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The Official 2010 Pre- World Cup Thread


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Some good news on Deuce...

[b][size="4"][b]Fulham Football Club Provides Update on Clint Dempsey Knee Injury [/b][/size][/b]

[size="2"][b]— U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Clint Dempsey will not require surgery on an injured knee, according to a statement from Fulham Football Club following an MRI evaluation. [/b][/size]

CHICAGO (Jan. 19, 2010) — U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Clint Dempsey will not require surgery on an injured knee, according to a statement from Fulham Football Club following an MRI evaluation. Dempsey suffered moderate damage to a ligament in his right knee during Fulham's 2-0 loss on Jan. 17 at Blackburn. The club expects Dempsey to be back in action prior to the end of the season.

"The news about Clint's injury is positive, especially given the fact that he will not require surgery," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "We are confident that Clint will be ready to be an important part of our team during the World Cup."

The U.S. team medical staff has been in contact with Fulham on a daily basis, and will continue to monitor his progress in the coming months.[/quote]

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If someone can't clearly show Senor Bradley that they are a better option at left back than bornbooger, we have a problem.

[quote][size="5"][b]Left-side challenges persist

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Ridge Mahoney, Friday, Jan 22, 2010 7:00 AM ET[/size]

[USA-HONDURAS] The dramatic goal scored by Jonathan Bornstein last October for the USA against Costa Rica capped one of the sport's best feel-good stories of 2009, and it also highlighted areas of concern to the team and head coach Bob Bradley.

Bornstein's header in stoppage time of the final 2010 World Cup qualifier earned the USA a 2-2 tie and sparked wild celebrations in RFK Stadium -- and near-hysterical pandemonium in Honduras, which by virtue of that goal pulled even with Costa Rica on points and edged the Ticos on goal difference to finish third in the Hexagonal and avoid a playoff. In that playoff, Uruguay eliminated Costa Rica.

Bornstein's goal added layers of adulation for him in the land of the Catrachos. While it couldn't clinch his quest to establish himself as the starting U.S. left back, it certainly didn't hurt his cause. And he may get another chance to nail down a World Cup berth when the USA faces Honduras yet again in Saturday's friendly at Home Depot Center (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision, live, 9 pm ET, 6 pm PT).

Bornstein's chances are greater than those of Robbie Rogers, whose swerving corner kick Bornstein drilled into the net to earn the USA the tie, top spot in the Hexagonal and eternal gratitude in Honduras, whose fans had sportingly applauded the Americans off the field four days earlier after an electrifying 3-2 win in San Pedro Sula. Yet during the Hexagonal, and at the Gold Cup and Confederations Cup also played this year, the USA hasn't always looked secure on the left side.

LEFT BACK. The cast of candidates at left back includes Bornstein and Heath Pearce, who last summer joined FC Dallas and played mostly on the right. Bradley cited their mano-a-mano competition as one of the training camp's early highlights; somewhat quietly, since so much else was going on in 2009, Pearce started more Hexagonal matches, nine, than any other player. Bornstein has greater pace and a better left foot but, as a converted midfielder, is still figuring out the nuances of a very demanding spot on the field. Pearce is a natural defender but has much still to prove.

So far during his tenure, Bradley has seldom elected to use his rugged, left-footed captain, Carlos Bocanegra, at left back. At the 2006 World Cup, Bocanegra replaced midfielder Eddie Lewis at left back after a 3-0 blowout imposed by the Czech Republic, and he's played there the past two seasons for French club Rennes, but as of now, this starting spot looks to be a two-horse race.

LEFT MID.There are myriad candidates, including Rogers, at left mid, where the inconsistencies grew so glaring in 2009 that the team turned, again, to its attacking default, Landon Donovan. The move also showed a disquieting lack of depth, which might be mitigated in the coming months if DaMarcus Beasley can stay in the picture at Glasgow Rangers. With Beas back on the beam, Bradley can use Donovan or Clint Dempsey at right mid, or toggle them between that spot and second-forward, as he's occasionally done since taking over the national team more than three years ago. Bradley needs enough quality in other positions to have the option of playing one of them up top, since gambling on a 20-year-old Jozy Altidore in a World Cup is risky enough by itself.

Without a crafty, clever, quick partner - be it Donovan, Dempsey or the badly injured Charlie Davies - Altidore will flounder against good defenses. And without strong left-sided play, the Americans will be predictable and easier to defeat. In the 2006 World Cup opener, a collapse on the left side provided the Czech Republic an opportunity to score in the first five minutes and take command of the match.

Also on the training-camp roster is Alejandro Bedoya, who has yet to earn a cap and has played just one season in Sweden for Orebro after leaving Boston College. He's a good, left-sided option for down the road, yet, ironically, has already lasted longer in Europe than did Rogers, who came back from Heerenveen in 2008 after just nine months and admitted he wasn't ready to make the move.

By inviting an original roster of 30 players into camp, including four goalkeepers, Bradley ensured he'd have enough players for 11-v-11 scrimmages and drills. He also stocked each position with at least two players to foster increased competition; with just a few more games before the World Cup, every minute on the field is sure to be scrutinized.

Honduras has not brought its European-based players for this game. Former MLS Player of the Year Amado Guevara, who was suspended for the match in San Pedro Sula, is in the squad, as are Carlos Pavon, Noel Valladares, Osman Chavez, Emilio Izaguirre and Mauricio Sabillon. All played in the October match.

Conor Casey, who scored twice in San Pedro Sula, Benny Feilhaber and Bornstein are the only American returnees from that historic evening. All are in contention for South Africa, to which the last leg of the journey has begun.[/quote]

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[quote][size="1"]Friday, January 22, 2010[/size]

[size="3"][b]TODAY'S GUIDE[/b][/size]

[left][b]Soccer on TV[/b][/left]
On Saturday, the U.S. men face Honduras in a friendly in their first game of 2010. It's FA Cup action this weekend in England.

([b][color="#ff0000"]All times Eastern[/color][/b] unless noted. TV programming is always subject to change. Check your local listings.)

[color="#008000"][b]SATURDAY, Jan. 23[/b][/color]

[b]FOX SOCCER CHANNEL[/b][/left]
[b]International Men's Friendly[/b] USA-HONDURAS (live) 9 pm[/quote]
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[b][size="4"][b]USMNT Camp Notebook: Cunningham keeps evolving[/b][/size][/b]

[size="1"][b]By ADAM SERRANO[/b][/size]

As the United States prepares to close up camp in preparation of Saturday's friendly with Honduras, players have began to reflect upon their performance throughout the month.

One such player is 33 year old forward Jeff Cunningham.

The forward is the oldest in a young group of forwards who are eager to earn a place on Bob Bradley's roster for South Africa. Cunningham has been frequently partnered with fellow speedster Robbie Findley during the recent training sessions this week. Although the FC Dallas forward has been around longer than his counterparts, the always frank striker admits that he is constantly developing throughout camp.

"I've been Inconsistent (this camp), some stuff I do well, but a lot of other things I need to learn to do better for the team. We all have our natural tendencies as players, but this level requires a much higher amount of concentration especially defensively," said Cunningham. "I wish I was 20 again and getting all this information and applying it to my game. These young boys who are here will have a better future for it."

