Archive for the ‘Friendlys’ Category

USWNT versus New Zealand

I’m no Matt Mathai, but here are a few pics of the recent friendly between the USWNT and New Zealand in beautiful, warm, state of the art Candlestick Park. Much thanks to the US Soccer Federation for allowing me to shoot on the pitch and being helpful at every turn of the way.

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USA versus Scotland – SNAP JUDGMENTS

USMNT celebrating first half goal

Wow. When was the last time a US men’s soccer match provided so many positive talking points?  The win over Spain at the 2009 Confederations Cup?

Congratulations US fans. You just witnessed the red and white stripes romp over a not-that-bad Scotland team. Here are some of the top stories to take from the recently-concluded match in Jacksonville:

Still thirsty for success

Take a bow, Mr. Donovan. Take a bow.  In a week when Donovan was making headlines, though not necessarily “for all the wrong reasons,” the US’s all-time leading scorer stole the show Saturday night.

Donovan this week was talking about the end of his career even though it is obvious to anyone watching that he has several years left at the near-top of his game.

Donovan showed his still-dangerous speed on the break, his vision and incisive passing and the killer instinct that led to 46 international goals prior to tonight.

I think it is likely that LD returns to the LA Galaxy with a little more fire in his belly than recent months. Though, there are now more than whispers that even Donovan himself is thinking that a move away from LA may be best for all concerned.

General Bradley.  Donovan gets the headlines, but another player was arguably just as dominant as Donovan.

Bradley just finished a banner season in Serie A and showed why even the mighty Internazionale Milano are being linked with the young star.

Basically all criticisms of a young, immature Bradley have been erased by his steady progression on the field. Bradley earns the most praise these days for addressing his weaknesses and turning them into strengths.

Bradley showed his intelligence and soft first touch in the middle of the field. He only went to ground when the play dictated so. He exhibited his abilities in the final third, both on his screaming volley into the upper 90 and the direct assist to Donovan.

Think about this, the US’s best three players in South Africa were arguably Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley. Right now, they may all be playing even better in their own respects.

Jurgen turning that frown upside down after great US display.

System overload. The first four months under Juergen Klinsmann were not the most pleasant for US fans. A 1-4 record and a total of one goal scored was the immediate reward for a change of coaching regimes.

Now, to follow up a 1-0 defeat of Italy, the US just blasted Scotland 5-1. It can’t be a culmination of Klinsmann’s new system since players like Altidore and Dempsey were not even on the field, but it is the result of nine months of scheming, teaching and learning by everyone in the USMNT.

First and foremost was, not Donovan, but the three central midfielders’ performances. Bradley, Edu and Jones played in a way that previously only existed in the dreams of US fans since Jones made the switch from Germany.

All three floated across the field, cutting down Scotland’s attacks and then racing forward on the break. Jones’ long strides could be seen galloping down upon the Scottish defense on numerous occasions.

Bradley, Edu and Jones dominated the center of the park, but Scotland was assaulted by pressure coming from all over the field. Donovan, Torres and Boyd were unrelenting. Cherundolo and especially Fabian Johnson provided yet another wave of attacking verve in the final third.

An added long-term benefit is that the US player pool is poised to heap depth upon an already lethal lineup. Shea, Gatt, Gyau, Corona, Lichaj and still possibly Timothy Chandler are among a number of USMNT prospects still coming up through the ranks with varying amounts of international experience.

HOME field advantage. Often times, a US home game has looked disappointingly similar to a road match. Not Saturday night in Jacksonville.

A record southeastern crowd of 44,000+ cheered the US on to victory. The support the team has received in Nashville, Florida, Philadelphia, etc. has provided more and more evidence that this isn’t your….older brother’s US team.

Donovan with Gatorade, Dempsey with Nike, Bradley in Serie A, five different club captains in the squad and larger pro-US crowds are all evidence pointing to a higher profile US team than ever before.

I don’t know if I would go as far as others in calling this team fully “mainstream,” but better home crowds could provide the US an extra boost in this cycle of World Cup qualifying.

Can the USMNT replicate their form from tonight against Neymar and crew?

