It was harder than it ought to have been, but the US defeated Antigua & Barbuda 2–1 on Friday night, thanks to two goal effort from Eddie Johnson, who tallied the stoppage time winner. Check out PSP’s take on the game and this post-match quote sheet.
Jurgen Klinsmann said after the game, “We got the three points. That’s the most important thing about this game. Do we have to play better? Absolutely. We are not happy with what we saw, but we expected a very difficult challenge and they gave us that challenge and it came down to the wire.”
Johnson said, “It was a lot of thinking before the second goal. It was 1-1 and I remember the Olympic team was in a similar situation. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be a part of a team that didn’t qualify for a World Cup. That was playing through everyone’s mind on the field as well as mine…I was just trying to be dangerous in the box and get my head on things and it was fortunate to go our way tonight.”
The winning goal was assisted by Alan Gordon, who earned his first cap in the game at the age of 30. Gordon said, “I was glad to kind of prove Juergen right. It was a risk to bring me on. For me to contribute in any way was what I was brought in to do. So I’m happy that that worked out.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s qualifier, Jermaine Jones will be suspended for yellow card accumulation. Fabian Johnson has not recovered from the flu and will remain in Germany, leaving the US with just 16 field players. Guatemala will be missing three of its starting defenders from the first game against the US as well as playmaker Alejandro Galindo.
Remember all the US needs on Tuesday to advance to the hexagonal—and the same is true of Guatemala—is a draw.
ProSoccerTalk looks at the similarities between Jurgen Klinsmann and Sven-Goran Eriksson and asks if it is possible to “overhaul a program and qualify out of CONCACAF for a World Cup?”
Michael Bradley says when it comes to defining the USMNT’s style under Klinsmann, “It’s a work in progress for sure.”
Clint Dempsey adds, “We’re still trying to figure out what’s going to work best for us. The most important thing is you put yourself in position to get out of the group and to qualify for the World Cup. That’s when you’re really going to be able to gauge what kind of style we play.” Knock on wood.
At Sporting News, Brian Strauss says the team has become “an inkblot test.”
Goal.com looks at how the USMNT’s results in the current qualification cycle compare to those of previous cycles.
At Grantland, Noah Davis wonders if MLS is making the rest of CONCACAF better at the expense of the US National team.
ESPN’s Ian Darke says, “I’ve always felt that perhaps American soccer, there’s a feeling that American soccer has a bit of an inferior complex. The truth is, if you talk to soccer fans in Europe, there is a lot of respect for U.S. soccer. There’s a healthy respect.”
In Marbella Cup play on Friday, the US men’s U-20 team defeated Scotland 2–0. Union academy goalkeeper Zack Steffen did not play in the game. Steffen also did not play in the team’s 2–1 loss to Canada last Wednesday.
In Friday’s World Cup qualifying action, Carlos Valdes played the full 90 in Colombia’s 2–0 win over Paraguay, even if the FIFA website spells his name incorrectly. Gabriel Gomez also started and played the full 90 in Panama’s 0–0 draw with Honduras.
At the Caribbean Cup, Keon Daniel played 82 minutes in Trinidad & Tobago’s 1–0 win over St Kitts/Nevis on Friday. The win guarantees T & T will advance to the semifinal round in November. On Sunday, Daniel scored a first half hat trick in the 10–0 win over Anguilla, bringing his goal tally for the tournament up to 4. With the team already up 7–0, Daniel did not play in the second half. Highlights are below:
After a comprehensive 6–0 win over DC United reserves last Tuesday, the Union Reserves lost the away leg 1–0 on Friday. Local connections abounded in the goal with Harrisburg City Islander’s Yann Ekra, on trial with DC for more than a month, providing service to Medford, NJ native Stephen King. DC United’s match report here, highlight’s are below:
The match marked the return of Krystian Witkowski, who saw his first minutes in a game since going on the injury list with concussion symptoms at the beginning of the season.
The Meet the Trialists series on the Union website concludes with a look at Lucky Mkosana, who was with Harrisburg City Islanders earlier this year. Mkosana says, “It’s definitely hard being a trialist, but I feel like if I keep training hard and playing hard, good things will happen for me…I know I can do it in this league. I know what I need to do. I know I need to stay focused and not look at what happened in the past. It’s about the future for me. I have to keep training hard and keep my mind right, so when I get on the field in training or in Reserve League games, my mind is right. I know I can score goals. I know I can do it. I just have to keep working on it and wait for my chance to come.”
Before the start of the 2012 season, Zac MacMath set a personal goal of 10 shutouts. With three games remaining, he’s two goals away from reaching that goal. MacMath says, “Everyone sets individual goals as well as team goals. That’s on my priority list for individual goals. It’s something I hope to reach…It’s definitely a disappointing season regardless. Personally, [getting 10 shutouts] would feel good and gives me something to shoot for next year and continue to build on. I’m hoping to actually get 11.”
On Oct. 25, he Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Wyomissing in Berks County is celebrating the opening of two new turf fields with a Philadelphia Union night that will include a meet and greet with a Union player and a coaching clinic designed for U9-U12 coaches that will be conducted by Union assistant coach Brendan Burke. You can register for the coaching clinic here.
At Grantland, Graham Parker has a very interesting interview with Nelson Rodriguez, the league’s executive vice president of competition, technical, and game operations. Many topics are covered, among them the need to be innovative given the crowded US sports landscape, goal-line technology, the disciplinary committee, and the steps the league is taking to reach its goal of being one of the world’s top leagues by 2022.
Montreal Impact midfielder Felipe will miss the remaining games of the season with a sports hernia.
New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders will all take part in the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup in Tuscon Feb. 13-23. The final will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Livorno is looking to secure the services of Alessandro Nesta from Montreal on loan during the MLS offseason.
Jordan Harvey learns how to fly:
At SI, Grant Wahl examines the questions raised by the growth of beIN Sport for US soccer fans.
Five Cuban players defected before Friday night’s qualifier with Canada, leaving the Cuban team with only 11 players. Cuba lost 3–0.
SBI recaps Friday’s CONCACAF qualifiers. That Carlos Ruiz fellow did it again for Guatemala.
FIFA has suspended Canadian forward Christine Sinclair for four matches for unsporting behavior. Sinclair criticized the referee after Canada’s 4–3 loss to the USWNT in the semifinals of the recent Summer Olympics.
Liverpool plan to add capacity to Anfield rather than build a new stadium.