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Michael Bradley Toronto FC Bound via sources

Is America’s ultimate prodigal son returning?

On Tuesday, a source intimated to me that Michael Bradley was headed out of Roma.

On Wednesday the news became cataclysmic. Bradley, according to ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman, was headed to MLS’s Toronto FC–no doubt, inferred, through the work of former AEG frontman Tim Leiweke. Alexi Lalas later confirmed the report that Twellman was going to be Red.

Now, an official announcement awaits?

Shane O’Neill & 25 Others Called Into Camp Klinsmann

Come on down the Rapids. Well deserved for outlaw Shane.

Come on down the Rapids. Well deserved for outlaw Shane.

Shane O’Neill, Eric Alexander, Luis Gil… Yedlin. Nice work Herr Klinsinator.

US camp opens January 6th in California and jumps midstream to Sao Paulo through the 25th and then finishes up back at the Artist Formerly Known as HDC in early February.

The roster:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (10): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) -

ESPN World Cup Promo #1

If you read this publication enough, you know there is a decidedly objecting view on how the prep work for World Cup 2014 is going down (like most World Cups.)

That said an ESPN spot here promoting the World Cup is well done.

Your World Cup 2014 USMNT Jersey Buyer’s Guide



It’s that critical time for US fans.

No, not the draw.

Not the World Cup either, more important. Like the opposite of January Camp important.

It’s time to decide whose US jersey you are going to rock for the foreseeable future, the one that will give you soccer cred at the bar (Wow, he must read TSG is what everyone will be thinking) and if you are lucky enough to be headed to Brazil, to rock with pride as you support America.

Just in time for the holidays too!

Don’t take this decision lightly. A ‘friend’ of mine has a Freddy Adu slate gray US jersey at the back of his closet that he fears wearing in daylight for the incredible shame that would be cast upon his family.

Here to guide you through this strenuous decision are Eric Giardini, a Roma expert whose middle name is actually ‘Bald Eagle’, and Matt Biggerstaff, a true Jose Torres fan who once got Chuck Blazer to tell him to fuck off on Twitter (Editor’s note: It was actually “idiot,” but same difference.).
Remember, if you pick the wrong jersey based on their advice, it’s your fault, but when someone buys you a drink at the bar based on your perfect jersey selection, they get 10% of that beer. Each.

Without further Freddy, we take to the TSG stage to discuss the pros, cons and statements you’ll make at the bar flashing the last name of somebody you probably don’t know and certainly don’t play as well as.


Alejandro Bedoya

Evan TV's new Bachelor has one....just sayin'

Even TV’s new Bachelor has one….just sayin’

B: Has anyone had a bigger 2013 than TSG’s ‘Ambassador to Brazil‘?

Maybe Aaron Ramsey, but certainly no one else in a US shirt. Bedoya had a great Gold Cup, made a big move to Nantes in France, has helped them to the top half of the French table so far, and has been popping up in US starting lineups all fall.

Right now, I see him as the impact sub-possible starter who could make a big difference in Brazil for the US.

He is also young, so this is a good investment for the future, plus you will quickly be able to tell if someone has followed the US more than the highlights on ESPN when they come up to you and ask if your last name is Bedoya and look rather confused when you say no. No please, tell me more about this up and coming ‘Dempsey’ guy, I have never heard of him sir.

E: I can’t really argue against Bedoya especially given his current form (actually scored again as of writing this) for Nantes, but you are digging deep into the jersey hipster well on this one. I think December might be a bit too early to splash the cash for Alejandro, but once May comes around I think you’ll be in a better position to see how he will fit in with the team.

Buy, but wait until Spring. (Editor’s note: There are no “puts” and “calls” on soccer kits. Our apologies.)

Michael Bradley

B: Mr. Bradley is a terrible pick for me.

Mainly because I picked up his red and white hoops jersey last summer as I saw him emerging as a monster in the midfield. Now, after a great season for Roma and a World Cup qualifying campaign that cemented him as the best player in CONCACAF, you could say Bradley is the easy choice for any true US fan who understands what drives the team.

Really, what screams SEX APPEAL more than a Lex Luthor looking fellow who maintains the midfield like a well oiled clock tower?

Lots of things. In fact, almost everything. But sex appeal doesn’t win you World Cups, just ask SEXY ALEXI. No really, that is the title of this clip, and the top result when you google sexy Alexi Lalas. I wouldn’t know, my computer googled it on its own. Really.

E: I think this will end up being the top selling jersey leading up to World Cup 2014.