World Cup destination.  And that is the ultimate goal: qualifying for the World Cup. With the way the US performed against Italy and Scotland, it is tough to imagine the US having difficult qualifying for Brazil 2014, but qualifiers are a totally different beast.

US fans have felt the pain of seeing the US men shredded in the final 70 minutes of the 2011 Gold Cup final, the US Under-20 national team fail to qualify for the World Cup and, most recently, witnessing the heartbreaking loss by the Olympic team in the group stages of the qualifying tournament.

The US senior team was able to shake up that recent string of disappointment with Saturday’s thrashing of Scotland. In 13 days, the US will be back to playing “games that matter” and begin the process of trying to avoid “disaster.”

Qualifying is not a short process, and definitely not an easy one. Klinsmann’s approach is aimed at avoiding complacency. The US will have to have a short memory with games like Saturday’s and learn from the disappointments that always come. Then of course, if they qualify, expectations will mount once again.

Live commentary – USA versus England – Womens friendly

Hope Solo back in goal after surgery in September.

Well that was great and I can’t wait for the World Cup. Look for more coverage of the USWNT and women’s soccer in the up coming months.

TWEEEET TWEEET TWEET. And what a momentous win for England. USA’s 52 game unbeaten run in friendlies is broken as England play a great first half and good controlled second half. USA like their men started off slow and could never quite get back into it. Alex Morgan and O’Reilly were inspiring in the second half, but too little too late.

93:00 – Box goes down in the penalty area but a good call by the referee. She was looking for it. US relentless here but England are up for the task

92:00 – US win a corner and Lloyd sends in a shot that Unitt blocks. Another corner for the US but Bardsley holds onto it well.

3 minutes of extra time. A huge upset in the making here. Can England hold on or will the US get a late equalizer?

90:00 - US getting many more chances and controlling the second half, but their efforts are wide or easily dealt with.

88:00 - US win a free kick in a dangerous area, but Tobin’s effort goes agonizingly across the goal mouth. It needed a touch, but England get a goal kick.

86:00 - US pass well in open play, but Cheney’s ball is cleared well by Williams. Alex Morgan then gets the ball and sends a curling effort just wide.

82:00 – England continue to attack on the flanks, but their latest effort is ruled an offside.

80:00 - Heather O’Reilly sends an absolute gorgeous pass over the top to Alex Morgan who controls beautifully, but her effort on the bounce goes over the bar. Impressive stuff that!

78:00 – US really pressing now as Bardsley comes out but misses and Alex Morgan is there again, but stumbles over and Bardsley gathers the ball up.

76:00 - Exciting stuff here as Carli Lloyd sends in a stunner of a shot, that Bardsley palms in front of her. Alex Morgan pops up, but her off balanced shot is easily gathered by the England number 1.

75:00 - Yankey off for England and Carney is on. The US defenders breath a sigh of relief as she was terrorizing them with her speed and ball control

73:00 - Morgan is nicely set through by Cheney as gets to the byline and sends in a delicious ball, but the box is empty of US players.

72:00 – And immediately at the other end, White goes for goal as she is sandwiched by two US defenders, but her shot is a weak one and easily gathered by Solo.

71:00 – Huge chance gone awry for the US as an awful back pass by Unitt sets up O’Reilly one on one, but she scuffs the ball wide. She should have done a lot better.

69:00 – Announcer says there are over 9000 people at the game. That’s good stuff and WOOO HOOO, Alex Morgan is in. Can she continue with the role of super sub! Tobin also comes on as well.

68:00 – Hope Solo is called into action as she comes out to grab the ball from an on rushing Clarke. Good initiative from the US keeper.

66:00 - Heather O’Reilly seems to have had a shot of Red Bull and is all over the pitch and making things happen. She runs into the box and sends and inviting pass in but it goes out for a corner. From the corner, the ball bounces around and the final shot goes over the bar. Lucky for that for England.

65:00 – O’Reilly does well to win the ball and moved the ball forward, but has a momentary lapse of reason and tries a shot from distance that trickles well wide.

64:00 – Good skill by Ellen White as she expertly controls a free kick, turns and shoots, but the shot is off target. Good skill and play from the Arsenal Lady.

62:00 - US win a free kick, but US goal scorer Rapinoe sends it into row Z. Wambach is replaced by Cheney. Wambach seems to be playing with a niggling injury.

