Thursday, September 27, 2007


The News: Adu made an appearance for Benfica in the Portuguese League Cup, his second for the club after coming on in a Champions League qualifier earlier in the year. Benfica ended up winning the match against Estrela Amadora in a shootout.

Of Note: Adu came on at halftime with Benfica losing, 1-0, and needing a goal to push the game to extra time. In a game of few chances, Benfica earned a penalty in the 90th minute, which Adu stepped up and blasted into the right hand corner. The goal tied the game at one, and sent the match to penalties. Adu took a spot kick in the shootout as well, converting it with aplomb as Benfica went on to win 5-4. The goal in regulation time was Adu’s first for the Portuguese club.

Up Next: Benfica faces local rivals Sporting Lisbon on Saturday in what is one of the most anticipated games on the Portuguese calendar. Adu will look to follow up his goalscoring performance from tonight with an appearance in what is considered one of Europe’s most heated rivalries.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


News: Bobby Convey scored his first goal of the season for Reading, but his team was ultimately eliminated from the Carling Cup by Liverpool.

Of Note: Convey's goal (cool pic of his celebration) tied up the score at one before a hat trick from Fernando Torres propelled Liverpool to a 4-2 victory. The result eliminates Reading from the Carling Cup, and they now have to turn their attentions back to the Premier League, where they currently sit the precarious position of 16th in the table. Marcus Hahnemann was on the bench for Reading, getting some much needed rest after appearing in all of Reading’s games thus far.

Up Next: Reading travels to Fratton Park on Saturday to face a Portsmouth side who, under Harry Redknapp, currently sits 11th in the table.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bocanegra's 100th Appearance

News: After captaining Fulham on Saturday, Bocanegra has now made 100 appearances for his club.

Of Note: Since joining Fulham in 2004, Bocanegra has been deployed in a variety of positions, both across the backline and even in defensive midfield. However, in the past few seasons, Carlos has held firmly to his position at center back for the Cottagers and this year has ascended to the rank of deputy captain in Brian McBride’s absence. In reaching the 100 Appearance mark in the Premier League, Bocanegra achieves a mark held by only 4 other Americans: Claudio Reyna, Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, and Brian McBride.

Up Next: Fulham host Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday night in the 3rd Round of the Carling Cup.

Brief Recap from England...

Some quick notes about a few results from the English Leagues this weekend:

Bobby Convey came off the bench in the second half, and provided some spark in Reading’s 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic. The Royals snatched all 3 points, courtesy of a late winner from James Harper …

Meanwhile, Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra took part in an absolutely thrilling 3-3 draw against Manchester City and Craven Cottage. Twice the Cottagers went ahead, but both times Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side fought back, eventually even taking the lead. However, the scoring wasn’t finished and Fulham managed to grab a late equalizer through Hameur Bouazza …

Benny Feilhaber and Jonathan Spector came off the bench for Derby County and West Ham United, respectively. Unfortunately, however, both sides were on the losing end of their matches …

Over in the Championship, Frank Simek played a full 90 minutes as Sheffield Wednesday beat Hull 1-0, and finally obtained their first points of the season. Jay DeMerit started for Watford as they managed a 1-1 draw with QPR at Loftus Road. For Wednesday, they remain bottom of the table but are now level only 3 points away from moving out of the relegation zone. Watford, on the other hand, continue their good start to the season, though their lead at the top of the table has now been trimmed to only two points

Sunday, September 23, 2007


The News: Michael Bradley scored his second goal of the campaign, but a last-minute strike from Guiseppe Rossini lifted FC Utrecht to a 3-2 win.

Of Note: Bradley's rebound goal in the 50th minute put Heerenveen level at 1-1, and his side was able to erase another one goal deficit before Rossini's free kick cruelly took a deflection into the back of the net.

Up Next: After scoring two goals himself in the first leg, Bradley and Heerenveen travel to Sweden to face Helsinborgs carrying a 5-3 advantage into the second leg of UEFA Cup first round action.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


The News: Heerenveen wins 5-3 shootout against Swedish side Helsingborg in the first leg of the UEFA Cup first round.

Of Note: Bradley hit the back of the net twice for his club tonight - his second and third goals of the week - as Heerenveen made it two in a row after their victory on Sunday. Michael opened the scoring in the 20th minute, and the two clubs traded blows for the rest of the game. The midfielder knocked in Heerenveen’s fifth goal in the 68th minute before making way in 72nd. Helsingborg managed to pull a goal back in the 74th through former Sweden international Henrik Larsson, but it was not enough and Heerenveen closed out the first leg of the series with a two goal advantage. On a personal level, Bradley appeared in USA Today yesterday, talking about his goals playing for the national team.

