US Soccer Players The official site of the USMNT Soccer Players with soccer news, schedule, statistics, players, interviews, and exclusive stories. Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:00:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Soccer TV: USMNT vs Honduras Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:00:32 +0000 usmnt-honduras-national-team-logos-concacaf-world-cup-qualifying-soccerThe games return in force on Friday's soccer TV schedule. World Cup qualifying resumes in CONCACAF with the USMNT in action against Honduras on Fox Sports 1. That follows Mexico playing Costa Rica. There are also qualifiers from UEFA.

USMNT vs Honduras at 10:30pm on Fox Sports 1. We all know the stakes for the USMNT. Not taking three points at home would pile on the pressure with the USMNT bottom of the Hexagonal table. They need a quick turnaround under Bruce Arena in his first game that counts after his return to the National Team. His qualifying roster isn't his first choice due to injuries, with Arena needing to make do at positions that have cost the USMNT in this cycle. Arena has had to adjust his roster several times since the initial announcement. Honduras is also looking for points, currently in 4th-place after a loss to Panama and a win over Trinidad & Tobago.

Also in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, beIN Sport has Trinidad & Tobago vs Panama at 7pm. Mexico vs Costa Rica is on Fox Sports 1 at 8:30pm.

UEFA World Cup qualifying on Fox Sports 2: Turkey vs Finland at 1pm and Italy vs Albania at 3:45pm. ESPN Deportes has Georgia vs Serbia at 1pm and Spain vs Israel at 3:45pm. All Times Eastern

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USMNT roll up their sleeves by the Bay Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:00:06 +0000 usmnt-training-avaya-stadium

By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - Experience, aggression and commitment are the tools of choice for the USMNT as they wade into a pressure-packed World Cup qualifying encounter with Honduras at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California on Friday (10:30pm ET - FS1). The high stakes of this match, brought on by November’s back-to-back losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, isn't news. It’s a “must-win” in every sense but the literal, statistical one. Given recent events, anything but victory will leave nerves shredded.

“We understand the position we’re in,” US captain Michael Bradley told the media in San Jose this week. “There’s no need for anybody on the outside to put any more pressure on us than we’ve already put on ourselves. Because we didn’t start the Hex in the right way, we put ourselves behind the 8 ball. We’re honest and real enough with ourselves to understand that.”

The USA’s slow, hard climb from World Cup neophytes to perennial participants over the past quarter-century builds on winning home qualifiers like this one. They’ve only lost two such games on 51 occasions since 1985, in fact. Mexico’s stunning win in Columbus last fall was one. A 3-2 loss to Honduras at Washington’s RFK Stadium in 2001 was the other.

Bruce Arena was in charge of the Yanks on that frantic day at RFK 16 years ago. Friday marks the first competitive match since his return to the job in place of Jurgen Klinsmann. He’s called in a squad with ample background in these moments. He’s pledged an assertive, attack-minded approach against a Catrachos side likely to mass their defensive ranks. Arena's famously healthy ego becomes particularly useful in this situation. He’s surely doing his best to infuse both urgency and belief in his charges.

“Bruce is going to rely on guys who are going to step on the field in big moments and go for it and be aggressive and be fearless and represent him and the team and our country in the best possible way,” Bradley said. “Experience counts for a lot in games like this.”

Said defender Geoff Cameron: “The pressure is on us, but we've been here, we've dealt with it before and I think we're confident going into Friday night. We'll try to go out there, high-pressure them and dictate the pace of the game.”

Arena has made fairly clear that he sees more talent to work with now than he had back in his first stint in charge, from 1998-2006. He has boldly and publicly charted a bullish course to Russia 2018, starting with four points from this month’s two games. Yet a sudden injury outbreak has swept across his player pool in the past week or so, complicating the first task on the list. Likely starters like Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, and DeAndre Yedlin are not available. Jordan Morris is nursing an ankle knock. Jermaine Jones is is serving a suspension due to yellow-card accumulation.

Still, there’s ample competition for the minutes on offer. The goals and expectations remain the same.