60:00 – The game has lost some of its openness from the first half, as England are hunkering down a little more and looking for the counter. The US need to be careful though, as they English players are certainly speedier.

56:00 - Darke claims they liken Ellen White to Wayne Rooney in that she is tenacious and tough. That’s about it I hope, cause Rooney has the sort of face that makes babies cry.

53:00 - England are playing well up top as well. Their speedy forwards are unnerving the US backline as Yankey and White are getting around the wing backs with ease.

49:00 – US starting the second half brightly, as they send wave upon wave off attacks. The final ball though lacks a bit of class and England can clear easily.

47:00 – Bardsley makes a great save from a Rodriguez shot. The US do a quick free kick and the resulting cross finds Rodriguez in a lot of space. Good all round play that.

PEEEP: Hope Solo is back in goal after almost a year. Great moment for her as the US start the second half.

Well, a huge upset in the making, but the US are beginning to find their feet and are showing why they are the number one ranked team in the world. Second half should be quite tasty!

46:00 - The goal has certainly switched the momentum as the US are playing with an invigored confidence. England are defending well, but would love to hear the half time whistle….and there it is.

44:00 – Kelli Smith playing as a true number 10 is all over the place for England. The veteran striker adds a lot of experience as she is flanked by two 21 year olds in Yankey and White.

39:00GOOOOAAAAAL – Rapinoe. She brings the ball up herself and the English defenders just let her scamper through as she unleashes a daisy cutter in the bottom corner and into the back of the net. Nice shot. England 2 – USA 1

35:00 - England relentless as Clarke wins another corner, but the kick is easy for Barnhart to control.

32:00 – Williams with another good free kick, but again goes over the bar. Nice free kick skill from the English defender.

29:00 – US keep charging and win a couple of corners, but England defend well. The roles seem to be reversed as England are playing like the favorite team. The US seem to be rattled and can’t seem to control the game the way they are used too.

Rachel Yankey scores a beautiful second goal for England.

26:00 – GOOOOOALLLL by Rachel Yankey. What a gorgeous goal from start to finish. Kelly Smith brings the ball all the way from her own half and waltzes un-touched just outside the US box and slots a lovely pass that Yankey controls and unleashes and unstoppable left foot drive in the top corner. England 2 – USA 0

24:00 – Ellen White for England has got some legs as she speeds past her defender and brings the ball back for Williams, but her long distance shot goes straight into the sure hands of Barnhart.

20:00 – The US like their male counter parts look dangerous on set pieces. The English defense deals with the attacks well and clear the ball.

18:00 – Williams sends a gorgeous free kick goal wards, that Barnhart pushes off the top bar. For some reason that was not a corner. Good save by the US keeper but an even better free kick from the English defender.

17:00 – O’Reilly shows a lovely bit of skill to keep the ball in and then dribble three players and caps it off by sending a gorgeous chip to Wambach, but the US forward is offside. Nice skill from Heather O’Reilly.

16:00 – Clarke receives a beautiful cross ball and wins a corner for England, but it comes to nothing. The US really need to regroup.

13:00 - The US pass the ball nicely, but their long ball lacks the necessary verve to trouble the English defenders.

11:00 – England look speedy down the flanks as White and Smith are terrorizing and getting behind the US back line. Like the USMNT, the women seem to be slow starters as well.

9:00 – US come right back and win a free kick. Lloyd, line sit up but sends in a pile driver right into the wall.

8:00 – GOOOOOOOAAAAAL – Jess Clarke for England. The attack came from the wings. Scott sends in a lovely through ball and the US fail to clear it out and the ball lands invitingly to Clarke who hammers it home. England 1  – USA 0

USWNT midefield dynamo, Carli Lloyd controls the engine for the US.

7:00 – Comparison again – England bring the ball up from their half and their defender (sorry names are not familiar just yet) is clearly fouled and instead of going down, keeps going forward. Sorry, but the men’s game, the player would have been sprawled out! Girls are tougher or at least not divers!

5:00 – Yanky takes a corner for England and Clarke gets  a touche on it and it barely goes over the bar. Close one for the US.

3:00 – England, overwhelming underdogs in this match, showing early promise as they attack down the wings and sending inviting balls into the box. The US defending well.

