USA wins in Mexico for first time ever, 1-0

The US women’s gold-medal winning team may have dominated American soccer headlines the past month, but the US men have just made a resounding statement of their own.  For the first time ever, the men’s national team has defeated Mexico on Mexican soil, thanks to late tally from Michael Orozco Fiscal.  The game-winner, which was created by a trio of US substitutes, silenced the crowd at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, leading to just the second non-defeat for the US in 25 matches played against its rivals in Mexico. [Read more…]

Where Will David Beckham Play Next Season? France? England?

The Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer are embattled in a playoff race. These games could be the end of David Beckham’s tenure in the United States. Beckham is certainly in the twilight of his career, but he’s still an effective player, and best in the world at set pieces..

The Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake in the conference final as the cloud of Beckham’s questionable future with the club hangs over the team. He still has the ability to play an elite level by garnering fifteen assists in twenty-six regular season contests. His two assists thus far in the postseason have also come at crucial times.

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David Beckham, Landon Donovan and L.A. Galaxy Defeat Chicago Fire 2-1

Last night the Chicago Fire fell victim to two  goals set up by David Beckham and fell 2-1 defeat to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The Fire nearly drew first blood in the waning minutes of the first half as Jalil Anibaba nearly headed home Paladini’s in-swinging corner kick in the 45th minute.

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USA World Cup Group Stage Grades (Midfielders and Forwards)

The group stage of the 2010 World Cup is now over for the United States, and while the Yanks were three minutes from being eliminated, they will now advance to the knockout rounds. As the team prepares for Ghana on Saturday, TSB is grading each player on the team based on their performance in the group stages. Part One will look at the teams goalkeeper and defenders, and Part Two will look at the midfielders and forwards.

Midfielders:
Landon Donovan: A. He may not have the captain’s armband, but the US team clearly runs through Donovan, its best player. When the team needed someone to take over the match down 2-0 against Slovenia, Donovan obliged, scoring a wonder-goal early in the second half and then setting up the equalizer later with a perfect long ball (he would have had the assist on Maurice Edu’s game-winner as well, but we won’t get into that). Then, with the USA staring at an early exit after countless missed chances against Algeria, who else but Donovan popped up with an injury time goal. A more complete performance against Algeria, or a little magic against England would have garnered Donovan an A+, but he’s still a front-runner for US MVP at this point.
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Donovan’s stoppage-time goal puts Americans into knockout round (plus US player ratings)

donovan usa world cup

For 90 minutes, it looked like it was just not meant to be for the US national team in its must-win World Cup match against Algeria. Another slow start by the Yanks saw the Desert Foxes’ Rafik Djebbour hit the crossbar after six minutes, and although the Americans began to dominate the match, they could not find their much needed goal- or at least, a goal that would count.

The US once again had a goal disallowed, this time with Clint Dempsey’s tidy finish of a Herculez Gomez cross called offside in the 20th minute (the replays show Dempsey was even with the last defender). The US continued to push forward, but spurned chance after chance to score the winner. As the clock hit 90 minutes, the Americans were on the edge of a disastrous exit from South Africa.

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Slovenia player guarantees victory over the U.S.

landon donovan

Slovania’s midfielder Andrej Komac is quoted as saying “We will win this game. I have a good feeling.” Unfortunately for the United States, history is on Slovenia’s side. The U.S. is 3-10-3 against European teams in the group stage (0-2-2 in their last 4 games).

Slovenia is a small country, with a population the size of Houston, Texas. They gained independence in 1991 and won their first-ever World Cup game last Saturday against Algeria. Small country or not, any team that beats a team like Russia and qualifies out of Europe needs to be taken seriously.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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World Cup Group C Preview: Can U.S. live up to their expectations?

jozy altidore

The U.S. national team is no longer considered an underdog. After beating Spain in the Confederations Cup last Summer, the U.S. has high expectations heading into the 2010 World Cup.

For a team with such high expectations, the United States are vastly inexperienced, especially up front. The player with the most caps (games played for a national team) out of all the forwards isn’t even able to drink a beer! Jozy Altidore is the man, or should I say the young adult, that I am talking about. I can just see it now: U.S. forward Jozy Altidore, cited for an underage drinking ticket in locker room celebration after World Cup victory. That would have to be a first.

Unfortunately, Altidore was hospitalized Thursday morning with a sprained ankle, but he has a full week to heal up. The U.S. better hope for a speedy recovery because the other forwards are Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez and Robbie Findley. Air Bud has more World Cup experience than these guys. My gut feeling is that they will move Clint Dempsey (the only player to score for the U.S. in the ’06 World Cup) up top regardless of whether or not Altidore plays.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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Shorthanded Fire take on Donovan, Becks on ESPN2

Beckhams

By Alex Simon

Tonight the Fire visit the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.  With the win and a D.C. loss or tie, the Fire will clinch a playoff spot for the 11th time out of 12 years.  The Fire will be without many of their regulars, most notably Cuauhtémoc Blanco.

The Galaxy received good news yesterday regarding their DP (Designated Player), David Beckham.  Beckham missed last week’s game against Columbus due to inflammation in his ankle, but is expected to start against the Fire.  The Galaxy has a chance at something they have not been able to accomplish since Beckham signed with the team in 2007. Just like the Fire, a win would clinch a spot in the playoffs for L.A. pending the result of the D.C.-Chivas match.

Prediction:

Blanco did not even make the trip to L.A.  This is the second consecutive match Blanco will miss because of his strained hamstring.  Without him, Segares, Thorrington, and possibly Rolfe, it will be tough for the Fire to create offensive opportunities.  The Galaxy had the most goals allowed in MLS last year, 62.  This year they have been scored on only half that number, 31.  A big reason for that is rookie defender Omar DonovanGonzalez.  The 6ft. 5in. Gonzalez has been superb each time I have tuned in for a Galaxy match this year.  Fire will have to worry about Beckham’s free kicks and service, but most of all Landon Donovan.  Donovan burned the Fire defense last time the two teams met.  The Fire lost that August game to the Galaxy 2 nil, and I do not expect Friday night to be much different.  Unfortunately, I favor an inspired Galaxy squad 2-0 against the banged up Fire.

Note: the only thing worse than a Fire defeat tonight, would be a Fire defeat plus Donovan getting hurt.  (Knock on (Kerry) Wood)  The U.S. visit Honduras October 10 for a crucial World Cup qualifier, and need a healthy Donovan.