Michael Bradley, Tim Howard

What will we learn about the US national team vs. Bosnia?

4 Comments

At 2:30pm ET today, the USA will face Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men are looking to extend their record unbeaten streak to 12 games, but this friendly in Eastern Europe will be their toughest test for quite a while.

Following their Gold Cup domination over the summer, Klinsmann now has the chance to run the rule over plenty of his European based contingent. For the Euro-Yanks, this friendly will act as their audition to make the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

They don’t get a month playing in the Gold Cup to impress Klinsi and his staff. They get one game.

So for some of the players on the bubble, this is crucial.

Confusingly, we didn’t officially know the USMNT squad until barely 48 hours before the game kicks off in the Koševo Stadium. As players streamed towards Eastern Europe via connecting flights in Munich, we got some semblance of which stars are hoping to shine for the stars and stripes.

(MORE: US national team names squad for Bosnia friendly)

These guys are aiming to put on a show. But doing that against Bosnia, in Bosnia, will not be easy.

Boasting the likes of Manchester City’s star striker Edin Dzeko, Bosnia are currently ranked 13th by FIFA. The highest ranking in their history since becoming a FIFA member in 1996. They’re on course to qualify for the World Cup, this will be a huge test.

Bosnia aside, we will learn what European based youngsters are ready for the US national team.

The Bundesliga duo of John Anthony Brooks and Bobby Wood are joined by another newbie, Aron Johannsson. They’ll all be closely watched by Nats fans. They’ve all been creating headlines in the Bundesliga and Eredivisie in recent months and JAB is certainly a center back to get excited about. The USA have managed to snatch him away from the German national team, while we all know about the Icelandic FA’s displeasure at losing Johannsson to the USA. Wood is an exciting young striker that adds extra depth. All three will surely feature in Sarajevo. Their audition starts now.

(MORE: A precious chance to impress for a few USMNT faces in Sarajevo)

However, the sides mentality will also be tested.

Does the 11-game winning streak really matter? After all the good work by the Gold Cup squad this summer, a different mix of players will surely want to keep that feel-good factor going.

But with that comes pressure. The European based players will have been watching on with admiration and a hint of resentment as the mostly MLS based squad swept aside the best CONCACAF had to offer.

Now it’s their chance to prove just how much better they are. Against much better opposition, the likes of Sacha Kljestan, Danny Williams and Terrence Boyd will need to show just how good they are. This is huge for the fringe players based in Europe, it will be intriguing to see how they get on.

After Kyle Beckerman, Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski pushed further into Klinsmann’s plans this summer, now the European players have their shot to do the same. Four of the Gold Cup squad are included, Brad Evans, Johnson, Michael Parkhurst and Joe Corona, as Klinsmann continues to scratch his head on what his best team is.

(MORE: A few conclusions, notes on Monday’s USMNT roster announcement)

Later this afternoon, we will find out how strong this US national team roster really is. We often talk about the new found strength in depth of Klinsmann’s squad but beating Bosnia away from home in hostile surroundings is much different than beating Belize in Portland.

Here’s hoping the USMNT can keep the winning streak going. But the result doesn’t really matter today in Sarajevo. The audition for next summer’s World Cup continues. Now the European-Yanks get their chance to impress.

Let’s hope they don’t fluff their lines.

Wales manager says Arsenal could have avoided Aaron Ramsey injury

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - AUGUST 07: Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal during the Pre-Season Friendly between Arsenal and Manchester City at Ullevi on August 7, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wales manager Chris Coleman says Arsenal could have prevented Aaron Ramsey‘s current hamstring injury had they left him out of the early-season matches.

Ramsey was withdrawn in 62nd minute of Arsenal’s season opener against Liverpool after pulling up, and Coleman believes it happened for a reason. “It’s disappointing he’s got an injury. Could it have been prevented? Possibly, yes,” Coleman told the media ahead of the international window. “I think we all expected him to [miss the start of the season]. So I don’t know what happened between then and when he ended up on the pitch. Obviously only Arsenal can answer that. I think, to a man, if you were looking at [Arsenal’s team-sheet], it was a bit of a surprise he started.”