1:00 - So ”m going to my best to not compare the men’s game to the women’s game or both the men’s national teams, but already the USWNT showing better passing abilities then their male counter parts.

TWEEEEET: England kick it off!

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AWESOME. Looks like the fans are getting into it as the English fans seem to be taunting the US ones, as they sing the national anthem. Good to see the passion and atmosphere in the stands as it will no doubt be shown on the pitch. Good job by ESPN to get Ian Darke. I actually think Julie Foudy is pretty good and liked her at the world cup, but Darke gives this a little bit of oomph!

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Only 1 kid each exchanged for this game as the national anthems are belted out.

TSG favorite, Alex Morgan is on the bench. Hopefully we will get to see her as the game progresses.

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Line ups from London:

US –  4-4-2: Barnhart; Rampone, Lepeilbet, Boxx, Rodriquez, O’Reilly, Lloyd, Krieger, Rapinoe, Buehler, Wambach.
England - 4-3-3: Bardsley; Scott, Unitt, Williams, White, Stoney, Clarke, Scott, White, Smith, Yankey.

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Tonight in ol’ blighty, the rivalry between the two allies will continue, though in the womens game, the US are typically always the favorite. England have largely been anonymous in the womens game but in the last couple of years have come on strong and have qualified for the upcoming World cup.

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Hello All

This is mine and TSG’s first foray into live match commentary for the USWNT. Over the past year we’ve interviewed several players, but in preparation for the upcoming World Cup in Germany, we’re going focus a lot more of our efforts on the Women’s game.

Live Commentary – USA versus Paraguay

Will the real Bradley please stand up!

The US played a lot better and Sweats made some very positive changes from the last game. A disappointing result, but there are some good take-aways, namely Ream, Chandler and Lichaj. They all shone brightly as did Deuce and Agudelo. The rest of the US squad were pedestrian. If Bradley played like he did in the last quarter the whole game, i think we would have had a different scoreline.

94:00 – Wow… a last ditch shot from Jones as he sends a piledriver, but right at Villar. TWEEEEET TWEET TWEET. Game over.

92:00 - Huge mistake from Jones as he gifts the ball to Barrios who sends a low shot inches wide. Sloppy play from the US defender.

91:00 – US playing with a lot more urgency, but is it too little too late?

89:00 - US ping it around nicely, as Bradley makes great runs off the ball to free space up for his team mates as Agudelo runs the show. Unfortunately, Paraguay are up to the task.

88:00 – US’s set pieces have been poorly taken and none of them have really troubled the Paraguayan defense.

86:00 – Bradley with a wonderful shot that Villar spectacularly saves. That is much better from Bradley. This is what we want from him. To take initiative!

83:00 – Game has slowed down a bit. Prime time for a comeback!

80:00 - Bradley gets turned around off the ball as does Chandler. They both try to make up for their mistake and eventually get the ball back but tee up a Paraguayan in the process. His shot is bravely blocked by Ream.

78:00 – A beautiful strike from the Paraguayan striker (name escapes me) as he strikes in wonderfully and it hits the post and goes out. Lucky for the US as Yelldell was beaten.

76:00 – Donovan with a huge miss. Ball trickles all the way across goal from a thrown in. Donovan from 5 yards away tries to hammer it as hard as he could, when composure was called for. Should have been better from the face of US soccer.

73:00 – Lichaj playing very well as he is making some good attacking runs…isn’t he supposed to be further back than Chandler? He’s brought down and the USMNT get their 200th free kick. None of them have been particularly dangerous.

70:00 – WHO GAVE THESE COMMENTATORS PENS!!! They’re pretty awful.

69:00 – US break nicely with Agudelo at the center of it, as he grabs the ball and sends it to Donovan who is offside. He knows nothing about it and sends a random shot nowhere.

67:00 - Chandler and Lichaj combine wonderfully as the Aston Villa defender (currently on loan at Leeds) charges down the flank and set up Dempsey who skies it high as the is confused by a deflection and leans back. Nice move that, but better finishing would have leveled the game.

66:00 – Not much going on in the last 5 minutes. Yelldell finally gets called into action.

