Archive | August, 2009

TFC head to Qwest Field

Posted on 29 August 2009 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Following a decent result against D.C. then a disappointing one against Chivas, Toronto FC aim to bounce back when they head to Qwest Field to face the Seattle Sounders FC. TFC fell to Seattle 2-0 earlier in the season and now look to earn something away from home and get some revenge.

Toronto will be without Adrian Serioux and Carl Robinson due to card accumulation suspensions. Everyone else is fit and available to play.

This match is critical for Toronto FC as they are in the final stretch of games and need every point to make it to the playoffs for the first time in club history.

Previous three MLS results for each team:

Seattle Sounders FC (8-6-9):
vs. Houston Dynamo (Away)= 1-1 Draw
vs. New England Revolution (Home)= 1-0 Loss
vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (Away)= 2-0 Win

Toronto FC (8-8-6):
vs. Chivas USA (Away)= 2-0 Loss
vs. D.C. United (Home)= 2-0 Win
vs. New England Revolution (Away)= 1-1 Draw

Predictions for the upcoming game:

  • Everyone is healthy to play. After much anticipated rumors and speculation about Danny Dichio he too is fit to play and will be on the roster for the game.
  • Likely TFC starting line-up: GK: Stefan Frei. DF: Nana Attakora, Emmanuel Gomez, Nick Garcia,  Jim Brennan. MF: Pablo Vitti, Amadou Sanyang, Sam Cronin, Amado Guevara. FW: O’Brian White, Dwayne De Rosario.
  • Yet the line-up could be anyone’s guess going into this crucial game.
  • ASN puts the chances of a TFC win at 20%, a draw at 30%, and a loss at 50%.
  • Final score prediction: TFC LOSS,  Toronto FC 1 – Seattle Sounders FC 2

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Who do you want to see ASN ‘tweeterview’?

Posted on 28 August 2009 by ASN Staff

Who will it be?

AmericanSoccerNews.net was one of the first publications to embrace Twitter as journalistic tool one year ago (almost to the day). We’ve since seen the technology explode–for good and bad. We recently came across Tweeterview, a site that allows users to conduct interviews through Twitter, and thought it would be a great idea to try it out. As we all know, professional soccer players have been embracing Twitter in large numbers. So who do you want as our first subject?

Update: Polls have closed and Stuart Holden (@stuholden22) is the winner as evidenced below. We are trying to track him down to arrange a time to do the tweeterview. Stay tuned (also via out Twitter feed).

[polldaddy poll=”1928739″]

(Note that none of the subjects have agreed to be interviewed yet. So if the “winner” refuses the tweeterview, we will move to the runner-up. If the runner-up refuses, we will try with the third-place finisher, etc. If all six refuse? We will shut down operations because it will not be worth our–or your–while to continue something that clearly has no respect from soccer players or their agents).

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Rongen names World Cup squad

Posted on 28 August 2009 by ASN Staff

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has finalized the 21-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup from Sept. 24-Oct. 16 in Egypt. The roster features a blend of professional and collegiate players, including two players with prior U-20 World Cup experience in UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk and FC Dallas defender Anthony Wallace.

“It’s a culmination of two years of investing and looking at players through a good training environment and playing high level games and trying to figure out which 21 eventually would represent the United States well in Egypt.,” said Rongen, who will be at the helm of his third U-20 World Cup squad.

The U.S. team will depart for Larnaca, Cyprus, on Sept. 14 and play a final tune-up against Australia before traveling to Suez, Egypt, on Sept. 21. The U.S. will open against Germany on Sept. 26 before facing Cameroon on Sept. 29 and rounding out group play against Korea Republic on Oct. 2. All three of the USA’s group matches will be played at the brand new Mubarak Stadium in Suez.

The defensive corps will be led by team captain Kyle Davies, who has become a regular in the FC Dallas starting lineup since a mid-season transfer from English club Southampton. He will be joined by club teammate Wallace and three others who return from the team’s successful qualifying campaign in March, in Gale Agbossoumonde, Aaron Maund and Sheanon Williams. That group, which posted four shutouts during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in March, will be bolstered by Wake Forest’s Ike Opara.

The midfield represents an even mix of college and professional players, including two who will join the team from European clubs with Jared Jeffrey, who plays for Belgian side Club Brugge, and Norwegian-based Mikkel Diskerud, who plays for Stabek. The Houston Dynamo’s Danny Cruz and Chivas USA’s Jorge Flores round out the pro players in midfield. Rutgers University’s Dilly Duka, who had a standout performance in Trinidad & Tobago during qualifying, leads a collegiate contingent that includes Virginia’s Brian Ownby, Michael Stephens from UCLA and Notre Dame freshman Dillon Powers, who will be looking to continue a breakout year that saw him earn both the U-17/18 Development Academy and Gatorade National Boy’s Soccer Player of the Year Awards.

A pair of forwards, Peri Marosevic and Brek Shea, complete the group of five players who will represent FC Dallas in Egypt. The duo also tops the roster in career goals, with Marosevic netting five in 14 caps and Shea tallying four goals in 10 U-20 internationals. Sam Garza, who in 2008 helped lead the University of Denver to its first NCAA Tournament since 1970, and Jacksonville University’s Tony Taylor are also expected to be key members of the U.S. attack.

