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The Official 2010 Pre- World Cup Thread


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[size="5"][b]The Latest 23 Golden Tickets[/b][/size]

[size="1"][b]Grant Wahl's Blog[/b][/size]

In the wake of last week's 2-1 loss at the Netherlands, the U.S. national team will play no more games before coach [b]Bob Bradley[/b] is scheduled to announce his provisional 23-man World Cup roster in May. That means now is a good time to update SI.com's "23 Golden Tickets," the 23 players I believe Bradley will pick for the team that travels to South Africa.

Keep in mind, Bradley doesn't have to send his final roster to FIFA until June 1, so he can change his provisional roster before the deadline if any U.S. players pick up injuries in the two send-off games, against the Czech Republic on May 25 and Turkey on May 29.

Here are the latest 23 Golden Tickets (players with a "*" next to their names are those I would consider locks at this point):

[b]GOALKEEPERS[/b] (3): Tim Howard*, Brad Guzan*, Marcus Hahnemann*.

[b]DEFENDERS[/b] (8): Oguchi Onyewu*, Carlos Bocanegra*, Jay DeMerit*, Jonathan Spector*, Steve Cherundolo*, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson, Heath Pearce.

[b]MIDFIELDERS[/b] (9): Landon Donovan*, Michael Bradley*, Ricardo Clark*, Maurice Edu*, Stuart Holden, José Torres, Benny Feilhaber, DaMarcus Beasley, Sacha Kljestan.

[b]FORWARDS[/b] (3): Clint Dempsey*, Jozy Altidore*, Brian Ching.

[b]New additions[/b]: Heath Pearce, Sacha Kljestan.

[b]Fell out[/b]: Robbie Findley, Conor Casey.

[b]New locks[/b]: Steve Cherundolo, Maurice Edu.

[b]No longer locks[/b]: Jonathan Bornstein, Brian Ching.

[b]GOALKEEPERS[/b]: There's not much debate at this point. [b]Tim Howard[/b] is the clear No. 1, [b]Brad Guzan[/b] has put in his time with the team, and [b]Marcus Hahnemann[/b] has been playing regularly for Wolves in the Premiership. The only question is whether Hahnemann might win the backup spot from Guzan, who hasn't been playing much for Aston Villa.

Other candidates: [b]Nick Rimando[/b], [b]Troy Perkins[/b].

[b]DEFENDERS[/b]: The only change here is the addition of [b]Heath Pearce[/b], who improved his cause more than anyone else during the recent friendlies against El Salvador and the Netherlands. Given [b]Jonathan Bornstein[/b]'s troubles at left back against the Dutch (causing him to lose his lock status for now), Pearce might be challenging him in the pecking order at this point, though if everyone is healthy I still expect [b]Carlos Bocanegra[/b] to start at left back in South Africa with a central defense of [b]Oguchi Onyewu[/b] and [b]Jay DeMerit[/b] and [b]Jonathan Spector[/b] on the right. [b]Steve Cherundolo[/b] may not have played in Amsterdam, but it's clear that Bradley considers him part of the team's core group, and therefore a lock.

Other candidates: [b]Chad Marshall[/b], [b]Jimmy Conrad[/b], [b]Edgar Castillo[/b], [b]Frankie Hejduk[/b].

[b]MIDFIELDERS[/b]: I'm moving [b]Clint Dempsey[/b] to forward for now, at least until the feverishly rehabbing [b]Charlie Davies[/b] is able to take the field for Sochaux. That would leave a starting midfield of [b]Landon Donovan[/b], [b]Michael Bradley[/b], either [b]Ricardo Clark[/b] or [b]Maurice Edu[/b] and (if he can recover from his recently broken fibula) [b]Stuart Holden[/b] on the right side. Holden's injury, which came on a horrific tackle by the Netherlands' [b]Nigel de Jong[/b], comes at a terrible time for Holden, who had just joined the regular rotation at Bolton Wanderers. Holden is expected to recover just in time for the World Cup, but the uncertainty will keep him from lock status for now.

[b]José Torres[/b] and [b]Benny Feilhaber[/b] should make the team, while the last two midfield spots are a close call. [b]DaMarcus Beasley[/b] had a good showing in Amsterdam, increasing his chances of making his third World Cup team, while the last spot is anyone's guess. [b]Tim Howard[/b]'s [url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/grant_wahl/03/09/howard/index.html"]comments this week[/url] suggest that if [b]Jermaine Jones[/b] is healthy he'll have a spot on the team, but I won't include the injured German-American until he can get on the field for Schalke. If Davies can return in time, I think he would also take this spot. But for now I'll choose between the top three candidates ([b]Sacha Kljestan[/b], [b]Robbie Rogers[/b], [b]Alejandro Bedoya[/b]) by going with Kljestan. When he's in form, Kljestan brings slightly more to the table than the other two, and (all other things being relatively equal) he's a Bob Bradley guy.

Other candidates: [b]Jermaine Jones[/b], [b]Alejandro Bedoya[/b], [b]Robbie Rogers[/b], [b]Kyle Beckerman[/b], [b]Brad Davis[/b], [b]Freddy Adu[/b].

[b]FORWARDS[/b]: As we've discussed before, this is not a deep position right now. The recent games have suggested that [b]Robbie Findley[/b] isn't quite ready yet to play at the highest level, and I have now decided (though not very strongly) that [b]Brian Ching[/b] and [b]Conor Casey[/b] are competing for one spot. As a result I am dropping both Findley and Casey for now, though Ching vs. Casey may well be decided by MLS form and/or health status in May.

If Davies is ready he would take one of these spots and move Dempsey back to the midfield. Davies' speed really does provide an option here, since the other fast forwards (Findley, [b]Eddie Johnson[/b]) haven't made a great case for inclusion yet.

Other candidates: [b]Charlie Davies[/b], [b]Robbie Findley[/b], [b]Eddie Johnson[/b], [b]Kenny Cooper[/b].

What do you think of the latest 23 Golden Tickets? Do you agree? Disagree? And who do you think has the best chance of playing themselves on or off the team between now and May? Post your thoughts below and let the debate commence ...


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[size="5"][b]Dreaming of an End to Soccer's Nightmare[/b][/size]

[b]Published: March 12, 2010[/b][/size]

The 2010 Winter Olympics are over, but the year's true global sporting event won't come until June and July in South Africa.
Soccer's World Cup finals generate debate and passion on every continent, including Antarctica, where the few hardy souls in the research stations during the Southern Hemisphere winter will presumably keep things heated by talking a little soccer, or [i]futbol[/i] , among themselves.