61:00 – Lichaj comes in for Altidore and goes back to the right as Chandler moves up. Interesting as Deuce slots in behind Agudelo.

58:00 - Jones and Bradley have a game of head tennis. It doesn’t end well.

55:00 – Donovan brings the ball up well and lays off to Dempsey who is immediately challenged by 2, then 3 and then 4 players. He gives it up. The commentators seem to praise him for this.

53:00 - Ream and Chandler must be automatics in the next game. Ream has more composure and skill then any other of centerbacks and Chandler is very dangerous going forward.

51:00 – Chandler showing great touch and speed and sends in a  dangerous cross. Another corner for the US.

50:00 – Some nice passing from the US starts with Jones sending a splitting pass to Donovan who one times it into the box. It goes out for a corner.

46:00 - Agudelo starting things off brightly as he runs at the defense. He passes to Altidore who pass back to Jones who sets up Agudelo. He is softly brought down in the box. Ref is correct in no penalty. US get it back and Altidore cause some problems and Villar has to make a quick save of a deflection. Bright start for the USMNY.

PEEEEEEP PEEEP and Paraguay kick it off.

Substitutions – Yelldell on for Hahnemann and Jones on for Edu.

PEEEEP – Half time - The US commentators are saying a lot of positive things, but the one I vehemently disagree with, is saying that the partnership between Edu and Bradley is good. WHAT? They are both non-existent and Bradley has give the ball away more than he has not. He is a MUCH MUCH better player than he is currently showing. Bornstein is making amends for some early mistakes and the attacking four are showing some nice interplay. Hopefully that can translate into some goals in the second half.

46:00 – 2 minutes of extra time. US certainly playing with better possession and more confidence the on Saturday, but haven’t really troubled Paraguay with any of their attacking forays.

43:00 - Hahnemann gets tested twice in 15 seconds by some long range shots and is equal to the task. Tim Ream is playing well, but Bradley is not and seems to be confused as to what his duties are.

41:00 - Another free kick for the US, about 35 yards out. Donovan sends in a ball to the far side of the goal, that Demerit charges in for but heads over. That proves to be his last play as he is clearly hurt and Bocanegra plays him in a straight swap.

38:00 – Bornstein makes a good run and sends in an even better cross. The clearing header bounces to Bradley, but he is immediately closed down (take note US defenders). Junior passes to Dempsey but his shot slices well wide. Good job by Bornstein though who is getting better as the game goes on.

33:00 – Rain coming down. Paraguay are not doing much in terms of moving forward and concede another free kick. Paraguay defend it well, but can’t string any passes together and US get the ball back.

31:00 – US playing intelligently, but their skill is betraying them as Bradley sends a smart ball over Chandlers head and into touch. The US are doing a much better job of keeping the ball then in saturday’s contest. It would be hard not too.

28:00 – US settling down a bit as they are passing the ball around. A lot of slippin’ and sliddin’ going on. US seem most dangerous on set pieces of which they are getting quite a few.

26:00 – Ream sends in a ball down the center of the pitch, that Edu lofts up in the air and Demspey takes it on the volley from about 40 yards out. Its a mean dipping shot that Villar does well to hold onto. Great strike!

23:00 – Chandler shows some great speed and positioning and runs up the wing with the ball. He starts to fall, but luckily the Paraguayan defender fouled him just outside the box. Good opportunity for the US. Donovan sends in a good ball, but Villar, unlike his Argentine counterpart holds onto it firmly.

21:00 – US as is customary come back immediately with some nice passing, but Dempsey’s floaty header goes wide. Back on the attack, Jozy wins a corner. It’s poorly taken and headed out but he first Paraguayan defender.

20:00 – I will say this until i’m blue in the face, but when you constantly give people space it becomes infectious. There was too much room for the smaller Paragyuan players in the US box.

18:00 – GOOOOOOOAALLLL – Cardozo. Off the corner, the US defending is hopeless as Demerit attempts to clear with a diving header, takes out Edu and the ball falls to the Paraguayan striker who roofs it into the back of the net. Nothing Hahnemann could have done. Paraguay 1 – US 0

17:00 – Bradley gives the ball away again and Paraguay quickly attack, but Bornstein to the rescue as he give sup a corner

15:00 – Agudelo shows good ball skill and twists and turns to give himself some room to shoot, but his effort was well blocked.

