Mexico

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Champions League AT HALF – Leicester, Dortmund trail; Spurs lead (video)

Real Madrid's Henrico Casemiro, center right, jumps for a high ball during the Champions League, Group F, soccer match between Real Madrid and Borrusia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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CONCACAF is representing in the UEFA Champions League’s final group stage match day, with a Mexico star scoring and a USMNT teenager getting the start at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Porto 3-0 Leicester City

Andre Silva isn’t hurting his transfer value, burying his third group stage goal against a weakened already-through Leicester. El Tri star Jesus Corona added to the advantage in the 25th minute, and Yacine Brahimi has the third.

Club Brugge 0-2 FC Copenhagen

The Danes are making a statement of intent, and will be hoping Leicester comes back against Porto.

Real Madrid 1-0 Borussia Dortmund

Christian Pulisic gets the start in a match where a draw would be enough for BVB to win the group. That’s not happening right now, as Karim Benzema beat his mark to a terrific 28th minute pass from Dani Carvajal.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 CSKA Moscow

Spurs started dominant, only to go down after the half hour mark. Dele Alli pulled them level, and Harry Kane put ’em ahead. A loss puts them out of both the UCL and Europa League.

Elsewhere
Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Monaco
Juventus 0-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Legia Warsaw 1-0 Sporting CP
Lyon 0-0 Sevilla

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WATCH LIVE: Tigres, Pumas battle; Tijuana faces uphill battle

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JULY 15: Players of Tigres  their first goal scored by Hugo Ayala during the match between Internacional v Tigres as part of Copa Bridgestone Libertadores 2015 Semi-Finals at Estadio Beira-Rio on July 15, 2015 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)
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The Liguilla-Apertura quarterfinals continue on Saturday night, as two sides will ultimately punch their tickets into the competition’s final four down in Mexico.

First, Tigres and Pumas will go toe-to-toe at the Estadio Universitario as the two clubs look to create separation and advance into the semifinal round. The two sides currently sit level at 2-2 after an enticing first leg in Mexico City, which saw Fidel Martinez’s second-half finish give Pumas a solid chance coming into the second match.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Liga MX coverage ]

The evening’s second matchup will require a massive turnaround from the hosts as Tijuana looks overcome a 3-0 deficit against Leon. Including Wednesday’s first leg meeting, Leon has won three of the last five meetings against Tijuana.

Checking the success rate of national rehires as Arena takes U.S. reins

Netherlands v Argentina: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
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Some nations have never done it, while others have made a habit; As Bruce Arena prepares for his second stint as United States men’s national team boss, what has history shown us regarding these repeat performances?

While each case is quite unique given both the nature of player turnover at the national team level and the relative burdens of a given program, perhaps there’s something to be learned from going back to the well.

[ MORE: Notable quotes from Arena, Gulati]

Two nations have done this in somewhat religious fashion: Brazil and the Netherlands. While the former was simply hearkening back to the golden days, reintroducing three bosses who had won the World Cup, the Dutch operated in an unorthodox manner in repeating many times.

Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Italy, and Belgium have all gone back to the drawing board once in the last few decades, while some nations: England, Spain, France, Germany.

I’ll admit that I was nonplussed at the idea of Bruce Arena re-appointment. He’ll do fine, as it would take some serious failing to miss out on the World Cup. But I’m hoping this exercise will lead me in a different direction, one of excitement.


Let’s begin in CONCACAF, where Javier Aguirre earned two stints with Mexico. Aguirre led El Tri to the Copa America final in 2001 and oversaw a terrific escape from the 2002 World Cup group stage, where Mexico was drawn with Croatia, Italy, and Ecuador. Mexico then lost to the USMNT in the Round of 16 (Landon Donovan!!), and that was that for stint No. 1.

Club Atletico de Madrid v RCD Espanyol - La LigaHis return will sound super familiar to U.S. fans. Aguirre was brought back to Mexico in the wake of foreign manager Sven-Gorn Eriksson’s losing two of his first three Hex matches. Upon his hiring Aguirre vowed, “I add, gentlemen, that I want the player who comes, come with pride, to recover the identity that comes with our love for the shirt”.

[ MORE: Champions League standings

Aguirre led Mexico back into the World Cup, and won the 2009 Gold Cup. El Tri finished second in its World Cup group but again bowed out in the first knockout round (3-1 to Argentina).

Verdict: Hard to call this anything but a success.


Marcello Lippi won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, which is nice we guess. He left the gig of his own volition, only to return after Italy lost at the quarterfinal stage of EURO 2008. In South Africa, Italy gained two points from a poor group with New Zealand, Slovakia, and Paraguay, and Lippi quit.

Verdict: This one didn’t work.


Georges Leekens is seemingly a rare bird in our study, a coach who disappointed in his first run but got another shot. Belgium failed to advance from the 1998 World Cup’s group stage, the first time the Red Devils missed the knockout rounds since 1982. Leekens was brought back in 2009, and could not help Belgium to EURO 2010.

Verdict: If at first you don’t succeed… don’t do it again?


Nelson Acosta led Chile from 1996-2000, and advanced to the Round of 16. Chile drew all three group games before falling to finalists Brazil in the first knockout round game. He came back for 2005-2007, with Chile not in the 2006 World Cup and bowing out in the quarters of the 2007 Copa America. Oh, and he quit midway through that tenure.

Verdict: Not great.


