 games, 4 of those points at home. Indy is still a work in progress but they have proven they can rise in the big games as they did by defeating New York Cosmos. Next game for Indy at home to Minnesota is pivotal for both teams. Indy really needs to win. If Minnesota wins you’d have to think that they go on and win overall if they reach 16 pts with a game in hand over others.

    IND Remaining Games – Minnesota (H) Jacksonville (A) Miami FC (A) Carolina (H)

    4. FC Edmonton – I am not sure why I am ever surprised by FC Edmonton, always tough and good for a positive run in at least one part of the season. A win over the Cosmos at the weekend has put them in amongst the front runners. They only have three games remaining, but they have the potential to win out on all three of them which would leave them on 20pts, which is the total New York won with in 2015.

    FCE Remaining Games – Carolina Railhawks (H) Miami FC (A) Strikers (A)

    3. New York Cosmos – Changed days from 2015 when the Cosmos went undefeated throughout Spring and won the first playoff spot. Three defeats now from Minnesota, Indy Eleven and Edmonton leave Cosmos on 12 pts, meaning of course they are the only team in the league to have not drawn any of their games. They have three games left, I wouldn’t say they were easy, but two at home and finishing away at Ft Lauderdale, they also have the potential to win all three and finish on 21pts.

    NYC Remaining Games – Tampa (H) Rayo OKC (H) Strikers (A)

    2. Carolina Railhawks – After a storming start in the first round defeating Minnesota, the Railhawks won four straight games to sit atop the table. After a loss in New York they have not won since, losing at home to the Strikers and taking one point against Miami FC. The run in for them is tough, finishing up in Indianapolis, can’t write them off but I wouldn’t make them favorites either.

    CAR Remaining Games – FC Edmonton (A) Jacksonville (H) Indy Eleven (A)

    1. Minnesota United – Minnesota are definitely the in form team and probably now the favorites. After an opening game defeat they have won four and drawn one achieving top spot in the table after week seven. Their final four games are far from easy, but they should be able to get 6 to 9 points if their current run of form continues.

    MNU Remaining Games – Indy Eleven (A) Tampa (H) Rayo OKC (A) Miami FC (H)

    Week 8 Fixtures – May 21st to May22nd 2016 (EST)

  • Indy Eleven v Minnesota United 5/21 7.30pm
  • Rayo OKC v Ft Lauderdale Strikers 5/21 8.00pm
  • Ottawa Fury v Jacksonville Armada 5/22 2.00pm
  • FC Edmonton v Carolina Railhawks 5/22 4.00pm 
  • NY Cosmos v Tampa Bay Rowdies 5/22 6.00pm

The most interesting scenario that could happen this weekend would be Indy Eleven to win, Rayo OKC to win, Edmonton and Carolina to draw and Tampa Bay to win (see table below). This would put Carolina back on top of the table but it would create a situation where there is only three points separating the top seven teams! I am not going to lie, I would actually like that, and definitely would not bet against it.

Carmel FC Travel Soccer Tryouts for 2016-2017 teams begin June 7th!  
CLICK HERE to register

Soccer Camps – Boys and Girls -Ages 6 – 14

Ok so its almost Summer Camp time – below are some nice options for Soccer Camps this summer

Post2Post GOALKEEPER – Soccer Camp – May 31-June 3 –  9 am till 3 pm

CFC and Carmel High Coach Carla Baker – former National Team Goalie for Canada will run her annual GK camp June 1-4 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger Field

Indy 11 Soccer Camp June 20-23 — 9 am till 12 noon Ages 5-14 $135 @ Badger Fields

Kick in the Grass – 3 v 3 Soccer Tour at Badger Field July 9th

Goal2Gol Soccer Camp
CHS Men’s Head Coach Shane Schmidt, a former U-20 US National Team player, runs his annual camp from 9 am to 2 pm July 11-16. $150 before 6/30 @ River Road Fields.

Post2Post Soccer Camp
Former Pittsburgh Head Coach Sue-Moy Chin and Former Iowa Coach Carla Baker run their annual field player camp for players of all abilities July 25-28 — 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger

Check out The Ole Ballcoach online https://theoleballcoach.wordpress.com/
Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion – http://brickyardbattalion.com, Sam’s Army, American Outlaws  https://www.facebook.com/IndyAOUnite

Earn Your College Degree at ½ the Cost and Time of Traditional Schools  www.achievetestprep.com/shane

5/13/16 Europe Leagues Wrap up, Europa Final 5/18, CFC night at Indy 11, Games of Week on TV

Wow so what a celebration at Leicester on Saturday as the Foxes won their first EPL title in 193 yrs – still plenty to play for in the EPL as Man United and Man City are battling for that 4th spot to qualify for Champions League.  Can you imagine how uncomfortable incoming wonder coach Pep Guardiola is right now – with Man City on the edge of NOT being in Champions League during the same season when they advanced to the UCL Final 4 for the first time in their history?  It makes for intrigue down the stretch, as do the battles for 5th and 6th (Europa League Qualification) and of course Relegation at the bottom of the standings was quite dramatic this week as well.  Sunderland won in dramatic come from behind fasion Sunday as former Toronto FC man Jermaine Defoe scored off US defender Deandre Yedlin’s cross to put the black cats 1 pt above Newcastle and then a 3-0 stomping of Howard less Everton mean Sunderland stays in the Premier League next season while New Castle and Norwich are heading down to the 2nd division with Aston Villa and US keeper Brad Guzan.  This weekend all the EPL games are on Sunday at 10 am across the NBC network of channels – with Swansea hosting Man City on NBC, Man U home to Bournemouth on NBCSN (Man City is 4th with a win or tie), Leicester City travels to Chelsea on CNBC, Southampton is home looking to make up 2 pts on West Ham for a Europa League qualifying 6th place – who travels to Stoke City and US Defender Geoff Cameron on Bravo.  Sat Night the Indy 11 (the only NASL team with no loss 2-3-0) – currently standing tied for 4th overall travel to Ft. Lauderdale on ESPN3 at 7 pm.

So it comes down to the final games on Sat 11 am on beIN Sport as Barcelona holds a slim 1 pt lead on Real Madrid for the La Liga Championship.  Barca play hapless Grenada while Real Madrid travels to Deportivo needing a win and a Barca tie or loss to snag away the title. In France League 2 US Manager Bob Bradley needs a Metz loss and a win by his Le Havre to complete a move to the top French division. (Not likely to happen – but he would become the 1st US Manager in Europes 1st Division if so).

Of course Juergan Klopp’s Liverpool looks for a Europa League Championship Cup, immortality and a Champions League Spot next year as they face 3 time finalist Spain’s Sevilla in the Europa League Final Wednesday at 2:45 pm on Fox Sports 1.  Join us at the Brockway Pub off old Meridan behind Meyer as the Indy Liverpool fans unite to root their team on!!

Great Story on Player Development – What your Soccer Coach Won’t Tell the Parents –Renegades Soccer

Pictures Carmel FC night at the May 7 Indy 11 game 

CFC_indy11_tunnel
Carmel FC players form the tunnel for the Indy 11 players to run thru Sat Night.

