Friday, August 31, 2007


The News: In tonight’s UEFA Cup first round drawing, Standard Liege have been paired with Russian outfit Zenit St. Petersburg. The two leg tie, to be contested on September 20 and October 4, will determine which team gains entry into the group stage of the competition.

Of Note: Zenit St. Petersburg gained entry into the UEFA Cup via their 4th place finish in the Russia Permier League. An experienced club at this level (they reached the quarterfinals of this tournament last year), the side managed by Dick Advocaat will provide a stern test for Gooch and Standard.

Up Next: This Saturday, Standard Liege puts its 100% start to the season on the line when it faces 3rd place Club Brugge.


The News: Everton to face FC Metalist Kharkiv in the first round of the UEFA Cup. The Toffees were paired with Ukranian Club, Kharky, in tonight’s draw, and will contest a two leg tie on September 20 and October 4th.

Of Note: This is Kharky’s debut appearance in the UEFA Cup, and likewise the first time they have played Everton. While Tim Howard may at this point be unfamiliar with the opposition, he does have experience playing in Europe from his years in the Champions League with Manchester United.

Up Next: Everton look to continue their bright start to the season on Saturday when the travel to the Reebok Stadium to face Bolton Wanderers. Bolton is the home of American U-20 international Johann Smith who is still recovering from his injury sustained before the U20 World Cup.


The News: Heerenveen will face Swedish club Helsingborg in the first round of the UEFA Cup. Tonight’s draw in Monaco paired Michael Bradley’s club side with the fourth placed team from Sweden’s domestic league, with the winner earning entry into the group stage of the cup. The first leg takes place on September 20, with the return leg slated for two weeks later on October 4.

Of Note: Helsingborg have competed in Europe with some regularity in the past decade, though this is their first appearance in the UEFA Cup in three years. By far their most recognizable player is Henrik Larsson who has kept his promise by remaining with his hometown team this year. At 35, the legendary Swede is in the twilight of his career, but still has plenty of quality to offer any squad – just ask Manchester United who wanted to extend his loan deal last year.

Up Next: After Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Ajax, Heerenveen look to get back on track this Saturday, at home against Sparta Rotterdamn.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The News: The UEFA Champions League draw for the 2007/08 campaign took place tonight in Monaco. Rangers have been placed in a tough Group E, which features Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona, German Champions VfB Stuttgart and six-time French Champion Olympique Lyon.

Of Note: This is not Beasley’s first experience in the Champions League, having appeared in the competition on multiple occasions with PSV. In fact, Beasley became the first American in history to appear in a Champions League semifinal when the 2004/05 team marched all the way to the final four before succumbing to Milan in injury time of the second leg. Dramatic to say the least… (Highlights from both legs here)

Up Next: The competition gets underway later this month and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on how both these teams fare.


The News: Benfica have been drawn in group D with AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic for the upcoming Champions League season.

Of Note: Adu has yet to see action with Benfica since earning his debut in the first leg of their CL qualifier against Copenhagen. As for the draw, here’s a quick break down of who they’ll be facing in Group D:

AC Milan – Can never really enjoy seeing the defending champs in your group, but Benfica is no stranger to AC Milan in CL play, as the two clubs have met twice before in the final. One thing to keep in mind: Milan have Ronaldo (yep, the Ronaldo) available for European competition this year – last year he was cup tied.

Shakhtar Donetsk – The current leaders of the Ukrainian League, most fans here are probably unfamiliar with this team known as The Miners. However, they’ve been appearing in the CL with some regularity in recent years and are consistently at the top of their domestic league. Oh, and yes, this is the club that Mexican international Nery Castillo moved earlier this year (check out this completely ludicrous orange facemask he’s been donning).

Celtic – If many people are unfamiliar with Shakhtar here in the States, than surely the opposite is true for Benfica’s final group opponent. The two clubs met in the competition last year, with Celtic winning once 3-0, and Benfica returning the favor on their home ground by the exact same scoreline.

Up Next: The group stage starts later this month and consists of two games, home and away, against each opponent. The top two advance to the knockout stage of the CL, while the 3rd place team in the group gains automatic entry to the advanced stages of the UEFA Cup. That competition concludes its qualifying tonight, and with numerous Americans in action tonight, we’ll surely catch you up on some of the action in the near future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The News: Rangers hold Red Star Belgrade to a 0-0 draw to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Of Note: While a 0-0 draw doesn't always sound impressive, getting a point in Belgrade is no easy task. Beasley entered in the 79th minute as Rangers advanced out of qualifying with a 1-0 aggregate scoreline. The draw for the Group Phase will take place Friday.

