Watch our foolish attempts to pick the USAvMEX roster. Today, the goalkeepers

The cool thing about the month changing to November in a few hours is that we can officially say the US-Mexico match is “this month.” As in, “We’re going to Columbus to watch the greatest rivalry in North American soccer, this month!” See? It’s fun.

To celebrate, we’re making videos this week where we try to pick Jurgen’s 23 for the match. Today, I’m looking at goalkeepers. Chris was supposed to join me, but his real job got in the way, so you’ll have to settle for seeing him tomorrow.

Got ideas on who you’d like to see make the US squad? Let us know! Comment below, or hit us up on Twitter at @usfantv.

@patrickmccraney

Why the USMNT will win the World Cup: A counterpoint

If lightning must strike, as my mistaken partner here suggested, I believe it will. Maybe (probably) because of a little luck, but more likely because the United States is a factory of luck. We’re Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross. We’re ruthless. Call it a belief in American Exceptionalism, but when has the United States acquiesced on anything? (By the way, that’s the real reason the world hates us, and that’s why we can’t get home field officiating even in our own country – call that conspiracy, if you must.)

The United States Men’s National Team will win the World Cup. Continue reading “Why the USMNT will win the World Cup: A counterpoint”

Benny Feilhaber’s Fantastic Post Match Interview

Sporting Kansas City’s season is over, after getting bounced from the MLS playoffs last night with a 1-0 loss to Seattle. The game was filled with “questionable” (read: crap) refereeing decisions, none worse than Seattle’s 88th minute winner that was pretty clearly offside.

Rather than bitching, Benny decided to go the other way, with a completely deadpan interview praising the refs:

He’s basically daring MLS to fine him for being sarcastic, which is a really hilarious and interesting tactic. I don’t think there’s anything the league can do, but we’ll see.

Continue reading “Benny Feilhaber’s Fantastic Post Match Interview”

America’s Finest Take the Field for the MLS Playoffs: Our Terrible Predictions

Something called the MLS Playoffs starts tonight. Being a Chicago Fire fan, I’m generally unfamiliar with it, but because a lot of US guys are playing, I’ll fight through some predictions. This year, the first round is a single-elimination knockout round. This being MLS, that will probably change next year. Let’s go!

Philadelphia Union at Toronto FC, Wednesday, 6:30, ESPN2

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He’s fast, he’s quick, he’s got a crazy gif

Eric Wynalda’s favorite player Alejandro Bedoya and the Philadelphia Union visit Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and the Toronto Fighting FC. I can’t say “Philadelphia Union” without singing it to the tune of “Philadelphia Freedom,” so now that’s in your head, too. Normally, I’d bet against Toronto in the playoffs, but Jozy looks good lately, their stadium is cool, poutine is better than cheesesteak, and while Toronto’s form is bad going in, Philly is really crap right now. One of these teams will finally win a playoff game!

Prediction: 3-1 TFC

Continue reading “America’s Finest Take the Field for the MLS Playoffs: Our Terrible Predictions”

Can Hell Freeze Over Twice? How the USMNT is (kinda) like the Cubs

Let me be clear about something right away: I am not a Cubs fan.

cubs-logoSure, I grew up and live near Chicago, but I like the White Sox, the team that actually won a World Series not too long ago (actually, come to think of it, it has been a while now).

But if you live here, you can’t escape the fact that tonight the Cubs are playing in their first World Series since 1945. If they win it, it’ll be the first time since 1908.

When they advanced the other night, I saw something I’d never seen in sports–joy, coupled with a foggy disbelief. Long suffering fans didn’t know how to act. This was the one team, after all, that was never going to win anything. The lovable losers.

So that got me thinking: How would I react if the US made it to the (men’s) World Cup Final? What if they won it?

Continue reading “Can Hell Freeze Over Twice? How the USMNT is (kinda) like the Cubs”

Howard or Guzan: Who to start?

Eighteen days till the USMNT kickoff against Mexico. Assuming that kickoff is ever confirmed by US Soccer. (I’m ignoring the ticket delivery issue.)

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Will it be Timmy or the other bald Bradley between the sticks when the USMNT face off against Mexico on Nov. 11?

As everyone and their brother starts guessing at lineups for November’s World Cup Qualifiers, one position that has to be up for question is goalkeeper.

 

On a straight-forward basis, my preference would be for Brad Guzan to start against Mexico. He was the No. 1 and played well in the Copa America; he’s almost certainly the keeper in 2018; he plays the ball far better with his feet, which fits with Jurgen Klinsmann’s desired style; and, while he’s not the reactionary shot-stopper that Tim Howard is, that shouldn’t be as necessary when we’re playing Mexico at home.

However, that discounts the current realities of playing time and form. Continue reading “Howard or Guzan: Who to start?”

How do you build a Pulisic?

I’ve been at the first cap for a number of current and former USMNT players. I’ve never been at one at in which parts of the crowd were cheering a player’s name before he even entered the game.

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Christian Pulisic showed his confidence dribbling at defenders immediately upon gaining his first US cap on March 29, 2016.

 

That was the case March 29, 2016, in Columbus. As anyone in the crowd for that rout of Guatemala can probably tell you, few even knew how to properly pronounce his name, but that didn’t stop anyone in the know from chanting, “PU-LI-SIC! PU-LI-SIC! PU-LI-SIC!”

That was just during his warmup.

When he entered the game, you could hear the roar (watch here at 1:37:37).

That’s what you get when you’re 17 and showing the potential to be US Soccer’s first bona fide star. Continue reading “How do you build a Pulisic?”

Three Weeks Until Mexico

Three weeks.

ld-knee-slideThree weeks until the USA takes takes the field against Mexico in Columbus, with the winner in prime position to grab a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia (or maybe it’ll be the Soviet Union again, the way things are going).

Three weeks until me, Chris, and two other friends head east from suburban Chicago toward Columbus. We’ll no doubt forget something, but the tickets are digital this year, so we can’t forget those, right? This, of course, assumes US Soccer has our seats squared away by then. But trust me, we’ll forget something. Continue reading “Three Weeks Until Mexico”

Dos a Cero II: Even Dos-ier

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Something crazy always happens when I’m in Columbus for US-Mexico.

In 2005, it was the atmosphere and the shots with the Mexicans. In 2009, it began with the weather and ended with a cab driver who decided there was no way I was missing this game.

The night before

“FUCK!!!!!!!!!!” I punched the roof of my car hard enough my hand hurt.

“You forgot the tickets, didn’t you,” said my girlfriend as she laughed at me.
We were half-way between Chicago and Indianapolis, planning to stay at my friend’s house in Indy that night before heading to Columbus for the tailgate the next day.
I sat in angry silence for the next several minutes as I flew down the next exit ramp, peeled out, turned onto the return ramp and headed northbound. Finally realizing how truly mad I was, she suggested we just buy new tickets when we got there.
“It’s sold out.”
“Well, somebody should have tickets…”

Continue reading “Dos a Cero II: Even Dos-ier”