The World Cup draw is on Friday (ESPN2′s coverage begins at 11:30 AM Eastern) and US Soccer has a quick little guide on how the process will work. I have a feeling the US will be put in a tough group. Ric Flair, your thoughts on this.
If you haven’t noticed yet, we have one new addition to the site. You can now take a look at the various jerseys worn by the USMNT throughout the years. Some of those older photos are pretty cool. Also, we are going to relaunch our Top 5 Lists series this week. Howie has one that should be up later today or tomorrow and we will have other guest writers contributing to the series over the next few weeks.
I know there was some confusion about what channel/time for Friday’s qualifier against Jamaica, but it looks like it was finalized for 6:30 PM Eastern on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas.
ESPN’s Alex Labidou has a story up on Mix Diskerud. It also provides us this great stat.
He has never lost during his time as a senior U.S. national (his record in 11 caps is is 10-1-0) and hopes he can help lead the team to wins against Jamaica and Panama.
Even though most of his caps came in the latest not-as-strong Gold Cup, not too shabby.
And finally, this was brought to my attention yesterday and I thought I would pass it along as I am a fan of a few of these. Mark Yesilevskiy, the guy that runs Lion Of Vienna Suite, has some pretty cool soccer prints for sale.
Five Americans played in Tijuana’s 3-2 win over Victoria in CONCACAF Champions League. Paul Arriola opened up the scoring in the 10th minute (highlights).
While Landon Donovan told us that he is starting to get offers from outside the US for once his contract expires with the Galaxy, Greg Seltzer is starting to hear that some of that interest is coming from Italy, possibly even AC Milan.
Shawn Barry went the full 90 minutes and scored a goal in LASK Linz’s 2-0 win over SV Wallern in Austria on Tuesday.
Brian Sciaretta thinks Fabian Johnson’s best position for the USMNT is at midfield rather than leftback, so he dives into that topic.
The Gold Cup isn’t over yet, but I thought I would do a poll anyways. Since this roster was mainly USMNT back-ups or fringe players going into the tournament, who has improved their stock the most (excluding Landon Donovan)?
As for me, I think Joe Corona has gone from a fringe guy (someone battling for one of those #20-23 spots) to someone who could be a second or third sub with the “A” team.
If you stayed up late on Friday, you saw the US defeat Guatemala 6-0. If you missed out on the game, here are the highlights. I think most people would say that the “breakout” performers were Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud. And Jon Arnold was down in San Diego and got some quotes from the second half central midfield duo.
I tweeted out a bunch of stats and facts during/after the game and a few of the interesting ones (at least to me):
* Friday was the 11th time all-time that the US has scored 6+ goals in a single game.
* The US is now 12-0-1 all-time against Guatemala on American soil, including 10 shutouts.
* The US has now won its last five games, tying the longest winning streak in the Klinsmann era.
* Landon Donovan (51 goals) became the fourth CONCACAF player with 50+ goals (also Stern John, Carlos Pavon and Carlos Ruiz).
The Gold Cup started up on Sunday and Martinique shocked Canada with this great goal in stoppage time. And Panama beat Mexico for the first time ever. A crazy first day for the Copa Oro. The US begins its Group C play against Belize on Tuesday at 8 PM Pacific on Fox Soccer. Josh Gatt has been ruled out for the tournament and Brek Shea has replaced him on the final 23-man roster.
Here is a story on Belize’s manager Ian Mork, a native of Wichita, Kansas.
By the time you read this, it will probably became official, but it looks like Jozy Altidore is headed to Sunderland. His personal site took down the story on Friday, but AZ’s site has some information up.
Brad Guzan is headed back to Aston Villa for the preseason with a new contract.
Peruvian-American defender/winger Diego Chavarri is taking his talents to Iran with Gostaresh Fooload on loan. Gostaresh Fooload will be his fifth team since 2011.
LA Galaxy players Charlie Rugg, Kenney Walker and Bryan Gaul are in Sweden to train with Hammarby. Probably mainly happening since Gregg Berhalter is the manager at Hammarby.
