See the training facilities for the US camp in Brazil

Very interesting to see the facilities the USMNT will train at during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  It’s also interesting to see US Soccer be so aggressive in making relationships with the soccer media in Brazil.

This charm offensive is a breath of fresh air in comparison to years past with closed training sessions and the cold and icy demeanor of, say Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena.

The added exposure with the media and acclimatizing of the players will all work toward giving the US an advantage once they arrive in Brazil …. because they’re going to need all the help they can get!!!

 

How the US scored against Honduras

Jozy Altidore, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi take us through their involvement in Altidore’s game-winning goal against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 18. With the 1-0 win, the U.S. Men’s National Team are now unbeaten in five FIFA World Cup Qualifying games and sit on top of the CONCACAF hexagonal standings with four games remaining.

Klinsmann Realeses 24 Man Roster for Hex Qualifying

ussoccerJugen Klinsmann released his final roster for the Hexagonal qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  Although there wasn’t too much of a mystery with the roster selection perhaps a couple of players stand out for their selections.

Brad Evans and Brad Davis are the most notable selections from the MLS players invited into the previous camp and Matt Besler receives his first official call up.  Evans was curiously played out of position, so to speak, during the friendly against Canada while Davis put in a workman like shift patrolling the left side of the park.  Neither player seemed to make a significant impact but Klinsmann must have saw enough to include the MLS standouts and Besler is the reigning defender of the year in MLS.

Timmy Chandler receives a call which seemed in doubt when he was wavering on whether he wanted to represent the US internationally.  I guess the doubts will be put to rest when he receives his first cup tie game, making him ineligible to play for any other country.  Although, it is curious that his selection seemed almost automatic over a player like Eric Lichaj who has received significant minutes with Aston Villa, all be it in a losing cause, but he’s no more responsible for that than Brad Guzan is.

Of course, Omar Gonzalez’s selection was a foregone conclusion with his spectacular season domestically along with his speedy recovery, the tall center back left no doubt after his performance against Canada last week.

Lastly, Eddie Johnson’s selection does not seem the most convincing.  Although his season with Seattle was a resurgence in his career he left little to be impressed when facing the likes of a Canadian national squad made up of mostly youngsters.  I don’t suppose we have another forward who is performing well enough to warrant a selection, or at least better than Johnson did this past season.

World Cup Qualifying for Brazil 2014 begins Feb. 6 in San Pedro Sula at 3 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on beIN SPORT.

The U.S. team trains today in Miami before departing for Honduras later in the afternoon.  “We want to have a sense of urgency right from the start of the Final Round,” said Klinsmann. “We have a lot of respect for Honduras, but our message to the team is that we are going there to get three points. One thing we learned from the Semifinal Round is that you have to bring the right mentality to play in the tough games on the road, and I’m confident we are ready to do that.”

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3)
: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa – 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton – 22/9 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire – 0/0)
DEFENDERS (9) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander – 31/5), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 5/0), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana – 0/0), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg – 0/0), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders – 0/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 0/0), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim – 3/0), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg – 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Michael Bradley (Roma – 19/5), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo – 0/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 9/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 – 5/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 12/0), Jose Torres (Tigres – 9/0), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim – 4/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 3/0)
FORWARDS (4 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar – 17/6), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur – 26/10), Herculez Gomez (Santos – 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders – 11/10)

With the match falling on a FIFA international fixture date, Klinsmann is able to call upon a full squad that includes a total of 17 players based in Europe and Mexico. The roster is loaded with experience, including five players with 50 caps or more.

The United States holds a 12-3-3 lifetime record against Honduras in a series dating back to 1965. Both the United States and Honduras earned a place in the Final Round by virtue of winning their respective Semifinal Round groups. The Catrachos qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after only losing once at home in nine qualifiers throughout the cycle. That lone loss came against the United States.

The U.S. and Honduras are part of the six-team Hexagonal along with Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama. The 10-game, round-robin format will be contested from Feb. 6-Oct.10. The top three teams will automatically advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place team will compete in a two-leg playoff against the champion from the Oceania Confederation.

Manchester United’s ‘Keeper Paradox And Why Tim Howard Should Return

At the end of the 2010-2011 campaign for Manchester United, a couple of key events occurred that placed Manchester United into a ‘keeper paradox.  One was a not so smoothly executed farewell speech by then goal tender Edwin van der Sar.

