In case you missed it on Saturday, here is the US roster. While a couple guys are injured (Aron Johannsson and John Brooks), I guess the biggest “snub” would be Omar Gonzalez considering he started one of the September friendlies so you would think he would be “on the depth chart” at centerback.
The US U-23ers have opened Olympic qualifying with wins against Canada (highlights) and Cuba (highlights). They take on Panama in the last group stage match tonight and I believe they only need a draw to win the group (and could even win the group with a loss depending on goal differential).
Over in Group B, Mexico and Honduras play on Wednesday with the loser likely facing the US in the all important semifinal (a draw would mean Honduras would finish second and play the US if the US can clinch their group).
Links and whatnot for your reading pleasure. A few USMNT nuggets to start off with.
Roughly 23,000 tickets have been sold so far for the friendly against Peru.
While we won’t know the full US roster for the September friendlies until the end of the month, Tim Howard and DaMarcus Beasley will be on the roster according to a release from US Soccer. Howard will be making his first return since taking a year sabbatical, while Fabian Johnson’s injury (and Beasley’s veteran presence) probably opened things up for Beasley. Klinsmann also says Brad Guzan will remain the US’s starting goalkeeper.
Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney has begun talking to US Soccer about not calling in Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley for the Peru friendly (Toronto faces Seattle on September 5) then releasing them back to the USMNT for the game against Brazil.
Cody Cropper made his senior team debut earlier this month in MK Dons’ 2-1 win over Leyton Orient in the Capital One Cup. As for the goal he allowed, it was awkward. He looks like a baby deer trying to walk on ice.
Greg Seltzer did another numbers thing and this one is on Ethan Horvath and rookie American goalkeepers in Europe. Horvath and Molde FK also defeated Standard Liège yesterday, 2-0, in the first leg of their Europa League matchup.
Holy smokes. Can you believe that this is the sixth edition of the legendary OT XI? When we started this thing there were actually a ton of American players in Europe. Of the original OT XI, only two (Alejandro Bedoya and Jonathan Spector) are still playing abroad, and five (Ryan Guy, Landon Donovan, Brad Friedel, Eddie Johnson, and Carlos Bocanegra) are retired. Crazy times.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England) [2nd appearance]
If you want to talk about the decline of American players abroad, look no further than goalkeeper (and talk to our friend Will, who wrote this pick.) Even though he didn’t have the greatest of finishes, it was Brad Guzan who carried Aston Villa through the first half of the season, when they couldn’t buy a goal. Guzan carried his team out of the relegation zone so that when it came to the meaningless games in the season, his poor performance didn’t matter. Admittedly, it’s a weak pick without glamour but of all the overseas goalkeepers, Guzan helped his team the most.
Greg Garza, Tijuana (Mexico) [1st]
Tim Ream, Bolton Wanderers (England) [2nd]
Ventura Alvarado, Club America (Mexico) [1st]
Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest (England) [2nd]
Two from Liga MX and two from the Football League Championship make up the backline. Garza basically made Edgar Castillo, the 2013 honoree at leftback, expendable at Tijuana as he also established himself as the likely national team heir apparent to the internationally-retired Edgar Castillo. Ream played a little of everywhere defensively for Bolton and earned his second consecutive team MVP. After time on loan, Alvarado blossomed with the CONCACAF Champions League winners and broke into the national team. Meanwhile, back in England, Lichaj had his healthiest season and made 42 appearances, more than the previous two seasons combined (since they play like 800 games in the lower divisions of England).
Guys, guys! We had a guy qualify to the Champions League out of a top five league! Johnson stepped up his team quality and managed to break in and do his usual thing of being a solid contributor at multiple spots on the flank. His former teammate at Hoffenheim, Williams, makes his second consecutive appearance as he continues to play well for Reading. Morales, who looked somewhat out of his element in early caps with the Nats, has blossomed into an legit prospect and helped Ingolstadt earn promotion, meaning he’ll join Johnson in the Bundesliga next year. Bedoya, meanwhile, continued his strong form in Nantes. With Bedoya’s 4th OT XI appearance, he ties Sacha Kljestan and Clint Dempsey for the all-time lead and is a solid favorite to hold the title by his lonesome sooner rather than later.
Matt Taylor, 1. FC Saarbrücken (Germany) [3rd]
Cesar Romero, FC Pyunik (Armenia) [2nd]
Taylor is basically one of our favorite OT players ever. He is a mortal lock to bang in double digit goals in any season that ends in an odd-numbered year (2011- 17; 2013- 16; 2015- 13) and takes advantage of the lengthy injury absences to Terrence Boyd and Aron Jóhannsson, two of last year’s forward honorees. Meanwhile, another OT favorite completely dominated Armenia, scoring 20 goals as Pyunik won their first league title since 2010. He also inspired us to make a ton of The Joker references, although we probably should have made more, because that’s an awesome nickname.
Tim Ream, D, Bolton Wanderers
Ream has gone from MLS breakout prospect to national team disaster to Premier League overmatched to extremely useful Championship player. He has really excelled the last two years with Bolton, and he’s mostly a classic example of how a players can take a while to adjust to a new country.
Goal of the Year
Aron Jóhannsson really wanted to make this post despite missing so much time injured, so he won this late-season match against NAC Breda in the waning moments with this ridiculous strike from distance.
Performance of the Year
Seriously, Jóhannsson got healthy and just wanted OT honors. Plus he has a desire to spend his Thursdays traveling across Eastern Europe in Europa League. So Gunner Stahl (time to resurrect that nickname) decided to dump two goals and an assist on Excelsior (fantastic club name, I’m glad they managed to stay in the Eredivisie) in a match to clinch Europa League for AZ. Highlights!
As for the mid week so far, Gedion Zelalem help setup a goal for Arsenal’s U-21 team. Michael Orozco had an assist as Puebla won the Copa MX final over Chivas (Herculez Gomez watched from the bench). And Andrija Novakovich scored a goal for Reading’s U-21 team.
The US U-20 team is in Austria this week and here is their roster. They had a 2-2 draw against Qatar yesterday with the US goals coming from Amando Moreno and Conor Donovan.
The US U-23 team will take on Mexico later tonight at the StubHub Center. Here is their roster. Apparently manager Andi Herzog asked Hamburg permission for Julian Green to stay after last week’s friendly against Mexico for this game but they didn’t respond yes to him until Green was already on a plane back to Germany. Herzog also wants to create a pipeline to the USMNT with the U-23 team. And Liviu Bird’s random observation from training earlier this week, Jordan Morris has Type 1 diabetes and tests his blood sugar during training.
For those of you that miss watching grainy Youtube videos of Josh Gatt flying down the wings, we have some good news. He has been cleared to play again after a couple knee surgeries.
Hannover 96 did some shuffling around of their coaching staff and Steve Cherundolo has been promoted to an assistant.
There is nothing really new with Gedion Zelalem, but Steven Goff reminds us where we all stand at the moment.
RB Leipzig announced yesterday that Terrence Boyd has resumed to jogging as he rehabs from his ACL surgery. ESPN’s Doug McIntyre also saw Boyd jogging and riding the exercise bike while he was with the USMNT earlier this month.
It looks like Danny Williams picked up an injury while with the USMNT and his doubtful for this weekend’s game against Blackpool.
Cameron Carter-Vickers and DeAndre Yedlin both played with Tottenham’s U-21 yesterday with CCV wearing the captain’s armband. Here is also a photo gallery from the game.
Another week and another goal by Duane Holmes with Huddersfield Town’s U-21 team. I believe that is the third straight week with a goal. Highlights of their U-21 team usually emerge a few days after the game.