Although there is no argument possible over which event is the most universal, the World Cup could still learn something from the Vancouver Games. Or better yet, borrow something from the Vancouver Games.

The issue is tie-breaking, which is soccer's recurring nightmare, because its big occasions keep being reduced to the tense but wholly unsatisfying spectacle of penalty kicks.

Two of the last four World Cup finals were decided this way, including the most recent one, in Berlin in 2006, where Italy defeated France in a crucible of a game best remembered for Zinédine Zidane's heat-of-the-moment head butt.

But it is hard not to regret the penalty kicks, too, and wonder how a game of enormous skill and endurance, a game defined by carefully constructed attacks, can be reduced to a relatively static, out-of-context lottery with the most important trophy in world sports at stake.

I have always liked the analogy that Ian Thomsen, my predecessor at the International Herald Tribune, came up with after watching Brazil beat Italy and Roberto Baggio, its poor, pony-tailed star, on penalty kicks in the 1994 World Cup final in the United States. Thomsen called it "the equivalent of taking Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson off the Augusta National after 72 even holes and ordering them to settle The Masters at the Putt-Putt miniature golf course on Route 17 somewhere outside the city."

An exaggeration? Sure, but a fun one that gets the cursed incongruity of it all just about right. The soccer players train and dream for years. They hustle and sweat through qualifying matches, round-robin matches and knockout stages, and it all comes down to [i]this[/i] ?

Sepp Blatter, president since 1998 of FIFA, soccer's world governing body, defended the status quo after the 1994 shootout, essentially equating penalties with democracy (the worst form of tiebreaker except for everything else). But Blatter, who has been known to change his mind or have it changed for him, sounded as if he had truly had enough after the 2006 final.

"Football is a team sport and penalties are not about a team, they are about individuals," Blatter said. "When it comes to the World Cup final it is passion, and when it goes to extra time it is a drama. But when it comes to penalty kicks it is a tragedy."

Although tragedy seems a term best reserved for real-life difficulties and Shakespeare, Blatter was obviously fired up, and he said then that FIFA had four years to come up with a better approach. But four years have just about passed, and the approach remains no better. It would come as no surprise if Blatter, who has been known to float ideas and then watch them sink (the biennial World Cup? tighter shorts and lower-cut jerseys for women?), presides over yet another shootout , this one in Johannesburg.

Which brings us back to the Winter Olympics or, more specifically, to the Olympic ice hockey tournament, where each team played the overtime periods in the knockout round with five players instead of the usual six.

The idea, carried over from the National Hockey League, was to create more space for offense, for resolution, and it worked. One of the reasons that Canada's victory over the United States in the gold-medal game was so terrific was that it ended with a goal — a real goal, scored by Sidney Crosby during the normal give-and-check of hockey instead of some artificial construct.

Hockey has a shootout format, too, and needed it to decide the gold in 1994 when Sweden beat Canada, but there were no shootouts from the quarterfinals onward in Vancouver nor from the quarterfinals onward at the 2006 Games in Turin.

Soccer, for the moment, can only dream, but it is not as if penalty kicks have always been the ultimate tiebreaker. Pioneered in domestic leagues and minor competitions in the 1950s and 1960s, shootouts were not introduced to a major tournament until the 1976 European men's championships and were not used at the World Cup until 1982.

Penalty kicks do seem an improvement on the previous solution for two teams that could not break a tie: a coin flip. But while soccer's rule makers have tinkered with extra time — trying sudden-death, or golden-goal, formats at the European Championship and World Cup — they have never attempted to reduce the number of players in extra time.

Creators need space to create, and, in truth, many a modern sport could benefit from removing a player from each team, even in regulation time, considering that most of the dimensions of the world's fields and courts were established in an era when elite athletes were not as strong and, above all, as fast as those of today.

But requiring soccer teams to play the first, say, 10-minute overtime period with 10 players each and the second period with nine would be a good way to start and, much better yet, finish. If that still does not resolve the conflict, let them play 8-on-8 and then 7-on-7, which would seem the minimum on a full-size field.

If and only if all that fails, then resort to penalty kicks or some less-random arbiter, like games won or goal differential during the tournament.

Allow extra substitutions if there are health concerns about pushing players to their limits, and let the first goal decide the winner to make ties even more unlikely. Those who believe pulling players off violates the spirit of soccer should remember that many players grow up playing short-sided games and continue to do so in training as professionals, just as they play short-sided in official games in the event of expulsions.

What matters is preserving the essence of a game as you force a result. Soccer, however many are on the field, is essentially an ongoing series of contests for control within a larger struggle. Playing 9-on-9 in full flow sounds much more preservationist than asking someone to trot forward and try to kick a stationary ball past a lone goalkeeper and then face the approbation of a nation if he or she somehow cracks and hits the crossbar.


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[quote][size="5"][b]Moyes hopes to extend Donovan's stay[/b][/size]

[size="1"](UKPA) – 1 day ago[/size]

David Moyes has not given up hope of keeping United States skipper Landon Donovan in a squad he maintains is the best he has ever had at the club.

Everton travel to Birmingham on Saturday for a match that is a fight for a potential place in next season's Europa League. It will be Donovan's last game for the club before he is due to return to the US for the start of the Major League Soccer season after a highly successful two-month loan spell on Merseyside.

Moyes sees the possibility of Donovan staying longer if the MLS players go through with their strike and said: "I don't know yet whether this is Landon's last game, there is still a chance that there could be a players' strike in the US and that could give us the chance of having him a bit longer."

He added: "He has done really well. He settled in very quickly and he has had an impact on the club in the short time he has been here, so we couldn't have asked for more from him.

"We have never talked about a permanent deal. But I think he will return to the States and say 'wow, the Premier League is where I want to be'."

He added: "It is a joy for him playing in the US, he is with a great team in a great place. But I think he will say: 'I want to play in the Premier League again'. Everyone wants to be somewhere that they are loved and cherished, which he certainly is in the US.

"But there is a different situation when you can be playing in the best league in the world against the best players. And if you want to be recognised at that level, Landon would probably want to have the opportunity to give it a go.

"We have not talked to him about the future, that is not right because he is owned by another club. Landon will be the one who in time says what he would really like.

"But if Landon was available again next January, I would probably try to bring him back here, certainly if he was available in the way that AC Milan keep re-signing David Beckham."


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[size="5"][b]Donovan's anti-climatic finale

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 14th, 2010 5:17AM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Barring a last-minute change in plans, Landon Donovan was scheduled to fly home on Sunday after the conclusion of his 10-week loan at English club Everton, which ended in anti-climatic fashion. For the third straight game, he came off the bench, playing the last 23 minutes in the Toffees' 2-2 tie at Birmingham.

