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Defense carries U-20 USMNT into playoff for U-20 World Cup spot

The US U-20 Men’s National Team has had an eventful trip to Jamaica in their quest to qualify for the U-20 World Cup this summer in New Zealand. After getting only one point from their first two matches, it looked like they needed to win all of their remaining three matches just to even make it into a playoff for a spot in New Zealand. After beating both Jamaica and Aruba, they came into today’s match against Trinidad & Tobago needing at least a draw to clinch a spot in the playoff, and a win to give them the top seed overall in the playoff. After 78 minutes Bradford Jamieson IV finally broke the deadlock and put the US up 1-0, finishing a great counterattack from Junior Flores and Paul Arriola to ensure that the US would be in the playoff match this Saturday, January 24th. Prepare for some epic music with the highlights that might be better suited for a slow motion battle scene.

 

The US dominated much of the match, creating more dangerous chances than T&T. Romain Gall was the danger man early on, but he was unable to finish his opportunities in the 6th and 30th minute. T&T’s one chance in the first half was in the 10th minute which they put wide. Emerson Hyndman almost gave the US a lead in the 40th as he ripped a shot after beating three players in the box, but the keeper was able to parry. Jamieson had two good looks early in the second half, including a shot that was cleared off the line in the 49th minute. Both Paul Arriola and Junior Flores came on as subs after the 60th minute, and both looked quite lively. Flores hit Arriola with a nice pass that created a four on three break for the US, and Jamieson slotted home the winner far post from Arriola’s cutback pass into the box, allowing both the US and all of the team’s followers to breathe a sigh of relief. Flores was unlucky not to score in the 85th minute when the T&T keeper made another nice save. The match finished 1-0, which allowed the US to surpass Guatemala on goal differential and give them the top seed in the playoff, as long as Honduras doesn’t score nine goals against Canada (you can do it, hat). Apparently the playoff matches are not 2nd of each group vs 3rd of the other group like previously published, but this is CONCACAF so really that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The critical part is that the US has clinched a playoff match, likely against El Salvador, unless Cuba beats them tomorrow.

bradford

Go celebrate with your people B! (aka Mom and Dad)

 

Surprisingly enough, the US defense has really carried them so far in this tournament. Coming in to qualification it was the midfield that was receiving all of the plaudits with so much dangerous attacking talent, but the back-line of Shaquell Moore, Matt Miazga, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and John Requejo alongside keeper Zack Steffen have been impressive, giving up only two goals, one of which was a wonderstrike in the 93rd minute. Conditions on the pitch in Jamaica have been less than optimal to say the least, and on more than one occasion a referee has made a befuddling call, yet the back-line has kept it together and defended admirably, allowing few chances and limiting mistakes on pitches that have been particularly conducive to them. Each of these guys looks to have a promising career ahead of him, and Carter-Vickers and Moore have both especially been impressive on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. It looks likely that the Philadelphia Union will be disappointed by Steffen’s decision to make a move to Freiburg instead of play for them (especially considering how much they love keepers) as he has been very solid, making some big saves. Hopefully the back line has one more clean sheet in them for Saturday to help send the Young Yanks on a summer vacation to New Zealand.

U-20 USMNT in Trouble in Jamaica

The US U-20 team has gotten itself into some trouble in their quest to qualify for the U-20 World Cup this Summer in New Zealand. First up was El Salvador 0n 1/9.

A little too reminiscent of the senior team isn’t it. Creating good chances, not converting, getting a single goal, giving up a late goal that leads to a draw. Not good.

Next was Panama 1/11.

Ouch. A serious lack of cohesion and no great chances led to this result. The shoddy refereeing certainly didn’t help them either. Now the US faces three games in a row that they likely must win just to get into the second or third place spot which would get them a spot in the one game playoff with a team from the other group. 2 vs 3 play each other from the opposing groups, here’s how things stand currently.

u20s standings

 

Not good. This team is likely the most talented US team that has tried to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, they have players spread around the globe playing for big professional teams and guys who are already getting playtime in the MLS. They look short of ideas and composure in the final third though, which has seriously cost them so far. They desperately need either Bradford Jamieson IV, Romain Gall, or Lynden Gooch to step up and start delivering some goals up top. They have matches with Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica left, and need at least 7 points to get into the playoff. Here’s to hoping Tab Ramos and his coaching staff can figure it out ASAP and get these guys back to the form they showed during 2014.

US Roster Finalized for 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship

It’s 2015 and that means important international soccer tournaments! First up is the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which runs Jan. 9-24 in Jamaica for a spot in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand later this summer. Four teams from this tournament will qualify for the U-20 World Cup, and to get an automatic spot the US needs to finish first in their group of six. Their group matches are as following: against Guatemala on Jan. 9, followed by Panama (Jan. 11), Aruba (Jan. 14), Jamaica (Jan. 18) and Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 21). The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results to form a playoff group. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

U20 MNT starting ix

This is a deep and talented squad, with six MLS players who will likely play a big role in these matches, and four teammates at Club Tijuana also making up part of the squad. The full roster is below.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Conor Donovan (N.C. State), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Unattached), John Requejo (Club Tijuana), Tyler Turner (Orlando City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana), Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham)
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Ben Spencer (Molde FK), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)

The midfield in particular is stacked, with Romain Gall, Lynden Gooch, Junior Flores, Emerson Hyndman, and Kellyn Acosta all highly touted and bringing a lot of attacking firepower to the table. Head coach Tab Ramos said “This is a deep group, particularly in the midfield, so we will have some tough decisions to make” about the final roster and the depth that is at his disposal. The crazy part is that if this team does qualify for the U-20 World Cup, it could get even stronger with the additions of both Gedion Zelalem and Rubio Rubin joining the squad for the World Cup. In case you want an idea of who is who and how this team plays (spoiler alert: they look gooooood), check out highlights of the USMNT U-20’s two tune up matches against Honduras in Honduras at the end of 2014, where they won both games 2-1.

