Saturday, May 31, 2008

Studio 90 News Update

No need to read, just take a quick look...

Studio 90 News Update

You're Supposed to Put it IN the Goal

As we have shown you in the past, not all of our brilliant ideas survive the editing process and make it into Studio 90 shows. In the following example, there really wasn't anything wrong with the clip, it just didn't quite fit. We were working on a Studio 90 News Update and decided to try a 'close' that involved the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Even had the Spanish kids in the background for a nice visual connection to the theme (quite the artistes, no?). In any case, the shot went fine right up until the end. You never know what's going to happen after you say 'cut' but the camera keeps rolling...

Does this remind you of anything?

Seriously, what did we do to these guys?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back On The Pitch

The team cleaned off the cobwebs of a day of travel and two long nights when they took part in their first training session in Spain. With 17 players on hand and grey clouds hovering overhead, U.S. coach Bob Bradley quickly got the team back after it with a 'head tennis' tournament to start the afternoon. Any concerns of down spirits quickly dissipated, as the games got quite ... competitive, shall we say.

After a passing exercise, the group moved into 7 v. 7 to big goals that also combined some functional training on team movements. The field portion of the afternoon ended with a finishing exercise that focused on the forwards creating space for themselves to get shots on goal. Stay tuned for highlights.

The team trained on the ground of C.D. Cayón a few minutes outside of Santander in Saron. In addition to a soccer field, there was also a tennis court and gym. There was also a mysterious indoor facility that had, at the center, a long and narrow sand pit that looked to be some kind of bowling lane. After observing the players for a few minutes, the MNT Blog went in and decided to have a try.

Turns out the game is called Bolo palma, a popular sport in the northern regions of Spain such as Cantabria (where we are) and the Basque country (where Bilbao is). One of the bowlers was kind of to explain us the rules and we were off (though not quite as effective with the ball as these guys). Despite jeers from Clint Dempsey and Steve Cherundolo, we did alright in the end. Maybe we'll be back tomorrow to in some more practice.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bienvenido a Santander

It's fair to say there's been a change of scenery from the outskirts of London to the North coast of Spain. The bus ride from the airport in Bilbao provided some picturesque scenery, and as the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean the team arrived into their new digs outside of Santander. Immediately you notice one of the cultural differences between Spain and other countries in Europe when it comes to the times of meals. The Spanish don't even think about dinner until 9 p.m. at the earliest, so our 11:30 dinner fell right during the 'rush'. That also means that our liaison staff almost fell over when we told them that breakfast starts at 7 a.m.!

The team is looking forward to getting back on the field tomorrow and building on the experience of the England game. They are obviously not satisfied with the performance, and now have their sights set on Spain. For those looking for an early scouting report, Spain are playing Peru on Saturday night in Huelva.

And if you're keeping track, we are now one hour ahead of England, meaning six hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. Which means it's just before 1 a.m. here, and time to crash.

Travel Day

The team complete a regen session at Arsenal's training ground today, and everybody is now back at the hotel packing frantically before our departure to Spain. We fly into Bibao before making the 45 minute drive to Santander. As such, the blog will be out of commission for a few hours...we'll check back when we've arrived in Spain!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

England v USA: Live at Wembley

7:50 pm - That wraps it up from us here - Coverage is about to start on ESPN Classic and, so flip there to catch the pregame. If you're at work - follow along with matchtracker at!

7:48 pm - Teams are off the field now - only minutes until kickoff...

7:42 pm - The England has enough people on the field to play about 3 games. Their squad contains 29 people and those who aren't starting - all 18 of them - are all lining up on the subs ench... They're all in their half of the field right now. Things are quite crowded...

7:40 pm - The MNT Blog thoroughly enjoyed its trip to the Press Box today, or as its called here - Press Lounge. The buffet was tremendous, and we sampled some wild mushroom stroganoff along with rice and sweet potatoes. For dessert we had chocolate mousse with raspberries...

7:33 pm - I wonder how England's kit men did with the uniforms today...

7:30 pm - Thirty minutes to kickoff now, and the stadium is filling up quickly now...

7:28 pm - Here's your England starting lineup.. in a 4-4-2: James, Brown, Terry (c), Ferdinand, Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Hargreaves, Gerrard, Defoe, Rooney...

7:24 pm - We've been training with the matchballs all week, but tonight's set is a limited edition. Check out these... only 20 made!
7:20 pm - And the U.S. team is out on the field now, greeted by a chorus of halfhearted boos...

7:18 pm - Also when we were outside of the stadium we caught up with a few fans who made the journey to Wembley... wooo scarves!

7:14 pm - Yes Tommy, unfortunately this does mean what you think it does. Nice pickup though. Keepers are out warming up! Timmy Howard and Brad Guzan wave to the crowd as they trot onto the field...

7:13 pm - We’ll give you a sneak peek at the USA’s Starting XI:


Cherundolo – Onyewu – Bocanegra – Pearce

Dempsey – Clark – Bradley – Beasley

Johnson - Wolff

And some notes:

-Four players on the roster won’t be dressing tonight: Landon Donovan, Jay DeMerit, Jonathon Spector and Dominic Cervi.

