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The Official 2010 Pre- World Cup Thread


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-Pearce looks to be making a good case. Wish it was on the left side though.

-Hopefully Ching just propelled himself through and threw Casey off for good.

-I wish we would have Hector Gomez in for a friendly. 3 goals in a short amoutn of time in Mexico is pretty impressive. Why not try it?

-Sascha better not be part of the 23 or I will pull my hair out. He is garbage..but it's too bad he and bob are blowjob buddies.

-If Robbie was just a little more nifty..he would be so good. He is so quick on those sidelines but doesn't seem to be extremely confident with making any moves to beat someone 1v1. Come on Robbie.

Anyways..I can't wait until the next friendly. We will actually see some players, no more scrubz. Besides Bornstein I'm sure. I wish we would try Edgar Castillo or Heath over there.
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[size="5"][b]Clues embedded in U.S. squad for Netherlands game

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/49/ridge-mahoney/"]Ridge Mahoney[/url], February 25th, 2010 11:34PM [/size]

[USA] The U.S. men's national team coach Bob Bradley has named a 20-player roster to face the Netherlands at Amsterdam ArenA Wednesday (TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Galavision). The squad includes several surprises ...

Recalled for the first time since the Confederations Cup is DaMarcus Beasley. Also back is Rangers teammate Maurice Edu after a long injury layoff. In as well are World Cup longshots Frank Simek and Alejandro Bedoya.

Of the players who played against El Salvador in Tampa only [b]Jonathan Bornstein[/b] (Chivas USA), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas) and Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) were selected.

From Greek club Aris Eddie Johnson is headed to Amsterdam but there's no ticket for Freddy Adu.

The safe thing to assume when Bradley names a roster for a friendly is not to assume anything, yet surely there are clues embedded in the 20-man squad chosen for the clash against the Dutch.

Neither [b]Brian Ching[/b] or [b]Conor Casey[/b] is in the squad, and because Ching scored one goal and set up the other in a 2-1 victory over El Salvador on Wednesday after replacing Casey at halftime, and the popular perception is that only one of them, at most, would go to South Africa anyway. The selection of [b]Jozy Altidore[/b] (a cinch) probably means a slot could come down to either [b]Robbie Findley[/b] or[b] Eddie Johnson[/b].

The pleas of fans who have been clamoring for Simek, out of the picture since the 2007 Gold Cup, have been answered. Not among the four players who faced El Salvador that Bradley named is midfielder [b]Sacha Kljestan[/b], who redeemed a good-and-bad game by scoring the winner in stoppage time. Bradley has filled out his midfield corps with players in myriad situations.

Beasley, a veteran of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and 2008 Olympian Edu are both having their troubles getting regular time for Glasgow Rangers, but if fit and in form will be hard to deny a place.

Bedoya turned in some impressive minutes as a sub in the 3-1 loss to Honduras in January and though a longshot for South Africa is worth another look, as is [b]Jose Francisco Torres[/b], who has seen limited time against Concacaf foes but gets a great opportunity against a top-class opponent.

The same is true for [b]Stuart Holden[/b], sidelined by injury until Wednesday when he played the full 90 minutes for Bolton in a 4-0 thrashing by Tottenham in an English Premier League game. Though he played 11 games for the USA last year, he didn’t debut until July, and his only non-Concacaf appearance was in the finale, a 3-1 loss to Denmark in Aarhus Nov. 14.

Missing because of injuries are [b]Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey[/b] and [b]Oguchi Onweyu[/b], as well as [b]Ricardo Clark[/b], who has yet to take the field for Eintracht Frankfurt because of a calf injury.

As usual, [b]Landon Donovan[/b] and [b]Michael Bradley[/b] will run the show no matter who they team up with and Coach Bradley could let them play most of the match and still get long looks at the others.

The back line, too, will be a fascinating study, as Bornstein, Simek, Pearce and Goodson are joined by [b]Carlos Bocanegra[/b], [b]Jonathan Spector[/b] and [b]Jay DeMerit[/b]. There’s a vast array of possible combinations in that group, as several can play more than one position, yet too much tinkering with the back line can produce mistakes and miscommunication, which isn’t the ideal condition to take on a European power in its home stadium. The idea is still to play well, no matter who plays.

Two-time Defender of the Year [b]Chad Marshall[/b], who made the game-day roster for the El Salvador game but didn’t play, wasn’t selected for the trip to Amsterdam. Either way, it’s likely Bradley has made up his mind about Marshall. The same can be said for Adu, who's really been off the radar screen for a while and played only three U.S. games last year.

Could the three goalies picked – [b]Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann[/b] and [b]Brad Guzan[/b] – also be the trio for South Africa? Could be.

“This is a great opportunity for us to bring many of our European-based players together as we continue to finalize our plans for the World Cup roster,” Bradley said in a U.S. Soccer press release. “This is the final match before we bring the team together for the World Cup, so to have a match against one of the top teams in the world like the Netherlands is a big benefit and a good challenge for our group. They are expecting a large crowd to turn out for the game, and we are looking forward to an exciting atmosphere in Amsterdam.”

