Yet another reason to have Stuart Holden around the United States national team


Stuart Holden’s addition to the U.S. national team’s May camp serves another purpose, one beyond extending the midfielder’s fitness and form with an eye toward a potential role in Jurgen Klinsmann’s rotation.

His presence may just provide some needed cover for a team staring at some yellow card peril. Seven men will miss a match with their next caution. (The list is down below.)

June is a vital month in the World Cup qualifying effort. Three matches can go far in guiding this team to Brazil 2014. So clearly, every base needs covering, every eventuality thought through.

The problem is this: Klinsmann cannot just call in 28 guys and be done with it. That’s not the right way to handle things. He’s calling in 22 or 23.

(MORE: Stuart Holden set for a national team return)

If he calls in MLS men just for “cover” he damages relationship with domestic coaches. For instance, San Jose’s Frank Yallop doesn’t want to see Chris Wondolowski or Alan Gordon brought into U.S. camp as practice players, hanging around “just in case” while missing MLS matches.

Klinsmann wouldn’t want that, either.

Nor can Klinsmann use “B-team” performers out of Europe or Mexico. He wants a young guy like Terrence Boyd or a Josh Gatt for July’s Gold Cup duty, and he can’t do that and have them available for June’s qualifiers. To do so would mean not providing any summer break, and that’s not the right way to do things, either.

So there’s Holden. He doesn’t want a break. He looks like great cover to have around, a guy with a great attitude who has also been around in a few big international games.

The list of U.S. players sitting on a yellow card; they will miss the next match upon a subsequent booking:

  • DaMarcus Beasely
  • Matt Besler
  • Michael Bradley
  • Brad Davis
  • Clint Dempsey
  • Maurice Edu
  • Fabian Johnson
  • Graham Zuzi

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)