The forward has appeared dangerous during training at times showing the penchant for goal scoring which was on showcase during his past season with Dallas. Although he is not the youngest member of the squad, the opportunity that the United States' depleted strike force offers a forward like Cunningham is not lost on the 33 year old. "Over the years, I've said that I haven't really gotten the opportunity (with the national team), but I'm getting it now," said Cunningham. "I'm where every player wants to be with a shot at playing in the World Cup, I'm getting my fair chance now. I can't complain and I just have to do the business."

In addition to the strike force, the biggest story of the morning was the play of midfielder Robbie Rogers. Playing on the left side opposite Alejandro Bedoya and Geoff Cameron, the Columbus Crew winger was dangerous during 11 v. 11 scrimmages routinely sending in dangerous crosses into the attack. Rogers was a constant threat due to receiving a number of crisp passes from the midfield duo of Benny Feilhaber and Kyle Beckerman.

The news as not all positive as Kevin Alston appears doubtful for Saturday's match after missing much of the camp. The New England Revolution defender has returned to training but is unlikely to appear against the CONCACAF foe.

The United States' opponent for Saturday, Honduras has arrived in Southern California and will be begin training tomorrow during the U.S.' evening practice. The Catrachos arrive from a two-week training camp in Florida that saw them take on and defeat the Canadian U-23 squad. Honduras boasts many of their top domestic players and familiar faces such as Honduran scoring leader Carlos Pavon and Captain Amando Guevera[/quote]

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[b][size="5"][b]Gonzalez embracing chances in US camp[/b][/size][/b]

[b][size="3"]Galaxy defender impressing Bradley, U.S. national team coaching staff[/size][/b]

[size="1"]01/10/2010 9:26 PM[/size] [i]By Larry Morgan / MLSnet.com Staff[/i]

CARSON, Calif. -- Omar Gonzalez is tired, sore and has had less than two weeks off since the end of the 2009 MLS regular season, but the Los Angeles Galaxy defender isn't complaining in the least. Last year's MLS Rookie of the Year is in his first training camp with the U.S. national team and is anxious to make a good impression on head coach Bob Bradley and his staff. And if that means he has to put up with a few more aches and pains than usual, no problem.

It's all part of the process, as far as he's concerned.

"I've been doing OK," he said. "The caliber here is just up there ... every player is good. The coaches expect a lot out of you, but I have no idea what they're thinking.

"I do know I can definitely do a lot better."

Gonzalez, who started all 30 of the Galaxy's games last season, was one of 30 players invited to camp, which opened last Monday, in preparation for the team's first match of 2010, a friendly against fellow World Cup qualifier Honduras on Saturday, Jan. 23 at The Home Depot Center. Gonzalez is one of nine defenders in camp, along with the likes of Chivas USA's Jonathan Bornstein, the Kansas City Wizards' Jimmy Conrad and MLS 2009 Defender of the Year Chad Marshall from the Columbus Crew.

Bradley said he closely followed Gonzalez's progress in college at the University of Maryland and last season in Los Angeles and understandably came away impressed.

"He showed in his first season he was able to grow on the job and he did a good job getting through that first season," Bradley said. "Oftentimes you'll see young players where they'll start well, but the season is long and they'll start to have dips. He handled his first season well.

"Now, hopefully he can continue to kind of move himself forward. Our job is to challenge him, raise the bar a little bit and we'll see."

Gonzalez said he talked to teammates such as Landon Donovan, Todd Dunivant and Chris Klein for a few insiders' tips on what to expect at camp, and they emphasized preparation. They told him to come into camp in the best shape possible to "stay ahead of the game."

Gonzalez, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound central defender who turned 21 in October, said he entered camp ready to soak up as much information as he could. He said he also knows his place among the camp veterans -- he doesn't speak unless he's spoken to, for example, but he did say everyone on the team has been friendly to him -- and he was well aware the competition was going to be formidable.

He hasn't been disappointed in that regard.

"The playing's tough," he said. "I have to be focused every second of practice because if I'm not then somebody like Jeff Cunningham or Robbie Findley is going to burn me.

"It's definitely tough out there."

He also said he didn't have a case of the nerves like he thought he might -- he admitted that was a problem during the early part of his first training camp with the Galaxy last season -- and said having a full professional campaign under his belt has been a big plus.

"I think because I spent a whole year as a pro I think that helped get me a little more ready and confident coming in here," he said. "I just want to play my game and bring what I brought the whole season and hopefully I'll make a good impression."

Bradley is reserving judgement, mostly because camp is not even a week old. But he did say he likes Gonzalez's enthusiasm.

"We throw a lot at all the players and challenge them," he said. "I think so far, like others, he's excited to be here, trying to pick up little things and hoping it will help him improve."


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[b][size="4"]US coach willing to consider Beasley and Edu[/size][/b]

CARSON, California (AP)—U.S. coach Bob Bradley says Glasgow Rangers pair DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu remain in contention for America's World Cup squad.

The make-up of the 23-man squad will be among the chief considerations when the U.S. kicks off its 2010 schedule with a game against Honduras on Saturday.

Beasley, a veteran of the past two World Cups, hasn't played for the national team since a poor performance against Brazil at last June's Confederations Cup. He has struggled to secure a spot in the Rangers first team this season, but last month he scored his first two goals this season, only to then strain a thigh muscle.

"It was nice to see DaMarcus after a period when he wasn't seeing much playing time at Rangers work his way back into the fold," Bradley said Thursday. "He's had a little setback with this injury but, hopefully, that's not going to be a big one."

Edu returned to Rangers' first-team action on Dec. 27 for the first time since injuring a knee ligament at the end of last season.

"It's great that he's back," Bradley said. "That's a good example of a guy that we've got to look at closely to see exactly where he is in the next few months."

Many of the U.S. regulars will be missing for Saturday's game, along with a game against El Salvador on Feb. 24.

Far more significant is a March 3 game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, which is on an international fixture date when all the team's top players will be available.

"It's the one opportunity we have for the group as a whole to be together before May, and so that time, just to set the tone for May is important. In certain cases there will be some players that now you're still a little bit unsure of," Bradley said. "The more guys that you have that are now healthy, playing, certainly that may mean that it's a little tougher in some cases for decisions, but those are good problems to have."

While Beasley and Edu could be called in for the Netherlands match, the U.S. will be without midfielder Clint Dempsey, who injured his right knee Sunday playing for Fulham. After fearing initially that he might have torn the posterior cruciate ligament and needed surgery, the Cottagers said Tuesday that damage was moderate and that he should return before the end of the English Premier League season in May.

Bradley doesn't know exactly when Dempsey will be able to play.

"I don't think anybody wants to give a time frame at this point," he said. "I'm not the doctor. I'm not the trainer."

Bradley also won't have Oguchi Onyewu back by the Dutch game. The Milan defender is recovering from knee surgery in October and the U.S. is hopeful he'll be back in training in March[/quote]

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That left back is going to kill us.

Move Edu back there and pray. Can he really be worse than Pearce or Bornstein? I mean I would rather see Bocanegra out on the left than those two.

If Gooch and DeMerit are good to go and aren't paired together, I'm going to cry. I didn't want four years since our debacle in 06 to watch Bradley play according to his allegiance.

