Wow what an ending to an exciting Gold Cup Final victory over Jamaica 2-1 as youngster Jordan Morris scored an 88th minute scrum goal to hand the US the cup. (by the way I think Clint Dempsey purposefully left that back heel to him – though my family disagrees.) Either way and exciting end to the tourney as Michael Bradley was name Player of the Tourney and Morris tied for the Golden Boot. I thought Morris, Altidore, Dempsey – (as super sub), Darlington Nagbe Zardes, and Beezler all did wonders for their chances of being on the plane next summer for World Cup. Either way it was a solid Cup Win with the B/C team with a few A;s sprinkled in late bringing home the trophy and extending AMERICAN Coach Bruce Arena’s unbeated streak to 14 games. Game 15 of course will be the big one as we host Costa Rica for basically 2nd in the Hex in early Sept in NJ.
So the US Ladies are hosting the League of Nations Cup and face Brazil and Marta on Sun eve at 8 pm on ESPN 2, then they face Japan on Thurs night 10 pn on ESPN 2 as well. Of course locally – tickets are on sale for the US Ladies National Team hosting New Zealand on Tues Night 7:30 pm at Nippert Stadium in Cinncinatti.
The International Champions Cup has given us some exciting games with El Classico Miami – with Real Madrid facing Barcelona this Sat. night at 8 pm on ESPN. Chelsea faces Inter at 7:30 am on EPSN2, while Man City vs Tottenham with US Carter Vickers kickoff at 6 pm on ESPN2. Roma and Juve play Sunday at 4 pm right after MLS’ NY Derby at 2 pm on ESPN. Speaking of MLS – how about the return of Bob Bradley to LAFC next season and the return of Sigi Schmidt to the LA Galaxy this week. Should make the Seattle vs LA Galaxy game quite intreaguing as the former Seattle Manager canned mid last season returns on Sat night at 10 pm on ESPN. And of course the MLS Allstar Game with Chicago and former German National Team Captain Bastian Schenieger captaining the Allstars vs the 2 time defending World Champions Real Madrid with Renaldo, Bale, Benzzema, Ramos and all the stars on hand live in Chicago Wednesday night at 9 pm on Fox Sports 1. (tix still available by the way!! – only 3 hours away!) Of course the EPL and World League Seasons are right around the corner with the German Super Cup (Dortmund – Pulisic facing Bayern Munich) next Sat 2:30 pm on Fox and the Community Shield with Arsenal vs Chelsea next Sun at 9:30 on FS1.
Good luck to those trying out for High School teams this week and next !!
Soccer Camp the Carmel High Boys Varsity Soccer Team are hosting their 3 hour camp next Friday, Aug 4 – 9:30 am till 12 noon at River Rd Fields. Boys and Girls K-8 just $45 with FREE T-Shirt and the chance to be a ball boy or girl at a CHS soccer game this fall. Visit CHS website
Thur, July 27
10 pm ESPN US Women vs Australia
Sat, July 29
7:30 am ESPN 2 Chelsea vs Inter ICC
3 pm beIN Sports Monaco vs PSG – French Super Cup
6 pm EsPN 2 Man City vs Tottenham ICC
8 pm ESPN Real Madrid vs Barcelona ICC
10 pm ESPN 1 LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders
Sun, July 30
2 pm ESPN Toronto vs NY City
4 pm ESPN Roma vs Juventus ICC
4 pm ESPN3 FC Edmonton vs Indy 11
8 pm ESPN2 US Women vs Brazil
Tues, Aug 1
2 pm beIN Sport Liverpool vs Bayern Munich
Wed, Aug 2
9 pm Fox Sport 1 MLS Allstars vs Real Madrid
Thurs, Aug 3
10 pm ESPN2 US Women vs Japan
Sat, Aug 5
2:30 pm FOX Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Bayern Munich (German Supercup)
7:30 pm Myindy TV + beIN Sport Indy 11 vs FC Edmonton
Sun, Aug 6
9 am Fox Sport1 Arsenal vs Chelsea (EPL Community Shield)
2 pm? ESPNU Women’s European Championship?
