In case you missed it yesterday, US Soccer announced a friendly against South Korea for February 1. It sounds like January’s camp will start in Los Angeles for a week. Head to Brazil for a week or two before returning to Los Angeles for a final week and the friendly at the StubHub Center (RIP Home Depot Center naming rights).
Jozy Altidore was named US Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2013. Jozy finished 2013 tied with Landon Donovan with a team-leading eight goals, including a USMNT record with a goal in five consecutive games.
CONCACAF also has a bunch of awards that you can vote on right here. This will be the first edition of the soon-to-be annual CONCACAF awards. It says you have until mid-December to vote, whenever that is (CONCACAF gonna CONCACAF).
John Brooks has been having knee issues, although his MRI from last week showed nothing serious was wrong with it.
Jonathan Spector suffered a setback with his thigh injury and is now out until the end of January.
Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc will miss six weeks with a broken hand. Throw in an injury to Kelvin Davis and there is a chance that Cody Cropper could at least dress for a game or two in the near future for the Saints.
Birmingham City have denied Bristol Rovers’ request to play Will Packwood in their upcoming FA Cup match. If Packwood were to play, he would be ineligible to play for Birmingham City in the FA Cup for the rest of 2013-14.
Zach Pfeffer’s loan deal with Hoffenheim has officially come to an end. He got a lot of playing time with Hoffenheim’s U-19 team while he was over in Germany.
Benji Joya, Daniel Cuevas and Santos Laguna’s U-20 team won the U-20 Apertura this past weekend. And there is speculation that the two could be headed to other teams as they seek out playing time with first teams.
The big news of yesterday was Michael Orozco replacing Omar Gonzalez on the USMNT roster as Gonzalez picked up a hip strain. Yet another injury. And this probably means that Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron will get the start at centerback.
A few links for Wednesday. Some of these are newer while a couple of these are old and I meant to post before my vacation last week. Here we go.
Greg Seltzer has been dropping transfer goodies over the last two days. One post on Michael Bradley and Terrence Boyd. And another on Charlie Davies, Alejandro Bedoya and Maurice Edu. As for the possible French mystery team interested in Bedoya, it looks like it could be Nantes (and he could be signing a three-year contract).
Bosnia released its roster for the August 14 friendly. The US roster is not expected to be released to the public until Sunday or Monday. Some European reports have stated that Bobby Wood and Aron Johannsson are being called in by Jurgen Klinsmann. Not that it was likely that he would be called in, but Julian Green won’t be there since he was called in by Germany’s U-19 team.
Grant Wahl has some great details into Clint Dempsey’s move to Seattle. Also casually thrown in there is the fact that Omar Gonzalez is expected to be upgraded to a DP by the Galaxy with a contract extension.
Zak Whitbread had to leave last weekend’s game on a stretcher due to a concussion, but Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has told the press that Whitbread is expected to return to training this week.
Billy Schuler’s contract with Hammarby doesn’t look like it will be extended when it ends in December. He has played in 10 of Hammarby’s 17 league games in 2013 with only one goal to his name.
Juan Ocegueda has decided to give up playing with the US so he can play for Chivas Guadalajara.
French-American youth player Maki Tall has signed a three-year contract with Lille. As for another youth signing, Arizona native Michael Haynes has signed with Reading’s youth academy.
It’s been a relatively quiet silly season in US circles thus far, but two new rumors have appeared linking New England Revolution striker Juan Agudelo and LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez to Stoke City.
Ives drops this note:
Good timing on that goal.. I’m told Gonzalez spoke with officials from Stoke City today. Lots of interest in the soon-to-be free agent #MLS
Hughes was interested in Agudelo, who now plays in the United States for New England Revolution, when he was in charge at Manchester City three years ago, and has monitored his progress since then.
Stoke have used their presence in America these past 11 days to conduct advanced talks amid competition from at least one Premier League rival.
Gonzalez, as Ives notes, is generally attractive because his contract with the Galaxy is up at season’s end (this is the second-most undiscussed story in American soccer behind the same being true with Landon Donovan). I don’t know how much sense it would make for Stoke though, given that Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth are pretty solid in the center of defense (forcing Gonzalez’s US teammate, Geoff Cameron, to rightback most often). Even if they’re looking for a relatively cheap depth signing (since there would be no transfer fee), I’m not sure that Stoke makes sense for Gonzalez unless he really likes hanging out with Cameron, Brek Shea, and Maurice Edu.
Agudelo makes more sense as he is having a nice year with New England (and Chivas USA before that) when healthy. Agudelo would have a tough time getting a work permit; however, several US players have won appeals in recent years (boosted by Jürgen Klinsmann’s involvement) so perhaps it wouldn’t be an issue.
I like bringing in Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez as I still think they need to get as many international reps as possible. Grant Wahl is hearing that Oguchi Onyewu picked up an injury against Cuba, while Tijuana wanted Herculez Gomez back.
Here is a quick rundown of things you might want to look at before today’s game.
» The game is at 9 PM Eastern on ESPN, WatchESPN and UniMas.
» Honduras is ranked #52 by FIFA and #49 by Elo.
» Here are the official game notes by US Soccer. Some fun stats from it (as well as a couple from my own research).
The US is unbeaten each of its last 24 World Cup qualifiers on American soil (22-0-2). The last loss was against Honduras, 3-2, on September 1, 2001 at RFK Stadium.
The US is 12-4-3 all-time against Honduras, although Honduras has won two of the last three meetings. The US is 9-2-2 against Honduras on American soil.
The US has scored 1+ goal in 18 of the 19 meetings against Honduras, including in each of the last 15 games. The lone game where the US failed to score was a 0-0 draw, which was won 4-3 in PKs by the US in the 1991 Gold Cup Final.