“It’s not as cavalier as ‘next man up,’” assistant coach Dave Sarachan said. “But we’re so confident in the depth of this pool that you can go to the next guy and just feel like maybe it’s not exactly as it might have been, but it’s still at a point where we can get the job done. We have a lot more options and this is a group that understands where we are and where we’re going.”

Several prominent lineup questions need answers.

Where is Cameron best used: at center back, in the partnership with John Brooks that worked so well last summer, or at the right back slot vacated by Yedlin’s injury?

Is Clint Dempsey ready for major minutes after months away from international play due to an irregular heartbeat? Or from another angle: Given his history of clutch USMNT outings and sharpness in MLS play, can Arena afford not to start him?

Who will partner with Bradley in central midfield? A diverse array of candidates includes Kellyn Acosta, Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan and Sebastian Lletget.

What’s Arena’s formation choice for the whole thing: a 4-4-2 with a strike pair up top, or a 4-2-3-1 or similar with more of a solo spearhead? Jozy Altidore will almost certainly lead the line in either case.

Traditionally a rugged, flinty side, Honduras would be more than happy with a point. They’re 2-12-3 all-time against the US on US soil, after all. They will test the Yanks with physicality, gamesmanship and counterattacking. Several of their key players are MLS regulars, giving them familiarity with their opponents and in most cases, solid form and rhythm heading into this encounter.

The USMNT have no illusions about the bare-knuckle task at hand.

“We’re trying to execute our game plan,” said Chris Wondolowski, the San Jose Earthquakes hometown favorite called in for frontline depth. “There’s not going to be any beauty prizes awarded. We’re going to have to grind out those three points.”

Charles Boehm is a Washington, DC-based writer and the editor of The Soccer Wire. Contact him Follow him on Twitter at:

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UEFA and the super clubs Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:30:33 +0000 uefa-sepia-logo

The soccer news starts with UEFA noticing how their soccer clubs spend their money. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is talking luxury tax, squad limits, and the transfer market, in an attempt to curb the payrolls of the super clubs. Fair enough in theory, but it's worth asking how the clubs are going to respond to UEFA attempting to impose limits.

Europe is the land of the transfer fee, after all. Breaking that down would be a radical step, but one worth serious consideration. It's 2017. Buying players apart from their contract seems very last century. So does avoiding the kind of mechanisms that stop clubs from talent hoarding. That's the big picture takeaway from Bloomber's Tariq Panja's report on UEFA's meetings in Lisbon.

Should UEFA force change, they're going to be dealing with an expected blow back. It's good business right now to bring in as many players as possible. Chelsea might be the current shorthand for that approach, but they're far from the only ones casting the widest possible net. Working that out may or may not be in UEFA's best interest. Pushing the clubs means forcing the clubs to reconsider what UEFA means to them in the modern soccer landscape. Even if UEFA is right, it might not be the right move for them. interviews USMNT coach Bruce Arena. Fox Soccer's Caitlin Murray wonders how Arena will use Clint Dempsey.'s Sam Stejskal previews the USMNT vs Honduras World Cup qualifier.'s Brian Straus talks to Landon Donovan about his role in San Diego's MLS expansion bid. The Miami Herald's Michelle Kaufman reports on tickets sold for this summer's Real Madrid vs Barcelona friendly in Miami. From the other side of the country, the Daily Breeze's Nick Green has an issue with the summer touring schedule.

The Guardian's Andy Hunter has Everton a step closer to a new stadium. Back Page Football's Robert Hay Jr explains the coaching issues for Hearts in the Scottish Premier League.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at

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Mexico’s home World Cup qualifying schedule Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:00:01 +0000 estadio-azteca-field-level-corner-flag-mexico-concacaf-world-cup-qualifying-soccer

By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Mar 22, 2017) US Soccer Players - For all the pressure and fear associated with World Cup qualifying, there is a rather simple formula for CONCACAF teams seeking entry to the world’s biggest sporting spectacle. Take care of business at home.

It’s a tried-and-true formula, really. Win at home, steal a few points from away games, and start dreaming. Mexico has mostly followed this formula all the way to the World Cup. It's now on El Tri to get back to its former glory at home in order to see its way through to Russia 2018.

