United States men’s national team

Lose, draw, climb — USMNT up five spots in latest FIFA rankings

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The United States men’s national team played a pair of experimental road friendlies in March, drawing in Switzerland after losing to Denmark, and improved in the FIFA rankings for their troubles.

In the latest example of the bizarre world of the aforementioned world rankings, the USMNT has risen five spots from 32 to 27 in April.

Germany remains atop the leaderboard, with Argentina right behind the World Cup champs. Belgium moves into third, while Brazil jumps to fifth.

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As for the States’ opponents in March, Switzerland moves up three spots to ninth after its USMNT draw and a win over Estonia, while Denmark stays 28th — one spot below the U.S. — with its other match being a 2-0 loss in France.

Wales jumped 15 spots to its highest ever ranking, 22nd, after beating Israel 3-0, while Bhutan made the biggest jump of anyone (46 spaces to No. 163).

In CONCACAF, Costa Rica’s loss to Panama and draw with Paraguay dropped Los Ticos two spots to No. 15, while wins over Paraguay and Ecuador helped Mexico rise three slots to 18. Panama rose eight spots to 53rd after wins over Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.

The U.S. next faces Mexico on April 15. El Tri released its roster on Wednesday.

View the rankings in full here.

Report: Klinsmann calling up León goalkeeper William Yarbrough for March friendlies

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Mexican journalist Ruben Rodriguez is reporting that USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has followed up his high praise of León goalkeeper William Yarbrough by calling him into camp for this month’s friendlies with Denmark and Switzerland.

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Last week, American Soccer Now reported that Klinsmann said, “With Ventura Alvarado, we have a kid we have watched several times.William Yarbrough, the goalie at Club León, we like him a lot. We are in touch with these two. There are a couple of youngsters in Germany coming through with the possibilities to play for us. There is one kid in England.”

There’s no word on whether Alvarado will get a call as well, but on Yarbrough:

— Age: 25 (26 on Saturday).

— Born in Mexico to emigrants from Texas.

— Has made 60 appearances for the Green Bellies and won the 2014 Clausura.

 

PHOTO: Is this “leaked” image US Soccer’s 2015 away kit?

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It seems this Tuesday in December is headed for the gossip dogs’ win column.

Hours after Zelalemageddon, the serial kit-leakers at Footyheadlines.com have brought us an image that may or may not be the United States international away jersey for 2015.

The V-neck blue shirt features a few different hues of blues that meet at the bottom in navy.

From Footyheadlines.com:

source:
footyheadlines.com

I’m nearly past the point of hating uniforms, even though I’d love for the States to go to a more uniform look (nothing wrong with the current home shirt, after all). Even though it isn’t my cup of tea, I don’t see any reason to be outraged with this shirt.

To be fair, the “bomb pop” shirts of last summer are holding up to the test of time (In other words, doing far better than their first impression).

So what do you think? Is it real and, if so, is it good?

After losses to Colombia and Ireland, USMNT’s concerns, as they are often have, lie in the defense

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The 2-1 loss to Colombia on Friday was understandable.

The 4-1 loss to Ireland on Tuesday was unbearable.

And the quandary in which Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States men’s national team finds itself is unfortunately quite predictable.

[ IRELAND-USMNT: Player ratings | Match recap ]

The USMNT again left goalkeepers out to dry, and its supporters learned what it’s like when a superhero isn’t bailing them out. Brad Guzan and Bill Hamid were largely fine between the sticks, but neither pulled a Tim Howard.

Or a Kasey Keller. Or a Brad Friedel. The fact is that while the US has produced a stunning amount of quality goalkeepers, the defense has rarely rose to meet that level. The US has kept just four clean sheets this season, only two since April, and one was against Azerbaijan.

Consider:

– Matt Besler (right), who looked so impressive at the World Cup, brought his second-half Sporting KC form to Ireland and was way out of position when David McGoldrick beat him with a through ball for Anthony Pilkington’s opener.

– Fabian Johnson had been Mr. Versatility for Klinsmann, but looked out of sorts defending on Tuesday. He was part of some good dribbling and combination play moving forward, but poor defensive moments included the giveaway that led to Ireland’s second goal.

source: Getty Images– Geoff Cameron had a few hard luck plays, including the ball that deflected off the Bostonian to give Ireland a 3-1 lead, and Klinsmann would benefit from either keeping him outside or playing him at holding mid.

– Timmy Chandler is a feast or famine player for the States. He was very, very hungry on Tuesday.

– Jermaine Jones, a career midfielder, has been playing in the center of the defense for his past few appearances before being sent home for the MLS playoffs.

– Greg Garza has looked pretty good and is likely the future of the left back position, but was roasted by Shane Long on the rush that led to Ireland’s third goal.

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And, again, it’s nothing new. Carlos Bocanegra worked his way back into the side after being left out for a while because the States had few options (and perhaps he shouldn’t have been left out in the first place). Try “Player X” at outside back was the cry even leading up to the World Cup, and there still has even been a spot for Oguchi Onyewu at times despite his club struggles the past few years.

The US needs answers in the back. While both Ireland and the US were playing second-choice players all over the park, the alternatives aren’t there to fall back on. John Anthony Brooks is still on-again, off-again for club and country, DaMarcus Beasley is strong but aging and Omar Gonzalez still needs to find consistency. Same goes for Michael Orozco. DeAndre Yedlin is better as a winger, like Fabian Johnson.

You can see why Clarence Goodson was ticked off to miss the roster for World Cup, but so were a load of other guys. The States have used 26 players in the back this year alone. Twenty-six. But that’s quantity, not quality, and fans are starting to look ahead and hope several of Garza, Shane O’Neill, Erik Palmer-Brown, Dillon Serna, Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers can become the fixtures the side used to have in Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo (even Eddie Pope!).

Pep Guardiola praises Jurgen Klinsmann’s team concept, USMNT movement

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Unless the conversation in the photo to the right included the punch line, “And then you’ll say I’m doing a great job!!”, this is a decent story for Jurgen Klinsmann supporters.

Q: What do American media pundits like Alexi Lalas or Eric Wynalda not have in common with Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola?

A: Pep likes what Jurgen Klinsmann did as US men’s national team coach in Brazil.

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At least that’s what the Bavarians’ boss noted ahead of his club’s upcoming Stateside friendlies against CD Guadalajara and the MLS All-Stars.

Cue MLSSoccer.com:

Guardiola lauded US manager Jurgen Klinsmann for his role in guiding the USA out of the Group of Death at the World Cup – “the United States is making a lot and lot of steps forward about [Klinsmann’s] idea and his concept of football.”

But the former Spain midfielder was especially effusive in his praise for the US backline in Brazil: “Their movement was really, really, really, really good.”

That’s four reallys, folks.

Now of course Pep has at least three reasons to praise Klinsmann and US Soccer right off the bat. First, of course, is that his club is in America and likely being paid very handsomely to be here. Second is the love of Klinsmann back ‘home’ in Germany. And third is Bayern’s preference to grow their brand in America.

But it’s also real words from a man regularly-described as a footballing genius, and that’s rarely a bad thing (though I didn’t see whether his fingers were crossed or eyes were rolling).

Guardiola also had praise for the development of the game in the United States overall, as well as high-fives for the improvement of Major League Soccer in general. It’s a good, quick read.