He’s running the midfield for the USMNT and has managed to eek out some quality minutes in the Roma midfield, hopefully keeping the “BRADLEY NEEDS TO GO OUT ON LOAN IN JANUARY!” cries at bay. This shirt will ultimately prove to be timeless and could be worn for years and years and years.

Buy, unless kryptonite is your secret weakness.


Jozy Altidore

B: I’m guessing this will be a hot pick for 2014, and I certainly say jump on the bandwagon. I want to see Jozy succeed ever so much, and hopefully he does in Brazil. He’s played quite well in the US shirt of late, and everyone likes forwards, especially young talented ones who hang out with Money Mayweather. So grab that Jozy shirt, and know that you will never be the only one with it on, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.


(BTW, Remember that time that Jozy was late for practice because of sheep. Yup.)

E: I was this close to purchasing a Jozy jersey for the last world cup but ultimately went with Clint Dempsey because, duh.

That being said, Jozy’s two year run both club (well, maybe not recently) and country has him at least 1-A to Bradley’s 1 status at the top of the jersey list.

Let’s face it, everyone loves a striker when it comes to jerseys. Who here has the jersey of a defender? Raise your hand.

I do, but that’s for another story.

Point being, get the shirt of the guy who can’t stop scoring for the US and get ready to hug the guy in Brazil (or at the bar) next to you with the same Altidore jersey.

Buy before he scores more goals for Sunderland and the jersey transfer fee goes up.


Brek Shea



B: Let’s put it this way, if Brek manages to crack the roster and then does something amazing at the World Cup, you will be the only guy at the bar with his shirt, and people will likely hail you as a visionary and buy you shots of Jack Daniels (guessing that is what Brek drinks.)

If not, at least your life will be full of laughter, mainly people laughing at you for purchasing a jersey for a guy who is struggling to break into a bottom five EPL team. The one positive you will always have with this jersey on is that you can rock your hair any way you like. Literally. Just tell them you are trying to look like Mr. Shea and BOOM good to go.

E: When I lived in DC, my friends and I would go to the bar to watch US games and had a longstanding agreement that if Brek managed to find the back of the net, we would all do Jager-bombs because THAT is what Brek surely drinks. Unfortunately, he never managed to score during that time and nobody I watch games with here wants to take them with me.

Wait, what were we talking about?

It pains me to say this, but Buy for the LOLz, Pass for the soccer.

John Brooks



B: Dark horse World Cup starter right here, especially since he hasn’t been fully capped. Realistically, this dude is going to be gooooood.

This is the one ‘Yeah I follow the US really intently and decided to get this jersey because I’m both knowledgeable and good looking’ pick that I am really on board with.

I think he will be a mainstay for the USMNT for years to come, so you will be looking good in this jersey for the next 9-13 years I do believe. May not get a ton of credit in 2014 though, so it really depends if you are more of a stale donut now or a fresh donut later type of person.

E: John Brooks will be the man and will hopefully potentially solidify the US backline for the next 10 years. However, if we are basing this purely for the World Cup next summer, I think you have to Pass for now because I’m not 100% sure he a) plays for the US and b) that he makes the trip to Brazil. Once he gets cap-tied, you’ll have to fight me to get to the head of the line to get his shirt, but until then, I’d save that money for someone else.

Fabian Johnson

Let the record reflect that this here publication called it first. Fab J as the USMNT Chief Hipster. Sayin'!

Let the record reflect that this here publication called it first. Fab J as the USMNT Chief Hipster. Sayin’!

B: Any excuse to run around yelling “WE’VE GOT A BETTER JOHNSON THAN YOU” is something I am always for.

Wearing your Johnson with pride certainly will make all others respect you, even when it is hard to do so. Okay, I’ll stop now. Fab seems primed for a big World Cup, and will play a critical role for US plus he will be around for a while. This is both a good investment currently and for the future.

E: What would buying a Fabian Johnson jersey say about you? Nobody quite knows what your best position is or how best to use you. Do you want people to think that about you? I don’t know. I think he’s a great player and definitely is an upgrade at a position but nobody knows where? Is he a left back? Left mid? The uncertainty worries me. Eddie Johnson I may have been on board with but Fabian gets a Pass, like that sexy pass he gave Jozy in Seattle.

Aron Jóhannsson

E: Everyone has been all a flutter about Aron Jóhannsson and why shouldn’t they be. He can’t stop scoring for AZ and he finally got off the snide for the US down in Panama. The kid is a true fox in the box striker that the US has been lacking since the days Joe-Max Moore was foxing that box. The fact that he nearly started an international relations fiasco with Iceland is icing on the cake.