Up Next: Rangers return to league action and host newly promoted Gretna FC on Sept. 1 in Glasgow. (To read about this tiny upstart club that is the only team in British history to win promotion in three successive seasons, click here)

Monday, August 27, 2007


The News: Oguchi Onyewu and Standard picked up their first clean sheet of the campaign, trouncing KSV Roeselare, 4-0.

Of Note: Gooch and Co. are en fuego to open the Jupiler League season, amassing a whopping 16 goals in four straight victories.

Up Next: Standard take a 3-0 lead into the second leg of their second round UEFA Cup qualifying series against UN Kaerjeng 97 on Thursday in Liege.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The News: Tim Howard was a busy man against Blackburn earning seven saves, including a fine save on a free kick in injury time, only allowing one goal to steal a point at Goodison Park.

Of Note: Blackburn had the better of the play and possibly deserved three points, but Howard did his job, along with some help from his defenders with a clearance off the line. Across the pitch, fellow American Brad Friedel also played well in front of the net for Blackburn.

Up Next: Howard and Everton will be away to face Bolton next Saturday, Sept. 1.


The News: Eddie Lewis started his first match for Derby since joining the club earlier this week and assisted on their lone goal in the 51st minute, crossing the ball from the left flank for Matt Oakley who volleyed home to make it 1-1.

Of Note: Benny Feilhaber, who arrived in Derby a couple weeks ago did not dress and has yet to play for his new club. Derby allowed fellow newly promoted side Birmingham score the game-winner in 63rd minute and sits at the bottom of the table with just one point from four games. Will they be there for the rest of the season??

Up Next: It's midweek action for Derby and the hopes of a victory as they take on Blackpool on Tuesday in Carling Cup action.


The News: Just 48 hours after putting pen to paper, Kasey Keller starts in goal for Fulham.

Of Note: Joined by fellow U.S. internationals Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey, Keller was part of the first match in English Premier League history with three Americans in the starting XI for the same team. Keller had not played a match since facing Paraguay on July 2 in Barinas.

Up Next: Keller will look to improve his match sharpness when Fulham debut in the 2007-08 Carling Cup on Tuesday against Shrewsbury.


The News: Clint Dempsey's first goal of the new campaign wasn't enough to outlast Aston Villa, who spun a second-half stoppage time strike into a 2-1 victory at Villa Park

Of Note: Dempsey marked his first start of the year in style, unleashing a rising left-footed blast in the sixth minute to give the guests a 1-0 lead. The loss continues Fulham's road woes, the London squad winless away from Craven Cottage in league play since September.

Up Next: Fulham keep their bags packed as they take on League Two side Shrewsbury in the second round of the Carling Cup.


The News: Beasley opened the scoring account for Rangers as they continued their unbeaten run to open the SPL campaign by downing Kilmarnock, 2-1, at Rugby Park.

Of Note: Beas has been on fire for the Glasgow outfit, already collecting two goals while starting five of seven competitive matches. He put Rangers on the scoreboard in the 57th minute today, plowing through the box before roofing a right-footer past Alan Combe.

Up Next: Rangers head back into Europe for a tricky away leg fixture against Red Star Belgrade in third round qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. The visitors carry a 1-0 advantage heading into Tuesday's encounter in Belgrade.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


The News: Kasey Keller returns to the English Premier League after signing with Fulham. Listen to Podcast.

Of Note: The 37-year-old goalkeeper becomes the fourth American at the London club, joining Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and team captain Brian McBride. Keller previously had EPL stints with Tottenham and Leicester City.

Up Next: Keller could get thrown straight into the fire this weekend when Fulham travel to Aston Villa on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The U.S. MNT Blog will resume on Sunday, Sept. 2 as the team reconvenes in Chicago to begin preparation for a match against Brazil on Sept. 9 at Soldier Field in Chicago. We appreciate everyone logging into the MNT Blog during our few days in Sweden, which ended with a rather non-scintillating 1-0 loss to the hosts. (Remember, the MNT Blog isn’t a press release. We can say things like “non-scintillating.” If you don’t believe us, you can watch our all_access video on the game in which DaMarcus Beasley quite entertainingly referred to the game as “dull.” That seems pretty accurate. Hey, they can’t all be USA 2, Mexico 0.)

We will see everyone back here on Sept. 2.

The First XI

Without further ado, the team that will trot out against Sweden for the first meeting between the nations since 1995:


Cherundolo   Onyewu   Bocanegra (c)   Bornstein

Bradley          Mastroeni
Feilhaber*                                                  Beasley

Donovan           Dempsey

Brian Ching was a late scratch from the starting lineup after suffering a left calf strain. Benny Feilhaber has replaced him, and Landon Donovan will slide up top from his wing midfield position.