Mexico opens its home slate in the final round of World Cup qualifying on Friday when Costa Rica visits Estadio Azteca. Sitting on four points through two matches, Mexico is in a rather comfortable position already. They've fulfilled part of the formula necessary for entry to the World Cup.

For Mexico though, the match against Costa Rica is more than just taking over the top spot in the Hexagonal table. It is about re-establishing its home dominance. That's something looming large over the rest of CONCACAF. It helped establish Mexico as a regional power. Whether or not that is still possible is the question.

The luster is certainly off the once-feared Azteca which four years ago quickly turned into a bit of a relic. Estadio Azteca was once a fortress. After 2013 it may as well have been the moden-day version of nearby Teotihuacan. Ruins of an ancient civilization that while still impressive does not instill fear into visitors as it once did.

Fear used to be evident from the start of matches. Azteca was the house of horrors for the rest of CONCACAF. Perhaps the high point of that was the 1993 Gold Cup, when a team of upstart Americans lost 4-0 to Mexico in a match that nearly suffocated the Americans, literally. Players were short of breath in the high-altitude smog-filled thin air of Mexico City.

Mexico had no issue with those sorts of conditions. No matter who lined up on the other side, Mexico players had so much confidence and arrogance at Azteca that they were nearly invincible. Mexico beat Brazil in the 1999 Confederations Cup final there in what was one of the biggest home wins Mexico has ever had.

Costa Rica eventually stunned Mexico in the so-called Aztecazo, beating El Tri by 2-1 in World Cup qualifying in 2001. That was just a blip. Mexico won four qualifiers there in the rest of the Hexagonal to get into the 2002 World Cup. They won three out of three matches in Azteca during qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Add another seven combined in the run-up to South Africa 2010. Even though Mexico fired coaches in 2001 and 2009 , Mexico was never really out of it. That was in large part because of the comfort and nearly-guaranteed points Azteca offered.

Things can change quickly. Jamaica held Mexico to a scoreless draw in the Hexagonal on February 6, 2013. Then the Americans pulled off their second-ever scoreless draw at Azteca, on March 26 followed by Costa Rica’s scoreless draw on June 11. Honduras beat Mexico on September 6 to nearly slay the dragon, but a late win over Panama at home on October 11 kept Mexico with a pulse, one that eventually strengthened as Mexico beat New Zealand in a play-in series to reach Brazil 2014.

Mexico finished the 2013 Hexagonal with a 1-1-3 record, scoring three goals and allowing three goals. Three goals in five games is laughable considering Mexico used to get that in 45 minutes without much effort during the height of their home dominance.

The soccer world has changed much though over the last few decades. Mexico too has grown. European-based footballers now line up for El Tri as opposed to a fully domestic side in the 1990s and early 2000s. That evolution has not borught with it a sustained level of play at home.

Because of that growth from other nations, visiting teams no longer fear the Azteca. If they do, it certainly doesn't show in their play. As recently as September a visiting side held Mexico scoreless there as Honduras and Mexico played to a nil-nil draw in the final match of the fourth round of qualifying. While that match meant little to the already-qualified Tri, it helped boost Honduras’s confidence. It also showed that Mexico cannot just show up at the Azteca and pull away with a comfortable victory.

Those days are gone. Mexico must work hard for results no matter the location. That work has already paid off. Mexico beat the USMNT in November to start qualifying off in style, then escaped Panama with one point after a gritty scoreless draw. Before, that would have been plenty to see El Tri through to the World Cup. Four points plus 15 from five home matches would give Mexico 19 points, more than enough to finish in the top three.

Now, that is not the case. A slip-up at home would be a setback. Costa Rica has six points through three matches. The win in Azteca in 2001 may be ancient history but not to the Ticos. They love to relive that game. It's easy to draw inspiration from one of the greatest footballing moments in that country’s history.

Costa Rica may draw inspiration from a match 16 years ago. If Mexico cannot overcome its home failures, the rest of the region will need only look to March 2017 for continued inspiration and hope in Mexico’s four remaining home fixtures.

