Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Munich Derby - 2:30 ET, Setanta

The fierce rivalry between Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich gets renewed tonight, as the teams meet in the quarterfinals of the German Cup. The Munich derby is one of the biggest in European football, but in recent years league/cup games between the two sides have been hard to come by. Tonight, however, that will all change as the club meet competitively for the first time in four years.

Americans Gregg Berhalter and Josh Wolff will likely be suiting up for 1860 in a game that will be played at the Allianz Arena in front of around 70,000 fans. Lucky for us here in the states, the game will be televised on Setanta sports, with coverage beginning at 2:30 pm ET. You can read more about the storied rivalry between the two clubs here.


Cory Gibbs is recovering well from injury, and appeared in Charlton's reserve match last night. The defender played the full 90 minutes at center back, and looks to be on his way back into the reckoning for the first team. His potential return couldn't come at a better time for Charlton, who are currently in 6th place in the Championship table. With 12 matches to go in the season, Charlton are looking consolidate their position in the playoffs - the teams placed 2nd through 6th in the table play post-season games to determine promotion to the Premier League.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Round Up: Europe

In the Eredivisie, Heerenveen's charge for a European place took a hit with 3-2 loss at home to NEC Nijmegen. Heerenveen went up 1-0 in the 1st half before being reduced to 10 men after a red card to the Goalkeeper in the 23rd minute.

Heerenveen added another before halftime, and even had the majority of chances in the game, but eventually NEC's numerical advantage handed them the edge. Three second half goals, including an injury time winner, handed NEC the victory and condemned Heerenveen to their first defeat in 2008.

Michael Bradley played the full 90 minutes for Heerenveen, and hit the bar in the second half with a header (check out the red carded Brian Vandenbussche watching from the locker room too!)

In Portugal, Benfica tied Braga 1-1, and slipped further behind leaders Porto in the Portuguese table. Freddy Adu came on as a sub in the 83rd minute for the Eagles.

Hannover have endured a tough start to the second half of the Bundesliga season and are yet to win since the league recommenced earlier this month. This weekend was no different, as Hannover slipped into the bottom half of the table following a 2-1 loss away to VFL Bochum. Hannover's bad luck of late was epitomized by Steve Cherundolo's unlucky own goal in the game (reminiscient of Gooch's against Brazil) and hopefully the team will be able to turn their fortunes in this Saturday's home clash with Nurnberg. Sal Zizzo was on the subs bench but did not play for Hannover this weekend.

Speaking of Gooch, Standard Liege tied Gent 0-0 this weekend. The result leaves Onyewu's club in second place, two points behind Club Brugge after 23 games played.

Weekend Round Up: England

Fulham suited up five American's for the game against West Ham on Saturday, with Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey featuring in the starting 11. Eddie Johnson also made his debut for the club, coming on in the 76th minute to replace Clint on the wing for the Cottagers. Ultimately it was another late goal that decided the game, and Nolberto Soloano's contentious winner left Fulham with no points on the day. Jonathan Spector came on as a late sub for West Ham as the Hammers climbed to tenth place with the victory.

Reading suffered a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa at the Madejeski Stadium on Saturday. Marcus Hahnemann was in goal for the Royals, who remain in the relegation zone (along with Fulham and Derby) at the bottom of the Premier League table.

In the Championship, Jay DeMerit returned from injury for Watford, coming on as a late second half sub in Saturday's tie against Preston North End. The Hornets, however, dropped out of the top two in the Championship as a result of the 0-0 draw.

Today, Tim Howard and Everton take on Manchester City in a game that will be televised live on Setanta Sports from 2 pm ET. Everton have fallen out of the top four on goal differential, but a win tonight will vault them over bitter rival Liverpool who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Brief Weekend Update!

Heerenveen were involved in a 2-2 draw with SC Heracles Almelo on Saturday. Michael Bradley played the full 90 minutes, but didn't score for the first time in seven games and his club could only draw. The result leaves Heerenveen in fifth place, though a logjam still exists at the top of the Eredivisie: two points separate second place from fifth.