I forgot the U9 Red Lion Champions in last weeks email – sorry folks –

CFC_U9G_RedLion

U9 Girls Red Lion Champions – coach left Bill McGee, and Betty Shepherd (right)

cfc_U9boys_RedLion_MarkFlanders

U 9 Boys Red Lion Champions – Coach Mark Flanders

Carmel FC is looking for a new DOC  

GAMES ON TV THIS WEEK

Sat, May 14 (final day in Germany+Italy+Spain)

9:30 am Fox                   Bayern Munich vs Hannover 96

9:30 am Fox Sports 2 Live whip-around coverage all German games
9:30 am Fox Soccer+ Werder Bremen vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
9:30 am GolTV              Bayer Leverkusen vs. Ingolstadt
11 am beIn Sport       Deportivo vs Real Madrid

2:45 pm beIn Sport Milan vs Roma

7 pm ESPN3                    Ft Lauderdale Strikers vs Indy 11

8 pm beIn Sports        Min United vs Jacksonville Armada

Sunday, May 15 (final day in EPL)

10 a.m., NBC                  Swansea vs. Manchester City
10 a.m., NBCSN            Manchester United vs. Bournemouth
10 a.m., USA                  Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
10 a.m., CNBC:             Chelsea vs. Leicester City
10 a.m., MSNBC           West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool
10:am Syfy:                     Arsenal vs. Aston Villa
10 a.m., Bravo:             Stoke City vs. West Ham United
10 a.m., E!:                     Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
10 a.m  Esquire            Everton vs. Norwich City
10 a.m   Oxyge             Watford vs. Sunderland

Wed, May 18

2:30 pm Fox Sp 1        Liverpool vs Sevilla (Europa League Final)

Sat, May 21

12 noon Fox                   FA (England) Cup Final – Crystal Palace vs Man United

1:45 pm ESPN 2??      German Cup Final – Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

2:45 pm ??                      Italian Cup Final – Milan vs Juve

3 pm beIn Sport          French Cup Final – Maseille vs PSG 

2:30 pm Fox                   NYC FC vs NY Red Bulls

8 pm Ch 8                        Indy 11 vs Min United

Sun, May 22

12:00 p.m. Fox Sports 1 Puerto Rico vs. United States men, international friendly
4:30 p.m. ESPN            Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 
7 p.m. Fox Sports 1   Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes,
Wed, May 25

8 pm ESPN2                    United States men vs. Ecuador, international friendly

Sat, May 28

TBD FS1                             United States men vs. Bolivia, international friendly

2:45 pm                            Champions League Final REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID

Sun, May 29

4 pm ESPN                       NYCFC vs Orlando City

Thurs, June 2

9 pm FS 1                         US Ladies vs Japan

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100

9:30 pm Fox Sports1                        USA vs Columbia

Sun, June 5

12:30 pm ESPN2         US Ladies vs Japan

5 pm Fox                          COPA – Jamaica vs Venezuela

7 pm Fox Sports 1      COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Tues, June 7

8 pm  Fox Sports 1     USA vs Costa Rica – Solider Field – Tix Available!

Fri, June 10 European Cup

3 pm ESPN                       France vs Romania

MLS TV Schedule 

European Championships This Summer on ESPN

Copa America Centario Schedule   TV Schedule

COPA AMERICA 100 –GAMES IN CHICAGOstill seats left for USA Game , Argentina game and Semi-Finals.

International Champions Cup – ICC – @ Chicago – Bayern Munich vs AC Milan Soldier Field Wed 7/27 @ 8 pm Tix still available  $35 to $135

 

 EPL and World Leagues

Power Rankings – ESPN FC – Shaka Hislop

EPL Round Up- Leicester Stars Reach Hero Status – Ian Macintosh – ESPN FC

Battle for Champions League and Europa League Spots Rages on in EPL

Martinez Out at Everton  ESPN FC

John Terry’s red card a sad final act to his storied Chelsea career

EPL Table

Atletico Crashes out of  Spain’s Title Race while Barca and Real win

La Liga comes down to final day

Messi vs Renaldo

Messi Interview

Messi s brilliant Free Kick

US

US American’s Abroad Season in Review

US ladies Take a Stand on Pay Equity LA Times

Grant Wahl SI – Mailbag – Video

Decisions Ahead for Copa

American Owners in the EPL

MLS

Around the MLS

Kei Kamara controversy in Columbus –US Soccer Players

Seattle Rookie and US Forward Morris ties rookie mark with 4 goals in 4 games

John Terry must lower demands to sign with MLS Club

LA’s Gerrard eyes Liverpool Return

Addition of Jones has Colorado Rapids in 1st before Tim Howard even arrives

Indy 11

Indy 11 Preview for Ft. Lauderdale Game

Disappointing Draw for Indy 11 – Permanent Relagation – Aaron Gunyon

Champions League Finals (Sat -May 28 -Fox) 

Real Wins

Atletico Holds on to Oust Bayern

Liverpool could find unlikely hero in Europa League Final

Americans Abroad season in review: U.S. options emerge overseas

BY BRIAN STRAUSADD FAVORITE Posted: Wed May. 11, 2016

The trend already seemed to be gaining momentum as the U.S. national team headed to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.For nearly three years, coach Jurgen Klinsmann had been urging American players to step outside their comfort zones and test themselves in the planet’s top leagues. But the perception that opportunities were limited abroad, plus Major League Soccer’s increasing spending power, combined to create more of an influx than an exodus. Bigger paydays attracted some, and the opportunity to be the cornerstone of a franchise lured others.Klinsmann’s 23-man World Cup team included 10 MLS players, an increase of six from 2010. And within a few months, the likes of DaMarcus Beasley, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore were heading back to the U.S. or Canada as well.MLS hasn’t given up on trying to lure U.S. internationals. Tim Howard is joining the Colorado Rapids this summer, and Alejandro Bedoya was tempted before deciding to stay in Nantes.But as next month’s Copa América Centenario draws near, Americans have re-established their presence in Europe and Mexico. Thanks to the departure of a handful of players and the emergence of several more who went abroad some time ago, Klinsmann now could field a pretty competitive team comprised entirely of men earning their living outside MLS. Among the 40 named to the Copa América preliminary roster, 21 play abroad. And several have made an impression.As European campaigns comes to a close, the Liga MX playoffs kick off and the May 20 23-man Copa roster deadline approaches, Planet Fútbol stakes stock of the season for Americans playing abroad and who’s now in frame for the Copa and this fall’s World Cup qualifiers. Reasonable people can debate the performance and progress of the teams Klinsmann has put on the field, but present and future player pool looks to be as deep as ever.

England

For so long the home of America’s great goalkeepers, the Premier League has been a frustrating place for Klinsmann’s top two this season. Tim Howard, 37, was phased out by under-fire Everton coach Roberto Martinez at the end of January while Brad Guzan, 31, has faced relentless pressure playing behind a miserable Aston Villa squad that’s headed for the Championship. While Howard has been given the opportunity to start the Toffees’ final two home games, Guzan has sat out the past two matches following a 4-2 home loss to Southampton on April 23.With neither in form, the Copa starter likely will be determined during the camp that commences Monday. The U.S. will play friendlies against Puerto Rico (May 22), Ecuador (May 25) and Bolivia (May 28) before the tournament. Guzan has started 28 of Villa’s 37 EPL games, yielding a league-high 58 goals, while Howard started 24 times for Everton and was beaten 35 times.U.S. U-23 goalie Cody Cropper joined Milton Keynes Dons last summer and appeared 12 times for the Championship club, which will play in England’s third tier next season.PODCAST: Revisiting our atrocious Premier League predictions

 

The picture is more promising a few yards forward, where Geoff Cameron andDeAndre Yedlin have solidified their spots at Stoke City and Sunderland, respectively.They’re the only American field players starting regularly in the Premier League. Cameron, who signed a new deal last year and now is tied to Stoke until the summer of 2018, has played center back, right back and defensive midfield for the Potters this season but usually anchors the back four. Only five clubs have yielded more league goals than Stoke’s 54. Cameron is expected to play in the middle for Klinsmann but could fill in on the flank in a pinch.However, Yedlin’s improvement should mean Cameron can stay central. The 22-year old’s speed and ability to get forward and create never were questioned, but his defensive stability and positioning were issues when he signed with Tottenham Hotspur two years ago. Yedlin struggled in London, but a loan move north has helped him find the focus and playing time he’s needed. The former Seattle Sounder has started 20 EPL games entering the season finale—he reclaimed the role in February after two months on the sidelines—and helped set up Sunderland’s massive game-winning goal last weekend against Chelsea.He should have the right back spot close to locked down for the U.S. Yedlin still isn’t a finished product but could be a sought-after transfer this summer.