Heerenveen - Helsingborg 5-3

Up Next: Heerenveen look to make it three wins in three games when they host FC Utrecht this Sunday in the Dutch Eredivisie. The return leg against Helsingborg will be played October 4, when Heerenveen will travel to Sweden with entry into the UEFA Cup group stage on the line.

'Keepers Preview this Weekend's Action

Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann were both featured today on their respective clubs’ websites. You can read Kasey’s interview about Fulham’s upcoming match against Manchester City here. Likewise, Marcus talked to Reading’s website about how, despite their recent troubles, he’s confident that his team can turn its season around, starting this weekend against Wigan. Check that out here.

As stated, both these teams are in action this weekend, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on how they fare.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


It's A Champions League Return!

For Rangers, Champions League action starts tonight in a tough one against German champions Stuttgart. For Beasley, it will be his first match in the Champions League since the 2005-06 season with PSV, where his side went all the way to the semifinals before falling to AC Milan. The match begins at 2:45 ET, and you can follow along in a few places, like the UEFA Website or Eurosport, for example ...


Déjà vu? As soon as we post the blog for yesterday’s article on Clint Dempsey, we find that we’re already outdated…Today on Fulham’s website, the club has another piece on Clint and the upcoming match against high-flying side Manchester City.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


After scoring three goals in three consecutive English Premier League games, Clint Dempsey is turning heads in England. Add his goal against Brazil on September 9, and thats four goals in his last four games. Check out this piece on Fulham's website, where Clint talks about his position on the field. Forward, he says, is a position that is not his most natural, though his recent form for both club and country would suggest otherwise...Go figure.

Fulham FC interview with Clint

Monday, September 17, 2007


The News: Benny Feilhaber made his Premier League debut tonight, coming on in the 80th minute of a nail-biting 1-0 victory for Derby County against Newcastle.

Of Note: The Rams earned their first victory of this year’s Premier League campaign behind a stunning first half strike from Scottish international Kenny Miller. U.S. international Eddie Lewis also got into the action tonight, starting on the left wing for Derby. Feilhaber came on late in the second half, and showed some neat touches while tackling hard in the midfield to help ensure that his club held on for a massive win.

Up Next: With those three points, Derby has lifted themselves off the bottom of the table, but the road doesn’t get any easier for the newly promoted side. This Saturday’s schedule puts them on the road to London for a visit to Emirates Stadium and a duel with league leaders Arsenal.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


News: DaMarcus Beasley tallied his second SPL goal of the season, but it proved to be in vain as his team fell 4-2 to Hearts.

Of Note: With the loss, Rangers’ five-match unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt end and they also slipped to second in the table. Hearts jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before a Rangers penalty by Daniel Cousin cut the deficit in half. Hearts went on to score twice more, however, and by the time Beasley grabbed a goal in the 74 minute, it proved to be mere consolation.

Up Next: Rangers open their Champions League season on Wednesday night against German Champions Stuttgart at Ibrox. You can see Beas talk about the competition in Group E here. Next Sunday they’ll try to get back on track in the SPL when they host Aberdeen in a lunchtime kickoff.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


News: Heerenveen earned its first win of the season, coming from behind to win 5-2 over Excelsior. Michael Bradley started the game in the center of the park, and scored Heerenveen’s fifth and final goal in his team’s victory.

Of Note: Heerenveen went down 2-0 early in the game, but fought back and ended up overcoming their slow start by netting an impressive five unanswered goals. Bradley got in on the scoring efforts, tallying the last goal to cap an excellent day for Heerenveen. With the three points, Heerenveen jumped into the top half of the table in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Up Next: The Dutch club opens its UEFA Cup campaign against Swedish side Helsingsborgs IF. The first leg is to be played this Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Abe Lenstra Stadium in Holland, with the second leg to be played Oct. 4.


The News: Clint Dempsey put Fulham on top early, but a late penalty meant they split the spoils with Wigan in a 1-1 draw at JJB Stadium

Of Note: Dempsey continued his torrid scoring pace since cracking the starting lineup, netting in three consecutive EPL matches. Today's effort was a finish from eight yards out, Clint tucking home a left footer underneath the 'keeper off a deflected pass by strike partner Diomansy Kamara. Add in the goal against Brazil, and the 24-year-old remains white hot as summer starts to fade away.