4 pm ESPN Portland vs LA Galaxy
6 pm Fox Sport 1 NY City vs NY Red Bulls (NY Derby)
8 pm Fox Sport 1 Sporting KC vs Atlanta United
Tues, Aug 8
2:45 pm Fox Sport 1 Real Madrid vs Man United UEFA Super Cup
Sat, Aug 12 EPL Starts
7:30 am NBCSN Watford vs Liverpool
10 am NCBSN Chelsea vs Burnlee
10 am CNBC Everton vs Stoke City
12:30 pm NBC Brighton vs Man City
7:30 pm Lifetime Orlando Pride vs Sky Blue (Women’s)
7:30 pm beIN Sport Miami FC vs Indy 11
10 :30 pm Fox Sport1 LA Galaxy vs NY City FC
Sun, Aug 13 EPL
8:30 am NBCSN New Castle United (Yedlin) vs Tottenham (Carter Vickers)
11 am NBCSN Man United vs West Ham
2 pm beIN Sport? Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Spain Supercup
International Champions Cup July Games in Nashville and Detroit
US Wins Gold Cup Final 2-1 over Jamaica – Jeff Carlisle
Redemption for Jordan Morris As US Wins Gold Cup – Jeff Carlisle
Arena happy but Wants more from US – Jeff Carlisle ESPNFC
US Men Take Home Gold Cup Title – Matt Doyle MLS.com
Who’s Stock is Up Who Down – ESPNFC Video
Dempsey is GOAT – MLS.com Kurt Lawson
Dempsey’s Story – The Journey – 4 min Video
He’s a Smug Bastard isn’t he – Klinnsman – Every MLS team wanted my GK son ESPNFC
Mexico Issues Deeper than just Osario – ESPNFC
Tourney of Nations -5 things to Know
Bastian Schweinsteiger to Captain MLS Allstars vs Real Madrid Wed
Former Seattle coach Sigi Schmid replaces Curt Inalfo as coach at LA Galaxy
Former US Coach Bob Bradley to Coach LAFC
Kicks for Kids McDonalds Family Night Aug 5 vs FC Edmonton
New Indy 11 TV Schedule for Fall
Eamon Zayad Players Perspective
BeIN Sports Signs to Show NASL Games in Fall
Redemption for Jordan Morris, United States in Gold Cup win over Jamaica
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It’s been said that strikers need to have short memories. If they miss a chance, they need to forget about it and focus on the next opportunity they get because that one is definitely going in.But early in the second half of the U.S.’ 2-1 Gold Cup final win over Jamaica, Jordan Morris realized his selective amnesia needed to reach a higher level. It wasn’t a blown scoring opportunity the young attacker needed to forget, but a blown assignment. He had just been overpowered on a corner kick by Je-Vaughn Watson, allowing the Jamaican to volley home an equalizer. Erasing that memory took some doing.”It definitely lingers on quite a bit, and to be honest I’ve never really had anything like that in my career, where I was kind of at fault for the other team scoring like that,” said Morris. “It was tough to get over, especially in such a big game.”The messages from teammates were all along the same lines; think about the next play, keep pushing, make a difference.”I was making fun of [Morris] because the look on his face was so sad,” said forward Jozy Altidore.Clint Dempsey added: “You have to keep fighting. If you don’t keep fighting you get left to the wayside. It definitely helps build your character.”Whatever way the message was delivered, it worked. With the match looking like it was headed toward extra time, Morris pounced on a loose ball in the box in the 88th minute, and powered home a shot past Jamaica keeper Dwayne Morris to give the U.S. a 2-1 win and its sixth Gold Cup title.”For me it was a sense of relief, trying to make up for the mistake I made earlier,” he said. “If felt good that I could help the team come back.”It also gave Morris a rather unique trifecta. In December of 2015 he won an NCAA crown with Stanford University. Last December he won an MLS Cup in his rookie season with Seattle Sounders FC. Now he has a Gold Cup to his name as well.But lest Morris get carried away, he might want to check with some of the U.S. team’s veterans to see how infrequent winning a trophy is for most players. For Tim Howard, it’s been a decade since last won his last Gold Cup title.He said: “It’s hard to get the young guys to realize that this doesn’t always last forever. When I was younger and got to a cup final, I thought, ‘Ah, the next one’s around the corner.’ And they’re not. This is sweet.”The redemption narrative could be seen everywhere in this match. There was Altidore, winning his first international trophy after it looked like injuries would forever hamper his U.S. career. He did his bit on the night too, delivering a laser-guided free kick in the first half that snuck in just under the bar, and gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Michael Bradley was everywhere, and for once got to celebrate winning a final that he actually played in. Howard continued to defy Father Time by delivering a clutch save on Darren Mattocks.But this was a night for some of the less-experienced elements of the roster as well. Jorge Villafana looked the sharpest he has all tournament from his left-back position, and tested Jamaica’s defense with some dangerous crosses. Darlington Nagbe was clean in possession, and found moments to drive with the ball toward Jamaica’s back line.This was supposed to be the whole point of this Gold Cup for the Americans. Try out some fringe players and see how they do. It was one that was shoved into the background to a degree once manager Bruce Arena called in six players — four of them hugely experienced — after the group stage. But there was another layer to Arena’s experimentation. For a select few who had experienced the most recent World Cup qualifying cauldron, it was a chance to take on