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Episode 132 – World Cup Predictions

Join the guys as they look in their cyrstal ball (aka throw darts at the wall) and make their picks for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The boys break down each group and pick the two teams they think will advance to the round of 16. Finally they select a World Cup Champion.

You can join in on the fun at: http://games.espn.go.com/world-cup-bracket-predictor/2014/en/group?groupID=2075 (password: unitedMania2014)

Episode 74 – Turtle Talley Doesn’t Deserve this…

The guys are back after a brief vacation to talk about the last month in DC United History, including their recent win at Toronto FC and their ousting of the US Open Cup by the Columbus Crew. The guys also go over the MLS Scoreboard and touch on Bob Bradley being retained by US Soccer to lead the US Men’s National Team for the next World Cup Cycle.

 

Episode 72 – Sea of Crap

Join the guys as they look back at DC United’s last two matches, including the 0-0 draw in NY and the 1-0 loss to Seattle at RFK Stadium. The guys also look ahead to LA and briefly chat about the 2010 World Cup final.

 

Rafael reports from South Africa

Join UnitedMania’s Rafael Crisostomo as he reports from South Africa. In this episode, shortly before the US Men’s national team victory over Algeria, Rafael talks to friend of the site and MLS Media Representative Will Khuns. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the tournament…

SA #2 – A chat With El Comercio’s Carlos Salas
SA #2 – A chat With CONMEBOL’s Jorge Barraza
SA #1 – A chat With MLS’s Will Kuhns

Dramatic 91st minute goal send US to round of 16

Hardly much more can be said about last night’s match against Algeria in the 2010 FiFA World cup, but to summarize,  It was Donovan, the USA’s all-time leading scorer, who provided the dramatic goal with hardly any time left on the clock.

The US failed time after time to secure the win, but when all was thought to be lost, Donovan came through again and sent the US to the round of 16 where they will face Ghana on Saturday June 26th for a chance for further glory.

Below are some images from our special envoy to South Africa, Rafael Crisostomo…

USA has the talent to do well in World Cup

If I’m wrong, it doesn’t matter, but if I’m right, I’ll be the only sage.

I’m not going to make this either complex or long. We’ve all been waiting for this day to come, and now it’s here – World Cup 2010. So here it is: The USA will do better than expected.

I think most of us expect the USA to get out of the group. I think it’s going to go even better.

Since no one else will pick the USA to go much past the round of 16, I will, because I believe they can. I think they are prepared, and it will help them to have played in South Africa last year in the Confederations Cup. It will also help to have beaten Cup-favorites Spain and will give them confidence having taken Brazil to the limit. Yes, it’s not the World Cup, but those matches did two things: One, it allowed the USA to get acclimated to the altitude, the atmosphere and the stadia, and two, by playing tough competition without a sense of fear, and with heart, the USA proved they have nothing to fear from anyone.

That said, they could lay an egg and I could look bad. But I’m not afraid of that, and I don’t think the USA will go into their matches afraid.

They have one of the top goalkeepers in the World Cup in Tim Howard, creative, crafty and skilled players such as Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey and potential game changers in Edson Buddle and Jozy Altidore. Then they actually have speed and skill on the bench with Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez and Jose Torres. The grit is there in the middle with Michael Bradley and their back line, which is also their weak point, but it’s not as weak as we’re seeing it. I think Oguchi Onyewu will get stronger as the Cup goes on.

Overall, I think the USA will build confidence as the Cup goes on. The Sun tabloid will have to eat its words – again – in the way they described the draw as EASY. Actually, it could end up being right, except more so for the USA. OK, I know it won’t be easy, but here are my USA predictions for Group C:

USA 3, England 0

USA 2, Slovenia 1

USA 3, Algeria 0

Here are my picks by group. I think aside from the typical top teams, there is some parity in the lower end of the groups. And, while I don’t anticipate any result for New Zealand, I’ll be hoping Ryan Nelsen and Tim Brown do well. Overall, I think Spain has too much talent not to win, but then again, we’ve said that about so many teams before. And to those who think the pick for the USA is a homer pick or one that’s too optimistic – maybe. But I think this team is prepared, has the right makeup, skill and heart to succeed. I hope they prove me right, and a sage.