Up Next: Fulham welcome a revamped Manchester City to Craven Cottage on Sept. 22 in London. In last season's meeting at Craven Cottage, Carlos Bocanegra scored Fulham's only goal while DaMarcus Beasley posted the game-winner in Man-City's 3-1 win.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

300K and rising

This isn’t necessarily a blog about our players overseas, but more us giving props to all of the youtube viewers out there. Since Monday when we put video highlights of the USA-Brazil game on youtube, our view count on the piece has been rising astronomically, and today it topped 300,000 hits! For all you serious mathematicians out there – we happened to be good spellers, ourselves - that’s over 100,000 hits a day and about 70 hits per minute. So in that regard, this is a blog with global implications, considering the amount of people that have been checking out the clip. Pretty quiet here in Soccer House since most of our crew is in China. Speaking of which, hope you have your alarm clocks set for 5 a.m. ET tomorrow morning for the huge showdown between the U.S. women and Sweden live on ESPN2. That match kicks off a great weekend of soccer action in the Women’s World Cup and league plays resumes across Europe, so stay tuned to the blog for updates as they happen…

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


With 10 of the 11 starters making their way back to Europe after the game against Brazil, we’d like to take the time to welcome you back to the U.S. Soccer Global Blog. For the past ten days or so, we’ve been over on the MNT Blog covering our team’s camp in Chicago. Now with the guys heading back to their respective clubs, we’re switching gears again and diving back into coverage on the global scale. Stay tuned here for updates on your favorite U.S. players as they compete in some of the toughest leagues around the world. We’ll be filling you in on the news as it happens, as well as scouring the internet for highlights, videos, and anything else we think is cool. For starters, here’s a quick preview of some of the weekend’s biggest games:

Saturday, September 15:
Excelsior vs. Heerenveen: Michael Bradley and Heerenveen look to shake their sluggish start to the season against the side cemented to the foot of the table.

Wigan vs. Fulham: The USA’s goalscorers against Brazil line up against Wigan Athletic at the JJB stadium, with Dempsey still basking in the glow of being named Player of the Month of August for Fulham and Bocanegra continuing to serve as captain for both club and country.

Standard Liege v KAA Gent: Standard maintains a perfect five wins from five matches so far this season, while KAA Gent sits in third place not far behind. Oguchi Onyewu has been a strong performer for the Belgian league leaders thus far, who have netted 18 goals while surrendering a paltry four.

Everton v Manchester United: Probably the pick of the week, this match sees former Red Devil’s goalkeeper Tim Howard attempting to get a result against the team that brought him to England. Howard and Everton have been in sparkling form this season, while Manchester United have been slow to get off the ground following last year’s title charge. Howard’s availability remains in question after he suffered a dislocated finger against Brazil.


News: Clint Dempsey named Player of the Month for August by Fulham’s supporters.

Of Note: Dempsey earned the first accolade of his Fulham career after coming on strong in the final stages of the month. Clint has filled in for the injured Brian McBride, and, with two goals in two games, not to mention a pair vital assists in the game against Tottenham, looks to be acclimatizing himself nicely to the role of spearheading the Cottagers’ attack.

News: Fulham travels to the JJB Stadium on Saturday where they will face Wigan Athletic.

Monday, September 10, 2007


While we go back and watch the tape on the USA’s exciting 4-2 loss to Brazil yesterday, we say goodbye to this edition of the MNT blog. Join us again in a few weeks when the team dusts off their passports and returns to Europe for two matches on the FIFA international fixture dates in October. As always, thanks for logging into the blog this week. We hoped that you enjoyed the coverage. For now, you can switch over to U.S. Soccer Global which follows the fortunes of our overseas players. Also, stay tuned to for Studio 90 updates from China as the U.S. women seek their third Women’s World Cup trophy. That’s all for now, folks …

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Here's a look at the USA's Starting Lineup against No. 1 ranked Brazil:


Cherundolo     Gooch     Bocanegra (capt.)     Pearce

Bradley             Feilhaber
Donovan                                                       Beasley



Carlos Bocanegra gets the captain's armband for the sixth time in 2007, and has the distinction of being the only player on the roster who has scored against Brazil. Landon Donovan still has a date with history, his next goal giving him sole possession of the USA's all-time goalscoring record. Josh Wolff gets his first action since the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and Clint Dempsey starts on the same field that he scored his first international goal in the 2-1 loss to England in May of 2005. Seven players also started in the USA's 2-1 Gold Cup winning victory against Mexico here at Soldier Field, including Benny Feilhaber, whose thunderous strike in the 72nd minute proved to be the game-winner.