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)<br style="font-weight: bold;"> MIDFIELDERS (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Landon Donovan (Everton), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), José Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Eddie Johnson (Aris)


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[size="5"][b]Altidore takes nothing for granted

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], February 26th, 2010 1:30AM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] About the only sure thing in the U.S. attack is that Jozy Altidore will be one of the strikers at the World Cup in South Africa. But he isn't taking anything for granted. Nor is he counting out his friend, the injured Charlie Davies.

"If I am selected," Altidore said in a satellite television interview with reporters on adidas World Cup Media Day, "it's going to be a dream come true."

Altidore is on loan from Spanish club Villarreal to Hull City in England, where he played well in the last month and scored his first Premier League goal. He hopes what he's learned with Hull City will benefit the national team and his future club career:

"The one thing in England is you don't have much time on the ball. It's a very fast-paced league, it's very physical. The work ethic is high. The best players work hard. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are products of the English league."

Altidore isn't assuming anything.

"I view myself as a player who has a chance," he said. "The worst thing you can do before the World Cup is get complacent."

Asked to pick who he wanted to be teamed with up front -- he ticked off the names of the four forwards who played in Wednesday's friendly against El Salvador -- Brian Ching, Conor Casey, Jeff Cunningham and Ryan Findley -- and said they were all good forwards, but he added that he wasn't counting out Davies, who has returned to France four months after being seriously injured in a car accident that took the life of another person.

"He's a courageous kid," said Altidore. "I'm very optimistic. I hope he will be back. I believe he will be back."

Altidore says he's matured playing in England.

"It's a man's league," he said. "It's not an easy league to play in at all." (He rated Manchester United's Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic as the toughest central pairing he's faced.)

Altidore doesn't know where he'll be next season, but he admits he likes England.

"It's the closest thing to the lifestyle that I'm used to," he said.

Off the field, he'd just wish the hoopla about the June 12 World Cup match between England and USA would end.

Asked if he hears about the matchup, Altidore responded, "Every day."

"Some days I just turn it off," he added. "The English people have a lot of expectations for their team. They go over every matchup, every position. They're excited about it. They'll be ready for it."[/quote]

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Looks like the US is going with a uni harking back to the beginning of US Soccer

[size="5"][b]Dempsey back in U.S. uniform ...

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]February 26th, 2010 2:31AM [/size]


[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Clint Dempsey was back in a U.S. uniform ... appearing in the away uniform the USA will wear at the World Cup. The Fulham striker, recovering from a knee injury, appeared with other players in the official launch of the Nike national team uniforms at London's Battersea Power Station.

Dempsey said he expects to resume training with the ball on Friday and hopes resume play with the Cottagers in mid-March.

Other players on hand for modeling work included former Stanford and D.C. United player Ryan Nelsen representing New Zealand, Brazil's Alexandre Pato and Portugal's Nani.

Representing England in the Nike-owned Umbro uniform was Jermaine Jenas (standing in for the unavailable Wayne Rooney).


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[size="5"][b]Everton outclassed and ousted

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]February 26th, 2010 2:47AM[/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] With [b]Landon Donovan[/b] "an anonymous figure," according to BBC's game report, Everton fell 3-0 at Sporting Lisbon and was eliminated from the Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup) 4-2 on aggregate. Everton's American keeper [b]Tim Howard[/b] was beaten from close-range, on a deflected shot, and rounded on a breakaway but also made two great saves to prevent the scoreline from having been worse.

The Toffees held on to their 2-1 lead from the first leg of the round of 32 series until the floodgates opened in the 62nd minute.

Howard started well by denying [b]Marat Izmailov[/b] with a diving save a few minutes after kickoff, but his teammates hardly threatened in the first half and midway through the second[b] Miguel Veloso[/b] opened the scoring before [b]Pedro Mendes[/b] but Sporting ahead on aggregate with a deflected 22-yard shot. [b]Matias Fernandez[/b] struck in stoppage time.

Meanwhile, Fulham and Liverpool, the two other EPL teams still alive in Europe's No. 2 competition both advanced.[/quote]

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England in turmoil...it either unites them...or gives them an out when we win

[quote] [size="5"][b]Fab begs Bridge: Come back![/b][/size]

[size="1"]By IAN McGARRY[/size]

[b] [b]FABIO CAPELLO last night insisted the door was still open for Wayne Bridge after the left-back quit - and left England in the lurch. [/b][/b]

The Italian was stunned by Bridge's shock decision, which left his World Cup preparations in tatters.

The 29-year-old decided he could not play with John Terry after the scandal involving the Chelsea skipper and Vanessa Perroncel, Bridge's ex-partner.

But with first-choice left-back Ashley Cole seriously injured, Capello was depending on Bridge to step in.

The Italian said: "It surprised me but I respect the decision of all the players.

"The door for him is always open. We have time, there is still three months until I will decide my final squad for South Africa.

"I hope that Wayne Bridge will be with us at the World Cup but I respect his decision."

