Hamstrung: Who Will Klinsmann Call Upon To Replace Jozy Altidore?

American Soccer Junkies

While the United States was celebrating the men’s national team’s incredible win against Ghana, Jürgen Klinsmann and his staff went back to work. The USA was able to earn three crucial points without the services of its best striker, Jozy Altidore, for the last 70-plus minutes of the match. By Thursday, the worst kept secret in the USMNT camp was revealed — Jozy Altidore’s strained hamstring means he will not play against Portugal on Sunday.

Jozy Altidore USMNT Despite his much maligned form at times, Jozy Altidore will be difficult to replace up top for the USMNT (Photo Credit: Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

This is a key loss. Portugal will be without Pepe, their star centerback, who received a red card against Germany for burying his forehead into Thomas Müller’s face (Editor’s Note: It was really more of an hyper-aggressive snuggle…) and nearly starting a brawl on the pitch. Pepe’s loss, combined with Real Madrid teammate Fábio Coentrão’s…

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U.S. Women’s soccer star Alex Morgan is officially back

For The Win

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In case you needed a reason to start chanting “USA, USA” a few days early, some important news: The U.S. Women’s National Team took on France in a friendly in Hartford, Ct. So no, it wasn’t the World Cup and the match didn’t mean that much but something very important for all fans of the USWNT happened: Alex Morgan looked like her old self again.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Morgan, better known to some as “Baby Horse”, had until earlier this month been sidelined since the end of 2013 with nagging injuries. But on Thursday against France she came into the game at halftime and scored two goals for the U.S. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

She ran to celebrate with a group of American Outlaw fans after her first goal.

“I wanted to do something special,” Morgan said of her celebration according to…

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15 Biggest Wins In U.S. Soccer History

CBS New York

By Daniel Friedman
» More Columns

The United States’ big win over Ghana — and its upcoming match against Portugal — has the country buzzing about the World Cup.

Indeed, America has had its share of memorable soccer moments. Let’s count down the top 15 in USMNT history:

15. 2012 Friendly Match vs. Italy

Clint Dempsey celebrates the opening goal during an international friendly match between Italy and USA at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images) Clint Dempsey celebrates the opening goal during an international friendly match between Italy and USA at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

The U.S. finally beats Italy, 1-0, after 10 previous attempts, on a goal by Clint Dempsey in the 55th minute.

14. 1991 Gold Cup vs. Mexico, Honduras

Coming off their first World Cup appearance in 40 years, the Americans defeat Mexico 2-1 and advance to the Gold Cup Final against Honduras. The U.S. would go on to win the title match in a shootout for…

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Jozy Altidore is focused on ‘being the best cheerleader’ possible

For The Win

US Soccer forward Jozy Altidore has no timetable for his return and is settling into his temporary new role as the team’s number one fan, he said in an appearance on Good Morning America on Friday.

USA TODAY Sports Images USA TODAY Sports Images

Altidore, who injured his left hamstring in the U.S.’s game against Ghana on Monday, said he was “a bit sore” but a lot better than Monday and was working to get back on the field as soon as he can.

“It was a little bit unlucky but we have guys that are going to step in and do a great job for us on Sunday,” he said.

So what will it take to beat Portugal?

“I think there’s going to be times when we’re on the front foot and other times where we’re going to have to be defensively sound and other times when just pure will is going to…

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USA WINS 2-1!! DRAMATIC FINISH AGAINST RIVAL GHANA

USA, Ghana, John brooks goal, World cup
John brooks scores the GW goal in the 86th min for the 2-1 win against Ghana.

The anticipation for the USMNT’s first game in World Cup 2014 could not have been any more intense, and the game certainly lived up to the hype. From the get go, the US was attacking full force. So much that Clint Dempsey slivered through the Ghana back line, and put one in the back of the net within the first 30 secs of the game. The fastest World Cup goal in the history of the USMNT and the fifth quickest World Cup goal ever! Talk about a fantastic start, but hold your horses folks. It wasn’t all good for the men in the red, white, and blue. On a good ball from Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore was hawking it down only to pull up from what discovered to be a strained hamstring, a huge loss for the United States. Furthermore, Clint Dempsey later on got incidentally kicked in the nose and is reported to be broken. However, being the tough Texan he is, Dempsey finished the game and will continue to play in the next game against Portugal. The last of our injuries was to Matt Besler due to cramping up. His replacement at the time was a head scratcher for me, John Brooks. Never heard of the kid in my life. Apparently he barely made the team and this is his first World Cup. Oh joy.