more responsibility. Some, like Nagbe took advantage. Others, like Kellyn Acosta, struggled with consistency.All of this had value for Arena. Granted, the tournament broke almost perfectly for the Americans. For the most part the U.S. had a huge edge in experience and talent over their opponents. A much-anticipated matchup against Mexico never materialized. There was almost a sense that winning the tournament had lost some of its juice. But that changed, for the players at any rate, as the end goal came into more focus.”It wasn’t critical for us,” said Arena about winning the Gold Cup. “But as we got into tournament, as we entered the quarterfinals, it was clearly the objective and we accomplished that.”Perhaps the bigger objective was using the Gold Cup as a test case for more-important World Cup qualifying games down the road. So was there a ton of movement on the U.S. depth chart? Probably not. For some players, the next chance to impress Arena won’t come until January.But this was more about Arena being reminded of what he had and in some cases what he didn’t. Regardless of how well Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley and Nagbe played in this tournament, Geoff Cameron and Christian Pulisic remain almost irreplaceable. In five weeks’ time, Arena will get to apply what he has learned to a pair of World Cup qualifiers. For all of the joy about winning the Gold Cup, those matches remain foremost in Arena’s mind.”My focus is on, are we getting better? We’re getting better, we need to get much better than we are right now,” he said, before adding: “I’ve got to find the right blend. We’re a long way from qualifying for the World Cup, and that’s the objective for sure. So we’ve got to evaluate this performance in July and the next couple of weeks I have to select a roster for our World Cup qualifying. Then we have to win some games in September and October.”If the U.S. can do precisely that, it will be a memory it won’t want to forget.Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.
U.S. wins 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup via Jordan Morris’ late goal vs. Jamaica
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The U.S. prevailed over Jamaica 2-1 to claim the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.U.S. forward Jozy Altidore opened the scoring just before halftime with a superbly taken free kick, only for Je-Vaughn Watson to equalize in the 50th minute, volleying home Kemar Lawrence’s corner at the far post. But Jordan Morris fired home an 88th-minute winner to give the U.S. the victory.Here are three thoughts on the U.S. win, their sixth Gold Cup title.
- Redemption for Morris and AltidoreWednesday night’s first half was tough and physical. Though the U.S. had the vast majority of possession as Kellyn Acosta pushed high into the attack, the Americans’ forays were snuffed out against the rocks of the Jamaica back line. Other attacks were undone by passes into the box that just missed their intended target.It was always going to take something special for the U.S. to find a breakthrough, even after Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake was forced out because of a finger injury in the 23rd minute (more on that later). Leave it to Altidore, then, to provide some heroics as he hit a sumptuous free kick from 27 yards out in the 45th minute that beat substitute keeper Dwayne Miller, grazed the underside of the bar and went in.The goal was just the latest chapter in Altidore’s tournament redemption story. Injuries robbed him of all or part of the 2013 Gold Cup, the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Gold Cup, and it seemed as if his hamstrings would never allow his game to grow. But for the better part of the last year Altidore has been healthy, and his play for Toronto FC has improved in all facets.It has taken a while for his form for the U.S. to catch up, but catch up it has. The goal was Altidore’s second in two games, and with crucial World Cup qualifiers coming up in September, he’s clearly peaking at the right time. Some might quibble with the quality of opposition, but in Costa Rica and Jamaica, Altidore broke through against two sides with considerable strength on the defensive side of the ball. Altidore has been streaky in the past as well, which, given his current form, bodes well for the U.S. heading back into the Hex.Of course, nothing is ever easy for the U.S, with the Americans’ vulnerability on set pieces rearing its ugly head again. It has been that way for almost the entirety of this World Cup cycle regardless of who has been the manager or who has been on the field. It’s the single biggest worry heading into the homestretch for World Cup qualifying.In this instance, just over four minutes into the second half, Morris was simply overpowered by Watson, allowing the New England Revolution’s utility man to volley home at the back post.But Morris more than made amends, firing home in the 88th minute when Gyasi Zardes’ cross was deflected into the middle of the box. Clint Dempsey got a touch and Morris pounced to nab the winner.All told, Morris leaves this tournament as one of the winners. He scored three goals and showed a knack for popping up at big moments. Victory on Wednesday night continues a dizzying run of success for Morris: Since December 2015, he has won an NCAA title with Stanford, an MLS Cup with the Seattle Sounders and now the Gold Cup.