Tim Howard: Jurgen Klinsmann is the man to take USMNT forward

USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard explains why the calls for Jurgen Klinsmann’s job does not affect the team.There’s defensive depth in England as well. Eric LichajJonathan Spector andTim Ream continue to gut it out in the second-tier Championship and all can be said to be on Klinsmann’s radar now that Lichaj has pushed his way onto the 40-man Copa roster.Lichaj, 27, has been a Nottingham Forest regular for three years and started an impressive 43 games this season. Klinsmann has preferred Yedlin, Cameron, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler or Brad Evans at right back but finally will get a close look at the Chicagoland product this month.Ream, 28, started 29 times in his first season at Fulham, during which the Cottagers were threatened with relegation. Ream is comfortable both in the middle and at left back—versatility which may help as Klinsmann pares down his roster. Spector, 30, last played for the U.S. in an October friendly against Costa Rica. The Birmingham City veteran, who plays in the middle or on the right, had 25 starts this season but has been a first choice only four times in 2016.First-year Chelsea defender Matt Miazga earned 136 minutes of Premier League playing time across two matches in early April and will be in camp with Klinsmann. U.S. U-23 center back Cameron Carter-Vickers is at Tottenham, where he dressed for several Europa League games this season. The 18-year-old Spurs academy product is the London-born son of an American father.Four years ago, it appeared that German-born defensive midfielder Danny Williams was on the cusp of becoming a U.S. regular. But he was capped only twice in 2013-14 as he transitioned from TSG Hoffenheim to Reading. He played for the U.S. six times in 2015 and had a 2015-16 good season for his Championship club, establishing himself as more of a box-to-box presence and scoring a career-high six goals. Although his spring was tarnished by a three-game April suspension that followed an on-field confrontation with Reading captain Paul McShane, his overall performance leaves him firmly back in the U.S. picture.U.S. U-20 and U-23 linchpin Emerson Hyndman, a Dallas product who joined Fulham’s academy in 2011, has had a frustrating campaign.Despite his skill, vision and obvious upside, the 20-year-old failed to find consistent playing time as Fulham fired its coach, used another two on an interim basis and then hired Slaviša Jokanović in December.Hyndman could be on his way out of Craven Cottage this summer after starting nine games and scoring one goal (a stoppage-time game-winner against Cardiff City) this season.

Germany

Fabian Johnson can make a strong case as the most outstanding American abroad thanks to his prolific season with Borussia Mönchengladbach. The winger has been a mainstay for the club, starting 32 games and scoring eight goals. Five of those starts and two of those goals came in the Champions League as Gladbach finished 1-3-2 in a brutal group that included Manchester City, Juventus and Sevilla.The two questions facing Johnson, 28, are whether Klinsmann will have to deploy him at left back despite the player’s preference and performance in midfield, and whether he’ll be properly recovered from the groin injury that’s kept him out of Gladbach’s past two games.Two other potential Copa starters are defender John Brooks and, surprisingly, playmaker Christian Pulisic. No one doubted the Borussia Dortmund teenager’s potential, but his quick comfort in the first team had Klinsmann believing the 17-year-old was ready for a World Cup qualifier in March.Pulisic has played 12 times for Dortmund’s senior squad, starting on four occasions and scoring twice.Brooks, 23, left his poor 2015 Gold Cup in the rear-view mirror with a strong season for Hertha Berlin. He battled through a couple injuries to start 22 times this season and in January, he signed a new contract lasting through 2018-19. Both Brooks and Hertha have struggled recently, however. The player missed time with a knee issue before returning last weekend and the club has lost four straight, leaving its European fate in doubt heading into Saturday’s finale at Mainz.Although he plays in the second division, Bobby Wood’s breakout 17-goal season at Union Berlin has validated Klinsmann’s patience with the Hawaiian striker and drawn the attention of Bundesliga clubs. Wood, 23, has an excellent chance to make the final Copa roster.The mercurial Timmy Chandler is on the 40-man team after recovering from an August 2015 knee injury and earning four starts at Eintracht Frankfurt in March and April. The 26-year-old right back suffered a muscle injury last month, however, and is only now returning to the field.Elsewhere in Germany, Alfredo Morales, who’s had trouble breaking through the U.S. midfield logjam, lost his starting spot at FC Ingolstadt in early February then suffered a groin injury. He’s earned a few minutes as a reserve over the past couple weeks. World Cup forward Aron Jóhannsson was lost for the remainder of Werder Bremen’s season following an October hip injury. And round-of-16 scorerJulian Green has fallen from that perch, netting 10 goals for Bayern Munich’s reserve team, which competes in Germany’s fourth tier.

Elsewhere in Europe

He was talking transfer with the Philadelphia Union last year but Alejandro Bedoya now is one of the most successful and consistent Yanks abroad, perhaps surpassed this season only by Johnson. The 29-year-old has spent his entire pro career in Europe, going from Sweden to Scotland back to Sweden and then to France’s FC Nantes, where he’s tallied five goals in 30 appearances this season. Bedoya scored again in Saturday’s loss to Caen. He’s tied to Nantes until the summer of 2019 and his play should make the club reluctant to see him leave, or at least increase his transfer value.  Bedoya excels for Nantes playing just behind the forwards. It remains to be seen whether Klinsmann will get the most out Bedoya in the wider role he often plays for the U.S.WATCH: Bedoya scores, leads “I believe!” chant in Nantes finale

Since leaving D.C. United in March, Perry Kitchen has established himself quickly at Scotland’s Hearth of Midlothian. He’s got a lot of competition in the U.S. midfield, but Kitchen’s move and subsequent progress are exactly the sort of things Klinsmann wants to see. Kitchen, 24, already has started seven games for Hearts and is set for Europa League football next season. Also in Scotland, Arsenal loanee Gedion Zelalem, 19, has played 21 games and started 15 for second-tier champion Rangers.

Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath earned a call-up to the 40-man squad after a strong season at Norway’s Molde FK. The Colorado product, 20, was a regular in net for both domestic and European matches. Molde fell in Champions League qualifying last year before going on a Europa League run that ended with a round-of-32 loss to two-time defending champion and 2016 finalist Sevilla. Horvath, who’s one of several potential heirs to Howard and Guzan, may just squeak past Nick Rimando and David Bingham and seize the third goalkeeper spot on the Copa roster.

Other players to keep an eye on post-Copa America are forward Rubio Rubin, 20, who’s appeared three times for Klinsmann but missed most of FC Utrecht’s season with a leg injury; defender Erik Palmer-Browna 19-year-old on loan from Sporting Kansas City who’s been starting for the FC Porto reserve squad that won the Portuguese second division; and Josh Gatt, 24, the hard-luck winger who’s undergone three knee surgeries and his hoping to return to the field with Molde this summer.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Bob Bradley, the pioneering coach who took over at French club Le Havre in November. The second-division club has gone 11-6-6 under his watch, but remains three points out of the final promotion spot with just one game remaining. Le Havre’s goal-differential deficit of six makes it unlikely to secure a promotion miracle in its finale.

Mexico

The eight clubs qualified for the Liga MX playoffs kicking off Wednesday feature a combined three players called up to the 40-man roster and several more who will be contending for places after Copa América.Defender Omar Gonzalez needed a change of scenery after seven seasons in Los Angeles and found it at Pachuca, the storied Mexican club that finished second in the Clausura standings and tied for the league lead in goals allowed. The 27-year-old center back adjusted quickly, scored a goal in February and was an every-game starter before missing last weekend’s regular season finale. He’s been less consistent with the U.S in recent months.