B: Your heart may be racing E, but at least spell his name right! You forgot an S (E Note: :(). Outside of that, young Kevin ‘Iceman’ Bacon certainly looks like he is going to be rocking the US shirt for a long time and he looks goooooooddddddd. Hey world, guess what? America has talent up top, and they are young, good looking, ready to steal your women and poach your goals. Prepare yourselves, the American goals are coming.

Buy NOW, before Iceland tries to purchase it first.

Fly like a butterfly, shoot like .... one too?

Fly like a butterfly, shoot like …. one too?

E: Terrence Boyd may not make it to Brazil and if he does he’ll probably get #23 and sit down at the end of the bench next to Nick Rimando, but I don’t care! I Iove it! The kid loves America! He’s probably the most ‘murrican player the US has as proven by the AMERICAN FLAG TATTOO HE GOT ON HIS ARM! Just scroll through the man’s Instagram feed and it puts the rest of us that were born in America to shame. Do it for apple pie, the Statue of Liberty, and for Bald Eagles.

B: Terrence gets on the field in that last friendly and immediately looks for a shot on goal. He’ll shoot from anywhere, and has the confidence that it will go in. Plus, dude’s a boss. He and Brek probably go out and shoot those guns together on the weekend, then seduce good looking European ladies after. Just look at that Instagram feed, how can you not like him? He busts his ass for the shirt, so you should bust your ass to get it.

Buy if you love AMERICA and FREEDOM and EAGLES.

Don’t if you are BORING.

Mix Diskerud

E: I like Mix. I reaaaalllly like Mix. I thought he’s be great every time I’ve seen him in a US shirt and thought last year’s this summer’s Gold Cup was almost a “breaking out” party for Mix. He’s young so he should be around for a while and there’s some old folks currently in that midfield *cough* Jermaine *cough* and he should very well prove to be the perfect complement to MB for years to come.

B: DAT HAIR. Mix seems like the type of guy you grab dinner with before you go out, you wingman for each other (he clearly doesn’t need the help) at the bar, and then you go over to his place to play FIFA the next afternoon before you all go play pickup in the park. Sorry Mix, I just want to be your friend, that’s all. You play nice futbol too.

Buy, and hope somehow it makes you grow magic locks too.


E: Kind of a cop out, but whatever, we’ll all deal with it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more inclined to purchase just straight up blank jerseys. Classic, timeless, elegant, can wear out for a night on the town, and you won’t have to worry about Player XYZ not living up to his potential.

B: BOOORRRINNNNGGG. Life is a gamble E, live a little. Too many of the US kits have been far from timeless for this to be a good idea. If you don’t want to take a risk, pick up a Donovan or a Dempsey kit, those are both timeless players for your shirt and no one can harass you about how the guy on the back of your shirt is playing somewhere in the third division in Brazil (thanks Freddy Adu!)

PASS, we are going to live a little here!

E: Fine, no blank, but whatever you do, don’t put your own name on the back of the jersey. Unless it is actually your jersey. I remember way back in college I was sitting in class and this girl in front of me had a USWNT jersey with a name on it that I didn’t recognize. “She put her own name on the shirt,” I scoffed to myself. The next day, I was flipping through the school newspaper and there was a piece on that girl who had just gotten back from the 2006 U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia. In that instance, it’s allowed.

Click for our go-to for almost all of the jerseys we just educated you on.

The American Outlaws

B: Not ready to commit to a jersey? Start with a shirt and a glorious American flag bandanna from the finest support Team America knows. This will be the best $24 you ever spend, on an annual basis.

Buy it yesterday, what are you waiting for?!

The USA World Cup Draw: United States, Germany, Ghana & Portugal

We got this.

We got this.

Germany, Ghana, United States and Portugal.

Group of Holy F!

Quick Hits: USA 0 – Austria 1

"Where did all these defenders come from?!"

“Where did all these defenders come from?!”

An altogether more entertaining game from the States against Das Team of Austria coming off a malaisical (new word) canvas of work in Scotland.

Some quick hit breakdowns:

• The US has been found out! Back to the tinker board, Vasquez.

Beasley's distribution

Beasley’s distribution

The above image is the passing chart of DaMarcus Beasley.

Not wholly awful, but what you don’t see above is any incising passes in the attacking third.

This was the second game in a row that the US has been well-scouted.

Against Scotland, Barry Bannan immediately ran at DaMarcus Beasley every time he got the ball in possession looking up field.

It was the same tactic used by Austria on Tuesday. Jurgen Klinsmann and Martin Vasquez have been milking the left side of the US attack ad nauseum since Beasley played back-to-backs against Costa Rica and Mexico in March.