England are facing a mounting injury crisis with serious question marks also hanging over Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Aaron Lennon and Cole.

Bridge's decision was the last thing Capello needed and an FA source admitted: "It came as a complete shock to Fabio. He had already pencilled Bridge in to play against Egypt next week.

"Now with just a few months until the World Cup England are without first and second-choice left-backs.

"Obviously Ashley Cole's injury is unfortunate but Bridge never indicated he was going to do this. Capello is very unhappy."

After an emotional call to Capello's assistant, Franco Baldini, Bridge announced his international exile.

Baldini tried to talk the Manchester City player out of making a hasty decision but Bridge was adamant he cannot play alongside the man he once regarded as a big pal.

Chelsea defender Cole is out for at least two months with a broken ankle.

Meanwhile, the immediate impact of Bridge's decision is that Everton's Leighton Baines and Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock will be called up to the squad.

Baines has yet to win a senior cap, while Warnock played 16 minutes in a friendly in Trinidad 20 months ago.

Bridge said: "After careful thought, I believe my position in the squad is now untenable and potentially divisive. Sadly, for the sake of the team and what would be inevitable distractions, I have decided not to put myself forward for selection."

In another twist, Bridge will face Terry tomorrow when their clubs clash at Chelsea.


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Really not a fan of the new kits. The current ones were cool.

The next one will have a bullseye on the back after we win the WC.

Anyways. Need to see some Francisco Torres next week. Please Bob. Start the midfield with Demarcus out left, Bradley running Defensive mid Francisco as possession mid and Landon as attacking and right winger. Sub Edu in for Bradley at about the 50th minute mark and Stuart in for Landon around 60.

Our backline still blows. Put Simek in there and pray he can play well. Might as well.
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[b][size="5"][b]"If John Terry were a man he would stand up and say: 'I won't go'" - Football reacts to Wayne Bridge's England withdrawal[/b][/size][/b]

Shamed John Terry was last night accused of wrecking England's World Cup chances by "dividing" Fabio Capello's squad.

England boss Capello has seen his World Cup plans torn apart by Terry's affair with former team mate Wayne Bridge's ex-partner.

It has divided opinion among players and fans alike just four months before the tournament kicks off in South Africa.

England were tipped to have their best chance of winning the trophy since 1966 but now the fall-out from Terry's affair is in danger of overshadowing the build-up to the World Cup.

Former players have criticised Terry's actions and ex-Liverpool star Craig Johnston was yesterday most damning of all.

Johnston said: "My immediate reaction as a 50-year-old former footballer is that you look back on your life's crowning achievements and what you could have done and the pain this man must be going through, to make a decision not to go to the World Cup and play for England, because he can't bear the sight of this guy [John Terry].

"This guy must be killing himself inside. Not only that, but how unselfish is he? Divisive was the word he (Bridge) used. Of course it's divisive. If John Terry were a man of course he would stand up and say: 'I won't go.'

"He's the one that's caused all the problems. Why should Wayne Bridge have to suffer not only the humiliation of what's happened, but also the fact that this is his big moment? I think if John Terry did that it would show some team spirit."

Johnston told TalkSport: "In football they can all kick a ball. They can all run like professional athletes. Football is all about team spirit.

"At that 99% top-level, youre looking for people that will pull their heart out for each other. You can't have someone in the dressing room that's sleeping with his best mates wife.

"It goes back to the Bible days; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife. You can't do that stuff and pretend to be captain of England, a good guy, and a make a rally-rally-rally-call when you're a sneaky bugger sneaking around doing that stuff. John Terry's got a lot of soul searching to do."

Former Arsenal and England left back Nigel Winterburn said he understood Bridge's decision - but was still shocked at him pulling out and says it's a "massive blow."

Winterburn added: "In a way I can understand his thoughts - we have got this match coming up on March 3 and I imagine the tension wouldn't be on the football game. Instead it would be on John Terry and Wayne Bridge.

"Any top player wants to pit himself against the best in the world on the biggest stage and that is the World Cup. To rule yourself out of that is absolutely amazing and just shows the feeling Wayne must have towards John Terry.

"Deep down Wayne is obviously thinking he can't work with John Terry again and doesn't really want to be anywhere near him.

"If that's the way he feels, rather than having a tension in and around the England camp, we have to pick somebody who can come in and do the job as well as Wayne Bridge.

"I commend him for what he is saying if he feels he can't work with John Terry.

"I also think it's a massive blow for England - but on the flip side maybe it's a good thing because we don't want any tension around our squad in the build up and preparation for the World Cup."

Mark Perryman, chairman of the England Supporters' Association, says it has left Capello with a huge task of repairing the damage caused.

Perryman said: "I think Wayne Bridge has taken a very big and courageous decision for the good of the team but what has happened with John Terry still leaves a very difficult air around the team.

"What John Terry has done is not morally respectful but it's not illegal either.

"There is a danger now that the squad will be divided and players will be up for one side or the other. It will be a huge challenge for Fabio Capello to repair.