And lets end with some more new kits/shirts for the upcoming season. Since it sounds like Jozy will be at Sunderland, here are their home and away jerseys. Looking a lot like Sunderland’s home shirt, but with a collar, here is what Brek Shea, Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu will be wearing in home games with Stoke City. Jonathan Spector (and Will Packwood hopefully) will be wearing these electronic cigarette-sponsored shirts. And finally, Eric Lichaj made the move this offseason to Nottingham Forest and has this new red shirt to wear. I have always been a fan of Forest’s 70s-looking badge. Speaking of Lichaj, he played in his first preseason friendly with Forest this past weekend.
UEFA held its draw for the first and second qualifying rounds of Champions League and Europa League for next season on Monday. Here is a quick look at who some Americans will be facing in the early rounds (first and second qualifying rounds). For a look at the full draws, check that out here and here.
Danijal Brkovic – Željezničar
The Bosnian-American forward will enter Champions League in the second qualifying round (played over two legs on July 16-17 & July 23-24) after winning last season’s Bosnian Premier League. Brkovic played in 10 games last season, scoring once, and his team will face Czech Liga champions FC Viktoria Plzeň. Željezničar are making their sixth appearance all-time in Champions League, but have moved past the second round only once (made it to the third qualifying round in 2002-03).
Wikipedia fun fact on their opponent: Goalkeeper Petr Cech was born in Plzeň and grew up in the FC Viktoria Plzeň youth system before signing with FK Chmel Blšany in 1999.
Josh Gatt – Molde FK Josh Gatt and Molde have been struggling this season, but maybe they can spark something with an appearance in Champions League. It will be interesting to see if Gatt will stay in Norway to play with Molde or will miss some Champions League games due to the Gold Cup in the US. Molde drew League of Ireland Premier Division champions Sligo Rovers in the second qualifying round. This will be Molde’s third all-time appearance in Champions League, losing in the third qualifying round last season and making it to the group stage in 1999-00.
Wikipedia fun fact on their opponent: Sligo Rivers are a co-operative venture, owned by the people of Sligo.
Mikkel Diskerud – Rosenborg Much like Josh Gatt, Mix Diskerud is another player who could either still be in Europe playing in these games or he will be missing them due to the Gold Cup. Rosenborg enter this year’s Europa League in the first qualifying round (played over two legs on July 4 & July 11) after finishing third in last year’s Tippeligaen. 2013-14 marks Rosenborg’s 14th appearance in Europa League, playing at least one game in the tournament in seven of the previous eight seasons. They will square of with IFA Premiership (Northern Ireland) runners-up Crusaders FC.
Wikipedia fun fact on their opponent: Crusaders lost to Rosenborg, 4-0 on aggregate, in the first qualifying round of Europa League in 2012-13.
Bryan Gerzicich – Hapoel Tel Aviv After making the move from Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona to Hapoel Tel Aviv this summer, Bryan finds himself in the second qualifying round of Europa League (played over two legs on July 18 & July 25). Hapoel Tel Aviv finished third in the Israeli Premier League and they will be facing the Bulgarian side PFC Beroe Stara Zagora. This will be Hapoel Tel Aviv’s 13th all-time appearance in Europa League after making it to the group stage in 2012-13.
Wikipedia fun fact on their opponent: PFC Beroe Stara Zagora won the now defunct Balkans Cup (an international competition for clubs from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Yugoslavia from 1961 to 1994) a record four times (1967-68, 1969, 1981-83 & 1983-84).
Tony Taylor – AC Omonia It looks like Tony Taylor is making a move to the Cyprus side pending a physical (more on this later). AC Omonia enter the competition in the second qualifying round after finishing third in last year’s Cypriot First Division. They will play the winner of Domžale (Slovenia) and Astra Giurgiu (Romania) from the first round. AC Omonia is one of the four biggest clubs in Cyprus, but has yet to ever qualify for a European group stage (Champions League or Europa League).
Wikipedia fun fact on their opponent (Domžale): Domžale was formed in 1921 and is one of the oldest Slovenian clubs.
Wikipedia fun fact on their opponent (Astra Giurgiu): Astra Giurgiu was known as Astra Ploiești until 2012 when it was moved from Ploieşti to Giurgiu by owner Ioan Niculae.