Looking at United States national team history in Columbus

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The reasonable among us understand no there are no falling skies today for U.S. Soccer. Yes, the United States had a stinker last night down in San Jose – but this is now literally and figuratively behind them.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s team vacated the Costa Rican premises first thing this morning, chartering into Ohio, where they will relax the rest of the day and then train on Sunday, two days before Tuesday’s next shot at regional rival Mexico. (By the way, whatever you think of the United States current worry points, Michael Bradley’s bum ankle, the intensifying crisis at outside back, etc., ask yourself this: would you trade the current U.S. problems for Mexico’s problems? I thought not.)

Still, even those who understand that U.S. qualification for a seventh consecutive World Cup is all but mathematically in the bag, Friday’s loss is just a big ol’ bummer. So perhaps all the good, sweet, clean U.S. Soccer supporters could use a little pick-me-up, this evening, a little ice cream cone on a rainy day, so to speak.

Here ‘tis …

Just examine the U.S. history in Columbus, where the national team is undefeated inside Lamar Hunt’s leap of faith facility, the first major stadium constructed solely for soccer in the United States. (Good karma, eh?) The Americans are 6-0-3 there.

Heck, they’ve only conceded one goal in the place all-time. Here is the rundown:

  • Oct. 11, 2000: 0-0 tie vs. Costa Rica
  • Feb. 28, 2001: 2-0 win over Mexico
  • June 7, 2001: 0-0 tie vs. Ecuador
  • July 6, 2003: 2-0 win over Paraguay
  • June 13, 2004: 3-0 win over Grenada
  • Nov. 17, 2004: 1-1 tie vs. Jamaica
  • Sept. 3, 2005: 2-0 win over Mexico
  • Feb. 11, 2009: 2-0 win over Mexico
  • Sept. 11, 2012: 1-0 win over Jamaica

Take special notice of that 2005 match. Bruce Arena’s team booked official qualification that sunny, late-summer day in Ohio for the 2006 World Cup. Surely you remember the famous Oguchi Onyewu stare down of Jared Borgetti?

Sound familiar? September match against Mexico at Crew Stadium with a chance to stake official passage to a World Cup?  Sounds a lot like Tuesday, eh?

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

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