12:00 - Good to see the USMNT defending up on high. Donovan gathers ball at midfield and brings the ball up with options, but stupidly chooses Bornstein who comically falls/slides and sends the ball ballooning into the stands in an attempt to pass I believe.

7:00 – Clearly Dempsey is already getting frustrated and is coming back deep into his own half to pick up the ball. The US are giving the ball away too easily, by making awful obvious passes.

5:00 – Paraguay get a free kick 35 yards out, but it is poor and hits Altidore in the thigh.

4:00 - Well the US haven’t really learned much as they get burned down the wing and a great cross is headed just wide by the Paragyuan forward. The US are giving the ball up too easily.

2:00 – The US already showing more attacking verve in the first 90 seconds then they did in the first and most of the second half against Argentina. Positive already, though Edu is beautifully tackled by Da Silva.

1:00 – Wow that was an awful way to start the game, as the US kick it immediately out of bounds.

Agudelo put away an opportunistic strike, can he continue his good form?

TWEEEEET - And the US kick it off

So apparently it’s a 4-4-2 with the US employing their two best players out wide and out of the way…smart.

Either Clint Dempsey either is wear eye shadow or hasn’t slept well  in ages!

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Back soon with the kick off!

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Paraguay Line up: Villar; Cáceres, Mareco, Da Silva, Miguel Samudio; Vera, Molinas, Riveros, Estigarribia; Pérez, Cardozo

USA Line up: Hahnemann; Chandler, DeMerit, Ream, Bornstein; Donovan, Bradley, Edu, Dempsey; Altidore, Agudelo. Loosk like a 4 -2 -2- 2
SUBS: Spector, Bocanegra, Jones, Kljestan, Yelldell, Lichaj, Diskerud.

Sweats decides to rest some of his tried and true, which means no Howard in goal or Gooch in the back. Bocanegra on the bench. Bradley obviously likes what he sees (he would be blind if he didn’t) in his second half substitutes against Argentina, Chandler and Agudelo, who both earn a starting nod. Dozy Altidore will partner the young Red Bull striker up top with Deuce and Donovan providing support. Bornstein is out on the left, so at least this should be an entertaining game!

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Hello all fans (and possibly haters) of footie.

Welcome to the second round of international friendlies. USA welcomes Paraguay at home of country music, Nash-Vegas!

USA versus Argentina – Live commentary 3.26.11

The best players on their respective teams. Unfortunately Dempsey hasn't got much opportunity to prove it.

Agudelo and Chandler were the difference makers in the second half and if not for Howard the score would have been embarrassing. Argentina played pretty football but their finishing let them down…that and Howard was immense.

TWEEET TWEET TWEET. Well a draw. Who would have thought after the first half. Typical US resolve and never say die attitude got them a scrappy goal.

91:00 - 2 minutes of extra time. US did well to equalize but i think it really masks the fact that their defense was picked apart time and time again. Thank heavens for Howard who per usual was magnificent. Also lost was Argentina’s woeful finishing.

89:00 – Chandler has a five head. Not even a forehead… A FIVE HEAD!

86:00 - Good playing by the USMNT as they ping the ball around. Altidore sends in a good cross but it’s headed out. Messi counters and is finally dispossessed by 4 defenders. US counter very well, but again Argentina counter. Messi’s final shot is woeful though.

84:00 - Nothing comes from the corner, but the US wins a free kick in a dangerous area.

83:00 – US win a corner. Good chance here.

81:00 – ARGY BARGY!

79:00 – Game getting a little chippier and the US playing a lot better in the second half, at least on offense.

77:00 – Argentina having their away again, but Chandler blocks well. A definite for the future.

73:00 – Gooch showing his skills from his younger days as he muscles Di Maria off the ball as DeMerit loses the ball in front of the box. Good play by the veteran from Twente.

71:00 – US playing a lot better counter football and it has all to do with Agudelo who comes back for the ball and attacks with a purpose. It’s infectious as Altidore is also playing better and working hard.

69:00 – Agudelo playing with confidence as he is giving the Argentine defense something to think about.

67:00 - Chandler has been a very positive addition. His forays up front have been the impetus for all positive US attacks.