-LD is nursing a slight groin injury, and will be rested for tonight’s match. Jonathon Spector is also unable to go, still receiving treatment for irritation in his hip.

-Nine out of the 11 starters also started in the USA’s 3-0 win in Poland two months ago, including the entire back four and goalkeeper.

-Midfielder Ricardo Clark will become the only player to have started all four games for the U.S. so far this year.

-Defender Oguchi Onyewu is the second-leading scorer for the U.S. on the year, having scored in back-to-back games against Mexico and Poland.

7:10 pm - Statue of Bobby Moore outside the stadium - Don't know who that person is in front of the statue, but they get a shout out from the blog I suppose...

7:02 pm - Want to see what's going on before kickoff here?

7:00 pm - You may have read about us meeting John Motson the other day. Well, we had the opportunity to sit Mr. Motson down for an interview the other day. Definitely a great watch...

6: 55 pm - Brett - the forecast for the game is light rain, although right now its stopped. Our weather says its 16 C right now, but that's colder than the forecast says. Hopefully the temperature doesn't drop any more...

6:50 pm - Setting up the locker rooms is quite the process, and its most of the reason that we get here early...
The locker rooms at Wembley are excellent, as you might expect. One great addition was the private coaches changing room (complete with plush leather couch!). As you can see we're wearing our anthracite kits tonight, with one addition - A small crest on the number...That's Carlos' jersey...

6:45 pm - The MNT blog went wandering about outside of Wembley a few minutes ago, and took a few pictures...
The new Wembley opened in 2007 and has hosted a few England games, most notably the defeat against Croatia that knocked them out of Euro 2008. Most significant for the press following the game here is that this is Fabio Capello's second home game in charge (he won the first)...

6:43 pm - The team arrived about 10 minutes ago, but we've been here scrambling around for a little while. The stadium is beautiful and, if you didn't know, its huge! The gates opened at 6:05 pm and people are starting to trickle in now...especially the U.S. fans who already packing into their section pitchside...

6:42 pm - Alright we're here and settled in at Wembley, we'll be here blogging until gametime ...

A Little Something To Show Our Support For Your Support

The more than 1,300 fans traveling to England to sit in the U.S. Supporters Section at Wembley received a little surprise when they opened the package from U.S. Soccer. Along with each match ticket came a specially designed scarf commemorating the occasion, giving our fans the opportunity to give the England supporters a run for their money (click here for a little theatrical inspiration). Thanks to everyone who was able to make the trip over. We'll be looking for you and your scarves!

Wembley Awaits

Much of the talk this week has focused on the excitement of playing at Wembley Stadium, one of the world's truly historic venues. Beginning with its first FA Cup Final on April 28, 1923, in which an estimated 200,000 fans packed the original Wembley, the stadium has hosted some of the more magical moments in the history of English and world football, highlighted by England's 4-2 victory against West Germany in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final. England captured its only world championship to date on that day, becoming the first host nation to win the tournament since Italy in 1934.

The "new" Wembley opened in 2007, and with a capacity of 90,000 seats it is the largest in the world with every seat under cover. The roof covers an area of over 11 acres, four acres of which are movable. With a span of 1040 feet, the arch is the longest single span roof structure in the world and is designed not to cast a shadow on the field.

OK, enough of the building stats (which are partially cool, we think). To read through the history of the stadium and some of its greatest moments, start here:

Reading Material

As you can imagine, there's been plenty of words in print over here about tonight's match, so we figured you would want some reading material with your morning coffee. Most of the talk has focused on John Terry being named captain for the match, partially because that's the only real news that has come out of the England camp. As you know, the Chelsea centerback missed the PK that would have clinched the Champions League final against Manchester United last Wednesday. Below is a sample of what they are saying on this side of the pond, starting with a cool photo gallery that documents all of the previous meetings between the United States and England. Have at it ...

The Independent on England's 1950 defeat to the USA

Jason Burt and Sam Wallace of The Independent on John Terry being named captain for the game

Soccernet with an article about Bob Bradley's expectations for the game

Setanta's Gareth Mayer with 11 U.S. players that could surprise England

Sporting Life's Mike McGrath on Tim Howard's expectations for England captain John Terry

Setanta's Joseph Caron Dawe with a piece about the U.S.' preparations for England

Daily Mail's Neil Ashton on the fight for the England captaincy

The Guardian's Dominic Fifield on captain John Terry

The Independent's Sam Wallace on Capello getting the best out of Wayne Rooney

The writes about Bob Bradley's admiration for the England team

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Donovan a Question Mark for England Game

Landon's entry into the 100 cap club may have to wait for another day. The USA's all-time leading scorer is experiencing tightness in his groin that began to surface in the Galaxy's 3-1 win against Kansas City on Saturday night. Donovan will receive treatment tonight and be evaluated in the morning to determine his availability for tomorrow night's match. Also on the injury watch is Jonathan Spector, who has been ruled out with irritation in his hip. Spector will continue to receive treatment with an eye towards the upcoming matches against Spain and Argentina.