It's a near-perfect afternoon here in Chicago as kickoff rapidly approaches. The team departs for Soldier Field at 1:15 p.m. on the short trip down Lake Shore Drive. Discussions at the pre-game meal focused on last night's intriguing MLS results. Once again it was goals galore, some from unlikely places. There was one particularly pleased Los Angeles Galaxy player in the meal room, to say the least. Time put that all aside and lock in on Brazil, who by all accounts are going to field their superstars come game time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


In Sweden, we detailed how the guys play horseshoes at the end of practice. Today we witnessed the appearance of another game, though this one doesn’t really have a name. We’ll name it Juggling. Pretty creative, right? Anyhow, the premise is simple. Keep the ball in the air, taking less than six touches before passing it on to somebody else. The kicker is that while you’re juggling the ball, you have to name a club team from a chosen league. If you can’t name one you lose, if you name one that has already been said you lose. And if you drop the ball you lose. So today, Heath Pearce, Michael Bradley, and Benny Feilhaber threw down, with dinner on the line: first person to lose twice pays. The first chosen league was Ligue 1 from France, which Benny lost. The second choice was the Bundesliga, and this proved to be a marathon round. The guys got through about 90% of the league before Heath named Duisburg, who were in fact relegated in the previous season. The final round was the Danish League. Think you can name more than four teams in the Danish League? Thought so. Anyhow, our guys knew most of the teams in the league, but Benny ended up making the final error: he named Brøndby after Michael had already called it out at the beginning. Victory for Heath and Michael; they’ll win the dinner of their choice. Not tonight of course, since the guys are in a team meeting right now preparing for the Brazil game…


If by winner you mean the player who had the most ticket requests. It's going down to the wire, but as of this moment John Spector leads the pack with 46 tickets all in. But Jay DeMerit is coming on strong, and is awaiting a message confirming the need for another pair, which would push him to 47 and the top spot. Honorable mention goes to DaMarcus Beasley, who has (at least) 36 people out to cheer him on. We're hoping several thousand more will join in. At the moment, more than 35,000 tickets have been sold, and with another beauty of a day predicted for tomorrow, there could be a fantastic walk-up.


The practice portion of the week is over, the team going through a 70-minute session this afternoon under pleasantly warm skies in Chicago. After a possession game, the group worked on team shape and restarts before finishing with time on their own. A few guys worked on free kicks while others got into yet another game of horseshoes. The group appears relaxed and focused at dinner here, with a team meeting starting in a few minutes. Then it's off to bed and dreams of beating the mighty Brazilians...


Lunch in the meal room again, this time a quick bite to eat before training in a few hours. Guys are huddled around computers in opposite ends of the room. At the coaches’ table, Bob is going through clips of Switzerland against Brazil with some of the players, while at the staff table players are moving to and from asking for scores from the European qualifiers. Of particular interest is the England game – its currently 3-0 - and some of us might make our way over to a pub to catch a bit of the titanic clash between Italy and France, a rematch of last year’s World Cup Final. Training is at 3 p.m. today, but of f course the biggest training session of the day might be Brazil’s. They’re set to take the field at 3:30 p.m. in Bridgeview, and you’re invited. Check out more info here.


A solid gaggle of reporters turned out for this afternoon's media availability, with about 20 print, radio, and television reporters from both the United States and Brazil. Bob spoke for about 20 minutes, and even got in a plug in Spanish for República Deportiva with our pal Fernando Fiore! The other candidates were DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Oguchi Onyewu. On a side note, wouldn't it be fun to be a reporter for a day and get to ask these guys questions? All in all, a very productive 45 minute session.

Friday, September 7, 2007


The skies opened up pretty good this morning in Chicago, dumping heavy loads of rain across the city. As we all know and love, soccer gets played rain or shine (and we actually prefer a little drizzle). However, sometimes the fields don't always agree. A fair bit of standing water greeted the team on their arrival to the training site, forcing some impromptu changes to the session. Impressively, Bob Bradley managed to fit an 11 v. 11 shadow game in the space of a 20x20 field. OK, they weren't moving very fast, but it managed to accomplish the mission. Before they departed, the group gathered together to tape a message to our ladies in Gold for the upcoming Women's World Cup. Make it rain!