Luis Bueno is a veteran soccer writer. Follow him on twitter @BuenoSoccer.

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Again with the Cosmos Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:00:32 +0000 ny-cosmos-new-england-revolution-us-open-cup-june-2016

By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 22, 2017) US Soccer Players - It doesn’t seem to matter who’s in charge of the most storied name in American soccer. The New York Cosmos are always a lightning rod. Maybe there’s something about the brand itself that attracts the iconoclast. These figures who see the Cosmos as a means to rocking the proverbial American soccer boat.

In their 70s heyday, the Cosmos were one of the most famous clubs in the world in a country that didn’t know much about soccer. Back then, they had a chairman who cared as much about publicity as he did about winning soccer matches.

The latest figure to grab the platform provided by the Cosmos name is Rocco Commisso. He's a telecommunications mogul who once played soccer for Columbia University and whose name graces the soccer venue for that school. Commisso swooped in to save the new Cosmos when it looked like the club would fold after the 2016 season, reportedly having lost $30 million since their relaunch. As a condition of his purchase of the Cosmos, Commisso demanded that the NASL retain its second division sanctioning. US Soccer acceded to the request, thereby making Commisso something of a savior for the league.

Whatever soccer capital Commisso earned from his gambit, he seems anxious to test its limits. As the reformed Cosmos get set to launch their 2017 season, the new owner decided to throw out a series of explosive comments at the club’s media day on Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn. He started by taking direct aim at everything that has been accomplished in American soccer since the dawn of MLS.

It might be worth pointing out that Commisso is referencing the first-ever World Cup, a tournament that involved just 13 teams. The United States progressed to the semifinals by virtue of winning a three-team group with Paraguay and Belgium and was summarily dumped from the tournament by Argentina 6-1.

The international game was in its infancy in 1930 (none of the Home Nations participated, for example), so comparing the state of the American game then to what it is now seems disingenuous at best. Based purely on round reached at the World Cup, 1930 was indeed the “peak” of American soccer. That assessment does, perhaps intentionally, ignore a host of other factors.

Of course, Commisso’s reference to a tournament that happened nearly 90 years ago was merely the setup for a further flaming of American soccer’s current state. As the man in charge of the only American soccer club to achieve international fame, it apparently falls to Commisso to comment on why the sport in this country has, according to Commisso “failed.”

Failure is a subjective label, but again Commisso seems to be pushing a narrative that doesn’t mesh with reality. While professional soccer in the United States is by no means a massive success, to call it a “failure” denies that a thriving top division with average attendances of 20,000+ in a host of soccer-specific venues and a national television contract is representative of some success.

Commisso wasn’t done, and linked his thoughts on promotion and relegation directly to his new acquisition.

The Cosmos won the NASL title last season, their third in four years. That on-field success, which Commisso says should mean moving up to Major League Soccer at the expense of Minnesota United, did little for the club’s financial outlook. So difficult was the stadium situation for the Cosmos that the NASL title game - the marquee match of the year - took place in a tiny, 2,500-seat college soccer stadium at St John’s University. The building was not full, and the fans in attendance spoke mostly of the slow collapse of the 2.0 Cosmos when prompted to opine on the current state of the team.

Maybe what those fans want to hear is the new owner push a promotion/relegation narrative. The Cosmos, despite their corporate history and contrived modern rebirth, have served a the club of choice for a vocal group of pro/rel supporters. Commisso is feeding into that identity when the club’s relevance is at a modern nadir. Big talk gives fans, especially those who believe in the pro/rel system or feel the Cosmos’s rightful place is in the top echelons of the American game, a reason to stay with the team.

The disconnect between the legacy of the name and the actual condition of the modern Cosmos means the two are in desperate need of a new bridge. Previously, the bridge was the proposal (and imagined realization) of a 25,000-seat stadium project in Belmont, an idea that promised a return to the big time. With that proposal now dead, Commisso is using pro/rel to position the Cosmos as unfairly penalized by the system. It’s not at all a ridiculous approach.