From the Desk of Bob Bradley

Two days prior to the start of the USA's summer campaign, we sat down with Bob Bradley to get his insights on the 31-man player pool for the trio of friendlies, his scouting report on each of the three upcoming opponents, the return of DaMarcus Beasley, and just about anything else we could think of. Listen in on this extensive two-part podcast with the USA's man in charge.

England v. USA: Viewing Parties

There are at least 1,300 U.S. supporters coming to Wembley for tomorrow night's USA - England game - we know that because we sold them the tickets! - but if you couldn't make the trip over, you can still support the team with loads of your fellow supporters and watch the game in an atmosphere that is pretty loud and rowdy. Four U.S. Soccer Bars are holding viewing parties for the game tomorrow, which kicks off at 2:50 p.m. ET. Show up early though - you need that crucial seat that's both close to the bar and close to a tv...

Small Bar, Chicago, IL.

The Globe Pub, Chicago, IL.

Nevada Smiths, New York, NY.

Summers, Washington D.C.

Random Facts that Didn't Make the Game Notes

We know you all are pouring through the game notes published on, but here's some facts that hit the cutting room floor. You can decide if they deserved to ...

  • Only three sets of teammates on the rosters from each teams: Landon Donovan and David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy); Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka (Everton); Jonathan Spector and Dean Ashton (West Ham United).
  • When the U.S. beat England in the 1950 FIFA World Cup, it was the first time that England had faced a CONCACAF opponent. In fact, it was only the seconnd team outside of Europe that they had played. (Chile was the first in the match before. The USA match marked the 256th international for England
  • Bob Bradley's international record breakdown:

    14-5-2 overall
    4-1-0 vs UEFA
    7-0-2 vs CONCACAF
    1-4-0 vs CONMEBOL
    1-0-0 vs AFC
    1-0-0 vs CAF

    Bradley is 8-0-1 all-time when the U.S. is leading at the half

DeMerit on the Welcoming Committee

Watford defender Jay DeMerit has rolled out the welcome mat for his teammates, having a been a resident of the USA's temporary home for nearly four years. From a kid with a backpack to a man who could step on the pitch at Wembley tomorrow, Jay has certainly gained a lot of perspective. In this podcast with, DeMerit talks about his time at Watford and what it would mean if he got to play at England's soccer cathedral.

Monday, May 26, 2008

An Inside Tip on England - Mum's the Word

We've been told by various journalists here that one of the changes installed by Fabio Capello since he took over the England job is the policy of not revealing the starting lineup until two hours before kickoff - TO ANYONE. While you can debate the pros and cons of not telling the players, one group that finds the practice particularly frustrating are the equipment managers. You see, England has a long tradition of putting their starting team in numbers 1-11 in accordance with their position on the field, a practice begun in club football as early as 1908 (at least according to wikipedia - and who doesn't trust that?). Since Capello refuses to tell anyone who is starting, the equipment guys literally have to print jerseys right up until near kickoff. Guess that might be easier at home, but how about in Trinidad? We hope they bring enough jerseys, just in case ...

TT Answered - Closest to the Pin

It comes as no surprise to us that many of you nailed the first part of the question on Landon's jersey number when he scored his first goal. For the record, he did indeed wear #13 in the USA's 2-0 victory against Mexico on Oct. 25, 2000 in Los Angeles.

You also had many good reasons for the significance of the #13. Yes, it was his first cap. Yes, it was the game-winner. And of course we like that it was against Mexico. But it was Sean who got closest when he correctly said that Cobi Jones used to wear that number and Cobi has the most caps for the U.S. national team. Cobi did sport the #13, and not only does he have the most caps for the U.S., but his 164 appearances still ranks fourth all-time in the world.

However, what the judges were looking for was the in addition to Cobi wearing that number, he is also the player that Landon is about to surpass as the youngest U.S. player in history to reach 100 caps. In fact, Landon would become the fourth youngest player of all time to reach the century club.

Must say, we're a little bit proud of ourselves for getting that one past you. See what happens when you keep the faith! Now on to more trivia questions that you will probably correctly answer in eight minutes or less ...

Guests at Training

While in England, the MNT Blog is diligently working on its British restraint. It is going well, thank you. However, any soccer fan would forgive the Blog for the geek out moment it experienced this morning when both John Motson and Martin Tyler turned up at training.

If you've watched any soccer in the past quarter century, odds are you've heard the voices of these two commentators. And if you're trolling around youtube looking at soccer highlights, their calls are all over some of the most memorable instances in the sport. Indeed, their voices have become nearly as iconic as the images and events themselves.

Like this one (Tyler):

And this one (Motson).

And this one (Tyler).

That search took about five minutes.