If Cunningham can develop into something like Charlie, you have to run him out there. Jozy can't be stuck without a playmaker yet. Jozy isn't doing anything to make me believe he is going to make an impact either in SA. Deuce is really going to have to play up top. On the left side with Castillo, Landon, and Deuce. My my, that would be something incredible.

FInally some US soccer tomorrow night! Thank you! It's like a gold cup roster, but it will do.
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[b][size="5"][b]American ace Holden offered Bolton deal[/b][/size][/b]
[size="1"]Published [url="http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/river_of_news/?date=2010-01-22"] 23:00 22/01/10 [/url][/size] [size="1"] By [url="http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/author/?aaid=296721"]Alan Nixon[/url][/size]

[img]http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/incoming/article273585.ece/ALTERNATES/gallery-large/stuartholden.jpg[/img] Bolton boss Owen Coyle is giving United States World Cup hopeful Stuart Holden the chance to live his Premier League dream.

The Scottish-born midfielder has impressed Coyle with his attitude in a trial and will be offered a deal for the rest of the season - in the build-up to the Americans big shot at the finals in the summer.

Holden has also been approached by Portuguese side Braga, but he seems set to take up the opportunity to shine at the Reebok.

Coyle can take Holden from Houston Dynamo for nothing and it is now up to the player to accept the terms and try to get a long-term contract with Bolton.


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Niiicce! Should make our right side a lot better. Stuey has got game and we all saw that during the Gold cup. Keep progressing and if Charlie never makes a full recovery or Jozy never gets his shit straight we can use Deuce up top or run a 4-5-1.

Hard to leave a playmaker off the field.
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I haven't watched the game yet, don't know if I will other than the first 18 minutes to see Conrad get 2 yellows in 18 minutes.

[quote][size="5"][b]Nightmare at the HDC[/b][/size]

[size="1"]by Paul Kennedy, Sunday, Jan 24, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [img]http://m.socceramerica.com/publications/82/USA-Goodson-v-Hon.jpg[/img]

[USA-HONDURAS] The USA opened its World Cup year with about as a bad performance as one could have imagined.

It began when captain Jimmy Conrad was sent off in the 18th minute and it got worse when Honduras put three goals past goalie Troy Perkins.

After wholesale substitutions, it got better for the USA in the last half hour, but all the Americans could muster was a goal by Clarence Goodson, and they fell, 3-1.

Only former UCLA teammates Jonathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber went into the game with relatively secure berths in the U.S. 23 for the World Cup, but you couldn't say anyone else grabbed one of the half dozen of so spots still available.

You couldn't blame inexperience for the poor showing. Eight of the starters have 10 or more caps.

For veterans like Conrad and Jeff Cunningham, their World Cup hopes may have evaporated. Chad Marshall certainly didn't help himself with a poor game in the middle.

Up front, Ryan Findley played the whole game and showed some good things, but he certainly isn't the answer to replace Charlie Davies.

On the other, Honduras, which had fell to the USA a record four times in 2009, look inspired in front of a largely pro-Catracho crowd of almost 19,000.

Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda benefited from having available as many as six players projected to start this summer in South Africa.

Jan. 23 in Carson, Calif.
USA 1 Honduras 3. Goals: Goodson 70; Pavon (pen.) 19, Jerry Palacios 38, Espinoza 52.
USA -- Perkins, Wynne, Marshall (Pearce, 60), Conrad, Bornstein, Kljestan (Bedoya, 60), Beckerman (Casey, 60), Feilhaber (McCarty, 77) Rogers (Davis, 60), Cunningham (Goodson, 46) Findley.
Honduras -- Escober, Sabillon, Norales, Johnny Palacios, Izaguirre, Turcios, Martinez (Garcia, 68), Espinoza (Acevedo, 90), Guevara (M.Valladares, 56), Jerry Palacios (Nunez, 61), Pavon (Welcome, 78).
Yellow cards: USA -- Conrad 6, Conrad 18; Honduras -- Jerry Palacios 9.
Red card: USA -- Conrad 18.
Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico).
Att.: 18,626.

USA-Honduras Minute-by-Minute

Final score: USA 1 Honduras 3.

94th minute: Casey wide from close range after being fed by Findley.

90th minute: HONDURAS SUBSTITUTION-Acevedo for Espinoza.

90th minute: Bedoya header off McCarty's corner goes across the area and wide.

89th minute: Findley taken down on the edge of the area. Escobar does well to save Davis' free kick.

88th minute: Perkins stops Nunez on a breakaway.

84th minute: Olé, Olé, Olé. The Honduran fans celebrate as the Catrachos play keep away ...

Tonight's attendance: 18,626 boosted by a large contingent of Catracho supporters.

79th minute: Honduran keeper punches out Bedoya after good U.S. buildup with Davis.

78th minute: HONDURAS SUBSTITUTION-Welcome for Pavon.

77th minute: USA SUBSTITUTIONS-McCarty for Feilhaber.

70th minute: GOAL-Goodson scores on header off Davis corner kick for the USA. HONDURAS 3-0.

68th minute: HONDURAS SUBSTITUTION-Garcia for Martinez.

61st minute: HONDURAS SUBSTITUTION-Another former U.S. prep and college player, Nunez, comes on for Jerry Palacios.

60th minute: USA SUBSTITUTIONS-Casey for Beckerman, Pearce for Marshall, Bedoya for Kljestan, Davis for Rogers.

56th minute: HONDURAS SUBSTITUTION-Melvin Valladares comes on for Guevara.

56th minute: Beckerman shoots wide.

52nd minute: GOAL-MLS and former college star Espinoza makes it 3-0, finishing a three-player combo to the far post. HONDURAS 3-0.

51st minute: Kljestan hits free kick way over the bar, drawing boos from the Honduran fans at the HDC.

50th minute: Rogers hits woodwork with shot from distance.

49th minute: More danger work from the Catrachos.

46th minute: U.S. SUBSTITUTION-Goodson replaces Cunningham.[b]
42nd minute: Better corner by Feilhaber but good defending by Honduras.

38th minute: GOAL-Johnny Palacios makes it 2-0, heading home Pavon's cross. Terrible defending by Rogers on the wing and Marshall in the middle. HONDURAS 2-0.

37th minute: Izaguirre finds Johnny Palacios, who comes close.

33rd minute: Another U.S. corner taken poorly by Rogers ...

32nd minute: Good work by Wynne on the right side but cross goes nowhere.
29th minute: Honduras pressure is giving the USA all kinds of problem.

26th minute: Catrachos ask for but don't get handball on Pavon's shot Wynne blocks.

21st minute: First good U.S. chance: Marshall header skips over bar.

19th minute: GOAL-On second attempt, Pavon converts again from the penalty spot. HONDURAS 1-0.

18th minute: Pavon's goal from the penalty spot called back for encroachment.

18th minute: Conrad is given a second yellow card and red for taking down Jerry Palacios running into box after Palacios had released the ball to Pavon on the right side.

9th minute: Jerry Palacios is given the game's second yellow for a dive in the box.

6th minute: Conrad picks up first card for breaking up Catracho counter off U.S. corner.

5th minute: Feilhaber makes a nice run into the box, leading to the game's first corner.

4th minute: Perkins comes out to cut out cross.