Commisso’s strategy is likely less about pro/rel than it is about generating buzz for a club that desperately needs it. The Cosmos aren’t starting from scratch, but with the shaky state of the NASL itself and the massive turnover in the club (not to mention a change of venue), the new owner needed to get people talking about his team.

Jason Davis is the founder of and the host of The United States of Soccer on SiriusXM. Contact him: Follow him on Twitter:

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The International Champions Cup is on for 2017 Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:30:45 +0000 international-champions-cup-logo-soccer-2017

Wednesday's soccer news starts with the announcement for this summer's International Champions Cup. The 2017 edition brings Juventus, Spurs, Roma, Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona to NFL stadiums, Orlando's Camping World Stadium, and Red Bull Arena. It's yet another chance to see the giants of European soccer without having to sit through an eight-hour plane ride.

The fun begins on July 19 when Roma plays PSG somewhere. The Manchester derby is the next day. We can safety assume not in Manchester, but we're waiting on the venue. The first game with complete information is July 22's Juventus vs Barcelona at MetLife Stadium at 6pm ET on ESPN.

For those questioning the point of international friendlies held far from where the clubs play, it's 2017. We've had enough evidence that the US market will happily turn out in support of the big event for years now. As long as the audience is there, the European clubs turned global brands will follow.

Also in the soccer news, Maxi Urruti's two goals for FC Dallas in their 2-1 win over New England was good for MLS Player of the Week honors in week 3. 

ESPN FC's James McNicholas makes the case that Arsene Wenger might be doing Arsenal a favor. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson thinks Arsenal is set for a transitional period regardless. Bundesliga Fanatic's Brook Genene looks at the links to Arsenal for Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel. FourFourTwo's Matt Ladson withholds judgement on Liverpool's ownership. World Soccer's Brian Glanville questions both Wenger and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Back Page Football's Paul Little asks a serious question about Real Madrid this season. The Set Piece's Matt Ford takes in the Munich derbyKyle McCarthy profiles National Soccer Hall of Fame Media Award winner Paul Kennedy for

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at

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Real Salt Lake “dismisses” their coach Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:00:39 +0000 jeff-cassar-former-real-salt-lake-coach-mls

By J Hutcherson (Mar 21, 2017) US Soccer Players - Real Salt Lake decided it was time for a coaching change three weeks into the 2017 MLS season. The international break had barely started when RSL announced the club had dismissed Jeff Cassar. Credit the management with using "dismisses" rather than "parted ways", since the scenario is almost always the club telling the coach it's time for him to go. Otherwise? It's week three.

MLS pundits will tell you that Cassar even getting a contract extension was a surprise. That it was for only a year kept him in a tough situation. RSL wants to be thought of among the league's elite teams, but it's a dated idea given their recent history. Real Salt Lake was certainly once among the league's elite teams, but the investor/operator and coach that got them there both left awhile ago.

"At the conclusion of last season, we felt that while we were disappointed in the end result, Jeff had done enough to earn another shot to lead the team in the 2017 campaign," RSL general manager Craig Waibel said in a press statement. "We have a high sense of urgency for progress this season, and have made many off-season changes towards that endeavor. So, while these decisions are always difficult, we, as an organization, felt that it was necessary to make the change in our head coaching position now. The process for a hiring new head coach to lead the club has already begun. We will work quickly and diligently to ensure that we find the right leader that shares our values, passion, commitment and vision."

Well sure, who doesn't in this league? Take MLS paritiy however you want, but in the big picture it creates a situation where the floor is pushing up every season. The ceiling used to be making the playoffs, something that's not much of an accomplishment in these days of expansion. Now, it's making MLS Cup. That moves success from a dozen teams to two.

For the good of the league, it's about time. Coaching speak wasted seasons deciding for themselves that subbing in "playoffs" for "success" in "this league" was good enough. After all, at least they were getting a game that counts after the regular season ended. Plenty of teams - well, at least eight of them - couldn't even say that. With the playoffs as the line between success and failure, it was an easy point to make.

Perhaps inadvertently, MLS messed that up for all of them. The knockout round didn't feel like the same success as making the playoffs proper. It was the no-prize for the club getting that one extra game and losing. Extending a season by all of 90 minutes wasn't enough. It didn't feel the same as losing a proper playoff series, even if the knockout winner made it all the way to the final.