Group A: Mexico, France

Group B: Argentina, Greece

Group C: USA, England

Group D: Germany, Ghana

Group E: Netherlands, Cameroon

Group F: Italy, Slovakia

Group G: Brazil, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Chile

Round of 16 games

Mexico over Greece

USA over Ghana

Netherlands over Slovakia

Brazil over Chile

England over Germany

Argentina over France

Italy over Cameroon

Spain over Portugal

Round of 8

USA over Mexico

Netherlands over Brazil

Argentina over England

Spain over Italy

Semifinals

Netherlands over USA

Spain over Argentina

Final

Spain over Netherlands, 2-1 in extra time

3rd place match

Argentina over USA, 3-2

The Draw, Can the US Advance?

Group A
1. South Africa
2. Mexico
3. Uruguay
4. France

Group B
1. Argentina
2. Nigeria
3. South Korea
4. Greece

Group C
1. England
2. USA
3. Algeria
4. Slovenia

Group D
1. Germany
2. Australia
3. Serbia
4. Ghana

Group E
1. Netherlands
2. Denmark
3. Japan
4. Cameroon

Group F
1. Italy
2. Paraguay
3. New Zealand
4. Slovakia

Group G
1. Brazil
2. North Korea
3. Ivory Coast
4. Portugal

Group H
1. Spain
2. Switzerland
3. Honduras
4. Chile

Here’s a very early look at what I think will play out:

England 2, USA 2
Algeria 0, Slovenia 1
Slovenia, 0, USA 0
England 3, Algeria 1

Slovenia 1, England 1
USA 2, Algeria 1


What would that do for the final Group C standings?

Group C
1. England 1-0-2, 5 pts 6 GF, 4 GA +2
2. USA 1-0-2, 5 pts 4 GF, 3 GA +1
3. Slovenia 1-0-2, 5 pts 2 GF, 1 GA +1
4. Algeria 0-3-0, 0 pts. 2 GF, 6 GF -4

It’s as good as the US men’s national team could have expected for the World Cup draw, and no doubt, USA fans will trot out the “1950” chant, recalling the massive upset by the USA against England in that year.

But even though everyone is excited about that first match, USA fans should not overlook the other two teams in Group C as lightweights.

Slovenia, though the smallest country to have qualified for the World Cup, knocked out Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia – drawing 2-2 against Guus Hiddink’s side but winning a berth on away-goals. Overall, Slovenia gave up just four goals in 10 qualifying matches against some very good teams.

Slovenia player background: Just briefly, Cologne striker Milivoje Novakovic scored five times in qualifying, while goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and captain Robert Koren, an attacking midfielder, are two more key players for Slovenia, which has qualified for its second World Cup in just 18 years of existence as an independent country.

As for Algeria, tensions rose following its playoff win over Egypt to qualify for the World Cup. In qualifying, Algeria did well at home and struggled on the road. Known as the Desert Foxes, Algeria is led in the back by defenders Antar Yahia, Madjid Bougherra, Nadir Belhadj, as well as goalkeeper Lounes Gaouaoui, but the Desert Foxes are said to be stronger in the midfield.

Getting back to what will be a much-hyped USA/England matchup, it’s a team USA fans are most familiar with having watched many of their players in matches for their club teams, and no doubt whether David Beckham makes the final England team will be hyped up endlessly. But England has many threats: Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard among them.

Briefly with the USA, it did well in the Confederations Cup, but fans in the lead-up to the World Cup draw were openly wishing to play in a soft group. Why? It’s a lack of confidence in the USA’s abilities, and while I wouldn’t suggest USA fans get cocky over its Group C opponents, or against anyone, there’s no reason not to be confident. I think the USA has players that are much more seasoned than four years ago, and has the potential to do well against top teams. And remember, the USA has, unlike most of the teams heading to South Africa, will be well-prepared to play there, having had some success in the Confederations Cup, defeating Spain and holding its own against Brazil for a half before falling 3-2.

USA coach Bob Bradley, too, has already talked about how much of an advantage it has having scouted out locations to set up camp. He said he is pleased that the draw allows them to be within driving distance of the locations for the Group C matches.

No doubt there will be much more analysis here and elsewhere about the USA’s chances, who Bradley should select for his final roster, and the players’ respective strengths and weaknesses; I’ll leave that for those who are better experts than myself. I only wish Charlie Davies were healthy, but I look for Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to be breakout players for the USA in this cup, and if they can keep themselves steady, not draw silly fouls and not make silly mistakes, it will give itself a good chance to advance.

Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu need to be leaders, and the USA will need a steady influence in midfield. Howard will hold his own, but it will need a strong defensive effort. As I look beyond today and the draw a little more, I’ll do my own, deeper analysis of the USA’s players that could potentially be selected.