The staff will have to both come up with some wrinkles to free Beasley and have a Plan B as they prepare for Brazil.

Now the good news is–thanks to the switch field work of Michael Bradley–the US adjusted nicely. Geoff Cameron got up the field and had excellent handles in possession.

Cameron's passing schematic.

Cameron’s passing schematic.

It stands to reason that if you run an extra defender out on the US left rear flank that the right side can open up if you move the ball quickly laterally.

That’s exactly what Roma man Bradley did methodically on Tuesday.

Bradley gets the right flank going.

The New One Direction! Bradley gets the right flank going.


• Speak Up [defensively]!

To any media hound and likely the average fan, the US’s troubles in defense were elementary yesterday.

Way too much space offered between the midfield and back line(s).

Some of this was by design of the US attack–Jermaine Jones clearly was authorized to get forward more and he executed on the directive.

However most of this was due to the backline consistently cheating backwards to guard against the pace of the Austrian forwards. With Brooks and Gonzalez dragging themselves deep and with Jones pushing up, it became Michael Bradley vs. [whole slew of Austrians] in the midfield on turnovers upfield.

You're World Cup, Jonesy!

You’r World Cup, Jonesy!

There are a few ways to correct this: (1) Watch your turnovers in the middle of the field…..[quick interlude]

[Pick  it up Jermaine! Failures of execution on proper passes happen all the time, but the Shalke man must improve his decision-making in the middle of the field. It's one thing to miss a forward pass--that's acceptable. Jones is not a creative midfielder by birth/genetics/tutelage but he's asked to play one on Team Klinsmann. That said, it's knowing when to make a pass or shield that ball and not give up a turnover where you team gets caught out. There is a rather large sampling size recently that suggests that Jones is not improving here. Back to our bulletpoint..]

(2) Put pressure and shield the ball from forward advancement with your midfielders upfield. The US seems hit or miss here. This is something that Bradley’s teams tended to do really well but for some reason–attack creation on the brain–Klinsmann’s teams seem to be inconsistent with and (3) Step up higher and close down the space, trusting your goalie to come out on the one or two over-the-top balls that he may face.

However, those are all fundamental things that likely these players know.

Tim Howard was the captain yesterday. I’m sure he’s a good captain.

However in the middle of the field–and I’m sure Klinsmann was yelling it from the sideline; I know I heard Kyle Martino yelling it from the broadcast booth–there was no one taking charge and assertively demanding that the backline play true.

That’s a problem and it should be simple to solve. It needs to be rectified.

• Wingo Bingo

The US’s board failed miserably here on Friday; however on Tuesday there were some glimmers of hope. Brek Shea and Ale Bedoya didn’t burn up the pitch and force Austria to defend them, but they were more proactive in movement.

You have to believe the additions of Fabian Johnson–to the Shea role–and Zusi to the Bedoya role will alleviate some of the concerns here though.


• Agree again with Kyle Martino in that it looks like Klinsmann is really trying to find a slot for Kljestan. That said, Kljestan is really excelling at the unencumbered deep-lying CM at Anderlecht. That position doesn’t exist on the US and will be under more duress at World Cup 2014.

• Not to belabor the Jones point, but while many may say it’s the centerbacks (a good argument) or the fullbacks (less of a good argument) that are the key positions to figure out before Brazil, it may just be Jones–not even “the other CM.”

It is clear to this viewer, that Klinsmann–and I think rightfully–doesn’t want to burn out Michael Bradley by pushing him up the field the entire game to fight in traffic for creation. It’s also clear, by the way, that Bradley is the guardian angel of the backline. There would often by a whole lot more brewing for the opponent’s attack if Bradley wasn’t shielding.

Likewise–and perhaps correctly–Klinsmann wants two midfielders with steel in the midfield and they just don’t exist. Danny Williams is not quite there; Maurice Edu can’t get on the field and has proved that he’s a liability often with the rock. Mix Diskerud is offering more and more offensively by the month, but he’ll get eaten up defensively at his current level in Brazil. Kljestan is not the answer.

Therefore, it’s Jones. And the US success in Brazil may just depend on how well he plays within himself and how few mistakes he makes.

• Solid game for Geoff Cameron. He’ll be a solid to very good centerback one day when someone gives him reps there, but he’s more comfortable outside and if he shows he can stay 1v1 with quicker players, he’ll get a shot to win that gig.

• Ice skate lessons and fundamental cliff notes for John Brook and Omar Gonzalez today.

• And lest it not be said, good attacking movement yesterday. Solid ability from the US to process out their errors from Friday and come back and execute if not score on an attacking game plan.


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