Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everton Take Easy Win

Everton and Tim Howard gained ground on struggling Arsenal with a 2-0 win over struggling West Brom. Howard made five saves in the winning effort, while Everton are now unbeaten in three games.

Saturday Results

Friday, February 27, 2009

What We're Watching


7:40 a.m. - Everton vs. West Brom, Setanta - Tim Howard and Everton clash against bottom-of-the-table West Brom in the early match on Saturday morning. West Brom will be going for their first win at Goodison Park in 30 years.

10 a.m. - Arsenal vs. Fulham, FSC - Clint Dempsey and Fulham travel to the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal will be putting their unbeaten home record on the line in a London derby. Check out a video preview of the game here.


7:25 a.m. - West Ham vs. Manchester City, Setanta - Jonathan Spector will look to make his second consecutive Premier League start in a game where former Hammer Craig Bellamy's return to Upton Park with new team Manchester City is the main storyline.

11 a.m. - Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich, Gol TV - Bayern Munich and Landon Donovan travel to the Weserstadion to face Werder Bremen on Sunday. Bayern thrashed Sporting Lisbon mdiweek, and will look to carry that form into the Bundesliga where they've suffered a recent dip in form.

2:55 p.m. - Lyon vs. Rennes, Setanta - In a match that could have major title implications, Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes face league leaders Lyon at the Stade Gerland. Rennes, who beat Lyon earlier in the year, are 10 points away from Lyon, but a win for Rennes could pull themselves (and the rest of the chasing pack) closer to the seven-time league champions.

MNT Players Sent Packing

A tough night for MNT players in the UEFA Cup, as both Aston Villa and Standard Liege were eliminated from European competition. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa went down 2-0 to CSKA Moscow (3-1 on aggregate) while Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege bowed out meekly with a 1-1 draw to Braga (4-1 on aggregate).

Tough Start for San Luis

Michael Orozco and San Luis fell 1-0 to Paraguayan side Libertad in a Group 8 Copa Libertadores clash last night. Orozco went 90 minutes for San Luis, who were undone by an early Luis Ramírez goal. The loss drops San Luis to the bottom of Group 8. Next up in the Copa Libertadores is a match away to Universitario of Perú on Mar. 10.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Better Highlights: Gladbach v Hannover

Some longer highlights from Gladbach's 3-2 win over Hannover this weekend:

Better Highlights: Nice v Rennes

Forgot to link to this from a few days ago...

Short Highlights from Fulham's Win

That about says it all...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dempsey Scores as Fulham Progress

Fulham progressed to the sixth round of the FA Cup, courtesy of tonight's 2-1 win over Swansea. Clint Dempsey scored the tying goal for Fulham, who had gone behind early in the second half. Dempsey turned home a Simon Davies corner in the 77th minute, before teammate Bobby Zamora scored four minutes later to seal Fulham's passage to the quarterfinals. There they will meet Manchester United. Come back later as we scour the internet for highlights...

Brad Guzan on Life in England

MNT Goalkeeper Brad Guzan caught up with us at and we asked the Aston Villa goalkeeper about his first season in the Premier League, preparations for this week's UEFA Cup game with CSKA Moscow, and his experience so far in World Cup qualifying.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Image courtesy of

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better Highlights: Newcastle v Everton

Hard to get better highlights of this 0-0 snoozer but we tried...

On another note, Everton received some bad news today when it was revealed that midfielder Mikel Arteta will be out for the remainder of the season.

Fulham Ready for Replay

Fulham face a fifth round FA Cup replay against Swansea on Tuesday, the two sides having drawn 1-1 in the original match ten days ago. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson could rotate his squad for the game, so it remains to be seen whether or not Dempsey will play after the midfielder played 90 minutes this weekend.

Standard Setback

Standard Liege's title hopes took a shot on Sunday, when Oguchi Onyewu's team was defeated 4-2 by rivals Anderlecht. The victory lifts Anderlecht four points above Liege, with both teams having played the same number of games. The loss capped a tough week for Liege in which the reigning Belgian champs also lost 3-0 to Braga in the UEFA Cup. Gooch and Co. will try to turn things around in the second leg of that playoff later this week...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Better Highlights: Fulham v West Brom

Long highlights from Fulham's 2-0 win over West Bromich Albion...

Sunday Results from England

Clint Dempsey played the full 90 minutes for Fulham as the Cottagers turned out for an easy 2-0 win over West Brom.

Tim Howard was hardly busy as Everton tied 0-0 with Newcastle United. Howard was required to make zero saves as Newcastle played most of the second half down a man.

Better Highlights: Bolton v West Ham

Here are some longer highlights from West Ham's game against Bolton yesterday. Jonathan Spector started for West Ham and assisted on the Hammers' only goal...

Pachuca Cruise

José Francisco Torres and Pachuca ran out to a 3-0 win over Indios on Saturday, keeping alive their unbeaten streak in Group 1 of Mexico's Primera División. Torres started in his customary midfield role for Pachuca, who next face Chivas a week from today.

Rennes Back on Track

Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes got back on track with a 1-0 victory over Nice on Saturday. In claiming a rare three points on the road, Rennes remained in sixth place ahead of next week's clash with league leaders Lyon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bayern Munich Highlights

Highlights from Bayern Munich's loss to FC Cologne earlier today:

Feilhaber Nearing Return

Check out this video interview with Benny Feilhaber who is back training with Aarhus as he nears full recovery from injury...