Like any good pros, Mr. Motson and Mr. Tyler were at training putting in some research ahead of Wednesday's game, and the Blog was eager to help identify players. The commentators even braved the bitter cold and rain weather that in any other situation would have made training miserable for us onlookers. Their visit made for a great conversation and some good anecdotes too:

Martin Tyler said that he remembers Steve Cherundolo's strike against Germany in 2006 as one of the most bizarre goals he's ever seen. If you can recall, Cherundolo hoofed a ball forward towards Eddie Johnson up front for the U.S. German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn came out, collided with Eddie Johnson and ball bounced away into the net with Chernudolo getting credit for the goal. Mr. Tyler said that he and his commentary team had no idea that the ref was giving a goal, or that the ball had even gone in. When the confusion subsided and the ref finally did give a goal, they had no idea who even scored it. The solution? A quick visit to by the Sky Sports producer. Big props to Matchtracker!

We also spoke about David Beckham's goal this past weekend. If you remember, he scored a similar goal (albeit with a goalie in the net) and Mr. Motson commented that the goalie on that day, Neil Sullivan, was part of Doncaster Rovers successful Championship promotion bid yesterday. Here's Beckham's goal from 1996 (guess who was calling it):

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rochdale for Promotion

The hotel that we are staying in on the outskirts of London is well-known destination for soccer teams who visit England's capital. In fact, one of the prominent halls on the grounds here is lined with memorabilia from the teams who have boarded here (more on that later).

Tonight we've been joined by another team in the hotel, Rochdale A.F.C., who tomorrow will play a match against Stockport County for promotion to League One. The game is a massive one, to say the least, as a win will take Rochdale out of the bottom division of the Football League for the first time in 34 years.

The club's usually small following has inflated significantly as the club has made a run in the playoffs, and about 18,000 people are expected at Wembley tomorrow (that's nearly 10 times their normal gate for a home game).

So here is hoping that our hotel mates can get the job done!


(That's code for trivia time. We're trying to sneak it past the MNT Blogger Sleuths that roam our posts continuously looking to pounce on any trivia ideas we might have...).

In anticipation of Landon Donovan reaching 100 caps SOMETIME this summer, we've been doing our homework on his career. As you already know, LD is the USA's all-time leading goalscorer with 35 goals. We won't even insult you by asking when he got his first cap and against whom; however, something did catch our eye. Having worn the #10 since Claudio Reyna retired after the 2006 World Cup, Landon spent most of his international career wearing the #21 shirt. But not on the day he scored his first goal.

Jersey number and significance, por favor... (hint - there's a theme involved)

Tea Time

Following the 'when in Rome ...' philosophy, while the team completed their afternoon workout, the MNT bloggers decided to poke our heads in on the traditional English ritual of 'afternoon tea'. Both a formal and a social occasion typically served between 3-5 p.m., the light meal hosted in the hotel library consists of the following:
  • A selection of sandwiches filled with cucumber, cream cheese and chives, egg, mayonnaise and smoked Scottish salmon
  • Freshly baked scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve
  • A selection of afternoon tea pastries
Turns out it's not as stuffy as it sounds, and we have a new fondness for fruitcake and scones. Oh, almost forgot. They served tea, too!

Wet One at Watford

Finally experienced some 'traditional' English weather today as heavy rains turned part of the training pitch into a swamp. While it doesn't make for the greatest soccer, the boys looked like they were having a ball on the 'slip-and-slide'. At least for a little while. The coaching staff quickly adjusted and found drier turf, conducting a session that involved a four corners possession game before going 7 v. 7 to big goals. Several of the English press braved the rain, despite the PGA tour event going on down the road and tomorrow being a bank holiday in England (the fact that it falls on Memorial Day in the U.S. is a coincidence). Ricardo Clark took part in his first session since arriving yesterday, and despite the conditions there were some very sharp combinations and a few fantastic strikes on goal. The only downside is that the rain wrecked one of our cameras ... just kidding, boss!

The team hits the gym this afternoon, which is thankfully indoors.

Hejduk Summoned

Columbus Crew midfielder Frankie Hejduk has been summoned by U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to bolster the squad in advance of Wednesday's match against England, and will arrive into London along with the remaining MLS contingent on Monday. The two-time World Cup veteran has 75 caps to his credit, and will be making his first appearance of 2008 in a national team camp. West Ham defender Jonathan Spector has been experiencing hip joint irritation, and his availability for Wednesday remains in question.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Feilhaber Sidelined

U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber has been diagnosed with torn meniscus in his right knee that will require surgery. Feilhaber suffered the injury in the 67th minute of the U-23 MNT's 3-2 loss to Turkey on May 21 at the Toulon International in France. He traveled to Los Angeles this morning to be treated by U.S. team doctor Bert Mandelbaum. Following the procedure, Feilhaber is expected to be sidelined from 4-6 weeks.

Visit to England's Training

Some of us from the blog made our way over to England's training today, which was conducted at Arsenal's training facility. The complex was adjacent to our own training session, so we just walked down the road and observed the proceedings. There are slightly more press at the England training session, but other than that it is about what you'd expect: lots of cones, lots of stretching, etc. Here are some pictures from our trip:
Meanwhile, over at our training we got a few comments from Eddie Lewis and Clint Dempsey as they spoke to reporters:

Beas on Scoresheet - Rangers Win Cup

Rangers completed a domestic cup double today, beating Queen of the South 3-2 to claim the Scottish Cup. DaMarcus Beasley, making his first start since returning from injury, played a part in all 3 goals for his club - drawing the foul which set up the first goal, knocking in the second himself, and assisting from a set piece for the eventual winner.