Nigerians Victor Anichebe and Ayegbeni Yakubu scored to give Everton an early 2-0 lead it could not hold on to.

But with Louis Saha injured and Anichebe having to go off late in the game, Donovan finished his run playing up front.

Afterwards, Donovan threw his shirt to adoring Everton fans.[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]U.S. national team weekend

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 13th, 2010 5:36P[/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Eleven Americans, most likely selections for the U.S. World Cup team, were in action abroad on Saturday but only Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves) and Steve Cherundolo (Hannover) were winners. Hahnemann went the entire way in Wolves' 2-1 win at Burnley, while Hannover won its second straight game since the return of Cherundolo, who came on in the second half of its 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Here's how U.S. national team players did in Saturday action abroad ...

ENGLAND, Premier League
Jozy Altidore, 82 minutes (Hull City, 1-2, vs. Arsenal)
Landon Donovan, sub: 23 minutes (Everton, 2-2, at Birmingham)
Brad Friedel, 90 minutes (Aston Villa, 0-0, at Stoke City)
Marcus Hahnemann, 90 minutes (Wolves, 2-1, at Burnley)
Tim Howard, 90 minutes (Everton, 2-2, at Birmingham)
Jonathan Spector, 90 minutes (West Ham, 1-4, at Chelsea)

ENGLAND, Championship League
Jay DeMerit, 90 minutes (Watford, 0-1, at Peterborough)

GERMANY, Bundesiga 1
Michael Bradley, 90 minutes (Bor. M'Gladbach, 0-4, vs. Wolfsburg)
Steve Cherundolo, sub: 35 minutes (Hannover, 2-1, vs. Eintracht Frankfurt)

MEXICO, First Division
Edgar Castillo, 90 minutes (Tigres, 0-1, vs. Atlas)
Jose Francisco Torres, 90 minutes (Pachuca, 0-3, vs. Santos)[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]Beckham admits his England hopes are in doubt

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]by [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"]Paul Kennedy[/url], March 14th, 2010 5:12AM [/size]

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] With his playing time at AC Milan shrinking, David Beckham admitted that he is not banking on making England's World Cup squad.

"I am not guaranteed to go to South Africa," he said. "I have to work hard and hopefully win my place. There are a good few months left and plenty of games to play, but hopefully I can carry on playing well and get in the squad."

Beckham's comments followed Milan's 4-0 loss at Manchester United, where he came on as a second-half sub.

Beckham's second loan spell from the Los Angeles Galaxy has not gone as well as his first in 2009. He has started only one of Milan's last five games.

If Beckham plays in the 2010 World Cup, he'd be the first English player to play in four finals in a row.[/quote]


And then this happens....

[size="1"]March 14, 2010[/size]
[b][size="5"][b]Beckham suffers torn Achilles tendon[/b][/size][/b]
[size="1"]Associated Press

[/size] MILAN, Italy -- David Beckham will miss the World Cup and most if not all the Los Angeles Galaxy season after tearing his left Achilles tendon Sunday while playing for AC Milan.

His international career for England is all but over. It remains to be seen how much he'll have left for the Galaxy and Major League Soccer.

"He will miss the World Cup for sure," a person familiar with the injury told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made. The person said it was likely the 34-year-old midfielder will play again.

Beckham was injured without getting hit during AC Milan's 1-0 Italian League win over visiting Chievo Verona.

With only a few minutes remaining and the score 0-0, Beckham was by himself with the ball at his feet, shifted his weight and reached a hand down to his left heel. Beckham then stood up and snapped his wrists like he was breaking a twig in half in a gesture to show the AC Milan bench he knew the tendon was broken.

Visibly in pain and in tears, Beckham went to the sideline for medical attention, leaving Milan a man short because all three substitutes had been used.

"He felt the muscle begin to come up, which is a typical symptom when you break an Achilles' tendon," Milan coach Leonardo told Sky. "This is a real blow."

Sky reported that Beckham said, 'It's broken, it's broken," when he came off.

Club physician Jean Pierre Meersseman told Italy's Sky TV that Beckham will fly to Finland, where he will be treated by specialist surgeon Dr. Sakari Orava.

"He'll go to Finland tomorrow and will be operated on probably tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning," Meersseman said.

While Beckham has not been a starter for England in recent matches, he was likely to make the World Cup roster as a reserve. Although no longer a top player, he was still useful for his free kicks and crosses, especially when England needed second-half goals.

And for many, he was the most-known soccer player in the world, a fashion icon with a celebrity wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. A 2002 movie was even named after him, "Bend it Like Beckham."

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star was on his second loan stint to AC Milan from Los Angeles Galaxy as he looked to boost his chances of making England coach Fabio Capello's 23-man World Cup roster. With no chance to play in the World Cup, his international career is likely over after 17 goals and 115 appearances, second in English history behind only goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125 matches from 1970-90.

Beckham was England's captain from November 2000 through the 2006 World Cup. He was due back with the Galaxy after the World Cup.

"He'll probably be out for five or six months," AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani told Sky. "I saw him really suffering. In the changing room I hugged him and told him that if he wants he can join us next year, too."

It was yet another blow for Major League Soccer, already facing the threat of a players' strike ahead of the season opener on March 25. Beckham is the league's highest-paid player with a $32.5 million, five-year contract and its biggest draw.

"We just received the information about David's unfortunate injury," MLS commissioner Don Garber said. "We wish him a speedy recovery."

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said it was too early to tell exactly how long Beckham will be out. He didn't want to discuss the impact the injury would have on Los Angeles' season. He wouldn't blame the injury on the loan.

"Players get hurt whether they're on loan or not," he said. "Injuries are unfortunately part of the game."

Capello and his England assistant Franco Baldini spoke with Beckham on the telephone to offer best wishes, according to British news agency The Press Association.

In April 2002, Beckham broke a bone in his left foot during a European Champions League game against Spain's Deportivo La Coruna. His injury and recovery were front-page news to fixated England fans.

England fell short in the 2002 World Cup and yet again in 2006, still hoping for its first title since 1966.

Beckham returned Sunday to AC Milan's starting lineup after a reserve-appearance in Wednesday's 4-0 Champions League loss at Manchester United, his first match at Old Trafford against his old club since he left after the 2002-03 season. Beckham was treated Sunday for a deep cut to his right cheek following a collision early in the first half.

With the game scoreless, Beckham nearly scored in the 84th, but Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino stopped his close-range effort.

"Beckham came here because he wanted to help Milan return to the top and he was looking to get a jersey for the national team and participate in the World Cup," Milan defender Gianluca Zambrotta said. "If other victories come, there will surely be a dedication for David Beckham."