- Jamaica valiant in defeat
Before the final, most conversations about the player of the tournament began and ended with Blake. He had made numerous saves throughout this Gold Cup, including plenty — like saving a deflected effort with his foot against Mexico — that were of the spectacular variety.In the 23rd minute, the Philadelphia Union keeper continued his stellar form, saving Altidore’s long-distance drive and then stuffing Acosta’s rebound attempt from point-blank range. But Blake paid dearly for his bravery: He appeared to have a mangled finger on his right hand as a result of Acosta’s attempt and had to be subbed out in favor of Miller.It was a tough end for a player whose growth as a player has been evident throughout the tournament. The Union will be hopeful that Blake isn’t forced to sit for too long.But understudy Miller didn’t do badly on the night. He might wish he had attempted to touch Altidore’s blast with his other hand. That said, he did well to touch a Morris blast over the bar in the 73rd minute and then palmed Dempsey’s header onto the post two minutes later. He could do nothing about Morris’ winner.The Reggae Boyz had their chances to grab a winner as well, with Tim Howard’s left-footed save denying Darren Mattocks.All told, Jamaica’s players can hold their heads high. The defensive solidity and discipline found under manager Theodore Whitmore has been impressive. The challenge will be maintaining this ethos until the next World Cup qualifying cycle.
- U.S. achieves its goal but concerns remain
In some ways, the tournament couldn’t have gone much better for the U.S. and manager Bruce Arena. Without question, this was a watered-down version of the Gold Cup as many of the region’s top players were absent. But Arena went in with a plan that had multiple aims. He wanted to get an extended look at some fringe players. He did that. He also wanted to make sure he had the most competitive team possible in the knockout rounds, and he did that too. And ultimately, the U.S. won the tournament, giving the team some valuable momentum as it heads into the September World Cup qualifiers.But the U.S. also had everything going for it in this match and in this tournament. It boasted a roster with a huge edge in experience. Think of it this way: Jamaica’s starting lineup consisted of seven MLS players, two from the USL and another two from Jamaica’s domestic league. It would have been a failure had the U.S. not managed to win.The result also illustrated the U.S. team’s relative shortage of game-changing attackers. Dempsey did what he could, once again coming off the bench, and Darlington Nagbe continued his growth with a superb performance. But one gets the sense that the U.S. still needs more. Imagine trying to go through the remainder of World Cup qualifying without Christian Pulisic; it’s sobering to say the least.That said, the U.S mentality remains a potent force. It kept its collective head in a match that could have gotten away from it. For an imperfect team, it remains the biggest reason to believe that the Americans will ultimately reach their World Cup-qualifying goal. And on this night, it helped them secure a title.Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.
Bruce Arena happy with Gold Cup win but wants more from United States
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — U.S. manager Bruce Arena lauded his team’s 2-1 victory over Jamaica in the Gold Cup final but acknowledged that there is plenty of room for improvement as it prepares for a pair of World Cup qualifiers in September.”The Gold Cup is important,” Arena said at his postmatch news conference. “I think if you’re in it, you’ve got to be in it to win. We accomplished that, so that’s a real plus.”United States looked to be in total control as it took a 1-0 lead into half-time, thanks to a Jozy Altidore free kick.With Jamaica’s stellar goalkeeper Andre Blake forced out of the match with a right hand injury, everything seemed to be lining up for the Americans. But Je-Vaughn Watson equalized minutes into the second half, outworking Jordan Morris to volley home Kemar Lawrence’s corner kick at the far post.United States turned the screws thereafter, with Clint Dempsey’s header touched onto the post by substitute keeper Dwayne Miller. The Americans did have to survive a few anxious moments from Jamaican counterattacks, but Morris ultimately made amends in the 88th minute, pouncing on a loose ball to fire past Miller to secure victory.”Jamaica was a very difficult opponent,” Arena said. “We needed to score two great goals tonight to win, and we did. Give credit to Jozy and Jordan. Those are great goals.”I applaud our team, I applaud Jamaica. Their defensive performance throughout the tournament was outstanding. They’re hard to play against. Their goalkeeping was excellent.”Unfortunately Blake got injured. I don’t even know the name of the second keeper [Dwayne Miller], he was excellent, he did a great job. Give credit to them.”The victory marked Arena’s third Gold Cup triumph, though he attributed that to longevity more than anything.”I think the only reason I’ve been part of winning three Gold Cups is that I’ve been in a lot of them,” he said.Arena complimented nearly every element of his lineup, but he singled out his veterans for praise. Many of them joined up with the team after the group stage, and their consistent performances keyed the Americans’ run to the title.”Our older players are unbelievable,” he said. “The passion they have for this