The U.S. is deploying a familiar formation, using two central midfielders in deeper positions and pushing Donovan and Beasley out wide. Carlos Bocanegra earns his 50th cap tonight, while Donovan closes in on history.

His next goal will place him at the top of the USA's all-time goalscoring list and would also give him the record for most goals in one year. Any point he picks up will mean the record for most points in a single year as well.


U.S. Super Fans, thy names are James and Anne Nicholson.

Now season ticket holders for the Houston Dynamo, James and Anne starting following the U.S. team in 2002 after James had watched the USA's 4-0 win against Honduras on March 2 in Seattle. "I had played up through 10th grade, but kind of got away from the game," he told us. "After that Honduras game, I was hooked again."

We'd say so. The couple have been to around 30 national team games since 2002, using the various home venues as weekend getaways to explore new cities while supporting the team. Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco and Chicago are just some of the places they have added to their "caps" list.

And their favorite player? "My wife's is Brian McBride," James said. "We met him at a Starbucks in Providence, and he was nice enough to sign my jersey and take pictures with the family. We've traveled to London for the last two years during Christmas to watch Fulham play."

Having gone to Germany last summer, the Nicholsons decided to hit their first international friendly here in Sweden. It turned into a quite journey. After departing Houston, their flight was forced to land in Baltimore when weather in New Jersey shut down the airport. Six hours later they were in Newark but missed their first connection. After some serious research, the couple were put on a flight to Paris that left at 2 a.m. ET. The next leg was a 7 p.m. flight to Copenhagen, where they got to cool their heels for a couple days before hopping the train to Goteborg. There was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, however, as they wound up staying at the same hotel as the team. In other words, autograph central. Pretty sure they deserve it.

They've been walking around town sporting U.S. gear, and will be amongst
the small group of fans supporting the visitors tonight. And they're
only just getting started.

"We've already started looking for flights to Spain..."

Thanks guys. Happy to have you here...

Sweden Lineup

Sweden has released its lineup for today’s match. Unfortunately, they didn’t list how their formation would look, so at lunch the MNT Blog headed over to Coach Bob Bradley for some tips. Here was the way he laid it out for us:

1- Rami Shaaban
2 – Mikael Nilsson 3 – Olof Mellberg 4 – Peter Hansson 5 – Erik Edman

6 – Daniel Andersson ( C )                    
                    8 – Kim Källström
7 – Christian Willhelmsson                              9 – Kennedy Bakircioglü

                    10 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
11 – Johan Elmander                    

Bob also offered up a few thoughts on the Sweden lineup, which contains a few familiar names. “Ibrahimovic comes back into their side and is still a special talent. That’s something we need to be aware of,” said Bradley. A name that many people might not be aware of, however, is that of Kennedy Bakircioglü..“He comes in for Ljungberg,” said Bob. “He had a great season last year at FC Twente (in Holland), and this season has moved on to Ajax. He is skillful player, a good dribbler and can be dangerous on set pieces.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Before we hit the hay, we wanted to let you in on the highlight of the day, which was definitely the game of Horseshoes at the end of practice (as you’ll see, the person who named this thing was not that inspired). First, an explanation of the game, which is pretty simple: one person chips the ball a distance of about 15 yards to his partner, who then tries to trap the ball as close as possible to the cone, like…you guessed it - Horseshoes. Any number of teams can take part, though the more that do, the more chaotic the area of play becomes. At the end of the round, the team with the closest ball gets a point. Then the process is repeated going the other way – the person who traps now chips, and vice versa. First to ten wins. Simple enough right? You can see the guys playing in today’s all_access video.

So, what transpired? Well, Pablo Mastroeni and Steve Cherundolo managed to eek out a victory in the end, despite a late comeback from valiant challengers Jonathan Spector/Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra/ Johnny Bornstein . The final blow was delivered by Cherundolo whose deft control of his partner’s chip broke a score that was tied improbably at 9-9-9. It seemed the other participants buckled under the pressure of the whole team (plus security and media) watching and totally botched the last, crucial attempt. In the end, Steve and Pablo managed to hold strong, and fully deserved their victory. One final note: Brian Ching and Landon Donovan demonstrated that the “golf clap” is the accepted manner in which to show approval of a player’s effort in Horseshoes. Go figure. Although maybe by that point everybody was tired of hearing the echo.

WI-FI Central

The atrium area has become the cool place to hang out - with the training room a close second - because there is access to free wireless internet.