Sunday's win moved Milan (17-4-7) within one point of Serie A leader Inter Milan (17-3-8) with 10 games remaining.


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[size="5"][b]Donovan returns home with praise for Everton

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 14th, 2010 4:30PM[/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Landon Donovan has returned to the Los Angeles Galaxy following the completion of his 10-week loan with English Premier League club Everton.

Everton had been hopeful a loan extension could be arranged but had already moved on, using Donovan as a sub in its last three games.

Donovan, Everton's Player of the Month award for January, excelled in the EPL after three unsuccessful stints in Germany.

"I've proved to myself that I can play against any player in the world and that's a pretty cool thing to think," he told [url="http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/2010/03/14/donovan-returns-to-la"]evertonTV[/url]. "Where I came from as a young boy, I didn't have soccer on TV and I didn't know any teams in the world outside of Manchester United or Real Madrid. To come to this point and do what I'm doing is pretty special."

Donovan said he had never met fans like Everton's supporters.

"I'm 28 years old now and I've played over 100 times for my country, I've also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world," he said. "But I've never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. Forget about football for a moment, this is a life experience I'll never forget."

Donovan, who had two goals and three assists, credited Everton manager David Moyes with believing in him.

"Before I came, I had a lengthy talk with Tim Howard about the club and the manager in particular and Tim has nothing but great things to say about him,” Donovan said of Moyes. "I think that first and foremost, there is a mutual respect. Every time I play and every time I train I try to give everything I have and I think he respects that. I give him so much credit for throwing me in the Arsenal game and saying: 'Just go.' When someone does that, you don't want to let them down, but you also bring more out of yourself because you want to play well for someone like that."[/quote]

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[size="5"][b]U.S. national team weekend

[/b] [/size] [size="1"]March 14th, 2010 4:14PM [/size]

[AMERICANS ABROAD] Clint Dempsey started his first game for Fulham since returning from his knee injury. He played the first 72 minutes in the Cottagers' 3-0 loss at Manchester United. Chris Rolfe debuted Sunday for Danish club AaB. Here's how U.S. national team players did in weekend action abroad ...

DENMARK, Super SAS-Ligaen
Chris Rolfe, sub: 20 minutes (AaB, 0-2, at FC Midtjylland)

ENGLAND, Premier League
Jozy Altidore, 82 minutes (Hull City, 1-2, vs. Arsenal)
Clint Dempsey, 72 minutes (Fulham, 0-3, at Man. United)
Landon Donovan, sub: 23 minutes (Everton, 2-2, at Birmingham)
Brad Friedel, 90 minutes (Aston Villa, 0-0, at Stoke City)
Marcus Hahnemann, 90 minutes (Wolves, 2-1, at Burnley)
Tim Howard, 90 minutes (Everton, 2-2, at Birmingham)
Jonathan Spector, 90 minutes (West Ham, 1-4, at Chelsea)

ENGLAND, Championship League
Jay DeMerit, 90 minutes (Watford, 0-1, at Peterborough)

FRANCE, Ligue 1
Carlos Bocanegra, 90 minutes (Rennes, 2-0, at Valenciennes)

GERMANY, Bundesliga 1
Michael Bradley, 90 minutes (Bor. M'Gladbach, 0-4, vs. Wolfsburg)
Steve Cherundolo, sub: 35 minutes (Hannover, 2-1, vs. Eintracht Frankfurt)

GREECE, Super League
Eddie Johnson, sub: 3 minutes (Aris, 2-0, vs. PAOK)

MEXICO, Torneo Bicentenario
Edgar Castillo, 90 minutes (Tigres, 0-1, vs. Atlas)
Hercules Gomez, 90 minutes (1 goal) (Puebla, 1-1, Monterrey)
Jose Francisco Torres, 90 minutes (Pachuca, 0-3, vs. Santos)

NORWAY, Tippeligaen
Clarence Goodson, 90 minutes (Start, 2-0, vs. Sandefjord)

SCOTLAND, Premier League
DaMarcus Beasley, sub: 5 minutes (Rangers, 3-3, vs. Dundee United)
Maurice Edu, sub: 16 minutes (Rangers, 3-3, vs. Dundee United)[/quote]

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[b][size="5"][b]Sam Wallace: Beckham blow is serious but not a disaster for Capello[/b][/size][/b]
[b]Injury could open World Cup doors for players like Man City's Adam Johnson[/b]

If there was any consolation for Fabio Capello last night upon hearing the news that David Beckham had snapped his Achilles tendon then it was this: at least it was not Wayne Rooney.

The loss of Beckham is a great pity for the England manager because the 34-year-old, in the words of the Capello camp, "gave England something different". The old legs might not have been as willing as they once were but he was still capable of delivering a telling cross when England needed it.

Beckham would have been on the plane to South Africa before last night, even if it required some serious re-jigging of the profile of the squad in order to accommodate him among the 23 for the [url="http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/sam-wallace-beckham-blow-is-serious-but-not-a-disaster-for-capello-1921545.html#"][color="blue"]World Cup[/color][/url]. Instead of two players for every position, there was to be three right wingers including [url="http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/sam-wallace-beckham-blow-is-serious-but-not-a-disaster-for-capello-1921545.html#"][color="blue"]Beckham[/color][img]http://kona.kontera.com/javascript/lib/imgs/grey_loader.gif[/img][/url] and utility players to make up the shortfall elsewhere. Now Capello does not have those worries.

The England manager brought Beckham on for the last of his 115 caps in the win over Belarus in the last World Cup qualifier in October. He had to withdraw from the friendly against Brazil in November because of commitments with the Los Angeles Galaxy and he was not summoned from the bench in this month's friendly against Egypt.

Beckham was not exactly an integral part of the Capello masterplan but he was an interesting option; a player who always offered a different option when to came to breaking down an opponent.

Now that Beckham is out, the spotlight falls upon Aaron Lennon, arguably Capello's first-choice right winger. Tottenham have been unable to solve the problem of Lennon's groin that has stopped him playing since 28 December. It is understood to be an issue with scar tissue in his groin injury. Harry Redknapp has said he has no idea when Lennon will be ready.

Given the choice, Capello would sooner have a fit Lennon than a fit Beckham. He would sooner have a fit Ashley Cole or the guarantee that Rio Ferdinand was not about to break down again than a fit Beckham. He would probably sooner not have had to sack John Terry as captain last month.

If he thinks about it, the England manager has plenty of reasons to feel that the fates are conspiring against him having got England to the World Cup finals with nine wins out of 10 in qualifying. But all these injuries and scandals have one silver lining: they are happening sufficiently early that Capello can plan for South Africa with them in mind.