In Germany, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover slipped to defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, being on the wrong end of a Luca Toni hat trick.

Over in Portugal, Freddy Adu made a substitute appearance in the 72nd minute of Benfica's 2-0 win Naval 1˚ Maio.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Michael Bradley was on the scoresheet again as Heerenveen earned a hard fought away point at league leaders PSV Eindhoven. The goal was Bradley’s seventh in six games, and his club now sits in second place after Ajax’s loss to Roda JC. Heerenveen, on 44 points, is tied with Ajax, Feyenoord and NAC Breda, but Bradley’s team leapfrogs the competition courtesy of a superior goal differential. Also check out this interview with Michael about his trip back from the states.

In England, Fulham succumbed to a 1-0 defeat away to Middlesbrough. On the positive side for the Cottagers, Brian McBride made his long awaited return from injury, coming off the bench to play 26 minutes in the loss. Kasey Keller, Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey were also on the bench, with Clint entering the game at the beginning of the second half.

Everton maintained its fourth place position with a dour 1-0 win against Reading. American goalkeepers minded the nets for both teams, as Tim Howard collected his third straight shutout and Marcus Hahnemann stopped six shots for Reading. In the end, a Phil Jagielka goal was the difference between the two sides. Reading slide to 18th place and inside the relegation zone with the loss.

Jonathan Spector made a last minute substitute appearance for West Ham as the Hammer’s drew 1-1 with Birmingham City at Upton Park.

In the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo was fit again for Hannover’s 2-2 draw with Karlsruhe, while in Belgium, Oguchi Onyewu marshaled a Standard Liege backline that contributed to a 0-0 draw with Roeselare, extending Standard's unbeaten run to 21 games.

Benfica drew 0-0 with CD Nacional de Madeira on Saturday, and now lie 10 points behind leaders Porto. After returning from Houston the day before, Freddy Adu was an unused substitute in the game.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


It has certainly been an exciting night here in Houston, with some great goals, electrifying atmosphere and the debut of the new Nike gear. (Admit it, the jerseys looked cool on t.v.!)

We delivered loads of content to you tonight that included return of Studio 90, live streaming of the pre-game warmups, and of course the first-ever ESPN360/ post-game show. We'd love to hear what you think, so chime in with your suggestions, comments, glowing praise ... you get the idea. Like McDonalds' says, we do it all for you!


Don't miss the pre-game warmups, which will be streamed live beginning at approx. 7:30 p.m. CT!


Press conference. Check. Numbers pressed onto new jerseys. Check. Training in the stadium. Check. Yup, looks like we're all set for Wednesday's U.S.A. vs. Mexico match. The game looks to be headed for a sellout and if 2003 is anything to go by, it is going to be LOUD. We’re spending the day getting ready, so we’ll leave you with some links to stuff you may enjoy over the course of the day (though be sure to check back here before the game as we may have a pretty important scoop for you).

Podcast: Oguchi Onyewu, Drew Moor, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey after training on Tuesday.

Podcast: Landon Donovan on USA/Mexico

Article: The Facts of a Rivalry: USA – MEX

Game Notes


The prayers of untold thousands have been answered! (C'mon, it's USA-Mexico. Everything gets hyped!) Studio 90 is back with a brand new edition to prime you for tonight's Clasico at Reliant Stadium. You can look forward a review of the rivarly, a day in the life of Clint Dempsey as he travels thousands of miles just 48 hours before kickoff, a sit-down with Jozy Altidore, and a exclusive interview with one of the most reclusive figures in U.S. Soccer. It's the quality you've come to know and love from the Studio 90 crew, so stay at your desks a little longer today to catch the latest episode around 4 p.m CT on


Fans looking for a place to watch the U.S. take on Mexico should head to one of U.S. Soccer's Official Viewing parties being hosted by the Official U.S. Soccer Bars. In Chicago, fans should meet at The Globe, winner of U.S. Soccer's Best Soccer Bar in 2007. Fans will also be sure to fill up perennial U.S. Soccer Best Soccer Bar contenders Nevada Smiths in New York and Summers Restaurant in Washington, D.C.