So, in short, and in a very preliminary look, can the USA move out of the group? Yes. Will it? I’ll go out on a limb and say yes, but it won’t be easy.

I see a muddled top three, with it coming down to tiebreakers to determine who advances. England would go through on top based on greater goal differential, while the USA would advance by virtue of more goals scored, if it plays out anywhere near the way I have it, though I just heard John Harkes say it would come down to goal differential in the group, with the same top two I have.

With all this said, this is a very early look, and I’ll reevaluate my thoughts closer to World Cup time. I think the USA has winnable games in all three group-stage matches, but England will think it has such games too. And Slovenia, I don’t think, can be lightly regarded, based on their defensive prowess in qualifying. I’ll venture into thoughts on the other groups later.

So for now, let the hype continue for the next six-plus months until June 12 in Rustenberg.

Can anyone say “1950?”

USA vs Costa Rica: Match Gallery

[slidepress gallery=’us-costarica’]The United States Men’s National team finished their 2009 World Cup Qualifying campaign with a dramatic 2-2 tie against regional rivals Costa Rica. With the tie, the US secured the top spot in the Hexagonal. The result put Costa Rica in fourth place and propelled Honduras to their second World Cup appearance. Costa Rica will now have to face Uruguay to earn a ticket to South Africa. Photos: Martin Fernandez. 

EE.UU. doblega nuevamente al tricolor Azteca

El estadio de Columbus, en Ohio vibró hasta sus cimientos en partido apretado e intenso donde EEUU se volvió a dar el gusto y logró doblegar a México –y por el mismo marcador que en la ronda anterior, 2-0–, en el inicio de la hexagonal final de la eliminatoria CONCACAF rumbo al Mundial Sudáfrica 2010.

Victoria contundente de la escuadra de las franjas y estrellas que supo capitalizar en el momento justo los errores de México que sigue mostrando una sequia de goles preocupante.

Es que Estados Unidos ha dejado ya muy lejos a México en lo que significa ser el equipo más poderoso de la CONCACAF.

Son más de diez largos años que Estados Unidos derrota a México en su territorio y esta vez saboreando el mismo marcador donde el verdugo fue Michael Bradley primogénito del seleccionador norteamericano, Bob Bradley que demostró que está allí no por ser hijo del DT estadounidense sino por ser un jugador de gran capacidad en toda la extensión de la palabra.

Ya desde el inicio se vislumbraba un encuentro sumamente complicado e incluso mostrando a un México incisivo y sin la más absoluta medrosidad, dispuesto a llevarse la victoria a como de lugar para dejar atrás de una vez por todas el mito de no poder vencer a EEUU en su territorio por largos años.

Nery “el Loco” Castillo dio el primer campanazo para su escuadra al minuto tres, cuando remató fulminante pero lamentablemente al cuerpo del portero estadounidense Tim Howard ante una sorprendida defensa de EEUU.

Tras el disparo EEUU se despercudió de su confianza dada además por la incesante barra azulrojiblanca que copó el estadio de Columbus y que pese a un frio intenso no cejaba de vitorear a la escuadra del tio Sam.

Tras el apretón de Castillo, USA se ocupó de controlar y aquietar la pelota en el medio sector rotando pelotas que partían de los botines de DaMarcus Beasley o de Landon Donovan al que vimos un tanto adelantado tratando abrir el panorama ofensivo para mejor accionar de Brian Ching por el centro.

Por allí es que EEUU sacó mejor provecho porque México no contó con la presencia de Gerardo Torrado y no encontró a nadie que pudiera tapar las hilvanadas de EEUU desde el medio sector.

México no dio tregua y las luchó todas y por todos los sectores aún cuando EEUU intentaba también el disparo desde media distancia buscando la sorpresa.

A los 16’ Beasley a velocidad recibe pelota un tanto pegado por derecha e intenta un zurdazo que le salió desviado aunque “Oswaldo” Sánchez la vio pasar con susto a escasos metros del parante derecho.

Landon Donovan el #10 estadounidense no estaba en su noche aunque lo intentaba. La linea posterior mexicana le puso marcación zonal y sin problemas lo pudo tener a buen recaudo y en su clásico duelo con el capitán mexicano Rafael Márquez el norteamicano no pudo destacar porque no logró la conexión fluida con Sacha Klejstan y Clint Dempsey a los que observamos sin brújula en todo el partido.

Con los ánimos encendidos y sin regalar pulgadas de césped vino el primer regalo infaltil de México, Aarón Galindo derribó a Brian Ching a los 20’ con un ‘empujoncito’ desde atrás.