When Beckham broke his the second metatarsal in his left foot playing against Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League quarter-final before the 200World Cup finals it was already 10 April. When Rooney broke the fourth metatarsal bone in his right foot against Chelsea before the 2006 World Cup finals it was 29 April. This time England's path has been rocky but there is time for them to recover.

As one door closes, another opens and Adam Johnson, the Manchester City winger, is now surely under consideration for Capello's 30-man provisional squad to be named on 16 May. Not 23 until July, Johnson scored an inspired equaliser for City against Sunderland yesterday – some might say it was Beckham-esque – and he would also give Capello something different.

In Johnson's case it is the ability to play on both wings. He is left-footed but playing second fiddle to Stewart Downing when the pair were at Middlesbrough has meant that Johnson is accustomed to being the "inside-out" winger, playing on the opposite side to his strongest foot. He has never been capped by Capello but he was a regular in the under-21s under Stuart Pearce.

Beckham's injury also means that Theo Walcott has an opportunity to reclaim the right-wing spot, though he first has to win a place in the Arsenal team. James Milner is also a strong candidate to play on the right side in South Africa – he will probably be in the squad by virtue of his sheer versatility.

There may even be a chance for Milner's right-sided Aston Villa team-mate Ashley Young, a consistent Premier League performer but never particularly favoured by Capello. There are many options left open to Capello, he just cannot afford any further injuries or withdrawals from among his senior players.

The biggest blow will be to Beckham who, despite his fondness for being centre-stage where England are concerned, has shown remarkable willing to prolong his international career by flying back from Los Angeles. He is a huge favourite with the fans who had improbably come to regard him as something of a national treasure.

It will be a devastating blow for Beckham that he is not given the chance of a fourth crack at the World Cup. But in international football, things change very quickly and the door is open for someone to prove that finally, this England team can flourish without its most famous name.


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[color="#FF0000"][b][size="5"]Bradley's Gladbach slipping
[/size][/b] [size="1"]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/40/mike-woitalla/"][size="1"]Mike Woitalla[/size][/url][size="1"], March 16th, 2010 2:07AM [/size] [/color]

[color="#FF0000"][AMERICANS ABROAD] [/color]Winless in four games and outscored, 7-0, in its last two matches, alarm bells are going off at Borussia Moenchengladbach, where World Cup-bound [b]Michael Bradley[/b] plays in midfield.

Gladbach is in 12th place in the 18-team league, seven points above the relegation zone. But after a 3-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund and a 4-0 loss to VfL Wolfsburg the last two weekends, fears have set in that Gladbach could be in for another fight against the drop.

Bradley joined the Fowls on a four-year contract when they were promoted to the top tier for the 2008-09 season, after they spent a year in the second division.

They missed having to play in a relegation playoff by one point during the 2008-09 season.

Bradley has generally gotten good reviews for his energetic play in the central midfield, but his handball last weekend resulted in a penalty kick that gave Wolfsburg a 2-0 lead. And the entire midfield has struggled.

The four-game winless streak started with a 2-2 tie with Hoffenheim after Gladbach led, 2-0, and Kicker Magazine rated Bradley lowest in the squad. He also received very poor ratings in the following three games.

There are still six games left to play. Gladbach faces 13th place Cologne on Friday – which provides a good chance to get back on track. Cologne has a 6-11-9 win-loss-tie record compared to Gladbach's 8-12-6.[/quote]


And the discussion LOL. Bradley is going to come under a lot of fire for the decisions he makes, magnified by the possible failure to get out of the group stage at the WC.

[quote]4 comments [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37239/bradleys-gladbach-slipping.html#c1538"] [/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] John Klawitter [/b]
commented on: March 16, 2010 at 8:17 a.m. Can Bob Bradley be objective here. I have no problem with nepotism as long as judgement remains unobscured. We are talking a Men's National Team and not just a club team. If Michael is truly the best we have at his position, so be it, but it is concerning to learn how he is being assessed in Europe. The USA deserves to field it's very best team in South Africa and if MB does not perform well, one would like to think that it would be taken into consideration.[/list] [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37239/bradleys-gladbach-slipping.html#c1540"] [/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] Nathan Geason [/b]
commented on: March 16, 2010 at 9:24 a.m. Other than scoring some goals, is the coaches son really the best player we have at this position - I am not so sure. If club from is what gets you to the National team, then shouldn't club form keep you off of the National team.[/list] [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37239/bradleys-gladbach-slipping.html#c1542"] [/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] David Bafumi [/b]
commented on: March 16, 2010 at 7:27 p.m. Name a central midfielder that has out-performed Bradley.. Clark? Feilhaber? Edu? I don't think so. He's our best central midfielder no question.[/list] [list=1][*] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37239/bradleys-gladbach-slipping.html#c1544"] [/url] [img]http://media.socceramerica.com/images/comment-bubble.gif[/img][b] John Roode [/b]
commented on: March 16, 2010 at 9:23 p.m. All 3 of those guys are better at the position than Bradley... and you can add Beckerman to the list.Bradley's defending is horrendous. His positional awareness is terrible, his tackling is atrocious, he doesn't know how to use the help he has {by shepharding attackers into help)... and he is slow. I am not at all surprised by his recent poor grading. I'm surprised that he was signed by a Bundesliga team to begin with.I know they think he brings some offense to the table, but we don't need central midfielders getting forward. It's hard enough getting even 1 or 2 attackers in the box at the WC level, let alone 4 or 5.We need solid defenders in midfield with linking skills. Beckerman is the best at that and should be playing on the left side of CM... and ANYONE but Bradley on the right. That will allow our flank players to combine and get forwad with more confidence. In addition, Beckerman has the highest work rate of any player in the current pool. We will need that at the WC level.On my team, Bradley MIGHT have a place as a substitute coming off the bench in games that we are midway through the second half and down a goal... nothing more.[/list][/quote]
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Here's a new player in the derby...

[color="#FF0000"][b][size="5"][color="#000000"]Bedoya opens 2010 Allsvenskan with win [/color]
[/size][/b] [size="1"][color="#000000"] [/color][/size][/color]
[color="#FF0000"][size="1"][color="#000000"]March 15th, 2010 5:52PM [/color] [/size] [/color]

[color="#FF0000"][AMERICANS ABROAD][/color] [b]Alejandro Bedoya[/b], who in recent months has emerged as a candidate to make the U.S. World Cup team, opened his second season as a pro in Sweden with a 2-0 win for Orebro SK over Atvidaberg on Monday.

Bedoya, who played at Fairleigh Dickinson and Boston College, played the entire 90 minutes in midfield for Orebro.