Saturday Results

Borussia Mönchengladbach gave up a two goal lead but managed to find a late winner in their 3-2 victory over Hannover 96. Michael Bradley played the full 90 minutes for 'Gladbach, while Steve Cherundolo made a late substitute appearance for Hannover after recovering from injury.

Bayern Munich failed to take the summit of the Bundesliga after going down 2-1 to FC Cologne. Donovan came off the bench to start the second half, but couldn't help his team come back from two goals down at the Allianz Arena.

In England, Jonathan Spector got the start for West Ham but two early goals condemned the Hammers to defeat against Bolton. West Ham fought back valiantly, with Spector getting the assist on Scott Parker's second half goal, but it proved to be a mere consoloation effort as Bolton held out for the 2-1 win.

Jay DeMerit and Watford claimed a vital away win in the English Championship, beating Blackpool 2-0 to boost their chances of avoiding the drop. DeMerit captained the side and played the full 90 minutes for the Hornets.

Check back later this weekend for highlights...

Friday, February 20, 2009

What We're Watching

A Center Circle reference for all you readers out there. Here's what we're checking out on TV this weekend:


7:40 a.m. ET - Aston Villa v Chelsea, Setanta - After a midweek game that saw him play 90 minutes against CSKA Moscow, Brad Guzan will likely return to a reserve role for Villa's Premier League game against Chelsea on Saturday. The match pits England's third and fourth -place teams, with Villa holding a slim two-point lead over Chelsea. For added intrigue, this is Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink's first Premier League game in charge.

10 a.m. ET - Bolton v West Ham, FSC - Jonathan Spector will look for some time off the bench as the Hammers travel north to face Bolton.

11:30 a.m. ET
- Bayern Munich vs. Cologne, Gol TV (replay) - Landon Donovan could make his first competitive start for Bayern Munich as Luca Toni has failed to shrug off an injury from last week. After slipping against Hertha Berlin last Saturday, Bayern will try to keep up their challenge for the Bundesliga title. Of course, Lukas Podolski could also feature, so tune in late Saturday morning to see if Donovan's in the starting eleven.

2:55 p.m. ET - Nice v Rennes, Setanta - Faltering Rennes look to right the ship as Carlos Bocanegra's team travels to face Nice on Saturday. Rennes have fallen off the pace in Ligue 1, but a victory here could reignite their claims to a UEFA Champions League spot for next season.

8 p.m. ET - Pachuca v Indios, Telefutura - José Francisco Torres and Pachuca will try to keep their unbeaten start going when they host Group 1 rivals Indios on Saturday night.


8:25 a.m. ET - Fulham v West Brom, Setanta - After a midweek loss away from home, Fulham host West Brom at Craven Cottage, a ground where they have enjoyed great success so far this year. Clint Dempsey and Fulham are out in front of the pack in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but they'll need some points to put further distance between themselves and the strugglers in the relegation fight.

3 p.m. ET - Newcastle vs. Everton (replay), FSC - Try to stay away from the internet on Sunday before tuning in at the end of the weekend to catch Tim Howard traveling to Tyneside to visit Newcastle United.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rangers Cruise to Victory

Rangers moved on to the quarterfinals of the Scottish Cup with an easy 4-0 victory over Forfar Athletic on Wednesday night. DaMarcus Beasley started for Rangers, but was removed after 72 minutes following a ridiculous challenge that brought a red-card for the guilty Forfar player. Reacting to the tackle, acting manger Ally McCoist (who apparently manages Rangers' cup games) said that Beas will be fine. Rangers face Kilmarnock in SPL action this coming weekend.

Fulham Downed by United

Clint Dempsey and Fulham were put to the sword by Manchester United last night, the league leaders overpowering Roy Hodgson's side to earn an easy 3-0 win. Of more interest to Hodgson will be how his team rebounds for Saturday' home game against West Bromich Albion.

UEFA Cup Results

Aston Villa fought back from one goal down to get a 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow at Villa Park last night. Brad Guzan played the full 90 minutes for Villa in the net, making four saves. The tie heads back to Russia next week, with Villa taking the field at the Luzhniki Stadium with a mind to overturn CSKA's away goals advantage.

Elswhere in the UEFA Cup, Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege crashed to a disappointing 3-0 loss away to Braga. The Belgian champs will have to overturn that large deficit in next week's return leg if they want to have a hope of advancing to the next round.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Better Highlights

From Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach, featuring Michael Bradley's second half goal:

Midweek Action

Clint Dempsey and Fulham travel to Old Trafford to face league leaders Manchester United in a game that was originally slated to be played last August. It got postponed, blah blah blah, and now here we are nearly six months later ready to play the game. You can see it live on Setanta Sports, with coverage beginning at 2:55 pm ET.

After its midseason break the UEFA Cup is back, this time in the knockout stage with the Round of 32. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa host CSKA Moscow at Villa Park while Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege travel to Portugal to face Braga at this really great stadium.

You can follow both these games with live text updates on

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Everton Move On

Everton earned passage to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday. Tim Howard made seven saves for the Toffees, who have been drawn against the winner of West Ham/Middlesbrough in the upcoming round of eight.