That was the RSL scenario last season. Finishing 6th in the West certainly counted. They were two points better than the defending champions. What they weren't was a match for the 3rd-place team. The LA Galaxy spent the better part of the 2016 season dealing with their own issues. That didn't include RSL in the playoffs, knocking them out 3-1.

It didn't take any advanced stats to know that the pressure only increased on Real Salt Lake this off-season. MLS is a league that an leave very good teams behind. It's an operation that's not much for nostalgia when it comes to the branch offices. Real Salt Lake was once a hallmark for the league. Now, they have other places to point to as exactly what Major League Soccer gets right. Winning back the league's affections means winning. That might seem over-simplistic, but that's the business.

So why draw attention now? It seems ridiculous to look at the table after three games. This is the league of the four game losing streak, something that seems to happen to even the strong teams over the course of the season. Better to get it out of the way now, since there's enough evidence that teams can shake off the losses. RSL's decision that it's better to switch things up now than wait for the summer is certainly an interesting choice.

It might put pressure on a squad that needs it. It might create additional problems that wouldn't have emerged until later in the season. What it can't do in theory is answer the question that put so much pressure on this club so early. Can it get any worse?

J Hutcherson started covering soccer in 1999 and has worked as the general manager of the US National Soccer Team Players Association since 2002. Contact him at

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The Fire get Schweinsteiger Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:30:31 +0000 bastian-schweinsteiger-mls-chicago-fire-soccer-player

The soccer news starts with the European media announcing that Bastian Schweinsteiger is moving to Chicago before MLS and the team got the chance. That included Schweinsteiger himself releasing a video. Time zones took away Chicago's moment, signing a marquee player from a marquee club.

A World Cup winner moving from Manchester United to the Chicago Fire is never going to be a small thing. Still, the idea that this is the latest in a line of blockbuster moves for MLS seems a bit forced. Maybe a few seasons ago, but in 2017? Schweinsteiger heads to the western edge of the city hoping to prove his season so far isn't the finale on an elite career. He's not the only player to find himself at issue with what Jose Mourinho wants from Manchester United.

With Chicago, Schweinsteiger moves from an issue to a key part of the squad. He's stepping squarely into the Steven Gerrard scenario. Nobody questions his talent even at his age, but how does it fit with an MLS team? For Schweinsteiger, it's more to the point. How does it fit with a struggling MLS team that's spent years missing the playoffs?

The Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell on the Fire signing Schweinsteiger. The Manchester Evening News' Ciaran Kelly has United fans responding to the move.

The LA Times' Kevin Baxter runs through the injury issues limiting USMNT coach Bruce Arena's choices. The Salt Lake Tribune's Christopher Kamrani reports on Real Salt Lake firing coach Jeff Kassar. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy lists the early season MLS coach firings. MLSsoccer'com's Matthew Doyle on RSL's decision.

ESPN FC's Mark Ogden asks if Arsene Wenger is risk averse with Arsenal. This is Anfield's Jonathan Wilson looks at what playing Manchester City should be teaching Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at

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USMNT vs Honduras – The History Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:00:46 +0000 oguchi-onyewu-goal-gold-cup-soccer

By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Mar 20, 2017) US Soccer Players – The USMNT is no stranger when it comes to playing in must-win games. From the first round of the World Cup to the Gold Cup knockout stages and Hexagonal tournaments in between, the USMNT has found ways to win. It will need to channel some of those past victories when it plays Honduras on Friday evening at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.

The game represents a must-win like no previous Hexagonal match in USMNT history. Starting the final round of World Cup Qualifying in a 0-2 hole has a way of putting a team’s back to the wall. The Americans have often played best in this situation and coach Bruce Arena, who replaced Jurgen Klinsmann after that poor start, has enough talent and depth to #Get3 – as the US Soccer hashtag invokes – and chart a course to the 2018 World Cup.

The Americans are familiar with Los Catrachos. The US has played Honduras numerous times in recent years, primarily at the Gold Cup. Furthermore, Honduras have called up six players with either part of present ties to MLS – another plus given Arena’s experience in the league – including Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza and Houston Dynamo forward Boniek Garcia.