Former Notre Dame defender [b]Ryan Miller [/b]played the entire game for Halmstads BK in its 0-0 tie with visiting Trelleborgs FF.

The start of the Swedish season was pushed forward because of the World Cup even though Sweden won't be in the finals.

(Ghanaian [b]Reuben Ayarna[/b], Bedoya's BC teammate, was red-carded in GAIS Gothenburg's 0-0 tie with Malmo FF.)[/quote]

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[color="#FF0000"][b][size="5"][color="#000000"]USA to face Socceroos in final tuneup
[/color][/size][/b] [size="1"][color="#000000"]March 16th, 2010 12:37AM [/color][/size] [/color]

[color="#FF0000"][DATEBOOK][/color] The USA will face Australia June 5 at Ruimsig Stadium in suburban Johannesburg town of Roodepoort, one week before playing its first match of the World Cup (TV: ESPN2, live, 8:30 a.m. ET).

The match will follow games against the Czech Republic on May 25 in East Hartford, Conn., and Turkey on May 29 in Philadelphia.

Australia is grouped with Germany, Serbia and Ghana at the World Cup.

The Socceroos beat the USA, 1-0, in 1992 and the two teams tied in 1998 in what was [b]Bruce Arena[/b]'s first game as national team coach.[/quote]

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[color=#FF0000][b][size=5][color="#000000"]Friedel's Aston Villa inches closer to top four

[/color][/size][/b] [size=1][color="#000000"] March 17th, 2010 1:36AM [/color][/size] [/color]
[color=#FF0000][AMERICANS ABROAD][/color] Amid reports that Aston Villa might bring in competition for him and fellow American [b]Brad Guzan[/b] in goal, 39-year-old [b]Brad Friedel[/b] picked up the victory as Aston Villa won, 2-1, at Wigan on Tuesday.

Friedel could do nothing to stop [b]Gary Caldwell[/b]'s header, but he did well to stop Honduran [b]Maynor Figueroa[/b]'s long-distance shot.

The victory left Villa in seventh place just three points behind fourth-place Tottenham with a game in hand over its rivals.

The Daily Mail [url="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1257890/Aston-Villa-tracking-United-goalkeeper-Tomasz-Kuszczak.html#ixzz0iPB89ZwM"]reported[/url] earlier this week that Aston Villa could make a move for backup Manchester United goalkeeper [b]Tomasz Kuszczak.[/b]
ENGLAND, Premier League[/color]
[b]Brad Friedel[/b], 90 minutes (Aston Villa, 2-1, at Wigan)

[color=#FF0000]ENGLAND[/color][color=#FF0000], First Division[/color]
[b]Jay DeMerit[/b], 90 minutes (Watford, 2-1, vs. Ipswich)

[color=#FF0000]IRELAND, Premier League[/color]
[b]Ryan Guy[/b], 90 minutes (St. Patrick's, 2-0, at Shamrock Rovers)[/quote]

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[b][size="5"]Cost of Stadium Reveals Tensions in South Africa[/size][/b]

[b][size="1"]By [/size][url="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/barry_bearak/index.html?inline=nyt-per"][size="1"]BARRY BEARAK[/size][/url][/b]
[size="1"] [/size]
[b][size="1"]Published: March 12, 2010[/size][/b]

NELSPRUIT, South Africa — Come June, soccer's World Cup will be hosted by [url="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/southafrica/index.html?inline=nyt-geo"]South Africa[/url]. Though only 4 of the 64 games are to be played here [url="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/destination/stadiums/stadium=5007763/index.html"]in Nelspruit, a $137 million stadium[/url] was built for the occasion. The arena's 18 supporting pylons reach skyward in the shape of orange giraffes. At nightfall, their eyeballs blink with flashes of bewitching light.

The people who live nearby, proud as they are to host soccer's greatest event, also wonder: How could there be money for a 46,000-seat stadium while many of them still fetch water from dirty puddles and live without electricity or toilets?[url="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/"]The 2010 World Cup[/url] is meant to display South Africa at its very best: a modern, prosperous nation friendly to commerce, tourists and democratic ideals. This is the first time the event will be held in Africa, and it was buoyantly suggested by the former President [url="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/thabo_mbeki/index.html?inline=nyt-per"]Thabo Mbeki[/url] that the competition was a milestone for the entire continent, "sending ripples of confidence from the Cape to Cairo."

Such boasts may well turn out to be true, for [url="http://www.sa2010.gov.za/en/node/2926"]South Africa has spent more than $6 billion[/url] on stadiums, roads, airports and other projects. But Nelspruit, in preparing for its own six hours of championship soccer, is instead an example of the nation at its worst, with distressing inequality — measured by some economists as the worst in the world — and an epidemic of local corruption that often leads the downtrodden to rise up in anger.

Simon Magagula lives in a mud house accessible by a dirt road whose cavities deepen with each rainfall. His doorway is a short jaunt to the new stadium. "Those who'll benefit from this are the wealthy that already have plenty in their hand," he said, not in resentment so much as weariness.

And indeed, with the stadium project came an infusion of money, catnip to the corrupt who congregate at the junction of money and power.

"No point in trying to hide it, there was a total collapse of good governance, primarily around the World Cup," said Lassy Chiwayo, Nelspruit's mayor, who was installed as an emergency caretaker in late 2008 after [url="http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/Politics/1057/e13b1ef524cb4aa1bdad0adfa41bf6e9/20-02-2008-09-47/Nelspruit_mayor_booted_out_"]his predecessor was removed[/url].

Independent investigators into the matter found that millions of dollars had been misspent on big contracts. Their final report calls for criminal charges against the former municipal manager and the directors of three companies managing the stadium project.

The Nelspruit area, which lies in the country's east and has a population of 600,000, has been home to a long feud between rival members of South Africa's governing party, the [url="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/african_national_congress/index.html?inline=nyt-org"]African National Congress[/url]. The antagonists want a bigger share of patronage and other spoils. Killings seem to have been used as a tactic.

In the past month, three supposed hit lists landed in South African newspapers. One includes people to be shot, another those to be poisoned. [url="http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article295253.ece"]The Sunday Times[/url] recently quoted a repentant Mozambican assassin who asserted that he was hired by top-level politicians and businessmen to kill their adversaries, describing his profession as the work of a "cleaner."

Mayor Chiwayo appears on each list, and while he said he was unsure if any of the threats were genuine, he noted that several designees had died suspiciously. "I'm afraid mindless greed has eaten into the soul of the A.N.C.," he said of his own party.