Ramsey helped Wales progress to the Euro 2016 semifinals. Many starts from countries that went deep in the Euros got a rest to start the season. Many of France’s team members, including Dimitri Payet and even Ramsey’s Arsenal teammate Olivier Giroud saw time off to start the Premier League season.

“When you’ve got a player as good as Aaron, take him out of any team and you are going to know about it,” Coleman said. “He is irreplaceable. He makes a huge impact for us. He is a great player and it’s a shame he’s not here. He’s a loss to any team.”

Wales has a World Cup qualifier against Moldova on September 5.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 1-2 Toronto FC

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Sebastian Giovinco #10 of Toronto FC dribbles the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): The Orlando City defense played a 75 minute match, and those 15 minutes off cost them the match. A pair of sleepy moments early and late in the match saw Toronto bag two goals on the road and leave Citrus Bowl Stadium with all three points. Sebastian Giovinco had the assists on both, a pair of perfectly timed through balls – one over the top and one through the middle – sprung the Toronto strikers.

Three moments that mattered

7′ – Toronto had a dream start just seven minutes in when a looping ball from Sebastian Giovinco found Tousaint Ricketts. He torched Tommy Redding down the right, breaking free on goal and finishing the one-on-one chance around Joe Bednik cooly.

56′ – Greg Vanney’s anger was doubled. First, the Toronto FC manager was left seething at a foul called as Marco Delgado clipped Matias Garcia and gave Orlando a set-piece opportunity. In the ensuing spell of possession, a cross from Luke Boden met the head of Clye Larin, who deposited it into the back of the net. A stone-faced Vanney was left seething on the bench as the home side leveled it up at 1-1.

86′ – Jozy Altidore came off the bench to finish off the game, and while he had a horrible miss just minutes into the game, he atoned at the end. The visitors again caught the Orlando defense completely asleep, with the back line pressed way high up the pitch. Altidore timed his run perfectly, and the hosts didn’t even attempt to catch up. One-on-one, the USMNT striker finished easily.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Ricketts 7′, Larin 56′, Altidore 86′

Men In Blazers podcast: Leicester vs. Arsenal, plus wins for Mourinho, Pep, and Conte

meninblazers
Leave a comment

Rog and Davo recap the discordant draw that was Leicester vs. Arsenal and break down perfect starts for Mourinho, Pep and Antonio Conte.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

Hope Solo suspended from USWNT for 6 months, contract terminated

KANSAS CITY, KS - JULY 22:  Goalkeeper Hope Solo #1 of the United States in action during the game against Costa Rica at Children's Mercy Park on July 22, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Getty Images
16 Comments

U.S. Soccer has announced that Hope Solo has been suspended from the USWNT for six months following the comments she made about Sweden’s performance in the quarterfinal match that saw the U.S. eliminated from the 2016 Olympics in the quarterfinals.

Sweden played a defensively-minded match, which finished in a 1-1 draw and progressed to penalties, where Sweden defeated the reigning World Cup champions. Solo told reporters following the match that “I think we played a bunch of cowards” and “the best team did not win.”

[ MORE: Transfer needs for all 20 PL teams ]

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions. ”

The statement said that prior incidents were considered “as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member” when determining the length of the suspension. Solo was suspended in 30 days back in 2015 for a build-up of conduct issues. Even considering her prior conduct problems, the length of suspension is surprising for simply inflammatory comments, but U.S. Soccer made it clear in the statement that there is likely more to this than meets the eye.

[ MORE: Top 15 USMNT prospects under 23 ]

With the six-month layoff, Solo will be eligible to return to the team in February of 2017. The team has just two more matches scheduled for the remainder of 2016. She can still play for her club team Seattle Reign during the suspension. There was another term of punishment levied on Solo:

Other reports have confirmed that, because U.S. Soccer pays her club contract as well, only her national team portion of the contract was revoked.

“During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” coach Jill Ellis said in a separate statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

Solo responded to the suspension, saying, “I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me,” she wrote. “I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”

[ MORE: Yedlin, Newcastle make it official ]

While Hope Solo seems to accept the decision, the player’s union isn’t so much.