Argentina‘s repeat customer was Alfio Basile, who won two Copa Americas and a Confederations Cup, though a promising 1994 World Cup run was scuppered by one of Diego Maradona’s failed drug tests. Basile was brought back after the 2006 World Cup, and quit after a Round 10 loss in CONMEBOL qualifying that saw La Albiceleste swept by Chile.

Verdict: Rough.


As for the repeat offenders, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Mario Zagallo, Carlos Alberto Parreira, and Luiz Felipe Scolari were all brought back to Brazil after lifting World Cups. It’s worth noting that Parreira had a brief stint in charge before his Cup winning stint as well.

Mario Zagallo (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Zagallo had won two World Cups as a player, too, before leading Brazil to the 1970 World Cup final. He returned almost a quarter century later, and led the nation to the final. They lost to hosts France.

[ MORE: Klinsmann hurt by own expectations ]

Parreira won the 1994 World Cup in the United States, returning 8 years late for a four-year run. Brazil conceding one goal in three group stage games, then blasted Ghana 3-0 before again falling victim to France, 1-0, this time in the quarters.

Scolari won the 2002 World Cup, and came back for the 2014 edition in Brazil. We know how that ended, with semifinal embarrassment at the hands of Germany.

Although any World Cup that ends before the final will be viewed as a failure by some Brazil supporters, none of the above results were true embarrassments.

VerdictHard to judge because, well, it’s Brazil.


The Dutch have turned over the same leaf many times, and their bravery was rewarded several times.

Louis Van Gaal‘s first tenure with the national team was rough, as the Netherlands missed the World Cup for the first time since 1986. His return, however, was sensational; Holland ran to the 2014 World Cup semifinal, only falling to eventual runners-up Argentina.

The legendary Rinus Michels (David Cannon/Allsport)

The other returnees had varied success. Rinus Michels had five spells in charge. He first led the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final, where they lost to West Germany, and came back to lead the team to the EURO 1988 title. They beat West Germany in the semis, and Michels is an undoubted Dutch legend.

[ MORE: Short-termism from USA? ]

Guus Hiddink led Holland to the 1998 World Cup semifinals, only losing to Brazil in penalties. He came back in 2014 to succeed Van Gaal, and the Dutch saw misery. Holland finished fourth in their qualifying group and missed EURO 2016.

Dick Advocaat navigated a tumultuous spell of Dutch football to lead the nation to the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual champions Brazil. In his return, Advocaat led the Netherlands to the EURO 2004 semis and a surprising loss to Portugal. This was not viewed kindly.

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Jurgen Klinsmann believes fans, media have overreacted to latest USMNT losses

HAVANA, CUBA - OCTOBER 07:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States looks on during the match against Cuba at Estadio Pedro Marrero on October 7, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann says he was left “angry” after traumatic World Cup qualifying losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to start Hexagonal play, but he also thinks that fan and media reactions have been harsh.

Klinsmann told Erik Kirschbaum of Reuters that “It’s important to put this in the right perspective” after a late 2-1 loss to Mexico and subsequent 4-0 drubbing in Costa Rica.

“We lost the two opening games and played the two best teams right away. We have eight more games to get the points needed to qualify. We’ve always reacted strongly when things were nerve-wracking. This team is always capable of reacting. We’ll correct this with the two games in March and we’ll take one game at a time from there to get our points. I’m 1,000 percent sure we’ll qualify.”

The U.S. has games against Honduras and Panama scheduled for March. Both those teams have wins thus far, with Honduras topping Trinidad & Tobago, while Panama defeated Honduras and drew with Mexico. The U.S. is currently bottom of the table, without a point and below Trinidad & Tobago with a worse goal difference.

Despite the dire situation, Klinsmann believes that the reaction to the two early losses, which included a number of calls for his job, were too critical.

“When things go slightly wrong, there are some people who come out and are ready to chop your head off,” the German told Reuters. “In the long run, that’s going to make the development of the team difficult. It’s important to stay calm and be patient.

“There are definitely issues to be addressed but there is no reason to exaggerate them or panic,” Klinsmann added. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years and there are always many reasons why certain things happen, both positively and negatively. It’s important to have the end result in mind. And the big picture is the overall development of the team in the four-year cycle between two World Cups. You have to be ready to take some setbacks during that phase.”

Despite Klinsmann’s calm demeanor, those setbacks suffered early in the Hex are indeed serious. Last time through, with teams looking to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, the third and final automatic qualifying spot was given to Honduras with 15 points. To match that this time around, the United States has eight matches to garner the at least four wins likely needed to reach that point total. Four years before that, the third and fourth places both finished on 16 points looking towards the 2010 World Cup, with Honduras earning the final automatic berth and Costa Rica needing to advance via the intercontinental playoff.

In addition, it seems Klinsmann may be molding his words to fit the occasion. In his biography, also written by Kirschbaum, Klinsmann said, “Our players who go to England, Germany, Spain, or France get used to the pressure and are used to getting criticized if they have a bad game. They hear about it from the local people in the supermarket or in the shops or on the streets. The pressure is everywhere. They’re used to having to justify themselves for their performances all the time.”

“If an MLS player has a bad game, we want them to be accountable for that,” Klinsmann continued in his biography. “We want them to be pestered by the people in the supermarket or the baker or the butcher because that’s the way people react to the game all over the world where soccer is the number one sport.”