Getty Images

Bruce Arena reflects on his second USMNT debut as boss

Leave a comment

The U.S. national team drew 0-0 with Serbia in a friendly in San Diego, California on Sunday and Bruce Arena was encouraged by what he saw.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Taking charge of the first game of his second spell in charge of the USMNT, Arena seemed pleased that the work he’d done with his players throughout the January training camp has been carried over into the game as Sebastian Lletget and Darlington Nagbe showed plenty of promise.

Speaking to the media following the match, Arena insisted that the result didn’t matter and he is already focusing on the World Cup qualifiers.

“Clearly we would have liked to win the game today. But for this time of the year I was encouraged by a number of performances by our team,” Arena said. “To be honest with you if we won 5-0 today or lost 5-0, I’m not sure it would change our world for March. These games are important, especially for our domestic players. But the games that are going to count are the ones in March. That’s where you can look at me and can get really critical.”

Playing against an under-strength Serbian side with the match being out of a FIFA window for international games, Arena also knows that a large chunk of the next squad he names for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama in March will consist of U.S. players from European clubs.

If everyone is fit then the likes of Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, Bobby Wood and Christian Pulisic will all join Arena’s squad.

That will add plenty of quality to the players from Major League Soccer who made up the vast majority of his squad over the past four weeks of training.

Arena’s USMNT will play Jamaica in Chattanooga on Friday and he will be expecting a little more from his established players, especially in the final third as they spurned some good chances against Serbia on Sunday with Chris Pontius and Sacha Kljestan missing the best two chances for the U.S.

The start of Arena’s second spell in charge of the USMNT flew under the radars of most but there’s no doubting that some players from within MLS are ready to become starter in his team moving forward.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
Leave a comment
Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

Leave a comment

Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

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 ]