Saturday, May 31, 2008
Does this remind you of anything?
Seriously, what did we do to these guys?
Friday, May 30, 2008
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
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.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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
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
-Midfielder Ricardo Clark will become the only player to have started all four games for the
-Defender Oguchi Onyewu is the second-leading scorer for the
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 ...
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:
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 FA.com writes about Bob Bradley's admiration for the England team
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Small Bar, Chicago, IL.
The Globe Pub, Chicago, IL.
Nevada Smiths, New York, NY.
Summers, Washington D.C.
We know you all are pouring through the game notes published on ussoccer.com, 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:
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
Monday, May 26, 2008
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 ...
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 ussoccer.com 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
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!
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)
- 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
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.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
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 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...
ussoccer.com: 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.”
ussoccer.com: 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.
ussoccer.com: 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.”
ussoccer.com: 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.”
ussoccer.com: 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.”
ussoccer.com: 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.”
Friday, May 23, 2008
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...
Listen to the full podcast here...
- 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
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
See the full roster here. And read about Tevez's omission here.
Monday, May 19, 2008
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
Check out the full squad here.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The game can be seen live on Setanta Sports in the United States, with coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Online Videos by Veoh.com
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
- 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
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
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
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.