This match marks the kick off of U.S. Soccer's Official Bar program which will provide fans with a listing of the top U.S. Soccer Bars in the country. To become an Official U.S. Soccer Bar, email us at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

U.S. PRESS CONFERENCE LIVE ON USSOCCER.COM TODAY AT 5 P.M. ET’s MatchACCESS will provide live streaming of the USA’s pre-match press conference with head coach Bob Bradley and goalkeeper Tim Howard. The press conference will be the final media availability for Bradley and Howard before Wednesday’s match, and will begin at approximately 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT).


All the hype building around the game got us thinking back to last year's sold-out event in Glendale, Ariz., and how every year the attention seems to get bigger and bigger.

Exhibit #1: TV Ratings

Here's the headlines from Feb.9, 2007, on

Televised soccer hit new rating highs on Wednesday night for the broadcast of the U.S. National Team's 2-0 victory against Mexico on ESPN2 and Univision from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. For U.S. Soccer, the victory on the field continued the team's dominance of Mexico, but also highlighted the incredible gains the sport is making elsewhere.

ESPN2's broadcast was the most-watched U.S. game in the team's history, outside of the World Cup and World Cup qualifiers. The network earned a 0.7 household rating, which translates to 1.1 million viewers and comes on the heels of the network’s impressive 2006 World Cup ratings. Even more impressively, the game averaged a 1.0 rating during the final 15 minutes as the USA iced the victory.

On Univision, the match also set records with more than 6 million total viewers. The U.S. victory was the No. 2 most-watched Spanish-language sports cast in history, beating every Super Bowl among Hispanic Adults 18-49, Men 18-49 and Total Viewers.

For the accouting types, there's plenty more numbers to analyze.


After yesterday's training session, Eddie Robinson, Ricardo Clark, and Bob Bradley spoke to the Houston media, who were pretty eager to get some of their questions in. Eddie and Ricardo talked about how exciting it was to be playing in their hometown, while Bob spoke about the rivalry with Mexico and the upcoming game.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Monday, February 4, 2008


MNT Blogger: Eddie, can you describe how you injured the cartilage in your knee?

Eddie Lewis: "I didn't. You're the 100th person who asked that question."

MNT Blogger: The reports from Derby indicate the surgery went well. What is the prognosis for the duration of your recovery?

Eddie Lewis: "What recovery?

MNT Blogger: Is it disappointing to travel all this way and have to sit out training and watch the team get ready for the big match against Mexico?

Eddie Lewis: "Yeah, I didn't sit out. The team had a great session today and we're looking forward to Wednesday.

MNT Blogger: You've been a part of some of the great moments in U.S.-Mexico history, particularly the cross to Donovan for the goal in the 2002 World Cup. Is it hard sitting here knowing that you won't be able to suit up Wednesday night?

Eddie Lewis: "It's hard listening to these questions. You really ought to spend less time on the computer."

MNT Blogger: Well, good luck then Eddie. Here's to a speedy recovery!

The preceding dramatization has been published to demonstrate once and for all that Eddie IS NOT HURT!!! How many times do we have to tell you not to believe everything you read?

Except our stuff, of course ...


It was a surprising scene at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport this afternoon. While awaiting the arrival of Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra, we crossed paths with a strong contingent of Mexico fans. We can only guess that they were awaiting the arrival of their own European-based players to emerge from Customs. In the meantime, the boys' flight from London's Gatwick Airport had arrived a few minutes late, but we were hoping that our U.S. players would breeze right through the checkpoints. Suddenly, people started pouring out of the "restricted area". Would this be their flight from London or Mexico City?

A few subtle hints later, we knew we wouldn't be waiting much longer. First, we saw a man who might have made a good living as a Paul McCartney look-a-like. Then two businessmen came through the portals and ran straight for the currency exchange. Next, two guys started yelling into their cellphones with British accents so thick we couldn't even comprehend what they were saying. Sure enough, Carlos and Clint strolled out shortly thereafter. They didn't get spotted (thankfully), and while the Mexican fans continued their vigil we headed back to the hotel to meet the team for dinner.