"Capello is a hugely experienced manager but comes from the land of Romeo and Juliet to a place where Romeo runs off with Juliet's best friend.

"It is a desperate shame because this is without doubt England's best chance for a long time.

"But the England squad is not the happy family that we all expected it to be. But the only positive to come out of this is that it's happened now and there aren't last minute injuries in April and May.

"But this will be a huge test for Fabio Capello to get England back on track because it's a mess at the moment."

Footballers have also been angry about the Terry affair, Bridge's Manchester City team mates even wearing "Team Bridge" T-shirts during a game to show their support for their left back.

Gareth Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips are regular members of the England squad and if they are called up next week then their loyalties may be torn.


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Continuing English drama.


[b][size="5"][b]Terry blasts back at Bellamy after City star's verbal attack[/b][/size][/b]

Furious John Terry is gunning for Criag Bellamy after the Welsh hitman's drive-by verbal shooting.

Bellamy added insult to Terry's injuries as he launched an astonishing public assault on the Chelsea skipper's character after inspiring Manchester to their 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge.

Asked if the feud between Terry and Wayne Bridge had galvanised City, Bellamy said: "I know what John Terry is like and nothing surprises me about him.

"I think everybody in football knows what the guy's like off the field."

It was a savage attack on Terry, which came after Bellamy had already shown his disrespect for the Chelsea captain before kick-off.

Although, unlike Bridge, Bellamy did shake Terry's hand in the pre-match line-up, he pointedly refused to look at the Chelsea captain as he did so, muttering that he had no wish to face the defender.

But it was the post-match insult that riled Terry, who wore a face like thunder as he patrolled the Stamford Bridge tunnel area after the match.

Clearly outraged, Terry restricted himself to a single comment but the intensity of his gaze illustrated his burning anger.

"I've heard what he said," Terry replied when asked. "And people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. That's all I want to say."

Terry's woeful weekend darkened further as Fabio Capello made it crystal clear the disgraced England skipper has no chance of regaining the captaincy while the Italna remains Three Lions chief.

Capello said: "As long as I am England manager, I don't think John Terry will be captain again. I expect my captain to be responsible to children and for the fans. I told him all of this."


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[size="5"][b]Edu's Old Firm winner is 'unbelievable'

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], February 28th, 2010 3:43PM[/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] On a team without a lot of new options, Maurice Edu is one of the most intriguing Americans headed to Amsterdam for Wednesday's friendly against the Netherlands (TV: ESPN2 and Galavision, live, 2:30 p.m. ET). Edu, who played all of one minute for the USA in 2009 because of injuries, joins the Yanks after what he described as "the most exciting moment of my career," his 90th-minute goal that gave Rangers a 1-0 win over Celtic Sunday and moved it closer to wrapping up the 2010 Scottish Premier League title.

Edu, who had entered the game in the 26th minute, scored from close range after Celtic keeper Artur Boruc blocked a shot by Kris Boyd.

DaMarcus Beasley did not get off the bench for Rangers.

Rangers is now 10 points ahead of Celtic and has a game in hand.

Edu had earlier had a goal disallowed for a a hand ball by teammate Kenny Miller and then came close to beating Boruc before his winner.

"It's the best feeling," Edu [url="http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/rangers/maurice-edu-bookmarks-satisfying-display-with-final-touch-1.1009957"]told[/url] Scottish reporters afterwards. "For me, with everything that has gone on with injuries, to get back into the side, well, that was good itself. But to get the game-winner was unbelievable."

Edu replaced Lee McCulloch, who left the game early with an ankle injury.

"I tried to keep things simple at first and tried to ease my way into the game," said Edu, ignoring the explosive impact of his immediate strike. "It is a while since I had a run of games. As the game went on, I became more comfortable."

"I was waiting, waiting, waiting and I just tapped it in," Edu said of the goal, his third league goal in two seasons for Rangers. "It was not the trickiest goal, but I'll take it."

Edu has played only four games for Rangers this season after returning from a knee injury suffered on the last day of the 2009-10 season.

An ankle injury further set him back this winter.

Edu has played in midfield for the USA but also was a center back on the 2008 Olympic team.

Such versatility could come in handy for the Americans.


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[size="5"][b]Shorthanded USA steps into deep end in Amsterdam

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/49/ridge-mahoney/"]Ridge Mahoney[/url], March 2nd, 2010 2AM [/size]

[NETHERLANDS-USA] Playing the Netherlands is much more than a “good test for the American players,” and it’s not really “the last chance for some players to impress Coach Bob Bradley” as he sets about picking his World Cup team.

Bradley evaluates all his players in training, every day, and monitor s intensely their club performances. He hasn’t seen Frankie Simek since the 2007 Gold Cup but is keenly aware of how often and how well he’s played for Sheffield Wednesday. If Stuart Holden struggles against the Netherlands but keeps playing regularly and well for Bolton, he’ll make the trip to South Africa, most likely, based on what he’s done for the U.S. in his 11 appearances to date. It’s doubtful Tim Howard can lose the No. 1 goalkeeping shirt even if he and the Americans are routed.