Next up for Everton is a trip to Newcastle Utd. on Saturday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rennes Down to Sixth

Rennes 1-1 draw with Nancy on Saturday dropped Carlos Bocanegra's team down to sixth place in Ligue 1, ten points behind Lyon at the summit. Bocanegra played all 90 minutes for Rennes,

Bradley's Goal from Saturday

Michael Bradley scored the tying goal in Gladbach's 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen on Saturday. Here it is:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pachuca Push Past Pumas

Pachuca and José Torres defeated U.N.A.M. 3-2 on Saturday, keeping the Gophers top of Group 1 in the México Primera División. Torres played the full 90 minutes for Pachuca, who will face Puebla in a Thurdsay match-up south of the border.

Heartbreak for Watford

Seventy-four minutes into their 5th Round FA Cup tie with Chelsea, Jay DeMerit and Watford were up 1-0 at Vicarage Road. Fifteen minutes later...well, that's soccer. A tough one for the Hornets who looked set to pull off the upset of the round before Nicolas Anelka's late hat-trick left the home side stunned...

Bayern Munich Highlights

Yesterday's highlights from Bayern Munich's 2-1 loss to Hertha Berlin:

Standard Stay Top

Standard Liege won easily on Saturday, defeating Tubize 4-0 to stay top of the league. Oguchi Onyewu started the match for Liege, before being subbed off early in the second half. Liege remain five points clear of Anderlecht, who play on Sunday.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Results from Germany

Michael Bradley grabbed a late equalizer for Borussia Mönchengladbach as his club earned a point in a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen. You may have heard about Bradley's other two goals this week...

Landon Donovan came on as a first half sub for the injured Luca Toni, but he couldn't help Bayern get the win against high-flying Hertha Berlin. Bayern fought back from a goal down, but a late goal from Adreiy Voronin sent Hertha to the top of the table.

Highlights to follow...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

There and Back Again

Just like that, all the guys are heading back to their clubs. Most have already flown out and many head back to teams where they could be playing in about 48 hours time. The buoyant mood from last night hasn't exactly disappeared, but it's safe to say that all the guys know there's nothing to get too carried away about. The next time the U.S. takes the field will be in March in El Salvador, who tied T&T 2-2 last night. We'll be back for that game, but until then, thanks for keeping up with the Blog this past month.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Anatomy of a 2-0: Part 5 Live

What an amazing night at Columbus Crew Stadium, where the U.S. continues to maintain dominance over Mexico. Despite threatening skies and an occasional downpour, there were perfect conditions for yet another 2-0 victory.

We'll have plenty of stories, quotes, and video, but for now we want your contributions. Send us your best photos and anecdotes from inside the stadium or wherever in the world you watched tonight's thrilling performance by the United States.

Si se puede!

It's a Little Wet ...

On the bus to the stadium, and we have been doused with the first of what is expected to be intermittent rain showers. There is a high wind advisory also in effect. So we can add weather conditions to all the other elements in this fantastic rivalry.

Stay tuned for updates as well as the announcement of the starting lineups...

Dont' Tread on Clint's Boots

Clint Dempsey will be sporting a special pair of the Nike Mercurial Vapor SL for tonight's match against Mexico. Designed specifically for this game, only three pairs of the boots were made. Clint's kicks feature the “DTOM” snake logo on the lace cover and “Dempsey” stitched on the outside of the shoe. Let's hope the snake bites ...

Anatomy of a 2-0: Bob's First on the Job

It was just two months into Bob Bradley's tenure that he faced his first big test. Coincidentally, the USA-Mexico meeting on Feb. 7, 2007, was also the first at the helm for the always colorful Mexico head coach Hugo Sanchez. While Sanchez chose to bring in all his big guns, Bradley pragmatically allowed some his European-based players to continue earning their place with their clubs. The result was a largely domestic-based roster for the USA, the group proudly stepping up to the plate. Jimmy Conrad powered home a header to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead, and Landon Donovan launched on a brilliant run through the Mexico defense to seal the 2-0 deal in Glendale.

Take a look at Anatomy of a 2-0, Part IV

A Pleasantly Eventful Evening...

As Bone Daddy Sammer pointed out in our previous post, last night at Claddagh Irish Pub was more than a good time. Fans from all over the country started gathering in the afternoon and they partied late into the night. USA/Mexico games from the past were playing on the TVs, and fans were getting pretty excited for the 2007 Gold Cup Final (who wouldn't?). The Blog stopped by, along with the Studio 90 crew, and snapped a few shots. Head over to to catch the full episode of today's Studio 90...

A Pleasantly Uneventful Evening...

No fire alarms, no late-night phone calls ... just a lot of spirit from both U.S. and Mexico fans on the streets of Columbus. We saw supporters from both sides sharing stories and snapping photos, with some good-natured ribbing sprinkled in.

Yesterday's press conference was standing room only, with Landon predictably getting the most attention. Look for clips in today's Studio 90. We can also report that the field at the stadium is in very good shape. Hopefully the rain isn't too much of a burden on the surface before kickoff.

The team met for about 45 minutes last night after dinner, and were greeted in the lobby by a few friends and family. Always nice to see Mr. and Mrs. Beasley!

The team now settles into the game-day rhythm of meals and relaxation, as the anticipation for the match reaches a crescendo at 7:14 p.m ET tonight.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photos from Today's Inside Crew Stadium Training

On game day, you only get 15 minutes to shoot practice. Luckily there were some pros on hand to take care of that one for us. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the full gallery here.