Ventura Alvarado, 23, was anointed by Klinsmann as a starting center back for last year’s Gold Cup but struggled alongside Brooks. Meanwhile, his position at star-studded Club América has been even harder to maintain. He did contribute to Los Aguilas’ CONCACAF Champions League title with a good performance at right back in the first leg of the finals but he’s started only five games in the Clausura.  STRAUS: Alvarado balances prestige vs. playing time at Club America

Edgar Castillo started both World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala in March. They were his first U.S. appearances in two years. Although the  has looked a bit overwhelmed against top international opposition, he plays a position of need—left back—and Klinsmann couldn’t ignore his Liga MX campaign. Castillo, 29, was a regular starter for first-place Monterrey before suffering an injury last month but should be back for the liguilla.Monterrey will face arch-rival and reigning champ Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals. Once favored by Klinsmann, Tigres midfielder Jose Torres now is out of the U.S. picture. The 28-year-old, who left Texas for Mexico as a teenager, has started only one Clausura contest.Club Tijuana’s 14th-place finish knocked several Americans out of championship contention. Michael Orozco, who’s on Klinsmann’s 40-man roster, has started three straight games after missing the first chunk of Xolos’ season. Klinsmann frequently counts on the 30-year-old. U.S. junior internationals Paul Arriola,Alejandro Guido, John Requejo and Amando Moreno also saw their seasons conclude. Defender Greg Garza has missed the entire 2015-16 year with a hip injury.Plenty of fans were hoping to see 2015 MLS Cup champion Jorge Villafana make Klinsmann’s list. The 26-year-old left back settled in well at Santos Laguna following his departure from Portland and started 13 of 17 Clausura matches. Santos finished seventh and will face Pachuca in the quarterfinals. Elsewhere, 2010 World Cup defender Jonathan Bornstein remains a frequent starter for Querétaro, who fell in this season’s CCL quarterfinals. Former Real Salt Lake playmaker Luis Gil played nine times this spring for Los Gallos Blancos.Miguel Ibarra, who starred for Minnesota United and earned three caps under Klinsmann, didn’t make the 40-man preliminary roster and has seen his minutes dwindle at Club León. He was limited this season to appearances in Copa MX. Midfielder Joe Corona spent the spring with Dorados Sinaloa, for which he’s started twice.

Americans Abroad Starting XI

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan

Defenders: Tim Ream, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, DeAndre Yedlin

Midfielders: Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, Perry Kitchen, Alejandro Bedoya

Forward: Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood

Leicester and Ranieri confirm heroes status, John Terry tops the villains list

 

Heroes

Just for a moment, let’s forget that Leicester received the trophy on Saturday. Let’s forget the talk of impossible dreams and miracles. Let’s just focus on the way that they tore Everton apart at the King Power stadium. From the first whistle, they were magnificent. Aside from everything else they have achieved this season, Leicester are fun to watch. They make things happen, they fight for everything and they look like they’re enjoying themselves. And they didn’t even need to win. They were only playing for pride! Perhaps Everton should have tried that…And let’s remember it all again! Let’s remember how everyone, this column included, tipped Leicester to go down. Let’s remember how we all reacted when Claudio Ranieri was appointed in the summer. And let’s never forget how that affable Italian galvanised a squad of never-had-beens, took them to the summit of English football and kept them there, grinning away and cracking jokes as the pressure mounted. But the pressure never took its toll. We all thought that the Premier League title was a private party for the super rich. Ranieri begged to differ.And if Everton’s travelling supporters resented having to sit through someone else’s party on Saturday, they might want to pass on the midweek trip to Sunderland. Sam Allardyce’s side have left it late, even by Black Cats’ standards, but a win over Everton this week will guarantee Premier League survival while simultaneously relegating bitter rivals Newcastle. That’s the stuff dreams are made of. Once again, Sunderland had Jermain Defoe to thank for a winning goal, his strike securing victory over the now former-champions Chelsea. They’re almost safe.It wasn’t a particularly impressive performance, but it’s all starting to look a little rosier for Arsenal after their 2-2 draw at the Etihad. Not only can they secure their favoured fourth position slot with a single point at home to Aston Villa, not only can they guarantee third and a place in the Champions League group stages with a win at home to Villa, but the tantalising prospect of finishing above Tottenham in second has suddenly emerged. If there is one thing that might redeem the beleaguered Arsene Wenger in the eyes of his critics, it’s a surprise St Totteringham’s Day.It’s odd that a goalless draw at home to the team in 18th place can be considered a success, but it’s been that sort of season for Aston Villa. Congratulations though to Eric Black, the club’s caretaker manager, who avoided a 12th successive defeat with what looked suspiciously like a team putting in a decent day’s work. It also spared the fans one last humiliation. Having mercilessly mocked the Newcastle supporters in 2009 when the Magpies were last relegated, karma threatened an appearance. Instead, it seems that Villa have taken Newcastle into a grisly embrace and they’ve both fallen into the shadows.The best you can say for John Terry is at least his challenge was evidence of some kind of desire. There hasn’t been much of that at Chelsea this season. But what a thing for an experienced defender to do in injury time. And what a price he has had to pay for his mistake. There will be no final farewell for him in a Chelsea shirt, no last opportunity to savour the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. Whatever you think of the man, this is no way to bring down the curtain on his career. Terry is here in the villains section, but the only person he’s robbed is himself.No one is trying to say that Manchester City have had a good season. No one is trying to say that Manuel Pellegrini wouldn’t have been sacked already had it not been for Pep Guardiola’s remaining Bavarian commitments. But surely he deserved a better send-off than to wander around an emptying stadium as only just enough people lifted a suspiciously corporate-looking banner in his honour. It feels like a long time ago now, but he did win the league with City, you know. And the hair. Surely you’d stick around for one last look at that magnificent hair?You cannot say that Newcastle haven’t had their chances to escape the drop. A trip to Villa Park is as close as you can get to a guaranteed three points these days, but where was the desire? Where was the intensity? It’s baffling that this team starts so slowly, as if they need to be reminded of their plight by Rafa Benitez in every half-time break. As if they all slap their foreheads and cry, “Oh yeah! We’re in the relegation zone!” There’s absolutely no sympathy here if they do go down this week. They deserve it.When Norwich beat Newcastle, they must have thought that they were going to survive. It was, after all, their second win on the spin. But since that day, they’ve played four games, they’ve lost them all and they haven’t even scored a goal. Alex Neil was visibly frustrated, and you can certainly understand why. The Canaries keep making the same silly errors. But money was spent in the winter transfer window, serious money, and they still don’t have a regular goalscorer. Without one of those, there’s very little chance of survival.In one of the shortest news conferences of the season, Roberto Martineztold reporters that there were no positives whatsoever for Everton after their 3-1 defeat in Leicester. That wasn’t strictly true. The fact that they got away without shipping the five or six they should have shipped was a positive of sorts. We like Martinez here, as a man and as a manager, but there’s no question that it’s all gone horribly and irreparably wrong for him. The kindest thing to do now would be to settle his contract and spare him what would be a toxic Goodison Park on Sunday.Iain Macintosh is a writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter

The Premier League’s battle for Champions League, Europa League

FC’s Gab Marcotti discusses the race for fourth in the Premier League and gives his pick for the winner of the last UCL spot.

The Premier League gets four places in the Champions League, with the top three going direct to the group stage and fourth entering in the final qualifying round.There are also three places available in the Europa League — going to fifth in the league plus the winners of the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup. As Manchester City won the latter and certain of finishing no lower than sixth, that place will transfer to the league.

So, fifth in the league (and the FA Cup winners) will go direct to the group stage, with sixth entering in the third qualifying round. If Man United win the FA Cup and finish in the top six, then seventh will qualify for the Europa League at the third qualifying round instead.

So far this season, 

Leicester City, for the first time, and Tottenham Hotspur, for the second time, have secured their place at the top table. Leicester will be one of the seeds along with the champions of six other leagues, as well as the holders. Here are the other English clubs still in contention to qualify for next season’s competition.

Arsenal (3rd; 68 points)
Remaining game: Aston Villa (h)
SPI odds to finish in the top four: 98.3 percent

Goal difference means Arsenal essentially need a point at home to Aston Villa to secure a place in the Champions League, though they need a victory to be sure of third and an automatic place in the group stage.

The only way the Gunners can miss out is if they lose to Villa, Man United win both their games and Man City win at Swansea.

Arsenal also have half an eye on finishing second above Spurs, and for that to happen they must beat Villa and, due to goal difference, hope Spurs lose to Newcastle.

Manchester City (4th; 65 points)
Remaining games: Swansea (a)
SPI odds to finish in the top four: 77.6 percent

Man City’s European future is no longer in their own hands. If Man United win both their remaining games, and Arsenal beat Villa, then City can finish no higher than fifth and face life in the Europa League.

City will be supporting West Ham against United on Tuesday which is going to be huge.