Ghana answered in the 82nd minute on a absolutely beautiful combo of touches(to be completely unbiased here). I was nervous the whole game, wanting the US to make it a 2 goal game so I could feel better about the lead. With the game now tied, and needing to win this game for us to have any realistic chance of making it out of the Group of Death, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach flying around in there. It didn’t look good. Ghana has all the momentum. Four minutes later(86th minute now), Fabian Johnson took a run down the right flank and drew a corner kick, which surely Zusi would take because that’s one of his specialties. As Zusi set up to take the corner kick, I remember thinking to myself, we have to drain this or else we are screwed.  As the ball was in the air, I could tell it had a good chance if someone could connect on it. Next thing I know, I see a body in a USA jersey head it in!!! I immediately sprung from my seat, yelping on the top of my lungs! Wow. That just happened. I then came back to sanity and realized the great American hero that saved the day was none other than John Brooks. The man I was just questioning not but 30 minutes ago. You can’t write a story like that; that’s a prime example of the beauty of sports.

 

Moving forward, a huge concerning factor at least for me was the US did not have control on the game at all except for in the very beginning, and in the very end. You could definitely say we squeaked away with that one. Ghana controlled possession 60% of the game, put up almost 3X more shots than we did(21 to our 8), had over double the amount of corner kicks(7 to 3), however the only stat that mattered was in our favor, 2-1. The final score.

 

Stats:

USA, Ghana, stats, goal, world cup
USAvsGhana stats

 

Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/usa/10905001/John-Brooks-USA-World-Cup-hero-and-greatest-American-since-Abraham-Lincoln.html

Photo cred:https://www.google.com/search?q=ghana+vs+usa+stats&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb

USMNT App Idea

App home screen
Home screen

For my digital online media class, I had to come up with an idea for an app. Since my topic is the USMNT, I figured I would make a “USMNT app”. The idea of it is to cover all their stories, scores, upcoming schedule, roster, and stats.

The idea of the app is very basic, but the concept of it is much like the SportsCenter app. Only its just for all things USMNT(that sounded just like the LeBron app commercial, “all things LeBron”). Anyways, we aren’t supposed to actually make it, just come up with the idea of one. I think it would be a handy little app to have, especially during the World Cup.

USMNT score page
Have a scores page like this sort of. Keep in mind this is just an idea! The real thing would look more professional and more “sporty” if you will.

What do you think? You think the USMNT app would be a good idea?

Start of the World Cup 2014

From this point forward, the 32 best national soccer teams from around the world all meet in one place for the grandest,  most prestigious platform of soccer known to mankind! Host nation, Brazil, kicked off the tournament yesterday in the first match against Croatia and handled them quite easily 3-1. Our precious United States team doesn’t play until Monday at 6pm/5pm CST.

United States faces Ghana
Ghana vs United States

The United States team starts our World Cup journey against their arch rival in the World Cup, the African nation Ghana. Ghana has had our number as of late. In the 2006 World Cup, Ghana eliminated the USA 2-1 in the Group stage, sending them home packing a bit earlier than we all would have wanted. With this new look American team, can they finally 4 years later get revenge? Mondays match will tell, and will also be a good indication of whats to come against the much more difficult opponents that still need to be faced. If Americans want a legitimate shot of making it out of the group, this game is a MUST WIN.

The next match versus Portugal will be very interesting. With Ronaldo’s knee injury and being arguably the best soccer player in world, at least top 2 for sure, his lack of health and/or possible absence would be a monumental factor to the outcome of the match. I’m excited to see what happen with not just our match but with Portugal’s first game against Germany to see how they handle the Ronaldo situation.

Last but certainly not least, Germany. Now, playing against any top 5 ranked team is huge regardless, however, its hard for me to predict the sheer importance of this game without knowing the results of the first two. Who we beat, lose, or tie to that point as well with who the other 3 teams beat, lose or tie to is definitely a factor to the importance of that game. Although, any smart soccer fan, American or not, knows the unlikely chances of USA beating Germany(BUT… as Chris Berman says “that’s why they play the game”). Maybe that’s the American in me hoping that we can pull off a “USA beating USSR in the Olympics” type miracle, but can you blame me? That’s the essence of the American spirit, never giving up no matter the odds stacked against you. It only succeeds once in a blue moon. Using the example I already used, the USA hockey team stunning USSR in the Olympics, or even in the Women’s World Cup last year against Brazil(yes, our women’s team were #1 in the world, but remember Brazil is another top 5 team). Losing by one and being down 1 man(or excuse me, 1 woman down) for pretty much the whole second half, and to keep scratching and clawing until Rapinoe served a gorgeous ball to Wambach on the back post, heading it in to tie the game in stoppage time. Stories like these prove that anything is possible, so maybe the Men’s team CAN pull it off. Even if its a long shot.