Check Me Out

Remember the passport check? Of course you do, devoted readers. Well, it's back (as it is before every game) and we were there to cover it. We only got to snap a few photos before it shut down ...

José Francisco Torres loves a good passport check...

Landon Donovan has done this before...

Jozy Altidore is focused for the crucial moment...

Experience Against Mexico

There's no question that experience can play a big factor in matches like these, and the U.S. roster has no shortage of players who have performed under the intense scrutiny that a USA-Mexico match brings. All together, there are 13 players on roster with at least one appearance against El Tri. Here's the list, and the highlights:

Landon Donovan (9 games, 4 goals) Scored in 2-0 World Cup victory in 2002

Frankie Hejduk (8 games, two goals) First game was Jan. 19, 1997

Carlos Bocanegra (5 games) 2-1-2 in four games, including 2007 Gold Cup

DaMarcus Beasley (5 games, 1 goal) Scored second goal in 2005 WCQ clincher on 9/3/05

Tim Howard (4 games, 2 shutouts) Two shutouts and no losses vs. Mexico

Oguchi Onyewu (4 games, 1 goal) Dominated in 2005 WCQ clincher on 9/3/05

Ricardo Clark (3 games) 3 0 Set up Donovan’s goal in 2-0 win in 2007

Clint Dempsey (3 games) Started in the 2-1 win in the 2007 Gold Cup

Jonathan Bornstein (2 games) Started in the 2-1 win in the 2007 Gold Cup

Jozy Altidore (one game, one goal) Youngest player to score for MNT, 2/6/08

Michael Bradley (1 game) Started in 2-2 draw on Feb. 6, 2008 in Houston

Danny Califf (1 game) Started in 0-0 draw on May 8, 2003 in Houston

Brian Ching (1 game) Earned PK for first goal in the 2-1 win in the 2007 Gold Cup final

In Columbus Today? Head to Claddagh Irish Pub

If you're already in town - or will be here before last call tonight - head to Official U.S. Soccer Bar Claddagh Irish Pub 585 S. Front Street for a supporters celebration. The party kicks off at 4 p.m. and lasts until it's time to go home!

Your humble MNT bloggers will be on hand with cameras at the ready - so don't forget to Wear Your Red!!!

'Columbus II' to air on ESPN Classic Tomorrow

How's this for a game day primer?

ESPN Classic is showing the USA-Mexico qualifier from Sept. 3, 2005, tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET. A Ralston goal, the Beas' finish, and the Gooch 'stare down' are all classic moments from the 2-0 victory that sent the U.S. to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

And to get ready for the broadcast, here's Anatomy of 2-0 Part III

Turn on ESPN Classic - RIGHT NOW!!!

ESPN Classic is showing 'Columbus I', the 2-0 win on Feb. 28, 2001 at Crew Stadium. The halftime whistle just blew, so you can catch highlights of the famous McBride black eye and Reyna getting subbed out with an injury.

In case you can't catch it, here's the highlights...

Carlos on the Hot List Today

As part of ESPN's extensive coverage of the U.S.-Mexico match during Rivalry Week, team captain Carlos Bocanegra will be interviewed live on ESPNews at 3:40 p.m. ET today.

This is third straight year that the border classic will be shown during Rivalry Week. This year's edition has the added benefit of being broadcast on ESPN2 HD, as well as ESPN2 and Univision.

Studio 90 News from Columbus (reprise)

Longer Highlights: Bayern Beats Dortmund

Landon Donovan arrived in camp last night, landing in Columbus on Monday following Bayern's 3-1 victory over Dortmund the day before. Donovan came on as a second half sub, helping Bayern to score two late goals to grab the points at the Allianz Arena.

The Eagle Has LANDed

As we expected, there was a nice welcoming party at the airport for Landon when he arrived last night. And by nice, we mean about a dozen reporters from Mexican press outlets. LD managed a lot of smiles after nearly 15 hours of travel, but saved the interviews until today's pre-training press conference.

Photos (and a podcast) from Yesterday's Training

We've got a big photo gallery for you over at You can see the whole thing by clicking here. While you're over at the website, you can also check out this podcast from training, featuring Carlos, Michael, Frankie and Tim...Listen to the podcast here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Paco Makes 19

While the Mexican press was tied up covering training sessions, José Francisco Torres managed to slip through the airport in Columbus without getting bombarded. The Pachuca-based midfielder is coming of a 90-minute effort in his side's 3-1 win against Club America last night. With Torres in tow, Landon Donovan is the last of the U.S. contingent to arrive.

We're guessing he won't be so lucky at the airport ...

Anatomy of a 2-0: Advancing 2 Quarters

The most memorable game in the modern era - and possibly U.S. Soccer history - took place in a town that would have otherwise remained eternally anonymous to U.S. fans - Jeonju.

Instead, Jeonju will forever be remembered as the place where the U.S. made their greatest stride in World Cup competition in more than 70 years, and did so against their greatest rival to boot...

Here's Anatomy of a 2-0 Part II

Talking at Training

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pachuca Beat America; Torres Headed North

José Torres and Pachuca beat America 3-1 on Sunday, earning a tough away victory to take them to the top of Group 1. Torres played the full 90 minutes for Pachuca, and the diminutive midfielder will now head north to join up with the U.S. national team in Columbus. He's expected to arrive tomorrow afternoon.