1 Troy Perkins (Valerenga)

4 Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
14 Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew); 60th minute: Heath Pearce (FC Dallas)
15 Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards) (18th minute: red card)
12 Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA)

16 Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA); 60th minute: Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro)
7 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake); 60th minute: Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)
5 Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus); 77th minute: Dax McCarty (FC Dallas)
14 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew); 60th minute: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)

19 Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas); 46th minute: Clarence Goodson (IK Start)
17 Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)


12 Donis Escober (Olimpia)

23 Mauricio Sabillon (Marathon)
5 Erick Norales (Marathon)
6 Johnny Palacios (Olimpia)
21 Emilio Izaguirre (Motagua)

19 Danilo Turcios (Olimpia)
15 Walter Martinez (Marathon); 68th minute: Oscar Boniek Garcia (Olimpia)
17 Roger Espinoza (Kansas City Wizards); 90th minute: Mariano Acevedo (Marathon)
20 Amado Guevara (Olimpia); 56th minute: Melvin Valladares (Real Espana)

16 Jerry Palacios (Marathon); 61st minute: Ramon Nunez (no club)
9 Carlos Pavon (Real Espana); 78th minute: Georgie Welcome (Motagua)


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[quote][size="5"][b]U.S. Player Ratings

[/b][/size] [size="1"]Sunday, Jan 24, 2010 7:00 AM ET[/size]

[USA REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney rates the U.S. players after their 3-1 loss to Honduras on Saturday.

U.S. Player Ratings


Rating Player (Club) GP/G
5 Troy Perkins (D.C. United) 7/0
Rarely tested except for very sharp finishes.

3 Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC) 4/0
Attacked aggressively, but defended shakily and was completely lost on third goal.

4 Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew) 11/1
Beaten by Jerry Palacios on second goal, headed over on corner, decent effort.

3 Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards) 28/1
One jersey tug + one jersey tug + stringent referee = adios.

6 Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA) 27/2
Sharp on the ball, quick into the tackle, consistently solid.

3 Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA) 22/3
Broke though once with the ball, otherwise benign.

4 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 11/1
Couldn't hold the middle, attacking efforts seldom clicked.

5 Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus/DEN) 31/2
Just missed on a few one-twos, often stranded without good options.

4 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) 10/1
Rebounded after a shaky start, but a bit disappointing.

2 Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas) 13/1
Sluggish and ineffective.

4 Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) 1/0
Brought some energy but not nearly enough touch and guile.


6 Clarence Goodson (IK Start/NOR) 9/2
Showed some confidence in his tackles and passes, headed only U.S. goal.

4 Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids) 18/2
Good work holding up the ball, touches not quite crisp enough.

5 Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro/SWE) 1/0
Skillful in various points of attack, headed a corner kick wide.

6 Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) 4/0
Effective with the ball, hit variety of good passes, nice corner for U.S. goal.

5 Heath Pearce (FC Dallas) 29/0
Blunted a few attacks, got up the line, added some bite to the flank.

5 Dax McCarty (FC Dallas) 3/0
Controlled the middle and used the ball well in garbage time. [/quote]

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[quote][size="5"][b]Reaction from U.S. locker room

[/b][/size] [size="1"]Sunday, Jan 24, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [USA-HONDURAS] U.S. coach [b]Bob Bradley[/b] said the sharpness he looks for from players at the start of the game wasn't there against Honduras on Saturday, and the Americans paid dearly. For more on what Bradley and the U.S. players had to say after the game ...

U.S. Head Coach Bob Bradley:
On what he took away from the match:
"The starting point for the game in January is always assessing players. Seeing them in a good game, a tough game, gives you the opportunity to find out what guys are all about. It gives you an indication as to where they might fit in as you move things forward. So we take a lot from it."

On going down a man early in the match:
"I didn't think we had a good start to the game. Maybe some of that was nerves, but the sharpness you want to see at the beginning of games to establish things was not good enough. Obviously, the whole situation where we lose a player on a second yellow card on a play that also gives a [penalty] forces us to chase the game."

U.S. Forward Robbie Findley:
On his performance and making his first start with the national team:
"I would have liked more opportunities on goal but sometimes it can be tough when playing down a man. It felt good [to get the start], I've been working hard the past few years to do all the little things that I need to do to get to this point."

On his approach to the January camp:
"The main thing in my head [coming into this camp] was going in and just working hard and showing everybody what I'm capable of doing. I hoped I'd get the opportunity. Whenever I go into a camp I usually take something away and for sure I took something away from this one."

U.S. Defender Clarence Goodson:
On the game:
"Anytime you go down a man early like that it's tough to get back in the game. It was a red card, a penalty kick and you're down 1-0. It's a lot happening at once and it kind of puts you behind the eight ball. But we still created a lot of chances and I think all the way to the 90th minute you would say we could have scored a couple more goals."

On his goal:
"[Brad] Davis swung in a really good ball similar to the semifinal of the [2009] Gold Cup. I went up and attacked the ball. Clearly the referee thought it was a fair challenge, and so did I."

On the second half:
"Up until their goal [in the 53rd minute] we were really pushing them in the second half. The goal hurt us but we got right back into it. We pushed the game and had plenty of chances. We didn't finish and that's the way the ball rolls sometimes."

U.S. Defender Jonathan Bornstein
On the game against Honduras:
"Obviously, the game didn't go our way. After going a man down and a goal down I thought a lot of guys fought pretty hard to try to get back into the game. Being a man down is always tough but I thought guys showed some heart and character, and we have to learn from this."

On learning from the result:
"Unfortunately, we couldn't get the result we wanted but hopefully the young guys and the guys who have been around a little bit can look back at this game and go forward from there."

On playing with a man down after a red card:
"When you're a man down you have to cover each other even more and fight for the guy next to you. You have to be even sharper so you can get yourself back into the game." [/quote]

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[quote][size="5"][b]Donovan and Howard fall in FA Cup

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Paul Kennedy, Sunday, Jan 24, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [AMERICANS ABROAD] Landon Donovan suffered his first defeat since joining Everton when the Toffees fell at home to Birmingham City, 2-1, in the fourth round of the English FA Cup on Saturday. For all the Americans in action on Friday and Saturday ...

Donovan had two chances, both on headers, in his 76 minutes of play, while Tim Howard was in goal for Everton, which lost for the first time in more than a month.

Landon Donovan, 76 minutes (Everton, 1-2, vs. Birmingham City)
Brad Guzan, 90 minutes (Aston Villa, 3-2, vs. Brighton)
Tim Howard, 90 minutes (Everton, 1-2, vs. Birmingham City)

ENGLAND (League Championship)
Jay DeMerit, 90 minutes (Watford, 2-3, at Blackpool)

Carlos Bocanegra, 90 minutes (Rennes, 4-0, at Saumur)

GERMANY (Bundesliga 1)
Michael Bradley, 90 minutes (Bor. M'Gladbach, 0-0 at Hertha Berlin)
Steven Cherundolo, 90 minutes (Hannover 96, 0-1 at Mainz)

MEXICO (Primera, Torneo Bicentenario 2010)
Edgar Castillo, 90 minutes (Tigres, 1-3 vs. Guadalajara)
Herculez Gomez, sub: 34 minutes (Puebla, 3-2 at Estudiantes Tecos)
Jose Francisco Torres, 70 minutes (Pachuca, 0-1 at Queretaro)[/quote]

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[quote][size="5"][b]Bradley gets no answers in Honduras loss

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Ridge Mahoney, Monday, Jan 25, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [color="#ff0000"][WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] [/color]Down a man and a goal after 18 minutes, and trailing by two goals at halftime to a very good Honduran team, the USA didn't get the competitive yet level playing field Coach [b]Bob Bradley[/b] would have preferred in its first 2010 match.

