The U.S. men's national team had a chance at a three-point road haul in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying go by the wayside, yielding a late goal to Guatemala and settling for a 1-1 draw at Estadio Mateo Flores. Here are U.S. player ratings from the match (as always, based on a scale of 0-10):
WARSAW -- Three thoughts on the U.S.' 1-1 tie at Guatemala on Tuesday, which moved the U.S. into pole position in its semifinal-round World Cup qualifying group with four points, followed by Jamaica (four with less goal differential), Guatemala (one) and Antigua and Barbuda (one).
The U.S. men's national team opened World Cup qualifying with a 3-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda in rainy conditions in Tampa, Fla., and while the performance was not as dominant as most may have expected, the Americans will take the three points and look forward as the road to Brazil continues. Here are player ratings from the match (as always, based on a scaled of 0-10):
Three thoughts from the U.S. men's national team's 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Antigua and Barbuda:
After two promising attacking performances against Scotland and Brazil, the U.S. men's national team turned in a lackluster effort in Toronto, settling for a 0-0 draw against Canada at BMO Field.
Three thoughts after the U.S.' 0-0 friendly tie against Canada in Toronto on Sunday:
Three thoughts on my mind heading into the U.S.'s friendly with Brazil in the Washington, D.C., area on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/3, Telefutura):
My three thoughts heading into Saturday's U.S.-Scotland friendly in Jacksonville, Fla. (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, Galavisión):
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Clint Dempsey leans forward in his seat and tells a story. Back in his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas, during his days in the second grade, an old, crusty gym teacher named Coach Long staged a kickball game one afternoon between the boys and the girls. Dempsey played hard, just like he always does, but then came an unexpected twist.
For the most part, another season is in the books for Americans playing abroad. Sure, some leagues around the world operate on a different schedule, and a couple will carry on throughout the summer, but with the UEFA Champions League final on tap this weekend and most major leagues involving Americans on break until next season, it's a good time to dole out a few superlatives from this season along with taking a look at the most pressing storylines involving Americans ahead of the summer transfer season:
Veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel played his first club game as a professional in 1995. At the time, Andrew Wooten was 6, and Greg Garza was 4. Fast forward to 2012, and all three Americans can look back on this past weekend as a landmark in their careers, no matter how far along each one is.
Let's come right out and say it: Clint Dempsey is having the best season ever by a U.S. international in Europe. With his late equalizer against Chelsea on Monday, the Fulham sniper now has 16 Premier League goals this season. The only Premier League players who have more goals in all competitions than Dempsey's 22 are Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero.
Chelsea still have work to do if they are to qualify for next season's Champions League after dropping points in a 1-1 draw at Fulham in the English Premier League on Monday night.
Five things we learned in Barclays Premier League action Saturday:
Manchester United moved to within two points of leaders Manchester City at the top of the English Premier League with a 3-1 win at third-placed Tottenham Hotspur Sunday.
When the NCAA men's basketball tournament takes center stage in about a month, we'll hear plenty usage of the term "blind résumé." It is a comparison method for decision-makers to look at the body of work for teams on the tournament-field bubble without being clouded by predetermined bias linked to a school's name or conference affiliation.
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- You could call it Fantastic Friday for fans of U.S. Soccer: two games, one men's and one women's, separated by thousands of miles, that for different reasons carry a great deal of significance.
Chelsea's title chances took another dent on Saturday as they dropped points away to Norwich City in the English Premier League.
LOS ANGELES -- Greetings from Southern California, where I opted to spend some time with the U.S. women's team this week as it prepares for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month in Vancouver. (We have MLS Draft coverage elsewhere on SI.com, so don't worry.) I decided to open up the mailbag this week for questions on Alex Morgan, Clint Dempsey, Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and a number of other topics. Let's dive in:
These days, Everton needs Landon Donovan a lot more than the Los Angeles Galaxy captain needs the Premier League club.
It would be easy for Zak Whitbread to look back at the last nine months and think about what could have been.With better-timed good health, the 27-year-old Norwich City center back may already be on his way to the international career that has yet to materialize.