Manchester United (5th; 63 points)
Remaining games: West Ham (a), Bournemouth (h), Crystal Palace (n; FA Cup final)
SPI odds to finish in the top four: 23.8 percent

It seems highly likely that United will have to win both their remaining games to reach the Champions League, having failed to get out of its group stage this season. And they know now that will guarantee another season back among Europe’s elite.

The big game comes next at West Ham, the final match at Upton Park. The Hammers will want to leave their home on a high, but United need the three points to pressure Man City. They then host Bournemouth on the final day.

Southampton (6th; 60 points)
Remaining game: Crystal Palace (h)

Southampton cannot qualify for the Champions League, but they are still very much in the hunt for a place in the Europa League. Victory at Tottenham lifted the Saints above West Ham into sixth, but as the Hammers have a game in hand their fate is not in their own hands.

If Man United win the FA Cup then seventh will go into the Europa third qualifying round, so Southampton do have something of a safety net.

Palace will surely go to St Mary’s resting players ahead of the FA Cup final against Man United, and that gives Southampton a chance of holding onto sixth.

West Ham United (7th; 59 points)
Remaining games: Man United (h), Stoke (a)
SPI odds to finish in the top four: 0.0 percent

The shock home defeat to Swansea means the Hammers’ Champions League hopes are all but over. They would need to win their remaining games, and hope Man City lose both of theirs while Man United do not beat Bournemouth. And they would need to overturn a huge goal difference deficit to City.

They must now concentrate on securing a place in the Europa League, and they need to win both of their remaining games to make sure they get ahead, and stay ahead, of Southampton.

Liverpool (8th; 55 points)
Remaining games: Chelsea (h), West Brom (a), Sevilla (n; Europa League final)

Liverpool no longer have a mathematical chance of the Champions League, able to finish no higher than fifth. So Liverpool will have to win the Europa League to earn a return to the Champions League.

Otherwise, they will have to fight their way back into the top seven or they will miss out on European football completely. That is very much alive after their win over Watford, sitting a point behind West Ham and two behind Southampton (who they have a game in hand on).  

Crystal Palace (16th, 39 points)
Remaining game: Man United (n; FA Cup final)

Their route into the Europe is via the FA Cup, which they would have to win to go to the Europa League group stage. There is no longer a place for domestic cup runners-up if the winners qualify via another route.

Real Madrid leapfrog Atletico Madrid, Barcelona move above Bayern Munich

Former Real Madrid striker Raul believes the all-Spanish UEFA Champions League final will be a party for Spanish football.

We have a new leader! As the European season reaches its climax, Madrid’s big two swap places in Shaka Hislop’s Power Rankings.

  1. Real Madrid(+1)

Zinedine Zidane’s side still have a chance of winning La Liga, though they need some help from Granada this weekend if they are to overtake Barcelona. The real focus is the Champions League final and, between now and then, the fitness of key men such as Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will be heavily scrutinised.

  1. Atletico

Madrid

 (-1)

Of course, Real are not the only Madrid-based side with eyes directed toward Milan on May 28. Atletico will be able to rest players in La Liga this weekend, after their title chase ended with a shock 2-1 defeat at Levante. Diego Simeone now has almost three weeks to mastermind a game plan to claim Atletico’s first European Cup win.

  1. Barcelona(+1)

Is a league and cup double “enough?” The disappointment at missing out on the Champions League will remain but two trophies, even by Barcelona’s high standards, represents a fine campaign. They can win the first of those — La Liga — this weekend with victory against Granada. The Copa del Rey final against Sevilla follows on May 22.

  1. Bayern Munich(-1)

Similarly, is dominating domestically sufficient for Bayern? In contrast to Barcelona, who at least won the Champions League last year, Bayern have come up short in Europe in each of Pep Guardiola’s three seasons in charge. With that in mind, they began retooling their squad this week, with the signings of Mats Hummels and Renato Sanches.

  1. Juventus(no change)

And while we’re discussing doubles, Italian champions Juventus are focusing on the Coppa Italia final against Milan on May 21. The Old Lady received a boost this week when legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until the age of 40. Andrea Barzagli also put pen to paper on a new deal.

  1. Paris Saint-Germain(no change)

PSG have already won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue and only a shock Marseille win would see them denied back-to-back French trebles. Between now and then is the final league game of the season against Nantes. PSG need to score twice to hit 100 goals for the season, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is four goals away from 50 in all competitions.

  1. Leicester(no change)

Sometimes a title party can impact the way champions play but that certainly was not the case with Leicester. Granted, Everton were their opponents pretty much in name alone, but the Foxes’ resounding 3-1 win showed just why they have won the Premier League. Claudio Ranieri and his players deserve all the plaudits that have come their way.

  1. Benfica(new)

With one round of games remaining in Portugal, Benfica are on the brink of their third straight league title and 35th overall. Rui Vitoria’s side lead Sporting by two points ahead of the final weekend, having won 11 consecutive league games. Midtable Nacional are all that stand between Benfica and another trophy.

  1. Liverpool(-1)

Most people expected him to revitalise the club but Jurgen Klopp’s effect on Liverpool has been truly remarkable. Anfield is, once again, a fortress where the home side expect to win every time and previously inconsistent players have reached new levels under the German. A Europa League win next week would be the icing on Liverpool’s cake.

  1. Sevilla(new)

Standing in Liverpool’s way next Wednesday in Basel are a side who know what it takes to win the Europa League. Sevilla are chasing their third straight win in the competition and fifth overall. They might be just seventh in La Liga but they know how to win big games, having beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid this season.  Dropping out Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund. 

LA Galaxy unstoppable? Kamara rages, Morris and Jones continue to shine

ESPN FC’s Taylor Twellman berates Columbus Crew stars Federico Higuain and Kei Kamara after they argued over who would take a penalty kick.

An eventful weekend in MLS gave us more than a few things to talk about, including disharmony in Columbus, LA’s attacking output and Jordan Morris’ excellent form.

Kei Kamara vs. Federico Higuain

Teams, even the successful ones, are not always perfect in their internal camaraderie. The best teams can feature some pretty noxious relationships — internal competition is fierce among individuals conditioned to fight and scrap for every bit of success — but the truth is that teammates need not be friends to play well together.

Overcoming dressing-room discord is usually just a matter of winning. Winning covers all types of ills, including players whose personalities clash. Bad teams have bad chemistry because they’re bad; good teams appear to have good chemistry because they win. If the winning stops, any issues behind the scenes are bound to float to the surface.

Which brings us to Columbus Crew SC. Despite scoring four goals at home on Sunday, Columbus couldn’t hang on for a much-needed win against the visiting Montreal Impact. What should have been three points turned into one with a 4-4 draw, leading to some postmatch venting on the part of star striker Kei Kamara.

Kamara called teammate Federico Higuain “selfish” for taking a penalty in the 53rd minute that would have given Kamara a hat trick had he scored. He then doubled down on the criticism by pointing out that he doesn’t need Higuain to score goals, and that the pair don’t have much chemistry on the field.

Columbus’ troubles run deep, and we can now add public animosity between two designated players to the growing list of potentially season-destroying problems.

A galaxy of weapons

All-action striker Robbie Keane returned to the LA Galaxy lineup on Sunday after missing nearly two months with a knee injury and scored twice in a 4-2 win over the New England Revolution. But with questions swirling as to how the LA lineup could accommodate Keane and Giovani dos Santos, the Mexican star continued his blistering form with a contender for goal of the year. Steven Gerrard has also faced questions over whether he would ever show enough flashes of his old self to justify the hefty contract handed to him by the Galaxy, but he came on a substitute to score on a clever chip and seal the game.

All of that, and we haven’t even talked about Gyasi Zardes’ contributions (two assists).

It wasn’t as easy as it might sound for LA, however. The Revolution came storming back in the second half and came within the woodwork of bringing the game level on a number of occasions. Galaxy boss Bruce Arena still has plenty to work out when it comes to the balance of his team, because while throwing on a host of top-tier attacking players looks good on paper and makes sense when the goals are coming, good teams will find ways to exploit the gaps left at the back and punish LA through the midfield.

For now, though, with its full complement of talent available, LA looks nearly unstoppable.