Extended Highlights from England

Wigan v. Fulham

Everton v. Bolton

First One Done

The team's first session in Columbus is in the books after they went through the paces for 75 minutes earlier this evening. With the foreign-based contingent still making their way across the pond, there were a dozen players available for the exercise that included Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu and Heath Pearce. There was no shortage of cameras from both U.S. and Mexican media on hand for the post-training availability, and with the vast majority of U.S. press arriving tomorrow, the buzz will only continue to build.

Stay tuned for highlights of training and interviews following the team's first full day in Columbus...

Anatomy of a 2-0


For U.S. Soccer fans, the number speaks for itself. We've even seen the t-shirt!

During the next four days, will break down four previous USA-Mexico games that bear the now famous scoreline. We fittingly begin the series with a look back at the first meeting here in Columbus.

Take a look at Anatomy of a 2-0, Part I

Roster Released at

Head over to to check out the 20-man roster named by Bob Bradley for the game against Mexico. To see the roster, click here.

Sunday Morning Reading

By the time you get through these, the much-anticipated announcement of the USA's 20-man roster will be ready to go.

(Unless you're a really fast reader, in which case you'll have to do something else until 1 p.m. ET ...)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Studio 90 News from Columbus

Three Goals Three Points

Everton beat Bolton 3-0 on Saturday, with the emphatic victory keeping them at 6th in the table. Brazilian debutant, Jo, scored twice for the Toffees who ran out to a comfortable victory at Goodison Park. Tim Howard played 90 minutes and had to make three saves in the win.

Standard Liege Five Points Clear

Standard Liege continued their good form, making it six league games unbeaten with a 2-0 win over Kortrijk on Friday. Oguchi Onyewu played 90 minutes for Liege, who are now five points clear of Anderlecht, who have two games in hand, at the top of the Belgian league.

Gladbach Get a Point

Michael Bradley and Borussia Mönchengladbach were victim of a last minute equalizer on Saturday, drawing league leaders TSG Hoffenheim 1-1. 'Gladbach took the lead towards the end of the first half, and held on for the majority of the second period until a late goal from Wellington rescued a point for the league leaders. Bradley played the full 90 minutes for 'Gladbach who plays Werder Bremen next Saturday.

1-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. 1899 Hoffenheim H… - MyVideo

Plus One

Meeting the traveling party at O'Hare is the first arrival from Europe, the "big man from Belgium."

Oh look - boarding time. On to C-Bus...

Dialed in at LAX

One of the benefits of modern technology is the ability to follow live soccer scores around the world. As the team waits at LAX to depart for Columbus, the coaching staff is monitoring the action of our foreign-based players as we close in on the announcement of 20-man U.S. roster for the match against Mexico.

So far it appears that our players have gotten today's games through healthy, if not victorious.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Closing Camp in Cali

After nearly one month in Carson, more than 50 training sessions of both field and gym work, a Sacha Kljestan hat trick, and endless hotel meals, cold tubs, and van rides, the team completed their final workout this morning at the HDC. The group departs Saturday morning for Columbus, where the bright lights that shine on any U.S.-Mexico match will come into full focus.

The players and staff are extremely grateful for the efforts of countless physical trainers, security guards, hotel employees, and all of the U.S. Soccer staff based at The Home Depot Center led by Jen Atler for making this a fluid and productive month for the national team. 99% of the people only see what happens for 90 minutes in between the lines, but it cannot and does not happen without the tireless work of so many. And we're sorry that we left you with rain on our last day!

Happy Birthday Day, Sven!

Mexico head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson celebrates his 61st birthday today, and apparently his plans have caused quite a stir south of the border because the team has the day off from training. Club coaches, newspaper editorials, and even cartoons have taken shots in the latest attack on the embattled coach.

We'd just like to say that Eriksson has always been a class act and treated the U.S. team with respect as manager of both England and Mexico. Hopefully he found a quiet place to spend the day...

Last Inside the Lines from LA

Inside the Lines concludes from Southern California with a look at some finishing exercises from the other night...

Feb. 11 - Don't Tread on the Red


Click here to download your official Fan Card from

Little Diddy on Landon

This from the folks at Enjoy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Because We Got 'Em, That's Why...

Here's every lineup against Mexico since 1995. Think of it as a chance t0 'build your own statistics. In fact, if you come up with any good ones, let us know. We promise to give you credit ...

■ June 18, 1995
vs. Mexico
@ Washington, D.C.: 4-0

• Keller
• Balboa
• Lalas
• Dooley-1
• Caligiuri
• Burns
• Harkes-1
• Sorber
• Reyna-1 (Ramos)
•Wegerle-1 (C. Jones)
•Wynalda (Kerr)

■ June 16, 1996
vs. Mexico
@ Pasadena, Calif.: 2-2

• Friedel
• Balboa
• Lalas
• Burns (Sorber)
• Caligiuri
• C. Jones
• Harkes
• Dooley-1
• Ramos
• Reyna
•Wynalda-1 (McBride)

■ January 19, 1997
vs. Mexico
@ Pasadena, Calif.: 0-2

• Friedel
• Lalas
• Agoos
• Burns
• Vasquez (Radosavljevic)
• Kreis (Hejduk)
• Reyna
• J. M. Moore
• C. Jones
• McBride (Lassiter)
• Kirovski (Calichman)

For the complete list, click here

Pics from Today's Darkening Skies Training

On an overcast and rainy day at The Home Depot Center, the guys headed out to the field for another morning training session. We just avoided most of the rain, thankfully, and headed inside to the gym for the second part of the workout. For a full gallery of today's photos from training, click here.