Regardless of how many spots on the 23-man World Cup roster are up for grabs, this game - as well as any subsequent game - means far more to Bradley and some of his players than a result. Among those found wanting were [b]Marvell Wynne, Jeff Cunningham, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan[/b] and [b]Robbie Findley[/b]. Doing relatively well were [b]Brad Davis, Clarence Goodson, Alejandro Bedoya[/b], and especially, [b]Jonathan Bornstein[/b], whose performance over the 90 minutes couldn't have been much better, given the obstacles.

If past World Cups are any indication, the odds are at least plausible that a significant injury will knock a prominent U.S. player out of the World Cup, as in the case of [b]Frankie Hejduk[/b] and [b]Steve Cherundolo[/b] prior to the 2006 competition, and [b]Chris Armas[/b] in both 2002 and 2006. Already on the shelf are [b]Oguchi Onyewu, Charlie Davies[/b] and [b]Clint Dempsey[/b]; [b]Jay DeMerit [/b]returned to action in early December after missing more than two months with a corneal infection that required surgery.

Onyewu will have only a few months to get fit and sharp for the World Cup even if he returns to competition in late winter or early spring. As a general rule, a player needs about the same amount of time as his layoff to get back to top form; Onyewu suffered his injury in mid-October, so even if he comes back in mid-March, he'd be at least a month, more like two months, behind the curve on June 12.

In addition to Onyewu, DeMerit and [b]Carlos Bocanegra[/b] as his first three choices at central defender, Bradley will need at least one more reliable option. Two-time Defender of the Year [b]Chad Marshall[/b], forced to lead a revamped back line with the dismissal of Conrad, played a mostly solid game, yet couldn't get ball-side of nor could impede [b]Jerry Palacios[/b] sufficiently when he dived to head [b]Carlos Pavon[/b]'s cross past keeper [b]Troy Perkins[/b] for the second Honduran goal.

In his 29 minutes of action, Goodson played well. Offered time and space to look upfield while on the ball, he used his passes effectively. On another day, his leading forearm into the upper body and arms of keeper [b]Donis Escobar[/b] might have been ruled a foul, but referee [b]Benito Archundia[/b] let stand Goodson's goal from a Davis corner kick.

Bradley may pass up all of these defenders if he has more pressing needs in other areas, and if he believes [b]Jonathan Spector [/b]can handle the middle if not deployed at right back. Conrad filled in admirably against Italy and Ghana at the 2006 competition, but can Bradley assume he'll be as capable this summer, at age 33?

One can argue the relative softness of both fouls - tugs of the jersey at the shoulder - didn't merit cautions, yet it could also be cited after Archundia pulled out the yellow card on Conrad after his first foul, as well as another relatively innocuous foul by Palacios in the ninth minute, a rather tight level of scrutiny had been established.

Conrad will be suspended for the Feb. 24 match in Tampa against El Salvador and isn't likely to called in for the March 3 game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Unlike many of the players called into this January camp, though, he isn't an unknown quantity.

Of the neophytes, substitute Bedoya showed some skill and danger earning his first cap while ranging from side to side, while forward Findley struggled to make an impact paired up top in the first half with a strangely listless Cunningham.

Nearly three weeks of training camp apparently wasn't enough to instill some cohesion amongst Findley, Cunningham and center mids [b]Benny Feilhabe[/b]r and [b]Kyle Beckerman[/b], as a more polished and confident Honduran midfield shifted and pounced to win the ball, and pass it around crisply once they got it.

Bedoya and three other subs came into a match Honduras led by three goals, so their generally impressive performances can't be taken at face value. Still, a poised showing by Davis livened up the left side of midfield, one of the team's trouble spots, and he far outshone Rogers, whom he replaced, as well as Kljestan.

Bradley is expected to call in a mostly-MLS squad for the El Salvador game, and whatever he deems to be his full squad to face the Netherlands. These look like crucial games for several players, including left back candidate [b]Edgar Castillo[/b], who wasn't called for the Honduras game and played the full 90 minutes for UNL Tigres in a loss to Guadalajara on Saturday.

As one of several tactical switches, Bradley brought on [b]Heath Pearce[/b] to play on the left side. Bornstein started the match at left back, spent some time in midfield, then moved into central defense alongside Marshall. Pearce played right back while finishing the 2009 MLS season at FC Dallas, whose coach, [b]Schellas Hyndman[/b], has said Pearce may play defensive mid in 2010.

And so the questions will persist. [/quote]

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[quote][size="5"][b]Johnson comes close against Greek leader

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Paul Kennedy, Monday, Jan 25, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [AMERICANS ABROAD] Eddie Johnson made his third appearance but Freddie Adu didn't get off the bench in Aris' 0-0 tie at leader Panathinaikos in Greek Super League action on Sunday.

Johnson came close with a powerful shot saved well by flying keeper Alexandros Tzorvas late in the gam[/quote]

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[b][size="5"][b]Coyle set to sign midfield duo[/b][/size][/b]

[b][size="3"][b]Bolton on verge of signing Weiss and Holden till end of season[/b][/size][/b]

[size="1"]By [url="http://www.skysports.com/contactus/0,20299,,00.html"]Ben Collins[/url] Last updated: 25th January 2010[/size]

Bolton boss Owen Coyle has confirmed he is set to complete deals for midfielders Vladimir Weiss and Stuart Holden.

Manchester City winger Weiss made his senior debut against Bolton in the final game of last season and is looking for regular first-team action ahead of Slovakia's World Cup campaign.

The 20-year-old has made five first-team appearances for City yet has already made six international appearances for Slovakia.

Former Houston Dynamo midfielder Holden has been on trial with Wanderers and is nursing a slight thigh injury but Weiss could feature in Bolton's league clash with Burnley on Tuesday night.

Both are set to sign until the end of the season and will become Coyle's first signings since leaving Burnley for the Reebok Stadium earlier this month.

"I expect both deals to be done today," Coyle said on Monday.

"Stuart is obviously injured at the moment but with Vladimir there is just that final bit of paperwork, and then I would expect him to be in the squad (against Burnley).

"He is a very positive player. He is a player who likes to get at full-backs, who likes to get crosses in and shots in.

"He is the type of player that I want at the football club - one that excites the fans. I also believe there is an edge to his game and a quality that will help the ones we already have."

Holden was born in Aberdeen but moved to Houston at the age of 10. He had an unsuccessful spell with Sunderland in 2005 before returning to America and establishing himself in the MLS.

The 24-year-old is free to sign until the end of the season and, if he impresses, it could open the door for Holden to make a more permanent move to Europe.

"There is an incentive for Stuart to try to get himself in the team," Coyle added.

"He's had a little thigh knock for the last three or four days which has curtailed his training a little bit, but he did ever so well in the first week and he comes looking to push his career on.

"He has done very well in the MLS and he wants to continue that development.

"He is hungry, he has desire and he has ability, so ultimately when he's fit, it will be up to him to show us what he has got."