The US 2-0-0 all-time in the state of Utah, beating Costa Rica in Salt Lake City in 2005 and El Salvador in Sandy in 2009.
With his shutout against Panama, Tim Howard now has 30 in his USMNT career, joining Kasey Keller (47) and Tony Meola (32) as the only American goalkeepers with 30+ clean sheets. Howard also now has 48 career wins, two shy of joining Keller (53) in the 50-win club.
If Jozy Altidore can score tonight, it will be his fourth consecutive game with a goal, tying a USMNT record done six previous times: William Looby (1954-55), Eric Wynalda (1996), Brian McBride (2000-01), Eddie Johnson (2004-05), Landon Donovan (2005) and Landon Donovan (2007).
» Graham Zusi can play after sitting out the Panama game due to yellow card accumulation. DaMarcus Beasley will miss this game due to yellow cards. Jermaine Jones has also been cleared to play after missing the last game due to a concussion. The following players are holding a yellow card and would miss a game if they pick one up tonight: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Tim Howard and Fabian Johnson.
» US Soccer tweeted out that they will be wearing their white Centennial kit. They should wear them all the time as they are great in my opinion. Tonight’s game is also a sellout.
» Now for some random links/reading to close this out. DaMarcus Beasley is staying at Puebla. Kris Lindsay talked to Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez about their centerback pairing. Jon Arnold also spoke to Gonzalez about round two against Honduras. Brian Sciaretta talked to DeAndre Yedlin about making the US U-20 World Cup roster. And Sciaretta got confirmation that fellow U-20 teammate Mario Rodriguez will not be at Kaiserslautern next season. And finally, this is a funny read on some Seattle Times intern from New Zealand who meant to go to a Mariners game and ended up at the US-Panama game.
As for my prediction, the US control the game, but have one of those nights where they can’t seem to score until Jozy Altidore finds the back of the net for the fourth consecutive game in a 1-0 win.
Here is a quick rundown of things you might want to look at before today’s game.
» The game is at 10:30 PM Eastern on ESPN.
» Here are some fun facts and stats from myself and US Soccer’s game notes:
The US is 1-23-1 all-time against Mexico on Mexican soil, including a 1-19-1 mark in Mexico City.
The US is 0-13-1 all-time against Mexico on Mexican soil during World Cup Qualifying.
The US is 1-8-1 all-time against Mexico in Azteca, including a 0-5-1 record in World Cup Qualifying.
Only five Americans have ever scored against Mexico at Azteca: Willie Roy, (1974), Rick Davis (1980), Eddie Lewis (2005), Charlie Davies (2009) and Michael Orozco Fiscal (2012).
The US has led for a combined 20 minutes in the 10 games played against Mexico at Azteca all-time.
Mexico has only lost nine games all-time in 122 total games played at Azteca (80-9-33).
Mexico is 68-1-6 in home World Cup Qualifying games all-time, the only loss coming to Costa Rica in 2001.
The US has won a World Cup Qualifying match in Mexico City before, beating Cuba, 5-2, on September 21, 1949.
» The US’s lone point against El Tri on Mexican soil during World Cup Qualifying? A 0-0 draw in 1997 and here are some video highlights of that game.
» Could Jurgen Klinsmann be playing mind games with Mexico? He has called in Michael Orozco Fiscal last minute as an injury replacement for Jermaine Jones. Here is video of MOF’s goal from August since it never gets old.
» Want a tactical preview of the game? Head over to The Shin Guardian for their preview.
» Omar Gonzalez is pumped for the game and reveals that Club American has been interested in him over the last two years.
» As for some non-USMNT links. Tab Ramos has some quotes on the U-20 World Cup draw and confirms that the team will be playing in the Toulon tournament in France in May. Freddy Adu is officially headed to Brazil. And here is a video interview with Jozy Altidore from last week courtesy of AZ’s website.
As for tomorrow, I like to think I’m a pretty level-headed guy who sides on caution, but I’m having good feelings about tomorrow for some reason. Thinking 1-1 draw.
ussoccer.com’s mini-series “Opportunity Knocks” looks at players aiming to take their chance in January Men’s National Team Camp. Historically the January Camp has been a place for players make an impression on the coaching staff and work their way into the MNT setup for the rest of the year. In the first feature, ussoccer.com talks to LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.
The USMNT defeated Tijuana 3-0 in a closed-door scrimmage today. The goals came from Jeff Parke and Will Bruin (twice). I hope US Soccer puts up some video of the scrimmage online. But they do have the latest Studio 90 with interviews with Omar Gonzalez and Chris Wondolowski.
Steven Beitashour and Edson Buddle both picked up injuries and will be out for the rest of the camp.
There have been some rumblings of a US-Germany friendly for later this year and it looks like it will be in May in D.C.
Howie posted about Paolo DelPiccolo signing with Eintracht Frankfurt earlier today and Brian Sciaretta nabbed the first interview with DelPiccolo about the move.
Sciaretta also talked to Ryan Miller about leaving Sweden and returning to the US.
Brad Friedel started for Tottenham in yesterday’s Europa League game and AVB wants to keep Friedel despite some recent Friedel-to-Blackburn rumors.
Chicago Fire and USMNT goalkeeper Sean Johnson is headed to England to train with Stoke City and Everton this offseason. USMNT goalkeeper coach Chris Woods is also the goalkeeper coach at Everton, but Jurgen Klinsmann must have some decent connections at Stoke City between this and Geoff Cameron/Maurice Edu’s transfers.
Bruce Arena told the press this week that the Galaxy will not be letting Omar Gonzalez go on any offseason loans or training stints. Gonzalez tore his ACL in his first day at training with Nurnberg last year.