program from our oldest player, now Tim Howard, to our captain Michael Bradley, to Clint Dempsey … Clint Dempsey is going to do whatever is necessary for this team to be successful.”Arena was also impressed by some of the less experienced elements of his roster. In the final he gave starts to Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Jorge Villafana, Darlington Nagbe and Morris, and the decision paid off.”They are players with not that much experience at the international level, not that many caps, and to put them in the fire tonight was good. I think they walked away with passing grades,” he said. “That’s encouraging.” Bruce Arena has extended his unbeaten run with United States to 14 games.rena was especially pleased to see Morris shake off his mistake in failing to mark Watson, keep his head in the game, and eventually find a way to make a critical play.”I didn’t like the mistake on the corner kick, but to hang in there and play well and make the difference in the game is encouraging,” Arena said. “He’s a young player with a lot of talent, a lot of physical qualities.”I think he’s going to continue to grow. My predecessor did an outstanding job for getting him involved in the program. He’s a player we certainly think has a future.”But what pleased Arena most of all was the improvement his team has made in 2017. United States is now unbeaten in 14 games under his watch, though he knows there is work to be one.”My focus is on ‘are we getting better?’ We’re getting better, we need to get much better than we are right now,” he said. “But it’s a credit to these players — they’ve done an outstanding job.”Now Arena must regroup and prepare for the next round of World Cup qualifiers.”I’ve got to find the right blend,” he said. “We’re a long way from qualifying for the World Cup, and that’s the objective for sure. So we’ve got to evaluate this performance in July and the next couple of weeks I have to select a roster for our World Cup qualifying. Then we have to win some games in September and October.”Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.
Armchair Analyst: USMNT cross Jamaica up and claim Gold Cup title
July 27, 20171:16AM EDTMatthew DoyleSenior Writer
From minutes 1 through 63, the US men’s national team hit 12 crosses. From minutes 64 through 88, the USMNT hit 14 crosses.
The last one in that second bunch led to the game- and tournament-winning goal, as the US took a deserved and dominant 2-1 win against a feisty, disciplined, but ultimately overmatched Jamaican side. It’s the first US Gold Cup title since 2013, and their sixth all-time. They were pretty clearly the better team on the night, and the best attacking team in the tournament, and they deserved the title.
They also deserved to sweat a little bit, and credit to the Reggae Boyz for bringing the heat in that regard. Jamaica, under head coach Theodore Whitmore, are fit and functional, gamers who get chippy but not dirty, and who wouldn’t quit despite playing the two giants of CONCACAF in back-to-back games, and wouldn’t quit after losing their best player – and really, the tournament’s best player in goalkeeper Andre Blake – to a gruesome first-half hand injury, and wouldn’t quit after going down a goal.
But sometimes the numbers are just too overwhelming. The US outshot Jamaica 13-6 overall and 8-3 on target, they out-possessed them 73 percent to 27 percent, and they completed 85 percent of their passes to just 64 percent for Jamaica. It was a thoroughly dominant performance even though the scoreboard was predictably tight.
A few tactical takeaways:
- Jamaica come out in a slightly alteredversion of their typical, flat 4-4-2. The alteration was a simple one – they inserted Ladale Richie directly in front of the central defense as a classic destroyer, making the 4-4-2 more of a 4-1-3-2. Richie didn’t leave that spot, a symbolic figure with “dare you to play through the middle” plastered all over himself.
So the US struggled, at first, to build meaningful possession, too often shunting play down one flank or the other and just keeping it there.
- Jozy Altidore, who got the opening goaland was the best US player on the night, was the one who found the key to that particular lock. Altidore, a center forward, dropped waaaaaaay deep into midfield to get on the ball, usually with his back to goal, and started creating ad hoc three-man midfield triangles with Michael Bradley and either Darlington Nagbe pinching in from the wing, or Kellyn Acosta working from his No. 8 position.
- The US did not have a slow start in this game:
- Jamaica’s goal came after Je-Vaughn Watsonout-wrestled Jordan Morrison the back post of a Kemar Lawrence corner. That corner, in the 50th minute, came after a needless Acosta turnover in midfield.
Watson’s shot was Jamaica’s first of the night. Acosta’s turnover continued a worrisome pattern for the FC Dallas Homegrown, who struggled mightily this month after last month’s strong showing in World Cup qualifiers. He will get better and he will surely be back in the squad come the next round of qualifiers six weeks from now, but he needs to find and influence the game more.
- I banged on a bit about crosses in the ledeand on social media, and I’ll make this clear: I have zero problems with teams that cross the ball a lot as long as it comes from some sort of inside-out combination play. It’s alright to attack down the flanks – that’s part of the game, and useful if done right. But doing so in a purely linear fashion tends not to create good looks.