At the moment, here's the scene: At one table there is a gathering of coaches looking at video. Two chairs over, Jay DeMerit, Michael Bradley and Jonathan Spector are checking out Jay's myspace page. Clint Dempsey just cruised by with a signed jersey over his shoulder. Team doctor Michael Gerhardt and chiropractor George Billauer are talking shop, and in the training room are about five guys watching Demolition Man. Not the most exciting update, but hey, neither are nights before a game.


Caught up with Clint Dempsey in the hotel atrium as he sat reading The Children of Húrin, the completion of a tale started by Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien and finished by his son after his death. The story takes place in the time before the Hobbits, and sets up many of the story lines found in the Lord of The Rings series, something that has long captivated Dempsey.

"I've always been a big fan of the movies, but I never read the books.
I'm starting at the beginning so I can learn as much as I can, and will work my way through to The Return of the King. There's some really cool stories here, and it's interesting reading about the different adventures that take place. There's maps, legends, a pronunciation guide and stuff like that. This book is all about keeping on battling through adversity."

It's not only the story that interests him, but the chance to put aside everything else going on.

"I didn't read that much growing up, but now I love it. It gives me chance to escape into my own world for a while."

Twilight Zone

Back from training at Ulevi stadium with some weird phenomena to report. First, the empty stadium creates a vast, bizarre echo. Due to the way that the stadium is built, all the sound created stays contained, which made our training match of 8v8 sound more like 50v50. The stadium’s velodrome-esque shape is also responsible for the wind tunnel on the field. Air comes into the stadium and, unable to escape, blows around in the center creating strong gusts in the middle of the pitch. More than once we were accosted by gusts of wind that were literally swirling around during the game. And finally, the stadium organizers have decided to create an optical illusion by laying down green turf on the track next to the pitch. In the past, fans have complained at the feeling of distance generated by the eight lane track, and so the powers that be decided to try and deceive them (or at least their eyes) into thinking they’re closer. The weird thing is that it works. So between the sound, the wind, and our eyes playing tricks on us, we were expecting training to turn into some kind of Twilight Zone episode, perhaps with an appearance by William Shatner? But of course, it came off without a hitch.


Prepare not to be surprised. Apparently Marcus Hahnemann’s favorite past time here in Sweden is to show everyone the video of his hand surgery from earlier this summer. Something that everyone would keep on their computer, right? A bunch of unsuspecting players were hanging out in the training room when in strolls Marcus carrying his laptop and beaming about this ‘great clip’ he’s got. Great if you like horror movies, that is. And like a scary flick, some guys just couldn’t resist watching. And now wish they hadn't. Folks, we actually considered posting the link here. And then we thought of the kids…

DaMarcus Beasley: One-on-One

While in Goteborg preparing for the U.S. MNT's match against Sweden, caught up with DaMarcus Beasley to discuss his recent transfer to Rangers. Do you have trouble understanding Scottish people?
DMB: “Yeah, it’s tough understanding people in Glasgow. They talk so fast! I’m getting better at understanding them. Obviously, it’s still English, but it’s funny how hard it is for them to understand me, and me to understand them.” You tried any Scottish food yet?
DMB: “I’m trying to stay away from it. I’ve heard of haggis. They also have fried Mars bars that I keep hearing about. So no, I haven’t tried any natural Scottish foods. I don’t think I ever will.”

(Editor’s note: In case you were thinking DaMarcus is lacking an ‘adventurous spirit’, Merriam Webster defines haggis as “a traditionally Scottish dish that consists of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or a calf minced with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the animal.” You decide.)

Read More


"How do you get the Dixie Chicks stuck in your head for 24 hours straight?" -- Jay DeMerit

We don't know, Jay. But now we have some more questions...


News from the Sweden camp is that team captain Fredrik Ljungberg did not make the trip to Goteborg after a sprained ankle failed to improve. The former Arsenal winger and current teammate of Jonathan Spector at West Ham United has missed out on the Hammers 1-0 win at Birmingham. Also out for Sweden is Galatasary midfielder Tobias Linderoth. No word yet on replacements.

Monday, August 20, 2007


The News: Eddie Lewis has completed his move from Leeds to newly promoted side Derby County in the English Premier League.

Of Note: The 33-year-old signed a two-year deal that sees him join 22-year-old midfielder Benny Feilhaber at Derby. Feilhaber completed a three million pound (six million dollar) transfer from Hamburg on Friday.

Up Next: Lewis will be available for Derby's weekend league match against fellow EPL newcomers Birmingham.