Can I Get A Spot?

The gym at the HDC was literally packed at noon time, as the full teams for the U.S. and Chivas USA were downstairs sharing machines and workout space. Sprinkle in a few NFL hopefuls getting ready for the combine - they were easy to pick out amongst the crowd - and there was not a whole lot of room to move.

The MNT bloggers got their workout by helping the football players carry their weights. Those are some big dudes ...

Sometimes a Win Is Not Enough

José Torres and Pachuca carried a 1-0 deficit into the second leg of their Copa Libertadores qualifier with Universidad de Chile on Wednesday. Though Pachuca fought hard, their 2-1 win was not enough to send them into the competition proper, and the Mexican side crashed out on away goals. Torres played the full 90 minutes for Pachuca, who took the lead in the 86th minute but failed to find the decisive goal in a frantic final few minutes. Pachuca returns to Primera División action this weekend with a match against Club América on Sunday.

Checking in From Deutschland

We spoke with Landon this morning - morning our time, anyway - and he's in great spirits. He expects to be in the 18 for Bayern Munich's match against Dortmund this weekend, and even with the excitement of potentially playing his first home match with Bayern at the Allianz Arena, he says he's already thinking about Feb. 11. What's that you say? Landon in Columbus?!?!?

Yes, for all you fans who keep lovingly e-mailing, blogging, and leaving extensive messages on our voicemail, Landon and several other foreign-based players will be joining the team in Columbus. The coaching staff did not forget about them. As per FIFA rules, clubs are not required to release players for this fixture date until 48 hours prior to match time, so they will head over following their club games on the weekend.

For the gentleman who left the 28-minute message yesterday, the 'big guy from Belgium' will probably be in Columbus, too. And thanks for your support ...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Howard and Everton Beat Rivals

Tim Howard and Everton sent Liverpool packing in the FA Cup, squeaking out a 1-0 victory over their bitter rivals after 120 minutes of soccer. A first leg failed to find a winner and it looked like the second leg was heading for the dreaded penalty shootout until 19-year old Dab Gosling popped up in the 118th minute to be the hero. Everton will now face Brad Guzan and Aston Villa in the fifth round of the FA Cup, after Villa also earned a win in today's replays.

Some Better Highlights...

...from Rangers' friendly today:

Photos from Today's One Week Out Training

We're one week out from the U.S.-Mexico game in Columbus and we're trying desperately to soak up as much sun as possible out here in Carson. The guys had two sessions today, one in the morning and another one late in the afternoon. Check out the full gallery here.

Guzan Goes for Villa

Brad Guzan helped Aston Villa to a 3-1 victory over Doncaster on Wednesday night. Guzan made four saves in goal for Villa, who advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup with the easy victory. Interestingly, Villa's next three games come in three different competitions. On Saturday they take on Blackburn in the Premier League. After the international break they'll meet victorious Everton on Feb. 14 in the FA Cup before hosting CSKA Moscow in the first leg of the UEFA Cup round of 32 on Feb. 18.

Beasley Scores in Friendly

DaMarcus Beasley scored for Rangers in the second half of a 2-2 draw against AC Milan on Wednesday. The friendly was being played at Ibrox, and midfielder Maurice Edu started for Walter Smith from the first whistle, before putting in 70 minutes of work for the Scottish club. Edu had a hand in Beasley's goal, knocking the long ball that started the play. Rangers face Forfar Athletic in the Scottish Cup this coming weekend.

TT Answered - Club Connections

The MNT blog is quite pleased with itself for this little twister, but as usual our fans proved to be as resourceful as ever.

To refresh, the question 'twas this:

Since 1996 (yes, the year of the inception of MLS, but not a clue), which club has contributed the most goals to the USA's cause against Mexico? You may be surprised at the number of teams that have made multiple contributions. Remember, the player had to be playing for the club at the time he scored.

Many of you caught on the fact that some players were on loan at the time they scored, and how others had changed teams, but only one of you put it all together.

Congrats to Andrew W., who made this correct post:

It seems like a 2-way tie between Chicago Fire who had Ante Razov and Josh Wolff (twice) score, and Bayer Leverkusen who had Frankie Hejduk score twice and Landon Donovan once before he was loaned out to the San Jose Earthquakes. However the Metrostars/Red Bulls franchise also has 3 goals. One by Eddie Pope. One by Clint Mathis and one by Jozy Altidore. So depending on what you count it's either 2 or 3 teams tied with 3 goals apiece.

We count the New York franchise as one big happy family - what's in a name? - so the correct is answer is in fact three teams. Thanks to everyone for playing ...

News Around CONCACAF

Things are heating up around the region as teams put the finishing touches on their preparations for Matchday 1 of final round qualifying. Here's some highlights...
  • Honduras has announced their roster for the Feb. 11 qualifier against Costa Rica. They've called in the big guns, led by Benfica-based striker David Suazo.
Goalkeepers: Noel Valladares, Jhonn Bodden.

