Tag Archives: Poland

USA! USA! USA! – National Team Recaps, US Open Cup Features, and MLS Roundup



Hello soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. And our show starts with American soccer at it’s highest levels. The USYNT was knocked out of the U-20 World Cup in Poland after a tough game vs. South American champion Ecuador. While they didn’t advance further, Tab Ramos’ team once again proved the United States is developing talent on an international level. The USMNT also had a disappointing week, with losses to Jamaica and Venezuela in international friendlies. These Gold Cup tune-up games are certainly disappointments, but Berhalter wasn’t playing his “A” team, and his tactics needs time to implement. That being said, Nick and Mike have picked against the US in the tournament, choosing Costa Rica and Mexico, respectively.

The bright spot for US Soccer has always been the USWNT, and they did not disappoint in their Women’s World Cup opener vs. Thailand. A thorough 13-0 drubbing of the Asian squad set a record for largest margin of victory and most goals in a WWC game. Alex Morgan also tied the WWC single game scoring record by netting 5 goals in a superb performance. This team has reminded the world that they are the favorites.

Meanwhile at home, the US Open Cup saw Major League Soccer teams enter the tournament. The Chicago Fire embarrassed themselves against St. Louis FC, losing the game 2-1 and losing their cool. Other MLS sides fared much better with Columbus, New England, LAFC, and Houston advancing. Chattanooga and Atlanta were postponed due to bad field conditions, and San Jose vs. Sacramento is ongoing as of time of posting.

Finally in MLS action, we saw the Union assert their dominance over the Eastern Conference with a thrilling come-back win over RBNY. The other games went as expected and all the results are up at www.mlssoccer.com. Thanks for listening, and be sure to comment below and follow us @SOPSoccer.

 


U-20 World Cup, Zack Steffen, and MLS League Roundup



USA! USA! USA!

Hello soccer fans! The USYNT/U-20 team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Poland. This is a record-tying, third straight trip to the round of eight for the U-20s. After finishing 2nd in their group (Loss to Ukraine, Wins over Qatar, Nigeria), the US stunned France 3-2. Their next opponent is South American champion Ecuador. Despite the great run, the favorites in the tournament still are on the opposite side of the bracket, with Italy and Colombia. We’ll see how far the US can go. Their next match is June 8.

As we move to the senior team, it’s been announced that GK Zack Steffen will be loaned to Bundesliga team Fortuna Dusseldorf. A loan was expected, and Steffen is sure to get minutes with a Dusseldorf side that finished 10th in the league. This is a great loan for Steffen who will be exposed to a new and faster style of play.

Finally, Nick and Mike round up all the games from around Major League Soccer. Notably, Atlanta United continues their ascent in the Eastern Conference while LAFC maintain dominance out West. Here are our trending teams:

Teams on the Rise

  • Atlanta United: They figured out how to play deBoer’s style and are thriving. The Five Stripes are now sitting 3rd in the East with games in hand.
  • San Jose Earthquakes: Almeyda keeps riding the hot hand …er, foot … and Chris Wondolowski has 7 goals in 3 games. The Quakes are 1 point below the playoff line, but have a game in hand.
  • Colorado Rapids: Despite the 2nd worst record in the league, worst in the West, the Rapids have 3 wins, 1 draw in their last four.

Teams on the Fall

  • Columbus Crew: 1-3-1 in their last 5, Higuain tears and ACL, Steffen played his last game – management is blowing this up with loans and trades. Time for manager Caleb Porter to institute his culture and style.
  • Minnesota United: Giving up 6 goals in their last 2 games, the Loons need to shore up the defense quickly as games vs. hot Colorado and desperate SKC are looming.

Teams who can’t get up

  • Sporting Kansas City and FC Cincinnati: Let’s be honest. Watching these two teams has been rough.

Thanks for listening, and be sure to join the conversation on twitter @SOPSoccer, on facebook, or in the comments below. See you next week!

 


A Little Less Conversation … – World Cup Days 4 & 5



…a little more action!

This Elvis lyric seems appropriate considering Belgium’s 3-0 victory over debutante Panama, and England’s late victory over almost-spoiler Tunisia on Day 4. Day 5 picked up where the previous day left off, with Japan’s historic victory over Colombia (1st time an Asian country defeated one from South America in a World Cup), Senegal upsetting Poland, and Russia continuing to roll with a 3-1 victory over Egypt. My last post asked for more action and more “Wow”, and I got it. (Maybe I should play the lottery?)

My biggest take-away was how much Belgium looked like a title contender. They played so patiently, absorbing the pressure from an energized and excited Panama squad, then picked out their opportunities and picked apart Panama’s defense. De Bruyne looked so in control, and his connection with Lukaku can’t be understated. Belgium has so much to offer, even without usual captain Kompany. Mertens had a beautiful goal, and he must be accounted for by every defense. They were a dark-horse favorite to win the World Cup, but they certainly moved closer to “favorite” status with this dominating performance.

England, another talented squad, underwhelmed. Yes, they won in dramatic fashion, but they can’t afford to miss so many opportunities against the better opponents to come. All it took was one stupid Kyle Walker elbow to give Tunisia a penalty, and the game was seriously in question. I appreciated the excitement of Kane’s goals. My eyes are always drawn to him when he plays. His movements are so smooth, he strikes with precision, and is always in the right place at the right time. However, Panama lost track of him on two occasions, and it cost them points. Also, as an Everton fan, it was great seeing Jordan Pickford start in goal for England. I hope he continues to play throughout the tournament. He could be the England #1 for a long time, and I’d love to see him bring that experience and confidence back to the Toffees and the Premier League.

Here come the Russians!
While maybe not the red scare of the ’60s, this Russian squad has scored 8 goals in two games, conceded once, and have shown to be a dominant offense in this tournament. Granted, they have played Saudi Arabia and Egypt (FIFA ranked 67th and 45th, respectively), but that doesn’t take away from what they’re doing offensively and how they control the middle-third of the field. They’ll be advancing to the knock out rounds against a team from Group B, most likely Portugal or Spain.
Meanwhile, fan-favorite Egypt looks all but eliminated in what will be remembered by fans as the “what could have been” World Cup. (Also, my podcast co-host Mike ran a FIFA 2018 World Cup simulation that had Egypt in the finals. So who knows what could’ve been had they had a full, healthy roster.)

 

The second round of group stage games are in full force, and a lot of story lines are developing. What are you most excited about? How are your predictions looking? Let us know in the comments below.