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January 2016

Goal of the Week: Brian McBride v. Guatemala, September 2000

After an away draw to Guatemala and the most CONCACAF of endings in Costa Rica, the US found itself in last place in the semifinal round of  2002 World Cup Qualifying.  A 7-0 assault against Barbados helped calm the panic, but the US still treated the home match against Guatemala as a must-win.  Continue reading “Goal of the Week: Brian McBride v. Guatemala, September 2000”

Two Reasons “What if the Best Athletes Played Soccer?” Misses The Point

Every World Cup year, someone writes an article speculating on the untapped potential of US soccer.  The panacea is athletes from other sports – usually football and basketball – transferring their skillset to the soccer field.  Rather than rehash this tired hypothetical (already wisely debunked here, here, here, and here), I want to explore two things embedded in the question: the changing nature of athleticism, and the soccer talent identification process. Continue reading “Two Reasons “What if the Best Athletes Played Soccer?” Misses The Point”

Goal of the Week: John Harkes v. Ireland, May 1992

The time between World Cup 1990 and World Cup 1994 is an unsung one.  The abridged version of US Soccer history in the early 90s: Caligiuri’s goal; valiant drubbing in Italy; America discovers soccer by hosting the World Cup.

By hosting the World Cup, though, the US found itself without a slate of competitive matches.  Enter two new tournaments: the CONCACAF Gold Cup, played for the first time as a standalone competition in 1991, and the now defunct US CupContinue reading “Goal of the Week: John Harkes v. Ireland, May 1992”

The Progression to World Class

Leo Messi should win the 2015 Ballon D’Or, and arguments against the best player on a treble-winning club who also provided spectacular moments like this are more contrarian than legitimate.  When thinking about what a world class player looks like, Messi is an unrealistic expectation.  He is a generational player, one who’s performance exceeds his peers by an unbelievable amount.  By broadening the scope of what a world class player is, we see that the path to becoming world class is a varied one. Continue reading “The Progression to World Class”

Goal of the Week: Fabian Johnson v. Turkey, June 2014

Fabian Johnson, usually noted for his contribution in the attacking build-up, turned goal-scorer with this technical strike. Continue reading “Goal of the Week: Fabian Johnson v. Turkey, June 2014”

The US Attack After Donovan and Dempsey, Part 2

In their time with the US, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey displayed impressive attacking versatility.  Donovan played virtually everywhere in attack in his US career, spending most of his time as a withdrawn striker or outside midfielder.  Dempsey started as a wide midfielder and migrated forward later in his US career.  On a 23-man tournament roster, both players gave the US strong options at two or three attacking roles.

It’s unlikely Dempsey has played his last game for the US, but his time is winding down.  The onus is on Jurgen Klinsmann to find the right combination of personnel and formation to energize the future US attack.  Let’s look at some of the options at his disposal.  Continue reading “The US Attack After Donovan and Dempsey, Part 2”

Goal of the Week: Clint Dempsey v. Panama, June 2011

A year after a World Cup is a transitory phase for any national team, and the US exemplified this at the 2011 Gold Cup.  After a shocking group stage loss to Panama – its first group stage loss ever in the tournament – the US earned a rematch in the semifinals, scraping by Guadeloupe and Jamaica.

Few things seemed settled for the US in this tournament.  Continue reading “Goal of the Week: Clint Dempsey v. Panama, June 2011”

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