Worse than that, thoughtless crosses can and often do lead to counterattacks in the other direction. The one time the US put in a particularly (let’s call it) “hopeful” cross, off the foot of Gyasi Zardes in the 84th minute, it led to a Reggae Boyz breakout and forced Tim Howard into a nice save.
Crosses are fine. They are often a good and smart way to attack. Crosses against an organized, packed-in defense are more likely to hurt you than help you, though, and it’s good the US mostly avoided that.
- The vast, vast majority of the US’s 26 crosseswere what I’d consider to be smartcrosses. Jorge Villafaña hit a couple of particularly good ones, as did Morris, as did Graham Zusi, as did Paul Arriola.
I thought this one was borderline:
But credit Zardes here for being decisive, which turned “borderline” into “profitable.” He took one direct touch, opened up a bit of daylight, hit the ball with pace and bend, and put it in a brutal spot for Jermaine Taylor to try to clear. Either Taylor puts it out for a corner kick, or he does… that. Usually when “that” happens, there’s a scramble and a scrum and bodies hit the floor, and the defense gets the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, though, a clearance up the gut falls right to the feet of an attacker, and you end up picking the ball out of the net.
- There is a thing that Earnie Stewart once saidabout Claudio Reyna: “He brings peace to the game.” Reyna had an uncanny knack of shaping his body in a way that threw defenders off, which allowed him to receive the ball on balance in traffic with those wonderfully soft feet that got the US out of so many jams.
Nagbe and Bradley, working together in midfield, create that same effect. I still need to be sold on Nagbe’s ability to be an elite two-way player in central midfield because his defensive recognition can be slow and he is often too hesitant to drive the game forward, but there really is something to be said for having a guy who you can just give the ball to and say “figure this out for us.” He did that repeatedly against Jamaica. “He never loses the ball” is how Bruce Arena put it afterward. Bradley doesn’t do it the same way – his feet aren’t that good – but the wild and sometimes reckless Bradley of the Jurgen Klinsmann years is long gone. He controlled every bit of this game, just as he did the previous two, with his vision, understanding of angles, and his understanding of his teammates’ strengths and weaknesses. It’s now been 840 minutes (14 hours) with Bradley on the field at d-mid under Arena. The US have conceded one open-play goal in that time. He has brought peace to the midfield, and it shows, even if nobody’s really talking about it. When a No. 6 does things right, most people won’t be sure they’ve done anything at all.
- There will be bad takes in the commentsbelow, and on social media, and everywhere else about the US failing to show any creativity. Ignore them – they are wrong. The US created infinitely more against Jamaica than they did in January, and more than anybody else Jamaica faced this tournament. They pressured first Blake and then Miller into a series of spectacular saves, generally did a good job of keeping the defense scrambling, and limited their own turnovers in the process.
It would be nice if Bruce Arena could pick Andres Iniesta for this roster, but he can’t. Given what he has to work with, the US are vastly superior at using the ball to break down a static defense than they were in any of the last three summers. Anyone who’s pretends this was just a reactive, regressive showing is flaunting their own lack of understanding about the game.
Same with anyone who dismisses the value of winning this particular trophy. The Gold Cup isn’t World Cup qualifying, and Arena was sure to point that out in the postgame presser. “We’ve got a long way to go to qualify for the World Cup, and that’s the ultimate goal” is what he said.But the point of the game is to win, and if you can do so while playing well, more’s the better. Job done on both counts for the US.
- I will have a “Stock Up, Stock Down”piece coming tomorrow. Be warned: I like Arriola a lot more than social media seems to.