All I can say is I cant wait for Monday, 5pm. That’s when the journey truly starts.

 

 

Photo cred: http://wallwidehd.com/wp-content/uploads/Ghana-vs-USA-2014-World-Cup-Group-G-Soccer-Game-Wallpaper.jpg

The World Cup is here!!!!

USMNT
USMNT logo

The World Cup is finally here, starting in two days on Thursday June 12, 2014! The USMNT has gone 3-0 in their pre world cup matches versus Azerbaijan, Turkey, and finally Nigeria. I didn’t watch the Azerbaijan match, but I did watch the other two. There is a good article covering the apparent “unimpressive win” by the US on SB Nation.

Now, starting with the games I did watch, first of which being the Turkey game. From the start, there was a few calls an unbiased reporter would call “questionable” for both sides. First, American defenseman had a terrible challenge in the box that could have certainly been called for a PK and but the US a man down for the rest of the match, but no such call was made. No red card….. no penalty kick. On the flip side, Jozy Altidore scored a goal but was waved off by the referee because of a push. Jozy Altidore has not scored in international or club play since December 4th, quite the drought. At this point we are still deadlocked 0-0.

In the 26th minute, the US team finally broke the tie with an absolutely beautiful ball from Michael Bradley to Fabian Johnson on the give-and-go. After going into the half 1-0, team captain Clint Dempsey put another in the back of the net, elevating the US 2-0 in the second. Turkey finally answered with a goal of their own in the 89th minute with a penalty. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it got the job done.

The second game I watched, which is probably the best win for the US, was the Nigeria game. The reason why I say that is because this game was the resurgence of Jozy Altidore. The United States needs Jozy to play well in this World Cup if we hope of having any chance whatsoever of making it out of the “Group of Death” and having a legitimate shot at making a run for the Cup. From the get go, Fabian Johnson gave Altidore an easy tap in goal, ending his 7 month long drought. Not only did it do that, you could tell it helped his confidence as a striker. His second goal to put the US up 2-0 was a beauty. Michael Bradley, whom I’m going to start calling the field general with these gorgeous passes he is making, made a spectacular pass to Jozy on the left wing at his left foot. Altidore then stopped on a dime, changed directions and dribbled to his right foot across the defender, and delivered a strike from about 15 feet out.

Here is video of the gorgeous soccer play from start to finish:

Nigeria, just like Turkey, scored a garbage goal off of a penalty kick in the 86th minute. Final score being 2-1.

With the US going 3-0 leading into the World Cup, its the longest streak in US Men’s Soccer history for Pre-World Cup matchups. Will the momentum carry them past the Group of Death? Will they make a run for the Cup? We’ll have to see. It’s time… the lights are on, the athletes are ready, the fans are ready, lets get this World Cup underway.

 

Photo  cred to: Baltimore Soccer News

Making the Final Roster

Brazil hosts the most prestigious and grandest stage of soccer this year.
Brazil hosts the most prestigious and grandest stage of soccer this year.

I then remembered that the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was only a few days away and I love watching and rooting for the US Men’s National Team so why not cover that? The big speculation all summer long for this United States team pursuing their first World Cup appearance under new Head Coach, Jürgen Klinsmann, is who would he chose as his final 23? To the public’s surprise, Klinsmann opted away from having the players play a few matches before he made his decision and cut the roster to his

These 23 men will represent the great United States of America at the World Cup.
These 23 men will represent the great United States of America at the World Cup.

final 23 immediately. The biggest surprise of it all, was that Klinsmann left off arguably the best American soccer player ever, Landon Donovan. Donovan is 32 years old and definitely is in the waning years of his historic career. Donovan has the most international goals scored by an American of all time(57) as well as the most goals scored in a World Cup play by an American(5, which is more than the whole 2014 USMNT roster combined).  There was a great article talking about Landon’s absence from the roster in the Washington Post.

So what do y’all think? Does the United States have a chance to make a run without their all time leading scorer? Let me know in the comments and by doing my poll.

USA soccer is Brazil bound!

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