Jermaine Jones

VIDEO: Jermaine Jones’ blistering take on USMNT future

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“This morning I saw that Bruce got released, and the biggest thing has to be now that U.S. Soccer don’t make the next mistake.”

So begins Jermaine Jones’ long talk on the future of the USMNT. While wearing LA Galaxy gear, the midfielder begged younger players to challenge themselves in Europe and asked U.S. Soccer to hire a strong personality rather than pluck a prospect out of MLS.

[ MORE: Gulati conference call underwhelms ]

Jones strongly advocated players going to Europe, aware enough to continually say how much he loves MLS and wasn’t trying to take a shot at it. Jones said MLS is great, but MLS’ best young talents should be pushing themselves further.

The current Galaxy and former Schalke man spoke of two cases in particular, lauding Christian Pulisic for moving to Borussia Dortmund and scratching his head in revealing a conversation with Jordan Morris where the youngster chose to stay home rather than accept the advances of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: PST’s one-on-one with Jones in 2016 ]

It should absolutely be noted that it wasn’t cool of Jones to speak of Morris’ personal reasoning. We’re not excusing it, but it is a colorful and perhaps important part of the discussion. Jones went on to say that players can make that choice, but then can’t be upset when their place in the USMNT fold is threatened by a lower standard of play.

Some highlights, and the remarks on Pulisic and Morris: “I have much respect for this kid. He’s the Wonderboy for us and he makes stuff happen in games but we have other guys too like Kellyn, Yedlin is already over there, Brooks is over there, Wood is over there. …Jordan Morris he was already but he decided to come play for Seattle. If you want to make the next step in your career, you have to go over there.”

“(Pulisic) decided with his family to go the hardest way, and he made it so I respect that but I want to see more kids hungry like that and don’t pull just the other way. ‘I go and play MLS and never want to go over to Europe’ and hope maybe an MLS coach comes and prefers for MLS players. That’s not right. If you want to make the next step, what every fan is hoping, you have to be a coach to be straight. It hurts some times. It hurts MLS … but sometimes you have to talk the truth, and you need more players in the tough leagues.

“When Bob Bradley was the coach, how many players played in MLS? Most of the players came from Europe. You learn to get personality. You learn to get strong as a person.”

“It’s the fault of the whole system that players are not ready yet. If you take 25 year old player in MLS and compare them to a 19 year old player in Europe, the Europe player is farther in his brain and that’s not a good sign.”

“Jurgen (Klinsmann) called me to please call Jordan Morris. I talked with him and I asked him, ‘I know that Werder Bremen really wants you and you can play there. You can go farther.’ And he said, ‘You know what? I wanna go home. My dad is a doctor in Seattle and my mom that bought me and my girlfriend a dog and all that stuff.’ I was like, really? Why you go the easy way. That’s the point. That’s what I wanted to say.”

MLS Snapshot: Atlanta United 4-0 LA Galaxy (video)

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The match in 100 words (or less): Somewhere, Atlanta United is still scoring now with 19 goals in its last five outings. The “Five Stripes” fired at will for the second-straight game, leading 3-0 before Jermaine Jones made it academic with a silly red card. Yamil Asad had two goals and two assists in the first half, while Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez also scored. For Martinez, it’s seven goals in seven days. LA has quit, and Tata Martino’s Atlanta may just pose a threat to Toronto FC’s presumed MLS Cup Final spot.

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap | La Liga | Serie A ]


Three moments that mattered

13′ — Maaaaayyyybe defend, LA? — It’s one thing for Rafael Garcia to back off and back off and back off and back off Yamil Asad. It’s another thing to fail in any attempt to mark the hottest scorer in MLS: Josef Martinez.

20′ — Three goals in seven minutes — About that “defending”… woof. This is a straight-up passing drill for ATL.

39′ — Jermaine Jones rolls back the years (not in a good way) — The combustible midfielder showed that vibes haven’t settled in LA despite Sigi Schmid’s presence, taking an easy red considering VAR’s abilities for dragging his cleat in the direction of a fellow human’s spine.

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

Man of the Match: Asad

Goal scorers: Martinez (13′), Asad (16′, 20′), Almiron (43′)

Arena wanted Jermaine Jones, but what do the stats say?

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The steel in the midfield of the United States men’s national team was low if not altogether absent for the majority of their one-point international break.

Bruce Arena’s men fell 2-0 at home to Costa Rica before Bobby Wood helped them steal a point in Honduras at San Pedro Sula on Tuesday.

It was Michael Bradley with Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, and Fabian Johnson on Friday, and then Bradley, Nagbe, Pulisic, and Kellyn Acosta on Tuesday.

[ MORE: World Cup prognoses for all confederations ]

Missing from that mix was combustible veteran Jermaine Jones, out with injury and apparently very much wanted by Arena.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“I know I came from a long-time injury, I got injured with the toe, so me and [US head coach Bruce Arena] we talked and everything is okay. If I’m 100 percent fit I want to focus first on the Galaxy, get that playoff spot, then focus in October on making the national team roster.”