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[quote] [size="1"]January 25, 2010[/size]
[b][size="5"][b]Davies on remarkable path to recovery[/b][/size][/b]

[size="1"]By Ives Galarcep
Special to ESPNsoccernet[/size]

Charlie Davies is lucky to be alive. He knows it, and even if he were to forget, there are plenty of reminders.

There are the surgical scars that now tattoo the American soccer star's body. There are the constant reminders from family and friends who never let him forget what he nearly lost, and what he has already overcome. Then there are the pictures burned into his memory of the mangled car he was pulled from after he survived a car crash that killed another passenger on Oct. 13. Davies, 23, sustained multiple serious injuries (a broken right femur and tibia, a broken left elbow, facial fractures and a lacerated bladder). The prognosis was that he would face an arduous six- to 12-month recovery and extensive rehabilitation.

[img]http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2010/0125/soc_g_davies_200.jpg[/img]Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesCharlie Davies hasn't ruled out recovering in time for the World Cup.

The strongest reminders of how fortunate Davies is come from Davies himself as he pushes through what is shaping up to be a miraculous recovery from that laundry list of major injuries. Less than four months after the crash that threatened to end his promising career, Davies is already jogging at a good rate and working on agility drills that would have seemed impossible just weeks earlier, when simply getting out of a wheelchair was an exhausting exercise.

What does this progress mean, exactly? It means that, barring any setbacks, Davies could be back on the field with club team FC Sochaux by April, meaning his chances of playing for the United States in June's World Cup should no longer be seen as a shattered dream.

"Charlie is pretty much light years ahead of where anybody would tell you he should be," said Jim Hashimoto, the former U.S. national team trainer who is overseeing Davies rehabilitation. "When everybody heard about the accident, including myself, it was like, 'OK, this is going to be a long one' -- and it's still going to be a long one, but to see his progress is pretty amazing."

Just how amazing? The multiple broken bones in his leg, face and elbow have healed. So has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and he has recovered from bladder surgery, which left a foot-long scar on his stomach. He has regained the 15 pounds he lost after enduring six surgeries following the crash, and is days away from undergoing his final surgery associated with the accident, a procedure to remove a bone, plate and screws from his left elbow. After a week to recover from that surgery, Davies expects to be back training with Sochaux by the end of February.

"The World Cup is easy for me to be back for," said Davies. "I want to get back to France, and I don't want to just get back -- I want to be good.

"I don't want to be that guy just to make the [World Cup] team and just sit there. I want to be back and starting and scoring, playing well and doing the things I know I can do.

"People haven't seen the progress I've made, and maybe they don't know the kind of person I am and the motivation and new appreciation for being able to play that I have."

Davies was written off as a legitimate possibility for the World Cup because of the number of major injuries he suffered in the accident. However, his ability to heal quickly, along with the fact that he avoided any major long-term ligament injuries, has set Davies up for a recovery few could have seen coming.

Today, Davies looks very much like he did before the accident. The swelling in his face that was so evident during his interview with ESPN last November has subsided, though a shorter haircut reveals the scar he has from ear to ear arcing over the top of his skull. That scar came after doctors peeled his face off down to his chin in order to repair the multiple fractures that left his facial bones a shattered mess. Davies has dealt with the physical recovery from the crash, but the mental recovery has been just as difficult. He acknowledges the mistake he made by breaking curfew with the national team on the night of the accident, and admits to fighting with the lingering doubts and questions about the fateful night in October.

"I couldn't sleep at night for two months," Davies said. "My mind would be racing, just thinking about how it happened and how I let this happen. How did I survive? Why did I survive? Why did I let the girl drive me home? Why couldn't I have taken a cab? When will I be back? Will I be back the same? How will the guys talk to me when I get back with the group? What do I need to do to change and be a better person?"

Davies has spent the better part of the past 12 weeks rehabilitating in the basement of a community center in Wilmington, Del., under the watchful eye of Hashimoto, the longtime head trainer for the U.S. national team. That is where Davies has made the speedy transition in three months from a shaky survivor who struggled to stand up for more than five minutes, to eager athlete pushing the limits of his recovery at every turn.

"The thing with Charlie is he likes to take strides instead of baby steps," said U.S. national team defender Oguchi Onyewu, who has been training alongside Davies for much of his rehabilitation. "He likes to look ahead of himself, and I'm like, 'Look back three months ago. Most people wouldn't be able to even walk at this point and you're already jogging. You've got to put things into perspective and know its a miracle that you're even here with us right now.'"

Onyewu has been in Delaware going through rehab for a ruptured patellar tendon suffered just two days after Davies' accident and has served not only as a voice of reason for Davies but also as someone he can share jokes with and compete with as they both work toward getting back on the playing field ahead of this summer's world Cup.

"That's my little brother. He's my second younger brother," Onyewu said of Davies. "I try and take care of him as much as I can and direct him, give him advice, especially right now through this whole process, just to keep his spirits up and let him know everyday the progress that he's made."

If Onyewu has provided the voice of reason, and Hashimoto the road map to an improbable recovery, it has been Davies' long-time girlfriend Nina who has provided the emotional anchor that has helped keep Davies grounded and focused.

"My girlfriend has been the strongest person through the whole thing," Davies said. "I was in and out [of consciousness] through the first week and a half. I really don't remember too many things, but I remember seeing her.

"When I have her with me, supporting me every single day, from the day I couldn't even move to now, I know I'm a real lucky guy. I honestly don't think I am where I am now if not for her. She's a rock."

If Davies can complete his recovery on its new timetable, it will be some welcome good news for a U.S. team that just recently had midfielder Clint Dempsey sidelined by a PCL injury that threatened to jeopardize his World Cup. The U.S. team's top striker before the accident, Davies brings a combination of speed, strength and finishing ability that no other player in the national team pool can provide, and a healthy Davies would provide a significant boost, both on and off the field.

"Charlie knows he's going to be there," Onyewu said of Davies playing in the World Cup. "I know Charlie's going to be there, or at least physically capable of being there. After that, it's the coach that decides the roster.

"He's doing unbelievably, to be honest," Onyewu said. "I think once the final part of his surgery on his elbow goes through, I think it's going to be flying from there on. I don't think anybody anticipated or expected him to recover or to heal this quickly. Its sort of a Superman story."

It is a recovery few have even realized is taking place, which would explain why Davies is still often overlooked when discussions of the U.S. World Cup team take place, except for the debate on who will replace him.

"That's what's been driving me this whole time," Davies said. "I've been looking at Web sites the whole time and they're always saying, 'We need to find a replacement for Charlie. We need to find someone because he's not going to be back.'

"These people don't know," Davies said. "They don't know me, and if they just knew me alone, let alone the determination and will I have now, you guys don't know.

"When I tell people I'm doing agility on the ladder and I'm running on the treadmill, people are like, 'No way.' They tell me, 'If you're back, this is the greatest comeback in the history of sports.'

"It feels good when I hear all this talk because I'm going to be able to play two months in France. I plan on making a difference at the World Cup."

As amazing as his recovery has been up to this point, there is still much work to be done. He still has to get through one more surgery before a return to the practice field. Even then, the playing field will provide the real measure of just how realistic a full recovery in time for the World Cup will be. As far-fetched as that comeback may still sound, it is hard to bet against Davies considering how far he has already come.