With all the arrivals complete, the training room is in full swing. Tonight that meant a sampling of Deal or No Deal, in which a contestant made a deal -much derided by those in the room - for close to $300,000.

Next up was a playlist of some classic YouTube videos including Camp Referee, Thriller Wedding Dance and Robot Dance.

Unfortunately our internet connection was in appalling form, and we had to wait a good 10-15 minutes between videos. The time was passed by passing around the new 2008 U.S. Men's National Team Media Guide, as yet unseen by many of the European guys. Of particular note, as pointed out by Carlos and Tim, was Benny’s facial hair, which he claimed was drawn on him in the editing room.

Finally, we wound down the night with some Mythbusters in which the hosts tried to figure out how a person could survive a fall off a sixty-foot building. Perhaps next week they’ll debunk the mystery of the media guide goatee.


Several of the players are sitting down with ESPN this afternoon to tape pre-game interviews, kicking off the two-day schedule of press conferences, mixed zones and radio appearances. For those of you in Houston, head over to Stags Head Pub for the USA-Mexico pre-game party Monday night from 7-9 pm where Glenn Davis will host a live radio broadcast on 790 The Sports Animal. He'll be talking to Bob Bradley sometime during the 8 p.m. hour if you want to tune in.

Also on the schedule is a live talkback with Clint Dempsey on the ESPNews HotList on Tuesday afternoon between 5 and 5:30 p.m ET ('talkback' is an industry term for an interview where the guest isn't in-studio with the host. See, the blog is both fun and educational!) Of course we will have the cameras and podcasters recording throughout to bring you the highlights.


U.S head coach Bob Bradley has bolstered his staff with three new editions in 2008. On the technical side, former Egyptian national team goalkeeper Zak Abdel will train the goalkeepers, the former Chivas USA goalkeeper coach having previously assisted Sigi Schmid with the U.S. U-20 MNT that participated in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland. Additionally, Pierre Barrieu has rejoined the national team staff after a year with the New York Red Bulls. Barrieu served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the national team for a four-year span that included two World Cups. On the medical side, Bradley has appointed Ivan Pierra to be the Head Athletic Trainer for the Men’s National Team. Pierra has assisted the national team programs since 1993, and had served as the ATC for the Los Angeles Galaxy from the inception of the club in 1996.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Deportivo de La Coruña midfielder Andrés Guardado suffered a muscle injury this past weekend in his side's 1-0 win away to Betis, forcing his exclusion from Wednesday's match. He has been replaced by U-23 midfielder Cesar Villaluz. Guardado ended Mexico's eight-year goalless drought against the U.S. during last year's Gold Cup final, only to see the lead disappear following the finishes by Landon Donovan and Benny Feilhaber.

Much like for last year's match in Glendale, Ariz., Hugo Sanchez has called on a nearly full-strength side for the friendly against the United States. Causing a stir amongst the Mexican press is the inclusion of Antonio Naelson Zinha, a naturalized Mexican citizen. Sanchez was harshly critical of his predecessor for choosing to use non-native born players to represent Mexico. The Mexican players will be arriving into Houston during the next two days.

GOALKEEPERS: Luís Ernesto Michel (Chivas de Guadalajara), Moisés Muñoz (Morelia), Guillermo Ochoa (Club América)

DEFENDERS: Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), Rafael Márquez (FC Barcelona), Johnny Magallón (Chivas de Guadalajara), Fausto Pinto (Pachuca), Oscar Rojas (Club América), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven)

MIDFIELDERS: Francisco Arce (Santos Laguna), Pavel Pardo (VFB Stuttgart), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Antonio Naelson Zinha (Toluca), Cesar Villaluz (Cruz Azul)

FORWARDS: Adolfo Bautista (Jaguares Chiapas), Juan Carlos Cacho (Pachuca), Giovani Dos Santos (FC Barcelona), Antonio de Nigris (Ankaraspor), Carlos Vela (Osasuna)


Some of you may have noticed - particularly Amy - that the MNT Blog has been devoid of trivia questions for quite some time. We engaged in lengthy debate on the topic, eventually coming to the conclusion that in the age of Google the time of online trivia has passed. But old habits do not go gentle into that good night, and we at least found a question we thought intriguing if not a challenge to the U.S. Soccer sleuths out there. So in the spirit of nostalgia, here goes:

There are two pairs of players on the roster who earned their first cap in the same game together. If that wasn't clear - as it wasn't to several of the players we questioned - that means two guys in one game, two in another. Names and games, please ...


