Paul Caligiuri

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

U.S. Open Cup: Sounders host Timbers, 4th-tier side draws Galaxy

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National Premier Soccer League side Orange County FC will travel an hour of distance but a gulf in class when it meets LA Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup’s fourth round.

The fourth-tier side knocked off USL side Las Vegas Lights in the third round, is the only club remaining in the tournament which plays outside the United States’ top two tiers.

[ U-20 WC: Weah leads U.S. win | Norwegian bags 9 ]

Well-traveled USMNT veteran Paul Caligiuri managed OCFC, and as a fun aside knocked off Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas.

There are five all-MLS matches in the fourth round, including a Cascadian match-up between Portland and Seattle.

Here is the full list:

Columbus Crew SC vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC — June 11, 7 p.m. ET

New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution — June 11, 7:30 p.m. ET

Charleston Battery vs. Atlanta United — June 11, 7:30 p.m. ET

Minnesota United FC vs Sporting Kansas City — June 11, 8 p.m. ET

Houston Dynamo vs Austin Bold FC — June 11, 8 p.m. ET

Saint Louis FC vs. Chicago Fire — June 11, 8:30 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs LAFC — June 11, 9 p.m. ET

San Jose Earthquakes vs Sacramento Republic FC — June 11, 10:30 p.m. ET

NYCFC vs North Carolina FC — June 12, 7 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs Philadelphia Union — June 12, 7 p.m. ET

FC Cincinnati vs Louisville City FC — June 12, 7:30 p.m. ET

FC Dallas vs OKC Energy FC — June 12, 8 p.m. ET

Memphis 901 FC vs. Orlando City SC –June 12, 8:30 p.m. ET

Colorado Rapids vs New Mexico United — June 12, 9 p.m. ET

LA Galaxy vs Orange County FC –June 12, 10:30 p.m. ET

Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers — June 12, 10:30 p.m. ET

U.S. Soccer confirms eight presidential candidates

U.S. Soccer Foundation
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The eight approved candidates for the post of U.S. Soccer president have been announced by the confederation ahead of the Feb. 10 election.

Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd, and Eric Wynalda are the people in question.

[ MORE: Swans fire Paul Clement ]

All but Caligiuri have bios posted on the U.S. Soccer web site here.

There’s plenty of controversy inside of the nominees, even respected ones. Kathy Carter works for powerful but oft-criticized Soccer United Marketing, Carlos Cordeiro was embattled leader Sunil Gulati’s vice president, and USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo has had multiple scrapes with the law including her husband’s DUI driving an unpermitted use of a U.S. Soccer vehicle.

In actuality, these are eight X-factors. Carter and Cordeiro may draw scorn for connections with the incumbent — and thus, the embarrassing World Cup qualifiying failure — but are very much their own people.

Martino and Wynalda are former USMNT players with wide-ranging takes on the game today, while Caligiuri fits that bill as well. Laywers Gans and Winograd would bring differing takes on the game as relative outsiders.

USMNT legend Paul Caligiuri announces candidacy for U.S. Soccer president

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A familiar name to U.S. Soccer fans has thrown his hat in the ring for the upcoming federation presidential election.

Paul Caligiuri, who scored the famous goal in Trinidad and Tobago to qualify the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 1990 World Cup announced on his Twitter account that he is running for U.S. Soccer federation president.

[MORE: USMNT name new interim coach]

Caligiuri joins incumbent president Sunil Gulati, fellow former USMNT player Eric Wynalda, U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Paul LaPointe and Michael Winograd.

Caligiuri’s decision to run is a boost to those who want to see a former player in charge, as opposed to a business man with no experience playing at the highest level. While U.S. Soccer is currently on very good financial ground, the sporting side has suffered at all levels, of course most recently with World Cup qualifying.

Perhaps even if Caligiuri and Wynalda don’t win, some of their platform will be adopted by the eventual winner.

It’s the Silver Anniversary of one of the most important goals in US Soccer history (video)

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It hasn’t been a fun day to be a supporter of United States men’s soccer, what with the second-string Yanks getting pasted by Ireland’s “afterthought” lineup.

