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



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


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 !

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)
IMG_7144 (1)
U14 Boys Gold – Advance to Finals in Columbus (Coach Matt Lienhauser)
U16 Boys Advance to Challenge Cup Finals Coach Jeff Oberndorfer (L) and Mike Pickard (R)


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 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.


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


Full Squads are Announced for Copa America Teams

Mexico will be the Home Team at Copa

Dos Santos Refuses Mexico Spot – Chicarito Returns SI


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


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


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


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


 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).


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.


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.


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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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


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.


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:
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


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 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

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