“They have good attacking players, very solid defensively – at times they play with five at the back – and will make it difficult on us,” Arena said on Facebook last week when asked to size up his upcoming opponents. “I would think they’ll have a road mentality because they’re sitting there with three points and they’d like to steal a point on the road. So they’ll come in here and be pretty conservative and counterattack with the kind of speed they have going forward. It’s going to be challenging for us.”

The US and Honduras have met eight times in World Cup Qualifying. The Americans hold the edge in that series with an all-time record of 5-2-1. Most notably, the USMNT is 2-1-0 at home in those games. Despite the great record, the US-Honduras series is strewn with cautionary tales. Above all is the 3-2 loss at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC in 2001 with Arena pacing the sidelines. That ended the team’s 19-game unbeaten World Cup Qualifying home streak that had dated back to 1985.

Overall, the USMNT has a positive home record versus Honduras. Here are the five times the United States, playing at home, defeated Honduras:

1991 Gold Cup Final

Although this game officially counts as a draw (it ended 0-0 after extra time), the Americans prevailed 4-3 in the shootout to win its first Gold Cup before 41,103 fans at LA Coliseum. It took stamina, luck and eight exhilarating rounds (with defender Fernando Clavijo netting the winning kick) on that July 7 evening before team captain Peter Vermes could lift the trophy.

Coming off an equally-stunning 2-0 victory versus Mexico in the semifinals, the title helped put the team on the world soccer map. It also led the USMNT to chart a course to success that lasted throughout the decade and endures to this day. Following a 0-3 showing at the World Cup in Italy the previous year, the Americans – now coached by Bora Milutinovic – set forth on a mission of attain success. The goal was to get better ahead of the 1994 World Cup on home soil. The lineup that evening, loaded with talented players like Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda, would do just that three years later.

“Going into this tournament, we weren’t the top favorites,” Caliguiri said after the game. “But our will and our desire carried us through, and we deserved the victory.”

2005 Gold Cup Semifinals

The USMNT defeated Honduras in a thrilling affair, 2-1, after Oguchi Onyewu scored the game-winner in the second minute of stoppage time. The Americans had been down 1-0 since the 30th minute of the first half, but managed to score twice in a six-minute span.

Brian O’Brien scored in the 86th minute to level the score, but it was Onyewu’s goal that sent the 41,721 fans at Giants Stadium in suburban New York on July 21 into ecstasy. It marked Onyewu’s first-ever US goal, scored on a diving header that hit the underside of the crossbar. The team, coached by Arena, found a way to win, never giving up on the game and attempting to create chances even when hope appeared lost. The day before the game, FIFA’s rankings put the USA at #6 in the world. On that night, they definitely played like it. The US would go on to win the Gold Cup against Panama via a shootout.

“We needed to get (Onyewu) into the mix,” Arena told reporters after the game, one he exited early after arguing a call. “Every time we’ve given him these opportunities, he’s taken advantage of them.”

2010 World Cup Qualifying/Hexagonal

The June 6, 2009 game in Chicago was again an uphill fight that saw the Americans ultimately prevail. Down after just five minutes, the USMNT rallied, 2-1, before 55,647 fans at Soldier Field. Despite what appeared to be a mostly pro-Honduran crowd, the Americans got out of a hole. Another reminder that the USMNT has often had to battle boos and jeers of fans even when playing at home.

Landon Donovan, playing as a midfielder that day, put away a penalty kick right before halftime – then setup the winner for defender Carlos Bocanegra in the 68th minute on a diving header. It was Donovan’s cross that allowed Clint Dempsey, positioned at the far post, to head in Bocanegra’s direction for the winning goal.

“It means a great deal to the team when Landon is active physically,” Bob Bradley told reporters at the post-game news conference. “He really pushed when he had chances with the ball, and he can still step back and make great passes.”