The 69-times capped Jones has four goals for the national team including a stunning blast against Portugal at the 2014 World Cup.

With Jones, who’s been injured for much of this year, the U.S. has one draw and two losses in World Cup qualifiers.

He was also one of the side’s better players in the Copa America Centenario, although he picked up his only red card as a USMNT player when he was sent off against Ecuador.

Jones had been talismanic for Colorado and New England, but how has his presence affected the USMNT since he debuted under Bob Bradley in 2010.

All data via Transfermarkt

With Jones (tournament play): 17W-4D-12L
Without Jones (tournament play): 21W-5D-5L

But hold on, should Jones be punished for not being called up for Gold Cup action since 2011, let’s take another look at those marks without those weakened tournaments (B Teams or not).

With Jones (tournament play exc. Gold Cups): 13W-4D-10L
Without Jones (tournaments exc. Gold Cups): 7W-3D-3L

Jones played every minute of one of the United States’ top World Cup performances in 2014 (1W-1D-2L) as well as the CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico. He also played in five Copa America matches (3W-2L) while missing the elimination match versus Argentina with a red card suspension.

That leaves us World Cup qualifying with and without Jones, and let’s only look at Hex matches to eliminate the weaker teams (Sorry 12-1 aggregate wins over St. Vincent, though he played one and missed the other).

With Jones (Hex): 5W-2D-3L
Without Jones (Hex): 4W-3D-1L

Finally what about versus Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago? The Yanks did win in Panama without Jones in the 2013 Hex and drew in T&T with him in the last round of qualifying.

I’m a big Jones supporter, but even in the face of these numbers I find it hard to make the argument that his first international action with this group since March should be in must-win qualifiers with the nation’s soccer reputation on the line.

MLS Snapshot: NYCFC add to Galaxy’s misery, win 2-0 in LA

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The game in 100 words (or less): At the risk of making the same mistake two seasons in a row (writing the Seattle Sounders off in early August), it’s time to forget about the LA Galaxy making the playoffs in 2017. Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of New York City FC was their seventh in eight games. Sigi Schmid inherited an absolute mess of a squad, which currently sits nine points out of the sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference. Rookie Jonathan Lewis scored the game’s opening goal, his first in MLS, and David Villa added the insurance 15 minutes before full-time, his league-leading 18th of the season. NYCFC leapfrogged the Chicago Fire, who lost on Saturday, for second place in the Eastern Conference and remain four points back of Toronto FC in the race for the Supporters’ Shield (and home-field advantage in the playoffs).

[ MORE: Assessing the top moves of the MLS summer transfer ]

Three moments that mattered

40′ — Johnson makes a reaction save to deny Pele — No, you didn’t read that wrong. (Pele van Anholt, that is.)

54′ — Lewis curls a beauty past Rowe for 1-0 — It’s a wonderful strike by Lewis, but one must acknowledge Jermaine Jones’ flailing challenge which comes up painfully empty as the rookie skates past him and goes for goal.

73′ — Villa curls one past Rowe for 2-0 — We are truly fortunate to follow this league while this player continues to do his thing at this level. He’ll almost certainly become the first back-to-back MVP in MLS history.

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

Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Lewis (54′), Villa (73′)

MLS Snapshot: Galaxy hammer Red Bulls without injured Jones

Photo credit: LA Galaxy / Facebook
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The game in 100 words (or less): In a shocking turn of events that no one could have possibly ever predicted (hopefully your sarcasm detector is going off right about now), the LA Galaxy were without Jermaine Jones (knee) for Sunday’s clash with the New York Red Bulls, and lo and behold, they appeared to be lightyears ahead of the version of themselves (read: “Jones in tow”) that labored spiraled out of control to the tune of two wins from their first nine games this season. Beyond the three goals scored, two of which were bagged by an extremely motivated side very early on, LA were 1) quick(er) on the counter; 2) most importantly, competent in transitioning and shifting everyone side to side when defending. If you watched this team over the first two and a half months of the season, you know that’s nothing short of a miracle. Final score: 3-1, Galaxy. Here’s hoping Bruce Arena is watching and takes note with regarding to his roster for World Cup qualifiers this summer. Also, of particular note: Romain Alessandrini will win Newcomer of the Year.

[ MORE: MLS (late-night) roundup | Afternoon roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Alessandrini’s free kick untouched, hits paydirt — Jelle Van Damme was probably smart to not touch the ball, as his presence inside the six-yard box alone was enough to freeze Luis Robles in his tracks.

9′ — Alessandrini again, for 2-0 — Not so long after making it 1-0, Alessandrini to the penalty spot and hammered Giovani dos Santos’ cross past Robles to double LA’s lead. Alessandrini has six goals and four assists in his first 10 MLS games.

78′ — Alessandrini wins a penalty, Dos Santos converts — When life is good, life is really good.

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

Man of the match: Romain Alessandrini

Goalscorers: Alessandrini (8′, 9′), Dos Santos (78′ – PK), Royer (90+3′)