Wiebe: Jordan Morris proved he belongs on US national team World Cup roster
July 27, 20171:59AM EDTAndrew WiebeSenior Editor
The final whistle blew, and the television cameras flocked to the man who broke Jamaican hearts and gave the United States national team their sixth Gold Cup title.The close-ups weren’t of Clint Dempsey, the talisman just one goal shy of sole possession of the all-time US men’s scoring mark. They weren’t of Jozy Altidore, whose picture-perfect free kick gave the Americans an early lead. Nor Michael Bradley, the tournament’s Golden Ball winner.As his image was broadcast to the world, Jordan Morris rubbed his eyes, tears of joyous disbelief seemingly perched on the brink of escape. His best friend in the entire world, fellow SounderCristian Roldan, wrapped Morris up in a bear hug and lifted him into the air.In 40 minutes, Morris had gone from potential goat – turned inside out by Je-Vaughn Watson on a corner kick that his fellow MLSer to bang in for the equalizer – to history maker. He felt that emotional swing more acutely than anyone else.“I was nervous,” he told FS1’s Jenny Taft after the match. “It was my guy that scored, so I was trying to make up for it any way I could. Obviously, I take responsibility for that, but luckily I put it in the back of the net.”In four short years, Morris has gone from a seemingly-out-of-nowhere prodigy to national champion, MLS Cup winner and Gold Cup hero, his 88th-minute thumper sure to be replayed every two years for at least the next decade. He appeared in every game of the tournament for Bruce Arena, and his three goals tied Golden Boot winner Alphonso Davies atop the Gold Cup charts.Morris did it under pressure, too, career-defining pressure that can make even the most seasoned pro shrink. This may have been labelled a B-team tournament, but like the rest of us, Morris knew he was playing for more than a trophy. He was playing for place on the team that boards a plane for Russia next year, assuming all goes to plan in qualifying.Bruce Arena has the final say, but Morris proved he belongs on that 747 and barring injury – knock on wood – I expect him to be there, a 23-year-old making his wildest childhood dreams come true.Bradley will be the captain and the pacemaker, Altidore the player whose talent can elevate the US from solid to special and Dempsey the swaggering super sub, but it may just be Morris who pops up in a big moment and makes the difference.Morris may not be perfect – someone in the comment section will invariably bash his left foot and occasional long touches – but he brings a skill set, level of versatility and willingness to sacrifice for the common good that no one else on the roster can match.I don’t need to explain his speed, the sort of burst that eliminates defenders entirely, or his knack for scoring big goals. Those qualities might be enough to convince Arena to bring Morris to the biggest tournament on the planet, but it’s an ability to fill multiple holes in the roster puzzle that pushes him over the edge.He can run the channels with another forward (Altidore, most likely) in a 4-4-2, he can play wide left in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 and bring both defensive industry and attacking verve and there’s no ego to tell him that he deserves more than what he’s given. All month, Morris did what was necessary, whatever Arena asked.Oh, and he played this tournament on a bothersome ankle many thought he should have rested. He was selfless, and in the end he was the man who made the difference.“It’s just an honor to be a part of the team,” Morris told Taft, the sort of quote he delivers in spades, shifting the focus from himself to the team.Come next summer, I expect that honor will thrust him on to the biggest stage the sport has to offer.Morris may not start a match. He probably won’t play hero. He may not score a goal or have a marquee moment.But through six games at the Gold Cup Morris proved he belongs in Arena’s 23-man roster next summer, that he’s an asset with a future that spans the next decade, and that it would be a mistake to leave him home next summer when yet more history is waiting to be made.
Kurt Larson: Clint Dempsey on the cusp of claiming G.O.A.T. crown for USA
July 26, 20173:40PM EDTKurt Larson
Clint Dempsey isn’t just poised to become the US national team’s all-time leading goal-scorer.He’s on the cusp of American soccer immortality — a label bestowed upon an elite group of players who’ve represented the Stars and Stripes.Tim Howard is in that mix. As is Michael Bradley, even according to Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch, who pumped Captain America’s tires last month.For most, Landon Donovan still tops the select billing of Americans who’ve posted phenomenal numbers while representing the US on the biggest stage. He might have cemented his place atop that list if Jurgen Klinsmann hadn’t botched his 2014 World Cup selections, inexplicably leaving Donovan at home.But Klinsmann did. And Donovan, while an undisputed icon, didn’t get the chance to cement his place as the greatest American to ever put on a US jersey.Three years later, Dempsey soon will become his country’s all-time leading scorer, passing his ex-teammate when he scores his 58th international goal.Whether he finds it in Wednesday night’s Gold Cup final (9:30 pm ET on FS1, Univision and TSN), or in the looming World Cup qualifiers in September, it doesn’t matter. Dempsey’s already ticked every box on the G.O.A.T. checklist while accomplishing as much as or arguably more than – both individually and collectively – any American before him.In addition to achieving the all-time goals mark, Dempsey’s 136 caps place him third on the all-time appearances list (Cobi Jones is No. 1 with 164). He’s also scored big goals in big tournaments.Most significant, Dempsey’s four World Cup goals are second all-time to Donovan (5), though Deuce could appear at a fourth World Cup next summer.But whether he does or doesn’t play in Russia, Dempsey’s legacy shouldn’t be defined solely by goals or big moments that will live on in US soccer lore.Rather, it’s about taking the road less traveled — a well-documented rags-to-riches soccer talethat, in many ways, embodies the American Dream.That unconventional path spawned an unconventional American soccer player who, as U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena once said, just “tries s***.” It was a simple two-word quote that should be carved into Dempsey’s future Hall of Fame name plate, given how well it defines his uniqueness.On top of the grit and determination that defines American internationals, Dempsey’s always had a few extra tools in his shed. The audacity to use them — without fear or reservation — ultimately is what sets the 34-year-old apart from every other American striker.It’s a style that’s borderline arrogant until you hear Dempsey explain it. Then you realize it’s merely a byproduct of his humble beginnings in East Texas, where he grew up in a trailer in his grandparents’ backyard. It included matches against grown men in the local Hispanic leagues and six-hour roundtrip drives to practices.He’s a US soccer star who reached his potential, a player who did it his own way and won’t have regrets when he features in his final international fixture.Like Dempsey, the great ones don’t look back and wonder what might have been. They leave little debate as to whether they could have gone further.That’s Dempsey — an all-time great whose all-time career should be defined just as much by his journey and personality and penchant for the head-turning play or pass or goal as it should by the numbers that ultimately could lead us to categorize him as the greatest ever to don an American soccer jersey.Kurt Larson covers Toronto FC and international soccer for the Toronto Sun and Postmedia in Canada.