Donovan fue el verdugo pero salió desviado nuevamente sobre el poste derecho para respiro de Sánchez y de –calculamos-, 120 millones de mexicanos que seguramente habrían paralizado el pais azteca.

EEUU se envalentoó con estas debilidades y apretó aún más. A los 31’ Beasley proyectado por derecha tocó para Clint “Deuce” Dempse y que a quemarropa, y tratando de sumarse al partido, disparó sin pestañear sobre Sánchez que barajó con calidad y con un pincelada de heroísmo.

México no se amilanó y a los 36′ se proyecta a velocidad sobre la meta protegida por Howard que igualmente salvó en espectacular atajada. Susto para EEUU.

En el toma y daca EEUU vuelve  a la carga y el defensor y fornido Onyewu probó desde media distancia que salió desviado.

El primer puntillazo no se hizo esperar

Michael Bradley a los 43’ en un balón rechazado mal por Sánchez tras cabezaso de Onyewu quien había recibido la pelota proyectada por Donovan luego de un tiro esquina que habia sombreado a toda la defensa. Allí vino el descanso.

El segundo tiempo fue a todo vapor, México decidido a arrancarle la victoria a la historia que ya lleva la década. EEUU sin bajar las revoluciones martillaba por todos lados y con ritmo más ordenado.

La debacle azteca

Ya sobre los 65′ al guardapiolas Howard casi se le va el tren tras rechazo en falso y viene el conato que es historia ya contada.

El capitán del Tri y experimentado Rafael Márquez de la manera más infantil se ganó la expulsión tras caerle encima en forma descalificadora a Howard.

El juez central Carlos Batres, guatemalteco de impecable actuación, no titubeó y sacó cartulina roja a Márquez. México se terminó de desdibujar y perdió totalmente la brújula.

La escuadra azteca con 10 hombres poco o nada pudo hacer cuando el partido agonizaba y por allí vino el puntillazo final nuevamente de Michael Bradley.

Jozy Altidore había entrado por Brian Ching para oxigenar la ofensiva recoge pelota sobre el cuarto de cancha y toca largo a Donovan que rebasa por izquierda. Landon gira en reversa y toca rasante para Bradley que llegaba con velocidad y panorama.

No fue dificil Bradley se toma el espacio para el acomodo y casi pasando los tres cuartos disparó un fulminante que sorprendió a Sánchez y en fatal estirada intentando el rechazo la pelota sencillamente se le escurrió por debajo de su humanidad, penosa falla para un portero de la calidad de Osvaldo.

Fin de fiesta en el Columbus Stadium con una hinchada estadounidense que pintó las graderías con rojo azul y blanco para escribir nuevamente en la historia.

EEUU no esta para cuentos y a México le costará muy caro remontar un pasado de gloria futbolística en la CONCACAF que hace mucho rato tiene como monarca a Estados Unidos.

Con este triunfo, la escuadra estadounidense, que por cierto tiene capitán que pone el toque latino con Carlos “Los” Bocanegra y coincidentemende de origen mexicano, sumó sus tres primeros puntos en el hexagonal final hacia la Copa del Mundo Sudáfrica 2010, en tanto que México con cero puntos y goles tendrá que echar a mano todos sus recursos para sumar sus primeras unidades el 28 de marzo, cuando enfrente a Costa Rica.

Estadísticas de partido

Estados Unidos – México 2 – 0 (1-0)

Estadio: Columbus Crew (Columbus, Estado de Ohio, EEUU)

Asistencia: 22.778 espectadores

Arbitros: Carlos Batres (GUA). Líneas: Roberto Girón (HON) y Edwin González (HON).

Goles:

Estados Unidos: Michael Bradley (43, 90)

Expulsados:

México: Rafael Márquez (65′)

Alineaciones:

Estados Unidos: Tim Howard – Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce, Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Bocanegra – Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Sacha Kljestan (Ricardo Clark, 85), DaMarcus Beasley – Brian Ching (Jozy Altidore, 83) y Clint Dempsey.
DT: Bob Bradley (EEUU)

México: Oswaldo Sánchez – Ricardo Osorio, Rafael Márquez, Aarón Galindo, Carlos Salcido – Pavel Pardo, Leandro Augusto, Alberto Medina (Antonio Naelson ‘Zinha’, 60), Giovani Dos Santos (Omar Bravo, 72) – Nery Castillo (Israel Martínez, 33), Carlos Ochoa.
DT: Sven-Göran Eriksson (Suecia)