ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

Leave a comment

Soccer birthdays:

U.S. international Edgar Castillo, notable because he played three times for Mexico before then playing for the United States, turns 26 today.

And since I am a huge fan of the Bourne series, Matt Damon turns 42.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

The United States roster comes out for its latest pair of qualifiers, Friday in Antigua and then next week here against Guatemala. We already know one surprise, Eddie Johnson’s apparent inclusion. But there may be more surprises ahead; Jurgen Klinsmann has certainly demonstrated a lack of predictability where his selections are concerned.

The subplot here, one that related directly to Klinsmann’s latest call-ups, is Landon Donovan’s status. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena likes to make a big mystery of injuries, always playing fast and loose with the facts in these matters. But we’ll know a little more, at very least, on Monday. If Donovan is on the roster when U.S. Soccer releases it at 3 p.m. ET, then he’s OK. If he’s not named to the U.S. squad – well, we still don’t know much about the left knee injury, but we know a little more.

(MORE: Landon Donovan’s injury, with enough concern to go around)

(MORE: With little margin for error, Klinsmann wants greater focus)

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day):  Alecko Eskandarian

*Ahead on the blog today: Plenty. Thoughts on the U.S. roster, and something on Klinsmann news conference (at 3:30 p.m. ET) to discuss it.

Some thoughts on a U.S. Soccer decision that chaps my hiney.

We’ll talk a little more about the sensational scene last night in Seattle (pictured), where the Sounders fans went “all in.”

And the Monday usual, MLS Team of the Week, MLS Player of the Week and the Monday “Meh” list.

Twitter daps:

source:

If the MLS playoffs started today (following 28 rounds):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston at New York

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • Chicago vs. D.C. United

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle

PST background noise while blogging today:  Sports talk. What a fantastic time of year.

We’ll leave you with this: How referee Mark Geiger could allow Kansas City’s Kei Kamara (or any player, for that matter) to get in his face and scream at him underscores how the league absolutely must empower – let’s make that require – match officials to demand players comport themselves more appropriately. This is what we want kids to see? This is the example everyone wants to set? That’s pitiful.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is…

VIDEO: Portugal lead Iran at HT; Spain 1-1 Morocco

Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images
1 Comment

We’re through the first 45 minutes of Monday’s Group B finales at the 2018 World Cup, and things are happening. A quick rundown…

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos combined to commit a disastrous gaffe at midfield, resulting in a goal for Khalid Boutaib in the 14th minute. At this point, Spain would have finished second, behind Portugal, and headed to the far more difficult side of the knockout bracket.

Five minutes later, it was Iniesta who, with a little help from some slightly lesser geniuses, unlocked the Moroccan defense to set up Isco for an emphatic finish. La Furia Roja moved back to the top of the group, on goals scored.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

In the afternoon’s other game, Portugal and Iran appeared destined for a 0-0 scoreline at halftime, until Ricardo Quaresma unleashed a stunning, outside-of-the-foot curler from outside the box to beat the goalkeeper and put Portugal ahead — both on the day, and in the table. As things currently stand, Portugal would win the group and Spain would finish second.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 4

Leave a comment

In the fourth episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England players have been preparing for their next match in an unusual way, Argentina has a huge meltdown, and more.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Click play on the video above to watch the fourth episode in full.

Atlanta leads way with six All-Star Fan XI selections

Atlanta United on Twitter/@ATLUTD
Leave a comment

It may be hard to believe with all the World Cup festivities going on, but the Major League Soccer season is nearly halfway over.

[ MORE: Toronto FC’s 2018 has been far from their cup-winning 2017 ]

And that means it’s almost All-Star time.

The MLS All-Stars will continue their recent tradition of facing a European superpower in August, with Juventus being welcomed to the United States in early August.

But, which players from MLS will we see in action?

Last season’s expansion sweetheart Atlanta United leads the way in the fan voting with six players from the Eastern Conference side voted into the Fan XI, including attackers Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe and Josef Martinez.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender/captain Michael Parkhurst also made the team from Atlanta.

In all, only five clubs were represented based on the Fan XI, with the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman, Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri each rounding out the squad.


Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)

Defenders: Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Forwards: Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge)

Saudi Arabia steals late win over Egypt in Group A finale

Getty Images
1 Comment

Saudi Arabia pulled off a late 2-1 win against Egypt on Monday in their Group A finale, as the two nations ended their 2018 World Cup run in the group stage.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Salem Al Sawsari scored in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time to give the Saudis a late winner in the match, as the attacker struck the post in the dying moments before the ball crossed the line.

The Pharaohs took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a tremendous run from Mohamed Salah and lob over the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper.

Salah has two goals at the World Cup for Egypt, who were already eliminated heading into Monday’s match.

Saudi Arabia was granted a chance to equalize prior to halftime, however, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary brilliantly stopped Hattan Bahebri’s penalty kick in the 41st minute to preserve the Egypt advantage.

El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history to appear in a match at the age of 45.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The Egypt keeper wasn’t as lucky the second time around though, with Salmon Al Faraj converting a penalty kick in the 51st minute.

Saudi Arabia finishes group play in third place on three points, while Egypt goes winless in its three matches.