It’s rare that tension rises this high, this early for the US in a World Cup Qualifying cycle. Zero points in the first two games, though, led to the heightened importance of this Friday’s home qualifier against Honduras. The US hired Bruce Arena in the interest of short-term stability, and a review of previous campaigns show that this low-risk approach made sense. Here are the points by matchday for each US World Cup Hex, from 1998 through today: Continue reading “Getting Sharp, Fast: Early-Season MLS and World Cup Qualifiers”
In a turbulent year for US Soccer, Christian Pulisic’s rise at Borussia Dortmund emerged as a positive. Not since John O’Brien at Ajax and Jonathan Spector at Manchester United had a US player charted a similar development path. Like O’Brien and Spector, Pulisic earned his first US cap in the same year as his professional breakthrough. However, in the global context, this path is atypical. It’s more common that a player debuts professionally with a team in his home country and then transfers abroad.
For an American player, that means playing in MLS and then heading abroad. Where can a player with national team aspirations reasonably expect to go? Continue reading “Over There: US National Team Transfers from MLS to Europe”
John Brooks produced a Man of the Match performance against Paraguay in the final game of the Copa America group stage. It was a game that solidified his place as starting center-back for the US. Brooks followed that game with another outstanding outing against Ecuador, propelling the US to a semi-final match-up with Argentina.
It’s all a far cry from last summer, when Brooks received criticism for his play in the 2015 Gold Cup, most notably against Jamaica. In just a year, how did Brooks go from a lightning rod for criticism to a player that inspired a hashtag? Continue reading “The Making of John Brooks”
With a Copa America semi-final looming, let’s look back at the last American to score a goal against Argentina. Continue reading “Goal of the Week: Juan Agudelo v. Argentina, March 2011”
The US opens Copa America tonight against Colombia. It should be the toughest game of the group stage, but it’s unlikely the US will have any easy matches in this tournament. Continue reading “Why Does Mexico Have Longer Odds than the US at Copa America?”
South Korea had one of the stingiest defenses in the 2002 World Cup. The co-host reached the semi-finals, and before the third place game, conceded to only Clint Mathis, Christian Vieri, and Michael Ballack. Among those goal-scorers, Mathis scored with the most style. Continue reading “Goal of the Week: Clint Mathis v. South Korea, June 2002”
Bruce Murray emerged from the wilderness of mid-80s US soccer to retire as the leading goal scorer in national team history. Though it was a consolation goal, it’s fitting that his list of accomplishments includes scoring in the World Cup. Continue reading “Goal of the Week: Bruce Murray v. Austria, June 1990”