Wednesday's game takes place at the Ullevi stadium in Göteborg (pictured above), which is only a short walk from the hotel. The Ullevi is the home of IFK Göteborg and Örgyte IS, but perhaps its most famous soccer match involved neither of these teams. In Euro ‘92, which Sweden hosted, the Ullevi played host to the final where Denmark defeated powerhouse Germany, 2-0. At least until Greece made a similar run in the 2004 tournament, Denmark’s victory was considered the most unlikely ever seen in the competition. Initially, they weren’t even supposed to be in the tournament, but qualified after forced withdrawal of Yugoslavia due to political unrest in the country. Luckily for us (and we're guessing some of you, too) who were too young to experience the match firsthand, the legacy is duly upheld with this fantastic highlight video.

And speaking of politics, that Euro ‘92 tournament, interestingly enough, featured the one and only appearance at a major competition by the CIS, or the Commonwealth of Independent States. The CIS was formed after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, and consisted of the eleven states that were borne out of the USSR’s demise. The team unluckily crashed out in the group stage, going 0-2-1. In fact, the CIS soccer team only existed for about six months before its constituents broke off into separate teams. In that time, however, it played the U.S. MNT twice, including in its first-ever match on January 25, 1992. That match in Miami, Fla., was also assistant coach Mike Sorber’s first of 67 caps for the MNT.

Whew. That’s enough history for today.


Fresh off his game-winner against FC Dallas that put Houston back on top of the West, Brian Ching completed his 129-hour trip to Goteborg when he strolled into the training room just before 11 p.m local time. Weary but happy to be here is how he described it. And we say he looks it, too. The U.S. roster is now officially complete, with everyone fit and available for selection as the clock ticks closer to kickoff...

Happy 91st Anniversary!

On Aug. 20, 1916, the United States Football Association’s Men’s National Team played its first-ever official match under the banner of FIFA after gaining full membership just over two years earlier. In Stockholm, the U.S. earned a 3-2 win against Sweden on goals by Charles Ellis, C.H. Spalding and Harry Cooper. All three scorers made just one more official appearance for the U.S., a 1-1 draw against Norway on Sept. 3, 1916, in Oslo, with Ellis depositing the lone goal for the USA. Now 91 years later, the U.S. MNT has played a total of 495 matches, appeared in eight World Cup finals and won four confederation championships. Here’s the USA’s lineup from the inaugural match against Sweden:

George Tintele, James Roberston, C.H. Spalding (1), Thomas Murray, Neil Clarke, Clarence Smith, James Ford, Thomas Swords, John Hemingsley, Charles Ellis (1), Harry Cooper (1)

The team would go almost eight years before playing its next full international when it participated in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Of the starting XI on that day in Stockholm, only one player earned a cap after 1916. James Robertson started in the 6-1 win against Canada on Nov. 8, 1925, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

By the way, did you get a load of the photo on the front page of Definitely glad to have those guys on our side. They look mighty tough...

Filling the Brain on BK Hacken

Just came back from training at Rambergsvallen, the home ground of BK Häcken. The old stadium that holds about 5,000 is actually on a man-made island, so to get to it, we drove over a bridge on the Göta River. Though it was raining, we still got a nice view of the surrounding city and its skyline dominated by a building locally known as “The Lipstick.”

As we got off the bus, a policeman pulled Marcus Hahnemann aside. Nervous, the MNT Bloggers asked Marcus what that was about, but the Reading goalkeeper said the guard merely complemented him on his clean sheet against Manchester United a week ago.

While the team headed right into a light training session, we stopped to talk to one of the other policemen and our liaisons about our surroundings. We learned that BK Häcken is one of the smaller clubs in Göteborg and was in fact relegated from the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s highest division) in 2006. This year, however, though they are playing in a lower league, they’ve gained entry into the UEFA Cup via last year’s Fair Play drawing. Currently they’re in the second qualifying round for entry into the group stage, and they just tied Dunfermline away from home 1-1. Next week’s match won’t be played at Rambergsvallen, however. Because it doesn’t meet UEFA’s standards for European matches, it will be played at the Ullevi, the same location for our match against Sweden Wednesday night.

BK Häcken, it seems, is more famous around Göteborg for its commitment to a youth tournament that it runs every year. One of the biggest competitions in the world, the yearly event brings in teams from around the world and generates much of the revenue the club uses throughout the year. BK Häcken’s policy towards youth soccer has served it well through the years, and Sweden midfielder Kim Källström, who is in the squad for this week’s game, got his professional career underway amongst the youth teams at the club.