The domestic-based group left the hotel in Los Angeles at 9 a.m. this morning and touched down into Houston just after 4 p.m. local time, making a beeline to the hotel in hopes of catching the kickoff of Super Bowl XLII (they didn't). It's the second year in a row the team has reached the venue city on Super Bowl Sunday in advance of a Mexico game, so let's hope history repeats itself. Tim Howard, Bobby Convey, Eddie Lewis and Benny Feilhaber pulled up to the hotel midway through the first quarter, while Michael Bradley and Freddy Adu are the last of the Euros scheduled to arrive tonight. TV's have been conveniently placed in the meal room so the guys won't miss the action during dinner. Speaking of, it's chow time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday Wrap

Bundesliga play resumed in Germany after the league took January off for the traditional winter break. Hannover 96 and Steve Cherundolo earned a 1-1 draw away from home at Hamburg. Hannover was the better team throughout, and Cherundolo went 90 minutes as his club remained in 7th place.

In England, Tim Howard kept a clean sheet, but Everton were controversially denied a late winner, after an offside flag disallowed Andy Johnson’s goal. Howard made four saves for the Toffees, who still sit in fourth place, one point ahead of rivals Liverpool.

Finally in Holland, Heerenveen continued its fantastic form, smashing seven goals past Vitesse Arnhem. Michael Bradley grabbed his 16th goal in all competitions (his 12th in the Eredivisie) and also added two assists.

Heerenveen’s win vaults them into second place, nine points behind leaders PSV, who also won today. The two clubs meet next Saturday in what could be a vital match in the title race…


It's official. Bob Bradley has named the 22-man roster that will head to Houston to get ready for the Mexico match. Most of the players will arrive throughout Sunday, with a few European-based players with league matches on Sunday set to come the next day.

The players from the camp in Carson who are not going to Houston began departing last night, which made today's training session a fun-filled competition of soccer tennis and 5 v. 2. We'll try to get some clips up once we're done packing for the trip.

But enough of the little details. We now know who is going to be facing off against Mexico. What do you think?

To get things started, Steve Cherundolo had been scheduled to come to Houston until he suffered a groin injury in Hannover's 1-1 draw away to Hamburg earlier today.


Headed to the Mooch Myernick Field for the last training session of the California leg of the camp. There's been 22 days of blood, sweat and tears at the HDC during the last month, and now it's on to Houston for the showdown with Mexico. Special thanks to Jen Atler and all of the U.S. Soccer Federation staff based in Carson who have done their typically superior job of looking after the national team. (And just for the record, gang. The current temperature in Carson is 64 degrees. In Chicago, it's 25 degrees with 40% chance of snow. Have a nice day!)

Tune in to later this afternoon to find out who has been selected by U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to gather in Houston.

(any last-minute predictions?)

Friday, February 1, 2008


A solid three weeks of national team training for Taylor Twellman has come to an end, the striker picking up a groin strain during Thursday's morning session. An MRI examination revealed no significant trauma, and team trainers expect Twellman to be fully recovered in 2-3 weeks. He will return to New England later this evening.


Just finished with training today, a session which was short and sweet. The guys went from warm-ups straight into playing 7 v.7. In the first version, they played on small goals with two goals to aim at for each team. After 15 minutes they brought in the goalies and the big nets.

Meantime back in the hotel, the MNT Blog has set about putting up some podcasts on the website:

The first one is with Landon Donovan, who spoke to media earlier this week about the upcoming game against Mexico and the winding down of this January camp. Podcast can be heard here.

The second podcast is with Bob Bradley, who also talked with reporters about next week’s big game. Listen to that whole podcast here.