Morris breaks the fourth wall

Remember when the Seattle Sounders’ Jordan Morris was a first-year pro struggling to live up to lofty expectations placed on him by fans, the media and Jurgen Klinsmann? Remember when coach Sigi Schmid suggested Morris needed a breather to give him a chance to adjust to the responsibilities placed on him by a team working through its own adjustment period?If it doesn’t seem like all that long ago, that’s because it wasn’t. The furor over Morris’ inability to score on MLS defenses popped up a month into the season, then carried through most of April.Here we are in May, and things are quite a bit different. After scoring an insurance goal in Seattle’s 2-0 win over the Earthquakes on Saturday, Morris has put the ball in the net in four consecutive games, a streak that ties him for the best scoring streak by a rookie in MLS history.More importantly for the Sounders, Morris is clearly playing with confidence. With his considerable talents, that confidence has been enough to help him adjust and find his scoring stride just when Seattle needed it most.

Cubo unleashed

Grasping for answers during a disastrous six-game winless streak, Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle finally broke the glass and gave Erick “Cubo” Torres his first start of the season. The Mexican international rewarded his boss’ newfound faith with an assist for what proved to be Giles Barnes’ winning goal.Does this mean we’ll see more of Torres at the top of the Dynamo lineup? Coyle has preferred Will Bruin in that spot and brought on Bruin to replace Torres 12 minutes into the second half, but perhaps we’ll finally get to see what Torres can do in Houston.

Keeping up with Jones

Colorado beat Real Salt Lake on Saturday to stay atop the Western Conference standings and did it on the back of yet another Jermaine Jones goal. Jones now has three goals for the Rapids since debuting after a six-game suspension to start the season, each of those goals sending his team to a big victory.What Jones is doing in Colorado is remarkable and only underscores his unique ability to individually affect a team. Jones’s scoring exploits even prompted a joke (we think) from USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.The Rapids looked much-improved before Jones arrived in the team, but with him patrolling the midfield, they look like a very real contender for honours in 2016.

Steven Gerrard eyes Liverpool return from LA ‘sooner rather than later’

Major League Soccer: Steven Gerrard (90′ + 3) LA Galaxy 4-2 New England Revolution

LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard says he is enjoying going “unnoticed” in Los Angeles but plans to return to Liverpool “sooner rather than later.”Gerrard, 35, joined LA Galaxy last year after a distinguished 17-year career with hometown club Liverpool, where he achieved Champions League glory in 2005.The former England captain said he and his family were happy living in California, but admitted he missed friends and family in the UK as well as attending games at Anfield.Speaking at a fans’ question and answer session at LA Galaxy’s StubHub Center, he said: “I will be going home at some point.”I don’t want to start any unnecessary rumours. I’m really happy where I am at the moment. But I’m sure somewhere down the line I will represent Liverpool Football Club.”I miss my friends and my family. I miss a bit of cold weather.”I miss going to the games. I spent 35 years in Liverpool. Liverpool’s my home, it always will be. This is my second home for a short period of time.”Sooner rather than later I will return to where I’m comfortable with my people — and that’s Liverpool.”Gerrard, who came on as a substitute and scored the Galaxy’s final goal in their 4-2 win over New England Revolution on Sunday, said his wife Alex and daughters, Lilly-Ella, Lexie and Lourdes, were “enjoying a different life experience” in LA.”Obviously the city’s a fantastic city for myself and my family, the climate, there’s plenty to do. I’m pretty much unnoticed as well, which is a bonus,” he added.”I’m getting on a little bit now so eventually we’ll move back and settle in Liverpool.”

Indy Eleven at Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Saturday, May 14, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. ET Lockhart Stadium – Ft. L

TEAM RECORDS:
Indy Eleven – 2W-3D-0L, 9 pts., 4th place in NASL Spring standings
Fort Lauderdale – 1W-2D-2L, 5 pts., 9th place in NASL Spring standings
Click here for the complete NASL Spring Season standings

 WATCH LIVE:

 FOLLOW LIVE:

 MEDIA GAME NOTES:

 Last Time Out – Indy 1 : 1 FC Edmonton

Last Saturday, “Indiana’s Team” could not produce a late winner similar to weeks past as a one-all stalemate left the Eleven with just one point taken at home. However, the draw also left Indy as the only unbeaten team in the NASL, a quality worthy of mentioning when speaking of title-winning resumes.Two first half goals is all “The Mike” would see as Eleven centerback Greg Janicki netted his first of the year, getting a slight touch on Nicki Paterson’s free kick delivery in the 22nd minute. Just a few moments later, Justin Braun nearly made it two-nil to the good but was unable to make Edmonton ‘keeper Matt VanOekel pay for his poor distribution.The visitors managed to tie things up in the 37th minute as Sainey Nyassi pushed in a cross from the right flank that found teammate Jake Keegan near the penalty spot. Keegan would beat Janicki to the looping ball and nudged a header that went just over the reach of Eleven netminder Jon Busch as the reset button was hit at Carroll Stadium.The second half was devoid of any major chances for the most part as both sides struggled to break through the other’s midfield. Sinisa Ubiparipovic had an attempt blocked in the 58th minute, and FC Edmonton missed the best chance of the night with two minutes to go as they streaked with numbers down the right flank but could not beat an onrushing Busch, who corralled a low cross in.Though Coach Tim Hankinson rued the missed opportunity to climb further up the standings, he was impressed with his side’s grit to keep at least a point from the proceedings.

 Unpredictability at Hand

After kicking their way through a 1-1 draw at home against FC Edmonton, Indy Eleven now hits the road to the “Sunshine State” for the second time in the 2016 Spring Season, this time to face the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.Last week’s results leave Indy Eleven square in fourth place with a game in hand, just three points off the co-leading New York Cosmos and Carolina RailHawks (NYC currently has the goal differential tiebreaker). Heading into this week, the Cosmos face a Sunday trip to the Eleven’s recent opposition, FC Edmonton, while Carolina hosts Miami FC. Also in front of Indy Eleven – and, like Indy, with a game in hand on the leaders – is Minnesota United FC, who will welcome Jacksonville Armada FC.This weekend’s final scores could help shake out who is really in the hunt at the top of the table, and Coach Hankinson is insistent on his “Boys in Blue” escaping Florida with all three points.  

 Midfield in Question

With Brad Ring questionable for this Saturday, “Coach Hank” has a few things to ponder in regards to his starting XI. If Ring is unable to, does Hankinson stick to his recently-favored 4-4-2 with a flat line in midfield? Ubiparipovic could stay in the middle with Nicki Paterson, but given the nature of the two’s playing styles, would it make more sense for Hankinson to move towards a diamond in midfield with Ubiparipović in the No.10 role and Paterson as a deep-lying playmaker?Out wide, Omar Gordon is set to keep his place in the team following his debut against Rayo OKC and home debut against FC Edmonton, but if Ubiparipovic is shifted back centrally then a spot opens up on either flank – enter Duke Lacroix and Dylan Mares. Hankinson has repeatedly mentioned his belief in rotating players into positions to keep guys fresh and keep the talent continuous, and with Lacroix earning starts in Indy’s first three matches (and playing much of the next when Ring went out injured at Rayo OKC), his return to the XI would not be considered a shake-up by any means.Meanwhile, Dylan Mares has a strong case having impressed both in the starting lineup and as an impact substitution when called upon. However, Mares could also enter the match as a straight swap in the center of the pitch if Ubiparipović works just as well out wide. While the backline is likely to remain as steady as it’s been across the first five contests, the Busch-Vuković-Janicki-Falvey-Palmer line having started every match thus far, it is the midfield and attackers that will have Coach Hankinson keeping people guessing come Saturday night.

 Who to Watch, Indy Eleven Edition: FW Justin Braun

Away games require players to have a little higher-revving engine to make things happen, and that’s where Braun can be a game-changer. In his return to the starting lineup last weekend, Braun was buzzing all over the field – and found himself in the right place to almost put things away on the heels of Janicki’s opening salvo, only to see how best look at a first goal in checkers be thwarted.Can he use that as motivation to put one away on the road? Can he do the dirty work that the players around him can feed off of? Can that help grind out three important points on the road? We’ll see what Coach Hankinson has in store line-up wise, but it could be a game that’s tailor-made for the Salt Lake City native.

