Arm in arm members of the U.S. Men's National Team pause in a moment of silence for the 19 firefighters killed in Arizona before their soccer match against the Guatemala Men's National Team in San Diego

Jürgen Klinsmann names U.S. roster for Costa Rica, Mexico qualifiers


Eschewing his usual propensity to wait until the last minute, United States head coach Jürgen Klinsmann announced his roster for the team’s next two qualifiers on Thursday. The coach usually likes to wait until after the weekend matches, but he went live on SportsCenter to make this unusually early announcement.

Landon Donovan will make his competitive return for the U.S., and John Brooks and Aron Jóhannsson could make their debuts in a meaningful match after impressing in the Aug. 14 win in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The usual suspects are here as well, with the expected goalkeeping corps and Il generale, Michael Bradley, holding down the fort.

Full U.S. roster for September World Cup qualifiers:

Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/MLS)

Defenders (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City/MLS), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana/Mexico), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC/MLS), Omar González (Los Angeles Galaxy/MLS), Michael Orozco (Puebla/Mexico)

Midfielders (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/MLS), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/France), Michael Bradley (AS Roma/Italy), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Norway), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/Germany), Jermaine Jones (Schalke/Germany), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City/MLS)

Forwards (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/England), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC/MLS), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy/MLS), Aron Jóhannsson (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC/MLS)

We’ll have roster analysis and reactions coming soon, as well as highlights of Klinsmann’s upcoming conference call with the media. In the meantime, give us your take in the comments section. What do you think of this roster?

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
1 Comment

Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.