Photo: Nicolae Stoian
Previews of tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Guatemala (7pm, ESPN2, WatchESPN, Telefutura) from Sporting News, Soccer America, Goal.com, MLSsoccer.com, ESPN, and SI. Jurgen Klinsmann and Michael Bradley press conference quote sheet here.
The US needs a win or a draw to advance to the next round (complete listing of possible scenarios here). The same is true of Guatemala. Jurgen Klinsmann assures us that the US will not be playing for a draw. “We want to win this game. You can only win a game if you attack and go forward. We are not looking for a tie.”
Klinsmann isn’t concerned about the depleted size of his roster. “We feel like we are strong enough to take care of Guatemala tomorrow night with the players that are here.”
The field conditions in Antigua left much to be desired. Michael Bradley says of playing at Livestrong Sporting Park, “Everything is there now for us to step on the field Tuesday night and play a good game, to use our personality and want to play, to want to impose ourselves on them in the way that we move, in the way that we pass, in the way that we press. Obviously, the conditions here are as close to perfect as they can come.”
Avi Creditor says a lack of lineup consistency is harming the US.
Roger Bennett says , “While every U.S. game can seem like a barometer of the health of the sport in this country, Tuesday night’s game feels as if it carries a tighter, more volatile focus—whether Klinsmann’s project is going forward or backward.”
At Sporting News, Brian Straus looks at the contributions of MLS-based players in the current qualification campaign.
SBI considers the scoring threat that is Carlos Ruiz ahead of tonight’s game. “Carlos Ruiz does two things very well. Score goals and annoy opposing teams’ players and fans.” As we know, he also has a gift for annoying his own team’s fans.
Tim Howard says of Ruiz, “He’s a tough bugger. He really gets stuck in. He is one of those great forwards who are hungry, who are greedy who are always out on sniffing the goal. He’s tough. He’s a handful. Even though he’s not a handful in terms of size, he’s a handful. He’s a tough bugger to play against.”
Bruce Arena has revealed that the injury that took Landon Donovan out of the US roster is a bone bruise.
Seattle hosts Real Salt Lake in league play on Wednesday night, barely 24 hours after tonight’s qualifier. RSL’s Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando will be flown in the private jet that belongs to RSL’s co-owner Dell Loy Hansen. They’ll also be giving Seattle’s Eddie Johnson a ride. RSL head coach Jason Kreis says, “We’re doing Seattle a big solid.”
It’s free burritos for life for Abby Wambach.
Next Wednesday’s road game against Sporting Kansas City will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. The game replaces the previously scheduled New Jersey at Buffalo NHL game, cancelled because of the NHL lockout.
Amobi Okugo talks about his growth as a player. “As a rookie, you come into the league and you think everything is going to go well and the coach is going to have your back. Then the first two years, you don’t play that much. Nothing goes as you expect…When you get a chance to play and you have a coach who is behind you and puts you in an environment to succeed, it helps. My rookie year and last year to some extent, I didn’t get as much of a chance. It feels great that coach (John) Hackworth has confidence in me.”
Kevin Kinkead reviews the series history between the Union and Houston, who play on Saturday (7:30pm, NBCSN). It’s like one of our quick references minus the video highlights and stats.
It looks like Brad Davis, who had missed a game due to a calf injury, could be available for Houston on Saturday.
University of Penn grad (Class of 2011) Loukas Tasigianis has signed with second division Greek side Ergotelis. You will recall that Ergotelis hosted part of the Union’s 2011 preseason, during which Carlos Ruiz scored his first goal for the Union in a 1–1 draw.
Harrisburg City Islanders academy teams have the opportunity to travel to to attend the President’s Day Soccer Tourney at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, Feb. 15-18. The trip coincides with the Union’s preseason fan trip, during which the team will be participating in the annual Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
The latest Philly Soccer Six weekly awards are out. Receiving Player of the Week honors is Nathan Page of Drexel. Page was also named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week. Drexel’s Tim Washam was named Defender of the Week. St. Joseph’s Emmanuel Tameh was named Rookie of the Week and was also named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week.
St. Joseph’s junior midfielder Mo Hawkins was named Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Player of the Week.
Benny Feilhaber has been punished with an additional fine for “verbal and profane abuse of the official” to go along with the automatic suspension he received after being shown a second yellow card in the recent New England loss against the Union.
What do you know, Lionard Pajoy hasn’t exactly been embraced by DC United fans. Black and Red United writes, “So maybe we hate Pajoy because he seems to get more playing time than he deserves and isn’t as productive as we’d like him to be. Or maybe we just hate him because we really liked [Danny} Cruz, and we hate that we had to give up Cruz to get him.”
Kerith Gabriel writes in The Daily Doop that Pajoy was in Philly last weekend to spend time with relatives who were visiting and with Roger Torres and Porfirio Lopez. Pajoy was at Monday’s reserve game to “watch his friends” and said that he missed Philly but was happy to be “getting a fresh start.”
In Bed With Maradonna wonders if the league’s disciplinary committee is turning MLS into an “Orwellian dystopia,” arguing that a better—and more traditional—approach to ending a culture of rough physical play is to start at the youth level.
“There’s a lot to like about what MLS is trying to achieve. If the Disciplinary Committee manages to eliminate flagrant fouls, diving and off-the-ball assaults, then the league will unquestionably be a better place. But the Disciplinary Committee’s approach is unprecedented; no other league in history has attempted to change its style through similar means. Perhaps if MLS succeeds in cleaning up game play at the professional level, a more positive attitude will trickle down to the youth game. In the meantime, however, the committee’s decisions continue to disrupt the 2012 MLS season.”
The authors of a 2008 plan to improve Flushing Meadows Corona Park say that the proposed MLS stadium isn’t “necessarily a terrible idea.”
QueensPolitics.com says MLS has spent $1,155,777 since March lobbying various local officials to support the proposed stadium.
For listings of today’s live World Cup qualifiers on your TV and computer, check out the latest Footy on the Telly.
Britain’s attorney general will request that the original verdicts of accidental death for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster be quashed.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been called arrogant, dirty and childish by the captain of the Faroe Islands team. Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Go figure.