During his speech he lamented the fact that, “he wish he could have been their sooner,” I’m paraphrasing.

edwin-vandersar_1748222cEdwin van der Sar’s remarks, whether he knew it or not, exposed the obvious past mistakes with the goal keeper position including the very public failure to sign van der Sar when he was available in 2000-2001.  In replacing Peter Schmeichel, Fabian Barthez, Tim Howard, Roy Carroll, Ricardo Lopez Felipe all proved to be unworthy.  Until van der Sar was signed, United went through a visible low period.

The second event has been the success of Tim Howard at Everton.  Perhaps if Tim Howard were given time at United to adjust, even keeping him there as a back-up to van der Sar, would have ultimately proven to be wise.

With the current position oscillating between David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard, who is United’s number one is clearly a toss-up.  As rumblings of high profile signing, David De Gea’s unhappiness with life in England continue to surface, Lindegaard hasn’t proven to be equal to task either.  Although I feel both players have quality, it may have been proven to be at a level less than United requires to compete with the elite in Europe.

Tim Howard EvertonMeanwhile, Tim Howard is recognized across the BPL as one of the top net minders in England, reaching milestones for the Blues and providing an equal quality in international play as well.  World Cups, domestic cup finals, European competition … there isn’t much the American hasn’t seen and one wonders whether Ferguson has been watching and repressing the urge to wonder, “what if?”

To ask ‘what if?’, however, could be seen as academic, after all, if Tim Howard had stayed with United his career would not have blossomed as it has.  But I don’t think there is any mistake in saying that Tim Howard is better than any goalkeeper Manchester United currently has now.  AND, Tim Howard is only 33, still in his prime as a goal keeper as he may even have a good ten years left to play.

While Sir Alex Ferguson may not want to make the same mistake with David De Gea, and may elect to keep the Spaniard to allow him to grow; the existence of a ‘keeper paradox is evident.

If Sir Alex Ferguson keeps De Gea, as he is clearly the better option of the two young goalies, he will have to accept the growing pains while maintaining a positive environment while De Gea continues his baptism of fire.

But if he signs a more veteran, established goal keeper, De Gea will be limited and will not get to play as often as he could with another club.  Even if De Gea moves to Real Madrid, as has been rumored, his playing options will be less but behind a legend in Iker Casillas.  So a move could be seen as worth the opportunity to go home to more familiar surroundings and to a much bigger club.  The same cannot be said about the situation at Manchester United, as big as they want you to believe they are.

So the paradox is thus: if De Gea stays, United may not be able to compete with the elite in Europe …. if United sign a more established, veteran – up to the task ‘keeper – De Gea will most likely leave but United may be able to retain it’s elite status.

So the question then becomes, “should United sign a more proven goal keeper and should that be Tim Howard?”  The answer is YES, and hears why.  As I stated before, Tim Howard is still only 33, but he is also clearly one of the best goal keepers in England.  He may not be the most accomplished but for his age, it is only because he is at Everton, no offense.

Tim Howard is also familiar with Manchester United, after playing there, whether his time was good or bad, the experience and the knowledge will serve him well.  Also, Howard is more accomplished internationally with his World Cup appearances and with valuable experience in Europe on top of that.  You can’t say he is ignorant to the fire.

Perhaps De Gea just wasn’t the right move, but signing Tim Howard and forcing De Gea to leave, will allow Ferguson some breathing room to wisely pick among a crop of emerging young talent at the ‘keeper position.  A crop of young talented ‘keepers groomed behind a Tim Howard for the next five years will ensure there is no lapse in performance between the sticks for United.

Even if De Gea stays, you still get the best of both worlds.

I think Tim Howard would be up to the task, he appears to be more knowledgeable, more philosophical and generally consistent with his performances.  When the US met England in group play for the World Cup in South Africa, it didn’t seem out of place that Tim Howard was in goal for the US, but it did seem out of place for Roy Carroll to be there for England.

So Tim Howard should be considered based on the evidence I presented but also because United fans will see the logic, and after seeing what he has done wearing blue for so long, might even welcome it.

 

1924 U.S. Open Cup footage, Super Rare Video

This is pretty cool footage from the US Open Cup.  Thanks to NESN Soccer for finding this, you can read the full article HERE