Video from the Cubs-Dodgers excursion is up. Pretty funny stuff. Thanks to Bobby Convey for adding commentary and a little grooming for Landon.

And while we're at, you have to keep an eye out for the upcoming feature involving Jay DeMerit and his 'trip' to Soccer House. As usual, the outtakes steal the show, and the best one will make it into Extra Time of the next Studio 90. Let's just say Jay claimed to be the head groundskeeper from his school district. Watch and decide for yourself ...


We snuck a few quick questions... Fondest memory of living in Brazil?

Benny: "My sixth birthday party. We had a futsal soccer tournament, and my team took second place. I scored a sick free kick. My dad taught me how." How's your Portuguese?

Benny: "Fluent. Both my parents were Brazilian, so we spoke in the house growing up. I still speak to my family in Portuguese all the time." Who was your favorite player growing up?

Benny: "There was attacking midfielder for my favorite team Botafogo named Valdeir. I'm sure nobody's heard of him." How many family members back in Brazil?

Benny: "I've got grandmothers on both sides, grandpa, aunts, uncles. cousins ... over 20 I would say. Who will they be rooting for Sunday?

Benny: "Half and half ... maybe. My parents for sure will be rooting for the U.S."


Hey everyone, it's 'Los. I'm sitting in the hotel waiting to do an interview with ESPN, so figured I'd check in. It's been fun to be back in the U.S. and to get some good Mexican food! For me, in Chicago, Lalo's is the best hands down. I've been cruisin' Michigan Avenue with all the shops and sights. The buzz is starting to pick up now that it's getting closer to the Brazil game on Sunday. There's over 35,000 tickets sold, many of them to my old Chicago buddies. Looks like it's time to head in. See you all Sunday...


Thursday, September 6, 2007


Coming back from an extended morning training session, an impromptu sing-along broke out. Led by Eddie Johnson, with significant back-up vocals provided by Bobby Convey and Clint Dempsey, the play list covered most of the 90s R&B standards including “I Swear,” “Water Runs Dry,” and “I’ll be Missing You.” The guys clammed up a bit when the camera came on, but they managed to get beyond that and we got a bit of video (shhhh…). Now we just have to figure out the best time to release it - you know, with the serious amount of publicity it will generate and subsequent record deals that will come pouring in…


Maybe the Brazilian tradition of using only nicknames makes sense. U.S. Soccer has received the final travel list for the Brazil National Team, which includes their full names as well as their nicknames. Have a look and see which you think sound cooler...

AFONSO Afonso Alves Martins Junior S.C.Heerenveen
ALEX Silva Alex Sandro da Silva São Paulo F.C.
ALEX Costa Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa Chelsea F.C.
DANIEL ALVES Daniel Alves da Silva Sevilla F.C.
DIEGO Diego Ribas da Cunha Werder Bremen
DONI Donieber Alexander Marangon A.S. Roma
ELANO Elano Blumer Manchester City F.C.
FERNANDO Fernando Menegazzo F.C. Gironds Bordeaux
GILBERTO Gilberto da Silva Melo Hertha BSC Berlim
GILBERTO SILVA Gilberto Aparecido da Silva Arsenal F.C.
JOSUÉ Josué Anunciado de Oliveira Vfl Wolfsburg
JUAN Juan Silveira dos Santos A.S. Roma
JULIO BAPTISTA Julio César Baptista Real Madrid C.F.
JULIO CÉSAR Julio César Soares de Espíndola Internazionale Milano
KAKÁ Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite Milan A.C.
KLEBER Kleber de Carvalho Corrêa Santos F.C.
LÚCIO Lucimar da Silva Ferreira Bayern Munchen
MAICON Maicon Douglas Sisenando Internazionale Milano
MINEIRO Carlos Luciano da Silva Hertha BSC Berlim
ROBINHO Robson de Souza Real Madrid C.F.
RONALDINHO Ronaldo de Assis Moreira F.C. Barcelona
VAGNER LOVE Vagner Silva de Souza PFC. CSKA

Actually, the use of nicknames is a sign of intimacy in Brazil and has a long history. Click here to find out more about the history of this unique tradition.