The U.S. will be competing in its seventh consecutive and 12th overall FIFA U-20 World Cup, previously known as the FIFA World Youth Championship. They will be looking to build upon a successful campaign under Rongen in 2007, where the Americans took the top place in what was widely considered to be the tournament’s “Group of Death” that included Brazil, Poland and Korea Republic before falling in overtime in the quarterfinals to Austria.

The U.S. qualified for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup by posting a 2-1-2 record at the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in March, collecting four straight shutouts before being downed by Costa Rica in the final. Costa Rica, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago will all join the U.S. to represent the region in Egypt.

Out of the 11 appearances in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the USA’s best finish came during the tournament in 1989 in Saudi Arabia. With goalkeeper Kasey Keller leading the way, the U.S. advanced to the semifinals and finished in fourth place.

Roster By Position: (Detailed Roster)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Central Florida; Lilburn, Ga.), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (Miami FC; Syracuse, N.Y.), Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (Unattached; Boston, Mass.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabak; Oslo, Norway), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Michael Stephens (UCLA; Naperville, Ill.)

FORWARDS (4): Sam Garza (Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville; Jacksonville, Fla.)

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Rhythm still eludes stumbling DC United

Posted on 28 August 2009 by Steve Long

As the season progresses, the coach of a team sport has to integrate new players into the team’s style. This is especially true in soccer, where there are fewer set plays and many more options.

Tom Soehn has faced a difficult task this season

Even a team with a strong history such as DC United can still upset the unique chemistry that underlies its long term success. This year Coach Tom Soehn has had the difficult task of integrating an unusually large number of talented young players into an aging, but still competent squad.

Under the stress of normal league play, DC United could expect a smooth integration and a successful season featuring steady growth and improvement. However, the addition of many mid-week games has had a triple whammy effect.

Soehn has stated on several occasions that he and his staff are very happy when they have the rare extended period of practice without games in order to better train the team. What he is getting at is the fact that a compressed schedule not only creates fatigue problems which require greater player rotation, but also leaves less time to bring the team together to forge a desired style.

The team can’t get a rhythm if the music of varied opponents keeps changing. This dynamic accounts for the all too common phenomenon of a team’s playing down to the level of an opponent. When a team plays down, it is because it is not as certain as it should be of its own rhythm.

On the other hand, a team can play up to a superior opponent for significant parts of a game because that opponent sets the overall rhythm of play at a high level.

Soehn has struggled in his attempts to find a rhythm because he has yet to find the best way to integrate new players. He had early success when injuries forced United to play two rookies who exceeded expectations. That success may have given him a false sense of confidence in the ability of those youngsters, and others to follow, to fit into the style he wished to see.

The tasks of a winger in any strong team are relatively straightforward and emphasize maintaining width with sufficient variety to keep a defense honest. Chris Pontius and Rodney Wallace stepped into those roles and performed them by the book, with minimal flair and simple competence.

Their example showed the way for the more centrally oriented wingers like Fred and Tino Quaranta to adjust to the basic team rhythm instead of favoring their own skill set. The overall team style was thus reinforced and early success followed.

However, as the busy schedule bore down on the players and staff, Soehn found himself having to make constant adjustments. There is a fine line between being flexible and losing the beat. Jazz is not easily played well.

The emergence of several good young players was a godsend for DC United, but brought new players to the band and ultimately threw off the overall rhythm. In any group effort there is a tipping point where the introduction of new blood stops being a blessing and becomes a destabilizer.

There is no right or wrong in that, it is a simple fact of human interaction, and the best of coaches recognize it before it becomes a problem. The best solution is to always keep a sufficient cadre of those already steeped in the team’s culture on the field, filling in with newcomers a few at a time.

Instead, many coaches play their strongest squad in the games they deem most important and play many reserves in those less favored. The culture is thereby transmitted mostly in practices and only marginally in the few games where reserves are few enough to comfortably adapt.

In summary, DC United chose to win early with starters (with the exception of the pleasant Wallace/Pontius surprise) and lost valuable integration time. The team has lost its rhythm as it alternates between stronger and lesser squads.

This was on display in the second half on Wednesday as direction of play fell significantly to Bryan Namoff who was playing his usual right defender position with frequent overlaps to support the attack. A team with a sense of its own style needs very little verbal and hand gesture direction, especially from the back when on attack.

There is still time to shift to a better balanced mix of players but it comes with real risk. The pressure of needed wins both on Saturday at Chicago and on Wednesday in the Open Cup Final versus Seattle will force Soehn to optimize his roster for two straight closely placed games.

That crisis may force him to use a mix twice in a row and present him a corresponding opportunity to set a pattern of mixed strength which should have been adopted sooner. There is precious little time left to get it right.