The "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" quips about Brad Guzan's European career can head to the back burner. At long last, Guzan is Aston Villa's No. 1 goalkeeper. With Monday's word that regular starter Shay Given will be out for the next month after tearing his hamstring in the first half of Aston Villa's 1-0 loss to Manchester United on Saturday, the Villans will turn to the 27-year-old Illinois native between the pipes. Guzan looked at ease upon entering against the Red Devils and didn't concede a goal, though he was hardly put to the test in 52 minutes.
Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League have taken a knock after a shock 1-0 Premier League defeat at struggling Fulham on Monday.
The upset bug made its way around Europe over the weekend, with Mainz beating German power Bayern Munich and Getafe taming the all-mighty Barcelona, but for a few U.S. national team starters, their teams couldn't quite come up with the efforts necessary to stake claims to landmark Thanksgiving weekend victories against top competition.
U.S. player ratings Tuesday against Slovenia (scale of 1-10, 10 as best)
U.S. player ratings Friday against France (scale of 1-10, 10 as best)
When the U.S. meets France in a high-profile friendly on Friday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN3.com, Univisión), it's probably a good thing that it'll take place in the Stade de France, the futuristic spaceship of a stadium outside Paris, instead of at the venerable Parc des Princes on the west side of town. U.S. fans have enough bad memories from the latter stadium, where Germany spanked the U.S. 2-0 in World Cup '98 and the final goal was scored by none other than current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
The renaissance months for DaMarcus Beasley and Herculez Gomez have come to an abrupt halt.
Josh Gatt wasn't on the field as his team cemented a monumental achievement, but that doesn't mean he won't be able to reap the benefits of his club's first league championship.
The last time Herculez Gomez was on this kind of a run, he ended up with a scoring title and a ticket to South Africa.
U.S. player ratings Tuesday against Ecuador (scale of 1-10).
The U.S. men's national team bagged the first victory of Jurgen Klinsmann's tenure on Saturday in a 1-0 win against Honduras, and the Yanks are back on the field Tuesday night in Harrison, N.J., against Ecuador (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2, Univisión, ESPN3.com), which won its first 2014 World Cup qualifier 2-0 against Venezuela on Friday.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Three thoughts after the U.S.'s 1-0 win in a friendly against Honduras on Saturday:
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- It's friendly time again for the U.S. men's national team, which meets Honduras on Saturday in Miami (6 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer, Univisión) and Ecuador this Tuesday in Harrison, N.J. (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2, Univisión, ESPN3.com). Here are four things on my mind heading into this week's games:
The UEFA Europa League is seen by some as a schedule-congesting, second-rate competition.
Anticipated debuts, goal-scoring forwards and a potential renaissance.
U.S. player ratings vs. Belgium (scale of 1-10):
Time will tell if newly placed U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is the right man at the right time for a challenging job. But this much already seems certain:
If only Jozy Altidore and Robbie Findley had found this kind of form 15 months ago.
HOUSTON -- They are the three most famous players in U.S. men's soccer -- Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Freddy Adu -- and on a night when their team needed them most, they combined on a goal that helped each player overcome a personal challenge in addition to the one from a pesky Panama team in a hard-fought Gold Cup semifinal.
HOUSTON -- U.S. player ratings in its 1-0 win over Panama (scale of 1-10).
Finally, a little sunshine is gathering around the Gold Cup effort for coach Bob Bradley and his national team.
U.S. player ratings vs. Guadeloupe (scale of 1-10) in the U.S.' 1-0 win.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The expression that goalkeeper Tim Howard wore said it all. There's a frustration inside the U.S. national team right now, an awareness among the players and the coaching staff that they need to start playing better if they want to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship for the first time since 2007.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Three thoughts after the U.S.'s 1-0 victory over Guadeloupe on Tuesday gave the U.S. second place in Gold Cup Group C and put the Americans in Sunday's quarterfinals against Jamaica:
DETROIT -- Three thoughts after the U.S.'s 2-0 win over Canada in their opening game in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday:
U.S. player ratings (scale of 1-10):
Three thoughts after Spain's 4-0 win against the United States on Saturday in Foxboro, Mass.:
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is vital for its ultimate reward, a berth in the 2013 Confederations Cup. It's darned serious business, not to be taken as some summery, playful distraction. Even if you don't think so, U.S. Soccer certainly does. Coach Bob Bradley and his staff have made the strategic choice that Gold Cup glory must be claimed.
