All-aboard! U.S. Soccer is changing before our very eyes

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Psyched. Delighted. Over the moon.

These are but a few of the words that describe the mood of U.S. Soccer fans upon waking up this morning. No matter the descriptor, supporters of the Stars & Stripes are a happy bunch.

And how could they not be?

We’re talking about ten straight victories.

The achievement is massive.

So much so that sports fans in the U.S. who don’t follow soccer – especially those who like to take the piss out of the beautiful game for being soft, boring or lacking goals – need to recognize.

We’re not talking about a ten match unbeaten streak.

We’re talking about ten straight victories.

In a sport where draws are paramount, no matter who the opponents may be, this is a major achievement.

The Yanks 5-1 shellacking of El Salvador last Sunday marked the record the country’s best run of form in the 100 years of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s existence. And last night’s 3-1 manhandling of Honduras in the Gold Cup semi-final – which prompted Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez to admit that “the U.S. was able to beat us in every aspect of the game” – was proof positive that the Americans are showing no signs of slowing down.

A huge pool of hungry talent.

A resurgent American hero in Landon Donovan.

A somewhat misunderstood yet deeply passionate manager in Jurgen Klinsmann.

And a cohesive unit of players who, over the last six months, has not only shown dramatic improvement but is in the midst of molting the sit-back-and-wait skin that has defined American soccer for decades.

The transition into high pressure, up-tempo, free-flowing, attacking soccer is upon us. And it is positively invigorating.

So for U.S. Soccer fans, enjoy the moment. Revel in the success. And continue to preach the good word from now through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and onwards.

As for any sports fans in the U.S. who up until this point have not taken to U.S. Soccer, no hard feelings. Fans of the Stars & Stripe are a welcoming bunch. And there is no better time than the present to discard any pre-existing indifference or animosity and join the bandwagon.

Next stop, the Gold Cup Final.

VIDEO: Toivonen chips Neuer; Germany on brink of elimination

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Germany, the defending world champions, have their backs firmly pressed against the wall, less than an hour away from elimination, in just their second game of Group F play at the 2018 World Cup. As of this moment, they’re set to be eliminated with one game still to play.

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

After losing to Mexico in the opener, Joachim Loew’s side now trails Sweden in game no. 2, just shy of 45 minutes on the clock. As of right now, Mexico and Sweden (six points each) would go through to the knockout rounds, and Germany and South Korea (zero points) would go home.

Die Mannschaft were utterly dominant for the game’s first 30 minutes, holding more than 75 percent of possession, until Ola Toivonen, who scored all of two goals for Ligue 1 side Toulouse this season, got in behind the German backline and dinked the ball over the head of Manuel Neuer for the game’s opening goal.

Report: Player “coup” has Sampaoli on the outs at Argentina

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The Argentina men’s national team has been a mess for some time, with Lionel Messi retiring the last time controversy reared its ugly ahead, but this is something else.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Reports out of Argentina say manager Jorge Sampaoli has lost the team, who is now making decisions on their own ahead of their World Cup group stage finale against Nigeria.

Argentina drew Iceland in its opener before being embarrassed in a 3-0 defeat to Croatia in the second match, one in which Sampaoli’s lineup choice, tactics, and in-match decisions were skewered in the media.

Sergio Aguero was among the players to bristle at talk of the coach after the game.

This just hours after Sampaoli’s lineup to face Nigeria was “leaked” via training ground photos on Saturday.

More to come…

MLS weekend preview: Busy Saturday following the World Cup

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You won’t have to wait too long after the final World Cup game of Saturday to get more soccer.

Major League Soccer is back with a busy night of fixtures.

[ RECAP: Mexico 2-1 South Korea ]

Here are some 1-2 liners to get prepared for what’s in store.

Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 5 p.m. ET

Carl Robinson’s rising visitors will hope the inconsistent side of the Union hits the field in Pennsylvania.

New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas — 6 p.m. ET

Dallas’ seven-match unbeaten run includes four-straight wins, but RBNY has not lost at home since late April.

Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET

Orlando has not gained a point of its last available 18, while Montreal is slowly finding form.

Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo — 8:30 p.m. ET

The Western leaders host a Houston side with a tough 1-3-3 mark away from home.

Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United — 9 p.m. ET

Two-win Colorado has been much better at home than away, and the Loons can’t afford to give the Rapids win No. 3 if they want to stay in the playoff picture.

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 10 p.m. ET

Real has won six of seven at Rio Tinto, and San Jose has just two wins this season (So, MLS rules dictate this will go in the Quakes’ win column).

Seattle Sounders vs. Chicago Fire — 10 p.m. ET

The Sounders’ awful season gets a Chicago with points in five of six.

LAFC vs. Columbus Crew — 10:30 p.m. ET

Traveling across the country without Carlos Vela and beating a very solid Crew side is asking a lot of Bob Bradley‘s expansion side.


Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers — 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Gio Savarese has manufactured some fine away performances for Portland, but this is a long flight and a tall ask in a possible MLS Cup Final preview.

NYCFC vs. Toronto FC — 5 p.m. ET Sunday

TFC has yet to climb back into the East’s Top Six, but will like its chances to make a statement against Patrick Vieira-less NYCFC on the postage stamp pitch at Yankee Stadium.

WATCH: Spurs’ Son scores sensational consolation goal for South Korea

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South Korea has not had a good World Cup, but the Taegeuk Warriors have a fine goal for their tournament highlight reel.

[ RECAP: Mexico 2-1 South Korea ]

Tottenham Hotspur star Heung-Min Son was frustrated by Mexico’s stifling defense for most of the day, but El Tri had little hope of stopping his stoppage time stunner.

Son took a lay-off and then used a pick into his yard of space to rip into a shot in the third minute of extra time.

South Korea must hope for Germany to beat Sweden, then for Mexico to beat Sweden while it beats Germany and builds goals for tiebreakers.

As unlikely as that is, at least Son had this moment.