 Who to Watch, Fort Lauderdale Edition: MF Ramon Nunez

American soccer watchers may recognize the talented Nunez from his early-career days with FC Dallas, but are more than likely to have seen him in the blue-and-white of the Honduran National Team. The 2010 World Cup vet was late to the party for Fort Lauderdale having just been added on April 19, but if his two-assist performance in last Saturday’s surprise 3-1 win at league-leading Carolina is any indication, the diminutive playmaker is starting to find his footing.

 Match-up to Mark: D Nana Attakora vs. D Nemanja Vukovic

It’s a match-up of attack-friendly wide backs this week … the two-time goal scorer Vuković versus the reigning NASL Player of the Week Attakora. Their side of the field will be active all night long as neither defender is shy about getting forward to support in possession, so don’t be surprised if a pivotal moment comes from one of these two.

THREE THINGS: #INDVFCE

Our weekly ‘Three Things’ from Saturday’s match  May 9, 2016

Following every game in 2016, IndyEleven.com will give each game a little time to breathe before going back for one last look at the proceedings, extracting three takeaways to walk away with before taking a look ahead.In our latest “Three Things,” we look at the effects of centrality, the scoring balance, and the impact of Saturday’s substitutions in the 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton …

MATCH CENTER | INDY ELEVEN vs. FC EDMONTON

 1) Taking Center Stage
Saturday’s 4-4-2 formation saw Coach Tim Hankinson deploy Omar Gordon and Siniša Ubiparipović on the right and left flanks while fixing Nicki Paterson and Brad Ring in the middle as the center two … to no surprise, as this was the quartet that lined up similarly at Rayo OKC the weekend before. However, as the match progressed both Ubiparipovic and Gordon filed in towards the middle of the pitch to allow Nemanja Vuković and Lovel Palmer space moving ahead on the flanks.The pros of this? Both Gordon and Ubiparipović worked to take advantage of the central space, often working in behind the striking pair of Justin Braun and Eamon Zayed to create attacking opportunities. However, there are shortcomings to the move – including the possibility of getting caught in numbers when the Eddies broke on a counter and increasing difficulty in feeding the forwards with enough space for them to generate chances, especially with thre FCE players patrolling the central midfield area. 

 When Gorka Larrea and Dylan Mares were introduced in the 62nd minute as part of a straight swap for Nicki Paterson and Brad Ring, the midfield looked a little clearer as Mares dropped slightly deeper than Larrea as the tandem worked below Gordon and Ubiparipović. Then in the 74th minute, when “Ubi” made way for Jair Reinoso, the Eleven switched to what looked a 4-3-3 with Braun, Zayed, and Reinoso up top and a trio of Gordon, Mares, and Larrea scattered across the midfield.Though the 4-4-2 appears to be the preferred formation going forward for Coach Hank and Co., the tendencies of Omar Gordon and Siniša Ubiparipović to drift more towards the middle will continue to impact how the Eleven attack as the Spring progresses.

 2) Scoring in Defense and Attack
Through the midpoint of the Spring Season, Indy Eleven have scored six goals. Three of those goals have been scored by forwards Eamon Zayed (2) and Jair Reinoso (1), while the other three have come from defenders Nemanja Vuković (2) and Greg Janicki (1). While the “Boys in Blue” remain the only undefeated team in the NASL, this is an area of concern for Coach Hankinson.

After Saturday’s draw when asked about whether his team could pull off a Spring Season title, Hankinson said, “when your defenders are outscoring the strikers, then I would worry about that statement a little bit.

 “In order to win the league, you have to have an outstanding defense, but you also have to know that you can get two or three goals from time to time and making sure that the strike force is doing what they’re paid to do.”In full context, Hankinson feels as if the team has the ingredients and tools to win the league, but that they need to find the right way to feed the attackers going forward as all three of Zayed, Braun, and Reinoso are starving for touches in the opposition area. Goals from defenders are rarely a bad thing, but when they begin to outweigh the tally from your striking pair there may be a tweak or two ahead.

RECAP | Eleven draw even with FC Edmonton

 3) The Impact of Saturday’s Subs
Coach Hankinson was impressed with his trio of substitutions and their ability to control the game in the final half hour. Mares and Larrea were charged with marshalling the midfield and continuing to link the defense with attack. The Indiana Universityproduct Mares stepped in and made an immediate contribution as he linked with Greg Janicki as the top passing combo from defense to midfield.

 

 “I thought tonight we were more threatening than we had been in previous games. Some of that is the addition of Omar, some of that is Jair coming in with Dylan and Gorka and really starting to control the midfield … we have to get a lineup that settles in.”Reinoso also played a key role in the final 15 minutes as his replacing Siniša Ubiparipović allowed “Indiana’s Team” to stretch the attack wider with three up front. Though the Colombian went without a chance in the opposition third, he will continue to provide Hankinson flexibility as either an impact substitute or starter for the final five spring games – a quad injury suffered last weekend at Rayo OKC limited his training this past week, which limited his chances of being included in the first XI on Saturday.

HIGHLIGHTS | IND 1:1 FCE

 3.5) Two Points Lost … Or a Point Gained … or Both?

We’ll throw a bonus “Half-Thing” at you this edition to commemorate hitting the halfway point of the Spring Season. Overall, the point earned against FC Edmonton might not have been what Indy Eleven wanted, but it was indeed important as the team’s pursuit of a Spring title remains a distinct possibility.On one hand, Hankinson and his team saw Saturday as a missed opportunity for three points at “The Mike,” as “win your home games” is a familiar mantra when it comes to competing for trophies. However, after seeing then second-place Minnesota United FC drop points late via its 2-2 draw with Ottawa Fury FC, followed by the then-league leader Carolina Railhawks falling in surprise fashion to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at home, the night turned into a net-positive for the “Boys in Blue.” Indy Eleven remains in fourth place, but its nine points now has it within three points of first-place sharers Carolina and New York. 

 The good news is the Eleven are in position to control their destiny, as Indy has a game in hand on both teams currently on top and have a home meeting with MNU, which sits just a point ahead in third. A road contest at the Strikers awaits this coming Saturday before that home clash with Minnesota on May 21, a game that could ultimately determine whether or not a Spring title is still on the cards for “Indiana’s Team.”

Leicester City wins EPL, La Liga race, Champions + Europa Finals, TV Games

Wow what a week so far – for the underdogs – first Chelsea comes back from 2-nil down to shock Tottenham launching 5000-1 odds against Leicester City to winning the EPL Championship.  Listen this would be like the Indy Indians winning the World Series in baseball.  Its honestly the biggest upset in perhaps in the history of sport – not just soccer or the English Premier League.  Anyway congrats Foxes – bandwagon Shane has put my order in for Leicester Jersey baby !

Turning to Champions League – unbelievable drama at Alliance Stadium in Germany as Bayern Munich could not overcome the deficit and loss on away goals to Atletico.  Simeone and Atleti were brilliant with their counterattacking style again bringing down giants of football back to back in Barcelona then Bayern.   Real Madrid moves into its 2nd final in 3 years and a second match-up against city rival Atletico Madrid in Milan, Italy on May 28 on Fox. In Europa action – Liverpool used the home field of Anfield again this time to put up a 3-0 mark on Villareal as they advance to the finals vs Sevilla who will be making their 3rd straight appearance.  Finally its Carmel FC Night at the Indy 11 game this Sat Night at up at the Mike 8 pm – make plans to be there!