On Wednesday evening in West London, Clint Dempsey became Fulham's top scorer in the Premier League era, scoring in each half against Bolton to first match and then surpass the benchmark of 32 set by fellow American Brian McBride and Steed Malbranque. It was somehow fitting that he should reach this milestone -- and in some style -- while all eyes were elsewhere, on the trumpeted and tempestuous Champions League meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona. His quality seems forever caught in soccer's peripheral vision.
He scores with his left He scores with his right That boy Clint Dempsey Makes Drogba look ...
United States player ratings vs. Paraguay:
NASHVILLE -- Three quick thoughts after the U.S.'s 1-0 loss against Paraguay here on Tuesday:
Rating the U.S. team's performance against Argentina:
The last time the U.S. played Argentina, in 2008, the result was proof that a 0-0 score line could still produce a thrilling soccer game. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard stood on his head, and a huge crowd in the Meadowlands saw the Americans survive going toe-to-toe with supernova Lionel Messi and his talented Argentine teammates.
The last time Bob Bradley's national team met Argentina in New Jersey (June 2008), it took a night of breathless, outstanding goalkeeping from Tim Howard to keep the Americans from being routed.
With one unfortunate tackle, Stuart Holden's breakout season is over.
In what is becoming a historic season for U.S. soccer star Clint Dempsey, the Fulham midfielder had a chance to shock the English Premier League on Monday. During injury time of a scoreless game with Chelsea, Dempsey did what he does best, creating something out of nothing and drawing a penalty on defender David Luiz. Suddenly Dempsey found himself standing over a spot kick with the chance to steal a victory and, in the process, break Brian McBride's record for the most goals scored by an American (nine) in an English Premier League season.
Clint Dempsey was seemingly on the path to deliver again when Fulham was on the cusp of a landmark victory. He put in the dirty work, got himself into position to make a game-winning play and then did the unthinkable.
The secret is out on Bob Bradley: The U.S. coach has some tactical wanderlust in him, after all.
In a banner week for Americans in England, the one player who scored two goals might have turned in the third-most notable performance.
The national team just capped a busy 2010, but Bob Bradley's boys return to the field next week. The young ones, at least. Major League Soccer just decided its championship, but the teeny break closes quickly; the combine, draft and training camps are just around the corner.
During a weekend when most Americans were giving thanks, one soccer team in England once again showered thanks upon its star American.
With the opening of the European transfer window less than two months away, the United States' friendly against South Africa on Wednesday will be an excellent time for a few Americans stationed abroad to receive some much-needed exposure.
For at least one week, the discussion about the lack of U.S. goal scorers can be put to rest.
Upon returning from international duty, only a handful of Americans had successful transitions back into their clubs.
The U.S. national team depth chart is clearly in transition. It certainly is a tricky time to assign order as the value of "potential" is elevated slightly for the time being.
Clint Dempsey didn't need any assistance from Robert Green this time around.
Notes from the weekend in the Premier League:
Amid plenty of discouraging "Did not play" or "Not in the 18" casualties, there were a few positive firsts last weekend for some U.S. national-team veterans playing overseas.
In what was a rather quiet week for American soccer players abroad, aside from Sacha Kljestan's second goal for RSC Anderlecht and Clint Dempsey's returning to the starting lineup for Fulham, one up-and-comer managed to make some serious career headway.
CNN's Pedro Pinto profiles the U.S. team after its draw against England at the World Cup.
There will be thousands of guesses but only one man truly knows.