2nd Goal:

3rd Goal:

Beas is reporting to camp here in England tomorrow and the MLS players on the roster are starting to filter in after their games stateside. Ricardo Clark is the latest addition to the squad, having arrived this afternoon following Houston's game on Thursday...

Nate Jaqua - Status Report

Nate Jaqua has always had an adventurous spirit. After starting his career with the Chicago Fire he had a brief spell in Los Angelese before moving to the Houston Dynamo in time to collect a 2007 MLS Cup ring. After the season, he decided to set sail for Europe and find out what football life was like overseas. He was quickly snatched up by Austrian Bundesliga side SCR Altach, where he promptly posted five goals in 13 appearances. With success under his belt and freedom to choose his next opportunity, Jaqua spoke to about his time in Austria and his plans for the future. How did the opportunity to play at SCR Altach come about?

Nate: “I wanted to go to Europe in general. My agent knew someone in Austria and they were able to get me a trial. I had planned on going to check out some of the Scandinavian countries afterwards, but after three or four days of training they offered me a contract. I was able to sign a short-term deal, which would allow me to get a good idea of what Europe was about with having to commit too long.” Austria hasn’t been a common destination for U.S. players. Was it a difficult adjustment to make, particularly joining the team mid-season?

Nate: “The transition turned out to be quite smooth. I joined the team during the winter break, so we had three or four weeks of training, including seven days in Turkey. I fit in pretty easily. They didn’t really have a target player up top, so it was nice that they needed me. Any language barriers?

Nate: “Most everyone spoke some English. The coach talked in German, but spoke pretty good English, too. I didn’t exactly know what he was saying, but my role was pretty defined, so when he needed to make a point, he spoke to me in English.” You've always been an outdoorsman, and found yourself in a place with some picturesque scenery. What was life like off the field for you?

Nate: “The region of Vorarlberg is pretty tiny. I lived in an apartment hotel in a town of about 3,000 people. I got a chance to go up to the mountains a few times, and I visited Zurich which is about 90 minutes away. It’s a beautiful place.” You scored five goals in 13 games, so apparently you adapted pretty quickly…

Nate: “Yeah, I was happy that my finishing was good. Four of the five goals I scored were on crosses into the box. Half the time I played as a single forward, which was a little bit difficult since I didn’t get much support. Other times we played with a second forward, and I played underneath. That gave me a lot more freedom to get involved in the play.” You’re out of contract at the moment, and you said you wanted to get a taste of what Europe was all about. What have you taken from the experience?

Nate: “Overall, it has been a very positive experience. I got a better idea of European soccer, and as well as what I would like to do with my career. At the moment, I’m weighing options.”

Lewis' Leeds Reunion

Eddie Lewis had a vocal supporters section at training today when members of Leeds United passed through on their way to their session on an adjacent field. Leeds are gearing up for the Football League One Promotion Final tomorrow against Doncaster at Wembley Stadium, with the winner gaining advancement to the League Championship. Lewis spent three seasons at Leeds, including possibly the finest of his professional career in 2005-06 when he appeared in all 42 league matches and scored a goal in the Promotion Playoff Semifinal series against Preston North End. Fans - particularly Amy - will remember that Eddie was the last player to join the pre-World Cup training camp in Cary, N.C. that year while Leeds were playing in the promotion final against Watford.

Happy Birthday Beas

DaMarcus Beasley celebrates his 26th birthday today - yes, he's only 26 - with trip to the Scottish FA Cup final against Queen of the South. Rangers will be looking to salvage some silverware from a grueling in which they lost out to Zenit in the UEFA Cup final and finished three points behind rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. Beas got the birthday gift he wanted in the form of a starting spot in today's Cup final. Hopefully he will travel to London tomorrow with a winner's medal around his neck. And in case you're feeling old, DaMarcus played his first game for the full national team more than seven years ago on Jan. 27, 2001, against China.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Workout at Watford

The team has returned from the first training of camp, a brief 60-minute session that took place at Watford's training ground. The lovely facility has lots of beautiful soccer fields (as you would probably expect) and is also the home of MNT defender Jay DeMerit, who plays his club ball at the League Championship side.

With 15 players available to participate, the went through a light warmup before the guys took part in a few passing drills. The session concluded with a small sided 6 v 6 game with goalkeepers. Not too hard, but it was good to see the guys back out on the field.
Before leaving, Tim Howard and Bob Bradley spoke to a gathered crowd of journalists about the end of the season, the form of the U.S. team, and the excitement of going into a game against England at Wembley. Listen to the full podcast here...

Josh Wolff Status Report

After lunch this afternoon we sat down with veteran U.S. striker Josh Wolff, who is parting ways with 1860 Munich after 18 months in the Second Bundesliga. The 31-year-old has thoroughly the enjoyed the experience of playing in Germany, which included a roller coaster ride this year where the club went holding the top spot in the league and dreaming of promotion to narrowly avoiding the nightmare of relegation. Better and wiser from the challenge, Wolff is hoping to extend his time in Europe while fighting for a place in the USA's World Cup qualifying campaign.

