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

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

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

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

U.S. Roster by Position:

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

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

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

 

How Coach Shane would start the first Game vs Columbia

Woods/Dempsey

Pulisic/Nagbe/Bedoya

Bradley

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

Guzan

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

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

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

Messi Video

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

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

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

MUST SEE GAMES ON TV

Sat, May 28

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

5:30 pm FS1                   Mexico vs Paraguay

7 pm  ESPN3                   Indy 11 @ Jacksonville Armada

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

Thurs, June 2

2:45 pm FS1                   England vs Portugal   England vs Renaldo

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

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100 STARTS

9:30 pm Fox Sports1 USA vs Columbia

Sat, June 4

5 pm Fox                          COPA Costa Rica vs Paraguay

8 pm  TV 8, ESPN3     Indy 11 @ Miami

10 pm FS 1                      COPA Brazil vs Ecuador

Sun, June 5 

12:30 pm ESPN2         US Ladies vs Japan

5 pm Fox                          COPA – Jamaica vs Venezuela

7 pm Fox Sports 1      COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Mon, June 6

7 pm FS1                          COPA – Panama vs Bolivia

10 pm FS1                       COPA – Argentina vs Chile

Tues, June 7

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

10 pm Fox Sports 1   COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Fri, June 10 European Cup Starts

3 pm ESPN                       France vs Romania

 

 

ATP_Gen_350x250

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

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

Soccer Camps – Boys and Girls -Ages 6 – 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USA

Super Subs Nagbe, Woods and Pulisic star – Player Ratings

Nagbe makes Case to be Starting for US

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

US gets uplifting Win over Ecuador – SI

US a Real Opportunity at home in COPA –ESPN FC

US and Klinnsman have Things to Prove

US Aims for Final 4 in COPA

Puzzling Decisions on US roster  McIntyre =EPSNFC

Figuring out the Roster Decisions –Peter Nolan Got Soccer

US roster Announced for COPA – SI

Roster Decisions are Baffling

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

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

International Friendlies recap EAPN

Emerson Hyndman – Coming of Age

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

Champions League

Champ League Quiz

Atletico can make History

Diego Simeone’s Alchemy keeps Athletico in contention

Real’s Talent poised to decide Final Result

INDY 11 –

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

3 Things – Indy 11 Win over Min United

Indy 11 Win 4-2

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

Peter Wilt GM – The Exit Interview

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

MLS

MLS Power Rankings

MisMatches and Drama of Rivalry Week

Pirlo – too much running too little skill in MLS

COPA

Full Squads are Announced for Copa America Teams

Mexico will be the Home Team at Copa

Dos Santos Refuses Mexico Spot – Chicarito Returns SI

ALL GAMES ON TV THIS MONTH

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

Thur, May 26

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

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

Fri, May 27

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

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

Sat, May 28

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

10:15 am ESPN2          Swisterzland vs Belgium  Friendly

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

5:30 pm FS1                   Mexico vs Paraguay

7 pm  ESPN3                   Indy 11 @ Jacksonville Armada

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

Sun, May 29

4 pm ESPN                       NYCFC vs Orlando City

Wed, June 1

9 pm ESPN2                    Belgium vs Finland

Thurs, June 2

2:45 pm FS1                   England vs Portugal

9 pm FS 1                         US Ladies vs Japan

Fri, June 3  COPA AMERICA 100 STARTS

9:30 pm Fox Sports1 USA vs Columbia

Sat, June 4

12 noon ESPN3            Spain vs Bosnia

5 pm Fox                          COPA Costa Rica vs Paraguay

7:30 pm FS2                   COPA Haita vs Peru

8 pm  TV 8, ESPN3      Indy 11 @ Miami

10 pm FS 1                      COPA Brazil vs Ecuador

Sun, June 5 

12 noon ESPN3            Spain vs Bosnia

12:30 pm ESPN2         US Ladies vs Japan

2:45 pm ESPN 3           Italy vs Scotland

5 pm Fox                          COPA – Jamaica vs Venezuela

7 pm Fox Sports 1      COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

Mon, June 6

7 pm FS1                          COPA – Panama vs Bolivia

10 pm FS1                       COPA – Argentina vs Chile

 Tues, June 7

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

10 pm Fox Sports 1   COPA- Mexico vs Uruguay

10 European Cup Starts

3 pm ESPN                       France vs Romania

Sat, June 11

9 am  ESPN                      EURO – Albania vs Switzerland

12 noon ESPN               EURO – Wales vs Slovakia

3 pm ESPN                       EURO – England vs Russia

7 pm Fox Sport1 USA vs Paraguay

9 pm FS2                          COPA – Columbia vs Costa Rica

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

European Championships This Summer on ESPN

Copa America Centario Schedule   TV Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. This game looked like a friendly

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

  1. Brooks excels at the back

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

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

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

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

USMNT enters Copa America with reasons for optimism

BY BRIAN STRAUSADD FAVORITETwitter EmailPosted: Thu May 26, 2016

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

After a slow start, possession and Nagbe make the difference

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

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

Recipe for a result against Colombia

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

Copa lineup clues emerge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, three thoughts on Klinsmann’s selections:

The omission of Morris is a stunner

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

Fabian Johnson is a defender

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

Klinsmann makes his goalkeeper call

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

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

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Peter Nolan

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Who are the starting center backs?

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

  1. One forward or two?

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

  1. What will the midfield look like?

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

  1. Does youth get a chance?

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

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

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

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

Chandler injury scare?

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

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

Yedlin cool on his future

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

Horvath joins the team late as scheduled

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

United States aiming to reach Copa America semifinals – Jurgen Klinsmann

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

Emerson Hyndman – Coming of Age

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Peter Nolan

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

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

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

  1. Colorado Rapids(no change)

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

  1. Philadelphia Union(+1)

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

  1. FC Dallas(+2)

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

  1. LA Galaxy(-2)

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

  1. Real Salt Lake(+2)

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

  1. Montreal Impact(-2)

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

  1. Toronto FC(-1)

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

  1. Portland Timbers(+4)

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

  1. San Jose Earthquakes(-1)

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

  1. New York Red Bulls(+8)

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

  1. Vancouver Whitecaps(-2)

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

  1. Orlando City SC(+5)

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

  1. Sporting Kansas City(-2)

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

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

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

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

QUOTE SHEET – INDY ELEVEN HEAD COACH TIM HANKINSON

On his team’s effort vs. Minnesota:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THREE THINGS: #INDY 11 vs MIN UNITED

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

1) Goal scoring in numbers

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

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

2) Goal scorers in numbers

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

3) Leaving it all to play for

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

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

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

 

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