"When you look at the time frame, he's got to accomplish gaining more strength, the on-field training and playing games," Hashimoto said. "Where do I see him in that? I really don't know. I'll be honest: At 12 weeks [of rehab], for him to be where he is, is pretty amazing.

"He's certainly on the right curve," Hashimoto said. "It's a matter [of] if the calendar is kind to him with his progression."

Fate has already been more than kind to Davies, and he knows it. The nights of sitting in a hospital alongside other accident victims who weren't as fortunate won't let him forget. The emotions he felt the first time he returned to the scene of the accident won't let him forget. The knowledge of everything he nearly lost won't let him forget just how lucky he is.

"I'm extremely blessed," Davies said. "The things I had to go through and the things I had to see really changed me as a person as far as having that appreciation for people who can't do certain things. Having that appreciation for being able to play soccer.

"When you see all that, you realize nothing lasts forever and you have to take full opportunity of everything you can do," Davies said. "I know I can come back and be one of the best strikers in the world. I know with the improvement that I'm making, if I can continue that with this new feeling I have now, it's going to be tough to stop me."


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[quote][size="5"][b]Holden's move to Bolton is 'no-brainer'

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Paul Kennedy, Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [AMERICANS ABROAD] Almost four weeks after he became a free agent, Stuart Holden finally wrapped up a deal with English Premier League Bolton Wanderers, signing a short-term deal through the end of the season.

The 24-year-old U.S. international had been training with Bolton and sufficiently impressed new Bolton manager Owen Coyle to be offered a contract even though he was nursing a thigh injury.

"I'm really excited having been amongst the guys over the last two weeks," Holden said after signing. "There's a really good environment playing-wise and the coaches help to keep everybody motivated, and having watched two matches at the Reebok already then the fans really get behind the team and the atmosphere inside the Stadium is something special. The first week here was a little tough with the weather and training being moved in and around the town, but the last week had a bit more of a routine and I have really enjoyed it."

This the Scottish-born midfielder's second spell in England. After leaving Clemson University, he signed with Sunderland but left after being injured in an assault.

Holden had initially planned on trialing at Burnley, but plans changed when Coyle left Burnley for Bolton early in January.

"The manager had watched a couple of games," said Holden, "and I had spoken with him on the phone, and it surprised me how much he knew about my playing style and my career. It really drew me to him along with the way that the teams he has managed play their football. Putting all the other offers aside, it was a no-brainer because Bolton Wanderers were the only option for me." [/quote]

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[quote][size="5"][b]Hahnemann helps shut out Liverpool

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Paul Kennedy, Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [AMERICANS ABROAD] More trouble for Liverpool, thanks in part to American Marcus Hahnemann, who helped hold the Reds to a 0-0 draw in Wolves' English Premier League game on Tuesday. The other American in EPL action on Tuesday was Jonathan Spector, who played the entire 90 minutes in West Ham's 1-1 tie at Portsmouth.

Liverpool helped out with a dispirited performance at Molineux.

Hahnemann had to backpedal to knockout away a shot by Spaniard Albert Riera, but Liverpool otherwise spent much of the misfiring.

West Ham looked set to grab the three points in a battle of two debt-ridden teams, but sub Danny Webber equalized in the 76th minute. [/quote]

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Landon scores first goal while at Everton

[b][size="5"][b]Toffees pile more misery on Black Cats[/b][/size][/b]

[size="1"]Updated: January 28, 2010, 3:10 AM ET[/size]

Goals from Tim Cahill and on-loan American[b] Landon Donovan[/b] - his first for Everton - secured a comfortable 2-0 win at Goodison Park and extended Sunderland's miserable run.•

Cahill's seventh-minute header was added to by the Los Angeles Galaxy forward 11 minutes later.

Even from that early point Everton were able to coast home as the Black Cats were left with just one win in their last 13 Barclays Premier League matches.

Sunderland's last league outing saw them hammered 7-2 at Chelsea. Steve Bruce's side have now conceded 18 goals in their last six top-flight fixtures and are just three points above the relegation zone.

But to denigrate the Black Cats takes away from an Everton performance, particularly in the first half, which was clinically effective and extended their unbeaten league run to eight matches and lifted them to ninth in the table.

Both clubs were knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend but it appeared only one set of players were able to produce a response.

Bruce dropped striker Kenwyne Jones to the bench after this week claiming he had been distracted by links with Liverpool.

However, it seemed the minds of 11 he did select were elsewhere in a first half which Everton completely dominated.

Centre-back Matthew Kilgallon was given a debut having moved from Sheffield United last week but, just seven minutes in, he failed to pick up Cahill with dire consequences.

Full-back Leighton Baines found an advanced position down the left and turned the ball inside to Marouane Fellaini, who clipped a cross to the near post which the Australia midfielder flicked on with his head and into the far corner of Craig Gordon's net.

[b]Baines and Cahill both played their parts in Everton's second goal 11 minutes later when the defender's long ball was headed into Donovan's path by the Australian on the edge of the penalty area.[/b]

[b]The United States international, who has made the move to Merseyside during Major League Soccer's close season, made sure the ball was out of his feet before firing a low left-footed shot past Gordon.[/b]

An ankle injury to Kieran Richardson meant Jones was given an earlier-than-expected introduction in the 26th minute but the momentum was all with Everton and Leon Osman jinked his way past a static defence before curling a shot straight at the Sunderland goalkeeper.

Cahill could have done better from Louis Saha's knock-on but he produced an uncharacteristically weak header in the six-yard area, while Baines drove a 30-yard free-kick straight at Gordon just before the interval.

Lee Cattermole, making his first start for over a month, was replaced by Andy Reid at half-time while makeshift full-back John Mensah switched positions with centre-half Nyron Nosworthy.

The reshuffle did little to quell the Everton tide and they almost made it 3-0 in the 57th minute.

Osman dispossessed Kilgallon and released Donovan who rounded Gordon but, with his left-foot shot destined for the back of the net, George McCartney got across to block with his knee.

A minute later Mensah produced a last-ditch tackle to deny Saha as he raced clear into the penalty area, while Osman shot well wide when played in by Donovan.

Mikel Arteta and James Vaughan - two players who have had their fair share of injury problems in the last year - were sent on for a gentle work-out in the in the final 15 minutes at the expense of Donovan and Saha.

Jones had been virtually anonymous since his introduction and one late fluffed effort prompted chants of "Rafa, sign him up'' from the Goodison faithful.

Boudewijn Zenden produced a late save from Howard but Sunderland's major issues are at the other end of the pitch.

Things are improving for Everton though as, with their injury crisis easing by the day, they continue their quiet progress up the table.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce criticised his side's attitude and defending after a 2-0 defeat at Everton extended their run to just one win in 13 Premier League matches. "I seem to be like a long-playing record at the minute but it is too easy the number of goals we give away,'' said Bruce. "They didn't have to do much for the goals today. A cross into our box and we haven't picked Cahill up.

"I'm not going to make any excuses. Two kicks up the pitch have cost us and we haven't defended it anywhere near the way we should do. That has been our Achilles heel of late. We just haven't - or can't - defend properly.

"The first half an hour was nowhere near the standard of what we need to be in the Premier League. We have to be a bit more resilient than that. We have to show better attitude than what we showed.''