Defenders: Mario Beata, Emilio Izaguirre, Víctor Bernárdez, Osman Chávez, Bonieck García, Maynor Figueroa, Iván Guerrero

Midfielders: Ramón Núñez, Hendry Thomas, Emil Martínez, Róger Espinoza, Amado Guevara, Mariano Acevedo, Marvin Chávez, Mario César Rodríguez

Forwards: David Suazo, Carlos Will Mejía, Saúl Martínez, Walter Martínez
  • Trinidad & Tobago have arrived into El Salvador today to continue getting ready for their final round opener at the Estadio Cuscatlan. The Soca Warriors have been training in Argentina for the past couple weeks and got in several tuneup games. Here's a story on their roster
  • El Salvador will play a friendly against Peru on Feb. 6 at the LA Coliseum before heading back to San Salvador.
  • Costa Rica announced a 26-man training camp roster that began workouts on Feb. 3 in San Jose. The Ticos have 19 domestic-based players in training, with the remaining seven joining the group throughout the weekend.

Finishing Highlights

This short video is from Monday's training session, which ended with some shooting and finishing exercises:

After yesterday's day off, we're back on the field this morning, now just a week away from the match against Mexico...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Frankie Goes to Claddagh

Before coming to Hollywood (or Carson, to be precise) Frankie Hejduk headed out to Claddagh Irish Pub in downtown Columbus to catch the game between the USA and Sweden at his local U.S. Soccer Official Bar.“It was an amazing experience. I thought there would only be a handful of people there, but when I showed up the place was absolutely packed.” said Frankie, who arrived early to sign autographs and mix it up with the crowd.

Frankie joined in the celebration to take in the U.S.' 3-2 win against Sweden, and was excited to spend time with the fans in Columbus, which of course is the sight of the team's next game. You may have heard about it?

“There were fans decked out in Columbus Crew and U.S. gear, and the place went nuts every time we scored or a Crew player got into the game,” said Frankie, who headed out to So Cal early last week to meet up with the team for its preparations for the Mexico game.

“It's moments like that when you realize that soccer has made it in this country, especially in Columbus. It was rockin' there. I had an awesome time.”

In other U.S. Soccer Offical Bar action, The Globe Pub received its prize for taking the honor of Best Bar in the 2008 “Best Of” Awards. Held by Globe regulars Andy Maitland and Joe Thomlinson, the framed jersey already adorns the wall of the back-to-back Best Bar winner.
From Left: The Globe owner Stuart Johnston, U.S. Soccer Fans Andy Maitland and Joe Thomlinson

TT - Club Contributions

All this talk of goals got us thinking got us thinking about where they came from - not which part of the field, or which part of the body, or what minute of the game - but which club team the goalscorers were representing at the time they hit the back of the net. So we did a little research, as we are inclined to do on days off (that's another story...).

So the question for you, fair readers, is this: Since 1996 (yes, the year of the inception of MLS, but not a clue), which club has contributed the most goals to the USA's cause against Mexico? You may be surprised at the number of teams that have made multiple contributions. Remember, the player had to be playing for the club at the time he scored.

Stopwatch starts .... now.

Getting Sized Up

You may be surprised (or disappointed) to know that most players use their day off to do ... well, not a whole lot. Extra sleep, perhaps a magazine by the pool, a longer trip to the coffee shop ... not exactly the glamor life.

This afternoon, however, a couple guys are on a special mission - to get measured for ring sizes. And no, not the matrimonial kind. Columbus Crew midfielder Brian Carroll and goalkeeper Will Hesmer are getting sized up for the championship rings they earned when the Crew captured a 3-1 victory in the 2008 MLS Cup final.

Not a bad way to spend any day...

Inside The Lines from Monday

The Inside the Lines series continues with a look at 5 v 2 and then some 5 v 5 + 1 (with two wall players). Here it is:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Call It Like You See It

When it comes to the USA-Mexico rivalry, there has been no shortage memorable goals through the years. Surely you readers out there can remember moments of elation, jumping out of your seat as a U.S. player puts the ball past the 'keeper (frequently Oswaldo Sanchez) of our most bitter rival.

Well now you have a chance to take a different approach. We have linked below video of three different goals from U.S. home games against Mexico, and we're asking for you to submit your own commentary for these memorable moments.

Not happy with the way the announcer called it? Think it needed a bit more passion? A bit more analysis? A bit more of anything? Here's your chance to remake history.

We'll take the best submissions for each goal and compile them into a video that will be posted the day before the game.

Ready to make the call? Here's what you need to do:

1. Procure some audio editing software. We recommend Audacity, which works with most operating systems. You can download it here.

2. Select your favorite goal -or goals (you can submit more than one if you choose!) and cue it up. Make sure to put the video on mute, turn on your microphone, and let 'er rip.

It goes without saying that we won't accept any commentary submissions which include questionable material in them.

Other than that, there are no guidelines! Be as silly or as serious as you want. Need some inspiration? Well there's always these from Sky Sports' Fanzone

3. Export your file as a .mp3 or .wav file. Please no files over 3 MB. This shouldn't be an issue, but if your file size is too big, just downgrade the quality a tiny bit. If your commentary is good enough, then no passion will be lost with some minor file-size tweaking.

4. Send your submissions to with "Call It" in the subject line. Make sure to leave us your name (or preferred pseudonym) and where you're from, too. You'll only be sending us your audio files. We'll take care of adding them to the video highlight.