First, the Cubs won 8-2 (Sorry, LD and Carlos, but we're based in Chicago). On the way in to Wrigley Field, Carlos met Tommy Lasorda - a big moment for a Dodgers fan. Carlos, Steve, Bobby and Landon were all honored at home plate before the game, as were the guys from Reno 911. Pretty funny dudes. We might have to add that show to the rotation. Next, it was time for Landon to step up to the mound, and he followed a guy who had just one-hopped it to the catcher to the dismay of the crowd. The kid from Redlands, Calif., made no mistake with a clean toss that could be described as a "high strike". In the top of the third, Landon joined Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips in the ESPN commentary booth. He held his own, even throwing in a good ribbing in this exchange:

Shulman: "Were you a big Dodgers fan growing up?"

Donovan: "Yeah, I used to watch the games every night."

Hershiser: "Then you must have got to watch a pretty good pitcher a lot..."

Donovan: "Fernando Valenzuela?"

Of course, our trusty videographer was there to catch all the scenes - we get this guy in everywhere! - so keep an eye out for the all_access video tomorrow.


Just walked into the training room and saw seven guys focusing intensely on a cooking show on the Food Network.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Trivia Time - Level Two

There are three players on the current U.S. roster who got their first cap for the national team IN THE SAME GAME. Who are they, and what was the match?

tick, tick, tick ...


Clearly we are going to have try harder to challenge you hard core fans, since Amy blew this one out of the water in less than 20 minutes! A 17-year old Bobby Convey made his first start for the national team in the USA's 2-1 loss to Brazil on March 3, 2001, in front of 45,387 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Clint Mathis got the USA's goal, which was sandwiched between a free-kick strike by Ronaldinho and the game-winner from Euller. "It was amazing to make my first start against some of best players in the world," Convey told us. "I was matched up against Cafu, who I had watched growing up and got to swap jerseys with at the end of the game. I remember Ronaldinho scoring the free kick, and afterwards getting the chance to talk to guys like him and Romario. There was a huge crowd there, the game was live on television ... at 17 years old, it can’t get much better than that."

Here were the lineups that day:

United States - Tony Meola, Greg Vanney, Eddie Pope, Carlos Llamosa, Frankie Hejduk (Tony Sanneh 61), Richie Williams (Cobi Jones 61), Chris Armas, Clint Mathis, Bobby Convey (Chris Klein 64), Josh Wolff, Landon Donovan.

Brazil - Rogerio Ceni, Cafu, Roque Junior, Silvinho, Lucio, Emerson Ferrira, Vampeta (Edilson 46), Juninho Paulista (Ricardinho 46), Christian (Euller 46), Romario, Ronaldinho


Who wouldn't be excited about getting their first call up, and to suit up against Brazil to boot? With four goals and six assists this year, the Wizards striker has been in fine form and has adapted nicely to his surroundings with the national team. Listen in as Arnaud talks about how he heard the news, who he called first, and what advice he received from his Wizards teammates before heading to Chicago.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


We know you've been desperate for a challenge. Try coming up with stuff for a blog every day!

But seriously, folks. Time for your first trivia question for Brazil week ...

There is one player on the U.S. roster who got his first start with the national team in a game against Brazil. You're not getting date or result, but we will tell you that it wasn't his first appearance for the full team.

We'll post the answer - and a little history - tomorrow evening...


Beas answering a question today on adjusting to playing in Scotland: "You have to get used to your teammates and the style they play. You never know how things are going to be. But with this team, and the gaffer that we have, it's pretty easy to integrate yourself into the team."

Gaffer? Next thing you know he'll be talking like Brad Friedel...


It's all knotted up in New Britain, after 90 minutes between New England and the Carolina Railhawks in the first semifinal of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The teams are level, 1-1, with Anthony Maher opening the scoring for Carolina in the sixth minute and Jeff Larentowicz leveling terms two minutes into first-half stoppage time. Not too late to tune into the audio broadcast of the game, and you can even choose your team announcers! This is what the Open Cup is all about ...


Ah, Chicago. The international city, and one with the second largest Polish population outside of Warsaw. So it figures that our excellent waitresses at the team hotel are all Polish, and Peter Nowak has quickly established a bond. What does that translate to? Personalized cheesecake for Peter (and anyone else who cozies up to him) and double espressos as a start. Guys have figured out in a hurry who to go to when they need something...


What's a trip to Chicago without a trip to Wrigley Field? Better still, what about a trip to the mound? That's where Landon Donovan is headed tomorrow night when he tosses out the first pitch at the Cubs-Dodgers game. He'll be joined in the dugout by Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Bobby Convey. It's ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball game of the week, so Landon will also head to the booth to join Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips. Probably shouldn't say this (yet), but Landon and Carlos are huge Dodgers fans. They're hoping to catch up with Nomar Garciaparra during BP...