Anyhow, training finished up without much else to report, other than the fact that U-23 coach and MNT assistant coach Peter Nowak performed a spectacular bicycle kick in the rain during the shooting drills at the end of practice. After his rather humble celebration, we headed back to the hotel to dry ourselves off and get ready for dinner.


Among the myriad of pieces of equipment that the team travels with is a compressor to pump up the balls for training. Apparently, ours doesn't travel well. After finding the right adapter for European plugs (so we thought), Jesse Bignami started pumping up the balls, and after about three the machine went kaput to the sound of a low groan, followed by a rather pungent odor emanating from the motor. With a mere 27 balls left to get inflated, it seemed like a hand pump was not the answer. Jesse and trainer Justin Shaginaw embarked on a mission to find a sporting goods store to buy a new pump. They happened upon a store called STADIUM and a friendly associate named David. He said they didn't have any electric pumps for sale, but would be willing to pump up 'a' ball ... as in one.

Ever resourceful, Jesse told him he'd be back in 10 minutes. He returned with 27 balls, a team jersey, polo and t-shirt. After a bit of diplomacy, Jesse and Justin were able to set up shop in the middle of the store and inflate the rest of the balls. Mission accomplished. David said "thank you for the shirt, and I won't be supporting your team Wednesday." No problem, David ...

Easing Into It

Breakfast this morning was optional, and as you can imagine, most guys exercised the option not to attend. Nothing like getting to sleep in a bit, particularly during the season. Caught up with Landon and Charlie Davies as they checked in looking pretty bleary-eyed from the trip. It's an overcast morning here in Goteborg. We're going to go hunt for an IKEA...

Sunday, August 19, 2007


The News: Berhalter netted a pair as 1860 Munich downed former Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern 3-1 at the Allianz Arena

Of Note: The 1860 Munich defender led the team both on the field and on the scoreboard. He powered home a header off a free kick from Danny Schwarz to level the match at 1-1, and then put the finishing touches on the Munich victory with a goal from the penalty spot 13 minutes from time. Fellow U.S. international Josh Wolff added the assist on the game-winner, giving the home side six points after two matches and putting them top of the table on goal differential.

Up Next: Berhalter and 1860 Munich travel to face TSG Hoffenheim on Sunday, Aug. 26 in league play.

The Blog Returns

Thanks for signing on again. Hope you are enjoying the blog's new digs...

So, we dust off the typewriter (Yes, it's a keyboard - we're just feeling nostalgic. Must be the European air...) from the summer break and write to you from Goteborg, Sweden, which as an absolutely charming city 301 miles from Stockholm. Enough chit-chat. Here's the skinny:

The vast majority of the team got the hotel a little after 3 p.m. local time. Tomorrow's arrivals will be Jonathan Bornstein, Brian Ching, Landon Donovan, and Oguchi Onyewu. Nice to see Marcus Hahnemann for the first time since Hamburg. He's looking ... well ... the exact same. Cherundolo is healthy, Convey looks good, and Spector was all smiles after West Ham's result yesterday. It's always great to see everyone meet up again. This group genuinely enjoys each other, which is a big part of any team's success. Moving on...

They arrived smack in the middle of the Manchester derby, so Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Kamani Hill and Sal Zizzo headed to a pool hall around the corner to catch the second half. Most everyone else just settled in, with a few guys venturing out to wander around the town. At 4:45, the routine kicked in. Training room and equipment room open for business, casual gear for the trip laid out, and guys getting ready for the afternoon. Today's session consisted of a visit to a local spa for 45 minutes of riding a bike, stretching and hitting the sauna. The general term we use for these days is 'regeneration'.

Everything went smoothly, and then it was off to dinner. The meal room is in the basement of the hotel, which you enter through a metal gate. The room itself closely resembles a wine cellar - perhaps it's because it IS a wine cellar. And in what could be one of the highlights of the trip, for dinner they actually served Swedish meatballs! All of us Muppets fans were thrilled. And for the record, they were quite tasty. Talk around the tables revolved around the scores from Europe this weekend and war stories from the summer. A quick team meeting, and then everyone was off to relax.

Tomorrow's session isn't until 4 p.m., so hopefully we'll generate some good stories during the day. In the mean time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars...


Thanks for signing on again. Hope you are enjoying the blog's new digs ...