In January 2009, the speaker of the municipal assembly, [url=""]Jimmy Mohlala[/url], was gunned down in front of his house. He had gathered evidence about stadium deals and declared that he was ready to name names and shame the shameless.

This past January, another man on the lists, Sammy Mpatlanyane, the deputy director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation, was shot as he lay in bed. He was "a very influential decision maker," the mayor said.

When it comes to the World Cup, Nelspruit, well known as a gateway to [url="http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/"]Kruger National Park[/url], seems to put its worst foot forward repeatedly.

The acquisition of the stadium site itself seemed nefarious. The municipality persuaded the trustees of a huge tract of ancestral land to sell 173 acres for 1 rand, or 13 cents. Those intended to benefit from the trust objected, and [url=""]a judge canceled the deal[/url], likening it to when colonial powers robbed the naïve in return for "buttons and shiny mirrors." The eventual price was about $1 million.

"There has been nothing but duplicity, double dealings and double agendas," said Richard Spoor, the lawyer who handled the case. "And what will we have after the World Cup is played? There's no team to occupy the stadium. It will be a white elephant. Politicians will use it to make speeches."

Two schools — John Mdluli Primary School and Cyril Clark High School — sat on the purchased land. They were bulldozed in 2007, and the students were transferred to hot and airless prefabricated classrooms.

Parents and their [url="http://www.lowvelder.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=653&Itemid=0"]children repeatedly staged protests[/url]. They blocked streets, burned tires and once even torched a police car. The police dispersed them with rubber bullets. This year construction began to replace the demolished schools.

"The school problem made us furious, that and the need for jobs," said Mr. Magagula, who lives near the new arena. "Some people were hired to work on the stadium, but not enough. We've been promised a better life, but look how we live. If you pour water into a glass, you can see things moving inside."

And yet he loves soccer, the favorite sport of black South Africans. He cannot wait for the World Cup to begin. He could afford only one ticket for one game, an $18 seat specially priced for the country's residents.

Nelspruit is one of five cities to get new stadiums, including some arenas that are quite spectacular. It will host Honduras versus Chile; Italy versus New Zealand; Australia versus Serbia; North Korea versus Ivory Coast.

"I chose the Italians," Mr. Magagula said proudly. "I don't really care who wins. But whatever happens, I'll never forget it."

[i][size="1"]Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times[/size][/i]
[i] [/i]
[i] [/i][i][size="1"]In the shadow of the new stadium that is being built, wooden shacks are used as shelter for the workers who work on construction. [/size][/i]


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The Deuce is loose!

Came in as sub in second leg of Fulham matchup with Juventus in the Europa League. Scored the aggregate winning goal to put Fulham through. Sweetness!

[quote][b][url="http://twitter.com/ussoccer"]ussoccer[/url][/b] Until it's taken down: [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwOYLa9XD20"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=XwOYLa9XD20[/url] (via @[url="http://twitter.com/crynyd"]crynyd[/url]) Only in a replay though..[/quote]
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[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][size="5"]GOLAZO: Dempsey chip clinches historic Fulham win [VIDEO][/size]

[b][size="1"]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"][size="1"]Paul Kennedy[/size][/url][size="1"], March 18th, 2010 5:49PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]

[color="#FF0000"][AMERICANS ABROAD][/color] With U.S. national team coach [b]Bob Bradley [/b]and England coach [b]Fabio Capello [/b]both in attendance, [b]Clint Dempsey[/b]came off the bench and scored the series winner in Fulham's 4-1 win over Italian giant Juventus, a delicate chip from 20 yards over 39-year-old [b]Antonio Chimenti[/b], the third-string Juve keeper, that gave the Cottagers a 5-4 win on aggregate in their round-of-16 series in the Europa League and the greatest victory in the club's history.

"Nine times out of ten a shot like that wouldn't have made it, but sometimes you've got to go for it," Dempsey said. "Luckily it worked."

Visiting Juve led on Frenchman [b]David Trezeguet[/b]'s goal in the 2nd minute, but the Cottagers tied the score on [b][b]Bobby Zamora[/b][/b]'s goal seven minutes later.

Hungarian [b]Zoltan Gera[/b] scored on either side of halftime to put Fulham ahead.

"We should do a [b]Rocky Marciano[/b] and retire while the going is good," said Fulham manager [b]Roy Hodgson[/b]. "it doesn't get any better than this.

Juventus had 2006 World Cup star [b]Fabio Cannavaro[/b] sent off in the first half and [b]Jonathan Zebina[/b]late in the game. Thursday's game marked the second time in a week Juve blew a big lead. It led Siena, 3-0, but had to settle for a 3-3 tie in Serie A play.[/quote]

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Deuce and Davies completely changes the USA outlook in the WC. Now if we could conjure up a left back in the backline, at the least, things could get very exciting.

[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][size="5"]Davies to resume training at Sochaux

[/size][b][size="1"]March 19th, 2010 6:04AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]

[color="#FF0000"][AMERICANS ABROAD] [/color][b]Charlie Davies[/b] tweeted the good news on Thursday: "It's official! I'm done with rehab!!! Leaving for Sochaux tomorrow! Who said I couldn't be back training so soon!? Let's go!! God Bless!!"

Davies is finishing his fourth week of rehabilitation at the CERS de Capbreton, the sports training center in in southwestern France. He's spent more than five hours each day training at the center, where Chelsea stars [b][b]Michael Essie[/b][/b][b]n[/b] and [b]Ashley Cole[/b] have been recently rehabbing, and hopes to be playing games by the end of April.

Davies, 23, suffered multiple injuries after a serious car accident last October.

[color="#FF0000"]The road back:[/color]
[b]Nov. 30:[/b] [url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/35518/davies-expects-to-make-full-recovery.html"]Davies positive about recovery[/url]
[b]Jan. 25: [/b][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/36478/charlie-davies-hopeful-of-making-world-cup-squad.html"]Davies in rehabilitation[/url]
[b]Feb. 18: [/b][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/36864/davies-ive-come-a-long-way-video.html"]Davies returns to France[/url]
[b]March 11: [/b][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37178/davies-hopes-to-play-by-the-end-of-april.html"]Davies at CERS de Capbreton[/url] [/quote]

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Not the big WC, but if you've been following this at all, it's quite the shocker. They were pummeling the teams in group play. First time a USA Women's team WON'T be playing in their WC. Ouch.

[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][size="5"]USA doesn't qualify for World Cup!

[/size][b][size="1"]by [/size][url="http://www.socceramerica.com/author/45/paul-kennedy/"][size="1"]Paul Kennedy[/size][/url][size="1"], March 19th, 2010 12AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]

[color="#FF0000"][CONCACAF UNDER-17 WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] [/color]After the USA outscored its opponents, 32-0, in three games in group play, who would have imagined?The USA won't be going to the 2010 Under-17 Women's World Cup after playing to a 0-0 tie with Canada and then falling on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship in Alajuela, Costa Rica. It marks the first time the USA has failed to qualify for the finals of a FIFA women's championship.