Listen to the full podcast here...

Edu to England

Toronto FC midfielder Maurice Edu has been summoned for duty in England and will join the camp following his side's match away to D.C. United this weekend. Edu captained the U.S. Under-23's in their successful bid to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games. The University of Maryland product has appeared in four of the matches during the USA's current five-game unbeaten run, including consecutive wins against Switzerland, South Africa and Sweden.

Walking Tour

The Studio 90 crew hit the ground running yesterday, heading straight from Heathrow into central London to begin filming for the first leg of the international series. Some highlights of the whirlwind tour of the sites:

  • No men in red? Disappointed to get to Buckingham Palace and not see those famous guards dressed in red and big hats standing post. They did have sentries posted inside the gate, including one with a really big machine gun who politely informed us we couldn't film without 'permission from the Queen'. We replied we would be happy to ask if we could have her cell phone number. OK, we didn't say that.
  • SoHo Square - Home to the modern looking headquarters of the English FA, the building is cloaked in a rather non-descript looking door at the front. You'll see shots of the trophy case and views from the roof in the show. Paul from security was nice enough to give us a tour, and he broke out the original FA Cup trophy for us to film. Well, the second original trophy anyway. The inaugural cup - which is much smaller - debuted in 1872, while the current version has been in use since 1911. Aren't you glad we payed attention on the tour?
  • "Look kids! Big Ben, Parliament!" As die-hard fans of the National Lampoon 'Vacation' films, the opportunity to belt that out in the center of the park proved irrestible. It was so noisy that no one could hear us anyway. The buildings really are quite impressive, and its easy to get romanced by the weight of all the history there. Plus there was a sign at one end of Parliament that said 'Sovereigns' Entrance.' How's that for VIP?
  • Random notes: traffic is quite literally insane ... gas is $12 a gallon ... there are over 1,000 security cameras mounted around the city ...curry shops are everywhere ... please, please, please, remember to look right first when crossing the street ... we actually saw the sun - in England! [Editor's note: The weather is England is famously gloomy]

Since the group is ensconced in a hotel in the countryside, that was probably the last look at one of the truly great capitals of the world. Time to hit the pitch ...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pool Party

From today's pool workout...

London Calling

Whew! It feels like so long since you last heard from us, but thankfully MNT camp is getting back into gear in the country where soccer was born. And if you were disappointed by our abbreviated outing in Krakow, dry those tears! We're going to be blogging for a solid month as the team moves towards friendlies with England, Spain, Argentina and the start of World Cup Qualifying with Barbados.

The guys (Bob Bradley has named 22 players for next week's game) have already begun arriving, touching down in Heathrow from all over the world. Players have come from the U.S., from continental Europe, and a few were even lucky enough to make the short trip by car. Not much on the agenda for today: the usual meet and greet, distribution of gear, and light workout in the pool will be capped off by the first official team meal tonight.

England is buzzing right now after last night's Champions League Final, and there will be a lot going on this week as the U.S. heads towards next Wednesday's game against England at Wembley stadium...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Argentina Names Squad for Friendlies

After Spain and England selected squads last week, Argentina's Alfio Basile has named his team that will face the United States on June 8 at Giants Stadium. The roster is just about what'd you expect from the number one team in the world: star studded from top to bottom. Lionel Messi and Sergio "Kún" Agüero headline the names coming from Spain's La Liga, while a contingent of Argentines from Italian champions Inter - Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti, Julio Cruz and and Nicolás Burdisso - will also make the trip to North America. Its an all European roster for Basile, who has elected to leave Juan Román Riquelme at home with his club side Boca Juniors. There's no place for Manchester United's Carlos Tevez either.

See the full roster here. And read about Tevez's omission here.

Beas Completes Return from Injury

DaMarcus Beasley returned to the field on Wednesday as part of Rangers' 3-0 win over St. Mirren. After a lengthy layoff from injury, Beasley came on as a second half sub while Rangers made a push for late goals at St. Mirren Park. As it stands in the Scottish Premier League, Rangers and Celtic are tied on points with one game left. Celtic, however, have a +4 goal differential over their rivals. In order to take the title, Rangers will need Celtic to slip up and Walter Smith's side could do itself no harm by thrashing Aberdeen by five or so goals on Thursday...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hannover and Rostock Finish with Wins

Hannover 96 and Hansa Rostock finished their respective Bundesliga seasons with wins on Saturday.

Hannover dismantled Energie Cottbus, 4-0, behind three assists from Steve Cherundolo. Sal Zizzo also played 45 minutes in his second Bundesliga appearance of the season for Hannover, who finished the domestic season in eighth place in the table.

