US mens national team

Did a TV graphic show two unannounced, home USMNT friendlies?

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Is the cat out of the bag?

In trumpeting its upcoming slate of televised US Soccer matches, Fox Sports 2 happened to list a pair of contests not yet announced by the federation.

[ MORE: USMNT roster for Panama, Chile friendlies ]

If true, the Yanks will host a holiday match against Australia on July 3 before welcoming World Cup rival Ghana on Sept. 4.

Of course this is all speculative, but American Outlaws and all USMNT fans may have a couple new road trips on their schedules.

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.

[ MORE: Mexico shocked by Belarus ]

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!).

US drop two spots in latest FIFA world rankings

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Despite a positive showing at the 2014 World Cup, the U.S. have slipped in FIFA’s latest World Rankings.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men dropped two places to 15th in the first update in the rankings since the World Cup ended.

After getting out of the “Group of Death” and making the Round of 16, then taking Belgium all the way to extra time, it was far from a disappointing World Cup in Brazil. However plenty of nations have surged up and down the table with some big movers and shakers.

[RELATED: Story of the WC]

World Champions Germany move up one spot into first place, while Argentina move up three places to second. The Netherlands move up a whopping 12 spots to third, Colombia are up four places to fourth and Belgium move up to fifth after climbing six spots.

Some nations with big drops include Spain, who are down to eighth place, while Brazil drop four places to seventh. After failing to get out of the group stages, England dropped 10 places and are now 20th in the world. That is their lowest position since 1996.

The USA’s CONCACAF rivals fared well, as Costa Rica climbed 12 spots to 16th and Mexico moved up two places to 18th.

Below is a list of the top 20 teams in the World, with their moves up and down since the June rankings in parenthesis. Do you agree with these rankings after the World Cup?

1. Germany (+1)
2. Argentina (+3)
3. Netherlands (+12)
4. Colombia (+4)
5. Belgium (+6)
6. Uruguay (+1)
7. Brazil (-4)
8. Spain (-7)
9. Switzerland (-3)
10. France (+7)
11. Portugal (-7)
12. Chile (+2)
13. Greece (-1)
14. Italy (-5)
15. USA (-2)
16. Costa Rica (+12)
17. Croatia (+1)
18. Mexico (+2)
19. Bosnia and Herzegovina (+2)
20. England (-10)