Preview: USMNT vs Bolivia

USMNT running. The last time the USMNT played Bolivia gave us a glimpse of what Christian Pulisic could mean for the United States. As multiple social media channels have reminded us this week, he scored his first international goal in the 4-0 win in Kansas City on May 28, 2016. Fast-forward two years and Pulisic is a superstar with transfer rumors linking him with a major move this summer. Pulisic is back with the USMNT for the first time since the October World Cup qualifiers. Joining him are a mix of players that speak to the state of flux the USMNT is currently in. "Like all of the matches we’ve played since November, the expectation is that the players respond well to the challenges they’ll face on the day against a team that will punish your mistakes," USMNT interim coach Dave Sarachan said. "The hope is that we continue the form that Continue reading "Preview: USMNT vs Bolivia"

Cinderella stories in the 2018 US Open Cup

US Open Cup soccer ball. By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (May 18, 2018) US Soccer Players - The Cinderellas are arriving at the US Open Cup ball in full regalia as the venerable, yet underappreciated, the tournament moves on to the Fourth Round. Wednesday night’s third round delivered a handful of upsets and set the stage for the David versus Goliath matchups that can make the competition so compelling. The Fourth Round is when MLS clubs enter the tournament, finishing the process of introducing every eligible club to the Open Cup’s 2018 field. The Third Round featured dominance by USL clubs and the emergence of a single true Cinderella. The PDL and NPSL still have one team each in the competition, but that title can only go to the NTX Rayados out of Texas. The Rayados, a club based in the Dallas area, knocked of FC Wichita of the NPSL 3-2 in Texas in Continue reading "Cinderella stories in the 2018 US Open Cup"

Playing with any advantage in MLS

Brad Friedel on the sidelines for the New England Revolution. The soccer news starts with another quirk of the MLS schedule, too many games over a short period of time. MLS is normally defensive of its scheduling, pointing out the unique constraints and issues in programming the 23-team league. When it was a smaller league, shared stadiums were the problem. Now, it's logistics complicated by special issues. That can make the schedule seem almost personal for some clubs. Right now, DC United is on a West Coast road swing waiting for their home stadium to open in mid-July. LAFC also started on the road in advance of the opening of Banc of California Stadium. Those situations happened by choice, with both teams not wanting to use an alternative home venue. MLS forced DC United to play two home games at alternative venues, which if anything only added to their scheduling issues. Then there's the New England Revolution. It's not an Continue reading "Playing with any advantage in MLS"

US Soccer coaching education and the strange case of the “war on rondos”

DeAndre Yedlin during a USMNT training session. By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (May 18, 2018) US Soccer Players - To some, they’re known as “5v2s” or “4v1s.” To others, it’s “piggy in the middle” or simply “keepaway.” But in the modern era sculpted by the philosophy and excellence of Spanish soccer, they have come to be dubbed by that country’s name for the exercise: “rondos.” What for years was once widely seen in American soccer as a simple warm-up activity has taken on an outsized, even mythical role in the hands of Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and their peers. Their rondos hone and showcase technique, precision, speed of thought, and patterns of play. In practice, they become viral among coaches and fans the world over. “Our model was imposed by [Johan] Cruyff; it's an Ajax model. It's all about rondos,” Xavi told the Guardian in 2011. “Rondo, rondo, rondo. Every. Single. Continue reading "US Soccer coaching education and the strange case of the “war on rondos”"