What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:
Soccer birthdays: Talk about a guy whose career fell off the table. Sidney Govou, a former French international and critical piece at those sensational Lyon teams of the last decade, moved to Panathinaikos before the 2010-11 season. Things just went south in a hurry from there. He appeared in just 23 matches for the financially troubled Greek club, which suspended him twice for disciplinary reasons. Govou made just 18 league appearances last year Evian as he returned to the French league. He turns 33 today.
Big Important Story of the Day: The Olympic opening ceremonies will dominate sports talk today. Soccer has already started, of course; soccer is cool like that.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Ian Feuer
Ahead on the blog today*: Olympic matters and plenty on Major League Soccer, which begins Round 21 with a big match in Salt Lake City, a meeting of the Western Conference’s second and third place teams.
PST background noise while blogging today: Rockin’ any British bands on the iTunes rotation, in five-ringed celebration of the Opening Ceremonies.
About the picture (above, at top of the post): We still don’t now what role David Beckham will play in the Opening Ceremonies, but they can’t keep it a secret much longer.
The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.
[ MORE: Fabian Johnson sent home from USMNT after fall-out with Klinsmann ]
In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.
Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.
The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.
[ MORE: 2015 MLS playoff scenarios ]
Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.
Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:
What a special moment in my professional life!
Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.
I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.
Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.
[ EURO 2016: A look at the 20 teams that have qualified for France ]
While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.