All the USA matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2, so you can get your international soccer fix early in 2015 and hopefully it will lead to a U-20 World Cup spot that would put some of the brightest US talent up against that of the world this summer.

Where to Watch the MLS Cup in San Francisco

mlscup

 

It’s MLS Cup time. The upstart New England Revolution takes on the favored Los Angeles Galaxy in LA at the Home Depot Center this Sunday, 12/7. If you happen to not be attending the match, but live in the Bay Area and want to enjoy the game with a bunch of great people and support a tremendous cause, then you should head to McTeague’s Saloon in San Francisco Sunday for the game. Local soccer organizations FootySF, San Francisco City Football Club, American Outlaws San Francisco Chapter, The San Francisco Football Supporters Association and I Play For SF will all be there for the game, and there will be drink specials and a raffle, with all proceeds support Street Soccer Bay Area teaching life and job skills to underserved youth and young adults through soccer.

There is nothing better than enjoying some tasty adult beverages while watching the MLS Cup and supporting a great cause while doing it. Get to McTeague’s early Sunday so you can get your raffle tickets before the noon kickoff and win some of the sweet prizes. Last time a game worn, signed Chris Wondolowski USMNT jersey was one of the prizes. I’m sure the prizes this time around will be just as awesome. Be there to support a great cause and enjoy the MLS Cup. RSVP for the event and get more details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/308811515988867/

mlscupsf

USA vs. England at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies

The US U-17 men’s national team has been impressive this year. They are quite fun to watch, and have some potential future stars in the likes of Christian Pulisic, Haji Wright, and Luca de la Torre. They are at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies this week, as they played their first match today, and take on Australia on Sunday at 3pm EST. The matches are being streamed on YouTube, which is really handy, especially since you can see the full match after the game if you missed it. So if you missed today’s match where they took on England, clear your schedule for the next two hours and enjoy.

USA vs Ireland preview: Five players to watch

After a challenging match with Colombia on Friday, the US takes on Ireland tomorrow. Instead of a typical preview, we decided to focus on five players and some specific things to watch for on Tuesday. Trust us, you can’t help but focus on these things going forward, they will practically consume you.

First, a very important tactical video focused on a couple critical players for Tuesday. Pay special attention to Alejandro Bedoya and his phenomenal movement here in case the embed doesn’t work.

Landed in Dublin Suavemente @alebedoya #stache #usmnt #izi #roomies 😂🙈 🎵🎤

A video posted by Cameron 🇺🇸 Geoff (@geoffcameron) on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:08am PST

 

You see those eyes? They are moving like crazy. That look is just extremely hard to defend. The stache really compliments the movement well. It’s clear he has been training hard of late. We can’t ignore the unsung hero of this video though, Geoff Cameron. He really sets up the strengths of Bedoya quite well, and assists his killer performance, as a great backup singer does. The real question for Tuesday and Cameron is if he is going to go for the mustache alone. It has a lot of potential, but we will see which tactical look he comes out with tomorrow.

Next, two up and comers with the US of late. First is Greg Garza, a recent TSG favorite with a lot of potential.

garzastache

He’s showing some serious promise here, but clearly has some room to grow. Once his mustache fills out a bit, it will be keeping up with more established players like Mustache Diskerud that have been with the team longer and have really put together full showings. We can only hope that he continues with this good run of form he has had and keeps growing with the top lip side of the squad.

Another factor in the match will be how Jozy is deployed.

Needs a bit of work up top.

Needs a bit of work up top.

He’s looking really strong on the outside, but the stache just isn’t fully there. Could he switch it up and ditch the beard and go stache only? Maybe he ditches the mustache altogether? Jozy really has a wide variety of looks he can pull out here, it will be exciting to see the haerial decisions he makes for tomorrow.

Finally, the x factor who is just undefendable currently. Mustache Diskerud.

I'm ready for anything you throw at me.

I’m ready for anything you throw at me.

Who can defend this man right now? No one, because they are all running the other direction, looking for safety. What. A. Stache. Phenomenal work rate. Tactically beautiful. It’s clearly in late season form, looking to win the title. With these flowing locks and dirt stache, Mustache Diskerud is on another level right now. One might even say it is Kljestan-esque. The only question is, can it get better? Can it haunt defenders, viewers, and my dreams after tomorrow’s match? Only time will tell.

Honorable mention to the following guys, who almost made the shave, I mean cut.

It's just not there yet, but someday!

It’s just not there yet, but someday!

Mr. Consistent.

Mister Consistent.

Sign the two on the right up, they are stars in the making.

Sign the two on the right up, they are stars in the making.

Finally, we leave you with this parting thought:

I'm everywhere. On the field and off. Trust me.

I’m everywhere. On the field and off. Trust me.

All the goals from the 1966 World Cup as GIFs

An awesome post popped up on reddit this week where a user uploaded GIFs of all the goals from the 1966 World Cup. Some amazing strikes in here, here are a couple of my favorites.


What a hit from Garrincha!


Franz Beckenbauer take a bow.

Can’t forget the eventual World Cup winner, creating the original need for goal line review.

Go check out all the goals here on r/soccer, it is a pretty incredible compilation. Some serious stunners in here. One thing is for sure, goalkeeping has come a long way.

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