Taking on the Dutch at the Amsterdam ArenA Wednesday (TV: ESPN2 and Galavision, live, 2:30 p.m. ET) is about as deep as the pool gets in Europe, a prime opportunity to get run off the park, to be flayed by some of the continent’s best players. Bradley has summoned all of his best available talent, yet with many of six players missing because of injury projected to be starters, he can’t expect much from the guys on the bubble except to look the part, fight hard and not freeze up.

So the onus will be on Landon Donovan to spark the attack, for Howard to keep the back line intact and in sync, for Carlos Bocanegra to win his duels and play smart, for Jozy Altidore to play tough but show touch, etc. No matter where Jonathan Spector plays, proving that his recent good form for West Ham can be maintained against a formidable opponent in a forbidding setting is job one.

With only two days of training prior to kickoff, Bradley can’t re-invent what this team is. He’ll rely on the doctrines and philosophies he’s been preaching since he took the job more than three years ago. Seeing situations develop as early as possible and reacting accordingly, and making the smart, safe pass when nothing else is on, are just as important as lung-busting runs and torpedo headers.

Though the forward corps includes Arjen Robben, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel, and a defense led by Giovanni van Bronckhorst conceded only two goals in eight World Cup qualifying matches, the Dutch are especially loaded in midfield.

Wesley Sneijder has been a driving force for Inter Milan’s climb atop Serie A, and Mark van Bommel and Bayern Munich are at the top of the Bundesliga. Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), and the PSV Eindhoven duo of Ibrahim Afellay and Orlando Engelaar give the Dutch plenty of bite, speed, and guile.

To have a good performance, the Americans can’t be overrun in midfield, which is where they’ve been disquietingly inconsistent too often against moderate opposition. Their back line will be missing Oguchi Onyewu, so the more protection afforded by the midfielders the more solid the defense should be. Still, the quickness and movement of the Dutch attackers will require close marking and cohesive defending by the U.S., so the leadership and experience of veterans like Bocanegra must be prominent.

The Dutch are more skilled, more experienced and more tactically astute than the Americans. They force mistakes and exploit them. Widely regarded as the best soccer nation to never win a World Cup, the Netherlands is ranked No. 3 in the world but as of yet not being considered as a serious contender.

The Dutch, too, have issues and questions and media criticism to address on this final FIFA date prior to the tournament, and a rousing win over the upstart country that knocked off Spain in the Confederations Cup last summer would buttress their case.

For their part, the Americans are still more suited to the underdog role, as they were last June, and will certainly be Wednesday.

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS: Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)<br style="font-weight: bold;"> MIDFIELDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Landon Donovan (Everton), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), José Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS : Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Eddie Johnson (Aris)

[b]GOALKEEPERS:[/b] Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Piet Velthuizen (Vitesse), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht)
DEFENDERS: Edson Braafheid (Celtic), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (Hamburg), Andre Ooijer (PSV), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax)
[b]MIDFIELDERS:[/b] Ibrahim Afellay (PSV), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Stijn Schaars (AZ), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax)
FORWARDS : Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Eljero Elia (Hamburg), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)


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[size="5"][b]U.S. infirmary begins to empty

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 3rd, 2010 12:41AM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] As Coach Bob Bradley prepared the USA for Wednesday's game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam (TV: ESPN2 and Galavision, live, 2:30 p.m. ET), the attention has been almost as much on the Americans who aren't available as on those who will suit up against the Oranje.

Three of the absentees have been with the national team in Amsterdam. Steve Cherundolo, cleared by his German club, Hannover, trained with his U.S. teammates at the Sportpark Riekerhaven. Oguchi Onyewu, who has yet to resume full training at Milan, joined the team. Even German-American [b]Jermaine Jones[/b], who has yet to play for the USA because of a shin injury, made a cameo appearance at the team hotel, his first chance to meet his potential teammates.

Cherundolo, who has been sidelined with a broken bone in his shoulder for a month, won't play against the Oranje but should be available for struggling Hannover's next game against Freiburg. He says his injury suffered in training at Hannover could have been worse and he considers himself lucky.

Onyewu took part in training with the USA at its camp at the Home Depot Center before its last friendly against El Salvador but has since returned to AC Milan, which will monitor his progress.

Little by little, the U.S. national team infirmary is thinning out. Besides Cherundolo and Onyewu, four national team regulars will miss Wednesday's game against the Netherlands because of injuries but are at various junctures on the road to recovery.

After first being feared out of the World Cup following a knee injury suffered in mid-January, Clint Dempsey has resumed training at Fulham and is optimistic that he'll be able to play again by mid-March -- a layoff of only two months.

Ricardo Clark's lack of fitness after being off for two months set him back when he arrived at Eintracht Frankfurt in January, but a calf strain set him back even more. He finally appeared on the Eintracht substitutes' bench for the first time on Saturday at Stuttgart.