64:00 – One way to showcase how good a keeper Howard is. He has been pummeled over and over again, due to swiss cheese like defense and yet has only let in one goal. US get one chance and get one passed Andujar.

63:00 – Messi wins a free kick but his kick is poor and goes over.

61:00 - The USMNT took advantage of what they are good at by scoring of a set piece but their defense is JUST ATROCIOUS!!! If it wasn’t for Howard, the US would be down 9-1.

59:00 – GOAAAAL Agudelo scores at home from sloppy defending off a set piece. Donovan sends it in that Bocanegra sends goal wards. It is blocked by the keeper but Agudelo pokes it from inches away to equalize. Argentina 1 – US 1

58:00 – Levezzi gets acres of space as he runs at Bocanegra. Once again Howard saves the day by parrying the shot up in the air and catches it.

56:00 – Bradley doing a good job as a midfielder destroyer as he breaks up a couple of promising plays. Equal to the challenge is Mascherano who is not letting anything go by him.

52:00 - Nice play by the substitutes as Chandler crosses it into the box and Altidore flicks it down for Agudelo who sends a weak shot wide. Better and more imaginative from the US.

48:00 – Altidore and Agudelo do a good job of keeping possession and the US charge into the Argentina half. A cross comes in from Donovan, but it is cut off before Altidore can get a chance to put it in the back of the net nice positive play by the US.

47:00 - Argentina take over from where they left off as Di Maria has a quick shot that goes just over the bar.

46:00 – Looks like Agudelo is coming in for Jones and Chandler on for Spector.

PEEE PEEP and the second half is underway.

TWEEET TWEEET Half time. Well if the US are going to play so many players behind the ball, they can’t just sit there. THEY HAVE TO CHALLENGE the ball. That way if they get beat, there is someone right there to challenge again. What they are doing right now is just waiting for Argentina to take it to them which they gladly  are doing.

On offense…well its hard to play offense when you don’t have the ball, but their brief forays up field do look positive. Dempsey and Donovan need to take charge.

45:00 – Argentina continuing to dominate as they ignore the fact the US has defenders. The US are playing their role as spectators well. CHARGE THE FRIGGIN BALL!

42:00 – GOOOOALLLL - Cambioasso. Another display of ping pong passing as Messi gets the ball on the byline and slots into the middle, the first shot is saved but the rebound falls to Cambiasso and he hammers it into the back of the net. A wel deserved goal. On a positive note, the US defense was holding up somewhat up until then. Lesson to be learned. DON’T site back and wait. Argentina 1 – US 0

39:00 – US playing much better as they attack more, but lose the ball and it becomes the Messi show as he scampers through everyone and once again his shot is well saved by Howard.

37:00 – Deuce and Donovan show what they can do as Donovan holds the ball up and sends Deuce through, who shoots with his right, but its blocked, so he shoots the rebound with his left and that is well saved. Take note young US players…learn to shoot with both feet!

34:00 – Howard, per usual, is sparing the US’s blushes as he holds onto a ball as Di Maria waltzes through 4 US defenders who remain rooted to the spot. As good as Argentina is their finishing is poor.

32:00 – Now they’re giving a clinic on long range passing as Cambiasso brings the ball down and slots one for Di Maria to latch onto, but his shot is going wide as Howard pushes it even further wide. The US defense is looking slow.

30:00 – US gets a free kick, which they are always dangerous at, but Donovan’s (who has been absent from this game) delivery is poor.

28:00 – Spectacular passing all within 3 feet of each other as Messi’s shot flashes wide and no one in the middle to tap it in. Gorgeous stuff that.

24:00 - Messi goes down from a shot to the head from Gooch. Accidental but that has to hurt.

23:00 – Howard comes out bravely to deny Messi from a great bass by Banega. Argentina passing the ball at will.

20:00 – Bradley playing well as the defensive midfielder and has made several key blocks.

18:00 - Bocanegra gets hosed by i believe Levezzi as he waltzes through the defense and wins a corner. Nothing comes of it though.

17:00 - Would like to see that again, as that could have been a handball in the box against Argentina from a brief counter by the USMNT.

15:00 - Argentina playing an excellent job of keep-a-way as it is 5 against 10 in the US red zone. USMNT playing decent D.