2009 Gold Cup Semifinals

Just seven weeks after defeating Honduras in the Hexagonal, the Americans did it again at Soldier Field on July 23. The 2-0 victory on July 23 was more emphatic that it had been in World Cup Qualifying and catapulted the Americans to the Gold Cup final. The Americans would lose to Mexico 5-0 in the final.

The USMNT won the game on goals from defender Clarence Goodson and striker Kenny Cooper, much to the delight of the 55,173 fans in attendance. For Goodson, it marked his first goal in a US jersey. Since the Gold Cup had come on the heels of the Confederations Cup (where it had finished runners-up to Brazil), Bradley called up a mostly “B” team of MLS-based players for the Gold Cup.

“It’s obviously an honor every time you get to put the shirt on,” Goodson said at the time. “So you want to do your best regardless of the situation, regardless of how well the boys did in the Confederations Cup.”

2014 World Cup Qualifying/Hexagonal

The last time the Americans hosted Honduras during the Hex it was win for the USMNT. The June 18, 2013 game played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, saw the US come out with a 1-0 result before a sellout crowd of 20,250.

Jozy Altidore scored the game-winner in the 74th minute, putting Klinmann’s men within reach of a spot at Brazil 2014. The goal was the fourth consecutive time Altidore had scored in an official US game. That tied him for the USMNT record alongside Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride, Eric Wynalda, and William Looby.

“(Honduras) made it difficult on us,” Altidore said. “They were good defensively and they took time off of the clock with their antics. I think it took us out of our rhythm.”

The lineup that day also featured goalkeeper Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, and Clint Dempsey, players also called up by Arena for this week’s match. It will be up to Altidore and his teammates to once again find that right rhythm in order to get a result versus Honduras and keep the US’s Russia 2018 hopes alive in what has increasingly become one of the most competitive Hexagonals in recent memory.  

Clemente Lisi is a regular contributor to US Soccer Players. He is also the author of A History of the World Cup: 1930-2014. Find him on Twitter:

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Possession doesn’t win MLS games Mon, 20 Mar 2017 14:30:53 +0000 sporting-kansas-city-goal-celebration-graham-zusi-benny-feilhaber-mls-soccer-players

Monday's soccer news starts with a simple point from San Jose Earthquakes assistant coach John Spencer. It was Spencer on the sideline for the Quakes in their 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City. Spencer stepped in with Dom Kinnear unable to coach due to an illness. What Spencer saw from his squad on Saturday night was an ability to control possession.

"We planned all week and watched a couple of Kansas games and we knew that as the first whistle was going to go they were going to press us, and press us high like we have done to teams at home," Spencer said. "I think in the first half we were a little bit tentative and our fullbacks could have moved forward and joined in the attack a little bit more. When we go into the final third, especially in the first half, we could not keep the ball enough. In the second half things changed a little bit and we started to dictate possession, but as you well know possession does not win you games, goals do."

Possession without goals might also be the most frustrating kind of soccer to watch. The team with the ball has the bulk of the expectations, something that can make a loss feel even worse. It can also lead to the coach of the winning team having to address his own issues.

"The game of soccer is very interesting," Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. "Two teams are playing against each other, the game is 0-0 and all of a sudden someone scores. A lot of times, a gameplan goes out the window for one of those teams, usually the team that gets scored on and a lot changes for them. When you are in that situation and it's late in the game, you just know they are going to pump it in on you. The thing is, if you are ready for it and everybody is in tune to what is happening, it doesn't faze you because it is part of the game. But I think we just lost our focus as a team in that moment and we just started to come unraveled in the moment."

Pro Soccer Talk's Nicholas Mendola looks at the USMNT after the latest injury issues. The Washington Post's Steven Goff also looks at the changes to the US roster.'s Matthew Doyle's take on week 3 of the 2017 MLS season.

ESPN FC's Mark Ogden takes on the issues with manager Arsene Wenger's future and Arsenal's plans. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson tries to explain what's not working for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Manchester United announced that they're touring the US this summer. Back Page Football's Liam Morrison writes about new Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha. The NY Times' Rob Harris profiles UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

All links are provided as a courtesy. US Soccer Players nor its authors are responsible for the content of third-party links or sites. For comments, questions, and concerns please contact us at

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