Scanning for an insider look at how things operate past the velvet ropes of a U.S. national team camp? Specifically, how they are operating around Jurgen Klinsmann’s ongoing January camp?
Here ‘tis. It’s a thoughtful, personal account of the team’s camp from Real Salt Lake outside back Tony Beltran, from USSoccer.com.
It is absolutely jam-packed with fantastic detail. For instance, Beltran talks about the tricky psychology of the fitness testing, particularly the VO2 max test, a real talker among the group of Americans at the Home Depot Center training site. Consensus: players who can block out the “suffocating feeling of wearing a mask” were way ahead of the game.
Throughout the long, well-considered piece, you’ll see the word “business” a lot. I know some people refer to the January process as “Camp Cupcake,” and probably don’t mean it as disparaging as it sounds. But clearly, players understand what’s at stake personally, sensing the tug of opportunity right where it counteracts the weight of what it means to their careers.
There’s something else to be gleaned by Beltran’s account, too. Here’s a guy who is “getting it” – and he is new to the international-level, a first-timer to the national team environment. Still, he sees exactly what Klinsmann is getting at here, attempting to guide this mostly young assemble through a comprehensive approach to professional betterment.
At the same time, Beltran understands that it all points to the same place:
While performance on the field is how we are ultimately judged as soccer players, what is done in between trainings and games is highly contributive to performance. In our first week of camp most of our time would be spent in the gym with our fitness coach and in daily core workouts with a Pilates instructor. Players are kept busy with multiple workouts a day, but the necessary tools to take care of ourselves as athletes are always available and first-class. The environment is extremely professional and goal-oriented.”
Despite a late scare, dominant Brighton and Hove Albion put an end to Frank Lampard‘s run in the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat of Derby County at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia scored in the final dozen minutes of the first half for the Seagulls, who will learn their quarterfinal foe on Monday.
[ MORE: Lingard, Martial injured ]
Substitute Ashley Cole scored in the 80th minute for the Rams, who were heavily outshot in the match.
It was Cole’s first goal in England since 2012, when he bagged a Premier League marker for Chelsea against Stoke City.
Locadia was injured just before the Seagulls conceded, and looked to be in considerable pain with an ankle injury.
American attacker Duane Holmes started up top for Derby but was subbed after 45 minutes. The 24-year-old Columbus-born man has become a regular starter under Lampard.
The 20th Anniversary of Manchester United’s treble, to the day, will see Sir Alex Ferguson managing the club.
This, of course, is for a single night only, as the Red Devils celebrate their 1999 treble with a testimonial of sorts against Bayern Munich, who it beat 2-1 to win the Champions League on May 26, 1999.
[ MORE: Lingard, Martial injured ]
“I’m really looking forward to what will be a special day at Old Trafford. It will be great to catch up with some familiar faces and a great opportunity to support the work of Manchester United Foundation,” Ferguson said.
Players for the game are not confirmed but imagine the possibilities: Peter Schmeichel was across the field from Oliver Kahn. Lothar Matthaus had to deal with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and the Neville brothers started or were in the 18.
Keep in mind that Solskjaer scored the winner for Ferguson’s United that day at the Camp Nou, as the Red Devils scored twice in stoppage time for a remarkable comeback win.
A pair of Premier League team attempt to dodge upset bids with varying degrees of likelihood, while one of the guaranteed lower league quarterfinal berths will also be clinched during Saturday’s FA Cup action
Brighton and Hove Albion opens the day hoping to outlast Frank Lampard-led Derby County at the Amex Stadium.
[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]
The other Premier League side, Man City, visits League Two side Newport County. Pep Guardiola is wary of the side’s physicality, but an upset is the longest of long shots.
Sandwiched in the middle is Millwall’s visit to AFC Wimbledon, the League One hosts hoping to continue the magic that helped them knock off the visitors’ rivals: West Ham United of the Premier League.
FA Cup Saturday
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Derby County — 7:30 am. ET
AFC Wimbledon v. Millwall — 10 a.m. ET
Newport County v. Man City — 12:30 p.m. ET
Rogelio Funes Mori is healthy again for Monterrey, and that’s a big reason why they lead the Clausura standings.
The 27-year-old Argentinian striker is in great form this Clausura after missing a significant portion of the Apertura with injuries. He had five goals in six Clausura matches coming into Friday night’s match with 16th-placed Monarcas Morelia.
He now has six goals, and his last one was an absolute stunner.
Funes Mori stole the ball off Aldo Rocha’s sloppy touch, looked up, and noticed Monarcas goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa just a hair out of his net. That was all the space he needed, letting loose from at least 35 yards out and producing an absolutely stunning finish that Sosa barely even had time to back up and give a stretch. Just like that, Monterrey went ahead.
Unfortunately for Monterrey, they gave up an equalizer less than a minute later as the left flank of the Monterrey defense saw their controller batteries die, allowing Edison Flores to snag a loose ball behind the lollygagging defenders and fire a low shot past Marcelo Barovero to level the score. The game ended 3-2 to Monterrey as Funes Mori would score a 78th minute equalizer and then the visitors won in stoppage time.
Still, win, lose, or draw, that strike by Funes Mori is something to behold. On the same day that a French top flight player unleashed from nearly halfway, Liga MX has a goal of the same caliber.