That's all there is to it, so prepare your best Al Michaels moment and send it our way! The goals to choose from are below:

Landon Donovan - Feb. 7, 2007

DaMarcus Beasley - Sept. 3, 2005

Josh Wolff - Feb. 28, 2001

Photos from Today's Post-Super Bowl Training

Back on the field today after yesterday's Super Bowl excitement. With that one out of the way, there's only one more Big Game on the horizon now. You probably know which one we're speaking of... Anyhow, the team was at the HDC today for a session which consisted of some 11 v 11 and crossing and finishing exercises.For the full photo gallery, click here...

Busy Day At The Office

Sorry for the delay in posting today. There's quite a bit of happenings at The Home Depot Center. The team had 90-minute session on the field that included a crossing and finishing exercise that we'll show you later today - can you say 'top goals video', anyone?

Also on the agenda were interviews with the legendary host of República Deportiva, Fernando Fiore, who traveled to get the USA's take on the upcoming showdown with Mexico. You can see Fernando's talks with the players and coaches this coming Sunday on Univision.

And of course the big news for everyone involved in soccer in the United States, today's confirmation by USSF President Sunil Gulati that the U.S. will submit simultaneous bids for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

While the team takes a break tomorrow, we want to hear your thoughts/hopes/dreams for the World Cup coming back to the United States?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mexico Names Team to Face U.S.

Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has named a 24-man squad that will prepare to face the U.S. on Feb. 11 in Columbus. Eriksson has called in 24 players, and the domestic-based contingent will start to convene on Monday. The foreign-based players will join the group when they all travel to Columbus next weekend.

Articles in: USA Today - The Guardian - IHT

GOALKEEPERS (3): Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos), Guillermo Ochoa (America), Jose de Jesus Corona (Tecos)

Defenders (7): Juan Carlos Valenzuela (America), Julio Cesar Dominguez (Cruz Azul), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart, Germany), Rafael Marquez (Barcelona, Spain), Aaron Galindo (Guadalajara), Leobardo Lopez (Pachuca)

Midfielders (6): Fausto Pinto (Cruz Azul), Pavel Pardo (America), Leandro Augusto (Pumas), Luis Perez (Monterrey), Israel Martinez (San Luis), Antonio Naelson (Toluca)

Forwards (8): Alberto Medina (Guadalajara), Cesar Villaluz (Cruz Azul), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham, England), Matias Vuoso (Santos), Carlos Ochoa (Guadalajara), Nery Castillo (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine), Guillermo Franco (Villarreal, Spain), Omar Bravo (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain)

Holden Heading Home

Unfortunate news for Stuart Holden as the Dynamo midfielder has been forced out of camp with a strained right hip flexor. Holden suffered the injury in training on the day prior to the USA's match against Sweden on Jan. 24 at the Home Depot Center, and despite rest and rehab, the hip flexor has not improved. Holden will join up with the Dynamo tomorrow to continue to receive treatment and begin preparations for the 2009 MLS season.

Altidore Loaned to Xerez

Jozy Altidore has completed a loan move to second division side Xerez CD, and will be unveiled on Monday according to Xerez' website. With Villarreal's squad returning to full fitness after some early season injuries, Altidore has found playing time hard to come by in recent weeks so hopefully this move gets him some experience with the side that is currently leading the Spanish second tier.

As a side note, you may remember Villarreal manager Manuel Pelligrini stating that nobody would be going out on loan during the winter period. Well, things always change.

Villarreal's club website also confirmed the move, which will last until the end of this season.

Inside the Lines Continues

As we settle back into second half of MNT camp at the HDC, Inside the Lines makes its return by featuring some 11 v 11 action:

San Luis Gets First Win of Clausura

Michael Orozco and San Luis grabbed their first win of the 2009 Clausura, beating Jaguares 2-1 on Saturday. Orozco went the full 90 for San Luis, who are up to second in Group 3 with the win. Now the Mexican club faces a long trip down to Buenos Aires, where they'll meet San Lorenzo in Copa Libertadores action on Wednesday.

McBride set for Dramatic Return?

On skysports and soccernet you can find rumors stating that former MNT striker Brian McBride is in talks to make a loan move back to Fulham. Believe what you want, but one thing that's certain is McBride's legendary status at the London club. The now-Chicago Fire player scored 40 goals in over 150 appearances for Fulham, served as the club's captain, and returned late last season after injury to spearhead a successful fightback against relegation. The Blog is pretty sure he'd be welcomed back at Craven Cottage...

He's also the subject of numerous tribute videos on YouTube. Including this one.

Goalless Draw No Fun for Anybody

Rennes and Carlos Bocanegra were held to a 0-0 draw by Toulouse at home on Saturday. With that, Rennes missed the opportunity to close the gap with leaders Lyon, who are in action today. In fact, the match between Ligue 1's 4th and 5th place sides was pretty dour, by all accounts. Up next for Rennes: a match with Le Havre before the international break.

Three Points for Fulham

Fulham are back up to ninth place after a 3-1 win over a Portsmouth team that is hitting the proverbial self-destruct button. Clint Dempsey assisted on the Cottagers' first goal, playing Andy Johnson through to open the scoring. Up next for Fulham is an away date at Wigan on February 7.