Rostock will be heading down to the 2nd Bundesliga next year, but Heath Pearce's team said goodbye to the German top flight with a win. Rostock came form behind to defeat VfL Bochum 2-1. Pearce played the full 90 minutes in the victory.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spain Announces Euro 2008 Squad

Spain has named a squad of 23 players that will travel to the 2008 European Championships beginning in June. As preparation for the tournament, Spain will face off with the U.S. MNT on June 4 in Santander. Manager Luis Aragones has assembled a squad of significant star power, with Liverpool's Fernando Torres, Valencia's David Villa, Arsena's Cesc Fabregas, and Real Madrid's Iker Casillas leading the way for the Spanish side. Spain have been drawn into Group D of the Euros along with Russia, Greece and Sweden.

Check out the full squad here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Watford Done

Watford's hopes of bouncing back to the Premier League next season have evaporated. Jay DeMerit's team was defeated soundly by Hull, 6-2 on aggregate, in the playoff semifinals. For Watford its surely a disappointing end to a season in which they looked to be viable contenders for automatic promotion most of the way through the season. A loss of form in the last few months caused Watford to slip down the table, and their promotion charge petered out this past week against Hull.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Last Chance Saloon for Watford

Jay DeMerit and Watford will have to overturn a 2-0 deficit in today's match against Hull if the Hornets want to have any shot at promotion to the Premier League. Watford was defeated at Vicarage Road in Sunday's Semifinal first leg so they'll have to get the crucial result away from home tonight.

The game can be seen live on Setanta Sports in the United States, with coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Kasey Keller Speaks

You may have heard that Fulham avoided relegation this weekend. Its kind of a big deal (note massive understatement). Here at, we caught up with the legend himself, Kasey Keller, and asked his thoughts on Fulham's successful bid against the drop. Listen to Keller as he describes the satisfaction of their remarkable achievement and where this ranks in his career accomplishments in this exclusive podcast by clicking here.

Online Videos by

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teasers and England Squad

Well its going to be a busy month, and an exciting one for sure. Seems about as good a time as any to get the Blog rolling again so here is what we've got for you this week:

- In case you haven't seen them yet, here are a few teasers for an upcoming MNT commercial. The commercial was produced by frequent U.S. soccer collaborator Element 79, and was filmed during the MNT's most recent trip to Poland...

- This week Fabio Capello named a 31 man squad that will make up the roster for the May 28 game against the U.S. The names there are ones that you'd expect: Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney, Owen. There are also a few uncapped players too. Check out the whole roster here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Heerenveen Clinches UEFA Cup Spot

Heerenveen clinched a spot in next season's UEFA Cup courtesy of a 2-2 draw with NAC Breda. The draw gave Michael Bradley's team a 4-2 aggregate victory after last week's 2-0 victory for Heerenveen in the first leg. Bradley was suspended for that game, but he returned to the lineup today, and even tallied an assist on Gerald Sibon's second goal. The win means that Heerenveen will get another shot at the UEFA Cup, a competition that they played in this year as well. Back in October of 2007, Heerenveen was eliminated by Helsingborg 8-6 on aggregate over 2 legs in the first round.

Beas Back on Bench

DaMarcus Beasley was back in a Rangers uniform for the first time in 2008, as the U.S. midfielder was an unused substitute in his side's 3-1 victory over Dundee United. The win takes Rangers closer to rivals Celtic at the top of the table and Walter Smith's side are now within two points of the leaders with a game in hand.

The Scottish Premier League will take a backseat this week, however, as Rangers' most important game comes on Wednesday in the UEFA Cup Final. The Scottish club takes on Zenit St. Petersburg at the City of Manchester Stadium, coincidentally one of Beas' old stomping grounds with Manchester City. That game can be seen live on Wednesday starting at 2:30 pm ET on FSC.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fulham Redeemed

Fulham confirmed its Premier League status for next season by defeating Portsmouth 1-0 on Sunday. Danny Murphy's second half header was the only goal in a scrappy game and the win saved Fulham from relegation at the expense of Reading and Birmingham. News of the latter two sides winning their respective games comfortably was trickling to the field at Fratton Park, and Fulham knew that only a victory would save them from the drop. Roy Hodgson's side feverishly pressed the Portsmouth goal, and they were rewarded in the 76th minute when Jimmy Bullard's inswinging freekick was met by Murphy. Brian McBride and Kasey Keller played the full 90 minutes for Fulham, while Clint Dempsey started the game before coming off in the 72nd minute.

The news was not so good for Marcus Hahnemann and Reading, who were relegated as a result of Fulham's win. A fantastic effort from Reading in a 4-0 victory over Derby was not enough to make up the gap between the Royals and Fulham, and Hahnemnn's team was relegated to the Championship due to goal differential. Hahnemann made four saves in the loss, while Eddie Lewis and Benny Feilhaber both took part for Derby.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Everton and Tim Howard clinched fifth place with a 3-1 victory over Newcastle.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Heerenveen On Course

Heerenveen (without Michael Bradley) defeated NAC Breda 2-0 on Thursday in the 1st leg of their UEFA Cup playoff. The return leg is on Monday, with the winner earning an automatic berth into next season's UEFA Cup. Michael Bradley will return from suspension and be available for Monday's deciding game...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One Final Fight

Thirty-seven games into the season and Fulham finally seems to have exerted some control over an otherwise tumultuous eight month campaign. Last Saturday's victory over fellow relegation candidates Birmingham City lifted Fulham out of the drop zone for the first time since December 2007, and also gave the Cottagers that which they sought most: complete control over their Premier League fate.