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Rongen names U-20 World Cup squad

Posted on 28 August 2009 by ASN Staff

Five players from FC Dallas will, along with 16 others, represent the U.S. Under-20 international team at the World Cup in Egypt next month:

USMNT U-20 World Cup Roster By Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Central Florida; Lilburn, Ga.), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (Miami FC; Syracuse, N.Y.), Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (Unattached; Boston, Mass.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabak; Oslo, Norway), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Michael Stephens (UCLA; Naperville, Ill.)

FORWARDS (4): Sam Garza (Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville; Jacksonville, Fla.)

Read on at ASN’s USMNT page.

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DC United struggles to find its rhythm

Posted on 28 August 2009 by Steve Long

Tom Soehn has faced a difficult task this season

DC United head coach Tom Soehn has this year faced the difficult task of integrating an unusually large number of talented young players into an aging, but still competent squad. Under a normal league play schedule, the team might have expected a smooth integration. But the addition of many mid-week games has had a triple whammy effect on United, from which the club may not recover.

ASN’s Steve Long reports from the nation’s capital.

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Sundhage calls 26 to camp

Posted on 26 August 2009 by ASN Staff

USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has called in 26 players for a 12-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., running from Sept. 21-Oct. 2. This will be the first U.S. Women’s National Team event since the end of the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer season.

Twenty-three of the players on the roster come from WPS clubs while three are currently seniors for their college teams in UCLA forward Lauren Cheney and a pair of North Carolina Tar Heels in midfielder Tobin Heath and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

Sundhage named 18 players from the roster that defeated Canada twice in mid-July, but is also giving looks to several players who put in some quality work during the WPS season.

Sundhage will use this camp to select a roster for the USA’s trip to Germany in October when the Americans will face the reigning Women’s World Cup champions on Oct. 29 at Impuls Arena in Augsburg, one of the nine venues that will host matches at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

UNITED STATES WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM Training Camp Roster

Sept. 21-Oct. 2, The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Ashlyn Harris (North Carolina), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica);
DEFENDERS (8): Brittany Bock (Los Angeles Sol), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Stephanie Cox (Los Angeles Sol), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Boston Breakers), Megan Schnur (Sky Blue FC), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (12): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Tina DiMartino (FC Gold Pride), Tobin Heath (UNC), Angela Hucles (Boston Breakers), Brittany Klein (Chicago Red Stars), Lori Lindsey (Washington Freedom), Carli Lloyd (Chicago Red Stars), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Leslie Osborne (FC Gold Pride), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars), Kacey White (Sky Blue FC)
FORWARDS (3): Lauren Cheney (UCLA), Amy Rodriguez (Boston Breakers), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

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Red Stars trio headed to USWNT camp

Posted on 26 August 2009 by mwkajdas

Three weeks after three of its players were named to the WPS All-Star squad, three Chicago Red Stars have once more been selected for honors, this time by Pia Sundhage, head coach of the United States Women’s National Team. Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Brittany Klein will report to The Home Depot Center in Carson, California for a 12-day training camp beginning September 21st.

As with the announcement of her All-Star team selection, Brittany Klein is once again the surprise bonus for Red Stars fans. And once again, the question remains if her selection is for her brilliant play during the WPS season or more as the understudy for Lindsay Tarpley, who is regularly chosen for the national squad but is unavailable now due to an ACL injury.

Whatever the reason, the elevation of Klein to both All-Star and national team statuses compels me to re-evaluate my earlier thinking regarding whom the Red Stars should protect from the upcoming WPS expansion draft. In my previous post, I excluded Klein from safekeeping in favor of midfielders Lloyd, Tarpley, Heather Garriock and Frida Östberg. With her marquee value burgeoning, however, it would be foolish for the Red Stars to let Klein slip away now. Instead they should take a gamble that one of the two internationals, probably Östberg, will not be at the top of the list of Red Stars targeted by either the Philadelphia Independence or the Atlanta Beat and that they can still protect her after one of the expansion teams draws first blood.

In choosing her squad, Sundhage seems to have dispersed her selections fairly evenly among the seven WPS teams, with three of them—the Boston Breakers, Sky Blue FC and FC Gold Pride—contributing four players each, the Washington Freedom, Chicago Red Stars and Los Angeles Sol adding three apiece, and two players joining in from Saint Louis Athletica. One has to wonder if this sort of grading on a curve is intended to even out the burden of national team call-ups on WPS teams for next season. If it is, then the plea of many fans, as well as Red Stars coach Emma Hayes, for WPS to stop league play during national team play appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

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Sundhage calls 26 to USWNT camp

Posted on 26 August 2009 by ASN Staff

USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has called in 26 players for a 12-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., running from Sept. 21-Oct. 2. This will be the first U.S. Women’s National Team event since the end of the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer season.

Read on at ASN’s USWNT page.

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Quote of the week

Posted on 25 August 2009 by ASN Staff

“The fibers of this team are so close and so thick that nothing was going to break us.”–Sky Blue FC’s Heather O’Reilly (left, with Natasha Kai) on her team’s triumph in the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer championship game. O’Reilly scored the game’s only goal in the 16th minute and the New York/New Jersey franchise held on to defeat th heavily-favored Los Angeles Sol.

More on the WPS championship game, including a photo gallery, at ASN’s WPS page.

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