GAMES ON TV

Saturday, May 7

7:45 am NBCSN                    Norwich vs Man United

10 am USA                             Sunderland vs Chelsea

10 am NBCSN                        Aston Villa vs Newcastle

10 am Extra time                  Crystal Palace vs Stoke City, West Ham vs Swansea

8 pm Ch 8                              Indy 11 vs FC Edmonton

 Sunday, May 8

8:30 am NBCSN                    Tottenham vs Southampton

11 am NBCSN                       Man City vs Arsenal

11 am Extra Time                 Liverpool vs Watford

3:30 pm ESPN                       LA Galaxy vs New England Revs

7:30 pm fox Sports 1           DC United vs NY City FC

Tues, May 10

2:45 pm NBCSN                    West Ham vs Man United

Wed, May 11

3 pm NBCSN                          Liverpool vs Chelsea

Sat, May 21

12 noon Fox                          FA Cup Final

2:30 pm Fox                          NYC FC vs NY Red Bulls

Wed, May 25

8 pm                                                            United States men vs. Ecuador, international friendly

Sat, May 28

FS1                                                                United States men vs. Bolivia, international friendly

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100

9:30 pm Fox Sports1                                                USA vs Columbia

Tues, June 7

8 pm  Fox Sports 1                             USA vs Costa Rica – Solider Field – Tix Available!

Fri, June 10 European Cup

3 pm ESPN                                               France vs Romania

MLS TV Schedule ‘

European Championships This Summer on ESPN

Copa America Centario Schedule   TV Schedule

COPA AMERICA 100 –GAMES IN CHICAGOstill seats left for USA Game , Argentina game and Semi-Finals.

International Champions Cup – ICC – @ Chicago – Bayern Munich vs AC Milan Soldier Field Wed 7/27 @ 8 pm Tix still available  $35 to $135

Congrats to a Bunch of Carmel FC Teams that Excelled at Red Lion last weekend !

U16 Boys Coaches Jeff Oberndorfer (Lft) and Mike Pickard (Rt)

U13 Girls Blue – Coaches Carla Baker, Jim Hawkins, and Cathy Gregory (not pictured)

U11 boys Gold  Coaches Doug Latham (Rt) and Jeremy Slivinski (Left)

U10 boys Gold  Coaches Joshua Mason (left) and Curt Nielsen (Rt)

 

 

U10 Girls Gold and Blue -Ft. Wayne Shoot for the Cure Champions Coaches Andy Martin and

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Bale an Example of Madrid Success

Real Madrid shows gap between Man City and Europes Elite – Corrigan ESPNFC

Fine Margins cost Bayern in lost to Atletico

Simeones Atletico Madrid is not a Tactical Revolution

UCL Team of the Week

EPL and World Leagues

Most Unlikely Feat in Sports History – Leicester Wins the EPL –Marcotti ESPNFFC

Unforgetable Party Starts in Leciester

Why Leicester City Won’t Sink Next Yr – EPSN FC

Twitter Reaction to Leicester

Here’s the Video from Vardy’s house

Raneiri is Vindicated as Foxes win EPL – David Hirshey ESPNFC

Tom Hanks put $100 on Leciester City to win Title

Claudio Ranieri’s secret to Leicester winning

19 yo Kelechi’s breakthrough at Man City gives them hope

EPL Table

LaLiga Table

Around the World’s Leagues

USA

US Clint Dempsey Could COPA be his last major Tourney?

Bob Bradley – Champions League is every coaches Dream currently 4th in League 2 France

Bradley on his time in France so far

Indy 11 & NASL

Former Chelsea and England Star Cole Joins Tampa Bay Rowdies

Soccer Camps – Boys and Girls -Ages 6 – 14

Ok so its almost Summer Camp time – below are some nice options for Soccer Camps this summer

Post2Post GOALKEEPER – Soccer Camp – May 31-June 3 –  9 am till 3 pm

CFC and Carmel High Coach Carla Baker – former National Team Goalie for Canada will run her annual GK camp June 1-4 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger Field

Indy 11 Soccer Camp June 20-23 — 9 am till 12 noon Ages 5-14 $135 @ Badger Fields

Kick in the Grass – 3 v 3 Soccer Tour at Badger Field July 9th

Goal2Gol Soccer Camp
CHS Men’s Head Coach Shane Schmidt, a former U-20 US National Team player, runs his annual camp from 9 am to 2 pm July 11-16. $150 before 6/30 @ River Road Fields.

Post2Post Soccer Camp
Former Pittsburgh Head Coach Sue-Moy Chin and Former Iowa Coach Carla Baker run their annual field player camp for players of all abilities July 25-28 — 9 am to 3 pm $195 each @ Badger

Tim Howard to receive two-match Goodison Park curtain call

By Rob Usry  @RobUsry on Apr 29, 2016, 12:03p 4 

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard was ousted from theEverton starting spot in February after injuries and bad form handed the role to Joel Robles. Now that the club legend has announced his signing with the Colorado Rapids, effective in July, he’s getting two more matches in front of his beloved fans.Toffees manager Roberto Martinez announced on Friday that Howard will be given the start in the club’s final two home matches at Goodison Park of the season while Joel Robles will handle the final two away matches.“In our last two home games of the season we will be able to honor and acknowledge the outstanding contribution and unforgettable role that Tim Howard has made to our football club in the last 10 seasons,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez.”Tim will be joining Colorado Rapids at the end of the season but his legacy will live on for many years in the work that he’s done not just on the pitch but in helping young players to understand just what it means and what it takes to be an Everton player. We wish him well and he’ll be a true blue ambassador wherever he is.”

It’s a classy move by Everton and Martinez and a logical move. Things haven’t gone well Howard this season, but he’s been a valuable and loyal member of the club for the past decade. Giving him one final send off on the field in front of the fans in something all parties involved deserve.

All-American Clint Dempsey nearing the end with the USMNT

Copa America Centenario could be the last major international tournament for the 33-year-old.

By Aaron WestFOX SoccerMay 5, 2016 at 1:00p ET

It seems as if Clint Dempsey’s been around forever. Maybe that’s because he has been around for 12 years. Or maybe it’s because he’s been a star for nearly as long. Or maybe it’s because he rapped. But probably more than anything, it’s because he was spectacularly ambitious and unquestionably tough in an era when that was rare for an American player.Now at 33 years old, Copa America Centenario might be the last major international tournament he will play for the U.S.Dempsey made his full debut for the USMNT in 2004 and has since not only scored 49 goals for the Yanks, but also established himself as one of the greatest players in American history. Landon Donovan may be the most talented player we’ve ever seen in a U.S. shirt, but Clint Dempsey is perhaps the most quintessentially American to turn out for the Stars and Stripes.Growing up in Texas, Dempsey was a star for the Dallas Texans, whose illustrious alumni includes current national teamers Brek Shea, Omar Gonzalez and Lee Nguyen. But playing for the Texans wasn’t so easy for Dempsey, who lived in little Nagodoches and had to drive hours to and from training each day. Money was also a problem and at one point Dempsey had to quit soccer because of financial constraints.Tragedy also struck the Dempsey family when Clint was 12 years old. His 16-year-old sister Lindsey, a standout tennis star, died from a brain aneurysm. But that didn’t stop Dempsey, who later attributed much of his success on the pitch to his faith and a renewed determination to succeed after his sister’s death.That determination is Dempsey’s trademark for the USMNT. While his fellow American star Donovan always appeared the more naturally skilled player, ghosting past defenders with subtle feints, stepovers and flicks, Dempsey was his polar opposite. The Texan shouldering past, nay, through defenders, never shy to toss an elbow or two to protect himself from more physical opponents. Donovan was the unique character, sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable in his stardom, there was never any doubt that Dempsey was a stereotypical American, tough and too single-minded to give a you-know-what about what people said.In the words of Bruce Arena, “he tries [expletive].”Dempsey made it into MLS in 2004 from Furman, a small liberal arts college in South Carolina. And he left MLS in 2007 for then-Premier League club Fulham to become the league’s most expensive export at the time. He starred there, then tested himself at Tottenham. Whether things went well or not, and there were hard times at every step, Dempsey was never afraid to step outside of his comfort zone. There were no “what ifs” with him. He always aimed higher, to the next club, the next stage, or even simply by trying to nutmeg a defender when most Americans defaulted to the “safe play.”In 2013, Dempsey returned to MLS and join the Seattle Sounders on a Designated Player contract. A position that made him the captain, leader and backbone of a team for the first time.Now he’s in the twilight of his career. Still good, but for how much longer? No one knows, but he won’t go out quietly. He will claw every last bit he can out of his career, just like he has every single day so far.

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