Heading into the final 90 minutes the task for Fulham is simple – a win will keep them in England's top flight next year. Its sure to be an exciting weekend for the American soccer fan, as Fulham and its national team players could stay in the Premier League at the expense of their teammates and friends at Reading. Ahead of Reading by goal differential and Birmingham by a point, Fulham can nullify this weekend's many permutations simply by claiming all three points against Portsmouth at Fratton Park. If they can't manage a victory, then things get interesting:

For Fulham to stay in the Premier League:
A win against Portsmouth
A draw against Portsmouth, a Reading draw against Derby, a Birmingham loss or draw against Blackburn
A loss against Portsmouth, a Reading loss against Derby, and a Birmingham loss or draw.

For Reading to stay in the Premier League:
A win against Derby, and a Fulham loss or tie
A tie against Derby, and a Fulham loss

For Birmingham to stay in the Premier League:
A win against Blackburn and losses or ties by Fulham and Reading
A tie against Blackburn and losses by Fulham and Reading

In all these scenarios, Goal Differential is not taken in to account. What you should know:
Fulham at (-23) have a better GD than Reading (-29). Birmingham (-19) has a better GD than both these teams. Only when teams are tied on points does Goal Differential become a factor.

Should the Goal Differential be equal, Goals Scored is the next tiebreaker followed by a one-game playoff at a neutral venue.

The Dynamic Duo

Sky Sports scored a nice coup by sitting down two of U.S. Soccer's legendary goalkeepers - and at the same time, no less! - to talk about their long and distinguished careers for both club and country.

Always articulate and insightful, Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller spoke about their rise through the goalkeeping ranks, the fortunes of Blackburn and Fulham, and how two kids from the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest managed to earn over 35 years in combined experience in top leagues around the world. We even learned something new about Kasey, and he's been around U.S. Soccer for 18 years!

Click the links below and enjoy listening to two of the best ...

Brad and Kasey talk about their careers in Europe ...

Kasey talking about Fulham's fight ...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Random Tuesday Links

Fulham captain Brian McBride gives his thoughts on next Sunday's match to Read the full article here.

With DaMarcus Beasley back in full training, we thought you may want to check out these highlights from last week of Rangers' penalty shootout victory over Fiorentina in Italy. Now Beas didn't play in this game (he's still working his way back to match fitness), but Rangers prevailed nonetheless and booked their tickets to the City of Manchester Stadium, site of this year's UEFA Cup Final.

That game will be played next Wednesday on May 14th against Zenit St. Petersburg and can be seen live in the US on FSC from 2:30 p.m. ET.

Heerenveen Ousted from Champions League Playoffs

Michael Bradley and Heerenveen succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Ajax on Monday, and have been eliminated from the Champions League Playoffs as a result. Monday's defeat made for a 5-2 aggregate defeat over the course of two legs, and now Heerenveen will have to right the ship ahead of a UEFA Cup playoff with NAC Breda.

Bradley was sent off in the 38th minute for his second bookable offense and will be suspended for the first leg against NAC Breda. The midfielder will be available for selection in the second leg of the playoffs. The winner of the tie earns a berth into next season's UEFA Cup.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Premier League Update

Fulham defeated Birmingham City in a must-win game for the Cottagers on Saturday. Needing a victory to keep alive their chances of avoiding the drop, Fulham rose to the task and beat Birmingham behind goals from Brian McBride and substitue Erik Nevland. Kasey Keller and Clint Dempsey also contributed to the winning effort, going 90 minutes for Fulham.

The win, coupled with other results (most notably Reading's 1-0 defeat to Tottenham) takes Fulham out of the bottom three. Ahead of Reading on goal differential and one point above Birmingham, Fulham can assure themselves of Premier League football next season with a win against Portsmouth next Sunday.

Some Links:

Here's a great article about Brian McBride from The Independent over in England. The piece details Brian's career from MLS to his time at Fulham.

In other news, Clint Dempsey has signed a contract extension at Fulham.

For Reading, their 1-0 defeat to Tottenham this weekend means that they no longer are in sole control of their Premier League fate. Marcus Hahnemann's team will need a win next Sunday (against Derby) and also need Fulham to falter in their game.

Everton slipped up this weekend against Arsenal, but Tim Howard's team is still sitting in fifth place thanks to Aston Villa's defeat by Wigan. Everton can still confirm European football next season with a point on the final day against Newcastle.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Heerenveen were defeated by Ajax 2-1 in the Dutch Eredivisie playoffs today, and Michael Bradley's club now face a one goal deficit going into next weeks return leg.

Heerenveen fought back to tie the match in the second half, but Jonny Heitinga's late goal swung the tie in Ajax's favor prior to Monday's match.

Check out the match report here.