So, we dust off the typewriter (Yes, it's a keyboard - we're just feeling nostalgic. Must be the European air...) from the summer break and write to you from Goteborg, Sweden, which as an absolutely charming city 301 miles from Stockholm. Enough chit-chat. Here's the skinny:

The vast majority of the team got the hotel a little after 3 p.m. local time. Tomorrow's arrivals will be Jonathan Bornstein, Brian Ching, Landon Donovan, and Oguchi Onyewu. Nice to see Marcus Hahnemann for the first time since Hamburg. He's looking ... well ... the exact same. Cherundolo is healthy, Convey looks good, and Spector was all smiles after West Ham's result yesterday. It's always great to see everyone meet up again. This group genuinely enjoys each other, which is a big part of any team's success. Moving on ...

They arrived smack in the middle of the Manchester derby, so Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Kamani Hill and Sal Zizzo headed to a pool hall around the corner to catch the second half. Most everyone else just settled in, with a few guys venturing out to wander around the town. At 4:45, the routine kicked in. Training room and equipment room open for business, casual gear for the trip laid out, and guys getting ready for the afternoon. Today's session consisted of a visit to a local spa for 45 minutes of riding a bike, stretching and hitting the sauna. The general term we use for these days is 'regeneration.'

Saturday, August 18, 2007


The News: Bobby Convey gets his first EPL minutes since last February as Reading blank Everton, 1-0.

Of Note: Convey entered in the 79th minute, delightfully ending the six-month rehab spell on his knee. Marcus Hahnemann earned the clean sheet as the Royals shut down Everton's unbeaten start to the season. Reading can be pleased to have four points from their first three matches that included showdowns with Manchester United and Chelsea. Up

Next: Reading are off to face a slumping Bolton side that has failed to earn a single point in three matches.


The News: Spector gets his second straight start as West Ham bounce back from a 2-0 opening day loss to Manchester City and get their first points of the season in the 1-0 away win at Birmingham.

Of Note: Spector appears to have grabbed the starting spot at right back after getting the nod in the first XI again; equally important to U.S. fans this week was the absence of winger Fredrik Ljungberg. The Swedish captain did not dress, and his availability for the Wednesday friendly against the USA in Goteborg is in question.

Up Next: West Ham welcome Wigan to Upton Park, the visitors having grabbed at least a temporary hold of the top spot in the EPL with six points from three matches.


The News: McBride scores the opening goal in Fulham's 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough but suffers a dislocated kneecap and could be sidelined for months.

Of Note: The Fulham captain was alone when he got on the end of a cross from Alexey Smirtin in the 16th minute, but he twisted awkwardly and immediately went down. An update on the injury is expected in the next few days. Meantime, Clint Dempsey replaced another injured player in the 35th minute and had a golden chance to put Fulham ahead 1o minutes from time, but that opportunity and an apparent last-minute goal from David Healy that went unacknowledged left the Cottagers with nothing to show from their effort.

Up next: Fulham head to Aston Villa after the midweek international fixture date

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Two days before the opening of the Dutch Eredivisie season, caught up with Michael Bradley to get a state of the union prior to the launch of the 2007-08 campaign. Bradley first reflected on his hectic summer that included a Gold Cup championship with the full team and a quarterinal finish at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, then turned towards his prospects with SC Heerenveen and his predictions on who will challenge for top honors in Holland. Listen to the exclusive podcast here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The News: Benny Feilhaber remained in street clothes as Derby lose their first match since being promoted to the Premiership.

Of Note: Falling 2-1 to a revamped Manchester City side led by former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, Derby were once again without the services of Benny Feilhaber, who has yet to receive his international clearance since transferring from Hamburg.

Up Next: On Aug. 18, Derby make their first visit to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham.


The News: Reading dropped their home opener to Chelsea on goals from Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

Of Note: Hahnemann was deemed blameless on goals that came three minutes apart in the second half. Not so for his counterpart across the field, Peter Cech gifting a goal to Andre Bikey just one minute after the defender entered the match in the 29th minute. Bobby Convey has yet to appear in the team sheet in Reading's first two matches.

Up Next: Hahnemann duels with fellow U.S. international goalkeeper Tim Howard as Everton head south to Madejski Stadium on Saturday, the visitors having picked up victories in their first two matches against Wigan and Tottenham.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The News: Fredua made his Benfica debut on Tuesday in their Champions League qualfier against FC Copenhagen, coming on in the 37th minute.

Of note: Adu came on a minute after FC Copenhagen tied the game 1-1, subbing in for Anderson Luisao. Benfica went on to win the match, 2-1, getting the game-winner from Manuel Rui Costa (who also tallied the first Benfica goal). Adu played in a attacking midfield role before alternating between the wings during the second half. Early in the second half, he headed a ball across the box to teammate Oscar Cardozo, but his header was saved by the 'keeper. With 10 minutes to play, Adu tried a bicycle kick, but his attempt went far wide of the goal. With the victory, Benfica takes a 2-1 aggregate lead and will face Kobenhaven in the second leg on Aug. 29.