The most recent American to be injured was Benny Feilhaber, who hurt his ankle training with Danish club AGF Aarhus. It resumes league play against FC Copenhagen on Sunday and Feilhaber is no expected to play. No date for his return has been set.

Charlie Davies returned to France four months after being seriously injured in a car accident that took the life of another person. Bradley said Davies' positive attitude and determination give him hope that the striker will return.[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]Your choices to start

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 3rd, 2010 1:37AM [/size]

[NETHERLANDS-USA] Soccer America asked its readers to pick the U.S. starting lineup against the Netherlands on Wednesday. Here's whom they selected ...

(SOCCER AMERICA POLL [url="http://articles.socceramerica.com/article/37026/soccer-america-poll-us-starters-against-dutch.html"]Results[/url])

Tim Howard 91%
Carlos Bocanegra 92%
Jonathan Spector 86%
Jay DeMerit 79%
Jonathan Bornstein 56%
Landon Donovan 97%
Michael Bradley 91%
Maurice Edu 73%
Stuart Holden 70%
Jose Francisco Torres 55%
Jozy Altidore 97%

Heath Pearce 36%
Eddie Johnson 34%
DaMarcus Beasley 31%
Clarence Goodson 28%
Robbie Findley 26%
Frank Simek 17%
Alejandro Bedoya 8%
Brad Guzan 6%
Marcus Hahnemann 2%[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]USA not up to the task

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/49/ridge-mahoney/"]Ridge Mahoney[/url], March 3rd, 2010 2:57PM [/size]

[NETHERLANDS-USA] No excuses or apologies necessary for this defeat: a shorthanded USA squad wasn’t quite up to the task of subduing the Netherlands on its home field, even if the Dutch played most of the match at le ss than full throttle.

Dirk Kuyt tucked home a penalty kick in the 40th minute and a deflected shot by Klaas Jan Huntelaar got past U.S. keeper Tim Howard in the 73rd to provide a 2-0 Dutch lead the Americans could only cut in half when Carlos Bocanegra got his head to a DaMarcus Beasley free kick for a very late goal.

More important than the result is which Americans played themselves higher on the depth chart or slipped further down the ladder. Those issues are addressed [url="http://articles.socceramerica.com/article/37071/assessing-the-players-on-the-bubble.html"]here[/url].

The difference in class between the teams personified itself many times, even during substitutions, such as one in the second half when Kuyt, a nettlesome pest throughout the match, went off in favor of Ryan Babel. Both play for Liverpool, a trophy-laden club not graced by an American since goalie Brad Friedel left for Blackburn in 2000.

The two Americans who play for the other team on Merseyside, Everton, must be on their game in South Africa. Only one answered the bell in Amsterdam.

Keeper Tim Howard responded with a sharp performance overall and one breathtaking save, a full-length flight to parry a rocket off the foot of Rafael van der Vaart. Landon Donovan, rather than being the catalyst his team so desperately needed, struggled through a languid match marked by poor decisions on the ball – he didn’t get many touches it must be said -- and not much industry away from it.

Unfortunately for the Americans, while most of the Dutch players were rarely stretched until the final minutes, Wesley Sneijder worked it unmercifully. Whenever and wherever there was space, he found it to take possession and spray an amazing array of chips, lobs, dinks, through balls and pingers to feet, and occasionally take a crack at goal.

Ostensibly, the Dutch showed a 4-5-1 formation, but as Sneijder roamed behind Kuyt and between wide mids Arjen Robben and Eljero Elia to form a line of three attackers, center mids Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel pressed up the field to win back balls turned over in the middle third. Michael Bradley broke up numerous plays and hit decent passes, but too many Americans were too tightly marked too often.

To escape the starting U.S. central midfield pair of Bradley and Jose Francisco Torres, Sneijder often floated into a netherworld midway between the midfield line and edge of the penalty area while also drifting to either side.

One credo of head coach Bob Bradley is that forwards must also contribute defensively, and neither Robbie Findley nor Jozy Altidore were active enough and alert enough to apply pressure when Sneijder was in their area. While the Dutch rarely took shots, they rarely lost the ball, and usually got it back when they did.

Altidore did a heroic job getting to the high balls launched in his direction, nicking a few headers to Findley that the RSL forward usually squandered. Torres got off the only real U.S. shot of the half, a long-range effort from 30-plus yards that flew high.

The U.S. attack had to re-adjust in the 34th minute when right mid Stuart Holden hobbled off with a shin contusion courtesy of a ruthless de Jong tackle, yet still the Americans could have reached halftime at 0-0 if not for a horrible error by left back Jonathan Bornstein.

Sneijder glided into the penalty area to receive a pass from right back Gregory van der Wiel and Bornstein, caught on Sneijder’s outside shoulder, tugged him down by the jersey. Howard went to his left and Kuyt’s penalty kick hit the opposite side netting for a 1-0 lead.