Canadian goalkeeper [b]Sabrina D' Angelo [/b]was outstanding, saving all seven U.S. shots on goal.

Canada also had its chances. [b]Haillie Price[/b] got a swing at a bouncing ball inside the six-yard box that U.S. goalie [b]Bryane Heaberlin[/b]deflected off the crossbar and then smothered.

Canada went on to win the shootout, 5-3. The decisive round was the third when Canadian [b]Yazmin Ongtengco[/b] hit a poorly struck shot but the ball amazingly spun over but Heaberlin's body and rolled over the goal line. American [b]Clarissa Wedemeyer[/b] then hit her shot over the crossbar for the only miss of the shootout.

Since CONCACAF member Trinidad & Tobago will host the U-17 Women's World Cup in September, just two World Cup berths instead of the usual three were available at this tournament, both going to the winners of the semifinals.

In the other semifinal, Californian [b]Christina Murillo[/b] broke a 1-1 tie in overtime when she scored from the kickoff and Mexico went on to beat Costa Rica 3-1.

Amazingly, [b]Ally Courtnall[/b], Murillo's teammate on Southern California's Eagles SC, will also be going to Trinidad & Tobago. Courtnall started for Canada against the USA.

[color="#FF0000"]March 18 in Alajuela, Costa Rica[/color]
[b]USA 0 Canada 0 (Canada wins 5-3 in a shootout).[/b]
[b]USA -- [/b]Heaberlin, Brannon, Dahlkemper, Hinkle, Torres (Roccaro, 87), Wedemeyer, Brian, Clark, Doll; Smith (Spivey, 111), Horan (Solaun, 84)
[b]Canada --[/b] D'Angelo, Price (Raymer, 53), Ongtengco, Clarke, Courtnall (Hemond, 87); Campbell, Sutterlund, McNicoll; Simpson, Ghoneim, Cantave (Beaulne, 53).

[b]Referee: [/b]Shane DeSilva (Trinidad & Tobago). [/quote]

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Well, looks like the Algerians are a bunch of thugs. Can't call them terrorists or Zidane will come out of retirement and head-butt me. Our match with these "players" could be slug fest. I despise playing teams who play "thug soccer". My son runs into it on both the high school and club level. It really sets American soccer back because those coaches don't teach good soccer skills, only to beat up and use physical strength to try and beat a team with better foot skills and techniques.

[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][size=5]Algerians Belhadj and Chaouchi suspended

[/size][b][size=1]March 19th, 2010 6:09AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN][/color] Algeria is paying the price for the transgressions of its players in the 4-0 loss to Egypt in the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations. Portsmouth outside back [b]Nadir Belhadj[/b], one of the key Desert Foxes, will miss the opening 2010 World Cup game against Slovenia after being given a two-match ban for his red card. Goalkeeper [b]Faouzi Chaouchi[/b] was banned for three games for headbutting referee [b]Bonaventure Coffi Codjia[/b] during the game against Egypt, though he is unlikely to be part of the Algeria squad for the World Cup.
Belhadj and Chaouchi both have served one match of their suspensions after sitting out the third place game at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

Coffi Codjia has been indefinitely suspended for failing to take any action against Chaouchi for the incident. (Chaouchi was later red carded in the game, one of three Algerians to be sent off in the rematch of their World Cup playoff against Egypt.) [/quote]

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[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][b][size=5]U.S. national team weekend

[/size][/b][b][size=1]March 21st, 2010 3:29AM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][AMERICANS ABROAD] [/color][b]Carlos Bocanegra[/b] was again in the starting lineup as Rennes beat Toulouse, 4-1, for its third straight win and moved into seventh place in France's Ligue 1. Here's how U.S. national team players did in Friday and Saturday action abroad ...

[color=#FF0000]ENGLAND, Premier League[/color]
[b]Brad Friedel[/b], 90 minutes (Aston Villa, 2-2, vs. Wolves)
[b]Marcus Hahnemann[/b], 90 minutes (Wolves, 2-2, at Aston Villa)
[b]Tim Howard[/b], 90 minutes (Everton, 2-0, vs. Bolton)
[b]Jonathan Spector[/b], 90 minutes (West Ham, 1-2, at Arsenal)

[/color][b]Carlos Bocanegra[/b], 90 minutes (Rennes, 4-1, vs. Toulouse)

[color=#FF0000]GERMANY, Bundesliga 1[/color]
[b]Michael Bradley[/b], 90 minutes (Bor. M'Gladbach, 1-1, at Cologne)[b]
Steve Cherundolo[/b], sub: 45 minutes (Hannover, 0-2, at VfB Stuttgart)

[color=#FF0000]MEXICO, Torneo Bicentenario[/color]
[b]Edgar Castillo[/b], 90 minutes (Tigres, 0-4, at Cruz Azul)[/quote]

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[color=#FF0000][color=#000000][b][size=5]Dempsey: 'It's good to be back' [VIDEO]

[/size][/b][b][size=1]March 20th, 2010 6:05PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]
[color=#FF0000][AMERICANS ABROAD][/color] [b]Clint Dempsey[/b] says his goal that clinched Fulham's Europa League series with Juventus on Thursday showed that he's back after suffering a knee injury in January. For more from Dempsey and his Fulham teammates ...

"Scoring the goal kind of says I back after this injury," he said in a post-game interview.

Next up for Fulham: Manchester City on Sunday (TV: Fox Soccer Plus, 11:30 am ET).[/quote]

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[color="#FF0000"][color="#000000"][size="5"][b]Holden and Feilhaber on the mend[/b]

[/size][b][size="1"]March 19th, 2010 5:46PM[/size][/b][/color][/color]

[color="#FF0000"][AMERICANS ABROAD][/color] Midfielders [b]Benny Feilhaber[/b] and [b]Stuart Holden[/b], the most recent U.S. national team regulars to be injured, are improving. Feilhaber has resumed training with Danish club AGF after receiving treatment for his ankle injury in Brazil, while Holden is again walking without crutches.

Feilhaber will rejoin the AGF first team next week after spending several weeks recuperating on the beaches in Rio de Janeiro.

Holden underwent surgery after his right leg was broken by [b]Nigel de Jong[/b] in the recent Netherlands-USA friendly.

If Holden and Feilhaber return to action by next month, that should be enough time to be fit and ready for the World Cup. [/quote]

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