Up Next: Benfica is away to Leixoes in league play on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Monday, August 13, 2007


The News: Pearce made his Bundesliga debut for Rostock after transferring from FC Nordsjælland in Denmark

Of note: That was the only good news on the day as Rostock got a rude welcome to the Bundesliga from perennial power Bayern Munich, falling 3-0 on a pair of goals from Miroslav Klose and a Luca Toni strike

Up Next: Rostock returns to the friendly confines of the DKB-Arena on Aug. 18 to face FC Nurnberg


The News: Josh Wolff bags two assists as 1860 Munich dismantle Augsburg, 6-2, to open the new campaign

Of note: 1860 Munich recorded their most goals in a league match in this decade. Wolff appears to have returned to form after an injury sidelined him for the final five matches last season.

Up Next: Die Löwen (The Lions) host FC Kaiserslautern, who begin league action today against Kasey Keller's former club Borussia Moenchengladbach, on Aug. 19 at the Allianz Arena in Munich.


The News: Torres became one of the youngest Americans ever to start for a Mexican club when he was in the line-up for Pachuca during a 3-1 victory against Morelia.

Of note: The 5-foot-5 midfielder is originally from Longview, Texas.

Up Next: Pachuca, the Clasura 2007 champions, meets the Houston Dynamo in the semifinals of the SuperLiga on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Fans can watch the match live on Telefutura at 10 p.m. ET.


The News: Hahnemann secures an unlikely point against Manchester United in Reading’s EPL opener with nine saves, including a number of clutch snags as the reigning league champs peppered his goal due to an extra man in the final 20 minutes.

Of note: This was Hahnemann’s first league match since returning from a broken hand he suffered in the final match last year. The surgery included 16 metal bolts and a plate was inserted to help him recover in time for this season. “Marcus has come on a storm,” said Reading manager Steve Coppell. “I must admit that when he reported back for training, I thought there was no way he could get into contention. But he has shown he can play and the injury is not an issue.” Overall, Manchester United took 25 shots, hitting nine on frame, while Reading was only able to muster three total shots (two on goal).

Up Next: Things don’t get any easier of the Royals as they go up against Chelsea at home on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Monday, August 6, 2007


The News: Zizzo completes his first training session as a professional with Hannover.

Of note: The 19-year-old former UCLA Bruin inked a a three-year deal with Hannover last month after turning in one of the eye-opening performances for the U-20's during their quarterfinal run at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada last month.

Up Next: Zizzo will continue to train with the team as he looks to win a spot with the first team. Hannover opens their Bundesliga campaign this Saturday, Aug. 11 against Hamburg.


The News: Brian McBride named captain of Fulham for the 2007-08 season.

Of note: The 33-year-old McBride was handed the captain’s armband by Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez after Wednesday’s training session. McBride has spent the last four seasons at Fulham, amassing 24 goals in 88 league appearances. The team's leading scorer last year with 10 goals, he was previously honored as the 2005-06 Fulham Player of the Year. "Lawrie asked me to be captain today and I was delighted,” said McBride. “Obviously, the club has quite a few good leaders in the players that were here already and also the players Lawrie has brought into the squad. To be asked to Captain Fulham is a real honor.”

Up Next: McBride will lead Fulham onto the field for the first time this Sunday, Aug. 12 in their Premiership opener against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.


The News: Hahnemann earns a shutout of QPR in his first match since recovering from a broken bone in his hand.

Of note: The good form showed by Hahnemann secures he'll be ready to go in time for Reading's opener against defending league champions Manchester United.

Up Next: Reading takes on Manchester United on Sunday, Aug. 12 in their EPL opener.


The News: Bobby Convey scored a 25-yard free kick in 1-0 win in friendly against QPR.

Of note: This was Convey's his first full 90 for Reading since last February. The U.S. international had been sidelined with a knee injury for several months, and is nearing full fitness as the start of the EPL season rapidly approaches.

Up Next: Reading takes on Manchester United on Sunday, Aug. 12 in their EPL opener.


The News: Beasley scored the lone goal in a 1-0 away win against FK Zeta.

Of note: The victory provided the Rangers a 3-0 aggregate and ensured advancement to third round qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Beasley's first goal in a Rangers uniform came in his second straight start for the club, having started in the 3-0 victory against Inverness on opening day of the Scottish Premier League campaign last Saturday. Click here for video of the goal.

Up Next: The Rangers invite St. Mirren to Ibrox Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 11.