Both coaches substituted liberally in the second half and the Americans gradually gained some traction in midfield, though Sneijder burned them again to set up the second goal. He ducked a challenge by substitute Alejandro Bedoya, and played a ball over the top that Rafael van der Vaart relayed to Klaas Jan-Huntelaar. Closer to goal, Bornstein was grappling with Kuyt, and Huntelaar’s shot caromed off the American and veered past an utterly stranded Howard.

Bedoya and fellow subs Maurice Edu and DaMarcus Beasley, who had replaced Holden, pressed the Dutch in the final minutes. Beasley drew a foul on the right flank and swung a left-footed set piece that Bocanegra headed home.

Another free resulted a minute later when a hard foul felled Bedoya as he chased a clever return ball from Bradley, but Beasley hit his shot right to Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who later repelled a powerful blast from Altidore deep into stoppage time.

March 3 in Amsterdam
Netherlands 2 USA 1. Goals: Kuyt pen. 40, Huntelaar 73; Bocanegra 88.
USA -- Howard, Spector, DeMerit (Pearce, 70), Bocanegra, Bornstein (Goodson, 86), Holden (Beasley, 34), Torres (Edu, 46), Bradley, Donovan (Johnson, 76), Altidore, Findley (Bedoya, 63).
Netherlands -- Stekelenburg, van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen (Vlaar, 46), van Bronckhorst (Graafheid, 67), Robben (Huntelaar, 46), de Jong (van der Vaart, 60), Sneijder, van Bommel (Afellay, 74), Elia, Kuyt (Babel, 81).
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR).
Att.: 46,630.

Stats Summary:
Shots: 8 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 6
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 17 / 17
Offside: 1 / 4[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]Assessing players on the bubble

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/49/ridge-mahoney/"]Ridge Mahoney[/url], March 3rd, 2010 11:57PM [/size]

[NETHERLANDS-USA] With no more games scheduled until late May, before which Bob Bradley is expected to name his 23-man roster, here’s a rundown of where players on the bubble stand after their performances in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands ...

DaMarcus Beasley. Thrown into the fray unexpectedly by injury to Holden, he got lively in the second half.

Clarence Goodson. Only played the last few minutes but nearly equalized during a scramble.

Alejandro Bedoya. Overpowered by Wesley Sneijder leading up to second goal, but looks the part offensively and certainly a future prospect.

Maurice Edu. Needed a few minutes to figure it out, grew in stature as match unfolded.

Stuart Holden. Rarely got the ball, tried to play a few combinations before getting wiped out by Nigel de Jong tackle. Now out with a broken leg.

Heath Pearce. Played the last 20 minutes after a good showing last week against El Salvador. Shortage at left back gives him a decent chance.

Jose Francisco Torres. Only played the first 45 minutes and failed to intervene on first Dutch goal. Showed good touches, and cracked one shot over the bar, but couldn’t keep possession under pressure.

Jonathan Bornstein. May have already earned a spot, yet may not be savvy enough to play outside and isn’t tough or rugged enough to handle the middle at a World Cup.

Robbie Findley. Not nearly impressive enough to raise his stock.

Eddie Johnson. Didn’t get much time and didn’t do much.[/quote]

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

[/b][/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/49/ridge-mahoney/"]Ridge Mahoney[/url], March 3rd, 2010 6:27PM [/size]

[NETHERLANDS-USA REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players after the USA's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 49/-
4 Jonathan Spector (West Ham/ENG) 24/0
5 Jay DeMerit (West Ham/ENG) 17/0
6 Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/FRA) 77/12
3 Jonathan Bornstein (Chiovas USA) 29/2
5 Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers/ENG) 12/2
4 Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca/MEX) 8/0
6 Michael Bradley (Bor. M'Gladbach/GER) 41/7
4 Landon Donovan (Everton/ENG) 121/42
6 Jozy A ltidore (Hull City/ENG) 24/8
3 Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) 4/0

Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
6 DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers/SCO) 90/17
5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 12/0
4 Eddie Johnson (Aris/GRE) 40/12
5 Heath Pearce (FC Dallas) 31/0
5 Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro/SWE) 2/0
NR Clarence Goodson (Start/NOR) 11/2

(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)


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[size="5"][b]England has subs to thank for win

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 3rd, 2010 11:38PM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] After a torturous first half, during which Egypt went ahead, England recovered to beat the three-time African champion, 3-1, at Wembley Stadium. Substitutes Peter Crouch and Shaun Wright-Phillips combined for the three goals and improved their chances of earning tickets to the World Cup.

At the start of the game, the crowd of 80,000 booed defender John Terry, whose off-the-field antics have dominated headlines in recent weeks, and the England performance in the first half hardly improved their mood.

A slipup by Terry's partner Matthew Upson allowed Mohamed Zidan to score and give the Pharaohs the surprise lead.

Things got better in the second half and subs James Milner, Michael Carrick, Crouch and Wright-Phillips all had big games.

The giant Crouch scored twice to give him 20 goals in 37 international matches and Wright-Phillips volleyed home the winner.

The 6-foot-7 Crouch showed he isn't just a player who is good in the air.