So why not relive something amazing, one of the most overlooked but important moments in US Soccer history.

[ USMNT: A right to be worried after Ireland blowout? ]

On Nov. 18, 1989, Paul Caligiuri scored a road goal to shock Trinidad and Tobago in order to move into the World Cup for the first time since 1950. The drought was nine World Cups long, and over with the snap of a left leg.

From a great article by Ronald Blum of the Associated Press:

Then 25 and best known for captaining UCLA to the NCAA title four years earlier, Caligiuri chested a centering pass from Tab Ramos after a throw-in by Brian Bliss, took a right-footed touch past a defender and beat the goalkeeper, who may have had trouble seeing the ball in the sun.

“We’ve never looked back since,” Caligiuri said Tuesday. “We’ve become a premier power in CONCACAF. We’ve ranked in the top 10 in the world. Now our goals are set to try to win a World Cup one day. It’s amazing to see where we’re at. It’s strange to look at this as a pivotal moment in history, but it was.”

It very quickly created more opportunities for American players to land jobs in Europe.

“Every time I see Paul Caligiuri I thank him,” said Alexi Lalas, who was then a 19-year-old at Rutgers and went on to become a star defender for the national team and a television analyst. “It was the start of everything. It set in motion a series of events that, to be quite honest, continues to domino. If there ever was a match that lit the candle, that was it. I’m not sure he knew at the moment that was happening, but I think you can definitely trace it back to that moment, the modern-day American soccer story. That was page one, once upon a time.”

Perfectly summed up there, but read the whole article. And then watch this video US Soccer put together last year to commemorate the moment.

Vedad Ibisevic goal puts Bosnia and Herzegovina into their first World Cup

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For 60 minutes, Bosnia and Herzegovina supporters were left pondering a missed opportunity. Lithuania were holding their team, first in UEFA’s Group G, to a nil-nil after an hour in Kaunas. Meanwhile, Greece had done up through Dimitris Salpigidis after seven minutes at home against Liechtenstein. If those results held, Greece would win the group, qualify for Brazil 2014, and send Bosnia and Herzegovina to another playoff.

Then the breakthrough – the team’s two star forwards combining to alleviate their fans’ festering worry. Lithuania did their part, too, their defense falling to stop Edin Dzeko from reaching byline left of goal before crossing for an unmarked Vedad Ibisevic in the six-yard box. The Stuttgart striker’s redirection past a helpless Giedrius Arlauskis not only put his team in front, it gave soccer fans among his nation’s 3.8 million reason to hope this close call would fall in Bosnia’s favor.

Twenty-five minutes later, their hopes were realized. Bosnia had qualified for the first World Cup in the nation’s 21-year history/ The 1-0 result leaves them with 25 points in 10 games, same as Greece, but thanks to a +26 goal difference (Greece: +8), a team that’s been playing under their own name for just over 10 years has made their first major soccer tournament.

They’d come close in 2010, qualifying for a playoff before losing to Portugal, 2-0 over two legs. The failure to reach South Africa emboldened hopes to qualify for Euro 2012, dreams dashed by another playoff loss. This time, the Portuguese sent them crashing out with a 6-2 romp.

That’s why avoiding a playoff was so vital. Perhaps Safet Susic’s team could finally tame that beast, but there was a feeling of inevitability about going to another winner-take-all match. Been there, done that, and especially having to go through it again after having Group G in their grasp, Bosnia and Herzegovina had more reason than most to avoid a playoff.

Instead, the team’s made history, something that could prove significant for a country that was set up and still exists as a divided entity. Those divides aren’t formally maintained in the national team, so although it’s always a bit altruistic to assume sport can serve as a rallying point, in Bosnia, there is a chance World Cup 2014 can have symbolic value. The potential for a divided nation to function as a unit exists. At least, it does on the soccer field.

In time the Ibisevic goal could become to Bosnian soccer what Paul Caligiuri’s “Shot Heard Around The World” is in the U.S., only its potential importance could be much greater. Both goals sent their countries to World Cups, but in the case of Bosnia, Ibisevic’s goal has the potential to symbolize much more.