LA Galaxy fire Curt Onalfo, hire Sigi Schmid as replacement
July 27, 201712:35PM EDTSam StejskalContributor
A year and a day after he was fired by the Seattle Sounders, Sigi Schmid is back in the MLS coaching ranks. The winningest coach in league history will take over the LA Galaxy after the club fired first-year head coach Curt Onalfo, the Galaxy announced Thursday. The LA Times’ Kevin Baxter first reported the news, which was later confirmed by ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle, who added that Schmid had signed a deal with LA through the 2018 season. “After a great deal of evaluation and careful consideration, we believe that Sigi Schmid is the best person to coach our team for the remainder of this season and into the future,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein in a statement provided by the team. “Sigi is one of the most experienced coaches in the history of soccer in the United States and he is an extremely successful manager that has proven himself to be a winner within Major League Soccer. Sigi has been one of the best coaches the history of our league and we have full confidence in him to lead our team moving forward.“Our goal remains to win trophies and be the best club in North America and we believe that Sigi gives us the best opportunity to achieve this.”Hired by the Galaxy to replace Bruce Arena after he left LA to take charge of the US national team last November, Onalfo was 6-10-4 in 20 regular season games with the club. Accustomed to competing for the top spots in MLS, the Galaxy are currently in ninth in the Western Conference and sit in 19th in the overall league table. They’re five points behind Vancouver for the West’s sixth and final playoff spot.“Curt Onalfo has been a loyal servant to the Galaxy and Galaxy II for a number of seasons and we wish him well,” said Klein.Schmid’s first game in charge of LA will be a doozy, as the Galaxy will host the Sounders – whom Schmid coached for seven and a half seasons before being dismissed last summer – in a nationally-televised match on Saturday night (10 pm ET; ESPN, ESPN Deportes | MLS LIVE in Canada).A longtime resident of Southern California, Schmid coached the Galaxy once before, leading them from 199-2004. He won three trophies in his first stint with LA, guiding the Galaxy to the 2001 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup before winning MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield in 2002.
LAFC to announce Bob Bradley as first manager
BRIAN STRAUS hours ago
Former U.S. national team manager Bob Bradley is on the verge of taking over at MLS expansion team Los Angeles FC, sources tell SI.com. An announcement is expected shortly.Bradley has been out of work since being fired by Swansea City in December, only 11 games into his tenure. It was a frustrating setback for an American coach who’d blazed a unique trail following the 2010 World Cup, from Egypt to Norway to France and then onto the Premier League. Now, it appears the 59-year-old Bradley will be back in MLS for the first time since 2006.
After assisting Bruce Arena at D.C. United, Bradley went on to coach the Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls (then the MetroStars) and Chivas USA. He won one MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cup titles and then went on to manage the national team. There, he presided over the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title, the run to the ’09 Confederations Cup final and the USA’s first first-place finish in a World Cup group in 80 years.LAFC kicks off next season in a new stadium being built next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The club’s technical side is run currently by former MLS, English Championship and US national team midfielder John Thorrington. Coaches like Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Hugo Sanchez previously had been linked to the LAFC job, but Bradley always has been a leading candidate. After a decade abroad, he’s now set to return to a very different league than the one he left for his second gig with an expansion team–his first started off with a league and cup double in Chicago.News that Bradley is headed to LAFC comes shortly after the new club’s future rival, the LA Galaxy, announced the firing of coach Curt Onalfo and replaced him with former Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew coach Sigi Schmid.
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