12:00 - Messi shows his class and completely free’s up Di Maria in the box who for some odd reason decides to cross it back HARD, when a shot on goal could have produced better results.

11:00 – US work it well but Edu can’t get around 3 players and Argentina counter well. Spector does well to block a Rojo shot.

9:00 –  Gooch gets worked by Levezzi as his knee gives out or was it his ankle and he gets caught in possession. Nothing comes of it though.

8:00 - Messi’s first pass is not his best and it’s half cleared to Di Maria who has a shot straight at Howard who holds it well.

6:00 - Messi playing very shallow as cheers from the crowd as the ball is glued to his feet. Ball seems deflated.

2:00 - All Argentina in the opening up minutes, though Dempsey latches on to a bad pass and runs all the way into the box, but his shot is weak . Notice Messi playing D the whole way!

So cold out there that this simian is missing his....

PEEEEP. USMNT kicks it off in their shiny new tops!

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A moment of silence for Japan. Classy call US federation!

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Do they usually do anthems for friendlies? The place is packed!

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Argentina: Andujar; Rojo, Milito, Burdisso, Zanetti; Mascherano, Cambiasso, Banega; Lavezzi, Messi, Di Maria

And now back to footie. Looks like a great atmosphere at the meadowlands. WOW that is a lot of kids to exchange!

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So this might be blasphemous on this site, but am watching Butler versus Florida right now. I live, eat and breath soccer and it is by far my favorite sport, but I might say that the NCAA tourney could be the best sports tournament on the planet. No BS (except maybe the play in games), always upsets and cause its “amateur”, the players are playing for glory. They work their ass off and there is very little prima donna crap going on. Oh and go UCONN (when I moved to the states it was to CT and the Whalers were sent packing a few years later)

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Still waiting on the official Argentine lineup, but as expected from BB, the US line up is probably their most experienced as well as their most predictable. Hope “sweats” experiments a bit. For me the big question is whether Deuce can replicate his club form on the international stage. Personally I think Dozy gets in his way.

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USA: Howard; Spector, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra (c); Jones, Bradley, Edu; Dempsey, Donovan; Altidore

Argentina:

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Back with lineups and kick off shortly

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I hear it’s cold enough to re-configure the anatomy of a brass monkey out there at the Meadowlands. Our main man Matt Mathai is out patrolling the sidelines with “axe” in hand. Hopefully we will be seeing some of his stellar photographs in the up coming days. His brief current report from NJ is as follows “IT. IS. FREAKING. COLD!! I have on 4 layers of pretty sophisticated cold and wind gear and it feels like I’m wearing a tank top.”

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Well we’re about 45 minutes from game time and there is not much to be said that hasn’t been said on our site or by our intelligent followers. This will be the first test (i see Brazil as a “lets push the USMNT hype a bit from the world cup” game) as to what we shall see in upcoming tournaments. They key is to see what Bradley senior does with what he learns today in the game against Paraguay.

US versus Brazil – Post your comments here

Is this his last game in charge of the USMNT?

A very strong line from the US, though no Dempsey and Altidore is on the bench. Brazil seem to be going with a younger team…wish England would follow suit.

I’ll leave you all in the capable hands of Tuesday!

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Lineups
USA - Howard, Spector, Bocanegra (C), Bradley, Gonzalez, Donovan, Bedoya, Bornstein, Buddle, Edu, Feilhaber
Brazil – Victor, Alves, Silva, Luiz, Lucas, Santos, Robinho (C), Ramires, Pato, Ganso, Neymar

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So many questions tonight, least of all, is this Bradley’s last game in charge of the USMNT before he goes elsewhere, namely Villa Park?

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Howdy all – We have “I Like Tuesday” tweeting from up on high in the press box and Matt Mathai on the ground taking photos. There will be no live commentary for tonight’s game but feel free to comment here.

Real Madrid versus Club America pictures

Some pictures from Wednesday’s game in San Francisco. I shot at too high an ISO, forgot my flash, and basically brought a knife, nay a spoon to a gun fight.

Still Real Madrid looked good (as did Club America in the second half), and if it wasn’t for Ochoa, would have won by 3 or 4 goals!

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