On perhaps the best first day ever of the NCAA basketball tournament -- and believe me, folks, I still watch -- the madness wasn't confined to the U.S. side of the Atlantic. As soon as U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey scored his brilliantly delicate chip for Fulham to cap a four-goal rally that sank mighty Juventus in the Europa League Round of 16 and sent Cottagers fans into hysterics, variations of this question started rolling into my Twitter account:
TAMPA, Fla. -- The 'Bag is back, folks. During my days covering college basketball I would do a regular mailbag column in which I answered reader questions, shared nuggets that didn't make my magazine stories, engaged in various parlor games, tracked down "Where Are They Now" figures and even recommended a movie or two. Now that I'm covering soccer full-time, the 'Bag (that's me) is back on the case. I'll be happy to answer your questions on just about anything in the soccer world -- the smarter and/or funnier the better -- so send 'em in and let's get after it.
SANDY, Utah -- So who has been the standout for U.S. Soccer this past year? That's the question I need to answer, as my ballot arrived just this past week for the Honda Player of Year, voted on annually by the American soccer media.
PARK CITY, Utah -- It's almost certain that the U.S. won't clinch a World Cup berth in this week's important qualifiers -- that would require two U.S. wins and two Mexico losses -- but the third-place Americans have almost zero margin for error in a tight four-team race for three automatic spots in South Africa 2010.
Not for declaration and certainly not for vindication, here's a rundown on the status of certain MLS players as they vie for spots on the 2010 World Cup squad of 23.
FULLTIME: It is finished. Spain's 35-match unbeaten streak ends on a frigid night in Bloemfontein, where the United States men's national team has engineered an improbable 2-0 upset of the reigning European champions.
He went with his veterans against two of the best teams in the world and they let him, and the country, down with a crashing thud.
Playing for a big club in Europe appeals to young players all around the world, and they're willing to take different steps to help reach that objective. For some, Major League Soccer has become a launching pad to the continent.
The men's national team embarks on a very busy 2009 with a lot of players in contention for spots on the 2010 World Cup roster. There's a full slate of games on tap, but something less than a full plate of players.
Three years ago, during preparations for a match against England, U.S. striker Eddie Johnson suffered an ankle injury from which he, and the national team, have yet to recover.
Psst, hey you! Yeah, you, the soccer fan who's distracted by the baseball playoffs! You might have missed it, but it's been a pretty good week for American success stories on the world stage.
I can't believe I'm writing this: The U.S.' 4-2 loss to Brazil on Sunday in Chicago was much closer than the score indicated. Here are my five thoughts from the most entertaining performance Team USA has put on in months.
Remember the first time you walked into a multiplex? After a lifetime of subsisting on one screen and butter-sogged popcorn, you were suddenly bathed in the reddish hue of a massive digital marquee offering 20 movies.
Five things we learned from the U.S.'s 2-1 Gold Cup semifinal win over Canada while confirming that The Fours in Boston is SI's Best Sports Bar in America (many thanks for your hospitality showing the game, guys):
Gillette Stadium's "Curva Sud," as I like to think of the south end in Foxborough, was reserved for Panamanian fans during Saturday's U.S.-Panama Gold Cup quarterfinal match.
OK, all you pessimistic doomsdayers out there (I'm looking at you, Jonah Freedman), you can settle down now and go back to your games of D&D. Or your oenology studies. Or whatever it is you do when you're not complaining about the U.S. national team's failure to run up the score on some CONCACAF midget.
LONDON -- The biggest goal ever scored by an American? That honor probably belongs to Paul Caligiuri, whose "Shot Heard 'Round the World" against Trinidad and Tobago in 1989 sent the U.S. to its first World Cup in 40 years.
It was a watershed weekend for U.S. soccer players in England. By my count, 10 Americans played on Saturday in the Premier League, including three keepers -- Brad Friedel, Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard -- and starters at just about every other position.
It's been two weeks, and David Beckham's move to a Galaxy far, far away is still the talk of the town in England. But which town?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Fulham striker Brian McBride and what it means to American soccer that this square-jawed kid from Illinois is enjoying a season to remember in England. But a few readers got their knickers in a twist because I wrote that he's not the kind of player fans will love. They will cheer for him, admire him, aspire to be like him. But they do not want to be him because he's a craftsman, a very fine one, but he's not an artist, and history belongs to the artists.