Sunderland, three points above the relegation zone, now face Stoke and Wigan in successive games at the Stadium of Light and Bruce believes they have to win to turn their campaign around. "We have been on an awful run but we have got back-to-back home games which will define our season,'' he added. "We must get results in these games and if we do then we are capable.''

By contrast Everton are now ninth in the table and unbeaten in their last eight league matches. Manager David Moyes felt their FA Cup exit to Birmingham on Saturday had motivated his side.

"I think we all wanted to get the FA Cup defeat out of our system quickly and I thought they did that, going about their jobs in the right way and trying to do the right things,'' he said. "I thought we did the work in the first half which obviously made things a lot easier.

"Two-nil is a difficult score because if the opposition get a goal you find yourself under pressure. We missed a couple of chances to make it 3-0 but it was a good job. To their credit Sunderland came back into it but it was only in the last 15 minutes.''

[b]The Everton boss was also pleased to see Donovan claim his first goal for the club, having joined on a short-term loan from Major League Soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy. "The games he started were Arsenal and Manchester City, two of the better teams in the country, and I thought he played really well in those games,'' added Moyes. [/b]

[b]"He has a great goalscoring record in America - I think it is one in two - and has a great record for the national team. He has not had many chances in those games but tonight he got his first one and he was a bit unlucky not to get a second with it cleared off the line. If he can add us a goal or two that will be great.''[/b]


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[quote][size="5"][b]ESPN announces World Cup schedule

[/b][/size] [size="1"]Thursday, Jan 28, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [TV GUIDE] ESPN announced plans for its coverage of the 2010 World Cup June 11-July 11 in South Africa. All 64 matches will be aired live and in high definition on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC with additional live coverage on ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV.

ESPN will air 44 FIFA World Cup matches from South Africa - the most ever for the network in one tournament. ESPN2 will feature 10 matches. ABC will broadcast 10, including the USA's opener against England on June 12 in Rustenburg.

For the first time, all ESPN match telecasts will include prematch, halftime and postmatch studio segments originating live from the host nation.

ESPN Classic will re-air all 64 matches each matchday between at 6 p.m. and midnight.

Note: All times Eastern.

Group Stage

June 11
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com South Africa vs. Mexico
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Uruguay vs. France

June 12
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com South Korea vs. Greece
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Argentina vs. Nigeria
[b]2 p.m. ABC England vs. USA[/b]

June 13
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Algeria vs. Slovenia
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Serbia vs. Ghana
2 p.m. ABC Germany vs. Australia

June 14
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Netherlands vs. Denmark
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Japan vs. Cameroon
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Italy vs. Paraguay

June 15
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com New Zealand vs. Slovakia
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Ivory Coast vs. Portugal
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Brazil vs. North Korea

June 16
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Honduras vs. Chile
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Spain vs. Switzerland
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com South Africa vs. Uruguay

June 17
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Argentina vs. South Korea
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Greece vs. Nigeria
2 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com France vs. Mexico

June 18
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Germany vs. Serbia
[b]9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Slovenia vs. USA[/b]
2 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com England vs. Algeria

June 19
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Netherlands vs. Japan
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Ghana vs. Australia
2 p.m. ABC Cameroon vs. Denmark

June 20
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Slovakia vs. Paraguay
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Italy vs. New Zealand
2 p.m. ABC Brazil vs. Ivory Coast

June 21
7 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Portugal vs. North Korea
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Chile vs. Switzerland
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Spain vs. Honduras

June 22
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Mexico vs. Uruguay
9:30 a.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com France vs. South Africa
2 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Nigeria vs. South Korea
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Greece vs. Argentina

June 23
9:30 a.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Slovenia vs. England
[b]9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com USA vs. Algeria[/b]
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Ghana vs. Germany
2 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Australia vs. Serbia

June 24
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Slovakia vs. Italy
9:30 a.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Paraguay vs. New Zealand
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Denmark vs. Japan
2 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Cameroon vs. Netherlands

June 25
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Portugal vs. Brazil
9:30 a.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Ivory Coast vs. North Korea
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Chile vs. Spain
2 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN360.com Switzerland vs. Honduras

Round of 16

June 26
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com 1st A vs. 2nd B (49)
2 p.m. ABC 1st C vs. 2nd D (50)

June 27
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com 1st D vs. 2nd C (51)
2 p.m. ABC 1st B vs. 2nd A (52)

June 28
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com 1st E vs. 2nd F (53)
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com 1st G vs. 2nd H (54)

June 29
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com 1st F vs. 2nd E (55)
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com 1st H vs. 2nd G (56)


July 2
9:30 a.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Winners 53 vs. 54 (57)
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Winners 49 vs. 50 (58)

July 3
9:30 a.m. ABC Winners 52 vs. 51 (59)
2 p.m. ABC Winners 55 vs. 56 (60)


July 6
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Winners A vs. C (61)

July 7
2 p.m. ESPN/ESPN360.com Winners B vs. D (62)

Third-Place Match

2 p.m. ABC Losers - 61 vs. 62

1:30 p.m. ABC Winners - 61 vs. 62 [/quote]

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[quote][size="5"][b]Will fans avoid South Africa?

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by Paul Kennedy, Thursday, Jan 28, 2010 7:00 AM ET

[/size] [WORLD CUP 2010] FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke appealed to fans around the world that the 2010 World Cup will be safe and slammed reports of poor ticket sales.

More than 1 million tickets remain available less than five months before the first game, but six matches are already oversubscribed.

"It's sad that every morning when you wake up people are saying you should not go to South Africa," said Valcke. "It's insane and it is completely wrong."

Wednesday's press conference followed reports of poor sales of the tickets allotted to fans of England and Germany through their soccer federations.

Danny Jordaan, CEO of the local organizing committee, countered that there has been a flurry of ticket sales since the World Cup final draw on Dec. 4.

"The sales have gone very well," he said. "We are extremely delighted."

There are three major concerns about ticket sales:

-- The cost of getting to and staying in South Africa is prohibitive.

Franz Beckenbauer, who headed the Germany '06 organizing committee and is on the FIFA executive committee, blasted the costs.

"What normal person can afford 5,000 [$7,000] to 6,000 euros [$8,400] for one week?" he said on German television recently.

-- Fans are deterred by safety concerns in South Africa, which has one of the most highest murder rates in the world.

"People need to be watching out everywhere they go," said Beckenbauer. "It's best to be overcautious, stay in groups whenever possible."

But Valcke dismissed concerns that safety issues should deter fans from traveling to South Africa.

"Where can we organize the World Cup? On the moon? Where there is no one?" he asked. "Don't kill the World Cup before the World Cup has taken place."

-- South Africa fans have a hard time getting access to tickets.

Valcke spoke of "a welcome rise in interest" among South Africans. They formed the vast majority of takers for the third round of sales.

FIFA has agreed to allow the local organizing committee to make it simpler for South Africans to but tickets.

Now, they have to fill out applications at First National Bank branches or online. Beginning in April, they will be able to buy tickets over the counter.

Boosting ticket sales in South Africa is critical. The 2010 World Cup is similar to the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, where foreigners made up only a small fraction of the fans in attendance. South Africa, however, can't match South Korea and Japan for the fervent interest in soccer and huge base of fans with money. [/quote]

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