Just finished up a photo shoot with Clint Dempsey for tomorrow's Chicago Tribune, where he will be featured in the 'Out Loud' section on the back page of Wednesday's sports section. On the way back he talked about his adjustment to life in London. Though he says it’s nice to see the sunshine (apparently it has been a very rainy summer in England), one of his biggest challenges has been living without Mexican food. He says the English food is okay, Shepherd’s Pie isn’t bad, but there are plenty of great Italian, Chinese and Japanese places nearby… and the Japanese was tempting enough that he has ventured into the world of sushi. He is still a relative beginner, so he won’t venture far beyond the spicy tuna and crab, but he is getting there. We do, however, think that the unagi (eel) is still a world away for the man from Nacogdoches, Texas.


Another scorcher in Chicago this morning, with temperatures in the high 80’s. The team got on the field just before 10 a.m., and spent the first 25 minutes warming up with a focus on stretching and agility work. They went into 5 v. 2 for 15 minutes, with the emphasis on ball movement, quick footwork and closing down angles (no comments on who spent the most time in the middle). At that point, DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan stepped out to do regeneration work while the group headed into 6 v. 6 to big goals, focusing on quick counters, closing down space and taking shots. There were shots aplenty, including one from Bobby Convey that may have dented the U.S. Soccer van parked across the street. No worries, Bobby - we’ve got insurance. For the last exercise, the team broke up between defenders and the attackers. The defenders worked on their spacing and movement out of the back. At the other end, the attackers worked on passing balls through channels to set up crosses as well as combinations through the middle. Off the field in just over 90 minutes, then a bunch of guys hit the cold pool while others talked to the press gaggle. A pretty productive session …

Monday, September 3, 2007


We mentioned earlier that Clint Dempsey was heading out to Fogo de Chão, but he wasn't alone as was joined by EJ, Heath Pearce, Benny Feilhaber, Michael Bradley and Chris Seitz...oh, and we can't forget our videographer Alejandro. Not everyone gets the chance to eat with the MNT, so we figured we'd try go give you some insight into what it's like when six of them hit up a restaurant (give the guy some time to edit and we'll have it up sometime this week). If you're not familiar with Fogo de Chão, it's a Brazilian steakhouse, so it's fair to say there were quite a few servers who had something to say about the matchup on Sunday. We heard 3-0 or 2-0, both in Brazil's favor - at least until Eddie said, "You might just lose your tip." Eddie, who was joking (mostly), got in their heads as the rest of the night was all "It will be a good game" and "We think you will be a tough opponent." They even showed how much they appreciated us dropping by with free deserts for the table with "Good Luck" in chocolate sauce spelled out on rim of the plates...or, wait!, maybe they were just fattening the players up before the match. Ah, those tricky Brazilians!


As the guys head out for dinner on the town, a few observations of the goings on:
Heath Pearce and Benny Feilhaber spent the afternoon at the movies seeing "Superbad." Special mention to Heath's tremendously turquoise San Jose Sharks t-shirt that depicted what is undoubtedly one of the finest logos in all of sports.

Clint Dempsey searched the training room for his runners that he wanted to wear out to dinner at Fogo de Chão. The MNT Blog sought to help out, but even after emptying all the shoe bags, the mystery runners remained unaccounted for. Clint decided to call the one person who would know: Jesse, our equipment guy. Jesse was just boarding the plane to come to Chicago after a weekend of DMB at The Gorge in Washington (state that is), but of course he still knew the answer to Clint’s query. “Oh yeah!” said Clint, as he hung up the phone, “Now I remember.” Their whereabouts: on the feet of one of Clint’s friends. Turns out he gave them away after the Sweden match. “I totally forgot about that,” said Clint, who walked next door to the training room to try his luck elsewhere. “EJ, man, I need some shoes. What size are you?”


After practice, the team settled down to a well-received lunch. Halfway through the meal, Landon Donovan arrived from O'Hare and greeted the guys who took a rare time out from their food to welcome their teammate. Seeing the opportunity to make the most of LD's entrance, our ever diligent videographer Alejandro was quick with his camera. You can check for it in Tuesday's all_access video...well, that is if assistant coach Peter Nowak's attempt to sabotage the effort didn't work. Peter seized Alejandro by both arms and shook him, while questioning, "Why can't you stay still!?" and then laughing manically. Alejandro's simple response: "Because you're shaking me!" Fair enough. Undeterred and still cackling, Peter persisted and, though Alejandro did his best to persevere, everyone at the staff table agreed that Peter was the clear victor.