"Crouch is a big option for me because sometimes you can play long ball," England coach Fabio Capello said. "Today we didn't, and he played very well with one touch, two touches. In the second half, he made the difference."

As England pulled ahead, the crowd got behind Terry.

"They supported the team and John Terry," added Capello. "This was a most important game for him after what happened outside the pitch. He played a fantastic game like I know he can do at this level. When I chose him as captain I knew the value of him as a player."

While there were a lot of positives for England, concerns about its backline will persist.

With Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole both injured, the backline has two big holes to fill and Upson and Leighton Baines hardly impressed.


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[size="5"][b]Algeria undone again by poor goalkeeping

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 4th, 2010 2:02AM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Such was the anticipation of Algeria's World Cup warmup against Serbia in Algiers that the 70,000-seat Stade du 5 Juillet was filled three hours before gametime. Such was the crowd's disappointment in the Desert Foxes' performance that the stadium was half empty shortly after Dusko Tosic made it 3-0 for Serbia in the 65th minute.

Algeria won't be going anywhere at the World Cup if it doesn't get its goalkeeping problems sorted out. A terrible mistake by Lounes Gaouaoui gave Serbia a 1-0 lead and spoiled a solid first half by the Desert Foxes.

Ajax striker Marko Pantelic opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Gaouaoui missed a cross. Substitutes Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Tosic added goals in the second half.

Gaouaoui was absent from the Africa Cup of Nations in January. At the tournament, Algeria was shocked by Malawi, 3-0, in its opener, where goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi was to blame for two of the goals.

Algeria fell to Egypt, 4-0, in the semifinals when Chaouchi was red carded. He faces a lengthy ban for a head butt on referee Bonaventure Coffi Codjia earlier in the game that was not sanctioned.

The Desert Foxes were also without their best defender, Rangers' Madjid Bougherra. In his place was 35-year-old Slimane Raho, who had a poor game.

Algeria's defensive frailties overshadowed some good work by its midfield against one of Europe's strongest teams.

Among those hand to appreciate the work by Hassan Yebda and Karim Matmour was French great Zinedine Zidane, who attended the game with his Algerian-born father.[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]Slovenia's big win belies offensive deficiencies

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 4th, 2010 2:34AM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Slovenia, the USA's second opponent at the World Cup, struggled to score in the late stages of qualifying, but it poured it on against Qatar Wednesday in Maribor, winning, 4-1, in the last game it will have its foreign-based players before the end of the European season.

Those deficiencies in front of the goal were evident, though, as the final score could have been much larger.

Milivoje Novakovic, Bostjan Cesar and Andraz Kirm made it 3-0 after 34 minutes, and Slovenia then coasted.

Brazilian-born player Fabio Montesin scored for Qatar right before halftime, but Bojan Jokic restored the Slovenians three-goal advantage.

But Novakovic twice missed easy chances in the first half, and Robert Koren had a penalty kick saved in the second half.[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]World Cup warmup results

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 3rd, 2010 4:05PM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Mexico got goals from 21-year-old stars Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and [b]Carlos Vela[/b] to beat New Zealand, 2-0, before a sellout crowd of 90,526 at the Rose Bowl. In Wednesday's big games, France and Germany lost at home to Spain (2-0) and Argentina (1-0), respectively. Host South Africa had to settle for a 1-1 tie with neighboring Namibia. For all the action on the last FIFA fixture date before the World Cup ...
[i] [/i]
Tuesday Friendly
Brazil 2 Ireland 0

Asian Cup Qualifier
Australia 1 Indonesia 0
Japan 2 Bahrain 0

South Korea 2 Ivory Coast 0
Greece 0 Senegal 2
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 Ghana 1
Slovakia 0 Norway 1
Turkey 2 Honduras 0
Algeria 0 Serbia 3
South Africa 1 Namibia 1
Switzerland 1 Uruguay 3
Netherlands 2 USA 1
Austria 2 Denmark 1
Germany 0 Argentina 1
Italy 0 Cameroon 0
Athletic Bilbao (Spain) 1 Paraguay 3
Slovenia 4 Qatar 1
England 3 Egypt 1
France 0 Spain 2
Portugal 2 China 0
Mexico 2 New Zealand 0


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The injuries just won't stop....

[b][size="5"][b]Stuart Holden Injury Update [/b][/size][/b]
[size="1"]March 4, 2010[/size]

AMSTERDAM (March 4, 2010) – U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Stuart Holden suffered a fractured fibula in Wednesday's friendly match against the Netherlands and will be out approximately six weeks.

Holden, who recently joined the Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League, was injured when he was recklessly tackled by Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong in the 30th minute. Jong received a yellow card for the foul, while Holden had to leave the field and was replaced by DaMarcus Beasley.

The U.S. fell 2-1 to the Netherlands in their final match before U.S. head coach names his roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in early to mid May. The U.S. will begin their pre-World Cup training camp in mid May and play a two-game Send-Off series later in the month before leaving for South Africa. The U.S. will face the Czech Republic on May 25 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., and then four days later host Turkey in Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, May 29.[/quote]

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