USA advances to Gold Cup Final with 1-0 victory over Panama
USA fans were shocked and disappointed when the U.S. Men's National Team lost its first ever group play game in the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football Gold Cup to Panama two weeks ago. Not only was it their first loss in the group stages of the Gold Cup period, but it was their first loss to Panama, a Central American country smaller than the state of South Carolina and lacking in soccer star power. It was a stunning loss that left the team and its fans shaking their heads. As head coach Bob Bradley put it after the game, “On the night we weren’t good enough … we weren’t sharp enough in the areas that mattered.” The USA had come into the tournament expected to roll full steam ahead into the final. With the loss to Panama in the group stage, their assumed place in the final suddenly seemed to be in serious danger.
USA LOSES OUT TO MEXICO IN CONCACAF GOLD CUP FINAL
The U.S. Men’s National Team suffered a tough defeat against Mexico last Saturday in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. It was expected to be a hard-fought match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena but after going up 2-0 in the first half, the USA just could not hold on to its early lead. The final score was 4-2 in favor of Mexico and once the final whistle blew there was no denying that the USA had been outplayed for much of the game.
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in Germany last weekend, with France and Germany securing wins in group play on the first day of the tournament. Japan and Sweden also came away with a first-game win and Mexico and England fought to a 1-1 draw. On Tuesday, the United States Women’s National Team also secured a convincing 2-0 win over Korea in Dresden, a decisive opening statement for a team that struggled in qualifying in the lead up to the tournament.
U.S. WOMEN FIGHT TO THE END IN THRILLING VICTORY OVER BRAZIL
What is it with U.S. Soccer and last-minute, nail-biting dramatics on the pitch? Last year, USA fans suffered all the way into stoppage time to see Landon Donovan finally put the ball in the back of the net for a critical win over Algeria in group play to keep the U.S. Men’s National Team in the World Cup. On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Team blew that victory out of the water with a stunning victory over Brazil in Dresden, Germany that saw the USA play most of the game with 10 players and struggle through questionable officiating to boot.
Late heroics lead the USWNT to a 3-1 victory over France
The U.S. Women's National Team defeated France on Wednesday to earn their place in the 2011 World Cup Final. They will face Japan on Sunday, the first time the U.S. women have achieved a spot in the final since 1999, when the USA won it all against China.
USWNT FALLS IN PENALTY SHOOTOUT WITH JAPAN
In what was perhaps one of the exciting matches for U.S. Soccer in recent memory, the U.S. Women's National Team put in a fantastic performance against Japan in the 2011 Women's World Cup Final. It was a triumph for the beautiful game; the referee officiated competently and stayed largely out of sight, both teams played cleanly and with immense heart and there wasn't even a caution for misconduct until 97 minutes into the match.
BRADLEY OUT, KLINSMANN IN AS HEAD COACH OF USMNT
Hallo Klinsmann. The news came on Thursday that Bob Bradley had been relieved of his duties as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team, sending both journalists and fans into a frenzy of speculation as to who would replace him. A few familiar names began to float around immediately but none were more familiar than that of the former German head coach (and player), Jürgen Klinsmann. And Friday, the U.S. Soccer organization confirmed that Klinsmann would be taking over as head coach of the USMNT immediately, signaling a bold shift for the USA.
IS THERE STILL VALUE IN THE MID-SEASON FRIENDLY?
Mid summer in Major League Soccer means many things, not least of which is the MLS All-Star Game, which sees the best of the league face off against formidable international competition. This year, just like last year, a star-studded Manchester United team routed the MLS All-Stars—although it should be noted that this year the score line flattered Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
USA TIES MEXICO 1-1 IN JURGEN KLINSMANN'S DEBUT AS HEAD COACH
If this game was any indication, Jürgen Klinsmann is a man of his word. Prior to Wednesday night’s friendly against Mexico, the new coach of U.S. Men's Soccer said he would give younger players an opportunity to get on the pitch. He said he wanted to create competition at every position. He said he wanted to encourage a more attacking style of play, one that would pressure the Mexican side and tire them out. And while the first half of the match was certainly nothing to write home about for the USA, the second half saw Klinsmann's squad keep him honest.
Who’s up, who’s down with playoffs around the corner
If the crazy labyrinth that is the MLS playoffs began today, L.A., Seattle and Dallas would be in position in the West, with Columbus, Kansas City and Philadelphia in position for the East. And the four wildcard contenders – Salt Lake, Colorado, Houston and D.C. – would be right in the mix as the race to the MLS Cup reaches its final leg. Now, apart from the glaring absurdity that is a playoff system that sees two of its wildcard teams (Salt Lake and Colorado) with more points this season than ANY of the top three teams in the East, most of the teams in the playoff picture are not surprising and are deserving of their places. L.A. has led the league in points for longer than anyone can remember and their consistency is the envy of the league (and the chemistry of their squad is certainly the envy of Red Bulls fans… but we’ll get to that later….). Meanwhile, Dallas and Kansas City continue to put forth fiery performances with youngsters Brek Shea and Teal Bunbury providing the sparks, and teams like Houston and D.C. are being just consistent enough to earn the remaining, coveted playoff spots.
MLS has come a long way but still has far to go
A lot has changed this past year in MLS: Vancouver and Portland have expanded the league to 18 teams, both David Beckham and Thierry Henry are performing so well it almost justifies their astronomical multi-million dollar salaries and, thanks to Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer has begun to steadily make its mark against regional rivals in the CONCACAF Champions League. RSL made an unprecedented run to the finals in last year’s CCL and, although they disappointingly ran out of fire and lost out on the title to Monterrey (MEX), MLS clubs have been steadily improving their performances in the prestigious tournament.