Observations from the first day of training in Chicago:
• It's hot here. Yes, it's summertime, but the weather in Chicago has been mild for the last week. Which leads to the next point...
• The English-based players look like they haven't seen the sun since July. Hope they applied sunscreen liberally.
• Bobby Convey is starting to look pretty thick. He's definitely been hitting the weight room.
• Great to see Josh Wolff in camp again. First time since the World Cup, and a lot has changed for the former Fire and Wizards striker. We did a podcast with Josh after training today, so check back on tomorrow for the posting. (yes, we gave our audio guy the day off. It is Labor Day, after all...)
• Chris Seitz is a big boy. Having seen his great mobility during the U-20 World Cup, didn't realize he would have the size to match it.
• Peter Nowak still has it. Even in the simple possession games, you can see the vision and skill. Moves around pretty well too, for a ... coach. Landon Donovan arrived as the team sat down for lunch, and Oguchi Onyewu pulled up mid-afternoon. DaMarcus Beasley is en route from O'Hare as we write...

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Welcome back, U.S. Soccer fans. Quick turnaround from the Sweden trip, and now the group has begun to assemble in Chicago in advance of the huge to-do against Brazil on Sept. 9 at Soldier Field. We've got tons of coverage planned this week to get you ready for the No. 1 ranked team's first-ever visit to the Windy City. Speaking of which, as you know we bloggers at like to educate as well as entertain, so here's the first bit of trivia for the trip. Despite popular belief, Chicago is not called "The Windy City" because of the wind (although anyone who visits here will understand the confusion), but rather thanks to a few well-traveled blowhards who touted this city's qualities back in the 19th Century. We've added a link for those still curious...

Arrivals into Chicago have been taking place all day, with the rest of the group and the first training schedule slated for tomorrow. Check during the day Monday for the official roster release. In the meantime, enjoy the barbeques and have a happy Labor Day.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


The News: Danny Szetela signed a two-year contract with Racing Santander in Spain's La Liga.

Of Note: Szetela, now with the Columbus Crew, becomes the third member of the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team to transfer to a European club, joining Freddy Adu (Benfica) and Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96). Szetela holds a Polish passport.

Up Next: At the moment, Szetela traveled to Spain for a physical with his new club. The midfielder's contract with MLS expires on Dec. 31.


The News: Beasley earned an assist in helping the Rangers to a 4-0 victory against Gretna on Saturday.

Of Note: Beasley, who started and played 83 minutes, earned the assist by sending in a corner kick that was headed home by Andy Webster in the 63rd minute for Rangers’ second goal.

Up Next:
DaMarcus will be looking to get on the starting squad when the U.S. face Brazil this Sunday, Sept. 9 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


The News: Carlos Bocanegra captains Fulham to a 3-3 draw against Tottenham

Of Note: Handed the captain's armband after the loss of Brian McBride to injury, Bocanegra is elevated to the rarified air of those who serve as captain for both club and country.

Up Next: Bocanegra will head back to his old stomping grounds in Chicago for the USA's upcoming duel with Brazil on Sept. 9 at Soldier Field.


The News: Fulham earned a 3-3 draw with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur today at Craven Cottage. Dempsey was in and around the scoresheet all day, notching Fulham’s first goal on a header, and assisting for teammates Alexei Smertin and Diomansy Kamara.

Of Note: Dempsey started and played 90 minutes for the third successive time on Saturday, and looked dangerous deputizing up front for injured Brian McBride. After a slow start, Fulham picked it up just before halftime through Dempsey’s powerful header from a Simon Davies corner. The Cottagers were behind by two goals just after the interval and the game looked lost until a late flurry of action. In the 78th minute, Dempsey laid the ball into the onrushing path of Smertin, whose deflected effort from twenty yards left Paul Robinson helpless in the Tottenham goal. The scoring wasn’t over yet, and in the 90th minute, Fulham’s consistent pressure paid off. From a long throw by Chris Baird, Dempsey got a head to the ball in the box, flicking it up for Kamara whose outrageous bicycle kick earned a share of the points for Fulham.

Up Next: Dempsey is set to be in the squad to face Brazil on Sept. 9 in Chicago. After the international break, Fulham travel to Wigan on the 15th of September